Category Archive for 'Miles'

New Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable: JFK To Tel Aviv For 18,750 Miles, Detroit To Tel Aviv For 12.5K Miles, Washington DC To Tel Aviv In Premium Economy For 25K Miles

Monday, September 1st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Currently for North America that includes flights from JFK, Detroit, Or Washington DC.  There are no business class awards this month.

-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 09/30.

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

-You can travel between Detroit and Tel Aviv anytime in November or December for 12.5K miles each way.

-You can travel between JFK and Tel Aviv between 11/05-12/18 for 18,750 miles each way.

-You can travel between Washington DC and Tel Aviv in premium economy anytime in November or December for 25K miles each way.

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

-For example on 11/17-11/25 you can fly from JFK to Tel Aviv nonstop on Delta for 50,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $84.92 or with a stop on KLM or Air France for 37,500 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $258.76.

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

-From Detroit to Tel Aviv for example a flight from 11/24-12/02 is 25,000 miles round-trip plus $299.58.

-From Washington DC to Tel Aviv for example a flight from 11/24-12/02 in premium economy is 50,000 miles round-trip plus $457.90.

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.

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

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

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

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

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:

 

FBa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FBc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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This One Little Trick Saved My Friend’s Expired Miles…

Monday, September 1st, 2014

-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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I’ve written articles in the past about when miles from various credit card, airline, and hotel programs expire and a really easy and free way to keep them alive.

And several times last September I reminded folks that their old Continental miles would expire on October 1st. Previously Continental miles dating back all the way to the 80s had never expired.

A good buddy of mine told me on Friday that his old Continental miles expired on 10/01/13.  After chastising him for not being more organized (the only way to get ahead in the mileage and credit card game is to be very organized) I went digging through my emails for car rental receipts.

You see, I’ve been through this before.  A few years ago I rescued my mother’s and another friend’s United miles and a few months ago I rescued my brother’s American miles as well this way.  I intentionally don’t collect miles for some of my car rentals just for these situations.

Typically you can earn 50 airline miles a day when you rent a car, though there are promotions at times to earn thousands of miles when you rent a car. If you have a car rental that never received airline miles and the rental took place before the expiration date of your airline mileage account you can call to have the car rental miles credited to your airline mileage account.  Typically that can be done for up to a year after the rental.  The miles post to your airline mileage account retroactive to the time of the car rental.  It can take a few weeks for those miles to post, but when they do it will reactivate your entire mileage account if the car rental was made before your miles expired.

Another reason to ask for credit afterward: When you give your mileage number before the rental you’ll be charged 75 cents a day for those miles.  When you ask for miles after the rental there is no charge.

I’ve never run into any issues having the miles credited to someone else’s account. In fact I’ve never even been asked for the name of the mileage account holder, I just ask for airline mileage account number XYZ to be credited for the rental.

So I went digging this past Friday, 08/29/14, for an old car rental and found I had one uncredited rental in August and September 2013. I had picked up the rental on 08/29/13 and returned it 08/30/13.  The first agent said it was too late to get credit for the rental and refused to even try as the pickup had been “more than a year ago.” However after a quick HUCA another agent was happy to process the request and I expect that all of his miles should reappear later this month.

Though he won’t be able to just sit on his laurels.  His account will be subject to expiration in just 6 months as the last activity will the car rental from 12 months ago.

If he gets a United credit card his miles will never expire as long as the card is active. Otherwise redeeming a few hundred miles for a magazine subscription is a quick, easy, and free way to generate activity to extend mileage expiration out another 18 months.  Or if you have transferable points you can move any amount of points from Chase, AMEX, or Starwood to an airline to keep your entire account alive.

With Starwood a simple transfer from you to your spouse or someone else living at your address will keep both of your accounts alive for another 18 months.

There are other options to reactive expired miles.  United, American, and USAirways are happy to let you pay to reactivate them.

American also has a unique challenge that I wrote about over 5 years ago that allows you to reactivate miles by completing tasks like opening a credit card or flying on a paid AA flight. Since then they’ve added a small fee to take that challenge, but it should be much cheaper than paying to reactivate the miles outright.

A commenter on the recent airline credit card post notes that he also had his old Continental miles expire on 10/01 and I’m guessing many more ignored my calls last September as well.  Sorry folks, I don’t have any more uncredited car rentals from last September, but if you’re in the same boat be sure to check with your family and friends if they rented a car last September!

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Evolve Has Devolved

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Effective 09/01 Evolve Money will only allow you to make 1 payment per biller per month.

“Due to changes in our risk and regulatory compliance policies, Evolve Money will be implementing a limit of one payment per biller account per month. This change takes effect September 1, 2014. There are no limits on the number of cash payments made with a Reloadit pack or Evolve Pay Bucks.

We realize that some of our users have taken advantage of the multiple payments per month to pay off larger expenses such as mortgages. We are currently working on ways to improve the bill paying experience for you and expect to announce details soon.”

Originally Evolve allowed you to make unlimited payments from a credit card to a biller. Then they stopped allowing credit card (though they still allowd gift cards) and then limited it to 4 payments per biller per month.

Was fun while it lasted!

HT: cozmohoot, via DDF

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Breathe Easy Folks, The Reports Of The Death Of British Airways Avios Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Earlier today I took the blogosphere to task for at least half a dozen sensationalist headlines and blog posts about the sky falling for the British Airways Avios program, my favorite mileage currencies for short-haul flights.

I outlined my rationale for why the supposed Iberia Avios changes didn’t have to mean anything for the British Airways program.

Gary commented on that post that the Iberia changes signaled a real risk for British Airways Avios as the Iberia changes were huge.

Only problem is that there were no changes.

Turns out that Iberia’s little explored Avios program has never allowed the cheap short-haul rates that we love so much on partner airlines, except for travel Iberia, British Airways, and Vueling.  So nothing has changed at all.  You can still use Iberia Avios to fly on Iberia with low fuel surcharges and you still cannot use Iberia for cheap OneWorld tickets as you were never able to.

Google Cache only takes us back to July 28, but even then you can see the same overpriced OneWorld award chart when using Iberia Avios.

FT member Travellair also sent me this link to the Iberia chart from before the Avios program launched in November 2011.  Turns out all they did when Avios launched was multiply all of the awards by 15.  They never did have the 4.5K awards on most OneWorld partner airlines, those were only offered systemwide via British Airways Avios and Avios.com.

The only thing that I can see that might have changed is that you can now book partner awards on airlines like American on Iberia.com instead of having to call them up. Not that you would want to considering that a LGA-MIA flight would cost 36K Iberia Avios round-trip (as it always has) versus 15K British Airways Avios round-trip.

And so after a bizarre day of blog posts about changes to the Iberia Avios program that never actually happened, British Airways Avios goes on to live another day.

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Citi Thank You Points Now Transferable To Select Airlines

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Update: Citi has now added Flying Blue as an airline transfer partner.
Flying Blue typically charges heavy fuel surcharges but they don’t on Delta. Additionally they consider Israel to be part of Europe, so a one-way award on Delta to Israel is just 25K miles (when Delta has saver award space) and promo awards to Israel are 12.5K miles each way plus fuel surcharges.
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Originally posted on 07/21:

Over 2 years ago I wrote that Citi was in the process of making their points transferable to airlines.

It’s taken some time, but it’s finally been implemented.

However the current transfer selection is very weak when compared to the 3 powerhouse transferable currencies, AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Starpoints.

Citi Transfer Partners:
-Cathay Pacific
-Etihad
-EVA
-Garuda Indonesia
-Malaysia Airlines
-Qatar
-Singapore
-Thai
-Hilton

-You must have a Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige, or Citi Chairman card to make a transfer.
-Points earned from checking accounts can’t be transferred.
-It may take up to fourteen days for the ThankYou Points to post to your participating travel loyalty program member account.
-The first and last names on both the ThankYou Member Account and the participating travel loyalty program member’s account must match in order to transfer points using the Points Transfer feature.

HT: AsherO, via DDF

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Do Iberia Changes Forebode British Airways Changes Or Is It Much Ado About Nothing?

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Iberia has changed their partner award chart, significantly raising the miles required to fly on partner airlines. Gary thinks that means that British Airways changes are about to be announced as well.

He says,

“Of course, it makes no sense for Iberia to have this chart and not British Airways. Otherwise, you just transfer your Iberia points over to British Airways Avios and redeem on partners from there. In order to effectively charge so much for partners, you’d expect that both programs would have to more or less move in tandem.”

Since the launch of Avios in November of 2011 it’s been ridiculously cheap to fly on short-haul flights thanks to British Airways Avios. Just 4,500 Avios is enough to fly on partner airlines like American and USAirways without fuel surcharges. It’s quickly become the best way to book domestic flights thanks to the ridiculously low rates, the lack of last-minute booking fees, and the dirt cheap cancellation rates.

There’s always been the feeling that it’s too good to be true even though partner airlines are known to pay very small amounts of cash for partner mileage awards.

But I’m not convinced that the Iberia change means that a devaluation is imminent.

-The Iberia partner award chart has been the same for at least 2 weeks. If British Airways was going to devalue imminently or in tandem, wouldn’t we have heard something by now?

-Iberia eliminated reward saver flights within Europe over a year ago. British Airways still has the program which heavily reduces fuel surcharges when you fly within Europe.

-Iberia Avios have never been the same as British Airways Avios for partner flights. You can’t change or refund a OneWorld ticket booked via Iberia while you can refund a British Airways booked ticket for just the forfeiture of taxes paid ($5.60 for a domestic ticket).

-Iberia has always tried to push their own flights over partner flights. They offer a huge discount on fuel surcharges for booking Iberia flights with Iberia Avios. British Airways charges much higher fuel surcharges for Iberia flights.

Those differences have meant that there have always been arbitrage opportunities and plenty of reasons to convert Iberia Avios to British Airways Avios and vice versa. Saying that the allowance of conversion of Avios in both directions means that they have to move in tandem with this devaluation is dubious logic at best. It’s never been applied until now after all.

The British Airways and Iberia programs have many unique nuances and have different non-alliance partner airlines to earn and redeem miles with.

Additionally British Airways Avios program is run as an independent profit center from the Iberia Avios program and British Airways continues to partner with more American banks and credit cards than Iberia.
Those credit card companies will likely push back against a British Airways devaluation. At the very least they would have to announce that a devaluation is coming or else face the wrath of the banks and the people accumulating their miles. And risk losing the millions of dollars those partner provide.

Gary notes that the Avios program was launched in November 2011 without providing details in advance and that means they have a poor track record. Technically that’s true but they did announce in advance that major changes were coming and when they were coming, well in advance of the Avios launch. I wouldn’t consider that to mean that they have a track record of making unannounced changes.

Even if significant amounts of people start converting their Iberia Avios to British Airways (unlikely as it’s not a very well known feature) they can always turn off the conversion process with more ease than aligning the programs.

Might we see an upcoming British Airways devaluation? Sure. After all as flights get more expensive and the value of a dollar goes down there is mileage inflation as well. Airline consolidation also gives even more ability to devalue miles. That doesn’t mean airlines will kill the golden goose that has provided billions of dollars in income from selling miles to the banks and other partners, but they do have more flexibility to devalue up to a point.

However I don’t think that the Iberia changes prove that imminent changes are inevitable, nor am I running to burn my stash of 500K British Airways Avios for flights I don’t need. If you have flights you want to book anyway, then there’s no reason not to book those now. But otherwise, I’m not panicking at all.

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JetBlue TrueBlue Stackable Promotions: JFK-Fort Lauderdale Round-Trip For 10K AMEX Points, JFK-Puerto Rico For 11K, JFK-LAX In Mint Suites For 52.4K

Monday, August 18th, 2014

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

JetBlue’s TrueBlue is normally one of the least valuable mileage programs around.

But 2 promotions have converged to make for some nice values.

1. Normally you need 1,250 AMEX Membership Rewards points to get 1,000 JetBlue points but until 09/15 you can trade at parity, 1,000 AMEX points transfers into 1,000 JetBlue points.

You can earn AMEX MR points on cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Point transfers are instant.

2. Additionally you can save 25% on all award bookings made today and tomorrow.
The 25% discount is valid for flights from 09/02-11/20 but excludes flights on Sundays and Fridays.
This is valid everywhere that JetBlue flies.

With both promotion combined a flight that normally would require 30,000 JetBlue points and would thus normally need 37,500 AMEX points would now cost 22,500 JetBlue points or now only 22,500 AMEX Points.

Sample deals, round-trip in coach:
-JFK to Fort Lauderdale, 11/12-11/18, a paid flight is $207.98.
Thanks to both promotions you can use just 10,000 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $11.20 for the same flights, a value of 1.97 cents per point.

-JFK to Chicago, 11/05-11/12, a paid flight is $230.20.
Thanks to both promotions you can use just 11,400 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $11.20 for the same flights, a value of 1.92 cents per point.

-JFK to San Juan, 11/03-11/11, a paid flight is $253.20.
Thanks to both promotions you can use 11,000 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $11.20 for the same flights, a value of 2.2 cents per point.

-JFK to Bermuda, 09/01-09/08, a paid flight is $329.90
Thanks to both promotions you can use 14,600 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $60.90 for the same flights, a value of 1.84 cents per point.

-JFK to San Francisco, 11/04-11/11, a paid flight is $336.20.
Thanks to both promotions you can use 17,200 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $11.20 for the same flights, a value of 1.89 cents per point.

-JFK to Burbank, CA, 11/05-11/11, a paid flight is $317.98.
Thanks to both promotions you can use 16,200 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $11.20 for the same flights, a value of 1.89 cents per point.

