Category Archive for 'Miles'

It’s Time To Mileage Run! Earn Up To 75K Bonus JetBlue Points After Just 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!

Friday, June 24th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Earn Up To 75K JetBlue Points After 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!

JetBlue is offering bonus points for flying 1 round-trip flight if you have Virgin America Elevate points as follows:

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You need to email JetBlue a screenshot of your Virgin America point balance, name, and member number (along with your JetBlue member number) by 7/4 to participate. You can transfer Starpoints to Virgin America in just 1 day, so even if you have no points currently, a transfer of 40,001 Starpoints would give you 50,001 Virgin America Elevate points to qualify for the highest offer.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

You can also buy Starpoints for 30% off currently. Normally they cost 3.5 cents each, but with this sale they are just 2.45 cents each. If you you have 20,001 Starpoints already you can buy another 20K for $490 with this sale and then transfer them into 50,001 Virgin America points.

Points also transfer from Citi or AMEX to Virgin America, but at a paltry 2:1 ratio rather than the 20K:25K ratio that Starwood offers.

After emailing JetBlue and getting confirmation you just need to book and fly on any paid roundtrip on JetBlue by 8/31 to earn 75K bonus JetBlue points as shown in the chart above!

The bonus points will post within 4-6 weeks after the flight. The bonus points are in addition to the regular points you’ll earn from the paid flight.

Don’t have anywhere to fly? It can definitely be worth taking a mileage run to earn 75K points.

For example you can fly in and out of Boston from JFK for $120 or from Newark for $116.

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Or you can fly from Newark to Boston for $102 round-trip if you spend the night:

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What are these points worth?

Virgin America points:

Virgin America points will never expire, as long as you earn or redeem a point every 18 months.

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way Virgin flights (Prices were researched on 6/24 and will fluctuate). Note that Starpoint rates listed below are assuming that you maximize the 25% point bonus for transferring Starpoints in blocks of 20,000 points (which you may or may not be able to do depending on the number of passengers, so you may have leftover miles):
1. Los Angeles to Las Vegas on 7/12 is $38.10 or 1,173 Virgin points (about 938 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.78 cents per Virgin point (38.10-5.60/1,173) and 3.46 cents per Starpoint.
2. Newark to Los Angeles on 8/17 is $138.10 or 6,056 Virgin points (about 5,236 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.18 cents per Virgin point and 2.72 cents per Starpoint.
3. Chicago to Los Angeles on 8/23 is $128.10 or 5,568 Virgin points (about 4,454 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.2 cents per Virgin point and 2.75 cents per Starpoint.

The exact point requirements will vary based on the price of the Virgin flights, but those are some pretty sweet values!

You can also redeem points on partner airlines and you can view rates via this link.
Partners include Hawaiian, Singapore, and Virgin Australia with low or no fuel surcharges and Emirates or Virgin Atlantic with high fuel surcharges.

For example:
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Frankfurt on Singapore is just 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Honolulu on Hawaiian is 35K Virgin miles (about 28K SPG) in coach or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 15K Virgin miles+$475 (about 12K SPG) in coach, 25K Virgin miles+$790 (20K SPG) in premium economy, or 35K Virgin miles+$1,150 (about 28K SPG) in upper class, Virgin’s version of business class with an on-board bar with access to their highly-rated clubhouse lounges.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 25K Virgin miles+$475 (20K SPG) in coach, 30K Virgin miles+$790 (about 24K SPG) in premium economy, or 50K Virgin miles+$1,150 (40K SPG) in upper class.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco nonstop to any of the Hawaiian islands on Hawaiian is 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach or 50K Virgin miles (40K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Seoul on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Sydney on Virgin Australia is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach, 60K Virgin miles (about 48K SPG) in premium economy, or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business class.


JetBlue points:

-If you open a JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard you’ll get a 10% rebate whenever you use points, making the 75K points worth more than 82K points. Plus you’ll get 9-17 points per dollar on JetBlue, free checked luggage, 5,000 bonus points on every card anniversary, $100 cash back annually for spending $100+ on a JetBlue vacation, a 50% rebate for in-flight purchases, and no foreign transaction fees. If you spend $50K annually on the card you’ll also get Mosaic status which includes free changes and cancellations on JetBlue tickets for the Mosaic member and for everyone on their itinerary, 2 free checked bags, 15K bonus points for earning Mosaic status every year, free even more speed checkin and security access, early boarding, 3 additional points per dollar spent, free alcoholic beverages onboard, and a dedicated Mosaic 24/7 customer service line.

-JetBlue points never expire. JetBlue also allows families to pool their points together.

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way JetBlue flights (Prices were researched on 6/24 and will fluctuate).
1. Chicago to JFK on 7/26 is $78.10 or 4.8K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.51 cents per point (78.10-5.60/3,700). JetBlue Plus cardholders would effectively pay 4,320 points, a value of 1.68 cents per point.
2. JFK-Los Angeles on 8/22 is $138.10 or 9.2K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.44 cents per point. JetBlue Plus cardholders would effectively pay 8,220 points, a value of 1.61 cents per point.
3. Long Beach-Las Vegas on 7/4 is $43.10 or 2.2K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.7 cents per point. JetBlue Plus cardholders would effectively pay 1,980 points, a value of 1.89 cents per point.


In summary, you can expect a value of at least 2.2 cents per point from Virgin America points on their flights, so 20K Starpoints would earn at least $550 of Virgin America flight. Or you can redeem 20K Virgin America points for a round-trip flight to Europe!

That’s a very compelling use of Starpoints alone due to the 25% bonus for transferring points which will make your Starpoints worth at least 2.75 cents each. That’s more than Starpoints cost to buy with the current sale.

If you are also flying JetBlue by August, or if you want to take a mileage run for about $120, you can parlay those Virgin America points into another 75K JetBlue points that can be worth 1.5-1.7 cents each if you’re not a cardholder ($1,125-$1,275 of JetBlue flights) or 1.6-1.9 cents each if you are a cardholder ($1,200-$1,425 of JetBlue flights).

If you have no Virgin America points, then transferring 40,001 Starpoints would earn you 50,001 Virgin America points (At least $1,100 in Virgin America flights or 2.5 round-trips to Europe) and 75K bonus JetBlue points ($1,125-$1,425 in free JetBlue flights in addition to the points that you’ll earn from the JetBlue flight) after taking 1 paid round-trip JetBlue flight.

Will you participate in this promotion? Hit the comments!

HT: 12HRS, via DDF

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Save $10 Off $150 Or $20 Off $300 Of AMEX Gift Cards At Office Depot Or Office Max Stores

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Through 6/25 you can instantly save $10 off $150+ or $20 off $300+ of AMEX gift cards from Office Depot or Office Max stores.

A $100 and $200 gift card would cost $292.90 or 2 $200 gift cards would cost $393.90.

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent.

These cards don’t have PIN numbers, but it’s a good way to save on everyday purchases, or you can always donate them to a charity and get a receipt for the full value, give it as a wedding present, etc.

HT: raccah, via DDF

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Fly Between The US And Europe For 45,000 Miles Round Trip Instead Of 60,000 Miles.

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Update, 6/20: This sale is now open to all members!


Originally posted on 6/17:

Chase United cardholders and United elite members can book travel between the US and Europe for as low as 45K miles round-trip on United.com.

I’ll bump this post when the sale is open to the general public.

Not the most exciting sale as it’s only valid on United and only in coach, but this might be useful for some.

If you see dates showing 22.5K in coach, then you’ve found saver award space.

-You can book a round-trip or an open jaw with the discounted rates.
Examples of an “open jaw” include a flight from Newark to London on 9/11 and then back from Amsterdam to Newark on 9/18 is 45,000 miles plus $49 tax.
A flight from Los Angeles to London on 01/25 and then back from Zurich to Newark on 02/08 is 45,000 miles plus $59 tax.

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

Rules:
-Round-trip travel is required.
-Book by 6/28.
-Travel 8/23/16-3/31/17
-Blackout dates: 12/15/16-1/8/17.
-Discounted Saver Award is valid only for travel between the U.S. (excluding Hawaii) or Canada, and Europe.
-Valid only on United, not on partner airlines.
-Valid for travel to/from the US48, Alaska and Canada to/from Europe.
-Valid for coach saver awards only.
-Stopovers are not permitted.

If you have 1 segment that falls within the promo dates it will be discounted, even if the outbound or return segment doesn’t fall within the promo window.

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A Comparison Of AA, Delta, And United Saver Award Space: Is AAdvantage The New SkyPesos?

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Last Tuesday I showed in 23 bullet points just how far American has fallen as the USAir merger has dragged down their airline operations and mileage program. One of the points was that, in addition to a massive mileage devaluation and a ridiculously bad elite status devaluation, they also have cut back saver award space. Not long ago American had the best saver award space, but anecdotal evidence has been that American may now be the worst.

To make matters worse, AA has also massively increased the cost of a standard award. On United a standard mileage award is typically about double the cost of a saver award. On American that cost can be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 times as much as a saver award!

Historically Delta has long had the crown of the worst saver award space availability. Have things changed?

So I put it to the test last week and checked out nonstop saver award availability on several routes from June 19, 2016-May 12th, 2017.

Of course saver award availability can change dozens of times per day, which is why it’s always critical to just keep checking. But over the course of a year it gives a snapshot of how things look.

(more…)

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What Exactly Is American’s AAdvantage?

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

American’s AAdvantage program has been undergoing death by a thousand cuts.

Clearly the mergers of the last decade have decimated airline loyalty programs. The loss of AirTran, America West, Continental, Northwest, and USAirways have meant that the remaining oligopoly of airlines no longer need to compete on the same level that they used to. Hubs have been eliminated and will continue to disappear. Miles have become harder to earn when flying and become less valuable when cashed in.

In the meantime Delta has put all of their focus into their airline operations and they no longer even publish award charts.
United devalued their program in 2014 in one fell swoop. But after American’s changes, the United mileage program is far superior and the airline’s operations have been rapidly improving since they fired Smisek.

American’s trickle style roll out of bad news since the merger coupled with poor airline operations and abysmal award availability has been nothing short of a horror film.

1. They removed the ability to get a free stopover on award tickets without warning. Their own partner Alaska allows a stopover on one-way tickets even when redeeming for American flights. Competition like United still allows for a stopover and open jaw on awards that make using miles very valuable when utilized properly.

2. They removed their lucrative round-the-world award chart without warning. We got great use out of it on a trip around the world in 2010 and would have liked to have known before it was removed. United and ANA still have good round-the-world options.

3. They increased their AAnytime award flight options to have multiple levels of expensive awards, making it cost prohibitive to redeem for flights on peak dates. United still maintains one rate that makes the higher award level far more reasonable than American.

4. They still don’t provide free upgrades for lower and mid-tier elites as Delta and United do.

5. The new Platinum Pro level is the most unimaginatively named level ever and is the 3rd type of Platinum in American’s program. Worse than its unfortunate name, it won’t have the fee-waiver benefits provided by Delta and United like free award cancellations and free confirmed standby and it only gives 2 free 50 pound checked bags compared to 3 free 70 pound bags with Delta or United Platinum.

6. They’re finally rolling out domestic upgrades on award tickets, but only for top-tier Executive Platinums (though that comes after cutting their international upgrade certificates in half). Delta offers this for Gold and higher while United offers this to all elites who have a United credit card.

7. They’re devaluing their Gold and Platinum lifetime status levels by introducing higher levels and upgrades that are prioritized by the amount of money you’ve spent on flights in the past 12 months, something that no other airline does. So much for long-term loyalty.

8. They’re now requiring $3K in spending on top of flying to earn Gold, $6K for Platinum, $9K for Platinum Pro, and $12K for Executive Platinum. That’s copying Delta and United’s requirements. However Delta and United waive the spend requirement for foreign members while American will not.

9. Delta and United also waive the elite spend requirement if you spend $25K in a calendar year on their co-brand credit cards (excluding the ability to earn 1K status on United), while American did not announce any such waiver.

10. Their saver award space availability has deteriorated to the point that I’m not even sure it’s better than Delta’s. Both of those airlines lag miles behind United, especially if you have a United credit card.

11. Their award chart was once a bright spot, but was mAAsacred earlier this year and no longer provides a competitive advantage.

