Category Archive for 'Miles'

Poll: Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use? A Recap Of All The Different Options

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use?

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AMEX’s array of prepaid cards make it easy to generate spend on your credit cards. However you can only have one prepaid card as they track it by your social security number.  You will have to empty out the funds and cancel your prepaid card to switch to another prepaid card product.
There is no credit check to get a prepaid card, but you do need to provide your social security number.

Here’s the rundown of the options:

Bluebird:
-Getting it: You can get a Bluebird card on Bluebird.com for free.
-Fees: There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can’t load Bluebird online from a credit card. You can load $200 per day up to $1,000 per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online. There are some debit cards that still award miles for purchases.
-In-store loading: You can load Bluebird from select gift cards at WalMart ATMs or with WalMart cashiers for free. The limits are $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month per Bluebird card. In other words you can buy Visa gift cards from grocery stores or from Staples or Office Max (buy with Ink Plus or Ink Cash and earn 5 points per dollar) and then use them to add funds to Bluebird in WalMart stores. The pin is the last 4 digits of the card number. On some gift cards when loading with a cashier you’ll need to press cancel on the pin pad after swiping the card and then click to change the payment method from credit to debit.
Note that ATMs are often are broken (though you can call WalMart corporate to complain about that) and in some stores cashiers won’t load gift cards to fund Bluebird.
You can also load funds via Vanilla Reloads, but it can difficult to find stores that will sell those with a credit card and they are being discontinued effective 04/01/15.
-Cashing out: You can get a free checkbook to write checks from your Bluebird account or you can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Bluebird send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Bluebird for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday and you can take advantage of 2x savings catcher on WalMart purchases.

REDCard AMEX:
-Getting it: You can currently only get a REDCard AMEX at these select Target stores. You can only purchase 1 REDCard per day per social, but if you have other people’s social security numbers then you can buy a REDCard for each of them on the same day. Once you have a REDCard any Target store in the nation can activate or load funds to it.
The nearest Target selling REDCards to NYC is apparently in Aberdeen, MD. You can also use 9K Avios to fly round-trip to Baltimore, Boston, or Pittsburgh to pick some up.
The card sold in-store is only a temporary card. You must register the account online and then you will be sent a permanent card in the mail. Once you activate the permanent card you will unlock full usage of the card.
-Fees: In some markets there is a $5 purchase fee while in other markets there is no purchase fee. There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can’t load REDCard online from a credit card. You can load $200 per day up to $1,000 per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
-In-store loading: You can fund REDCard from any credit card or gift card with any Target cashier for free. When you first purchase the REDCard you can load it with $500. Once you get your permanent card the limits are $1,000 per transaction, $2,500 per day, and $5,000 per month per REDCard.  You can load as many REDCards as you want, though you’ll probably need to call your credit card company to unfreeze your card when they freeze it due to suspicious activity.
-Cashing out:  You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have REDCard send anyone a check for free. You can also make free withdrawals at Target ATM machines.
-Other benefits: 5% off everything you buy from Target with the card, free shipping on all Target.com orders, and an additional 30 days to return items to Target. REDCard does not qualify for AMEX Offers.

 

REDCard makes life easy:

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Serve:
-Getting it: You can get a Serve card on Serve.com for free.
-Fees: There is a $1/month fee that is waived if you add $500 to your account that month. It’s also waived for residents of NY, TX, and VT even without loading $500.
-Online loading: You can load $200 per day and up to $1,000/month to Serve online from a credit card with no fees. Note that some banks consider loads to Serve to be a cash advance. With Chase for example it will actually go into a pending state as a cash advance but it will post as a purchase that will earn miles with no fees. You need to have the cash advance limit on your card exceed the amount of funding in order for the transaction to go through. Loads from Barclays should be safe as well.  Loads from AMEX cards will not earn points, though they do count for signup thresholds.
You can also load $200 per day up to $1,000/month per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
-In-store loading: Identical to Bluebird.
-Cashing out: You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Serve send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Serve for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday.

Serve with Softcard:
-Getting it: You must apply for Serve with Softcard in the Softcard app.
-Fees: There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can load $500 per day and up to $1,500/month to Serve with Softcard online from a credit card with no fees. Note that some banks consider loads to Serve to be a cash advance. With Chase for example it will actually go into a pending state as a cash advance but it will post as a purchase that will earn miles with no fees. You need to have the cash advance limit on your card exceed the amount of funding in order for the transaction to go through. Loads from Barclays should be safe as well. Loads from AMEX cards will not earn points, though they do count for signup thresholds.
You can also load $500 per day up to $1,500/month per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
-In-store loading: Identical to Bluebird.
-Cashing out: You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Serve send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Serve for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday. You can also take advantage of numerous Softcard promotions.

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103 Direct Flights From NYC That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

This chart has been updated as of 12/18/14:
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Originally posted on 08/12/13:

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! Until 12/31/14 only this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
-Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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Did you know that there are 103 places you can fly direct to from NYC with your BA Avios?

British Airways Avios can’t be beat for short-haul nonstop flights thanks to ultra-low award rates, no expedite/close-in fees, and dirt cheap award cancellations.  Below are all of the direct flights from Boston that can be booked with Avios.

Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program and how to best search for BA award availability with tips like always booking one-way awards.  If you have a question it’s probably already been answered there!

Notes:
1. Rates in the chart are for one-way flights. Generally speaking it’s a good idea to book BA flights as one-ways to give you maximum flexibility.

2. Rates are always given in Avios.  Currently there is a 40% bonus for transferring AMEX MR points into Avios and there is always a 25% bonus for transferring increments of 20K Starwood Starpoints into Avios.  That just means that if a route requires 25K Avios for example you will only need 20K Starpoints and if a route requires 35K Avios for example you will only need 25K AMEX MR points with the current promotion.

3. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges, which can vary from $25 (JFK-Vancouver on Cathay Pacific) to several hundred dollars each way.

4. There are no fuel surcharges for flights on: Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, LAN, and TAM. There are also no fuel surcharges for American and USAirways flights within the western hemisphere, for JAL flights within Japan, and for Qantas flights within Australia. Fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights are also typically quite low. Fuel surcharges for travel on Cathay Pacific aren’t too bad while fuel surcharges to fly on British Airways border on the criminal.
You can save on the fuel surcharges imposed on Iberia flights by transferring British Airways Avios into Iberia Avios.

5. In the charts below I’ve only included direct flights as BA charges Avios for each flight segment. 

For example Tel Aviv isn’t on the chart as BA does not have any partners that fly nonstop from NYC to Tel Aviv.  Though you can always fly to Tel Aviv via Berlin or Dusseldorf for 20K for the overseas segment and 10K for the Berlin/Dusseldorf-Tel Aviv segment with no fuel surcharges. It can help to search for NYC-Berlin or Dusseldorf and Berlin or Dusseldorf-Tel Aviv separately.

Maui isn’t on the chart as no airlines fly nonstop from NYC-Maui.  Though you can always fly to Maui from Los Angeles, S. Diego, or Seattle, for 12.5K for the NYC-west coast segment and 12.5K for the West coast-Maui segment with no fuel surcharges. Plus you can stopover in the connecting city for as long or short as you want.

6. BA.com does not display availability for all airlines! If you want to book travel on airlines like Alaska, Aer Lingus, and LAN you’ll need to pick up the phone and call BA! You can search Alaska award availability on AA.com before calling BA to book it.

7. In rare cases connecting flights can be cheaper than nonstop flights when using Avios and I’ve noted that in the chart.

8. Cities in the chart may only have seasonal nonstop service.

9. A dash means that class of service isn’t offered on that route.

10. While the Qantas flight from JFK to Sydney stops in Los Angeles it is considered a direct flight by BA as the flight number remains the same. Therefore they do charge Avios as if it is just 1 flight segment.
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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Want to pickup Avios? You’re in luck as you can transfer points from all over the place to BA.

-The Chase British Airways Visa Signature offers 50,000 Avios for spending $2K. Until 12/31/14 the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year as well.  This card earns 1.25 Avios per dollar spent.  You also get 10% off British Airways flights and can earn a companion pass that is good for a free companion on a coach, business, or first class award ticket if you spend $30K in a calendar year.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with the $65 annual fee waived or the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express.

Those cards both offer a year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.  The Everyday Preferred card earns more points per dollar for everyday purchases than any other card in its class. The Everyday card is the only no annual fee card that allos points transfers into airline miles.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

AMEX MR points normally transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios but until 01/31/15 you’ll get 1,400 Avios for every 1K AMEX MR points transferred to British Airways.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom. They can also be earned on business cards like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash. These points also can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.

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View the complete 103 route chart after the jump:

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Get A 40% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into British Airways Avios!

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Related posts:
-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! For a limited time only this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.

-Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 102 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
-Flying Round-Trip To Israel On Air Berlin For 50K American Express Membership Rewards Plus $81 Tax: A Tutorial
-Flying With An Infant With Miles In Business Or First Class? Start Collecting Air Canada Miles Or British Airways Avios
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BA/MR Promo Offer Linky

-Through 01/31/15 you will get 1,400 Avios for every 1,000 Membership Rewards (MR) Points transferred to BA.

This is only valid for US cardholders.

This is the first transfer bonus into Avios in 2014!
Previous MR->Avios bonus offers:
11/27/11=30%
03/15/12=50%
08/28/12=40%
12/03/12=30%
04/22/13=35%
10/15/13=20%

About British Airways Avios:

-BA Avios are awesome.  They effectively fill the gap that is left by the major programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus.  The major programs provide a fantastic value for long-haul flights, especially for one-way flights, last-minute flights, stopover flights, or flights in business or first class.  But most programs are not great for short flights.

In 2011 BA launched the Avios program and for the past 3 years it has continued to provide an incredible value for short-haul flights.  I’ve booked dozens of short-haul tickets using Avios for travel on American.  A Cleveland-NYC ticket can cost $1,200 round-trip if you don’t stay for at least 3 days or if you book last-minute.  But BA allows me to use just 9,000 Avios for that same flight, a whopping value of over 13 cents per mile.  I can hop over to Chicago or NYC on a whim without any kind of mileage regret like I used to have in the pre-Avios days.

-Avoiding fuel surcharges:
-There are no fuel surcharges for travel on American or USAirways within the Western Hemisphere. Flights start at 4,500 Avios plus $5.60.
-Air Berlin flights still have no fuel surcharges systemwide and remain the cheapest way to get to Israel. They have flights to Israel from Berlin, Dusseldorf, or Munich for 10K Avios. Flights to several US cities cost just 20K Avios.

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-Niki flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide. They fly from Israel to Vienna for 10K Avios.
-Aer Lingus flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide, though they can only be booked over the phone.. A flight from Boston to Dublin or Shannon is just 12,500 Avios in coach or 25,000 Avios in business. From there you can fly elsewhere within Europe without paying fuel surcharges.  Plus you can fly to Boston from cities like Buffalo, NYC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Washington DC for just 4.5K Avios. These flights can only be booked over the phone.
-Alaska flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide with flight starting at just 4,500 Avios. These flights can only be booked over the phone.
-LAN and TAM flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide. Some of their flights can only be booked over the phone.
-Flights within Australia, Europe, Japan, and many other countries and regions have little to no fuel surcharges.
-There are also no fuel surcharges for flying on Qantas within Australia.
-Fuel surcharges on award-winning carrier Cathay Pacific are also pretty low and you don’t even need to fly all the way to Hong Kong (though you should-great city with awesome kosher food, airport lounges with kosher food, and a business or first class flight you’ll never forget!) to get a taste of their awesome service, seat, pajamas, and amenities. They fly a daily 777 nonstop between JFK and Vancouver which I reviewed in this trip report.
-You can significantly cut the fuel surcharges when flying on Iberia by transferring your BA Avios into Iberia Avios
-British Airways 5th Freedom Flights (flights that don’t depart from or arrive to the UK) have significantly lower fees. For example even though Singapore-Sydney is a longer flight than NYC-London the fees in first class on Singapore-Sydney are less than half of those from NYC-London.

-There are no expedite or close-in fees for last minute award ticket bookings with BA Avios.  That saves you $75 compared to other programs.

-You can book one-way tickets for half of the miles listed below!

-Earning or redeeming any amount of Avios extends your entire account validity for another 36 months.

-You can cancel tickets and redeposit miles for the lessor of $55 or the taxes you paid.  That means you pay just $5.60 for cancel a one-way domestic itinerary (and you always should book domestic flights as one-ways). That saves you $200 compared to opther programs when you need to cancel.

-British Airways only charges 10% extra miles for a lap child flying internationally, even when traveling on AA. AA and other domestic carriers charge a whopping 10% of the full fare, which can add up to be a small fortune.

-Points transfer instantly from MR to BA and there are no fees or taxes for transferring points to British Airways.

-You can search American, Alaska, and USAirways award availability on AA.com and looking for sAAver awards. BA can’t book AAnytime awards, but you should be able to find all AA sAAver awards on BA.com. BA.com does not display all available awards on all airlines, airlines like Alaska, Aer Lingus, and LAN have to be booked over the phone.  Additionally you will have to call BA to make a booking if you see a sAAver award on AA.com that’s not showing on BA.com.

Sample uses:

-7,000 MR points will transfer into 9,800 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip short-haul ticket between New York and places like Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Montreal, Pittsbugh, or Toronto or between Miami and the Bahamas or Cancun, on OneWorld partner American. It’s also enough to fly from Melbourne to Sydney, or to many cities within Europe.

-11,000 MR points becomes 15,400 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip flight between New York and Chicago or Florida, from LA to Cabo, or from JFK to Bermuda.

-15,000 MR points becomes 21,000 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip flight between Germany or Austria and Tel Aviv, Chicago and LA, Hong Kong to Singapore, or JFK to Cancun, S. Maarten, or S. Juan,

-18,000 MR points becomes 25,200 Avios, more than enough for a 25K round-trip flight between the west coast and any of the Hawaiian islands, New York and the west coast, or New York and Costa Rica. It’s even enough for a round-trip flight between Boston and Dublin or Shannon, Ireland with no fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus! You’ll have to call to book trips on airlines like Aer Lingus or Alaska.

-25,000 MR points becomes 35,000 Avios, more than enough for a 34K round-trip flight from NYC-Boston-Ireland on Aer Lingus with no fuel surcharges. You must call BA to book Aer Lingus flights.  Fly from Ireland to elsewhere in Europe for 9K Avios round-trip without fuel surcharges by booking over the phone as well.

-29,000 MR points becomes 40,600 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip flight between Dallas and Hawaii or New York and London (though you’ll be hit with fuel surcharges for crossing the Atlantic on most airlines). It’s also enough for a round-trip flight nonstop flight between NYC or Chicago and Dublin or Shannon, Ireland with no fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus.

-36,000 MR points becomes 50,400 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip flight between New York and Brazil or Argentina.  It’s also more than enough for a round-trip in a lie-flat business class seat between JFK and Vancouver on Cathay Pacific or on business class between Boston and Ireland.