-JFK to Nassau, 11/11-11/19, a paid flight is $346.60.
Thanks to both promotions you can use 11,600 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $93.60 for the same flights, a value of 2.18 cents per point.

-JFK to Los Angeles, 11/04-11/10, a paid flight is $404.20.
Thanks to both promotions you can use 21,000 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $11.20 for the same flights, a value of 1.87 cents per point.

-JFK to Liberia, Costa Rica, 11/11-11/18, a paid flight is $477.42.
Thanks to both promotions you can use 22,400 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $41.42 for the same flights, a value of 1.95 cents per point.

Sample deals, round-trip in Mint Suites Class:

JetBlue’s Mint Class operates on flights between JFK-Los Angeles and JFK-San Francisco.
Rows 1, 3, and 5 have a 2-2 seat configuration for a total of 12 lie-flat seats.
Rows 2 and 4 are Mint suites with a 1-1 seat configuration. Those 4 seats per plane are the only seats on intra-North America flights where you can close the doors for privacy.

For the time being JetBlue sells allows people who purchase Mint seats to select Mint Suites when available for no additional cost. When purchasing a flight just fill in your person into to get to the seat selection page to check if seats in row 2 or 4 are available.

Mint seats booked with TrueBlue points get free cancellation/changes, free onboard movies, free enhanced food and beverages, 2 free checked bags, and priority checkin, security, and boarding.

-JFK to Los Angeles, 11/04-11/10, a paid flight is $1,197.98.
Thanks to both promotions you can use 52,400 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $11.20 for the same flights, a value of 2.26 cents per point.

-JFK to San Francisco, 11/04-11/11, a paid flight is $1,197.98.
Thanks to both promotions you can use 52,400 AMEX or JetBlue points plus $11.20 for the same flights, a value of 2.26 cents per point.

HT: AJK, via DDF

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

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Fly From LaGuardia To Seattle In First Class For $762, Get Star Alliance Gold For Life

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

United has a great first class fare from LaGuardia to Seattle.  You need to book 3 weeks in advance and seats aren’t available on all dates.  You can stay in Seattle for a while or catch a flight right back, as shown below:

 

sea2

 

Mileage Running:

Why would you want to catch a flight right back?

It’s called a mileage run, though that’s a dying art as the airlines have made getting elite status on the cheap progressively harder.

I’ve had my fun with mileage runs. In 2003 I took AAdvantage of American’s AVNYC promotion to fly twice between NYC and Florida or California on $69 tickets for a free systemwide ticket.  I used the systemwide ticket to fly from Sao Paulo-Dallas-JFK-Tokyo-Los Angeles-Miami-Sao Paulo.

In 2006 I spent 36 hours flying on 14 short-hops earning elite status and over 10,000 miles for each leg for less than $200.

United now requires US residents to fly 50,000 miles and spend at least $5,000 on United flights (if you spend $25,000 annually on the United Explorer card then you don’t have to spend $5,000 on flights) to earn Star Alliance Gold status for just 1 year.

And United blocks their own elites from using United Clubs when flying domestically.

Lazy? Take the Greek route to status:

Aegean, a Greek airline, is one of the 27 airlines that make up the Star Alliance.  If you signup for an Aegean account here you will get 1,000 redeemable and elite qualifying miles for free.

Aegean only requires 19,000 elite qualifying miles to get Star Alliance Gold status.

Technically you have 1 year from when you signup to the program to get at least 3,000 more flight miles to reach Silver status at 4,000 total miles.  You then have 1 year from when you earn Blue/Silver status to get up to 20,000 total miles and earn Gold status.

Once you have the Gold status it’s yours to keep.  You just need to credit a single Star Alliance flight to your Aegean account once every every 36 months to extend your Star Alliance Gold status for another 36 months.

The terms of the program can change, but lots of folks have had Aegean Gold since 2010 and continue to enjoy the benefits by just crediting 1 United flight to the account every 36 months.

Mileage Calculation:
Aegean uses a complicated table where mileage earned is based on the fare class.

Most United coach tickets only earn half the flown miles. However United First Class tickets in F or A class earn triple the miles flown.

In the LGA-SEA flight example above you’ll notice that I selected flights that connect in Houston.  By connecting there the total flight miles are 3,290 each way or 6,580 round-trip.  When you credit that flight to your Aegean account (just enter your Aegean number on United.com or give it to an airport agent) you’ll earn triple miles because the ticket is a first class ticket in A class, so you’ll have 19,740 miles.  Add that to the 1,000 miles you get at signup and you’ll have Star Alliance Gold status after the single round-trip flight!

Plus you’ll have 20,740 miles that you can use for Star Alliance award flights.

Star Alliance Gold Benefits:

-You and a companion can access over 1,000 Star Alliance lounges when departing from the airport on any Star Alliance airline.  When you have Star Alliance Gold status from United you can’t access any of their lounges when traveling domestically, but when you have Star Alliance Gold status from a foreign carrier like Aegean you can access United lounges when flying domestically.

And yes, with Star Alliance Gold status you’ll have access to the Dan lounge in Tel Aviv even if you’re flying United coach.

-You get at least 1 additional free bag over the baggage allowance for non-elites.  On Air Canada and United that even extends to each of your travel companions.  On United in coach a 2nd bag to Israel for example would be free, a value of $200 round-trip per person. On United in business or first class you and your companions will get 3 free 70 pound bags. On Air Canada in any class you and your companions will get 3 free bags, a value of $650 round-trip per person.

-Star Alliance Gold status also gets you priority baggage handling, priority checkin, priority security, priority boarding, priority waitlisting, etc.

-When flying on United having Star Alliance Gold status will allow you to make the free same-day confirmed changes to your flight when done in the online check-in process.

Caveats:
-Aegean miles aren’t worth as much as United miles, so once you get the status you want you will want to switch back to earning miles from United. You can check your bags with your Aegean Gold card and then switch your number to accumulate United miles for the flight.
-You won’t get upgrades on United like you would if you earned elite status in their program.
-You won’t get bonus miles on United like you would if you earned elite status in their programs.
-You won’t get Economy Plus seating like you would if you you earned elite status in their own program, though some gate agents and an occasional phone agent may move you there for free.
-You won’t get expanded elite award availability on United like you would if you earned elite status in their own program, however anyone who has a United Explorer card gets expanded coach saver award seats and last seat coach, business, and first class standard awards.  And United requires at least Platinum status (75K miles/year) to get expanded business/first class saver awards.  Besides once there is coach saver award space you can always do a Plan B award to sit in the front of the bus.

HT: EJB, via DDF, for finding the excellent LGA-SEA first class airfare.

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29 Direct Flights From Boston That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

7th in a series.
Related:
-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights to NYC or 4 one-way flights to Europe with no fuel surcharges.
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-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 102 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
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British Airways Avios can’t be beat for short-haul nonstop flights thanks to ultra-low award rates, no expedite/close-in fees, and dirt cheap award cancellations.  Below are all of the direct flights from Boston that can be booked with Avios.

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

Notes:
1. Rates in the chart are for one-way flights. Generally speaking it’s a good idea to book BA flights as one-ways to give you maximum flexibility.
2. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges.
3. There are no fuel surcharges for flights on: Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, LAN, and TAM. There are also no fuel surcharges for American and USAirways flights within the western hemisphere, for JAL flights within Japan, and for Qantas flights within Australia. Fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights are also typically quite low. Fuel surcharges for travel on Cathay Pacific aren’t too bad while fuel surcharges to fly on British Airways border on the criminal.
You can save on the fuel surcharges imposed on Iberia flights by transferring British Airways Avios into Iberia Avios.
4. In the charts below I’ve only included direct flights as BA charges Avios for each flight segment. For example Maui isn’t on the chart as BA does not have any partners that fly nonstop from Boston-Maui.  Though you can always fly to Maui via Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, or Seattle, for 12.5K for the Boston-west coast segment and 12.5K for the West coast-Maui segment with no fuel surcharges. Plus you can stopover in the connecting city for as long or short as you want.
5. BA.com does not display availability for all airlines! If you want to book travel on airlines like Alaska, Aer Lingus, and LAN you’ll need to pick up the phone and call BA! You can search Alaska award availability on AA.com before calling BA to book it.
6. In rare cases connecting flights can be cheaper than nonstop flights when using Avios and I’ve noted that in the chart.
7. Cities in the chart may only have seasonal nonstop service.
8. A dash means that class of service isn’t offered on that route.
9. If you are originating in NYC and don’t want to drive to BOS to pickup a flight you’ll probably be better off searching for and booking the NYC-BOS leg for 4.5K separately from the BOS-XYZ leg. First of all that will pull up more flight results. Second, that will stop you from being priced into the much more expensive multi-partner chart. For example a flight from NYC-Boston on American and from Boston-Ireland on Aer Lingus would price out a 35K Avios when booked as 1 ticket or 17K Avios when the Boston-NYC flight is booked separately (for 4.5K Avios) from the Boston-Ireland flight (for 12.5K Avios with no fuel surcharges).
————————————————————————

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, 1.25 Avios per dollar spent, and a companion ticket for spending $30K in a year.

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

-The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX each award 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Note that Starwood point transfers are not instant.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from cards like the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold. These points can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.

—————————————————————-
View the complete 29 route chart after the jump:

Click here to keep reading this post!

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Complain About An Airline, Get A Free Subscription To Time, Fortune, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, And More!

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Update 2: My free magazines have already started coming!  Even if you haven’t signed up yet it seems that the promotion is still alive, so complain and get yourself some free magazines!

Update: My 8,000 miles just posted. I ordered The Economist, Time, Fortune, and Money for 8,000 miles on the nose.
Thanks Spirit!
—————————————————
Originally posted on 07/08:

Spirit is offering 8,000 miles for complaining about an airline. Any short complaint will do.

At first I ignored this. After all getting free Spirit miles is sort of like winning a contest for a trip on Greyhound to Pittsburgh where the grand prize winner gets 1 free trip and the 2nd prize winner get 2 free trips ;)
And frankly I think going Greyhound may just be preferable to Spirit…

However DDF member springles correctly points out that the best use of these miles isn’t to save up for what’s sure to be a torturous flight, but for using for free magazines!

-Click here to view the free magazines you can get with your Spirit miles.
-Here is an alternate link with some other redemption options.
Sample redemptions:
Conde Nast Traveler: 12 issues, 900 Miles
Entrepreneur: 12 issues, 900 Miles
ESPN The Magazine: 26 issues, 800 Miles
Fortune: 20 issues, 1,700 Miles
Money: 12 issues, 1,200 Miles (I’m partial to the June cover issue they show…I’m in it :) )
People: 26 issues, 3,300 Miles
Sports Illustrated: 56 issues, 2,100 Miles
Sports Illustrated KIDS: 12 issues, 1,500 Miles
TIME: 52 issues, 1,800 Miles
TIME + Fortune: 52 issues+20 issues, 2,000 Miles
The Economist: 51 issues, 4,800 Miles
The Wall Street Journal: 228 issues, 4,100 Miles

Bear in mind that Spirit’s industry-worst miles expire in just 90 days and it will take 10 days to get your 8,000 free miles, so be ready to attack the magazine offers as soon as your miles post.

HT: wayfe and springles, via DDF

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New Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable: Chicago, Houston, Or Washington DC To Tel Aviv For 12.5K Miles

Monday, August 4th, 2014

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 to Israel but they run rotating promo awards valid for select cities. Currently for North America that includes half priced flights from Chicago, Houston, Or Washington DC.

-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 08/31.

-You can travel between Houston or Washington DC and Tel Aviv in October or November or between Chicago and Tel Aviv in November.

-In some cases it may make sense to use BA Avios to get to Chicago, Houston, or Washington DC.

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

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

 

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

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Today and on every first Friday of every month you will 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.

If you opened your card before 07/20 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.

Dining on the Sapphire Preferred card includes all sit-down restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, catering, bars, lounges, and more.

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!

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).

Sapphire Preferred comes with a 40,000 point signup bonus and another 5,000 point bonus for opening a free additional user card. The $95 fee is waived for the first year. Having a Sapphire Preferred card allows you to transfers all of your Chase points (including points earned on Chase Freedom) to lucrative currencies like United (Star Alliance), Singapore (Star Alliance), British Airways (OneWorld), Korean (Skyteam), Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Priority Club, and Amtrak.

Read more about the Sapphire card’s benefits in this post.

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Bye Bye Bluebird

Monday, July 28th, 2014

I finally did it. I closed my Bluebird. And I joined ISIS.

No, not that ISIS. And no, DansDeals hasn’t been hacked Domino’s Pizza style by Islamic terrorists (though I love the person that made the Ninja Turtle connection).

I got an NFC SIM card from Verizon (you can get one in-store or order one over the phone for free) which allowed me to finally signup for the (unfortunately named) ISIS wallet app.

The ISIS wallet is a method of paying for items via NFC technology.  You can add your credit card to it to make payments with your phone. And you can signup for an AMEX Serve prepaid card in the app.

If you have Verizon and signup for ISIS and apply for an AMEX Serve card in the app by 07/31 you’ll get $25.  MY $25 credit showed up within minutes of opening a Serve card in the ISIS app. If you have AT&T you’ll get $15.  If you have T-Mobile there is no signup bonus. If you have Sprint you’re out of luck, ISIS doesn’t work with Sprint.

iPhones don’t have NFC and will require a special NFC case that you can buy from your carrier to work with ISIS.