12. They have draconian routing rules, such as not allowing a flight from the US to Australia to transit via Asia and not allowing a flight from the US to Southern South America to connect in Central or Northern South America. American also requires that there be a published fare for award flights that you take, that you take the most direct routing, and they limit the total distance you can fly to MPM+25%. These restrictions exacerbate award availability issues. United has none of these restrictions.

13. American charges a massive fuel surcharge to fly on British Airways and a small fuel surcharge to fly on Iberia, making it tough to fly to Europe without paying outrageous fees. United has far more partner airlines than American and doesn’t charge a fuel surcharge for travel on any of them.

14. Operationally speaking, American has the worst tarmac delays, cancellation, and mishandled bag rates among all domestic carriers. Delta is by far the best domestic airline from an operation standpoint, and United is better than American and has been improving.

15. American cancelled their interline agreement with Delta as it became too expensive to keep sending their delayed and cancelled passengers to Delta. United still has an interline agreement with American and Delta, meaning they have more options to accommodate passengers when issues arise. I experienced pain from this issue firsthand.

16. American ended their El Al mileage relationship in 2014 and ended their own flights to Tel Aviv this year, leaving them with zero partners that fly between North America and Tel Aviv compared to 7-11 weekly Delta flights to Israel and 28 weekly Star Alliance flights on United and their partner Air Canada.

17. The OneWorld alliance no longer requires airlines to interline bags to other carriers even within the  alliance if you purchase 2 separate tickets. American claims they will still do so, but in my experience it was very hard to get them to do that and will likely become impossible. Delta and United still interline within their alliance on 2 tickets and United will interline to other airlines if you have elite status or even if you just ask nicely.

18. Many of American’s award partners are still not available online, which means having to call and play call center roulette to book awards on airlines like Air Tahiti Nui, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, JAL, and others. Just today I had an American phone agent outright lie to me about award space that I knew was there. I HUCA’d and received it, but they have seemingly stopped making progress in getting more airlines on their website. Progress has even gone backwards as airlines like AirBerlin have shows more award space on Iberia’s site than on American’s.

19. American’s flight status on their website and app are very primitive. It’s updated very late and often displays incorrect information in delay situations. United’s flight status on their website and app provides far more useful and timely updates and information.

20. American’s customer service is horrendous. I’ve experience this firsthand on a few occasions, but every aspect of their airline from gate agents, club agents, luggage agents, Twitter agents, executive office agents, and DoT representative agents have dropped the ball on our cancelled flight to London and their failure to provide a refund or alternate flight afterward. Delta and United would have had this solved in no time, but nobody at American cares or has the power to fix anything.

21. If you do want to redeem for an American flight, you’ll always do better by using miles from partner airlines like Alaska, BA, or Etihad, so there’s no longer much of a point of collecting miles from American. If you do fly on American you should credit your flights to a partner like Alaska.

22. I’ve found American to be very inflexible to deal with for schedule changes on award tickets. Delta and United are typically quite accommodating when flight times change in my experience, while that can’t be said for American.

23. The bottom line is that if you want operational excellence then your default choice ought to be Delta. If you value your miles then your default choice ought to be United.

But unless you find a cheap fare or you’re stuck in an American captive hub like Dallas, what exactly is American’s AAdvantage and why do they deserve your loyalty?

Did I miss any other disAAdvantages? If you’re an American loyalist, are you planning on sticking around or are you jumping ship?

Hit the comments!

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Download Prosper Daily And Get 500 United Miles, Plus Extend The Expiration Of Your Miles

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Download Prosper Daily And Get 500 United Miles

Register for the promotion via the link above and then follow the instructions to download and register for the app and you’ll get 500 United miles within 2 months.

I registered and downloaded the app when it was offering 1,000 miles a few weeks ago and the miles already posted. I created an account from the app, but I did not enroll any bank accounts or credit cards to get the miles.

United miles require activity every 18 months, so this will extend the life of your miles for another 18 months. Chase United Explorer cardholder’s miles never expire for as long as they remain a cardholder. They also get excellent benefits including vastly expanded saver and standard award availability, free checked bags, priority boarding, United Club passes, primary car rental insurance, and elites also get upgrades on award tickets as a benefit of having the card.

HT: ah giten, via DDF

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What’s The Story With Award Availability At The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem?

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Update: Award availability has significantly improved as of yesterday and has opened up on more than 50 dates that I’ve been tracking. That’s a great sign going forward from my favorite hotel in Israel, so hats off to the Waldorf team in Jerusalem.


Originally posted on 5/31:
Related post: The Dollars And Cents Behind A Hotel Award Stay; What The Park Hyatt Toronto Makes On An Award Stay


Point hotels in Israel are hard to come by.

Not long ago Starwood had 13 properties that were all bargains with Starpoints. I stayed in many of them on a month-long trek across the holy land in August of 2007, spending just a couple thousand Starpoints per night to stay in Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, Tiberias, and the Dead Sea.  Now there’s just 1 left, the Sheraton Tel Aviv, and at 12K-16K points per night it’s not the bargain it once was. The W Tel Aviv-Jaffa was slated to open fall 2015 but that has been pushed back to November 2016. I’ve heard rumors of a Westin Tel Aviv, but nothing for Jerusalem.

Hyatt had a Jerusalem hotel but now has nothing.

Marriott has the Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya.

IHG has a nice selection of hotels in Israel, though the Crowne Plaza Jerusalem is dated and isn’t in a good location for tourists.

Hilton has had several hotels in Jerusalem over the years that have come and gone. The David Citadel opened as the Hilton Jerusalem in 1998 but left Hilton in 2001.

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem opened in 2014 and is a gem, possibly the finest hotel in the whole country.

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We stayed there last year and had a wonderful time. It costs 64K-80K points per night, but it’s well worth it. Citi gives 2 free nights there with the Citi Hilton Reserve card. The Reserve card even gives Gold status which earns you free breakfast, a real treat at the Waldorf. But those nights can officially only be used on weekends.

Hilton doesn’t have capacity controls on their standard award nights. Hotels set a base room type and if they are selling base rooms you can redeem points for that room. Hilton divides its hotels into 10 categories based on their average room rates. The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is a category 9 hotel. Category 9 hotels cost 50K points/night in low season and 80K points/night in high season.

However unlike other brands like Starwood, Hilton allows hotels to declare every date on the calendar as high season, so the Waldorf has every single date marked at the high season rate of 80K points/night. If you are a Hilton elite or cardholder you get the 5th night free on awards, so that drops the cost of a 5 night stay to 64K points/night. Hilton AMEX cardholders can also book a 4 night stay for 65K points/night.

If a hotel is sold out of base rooms then they don’t have to offer any standard point rooms. They sell other rooms at massive premiums to the standard rate.

Some hotels are notorious for playing dirty pool.

One of the worst offenders is the Andaz Maui which added a new type of base room after they opened called the “Garden View.” They typically don’t sell this room type directly on Hyatt.com and even on the rare occasion that they do, they have a 5 night minimum stay requirement. However I’ve found Garden view rooms for sale on other sites without a 5 night minimum and when I’ve emailed Hyatt about that, they just say they’ll contact the other booking website to remove the Garden view room. Well, isn’t that helpful…

The reason that some hotels abuse the no capacity controls on award nights is that hotels are typically privately owned and are managed by companies like Hilton, Hyatt, or Starwood in order to drum up more business. Those hotel management companies send loyal guests to the hotels and the hotels pay a royalty to the hotel management company. They also participate in loyalty programs that has a cost to the hotel, but is worthwhile due to having guests that actively seek out specific hotel brands.

When a guest uses points at a hotel the hotel management company typically reimburses the hotel with a small fraction of the daily rate. This is usually a big profit center for the hotel chain as Hilton might sell 80K points to a credit card company for $320 but they might only reimburse the hotel $50 for the night. The catch is that if a hotel is fully occupied (typically at least 90% or 95% full though it varies based on the hotel management contract) then the hotel management company will reimburse the hotel at the average room rate for that night.

Last Monday, DDF member yg99 noticed that he couldn’t find any award space at the Waldorf Astroria Jerusalem.

I took a look and he was right, there were zero standard rooms for sale from now through 2017, which meant no rooms were bookable for standard points or with Citi free nights. Everything was wiped out.

I reached out to a few contacts at the hotel Monday morning asking for a comment and didn’t hear back from them by the next morning, so on Tuesday I emailed Guy Klaiman, the general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, about the disappearance of standard rooms.

He quickly replied,

“We were configuring our reservation site in the past days, this is the reason some dates are closed. It would change in the coming days.
Regards,
Guy”


And indeed, right about then I noticed along with DDF members that superior rooms start showing up once again at the standard points rate.

However eagle-eyed DDF’ers now noted that every Thursday and Friday night were still showing no superior rooms available. So I emailed them again asking about the sudden disappearance of weekend award availability.

This time I heard from Katy Peer, a reservations manager that,

“Superior rooms are open for Midweek (Sunday-Wednesday). CLOSED on High season.”


Well we’ve always known that the Waldorf never released any superior rooms on holidays like Sukkos, but blocking that award space on weekends was something new, so I pressed once again, asking if this was a change in policy going forward to which she responded,

“Some weekends are open, depends of hotel occupancy.”


Of course, hotels shouldn’t be blocking base rooms due to occupancy. They should offer them until they’re sold out.

I’ll leave out the funny but mistakenly received “reply all” email at this point, but in the meantime superior rooms began to reappear for weekends during off-peak months. However many weekend nights are still blocked from now through July and from October through next April. And all nights are blocked around Sukkos, around the “Yeshiva weeks” in late January, and for next Pesach. Aside from Sukkos, all of those dates had standard rooms for sale before last week’s changes.

I emailed back the GM for further clarification and he wrote,

“The Hilton Honor standard room reward program is intended to improve our guests satisfaction and available according to the hotels availability.”

That’s not much of an answer for what’s been going on. What are the odds that all of those weekends sold out of superior rooms overnight?

The even odder part is that if a hotel is nearly full it gets fully compensated for award stays, so why is there even a need to block award stays during periods of high occupancy? And rooms sold during low occupancy generate some revenue when there otherwise wouldn’t have been any. It seems like a good thing to me, though it’s possible that occupancy isn’t full enough to trigger the full payment for the room from Hilton and that’s the reason for what’s going on here.

So I asked the GM,

“Doesn’t Hilton reimburse the hotel at ADR for award stays when occupancy is near full? Why is there a need to block high occupancy dates when those are the dates that Hilton reimburse ADR?”

ADR is the hotel’s average daily rate.

To which he responded,

“I appreciate your knowledge , however availability is according to the hotels standard rooms availability.”

That’s also not an answer.

Loyalty is a 2 way street. If the rules of a loyalty program are that a hotel can’t have capacity controls, then the bulk disappearance of those rooms from the calendar seems to run against that principle. The space ought to be tied to the actual inventory of superior rooms as is intended, rather than just left to the whims of the hotel.

I emailed this article to the GM last week asking for comment, but after hearing nothing I suppose that’s all we’re going to hear about this.

Clearly, Israel is a tough market for chain hotels and the temptation to de-flag is real, though it comes at a financial cost and loss of name brand recognition. The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem offers a product and service that is head and shoulders above their competition and I’d love nothing more than for them to stick with their flag for decades to come, while maintaining a high level of performance. I’m just hoping that the shenanigans are left by the wayside and that this isn’t indicative of their future direction.

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American Joins Delta And United In Revenue Based Mileage Earning

Monday, June 6th, 2016

American announced today that they will award miles based on the fare paid effective for flights taken on or after August 1st.

They will also copy United in adding a 75K elite tier in 2017 unimaginatively named “Platinum Pro.” American requires that Gold and Platinum members earn or purchase upgrades on flights longer than 500 miles, but Platinum Pros will receive complimentary upgrades as Executive Platinums do today.

Just as with United, base members will earn 5 miles per dollar, Golds earn 7, Platinums earn 8, Platinum Pros earn 9, and Executive Platinums earn 11.

For now, the best thing to do is to credit your flights to earn Alaska miles as they still award miles based on flight distance, though odds are that earning rates will drop there as well.

Effective in 2017 American will also require minimum spend requirements to earn elite status that will exactly mirror United’s policy. $3K for Gold, $6K for Platinum, $9K for Platinum Pro, and $12K for Executive Platinum. Delta and United have waivers of those requirements if you spend $25K on their co-brand credit card (though United won’t waive the spend requirement to earn 1K status), but American didn’t announce any waivers as of yet.

