Category Archive for 'Miles'

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 :D

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

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Update: The Hilton representative has just posted that Hilton has not actually updated their site yet to handle the new password requirements, so people should hold off for now on changing their password.

You would think Hilton would be able to figure these these things out before telling the public about a promotion like this…

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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.

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.

More valuable than Hilton points are the 2 free weekend night certificates (well officially they are only useable on weekend nights ;) ) and the Gold elite status that you get for signing up for and spending $2,500 on the Citi Hilton Reserve card.  The regular Citi Hilton card only has a 40K signup bonus, but the Citi Hilton Reserve card gives 2 free nights instead of points. 2 nights at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem would set you back 160,000 points, but you can use 2 free night certificates and get free internet and free breakfast thanks to the Gold status that comes with the card.

The Gold elite status on the Reserve card is automatic and if you spend $40K/year on the card you get upgraded to top-tier diamond status.  The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem upgrades diamonds to a balcony room upon booking if you request it and upgrades diamonds to the best available suite (aside from the Presidential suites) at checkin.  To signup for credit card offers like that you can click here to view links for all card offer types After clicking on travel, airline, and hotel credit card offers just scroll through a few pages to find the card offer.

HT: Matovu and FT

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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:

 

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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:

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ORD-MCI:

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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:

 

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

 

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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:

 

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Plenty of CLE-ORD space:

 

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And a flight from ORD-MCI:

 

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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:

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Chicago-Tel Aviv in economy:

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Edmonton-Tel Aviv in business class:

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Washington DC-Tel Aviv in coach:

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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!

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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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sample uses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need some Membership Rewards points?

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

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

-Key perks of The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express:
-Signup bonus: 15K Membership Rewards points (21K Avios with a 40% bonus) 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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Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Card: Get 50,000 Points. Award Flights Start At Just 2,214 Points With 2 Free Bags And Free Cancellations!

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Signup offer and anniversary bonus:

You can get 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 within 3 months of getting the card. They’re marketing this as 2 roundtrip flights but in fact it is enough for up to $960 of flights on Southwest.

For example a one-way Los Angeles-Las Vegas flight on 02/18 is $48.10 with tax.
It can also be bought for 2,214 points plus $5.60 tax.
So 2,214 points gets you a value of $42.50 ($48.10 airfare less the $5.60 tax required on the points ticket)
So each point is worth 1.92 cents (42.50/2,214), valid for redemption on all flights. so you can stretch out those 50K points points for as more than 22 free flights with Southwest’s low prices or 44 free flights if you earn a companion pass.

Every anniversary you’ll also get a 6,000 point bonus.

Free changes and cancellations. Lock in low fares with no penalty:

While other mileage currencies now charge $200 to cancel an award ticket, Southwest continues to allow you to cancel an award flight and redeposit the points in your account for future use without any penalties! Coupled with 2 free bags per person and that’s a lot of added value. A family of 4 needing to cancel award tickets on another airline would set you back $800 versus it being a free change on Southwest. A family of 4 checking 2 bags each would run $480 round-trip on another airline versus paying nothing on Southwest.

Thinking of taking a trip but not 100% sure about it? With Southwest points you can lock in a good rate and just cancel the trip free of charge at any point before the flight if you can’t make it!

You can use the points for yourself or book award tickets for anyone else you want to give a ticket to.

Don’t fly?

You can also use 50,000 points to get $500 worth of gift cards to places like Alamo, Amazon, Avis, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, Budget, Carnival Cruises, Children’s Place, Express, Fairmont, Gap, Hertz, Hyatt, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Marriott, Motherhood Maternity, National, Nike, Office Depot, Saks, Sea World, Sears, Shutterfly, Staples, Starbucks, Toys R Us, TJMaxx, Walmart, Zappos and many others.

With Southwest’s Rapid Rewards “2.0” program you can redeem points for any seat on any flight. There are no blackout dates or capacity controls.

The value per point will depend on your route, but points always seem to be worth more than 1.8 cents each for discounted fares.

When Southwest has a fare sale the amount of points go on sale as well as it tracks to the price of the ticket. Best of all Southwest will refund your points if the price of your award ticket falls!  Just rebook your trip online for the same dates or give them a call for the credit.

You get 1 point per dollar on regular purchases and 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, including hotel and car rentals via Southwest.

Companion pass:

You can get a free companion pass if you earn 110,000 points in a year from most sources, including earnings from credit card signups and credit card spending! If you earn 110,000 Southwest points in 2015 the pass will be good until 12/31/16. The pass allows you to bring a companion with you for free whenever you fly Southwest, even if you are flying on a free ticket! There is no limit to the number of free companion flights that you can take.

Points transferred from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest don’t qualify towards companion pass status, but points transferred from Ultimate Rewards into Hyatt and then into Southwest do qualify. So you can transfer 50K Ultimate Rewards points into 50K Hyatt and 50K Hyatt transfers into 30K Southwest.

In other words if you get 50K points from signing up for this credit card you can transfer 100K Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and then into 60K Southwest points, worth about $1,152 towards Southwest travel. Plus then you’ll have a companion pass so that you can bring your companion for free whenever you fly Southwest, so that $1,152 toward Southwest is really doubled to $2,304 because of the free companion ticket. Not a bad value for a 100K Ultimate Rewards transfer.

See this post for more info on the Ultimate Rewards program and associated credit cards.