You will also get $1 back every time you buy something $1 or more with your Serve card via the ISIS wallet. That offer is valid up to 50 times per month until 12/31/14, so a potential $300 can be had like that.

Serve vs. Bluebird:

Serve is a prepaid card from AMEX that is awfully similar to Bluebird. So similar that AMEX only allows you to have one of them.  If you have a Bluebird card you’ll have to first have a zero balance and then call to have it closed before you can get a Serve card.

Both Bluebird and Serve can be loaded at Walmart with gift cards like the ones sold by Staples. The limits are the same, $2,500 per day and $5,000 of loading per month in-store.

But Serve can also be loaded at Family Dollar with $500 of Vanilla gift cards per day. Vanilla gift cards are sold at CVS with a credit card. Some 7-Eleven’s allow credit cards to buy Vanilla gift or debit cards as well and they qualify for 5.5 points per dollar with Chase Freedom this quarter.

And Serve can be loaded online directly with your credit card and debit card as long as your name is on them.  More on the limits for that below, but that’s easy free miles there!

Just like with Bluebird, loading gift cards online is a big no-no. You have to do that in stores.

Serve has a 2.7% foreign exchange fee. Bluebird has no foreign exchange fees.

Note that while Bluebird gives free checks that you can use to cash out your account balance, Serve has no checks. Instead you can pay off your bills and credit cards with your account balance.

However Serve allows you to withdraw cash ($750 per day and $2,000 per month) from a MoneyPass ATM for free. With Bluebird that would incur a $2 charge unless you have a direct deposit going to your Bluebird card.

You don’t need ISIS to signup for Serve but there are several advantage to doing that:
1. While Bluebird has no fees, Serve has a $1/month fee. That fee doesn’t apply if you live in NY, TX, or VT. It doesn’t apply if you have direct deposit. It doesn’t apply if you load $500 to it that month.
But for everyone else there’s also no fee for Serve as long as you keep a virtual Serve card in your ISIS wallet.

2. The regular Serve card allows you to load $200 per day online from a debit card and $200 per day online from a credit card. Those are both capped at $1,000 per month of loading.
However Serve with ISIS allows you to load $500 per day online from a debit card and $500 per day online from a credit card. Those are both capped at $1,500 per month of loading.
Don’t load Serve with an AMEX online as you won’t earn points for that.

I don’t have a physical Serve card yet, I just have the virtual card in my app now. It let me load $400 on the first day with my credit card and another $100 on the second day with a credit card. Once I activate my physical Serve card I’ll be able to load the full amounts.

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07/27 Snapshot Of Saver Level Awards Between The US And Israel Through October

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

For obvious reasons, saver award tickets to Israel have never been easier to obtain than right now.  United miles are great for Israel but I’ve never seen anywhere near amount of United nonstop award space.

For people redeeming round-trip coach saver awards to Israel in advance you are probably better off accumulating points on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus rather than traditional miles as the 2.22% cash back will probably be easier to use and require fewer points.

Saver awards typically open up within a month of the flight.  Here is a look at some of the nonstop options from North America to Tel Aviv.

I didn’t include El Al in this snapshot as their industry trailing website makes it too time intensive to search for lots of award space, but their nonstop coach award can be booked by American for 45K miles each way and their nonstop business award can be booked by American for 67.5K miles each way.

I also didn’t include Delta in this snapshot as their award calendar and the Air France award calendar have ridiculous amounts of false positives.    You can book a Delta coach award one-way with 25K Air France Flying Blue/AMEX miles with no fuel surcharges or a round-trip for 85K Delta miles.  You can book business class one-way with 62.5K Air France Flying Blue/AMEX miles or round-trip with 140K Delta miles.

Note that if you’re willing to fly with connections that there’s much more availability, but this post is just looking at nonstop flights.  Of course if you’ve been to a DansDeals seminar hopefully you know of even more ways to find award space.

United: Newark-Tel Aviv nonstop saver award space
-A coach round-trip with ANA/AMEX miles is 60K or a one-way “workaround” ANA coach award is 38K. A business round-trip is 90K or a one-way “workaround” ANA business award is 63K. No fuel surcharges for United flights
-Bookable in coach one-way with 40K Air Canada/AMEX miles. Business would be 82.5K one-way. No fuel surcharges for United flights
-Bookable in coach one-way with 42,500 United/Chase miles. Business would be 70K one-way. No fuel surcharges for any flights

Notes:
-You can also redeem 70K United miles for business class even when there is only coach available. Read this post for how to do that.
-The Chase United Explorer card gives expanded saver and standard award space. Read more about the unique benefits of the Chase United card in this post.
-Read about how to use and decrypt United’s powerful expert mode here.

07/27: UA84, 9+ coach and 7 business saver awards.
07/27: UA90, 9+ coach and 9+ business saver awards.
07/28: UA84, 9+ coach and 9+ business saver awards.
07/28: UA90, 9+ coach and 8 business saver awards.
07/29: UA84, 9+ coach and 9+ business saver awards.
07/29: UA90, 9+ coach and 9+ business saver awards.
08/02: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/03: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/03: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/04: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/04: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/05: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/05: UA90, 9+ coach and 7 business saver awards.
08/06: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/06: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/07: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/07: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/09: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/10: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/10: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/11: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/11: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/12: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/12: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/13: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/13: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/14: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/14: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/16: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/17: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/17: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/18: UA90, 2 coach saver awards.
08/19: UA84, 3 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 2 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/26: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/26: UA90, 5 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 1 seat for non cardholders/elites.
08/27: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/27: UA90, 8 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 4 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/28: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/28: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/30: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/31: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/31: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
09/27: UA90, 3 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 0 seats for non cardholders/elites.
09/29: UA84, 9+ coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 5 seats for non cardholders/elites.

United: Tel Aviv-Newark nonstop saver award space
08/03: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/03: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/04: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards and 4 business saver awards.
08/04: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/05: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards and 9+ business saver awards.
08/05: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/06: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/06: UA91, 4 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 3 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/07: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards and 9+ business saver awards.
08/08: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards and 9+ business saver awards.
08/09: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/10: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/10: UA91, 9+ coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 7 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/11: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards and 6 business saver awards.
08/11: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/12: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/12: UA91, 9+ coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 7 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/13: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/13: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/14: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/14: UA91, 8 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 6 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/15: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/16: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/17: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/17: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/18: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/18: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/19: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/19: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/20: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/20: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/21: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/21: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/22: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/23: UA91, 8 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 5 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/24: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/24: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/25: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards and 8 business saver awards.
08/25: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/26: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/26: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/27: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/27: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/28: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/28: UA91, 9+ coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 6 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/29: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/30: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/31: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/31: UA91, 9+ coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 6 seats for non cardholders/elites.
09/01: UA85, 9+ coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 5 seats for non cardholders/elites.
09/01: UA85, 8 business saver awards.
09/04: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
09/05: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
09/07: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
09/07: UA91, 9+ coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 5 seats for non cardholders/elites.
09/08: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
09/08: UA91, 8 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 4 seats for non cardholders/elites.
09/09: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
09/09: UA91, 9+ coach saver awards.
10/13: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
10/14: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.
10/15: UA85, 9+ coach saver awards.

Air Canada, Toronto-Tel Aviv coach nonstop saver award space
-Bookable one-way with 42,500 United/Chase miles. No fuel surcharges for any flights.
07/27: 8+ saver award seats
07/28: 1 saver award seat
07/29: 8+ saver award seats
07/30: 8+ saver award seats
08/03: 6 saver award seats
08/04: 8+ saver award seats
08/05: 8+ saver award seats
08/06: 2 saver award seats
08/07: 8+ saver award seats
08/10: 8+ saver award seats
08/12: 8+ saver award seats
08/13: 7 saver award seats
08/14: 8+ saver award seats
08/17: 8+ saver award seats
08/18: 4 saver award seats
08/21: 3 saver award seats
08/28: 8+ saver award seats
09/01: 8+ saver award seats
09/02: 8+ saver award seats
09/07: 1 saver award seat
09/08: 1 saver award seat
09/10: 1 saver award seat
09/11: 7 saver award seats
09/14: 8+ saver award seats
09/15: 8+ saver award seats
09/17: 7 saver award seats
09/18: 7 saver award seats
09/21: 8+ saver award seats
09/22: 5 saver award seats
09/28: 8+ saver award seats
09/29: 8+ saver award seats
09/30: 3 saver award seats
10/12: 2 saver award seats
10/13: 2 saver award seats
10/20: 7 saver award seats
10/26: 8+ saver award seats
10/29: 4 saver award seats

Air Canada, Tel Aviv-Toronto coach nonstop saver award space
08/04: 8+ saver award seats
08/07: 8+ saver award seats
08/10: 8+ saver award seats
08/11: 3 saver award seats
08/12: 4 saver award seats
08/13: 8+ saver award seats
08/14: 8+ saver award seats
08/17: 8+ saver award seats
08/18: 8+ saver award seats
08/19: 8+ saver award seats
08/20: 8+ saver award seats
08/21: 2 saver award seats
08/24: 1 saver award seat
08/25: 4 saver award seats
08/26: 8+ saver award seats
08/27: 8+ saver award seats
08/28: 8+ saver award seats
08/31: 1 saver award seat
09/01: 2 saver award seats
09/02: 6 saver award seats
09/03: 6 saver award seats
09/04: 8+ saver award seats
09/07: 6 saver award seats
09/08: 8+ saver award seats
09/09: 8+ saver award seats
09/11: 6 saver award seats
09/14: 8+ saver award seats
09/15: 1 saver award seat
09/16: 2 saver award seats
09/18: 8+ saver award seats
09/21: 8+ saver award seats
09/28: 8+ saver award seats
09/29: 5 saver award seats
09/30: 8+ saver award seats
10/01: 5 saver award seats
10/02: 3 saver award seats
10/05: 6 saver award seats
10/06: 8+ saver award seats
10/07: 6 saver award seats
10/12: 8+ saver award seats
10/13: 8+ saver award seats
10/14: 8+ saver award seats
10/23: 6 saver award seats
10/26: 8+ saver award seats
10/27: 8+ saver award seats
10/30: 8+ saver award seats

USAirways, Philadelphia-Tel Aviv nonstop saver award space
Coach, Bookable one-way with 45K AA miles with no fuel surcharges or 30K BA miles plus fuel surcharges.
Business, Bookable one-way with 67.5K AA miles with no fuel surcharges or 60K BA miles with fuel surcharges.
07/27: 6 coach saver award seats, 9+ business saver award seats.
07/28: 9+ coach saver award seats, 2 business saver award seats.
07/29: 9+ coach saver award seats, 8 business saver award seats.
07/31: 5 coach saver award seats
08/03: 2 coach saver award seats, 1 business saver award seat.
08/05: 1 coach saver award seat, 2 business saver award seats.
08/07: 6 coach saver award seats.
08/11: 1 business saver award seat.
08/17: 9+ coach saver award seats.
09/01: 1 coach saver award seat
09/03: 1 coach saver award seat
09/18: 1 coach saver award seat
09/23: 2 coach saver award seats

USAirways, Tel Aviv-Philadelphia nonstop saver award space
07/29: 1 business saver award seat.
07/31: 6 coach saver award seats.
08/03: 9+ coach saver award seats.
08/07: 2 coach saver award seats
08/17: 1 coach saver award seat
08/18: 3 coach saver award seats
08/19: 1 coach saver award seat, 1 business saver award seat.
08/20: 3 coach saver award seats
08/21: 2 business saver award seats.
08/26: 2 coach saver award seats
08/27: 9+ coach saver award seats, 2 business saver award seats.
08/28: 6 coach saver award seats.
08/31: 4 coach saver award seats
09/01: 9+ coach saver award seats, 1 business saver award seat.
09/02: 7 coach saver award seats, 3 business saver award seats.
09/03: 9+ coach saver award seats, 4 business saver award seats.
09/04: 9+ coach saver award seats, 3 business saver award seats.
09/06: 1 coach saver award seat
09/07: 8 coach saver award seats
09/08: 7 coach saver award seats, 1 business saver award seat.
09/09: 1 coach saver award seat
09/10: 2 coach saver award seats
09/21: 2 coach saver award seats
09/27: 4 coach saver award seats
09/28: 4 coach saver award seats
09/29: 2 coach saver award seats
10/13: 1 coach saver award seat
10/14: 9+ coach saver award seats

It’s important to stress that award availability is very fluid. What’s available now may not be available in a few minutes. What’s unavailable now may become available later today, so you just need to keep checking!

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HOT! $25 Off $100 At Staples.com With Visa Checkout Works For Visa Gift Cards!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Visa Checkout Offer Linky

Checkout on Staples.com with Visa Checkout and you’ll automatically save $25 on $100+ orders.  You can use any credit card type with Visa Checkout.

A $200 Visa gift card sells for $206.95 and a $100 gift card sells for $106.95 on Staples.com

If you buy a $100 gift card you’ll pay $81.95 and if you buy a $200 gift card you’ll pay just $181.95 shipped. Use your Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Cash cards and get 5 points per dollar spent. If you’re registered at visasavingsedge.com and you spend $200+ from Staples in a single order you’ll also get 1% cash back.

Visa gift cards from Office Max (and Staples) are issued by MetaBank which still work at WalMart (Vanilla gift cards no longer work well at WalMart).