Delta and United also waive the spend requirements if you live abroad, but American didn’t announce any waivers for that either.

Million milers will be devalued as there is a new tier of elites on top of each of them that receive complimentary upgrades. Additionally next year upgrades will be prioritized by how much you have spent in the past 12 months on American flights, so million milers who don’t qualify based on spend will be pushed even further down the totem pole.

These changes, coupled with the massive devaluations that AAdvantage did earlier this year and 2 years ago when they eliminated free stopovers and their round-the-world award chart without notice takes most of the value out of the program.

I find that United has far better award availability (especially if you have their credit card), has far more generous routing rules, and still allows valuable free stopovers on awards, making them a better airline for accumulating miles. If you want to fly on American you’ll do better by focusing on partners like Alaska and British Airways for mileage accumulation and redemption.

American has managed to take the worst of USAirways and American to become a truly bumbling airline, worst overall, worst in cancelled flights, and worst in mishandled baggage:

Their mileage program was still lucrative until recently, so they’ve managed to devalue that from all sides as well.

Will American’s changes affect your preferred choice of airline to fly on or accumulate miles with? Hit the comments!

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Ends Today: Get A 100% Bonus When Purchasing IHG Points; Lock In PointBreaks For $28.75/Night And Hotels In Israel From $57.50/Night

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

IHG: Get 100% bonus points through 6/3.

An IHG account is required, you can join here for free.

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 purchase 60K points per member per year, so you can get up to 120K points with this promotion.

Note that IHG points require activity every 12 months, but you can just redeem for a hotel award and cancel it to extend the expiration for another 12 months.

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.

Plus you don’t pay tax on award nights.

There are also good values to be had at high-end properties. For example an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora can go for as much as $1,000 with tax but costs just 60K points. That’s just $345 at .575 cents per point.

There are several IHG hotels in Israel. They won’t necessarily be a deal with this promotion, but they may be depending on the price of your desired travel dates.
Holiday Inn Ashkelon: 10K ($57.50 with this promo)
Crowne Plaza Jerusalem: 20K ($115)
Crowne Plaza Dead Sea: 25K ($143.75)
Crowne Plaza Eilat: 25K ($143.75)
Hotel Indigo Tel Aviv Diamond District: 25K ($143.75)
Crowne Plaza Haifa: 30K ($172.50)
Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach: 30K ($172.50)
Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv City Center: 30K ($172.50)
InterContinental David Tel Aviv: 40K ($230)

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Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points To Virgin Atlantic; JFK-London For Less Than 10K Points+$134.60 One-Way, JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Points+$5.60 Each Way

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Update: The 30% transfer bonus ends today. The stackable 30% Virgin Atlantic coach redemption is no longer live, but it will be back in the future. However the best uses of points are likely on partner carriers like Delta or Virgin America.


Originally posted on 5/3:

Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points To Virgin Atlantic

This offer expires 5/31/16.

Virgin Atlantic miles never expire as long redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 36 months.

I’m not a big fan of Virgin Atlantic miles as their premium class awards are expensive and have high fuel surcharges, but they do have their uses.

They are offering 30% off coach redemptions for bookings made by May 11 and availability is excellent.

You can search mileage requirements for Virgin Atlantic flights on their homepage without logging in.

For example:
-A one-way ticket from JFK to London is 12,250 miles+$134.60 (normally 17.5K miles). That’s about 9,423 AMEX points.
-A one-way ticket from Los Angeles to London is 14,875 miles+$134.60 (normally 21,250 miles).. That’s about 11,442 AMEX points.

But it’s the return ticket from London that gets slammed with the fuel surcharges and UK APD.

-A one-way ticket from London to JFK is 12,250 miles+$313.06.
-A one-way ticket from London to Los Angeles is 14,875 miles+$313.06.


You can also book travel on Virgin Atlantic partners. Though you need to call to book partner award travel.


Their Delta award chart is pretty good though Delta saver award space is notoriously stingy.

There are no fuel surcharges for Delta flights. You can only redeem for a round-trip ticket on Delta.

You can fly in coach from the US to South America for just 45K miles round-trip (about 34,615 AMEX points) or from the US to Europe for 60K miles round-trip (about 46,153 AMEX points). You can fly in business from the US to South America for just 90K miles round-trip (about 69,230 AMEX points) or from the US to Europe for 100K miles round-trip (about 76,923 AMEX points).

Domestic first class on Delta is just 45K miles round-trip (about 34,615 AMEX points).


Their Virgin America award chart is decent as well.

There are no fuel surcharges for Virgin America flights.

A one-way from LA to San Francisco is 5K miles (about 3,846 AMEX points) plus $5.60. A one-way from JFK, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Philadelphia, or Washington DC to LA or San Francisco is 12.5K miles (about 9,615 AMEX points) plus $5.60 in coach or 37.5K miles (about 28,846 AMEX points) plus $5.60 in first class.


American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

The Everyday Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, 3 points per dollar on gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. It has a $95 annual fee.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere, 2.2 points per dollar on Uber, and 2.4 points per dollar on groceries if you make 20 transactions per month. It’s the only no annual-fee card that can directly transfer points into 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, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card. 

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need one of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

HT: YOSEF, via DDF

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American Has Opened Lots Of Business Class Award Space To Europe For You And Your Entire Family…Here’s How To Save 31% Off American’s Rates

Monday, May 30th, 2016

American’s saver award availability is much stingier than United’s, though it’s much more generous than Delta’s. American is especially stingy in business and first class, so it’s newsworthy when things open up.

Last year they opened up business class space to Tel Aviv and I flew with my extended family to Israel on miles. Unfortunately American no longer flies to Israel.

Currently there’s excellent availability to Europe for travel on limited dates in November/December and many more dates from January-March.

American now charges 115K miles round-trip for these awards, but there are better ways to book.

This post details the cost in miles for every Oneworld destination from NYC and whether the airline tacks on a fuel surcharge.

View other ways to book and sample routes with amazing business class saver award space after the jump:

(more…)

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Check To See If You’re Targeted For Bonus Miles For Flying United

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Click here and enter your United MileagePlus number to see if you’re targeted for bonus miles for flying United.

Personally I’m not targeted for this promotion, but several DDF members were targeted. Their offers have varied, but a few reported offers on DDF have been:

Offer 1 (appears to be the most common offer):
-Spend $500 and earn 8K bonus miles
-Spend another $500 and earn another 11K bonus miles ($1K total spend for 19K bonus miles)
-Spend another $1,500 and earn another 19K bonus miles ($2.5K total spend for 38K bonus miles)

Offer 2:
-Spend $500 and earn 8K bonus miles
-Spend another $500 and earn another 12K bonus miles ($1K total spend for 20K bonus miles)
-Spend another $1,000 and earn another 20K bonus miles ($2K total spend for 40K bonus miles)

Offer 3:
-Spend $8,000 and earn 32K bonus miles
-Spend another $2,000 and earn another 47K bonus miles ($10K total spend for 79K bonus miles)
-Spend another $4,000 and earn another 78K bonus miles ($14K total spend for 157K bonus miles)

Offer 4:
-Spend $10,500 and earn 13K bonus miles
-Spend another $1,000 and earn another 20K bonus miles ($11.5K total spend for 33K bonus miles)
-Spend another $1,500 and earn another 33K bonus miles ($13K total spend for 66K bonus miles)

To get those bonus miles you need to register for the offer and buy tickets for United flights that are completed by 11/30. Tickets purchased before registering don’t count towards the total. Only the base fare+fuel surcharges count towards the spend threshold, taxes and government mandated fees don’t count.

The bonus miles will post in January 2017.

Were you targeted for one of these offers or another offer? Hit the comments!

HT: SearchGuy, via DDF

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Mileage Expiration And Points Transfer Chart For 54 Loyalty Programs, How To Keep Your Points From Expiring, And How To Bring Them Back To Life After They’ve Expired

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Update: This post has been updated with the current expiration policies and transfer rates for every transferable mileage currency.


Originally posted on 02/18/15:

Expiration of credit card points:

-Points earned from an airline or hotel credit card, where the points are deposited monthly into your airline/hotel account, are not forfeited by closing the card.  The points are subject to the normal expiration dates listed in the chart below. Some representatives use scare tactics and say that all of your points or tickets will be lost if you cancel the card, but it’s just misinformation.

-Proprietary credit card point programs (American Express Membership Rewards, Barclays Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Chase Ultimate Rewards) do not expire as long as you keep at least one card open that is enrolled in their respective program.  Some programs store points individually under each card account, so be sure to transfer points from that card account to another account before cancelling that card. If you do accidentally close a card before moving the points to another card you can try reactivating the card, moving the points over, and cancelling the card once again.

Keeping points alive:

There are a thousands of ways to generate activity to keep points alive.  One easy way is by redeeming a few hundred miles for a magazine subscription. Redeeming miles is safer than the various methods of earning miles as point earnings don’t always post and it can turn into a fight in case your account expires. But as with everything else in life when you’re paying for something you can be sure that it will always post without any fighting required :D

There are actually get some pretty sweet deals, like The Economist for 3,200 miles. Delta miles don’t require activity, but still 3,200 Delta “Skypesos” for a year of The Economist isn’t bad at all!

MagsForMiles offers redemption options for Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, Spirit, and United
-Newspaper Rewards offers newspaper redemption options for Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and United
-Points.com Alaska Magazine Offers
-Points.com American Magazine Offers
-Points.com Delta Magazine Offers
-Points.com JetBlue Magazine Offers
-MagazineRewards United Magazines Offers

United’s MileagePlus X app allows you to earn miles when buying gift cards and it also a good way to renew miles.

Just having a Chase United Explorer card miles United miles never expire for as long you remain a cardholder.

If you have transferable points you can move points from AMEX, Chase, Citi, or Starwood to an airline to keep your entire account alive.  Note that some airlines (like American) require the name on the Starwood account to match the name on the American account.  You can transfer Starpoints to anyone living at the same address and from there transfer points to an airline.  If your Starpoints themselves are expiring, all you need to do is make a simple transfer from you to your spouse or someone else living at your address and that counts as activity that will keep both of your accounts alive for another 18 months.

Some people have also had success booking an award flight to hotel stay to extend the validity of their points and then cancelling it after the points have been deducted. Others have said that it’s not a foolproof system and the old expiration may still be in force.

Personally I booked an IHG points stay and then cancelled it and it did extend the points expiration date for another 12 months.

Note that cancellation policies vary by airline.  American doesn’t allow free cancellations on awards even within 24 hours. United allows 24 hours to cancel for free. British Airways only charges the lessor of taxes of $55 after 24 hours, so a one-way domestic flight cancellation after 24 hours would only cost you $5.60.

 

Reactivating expired miles:

I have saved the miles of family members and close friends by crediting past car rentals towards their airline mileage accounts.  Most car rentals earn a nominal amount of airline miles, but you can call the car rental company to credit anyone’s airline mileage account up to a year after the car rental.  If someone lost their miles 6 months ago you would have to locate a car rental from more than 6 months ago, but less than 12 months ago.  Shortly after the miles post to their account it should automatically reactivate all of their miles retroactively to the date of the car rental.  Just don’t forget to add new activity to prevent that from happening again!

There’s even a market for old car rental credits on DDF.

The same process would work for past hotel stays or other activities that can be credited towards airline miles.

Some airlines, like British Airways, will actually reinstate miles for free and give you 3 additional months to use or redeem some miles to keep your account alive for another 3 years.

Other airlines like United and American will charge to reactivate miles, but those are often worthwhile if you don’t have any other avenues. American also has a unique challenge that I wrote about over 5 years ago that allows you to reactivate miles by completing tasks like opening a credit card or flying on a paid AA flight. Since then they’ve added a small fee to take that challenge, but it should be much cheaper than paying to reactivate the miles outright.

Mileage expiration policies:

View the complete 54 program chart after the jump:

(more…)

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Download Prosper Daily And Get 1,000 United Miles, Plus Extend The Expiration Of Your Miles

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Update: DEAD!


Download Prosper Daily And Get 1,000 United Miles

Register for the promotion via the link above and then follow the instructions to download and register for the app and you’ll get 1,000 United miles within 2 months.
The terms of the offer state that you just need to download and register, you don’t have to actually enroll any bank accounts or credit cards to get the miles.

