Category Archive for 'Miles'

Can Everyone Please Stop Panicking About Their Avios…

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Related: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
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I’ve gotten quite a few emails from people panicking about not being able to find Avios flights like they used to on American Airlines.

Some mileage brokers have spread rumors “confirming” that you won’t be able to use Avios on American anymore :roll:

That’s nonsense, what’s going on is nothing more than an IT bug that is being worked on.

A couple of weeks ago American’s saver award availability disappeared from their website for several days.  That space has returned, but it just hasn’t returned to BA.com for Avios bookings.

However BA is more than happy to book those seats over the phone. Their agents are aware of the bug and will be happy to waive the phone booking fee.

Just to confirm I found saver award space on AA.com for a flight tomorrow from Chicago to Cleveland.  AA.com wanted 12.5K miles plus $80.60 to book it.  I called BA and they were identified the same flights that AA.com was showing and correctly quoted a fare of 4.5K Avios plus $5.60 to book it.

It’s important to note that you aren’t limited to booked with the US based phone number for BA. You can use any of their offices to book, including:
US: 800-452-1201 (7:30am-8pm EDT)
Singapore +65-6823-2095 (9pm-5:30am EDT)
Israel: +972-3-606-1515 (2am-9am EDT)
UK: +44-191-490-7901 (2:30am-3pm EDT)

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Transfer 20K Starwood Starpoints Into 30K American AAdvantage Miles

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser. Earn 25K signup points with the Starwood Consumer AMEX or the Starwood Business AMEX

Starwood-American Transfer Bonus Details Linky

Starwood Airline Miles Transfer Linky

From today through 08/07 you can get 30K AA miles (instead of the standard 25K miles) for every 20K Starpoints that you transfer.
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The Starwood-AA transfer bonus in June 2010 gives some perspective on what’s happened in the past 5 years, I mentioned in that post that:
-US Mint coins are a great way to meet the spend threshold on the Starwood card (Indeed I wound up churning so much money that the US mint sent me a nastygram to knock it off)
-American has an awesome round-the-world award chart (Mimi and I would wind up going on a monthlong round-the-world adventure later that year, while she was 3 months pregnant with Rafi)
-You could earn American lifetime elite status with Starwood transfers (Mimi and I both wound up earning lifetime Platinum status)
All 3 of those those options are long gone though…
I also wrote that the deal was emailed out to “2,318 DansDeals Facebook members” and “761 DansDeals Twitter followers.” There are now over 20K Facebook members who talk about pretty much anything under the sun but no longer get emails of deal alerts and there are now 58K(!) Twitter followers who can get a text message every time a deal is posted.
Thanks for following!
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The current promotion offers a 20% bonus that’s fulfilled by American which stacks on top of the 25% bonus that Starwood always offers for making transfers in 20K increments.  When you transfer Starpoints to American it will only say that you’ll get 25K American miles, as the remaining 5K if added by American.

There’s no minimum or maximum on this offer, but it’s always wise to transfer Starpoints in increments of 20K and the most you can transfer in one day to maximize that is 60K Starpoints, which would net 90K AA miles. You can make 1 transfer per day.

-The names on the Starwood account and the AA account must match or the transfer will be rejected. You are able to transfer Starpoints for free between people living at the same address, though if you are changing the address on one of the accounts you’ll have to wait 30 days before transferring Starpoints to someone else’s Starwood account.

-The 20% bonus miles fulfilled by American will be posted within 7 business days after the initial conversion activity has been posted by Starwood Preferred Guest. The initial transfer usually takes a couple of days.  You can hold an AA award for 5 days which is enough time for the transfer to process.

-You are able to do a Starwood Nights and Flights redemption for 60K Starpoints in exchange for 60K AA miles and 5 nights in a category 3 property (normally 40K+28K Starpoints), or 70K Starpoints in exchange for 60K AA miles and 5 nights in a category 4 property (normally 40K+40K Starpoints).

American has an excellent award chart. It’s so much better than their competition’s award charts that you can’t help but wonder when the devaluation will come…

For the time being you can enjoy awesome one-way values from the US48/Canada like:
-12.5K to Alaska (17.5K on United)
-12.5K to the Caribbean and Mexico during off-peak times (17.5K on United)
-17.5K to Hawaii during off-peak times (22.5K on United)
-20K to South America during off-peak times (30K on United)
-20K to Europe during off-peak times (30K on United)
-25K to Japan/Korea during off-peak times (35K on United)
-55K business class to Hong Kong (70K-80K on United)
-67.5K first class to China (80K-120K on United)

From Israel there are many bargains as well, some examples include:
-25K to the Maldives in business (35K on United)
-30K to Thailand in business (60K on United)
-45K to Australia in business (60K on United)

You can also save another 10% on awards (up to a 10K rebate per year) with an AAdvantage credit card. The card also offers up to 7.5K off round-trip awards to rotating destinations.

Now there are some caveats to all that. In some cases, especially within North America on nonstop flights, it will be cheaper to use BA Avios. An American flight that might cost 12.5K AA miles can be had for as little as 4.5K Avios. Plus there are no close-in fees and cancellations are as little as $5.60 with Avios.

United may be pricier in most cases, but they have more partner airlines which makes for generally better availability, never charge a fuel surcharge (American collects a big one for travel on British Airways), allows for a free stopover on round-trip tickets (American doesn’t allow any), and allows you to connect pretty much anywhere you want (American is very strict about where you can connect, so forget about connecting in Asia on the way to Australia with American).

Still, with the right award in mind, it can definitely make sense to make a transfer from Starwood to American.  It’s worth noting that many AAdvantage partner awards (such as on like Air Tahiti Nui, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, and JAL) can only be booked by calling American to hold or book them.

HT: Moishebatchy, via DDF

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Get A 100% Point Bonus When Purchasing IHG Or Hilton Points

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Update: The IHG bonus offer ends tonight!

Originally posted on 06/16:

-IHG: Get 100% bonus points through 06/30.
120,000 points would cost $690 (0.575 cents per point).

-Hilton: Get 100% bonus points through 06/17.
160,000 points would cost $800 (0.5 cents per point).

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 but with the current sale you can buy them directly for less than that without jumping through hoops. And that hack requires that you have points to start with.

You can get the lowest rate with this promotion by buying between 26K-60K points and your point purchase will be doubled.  26K points will become 52K points for $299. 50K points will become 100K points for $575.  Or 60K points will become 120K points for $690.

This promotion expires on 06/30.

You can purchase 120K points per member per year, so you can get up to 240K points with this promotion in 2 transactions of 60K each.  You can also buy up to 120K points as a gift for the same member that already purchased, so you can get up to 480K points per member from this promotion in total.

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 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 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 several IHG hotels in Israel:
Holiday Inn Ashkelon: 10K ($57.50 with this promo)
Crowne Plaza Jerusalem: 20K ($115)
Crowne Plaza Dead Sea: 30K ($172.50)
Crowne Plaza Eilat: 30K ($172.50)
Crowne Plaza Haifa: 30K ($172.50)
Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach: 30K ($172.50)
Hotel Indigo Tel Aviv Diamond District: 30K ($172.50)
Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv City Center: 30K ($172.50)
InterContinental David Tel Aviv: 40K ($230)

Hilton normally sells points for 1 cent each, which drops to half a cent with this promotion.
As far as the potential value, take the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, probably the nicest hotel in the entire country. A 5 night stay from October 11-16 for example would run $620/night (plus 18% VAT for locals). However it’s just 64K points per night with a 5 night stay or 80K points per night without a 5 night stay.
When buying points for 0.5 cents each that’s just $320 per night on a 5 night stay or $400 per night without a 5 night stay.

Need the full 320K points for a 5 night stay? Just open 2 Hilton accounts in your name, purchase 160K points in each, and then merge the accounts via this link.

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HURRY! Unprecedented United Transcontinental Lie-Flat Business Class Award Space For Your Entire Family!

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Update: I reached out to United and they responded that the Newark to Los Angeles and S. Francisco flights will have kosher meals in business class effective 10/25 when the p.s. service shifts from JFK to Newark.

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United announced last week that they will be abandoning JFK after 10/24.