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can cash out the Visa cards using EvolveMoney to pay bills like your mortgage, property tax, auto loan, insurance, store charge card (Gap, Macy’s, Target, etc).  There is no fee for this. As of June 1st there is a limit of 4 payments per bill per month.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card. (Note that some Visa cards like Vanilla branded ones don’t load at Walmart but the Visa cards from Office Max or Staples should still be easy to load).
-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 send the funds from the Visa card to a friend via Amazon Payments.
-You can load Visa cards to your Serve card at Family Dollar.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can just use the cards for your everyday spending to earn 5 points per dollar everywhere!

HT: menachem_m, via DDF

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Get 50 Free Iberia Avios; Better Award Availability With Lower Fuel Surcharges To Israel

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

British Airways and Iberia both participate in the Avios program.  Most people have points in the British Airways Avios program due to cards like the Chase British Airways Visa , transfers from other Chase cards, and the bonuses that AMEX used to run for transfers to BA, but you can also transfer AMEX points to the Iberia program.

If you have an active Iberia account that is at least 3 months old you can also transfer points from British Airways to Iberia.

Iberia Avios have much better award availability and much lower fuel surcharges for Iberia flights.  An Iberia coach flight to Israel is 65K Avios round-trip. With BA Avios you’ll also be charged $655.42 but with Iberia Avios the charge will be $329.90.   The fuel surcharge difference in business class is even greater.

Of course you can avoid fuel surcharges altogether with Avios by flying on carriers that have no fuel surcharges as covered in this recent post, but Iberia has very good availability and it’s always good to have another option.

So if you don’t have an Iberia account go ahead and open one here to start the 3 month countdown until you can transfer BA Avios to Iberia Avios.

You also need to earn Iberia Avios to activate your account and allow transfers from BA.  You can do that by transferring 1,000 AMEX points to Iberia.

Or you can click here to open the Iberia Newsletter. Scroll 3 pages to the right and you’ll see the Great Avios Conquest.  Click start and provide these answers to the 4 questions, “My Shoes,” “La Panza es Primero,” “All of the above,” and “Cash Card.” Then enter your Iberia Avios number and you’ll get 50 points “shortly.”

Once you have had an Iberia account for 3 months and have earned Iberia Avios you can logon to your BA Avios account, go to Executive Club>Manage my account>Combine my Avios>Transfer to Iberia Plus.

Iberia flies from the following US cities:
Boston
Chicago
Los Angeles
Miami
NYC

HT: yitzf, via HFP

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Updated Snapshot Of Saver Level Awards To Tel Aviv This Summer

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

For obvious reasons saver award tickets to Israel have never been easier than right now.

For people redeeming round-trip coach saver awards to Israel in advance you are probably better off accumulating points on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus rather than traditional miles as the 2.22% cash back will probably be easier to use and require fewer points.

Saver awards typically open up within a month of the flight.  Here is a look at some of the nonstop options from North America to Tel Aviv.

I didn’t include El Al in this snapshot as their industry trailing website makes it too time intensive to search for lots of award space, but their nonstop coach award can be booked by American for 45K miles each way and their nonstop business award can be booked by American for 67.5K miles each way.

Note that if you’re willing to fly with connections that there’s much more availability, but this post is just looking at nonstop flights.  Of course if you’ve been to a DansDeals seminar hopefully you know of even more ways to find award space.

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United: Newark-Tel Aviv nonstop saver award space
-A coach round-trip with ANA/AMEX miles is 60K or a one-way “workaround” ANA award is 38K. A business round-trip is 90K. No fuel surcharges for United flights
-Bookable in coach one-way with 40K Air Canada/AMEX miles. Business would be 82.5K one-way. No fuel surcharges for United flights
-Bookable in coach one-way with 42,500 United/Chase miles. Business would be 70K one-way. No fuel surcharges for any flights

07/13: UA84, 9+ coach and 9+ business saver awards.
07/13: UA90, 9+ coach and 9+ business saver awards.
07/14: UA84, 9+ coach and 9+ business saver awards.
07/14: UA90, 9+ business saver awards.
07/15: UA84, 9+ coach and 3 business saver awards.
07/28: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
07/29: UA90, 6 seats for credit cardholders or elites, 3 seats for non cardholders/elites.
07/30: UA84, 1 coach seat for credit cardholders or elites, 0 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/03: UA90, 3 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 1 seat for non cardholders/elites.
08/04: UA84, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/04: UA90, 9+ coach saver awards.
08/03: UA84, 8 coach seats for credit cardholders or elites, 4 seats for non cardholders/elites.

Notes:
-You can also redeem 70K United miles for business class even when there is only coach available. Read this post for how to do that.
-The Chase United Explorer card gives expanded saver and standard award space. Read more about the unique benefits of the Chase United card in this post.
-Read about how to use and decrypt United’s powerful expert mode here.

Air Canada, Toronto-Tel Aviv coach nonstop saver award space
-Bookable one-way with 42,500 United/Chase miles. No fuel surcharges for any flights.
07/13: 8+ saver award seats.
07/14: 8+ saver award seats.
07/21: 8+ saver award seats.
07/22: 6 saver award seats.
07/24: 3 saver award seats.
07/27: 8+ saver award seats.
07/28: 8+ saver award seats.
07/29: 3 saver award seats.
08/04: 3 saver award seats.
08/05: 2 saver award seats.
08/13: 1 saver award seat.
08/14: 3 saver award seats.

Air Canada, Toronto-Tel Aviv coach nonstop saver award space
07/31: 4 saver award seats.
08/05: 3 saver award seats.

USAirways, Philadelphia-Tel Aviv nonstop saver award space
Coach, Bookable one-way with 45K AA miles with no fuel surcharges or 30K BA miles plus fuel surcharges.
Business, Bookable one-way with 67.5K AA miles with no fuel surcharges or 60K BA miles with fuel surcharges.
07/14: 9+ coach saver award seats, 3 business saver award seats.
07/15: 4 coach saver award seats, 8 business saver award seats.
07/16: 5 business saver award seats.
07/17: 6 coach saver award seats
07/21: 1 coach saver award seat, 1 business saver award seat.
07/24: 9+ coach saver award seats
07/28: 9+ coach saver award seats, 5 business saver award seats.
07/29: 3 coach saver award seats, 5 business saver award seats.
08/03: 1 coach saver award seat
08/11: 1 coach saver award seat

USAirways, Tel Aviv-Philadelphia nonstop saver award space
07/17: 2 business saver award seats
07/19: 3 coach saver award seats
07/22: 3 coach saver award seats
07/26: 1 coach saver award seat

Delta, JFK-Tel Aviv nonstop saver award space
Coach, Bookable one-way with 25K Air France Flying Blue/AMEX miles. No fuel surcharges for Delta flights.
Business, Bookable one-way with 62.5K Air France Flying Blue/AMEX miles. No fuel surcharges for Delta flights.

07/14: 5 coach saver award seats.
07/15: 9+ coach saver award seats, 8 business saver award seats.
07/16: 1 saver award seat.
07/17: 9+ coach saver award seats, 8 business saver award seats.
07/19: 8 coach saver award seats, 8 business saver award seats.
07/22: 5 coach saver award seats.
07/23: 4 coach saver award seats.
07/24: 3 saver award seats.
07/26: 9 coach saver award seats, 7 business saver award seats.
07/28: 9 coach saver award seats, 8 business saver award seats.
07/29: 1 coach saver award seat.
08/02: 2 coach saver award seats.
08/04: 5 coach saver award seats.

Delta, Tel Aviv-JFK nonstop saver award space
07/17: 1 business saver award seat.
07/22: 2 coach saver award seats, 3 business saver award seats.

It’s important to stress that award availability is very fluid. What’s available now may not be available in a few minutes. What’s unavailable now may become available later today, so you just need to keep checking!

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Avianca Lifemiles Transfer Bonus

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Update: After years of fun, Lifemiles has moved Guam from the US48 to the Philippines, killing some of the easy 12.5K Lifemiles awards from North America to Asia. Oddly coincidental timing after a travel blogger decided to file a complaint with the DoT when he had an issue on a Lifemiles ticket to Guam via Taipei.
The lesson? There’s a time and place for everything, complaints included.
Just because you can complain doesn’t mean you should.
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Originally posted on 07/03:

Avianca Lifemiles Transfer Bonus Linky

-Through 07/17 if you transfer Lifemiles to someone they will get double the amount transferred.
-You can transfer up to 75,000 miles.  A 75K transfer would incur a $1,125 fee and the recipient will get 150,000 miles. Effectively you are buying additional miles for 1.5 cents each.
-Several times per year they also sell miles outright for 1.5 cents each.
-Use a card like Chase Sapphire Preferred so that you don’t pay a foreign transaction fee and in order to get the 2.14 points per dollar on travel spending.
-LifeMiles is the Star Alliance program run by Avianca/TACA.  Miles don’t expire as long as there is activity every 24 months. You can book partner travel online and one-way awards are allowed at half the rate of round-trip awards.
-LifeMiles has a good award chart and don’t charge any fuel surcharges, though they don’t sell mixed cabin awards.
-Beware that their call center customer service is notoriously poor.
-If you have attended a DDS you’ll (hopefully!) already have an account and know some pretty cool stuff to do with it…and that’s all I’m going to say on the matter ;)

HT: menachem_m, via DDF

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British Airways Now Collecting Fuel Surcharge For International USAirways Flights

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Related posts:
-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000.
-22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios
-British Airways Avios Knowledgebase, A Collection Of Tips For Using Your BA Avios
-Click here to view Direct Flights From Philadelphia That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios
-Click here to view Direct Flights From NYC That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios
-Click here to view Direct Flights From Chicago That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios
-Click here to view Direct Flights From Los Angeles That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios
-Click here to view Direct Flights From Miami That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios
-Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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Since USAirways joined the OneWorld alliance there have been some lots of new flight bargains using Avios, including 30K flight to Israel with no fuel surcharges.

Unfortunately effective today British Airways has started collecting fuel surcharges for USAirways flights that begin or end outside of the Western Hemisphere. That’s the same policy that applies to AA flights.

A round-trip from Philadelphia to Israel in coach will now cost 60,000 Avios plus $692, effectively making Avios worthless for tickets to Israel.  Business class will now cost 120,000 Avios plus $928.
Similar fuel surcharges will also apply to European cities. For example a round-trip flight from Philadelphia to Paris will now cost 40K Avios plus $648 in coach or 80K Avios plus $1,044 in business.

The fuel surcharge only shows up after selecting flights and continuing on to the booking page.

What’s left for avoiding fuel surcharges with Avios?
Luckily a lot still remains. Nothing like a program like United where you will never ever pay a fuel surcharge, but then again an Avios flight can require far fewer miles than United.
-American and USAirways flights within the western hemisphere remain a bargain, starting at just 4,500 Avios for a free flight with no fuel surcharges.
-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 and Dusseldorf for 10K Avios and flights to several US cities from 20K Avios.
-Niki flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide. They fly from Israel to Vienna for 10K Avios.
-Aer Lingus flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide. A flight from Boston to Ireland is just 12,500 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 flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide. Many 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.

HT: netzih, via DDF

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Reminder: Earn 3.21 Points Per Dollar With Sapphire Preferred At Restaurants And Caterers Today

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Today and on every first Friday of every month you will earn triple points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card on all dining purchases. Normally you earn 2.14 points per dollar on dining, airfare, hotel stays, timeshares, car rentals, taxis, Uber, parking, limos, buses, trains, EZPass, bridges, ferries, etc.

Together with the 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.

Dining on the Sapphire Preferred card includes all sit-down restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, catering, bars, lounges, and more.

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 the extra miles!

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 Israel: 2.14 points per dollar, free primary CDW insurance with no deductible, and no foreign exchange fees).

Sapphire Preferred comes with a 40,000 point signup bonus and another 5,000 point bonus for opening a free additional user card. The $95 fee is waived for the first year. Having a Sapphire Preferred card allows you to transfers all of your Chase points(including points earned on Chase Freedom) to lucrative currencies like United (Star Alliance), Singapore (Star Alliance), British Airways (OneWorld), Korean (Skyteam), Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Priority Club, and Amtrak.

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20,000 Starpoints Transfers Into 30,000 USAirways Miles This Month; Where Should You Transfer?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

-USAirways Offer Linky
-SPG-US Transfer Linky

Yesterday I wrote about the promotion for transferring Starpoints into American miles.  Turns out there’s also a promotion for turning Starpoints into USAirways miles through July 31st with the same rules I wrote about yesterday for the American promo.

Sure, in 2015 the American and USAirways programs will be combined. But in the meantime there are several differences:

1. You can transfer Starpoints into anyone’s USAirways account, the names don’t have to match (though this can change at any time). Transfers into American require matching names.

2. USAirways requires round-trip award travel while American sells one-way award travel.

3. USAirways allows for a free stopover while American doesn’t (with the exception of when 2 awards price out lower than 1 award like US-Europe-Israel off-peak)

4. American allows free date changes on award tickets. USAirways charges $150 for that.  American charges $150 to cancel a ticket but just $25 to cancel additional awards at the same time. USAirways charges a flat $150 per ticket. American charges a phone fee for tickets that can’t be booked online while USAirways waives the phone fee, however USAirways charges a $25-$50 award processing fee which applies even for tickets made online.

5. American has very strict routing rules. You can’t fly to Australia via Asia for example. USAirways has much more lenient routing rules.  American also requires a “paid published routing” on awards, USAirways does not.  American’s system prices awards correctly. USAirways has booked several 40K awards to Israel and South Africa for DD readers like this one among several other “bugs” I’ve heard of.