-43,000 MR points becomes 60,200 Avios, enough for a 60K round-trip flight between New York and Tel Aviv on Air Berlin with no fuel surcharges.

-50,000 MR points becomes 70,000 Avios, enough for a round-trip flight between the US and Hong Kong in coach. Or fly round-trip in Cathay Pacific lie-flat business class for 100,000 MR points (140,000 Avios).
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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Need some Membership Rewards points?

-American Express Membership Rewards points transfer instantly at a 1K:1K ratio to Flying Blue and can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

-Key perks of The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express:
-Signup bonus: 15K Membership Rewards points (21K Avios with a 40% bonus) plus for a limited time 1 year of Amazon Prime (a $99 value) for spending $1,000 within 3 months. There is a $95 annual fee.
-One of the best cards that exist for everyday spending thanks to a 50% point bonus for making 30 transactions per billing period. That’s 1.5 points per dollar everywhere you shop. At a conservative 1.6 cents per point valuation that’s a minimum of 2.4% back.
-4.5 points per dollar on up to $6,000 per year at grocery stores if you make 30 transactions that month (3 points if you don’t). At a conservative 1.6 cents per point valuation that’s 7.2% back.
-3 points per dollar on gas and Uber if you make 30 transactions that month (2 points if you don’t). At a conservative 1.6 cents per point valuation that’s 4.8% back.
-Up to 99 fee-free additional cards that each qualify for AMEX promotions.
-Transfer points to all Membership Rewards airline and hotel partners.
You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month. Or just swipe to add a quarter to people’s parking meters. Note that even if you return an item it doesn’t subtract the original transaction.
Signup bonus:
The EveryDay Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, but that’s low considering it’s one of the only card that gives 1.5 real airline miles (not fake bank miles) per dollar everywhere. The only other card that does that is the United Club card which costs $395 per year.

-Key perks of The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express:
-Signup bonus: 10K Membership Rewards points (14K Avios with a 40% bonus) plus for a limited time 1 year of Amazon Prime (a $99 value) for spending $1,000 within 3 months. There is no annual fee.
-The only no-annual fee card that can transfer points into real airline miles.
-20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per billing period. That’s 1.2 points per dollar everywhere you shop.
-2.4 points per dollar on up to $6,000 per year at grocery stores if you make 30 transactions that month (2 points if you don’t).
-3 points per dollar on Uber if you make 30 transactions that month (2 points if you don’t).
-Up to 99 fee-free additional cards that each qualify for AMEX promotions.
-Transfer points to all Membership Rewards airline and hotel partners.

-Key perks of the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card
-Signup bonus: 25K Membership Rewards points (35K Avios with a 40% bonus) for spending $2,000 within 3 months. The $175 annual fee is waived for the first year.
-3 points per dollar on airfare.
-2 points per dollar on gas and groceries.

-Key perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express.
-Signup bonus: 40K Membership Rewards points (56K Avios with a 40% bonus) for spending $3,000 within 3 months. $450 annual fee.

-Every calendar year you can get a $200 airline fee refunds.  That means in your first cardmembership year you can get a $600 refund thanks to a $200 credit in 2014, a $200 credit in 2015, and a $200 credit in 2016 if you get the card right now…

-Centurion lounge access: Bring your entire family or you and 2 guests into lounges in Dallas, Las Vegas LaGuardia, San Francisco, and more to come. Miami will be the next to open.  There are also lounges in Argentina, Brazil, India, and Mexico.
-Airspace lounge access: Bring your entire family or you and 2 guests into lounges in Baltimore, Cleveland, JFK (JetBlue terminal), San Diego, and more to come.  These are modern lounges with free premium coffee, bottled water, and self service soft drinks.  Additionally you and every guest also gets a gift card valid towards purchasing premium alcohol, local craft beers, cocktails, and meals.
-Priority Pass lounge access.  There are over 600 lounges worldwide that accept Priority Pass and you can access all of them for free.  In Newark you can access the Art & Lounge.  That’s the same lounge that El Al provides for their business and first class passengers. It has exclusively kosher food and Israeli art.  In Tel Aviv you can access the Dan lounge.  See the Priority Pass site for their complete list of lounges. Note that you can’t access United lounges with the Priority Pass membership that you get from the Platinum card.  You don’t get any free guests, but secondary Platinum cardholders can get their own free Priority pass membership.
-Delta SkyClub access:  Platinum cardholders can also access Delta Skyclubs, though they can no longer bring in free guests there.  However you can add 3 additional users onto a personal Platinum card for $175 (That’s just $58.33 per additional cardholder per year).  Secondary users do get full lounge access so they will have access to Delta and Priority Pass lounges for themselves and they will be able to guest others into Airspace and Centurion lounges.
-TSA Pre-Check makes flying pleasant again. Shorter lines, no need to remove your shoes, belt, jacket, or hat. You can keep your laptop and freedom baggie with liquids in your carry-on. And you go through a good old fashioned metal detector instead of assuming the position in a nude-o-scope.  It costs $85 for 5 years but you’ll get an $85 statement credit when you pay with a Platinum card. Additional cardholders get it free as well.
-Or you can get Global Entry which includes TSA Pre-Check for free.  Normally Global Entry costs $100 and it also lets you bypass the customs line when returning from abroad. If you charge it on your Platinum card the fee will be refunded.  Additional cardholders qualify for a Global Entry fee refund as well.
-Platinum cardholders get Starwood Gold elite status for free.  That gets you free Wi-Fi or you can get a 250 point rebate every time you stay at a Starwood hotel-even if you are on an award stay!  It also gets you free upgrades and 4pm late checkout.
-The card also comes with free checked baggage insurance and it has no foreign exchange fees.  And of course it comes with all of the amazing purchase protections that other American Express cards have as well.
-Lost item protection: If you buy something on your Platinum card up to $10,000 and lose it within 90 days of purchase it will be fully covered.  No other card I’m aware of offers lost item protection.  Many cards offer stolen item protection, but that requires a police report to be filed and often it has a cap of just $1,000.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

HT: Meir613, via DDF

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United: Discounted Coach Awards Within North America And To Japan, Discounted Business Class Awards To Europe And Asia!

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Update: A discounted award to Japan has been added as well, full details below:

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Originally posted on 12/09:

Roundup of current United discounted awards (Travel valid from any city in the US48)

1. Fly round-trip to select destinations within the US in coach for 20K miles (normally 25K)
2. Fly round-trip to Hawaii in coach for 36K miles (normally 45K)
3. Fly round-trip to Canada in coach for 20K miles (normally 25K)
4. Fly round-trip to Mexico in coach for 28K miles (normally 35K)
5. Fly one-way to Europe on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 57.5K (normally 70K)
6. Fly one-way to Central Asia on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 70K (normally 80K)
7. Fly round-trip between the US49/Canada and Japan in coach for 56K miles (normally 70K)

See the full details after the jump:

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American Express PRG And Delta Downgrades; A Possible Delta Workaround?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Update: Delta has wisely decided that they will not implement a limit on points transfers from any program into Delta miles.

There’s no longer going to be a need to resort to the various workarounds described in this post :D

Now if only they would do an about-face on their decision to no longer award miles for the distance of flights flown next year…

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Originally posted on 10/01:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

1. Effective 01/01/15 the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card will no longer give a 15K point bonus for spending $30,000 in a year.  It will still give 3 points per dollar spent on airfare and 2 points per dollar spent on gas and groceries.

Annual spend threshold bonuses seem to be a dying breed.  One of the few remaining cards that have an annual spend threshold bonus is the Chase United Explorer card which gives a 10K point bonus for spending $25K in a year.

2. Effective 01/01/15 you will only be able to receive 250K Delta Skymiles per Delta account from Membership Rewards per calendar year.

Additionally you will only be able to spend out 250K points per Membership Rewards account to any number of Delta accounts.

This is a Delta imposed limitation.

In AMEX’s words,

“Beginning January 1, 2015, the maximum number of Membership Rewards® points you will be able to transfer out of a single Membership Rewards account to one or more SkyMiles accounts will be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year. Additionally, the maximum number of Membership Rewards points you will be able to transfer into a single SkyMiles account will also be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year.

You are able to transfer Membership Rewards points to a SkyMiles account without any annual limitations through December 31, 2014″
Workaround?  You are able to request that different American Express cards accumulate points in their own Membership Rewards account. It seems like that should function as a workaround to transferring out more points to Delta as AMEX clearly states that the 250K limit is just from a single Membership Rewards account.
You can also freely transfer points between each of your Membership Rewards accounts so that each of your Membership Rewards eligible cards can transfer 250K points to Delta annually.

While your personal Delta account would only be able to receive 250K points per year, you can add a spouse or child as an additional user for example and transfer points to their Delta accounts. From there you can book award travel for anyone.

Delta is the only major US airline in the Membership Rewards program, so this is definitely a downgrade.  It’s worth noting that Delta will allow one-way awards starting 01/01/15, so that will help things a bit.

Either way Delta is one of the weaker partners in the Membership Rewards program and their miles are far less valuable than American or United miles.  Plus Membership Rewards charges a fee to transfer points to domestic programs like Delta.

Other international Membership Rewards partners offer a better value. For example:

-Air France can book one-way travel on Delta today and their rates are often less.  A round-trip to Israel is just 50K Air France miles and if you find Delta saver availability there are no fuel surcharges.

-A round-trip to Israel using Alitalia miles is just 80K in business class and fuel surcharges are relatively mild at about $300.

-British Airways Avios offers free travel starting at just 4,500 Avios.  Flights to Europe or Hawaii start at just 12.5K Avios each way with no fuel surcharges on select airlines.

-Air Canada has several award sweet spots. You need just 45K miles to fly to Europe each way in business class and many airlines have no fuel surcharges.

-El Al will soon be the only good way to book travel on El Al starting 11/01.

-ANA offers 38K round-trip tickets from NYC to London and 60K round-trip tickets to Israel with no fuel surcharges on United.  Or fly from NYC to the Caribbean or Central America for just 22K miles with no fuel surcharges.

-Singapore offers a private suite from JFK to Europe for just 57K miles. They also offer good rates to other destinations that United flies to with no fuel surcharges.

So there are plenty of other good options.  Frankly the move is a bit surprising.  AMEX pays cold hard cash for mileage transfers to Delta. A couple of years ago when AMEX points used to transfer to Continental, Delta ran significant point transfer bonuses to get people to send their points to Delta over Continental.

However this isn’t the first chink in the AMEX-Delta relationship.  Earlier this year Delta stopped allowing people who have the Platinum Card® from American Express to bring guests into their lounges. AMEX is responding to harsher airline lounge rules by opening their own network of premium airport Centurion lounges with free access for Platinum cardholders and their family/guests. Those currently can be found domestically in Dallas, Las Vegas, and NYC/LaGuardia. International locations include Buenes Aires, Delhi, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Sao Paulo.  Centurion lounges in Miami, San Francisco, and other domestic airports will open soon. Plus you can bring in your family/guests for free into Airspace lounges which can be found in Baltimore, Cleveland, NYC/JFK, and San Diego. The card also gives a Priorty Club lounge membership, a $200 annual airline fee credit, and SPG Gold status.

Of course you can still earn unlimited amounts of Delta miles on a card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. which is what Delta wants you to do (though I’m not sure why you would want to). However you would earn 25% more miles by spending on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and transferring points to Delta.  Unless a limit on Starwood transfers is in the cards as well?

Cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express offer the ability to earn 20% or 50% more miles everywhere in addition to up to 450% more miles in selected categories. And they can also each be assigned their own Membership Rewards account number, which should work to transfer more points out to Delta.  Note that the Everyday cards are credit cards and AMEX limits you to 4 credit cards per person.  Card like the Gold and Platinum are charge cards which don’t count towards that limit.

HT: miles, via DDF and Gary.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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What’s Your IHG Point Purchase Bonus?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

IHG Point Purchase Linky

IHG normally sells points directly for 1.15 cents each. And you can transfer points from Chase, but that’s a criminal use of Chase points. Of course there’s a hack to buy their points at .7 cents each, though that hack requires that you have points to start with.

They currently have a promotion to get a bonus when you buy points.

There’s a DDF thread on the promotion and people are reporting 0%, 25%, 50%, 75, and a 100% bonus when buying points.

Login to your account via the point purchase link above to see what offer is on your account.

My account has a 100% bonus offer:

ihg1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other words I can buy 60K points plus a 60K bonus for $690.  That’s just 0.575 cents per point for 120K points..

If you have a 75% bonus you would be able to get 105K points for $690 or 0.657 cents per point, also a good deal.

This promotion expires on 12/23.

IHG points never expire.

IHG runs PointBreaks which allows you to book rooms at rotating hotels for just 5,000 points per night.   That’s just $28.75 for a room if you can buy points at .575 cents each. Those hotels rotate every couple of months and a new list will be out very shortly.

There are also good values to be had at high-end properties.  The highest tier is 50K points.
-An overwater bungalow in Bora Bora at the Intercontinental Thalasso can go for as much as $1,000 with tax but costs just 50K points. That’s just $287.50 at .575 cents per point.
-Intercontinental has a heavy presence in French Polynesia with properties on Tahiti and Moorea islands for just 40K points ($230 at .575).

-Bargains can be had for high end Intercontinental hotels in NYC, Hong Kong, Paris, London, etc. thanks to the 50K redemption level.

-There are lots of IHG hotels in Israel including Ashkelon (10K), Dead Sea (30K), Eilat (30K), Haifa (30K), Jerusalem (20K), and Tel Aviv (30K).

So what’s your bonus? And will you be a buyer at that rate?

HT: yoss1, via DDF

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Hyatt 2015 Category Changes. Plus: A Unified Hyatt Award Chart

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Hyatt 2015 Category Changes Linky

Effective 01/22/15 there will 22 Hyatt hotels that go up in category and cost more points and 48 hotels that will go down and cost fewer points.

You can lock in lower rates by booking future reservations by 01/21/15.

Here is the Hyatt award chart:

Hotel CategoryStandard Room AwardSuite Night AwardPoints+Cash Standard Room AwardCost of points saved with P+C Award
15K8K2.5K+$502 cents/point
28K13K4K+$551.38 cents/point
312K20K6K+$751.25 cents/point
415K24K7.5K+$1001.33 cents/point
520K32K10K+$1251.25 cents/point
625K40K12.5K+$1501.2 cents/point
730K48K15K+$3002 cents/point

When booking a points+cash reservation I included a metric in the chart above that shows the rate that you’re effectively buying your points back at.  The category 6 rate is the biggest points+cash bargain. You “buy” back or save 12.5K points per night for $150.  Effectively you paid just 1.2 cents per point ($150/12,500) to save those 12.5K points per night.  The category 1 and 7 points + cash deals are the worst as you are effectively paying 2 cents per point.