And as always, Southwest:
-Gives 2 free checked bags per passenger.
-Does not charge change fees to switch your flight. Whether you are on a paid or an award flight you can change without penalty!
-Does not charge a cancellation fee to cancel your flight (you will get Southwest credit for the full amount paid, even on non-refundable wanna get away fares) or to cancel and redeposit your award flight.
-Refunds the fare or point difference if the price of your flight goes down after you buy it, just call to get the credit at any time before your flight!

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

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The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Thursday, January 15th, 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.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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This updated chart below attempts to break down some of the best options for getting to Israel with miles.

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

(more…)

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

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

This post is a compilation of the advice scattered throughout several posts made over the past few years along with new tips and tricks when using Avios.

British Airways Avios are awesome.  They effectively fill the gap that is left by the major programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus.  The major programs provide a fantastic value for long-haul flights, but most programs are not great for short flights.

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

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

(more…)

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Avios Destination Charts For Montreal, Toronto, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, S. Francisco, And 6 Ohio Airports

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

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

-Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 196 Direct Avios Flights From Dallas
-Click to view 12 Direct Avios Flights From Johannesburg
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 102 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
-Flying Round-Trip To Israel On Air Berlin For 50K American Express Membership Rewards Plus $81 Tax: A Tutorial
-Flying With An Infant With Miles In Business Or First Class? Start Collecting Air Canada Miles Or British Airways Avios
-Fly From JFK To Toronto For 4.5K Avios Or $94…And Get 141 Pounds Of Free Luggage! Also: When Redeeming Avios For Business Pays For Itself
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In honor of the thrilling Ohio State championship win last night I’ve compiled Avios lists for all 6 OH airports (yes I’m aware that CVG is not technically in OH) as well as 6 other airports that people have asked for in the past. Feel free to request a list for other airports and I’ll try to cover those as well!

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

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

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

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

3. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges, which can add up to to several hundred dollars each way.

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

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

For example Kauai isn’t on the chart as BA does not have any partners that fly nonstop from any of these 11 airports to Kauai. Though you can always fly to Kauai via Los Angeles or Phoenix for example, just add 12.5K Avios to make a separate booking to Kauai segment with no fuel surcharges on American or Alaska.  Plus you can stopover in the connecting city for as long or short as you want.

You can figure out the cost to go to hundreds of other cities by just looking at the related chart links above.  For example a flight from Pittsburgh to Dublin can be had via Boston, so the chart below shows that a flight from Pittsburgh to Boston is 4.5K Avios and the Boston chart linked to above shows that a flight from Boston to Dublin is 12.5K Avios with no fuel surcharges.

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

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

9. A dash means that class of service isn’t offered on that route.
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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom. They can also be earned on business cards like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash. These points also can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.
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View charts of Avios flights from 6 Ohio airports, Montreal, Toronto, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and S. Francisco after the jump:

(more…)

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Can’t Find Saver Award Availability? There’s One Must-Have Credit Card That Can Help You Out

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Visa is the only card that gives expanded award availability. As long as there is 1 seat on the plane you can redeem standard level miles for it.

But more important than that is the incredible amount of additional saver award space it gives you access to.

While throwing together the Chicago DDF DO last week I found a flight option for AJK from NYC using 10K United miles (the 7.5K Avios flight options didn’t work for him)

Alas he had just cancelled both his and his wife’s consumer and business United cards. And the flight I found only had saver award availability for cardholders.

The United card is crucial for anyone who collects United miles.  If you have elite status you can only get elite upgrades on award tickets if you have a United card.  If you don’t have elite status then the expanded award availability alone makes the card an absolute must.

While the card doesn’t directly help with business class saver award availability (only Platinum, 1K, or GS status helps for that), it does make Plan B business class saver award availability easier as that award requires there to be coach saver availability. Read more about Plan B here.

So, just how much extra saver award availability is there?

Below is a look at the saver award space for 2 popular routes through March (Saver awards typically become available within a couple months of the flight).  Flight results are shown from one flight on the date listed.

For example on March 22nd United is willing to sell a cardholder up to 9 coach saver award seats for 42.5K miles but there are no saver awards available for non-cardholders, so they would have to swing for the 85K standard level award. Cardholders can redeem those saver award seats for anyone, even if they don’t have a United card.  Additionally United will be willing to sell a cardholder a 70K Plan B business class award but would not sell that award to a non-cardholder as there would be no saver award space to book at all.

Availability for a cardholder:

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Availability for a non-cardholder:

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(Want to learn how you can see how many seats are bookable for cardholders and non-cardholders on United.com? I explained it all on this post about United.com Expert Mode)

Note that saver award availability is very fluid, the results below are accurate as of 12:30am this morning.

Newark-Tel Aviv (Number of available saver award seats):
01/12: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 6
01/18: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
01/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/24: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
01/27: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/29: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
02/02: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/03: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/05: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
02/09: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/10: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
02/15: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/17: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
02/18: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 0
02/19: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/20: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
02/21: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/24: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/25: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/28: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/01: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
03/02: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/03: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/04: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/09: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
03/17: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/22: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0

JFK-Los Angeles (Number of available saver award seats):
01/12: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 4
01/13: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 6
01/14: Cardholders: 5, Non-cardholders: 3
01/17: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/18: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
01/20: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
01/21: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 2
01/22: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/24: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/29: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/01: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 1
02/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
02/06: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
02/11: Cardholders: 5, Non-cardholders: 0
02/19: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/20: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 2
02/21: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
02/25: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
02/26: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/27: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
02/28: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
03/01: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
03/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/06: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
03/12: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/16: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
03/18: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 2
03/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
03/30: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
03/31: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0

How do you find expanded award availability? All you need to do is login to your United.com account before you search for award flights. Never use the United.com remember me option when logging in.