6. American can book travel on El Al, USAirways can’t.

7. USAirways charges 50,000 miles for domestic first awards on 3 class planes, such as JFK-Los Angeles, JFK-S. Francisco, and Miami-Los Angeles on American as well as JFK-Vancouver on Cathay Pacific.  That rate goes up to 65,000 if you book after July 31st which is the same rate American charges.

8. USAirways charges just 120,000 miles to fly first class to Asia on Cathay Pacific, the biggest bargain in the entire mileage game. People have even been able to book the 110K business class ticket to Asia with a stopover in Israel along the way.

9. If you have a Barclays US Airways Premier World MasterCard you can get a 5,000 mile discount on USAirways awards (besides for free checked bags and pre-boarding). That means round-trip domestic awards are just 20,000 miles, off-peak coach awards to the Caribbean for cardholders are just 20,000 miles round-trip, and off-peak awards to Europe or South America are just 30,000 miles round-trip if you fly on USAirways. Off peak First Class/Envoy awards to the Carribean are just 45,000 miles and to South America are just 55,000 miles round-trip if you fly on USAirways.

10. Round-trip coach to Israel is 80K, business to Israel is 120K, and first class to Israel is 180K. With the card USAirways flights to Israel are 75K in coach and 115K in business.  On American round-trip coach nonstop to Israel is 90K coach, 135K business, 180K first.

HT: Freddie, via DDF

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New Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable: Dallas To Tel Aviv For 12.5K In Coach Or Montreal To Tel Aviv For 31,250 Miles In Business

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

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.

They do 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. They normally charge 25,000 miles each way in coach and 62,500 miles in business to Israel but they run rotating promo awards valid for select cities.  Fuel surcharges in business are much more than in coach.

Currently for North America that includes coach flights from Dallas and business flights from Montreal.  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 07/31 and travel between 09/01 and 10/31.

In some cases it may make sense to use BA Avios to get to Dallas or Montreal.

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

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

Montreal-Tel Aviv:

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Dallas-Tel Aviv:

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20,000 Starpoints Transfers Into 30,000 American AAdvantage Miles This Month

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

-AA Offer Linky
-SPG-AA Transfer Linky

From now through July 31st you’ll earn 30,000 AA miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred. Normally you would earn 25,000 miles for a 20,000 Starpoint transfer.

You can transfer up to 60K Starpoints per day to maximize the bonus (which would earn 90K AA miles per day).

No, this isn’t like 2010 when 20K Starpoints became 33,750 AA miles and those miles counted towards lifetime AA elite status. And AA still allowed free stopovers and had a killer OneWorld round-the-world award chart.  No, those days are long gone and are never coming back.  But take what you can get.

Note that AA is notorious in zealously shutting people’s account down if there’s even a suspicion that miles in it were sold or bartered.  They also shut down people’s account without warning or appeal for manufacturing signup bonus threshold spend on their credit cards by dabbling in refundable tickets like some unscrupulous brokers are known to do to unsuspecting prey.

American’s award chart is by far the most generous out there, and it will be hit with a major devaluation in early 2015 when their program is merged with USAirways.

In the meantime there are some great values to be had, like 55K in business or 67.5K in first on Cathay Pacific one-way to/from Hong Kong.
-You can fly nonstop on El Al to Israel for 45K coach or 67.5K business.
-Between 10/15-05/15 you can fly to Israel with a free stopover in Europe for 40K in coach.
-Between 10/15-05/15 you can fly to Europe for just 20K in coach each way.
-Between 03/01-05/31 and 08/16-11/30 you can fly to South America for just 20K in coach.
-Between 01/12-03/08 and 08/22-12/15 you can fly to Hawaii for just 17.5K in coach.
-Between 10/01-04/30 you can fly to Japan or Korea for just 25K in coach.
-A flight between Tel Aviv and the Maldives is just 17.5K coach, 25K business, 35K first.
-A flight between Tel Aviv and Thailand or Hong Kong is just 22.5K coach, 30K business, 40K first.
-A flight between Tel Aviv and Australia is just 30K coach, 45K business, 60K first.

There are only major fuel surcharges for flying on British Airways, but there are plenty of other partners to choose from to avoid them.

HT: AJK, via DDF

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Snapshot Of Saver Level Awards To Tel Aviv This Summer

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Saver awards to Israel can be tough, especially during summertime which is high season. For people redeeming round-trip coach saver awards to Israel in advance you are probably better off accumulating points on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus rather than traditional miles as the 2.22% cash back will probably be easier to use and require fewer points.

Saver awards typically open up within a month of the flight.  Here is a look at some of the nonstop options from North America to Tel Aviv.

I didn’t include El Al in this snapshot as their industry trailing website kept crashing as I was searching for award space, but their nonstop coach award can be booked by American for 45K miles each way.

Note that if you’re willing to fly with connections that there’s much more availability, but this post is just looking at nonstop flights.  Of course if you’ve been to a DansDeals seminar hopefully you know of even more ways to find award space.

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United: Newark-Tel Aviv coach nonstop saver award space
-A round-trip with ANA/AMEX miles is 60K or a one-way “workaround” ANA award is 38K. No fuel surcharges for United flights
-Bookable one-way with 40K Air Canada/AMEX miles. No fuel surcharges for United flights
-Bookable one-way with 42,500 United/Chase miles. No fuel surcharges for any flights

07/03: UA90, 5 seats for credit cardholders or elites, 2 seats for non cardholders/elites.
07/05: UA90, 9+ seats for credit cardholders or elites, 9+ seats for non cardholders/elites.
07/07: UA84, 6 seats for credit cardholders or elites, 5 seats for non cardholders/elites.
07/07: UA90, 9+ seats for credit cardholders or elites, 9+ seats for non cardholders/elites.
07/09: UA90, 3 seats for credit cardholders or elites, 0 seats for non cardholders/elites.
07/14: UA90, 2 seats for credit cardholders or elites, 0 seats for non cardholders/elites.
07/23: UA84, 9+ seats for credit cardholders or elites, 9+ seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/13: UA84, 9+ seats for credit cardholders or elites, 3 seats for non cardholders/elites.
08/13: UA90, 4 seats for credit cardholders or elites, 0 seats for non cardholders/elites.

Notes:
-You can also redeem 70K United miles for business class even when there is only coach available. Read this post for how to do that.
-The Chase United Explorer card gives expanded saver and standard award space. Read more about the unique benefits of the Chase United card in this post.
-Read about how to use and decrypt United’s powerful expert mode here.

Air Canada, Toronto-Tel Aviv coach nonstop saver award space
-Bookable one-way with 42,500 United/Chase miles. No fuel surcharges for any flights.
07/13: 8+ saver award seats.
07/14: 5 saver award seats.
07/21: 4 saver award seats.
07/22: 2 saver award seats.
07/27: 7 saver award seats.
07/28: 8+ saver award seats.

USAirways, Philadelphia-Tel Aviv nonstop saver award space
Coach, Bookable one-way with 30K British Airways/Chase/AMEX miles. Alternatively bookable for 9K BA/Chase/AMEX plus $240 with BA cash and points. No fuel surcharges for USAirways flights.
07/17: 2 saver award seats.
07/24: 2 saver award seats.
07/28: 9+ saver award seats.

Business, Bookable one-way with 60K British Airways/Chase/AMEX miles. No fuel surcharges for USAirways flights.
07/15: 6 saver award seats.
07/16: 2 saver award seats.
07/21: 2 saver award seats.
07/28: 1 saver award seat.

Delta, JFK-Tel Aviv nonstop saver award space
Coach, Bookable one-way with 25K Air France Flying Blue/AMEX miles. No fuel surcharges for Delta flights.
07/14: 2 saver award seats.
07/17: 7 saver award seats.
07/21: 1 saver award seat.
07/22: 1 saver award seat.
07/24: 2 saver award seats.
07/28: 9+ saver award seats.

Business, Bookable one-way with 62.5K Air France Flying Blue/AMEX miles. No fuel surcharges for Delta flights.
07/19: 5 saver award seats.

It’s important to stress that award availability is very fluid. What’s available now may not be available in a few minutes. What’s unavailable now may become available later today, so you just need to keep checking!

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Last Day To Finish Freedom Q2 Spend And Last Day For Freedom Double Signup Bonus; Activate Q3 Categories Now

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

The Chase Freedom Visa has a 20,000 point signup bonus that will be going away midday Monday, 06/30. That bonus is marketed as $200 cash back as points can be used for cash back, though you would be wiser not to. Additionally it also offers another 2,500 bonus points (marketed as $25 cash back) for adding a free additional user.  You’ll have 23,000 points for opening a new card, adding an additional user, and spending $500.  That’s enough points for 5 free short-haul flights.

Chase Freedom is one of the best no annual fee cards.  It’s an easier card to get that most other Chase cards as it doesn’t require a Signature level $5,000 credit line. The real beauty of the card is in the quarterly 5% categories. Again, while they call it 5% cash back you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent). The $1,500 quarterly limit is per Freedom card.

If you have a Chase checking account you will also earn a 10% bonus on all points earned during 2014 on your January or February 2015 statement.  That means you’ll earn a whopping 5.5 points per dollar in these categories or 8,250 points each quarter plus 1.1 points per dollar elsewhere.

Tomorrow, 06/30, is also the last day to complete your Q2 5% category spending.

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

The 5 point categories for the rest of 2014 are as follows:
Q2: Restaurants and Lowe’s.
Q3: Gas stations and Kohl’s.
Q4: Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and Department stores.

So go out to eat from now until June 30th and you’ll earn a whopping 5-5.5 per dollar spent.  Buy a gift card from your favorite eatery tomorrow to lock in savings on future dining

Or buy gift cards from Lowe’s.  See this post for gift cards that they sell for all kinds of other stores where you’ll be able to earn 5 or 5.5 points per dollar.  You can buy gift cards for BP for example and best yet, you’ll pay the cash price at BP when using gift cards at the pump while you will have earned 5-5.5 points per dollar!

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

Q3 Activation now open:

Additionally you can click here to activate next quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories. After activation you’ll earn 5-5.5 points per dollar at Gas stations (including gift cards and everything sold in the convenience store) and Kohl’s.
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Other Chase consumer cards you can simultaneously include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a  year), and the Chase United Explorer (30K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, and it gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance including in the US, 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, plus 2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), and the Chase Southwest (50K signup points scheduled to end tonight!).

The Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold business cards both offer 50,000 signup points.  They offer 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and office supply stores, 2 points per dollar for gas and lodging, no foreign exchange fees, free lounge visits, and a waived annual fee for the first year. The Chase Ink Cash offers 20,000 signup points.

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Chase Freedom Signup Bonus Doubled For A Limited Time

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Update:  This offer will end on June 30!

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The Chase Freedom Visa now comes with a 20,000 point signup bonus. That bonus is marketed as $200 cash back as points can be used for cash back, though you would be wiser not to.  This is double the previous signup bonus and is available for a limited time only.

Additionally it also offers another 2,500 bonus points (marketed as $25 cash back) for adding a free additional user.

DDF members are already reporting success getting matched from the 10K offer to the 20K offer by sending a secure message.  Typically if you applied within the past 90 days Chase will match your bonus to the current bonus offer.

Chase Freedom is one of the best no annual fee cards.  It’s an easier card to get that most other Chase cards as it doesn’t require a Signature level $5,000 credit line. The real beauty of the card is in the quarterly 5% categories. Again, while they call it 5% cash back you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

The 5 point categories for the rest of 2014 are as follows:
Q2: Restaurants and Lowe’s.
Q3: Gas stations and Kohl’s.
Q4: Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and Department stores.

So go out to eat from now until June 30th and you’ll earn a whopping 5 per dollar spent.  Buy a gift card from your favorite eatery to lock in savings.

Or buy gift cards from Lowe’s.  See this post for gift cards that they sell for all kinds of other stores where you’ll be able to earn 5 or 5.5 points per dollar.

I coined the term “Chase Trifecta” several years ago and it still applies today.  It refers to having a Chase checking account, a Chase Freedom card, and your choice of either a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase Ink Plus Card, or Chase Ink Bold card.

The Freedom card earns a 10% annual point dividend every February on all points earned during the previous calendar year if you have a Chase checking account.  That means you’ll earn an effective 5.5 points per dollar on purchases from the 5 point categories and you’ll earn an effective 1.1 points per dollar everywhere else.

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

If you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each and then you’ll have effectively earned 10-11% back on those “5 point categories.”  My coach tickets to Kansas City this week were worth 3 cents each, which means I really get 16.5% back from purchases in “5 point categories” thanks to the Chase trifecta.
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Other Chase consumer cards you can simultaneously include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a  year), and the Chase United Explorer (30K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, and it gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance including in the US, 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, plus 2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), and the Chase Southwest (50K signup points).

The Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold business cards both offer 50,000 signup points.  They offer 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and office supply stores, 2 points per dollar for gas and lodging, no foreign exchange fees, free lounge visits, and a waived annual fee for the first year. The Chase Ink Cash offers 20,000 signup points.

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Even In An Age Of Mileage Devaluation, Awesome Uses Abound

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

As the airlines have undergone relentless consolidation they have been able to devalue their mileage programs with less worries of passengers jumping ship.  They’ve been able to get rid of excess inventory, leading to fuller planes and more expensive flights. They’ve made the cost of awards go up faster than the cost of dollar inflation and they’re going to limit the miles you get when flying on most airfares next year (though that may make miles earned from credit cards that much more valuable and useable).

While the old advice may have been to concentrate on one program so that you would be able to get to an aspirational award more quickly that is hardly the case anymore.