United miles require activity every 18 months, so this will extend the life of your miles for another 18 months. Chase United Explorer cardholder’s miles never expire for as long as they remain a cardholder. They also get excellent benefits including vastly expanded saver and standard award availability, free checked bags, priority boarding, United Club passes, primary car rental insurance, and elites also get upgrades on award tickets as a benefit of having the card.

HT: DoC, via DDF

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There Are Now 3 Airlines That Accept Points From All 4 Major Transferable Point Currencies; Can You Name Them Without Peeking?

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

There are 4 major transferable point currencies, AMEX, Chase, Citi, and Starwood. The great thing about having points in those currencies is that they are a hedge against devaluations. When you have points in most airline or hotel programs they can’t be transferred anywhere else at a decent ratio, so if those programs devalue, your banked points are worth less. With a transferable point currency though you can always transfer to another program that hasn’t devalued.

When used properly, the value of your points can easily exceed 5 cents each, and when you’re earning up to 5 points per dollar that makes things quite lucrative.

Of course not all transferable point currencies were created equally. Starwood’s is the most valuable due to the 25% bonus for transferring in blocks of 20K points and for their vast selection of transfer partners, however Starwood transfers can take anywhere from 1-8 days, so that hinders their value somewhat. Chase points are the next most valuable due to the ability to transfer instantly to prized programs like United and Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. AMEX points are next in line with transfers to programs like Air Canada, ANA, Cathay Pacific, El Al, and Singapore, while Citi points are the least valuable of the bunch.

It’s great when an airline partners with multiple programs as that allows more opportunities to earn points and consolidate them in one place.

This weekend Chase added Air France/KLM Flying Blue as a new instant transfer option. You can now transfer points from all 4 transferable point currencies to Flying Blue, though typically you would want to use AMEX or Citi points rather than Chase points.

It’s not my favorite program as the only way to avoid fuel surcharges is to fly on Skyteam partner Delta, and they are notoriously stingy with saver award space. Flying Blue also expire points after just 20 months and they can’t be renewed unless you credit a paid Skyteam flight to Flying Blue.

However there are several sweet spots including round-trip travel from the US to the Caribbean for 25K, Hawaii for 25K-30K, and Europe or South America for 50K. However the trick is finding award space on Delta.

The best part of the program is that it includes Tel Aviv as part of Europe. However while United has wide open saver availability to Israel, you’d be hard pressed to find that space on Flying Blue’s Skyteam partner, Delta.

That leaves travel on airlines with fuel surcharges, though those surcharges have come way down and award space is quite generous.

One-way travel:

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Round-trip travel:

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The best part of the program though are the Promo Awards that allow for travel to Israel for as little as 12.5K miles each way. However those have gotten rarer of late.

The other 2 programs that allow transfers from all 4 point currencies?

The excellent Singapore Krisflyer program, which has real bargains without fuel surcharges for traveling on United. And Virgin Atlantic, which currently has a promotion for transfers from AMEX, and would also be an ill-advised use of Chase points.

HT: YOSEF, via DDF

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Join Virgin America Elevate And Get 500 Points, Enroll In A Sweepstakes And Get 250 Points, Refer Friends And Get Up To 2,500 Points; Fly To Europe For 20K Round-Trip

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

If you signup for a Virgin America Elevate account via this referral link you’ll get 500 points added to your account within 4-6 weeks. You can also get 500 points for friend that you refer to Virgin America, for up to 2,500 referral points. Referral points will also post within 4-6 weeks. Promotion ends 5/31.

Enroll in this Hawaiian sweepstakes to win a vacation to Hawaii and you’ll get 250 points.
Promotion ends 5/31 and the 250 points will post in July.

That’s a potential 3,250 points.

Need more Virgin America Elevate points?

Last month Starwood added Virgin America as its 35th airline transfer partner. You can transfer points at the standard 20K Starpoints=25K Virgin America points ratio. Click here to transfer Starpoints into airline miles.

Ironically both Starwood and Virgin America will cease to exist in a couple years from now having been snapped up by Marriott and Alaska, but there is value still to be had in the meantime. It’s also great to see SPG still adding partners to its portfolio. Last December it added Aegean, which is excellent for awards to Israel.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

Virgin America has hybrid award redemption system. You can redeem for flights on Virgin America with points that vary based on the cost of the flight. (Alternatively, you can redeem Virgin Atlantic miles to fly on Virgin America for a flat rate that doesn’t vary by the cost of the flight.)

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way Virgin flights (Prices were researched on 5/18 and will fluctuate). Note that Starpoint rates listed below are assuming that you maximize the 25% point bonus for transferring Starpoints in blocks of 20,000 points (which you may or may not be able to do depending on the number of passengers, so you may have leftover miles):
1. Los Angeles-Las Vegas on 6/7 is $43.10 or 1,417 Virgin points (about 1,134 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.65 cents per Virgin point (43.10-5.60/1,417) and 3.31 cents per Starpoint.
2. San Francisco to Maui on 8/28 is $179 or 8,187 Virgin points (about 6,550 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.21 cents per Virgin point and 2.65 cents per Starpoint.
3. JFK to Los Angeles on 5/29 is $148.10 or 6,545 Virgin points (about 5,236 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.18 cents per Virgin point and 2.72 cents per Starpoint.
4. Los Angeles-Fort Lauderdale on 6/1 is $134.10 or 5,861 Virgin points (about 4,689 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.19 cents per Virgin point and 2.74 cents per Starpoint.

The exact point requirements will vary based on the price of the Virgin flights, but those are some pretty sweet values!

You can also redeem points on partner airlines and you can view rates via this link.
Partners include Hawaiian, Singapore, and Virgin Australia with low or no fuel surcharges and Emirates or Virgin Atlantic with high fuel surcharges.

For example:
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Frankfurt on Singapore is just 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Honolulu on Hawaiian is 35K Virgin miles (about 28K SPG) in coach or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 15K Virgin miles+$475 (about 12K SPG) in coach, 25K Virgin miles+$790 (20K SPG) in premium economy, or 35K Virgin miles+$1,150 (about 28K SPG) in upper class, Virgin’s version of business class with an on-board bar with access to their highly-rated clubhouse lounges.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 25K Virgin miles+$475 (20K SPG) in coach, 30K Virgin miles+$790 (about 24K SPG) in premium economy, or 50K Virgin miles+$1,150 (40K SPG) in upper class.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco nonstop to any of the Hawaiian islands on Hawaiian is 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach or 50K Virgin miles (40K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Seoul on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Sydney on Virgin Australia is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach, 60K Virgin miles (about 48K SPG) in premium economy, or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business class.

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DDFB Question Of The Day: Have Expanded Award Seats For United Cardholders Gone Away?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

In 2008 the DansDeals Forums (DDF) was launched for people to be able to discuss deals, miles, and destinations at length and the DansDeals Facebook group (DDFB) was founded to provide email alerts about hot deals. Facebook took away the ability to send out email alerts, so Twitter took over that feature and the Facebook group has remained as an alternate, far messier version of DDF. Eventually I also made a Facebook page for people looking for Facebook notifications of new deals and finally opened an Instagram account where I post some pictures from my travels.

I spend hours ever day browsing DDF and DDFB looking for tips and trying to help people out. I’ve occasionally featured questions here that are relevant to a wide audience, and perhaps I should do that more often.

Today this question on DDFB caught my eye,

“Seeing comments that the extra XN award seats reserved for United elites and Chase United cardholders isn’t available to United Explorer cardholders anymore. Can anyone confirm that?”


I’ve been blogging about the topic ever since I discovered in 2005 that the Continental OnePass card secretly bestowed the ability to access expanded saver award availability. That benefit carried over to United when they merged with Continental and kept their mileage program as the survivor.

Officially the  Chase United Explorer card is only supposed to give cardholders access to last seat availability at the standard award level. I can count the number of times I’ve redeemed awards at the standard level on one hand compared to the thousands of award flights I’ve flown at the saver level. These seats are coded as YN class and you can read more about the meaning of fare classes in this post on United Expert Mode.

The real benefit is the one that’s never been advertised by Chase or United, but has withstood the test of time. While regular United members require X class availability in order to book a saver award, United cardholders get access to XN class, which means expanded saver award availability.

It’s an amazing benefit from a credit card and it makes it well worth paying the card’s $95 annual fee. The card’s benefits are very nice (2 free club passes per year, free checked bags, priority boarding so that you don’t need to gate check your bags, primary CDW rental car insurance, premier upgrades on award tickets, 10K bonus miles for spending $25K in a year, no foreign exchange fees, and your miles will never expire if you’re a cardholder), but it’s the access to expanded saver award space that has made the card worth its weight in gold.

View the rest of this post and the current status of expanded saver awards after the jump:

(more…)

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Today Only: Book JetBlue Award Tickets And Get 15% Back, JetBlue Plus Cardholders Get 25% Back

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Related: Which New JetBlue Card Is Right For You?


Today Only: Book JetBlue Award Tickets And Get 15% Back, JetBlue Plus Cardholders Get 25% Back

-If you register via the link above and book award tickets today for travel by 6/30 you’ll get a rebate of 15% of your points.
-Offer not valid for previously booked flights or changes to a previously-booked flight.
-Points will be automatically deposited to the TrueBlue account used to book travel.
-In the event you cancel your reservation, or change your reservation so that it no longer complies with the terms for this offer, you will not receive any TrueBlue points back.
-Please allow 4-6 weeks after your flight for points to be posted to your TrueBlue account.

If you matched your status from another airline to JetBlue you can even cancel your flights for free.

If you have a JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard you always get free checked bags and a 10% points rebate, but in this case you’ll get a 25% rebate. The card comes with a 30K signup bonus for spending $1,000 in 90 days. It has a $99 annual fee but it also comes with 5,000 bonus points (5,500 after the rebate) every year that pretty much covers the cost of the card. There is a no annual fee JetBlue World Mastercard, but it doesn’t give free bags or a points rebate.

What’s are JetBlue points worth? It all depends on the flights you take, but here are 3 examples:
1. JFK-Chicago on 5/24 is $63.10 or 3.7K points+$5.60. That’s normally a value of 1.55 cents per point (63.10-5.60/3,700). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 3,145 points after getting back back 555 points and the value will be 1.83 cents per point (63.10-5.60/3,145). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 2,775 points after getting back 925 points and the value will be 2.07 cents per point (63.10-5.60/2,775).

2. JFK-Los Angeles on 5/29 is $148.10 or 10K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.425 cents per point (148.10-5.60/10,000). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 8,500 points after getting back back 1,500 points and the value will be 1.68 cents per point (148.10-5.60/8,500). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 7,500 points after getting back 2,500 points and the value will be 1.9 cents per point (148.10-5.60/7,500).

3. JFK-Fort Lauderdale on 5/31 is $85.10 or 5.3K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.5 cents per point (85.10-5.60/5,300). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 4,505 points after getting back back 795 points and the value will be 1.76 cents per point (85.10-5.60/4,505). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 3,975 points after getting back 1,325 points and the value will be 2 cents per point (85.10-5.60/3,975).

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Book Today And Save 10K Miles Off United Awards To Hawaii

Friday, May 6th, 2016

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


-This promotion is currently bookable on United.com

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-Book by 5/6
-Travel 6/1-11/18
-Award travel on United between the US49/Canada to Hawaii is normally 45K miles round-trip.
With this discount it will be 35K miles if both dates fall within the promotion or 40K if one date falls within the promotion and one date is not within the dates of the promotion.
-Travel valid for saver coach awards only.
-Travel only valid on United. Tickets with Hawaiian air segments will not be discounted, so be sure to book those segments separately if needed.
-Valid on round-trip or on open-jaw (e.g. Newark-Kauai/Maui-Los Angeles) awards.
-Not valid on one-way awards.
-Not valid on stopover awards.
-United flies into Hilo (ITO), Honolulu (HNL), Kauai (LIH), Kona (KOA), and Maui (OGG).

Be sure you are logged into United.com if you are elite or if you have select United cards with an annual fee like the Chase United Explorer card, as that gives you greatly expanded saver coach award space and last-seat standard award space in every class. It will only be reflected in the award calendar if you are logged in and you will only get free checked bags and priority boarding if you use that card.

HT: normathej, via DDF

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Enter To Win 350K AAdvantage Miles And Get 700 Miles, Plus Extend The Life Of Your Existing Miles

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Enter To Win 350K AAdvantage Miles And Get 700 Miles, Plus Extend The Life Of Your Existing Miles

The website is going very slowly right now, but fill in your information to win 350K AA miles and write what you’re saving up miles for and you’ll get 350 miles.