They have now loaded the Newark to Los Angeles and S. Francisco routes exclusively with 757 aircraft that have lie-flat business class seating with the shift of the United p.s. flights from JFK to Newark. This change takes effect on 10/25. 

Typically lie-flat business class saver award availability on these routes are hard to come by, but it’s wide open right now.

Here is a award search from Newark to Los Angeles for 1 passenger with the calendar limited to showing nonstop flights only. The availability is surprisingly good:

 

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Here’s the same search for 8 passengers on nonstop flights only.  This level of availability for 8 passengers on the same nonstop transcontinental flight in a lie-flat seat is completely unprecedented.

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Same story for the return and for the EWR-SFO route.

You can book a one-way flight in United business class for 17.5K Lufthansa miles (an SPG transfer partner, not-instant), 20K Singapore miles (AMEX, Chase, Citi, and SPG transfer partner, none of which are instant), 25K Air Canada miles (transfers instantly from AMEX or non-instantly from SPG) or 25K United miles (transfers instantly from Chase).

You can connect stopover for as long as you want in LAX or SFO on the way to Hawaii for 30K Singapore miles, 35K Lufthansa miles, or 40K Air Canada or United miles each way.

United has yet to announce whether you’ll be able to order kosher meals when flying business class on the new p.s. flights from Newark. Currently the p.s. flights are only operated from JFK and they do offer kosher meals. Regardless, I’ve never had an issue having a United flight attendant warm up my own double-wrapped kosher meal that I brought onboard.

Grab a seat while it lasts!

HT: 12HRS, via DDF and TPG

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Membership Rewards Canada: 25% Bonus For Transfers Into British Airways Avios; Thoughts On The Future Of Avios Transfers From US Based Programs

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Related post (Read this first!): -Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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Membership Rewards Canada: 25% Bonus For Transfers Into British Airways Avios

This promotion applies for Canadian cards only.  Through 09/30, transfers from Membership Rewards Canada to British Airways will be at a 1K:1.25K ratio.

This promotion does not apply for transfers from US based AMEX Membership Rewards cards.

Destination charts for nonstop flights from Montreal and Toronto that can be booked with Avios can be found in this post.  With flights starting at just 4.5K Avios in coach and 9K Avios for a lie-flat business seat there are some real bargains.  With the 25% bonus that means that a coach award will start at just 3.6K AMEX points and a business award will start at 7.2K AMEX points.

It’s interesting to note that it appears that Membership Rewards Canada will continue to transfer to British Airways at a 1K:1K ratio even after 10/01 when Membership Rewards US drops to a 1K:800 ratio.

That leads me to believe that the ratio decrease was due to pressure from Chase, which doesn’t compete in the Canadian market.  We’ve seen this play out before when Chase arranged with Continental and United to have their transfer ratios from Starwood drop from 20:25K to 20K:12.5K.  And Continental/United dropped out of the Membership Rewards program to become exclusive with Chase, though those airlines have always had more exclusivity with Chase than British Airways.

True, Chase also decreased the British Airways Avios earning on the Chase BA card from 1.25/dollar to 1/dollar.  But moving the US AMEX transfer ratio down keeps their own US based card look better.  Of course the truth is for spending that their other cards like Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink are better for Avios earnings due to their superior bonus spending categories.  All Chase transfers are at a 1K:1K ratio and I don’t envision that changing anytime soon.  Chase also doesn’t believe in offering transfer bonus promotions.

In fact the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card can still do better than any of the Chase cards, even with the upcoming decreased ratio.  With 30 purchases in a month it earns 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on gas and Uber, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries.  If you want Avios that means it effectively earns 1.2 Avios per dollar everywhere, 2.4 Avios per dollar on gas and Uber, and 3.6 Avios per dollar on groceries after the upcoming devaluation.  Those numbers are still higher than on Chase cards.

If you don’t want to deal with getting to 30 transactions per month you can use the Starwood Consumer AMEX or the Starwood Business AMEX which will effectively earn 1.25 Avos per dollar everywhere thanks to the 20K:25K transfer ratio.

The AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card and the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card offer 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare from all airlines, not just British Airways. And they offer a plethora of other lucrative bonus categories on top of a $100 annual airline fee credit for the personal gold card.

Some bloggers have predicted that the devaluation of the Membership Rewards US to Avios transfer ratio means that we won’t see any more transfer bonuses to British Airways.  I’m not that pessimistic. There have been transfer bonuses at least annually from the US program to British Airways ever since Avios launched 4 years ago. My guess is that those bonuses continue, though a 25% bonus will only bring the transfer rate back up to parity.  A 50% bonus will make the ratio 1:1.2.  Those numbers aren’t great, but if you do have a card like Everyday Preferred earning 1.5-4.5 points per dollar everywhere it still means that transfers can be quite lucrative.

Avios have changed the way that many people travel on short-haul flights.  It’s no big deal for me to fly from Cleveland to Chicago or NYC for a day trip when it only costs 9,000 Avios instead of a same-day $1,200 flight.  Though with these changes I’m quite happy that I mistakenly (story here) transferred half a million AMEX points to British Airways during the US 40% promo earlier this year that they refused to reverse…

HT: zer0k1, via DDF

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The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Related:
-The Ultimate Hawaii Mileage Award Chart And Everything You Need To Know About The Hawaiian Islands

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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This updated chart below attempts to break down some of the best options for getting to Israel with miles.

See all of the possibilities along with the mileage booking policies of mileage program from around the world after the jump:

(more…)

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9,503 Spirit Miles For Free=Free Magazine And Newspaper Subscriptions!

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

You might have to pay me to fly Spirit, but I’ll still collect their miles.  They have an atrocious 3 month expiration policy, but they’re perfect for free magazine subscriptions.

Click here to redeem your Spirit miles for magazine and newspaper subscriptions 😀

Here’s how to get 9,503 Spirit miles for free.

You’ll need to have your Spirit number handy. You can signup for a new account here.

1. Get 501 miles via the voucher you’ll get by clicking on this link.

Just paste your Spirit number and you’ll get a certificate number.  Copy the certificate number (be careful not to copy any trailing spaces!) and click “redeem now.”  Paste your certificate number, select “Other,” and click submit.

You’ll now have 501 miles in your account.

2. Get 501 miles via the voucher you’ll get by clicking on this link.

Just copy the bottom certificate number and repeat the same process as above to get another 501 miles.

3. Get 501 miles via the voucher you’ll get by clicking on this link.

Just copy the bottom certificate number and repeat the same process as above to get another 501 miles.

That will give you a total of 1,503 miles instantly.

Then you can get another 8,000 miles here by letting Spirit know which airline annoys you the most and why.

Those miles currently take about 1 month to post and it won’t work if you’ve done it in the past unless you open a new account.

HT: wcalvert, via FT

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

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 06/21 and 06/27 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 buy 2 $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $13.90 in card fees. (A $200 gift card and a $100 gift card would have $12.90 in fees).

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. To signup for card offers you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for card offers. Then just click on the link to View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. Plus you’ll get the $20 Visa card via Easy Rebate to bring your cost basis down to $393.90 without accounting for the points.

Even without the rebate, 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 earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% 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 $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% 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 load up to $1,000 of gift cards per transaction with no limit on the number of gift cards used for a split tender.
-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 stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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Brussels Airlines Awards Are Bookable On United.com Once Again

Monday, June 15th, 2015

In the past, I’ve spent several slides at DansDeals seminars instructing people to use websites like ANA and Air Canada to find award space that United.com won’t find.

For more advanced award bookers it’s been a blessing in disguise. It meant that fewer people knew how to book that award, which meant better award availability. Just last week I was able to find plenty of award space to Europe this summer on dates that when United.com came back with a goose egg.

For Israel that included flights on Lot Polish and Brussels. LOT came back to United.com late last year and now Brussels is back on United.com as well:

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United.com is much more adept at finding partner award space than AA.com or Delta.com is.  Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing depends on your perspective.

United still offers a free stopover on award tickets.  If you’re willing to stopover in Brussels you can find even better award space by searching for NYC-Brussels separately from Brussels-Tel Aviv.  After searching for each of those segments separately as a one-way award you can use the multiple destination award search to book an award by specifying NYC-Brussels and then Brussels-Tel Aviv, or you can call to stitch together an award.