Although many mileage programs have been devalued, they have also improved in some ways.  While prices for domestic tickets continue to climb, there are still 25K domestic saver awards and even better yet, awards for as low as 9K round-trip via British Airways on American and now on USAirways as well.

Many programs now allow for one-way redemptions. That allows you to redeem for an aspirational award, like a one-way ticket on your own private walled-in suite on Singapore for just 57,000 miles.  And you can return with miles from another program, as low as 20K with American for example.

Of course there’s no need to have those miles parked in a Singapore account where they’re subject to devaluation and expiration, you can transfer points over from AMEX, Chase, or Starwood whenever you’re ready.

As for me, this week is the 6th consecutive week I’m flying somewhere with my miles. In that time period I’ve flown to Chicago twice (BA and United short haul awards), Kansas City (United short-haul award), NYC (United short-haul and Flying Blue), Fort Lauderdale (United award), and NYC again later this week.

Many of the tickets were booked last minute, all of them would have been ridiculously expensive without miles.
When I flew to NYC I purchased a ticket just 75 minutes before the flight. Paid flights were over $1,000. Delta only had saver award availability going to NYC and United only had saver award availability for the return later that day.

Of course Delta doesn’t allow you to book a one-way saver award (they will next year) so I hopped onto the Air France Flying Blue site to book the Delta flight. Unfortunately their site can only book flights 3 hours prior to departure so I called them up and booked over the phone while getting them to waive the $20 phone booking fee due to it not being bookable online.

I typically only bank miles I use frequently, like American, BA, and United miles. So as soon as the agent told me they he was able to book the Delta flight for me for 12.5K miles I hopped onto the AMEX MR site and transferred over the miles I needed for that flight to Flying Blue. No reason to stock Flying Blue miles when they transfer instantly when I need them.

I Uber’d around to NYC, finished up what I needed to get done, and even had time for another sublime meal at Mike’s Bistro.  He had a corn soup special that night which was just phenomenal and of course his other other-worldly standbys: duck gnocchi, short ribs, fries, and a passion fruit frozen daiquiri.  And made it back home that night carrying a goodie back from Mike’s for my wife as well.  Truly the best kosher restaurant in the US east of Oxnard, CA.

Sure, miles are “worth the most” when used for aspirational international travel, those business and first class flights that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but are easily attainable for the masses by opening a single credit card.

But as longhaul travel gets harder with a growing family I have no shame in redeeming miles domestically, whether it’s to Banff or Miami. Next month we’ll fly to LA using 25,000 United miles for each of the 4 of us rather than paying $613 for the nonstop flight. No shame whatsoever.

If you only redeem for round-trip coach travel you’ll want to put your spending on the Barclay Arrival card, no doubt.

But if you want to book one-way tickets, trips with stopovers to multiple places, business or first class trips, trips to Canada, or more crucially, last-minute tickets, real airline miles simply can’t be beat. As long as airline miles aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket this game remains fun and lucrative.  The day the airlines make miles worth a set amount each, is the day I switch all of my base spending to a card like the Barclay Arrival.  Hopefully the airlines realize that and won’t kill the most (only?) profitable segment they have, the zone or distance based mileage redemption program.

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AMEX Points No Longer Transferrable To Others?

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

AMEX Membership Rewards points have long been valuable because you can transfer them into anyone’s airline account.

Chase officially says that you can only transfer to your own or your spouse’s mileage account, though people haven’t reported issues transferring Chase points to other people’s mileage accounts. (Note that people have had Chase cards closed for transferring points into other people’s Chase accounts who don’t reside at their address.)

According to several DDF reports though as of today it is no longer possible to link other people’s frequent flyer account to their AMEX account.  In the past this was easily doable online but now it’s blocked.

For now you can still link and transfer to authorized user accounts, so if you do want to transfer to someone you would have to open a secondary card for them on your account.  To open a secondary account they will ask for a social security number, but you can get it without providing them information by just saying that you don’t have that information on you right now.

Some people are reporting that some reps may still allow you to make transfers to others over the phone. If you have success with that post a comment!  That’s likely something that will be short-lived though…

This comes on the heels of AMEX limiting bonuses on consumer cards to once per lifetime. Ouch.

HT: mordy44, via DDF and AJK, esquire.

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USAirways Share Miles Promotion Is Back, But It’s Not Nearly As Valuable This Time

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Share USAirways Miles Promo Linky

Several times per year USAirways allows you to share miles with a friend and the friend gets double the miles you sent.  This effectively allowed you to buy 50,000 miles for $567.50, or 1.135 cents per mile.

Unfortunately since the last promotion in April, USAirways has raised the cost to share 50,000 miles to $836.25, or 1.6725 cents per mile.

Additionally your friend no longer gets the full bonus. This time around you’ll split the bonus.  In other words if you send 50,000 miles to your wife she’ll wind up with 75,000 miles and you’ll have 25,000 miles. Previously your wife would have the full 100,000 miles in her account.

Can it still make sense to buy miles at that price? If you’re using them to fly Cathay Pacific first class from JFK to Vancouver or on American first class from JFK to Los Angeles or S. Francisco or from Miami to Los Angeles for 50,000 miles round-trip, it may make sense.  Though that rate goes up if you don’t book that by 07/31.

But this promotion is no longer the golden goose it once was.

You can read more sample uses and about the promotion in this post from April before the promotion was devalued.

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

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 06/15 and 06/21 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

Seemingly this is valid in-store only and not for the $200 Visa Gift Card sold online.

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

$413.90 (Outlay)
-$4.14 (1% cash rebate)
=$409.76 out of pocket for $400 face value
-As usual with Ink you’ll get 2,070 points (worth $31.05 at a 1.5 cent per point value).
-This week you’ll also get a $20 Bonus Visa gift card via easy rebate just to sweeten the deal even more. That makes your $409.76 cash outlay get $420 worth of gift cards, so the 2,070 points cost you negative $10.24 :D

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can cash out the Visa cards using EvolveMoney to pay bills like your mortgage, property tax, auto loan, insurance, store charge card (Gap, Macy’s, Target, etc).  There is no fee for this. As of June 1st there is a limit of 4 payments per bill per month.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird card at a WalMart ATM machine.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird card with a WalMart cashier or customer service.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card. (Note that some Visa cards like Vanilla branded ones have gotten a bit trickier to load in recent weeks. You have to hit cancel immediately after swiping and change the payment method to debit. However the Visa cards from Office Max or Staples should still be easy to load).
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office).
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can send the funds from the Visa card to a friend via Amazon Payments.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can just use the cards for your everyday spending to earn 5 points per dollar everywhere!

HT: Moes Tavern, via DDF

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Buy Miles For Under A Penny A Piece With Giftly!

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Update: Giftly has been cancelling all gifts made today.

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Giftly allows you to send money to a friend for a 1% fee.

I sent my wife 2 gifts of $999 each with my United Club credit card for a $10 fee each time.
She then cashed them out right away. She sent one $999 gift directly to her paypal account (from where she’ll have it sent to her bank account) and another $999 gift to a credit card that she doesn’t normally use (from where she’ll request a refund check). Soon they will even support transfers to debit cards so that it will go directly to your checking account. It takes a few days to get the funds.

Probably a good idea to make the payment and then collect the gift from a different IP address.

If you’re trying to meet a spend threshold Giftly is a no-brainer, but even without that it’s a great deal.

For example if you have a Chase Freedom card and a Chase checking account, a $999 purchase+$10 fee will earn you 1,110 miles. That’s buying miles for .9 cents each.

If you have a Chase Sapphire card, a $999 purchase+$10 fee will earn you 1,080 miles. That’s buying miles for .93 cents each.

If you have a Barclaycard Arrival Plus a $999 purchase+$10 fee will earn you about $22.42 cash back.

With a United Club card (click on Club card on the right side) , a $999 purchase+$10 fee will earn you 1,514 miles. That’s buying miles for .66 cents each.

Of course you can “buy” miles for .47 cents with Visa gift cards at Staples, but that takes more effort to cash out.  With Giftly it goes directly to paypal  You can read examples of awards you can get when buying miles for .47 cents here, just run the numbers on your credit card to see the cost per mile and what those awards would cost you.

I don’t see any limits for Giftly, which means it probably won’t last long in its current form. Enjoy it while it lasts!

HT nate, via DDF

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United Duplicates Delta’s Revenue Based Mileage Earning System For 2015

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

United has once again duplicated a flyer unfriendly move initiated by Delta and will move to a revenue based fare structure effective 03/01/15.

United’s CEO Jeff Smisek has once again shown that he’s not one to ever miss an opportunity to match an unfriendly move made by Delta (though he never copies the good).  He seems to think he can deliver all of the cuts that Delta does without improving the actual product as Delta has done.  And this is all a copy-paste of what Delta already announced for 2015.

I doubt it will be too long before AA mAAtches, but boy they will get a lot of new frequent flyers if they don’t.

-Base members will earn 5 miles per dollar, Silvers will earn 7, Golds will earn 8, Platinums will earn 9, and 1K and GS members will earn 11.  Just like with Delta, there is a limit of 75K miles that you can earn per ticket, so if you are flying on an ultra-expensive ticket be sure to book it as 2 one-ways.

-Miles are earned on base airfare and fuel surcharges. They are not earned on taxes.

-Revenue based earning will apply for all United flights when credited to the United program.

-Revenue based earning will apply for all partner flights when the ticket is issued by United and the flight are credited to the United program.

-Mileage based earning will apply to partner flights when the ticket is issued by partner airlines and when the flight is credited to the United program.

-I’d presume that United flights credited to partner airlines will still earn miles based on the distance flown.

-Currently a non-elite flying round-trip between JFK and Los Angeles on a $300+tax ticket earns 4,950 miles.  Come 2015 and that flight will earn a paltry 1,500 miles.  A silver elite currently earns 6,188 miles but come 2015 and they will earn 2,100 miles. A gold elite currently earns 7,425 miles but come 2015 and they will earn 2,400 miles. A platinum elite currently earns 8,663 miles but come 2015 and they will earn 2,700 miles. A 1K elite currently earns 9,900 miles but come 2015 and they will earn 3,300 miles.

-Elite status will continue to be earned based on mileage actually flown.

-In early 2015, you will have the ability to use miles for new options such as Economy Plus one-time purchases, Economy Plus subscriptions and checked baggage subscriptions.

-Miles earned from credit card spending will remain unchanged. If anything they become more valuable as there will be fewer miles in the system earned from actual flights.

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Azul Flights Now Bookable on United.com (And A List Of Other Partners Not Yet Bookable Online); USAirways Domestic First Award Going Up As Program Integration Continues

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Azul awards now bookable on United.com:

United partnered with Brazilian carrier Azul as they lost TAM to Oneworld.  Azul’s CEO and founder is David Neeleman who also founded JetBlue and WestJet and brought that model (and his favorite color?) to Brazil.

Until now award flights had to be booked over the phone but they are now bookable on United.com and availability is incredible.  I took a gander at nonstop flights from Sao Paulo to Iguassu Falls, Manaus, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador and availability was perfect at the 12.5K domestic award level.

Later this year Azul will announce new routes between the US and Brazil, hopefully availability will be just as good!

For those keeping score at home here is the remaining list of United partners that must be booked over the phone:
-Brussels Airlines (Can sometimes be booked online)
-Cape Air
-Great Lakes Airlines
-Jet Airways
-LOT Polish (An excellent option with great availability in coach and business for flights to Israel)
-Shenzhen
-Singapore

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

HT: Ya’alili, via DDF

USAirways award chart change:
Effective 08/01/14 you’ll need 65K miles to book a domestic first class flight on a plane with 3 classes of service.
That matches the rate that American charges.

Through 07/31 you can still snap up one of the great bargains of the USAirways chart, 50K miles for lie-flat first class on routes like:
-JFK to Los Angeles or S. Francisco on American’s A321T:
aa7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Miami to Los Angeles on American’s 777-200 (777 Buenos Aires Trip Report here):

-JFK to Vancouver on Cathay Pacific’s 777-300ER (Vancouver Trip Report here):

The USAirways program will be rolled into the American program in 2015, but in the meantime you can still get 40,000 miles for opening the churnable USAirways credit card before it’s discontinued.

Other USAirways bargain routes as described in this post still remain in place.

You can also transfer Starpoints to USAirways at a 20K:25K ratio or AMEX points to USAirways via Air Canada at a 1K:840 ratio.

In other news, USAirways and American will start reciprocal upgrades on June 11th.  That means free upgrades for all American elites flying on USAirways, free upgrades for USAirways Chairman’s members flying on American, and upgrades for purchase for lower tier USAirways elites flying on American.

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Chase Freedom Earns More Than Sapphire Preferred At Restaurants On This “First Friday”

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Today and on every first Friday of every month you will earn triple points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card on all dining purchases. Normally you earn 2.14 points per dollar on dining, airfare, hotel stays, and car rentals.

Together with the 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.

Dining on the Sapphire Preferred card includes all sit-down restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, catering, bars, lounges, and more.

However through June 30th you can earn 5 points per dollar when eating out with your Chase Freedom card, so if you aren’t going to max out the $1,500 in quarterly spending at Lowe’s you’ll be better off using Freedom at restaurants. That bonus is bumped up to 5.5 points per dollar if you have or will open a Chase checking account in 2014.

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!

An exception will be if you are catering an event.  You’ll likely blow past the $1,500 limit on the Freedom bonus, but the Sapphire bonus has no limit, so consider putting $1,500 on Freedom and the remainder on Sapphire Preferred today to take advantage of the first friday bonus.

