Category Archive for 'Miles'

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

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 05/24 and 05/30 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

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

If you buy 2 $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $13.90 in card fees. (A $200 gift card and a $100 gift card would have $12.90 in fees).

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

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

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

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

If you bought $2,000 in Visa gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

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

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free.  You can load up to $1,000 of gift cards per transaction with no limit on the number of gift cards used for a split tender.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office).
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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REDcard Testing, Post Cinco de Mayo Memo

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

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

HT: Million Miler, via DDF

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

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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

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

I confirmed that memo with my local Target as well.

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 4th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

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

HT: Million Miler, via DDF

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

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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

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

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

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

Or in their own words,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

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

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Update 03/15: Another one bites the dust…

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

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

Softcard itself is ceasing operations 03/31.

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

Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use?

View Results

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

Here’s the rundown of the options:

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

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

 

REDCard makes life easy:

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

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

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

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

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

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

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

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Originally posted on 11/05/14:

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

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

That made for some incredible redemptions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what about for flights from the US?

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

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

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

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

I’ve bolded the best options.

Newark-Toronto on United:
United miles: 20K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 20K coach, 38K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Chicago-Toronto on United:
United miles: 20K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 20K coach, 38K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Los Angeles-Toronto on United (via Chicago):
United miles: 25K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Newark-Miami on United:
United miles: 25K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Chicago-Miami on United:
United miles: 25K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Los Angeles-Miami on United:
United miles: 25K coach, 50K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 25K coach, 40K business.
Air Canada miles: 25K coach, 50K business.

Newark-Cancun on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Chicago-Cancun on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Los Angeles-Cancun on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 25K coach, 48K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 30K coach, 55K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Newark-Aruba on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 22K coach, 43K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Chicago-Aruba on United:
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

Los Angeles-Aruba on United (via Chicago):
United miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K business.
Singapore miles: 35K coach, 60K business.
Air Canada miles: 40K coach, 60K business.

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

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

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

Newark-Sao Paulo on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 110K business.
ANA current miles: 55K coach, 85K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K business.
Singapore miles: 60K coach, 100K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 95K business.

Chicago-Sao Paulo on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 110K business.
ANA current miles: 55K coach, 85K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K business.
Singapore miles: 60K coach, 100K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 95K business.

Los Angeles-Sao Paulo on United (via Houston):
United miles: 60K coach, 110K business.
ANA current miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 40K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 50K coach, 80K business.
Singapore miles: 60K coach, 100K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 95K business.

Newark-London on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 38K coach, 63K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Chicago-London on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Los Angeles-London on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 55K coach, 85K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Newark-Paris on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Chicago-Paris on United:
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 43K coach, 68K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Los Angeles-Paris on United (via Newark):
United miles: 60K coach, 115K business.
ANA current miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 45K coach, 72K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 55K coach, 88K business.
Singapore miles: 55K coach, 130K business.
Air Canada miles: 60K coach, 90K business.

Newark-Tel Aviv on United:
United miles: 85K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 65K coach, 104K business.
Singapore miles: 75K coach, 115K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 165K business.

Chicago-Tel Aviv on United (via Newark):
United miles: 85K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 65K coach, 104K business.
Singapore miles: 75K coach, 115K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 165K business.

Los Angeles-Tel Aviv on United (via Newark):
United miles: 85K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 60K coach, 90K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 65K coach, 104K business.
Singapore miles: 75K coach, 115K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 165K business.

Newark-Melbourne on United (via Los Angeles):
United miles: 80K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 85K coach, 125K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 75K coach, 120K business.
Singapore miles: 110K coach, 195K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 160K business.

Chicago-Melbourne on United (via Los Angeles):
United miles: 80K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 75K coach, 115K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 75K coach, 120K business.
Singapore miles: 110K coach, 195K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 160K business.

Los Angeles-Melbourne on United:
United miles: 80K coach, 140K business.
ANA current miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
ANA 04/12/15 miles: 65K coach, 105K business.
ANA 04/12/15 updated miles: 75K coach, 120K business.
Singapore miles: 110K coach, 195K business.
Air Canada miles: 80K coach, 160K business.

Want to pickup some of these miles?