Then share what trip you’ve taken or plan to take via Email, Facebook, or Twitter and you’ll get another 350 miles. You can just click email and write where you want to go to AA and you’ll get the full 700 miles.

This promotion ends at 12pm CDT on 6/1.

The miles will post by 7/31.

35 people will also win 350K miles. However they’ll be hit with a 1099 of $6,965.

AA miles require activity every 18 months, so this will extend the life of your existing miles by 18 months.

HT: yoshapman, via DDF


Join the 71,200+ people who follow @DansDeals on Twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted.

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Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points To Etihad; JFK-Europe Round-Trip From 16.9K In Coach Or 28.1K In Business!

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points To Etihad

Offer expires 6/15/16.

Etihad miles expire 24 months after they were earned.

Etihad awards have nominal fuel surcharges and are bookable online. For example you can fly from JFK-Abu Dhabi in an Etihad First Class Apartment with on-board shower for 235,112 miles or about 180,855 AMEX points round-trip.

Partner award charts can be found here and are much more lucrative, but partner awards are not bookable online, which means you have to play call center roulette. You also need to book partner awards 14 days in advance.

Every airline has their own award chart. For example:
The Brussels award chart can be found here. There are no fuel surcharges.
-You can fly from JFK-Brussels in coach for 21,972 miles or about or about 16,902 AMEX points round-trip.
-You can fly from JFK-Brussels in business for 36,620 miles or about or about 28,169 AMEX points round-trip.
-You can fly from Brussels-Tel Aviv in coach for 12,096 miles or about or about 9,304 AMEX points round-trip.
-You can fly from Brussels-Tel Aviv in business for 20,160 miles or about or about 15,508 AMEX points round-trip.

-The American award chart can be found here. There are no fuel surcharges and the off-peak dates are far more generous than when booking American awards with American miles.
-You can fly from the US to Hawaii in coach between January 12–March 8 or August 22-December 15 for 35K miles or about 26,923 AMEX points round-trip.
-You can fly from JFK to Los Angeles in business class for 50K miles or about 38,462 AMEX points round-trip.
-You can fly from JFK to Los Angeles in first class for 65K miles or 50K AMEX points round-trip.
-You can fly from JFK to Europe in coach between October 15–May 15 for 40K miles or about 30,769 AMEX points round-trip.
-You can fly from JFK to Argentina or Brazil in coach between March 1–May 31 or August 16–November 30 for 40K miles or about 30,769 AMEX points round-trip.
-You can fly from JFK to Europe, Argentina, or Brazil in business class for 100K miles or about 76,923 AMEX points round-trip
-You can fly from JFK to Europe, Argentina, or Brazil in first class for 125K miles or about 96,154 AMEX points round-trip
-You can fly from JFK to Tokyo or Seoul in coach between October 1 – April 30 for 50K miles or about 38,462 AMEX points round-trip.

You can also book one-way awards on American for half of those rates.

-The GOL award chart can be found here. There are no fuel surcharges. You can fly from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo to Iguaçu Falls for 6K miles one-way or about 4,615 AMEX points.

Post what other great deals you find!

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

The Everyday Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. It has a $95 annual fee.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month. It’s the only no annual-fee card that can directly transfer points into 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, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card. 

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need one of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

HT: YOSEF, via DDF

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El Al Matmid Discounted Coach And Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Update: El Al has extended this deal for tickets booked through 5/31.


Originally posted on 3/29:

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al Matmid Discounted Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al is offering discounted coach and business class award tickets to select cities that can be found in the link above.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s very easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 AMEX points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al, though it takes about a day after the transfer for the executive status to take effect on your El Al Matmid account.

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

North America coach sale:
Toronto-Tel Aviv is 1,300 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 65K AMEX points or a 15K AMEX point discount.
NYC-Tel Aviv: 1,380 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 69K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.
Boston-Tel Aviv: 1,430 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 71.5K AMEX points or a 8.5K AMEX point discount.
Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 1,780 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 89K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.

North America business class sale:
Toronto-Tel Aviv is 3,380 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 169K AMEX points or a 31K AMEX point discount.
NYC-Tel Aviv: 3,500 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 175K AMEX points or a 25K AMEX point discount.
Boston-Tel Aviv: 3,600 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 180K AMEX points or a 20K AMEX point discount.
Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 4,070 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 203.5K AMEX points or a 21.5K AMEX point discount.

You are able to fly one-way for half the miles.

Discounted awards are also available between Tel Aviv and Europe, South Africa, and the Far East.

These awards must be booked by 4/17.

Travel must begin by 6/30, though return travel can be completed at any time.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

To translate Matmid rates into AMEX rates, just multiply the Matmid requirement by 50.

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

The Everyday Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. It has a $95 annual fee.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month. It’s the only no annual-fee card that can directly transfer points into 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, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card. 

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need one of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

HT: ilherman, via DDF

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4 Weeks Left To Fly Upstairs Or In The Nose Of United’s Queen Of The Skies On A Domestic Route

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

2 weeks ago I went on a quick 2 day father-son trip to San Francisco. Rafi is obsessed with airplanes, and having taken him on over 100 flights I suppose that’s my fault. He had been begging for quite some time to fly upstairs on a 747 or A380 and United’s upcoming retirement of the 747 was a good impetus for the trip.

We got business saver awards from Cleveland to San Francisco and back via Chicago to catch a ride upstairs on the Queen of the skies, a rightfully deserved title for a beautiful airplane.

We had the time of our lives, words can’t come close to describing the experience. I’ll try to cover it in a future trip report and you can peruse a few pictures from the trip on my Instagram account.

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View which miles to use, the award availability day by day, and more after the jump:

(more…)

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IHG Pointbreaks Now Bookable For Stays Through July, Hotel Rooms For Just $35/Night

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

IHG PointBreaks Linky

IHG Booking Linky

-The current list is valid for stays through 07/31
-Hotels can sell out of discounted rooms quickly and only a limited amount of rooms are available per night.

You can book up to 2 reservations per hotel. There’s no limit to how long each of the stays can be.

You can stay in any PointBreaks hotel for 5,000 IHG points.

If you already have 5,000 IHG points in your account then you can buy increments of 10,000 points for $70 as described below.

If you don’t have points yet IHG sells 5,000 points for $67.50. If those points don’t post instantly you can call IHG to get a points loan based on your purchase confirmation number in order to quickly grab a room. Alternatively you can transfer 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG, though transfers are not instant. It’s a terrible use of Ultimate Rewards points (as they’re were more than twice that to brokers or when transferred to other airlines or hotels), but it allows you to start buying points for 0.7 cents each.

You can also get 70K points for signing up for their credit card.  That’s not as strong as bonuses from cards with more valuable point currencies, though it does come with an annual certificate good for a free stay in any IHG hotel. Those are best utilized at Intercontinental hotels where a night can set you back 60K points or $800/night in places like Bora Bora. The card is free for the first year and then $49/year.  If you have a credit card you’ll also get 10% of your points back on award reservations!

After you have 5,000 points in your account there is a “trick” to buy additional points for 0.7 cents each. You can book any cancellable 15,000 point hotel stay using cash and points for $70+5,000 points.

All you need to do is search for reward points stays in any metro area and you should find a hotel for 5,000 points+$70 like the one below. The room is normally 15,000 points but with IHG points and cash option you can buy 10,000 points for $70 when making a reservation. Just select the 5,000 points+$70 option to complete this purchase.

The $70 that you pay is nonrefundable so when you cancel the hotel you will actually get back 15,000 points in your account. Effectively you are buying 10,000 IHG points with this method for $70 or 0.7 cents per points.

ihg2

Be sure to click on the rules during the checkout process to make sure that the room is fully refundable (almost all are):

ihg4

In other words the cost per each 5,000 point PointBreaks stay is just $35 once you already have 5,000 initial points in your account.

Where can you stay for $35?
The full list is here, but here are a few samples:
-The Crowne Plaza Fairfield, NJ will put you just 30 minutes away from Times Square.
-The Staybridge Suites Canton, OH is just 3 miles from the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. You can use 12K Iberia Avios, 15K AA miles, 15K BA Avios, or 20K United miles to fly round-trip nonstop from LGA or Newark to Akron/Canton or Cleveland.
-The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Philadelphia- Mt Laurel is just 20 minutes from the Liberty Bell.
-The Holiday Inn Eugene, OR is a good base to explore Oregon’s stunning Crate Lake and the Sea Lion Caves.
-The Candlewood Suites San Antonio Downtown is just 10 minutes away from the AT&T Center, where the Spurs will host the Cavs in June 😉
Locations abroad include the:
Crowne Plaza Antwerp, Belgium
-Holiday Inn Paris – Marne la Vallée, France
-Holiday Inn Milan – Assago, Italy
-Holiday Inn Express Luzern, Switzerland
-Crowne Plaza Johannesburg, South Africa

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Daily Getaway For 4/22: Discounted Hertz Points

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

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 5/6 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 Hertz number handy.

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

1. 5,500 points for $250 (4.55 cents per point)

2. 13,200 points for $560 (4.24 cents per point)

3. 16,500 points for $698 (4.23 cents per point)

Here is the Hertz award chart.

-A free week rental is 2,750 points, so package 1 would be enough for 2 weeks of rentals at a cost of $17.86 per day.

-Package 2 would be enough points for 4 free weeks (11K) and a 4 day rental over a weekend (2.2K).  That’s 32 rental days at a cost of $17.50 per day.

Package 2 is also enough for two 4 day weekend rentals of a prestige collection car. That’s 8 days of rentals at a cost of $70 per day.

-A free rental week of a prestige collection car is 8,250 points, so package 3 would be enough for 2 weeks of rentals at a cost of $49.85 per day.

Package 3 is also enough for 6 weeks of free rentals. That’s 42 rental days at a cost of $16.62 per day.

There are blackout dates for these awards, though you can use double points to rent during a blackout as well.

Hertz points don’t expire as long as you have earned or redeemed points on a rental every 24 months.

Will you try to buy?  Or are these packages too much effort for too little reward? For many locations you may be better off spending the time figuring out the lowest Priceline bid that they would accept for your rental…

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Hilton Points On Sale For 0.5 Cents Each: Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem From $320/Night, Conrad Maldives From $375/Night

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Update: The Daily Getaways packages sold out quickly yesterday, but from today until 6/3 you can purchase points directly from Hilton for the same .5 cents per point rate that Daily Getaways offered.

You can purchase anywhere from 2K points for $10 to 160K points for $800. If you need more points you can open additional Hilton accounts in your name and then combine the accounts by clicking here.

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Originally posted on 4/20:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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 5/6 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. If you have multiple Hilton account numbers you can buy multiple of the same packages as well as long as you pay with another credit card. You can merge the accounts online.

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. Rooms range from $450-$650 per night (plus 18% VAT for locals).

If you were to buy 80K points at 0.5 cents each that would make the effective cost per night $400.  If you have a Hilton AMEX you can stay for 4 nights for 260K points (65K points per night) that would make the effective cost per night $325. If you have Hilton elite status (it’s free with any Hilton card) they you can get the 5th award night for free, so 320K points (64K points per night) at the sale price of 0.5 cents each would make the effective cost per night just $320. No tax is owed on award stays.

If you have Hilton Gold status (it’s free with select Hilton cards and with the Platinum Card® from American Express or the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN), you’ll also get free breakfast and room upgrades.

The Conrad Maldives goes for $700-$1,000 per night. It costs 95K points per night ($475/night with this sale), 300K points for 4 nights for Hilton AMEX cardholders ($375/night with this sale), or 380K points for 5 nights for Hilton elites ($380/night with this sale).

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-Until May 4th, The Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express is offering 75K points for spending $1,000 within 3 months.  It offers 7 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Hilton AMEX before.

It has no annual fee and offers Silver status for as long as you are a cardmember. That gets you the ability to get the 5th night free on Hilton award stays. If you spend $20K on the card you’ll also get Hilton Gold status.

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-Until May 4th, The Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is offering 100K points for spending $3,000 within 3 months.  It offers 12 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 6 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Hilton AMEX before.

It has a $75 annual fee and gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder. If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status.

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The Hilton award chart can be found here.