Another exception will be if you are located outside of the USA.   The Freedom card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, but the Sapphire Preferred card does not charge any foreign transaction fees.  (That also makes it the best card for car rentals when abroad: 2.14 points per dollar, free primary CDW insurance in every country in the world with no deductible, and no foreign use fees).

While Freedom points can’t be transferred into lucrative airline miles or hotel/train points that are worth far more than 1% cash back, if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus card you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to an airline, hotel, or train program.

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Air France: Houston-Tel Aviv For 12.5K Miles Each Way, Boston-Tel Aviv For 18,750 Miles Each Way

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

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.

They do 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. They normally charge 50,000 miles round-trip in coach to Israel but they run rotating promo awards valid for select cities. Currently for North America that includes Boston and Houston. You need to book the current promo awards by 06/30 and travel between 08/01 and 09/30.

In some cases it may make sense to use BA Avios to get to Boston or Houston.

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

Houston-Tel Aviv:

af

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tel Aviv-Houston:

fb1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston-Tel Aviv:

af1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tel Aviv-Boston:

fb2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to pickup some Flying Blue miles?
-The Starwood Consumer AMEX and Starwood Business AMEX award 30K signup points for spending $5K in 6 months. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Flying Blue with the permanent 25% transfer bonus.  Transfers can take 2-9 days.

-AMEX MR points can be earned from cards like the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold. These points can transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio.

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Ink Is Beautiful: 12 Reasons You Should Have A Chase Ink Card

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Update: The Ink limited time offer will end on Sunday, 06/01. Grab the limited time offer while you can, the last time it was offered was a year ago so it probably won’t return for another year.

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The Chase Ink cards are some of the most powerful tools in any mileage junkie’s arsenal.  They are truly a must-have.

-Chase Ink Plus Card Linky
-Chase Ink Bold Card Linky
-Chase Ink Cash Card Linky

Many people don’t even realize that they can get a business card. If you or your spouse own a business, even if it’s not your primary source of income, or even if you are just in the planning stages of a business, you can get a business card.  For example if Joe Smith sells items or wants to start selling items online and wants a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures he can open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.

Here are some of the reason that Ink Is Beautiful:

1. The signup bonus.
For a limited time only the Ink Bold and Ink Plus offer an extremely generous 60,000 point signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 3 months.  The $95 annual fee on those cards is waived for the first year.

If you are approved for an Ink card, you will get the signup bonus even if you have had an Ink card in the past, simple as that.

You can also have the same Ink card at the same time for different businesses, each with their own signup bonus.

If both spouses are involved in the same business, they can each apply for their own card and they will each get the signup bonus.

The Ink Cash card has no annual fee and for a limited time only has a 30,000 point signup bonus for spending $3,000 in 3 months. It says $300 cash back but that’s just because you can use the 30,000 points for $300 cash back. I sure hope you don’t.

The Ink Plus and Ink Cash cards are credit cards that can be paid off over time if needed.  The Ink Bold is a charge card that must be paid off in full monthly.

2. 5x points on telecom.
You’ll earn 5 points per dollar on internet/cable service and landline/cellular purchases.  That’s a nice rebate when you purchase a new cell phone and off your telecom/internet bills.

3. 5x points on office supplies.
You’ll earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores.
Office supply stores like Office Max, Staples, and Office Depot sell gift cards to hundreds of other stores. You can click here to view a list I compiled last year.

By buying gift cards you can get 5 points per dollar at hundreds of places you shop at anyway, including Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond/Buy Buy Baby, Marriott (You can even use these to cater a wedding!), Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and hundreds of others.

Plus Office Max and Staples accepts credit cards for Visa prepaid gift cards.  Even when there isn’t a sale the 5 points per dollar easily is worth more than the $6.95 fee on a $200 gift card.  But they often go on sale where they sell them for less than the $200 face value AND you get the 5 points per dollar.  They can be loaded onto Bluebird , Evolve Money, or just used anywhere you shop and you’ll still come out ahead.

You can buy the $200 Visa gift card from Staples here.

On the Ink Plus or Bold card you can earn 5 points per dollar on up to $50,000 of spending per cardmember year per card.
On the Ink Cash card you can earn 5 points per dollar on up to $25,000 of spending per cardmember year per card.

4. Earn 5x points on Charity and Gifts.

Your local school or other charity will be more than happy to accept donations of Amazon gift cards for supplies or any other useful gift cards for chinese auctions, raffles, fundraisers, etc.

They will give you a tax deductible receipt for the full face value-the price you paid for the gift cards.  And at the same time you’ll earn 5 points per dollar.  So while doing good you can still get a nice chunk of points and you’ll save on your taxes.  Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

You can also gift a useful gift card as a gift. What Bar Mitzvah kid wouldn’t want an Amazon gift card to buy whatever they really want instead of what you might think they want? Plus you’ll get 5 points per dollar!

5. Cash back on top of points.

Ink cards used to be issued as Mastercards though now all Ink cards are issued as Visa cards.

Programs like Mastercard Easy Savings and the Visa Savings Program offer cash back on top of points at select stores just for registering your card.

For example with an Ink Visa you’ll get an additional 1% cash back on top of 5 points per dollar every time you spend $200 or more at a Staples store or online.  That makes gift cards even more lucrative!

With Visa you’ll also earn 1% cash back at Chevron, and Texaco, 2% cash back at TigerDirect, 4% cash back at Alamo and National, 5% cash back at Lenovo, Sony, and several hotel brands, etc.

With Mastercard you’ll 5% cash back at Avis or Budget and cash back at 19,000 participating gas stations nationwide on top of 2 points per dollar.

6. Double point categories.
The Bold and Plus cards offer 2 points per dollar for spending on gas and hotels.
The Cash card offers 2 points per per dollar for spending on gas and dining.

7. Free lounge visits.
The primary cardholder and additional cardholders (which are free!) can each get a free Lounge Club membership that allows access 2 free lounge visits per year.

There are participating lounges all across the globe.

A recent addition to Lounge Club is the new Art & Lounge in Newark. That lounge is intended for use by El Al business and first class passengers and offers kosher food.

8. No foreign exchange fees.

The Ink Plus and Ink Bold cards have no fees for using their cards when abroad. Just opt to pay in the local currency and you’ll always get the best exchange rate with no fees.

9. Spending won’t hurt your credit score.
The really great thing with these business cards is that they don’t report your spending on your personal credit report.

On personal cards if you spend money on your card, your credit score will be hurt even if you pay your bill on time. A whopping 30% of your credit score is based on credit utilization. You can pay off your card before your statement is generated to avoid that, but that takes a lot of effort and laying out money well before you have to. Additionally it’s good to have the statement close with a few dollars to show the card is active and being paid every month.

On an Ink business card it’s just not reported, so you can wait until the money is due without it having a negative effect on your score. That makes life a lot simpler.

Plus if you close a business card it won’t ever have an effect on your score.

10. A year of 0% APR

The Ink Cash card offers a full year of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers.  So do many other cards.  The difference is that because spending on the Ink cards won’t show up on your credit report (unless you’re delinquent), carrying a balance on an Ink card won’t hurt your credit score like it will on other cards.  The 0% APR is just icing on the cake.

Note that there is a one-time 3% balance transfer fee. If you want a card with 0% APR and no fees for balance transfers you’ll want to look into Chase Slate which gives 15 months of 0% APR. However that is a consumer card, so carrying a balance there will hurt your score.

11. The Chase Trifecta.

Years ago I coined the term “Chase Trifecta.”

It refers to having a:
-Chase checking account
AND
-A Chase Freedom card
AND
-Either a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, a Chase Ink Plus card, or a Chase Ink Bold card.

The reason is that the Chase Freedom is a very generous no annual fee card thanks to its rotating 5 point categories (such as gas stations, restaurants, etc).  Plus if you have a checking account you’ll even get an annual 10% bonus making those 5.5 point categories and making all purchases earn 1.1 points per dollar.

The problem is that Chase Freedom points can’t be transferred into much more valuable airline miles and hotel points.  To rectify that either you or your spouse has to have either a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, a Chase Ink Plus card, or a Chase Ink Bold card.  That way you can transfer the Freedom points to one of those cards and from there into airline miles or hotel points.

12. Chase UR points are still awesome.

Chase Ultimate Rewards offer instant and fee-free transfers to top-notch mileage and points programs at a 1:1 ratio.

Transfer partners include:
-Singapore (Star Alliance) offers private walled-in first class suites that can only be booked with their miles. A suite one-way from JFK to Europe is 57,375 miles. Travel to the US48, Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and Israel can all be had on the cheap. There are no close-in booking fees and changes and cancellations are very cheap. Fuel surcharges apply when flying on most airlines besides United. More info here.
-United (Star Alliance) is still an excellent currency, even after their devaluation a few months ago.  They never charge fuel surcharges, have very flexible routing rules, they allow one-way awards for half the mileage, they have short-haul awards for 10,000 miles, they allow for a stopover and an open-jaw so that you can really maximize a single award ticket into several free trips, and they have dozens of partners to fly on, most of which can be booked on their website.
-British Airways (OneWorld) is awesome for short-haul awards. Just 9,000 miles for a round-trip zone 1 or 15,000 miles for zone 2 short-haul award. The zone 3 award for 25,000 miles round-trip can also be a bargain, for example for flights between the west coast and any of the Hawaiian islands or between Boston and Ireland with no fuel surcharges. Flights to Israel on USAirways or Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles with no fuel surcharges. They allow one-way awards for half the mileage. There are no close-in or expedite fees. You can cancel an award for as little as $2.50. Infants are only charged 10% of the miles on international trips instead of 10% of the full fare like US carriers charge. Plus they don’t collect fuel surcharges on AA within the western hemisphere, on Qantas within Australia, on USAirways, Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Alaska, or LAN and you can transfer points to Iberia to limit fuel surcharges there as well.
You can read more in the BA knowledgebase. And you can see 102 places you can go to nonstop from NYC with Avios.

Don’t forget about these 22 things to keep in mind when using Avios!
-Korean (Skyteam) offers unbeatable first class availability (A380 First Class Trip Report here) and they also have true bargains on partner travel, just 30,000 miles to fly round-trip on Hawaiian or Alaska to Hawaii in coach or 60,000 miles in first. And it’s just 20,000 miles to fly to Alaska in coach or 40,000 miles in first. You can even get a free stopover on the way to or in Alaska!
-Southwest offers a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel.  Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down. You can also transfer points to Airtran for flat-rate awards like business class upgrades or free tickets at a flat rate instead of a rate that corresponds to the ticket price. From Airtran they can even be converted back into the old Southwest program that also offers flat rate awards.
-Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta and Cyprus Air.  For example a round-trip from Tel Aviv to Cyprus is just 5,000 miles!
-Hyatt is a powerful hotel currency. They have added a new cash and points option that offers some excellent values and more importantly those stays earn points, elite stay credits, promo credits, and you can use suite upgrades on cash and point stays as well.  It remains far less expensive for high-end hotel stays than any other hotel program, a $1,500/night villa at the Park Hyatt Maldives would run just 25,000 points or 12,500 points+$150.
You can also funnel points through Hyatt to Southwest to qualify for a free Southwest Companion Pass which gives you a free companion every time you pay for or redeem for a free ticket.
-You can also transfer points to Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Priority Club, and Amtrak. I’ve never been on an Amtrak in my life, but some people have reported getting some really nice bargains on Amtrak travel via their program.

The beauty of miles over points or cash-back:
The great thing about being able to transfer points into airlines or hotels are the incredible values you can attain.
-A first class ticket to Hawaii can cost $3,000 but you can use 60,000 miles for that same ticket, a value of 6.7 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 300,000 points per ticket.
-A last minute ticket or a ticket where you don’t stay for 3 nights from New York to Detroit costs $1,500 in coach but just 9,000 miles. That’s a value of 16.7 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 150,000 points per ticket.
-A first class ticket to Asia can cost $27,000 but you can use 135,000 miles for that same ticket, a value of 20 cents per mile. If you were using Capital One points you would need 2,700,000 points per ticket.
-A night at a Park Hyatt in Paris, Sydney, or the Maldives can run $1,500 with tax but you can use 25K-30K points for that room, a value of 5-6 cents per point. Or you can use less points and get even better values with cash and points. If you were using Capital One points you would need 150,000 points per night.
And that’s all besides for the fact that getting a Capital One card costs a minimum of 3 credit pulls whereas you can get several Chase cards with just 1 credit pull.

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94 Direct Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Monday, May 26th, 2014

6th in a series.
Related:
-Chase British Airways Visa:
Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000.
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
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British Airways Avios can’t be beat for short-haul nonstop flights thanks to ultra-low award rates, no expedite/close-in fees, and practically free award cancellations.  Below are all of the direct flights from Philadelphia 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.
2. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges.
3. There are no fuel surcharges for flights on: Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, LAN, and TAM. There are also no fuel surcharges for American and USAirways flights within the western hemisphere, for JAL flights within Japan, and for Qantas flights within Australia. Fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights are also typically quite low. Fuel surcharges for travel on Cathay Pacific aren’t too bad while fuel surcharges to fly on British Airways border on the criminal.
4. In the charts below I’ve only included direct flights as BA charges Avios for each flight segment. For example Maui isn’t on the chart as BA does not have any partners that fly nonstop from Washington DC-Maui.  Though you can always fly to Maui via Los Angeles, Portland, or Seattle, for 12.5K for the Washington DC-west coast segment and 12.5K for the West coast-Maui segment with no fuel surcharges. Plus you can stopover in the connecting city for as long or short as you want.
5. BA.com does not display availability for all airlines! If you want to book travel on airlines like Alaska, Aer Lingus, and LAN you’ll need to pick up the phone and call BA! You can search Alaska award availability on AA.com before calling BA to book it.
6. In rare cases connecting flights can be cheaper than nonstop flights when using Avios and I’ve noted that in the chart.
7. Cities in the chart may only have seasonal nonstop service.
8. A dash means that class of service isn’t offered on that route.
9. If you are originating in NYC and don’t want to drive to WAS to pickup a flight you’ll probably be better off searching for and booking the NYC-WAS leg for 4.5K separately from the WAS-XYZ leg.
————————————————————————

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.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Non-Preferred, Chase Freedom and business cards like Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Cash. These points also can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.
Through 06/01 the Ink cards receive 10K more signup points than usual.