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Flying Blue with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Update 2: This appears to be dead.

Update: AMEX and Mastercard gift cards are fee-free as well.
———————————————————————————-

Office Depot and Office Max stores aren’t currently charging the normal $5.95 or $6.95 fee for purchasing $100 or $200 Visa gift cards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: MilesNpoints, via DDF

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

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

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

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

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

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

-They normally charge 25,000 miles each way in coach, 50,000 miles each way in premium economy, and 62,500 miles each way in business to Israel but they run rotating promo awards valid for select cities.

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

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

-You need to book the current promo awards by 04/30.

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

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

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

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

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

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

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

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Flying Blue with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

JFK-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

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Miami-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

fbmia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minneapolis-Tel Aviv in business:

fbmsp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta-Tel Aviv in business:

fbatl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edmonton-Tel Aviv in business class:

fb3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Related post (Read this first!): Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
———————————————————————

British Airways Avios are one of the most useful mileage currencies for short-haul travel.  With domestic free flights on American or USAirways for just 4,500 points plus $5.60 that don’t have any close-in booking fees and that can be cancelled for just $5.60, the program is an easy way to rapidly accumulate free travel.  I’ve used 9,000 Avios for last minute round-trips that would have otherwise cost more than $1,000, so the value of their points can be stratospheric.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 30th, 2015

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

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

——————————————————————————————————-

Originally posted on 03/27:

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

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

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

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

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

HT: sruly, via DDF

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United: Discounted Awards To Hawaii, Brazil, And Chile

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Bookable on United.com

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

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

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

————————————————————————————————————————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Daily Getaways Linky

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

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

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

1. 100,000 points for $500

2. 150,000 points for $750

3. 250,000 points for $1,250

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Related post (Read this first!): Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
—————————————————————————————————

British Airways Avios are awesome for short-haul domestic flights which have no fuel surcharges.  Flights that cross the Atlantic usually have fuel surcharges, but notable exceptions are flights on Air Berlin and Aer Lingus.

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

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

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

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

Click here to view 29 Direct Avios Flights From Boston

Click here to view 102 Direct Avios Flights From NYC

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Boston-Dublin 4 passenger nonstop award calendar:

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JFK-Dublin 4 passenger nonstop award calendar:

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

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

HT: zow and EJB, via DDF

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

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

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

Originally posted on 03/13:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Daily Getaways Linky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

If you buy $250+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 03/15 and 03/21 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

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

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

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

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

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

If you bought $2,000 in Visa gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

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

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office). Such stores exist even in manufactured spend deserts like NYC.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

HT: Matovu and FT

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El Al Matmid Discounted Award Tickets

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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Softcard To Cease Operations 03/31

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

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

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

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

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

HT: issc29, via DDF

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

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Related:
-The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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The updated chart below attempts to break down some of the best options for getting to Hawaii with miles.

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

(more…)

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

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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Originally posted on 02/01:

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

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

Discounted awards:

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

See the full details after the jump:

(more…)

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IHG Pointbreaks Now Valid Through May

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

IHG Booking Linky

IHG PointBreaks Linky

-The current list is valid for stays through 05/31, overall it’s a pretty weak list.
-Hotels can sell out of discounted rooms quickly and only a limited amount of rooms is 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, hotels, or Amtrak), 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 other 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 50K points or $800/night in places like Bora Bora. The card is free for the first year and then $49/year. To signup for credit card offers like this you can click here to view links for all card offer types.  After clicking on travel credit card offers just scroll through the pages until you find the card offer.

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.

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

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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.

Sample hotels for 5,000 points ($35) per night through 05/31:
-Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa
-Candlewood Suites Elgin NW-Chicago
-Candlewood Suites Indianapolis Airport
-Even Hotels Rockville, Washington DC Area

-Crowne Plaza Vilius, Lithuania
-Crowne Plaza Bucharest, Romania
-Holiday Inn Express Campo de Gibraltar
-Intercontinental Phnom Penh, Cambodia
-Holiday Inn New Delhi Airport, India
-Holiday Inn Buenos Aires EZE Airport, Argentina
-Holiday Inn Express, Belem, Brazil
-Hotel Indigo, San Jose, Costa Rica
-Staybridge Suites West Edmonton, Canada

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Ride Uber, Earn Starpoints!