How do you know if your card is properly linked to your account? Just login on United.com and then hover over the words “Mileage Expiration”

If your card is properly linked you will see the following message that your miles won’t expire as long as you remain a cardholder:
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If your card isn’t properly linked then you will see the following message that your miles will expire if you don’t have activity every 18 months:

 

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If you have a United card but don’t see the non-expiring message just add the card to your United.com account here and it should be linked within 48 hours.

Other card benefits:
Besides for the signup bonus of 30K miles for spending $1,000 and another 5K miles for adding a free authorized user and the expanded award space, there are other really nice benefits of the Explorer card:
-Primary CDW insurance in every country in the world.
-First checked bag free.
-Priority boarding so that you’ll have space for your carry-ons.
-No foreign transaction fees.
-2 free transferable United lounge passes per year.
-10K mileage bonus every year that you spend $25K, a 40% mileage bonus which means you’ll have earned 1.4 miles per dollar everywhere.
-Spending $25K in a year also waives the requirement to spend $3K on United flights to get Silver status, $6K on United flights to get Gold status, and $9K on United flights to get Platinum status. You only need to fly the 25K, 50K, or 75K miles like in the good old days.
-Double miles on United purchases.
-Elite members can get upgrades on coach award tickets on upgrade eligible routes if they have a United card.
-Miles don’t expire as long as you are a cardholder.

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

-You can also get the business version of the Chase United Explorer card which also qualifies for expanded saver award space. Just click on “Are you a business owner” in the top-right of the Explorer card link.

-Want a 2nd free bag, a 50% mileage bonus per dollar spent everywhere, United club access for you and your entire family, post-security terminal access without a ticket, priority baggage handling and priority security access, and waived award expedite fees? The United Club card comes with all of that.  Just click on the MileagePlus Club tab at the right side of the Explorer card link.

The Explorer business, Club, and the now defunct Presidential Plus card also give expanded saver award availability.

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

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Do You Maximize Your Credit Card Spending? Here’s Where You Should Be Using Each Of Your Credit Cards.

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

-Find more posts like this by clicking on the “Credit Card Posts” tab and find credit card offers in the “Credit Cards” tab above of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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People always ask me what credit card they should be using to get the most bang for their buck.  There are lots of great credit card, but there is no best credit card, so the trick is to optimize your spending to earn the most possible rewards.

To figure that you need to calculate the value of a mile, another challenging topic.

You can value a mile by what they sell for on the grey market, but that’s not really fair because those miles are being resold by a broker to someone else at a higher valuation.  So there’s 1 grey market value for what a broker will pay (and even that will depend on the broker, the amount being sold, and constantly changing market conditions) and there’s another grey market value if you actually know end users as the brokers do.

I know of folks who fly first class internationally just to make contacts with people who actually pay $30,000 to be in the pointy section of the plane.  On a flight back home from Hong Kong in Cathay First another passenger offered to take us on his yacht.  He paid the full fare and doesn’t have the time to figure out the mileage game. However I’m sure he’d be happy to save $10K on his $30K tickets, and that would have an astronomical value per mile. Of course the airlines frown on all this and some airlines aggressively shut accounts down for selling their miles.

A better way of valuing miles is according to what you use them for as that’s how they’re intended to be used, though again, the problem with that is the sky is the limit.  A last-minute British Airways award for a flight that costs $1,200 is just 9,000 Avios, a value of  over 13 cents per mile. You can fly in a private walled-in Singapore suite to Europe for 57,000 miles one-way. In business or first class you miles can easily be worth more than 20 cents each.  I’ve had redemptions where my miles were worth over 50 cents each.  Combine with that a card that earn over 2 miles per dollar and it means that everything you buy is free ;)  OK, that’s an ridiculously extreme way to look at things, but it shows how difficult this exercise is.

And then you have Pa Kettle who redeems 50,000 miles for a $200 domestic ticket where their miles will only be worth less than half a cent each.

Determine the value:

I don’t care for posts that claim to put a value on the various currencies without any disclaimers.  Their value ultimately depends on what YOU will do with the points.

If you’re selling your miles to a broker, realize they need to turn a profit as the middleman, and that means you’ll probably lose between 0.1-0.4 cents off of these valuations depending on the broker and the amount you’re selling.  You’ll never do as well selling to a broker as you will selling directly to someone actually flying somewhere last minute coach or in business or first class or by just using the miles yourself.

Having miles locked into a program is worth less than having points in a flexible currency.  Flexible currencies allow you to wait and see what is available for when you want to travel. And they are a hedge against devaluations. Therefore they are worth more than any individual program.

Instead of giving a value to each currency, I’ll just share the minimum value I aim for when I use my points. Often I get several times that value, but let’s call their value the minimum level at which if I can’t attain that value I won’t burn the points. Feel free to plugin your own numbers as this is a highly personal exercise.