United has dozens of partner airlines which means lots of award opportunities. However not all of them are currently bookable online, you’ll have to call (or use the Aeroplan or ANA sites) to get the full picture:

United partners that currently must be booked over the phone:
-Air Dolomiti
-Cape Air
-Great Lakes Airlines
-Jet Airways
-Shenzhen
-Singapore

And here’s the list of partners currently bookable on United.com:
-Adria Airlines
-Aegean Airlines
-Aer Lingus
-Aeromar Airlines
-Air Canada
-Air China
-Air India
-Air New Zealand
-ANA
-Asiana Airlines
-Austrian Airlines
-Avianca Airlines
-Azul Brazilian Airlines
-Brussels Airlines
-Copa Airlines
-Croatia Airlines
-Egyptair
-Ethiopian Airlines
-EVA Air
-Germanwings
-Hawaiian Airlines
-Island Air
-LOT Polish
-Lufthansa
-Scandinavian Airlines
-Silver Airways
-South African Airways
-Swiss International Airlines
-TAP Portugal
-THAI
-Turkish Airlines

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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

Update, 06/11: This post has been updated with the current information on the Avios program including Avios new award charts and why some flights like Philadelphia-Toronto in business class now cost fewer Avios than they did before.

Originally posted on 01/14/15:

British Airways 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, but most programs are not great for short flights.

In 2011 BA launched the Avios program and since then it has continued to provide an incredible value for short-haul flights.  A last-minute one-way flight that would otherwise cost $600 can be had for just 4,500 Avios plus $5.60.

Everything you need to know about the program can be found after the jump:

(more…)

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Earn 1,000 American AAdvantage Miles For Free!

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Update, 06/11: This promotion ends tomorrow at 1pm EDT.

Originally posted on 04/29:

Promotion Linky

If you watch the six videos and answer the questions via the link above you will earn 1,000 free American Airline miles.

First go to the link and enter a destination. Then you will be moved to a page with 6 video options. You can skip to the end of the videos and enter the answers provided below. After the video you will enter your information and the 1,000 bonus miles will be deposited into your account 6 to 8 weeks after this promotion ends. This will extend the life of all your miles by another 18 months.

Bonus Miles earned by each entrant will be allocated to entrant’s AAdvantage account approximately 8 weeks after the end of Promotion Period.

1. Principles of redeeming miles
Question: Most people redeem there AAdvantage miles for?
Answer: Flights

2. Inside Elite Benefits
Question: Which is not a level of AAdvantage elite Status?
Answer: Iron

3. Exploring My Account
Question: You can save what information in your AAdvantage account?
Answer: All of the above

4. Earning Miles with Credit Cards
Question: You save how much off your in-flight purchases when you use your American Airlines and US Airways operated flights?
Answer: 25% off

5. Earning with Partners
Question: How can you earn miles with AAdvantage Dining program?
Answer: Dining out

6. Seeing the world: Flying & Earning
Question: American Airlines offers around how many daily flights?
Answer: 6,700

HT: maayanky, via DDF

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Signup For A Copa Mileage Account And Get 4,000 Miles

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Copa used to majority owned by Continental and they used Continental’s OnePass mileage program instead of having their own program. They even adopted a very similar logo to Continental’s. When Continental moved from SkyTeam to the Star Alliance they brought Copa along with them. When Continental merged with United they brought Copa into MileagePlus and the globe logo continued to be used by both airlines.

However they’ve had disagreements with Copa about the elimination of distance based mileage earning in MileagePlus and Copa is now launching their own program that will earn miles based on distance flown.  Alas most United fares don’t earn full credit for distance flown, so the program doesn’t replace Singapore as one of the best places to credit your United flights to for 100% mileage earning.

Copa’s Star Alliance award chart very closely mirrors United’s award chart.

For now you can’t transfer any miles into Copa, though I’d imagine that we’ll see transfer partnerships in the future.

You can get 4,000 miles for enrolling in the Copa program here.
You’ll get 1,000 miles instantly for enrolling and another 2,000 miles instantly for completing your profile after creating your account for a total of 3,000 miles that will post instantly. Another 1,000 miles will post with the hard launch of the program in July.

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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Will American’s New Service To Sydney Open Up Any Premium Cabin Award Space?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Update, 3pm: American will indeed add daily Los Angeles-Sydney service on their new 77W aircraft featuring lie-flat business and first class effective 12/17/15. Qantas will also be adding S. Francisco-Sydney service effective 12/20/15.  Tickets are not yet on sale for either route.

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American is poised to announce at 3pm that they will finally begin flying from Los Angeles to Sydney, duplicating a route currently served by Delta, Qantas, United, and Virgin Australia.  Well, they didn’t announce that they will be flying that route or even that they will fly to Australia, but the Kangaroo in their tweet is a bit of a giveaway and it’s only logical route for them to serve.

Oh how I wish they flew to Australia 10 years ago when I had several American systemwide free tickets thanks to the AVNYC promotion…

 

Park Hyatt Sydney and Sydney Opera House. Picture taken from Sydney Harbour Bridge:

 

Business and first class saver award space between the US and Australia can be difficult to find.

Delta rarely has saver award space on their own planes, though you can use 80K Delta miles for a one-way business class award on Virgin Australia, which has decent availability.

United has decent premium cabin award space within a few weeks of travel on their own planes, and the value is pretty good, 40K coach, 70K business, and 80K first.  United also allows you to route from the US to Australia via Asia and allows for a free stopover and a free open jaw.  That means you can get very creative at opening award space as long as you don’t mind the extra travel time.

If you’re already in a place like Hong Kong (say you used 67.5K American miles to fly in first class on Cathay Pacific) you can actually take advantage of one of the best awards in the entire United system.  It’s just 30K miles to fly business class or 40K miles to fly first class from Hong Kong to Australia via Thailand.  In Bangkok you’ll be shuttled from your plane to a free hour-long massage in the Thai first class lounge.  On a round-trip you can even stopover in Thailand and have an open jaw between Sydney and Melbourne for free.

It only costs 37.5K American miles in coach, 62.K in business, or 72.5K in first class to fly from the US to Australia.  However American has much stricter routing rules, not allowing to you to fly via Asia to Australia without purchasing a 2nd award.  American doesn’t currently fly to Australia, which leaves Qantas as the only good option for which you can redeem American miles on.

It wasn’t always this way.  In 2010 I redeemed for an around-the-world OneWorld award in first class and wrote about our experiences in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Melbourne/Great Ocean Road, and Sydney, though I never did finish writing about Tasmania, Hamilton Island, and Hong Kong. We flew Qantas first class from Hong Kong to Melbourne as part of that 20 segment journey around the world.  That award allowed you to route however you wanted but the option was eliminated as part of the AAdvantage MAAsacre (That was just part 1. Parts 2 and 3 will come later this year or next with the switch to revenue based mileage earning, a devalued award chart, and possibly systemwide upgrades that have a fare class requirement)

Unfortunately Qantas is notoriously stingy with the premium cabin award space. They do sometimes release some space within a week of the flight, but for the most part they only release award space 355 days before the flight when they open their schedule.  American only allows booking 330 days into the future, meaning that people with British Airways Avios or Qantas miles can snap up those award seats before people with American miles can.  However British Airways and Qantas both charge insane amounts of miles and fuel surcharges for premium cabin awards to Australia, making that a poor solution.  One workaround would be to book an award with British Airways 355 days into the future, pay the $55 cancellation penalty, and hope that the award goes back into inventory so that you can rebook it with American miles.  But aside from the $55 gamble, that approach takes a whole lot of BA Avios, 2 one-way first class seats from Los Angeles to Melbourne would require that you are sitting on 400K Avios in addition to 145K American miles.

It seems from American’s tweet that this will be a joint venture with Qantas:

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Is it realistic to hope that American will release premium cabin award space on a joint venture with Qantas? At this point we don’t even know if the route will be served by a 77W with first class or by a 772 or 787 with just business class.  Either way there probably won’t be much award space, but hopefully it will be more than Qantas has.  American’s top-tier elites are sure to be delighted with the new route, thanks to their systemwide upgrades working on a more valuable route than ever before.