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Uber is a pretty awesome app. I’ve done day trips to cities like Chicago and NYC without having to rent a car thanks to UberX rides that are cheaper than a taxi and far more convenient. And while people wait for an hour in the taxi line I breeze right into a waiting car.

You can get a free $20 Uber ride via this referral link.

Uber is also fantastic for food delivery. Stuck in Miami airport during a delay or connection with no kosher food? Make an order with a restaurant on 41st st in Miami Beach and pay for it over the phone.  Just confirm with them that you’ll be using Uber and ask if they can bring it out to the Uber driver when you call them back.
When the food is ready just have Uber go to the restaurant address and text or call the Uber driver to let him know what you’re trying to do. When the driver is at the restaurant just call the restaurant and have them bring the food out to the driver.  Food delivered from Shemtovs, House of Dog, or Miami Beach Chocolates to the airport will run you just $15 (free for new Uber users). I’ve done that flawlessly in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and NYC.

My grandparents just flew in from Florida for my youngest brother’s bar mitzvah this past weekend.  They got a ride in a UberX Cadillac XTS from Cleveland airport to their snowy Cleveland home for $30, half the price of local car services.  From Fort Lauderdale to their home in Boynton Beach they got a ride in a Lincoln MKS. It was rush hour and the 36 mile ride took an hour and 12 minutes, but the ride cost just $45, also a fraction of the price of a taxi or local car services.

It gets sweeter. Now you can link your Starwood account with your Uber account to earn Starpoints when you Uber.

Your email address on your Starwood account must match the email address on your Uber account. Mine didn’t match but after changing my Uber email address I was able to link the accounts together.

You need to have had 1 paid stay in a Starwood property in 2015 to start earning points. Once you’ve had a single stay you’ll earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent with Uber all year long, up to $10,000 in Uber spending per year. (If you have only had award stays or credit card stay credits and still earn points with Uber please post a comment!)

If you use Uber during a stay at a Starwood property then non-elites will earn 2 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber, Gold and Platinum Starwood elite members will earn 3 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber, and 75 night Platinum elites will earn 4 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber.  Points will post to your Starwood account 2-4 weeks after the ride.

For 2016 you’ll be able to earn points in January as long as you had a stay during 2015. From February 2016 until the end of the year you’ll need to have had a 2016 stay at a Starwood hotel to earn Starpoints for Uber rides.

These Starpoints come on top of bonus points you can earn with your credit card. All American Express Membership Rewards cards earn an additional point per dollar on Uber spending (hence the 3 points per dollar earned on Uber with Everyday Preferred). Sapphire Preferred also earns double points for Uber spending.  In fact you shouldn’t use a Starwood AMEX for Uber as other cards are more valuable and you can earn these bonus Starpoints no matter what card you use.

This Saturday in Dubai, London, Mexico City, New York, and San Francisco between 2pm-7pm there will be the option to select an SPG vehicle. Many will request it, but few will actually get it. If you are able to land a ride from an SPG vehicle you’ll get 15,000 Starpoints and other freebies!

According to Chabad.org, shabbos ends at 6:26pm in NYC this week.  Post a comment if you’re actually able to land an SPG ride!

Read more about that promo in this link.

HT: raphy781, via DDF

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Evolve Continues To Devolve

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Update 2, 02/23: The new Evolve rules charging a 3% fee go into effect tomorrow. For the time being Evolve is still allowing payments from credit cards as I posted in the 02/20 update without any fees! We’ll see how well they implement that 3% fee tomorrow..
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Update, 02/20: As pointed out in the comments, apparently Evolve is getting ready for next week and is processing many credit cards without a fee.  I entered Chase business cards, Citi cards, and Barclay cards as debit cards and they all allowed bill payments with no fees. Chase consumer cards came up as being subject to a 3% fee.  The new rules take effect next week, so take advantage today if you want to pay some bills with your credit card.

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Originally posted on 02/19:

Evolve Money burst onto the scene last year, offering the ability to pay bills for free via debit and gift cards.  The widely known secret at the time (at least for anyone who does a little research on sites like DDF) was that they accepted credit cards as well.