-Starwood Starpoints: 2.1 cents (Use for hotels or get a 25% points bonus when you transfer increments of 20K into 25K miles with dozens of airlines like ANA, Air Canada, Alaska, American, British Airways, Delta, Flying Blue, Singapore, and USAirways. Caveat: Transfers aren’t instant.)
-Chase Ultimate Rewards points: 1.75 cents (Transfer to hotels like Hyatt or airlines like British Airways, Singapore, Southwest, and United)
-American Express Membership Rewards points: 1.65 cents (Transfer to airlines like ANA, Air Canada, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue, and Singapore. Caveat: No good hotel options and transfers to domestic program incur fees.)
-United miles: 1.7 cents
-American/USAirways miles: 1.7 cents
-British Airways Avios: 1.5 cents
-Delta miles: 1.4 cents
-Barclay Arrival gives 2.22% cash back.
-Fidelity gives 2% cash back
-Blue Cash gives 1-3% cash back
-Blue Cash Preferred gives 1-6% cash back

Of course you can currently transfer 1 AMEX MR point into 1.4 British Airways Avios, so that would give AMEX points an imputed value of 2.1 cents.  However that promotion ends 01/31, so while the points may be temporarily worth more, I wouldn’t call that their long-term value.

To repeat: Value is highly subjective.  Determine how you value each currency, use the formulas I’ve laid out at the bottom of this post, and figure out if that will change where you should be using each card.

Let’s take a look at what you can earn for spending on 19 different cards:

Cards with transferable point currencies:
-Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 40K for spending $4K plus 5K for adding an additional user. Highlights: Signup bonus, double points for dining and travel.
-Chase Ink Plus Business Card
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $5K. Highlights: Signup bonus, double points for gas and hotels, quintuple points for office supplies and telecom, annual lounge passes.
-Chase Ink Cash Business Card
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 20K for spending $3K. Highlights: Double points for gas and dining, quintuple points for office supplies and telecom, annual lounge passes.
-Chase Freedom Visa
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 10K for spending $500. Highlights: Quintuple point rotating categories, 10% checking bonus (ending 12/31/15)
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: Free then $65. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 25K for spending $5K. Highlight: 25% bonus for converting points into miles.
-The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 10K for spending $1K plus a year of Amazon Prime ($99 value). Highlights: The only free card that allows that allows direct mileage transfers, 1.2-2.4 points per dollar everywhere.
-The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: $95. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 15K for spending $1K plus a year of Amazon Prime ($99 value). . Highlights: 1.5-4.5 points per dollar everywhere.
-American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card
Annual fee: Free then $175. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 25K for spending $2K. Highlights: Double points on gas and groceries, triple points on airfare.
-Platinum Card® from American Express
Annual fee: $450. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 40K for spending $3K. Highlights: Signup bonus, Centurion lounge access, Airspace lounge access, Delta lounge access, Priority Club worldwide lounge access, $200 annual airline fee refund, Starwood Gold Elite status, Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check enrollment fee refund.

Airline cards:
-Chase British Airways Visa Signature
Annual fee: $95. This fee is waived for the first year for a limited time only. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $2K. Highlights: Signup bonus, 1.25 miles per dollar spent, 10% off BA flights, worldwide companion certificate on award tickets if you spend $30K/year.
-Chase United MileagePlus Explorer
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 30K for spending $1K plus 5K for adding an additional user. Highlights: Signup bonus, free checked bag, expanded saver and standard award availability, never-expiring miles, priority boarding, 2 annual club passes, elite upgrades on award tickets.
-Chase United MileagePlus Club (Click on Club card on the right of the page)
Annual fee: $395. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: $100. Highlights: United Club membership including security passes when not flying, 2 free checked bags, waived award last minute booking fees, premier baggage handling, security, and boarding, expanded saver and standard award availability, never-expiring miles, elite upgrades on award tickets.
-Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 30K for spending $1K plus $50 back for making a Delta purchase. Highlights: Signup bonus, free checked bag, priority boarding.
-Citi AA Mastercard
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $3K. Highlights: Signup bonus, priority boarding, free checked bag, 10% up to 10K award rebate.
-The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®
Annual fee: $89. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $1. Highlights: Signup bonus, priority boarding, free checked bag, 5K mileage discount on USAir flights

Cashback cards:
-Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Annual fee: Free then $89. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: $400 for spending $3K. Highlights: Signup bonus, 2.22% cash back everywhere.
-Fidelity American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 1%. Signup bonus: None. Highlight: 2% cash back everywhere.
-Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: $50 for spending $1K plus a year of Amazon Prime ($99 value). . Highlight: Up to 3% cash back.
-Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Annual fee: $75. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: $100 for spending $1K plus a year of Amazon Prime ($99 value). . Highlight: Up to 6% cash back.

—————————————————————————————————

Now that we have a value set for each currency we can translate that into the rewards percentage you’ll get for various types of purchases.  Below are the numbers for regular purchases as well as several common categories where you earn more than everyday purchases.

Everyday purchase (Click here to see how many points are earned and how these calculations are made):
-Ink (general spending made via $200 gift cards bought from Staples at a cost of $6.95): 5.58%
-United Club: 2.55%
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (if you make 30 transactions per month): 2.48%
Note: You can buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards to get up to 30 each month.
-United Explorer (assuming you spend exactly $25K per year): 2.38%
-Barclaycard Arrival: 2.22%
-Starwood: 2.1%
-Fidelity: 2%
-AMEX EveryDay (if you make 20 transactions per month): 1.98%
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking: 1.93%
-British Airways: 1.88%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 1.87%
-Ink: 1.75%
-Freedom without checking: 1.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 1.75%
-United Explorer (under $25K spend per year): 1.7%
-American/USAirways: 1.7%
-Premier Rewards Gold: 1.65%
-AMEX Platinum: 1.65%
-Delta: 1.4%
-Blue Cash/Blue Cash Preferred: 1%