The best odds for premium cabin award space may be hoping for a glitch when they load the inventory for the flights.

Twice earlier this year we saw glitches open up tons of premium cabin award space on tough routes like Tel Aviv.  I booked 6 awards on that glitch for us to fly with our in-laws to Israel for Purim in business class using American miles.

Can we hope for another glitch like that to occur when this route goes for sale?

If I can hope that the Cavs can pull off an against-all-odds miracle to bring Cleveland its first championship in 51 years, then surely we can hope for wide open award space down under as well :)

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

Friday, June 5th, 2015

This chart has been updated as of 06/05/15 to include an updated list of cities and new business and first class rates that went into affect in April.  
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Originally posted on 08/12/13.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios

Rates in the following charts are currently only accurate for travel in coach:
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From Montreal, Toronto, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, S. Francisco, And 6 Ohio Airports
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 29 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 196 Direct Avios Flights From Dallas
-Click to view 12 Direct Avios Flights From Johannesburg
-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
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 99 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 NYC that can be booked with Avios.

Be sure to read this post 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.  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.

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. You can search Aer Lingus availability on United.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.

-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.

-The Chase British Airways Visa Signature offers 50,000 Avios for spending $2K. Until 06/30/15 the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year as well.

To signup you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for card offers. Then just click on the link to View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card awards 25K signup points with the annual fee waived for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus, however point transfers can take a couple of days.

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

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 consumer charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.  Business charge cards include the Business Platinum Card and the Business Gold Rewards Card

Until 09/30 AMEX MR points normally transfer instantly at 1:1 to Avios but effective 10/01 the ratio from AMEX to Avios will become 250:200.  AMEX has run transfer bonuses from 20%-50% at least annually since the launch of Avios in 2011.

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View the complete 99 route chart after the jump:

(more…)

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American Express Membership Rewards To British Airways Avios Transfer Devaluation Effective 10/01

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Related:
Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners
Membership Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners

Grant reports that in his latest AMEX Platinum card statement it states that the transfer ratio from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios will be devalued.

I jumped onto AMEX chat to confirm the news and unfortunately the rep confirmed that information to me,

“Effective October 1, 2015, for every 250 Membership Rewards points that Card Members transfer to the British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus programs, they will receive 200 Avios. Card Members must transfer points to these loyalty programs in increments of 250. Refer to Changes to the Card Member Agreement – June 2015.”

Ouch.

It’s an odd change. After all, transfers to Avios have been bonused relatively frequently.

Unlike Grant, I do still think we’ll see bonus promotions in the future, but a 25% bonus will only bring the transfer back to parity. A 40% bonus will mean that 1,000 AMEX points will net 1,120 Avios instead of 1,400.

This comes on the heels on the Chase British Airways card dropping the earn per spend on the BA Avios card from 1.25 Avios per dollar to just 1 per dollar.

Transfers from Starwood Starpoints to British Airways Avios remains 20K to 25K, so purchases on the Starwood card can continue to earn 1.25 Avios per dollar spent.
Transfers from Chase to British Airways Avios remain 1K to 1K.
But in 4 months from now (barring any bonuses or further changes), 1K AMEX points will only yield 800 Avios.

How will this change what credit card you use? Will you spend more on your Starwood or Chase Sapphire Preferred/Freedom/Ink card? Will you still take advantage of 1.5 points per dollar everywhere on Everyday Preferred and keep holding off for transfer bonuses? Will you transfer lots of points from AMEX to British Airways before October? Sound off in the comments!

HT: Yosef, via DDF

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

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 05/24 and 05/30 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 buy 2 $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $13.90 in card fees. (A $200 gift card and a $100 gift card would have $12.90 in fees).

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. To signup for card offers you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for card offers. Then just click on the link to View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. Plus you’ll get the $20 Visa card via Easy Rebate to bring your cost basis down to $393.90 without accounting for the points.

Even without the 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 earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% 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 $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% 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 load up to $1,000 of gift cards per transaction with no limit on the number of gift cards used for a split tender.
-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).
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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I’m Not Switching Back From REDcard To Serve. Yet.

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

I broke the news last week that Target would no longer allow REDcards to be loaded with a credit card.

That took a lot of the luster off the card, but at least you are still able to load gift cards to it.

Promotions like the current Office Max and Office Depot deal make this very lucrative.  While Visa gift cards normally carry fees, they are actually sold below face value when they have promotions like this.

Loading $10,000 on gift cards onto 2 REDcards in 2 days is a quick 50,000 miles when you buy those gift cards on an Ink card earning 5 points per dollar.  Of course if you and your spouse did that spending on 2 new Chase Ink Plus cards that would mean 170,000 points with the current limited time offer for the cards that runs until 05/25. To signup you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for card offers. Then just click on the link to View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

Loading the gift cards onto REDcard isn’t a major pain because you can load them all in one transaction.

If you have 5 of the $200 Visa gift cards from Office Max just give your REDcard to the Target cashier and ask to load $1,000 from your debit card. Then swipe one of the gift cards (which function just like a debit card) and enter the last 4 digits of the card number as the PIN code. The machine will then ask you if you want to load the full amount from that card. Just select no and tell the cashier that you want to load $200 from the card.  Do the same thing with the rest of your gift cards until you get to $1,000.

The funding limits are the same as with a credit card, $1,000 per transaction, $2,500 per day, $5,000 per month per REDcard.

Even without a gift card promotion it’s still worth paying for gift cards. You can buy $200 Visa gift cards online from Staples for $206.95.  Buying 1,035 miles for a $6.95 is still a ridiculously good deal.  That like paying $200 for a lie-flat business class seat nonstop from Newark to Hawaii (30K Singapore miles to fly on United at a cost of 0.67 cents per mile), $200 for a night at normally $1,500/night Park Hyatt hotels from Sydney to the Maldives, or $384 for a Singapore suite from JFK to Frankfurt.

So REDcard still works fine for my purposes. However Serve does has advantages over REDcard.

The biggest one is that Serve comes with 4 additional users and each qualify for AMEX Offers and Small Business Saturday.

Serve can also be loaded via gift cards at WalMart ATM machines, but those machines are often permanently down in many Walmart stores.

You can also load $1,000 from AMEX cards onto Serve online. You don’t earn miles for AMEX issued cards, but the spending does count towards meeting the threshold for signup bonuses.  There are also non AMEX-issued AMEX cards, like the Citibank American Airlines AMEX that would earn miles for online loads to Serve.

The major advantage of REDcard over Serve for me is that Target employees are happy to load my giftcards onto REDcard.  At Walmart they make it seem like I’m a criminal for doing so.

REDcard can also accept loads from Mastercard and Vanilla Visa gift cards that are difficult to load to Serve.

So for now I’ll stick with REDcard.  But when my local Target stores decide to disallow gift card funding I’ll make the switch without a doubt.

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REDcard Testing, Post Cinco de Mayo Memo

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Yesterday I broke the news with the confirmation of a Target memo that May 5th would be the final day to load REDcards with a credit card.

Last night I did my final REDcard loads via a credit card.

This morning I went back to test the waters. Here are the results:

-Credit cards are indeed hard coded so that they can’t be loaded to REDcard, even if the cashier tries.
-Credit cards are also hard coded so that they can’t be loaded to the older American Express for Target cards, even if the cashier tries.
-I was able to use a Vanilla issued Visa gift card (like those sold at Office Depot and 7-Eleven) by using the last 4 digits of the card number as the PIN.
-I was able to use a Metabank issued Visa gift card (like those sold at Office Max and Staples) by using the last 4 digits of the card number as the PIN.
-I was not able to use a Staples Visa rebate card as the last 4 digits didn’t work as a PIN.
-I was not able to use an AMEX gift card as it also doesn’t have a PIN.

So not all is lost. They were very easy-going about loading gift cards to REDcard. And you are able to use multiple gift cards in one transaction using split tender.

You can still load $5,000 of Visa gift cards onto each REDcard per month.  If you have an Ink card that’s 25,869 miles per month if you buy the Visa gift cards at an office supply store earning 5 points per dollar.  Yes, you’ll pay $173.75 in gift card fees as opposed to it being free previously.  But being able to obtain miles for that cheap is a bargain.  A first class award in a lie-flat bed on an 11 hour flight Newark to Honolulu is just 30K Singapore miles.  Or a Singapore suite from JFK to Europe is 57K miles.