Throughout last year the program had numerous downgrades.  As soon as some blogs publicized the credit card aspect of the program they shut down the ability to pay bills for free with most cards (though some cards remained viable for a little while longer).  At that point it was still possible to make unlimited payments with gift cards that could be bought at stores that offered 5 points per dollar. Then they started limiting payments to 4 per bill per month. And then they went down to just 1 payment per bill per month.

Starting next week they’ll be adding a 3% fee for payments made via gift cards, effectively killing the value proposition.  Payments made with debit cards from “smaller banks” will also have a 3% fee, likely killing funding from debit cards that still earn miles. For now 1 debit card payment per month per bill from larger banks or from cash load packs remains free. So be on the lookout for where you can buy Reloadit packs with your credit card.

One thing is certain, I don’t think my Gap or Banana card will be sending me any more 5 figure refund checks anytime soon 😉

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Has Your Target Started Limiting REDcard Funding?

Friday, February 20th, 2015

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

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The Target AMEX Prepaid REDcard offers one of the easiest avenues to earn miles on new and existing credit cards for free.

 

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I wrote about my experience switching from Serve/Softcard/ISIS to REDcard back in October.

In December I wrote about the nuances and differences between REDcard and 3 other AMEX prepaid products and a poll showed that 21% of DansDeals respondents had already switched over to the REDcard.

I’m sure that would be even higher by now.  Although the REDcard has yet to roll out to the major population centers on the coasts, there is an active secondary market for these cards where people sell cards that are loaded with $1 for about $20-$25.

Since that post, stores that don’t sell the REDcard are no longer able to activate cards, but they are able to load cards.

However there have been many DDF reports of individual stores clamping down on REDcard loading.  I haven’t experienced that in Cleveland, where you can actually buy the cards. In fact I just loaded $2,500 each onto several REDcards this morning.  The local employees have been beyond accommodating and helpful, a complete night and day experience from the WalMart days.

But others are reporting that their store isn’t allowing them to load more than $1,000 per day.  Some are reporting that their store is matching IDs and won’t let you load REDcards that belong to others.  And others are reporting being denied the ability to fund their REDcards with credit cards or gift cards.

None of those rules are systematic, so they’re just being made up by individual employees or managers.  Some have reported success when being told by one cashier to go to customer service to just go to another cashier.

So what has your Target REDcard experience been? Share in the comments!

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Massive El Al Matmid Devaluation Effective 02/10/15

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Update: Today is the final day to transfer points from AMEX to El Al that won’t expire.  Effective tomorrow transferred points will expire after 3 years.

Additionally today is the final day to book tickets under the current award chart.

Changes will probably occur at 5pm EST today, which is midnight Israel time.

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Originally posted on 11/10/14:

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

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

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

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

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

As part of it members will be split into executives and non-executives.  Executives will include El Al elite members as well as non-elites living outside of Israel who have transferred at least 100 points to Matmid (5,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points) in the past 12 months from non-Israeli credit cards. Israeli members who have a fly card or fly card premium credit card also get the Executive member rates.

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

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

See other rates for travel to Israel in Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart.

Here are some of the lowlights:

1. Significantly worse expiration policy.

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

2. Coach awards get more expensive.

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

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

Non-executives:

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

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

Executives:

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

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

3. Business class awards get more expensive.

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

Non-executives:

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

Executives:

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

4. First class awards get more expensive.

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

Non-executives:

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

Executives:

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

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

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

6. New earning tables.

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

Non-executives:

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

Executives:

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

7. Additional free checked baggage costs more points.

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

8. Upgrades cost more points.

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

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

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

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

HT: damaxer91, via DDF

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Screenshots Of All 34 Delta Award Charts That They Don’t Want You To See

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Over the weekend Delta decided to take down all of their award charts from their website. You now need to search for a flight in order to view the mileage cost.