Rooms range from 5K to 95K points per night depending on which of the 10 categories it falls into. If you have any Hilton credit card you’ll have elite status which also get the 5th award night for free. There are also point and money awards which are a great way to stretch your points, though those awards are capacity controlled.

As long as a standard room is for sale you can use points for the room without capacity controls or blackout dates.

AMEX Hilton cardholders can also book discounted 4 night award stays as follows:
Category 5: 130,000 points
Category 6: 160,000 points
Category 7: 190,000 points
Category 8: 220,000 points
Category 9: 260,000 points
Category 10: 300,000 points

These discounted 4 night awards are called AXON awards and can only be booked over the phone (800-920-5649), but will have the same availability as regular awards.

At the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem we were treated to a fantastic daily breakfast, which is free for Hilton Gold and Diamond members. There is a mind-boggling quantity of awesome kosher food there, from dozens of daily hot dishes to hard cheeses, fresh fruits and pastries to fresh squeezed juices, as well as on-demand dishes like french toast, pancakes, waffles, and eggs. Unlimited wine, hot or cold chocolate drinks, and espresso drinks are included as well!

Gold and Diamond members get free cocktail certificates good for use at any time during their stay, room upgrades, in-room food and drink amenities, late checkout, and other great benefits. Their Friday night Shabbos meals are pricey, but are well worth the expense (DDFers agree with that take as well), and the in-house restaurants are excellent as well.

 

With a breakfast like this, you may not even be hungry for dinner…

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Many, many more pictures when I get around to writing the trip report 😉

 

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

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Starwood’s 35th Transfer Partner Increases The Value Of Your Starpoints; Fly Roundtrip JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Or JFK-Europe For Less Than 20K SPG!

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Bear with me as I’m still catching on the news from last week while I was flying with my son on an incredible trip on the upper deck of a 747.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Last week Starwood added its 35th airline transfer partner, Virgin America. Ironically both Starwood and Virgin America will cease to exist in a couple years from now having been snapped up by Marriott and Alaska, but there is value still to be had in the meantime.
It’s also great to see SPG still adding partners to its portfolio. Last December it added Aegean, which is excellent for awards to Israel.

Now it’s adding Virgin America as a partner at the standard 20K Starpoints=25K Virgin America points ratio. Click here to transfer Starpoints into airline miles.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

Virgin America has hybrid award redemption system. You can redeem for flights on Virgin America based on the cost of the flight.

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way Virgin flights (Prices were researched on 4/16 and will fluctuate). Note that Starpoint rates listed below are assuming that you maximize the 25% point bonus for transferring Starpoints in blocks of 20,000 points (which you may or may not be able to do depending on the number of passengers, so you may have leftover miles):
1. Los Angeles-Las Vegas on 5/11 is $43.10 or 1,417 Virgin points (about 1,134 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.65 cents per Virgin point (43.10-5.60/1,417) and 3.31 cents per Starpoint.
2. LGA to Dallas on 5/11 is $78.10 or 3,126 Virgin points (about 2,500 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.32 cents per Virgin point and 2.9 cents per Starpoint.
3. JFK to Maui on 5/11 is $244.50 or 10,762 Virgin points (about 8,610 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.22 cents per Virgin point and 2.78 cents per Starpoint.
4. JFK to Los Angeles on 5/11 is $138.10 or 6,056 Virgin points (about 4,844 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.19 cents per Virgin point and 2.74 cents per Starpoint.
5. Los Angeles-Orlando on 5/11 is $93.10 or 3,859 Virgin points (about 3,087 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.27 cents per Virgin point and 2.84 cents per Starpoint.

The exact point requirements will vary based on the price of the Virgin flights, but those are some pretty sweet values!

You can also redeem points on partner airlines.
Those include Hawaiian, Singapore, and Virgin Australia with low or no fuel surcharges and Emirates or Virgin Atlantic with high fuel surcharges.

For example:
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Frankfurt on Singapore is just 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Honolulu on Hawaiian is 35K Virgin miles (about 28K SPG) in coach or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 15K Virgin miles+$475 (about 12K SPG) in coach, 25K Virgin miles+$790 (20K SPG) in premium economy, or 35K Virgin miles+$1,150 (about 28K SPG) in upper class, Virgin’s version of business class with an on-board bar with access to their highly-rated clubhouse lounges.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 25K Virgin miles+$475 (20K SPG) in coach, 30K Virgin miles+$790 (about 24K SPG) in premium economy, or 50K Virgin miles+$1,150 (40K SPG) in upper class.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco nonstop to any of the Hawaiian islands on Hawaiian is 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach or 50K Virgin miles (40K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Seoul on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Sydney on Virgin Australia is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach, 60K Virgin miles (about 48K SPG) in premium economy, or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business class.

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Register For MileagePlus Dining And Get 1,000 United Miles!

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Update: Today is the final day to enroll in this promotion!

Register For United MileagePlus Dining And Get 1,000 Miles

There’s no need to eat out to earn the 1,000 miles.

Rules:
-Valid for new United MileagePlus Dining members only.
-You must register via link above, create a web login, opt in and remaining opted in to receive emails from MileagePlus Dining with a valid, deliverable email address.
-Offer expires April 10, 2016.
-Allow 6–8 weeks for miles to post.

You can also earn 500 miles every time you eat in a participating restaurant within 30 days of registering, up to 2,500 miles.  If you are planning on dining out all you need to do is use your registered card to pay for your meal.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card always earns 2 points per dollar for all dining and travel purchases. and the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express offers 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on dining, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber.

United miles require activity every 18 months, so this will extend the life of your miles for another 18 months. Chase United Explorer cardholder’s miles never expire for as long as they remain a cardholder. They also get excellent benefits including vastly expanded saver and standard award availability, free checked bags, priority boarding, United Club passes, primary car rental insurance, and elites also get upgrades on award tickets as a benefit of having the card.

HT: Emkay, via DDF

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Thoughts On Alaska’s Bizarre Emirates Devaluation; Still Want To Fly In Emirates Shower Class? Take Advantage Of The JAL Award Chart While You Can…

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

This topic has been rehashed ad nauseum in the blogosphere, but in case you’ve been living under a rock…

Emirates First Class on their A380 is a bit of an enigma. It made waves when it launched nearly a decade ago for offering the first commercial shower onboard, though you are limited to just 5 minutes of water.

Full post after the jump:

(more…)

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Pre-Register For Aer Lingus Avios And Get 250 Avios Upon Program Launch

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

You should know from articles like this or this that you can earn and transfer Avios between Avios.com, British Airways Avios, and Iberia Avios. Each of those programs has pluses and minuses for earning and redemption, making the free transfer feature quite useful.

Aer Lingus will join the Avios world in July with AerClub. On the plus side that should mean their awards will be bookable on BA.com. On the minus side, their flights will probably soon be hit with fuel surcharges when using Avios. They’ll probably also end their award relationship with United.

In the meantime you can pre-register for AerClub Avios and earn 250 Avios when the program launches. With Iberia Avios you need to earn Avios in the Iberia program before you can transfer Avios from British Airways to Iberia, so this can be a good way to activate that feature with Aer Lingus as well. Who knows if they’ll also have discrepancies as large as BA and Iberia have.

Just click here and follow the “not a gold circle member” link where it says you will get 250 Avios for pre-registering. Then scroll down, enter your name and email address, and click send details. In July they’ll presumably email you a link to enroll and earn 250 Avios for doing so.

HT: HFP

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Daily Getaways 2016 Starts Today

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Daily Getaways 2016 Linky

Daily Getaways starts today and runs through May 6th. You can find the full calendar of offerings via the link above.

At 1pm EDT every weekday there will be another sale, but you’ll have to be really quick. The best ones will sell out in seconds, so you need to be waiting on the page at 12:59pm and refreshing the page.

Some packages that caught my eye:

-On 4/5 you’ll be able to buy Busch Gardens tickets for $45 or Sea World tickets for $50.

-On 4/6 you’ll be able to buy IHG points for as low as .565 cents each, though that’s not as tempting as in past years due to their recent devaluation.

-On 4/20 you’ll be able to buy Hilton points for .5 cents each. Read more on the Hilton program here.

-On 4/21 you can get 2 nights in a Venetian Piazza View suite for $495.

-On 4/22 you’ll be able to buy discounted Hertz points, though some prices have gone up since last year’s deal.

-On 4/26 Loews is selling discounted night certificates at their hotels.

-On 4/27 Alamo will sell $50 rental certificates for $25.

-On 4/28 Fairmont will sell 6 nights with breakfast to their Big Island or Maui resorts for $1,800 and 3 nights with breakfast for their Scottsdale resort for $610.

-On 4/29 you can buy Hyatt points for just 1-1.1 cents each.

-On 5/2 you can buy Avis 1 day rental certificates for $30 each, though they’re not valid in NYC, for one-way rentals, and they have hidden blackout dates. You can also drop $1,115 on a year of Chairman’s status with free upgrades to select specialty cars and free car dropoffs.

-On 5/3 you can buy Marriott gift cards for 20% off.

Which packages are you going to try for?

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A Comparison Of How Many Miles Are Needed For Award Flights On 116 OneWorld Direct Routes From NYC

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

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

Ever wonder how many miles you need for an award flight and if you are getting the best deal?

In the chart below you can find the rates for every direct OneWorld flight from NYC when using American (AA) miles, Alaska (AS) miles, British Airways (BA) Avios, Cathay Pacific (CX) Asia Miles, Iberia (IB) Avios, or LAN (LA) kilometers.

See the full comparison for miles required with these 6 carriers on 116 routes from NYC after the jump:

(more…)

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Chase Freedom Q1 Bonus Spending: Save On Gas, Uber, Subway Rides, And More!

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Update: Today is the final day to complete Q1 spending.

You can also click here to register for Q2 spending, good for 5 points per dollar at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Effective 6/20 you can even use your Freedom Visa at Costco where you should earn 5 points points per dollar!

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Originally posted on 1/4/16:

Chase Freedom Linky

Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card thanks to its quarterly 5% categories. While they call it 5% cash back, you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points over the course of a year (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

For a limited time only the signup bonus is increased to $150 for spending $500 in 3 months plus $25 for adding an additional user and making a purchase. Those actually come in the form of 17,500 points that can be used for $175 cash back, but would be put to better use if used as airline miles.

You can click here to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories.

2016 bonus categories:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and wholesale clubs like BJs and Sams Club. Effective 6/20 Costco will also start accepting Visa cards and should qualify as a wholesale club.
Q3: Restaurants and more to be announced.
Q4: Holiday shopping (Likely Amazon.com and more to be announced)

Q1 bonus spending:

You can earn 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in spending at gas stations between 01/01-03/31. You can buy gift cards to other stores at gas stations as well.

Visa seems to count all 7-Eleven’s as gas stations, even if they don’t sell gas!

You’ll also get 5 points per dollar on local commuter transportation which includes:
-Local and suburban passenger commuter train, subway, buses, metro, and ferry tickets.
-Taxis
-Uber
-Lyft

Freedom alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline/hotel/train currencies, but if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card then you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to your favorite travel currency. You can read at the end of this post which currencies they can transfer to and why those points are much more valuable than just taking cash back. The Freedom card can also keep your points alive for free if you do close one of those cards.

The value of the points will be based on where you use them, but if you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each then you’ll have effectively earned 10% back on those “5 point categories.” The sky is the limit of the value of airline miles as they aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket. That’s good for people in the know and bad for those who are not. 1 mile can be worth 0.25 cents or it can be worth 25 cents, it all just depends on how you use them!

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Poll: Was Your Serve Or Bluebird Card Closed?

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Round 2 of Serve/Bluebird shutdowns is today and this time they got my OneVIP Serve card. Just add the damage to last week’s post.
At least there’s still money orders and bill pay…

Were you shutdown today?

Was Your Serve Card Closed On 03/04?

View Results

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Originally posted on 01/11:

Last Friday morning I wrote about the wave of Serve and Bluebird closures.

There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for the shutdowns. Some people with the same patterns on 2 household cards had 1 card shutdown while the other is still open.
One possible pattern is that people who kept funds in the Serve account rather than transfer them out quickly, are being spared. That may explain why I wasn’t shutdown despite $5,000 in loading last month.