Note that standard awards have no blackouts or capacity controls on standard rooms and suites.  However points+cash reservations are capacity controlled.  A nice benefit of points+cash rooms is that they are considered a paid rate, so they qualify for all promotions that apply to paid hotel stays and you can use a diamond suite upgrade certificate to confirm them into a suite.

Suite nights require a 3 night minimum stay and can only be booked over the phone.

Points+Cash nights can also only be booked over the phone.

Sample hotels getting more expensive:
-Park Hyatt Maldives goes from category 6 to 7.
-Andaz Amsterdam goes from category 5 to 6.
-Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee goes from category 5 to 6.
-Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar, Nassau, Bahamas goes from category 4 to 5.
-Grand Hyatt Macau goes from category 4 to 5.
-Park Hyatt Seoul goes from category 4 to 5.
-Grand Hyatt Taipei goes from category 3 to 4.
-Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo goes from category 3 to 4.
-Excalibur Las Vegas goes from category 2 to 3.
-Hyatt Regency Toronto goes from category 2 to 3.

Sample hotels getting less expensive include:
-Hyatt Place Orlando Airport goes from category 2 to 1.
-Hyatt Regency Montreal goes from category 3 to 2.
-Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal goes from category 3 to 2.
-Park Hyatt Chennai goes from category 3 to 2.
-Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Fort Lauderdale goes from category 4 to 3.
-Hyatt French Quarter New Orleans goes from category 5 to 4.
-Grand Hyatt Washington DC goes from category 5 to 4.
-Hyatt Regency La Jolla goes from category 5 to 4.
-MGM Grand Las Vegas goes from category 5 to 4.
-Mandalay Bay Las Vegas goes from category 5 to 4.
-Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, FL goes from category 5 to 4.
-Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Orlando goes from category 5 to 4.
-Park Hyatt Washington Washington DC goes from category 6 to 5.

If you want to lock in a dream trip to the Park Hyatt Maldives in 2015, now is the time to book.

Even a reservation at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar that doesn’t open until June will become 33% more expensive (15K vs 20K) come 01/22. Plus it will no longer be eligible for Hyatt anniversary night redemptions once it becomes a category 5 property. You can reserve now until December 2015 at the lower rates or with anniversary nights.

You can transfer points to Hyatt from Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned on cards like the Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Cash , and Chase Ink Plus.

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

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A Look At The USAirways Award Chart For Credit Cardholders; Europe 30K Round-Trip Award Space Is Wide-Open

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Related:
-Final Gasp For USAirways Credit Card: 50,000 Mile Signup Bonus For Spending $1!
-Summary Of Dates For Barclays USAirways Card Benefits That Are Ending And Starting

————————————————————————
The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is being discontinued and for a limited time is offering a 50,000 point signup bonus.

You only need to spend $1 to get the signup bonus.

One of the unique features of the card is the discounts it gets you on award travel.

From now until the USAirways mileage program is merged with American’s (expected in the 2nd quarter of next year) it will give cardholders a 5,000 mile discount when flying USAirways.

Once the merger is complete it will switch to offering a 10% mileage rebate of up to 10K miles per year.

Need more USAirways miles? You can transfer 20K Starwood Starpoints into 25K USAirways miles. Names don’t even have to match to make a transfer!

Here is the USAirways award chart for travel on USAirways:  (They also have a OneWorld Award Chart and an Other Partner Award Chart)

(Rates are for round-trip saver award travel after the 5K cardholder discount)

Round-trip rates from North America to:Coach SaverFirst SaverCoach Saver Off-PeakFirst Saver Off-Peak
US49/Canada20K45K--
Caribbean30K55K20K45K
Mexico/Central America30K55K--
Hawaii35K75K--
South America55K95K30K55K
Europe55K95K30K-
Tel Aviv75K115K--

Off-peak for the Caribbean is in September and off-peak for Europe is 01/15-02/28.

That makes for some pretty sweet bargains. You can fly from any US city, but the non-stops to Europe leave from Charlotte, Philadelphia, or Phoenix.  If you want to fly from NYC just search for flights from LGA and it will search for the optimal routing.

Some examples:

Paris:

 

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 London:

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Amsterdam:

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Madrid:

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Manchester:

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Rome:

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Dublin:

us4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brussels:

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Frankfurt:

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Munich:

us12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can even connect from Munich to Tel Aviv with 20K BA Avios:

us10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Buy $100 In Visa, Mastercard, Or AMEX Gift Cards From Staples And Get A $15 Staples Gift Card Via Easy Rebate

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

If you buy $100+ in Visa, Mastercard, Or AMEX gift cards from Staples between 12/07 and 12/13 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $15 Staples gift card.

This is valid in-store only.  Officially there is a limit of 1 rebate per household.

The Visa gift cards are the easiest to cash out.

You can check your AMEX account to see if you were also targeted for $20 off $100 at Staples.  You can pay for a $200 gift card with 2 targeted AMEX cards, which will net you $40 back from AMEX and the $15 Staples gift card.

Otherwise if you buy a $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $6.95 in card fees. Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. That’s 1,035 points for a $206.95 purchase. In addition if you’re registered at visasavingsedge.com you’ll also get 1% cash back.

$206.95 (Outlay)
-$2.07 (1% cash rebate)
=$204.88 out of pocket for $200 face value
-As usual with Ink you’ll get 1,035 points (worth $18.11 at a 1.75 cents per point value).
-This week you’ll also get a $15 Staples gift card via easy rebate just to sweeten the deal even more.

Even without the $15 Staples gift card the argument can be made to buy gift cards from Staples for your everyday spending.

Say you spend $2,000 on everyday spend.  On a typical card earning points or cash back worth 2% you would save $40.

If you bought $2,000 in Visa gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll get a 1% cash rebate of $20.70, dropping your cost down to $2,048.80. Additionally you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value.  After backing out the $48.80 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $132.29 profit, or more than triple the rewards you would earn from other cards.  It’s an effective rebate of 6.61% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $116.77 or an effective rebate of 5.84% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the Visa gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free.
-You can cash out the Visa cards using EvolveMoney to pay bills like your mortgage, property tax, auto loan, health insurance, store charge card (Gap, Macy’s, Target, etc).  There is no fee for this but you can only make 1 payment per biller per month month.
-You can load Visa cards to your Serve card with a Family Dollar cashier for no fee (though some stores won’t do this)
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office).  Such stores exist even in manufactured spend deserts like NYC.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can swipe the card on an Amazon card reader for a 1.75% fee.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moes Tavern, via DDF

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United: Fly Partner Airlines In Business Class To Europe For 115K Round-Trip

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Update: A list of all 7 discounted United awards can be found in this post.

——————————————————————————-

I don’t know if this is a glitch or a promotion, but partner airline award flights are showing up on United.com for 57.5K miles each way instead of the 70K miles each way that it normally costs for a partner airline saver business award to Europe.

Of course you can always fly United business class for 115K round-trip, but it’s usually 140K round-trip to fly superior business class cabins on partner airlines, so this is a 25K mile discount per person for travel on partner airlines.

It’s only pricing that way for travel in January, February, or March and there’s no telling when it will be fixed or when the promotion will end.

As best as I can tell this is only working for flights to Europe.  Though you can always use 10K BA Avios to fly from Vienna, Berlin, Munich, or Dusseldorf to Tel Aviv.

United miles can be earned on cards like the  Chase United Explorer, Chase Freedom , Chase Sapphire Preferred , Chase Ink Cash , and Chase Ink Plus.

Sample uses:

Toronto to Paris on an Air Canada Dreamliner:

ua7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC to Paris via Toronto on an Air Canada Dreamliner:

ua8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston-Zurich on Swiss:

ua3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC-Frankfurt on Lufthansa:

ua2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC-Vienna on Austrian:

ua1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago-Copenhagen on SAS:

ua6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC-Warsaw on a LOT Dreamliner:

ua5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC-Lisbon on TAP:

ua4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HT: Dav, via DDF

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New Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable: Fly Between Tel Aviv And Chicago, JFK, Or Toronto For 12.5K-25K Miles Each Way

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
——————————————————————-

Flying Blue Promo Awards (Click here to view worldwide promo awards)

Air France Flying Blue Award Search (Login required to search for award flights)

Flying Blue is the joint program of SkyTeam member Air France and KLM.
They consider Tel Aviv to be part of Europe which can make for some decent deals.

Flying Blue does charge fuel surcharges on their own flights but not on Delta flights. However availability is much better on their own flights than on Delta flights. When there is Delta availability though it’s significantly cheaper to book the Delta flights with Flying Blue miles than with Delta Skypesos.

-They normally charge 25,000 miles each way in coach and 62,500 miles each way in business to Israel but they run rotating promo awards valid for select cities.

-Promo awards are only valid on Air France or KLM.

-Travel is valid in either direction and is valid for one-way or round-trip travel.

-You need to book the current promo awards by 12/31.

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

-Promo awards require Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles. You can’t use Delta miles for these awards and you can’t transfer Delta miles to Flying Blue.

Current deals:
-You can travel between Chicago and Tel Aviv in February or March for 12,500 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between JFK and Tel Aviv in February or March for 25,000 miles each way in premium economy.
-You can travel between Toronto and Tel Aviv in February or March for 25,000 miles each way in premium economy.

-Air France premium economy gives a more comfortable seat with a leg rest, 20% more legroom, a 20% wider seat thanks to a 2-3-2 configuration rather than 2-4-2, gives 2 free checked bags, an amenity kit, and more.  It’s a whole lot better than the sad “premium economy” offerings from the US carriers.

-You can transfer AMEX or Citi points to Flying Blue at a 1K:1K ratio or Starpoints to Flying Blue at a 20K:25K ratio.

-For example on 02/05-02/15 you can fly from JFK to Tel Aviv nonstop on Delta for 50,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $84.92 or in premium economy with a stop on Air France for 50K Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $436.20.

Note that Flying Blue can only book Delta saver availability which is much far more limited that Air France and KLM saver availability. The easiest way to search for Delta saver availability is to do an award search on Delta.com, click on “View award calendar” and look for the dates that say 85K miles nonstop. Then plugin those dates on the Air France site and it should pull up the Delta option.

Want to pickup some Flying Blue miles?
AMEX MR points transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio, Citi Thank You points from the Premier, Prestige, or Chairman cards transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and Starpoints transfer at a 20:25 ratio so 20K Starwood becomes enough for a round-trip ticket.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Flying Blue with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

-American Express Membership Rewards points transfer instantly at a 1K:1K ratio to Flying Blue and can be earned from new cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express.

The Preferred card awards 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere, 3 miles per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 miles per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 miles per dollar everywhere and 2.4 miles per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month.

Both of those cards also give a free year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

-You can see the miles and fees for one-way tickets in the images below:

Chicago-Tel Aviv in coach:

 

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JFK-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

 

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Toronto-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

 

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Discounted El Al Award Tickets

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

I haven’t seen any official announcement, but El Al has discounted award pricing for flights between NYC or Toronto and Tel Aviv.

Normally a coach ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 700 Matmid points (35K AMEX points) each way, though those awards will get more expensive for tickets booked after 02/09/15.

From my non-elite account selected flights between Toronto and Tel Aviv are pricing out at 400 points (20K AMEX points) each way and selected flights between NYC and Tel Aviv are pricing out at 500 points (25K AMEX points) each way.

From an Israel based Gold elite account selected flights between Toronto and Tel Aviv are pricing out at 225 points (11,250 AMEX points) each way and selected flights between NYC and Tel Aviv are pricing out at 300 points (15K AMEX points) each way.

It seems that you can book discounted one-way flights from 01/31-03/07.  You can return later than 03/07 as long as you book round-trip travel and the outbound flight leaves by 03/07.

If your account has a different rate please post a comment!

Note that El Al charges about $350 in taxes and fuel surcharges on a round-trip award.

These dates had discounted awards available:

NYC-Tel Aviv
January 31
February 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 19, 22, 23
March 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.
The following dates only work as return dates on a round-trip that originates in Tel Aviv by 03/07:
March 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.
April 4, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.
Return flights in later months work as well.

Tel Aviv-NYC
February 4, 5, 6.
March 3, 4, 5, 6,
The following dates only work as return dates on a round-trip that originates in NYC by 03/07:
March 9, 10, 11, 23, 13, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24
April 6, 7, 8, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
Return flights in later months work as well.

Toronto-Tel Aviv
January 11, 13, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29
February 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 22, 24, 26
March 1, 3
The following dates only work as return dates on a round-trip that originates in Tel Aviv by 03/07:
March 8, 10, 17, 19, 22, 24
April 5, 16, 28
Return flights in later months work as well.

Tel Aviv-Toronto
January 15, 18, 22, 25, 29
February 1, 5, 8, 15, 19, 24, 26
March 1, 3, 5
The following dates only work on a round-trip that originates in Toronto by 03/07:
March 8, 10, 12
April 5, 8, 16, 21, 23, 30.
Return flights in later months work as well.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can transfer points to El Al from AMEX Membership Rewards cards such as:
-The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express (10K AMEX MR points plus a free year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per month for an effective 2.4 points per dollar on groceries and Uber and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. No annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)
-The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express (15K AMEX MR points plus a free year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  50% point bonus for making 30 transactions per month for an effective 4.5 points per dollar on groceries, 3 points per dollar on gas and Uber and 1.5 points per dollar elsewhere. $95 annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)
-American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25K AMEX MR points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on gas and groceries. $175 annual fee waived for first year. 5 free additional cardholders are free, 6+ additional cards cost $35/year each.)
-Platinum Card® from American Express (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Free Starwood gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 cash back in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 cash back in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee. 3 additional cardholders for a flat $175 fee ($58.33/year each) which includes full lounge access and free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership. 4+ additional cards cost $175/year each)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

HT: Chaikel

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LifeMiles 125% Bonus Cyber Monday Sale

Monday, December 1st, 2014

LifeMiles Cyber Monday Sale

Today only, Lifemiles is giving a 125% bonus on purchased miles.

A purchase of 66,000 miles would net a total of 148,500 miles.  The cost would be $2,178 or 1.47 cents per mile.  You can buy less than 66K miles, but 66K is the max for this bonus.

-Purchase on a card like Chase Sapphire Preferred so that you don’t pay a foreign transaction fee and in order to get the 2.14 points per dollar on travel spending.

-LifeMiles is the Star Alliance program run by Avianca/TACA.  Miles don’t expire as long as there is activity every 24 months.

-You can book partner travel online and one-way awards are allowed at half the rate of round-trip awards.

-They have a good award chart and don’t charge any fuel surcharges.

-Beware that their call center customer service is notoriously poor.

-Most of the exciting Lifemiles tricks that I talked about in seminars in the past are dead, but some still remain and were discussed in last month’s seminars such as flights from Tel Aviv to NYC for 24K miles instead of 42.5K miles, etc.