Delta’s Twitter minions state,

“Delta will no longer publish Award travel charts. With the launch of the all-new Award calendar, it’s now easier than ever to search for and see prices for Awards online. The expanded search capabilities and calendar at delta.com offer a flexible, easier-to-read and more accurate view of Award prices. When booking a flight, you also may quickly compare its price in miles or money. Additionally, the introduction of Miles + Cash and One-Way Awards offer even more flexibility in booking Award Travel. To learn more about Award Travel, please visit delta.com/usemiles”

Other airlines have award calendars and still manage to maintain an award chart.  For whatever reason Delta doesn’t want people to know what the awards should cost. Or they want to be able to change award prices as they please without having to update their charts.

Off the top of my head the only other airline that doesn’t publish a full award chart is Delta’s Skyteam partner Air France/KLM flying Blue.

Of course the Delta online award calendar won’t help you for their numerous partners that can’t be booked online. I guess they expect you to call to find out those rates now.

And the award calendar won’t tell you if you’re getting a good deal.  With the award charts you know to aim for level 1 or level 2 pricing.  Without charts you’re just redeeming in the dark. Which is apparently their goal.

At any rate I’ve saved a copy of every Delta award chart, you can find them all below as they appeared on Delta.com last week. Miles required are for one-way travel.

-Coach From US49/Canada
Business From US49/Canada

-Coach From Hawaii
Business From Hawaii

-Coach From Mexico
Business From Mexico

-Coach From Caribbean
Business From Caribbean
Countries: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and US Virgin Islands.

-Coach From Central America
Business From Central America
Countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

-Coach From Northern South America
Business From Northern South America
Countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

-Coach From Southern South America
Business From Southern South America
Countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

-Coach From Europe
Coach Within Europe
Business From Europe
Business Within Europe
Countries: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania; Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Island, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Vatican City.

-Coach From Middle East
Business From Middle East
Countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

-Coach From Africa
Business From Africa
Countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Libyan Arab Jamahirija, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

-Coach From South Africa
Business From South Africa

-Coach From South Asian Subcontinent
Business From South Asian Subcontinent
Countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

-Coach From North Asia
Coach Within North Asia
Business From North Asia
Business Within North Asia
Countries: China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Korea (Republic of), Micronesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Russia (East of the Ural Mountains), Guam and Saipan.

-Coach From Southeast Asia
Business From Southeast Asia
Countries: Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Macau SAR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

-Coach From Southwest Pacific
Business From Southwest Pacific
Countries: American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Islands, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Pitcairn, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tongo, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands.

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On Married Segments And Expanded Award Availability

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Married segments are one of the most complicated topics in air travel.

In short, every flight has an alphabet soup of available paid and award fare classes. I’ve written about them in this United.com Expert mode post. You’ll want to read that post before reading further.

When you join 2 segments together sometimes the married segments will have more availability in lower classes. And sometimes the opposite occurs.

For a paid flight that means that 2 individual flight segments may have availability in an inexpensive “G” class, but if you put those 2 segments together onto 1 itinerary it may only be available in a more expensive “S” fare class.  Other times 2 individual flight segments may only have availability in expensive fare classes, but when you put them together both segments are available in an inexpensive fare class.

The same applies on award tickets.

A few months ago I helped my parents book their first ever major trip without the kids for their 31st anniversary. They used their miles to fly first class in Singapore suites to Paris (57K AMEX points), first class on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and Beijing (70K AA miles), business class on El Al to Israel (30K AA miles), and first class on BA back home (90K AA miles).

One of the issues I encountered was with married segments. While some nonstop segments didn’t show first class award availability, they were available by booking that nonstop flight when adding a leg to somewhere else.  The married segments had award availability, but those same flights individually didn’t have award space.  In essence it’s a hidden-city ticket, except that you can hold an award and just chop off the extra leg afterwards.

On their award I also ran into the opposite problem, when 2 individual flights had award space, but when combined into one itinerary there was nothing that could be done to book it.

And now I’m encountering this domestically. I was looking for award tickets from Cleveland to Kansas City. In the past this was a gimme, I was always able to book a 10K United nonstop short-haul award.
Alas that flight no longer exists, which means we’ll have to connect in Chicago.

 

In order to search the most possibilities I did a one-way search using the United.com advanced search page and changing the displayed results to 50:

 

mci13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United.com shows there is no saver award space on the 3:34pm-6:45pm flight from CLE to MCI:

 

mci7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as I always advise, I broke the trip down further and searched for CLE-ORD and ORD-MCI separately.