Of course when the gift cards go on sale the numbers change completely. Currently you can get gift cards for below face value at Office Max and Office Depot.  Or you can just buy gift cards online from Staples.

Don’t have an Ink card yet? The Ink Plus and Ink Cash cards are both offering 10K more points than normal for signups by 05/25.

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El Al Matmid: NYC To Tel Aviv For 20K AMEX Points Plus $160

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Update, 05/06: The rates have gone back up to 800 Matmid points each way.
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El Al is back with yet another discounted award promotion for flights from NYC to Tel Aviv.

The normal summer rate from NYC to Tel Aviv is 1,000 Matmid points (50K AMEX points) each way plus fuel surcharges.
The summer rate for Executives from NYC to Tel Aviv is 800 Matmid points (40K AMEX points) each way plus fuel surcharges.

With this currently unadvertised promotion for “Executives,” a one-way flight from NYC to Tel Aviv is 400 Matmid points (20K AMEX points) plus $160 in taxes and fuel surcharges.
A round-trip from NYC to Tel Aviv is 800 Matmid points (40K AMEX points) plus $355 in taxes and fuel surcharges.

This promo appears to only be valid for one-way or round-trip coach awards that originate from NYC.  It did not work for awards originating from Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto, or Tel Aviv and it doesn’t work for business or first class awards.

It’s easy to obtain Matmid executive status.  A transfer of just 5,000 points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. Your account should reflect executive member status within about 24 hours from the transfer. You can transfer points from AMEX to El Al instantly via this link.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

-Departures valid between May 5 and July 18, 2015.
-Returns valid any time.
-The booking deadline for this promotion is currently unknown and can end at any time.

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer instantly to El Al and can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

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 easily add credit to your Amazon account 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.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card.

HT: Million Miler, via DDF

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Today Is The Final Day To Load A REDcard With A Credit Card.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

For the past 8 months I’ve been enjoying boatloads of free miles thanks to the Target REDcard and I’ve written about it several times since then. My local store had no problem loading up multiple cards with $2,500 per day from a credit card that earned 1.5 miles per dollar or from gift cards.

DDF member Dr. Moose reports that a memo went out today to all Target stores that effective tomorrow, credit cards will no longer be an acceptable form of REDcard funding.

I confirmed that memo with my local Target as well.

It was never question of if, but a question of when. Deals like this are just too good to last long-term.

Of course the real question is if we’ll still be able to use gift cards (that can be purchased from office supply stores earning 5 points per dollar) to load REDcard when swiped as a debit card with pin.

We should know that by tomorrow and that will determine whether it’s time to switch back to Serve.  My guess is that they will work, but that it will be up to each store and likely each cashier.

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$20 Off $300 Of Visa Gift Cards From Office Depot And Office Max

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Office Depot and Office Max are offering $20 off instantly on $300 worth of Visa gift cards. This is valid in-store only through 05/16.

Office Depot sells $100 and $200 Vanilla Visa cards that you can pay with a credit card.  The variable Vanilla cards are cash only, but the ones with a fixed amount are payable with a credit card.

Office Max sells $100 and $200 Metabank Visa gift cards that you can pay with a credit card.

The $100 gift cards normally cost $105.95 and the $200 gift cards normally cost $206.95

Officially there is a limit of 2 $20 off offers per person, though not all cashiers will enforce that.

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card to get 5 points per dollar spent. To signup you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for card offers. Then just click on the link to View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice. Both Ink cards have a limited time increased signup bonus until 05/25.

2 of the $200 cards will cost $413.90-$20=$393.90. Plus you’ll earn 1,970 points.

3 of the $100 cards will cost $317.85-$20=$297.85. Plus you’ll earn 1,490 points.

1 of the $100 cards and 1 of the $200 cards will cost $312.90-$20=$292.90. Plus you’ll earn 1,465 points.

You can then use those gift cards on everyday purchases to earn 5 points per dollar everywhere.

Or you can liquidate the cards by loading them onto REDcard or by buying money orders to cash them out.  You can upload a MetaBank Visa to Serve or Bluebird at a Walmart ATM (or a willing cashier) without limits but when uploading Vanilla Visa cards to Serve or Bluebird at a WalMart ATM machine you may need to limit it to $49.99 per transaction.

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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El Al Matmid: Book Discounted Spring And Summer Award Travel With No Fuel Surcharges Until Sunday! NYC To Tel Aviv For 65K AMEX Points Plus $69 Round-Trip!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Awards

El Al has a very decent spring/summer travel sale for coach awards across the globe, including travel between Tel Aviv and North America, South Africa, Europe, or the Far East. Click on the link above for full details.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s pretty easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. You should have executive status within about 24 hours from the transfer.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

With this sale, executives will pay just 650 Matmid points one-way or 1,300 Matmid points for round-trip travel between JFK, Newark, or Toronto and Tel Aviv.  That’s equal to 65,000 AMEX points round-trip.  The normal summer price is 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX)

Tickets between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv for executives will be 750 points one-way or 1,500 points for round-trip travel. That’s equal to 75,000 AMEX points round-trip. The normal summer price is 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX)

But even better is that you’ll pay no fuel surcharges on these discounted awards! Normally those add $355, but with this sale you’ll pay just $69 tax on a round-trip flight!

-Valid for awards booked by May 3.
-Departures valid between May 1 and July 18, 2015.
-The return flight officially needs to be completed by July 31, but from searching it appears that the return can actually be done at any time at the discounted rate.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer instantly to El Al and can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

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 easily add credit to your Amazon account 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.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card.

HT: Million Miler, via DDF

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Today Is The Last Day To Book Southwest Awards Before Mystery Devaluation

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Today is the last day to book Southwest awards before the mystery devaluation occurs tomorrow.

Southwest originally launched Rapid Rewards 2.0 with 60 points being worth $1 of “wanna get away” fares.  On 03/31/14 they decided that was too generous and adjusted that to make 70 points worth $1 of “wanna get away” fares.

Varying taxes can make Southwest points worth anywhere from 1.6-1.9 cents each.

Now they are moving away from a set value completely and will move towards the JetBlue model where there is a greater variance in what their points are worth based on a non-published formula.

Or in their own words,

“We created Rapid Rewards because we think you deserve to actually feel rewarded. And, from time to time we must make some updates to our program. Beginning April 17, 2015, the number of Rapid Rewards Points needed to redeem for certain flights will vary based on destination, time, day of travel, demand, fare class, and other factors. However, there are still many flights which will stay at the current redemption rate. And don’t forget that when fares go on sale, so do the points needed for redeeming for a reward flight on those fares.”

That’s about as opaque as they could possibly get.

It’s bizarre that fixed value programs need to devalue. The thinking behind devaluations in traditional mileage programs is that as airfares climb, so should the mileage required. But when each mile has a set value, why is there ever a need to devalue?

Personally I chase the aspirational aspect of miles, which means I focus on the programs that offer outsized value for premium cabin awards. And I love the BA program which offers great flat-rate awards for short-haul flights.

But people do love the Southwest program for its baggage policy and for its companion pass program. When you earn 110K points in a calendar year you can bring along a companion for free on paid and award tickets until the end of the following calendar year.

The best part of the program is that they allow free redepositing of awards. Take advantage of that now to lock in award travel at current rates. Worst case is that you can always redeposit those points if you can’t take the trip.

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

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Update 04/14: Tomorrow will be the last day to load Serve cards from Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards online.

——————————————————————————

Update 03/15: Another one bites the dust…

From https://www.serve.com/help/#add-money-5
“Starting April 16, 2015 you will only be able to use an American Express® Card if you want to load your account with a credit card. Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards will no longer be supported after April 16.”

AMEX issued cards don’t earn miles on Serve loads (though they do count towards signup bonus threshold spending). However other banks that issue AMEX cards (like the Citi AA AMEX and the Fidelity AMEX) do award miles and should still work after 04/16.

Softcard itself is ceasing operations 03/31.