HT: menachem_m, via DDF

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Update Your SPG.com Stay Preferences And Get 500 Free Starpoints

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Update: Today is the final day to register for this promotion!  Once registered you’ll have until 12/15 to update your stay preferences.

I updated my preferences on 11/10 and the points posted for my birthday on 11/26.

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Originally posted on 11/10:

Register for Starwood’s latest promotion (double or triple points on paid stays) here and you’ll also be registered for 500 free Starpoints just for updating your stay preferences.

After registering, just click here to update any of your stay preferences.

Starwood points officially expire after 12 months of inactivity, though it’s actually only enforced after 18 months. So 500 points will extend the validity of your account for 18 months.  Though Starwood is one of the best about reactivating expired points when you ask nicely (British Airways is surprisingly nice as well).

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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New Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable: Fly Between Tel Aviv And JFK, Houston, Washington DC, And Other Cities For 12.5K Miles

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Update: Today is the final day to book the promo awards described below.
You can also now view the list that will be bookable starting tomorrow for travel in February and March.
Those will include discounted premium economy awards from JFK and Toronto (25K each way instead of 50K) and coach awards from Chicago (12.5K each way instead of 25K)

Originally posted on 11/01:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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Flying Blue Promo Awards (Click here to view worldwide promo awards)

Air France Flying Blue Award Search (Login required to search for award flights)

Flying Blue is the joint program of SkyTeam member Air France and KLM.
They consider Tel Aviv to be part of Europe which can make for some decent deals.

Flying Blue does charge fuel surcharges on their own flights but not on Delta flights. However availability is much better on their own flights than on Delta flights. When there is Delta availability though it’s significantly cheaper to book the Delta flights with Flying Blue miles than with Delta Skypesos.

-They normally charge 25,000 miles each way in coach and 62,500 miles each way in business to Israel but they run rotating promo awards valid for select cities.

-Promo awards are only valid on Air France or KLM.

-Travel is valid in either direction and is valid for one-way or round-trip travel.

-You need to book the current promo awards by 11/30.

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

-Promo awards require Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles. You can’t use Delta miles for these awards and you can’t transfer Delta miles to Flying Blue.

Current deals:
-You can travel between Chicago and Tel Aviv in January or February for 31,250 miles each way in business.
-You can travel between Houston and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 12,500 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between JFK and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 12,500 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 18,750 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between Washington DC and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 12,500 miles each way in coach.

-You can travel between Montreal and Tel Aviv in January or February for 46,875 miles each way in business.
-You can travel between Toronto and Tel Aviv in January or February for 46,875 miles each way in business.
-You can travel between Tahiti and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 30,000 miles each way in coach.

-You can transfer AMEX points to Flying Blue at a 1K:1K ratio or Starpoints to Flying Blue at a 20K:25K ratio.

-For example on 01/20-01/27 you can fly from JFK to Tel Aviv nonstop on Delta for 50,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $84.92 or with a stop on KLM or Air France for 25,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $252.26.

Note that Flying Blue can only book Delta saver availability which is much far more limited that Air France and KLM saver availability. The easiest way to search for Delta saver availability is to do an award search on Delta.com, click on “View award calendar” and look for the dates in green. Then plugin those dates on the Air France site and it should pull up the Delta option.

Want to pickup some Flying Blue miles?
AMEX MR points transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio, Citi Thank You points from the Premier, Prestige, or Chairman cards transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and Starpoints transfer at a 20:25 ratio so 20K Starwood becomes enough for a round-trip ticket.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Flying Blue with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

-American Express Membership Rewards points transfer instantly at a 1K:1K ratio to Flying Blue and can be earned from new cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express.

The Preferred card awards 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere, 3 miles per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 miles per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 miles per dollar everywhere and 2.4 miles per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month.

Both of those cards also give a free year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

-You can see the miles and fees for one-way tickets in the images below:

 

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More images after the jump:

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HAS Advantage Points Transferable To El Al Once Again

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

In April HAS Advantage points suddenly stopped transferring over to El Al.

In the meantime El Al has been working to create a new credit card with US Bank.
The full details on that card haven’t been released yet, though I’m told to expect an earn ratio of about 1 Matmid point per $40 spent or a 40:1 ratio.

Theoretically that’s better the AMEX ratio of 50:1, however AMEX has cards like Everyday Preferred that earn 1.5-4.5 points per dollar everywhere, which makes the effective transfer ratio between 33:1 to 11:1.

At any rate, the good news is that HAS points can once again be transferred into El Al points.
The bad news? You won’t have long to use them before the upcoming severe devaluation of the Matmid program.

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Chase App Now Allowing Point Transfers To Airlines

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Chase has updated their Android and iOS app to allow you to transfer points into miles.  Previously you had to be at a computer or call Chase to make a transfer.

Of course you’ll need a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus to make a points to miles transfer.

What can you do with your Chase points? Here are 30 awesome ideas!

HT: meshugener, via DDF

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Chase Freedom Announces 2015 Q1 Bonus Categories, Where Will You Complete Your Freedom Q4 Bonus Spending?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

-Chase Freedom Visa-For a limited time only earn 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $500 in 3 months plus 2,500 points for adding an additional user and making a single purchase in 3 months.
There is no annual fee for Chase Freedom!
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2015 Q1:

Chase Freedom has just announced that the bonus categories for 2015 Q1 will be grocery stores, Starbucks, and movie theaters!

You’ll earn 5 points per dollar or 5.5 points per dollar if you have a Chase checking account.

The rest of 2015 has yet to be announced.

Activation for Q1 will begin 12/15/14.

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2014 Q4:

You can activate your Q4 Chase Freedom 5% categories and start spending today.

Although they are called “5% categories” you really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be cashed out for 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending you will earn at least 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points. If you or your spouse has a Sapphire PreferredInk Plus, or Ink Bold card you can transfer Freedom points over to one of those cards and then transfer them at a 1:1 ratio into much more valuable airline miles (United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, Singapore, etc) or hotel points (Hyatt, etc).  The $1,500 quarterly limit is per Freedom card, so if you’re like me and you have downgraded Sapphire Preferred cards into multiple Freedom cards then you can spend $1,500 on each Freedom card.

If you have a Chase checking account you will also earn a 10% bonus on all points earned.  That means you’ll earn a whopping 5.5 points per dollar in these categories or 8,250 points each quarter. Those points post iun February for the previous year.

1. You can shop from millions of items on Amazon.com

2. You can buy an Amazon.com email gift card or you can buy a physical Amazon.com gift card. Once you have the gift card code you can save it to your Amazon account via this link where it will never expire.

Or give an Amazon gift card as a holiday gift and you can be sure that the recipient will be able to get something they’ll love while you earn 5-5.5 points per dollar spent!

3. You can buy gift cards from Amazon for lots of other stores as well:

-American Eagle

-Express

-Forever 21

-Hollister

-Nordstrom

-Southwest

-Starbucks

-Whote Foods

-You can buy gift cards for clothing, shoes, and accessory stores on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for grocery, gourmet, and floral stores on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for restaurants and coffee shops on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for department stores on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for travel on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for books, music, and movie theaters on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for Home Improvement on Amazon.com

You can’t use Amazon gift cards to buy gift cards to other stores, but you can earn 5-5.5 points per dollar with Freedom!

4. You can shop for shoes and clothing on Zappos.com or you can buy a gift card from Zappos.

5. Shop at department stores such as:

-Bloomingdale’s

-BonTon

-JCPenney

-Kohl’s

-Lord & Taylor

-Macys

-Neiman Marcus

-Nordstrom

-Saks Fifth Avenue

-Saks Off 5th

-Sears

Find more valid department stores here.

Some stores like Kohl’s and Sears also sell gift cards to other stores.

Of course if you have an Ink Plus or Ink Cash card you will earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent all year round on telecom, cable, internet, as well as everything from office supply stores, which includes gift cards to other stores and prepaid cash cards that can be used anywhere.With the Bold/Plus cards that’s capped at $50,000 per year and with the Cash card that’s capped at $25,000 per year. Plus the Ink Visa cards earn 1% cash back on top of 5 points per dollar for $200+ purchases at Staples and other stores with Visa Savings Edge.  The cards also earn 2 points per dollar year-round at gas stations and either hotels (Bold/Plus) or dining (Cash).

But Freedom has the advantage of earning 5.5 points per dollar through 12/31/15 if you have a Chase checking account.

So, where will you use your Freedom card this quarter?

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Delta Improves Flexible Award Calendar Search!

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Delta.com’s award search calendar has long been worthless.  It had a color coded flexible search option, but it was wrong more often than it was right.

Now they have finally fixed it and it displays the actual mileage rate. Plus when making a flexible search you can choose from flexible days or a 5 week calendar as you can see below in this first class award search from Los Angeles to Sydney:

 

dl3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Switching from flexible days to 5 weeks pulls up this handy calendar:

 

dl1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in no time you can find a business class flight to Sydney on Virgin Australia for 160,000 Delta miles, one of the best uses of Delta miles:

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You can even take a free stopover in Tahiti along the way to explore the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora.  But unfortunately Delta international stopovers must be booked over the phone.

It’s good to see Delta finally working to improve their dreadful mileage redemption experience.  Alas, it comes on the heels of Delta limiting how many points you can transfer to Skymiles from partners like AMEX and Starwood effective 01/01/15.

However the new policy has rather large loopholes, which I discussed in this post.

HT: miles, via DDF

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Redeem JetBlue Points And Get 20% Back

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Redeem JetBlue Points And Get 20% Back

Redeem JetBlue points today or tomorrow for travel until 01/31/15 and 20% of them will be rebated back to you by 03/15/15.

JetBlue’s currency isn’t very attractive, but 20% back makes it OK.

Some people have a targeted 40% bonus offer for transferring AMEX points to JetBlue and combined with the 20% rebate that will be quite a hot deal.

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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United: Fly To Select Cities In Europe For Just 48,000 Miles Round Trip Instead Of 60,000 Miles.

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

United Offer Linky

These are bookable now online on United.com.

Not the most exciting sale as it’s only valid on United and only in coach.  After all you can use 38,000 ANA miles (transferable from AMEX or Starwood) for a round-trip United flight from Newark-London.  But this might be useful for some.

-You can book a round-trip or an open jaw with the discounted rates.
Examples of an “open jaw” include a flight from Newark to London on 01/19 and then back from Paris to Newark on 01/26 is 48,000 miles plus $89.60 tax.
A flight from Los Angeles to London on 01/19 and then back from Zurich to Newark on 01/26 is 48,000 miles plus $60.70 tax.

You can always use 4,500 Avios for a one-way flight in Europe.

Rules:
-Fly to Amsterdam (AMS), Brussels (BRU), Frankfurt (FRA), Geneva (GVA), Hamburg (HAM), London (LHR), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG) and Zurich (ZRH).
-Book by 12/04/14
-Travel 01/12/15-03/12/15
-Discount is valid only for travel on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is not valid for travel on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
-Discounted Saver Award is valid only for travel between the U.S. (excluding Hawaii) or Canada, and Europe.
-Valid only on United, not on partner airlines.
-Valid for travel to/from the US48, Alaska and Canada to/from Europe.
-Valid for coach saver award only.
-Stopovers are not permitted.
-Round-trip travel is required.
-This offer cannot be applied to previously issued tickets.

HT: menachem_m, via DDF

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Massive El Al Matmid Devaluation Effective 02/10/15

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Update: El Al will give “Executive member” status to elites living outside of Israel as well as to non-elites living outside of Israel who have transferred at least 100 points to Matmid in the past 12 months from non-Israeli credit cards. Israeli members who have a fly card or fly card premium credit card also get the Executive member rates.

AMEX MR points transfer into Matmid at a 50:1 ratio, so you would need to transfer at least 5,000 points to get a year of Executive member status.  Remember that as of 02/10/15 points transferred into Matmid will have a 3 year expiration policy that can’t be waived with activity.

I’ve updated the post for Executive member rates.

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El Al has the industry’s worst frequent flyer program and is coming off a broken partnership with their only worthwhile airline partner, American.

They also stiffed many of their most loyal North American customers who had been misguidedly accumulating points for years on their HAS advantage credit cards by suddenly refusing to allow points to be transferred into Matmid.

They charge $350 in fuel surcharges and fees for North America tickets even though their competition in the US does not charge those fees.

They fly first class in a configuration that is significantly behind the business class offered by Air Canada, Delta, and USAirways that offer direct aisle access to every passenger.

So what do they do next?
Announce some sort of goodwill to win over the hearts and minds of their target market once again?

Nah. They announce a humongous devaluation to their industry-trailing program.

Here are some of the lowlights:

1. Significantly worse expiration policy.

El Al has long had a strict 3 year expiration on points earned from flights, but points earned from credit cards and the like have never expired. Effective 02/10/15 points earned from credit cards and other partners will expire after 3 years, regardless of activity.
Points that are transferred by 02/09/15 won’t expire.

2. Coach awards get more expensive.

Currently a coach ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 1,400 Matmid points (70K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points)

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 there will be different rates for different seasons.

Non-executives:

In the winter (which runs this year from 02/10/15-03/24/15 and 11/01/15-12/31/15) tickets from Toronto will cost 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX MR points), tickets from NYC will cost 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points), and tickets from LA will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points).

In the summer (which runs this year from 03/25/15-10/31/15) tickets from Toronto will cost 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points), tickets from NYC will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points), and tickets from LA will cost 2,200 Matmid points (110K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

In the winter (which runs this year from 02/10/15-03/24/15 and 11/01/15-12/31/15) tickets will remain as they are priced currently.

In the summer (which runs this year from 03/25/15-10/31/15) tickets from NYC and Toronto will cost 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points).

3. Business class awards get more expensive.

Currently a business class ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 3,000 Matmid points (150K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 4,000 Matmid points (200K AMEX MR points)

Non-executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from Toronto or NYC will cost 4,500 Matmid points (225K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 5,000 Matmid points (250K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from Toronto or NYC will cost 4,000 Matmid points (200K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 4,500 Matmid points (225K AMEX MR points).

4. First class awards get more expensive.

Currently a first class ticket from New York to Tel Aviv is 5,000 Matmid points (250K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 5,400 Matmid points (270K AMEX MR points)

Non-executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from NYC will cost 7,000 Matmid points (350K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 7,500 Matmid points (375K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from NYC will cost 6,500 Matmid points (325K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 7,000 Matmid points (350K AMEX MR points).

5. Fuel surcharges remain the same, but points required to waive them go up.

Fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees will continue to add about $350 onto El Al’s “free” tickets, but effective 01/01/15 you will need to use more points if you want to reduce the fuel surcharges.

6. New earning tables.

Until 02/09/15 you will earn 100 points for a round-trip discounted paid coach ticket between Tel Aviv and NYC/Toronto, 400 points for a round-trip discounted paid business, and 800 points for a discounted first class ticket .

Non-executives:

Effective 02/10/15 you will only earn 80 points in coach and 360 points in business. First remains 800 points.