Lo and behold both of those flight segments showed saver coach award space:

 

CLE-ORD:

mci9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORD-MCI:

mci8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I fired up the expert mode results and they confirmed that the award calendar wasn’t mistaken.  There were no X or XN saver award space when those flights are combined:

 

mci10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However the CLE-ORD flight had at least 9 saver award seats in X/XN class:

 

mci11

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ORD-MCI segment showed 3 XN saver award seats:

 

mci12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course you don’t want to book those segments separately as you would pay 20K instead of 10K miles.

So I figured I’d outsmart United.com and use the multiple destination award search and force those 2 segments onto 1 itinerary.

It did everything as I hoped it would until the final page. Then after clicking purchase I got this lovely screen:

 

mcierror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, so that has to be isolated, right?

Let’s just try the next day.

Nada for CLE-MCI:

 

mci3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plenty of CLE-ORD space:

 

mci1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a flight from ORD-MCI:

 

mci2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same story. Verified the results in expert mode, when those segments are married the award space disappears.

Tried to book via multiple destinations and got the error after clicking purchase.

So I booked the CLE-ORD flight that I wanted and a ORD-MCI flight that had a very long stopover on United.com. Then I used the invaluable United.com callback line to see what they could do about getting me on a better flight.

At first the agent claimed that there was nothing available, but she had patience and saw that both flights individually has saver award space.  From there she tried putting it together but kept getting blocked.

She was ready to give up and I pushed once more and she put me on hold. When she came back she said she had gone into another system to string the flights together and it worked!

Find more examples of this happening? Hit the comments!

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American-USAirways Merger Takes Another Step: Reciprocal Anytime Awards, Waived Phone Fees For Awards Not Bookable Online; Flying Coast To Coast For 8,750 Miles With No Booking Fees

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The American and USAirways mileage programs will combine in the 2nd quarter of this year.  Until then expect to see more news like this as the programs align:

Effective immediately you can redeem USAirways miles for American anytime award flights and you can redeem American miles for USAirways anytime award flights.

In other words previously you could only use 45K American miles for a one-way USAirways coach flight to Israel when there was saver award space. Now you can redeem 45K, 65K, or 85K American miles to get that flight any day. In business the American rates are 67.5K, 125K, or 155K each way.

Additionally American is taking on USAirways’ policy of not charging a phone booking fee when an award can’t be booked online.  Phone fees for awards that are bookable online will go up to $30 domestic/$40 international.

This is helpful when booking awards on airlines like Cathay Pacific that can only be booked over the phone.

It’s also very helpful for reduced mileage awards that are a benefit of having a Citi AA card.

The Citi AA card is currently offering 50,000 miles with the fee waived for the first year.  You can view all card offers via the links on this page.

Cardholders can book a one-way coach award for 8,750 miles instead of 12.5K miles and a one-way first class award for 21,250 miles instead of 25K to select rotating destinations.  There are dozens of valid destinations in the US and Canada.

Previously those award were hit with a phone booking fee which took away some of their value, but now they are no longer subject to that fee.

The advantage of these awards over BA Avios is that they allow for free connections.  That opens up hidden city possibilities.  While Los Angeles isn’t a valid destination, Monterey, CA is.

You can book a flight from JFK-Los Angeles-Monterey for 8,750 miles and just get off the plane in Los Angeles.  Of course that won’t work if you have checked luggage, but you can always have one person book a ticket to LA for 12.5K miles and check the bags while the rest of the family books tickets to Monterey for 8,750 miles.

Of course the same thing would work for a flight from NYC-Los Angeles-S. Francisco as that is also an eligible destination.

Newark is a valid return city, so you everyone can book a return flight from Los Angeles-Newark for 8,750 miles.

Note that some AA agents will actually let you fly anywhere in the US/Canada for 17.5K miles round-trip as long as you are departing from one of the valid destination airports. YMMV!

HT: GTR and Myccrabbi, via DDF

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Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable For Flights Between Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Washington DC, Edmonton, Or Vancouver And Tel Aviv From 12.5K Miles Each Way

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-You need to book the current promo awards by 02/28.