But I’m not one to take things cautiously. I loaded $2,500 on my Serve card on Friday at Rite Aid and another $2,500 today. I still have a stash of gift cards to liquidate so I also bought $5,000 in money orders. Luckily I have numerous local stores that will sell me money orders and I have a bank that doesn’t seem to mind all of the money order deposits. That makes for a good backup in case my Serve card is closed, but that’s something that doesn’t necessarily exist everywhere.

At any rate, vote now and share your patterns in the comments:

Was Your Serve Card Closed On 01/08?

View Results

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Are We Nearing The End Of The Road? A Brief History Of The Game We Play, Changes To AMEX+Chase Card Rules; Which Cards To Get Before It’s Too Late

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

It’s been a really fun run since I started blogging in 2004.

Even before I was blogging I was using eBay to flip beanie babies as a 13 year old at big profits and generated 7 figures of miles for free.

I pioneered credit card application techniques like the 2BM which became 3BM and eventually got as high as a 24BM. I typically kept the specifics limited to the 15 seminars that I ran from 2012-2015. Over the years we’ve been able to travel the world while burning over 10 million miles and banking tens of millions more along with lifetime elite statuses and other perks. Like I said in an interview last month, my problem is finding the time to burn them, not earn them. With G-ds grace, that’s an amazing problem to have and it’s one of things that I was so thankful for.

Alas, other bloggers that attended some of those seminars have taken the stories for their own. They often dumbed them down in scale and strategy, I suppose as a way to not outright break a promise to keep their lips sealed. But in the process they wound up killing many of those methods in random posts of selfishness. There’s such a fine line when deciding what things are safe to write about and what things aren’t and I’ve been guilty of poor judgement at times. But there have been posts that are so misguided that they sting. #CestLaVie

There’s no doubt that this game is on the downward slope of the bell-curve here.

It used to be easy as pie to keep applying for the same cards again and again with bonuses that just kept on growing with each passing year. It used to be really easy to meet the minimum spending requirement (Back in the day most cards only required $1 in spending) and manufacture spend by buying dollar coins or sending your spouse payments with Amazon Payments. Now those things have become increasingly difficult to do so.

Banks have gotten stricter with approvals and have policies that limit how often you can signup for the same card. And while there have always been loopholes for those in the know, those too are winnowing down.

There are still ways to manufacture spend, but in places like NYC it can be tough, especially if your Serve card was shut down.

Am I being a bit dramatic here? After all there are hundreds of avid DDF users who maximize the system, rack up millions of miles, and fly around the world in first class at a greater frequency than I do. If law school student CS91 can go from mileage newbie to racking up and burning 1.7 million miles this year, then surely all hope is not yet lost in this game. But there’s no denying that things are getting more difficult and require more time to master.

This blog has always been an odd convergence of bargain, travel/miles deals and information. It’s funny to see them come together as more and more people move into reselling as a method of manufacturing spend. That’s when people buy bargains on their credit cards and try to sell them on places like Amazon or eBay at a profit or at least break-even in order to earn miles in the process. Perhaps this will be the only way forward to keep manufacturing miles on the cheap? It’s funny to see it come full circle from the old days when I sold beanie babies and generated Cathay Pacific miles via eBay.

The airlines themselves have tried to take the gaming aspect out of the earning side of the equation as they move to reward flying based on revenue instead of flying distance. While in the past you could fly on a mileage run and earn miles worth more than the cost of the flight, those opportunities and few and far between these days. In 2004 we earned 8 tickets valid anywhere in the world on American by flying on a couple flights between NYC and California or Florida.   In 2006 I flew on a dozen AA flights in Texas and for a couple hundred bucks I had elite status and 6 figures of miles. Those days aren’t returning, though there are still ways to earn miles based on distance by crediting flights to partner airlines.

Airline consolidation has made lucrative promotions fewer and farther between as there is less need to compete. In 2005 Airtran ran a promotion to earn miles for Wendy’s cups. I sent in thousands of cups and they bought me tickets on Continental that I’m still using for free flights on United. Those were the golden days. Now airlines and hubs have been eliminated and loyalty is taken for granted.

Same goes for hotels. Not long ago I was earning 13,500 United miles+6,000 Hyatt points+1 free night at any Hyatt in the world for every 2 stays that I made. That was extremely lucrative thanks to $60 Hyatt Place stays that I was able to checkin to over the phone for every day of the promotion. Those Faster Free Nights promotions ran from about 2002 through 2010 but are gone for good. Even Starwood got in on the action and that allowed me to stay at the S. Regis Princeville in Kauai for dirt cheap in 2011. If airline mergers were the big story of the past 15 years, the ongoing hotel mergers will be the big thing. We’ll see what Marriott does with Starwood and what Accor does with my precious Fairmont, but I’m not very hopeful.

Heck, even Starbucks is moving from a “gameable” frequent user rewards based system (use their mobile app to make separate orders for every item you buy to quickly rack up free drinks) to a non-gameable revenue based system in April. The rewards landscape is changing as blogs proliferate and people maximize the benefits farther than the programs intended.

The redemption side has also become tougher with unprecedented devaluations from the likes of Hilton and United. Delta went so far as to delete their award charts and now American is poised to copy United’s devaluation in a month.

The good news from that end is that the major airlines know if they switch from an opaque system where savvy customers can game it and win to a non-gameable revenue based system, that they will lose billions of dollars in revenue as consumers switch from earning airline miles to earning cash back. The banks and their steady revenue stream won’t let that happen anytime soon.

In March of 2014 I broke the news that AMEX consumer cards would be much harder to churn. Officially most offers are once per lifetime now, though some don’t have that language and others have reported that after a number of years they’ve been able to get a signup bonus again on the same card. It’s hard to say exactly how many years it takes for that though.

Effective today AMEX Business card applications now have this language as well.

Citi started cracking down later in 2014 as I first reported here as well.

Bank of America went from one of the easiest to one of the hardest banks for multiple applications thanks to some blogs.

Chase’s approval guidelines on their Freedom and Sapphire cards got much more rigid last May when they started giving a tough time to people who have been approved for more than 5 credit cards within the previous 24 months. Some people have had success with reconsideration, others with $10K+ in a Chase checking account or with Private Client status have had luck by asking a banker to fill out a special reconsideration form for them, but it’s much tougher than it used to be.

Chuck from DoC has an inside source that says those same guidelines will begin to apply to Ink cards sometime in March and to all Chase cards sometime in April. With the way things have been heading that doesn’t surprise me at all.

So what Chase cards should you be looking into before things get even harder?

Chase Ink Plus Visa
Offering a limited time increased bonus of 60K, up from 50K.
You can read all about the awesome benefits of the Ink Plus card here.

You can also read more about what you can do with Ultimate Rewards points here, though the post needs some updating.

(If you need a card with 0% interest the Chase Ink Cash Visa offers 12 months of 0% APR and as it’s a business card your credit won’t be affected like it would be on a consumer card carrying debt.
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-Chase Marriott Visa
Offering a limited time increased bonus of 87.5K with a free additional user card, up from 50K.
Read more about the Marriott card here.
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-Chase British Airways Visa
Offering a limited time increased bonus of up to 100K, up from 50K.
Read more about the BA card here.
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-Chase Freedom Visa
Offering a limited time increased bonus of 17.5K with a free additional user card, up from 10K and 5 points per dollar in rotating categories.
Read more about the Freeom card here.
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-Chase Sapphire Visa (Click on view card offers by bank)

Offering a limited time increased bonus of 55K with a free additional user card, up from 40K plus double points on travel and dining spending and primary car rental insurance.
Read more about the Sapphire card here.
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The Chase United Visa is a good card to keep around just for the greatly expanded access it provides for both saver and standard award tickets. The free bags, club passes, primary car rental insurance, never-expiring miles, elite upgrades on award tickets, and priority boarding are just icing on the cake for that card.

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What are you thoughts on where things are heading? Sound off in the comments!

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Delta Nationwide Award Sale To Europe!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Delta sent me an email about an award sale if you have a Delta credit card like the Delta Gold, Delta Platinum, Delta Reserve, or Delta Business AMEX. However the sale appears to work even if you don’t have a credit card!

Although the email lists just 11 specific routes, it actually appears to work in coach from any US city to any European city!
It also works from any US city to London in business class.

After testing on numerous cities, the pattern appears to be:
-Coach flights from the Eastern and Central time zones to Europe are 42K miles round-trip.
-Coach flights from the Mountain and Pacific time zones to Europe are 48K miles round-trip.
-Business flights from the Eastern and Central time zones to London are 87K miles round-trip.
-Business flights from the Mountain and Pacific time zones to London are 100K miles round-trip.

Rules:
-Book by February 18, 2016
-Travel on select dates between March 4, 2016 and May 31, 2016.
-7 day minimum stay requirement.
-Round-trip required.

Note that it won’t work for most dates, so use Delta’s flexible 5 week calendar to help find valid dates. Availability seems to be best in April.

You can transfer points instantly from cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

The Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month.

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

You can alsotransfer 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. 

Post where you book award travel to!

HT: D93, via DDF

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Last Chance To Book IHG Hotels Before 2016 Category Changes

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

IHG’s 2016 category changes go into effect tomorrow.

Currently hotels range from just 5,000 points to 50,000 points per night.

Effective tomorrow new 55K and 60K categories are being added, but you can still lock in lower rates now.

You can buy points from IHG here, but once you have 5,000 points in your account you can buy points via the method described in this post for $35 per 5K points.

Sample hotels getting less expensive (Wait until tomorrow to book these):
-Holiday Inn Manaus, Brazil: Was 15K, now 10K
-Holiday Inn Express Madrid, Spain: Was 15K, now 10K
-Holiday Inn Johannesburg Airport, South Africa: Was 20K, now 15K
-Crowne Plaza Dead Sea, Israel: Was 30K, now 25K
-Crowne Plaza Eilat, Israel: Was 30K, now 25K
-Hotel Indigo Tel Aviv, Israel: Was 30K, now 25K
-Crowne Plaza Kathmandu, Nepal: Was 30K, now 25K
-Crowne Plaza Panama Airport: Was 30K, now 25K
-InterContinental Sao Paulo, Brazil: Was 40K, now 35K

Sample hotels getting more expensive (Book these tonight):
-InterContinental Melbourne, Australia: Was 50K, now 55K
-InterContinental Sydney, Australia: Was 50K, now 55K
-InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa: Was 50K, now 60K
-InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora: Was 50K, now 60K
-InterContinental Cannes, France: Was 50K, now 60K
-InterContinental Hong Kong: Was 50K, now 60K
-InterContinental Rome, Italy: Was 50K, now 55K
-Holiday Inn Resort Maldives, Was 35K, now 40K
-InterContinental Porto, Portugal: Was 30K, now 35K
-Holiday Inn Singapore: Was 35K, now 40K
-InterContinental Geneva, Switzerland: Was 35K, now 45K
-Crowne Plaza London-Kensington, UK: Was 45K, now 50K
-Crowne Plaza London-City, UK: Was 45K, now 50K

-Holiday Inn Express and Suites Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Los Angeles, CA: Was 35K, now 40K
-Crowne Plaza South Beach Z Ocean Hotel, Miami, FL: Was 45K, now 50K
-Holiday Inn Express and Suites Kona, Big Island, HI: Was 20K, now 30K
-InterContinental Boston, MA: Was 50K, now 55K
-The Venetian Las Vegas, NV: Was 50K, now 60K
-The Palazzo Las Vegas, NV: Was 50K, now 60K
-Hotel Indigo Brooklyn, NY: Was 35K, now 40K
-Holiday Inn Express LaGuardia, NY: Was 30K, now 40K
-Candlewood Suites New York City-Times Square, NY: Was 35K, now 40K
-InterContinental New York Times Square: Was 50K, now 60K
-Holiday Inn New York JFK: Was 20K, now 25K
-Holiday Inn Resort Klamath Falls, OR: Was 10K, now 15K

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1 Day Left Until British Airways Avios Devaluation; Info On Changing Dates After 02/02 And On Transferring Points To Iberia Avios

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Related posts:

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

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn up to 100,000 Avios for a limited time only! Earn 50K for spending $2K in 3 months, earn an additional 25K for spending another $8K in 12 months, and earn an additional 25K for spending another $10K in 12 months.
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Effective 02/02/16 at 5am EST British Airways is raising the cost of short-haul zone 1 flights between 1-650 miles in flight distance from 4.5K Avios to 7.5K in coach, from 9K Avios to 15K in business, and from 18K Avios to 30K in first.