I’m still sitting pretty and taking full advantage of several Target REDcards for now, but like everything else, it too shall pass.
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Originally posted on 12/21/14:

Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use?

View Results

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

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Update, 04/09: ANA has updated the award chart that will go into affect this Sunday, April 12th.  They seem to have taken a page out of Delta’s playbook with the devaluation of an award chart before the award chart even came into play.

I’ve crossed out the rates from the original chart and posted the new rates that will go into effect on Sunday.

Additionally, ANA has announced that they will be keeping their current distance based award chart, but it will only be useable as a round-the-world award.  That means you can only fly around in the world in one direction, going either eastward or westward.  The minimum trip length is 10 days. You are allowed to take a whopping 8 stopovers on that award.

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Originally posted on 11/05/14:

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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 65K coach, 104K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 65K coach, 104K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 65K coach, 104K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 75K coach, 120K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 75K coach, 120K 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.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 75K coach, 120K 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 The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX 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 credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

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.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card.

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Fee-Free Visa Gift Cards At Office Depot And Office Max

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Update 2: This appears to be dead.

Update: AMEX and Mastercard gift cards are fee-free as well.
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Office Depot and Office Max stores aren’t currently charging the normal $5.95 or $6.95 fee for purchasing $100 or $200 Visa gift cards.

Office Depot sells $100 and $200 Vanilla Visa cards that you can pay with a credit card.  The variable Vanilla cards are cash only, but the ones with a fixed amount are payable with a credit card.

Office Max sells $100 and $200 Metabank Visa gift cards that you can pay with a credit card.

While reports are that the Office Depot fee-free cards are working nationwide, the Office Max cards are fee-free in some stores while other stores are still charging a fee.  You’ll know if it’s fee-free when you bring it to the register to pay…but I can confirm that both stores are fee-free in Kansas 😀

This is valid in-store only and can end at any time.

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card to get 5 points per dollar spent.   To signup for credit card offers like those you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for all other card offers. After clicking on “business card offers” just scroll through the pages until you find the card offer. Or just use the Creditcards.com home page link and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

That’s 1,000 points for each $200 card purchased.

You can then use those gift cards on everyday purchases to earn 5 points per dollar everywhere.

Or you can liquidate the cards by loading them onto REDcard or by buying money orders to cash them out.  You can upload a MetaBank Visa to Serve or Bluebird at a Walmart ATM (or a willing cashier) without limits but when uploading Vanilla Visa cards to Serve or Bluebird at a WalMart ATM machine you may need to limit it to $49.99 per transaction.

HT: MilesNpoints, via DDF

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Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable For Flights Between Atlanta, Edmonton, JFK, Miami, Minneapolis, And Tel Aviv, Europe, Or Russia

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

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, 50,000 miles each way in premium economy, 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 04/30.

-Travel is valid between 06/01-07/31.

-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:
-JFK to/from Tel Aviv, Europe, or Russia for 25K each way in premium economy.
-Miami to/from Tel Aviv, Europe, or Russia for 37.5K each way in premium economy.
-Minneapolis to/from Tel Aviv, Europe, or Russia for 31,250 miles each way in business class.
-Atlanta to/from Tel Aviv, Europe, or Russia for 46,875 miles each way in business class.
-Edmonton to/from Tel Aviv, Europe, or Russia for 46,875 miles each way in business class.

-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.

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 one-way premium economy ticket from JFK.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX 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 credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

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.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card.

-Citi Thank You Premier and Thank You Prestige cardholders can also transfer points into Flying Blue. To signup for credit card offers like those you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for all other card offers. Just use the Creditcards.com home page link and then scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

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

 

JFK-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

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Miami-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

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Minneapolis-Tel Aviv in business:

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Atlanta-Tel Aviv in business:

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Edmonton-Tel Aviv in business class:

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With The Chase British Airways Credit Card Being Devalued, What’s The Best Credit Card To Use For Everyday Spending To Earn British Airways Avios?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Related post (Read this first!): Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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British Airways Avios are one of the most useful mileage currencies for short-haul travel.  With domestic free flights on American or USAirways for just 4,500 points plus $5.60 that don’t have any close-in booking fees and that can be cancelled for just $5.60, the program is an easy way to rapidly accumulate free travel.  I’ve used 9,000 Avios for last minute round-trips that would have otherwise cost more than $1,000, so the value of their points can be stratospheric.

Effective 04/30 the Chase British Airways card will go down from earning 1.25 Avios per dollar spent to 1 per dollar spent.  As a consolation prize, purchases on British Airways will now earn 3 Avios per dollar, but there are other cards that earn 3 points per dollar on airfare.

There are still cards that you can use to earn more than 1 Avios per dollar spent on everyday purchases.

You can transfer points from Starwood, Membership Rewards, or Ultimate Rewards to British Airways Avios.

-The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX earn 1 Starpoint per dollar, but when you transfer 20K points into airline miles you get a 25% bonus, effectively making the earn rate 1.25 miles per dollar spent.  There are dozens of airlines to choose from, including British Airways.

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card earns 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on gas and Uber, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries when you make at least 30 transactions per month.

The Amex EveryDay Card has no annual fee and earns 1.2 Membership Rewards points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on groceries and Uber when you make at least 20 transactions per month.

It’s easy to track the number of your transactions and it’s easy to hit 30 with painless Amazon reloads or even parking meters.

-The AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card and the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card offer 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare from all airlines, not just British Airways. The Premier Rewards card also gives double points on gas and groceries and will give double points on dining effective 06/01.  It will also give a $100 airline fee credit and have no foreign transaction fee effective 06/01.

Several reports confirm that the Premier Rewards Gold card is also still giving 15K points for spending $30K in 2015.  That means you can earn up to 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on gas, groceries, and dining, and 4.5 points per dollar on airfare if you can reach the $30K hurdle in 2015.

Membership Rewards points from all of those cards can transfer to 16 airlines, including British Airways.  However AMEX also runs occasional transfer promotions to British Airways that range between 20-50%.  A 40% promotion ran earlier this year.  People who earned 1.2 or 1.5 points per dollar on everyday purchases with the everyday cards who transferred points into Avios during the 40% bonus transfer period effectively earned 1.7 or 2.1 Avios per dollar everywhere.

Of course once you start looking into categories besides everyday spend there are more opportunities.  Chase cards like Ink Plus and Ink Cash earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at office supply stores and on wireless, landline, and cable bills.  Freedom earns 5 or 5.5 points per dollar in rotating categories. And Sapphire Preferred earns 2 points per dollar on all dining and travel spending.  To signup for credit card offers like those you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for all other card offersAfter clicking on “cash back” “business”, or “travel” card offers just scroll through the pages until you find the card offer. Or just use the Creditcards.com home page link and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

In summary, there are lots of great cards to use to rack up those Avios.  The Chase British Airways card offers a sweet 50K signup bonus with the annual fee waived for the first year for a limited time, but with the upcoming card downgrade they’ve taken away the incentive to use the card on everyday spend.

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BA Avios Hacked, Are Your Points Still In Your Account?

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Update: Several people are reporting that their Avios are back. Check your account and post if your Avios are still missing or if they have been returned.  You may need to do a password reset to login to your account.

The Guardian covered the hack yesterday, but BA never even informed most people about what happened.

——————————————————————————————————-

Originally posted on 03/27:

Several DDF members are reporting that their BA Avios accounts that should have points in them, are reflecting 0 Avios.

Apparently several BA accounts have been hacked and points have been used, so BA has preemptively drained the Avios out of many BA Avios accounts before more damage could be done.

If you do have trouble logging into your account if your account shows an incorrect 0 balance you can call British Airways at 800-452-1201 to re-verify your identity and regain full access to your Avios. It may take a day for online access to be restored, but if you do need to make a booking now they should be able to do it over the phone and waive the phone booking fee.  Or you can just wait for BA to sort this all out within the coming weeks and they should send you an email to reset your password once they are done.

These attacks have been happening more and more often as of late. Hilton and United among other loyalty programs both have had their troubles with mass account hacking.

While the loyalty programs will always make good for points used by hackers, it’s always important to check your balances frequently for discrepancies and to maintain a strong password.