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

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

Current deals:
-You can travel between Dallas and Tel Aviv between May 8th-May 31st for 12.5K miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, or Vancouver and Tel Aviv in April or May for 18,750 miles each way in coach
-You can travel between Vancouver and Tel Aviv in April or May for 37,500 miles each way in premium economy.
-You can travel between Edmonton and Tel Aviv between May 5th-May 31st for 31,250 miles each way in business class.

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

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

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dallas-Tel Aviv in economy:

fb1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago-Tel Aviv in economy:

fb2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edmonton-Tel Aviv in business class:

fb3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington DC-Tel Aviv in coach:

fb4a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HT: D93, via DDF

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USAirways Business Saver Award Space Between Philadelphia And Tel Aviv Is Back For Summer And Fall Travel!

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Update: DEAD!

——————————————————–

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

AA.com and USAirways.com are showing tons of saver business class avaialbility between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv from July through December 2015.

USAirways business class features a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access for all passengers.

Typically there its rare to find more than 1 business class seat on this route, but right now many dates have multiple seats open.

Award space isn’t as wide open as it was a couple of weeks ago, but it’s far more than normal.

This is a glitch in the fare booking class as U class just recently switched from being a coach booking class to a business booking class. When you book your business award the confirmation page will show U class/economy. However it will charge you the business class rate and you will be seated in business class and U class is now in business class.

Space to many European cities is excellent as well.

AA.com charges 67.5K miles one-way/135K round-trip to Tel Aviv.
USAirways.com charges 120K miles round-trip (115K for cardholders) and doesn’t sell one-way awards.

AA allows 5 days holds and USAir allows 3 days holds.

You can transfer Starpoints to either airline, 20K Starpoints becomes 25K miles. That transfer can take a few days but AA.com allows for a 5 day award hold. Those points can be earned on a card like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

American requires that the name on the Starwood account (or at least the last name) match in order to do a transfer. However USAirways allows transfers from anyone’s Starwood account. You can transfer points between Starwood accounts if the home address on both members Starwood accounts are the same, but that transfer can take a few days as well.

Post what you book!

HT: gleff, via DDF

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

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Update: Today is the final day for this transfer bonus.

Yes, as announced 2 days ago there will be a BA devaluation coming in 3 months.  But perhaps that just might be a good thing?

————————————————————————————————–

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

Originally posted on 12/15/14:

BA/MR Promo Offer Linky

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

This is only valid for US cardholders.

Previous MR->Avios bonus offers:
11/27/11=30%
03/15/12=50%
08/28/12=40%
12/03/12=30%
04/22/13=35%
10/15/13=20%

About British Airways Avios:

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

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

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

ab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sample uses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need some Membership Rewards points?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: Meir613, via DDF

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Is The British Airways Devaluation Actually A Good Thing?

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Related post: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
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A couple days ago I wrote about the upcoming BA devaluation and created award charts showing the exact changes. Many commenters were angry at BA for announcing a devaluation after making a 40% AMEX transfer bonus.

However I’m not distraught over it like I was with other devaluations (see also: Hilton, Hyatt, United, El Al).

Ironically people were also angry at BA when they launched Avios in 2011 after making an AMEX transfer bonus and their 100K card signup offers from days of yore.

The thing is that people didn’t realize the value in the Avios program.  Sure it was no longer good for long-haul redemptions, but there are plenty of other programs that excel at that.  BA Avios created a niche where you can redeem miles for a short-haul at an excellent value, something that was previously very tough to do.

And so in an odd sort of way, I’m actually sort of happy with this devaluation.

The most valuable aspect of the BA program are the short haul awards that go for 4.5K, 7.5K, 10K, or 12.5K Avios for an award flight.  Everyone thought that when BA Avios devalued their award chart (which was unchanged since 2011) that those would get slammed. 50% increases would not have been a shock.

However BA has left those awards completely unscathed. In fact they have lowered the cost of those awards when you fly on actual BA flights off-peak. While generally redeeming BA Avios for BA flights is not a good deal due to fuel surcharges, it can make sense within Europe and Africa with their Reward Saver plan that lowers fuel surcharges to nominal amounts.

