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2013 Year In Review

Welcome to 2014!  Let’s take a quick look back at the past 12 months.

-2012 ended off with a bang. After sub $400 tickets to Israel on El Al and Alitalia earlier that year Delta got in on the fun with sub-$500 tickets to Israel.
-Then I was able to cap off the year with a last-minute trip to Paris with my wife in a Singapore couples suite on their A380 thanks to 114K AMEX points for both of us (26K of which were refunded due to lack of lounge access and kosher meal).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-In January 2013 Delta decided to let people who got glitch tickets to upgrade to nonstop flights for free. That came on the heels of El Al allowing folks to do so for a $75 fee.
-An apparent AMEX glitch released a targeted 100K Platinum offer to the public for less than a day.
ANA stopped collecting fuel surcharges on United and USAirways flights, creating amazing bargains that are still around today like 38K miles to Europe and 60K miles to Israel without surcharges. Air Canada flights to Europe and Asia are also exempt.
-Staples had several great promotions like this one on which you could earn boatloads of miles and cash for free.
My wife said on Friday afternoon that it would have been nice to be in Kansas for her brother’s sheva brochos and by 2pm we were sitting on the plane on our way there before shabbos. All made possible with just 40,000 United miles round-trip as opposed to paying $1,700.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-In February a free virtual Israeli landline phone option opened up to the public and DD readers immediately went onto crash their enrollment system.
-Singapore also stopped charging fuel surcharges on United and USAirways.
-I also got to fly on the longest flight in the world with United miles, spend 2 nights in the stunning Maldives, and flew home via Singapore and Seoul in Korean First via Chase points.

-In March I posted a BRG free hotel offer that didn’t cause nearly the trouble that the next one would cause.
-Some folks also went really crazy with this Starbucks promotion…
-Longtime DDF member AsherO got married and it was quite a party. And I got a phone agent to change my 4.5K Avios flight on American over to United.
-We went to a wedding on the stunning grounds of the Hyatt Huntington Beach and tried out lots of LA eateries.

-El Al went on strike in April.
-The Airspace lounge Cleveland opened.
-We flew to Buenos Aires for the 2nd time within 12 months (home to an awesome Park Hyatt and Asian, my favorite kosher restaurant in the world) though this time just for a single night…long story for another time:
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-In May nearly 700 people attended DD seminars in Boro Park and Lakewood.
-Google Wallet Conga!
-The head of Google Wallet loved the conga, joined DDF, and answered questions about the service!
-Another very short lived AMEX glitch, this time on the gold card.
-I got to take a really special lifelong dream road-trip with my brother and maternal grandfather to see all 3 major halls of fame as well as see the Indians trounce the Red Sox in Fenway from atop the Green Monstah’
-I’m a die-hard Indians fan and this was definitely my coolest use of 25K miles ever!

base4b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-In June I posted my final BRG free deal as readers took down the phone lines. People online from other forums weren’t amused to say the least and I agreed to no longer feature BRG opportunities as the point of this site isn’t to kill deals that would otherwise be sustainable.  I had posted them previously without incident but they had never been so popular until this one.
-Free miles and cash hits Office Max.
-Ink cards offered 60K for just 1 week.
-The Chicago seminar was the most organized to date, kudos to Kehilla Fund!  And the Milt’s Burger+Chili, and Shallot’s sushi and strawberry shortcake rocked my world.

 

-In July the Freedom 10×10 program died for most people.
-JetBlue had 90% off for several days in a row but eventually killed the program early as there was too much demand for their servers to handle.
-I compiled a knowledgebase for using British Airways Avios.
-SodaStream decided to give 2 soda making machines to folks who ordered a single machine on clearance!
-Several DDF members flew to Chicago with their Avios for a DDF DO Extravaganza that will be hard to ever top:

 

-In August USAirways had tickets to Israel for as low as $200 from some cities and $460 from NYC. The deals lasted for over a day. USAirways didn’t take kindly to those shenanigans. But people who had their Philadelphia-Toronto legs cancelled had the real last laugh…amazing!
-I wrote up a guide to using Starpoints to get to Israel to complement my guide on using miles to get to Israel.
-I highlighted an underutilized Flying Blue mileage option to Israel.
-I typed up our July trip notes from Banff, one of the most stunning places I’ve been to. Emerald lakes, wild bears and caribou, glaciers, and so much more:

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-On September 16th, on her exact due date, my wife gave birth to our 2nd beautiful child, Talia.
-Verizon allowed grandfathered unlimited plans to upgrade their devices without losing their unlimited data.
Chase ended the gift card gravy train.
-Inspiring others to use their miles for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Does a bar mitzvah present get cooler than this:

-In October award winning Turkish Airlines continued to drive the cost of tickets to Israel downward.
-I wrote 4 parts in a series of where Avios can take you on the cheap.
-Sprint gave out free no-contract Androids.
-Chase waived the annual fee on the BA card and people continue to report being able to still match to that offer.
-Bluebird turned a year old.
-I helped a reader navigate hidden-city ticketing.