Amazon.com Purchase:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Ink (via Amazon gift card bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Airfare:
-Ink (For Southwest flights via Southwest gift cards bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Premier Rewards Gold : 4.95%
-United Explorer on United flights (assuming you can spend exactly $25K in a year): 4.08%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
Note: Sapphire Preferred also offers valuable insurances on airfare.
-British Airways on British Airways flights: 3.75%
Note: The British Airways card also gets a 10% discount on BA flights.
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5% (This card also offers valuable insurances on airfare)
Note: Sapphire Preferred also offers valuable insurances on airfare.
-United Club on United flights: 3.4%
Note: You must use the United card to get free baggage.
-United Explorer on United flights (under $25K spend/year): 3.4%
Note: You must use the United card to get free domestic baggage.
-American on American flights: 3.4%
-USAirways on USAirways flights: 3.4%
-Delta on Delta flights: 2.8%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Car Rental:
Sapphire Prefered and United cards have primary insurance coverage worldwide:
-Ink Plus at Alamo or National: 5.75%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-United Club: 2.55%
-United Explorer (assuming you can spend exactly $25K in a year): 2.38%
-United Explorer (under $25K spend/year): 1.7%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Hotel:
-Ink Plus at any Wyndham hotel brand: 8.5%
-Starwood at a Starwood hotel: 4.2%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-Ink Plus: 3.5%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Restaurant:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Ink (For restaurant gift cards bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-Sapphire Preferred on the first Friday of the month with 7% dividend: 5.62%
-Sapphire Preferred on the first Friday of the month without 7% dividend: 5.25%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Ink Cash: 3.5%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Gas:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Ink (via gas gift card bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (if you make 30 transactions per month): 4.95%
-Ink at Chevron or Texaco: 4.5%
-Ink: 3.5%
-Premier Rewards Gold: 3.3%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Groceries (Including gift cards):
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Ink (via grocery gift card bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (if you make 30 transactions per month): 7.43%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 6%
-AMEX EveryDay (if you make 20 transactions per month): 3.96%
-Premier Rewards Gold: 3.3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Office Supply purchases (including gift cards to other stores)
-Ink: 8.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

-Internet/Phone/Cable bills:
-Ink: 8.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Department stores:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Uber:
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (if you make 30 transactions per month): 4.95%
-AMEX EveryDay (if you make 20 transactions per month): 3.96%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-Premier Rewards Gold: 3.3%
-AMEX Platinum: 3.3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Things to bear in mind:

-If you might need return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, or dispute resolution on an item you’ll probably want to use an American Express card as their protections are pain-free and amazing. If you have a problem with a merchant you can file an easy dispute online. If you buy a final sale item they will take it back without a fuss, or if it’s under $100 they’ll usually credit you without even needing you to send it back. If your computer breaks in the extended warranty year they will refund it.

-You can change how you value each mileage currency and that will change the results.  Above is a general guideline, but it’s highly variable based on how you use your miles.

-When buying gift cards for spending you will lose the protections that a credit card offers like dispute resolution. You also have to factor in the “pain” factor of getting the gift card and the fact that you can cash out the gift card at Walmart or other stores for free or for a nominal fee.

-Some of the bonuses have spending caps such as:
-Ink Plus: $50K annual spend in quintuple and $50K annual spend in double point categories.
-Ink Cash: $25K annual spend in quintuple and $25K annual spend in double point categories.
-Freedom: $1,500 quarterly spend in quintuple point categories.
-Blue Cash/Blue Cash Preferred: $6K annual spend in grocery category.
-AMEX Everyday/Everyday Preferred: $6K annual spend in grocery category.

-The points from Freedom and Ink Cash can’t transfer directly into real miles. You or your spouse will need an active Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus when you want to make that transfer.
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Read the methodology and calculations behind the numbers, and learn to plugin your own mileage values after the jump:

(more…)

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HURRY! Unprecedented Coach And Business Class Saver Award Availability On Select Delta Partner Routes Now Bookable With Delta Miles!

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Delta Skymiles have long been derided as Skypesos for their exorbitant award rates and lack of saver award availability.

A week ago they started finally allowing one-way award redemptions, though that came at the expense of a free stopover.

If you act quickly Delta.com is showing impossible amounts of saver award space on some partner routes. And people are reporting that it is ticketing properly.

Take the JFK to London route for example.  Delta is partners with Virgin Atlantic, which flies an excellent business class product on the route, and has top-notch lounges with kosher meals available in the lounge as well.

I did a search for 9 seats in peak summer travel time. Under any normal circumstances there would be nothing available for that many seats on a single flight.  But check this out…

 

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Almost every single day has 9 seats available in business saver class on Virgin Atlantic.

The best way to search is to use this advanced search form and set it up as shown here:

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It’s not just business class either. A search for 9 coach seats from JFK to London:

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Note that one-way flights from Europe do have a fuel surcharge, so you’ll want to book flights to Europe as a round-trip.  It’s just easier to initially search for a one-way trip.

Here’s a search for 4 seats in business class on a nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.  Nearly every date came back as bookable on Virgin Australia:

 

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A search for 9 seats from Paris to Johannesburg in business class, nonstop on Air France:

 

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New York to Paris isn’t showing availability every day like this, but still this is great availability for 2 business class seats from JFK to Johannesburg via Paris. Just be sure to switch from nonstop to all flights.