HT: sruly, via DDF

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United: Discounted Awards To Hawaii, Brazil, And Chile

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Bookable on United.com

-Award travel on United from the US49/Canada to Hawaii is normally 45K miles round-trip.
With this discount it will be 36K miles if both dates fall within the promotion or 40.5K miles if one date falls within the promotion.
-Book by 04/19
-Travel on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
-Travel between 04/14-05/19
-Travel only valid on United and in coach.

In other words even if you travel one-way on a Sunday or before or after the promotion ends you can still get the discounted 40.5K rate if one-way falls within the promo rules.

Related post: The Ultimate Hawaii Mileage Award Chart And Everything You Need To Know About The Hawaiian Islands

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-Award travel on United from the US49/Canada to Brazil or Chile is normally 60K miles round-trip.
With this discount it will be 45K miles if both dates fall within the promotion or 52.5K miles if one date falls within the promotion.
-Book by 04/26
-Travel between now and 06/25
-Travel only valid on United and in coach. This effectively limits the promotion for travel to Santiago, Sao Paulo, or Rio de Janeiro.

In other words even if you travel one-way before or after the promotion ends you can still get the discounted 52.5K rate if one-way falls within the promo rules.

Sao Paulo and Rio both have great kosher restaurant options. Rio is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From Sao Paulo you can fly to Iguazu Falls for just 4.5K BA Avios to experience the most awe-inspiring waterfalls in the world.

From Santiago you can hop over to Easter Island for 12.5K BA Avios in coach or 25K in business on LAN, though you may have to call BA to get that booked. LAN even continues on from Easter Island to Papeete, home base for the stunning islands of Moorea and Bora Bora, for another 12.5K Avios.

Brazil charges a $160 Visa reciprocity fee for American citizens that don’t hold other citizenship. The visa lasts for 10 years.
Chile no longer charges a fee for Americans.

-The Chase BA card offers 50K Avios for signing up with the annual fee waived for the first year for a limited time.
-The Chase United card offers 35,000 miles for signing up and adding a free additional user with the annual fee waived for the first year. The United card also offers significantly expanded saver award availability, priority boarding, and free checked baggage.
-To signup for credit card offers like these you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for all other card offersAfter clicking on “Travel, Airline, and Hotel credit cards” just scroll through the pages until you find the card offer that you’re looking for.  Or just use the creditcards.com home page link and scroll down to view all card offers from each bank.

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Daily Getaway For 03/27 At 1pm: Hilton Points For Sale

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Daily Getaways Linky

With Daily Getaways you can purchase discounted travel packages, but you have to be really quick.  At 1pm EDT every weekday from now through April 22nd there is a new offering.

The best deals will sell out in seconds, so you need to be waiting on the page at 12:59pm and refreshing the page.  Be sure to have a Hilton number handy.

There are 3 Hilton packages that will be available to purchase at 1pm:

1. 100,000 points for $500

2. 150,000 points for $750

3. 250,000 points for $1,250

You can buy 1 of each package per Hilton account.  All packages effectively price points at 0.5 cents each.

There are some decent values to be had at some Hilton properties.

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is easily the finest hotel you’ll find in Israel.  The kosher breakfast is included with all rooms and is the stuff that dreams are made of.  A room from June 30-July 5 would set you back $3,750 at $750 per night. You need a whopping 80K points per night, but thanks to 5th night free on awards 5 nights would set you back 320K points.  That’s a value of 1.17 cents per point.

Of course the hotel isn’t always that expensive, the rates range between $450-$800 per night depending on the season.

If you were to buy 80K points at 0.5 cents each that would make the effective cost per night $400.  If you buy 320K points at 0.5 cents each for 5 nights that would make the effective cost per night $320.

It’s worth noting that the David Citadel opened as the Hilton Jerusalem but within a few years they grew tired of the royalty payments due to Hilton and they left the chain.  Similar things have happened to others chains in Jerusalem such the Sheraton Plaza and the Hyatt, so don’t just hoard onto points for stays years into the future if your only goal is the Waldorf Jerusalem.

And while Hilton points have been heavily devalued recently, there’s nothing stopping them from devaluing their points further.

Will you be a buyer today? What hotel redemption are you gunning for? Sound off in the comments!

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Excellent Business Class Availability To Europe On The Most Lucrative Transatlantic British Airways Avios Route

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Related post (Read this first!): Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
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British Airways Avios are awesome for short-haul domestic flights which have no fuel surcharges.  Flights that cross the Atlantic usually have fuel surcharges, but notable exceptions are flights on Air Berlin and Aer Lingus.

The Boston to Dublin and Boston to Shannon routes on Aer Lingus fall into the same zone as a flight from NYC to LA and therefore cost just 12.5K Avios each way in coach or 25K Avios each way in business class.  Those are incredible bargains, especially as they aren’t slammed with heavy fuel surcharges.

The JFK to Dublin route on Aer Lingus is 20K Avios each way in coach or 40K Avios each way in business class.

You can also use 4.5K Avios to fly from JFK or LGA to Boston, saving 3K Avios each way on a coach ticket or 10.5K Avios each way on a business class ticket versus flying nonstop from JFK.

Of course you can also use Avios to get to Boston or NYC:

Click here to view 29 Direct Avios Flights From Boston

Click here to view 102 Direct Avios Flights From NYC

It’s precisely these flights that British Airways is attacking in their upcoming devaluation on 04/28.  The Boston to Dublin route will increase to 37.5K Avios each way and the JFK to Dublin route will increase to 60K Avios each way.  Coach rates aren’t changing next month and neither are short-haul business class rates on popular routes like NYC-Toronto.

Aer Lingus flights don’t show up on BA.com, however Aer Lingus does partner with United and the availability generally matches what most BA agents have access to.  When calling BA to book travel on Aer Lingus be sure to have them waive the phone booking fee as you can’t book Aer Lingus flights online.

United charges 30K each way in coach and 70K each way in business, making this a great use of 12.5K or 25K Avios.

I searched for 4 seats on United.com from Boston to Dublin and from JFK to Dublin and availability was incredible.  In order to force the United.com award calendar to only display Aer Lingus flights just check the “nonstop flights only” button.

Note that the “nonstop flights only” button only works if there is nonstop availability on the date that you are searching, so just search for any of the dates in blue or green in the calendar below and then scroll to an earlier or later month as needed.

Dates in blue means business class only, while dates in green mean that both coach and business is available.

 

Boston-Dublin 4 passenger nonstop award calendar:

united1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JFK-Dublin 4 passenger nonstop award calendar:

united2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course you can fly from Dublin to elsewhere in Europe or to Israel with Avios on the cheap as well. Just remember that the Aer Lingus options won’t show up on BA.com.  In order to save on fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights on carriers besides Aer Lingus and Air Berlin you have to have earned at least 1 Avios in the previous 12 months.  A transfer of at least 1 Avios into your account will unlock those savings.

You can also use just 25,000 Singapore miles (transferable from all of the major currencies) to fly in business class between Europe and Israel.  You’ll have to call Singapore to book, but you can search award space on United.com for that as well. A routing via Zurich will yield lie-flat business class between Zurich and Tel Aviv.

HT: zow and EJB, via DDF

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10 Things You Need To Know For The Final Month Of The USAirways Dividend Miles Program

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Update: 03/24: Points 1, 2, and 3 have been updated with the program end dates.

Originally posted on 03/13:

1. The USAirways Dividend Miles Program will be combined with the American AAdvantage program on 03/28.

2. Tomorrow, 03/25, will be the final day to book USAirways awards.

3. You can use Points.com to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to USAirways via Air Canada Aeroplan.  You will get 84,011 USAirways miles for trading in 100,000 Aeroplan miles. This option will be going away shortly.

USAirways has been removed from Points.com as of 03/24!

4. American requires that Starwood point transfers must have the same name on the Starwood account as on the AA account in order to transfer Starpoints to miles.
USAirways does not require that the names match, you can transfer points to anyone.
Both offer 25,000 miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

So if you do want to transfer points to a friend go ahead and transfer Starpoints to their USAirways account now.

5. USAirways allows for a free stopover on award tickets. American does not.  Stopovers effectively allow you to travel to 2 places for as long as you want for the price of 1.