Executives:

Effective 02/10/15 you will earn 96 points in coach, 432 points in business, and 960 points in first.

7. Additional free checked baggage costs more points.

Until 02/09/15 you can redeem 230 points for a 2nd free bag. Effective 02/10/15 you will need 300 points.

8. Upgrades cost more points.

The cost to upgrade to a preferred coach seat for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 199 to 299 points.

The cost to upgrade to a business class seat with coach service for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 900 to 1,350 points

The cost to upgrade to a first class seat with business service for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 950to 1,800 points

The cost to upgrade to an economy plus coach seat for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 300 to 450 points.

I have nothing against El Al, but this is just downright embarrassing.  Compare this to ANA’s changes where a round-trip ticket to Israel costs just 60K in coach or 90K in business.

Or Flying Blue where a round-trip coach ticket is 25K points with a stop or 50K points nonstop. Or Alitalia where 80K points is enough for round-trip business class to Israel.

See other rates for travel to Israel in Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart, which will now need some updating.

HT: damaxer91, via DDF

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133 Direct Flights From Miami That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Friday, November 7th, 2014

This chart has been updated with lots of new destinations from Miami!

Related:
-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights to the Caribbean! For a limited time only this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 102 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
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Did you know that there are 133 places you can fly direct to from Miami with your BA Avios?

British Airways Avios can’t be beat for short-haul nonstop flights thanks to ultra-low award rates, no expedite/close-in fees, and dirt cheap award cancellations.  Below are all of the direct flights from Boston that can be booked with Avios.

Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program and how to best search for BA award availability with tips like always booking one-way awards.  If you have a question it’s probably already been answered there!

Notes:
1. Rates in the chart are for one-way flights. Generally speaking it’s a good idea to book BA flights as one-ways to give you maximum flexibility.

2. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges.

3. There are no fuel surcharges for flights on: Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, LAN, and TAM. There are also no fuel surcharges for American and USAirways flights within the western hemisphere, for JAL flights within Japan, and for Qantas flights within Australia. Fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights are also typically quite low. Fuel surcharges for travel on Cathay Pacific aren’t too bad while fuel surcharges to fly on British Airways border on the criminal.
You can save on the fuel surcharges imposed on Iberia flights by transferring British Airways Avios into Iberia Avios.

4. In the charts below I’ve only included direct flights as BA charges Avios for each flight segment. For example Maui isn’t on the chart as no airlines fly nonstop from Miami-Maui.  Though you can always fly to Maui Los Angeles, S. Diego, or Seattle, for 12.5K for the Miami-west coast segment and 12.5K for the West coast-Maui segment with no fuel surcharges. Plus you can stopover in the connecting city for as long or short as you want.

Tel Aviv isn’t on the chart as there are no airlines that fly nonstop from Miami to Tel Aviv.  Though you can always fly to Tel Aviv via Berlin for 25K for the Miami-Berlin segment and 10K for the Berlin-Tel Aviv segment with no fuel surcharges.

You can’t fly to Dublin or Shannon nonstop. But if you look at the nonstop flights from Boston you’ll notice you can fly from there to Ireland for just 12.5K Avios in coach or 25K in business. Just book a separate flight to Boston for 10K Avios and you can be in Europe for just 22.5K Avios with no fuel surcharges.

5. BA.com does not display availability for all airlines! If you want to book travel on airlines like Alaska, Aer Lingus, and LAN you’ll need to pick up the phone and call BA! You can search Alaska award availability on AA.com before calling BA to book it.

6. In rare cases connecting flights can be cheaper than nonstop flights when using Avios and I’ve noted that in the chart.

7. Cities in the chart may only have seasonal nonstop service.

8. A dash means that class of service isn’t offered on that route.
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Want to pickup Avios? You’re in luck as you can transfer points from all over the place to BA.

-The Chase British Airways Visa Signature offers 50,000 Avios for spending $2K. For a limited time only the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from consumer cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card , the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express , and The Platinum Card® from American Express.
These points can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Non-Preferred, Chase Freedom and business cards like Chase Ink Plus or the Chase Ink Cash. These points also can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.

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View the complete chart after the jump:

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Check Your Membership Rewards Account For Targeted Bonus Transfer Offers

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners
Membership Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners

If you are targeted for a special offer you’ll notice “special offer” above the eligible airlines or hotels in your account.  Be sure to login to check.

I have multiple different Membership Rewards numbers on the same login and when I select different accounts I can access different promotions.  If you have multiple Membership Rewards numbers be sure to check them all by logging out and back in again.

Generally speaking it’s not worth transferring points unless you have a use for them now.

 

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Here is a list of some of the current public and targeted bonus transfer offers:

-30% Flying Blue bonus.
Normally 1K AMEX MR points transfers into 1K Flying Blue miles. Targeted accounts will get 1,300 miles for transfers through 12/15.

A round-trip flight from JFK to Tel Aviv in January or February will cost 25K miles plus $249.40 in fees. That’s equal to 19,230 AMEX MR points.
A paid flight search from 01/18-01/25 looks like this:

klm

 

 

 

 
Taking the $873 cost to fly on KLM (Doesn’t seem fair to compare KLM to UIA) and subtracting the $249 in fees you’re left redeeming 19,230 points to save $624, a value of 3.25 cents per point.

A one-way flight from JFK to Tel Aviv is 12,500 miles plus $105. That’s the equivalent of just 9,615 AMEX MR points.

-40% JetBlue bonus.
Normally 250 AMEX MR points transfers into 200 JetBlue points. Targeted accounts will get 280 points for transfers through 11/30. In other words you’ll get 1,120 JetBlue points for every 1K AMEX MR points.

A one-way flight from JFK to Los Angeles is $191 in coach or $599 in a Mint Suite. You can use 13,200 points+$5.60 for coach or 34,900 points+$5.60 for a private suite. That’s equal to 11,785 AMEX MR points for coach or 31,160 points for Mint Suites. That’s a value of 1.57 cents per AMEX point in coach or 1.9 cents per AMEX point in business.

-35% Virgin Atlantic bonus.
Normally 1K AMEX MR points transfers into 1K Virgin Atlantic miles. Targeted accounts will get 1,350 miles for transfers through 11/30.

A one-way flight from JFK to London is 17,500 miles plus $134.60 in coach or 40K miles plus $419.60 in Upper Class. That’s equal to 12,963 AMEX MR points in coach or 29,630 AMEX MR points in Upper Class.

A round-trip flight from Tel Aviv to Cyprus is 5K Virgin Atlantic points. That’s equal to 3,704 AMEX MR points

-50% Starwood bonus
Normally 1K AMEX MR points transfers into an abysmal 333 Starwood Starpoints. Targeted accounts will get 500 Starpoints for each 1K transferred through 11/30.

20K Starpoints transfers into 25K miles on dozens of airlines like American, Alaska, Lufthansa, and more. Effectively 40K AMEX MR points will transfer into 25K miles on these airlines with this promotion.

70K Alaska miles is enough for a one way to South Africa with a free stopover in Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific first class. That’s equal to 112K AMEX MR points.
90K Alaska miles is enough for a one-way to the Maldives with a free stopover in Milan or Dubai in Emirates first class. On the A380 you can even have a hot shower (Or ice bucket challenge) in the onboard first class spa. That’s equal to 144K AMEX MR points.

33% Hilton bonus
Normally 1K AMEX MR points transfers into 1,500 Hilton HHonors points. Targeted accounts will get 2,000 points for each 1K transferred through 11/30.

5 nights at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem will set you back 320K points. That’s equal to 160K AMEX MR points.

Don’t have any AMEX MR points?

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from new cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express.

The Preferred card awards 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere, 3 miles per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 miles per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 miles per dollar everywhere and 2.4 miles per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month.

Both of those cards also give a free year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Major ANA Award Chart Changes Effective 04/12/15; A Comparison of Star Alliance Miles Required On 30 Routes

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Star Alliance carrier ANA will transition from a distance based program to a region based program on 04/12/15.

Last January ANA stopped charging fuel surcharges for travel on United for all regions except the far east.

That made for some incredible redemptions.

Here is the current ANA award chart (You can check distances on GCMap.com):

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Effective for bookings made on or after 04/12/15 ANA will use this new region based award chart for partner awards.

Per FT, here are the region definitions:
Zone 1A – Japan, The international sector on a journey of only two sectors
Zone 1B - Japan
Zone 2 – South Korea
Zone 3 – China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Manila, Guam
Zone 4 – Other Asia
Zone 5 – Hawaii
Zone 6 – North America, Alaska, Canada, Mexico
Zone 7 – Europe, Russia
Zone 8 – Africa, Middle East
Zone 9 – Central and South America
Zone 10 – Oceania, Micronesia

I called ANA and they confirmed that all rates on the award chart are round-trip are one-ways will not be allowed.  That’s unfortunate as currently there are workaround to allow for one-ways.

Additionally on the current chart you can have 4 total stopovers while on the new chart you can only have 1 stopover.

Finally on the new chart you can only have 2 connections in each direction.

So what does this mean? For some people it will be good, for others, not so much.

Flights between the Caribbean/Central America/South America zone and Tel Aviv are a steal on the new chart.  You can fly on United for just 45K miles in coach or 72K miles in business round-trip!

But what about for flights from the US?

I’ve included a comparison of current ANA rates, future ANA rates, United rates, Singapore rates, and Air Canada rates.  In all of these cases no fuel surcharges will apply.

You can transfer AMEX points to ANA, Air Canada, and Singapore at a 1:1 ratio and Starwood points at a 20K:25K ratio.

You can transfer Chase points to United at a 1:1 ratio.

Note that United miles don’t come out looking so rosy in this comparison.  That’s because the comparison below is only for the miles required to travel on United flights.  When flying on dozens of other Star Alliance airlines you will generally pay a hefty fuel surcharge when using other miles but when using United miles you’ll never pay a fuel surcharge.  It’s also worth noting that Chase United cardholders have expanded saver award availability when logged in and United.com. You can only book that space with United miles, partners have no access to that space.  Additionally Plan B awards can only be booked with United miles.

I’ve bolded the best options.

Newark-Toronto on United:
United miles: 20K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 20K coach, 38K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Chicago-Toronto on United:
United miles: 20K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 20K coach, 38K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Los Angeles-Toronto on United (via Chicago):
United miles: 25K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Newark-Miami on United:
United miles: 25K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Chicago-Miami on United:
United miles: 25K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Los Angeles-Miami on United:
United miles: 25K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Newark-Cancun on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Chicago-Cancun on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Los Angeles-Cancun on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Newark-Aruba on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Chicago-Aruba on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Los Angeles-Aruba on United (via Chicago):
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Newark-Honolulu on United:
United miles: 45K coach, 80K business.
ANA current miles: 55K coach, 85K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 45K coach, 80K business.

Chicago-Honolulu on United:
United miles: 45K coach, 80K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 45K coach, 80K business.

Los Angeles-Honolulu on United:
United miles: 45K coach, 80K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 45K coach, 80K business.

Newark-Sao Paulo on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 110K business.
ANA current miles: 55K coach, 85K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 60K coach, 100K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 95K business.

Chicago-Sao Paulo on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 110K business.
ANA current miles: 55K coach, 85K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 60K coach, 100K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 95K business.

Los Angeles-Sao Paulo on United (via Houston):
United miles: 60K coach, 110K business.
ANA current miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
Singapore miles: 60K coach, 100K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 95K business.

Newark-London on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Chicago-London on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Los Angeles-London on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 55K coach, 85K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Newark-Paris on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Chicago-Paris on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Los Angeles-Paris on United (via Newark):
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Newark-Tel Aviv on United:
United miles: 85K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
Singapore miles: 75K coach, 115K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 165K business.

Chicago-Tel Aviv on United (via Newark):
United miles: 85K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
Singapore miles: 75K coach, 115K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 165K business.

Los Angeles-Tel Aviv on United (via Newark):
United miles: 85K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
Singapore miles: 75K coach, 115K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 165K business.

Newark-Melbourne on United (via Los Angeles):
United miles: 80K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 85K coach, 125K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
Singapore miles: 110K coach, 195K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 160K business.

Chicago-Melbourne on United (via Los Angeles):
United miles: 80K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 75K coach, 115K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
Singapore miles: 110K coach, 195K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 160K business.

Los Angeles-Melbourne on United:
United miles: 80K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
Singapore miles: 110K coach, 195K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 160K business.

Want to pickup some of these miles?

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K miles with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

-American Express Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1K:1K ratio and can be earned from new cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express.

The Preferred card awards 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere, 3 miles per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 miles per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 miles per dollar everywhere and 2.4 miles per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month.

Both of those cards also give a free year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Get A 50% Bonus When You Purchase Flying Blue Miles; One-Way To Israel For $366!

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Get A 50% Bonus When You Purchase Flying Blue Miles

Be sure to read this post first to learn all about 12.5K promo awards. They are valid in either direction and you can book it as a one-way or round-trip.  New Promo Award cities are announced every month. Currently there are discounted awards from Chicago, Houston, JFK, Los Angeles, Montreal, Tahiti, Toronto, and Washington DC.

You need to buy at least 40,000 miles to get the 50% bonus.

-60K miles will cost $1,248.86.
-63K miles will cost $1,311.30. That’s enough for 5 promo one-way tickets between the US and Europe, Israel, or Russia with Promo awards.
-75K miles will cost $1,561.08. That’s enough for 6 promo one-way tickets between the US and Europe, Israel, or Russia with Promo awards.
-102K miles will cost $2,123.06. That’s enough for 8 promo one-way tickets between the US and Europe, Israel, or Russia with Promo awards.
-111K miles will cost $2,310.39 which is the maximum you can buy with an account.

A one-way flight from JFK to Tel Aviv in January or February will cost 12.5K miles plus $106.77 in fees.
If you buy 75K miles for $1,561.08 that’s $260.18 per ticket. Plus $106.77 in fees makes a one-way cost $366.95.

A one-way flight from Tel Aviv to JFK in January or February will cost 12.5K miles plus $145.49 in fees.
If you buy 75K miles for $1,561.08 that’s $260.18 per ticket. Plus $145.49 in fees makes a one-way cost $405.67.

A one-way flight in business class from Chicago to Tel Aviv in January or February will cost 31,250 miles plus $271.85 in fees.
When buying the miles that comes out to about $921 one-way with all taxes in business class.

Flying Blue miles expire after 20 months but can be extended another 20 months by flying on a paid SkyTeam flight and crediting the miles to Flying Blue.

Of course you’ll be better off using AMEX MR points, Citi TY points, or Starwood Starpoints to transfer points to Flying Blue, but if you don’t have access to those miles then this isn’t a bad deal.