-In November I celebrated my 5th anniversary and thanked G-d for helping me find such an amazing wife and mother. Apparently that’s controversial.
-Chase started giving car rental insurance in Israel on all of their cards.
-I gave a DD seminar to my hometown crowd.
I typed up my BBQ judging trip notes and made good use of my connection in Chicago.
-I had dinner with DDF members who chartered a jet on the cheap.
-WalMart ATMs got even easier to load to Bluebird.
-WalMart had glitches of which some people hit the jackpot while the losers got $10 for trying.
-CVS gave $50 in ExtraBucks for spending $4.95 Some people cashed in to the tune of thousands of dollars of diapers and other shelf-stable freebies.
-Small Business Saturday got smaller indeed but lived on.
-I gave thanksgiving for 9 years of blogging.
-Wideroe sold tickets on United to Europe for $127 and to Israel for $287.-Then Wideroe did the same thing with Air Canada to Milan.

 

 

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5 years of globetrotting, even through 2 pregnancies!

 

 

-In December folks that capitalized and had lots of AMEX primary and secondary cards for Small Business Saturday were also able to lock tons of massive savings on Amazon.
-There was lots of fun thanks to the Canon printer rebate.
-The American-USAirways merger was finalized.
-Wideroe resurfaced for one last hurrah.
-Toys R Us had some insane closeouts on baby items.
-A&P and Pathmark gave away the farm with their unlimited use gift card promotion.
-I wrote all about United Plan B, an incredibly valuable tool for business class awards.
-I ran a DD seminar in Los Angeles.
-Delta had first class tickets for $25 transcon or $50 to Hawaii. They honored them all, even those who never were ticketed properly. They now even have a notice on their website with a new email address if you don’t want to wait on hold. People are flying across the country on the cheap!
-It’s always worth knowing the rules of the deal.

 

 

Traffic was way up in 2013 and the Delta glitch brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to DansDeals, bringing my servers down to their knees.  Luckily DDF user BAHayman was there to work his magic and keep things running as smoothly as possible under the circumstances.  He and I were so busy keeping things up and coming up with creative solutions that we didn’t even have time to book glitch tickets 😀  BAHayman has now migrated DansDeals over to a much more powerful platform that can handle traffic spikes so hopefully next time that won’t be an issue!  Have to really thank him for his tireless help, folks give him an equal share of thanks if you were able to get the Delta deal.
Of course there’s no need to have to pounce on a glitch when you’ve got the miles to do it for free on your terms. Life is too short…start seeing the world on the cheap by playing the mileage game 🙂

Wow, what a year…here’s to an even better 2014!

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39 Responses to “2013 Year In Review”

  1. Tim Says:
    1

    Here’s to an even better year. Thanks for everything, dan

    ReplyReply
  2. rots5 Says:
    2

    Great stuff.

    Thanks mrs Dan for letting your husband give his heart and soul to this website. (I don’t see where the controversy is) :).

    ReplyReply
  3. peaceful Says:
    3

    Thanks Dan for your great help in the past & we’re looking forward to a graet 2014

    ReplyReply
  4. samuel Says:
    4

    Haha all those good memories…
    However I still get from freedom the 10+10 while all my friends were stopped in may. I’m wondering why I’m so lucky…?

    ReplyReply
  5. Yehuda Says:
    5

    Your year had more action than most people’s lives.

    Thanks for your help Dan!

    ReplyReply
  6. David Mal Says:
    6

    i can’t believe i just read that whole thing
    what a crazy year looking forward to 2014

    Here’s to Dan and all the people who helped along the way!

    ReplyReply
  7. Daniel Says:
    7

    Dan, thanks for saving my family thousands of dollars this year!

    ReplyReply
  8. Jake Says:
    8

    Amazing!! Can’t wait for Teaneck Seminar!!
    Thankx to Dan, to his Wife, and to the Hole Team!!!

    ReplyReply
  9. Super Speed Says:
    9

    Wow! Dan awesome review! Here’s wishing you continued success in everything you do!

    ReplyReply
  10. Osborne Greene Says:
    10

    Let us not forget the contrived two-for-one Sodastream glitch in July.

    ReplyReply
  11. Dan Says:
    11

    @samuel:
    Shhh 😀

    @Yehuda:
    lol

    @Osborne Greene:
    Added!

    ReplyReply
  12. Mendel Says:
    12

    “4 parts in a series of where Avios can take you on the cheap.”

    Dan, we need an update with US short haul’s!!

    ReplyReply
  13. Sara Says:
    13

    I am always amazed at how organized you are. Your instructions are always clear and most helpful.
    I’m especially impressed that I rarely find a typo —
    except for this one:
    -We went to a weeding on the stunning grounds of the Hyatt …
    All in good humor; keep up your great work!

    ReplyReply
  14. Dan Says:
    14

    @Mendel:
    Indeed, but it won’t be bookable until March anyway so I’ve got time.

    @Sara:
    Darn freudian slips 😉
    Kidding folks!

    ReplyReply
  15. ruch Says:
    15

    thank u 4 everything!!!