 

dl6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a search for 9 business class seats nonstop from JFK to Seoul on Korean:

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And a search for 4 seats from JFK to Hong Kong in business class on Korean via Seoul. Be sure to switch from nonstop to all flights:

 

dl8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can earn Delta miles on the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and you can transfer AMEX points instantly to Delta at a 1:1 ratio 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.

You can also transfer points from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express at a 20K:25K ratio, but those transfers can take a few days.

Delta miles never expire and they have no close-in expedite fee.

Post what other routes you find with incredible award availability!

HT: Moishebatchy via DDF and DCTA

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Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable For Flights Between Atlanta, Houston, Montreal, Or Toronto And Tel Aviv From 18,750 Miles Each Way

Sunday, January 4th, 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 01/31.

-You need to travel with the current promo awards between 03/01-04/30.

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

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

Current deals:
-You can travel between Houston and Tel Aviv in March or April for 18,750 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between Atlanta and Tel Aviv in March or April for 25,000 miles each way in premium economy.
-You can travel between Montreal or Toronto and Tel Aviv in March or April for 31,250 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 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.

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

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

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

 

Houston in economy:

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Atlanta in premium economy:

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Montreal in business class:

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Toronto in business class:

yyz1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 01/04 and 01/10 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. Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase.  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 cash out the Visa cards using EvolveMoney to pay bills like your mortgage, property tax, auto loan, health insurance, store charge card (Gap, Macy’s, Target, etc).  There is no fee for this but you can only make 1 payment per biller per month month.
-You can load Visa cards to your Serve card with a Family Dollar cashier for no fee (though some stores won’t do this)
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office).  Such stores exist even in manufactured spend deserts like NYC.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can swipe the card on an Amazon card reader for a 1.75% fee.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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Reminder: Triple Points Per Dollar With Sapphire Preferred At Restaurants And Caterers Today

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Today is the first Friday of the month and with the Chase Sapphire Preferred First Friday promotion you earn triple points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card on all dining purchases.

Normally you earn double points per dollar on airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, restaurants, catering, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, cafes, taxis, Uber, parking, limos, buses, trains, EZPass, bridges, ferries, timeshares, etc.

Today you will earn triple points on sit-down restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, catering, bars, lounges, and more.

If you opened your card before 07/20/14 you’ll also get a 7% annual dividend that means 3.21 points per dollar. For example if you spend $100 in any restaurant you’ll get 300 points on your next statement plus 21 additional points as part of your annual dividend.

Don’t want to eat out today? Ask your favorite eatery if they sell gift cards or will allow you to have a credit balance in your name and lock bonus points by purchasing them today!

Need to pay a caterer? Do it today and pocket all those extra miles! It’s a great day to pay for bar mitzvah or wedding bills!

Are you outside of the USA? Not to worry, the Sapphire Preferred card does not charge any foreign transaction fees. (Which also makes it the best card for car rentals in every country in the world: Double points for car rentals, free primary CDW insurance with no deductible, and no foreign exchange fees).

The card is made from metal and a real live human being answers the phone when you call customer service without having to navigate a phone-tree maze.

Currently you get 40,000 points for spending $4,000 on a new Sapphire Preferred card and you get another 5,000 points for adding a free additional user card and using it once.

Those points can go far.  Here are some awesome things you can do with Ultimate Rewards points.

The $95 annual fee is currently waived for the first year.

-If you rent a car, the Sapphire Preferred is a must have.
In every country in the world you get primary rental car CDW insurance. Almost every other card only has secondary coverage when you rent a car in your home country. This means that if you damage your rental vehicle you must file the claim with your own personal insurance policy first, and only if they won’t cover the damage will the credit card cover the damage. Even additional cardholders get primary coverage when they rent.

Most credit cards also exclude countries like Israel from coverage, however all Chase cards cover you worldwide, including in Israel.  And they will give you a letter of coverage stating that you are covered in Israel so that you don’t have to argue at the rental car counter that your Chase Visa does give CDW coverage.

Plus you get double points on car rentals, meaning there is no better card out there for car rentals.

You are covered for almost all non-exotic rentals as long as the rental period is 31 days or less.

-Trip cancellation insurance is free.
Trip cancellation reimburses up to $10,000 per person, up to $20,000 per trip, and up to $40,000 per year if you need to cancel for injury, death, or sickness experienced by you, a traveling companion, or an immediate family member of you or your traveling companion. Other covered reasons include severe weather, military orders, terrorism, jury duty, home dwelling becoming inhabitable, quarantine, or financial insolvency of the travel agency or operator of your trip.

Other card benefits include:
-Price protection. Find a lower price in a store or online on a non-auction site within 90 days and get back up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year.
-Return protection. Return an item to a store that won’t take back an item for up to 90 days ($500/item, $1,000 per year)
-Purchase protection: 120 days of protection in case of damage of theft on items you buy ($500/item, $50K/account)
-Warranty protection: An extra year of warranty coverage on purchases ($10K/item, $50K/account)
-Lost Luggage Protection: If your checked or carry-on bags are lost you can be reimbursed by up to $3,000 per person.
-Trip Delay Protection: If you are delayed that either requires an overnight stay or is more than 12 hours you can be reimbursed for up to $500 in expenses per person.
-Baggage Delay Protection: If your bags are delayed by more than 6 hours you can reimbursed for up to $100 in expenses per person per day, for up to $500 per person.
-Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage if you are injured or killed on a trip.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns Ultimate Rewards points and has the ability to transfer points into miles.  It also gives you the ability to transfer points from fantastic cards no annual fee cards like Chase Freedom and Ink Cash into miles as well, as those cards can’t transfer points directly into miles without having the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card.