Want to fly nonstop?
You can’t fly nonstop on Delta with Promo awards, but you can at the regular rate of 25K miles each way.
Say you buy 75K miles for $1,561.08. That’s $520.36 per 25K miles.
A one-way flight from JFK to Tel Aviv nonstop on Delta is 25K miles plus $23 tax, so that’s $543.36 for a one-way Delta flight.
Nothing incredible, but if you do need a one-way it will be way cheaper than buying one outright.

A one-way flight from Tel Aviv to JFK nonstop on Delta is 25K miles plus $61.82 tax, so that’s $582.18 for a one-way Delta flight.

Here are all of the dates when Flying Blue should have access to Delta flights. You won’t see these dates on the calendar, but if you click on the date it should show up.  These dates have at least 1 award seat as of the time of this post:
JFK-TLV: November 16, 17, 18, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. December 1, 4, 7, 8. January 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. February 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 14, 16, 17, 19, 22, 25, 26.

TLV-JFK: November 14, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. December 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26.  January 16, 19, 20, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. February 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. March 2, 4, 5. May 9, 16.

HT: Chapshnell, via DDF

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When Will The Other Shoe Drop For AAdvantage?

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

American announced earlier today that pretty much nothing will change for the new combined AAdvantage elite program in Q2 of 2015.   Elites will now be upgraded on sub-500 mile flights where nobody cares about being upgraded anyway. USAirways elites will have to get used to a new upgrade system and will lose their old frequent flyer numbers. And miles from USAirways will be automatically moved to American on a yet to be determined date in Q2. But that’s about it, no major surprises there.

As it stands American is the only of the remaining 3 network carriers to not have a spend requirement to earn elite status. And while United went through a painful devaluation earlier this year and Delta continues to make sure their miles are the worst in the industry, American hasn’t had a devaluation to their sAAver award chart in years.

I still expect to see an AAdvantage devaluation for 2015.  But for now, we’ll continue to hold our breath.

Reminder: Don’t forget that just 3 days remain to use AA miles to book tickets on El Al and that the churnable US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will only be available for a limited time longer before it’s discontinued for good.

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A Last Chance To Fly “Private” On Miles…

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Brazilian based TAM airlines is finalizing its phase-out of first class service.
It already eliminated first class from JFK and this is the final week for first class from Miami.

First class continues to be eliminated by airlines as there are fewer people and businesses willing to splurge for it as business class continues to improve. American is removing first class from their 777-200 aircraft. All signs are that United is on the path to totally eliminate international first class. Lufthansa has a really neat first class on their 747-400 aircraft where you get a seat and a separate bed but that’s being phased out as well. Cathay Pacific continues to hack away at routes with first class, eliminating the service to Toronto, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Service from Newark to Hong Kong launched without first class as well.

I flew with my wife and kids on TAM First Class on a 777 from Miami to Sao Paulo last week. The entire first class cabin consists of 4 seats and we were able to redeem miles for all 4 seats. It looks and feels like a living room and it’s the closest I’ve ever felt to flying private.  Curtains close off the galley in front and business class in back to give it a truly private feel.  There are even 2 bathrooms just for the 4 first class seats.  The kosher airline food stunk of course, but they had no problem heating up our double wrapped food from a Miami restaurant.  The bed is very large and comfortable.

DSC00663

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC00698

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, several airlines (Singapore, China Eastern, Etihad, and Emirates come to mind) have walled-in suites for which you can redeem miles for.  But as neat as they are (and they are really neat) they can feel a bit claustrophobic and the seat can be a bit narrow.  The TAM first class cabin feels wide open, the seat is very wide, and when you have all of it to yourself it’s pretty darn cool.

Getting a visa to go to Brazil isn’t easy.  We used Allied Passport and Visa and they expertly took care of the nitty-gritty.  But you can go down to a Brazilian embassy or consulate yourself to figure it out.  Or you can fly TAM first class to Sao Paulo and then connect to another South American country where you can get a free visa or at least an instant paid visa such as Argentina where you don’t have to visit an embassy or consulate.  Dollars are a precious commodity in Argentina and you’ll be able to live like a king in Buenos Aires by trading in your dollars for Pesos on the “blue” market at twice the official rate.

Want to buy out the entire TAM first class cabin for your family?

Here’s what’s left from Miami to Sao Paulo with the first class entire cabin empty and available for miles:
-10/28 TAM 8095 9:05am-7:35pm (B777)
-10/28 TAM 8091 7:25pm-5:40am (B777)
-10/28 TAM 8035 10:35pm-8:50am (A332)
-10/29 TAM 8095 9:05am-7:35pm (B777)
-10/30 TAM 8035 10:35pm-8:50am (A332)

American charges 62.5K miles one-way to South America in first class, British Airways charges 75K one-way, and USAirways charges 125K round-trip. No fuel surcharges apply.

So, any readers crazy enough to jump on a plane to try it out this week?

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American-El Al Partnership Ending 10/31/14

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Update: Just 1 week left to use your AA miles to fly on El Al. Have you booked a trip since this announcement? Hit the comments!

Originally posted on 09/24:

On November 19th I made several predictions about the American-USAirways merger. Several have already come true.

-As referenced in #3 and #4, the American OneWorld round-the-world award chart was killed and USAirways started collecting fuel surcharges on British Airways and has already killed some off-peak awards.

-And I wrote in #9,

“Beware that El Al may decide to sever its relationship with American if they become a competitor and you may no longer be able to use American miles on El Al. Though if El Al would do that they would lose codeshare access to other US cities that they get from American though they can always set one up with an airline like JetBlue.”

And unfortunately that’s come to fruition as well.

“Effective November 1, 2014, flights taken on El Al will not accrue AAdvantage miles due to the discontinuation of American’s frequent flyer relationship with EL AL.

All award travel on EL AL must be booked and ticketed by October 31, 2014. Travel is valid one year after ticket date, and must be completed by October 31, 2015. No changes to the EL AL segments are allowed during that period.”

El Al used to be partners with Delta and that relationship ended when Delta started flights from Atlanta to Tel Aviv. Eventually those flights shifted to JFK.

American’s subsidiary USAirways of course flies to Tel Aviv via Philadelphia. The best way to book that flight is with less than 40K Starpoints round-trip via a transfer to LAN.

As American works out their issues with the former TWA employees who were stiffed in Israel they will surely launch more flights to Israel from JFK and Miami.

Had the United-Continental merger not gone through then I think El Al would be announcing a partnership with United today. Alas it did and United flies to Israel as well thanks to absorbing Continental’s flights. Which means there are no major North American carriers remaining to partner up with. Air Canada, Delta, and United all are competitors and all have a better business class product than El Al.

I still think a JetBlue partnership may occur, but that will likely be a codeshare-only relationship and not a frequent flyer relationship.

If you have AA miles and want to book a trip to Israel do it now before award inventory is completely wiped out by other AA mileage hoarders. Don’t wait for 10/31 to book a trip.

There is still time to transfer Starpoints to American to book flights on El Al, that transfer typically takes a few days.

You’ll need 45K miles in coach and 67.5K miles in business each way to fly nonstop from North America to Israel on El Al. El Al has flights from JFK, Los Angeles, Newark, and Toronto to Tel Aviv.

If you stop in Europe that price can drop to 40K if you fly between 10/15-05/15. There’s a lot more info on hacking that award that in footnote *** at the end of this post.

A flight from Europe to Tel Aviv on El Al is 20K miles in coach and 30K in business.

Asia is a real bargain. Tel Aviv to Asia is just 22.5K miles in coach and business is just 30K. El Al flies nonstop to cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong. Their business class isn’t anything to write home about, but 30K is still a great bargain. In fact I just helped my parents book a trip from the US-Europe-Asia-Israel-US using AA miles with a flight on El Al in business class from the far east to Israel.

And El Al was a good way of getting from Israel to Australia for just 30K in coach and 45K in business as you can route from the Middle East to Australia via Bangkok and Hong Kong. Or you can use a 60K first class award to connect to a Qantas First class flight in Asia. Or you can use 30K AA miles to fly business to Bangkok and 30K United miles to fly Thai Business or 40K United miles to fly Thai First down under.  Thai First even comes with a free hour long massage in their Bangkok lounge.

Here is the rest of the AA award chart. You can always combine flights on El Al with other AA OneWorld and non-alliance partners on the same award.

Note that American agents often can only see 2 El Al awards at a time, so have them grab those 2 seats and then have the agent check for 2 more or just call back.

Some agents don’t know how to properly search for El Al award seats due to their confusing class codes (business on El Al is the same class as coach on other airlines, leave it to the Israelis to come up with the one :D ), so you may need to use some HUCA.

AA.com doesn’t show El Al awards, so you’ll need a Matmid account to research availability online.

Of course earlier this year HAS Advantage points stopped transferring to El Al as well.

Stay tuned for a post on the best remaining ways to use miles to fly on El Al in a post-AA and post-HAS era.

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

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Changes To Citicard Signup Bonuses

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Back in the good old days you were able to open several Citi American Airlines cards every month via 3BM and get the signup bonus for each one.  I was doing 3BMs when I started this blog in 2004 before the term MBM or 3BM existed.

Up until a few years ago those miles counted towards lifetime elite status, so I racked up millions of miles and lifetime Platinum status.

Then Citi started approving people for just 1 AA card every 18 months. Occasionally a link would surface on DDF that would grant approval without waiting 18 months, but that was the exception to the rule.

The $450/year AA executive card offering 100K miles earlier this year did not have an 18 month waiting period and I’m sure I’m not the only one who took that as a license to print a million AA miles in the first half of this year.

Until now there was one thing you could count on, if you were approved for a Citi card you would get the bonus.
That no longer appears to be the case.

DDF member ari2955 reports that he was approved for the AA executive card, completed the spending, and was denied the bonus.
Normally I’d be suspect and say to wait until the next statement generates but the app has added language that “American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles not available if you have had a Citi Executive® / AAdvantage® World EliteTM MasterCard® opened or closed in the past 18 months.”

Now there is language like that on cards from other banks that isn’t enforced, but a Citicards employee who is also a DDF member confirmed that this change has been pushed through on the AA Executive card, the Citi Premier card, and the Citi Expedia card. Indeed all of those cards have the new language that if you have had a card, opened the card, or have closed the card within the past 18 months that there won’t be a bonus.

And he reports that Citi will be adding that language to other cards as well…

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Earn Triple Gas Rewards For Buying Visa Gift Cards At Giant Or Stop & Shop

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Stop & Shop Store Locator Linky

Giant Store Locator Linky

Stop & Shop stores are offering 3 points per dollar towards discounted gas when you buy Visa gift cards through 10/23. Giant stores have the same offer through 10/25.

A $500 Visa costs $505.95. With this promo it will earn 1,500 gas points.

Every 100 gas points saves 10 cents off every gallon of gas at Shell stations. You can redeem up to 2,200 points in a single fillup. Redeeming 1,500 points would get you $1.50 off every gallon of gas that you buy during that fillup (up to 35 gallons of gas max).

1,500 points is worth up to $52.50 of free gas (as each 100 points saves 10 cents per gallon for up to 35 gallons…get those gas canisters ready ;)) Plus of course you get the miles for buying the gift cards on your credit card.

You can buy as many gift cards as you want with triple points, but gas points expire after 30 days.

Don’t forget to scan your Stop & Shop card when buying the gift cards and when redeeming the gas points at Shell.

These are MetaBank issues gift cards just like the ones sold by Staples.  Click here to read more on how to cash out those gift cards here.

HT: Dr Moose, via DDF

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Goodbye Serve With Softcard, Hello REDcard!

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

American Express continues to plow into the prepaid market at full throttle.

-They have their own Serve product.
-They have a co-branded Serve card with Softcard (formerly known as ISIS) that is a super-charged version of Serve.
-They have a partnership with Walmart for the co-branded Bluebird card.
-And they now have a partnership with Target for the co-branded REDcard.

In 2012 I called Bluebird the next dollar coin churn. Indeed it proved highly effective as a method of creating spend for your credit cards. I had lots of fun with Bluebird but this past July I switched to Serve with ISIS.

Serve with ISIS allows $1,500 in credit card funding right from your computer in addition to $5,000 in gift card/debit card funding from WalMart and Family Dollar stores.
However that’s already starting to show cracks. Some banks like BOFA and Citi have caught on and now charge a cash advance for Serve loads. Though Chase and Barclays are still safe for now.

And now there’s REDcard. It’s currently only available in select Target stores, but it will be rolled out nationwide.
Stores in some regions charge $5 for a REDcard while other regions have them for free.

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For now, Target allows you to fund REDcard from a credit card to the tune of $5,000 per month.
Additionally you get 5% off everything from Target, free shipping on everything from Target.com, and an additional 30 days to return items to Target.

Here’s my timeline:

10/14: On Tuesday I went to Target to buy a REDcard. In Cleveland there’s a $5 charge to purchase and load a REDcard. The card you get from Target is just temporary, you need to register it online after purchasing it to be sent a permanent card.

I purchased and loaded a temporary REDcard with $500 and the charge posted as a regular purchase. I tried loading it with more but the system didn’t allow that. The system also didn’t allow me to purchase another REDcard on the same day. You do need a license and SSN to buy a REDcard, though no credit check is done.

Of course I wasn’t able to register the REDcard under my SSN once I got home as I already have Serve with Softcard and AMEX only allows a person to have one flavor of their prepaid cards. I was able to register the card to someone else without any issue though.

10/15: On Wednesday I went back to Target and now that the temporary card was registered and had a pin I was able to load another $1,000 onto the card from my credit card. There was no fee. I tried to load more but it was rejected.

I then went to the Target ATM machine and was able to withdraw $200 twice with no fees before the system stopped allowing further withdrawals.

I was also able to buy another REDcard. You can buy one temporary REDcard per calendar day.

10/18: Of course then came the 3 day hiatus from all things electronic to finish off the Sukkos holiday, but the permanent card already came in the mail over the holiday!

So last night I went back to Target.

I tried loading $1,500 but the register said “amount too small.” The cashier and I got a kick out of that.

Then I went down to $1,000 and it worked fine. I loaded another $1,000 and then another $500 before the system cut me off.

Talk about making spend threshold spending easy!

Loads can be done with any cashier or at customer service.

Unfortunately the Target ATM machine was down. Not that it really matters as money can be transferred from REDcard to pay any bill or to transfer funds directly into your checking account.

10/19: Earlier today I decided to take the plunge and cancel my Serve card.

Of course there are several drawbacks to REDcard:
-You can’t load from a credit card online, while Serve allows me to do $1,500 per month from the comfort of my home.  REDcard does allow $1,000 in monthly funding from a debit card (though not a gift card) online.
-I also have 4 free additional users on my Serve account and Serve cards qualify for Small Business Saturday. REDcard doesn’t appear to be eligible for AMEX Offers promotions.
That hurts, but I’ll just have to add some more additional users on my American Express credit cards to make up for it :D
-Serve with Softcard gives $1 back on up to 50 purchases per month until the end of the year. Which hurts, but it’s a pain to break up your purchases that way anyway.