-The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX each award 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from cards like the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold. These points can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.

—————————————————————-
View the complete 94 route chart after the jump:

Click here to keep reading this post!

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Daily Getaway For 05/23: IHG

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Related: Highlights Of Daily Getaways 2014
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Daily Getaways Linky

With Daily Getaways you can purchase discounted travel packages, but you have to be really quick.  At 1pm EDT every weekday from May 19 until June 20th there is a new offering.

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

There are 4 IHG packages available (If you use an AMEX you will automatically get 10% off the listed price) :

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

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

3. 50K points for $292.50 (0.585 cpp)

4. 100K points for $567 (0.567 cpp)

IHG runs PointBreaks which allows you to book rooms at rotating hotels for just 5,000 points per night.   That’s just $28.35 at .567 cpp or $30 at .6 cpp.

There are also good values to be had at high-end properties.  An overwater bungalow at the Intercontinental Thalasso Bora Bora that would be 50K points or $283.50 at .567 cpp. Checking a random date, January 18th, shows the lowest paid rate of $849 with tax.

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

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Daily Getaway For 05/23: Hilton

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Related: Highlights Of Daily Getaways 2014
——————————————————

Daily Getaways Linky

With Daily Getaways you can purchase discounted travel packages, but you have to be really quick.  At 1pm EDT every weekday from May 19 until June 20th there is a new offering.

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

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of DansDeals readers who reported being able to nab the prized Hertz package #2 that was offered on Tuesday. Good job guys!

There are 3 Hilton packages available (If you use an AMEX you will automatically get 10% off the listed price) :

1. 100,000 points for $495

2. 150,000 points for $742.50

3. 250,000 points for $1,237.50

Hilton points require activity every 12 months or else they’ll expire.

A Hilton member can buy 1 of each package.

Last year Hilton points were devalued like no other points in history. A night at the Bora Bora Nui or Conrad Koh Samui that used to be as little as 37,500 points skyrocketed to as much as 95,000 points per night.  However the Daily Getaways price is still the same, all packages still cost .495 cents per point.  While people would kill to be able to buy most point currencies for under half a cent per point, Hilton points are just awful and even at .495 cents it won’t generally be a good investment.  Especially because they eroded the trust that anyone had in their brand, and what is a loyalty program worth if loyalty and trust doesn’t run both ways?

A notable exception is the brand new Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem due to its stratospheric room rates.  A free night there (which includes free kosher breakfast) costs 80,000 points.  If you stay 5 nights you’ll need 320,00 points as the 5th night is free, bringing down the nightly cost to 68,000 points per night.
At .495 cents per point that’s like paying $396 per night or $336.60 per night on a 5 night stay.

Rates at the Waldorf Jerusalem can vary, but it does always seem to be a very good points value:
May 25th: $705+tax=$832
June 15th: $645+tax=$761
June 28th: $775+tax=$915
July 2nd: $750+tax=$885.
July 13th: $530+tax=$625

The hotel used to have very valuable cash and points awards, but they no longer have that available for any night.

Buy points for stays that you plan on taking this year, but don’t buy for the future.
The Waldorf can:
-Cost more points at any time
-Stop giving free breakfast on points stays
-Relabel standard rooms as deluxe rooms to avoid giving out 80K point rooms
-Leave the Hilton Chain. There have been a couple Hilton properties in Jerusalem over the years that have left Hilton. In the early 2000s the brand new Hilton Jerusalem left Hilton and successfully re-branded as the David Citdael.
Chain hotels never seem to stay long in Jerusalem. Hyatt used to have a Jerusalem hotel and of course Starwood had the Sheraton Plaza. I stayed at the Sheraton in 2007 for just 2,300 points+$45. In 2009 I was booked there when it left Starwood and Starwood re-accommodated us at the Mamilla. We all hoped that was a sign that the Mamilla might join Starwood, but of course that never materialized.

Point being: Caveat Emptor. Invest in Hilton points at your own risk.

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

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Chase Adds Singapore As 11th Transfer Partner; When You Should Transfer Your Points To Each Chase Partner

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

This news broke yesterday as I was in middle of traveling all day, but hey better late than never, right ;)

Even as AMEX Membership Rewards has lost valuable transfer partners over the years seemingly without any effort to replace them, Chase has continued to beef up their Ultimate Rewards transfer options.

The latest addition is Singapore Airlines, one of the finest airlines in the world.  You can now transfer points from AMEX Membership Rewards, Starwood, or Chase Ultimate Rewards to Singapore.

The current Chase transfer lineup includes:
Airlines: United (Star Alliance), Singapore (Star Alliance), British Airways (OneWorld), Korean (Skyteam), Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic.
Hotels: Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and Priority Club.
Trains: Amtrak.

I flew Singapore in Suites class on an A380 to Frankfurt (from where I connected to get to Paris) in 2012 and it was a flight that dreams are made of:

 

But even their business class is awesomeI flew it nonstop from Newark to Singapore on the way to the Maldives on an 18.5 flight that is now discontinued. The service is the best in the air, even better than first class on most airlines.  Even Singapore coach is great, with amenity kits for adults and toys for kids.

Some things to keep in mind:
-Singapore charges fuel surcharges for travel on Singapore and most partner airlines besides United.
-You can generally only book Singapore first class with Singapore miles.
-Availability in Singapore business class is much better with Singapore miles than with partner miles.
-Seats often open up as the flight gets closer if the cabin isn’t selling. I’ve even seen 6 suites available for saver award redemption from JFK to Frankfurt within a week of the flight.
-There is a 15% discount when redeeming for Singapore flights online.
-There are no close-in/expedite fees.
-Award flight changes are only $20 ($12 if they can be done online)
-Award flight cancellations and redeposits are only $30.
-Singapore allows for one-way award redemption at half the miles of a round-trip.

Here are some sample first/suites class one-way saver award rates and fuel surcharges from the US:
Only A380 flights have private suites, but their “regular” first class is nothing to sneeze at either, it’s among the very best in the world!
JFK-Frankfurt: 57,375+$218.50
JFK-Frankfurt-Singapore Direct flight: 93,500+$353.80
JFK-Frankfurt-Singapore Stopover flight: 93,500+$471.81
Houston-Moscow: 57,375+$226.90
Houston-Moscow-Singapore: 93,500+$333.90
Los Angeles-Tokyo: 74,375+$172.80
Los Angeles-Tokyo-Singapore Direct flight: 91,375+$340.96
Los Angeles-Tokyo-Singapore Stopover flight: 91,375+$323.81
S. Francisco-Hong Kong: 70,125+$112.40
S. Francisco-Hong Kong-Singapore Direct flight: 91,375+$325.50
S. Francisco-Hong Kong-Singapore Stopover flight: 91,375+$154.60
S. Francisco-Seoul: 74,375+$216.50
S. Francisco-Seoul-Singapore: 91,375+$325.50

People flying in suites class have had success requesting kosher wine and even kosher champagne on-board.  At JFK, suites passengers have access to the Virgin Clubhouse where there are complimentary kosher meals that are much better than typical airline food.

Personally we had double wrapped food from nearby Carlos & Gabby’s and our personal Singapore flight attendant was more than happy to heat it all up for us and serve it next to some fine scotch.

In Singapore first class passengers have access to the “private Room” where you can order kosher meals as well.

Partner rates are also very good, here is their partner award chart.
-Domestic business class is just 40K round-trip. A flight from NYC to the west coast in lie-flat seats is just 40K with no fuel surcharges. United charges 50K.
-Coach to Alaska is 25K and business class is 40K round-trip. United charges 35K coach and 60K business to Alaska.
-Coach to Hawaii is just 35K and Business class to Hawaii is just 60K. That’s an incredible deal for a lie-flat seat on a long flight to Hawaii. United charges 45K coach and 80K business.
-Coach to Israel is 80K and business class is 120K. United charges 85K coach and 140K-160K in business.
-Coach to Europe is 55K, business is 130K, and first is 160K. United charges 60K coach, 115-140K in business, and 160K-220K in first.

-Partner awards must be booked over the phone. That means if you want to fly to Tel Aviv (on a route like JFK-Frankfurt in Singapore suites and then from Frankfurt to Tel Aviv on Lufthansa) you will have to call.
-Awards with Singapore and partner flights will price out using the partner award chart, not the Singapore award chart.
-In addition to dozens of Star Alliance partner there are also 6 non-alliance partners that you can fly on with Singapore miles.

So where should you transfer your Chase points to?
-Singapore miles are excellent if you want to fly in Singapore business or first/suites class. You’ll pay some fuel surcharges, but they’re not as high as other airlines like British Airways and the product/service is top-in-class.
Singapore miles are also great for travel on United as many routes require fewer miles and there are no fuel surcharges for United flights. Plus change/cancellation fees are much lower with Singapore and Singapore will allow you to hold awards if you have miles in your account.
Transfers to Singapore aren’t instant, they can take a day or 2. Miles expire after 36 months regardless of activity.

-The advantage of United miles is that you will never pay fuel surcharges. That makes it an excellent all-around program. Now here’s the trade-off, United charges more miles than Singapore for most routes, so if you want to fly on a United partner airline you’ll have to decide whether you want to use more miles to redeem a United ticket without fuel surcharges or whether you want to save miles and use Singapore but pay fuel surcharges. Fuel surcharges vary greatly based on the airline and route so unfortunately there’s no one-size fits all answer. You’ll just have to compare the mileage requirements between United and Singapore and weigh them against fuel surcharges that Singapore will collect.
Transfers to United are instant. Miles don’t expire as long as you have any activity every 18 months. Miles never expire if you have a Chase United card.

-British Airways Avios are unbeatable for short-haul nonstop flights which start at just 4,500 miles each way.
However they stink for flying long-haul internationally on BA and most of their partners because you pay more miles for every flight leg and you pay heavy fuel surcharges.
Use BA miles on airlines where you don’t pay fuel surcharges, like Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, USAirways, and TAM. You also won’t pay fuel surcharges on American within the Western Hemisphere or on Qantas within Austrlia. Fuel surcharges on Cathay Pacific and on intra-Europe flights are relatively low. Transfers to BA are instant. Miles don’t expire as long as you have any activity every 36 months.

-Southwest points are very good for domestic flights. Southwest has no award cancellation fees and gives 2 free bags. If you get a free companion pass from opening Southwest cards or tranfers from Hyatt you’ll double the value of your points! Transfers to Southwest are instant. Miles don’t expire as long as you have any activity every 24 months.

-Korean is excellent for awards on Alaska to Alaska or Hawaii or on Hawaiian to Hawaii. They’re also great for first class awards on Korean. Transfers to Korean are instant. Miles expire after 10 years regardless of activity.

-Hyatt points are incredibly valuable and you can get a ton of value from new point options like cash and points which are also eligible for promotions and upgrades. Transfers to Hyatt are instant. Miles don’t expire as long as you have any activity every 24 months.

-Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta and Cyprus Air. For example a round-trip from Tel Aviv to Cyprus is just 5,000 miles! Miles don’t expire as long as you have any activity every 36 months. Transfers to Virgin Atlantic are instant.

-I’ve never been on an Amtrak in my life, but people have reported getting some amazing bargains on Amtrak travel from regular short-trips to longhaul sleeper cars. Transfers to Amtrak are instant.

-Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and Priority Club are generally weaker hotel currencies and you’ll probably find better uses of your Chase points elsewhere.

Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
Business cards:
You can earn up to 5 points per dollar plus get cash back on Chase Ink Visa cards:

-Chase Ink Plus Credit Card has a 60K bonus for spending $5K. This limited time increased offer ends 06/01.

-Chase Ink Bold Charge Card has a 60K bonus for spending $5K. This limited time increased offer ends 06/01.

-Chase Ink Cash Card Linky has a 30K bonus for spending $3K. This limited time increased offer ends 06/01. Note that while you can earn points on this card, you or your spouse needs an Ink Bold, Ink Plus, or Sapphire Preferred card to actually transfer points into miles, otherwise you will only get 1% cash back.

Consumer cards:
-Chase Sapphire Preferred has a 40K bonus for spending $3K and another 5K bonus for adding a free additional user card. You can earn 2.14 points per dollar on all travel and dining charges and 1.07 points per dollar elsewhere.

-Chase Freedom has a 10K bonus for spending $500 and another 2.5K bonus for adding a free additional user card. You can earn up to 5 points per dollar in rotating categories. If you have a Chase checking account you’ll earn 5.5 points per dollar in rotating categories and 1.1 points per dollar elsewhere. Note that while you can earn points on this card, you or your spouse needs an Ink Bold, Ink Plus, or Sapphire Preferred card to actually transfer points into miles, otherwise you will only get 1% cash back.

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