Points transfer at an equal ratio to:
-United (Star Alliance)
-Singapore (Star Alliance)
-British Airways (OneWorld)
-Korean (Skyteam), transfers available later this month.
-Southwest
-Virgin Atlantic
-Hyatt
-Marriott
-Ritz Carlton
-Priority Club
-Amtrak

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

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Delta 2015 SkyMiles Program Now Live

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Delta’s 2015 program is now live. What does that mean for you?

1. You can now book one-way awards, though you can no longer take a free stopover.  That’s the same policy as American.

For now United still allows stopovers on round-trip awards, but I can’t see that lasting for long.  USAirways also allows for free stopovers, though that program will end in the 2nd quarter of this year.

2. New Delta award charts with 5 levels of pricing are in effect.

For example for JFK to Tel Aviv a one-way coach award can now run 40K, 50K, 62.5K, 75K, or 85K.

A domestic one-way coach award can run 12.5K, 17.5K, 20K, 25K, or 32.5K.

3. Unless you are flying on very expensive tickets, you will earn a small fraction of the miles that you used to earn thanks to revenue based mileage earning instead of distance based mileage earning.

United will match this change in March.

4. The best way to search for Delta award space is to search for a one-way flight with flexible dates using miles:

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Then you can expand the flex search to 5 weeks and you can limit it to nonstop flights if you so desire.

Although you can select between Delta flights or Delta+partner flights it’s worth noting that most Delta partner award flights can only be booked over the phone.

Here is a 5 week view of nonstop one-way awards from JFK to Tel Aviv:

 

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

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Update: Now is the last chance to book the promo awards listed below. Officially it’s bookable until tomorrow, but they are often pulled early.

In January you’ll be able to book discounted coach awards from Houston or Atlanta or discounted business awards from Montreal or Toronto.

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Originally posted on 12/02:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Chicago-Tel Aviv in coach:

 

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JFK-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

 

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Toronto-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

 

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1 Day Left For Extra Savings At Staples With Visa Business Cards

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

There is just 1 day left to earn a bonus 1% cash back when using cards like Ink Plus or Ink Cash at Staples with Visa Savings Edge:

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Until 12/31/14 you can still earn the 1% cash back on $200+ purchases on Staples. That’s on top of the 5 points per dollar you earn with office supply spending on the Ink cards.

Now is a really good time to stock up on gift cards from Staples to take advantage of the bonus 1% cash back.  You can see this post for a list of the gift cards you can buy.  You can lock in savings for eBay purchases, Shell, Groupon, Gap, Nordstrom, Southwest, Starbucks, Whole Foods, etc.

Or you can lock in savings on Visa gift cards.  A $200 gift card costs $206.95 but the 1% cash back knocks down the cost to $204.88. With an Ink card you’ll earn 5 points per dollar, or 1,035 Ultimate Rewards points on each Visa card.  At a cost of $4.88 that’s like buying points at 0.47 cents each.  On the Ink Plus card you can earn 5 points on dollar on $50,000 in annual spending (250,000 potential points per card per year), on the Cash card it’s capped at $25,000 of annual spending (125,000 potential points per card per year).  Even with the $4.88 fee, that amount of points far surpasses the cost of the gift card and the rewards that any other card provides for everyday purchases.

You can use those Visa gift cards wherever you would normally use your credit card.

Why should you buy points at 0.47 cents each?
-You can use 9,000 points transferred to BA for a free round-trip short-haul flight like NYC to Montreal or Miami to the Caribbean/Mexico. That costs you $42 at .47 cents per mile
-You can use 15,000 points transferred to BA for a free round-trip medium-haul flight like NYC/Philadelphia to Miami. That costs you $70.50 at .47 cents per mile
-You can use 25,000 points transferred to BA for a free round-trip flight like from the west coast to Hawaii or from Boston to Dublin. That costs you $117.50 at .47 cents per mile
-You can use 30,000 points transferred to Southwest for about $500 worth of paid flights. That costs you $141 at .47 cents per mile
-You can use 85,000 points transferred to United for a round-trip to Israel. That costs you $400 at .47 cents per mile.

Of course you’re not limited to using those Visa gift cards for purchases, you can also cash them out…

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

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Update: Discounted awards between the US and Japan and between Europe abd the Middle East have been added.

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Originally posted on 12/09:

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

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

See the full details after the jump:

(more…)

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Fly From JFK To Toronto For 4.5K Avios Or $94…And Get 141 Pounds Of Free Luggage! Also: When Redeeming Avios For Business Pays For Itself

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Brazilian carrier TAM has announced that they will start flying nonstop between JFK and Toronto. The flight will operate once daily on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday effective 03/29/15.

It’s a tag-on flight from Sao Paulo and operated so that the 767 doesn’t just sit parked at JFK all day.  It’s a 5th freedom route that allows a foreign carrier to sell tickets on select routes between 2 other countries.  Similar to the JFK-Vancouver 777 route that is sold by Cathay Pacific.

When a foreign carrier operates a route within 1 other country, like Qantas’ JFK-Los Angeles route, it can only be booked when continuing onto Australia.   However the TAM and Cathay routes can be booked by themselves and offer some of the most comfortable seats you’ll find between the US and Canada.