At any rate, $5,000 in easy credit card spend every month just seemed like something too good to pass up. And I can still use Softcard with other credit cards for promotions like this.

After cancelling Serve and waiting for the account cancellation email I was able to register the 2nd temporary REDcard that I bought last week.

So then it was back to Target today.  The permanent REDcard had been funded with $500 initially, $1,000 on Wednesday after being registered, and $2,500 last night when the permanent version came. Today I was able to load it with another $1,500 in 2 transactions, bringing the total load to $5,500.  The initial load didn’t count towards the $5K monthly limit, but now I’ll have to wait until November to load that card with another $5,000. It will take 2 trips on 2 different days, but I can easily load more than 1 REDcard at a time to make that less onerous.

After that I loaded the temporary card that I just registered to myself before going to the store with another $1,000.

And I bought a 3rd REDcard and loaded it with $500.

Every time with a smile. Without a line. And never being asked for ID (which made meeting my wife’s thresholds for a recent 3BM that muss less painful). Take that WalMart!

Of course Target can always disallow credit card funding, though when that happens I can always switch back to Serve with Softcard if that’s still around at that time.  It’s not really a matter of if but a matter of when, as some things are just too good to be true.

HT: jaywhy, via DDF and FM

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More Free Money From Softcard!

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Update: I’m in for 16 boxes of cereal on sale at CVS for $1.99 each and hope to get $320 in Amazon gift cards! How about you?

Originally posted on 10/01:
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Related posts:
-Bye Bye Bluebird
-ISIS Wallet To Rebrand As Softcard

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You can get a $20 Amazon gift card for each card that you add to your Softcard (formerly ISIS) wallet and use at least once.

So far between my account and my wife’s account Softcard has:
-Paid us $25 each to signup for free.
-Paid us $20 each for spending $40 on Serve last month for Amazon gift cards.
-Paid us $10 each in Amazon gift cards for using the Softcard app to buy something.
And they pay $1 every time we use Serve in Softcard.
-Most importantly, allow us to upload a total of $36,000 per year on credit cards for free to Serve to pay off credit card bills or transfer into checking account. All from the comfort of my home.  Plus of course we can load another $36,000 from debit cards from home to Serve and another $120,000 of gift cards at WalMart and Family Dollar stores per year.  That all adds up to a lot of miles especially if you’re getting 5 miles per dollar on gift cards…

But now they will give us a $20 Amazon gift card for each credit card that we add to our Softcard wallets and use to make a purchase between today and 10/31/14. I have a feeling that I’m going to have some fun at Walgreens and my local kosher Subway. Who in the world ever said there’s no such thing as a free lunch :D

Gift cards will be sent by email 14 days after using each credit card. There is no minimum spend requirement. There’s no limit to the number of gift cards you can earn, but you can only earn 1 gift card per credit card added to your Softcard wallet.

Gosh I love this company.

HT: mb1, via DDF

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Buy $300 In Visa Gift Cards From Staples And Get A Bonus $20 Visa Gift Card Via Easy Rebate

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 10/19 and 10/25 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

This is valid in-store only.  Officially there is a limit of 1 rebate per household…

If you were fast and registered your cards for savings at Staples when I posted it last week, then that’s definitely the way to go.

Otherwise if you buy 2 of the $200 gift cards in store you’ll pay $13.90 in card fees. Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. In addition if you’re registered at visasavingsedge.com you’ll also get 1% cash back.

$413.90 (Outlay)
-$4.14 (1% cash rebate)
=$409.76 out of pocket for $400 face value
-As usual with Ink you’ll get 2,070 points (worth $33.12 at a 1.6 cents per point value).
-This week you’ll also get a $20 Bonus Visa gift card via easy rebate just to sweeten the deal even more. That makes your $409.76 cash outlay get $420 worth of gift cards, so the 2,070 points cost you negative $10.24 :D

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can cash out the Visa cards using EvolveMoney to pay bills like your mortgage, property tax, auto loan, health insurance, store charge card (Gap, Macy’s, Target, etc).  There is no fee for this but you can only make 1 payment per biller per month month.
-You can load Visa cards to your Serve card with a Family Dollar cashier for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office).  Such stores exist even in manufactured spend deserts like NYC.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can swipe the card on an Amazon card reader for a 1.75% fee.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can just use the cards for your everyday spending to earn 5 points per dollar+1% cash back everywhere!
-You can… ;)

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Test Drive A Cadillac And Get 7,500 AA AAdvantage Miles!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Test Drive A Cadillac And Get 7,500 AA AAdvantage Miles

“Right now, AAdvantage members can earn 7,500 AAdvantage miles when you test drive any Cadillac vehicle…Contact a Cadillac Concierge today at 844-469-2234 to schedule an appointment and take advantage of this exclusive limited time offer.
Please allow 4-6 weeks to receive your AAdvantage miles.”

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A Possible Last Chance To Buy Discounted USAirways Miles And Other Opportunities That Will Go Away Along With USAirways

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Until tonight you can get a 100% bonus when buying USAirways miles.

A purchase of 100,000 miles (a 50K purchase+50K bonus) will set you back $1,881.25 with tax.

Links for your reference:
USAirways Award Chart
USAirways OneWorld Award Chart
USAirways Other Partner Award Chart
USAirways Award Fees
USAirways OneWorld and Non-Alliance Partners

Of course there are far cheaper way of generating miles via credit card signups and manufactured spend, but if you have a specific award in mind and you’re not an expert at generating miles on the cheap, this can make sense.

For example a first class ticket on Cathay Pacific to Asia with no fuel surcharges normally costs $28,000. It can also be had for just 120K USAirways miles.

Plus with USAirways miles you’ll also get a free stopover. People have booked tickets to Hong Kong with a stopover in Asia in first class for 120K miles.

Or you can try booking a 40K award to Israel and South Africa like this (and other) DD readers have done.  Or fly in first class to South America for 60K like DDF member jaywhy…

Otherwise a business class ticket to Israel can be had for 120K miles. USAirways flies nonstop to Israel from Philadelphia (and you can tag on a flight from anywhere in the US for the same rate).  Plus odds are that American will start nonstop service from JFK and/or Miami to Tel Aviv in the near future.

Off-peak coach awards to the Caribbean are just 25K miles (20K for cardholders) and to Europe are just 35K miles (30K for cardholders) round-trip if you fly on USAirways.  Off peak First Class/Envoy awards to the Caribbean are just 50K miles (45K for cardholders) if you fly on USAirways.

A business class ticket to Australia or New Zealand is 110,000 USAirways miles and a first class ticket is 140,000 USAirways miles. Plus you can stopover pretty much anywhere in the world on the way there for as long as you want.

Of course the USAirways mileage program will be merged into American’s program in 2015.  The odds are that before that happens you’ll be able to transfer miles back and forth between American and USAirways.  At some point in 2015 the American and USAirways award charts will likely change for the worse.

But American charges more money for their miles than USAirways does, so if you do want to lock in a trip now for travel over the next year, this can be a decent redemption. And it seems that it may not come back again.

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It’s worth noting that the Barclays US Airways Premier World MasterCard will seemingly be discontinued this year as well.  Even if you have gotten the bonus on that card in the past you can still get the bonus again and best of all, you just need to spend $1 on it to pickup 40,000 miles.

It’s also worth noting that you can transfer Starpoints from anyone’s account to anyone’s USAirways account. American only accepts transfers if the name matches. So if you do want to transfer points to someone else, do that sooner rather than later.

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Amazon Payments As We Know It Will End On 10/13/14

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Update: Today is the last day to take advantage of $1,000 of free spending. Of course that’s per account that you have ;)
Thanks for the years of fun Mr. Bezos!
Was never as lucrative as dollar coins from the mint, but there was a whole lot less shlepping!

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Originally posted on 09/10:

Amazon Payments has been discussed on DansDeals and on the DansDeals Forums (DDF) for more than 4 years.  There were rumors last year of its demise but I quashed those. They started cracking down later last year on abusers, but it’s lived on.

Alas it appears that its time has come.

“Additionally, we have updated the terms and conditions of our User Agreement (https://payments.amazon.com/help/Personal-Accounts/User-Agreement-Policies/User-Agreement) that apply to your use of the products and services provided by Amazon Payments. Our updated User Agreement revises certain terms (including, among other things, the elimination of person-to-person payments). Our new User Agreement will become effective on October 13, 2014, which is more than 30 days from when we first posted our updated User Agreement. By continuing to use our services after October 13, 2014, you are agreeing to be bound by the terms and conditions of our new User Agreement.”

The last day to send person-to-person payments will be 10/12/14. So you can still send $1,000 to a friend in September and another $1,000 in October. However as of 10/13/14 that option will be eliminated, pretty much making the service worthless.

An Amazon Payments phone rep confirmed that 10/12 will be the last day to send money to a friend. After that point you’ll only be able to use Amazon Payments to checkout on websites that accept Amazon Payments as a form of payment.

Luckily we still have many other ways of manufacturing spend. For example ISIS Wallet/Serve allows you to do $1,500 per month in free and easy credit card spend right from your computer. And Amazon Local Register allows you to swipe cards for a 1.75% fee.

HT: txtmax4, via DDF

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30 Awesome Things You Can You Do With 75K-95K Ultimate Rewards Points

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Related post: Chase Ink Plus: 70,000 Point Signup Bonus!
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For a limited time only, the Chase Ink Plus card is offering an unprecedented 70,000 point signup bonus online to the public.

If you have questions about the Ink Plus card you’ll probably find the answer in this post, so read it first!

The card earns between 1 to 5 points per dollar, so once you complete the $5,000 of required spending you’ll have between 75K and 95K points.

What can you do with that amount of points?

Hopefully you know they are most valuable when transferred to airline and hotel programs like United, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Amtrak. Chase points transfer to those programs at a 1:1 ratio.

You can redeem them directly for travel without transferring them to a mileage program, but that value will fall between just 1-1.25 cents per point.  You can do so much better transferring them to a miles program.

And sure you probably know that you can burn 75K United miles for 3 domestic coach tickets. But what’s the fun in that?

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I’m still not sure how it’s possible, but late next month I’ll turn 30 (and I’ll have been blogging here for an mind-boggling 10 years, go ahead and scroll through the site archives drop-down menu in the sidebar to see for yourself).  So I’ve compiled 30 great uses of your Ultimate Rewards points and present them to you in no particular order whatsoever:

1. Korean miles: Fly round-trip to Alaska for 20K miles and Hawaii for 25K miles.

You would have enough miles for 3 round-trips tickets to Hawaii in coach or 2 round-trips in first class.

Korean charges just 25,000 to fly Delta coach and 45,000 miles to fly Delta first class round-trip within “Mexico, United States (including Hawaii), US Virgin Islands, Canada, and Puerto Rico.”

Of course you’ll have to find Delta saver award space, so search for that on Delta.com by searching for an award, opening the award calendar, and looking for dates in green.  Then call Korean to book and you can instantly transfer the points from Chase to Korean while you’re on the phone with them.

Can’t find Delta availability?

You can also fly round-trip to Hawaii on Alaska or Hawaiian for just 30K Korean miles in coach or 60K Korean miles in first class.  Hawaiian even flies nonstop from JFK to Honolulu.

Additionally you can fly round-trip on Alaska anywhere in the US or Canada, including Alaska, for just 20K Korean miles in coach or 40K Korean miles in first class.  You’re even allowed one free stopover when flying Alaska with Korean miles!

None of these flights have any fuel surcharges.

2. British Airways Avios: Up to 21 free short-haul one-way flights.

You would have more than enough for 21 free short-haul one-way flights using British Airways Avios. Those flights cost just 4.5K Avios each.
Avios have actually gotten more valuable since USAirways joined OneWorld as you can use them on all American and USAirways flights within the Western Hemisphere without any fuel surcharges.  Flights on Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, LAN, and TAM also have no fuel surcharges.

You can click here for all of the possible nonstop Avios flights you can take from Baltimore/DC, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, NYC, and Philadelphia.

A flight to the Caribbean can be had in coach for as little as 4,500 Avios, or in first class with 3 free checked bags for 9,000 Avios, that’s hard to beat!

Best of all? No close-in ticketing fees and it’s only $5.60 to cancel a flight and get back the miles as long as you cancel 24 hours in advance of the flight.

3. Singapore: Fly round-trip on United in a lie-flat business class bed from JFK to Los Angeles or San Francisco for 40K miles.

The 50K miles that United charges for this route is a pretty good deal.  But Singapore will book you on the same flight for just 40K miles.

Plus Singapore has no close-in booking fees, no phone booking fees, and they charge just $20 for a change and just $30 to cancel and redeposit your miles!

There are no fuel surcharges for using Singapore miles for United flights.

lax3

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Korean: 80K to fly one-way in Korean First Class Suites from Tel Aviv or the USA to or from Asia.

A Korean First Class Kosmo Sleeper Class Suite between North America and Asia or between Tel Aviv and Asia is just 80,000 miles one-way.

Korean has the best first class award availability in the industry.  They serve delicious Hermolis kosher meals out of Asia and have a open self-service bar with top-shelf drinks.

You can read my trip report on flying Korean here.

The fuel surcharge from the USA to South Korea is $150 each way. From Israel to South Korea it’s $190 each way.

IMG_4175a

 

5. Singapore: 57K to fly one-way in Singapore first class suites from JFK to Europe.

You can fly in Singapore suites class from JFK to Frankfurt for just 57,375 miles one-way with the 15% online booking discount that is applied after selecting a flight.  This is truly an aspirational award and Singapore service is second to none.  You’ll even have access to the Virgin Clubhouse in JFK with good kosher meals as well.

A $211 fuel surcharge applies.

You can read my trip report on flying Singapore to Paris here.

There are single and double suites available. This is the double:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Singapore: 74K to fly Singapore first class suites from LAX to Tokyo:

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The fuel surcharge makes up $160 of the fees.

LAX-Tokyo-Singapore would be 91,375 miles.

You can find other rates for Singapore first class in this post.

7. Korean: 60K miles round-trip from the USA to Tahiti on Air France

Air France flies nonstop from Los Angeles to Tahihi. You can fly it round-trip for just 60K Korean miles in coach or 90K in business and then explore the beautiful islands of Moorea and Bora Bora from your own private overwater bungalow which can be had for just 50K IHG points per night.  Sure, IHG points can be had from Chase, but you can get those for pretty cheap via this hack or wait for another sale like this one.

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S. Regis Bora Bora.

8. British Airways Avios: 25K round-trip from the west coast to Hawaii.

You can fly from the west coast nonstop to Hawaii on AA, Alaska, or USAirways for just 25K Avios round-trip.

From Phoenix you can even use cash and points, it’s just 8,000 Avios plus $201 round-trip to any Hawaiian island!

Alaska flights must be booked over the phone.

There are no fuel surcharges.