This change is only for flights that are to, from, or within the United States. Short haul zone 1 flights like London-Milan, Iguazu Falls-Sao Paulo, Johannesburg-Victoria Falls, and Sydney-Melbourne remain 4.5K Avios in coach.

All other awards remain the same.

Still, with travel starting at 7.5K Avios with no close-in fees and just $5.60 in cancellation fees, Avios travel remains a bargain for domestic flights.

You can book a 9K round-trip award now and change the dates later without paying the additional 6K Avios. But BA charges $55/award for date changes and just charges the tax paid ($5.60/way for domestic flight) for cancellations, so if you need to change the date, that will eat up a lot of the savings. But if you might need to fly it’s worth hedging that bet for the cancellation penalty of $5.60 each way.

Note that for awards from Canada the taxes are about equal to the cancellation fee. In that case if you need to change your travel dates, you can spend $55 for a change fee when you do have dates and that will save you 6K Avios. You don’t forfeit the taxes paid on award changes.

The same story applies to 4.5K awards from Mexico or the Caribbean as well.

Normally I advise booking one-way with BA as it’s far cheaper to cancel a domestic flight than to change it and for several other reasons. But if you do plan on changing dates on an award instead of cancelling to beat the devaluation, be sure to book round-trip awards to limit your change fees.

Current BA award chart:

ZoneFlight DistanceCoachBusinessFirst
11-6504.5K9K18K
2651-1,1517.5K15K30K
31,152-2,00010K20K40K
42,001-3,00012.5K37.5K50K
53,001-4,00020K60K80K
64,001-5,50025K75K100K
75,501-6,50030K90K120K
86,501-7,00035K105K140K
97,001+50K150K200K

BA award chart effective 02/02/16:

ZoneFlight DistanceCoachBusinessFirst
1 (Flights that don't touch the USA)1-6504.5K9K18K
1 (Flights to, from, or within the USA)1-6507.5K15K30K
2651-1,1517.5K15K30K
31,152-2,00010K20K40K
42,001-3,00012.5K37.5K50K
53,001-4,00020K60K80K
64,001-5,50025K75K100K
75,501-6,50030K90K120K
86,501-7,00035K105K140K
97,001+50K150K200K

As you may recall from the “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios” post, you can also transfer British Airways Avios back and forth to Iberia Avios and Avios.com Avios. Each of those programs have different partner airlines and different award charts.

You can combine points via this link via the BA site. Sometimes that link doesn’t work so you can also try this link on the Iberia site to combine points.

There is no minimum transfer amount:

iberia5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 2 caveats to combine points though:
1. Both accounts have to have been open for 90 days.
2. Both accounts must be active and received points. Transfers from AMEX or earning miles from other sources activate an account.

I’ve posted previously about Iberia Avios being a useful account to have, so hopefully you already have one from deals like this which gave free Iberia Avios.

If not you can open an Iberia account here.

If you want to fly on Iberia to places like Europe or Israel you can save a fortune in fuel surcharges by transferring BA Avios to Iberia and using them on Iberia flights.

Assuming that you have an Iberia account older than 90 days you’ll be able to transfer points from AMEX MR to Iberia and then to BA at parity.

Here is a look at Iberia’s award chart for travel on AA:

iberia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are at least 6 critical things to keep in mind. There may be more as personally I don’t have experience using Iberia Avios as of yet, so feel free to hit the comments.

1. While BA charges for each segment, Iberia charges for the total mileage of the trip.

BA’s zones are for each leg each way, while Iberia’s zones are for the sum total of all legs on a round-trip.

Let’s say I want to visit my in-laws in Kansas City (Oh stop that snickering!)

American doesn’t fly direct, so I’d have to connect in a hub like Chicago if I wanted to use Avios.

-Cleveland-Chicago is a 315 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01.
-Chicago-Kansas City is a 403 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01.
So the round-trip from Cleveland to Kansas City is currently 18K BA Avios, but will be going up to 30K after 02/01.

With Iberia the total flight distance is calculated without regard to the segments. So Cleveland-Chicago-Kansas City and back again is 1,436 flown miles, making it an Iberia Zone 3 award. That costs just 17K Avios round-trip.

What if I just want to go on my usual day trip to Chicago and hit up Milt’s, a ballgame, and some Shallot’s before flying home?

Cleveland-Chicago is a 315 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01. So the round-trip from Cleveland to Chicago is currently 9K BA Avios, but will be going up to 15K after 02/01.

With Iberia the total flight distance is calculated without regard to the segments. So Cleveland-Chicago and back again is 631 flown miles, making it an Iberia Zone 2 award. That costs 12K Avios round-trip.

2. Iberia’s cheapest award will be 4K cheaper than using BA.

Come 02/02 and you may want to book a flight from Detroit to Chicago with Iberia. At just 469 miles in round-trip distance, it falls within Iberia’s limited zone 1 award for travel up to 600 miles and costs just 11K Iberia Avios round-trip.

With BA that’s currently a 9K round-trip award, but it will be 15K effective 02/02.

-A round-trip flight from Detroit to St. Louis via Chicago is now 18K BA but will go up to 30K on 02/02. With Iberia that round-trip is just 12K Iberia Avios as the total flight distance falls into a zone 2 award.

-A round-trip from NYC to Toronto or Montreal is now 9K BA Avios in coach or 18K in business. That goes up to 15K in coach or 30K in business on 02/02. Those are Iberia Zone 2 awards costing 12K in coach or 24K in business.

Or maybe you won’t want to do that for the following 4 reasons:

3. Iberia only has round-trip partner awards. BA allows one-way awards.

4. Iberia doesn’t allow for changes or cancellations to partner awards. BA allows cancellation of domestic awards for just $5.60/one-way award up to 24 hours ahead of the flight time.

5. Iberia charges more tax for domestic flights than BA.

While BA charges $5.60 for domestic one-ways and $11.20 for domestic round-trips, Iberia charges $20.20 for domestic nonstop round-trips and $29.20 for domestic connecting round-trips.  It’s probably a mistake and/or illegal tax collection, but that’s what their system charges for now.

CLE-ORD-CLE on BA, now 9K+$11.20, soon to be 15K+$11.20:

iberia4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLE-ORD-CLE on Iberia, 12K+$20.20:

iberia3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLE-ORD-MCI-ORD-CLE on BA, now 18K+$11.20, soon to be 30K+$11.20:

iberia6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLE-ORD-MCI-ORD-CLE on Iberia, 17K+$29.20:

iberia2

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. AMEX transfers into BA Avios instantly, but transfers from AMEX into Iberia Avios can take a day or 2. Transfers between BA and Iberia are instant.

So there will be times in the future that I’ll use BA and there will be times in the future when I’ll use Iberia. Namely when I need to fly round-trip, when I’ll definitely take the trip, and when the mileage savings is large enough to make it worth the extra tax and make up for the lack of ability to cancel. When connecting the advantage for Iberia is going to be even bigger after 02/01.

Good thing you can transfer points back and forth as needed!

Want to earn Avios?

-You can also earn Avios directly with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature cardwhich is offering up to 100K Avios currently!

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

The Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points 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. 

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

-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 Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred instantly at a 1:1 ratio into BA Avios from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus credit cards.
Cards like Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Cash can’t directly transfer points into miles, you’ll have to transfer those points to a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus that belongs to an additional user before you can transfer those points to British Airways.

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SIZZLING! Delta Cardholders Can Book First Class Award Tickets From Canada To The US For 250 Miles+$0 Tax!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Update 2: DEAD!

Update: Commenters are reporting that you need 25K miles in your account for this deal to work. You can transfer miles from AMEX to Delta instantly.

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

If you have a Delta credit card like the Delta Gold, Delta Platinum, Delta Reserve, or Delta Business AMEX then you can use pay with miles. You just search for a revenue flight on Delta.com, select a fare, and then a drop-down menu lets you know how many miles you can use. A $200 ticket would normally cost you about 25K miles.

However right now tickets that originate in Canada that cost less than C$284 can be had for just 250 miles with no taxes owed! Now that’s maximizing your Skypesos like never before!

You can use Google Flights Canada to find Delta flights originating in Canada for C$284 or less.

Then login to your mileage account on Delta.com and search for a flight. You must have a primary Delta credit card attached to the mileage account for this to work.

Again, this will only work for tickets originating in Canada and it will only work for tickets that cost C$284 or less.

Don’t forget that you can book a one-way flight from NYC or Chicago to Toronto for 4.5K Avios, from Los Angeles to Vancouver for 7.5K Avios, or from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto for 10K Avios, and then you can book the return for just 250 miles with this deal!

For example this round-trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles is C$282 after sorting the flights by price and selecting the flights. After selecting the flight just use the drop-down menu to save C$282 by using just 250 miles!

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The next page will confirm the 250 miles+$0 price:

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The email confirmation shows C$282, but that the total charge is $0. No pending charge came on my credit card when I booked this ticket:

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Only 250 miles were deducted from my Delta account:

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You’ll even earn Medallion qualifying miles and segments with these fares!

I didn’t need the ticket so I cancelled it and got my miles back as it was within the 24 hour cancellation period.

 

While I couldn’t find any round-trips from Montreal or Toronto to NYC for C$284 or less, I did find one-way first class tickets that worked:

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Will Delta honor this?

They have a pretty good record.

They honored $150 tickets to Europe.

They honored $370 tickets to Israel via Europe and even allowed people to upgrade to a nonstop flight for free.

They honored thousands of $50 round-trip first class fares from places like NYC to Alaska, California, and Hawaii. They even honored the tickets of thousands more people who didn’t receive ticketing confirmations.

They also honored $10 fares from Vancouver to Los Angeles just 2 weeks ago.

But they may follow United’s lead and decide not to honor mileage ticket mistakes. Time will tell, stay tuned!

Everything in this post was discovered by trial and error and I’m sure there are lots of other great deals, so keep searching and post them in the comments!

HT: Sol B.
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Discounted United Awards Between North America And Sydney; How Much Time To Spend In Australia

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Update: This promotion ends tomorrow!

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Originally posted on 01/06:

Discounted United Awards Between North America And Sydney

Currently this promotion is only open for Chase United cardholders and premiers. Just login before searching to view the discounted rates. I’ll bump this post when it’s open to the general public. Now open to everyone!

-Travel valid between Canada or the United States and Sydney.

-Travel on every day except Friday and Saturday will be 25% off for a round-trip award price of 60K miles instead of 80K miles.

-Travel on Friday and Saturday will be 20% off for a round-trip award price of 64K miles instead of 80K miles. If you travel just one direction on Friday or Saturday then the total will be 62K miles.

-Round-trip is required, but you can get the discount on half the trip if one of the dates falls within the promo period.

-Book by 01/28

-Travel between 02/02-06/22

-Travel valid only valid on United and only in coach.

-Stopovers are not allowed with the promo discount, but you can do an open jaw originating from one city and ending up in another city. Of you can always connect for up to 24 hours. For example here’s a free 23 hour, 51 minute connection in Los Angeles:

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You can set that up by choosing multi-city on United’s advanced search page:

 

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So how long should you spend down under?

Back in 2010 Mimi and I flew around the world on AA’s defunct round-the-world award and for Australia we stopped off in Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmania, and the Whitsunday Islands. Truly an awesome country!

-3-5 days in Sydney would give you enough time to experience the phenomenal Park Hyatt, climb the Harbour bridge, check out the Opera House, pet some Koalas and Kangaroos, and have a day in the Blue Mountains.

-4-6 days in Melbourne would allow for a road trip of the sublime Great Ocean Road and the breathtaking Grampians before going to to Malborune for Shabbos at the excellent Park Hyatt which is around the corner from a great Chabad House. A flight from Sydney to Melbourne is 4.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges.

-2-4 days in Hamilton Island or Cairns would give you time to snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re based in Hamilton Island you’ll also be able to checked out famous Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. A flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island is 7.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges. Sydney to Cairns is 10K Avios.

-We spent 4 nights covering the entire beautiful island of Tasmania without realizing just how much driving that would entail. Doing over a week would have been ideal.  A flight from Sydney to Hobart is 4.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges.

-We didn’t make it to more remote places like Uluru, Kangaroo Island, Perth, or the Australian Outback, but perhaps on a future trip?

Then again 10K BA Avios can also get you from Sydney to New Zealand. That’s been on my bucket list for a very long time…

HT: RWM
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