It’s a route that used to be flown by TAM’s merger partner LAN, but that ended a few years ago.

TAM allows 2 free 32KG (70.5 pound) bags on all tickets from the US and Canada, so you’ll get 141 pounds of free checked luggage.

Introductory pricing on the route can be had from JFK to Toronto one-way for $94 and from Toronto to JFK for $128.  If you have 2×50 pound checked bags on other airlines that can set you back $60 each way. 2×70 pound checked bags on American would set you back $260 each way.

Those fares are bookable now on Orbitz.

TAM is a OneWorld airline, so you can use Avios for this route.  The rates are the same as for flights on American, 4.5K Avios in coach and 9K Avios in business each way.

However TAM is currently only releasing 1 coach award seat per flight.  I do expect them to release more award seats as we get closer to the start of these flights.

Want to travel with lots of bags on an award without waiting for that to happen?

You can redeem 9K Avios for a one-way business class flight on American and get 3 free 70 pound bags for a total of 210 pounds of free checked luggage.  That’s an awesome business class redemption, just 4.5K extra miles to go to a business class and from no free bags to 3 free bags!

3×50 pound bags on a coach ticket would set you back $210 each way. 3×70 pound bags on a coach ticket would set you back $510 each way!  Or use a business award to get that for free.

You can earn 50K Avios on the Chase British Airways Visa which has the annual fee waived for a limited time only.

Currently there is a 40% bonus for transferring AMEX MR points into Avios. That means that a round-trip business class redemption with 3 free bags each way will take just 13K AMEX points!

On domestic flights BA charges triple the Avios for business class.

However on international flights it’s just double the Avios, so it’s worth bearing in mind that flying in American business class comes with 3 free bags as it will often make sense to splurge for the extra 4.5K or 7.5K Avios just to get the free bags.

So the next time you use Avios to fly on a short flight to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central America do it in business if you will have several checked bags.

If you’re a family consider flying 1 or 2 members in business to get 3 free bags each.  If you just want to sit together they’ll be happy to seat you all in coach and you’ll just have used the extra Avios for the free bags :D

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12 Nonstop Flights From Johannesburg That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! Until 12/31/14 this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 29 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 196 Direct Avios Flights From Dallas
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 103 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
-Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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A special international edition of the Avios Route Roundup in honor of today’s fare glitch on Etihad :D
Dirt cheap flights to Joburg are still available as of the time of this posting!

Feel free to use this post to comment on the best trip ideas and tips for people flying to Joburg. More info can also be found on DDF.

British Airways Avios can’t be beat for short-haul nonstop flights thanks to ultra-low award rates, no expedite/close-in fees, and dirt cheap award cancellations.

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

Notes:
1. Rates in the chart are for one-way flights.

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

3. There are fuel surcharges on all flights from Johannesburg. Therefore I’ve included the total fees owed on each one-way flight.

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

5. A dash means that class of service isn’t offered on that route.
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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One way rates from Johannesburg:

DestinationAirlineCoachBusinessFirst
Cape Town, SABritish Airways7.5K+$4415K+$50-
Doha, QatarQatar20K+$15440K+$180-
Durban, SABritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
Harare, ZimbabweBritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
Hong KongCathay Pacific35K+$13070K+$130-
Livingstone, ZambiaBritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
LondonBritish Airways25K+$20750K+$34275K+$342
MauritiusBritish Airways10K+$4420K+$50-
Port Elizabeth, SABritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
SydneyQantas35K+$23270K+$237-
Victoria FallsBritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
Windhoek, NamibiaBritish Airways7.5K+$4415K+$50-

Find a mistake? Post a comment!

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196 Direct Flights From Dallas That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

8th in a series.

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! Until 12/31/14 this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 29 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 103 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
-Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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Did you know that there are 196 places you can fly direct to from Dallas with your BA Avios?

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

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

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

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

3. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges, which can add up to to several hundred dollars each way.

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

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

For example Kauai isn’t on the chart as BA does not have any partners that fly nonstop from Dallas-Kauai.  Though you can always fly to Kauai via Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, or Seattle for 10K for the Dallas-west coast segment and 12.5K for the West coast-Kauai segment with no fuel surcharges on American or Alaska. Or fly to Phoenix for 7.5K and from Phoenix to Kauai on USAirways for 12.5K. Plus you can stopover in the connecting city for as long or short as you want.

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

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

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

9. A dash means that class of service isn’t offered on that route.
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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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View the complete 196 route chart after the jump:

(more…)

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500 Free Virgin America Elevate Points

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

500 Free Virgin America Elevate Points

Offer expires 12/31.

Allow 3 weeks for points to post to your account.

HT: bb1836, via DDF

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What’s Your IHG Point Purchase Bonus?

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Update: This offer ends tomorrow!

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Originally posted on 12/11:

IHG Point Purchase Linky

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

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

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

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

My account has a 100% bonus offer:

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

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

This promotion expires on 12/23.

IHG points never expire.

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

There are also good values to be had at high-end properties.  The highest tier is 50K points.
-Intercontinental has a heavy presence in French Polynesia with properties on Tahiti and Moorea islands for just 40K points ($230 at .575).

-An overwater bungalow in Bora Bora at the Intercontinental Thalasso can go for as much as $1,000 with tax but costs just 50K points. That’s just $287.50 at .575 cents per point.

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

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

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

HT: yoss1, via DDF

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

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use?

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

Here’s the rundown of the options:

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

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

 

REDCard makes life easy:

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

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

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