    ReplyReply
  16. admirer Says:
    16

    wow! I’m sitting here in Israel (got here on a united $420 ticket thanks to Dan) reading this and just amaezed

    ReplyReply
  17. Guest Says:
    17

    I am sure that it was a typo, but you forgot to mention that the world-famous attorney Aaron Evenchik showed up to one of your seminars.

    ReplyReply
  18. loving vacation Says:
    18

    Thanks tons for everything. You have a heart of gold+ you stay up late allways there for the glitches… and you give such clear instructions. You easily saved us (me and wife and daughter) hundrads of dollars. However I can not believe that you didn’t book tickets on the recent delta glitch… “es past nisht” for you:)

    ReplyReply
  19. NM Says:
    19

    No mention of the Amex BC card?

    ReplyReply
  20. danfan Says:
    20

    Thank you, Dan. Now, let’s talk about you doing a seminar in Kan Tziva…to include women!

    ReplyReply
  21. eve Says:
    21

    Honestly Dan, besides all the great comment already noted I really need to say that probably the most impressive thing I’ve noticed is that you don’t get upset, mad or insulted when people decide they have to vent when they miss a deal!! you definitely rise above and that’s really nice to see…. Wishing you a new year full of great deals that you can share with us!!! And a year full of fare glitches!!

    ReplyReply
  22. Anonymous Says:
    22

    Waaay too cool!!!

    ReplyReply
  23. DansTheMan Says:
    23

    Dan, Ive been following your posts for over a year now, and recently because of your suggestions I opened up 2 ink cards, a SPG personal and business, and a Sapphire Preffered card.

    Total in my wallet I have: 1 freedom card, 2 ink cards, 1 Sapphire Preffered card, 2 SPG (personal and business)

    Im looking to open up another card, any suggestions? Im not interested in the platinum amex because the fee is too much. I’m willing to go for a united mielage explorer, or united club card, but I have no idea which to go for. What you think AAdvantage? United mileage explorer/club? etc…?

    ReplyReply
  24. 2013 Says:
    24

    Dan great coverage of a topic as usual. How about a summary of how many miles/points you wracked up in 2013. I’m sure you can do a real cool write-up on that!

    ReplyReply
  25. Dan Says:
    25

    @loving vacation:
    It was either keeping DansDeals up (in the end we got a static image up that day which was less of a server drain) and letting thousands of people know about the glitch or booking a deal myself.

    B”H I have millions and millions of miles and a free trip to others probably means a whole lot more than it does for me.

    @eve:
    😀

    @DansTheMan:
    United and AA are both great.

    @2013:
    That post would just come off as bragging.
    But it’s a ton 😉

    ReplyReply
  26. 2013 Says:
    26

    @Dan: You have earned your bragging rights!

    ReplyReply
  27. Greatful !! Says:
    27

    Thanks A Million for everything !! To much to mention & we faxed our Priceline Itinerary # & we got a callback from DELTA
    and purchased the 2 Tickets for a Total $64.22 Thanks again for all your devotion !!!

    ReplyReply
  28. DansTheMan Says:
    28

    Dan, What about the Hyatt? or am I better off with the united and AA? and for united should I go for Club or Explorer?

    ReplyReply
  29. thank you Says:
    29

    @DAN i would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the amazing things you do for us jews. (is it we jews?) whether you enjoy doing what you do or not, you still manage to save us thousands of dollars every year which is the greatest gift anyone can ask for. your aishes chayil truly is, an aishes chayil and one such as yourself is lucky to have someone to put up with your busy schedule. thank you for all you do for us and may hashem continue to bless you and your family until bias hamashiach!

    ReplyReply
  30. HP58 Says:
    30

    Thanx a mil for EVERYTHING Dan! May you have many more years of successful blogging!

    ReplyReply
  31. Avi Says:
    31

    Hey Dan,

    I never manage to get any of your deals as I am always too late or something, but I love your website. Even more, I love reading you recaps and this one was just awesome. I am a huge baseball fan and hopefully I can get some of your upcoming deals.

    Please continue these “personal messages” and trip recaps. They are so interesting and lovely to read.

    ReplyReply
  32. Anonymous Says:
    32

    thanks for everything you do for the klal. looking forward to your seminar next week in Teaneck

    ReplyReply
  33. DK Says:
    33

    I spent the year reading all those posts as they were authored!!! Thanks Dan you truly are the Man!!

    ReplyReply
  34. Shulammis Says:
    34

    Yasher Koach and keep up the good work!

    ReplyReply
  35. asd Says:
    35

    I also want to express my hacoras hatov to dan, thanx

    ReplyReply
  36. SL2 Says:
    36

    Thanx for everything! Been with you all 9 years it has been great! I”yh many more years of great blogging.

    ReplyReply
  37. ChiliPalmer Says:
    37

    I think I got a hernia reading about everything I missed out on.

    My New Years resolution: pay more attention to Dan.

    ReplyReply
  38. K Says:
    38

    Here’s to Dan…remembering the days of C-town Bochur and how your web traffic must have multiplied 100x since then!

    ReplyReply
  39. Sachin Says:
    39

    You are my god and I worship your website zillion times a day. I am also subscribed to your daily digest. I want you to come down to DC and host a Dans-Seminar!!

    Happy New Year!!!

    ReplyReply

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