9. British Airways Avios: 25K round-trip from Boston to Ireland on Aer Lingus.

You can fly nonstop on Aer Lingus from Boston to Dublin or Shannon for just 25K Avios round-trip. Best of all there are no fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus.  Plus you can fly to Boston from cities like Buffalo, NYC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Washington DC for just 9K Avios.

Aer Lingus flights must be booked over the phone.

10. British Airways Avios: 60K round-trip JFK to Tel Aviv on Air Berlin.

60K round-trip plus $91 in fees. There are no fuel surcharges. Or use cash and points with as little as 20K Avios.

You can even make it work for Pesach:

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11. Hyatt points+cash awards.

The Hyatt award chart is great for high-end hotels.  It caps out at 30K points for real gems like the Park Hyatt Sydney, the Park Hyatt Paris, and the Park Hyatt Zurich that can go for $1,500 per night.  Other hotel chains charge double, triple, or quadruple that amount of points for their high-end properties and they’re not nearly as good as the Park Hyatt chain.

Park Hyatt Sydney

A real sweet spot for Hyatt points are cash and points for category 6 hotels. These include real gems like the Park Hyatt Maldives, Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Andaz Maui, the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, and the Andaz 5th Avenue.

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Andaz Maui

The Park Hyatt Maldives can also go for $1,500 per night but it’s just 25K points or you can stretch your points even farther by using just 12,500 points plus $150 per night.  Best of all it’s considered a paid stay, so you qualify for promotions and can use suite upgrade certificates.

You can only book points+cash awards over the phone.

hyatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also incredible uses for lower categories.

Category 3 hotels include the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Honolulu, the Hyatt Place LaGuardia, the Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo, the Hyatt Palm Springs, CA.

You can stay in a category 4 property for just 15K points or 7.5K points+$100 in hotels like the Andaz Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica, the Park Hyatt Toronto, the Hyatt Regency Kowloon, Hong Kong, the Park Hyatt Seoul, the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, or the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar opening next June in Nassau, Bahamas.

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Rendering of Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Nassau, Bahamas.

Category 5 hotels include the Andaz West Hollywood in LA, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort an hour south of LA, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort just north of San Diego, the Hyatt Regency Maui, the Hyatt Place NYC, and 2 of my favorite Hyatt hotels, the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, and the Park Hyatt Melbourne.

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

12. United: 40K miles to fly one-way in Thai first class from Bangkok to Sydney

Want to get to the Park Hyatt Sydney and see the opera house from your bed?

When Mimi and I flew around the world in 2010 we started off in incredible Thailand and flew down under to tour Australia for a few weeks.

It’s just 40K miles for a 10 hour flight in Thai first class from Thailand to Australia. You’ll even get an hour long massage for free in the Bangkok first class lounge.

There are no fuel surcharges.

13. Korean: 75K miles to fly round-trip from Australia to New Zealand in an Emirates First Class A380…with a shower spa onboard.

While you’re down under, hop from Australia to New Zealand in gilded style on Emirates and brag about taking a shower 39,000 feet in the air:

 

Or take the ice bucket challenge onboard?

An A380 flight from the US to Dubai would run 210K Korean miles.  There are cheaper ways of doing that with miles from Alaska or JAL, though Chase doesn’t transfer to those currencies.

14. British Airways Avios: 10K each way from Tel Aviv to Vienna, Berlin, Dusseldorf, or Munich.

You can fly round-trip nonstop between those cities for just 20K Avios plus $68-80 tax. There are no fuel surcharges.

Or use cash and points from 8,000 Avios plus $228.

15. Southwest points for anything.
There are no aspirational awards with Southwest, but you will get a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel.
Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down. There are no fuel surcharges.

This flight from Akron, OH (~40 minutes from Cleveland) to NYC is just 7,162 miles round-trip.  And it can be cancelled at any time with no penalty!

WN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year you also get a free companion pass to bring someone with you for free for the remainder of the year and the following year as well which doubles the value of your points.  While transfers from Chase don’t count for companion pass, transfers from Hyatt do.

It takes 50K Hyatt points to get 30K Southwest points.

Points earned from the Southwest credit cards also count towards the 110K requirement.

16. Virgin Atlantic: 5,000 miles from Tel Aviv to Cyprus round-trip.

Virgin isn’t part of an alliance, but they do have nice rates on partners like Delta. Plus they charge just 5,000 miles from Tel Aviv to Cyprus on Cyprus Air.

17. Virgin Atlantic: Fly round-trip from USA to South America for 45K miles in coach or 90K miles in business class.

Virgin will book you on Delta to South America for much less than Delta charges their own members.  Of course you’ll first have to find Delta saver class availability as described above, but once you do you can go to fantastic Buenos Aires or breathtaking Iguazu Falls, Macchu Picchu, or Rio de Janeiro on the cheap.

There are no fuel surcharges.

18. Singapore: Fly round-trip on United between the US48 and Alaska for 25K miles in coach or 40K in business class.

United charges 35K miles to get to stunning Alaska in coach and 60K in business.  Transfer miles to Singapore and they’ll book those same flights for just 25K or 40K.

There are no fuel surcharges.

Never thought of going to Alaska?  Read Something Fishy’s epic trip report with his trademark stunning pictures and you’ll want to start planning a trip.


Photo credit, Something Fishy, Trip Report part 2.

19. Singapore: Fly round-trip on United between the US49 and Hawaii for 35K miles in coach or 60K in business class.

United charges 45K miles to get to the paradise also known as Hawaii in coach and 80K in business.  Transfer miles to Singapore and they’ll book those same flights for just 35K or 60K.

There are no fuel surcharges.

Need some inspiration for a Hawaii trip? This should keep you busy for a while:

DansMeals: Hawaii For The Kosher Traveler:
-Part 1: General Info And The Island Of Oahu
-Part 2: The Big Island of Hawaii
-Part 3: Maui
-Part 4: Kauai

Trip reports:
-Trip Notes Kauai: Heaven On Earth (2014)
-Trip Notes: Maui No Ka ‘Oi (2014)
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Oahu (2009)
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Kauai (2009)
-
The Hawaiian Islands (2011)
-Traveling To Hawaii…With A 5 Month Old (2011)

DDF forum threads:
-Hawaii Master Thread: General Questions And Which Island To Visit?
-Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
-Kauai Master Thread
-Maui Master Thread
-Oahu Master Thread

20. Singapore: Fly round-trip on United between the US and Israel for 75K miles in coach or 115K in business class.

Singapore charges fuel surcharges on most airlines, but not on United.  That means you can save 10K miles in coach or 25K miles in business by booking a United ticket to Israel with Singapore miles.

Note that if you want to travel on other airlines you may do better transferring to United, where fuel surcharges are never collected.

21. Marriott: Stay in the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya or the Renaissance Tel Aviv.

The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya is a luxury hotel that opened 10 months ago and has been getting rave reviews. It is a Ritz-Carlton tier 2 hotel which means that it’s 40,000 points per night or 160,000 points for a 5 night stay (32,000 points per night).

The Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel is a Marriott category 7 hotel that goes for 35,000 points per night or 140,000 points for a 5 night stay (28,000 points per night.)

22. United 10K short-haul awards.

United’s short-haul flights are well priced at just 10K miles each way. Best of all and unlike with British Airways, you are allowed to connect and exceed 700 miles as long as the origin and destination cities are within 700.

There are no fuel surcharges.

And if you’ve been to a DansDeals Seminar you know how to have all kinds of fun with that award!

23. Amtrak: Ride a scenic train for just 1,500 points in coach and 2,000 points in business.
Take a ride on select routes like Chicago-Detroit, Los Angeles-San Diego, Chicago-Milwaukee, Chicago-S. Louis, Portland, OR-Vancouver, BC, and Kansas City-S. Louis

24. Amtrak: Ride within the Northeast Corridor for just 4,000 points in coach and 8,000 points in Acela Express business.
Ride within the northeast (including Boston, NYC, Niagara Falls, Montreal, and Washington DC) for just 4,000 points in coach, 6,500 points in business class, 8,000 points in Acela Express business class, or 12,000 points in Acela Express first class.

On some routes that offers an incredible value for your points.

25. Amtrak: A private bedroom and bathroom with kosher meals for 12,500 points per adult.
Amtrak splits the country up into 3 zones. Cities that straddle a zone, like Atlanta, Denver, and Detroit, can count as whichever zone will be cheaper.

Here is the Amtrak award chart.

A coach ticket within one zone, say from NYC to Miami, is 5,500 points. Business is 6,500, a roomette is 15,000, and a bedroom is 25,000 points.
The bedroom rate is valid for 2 adults, so the effective price is 12,500 points per adult. There is a private bathroom and shower in the bedroom.

You can add a child age 2-12 into the bedroom for the cost of a coach ticket, or 5,500 more points.

Meals for all passengers, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are included. You can even request complimentary kosher meals! Bedrooms have climate control, fresh towels and linens, bottled water, etc.

Want to go farther?
Take a 2 zone award (say NYC to Chicago) and the rate is 40,000 points for a bedroom (20K per adult). Add a child for the cost of a coach 3  zone award of 8,000 points.

Take a 3 zone award (Say NYC to Seattle) and the rate is 60,000 points for a bedroom (30K per adult). Add a child for the cost of a coach 3 zone award of 10,500 points.

Of course you can take a train from NYC to Miami or LA one-way in a bedroom, check that off your bucket list, and then just fly home one-way with British Airways or United miles.

Need more space? Redeem for 2 bedrooms and 2 adjoining bedrooms can be opened up into a suite.

Learn more about Amtrak Bedrooms here.

On to some more obscure stuff…

26. United: NYC to Israel and the Far East and back for 70K miles in coach or 110K in business.

Let’s keep this one on the down-low, shall we?

United allows for a free stopover.

Perhaps you noticed on the interactive award chart that it costs just 70K United miles to fly between the US and Japan?

But did you know that you can stopover in Tel Aviv on the way to Japan and just pay the 70K mileage rate for a ticket to Japan instead of the 85K mileage rate for a ticket between the USA and Tel Aviv.

Just use the Multiple destination award search to piece together awards like these:

tyo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coach:

nrt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business:

nrt2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United never collects a fuel surcharge.

27. United: Tel Aviv to NYC to Israel and the Far East for 77.5K miles in coach or 145K in business:

This a one-way United award from Tel Aviv-Newark (42.5K) and a one-way award from Newark-Japan (35K). The fact that you can stop in Tel Aviv for as long as you want? That’s just your free stopover.  And nobody is making you go to Japan if you don’t want to go, but the Park Hyatt Tokyo looks like a pretty awesome base for a really neat city and country to explore.

picture120 067a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coach:

tlv5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business:

nrt4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28. United: NYC to Tel Aviv to NYC with a flight to Hawaii several months later:

87.5K in coach:

hnl2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or fly back in a lie flat bed from Tel Aviv and in a lie-flat bed to Honolulu as well:

hnl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29. United: NYC to Tel Aviv to NYC with a flight to Los Angeles several months later:

85K in coach:

lax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or fly back in a lie flat bed from Tel Aviv and in a lie-flat bed to LA as well:

lax2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30. United: NYC to Honolulu to NYC with a flight to Miami several months later:

45K in coach:

mia1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80K in lie-flat business class:

mia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course there are hundreds of other awesome redemptions out there. What’s your favorite?

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Other Chase cards you can apply for at the same time include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a  year), and the Chase United Explorer (30K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, and it gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more), the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, no fee the first year, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, plus 2-2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), the Chase Marriott (with 50K signup points plus a free night upon signup and a free night every subsequent year upon renewal), the Chase Freedom (which has no annual fee, gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories, and 10% bonus points through 2015 if you have a Chase checking account), and the Chase Ink Cash (which also has no annual fee and gives 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies and 2 points per dollar on dining and gas)

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Delta Clarifies New Partner Transfer Limits, Workarounds Exist For Starwood And Membership Rewards Transfers

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Earlier today I covered a couple of American Express downgrades. 

Here are some clarifications from Delta:

1. The change is being made by Delta. “We are increasing the value of miles and reducing the demand for Award Tickets. This in turn will increase the number of lower-priced Awards available to Delta SkyMiles members, especially for our most loyal members who earn the majority of their miles through the SkyMiles program.”

2. The change will apply to all Delta transfer partners. That includes the big 2, Starwood and AMEX Membership Rewards. For Starwood the limit will actually be 200K Starpoints as 200K Starpoints converts into 250K Skymiles.

3. You will be able to receive up to 250K per calendar year from each Delta partner.

4. The 250K limit goes into effect 01/01/15 for all partners. While the original transfer date is used, don’t wait until 12/31 to make a transfer in case they get counted in 2015.

5. The partner loyalty account can only transfer 250K miles per year to Delta, period. It doesn’t matter whether you transfer to one or multiple Delta accounts, the 250K total limit applies.

6. Limits don’t apply to Delta AMEX cards.

As I said in the last post, I still see several workarounds here.

-For Starwood you can transfer Starpoints to other Starwood accounts located in your household. They don’t need a Starwood credit card, anyone can open a free account on SPG.com. While your personal Delta account would only be able to receive 250K points per year, you can transfer Starpoints from your account to a household member’s account and from there to their Delta account. From their Delta account you can book award travel for anyone.

-For Membership Rewards you can have multiple eligible credit cards and you can request that different American Express cards accumulate points in their own Membership Rewards account. You can also freely transfer points between each of your Membership Rewards accounts so that each of your Membership Rewards eligible cards can transfer 250K points to Delta annually. While your personal Delta account would only be able to receive 250K points per year, you can add a spouse or child as an additional user on your credit card account and transfer points to their Delta accounts. From their Delta account you can book award travel for anyone.

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ISIS Wallet To Rebrand As Softcard

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Update: Today is the final day for Verizon customers to get $20 back for spending $40 on Serve. You can spend on your physical Serve card at a store or online as long as the card is registered in your ISIS/Softcard app.

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Originally posted on 09/03:

In July I wrote about my long overdue journey from Bluebird to ISIS (click here to read more about the differences)

Of course over the past month we’ve read about the horrific beheadings perpetrated by the Islamic State which is also referred to as ISIS, so ISIS wallet has wisely decided to change their name to Softcard.

Regardless, ISIS with Serve has been amazing.
As a Verizon customer the signup bonuses are lucrative. $25 for signing up to ISIS with Serve, $20 off your first $40 Serve purchase, $1 back every time you use the ISIS wallet (up to $50/month through 2014), free coke from select coke machines, along with many other offers.

Similar offers are available with AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint customers can’t get ISIS.

Plus of course the Serve card is eligible for AMEX offers.
And you can add $1,500 in free monthly credit card funding to your Serve account without having to leave to comfort of your home.   That’s on top of $1,500 of debit card funding online and $5,000 of swiping gift cards in stores like WalMart and Family Dollar where you can add gift cards purchased that earned 5 points per dollar+1% cash back into your Serve account.

It’s all too lucrative to last.  But I’ll keep enjoying it while it does!

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