The most painful part of the devaluation are on business class flights like JFK to Vancouver, JFK to Los Angeles, and Boston to Dublin, where a one-way jumps from 25K to 37.5K.  First class awards on Cathay from JFK to Vancouver or Hong Kong were also a good value.

So yes, that stings.

But the fact they they have reaffirmed their commitment to the ultra-cheap short-haul awards is a great thing.

I flew for 4.5K Avios from Miami to Cancun this week, I mean how can you top that?  The 7.5K and 10K awards also have tons of hidden gems and even the 12.5K awards have gems like flights to Europe or Hawaii without fuel surcharges.

Those are the most unique feature of the Avios program and where awesome values can be found.

Programs rarely devalue their award charts more often than once every few years, so these changes make me confident enough to hold onto a stash of Avios for my short-haul needs for quite a while.

Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments!

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Korean Returning As A Chase Transfer Partner 01/25.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Update: I have confirmed this myself via SM as well:

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DDF member mayer522 reports that he was told in a SM from Chase that Korean Airlines will be back as a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner after a 2 month hiatus effective this Sunday, 01/25.

Thank you for contacting Chase about transferring points
to Korean Air.

Please note, for contractual reasons, Korean Air was
removed as a points transfer partner in Ultimate Rewards.
I apologize for any inconvenience caused.

However, Chase has renegotiated the contract for Korean
Air and it will return as a points transfer partner on
January 25, 2015.

If you have any further questions, please reply using the
Secure Message Center.

I have not been able to independently verify this, but Korean offers lots of sweet award redemptions that were part of the “30 awesome things you can do with Ultimate Rewards” so that’s great news if it pans out!

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

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Update: There are just hours left to book Hyatt rooms at 22 hotels for future stays before they will require more points.
If you’re dreaming of a trip to the Maldives now is the time to book.
Most hotels can be cancelled until a few days before the stay, but always check the terms when booking.

The 48 hotels going down in category can be booked tomorrow at the new lower rates.
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Originally posted on 12/09/14:

Hyatt 2015 Category Changes Linky

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

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

Here is the Hyatt award chart:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even a reservation at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar that doesn’t open until June will become 33% more expensive (15K vs 20K) come 01/22. Plus it will no longer be eligible for Hyatt anniversary night redemptions once it becomes a category 5 property. You can reserve a stay now for travel through January 2016 at the lower rates or with anniversary nights.

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

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HURRY! Unprecedented USAirways Business Saver Award Space Between Philadelphia And Tel Aviv!

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Update: DEAD!

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

AA.com and USAirways.com are showing tons of saver business class avaialbility between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv.

USAirways business class features a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access for all passengers.

Typically there its rare to find more than 1 business class seat on this route, but right now most days have more than 6 seats available!

There is even availability during peak travel times, like Purim, Pesach, summer vacation, and Sukkos.

This is a glitch in the fare booking class as U class just recently switched from being a coach booking class to a business booking class.  When you book your business award the confirmation page will show U class/economy. However it will charge you the business class rate and you will be seated in business class and U class is now in business class.

Space to many European cities is excellent as well.

AA.com charges 67.5K miles one-way/135K round-trip to Tel Aviv.
USAirways.com charges 120K miles round-trip (115K for cardholders) and doesn’t sell one-way awards.

AA allows 5 days holds and USAir allows 3 days holds.

You can transfer Starpoints to either airline, 20K Starpoints becomes 25K miles. That transfer can take a few days, but with a 5 day hold there should be enough time for the miles to post.  Those points can be earned on a card like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

American requires that the name on the Starwood account (or at least the last name) match in order to do a transfer.  However USAirways allows transfers from anyone’s Starwood account.  You can transfer points between Starwood accounts if the home address on both members Starwood accounts are the same, but that transfer can take a few days as well.

Below is a search for 6 nonstop saver business class awards on AA.com.  Just search Philadehpia-Tel Aviv and click non-stop flights only to see what dates are avaialble.  Once you find a date you can then search from other airports in the US to Tel Aviv on that date:

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Post what you book!

HT: million miler and D93, via DDF

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