6. USAirways has incredibly generous routing rules.  American generally doesn’t allow you to transit a 3rd region when redeeming miles.

In other words if you wanted to fly from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong via Dusseldorf in Cathay Pacific first class you would need to redeem 2 separate AAdvantage awards. USAirways on the other hand would allow that routing on one award. At least for the next few weeks.

People have redeemed awards from the US to Asia with a stopover in Tel Aviv in business class for just 110K USAirways miles round-trip.  No chance of that happening with American.

Same goes for awards between North America and Australia. USAirways allows you to fly via Asia to Australia for 110K miles in business class with a free stopover.  On American you can’t fly to Australia via Asia unless you book 2 awards.

USAirways awards are also manually priced, and DDF members have been able to fly to Brazil with a connection in Mexico for just the price of a ticket to Mexico.  Others have flown to South Africa with a connection in Tel Aviv for 40K miles round-trip…

7. The USAirways credit card will be no longer be available to apply for once the program combine.

8. The 5,000 mile per award ticket discount for being a USAirways cardholder will be going away.

9. It’s still unknown if AAdvantage will launch a new award chart with the program merger.

10. USAirways sweet spots like off-peak coach awards to the Caribbean for 25,000 miles round-trip (20K for cardholders) and to Europe or South America for 35,000 miles round-trip (30K for cardholders) will be going away with the end of the program.

Other sweet spots, like 120K miles to fly to Asia on Cathay Pacific first class, will go away as well.

It’s been painful to lose valuable programs like Airtran, America West, Continental, and Northwest over the past decade.  The airlines have been able to push through lots of devaluations and I don’t doubt that a big one is coming for American this year.

But for the most part the age of consolidation in the US is over.  American, Delta, Southwest, and United are the victors and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

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Daily Getaway For 03/24 At 1pm: Discounted IHG Points

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Daily Getaways Linky

With Daily Getaways you can purchase discounted travel packages, but you have to be really quick.  At 1pm EDT every weekday from now through April 22nd there is a new offering.

The best deals will sell out in seconds, so you need to be waiting on the page at 12:59pm and refreshing the page.  Be sure to have a IHG number handy.

There are a lot of IHG packages available, so I don’t expect this one to sell out immediately as they would when Hyatt sells points at a discount (though the Hyatt sale will occur on Pesach this year, so I won’t have any shot at it this time around).

There are 4 IHG packages that will be available to purchase at 1pm:

1. 15K points for $90 (0.6 cents per point)

2. 25K points for $150.30 (0.601 cpp)

3. 50K points for $293 (0.586 cpp)

4. 100K points for $565 (0.565 cpp)

IHG runs PointBreaks which allows you to book rooms at rotating hotels for just 5,000 points per night.   That’s just $28.25 at .565 cpp or $30 at .6 cpp.

There are also good values to be had at high-end properties.  Intercontinental hotels in Bora Bora, London, Paris, Hong Kong, and other major cities cap out at 50K points, which can be a fraction of their full paid rate.

Will you be a buyer today? What hotel redemption are you gunning for? Sound off in the comments!

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Buy $250 In Visa Gift Cards From Staples And Get A Free $20 Visa Gift Card Via Easy Rebate

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

If you buy $250+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 03/15 and 03/21 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 buy 2 $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $13.90 in card fees. (A $200 gift card and a $100 gift card would have $12.90 in fees) Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent.   To signup for credit card offers like this you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for all other card offers.  After clicking on business credit card offers just scroll through the pages until you find the card offer that you’re looking for. The Ink Cash and Ink Plus are business credit cards and you will need to scroll through the pages of the business credit cards to find the offer.

That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. Plus you’ll get the $20 Visa card via Easy Rebate to bring your cost basis down to $393.90 without accounting for the points.

Even without the 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 earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% 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 $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% 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 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 gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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Change Or Create A Hilton Password And Get 1,000 Points And Extend The Validity Of Your Points For Another Year

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Update: Hilton has posted that this promotion is now officially live.  If you change your password between today and 03/25 you’ll get 1,000 Hilton points.

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Hilton has been the target of hackers taking over people’s account and draining them. Loyalty programs don’t hold account owners at fault for that, but it’s always important to monitor your accounts to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

They’ve added an annoying captcha on their website to help combat that, but a verified Hilton representative writes that Hilton will award 1,000 points to anyone that changes their existing password or that creates a new password between 02/19 and 03/08. Going forward PINs will no longer be accepted.

1. Click here to login to your account with your existing password or PIN.
2. On the left-hand side, under the “My Profile” section, click “Personal Information.”
3. Either change your existing password or create a new password if you don’t have one yet. Your new password must be at least 8 characters, contain at least 1 upper case letter, and contain at least 1 number or 1 special character.

1,000 Hilton points aren’t worth much, but they will extend the validity of your account balance for another year as you can see from this chart I posted yesterday.

HT: Matovu and FT

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El Al Matmid Discounted Award Tickets

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Awards

El Al has a pretty decent sale for coach awards across the globe, including travel between Tel Aviv and North America, South Africa, Europe, or the Far East.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s pretty easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

With this sale, executives will pay just 400 points one-way or 800 points for round-trip travel between JFK, Newark, or Toronto and Tel Aviv.  That’s equal to 40,000 AMEX points round-trip.

Tickets between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv for executives will be 500 points one-way or 1,000 points for round-trip travel. That’s equal to 50,000 AMEX points round-trip.

Fuel surcharges and taxes add $355 round-trip from the US to Tel Aviv, but they add only $183 USD ($228 CAD) to round-trip tickets from Toronto to Tel Aviv.

-Valid for awards booked by March 19.
-Tickets between the US and Tel Aviv are valid for departures between April 19-May 31. The return officially needs to be completed by July 18, but from searching it appears that the return can actually be done at any time at the discounted rate.
-Tickets between Toronto and Tel Aviv (and tickets between Tel Aviv and the rest of the world) are valid for departures between April 19-June 30. The return date also appears to be discounted for travel at any time.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from consumer cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card , The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Amex Platinum Card.

Business cards include The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card and The Business Platinum Card.
Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al.

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Softcard To Cease Operations 03/31

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Google purchased Softcard in order to knock out some of the competition and they announced today that the app will go away on 03/31.

When you open a Serve card in the Softcard app you get increased daily and monthly limits for free credit card funding.

It’s hard to say at this point if those limits will now be decreased, but I’d guess that the higher limits will stick around for those who opened their Serve card via Softcard.

I’ll miss the app itself. Not really for its intended purpose, but for all the free money they threw our way 😀

HT: issc29, via DDF

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The Ultimate Hawaii Mileage Award Chart And Everything You Need To Know About The Hawaiian Islands

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Related:
-The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

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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The updated chart below attempts to break down some of the best options for getting to Hawaii with miles.

See Hawaii travel tips, a list of every flight between the mainland US and Hawaii, and all of the mileage possibilities to Hawaii after the jump:

(more…)

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It’s Back: Discounted United Partner Business Awards To Europe And Asia

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Update 2, 02/28: This offer officially must be booked by tonight, 02/28.

I think United is realizing that they overpriced some of the partner award rates during their devaluation last year, so I won’t be surprised to see this sale return again.

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Update, 02/05: We’ve seen this offer come and go since last year without any official announcement, but United has finally made it official and published this list of 10 zones with discounted partner award pricing.

They’ve also published an end date. You have to ticket your award by 02/28/15.

While it says that previously booked travel isn’t eligible for a refund, people have reported success calling to have it repriced and have had miles refunded without paying any fee!

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Originally posted on 02/01:

These discounted partner awards were previously only valid until 03/31/15. They were bookable in December and the first half of January before they stopped working.

Apparently must have been happy with the results as they are back and can be booked for travel all the way through 12/31/15!

Discounted awards:

1. Fly one-way between the US and Europe on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 57.5K (normally 70K)
2. Fly one-way between the US and Central Asia on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 70K (normally 80K)
3. Fly one-way between the US and North Asia on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 70K (normally 80K)
4. Fly one-way between the US and South Asia on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 70K (normally 80K)
5. Fly one-way between Europe and the Middle East on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 35K (normally 45K)

See the full details after the jump:

(more…)

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