Category Archive for 'Miles'

Buy IHG Points For .575 Cents Each

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

IHG Points For .575 Cents Each

IHG normally sells points directly for 1.15 cents each. And you can transfer points from Chase, but that’s a criminal use of Chase points. Of course there’s a hack to buy their points at .7 cents each but with the current sale you can buy them directly for less than that without jumping through hoops. And that hack requires that you have points to start with.

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

This promotion expires on 09/22.

IHG points never expire.

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

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

There are also good values to be had at high-end properties.  The highest tier is 50K points. An overwater bungalow in Bora Bora can go for as much as $1,000 with tax but costs just 50K points. That’s just $287.50 at .575 cents per point. Intercontinental has a heavy presence in French Polynesia with properties on Tahiti and Moorea islands for just 40K points ($230 at .575).

And bargains can be had for Intercontinental hotels in NYC, Hong Kong, Paris, London, etc. thanks to the 50K redemption level.

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

Are you a buyer at this price?

HT: Ya’alili, via DDF

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The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Sunday, September 14th, 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.

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

The best option for somebody who’s booking an advance purchase round-trip coach flight to Israel without any stopovers is probably going to be the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. That card gives 2.22% back on everything you buy (2 points per dollar plus 10% of redeemed points are rebated to you), has no foreign exchange fees, and it comes with a $400 signup bonus (more like $440 since 10% of the points will be redeposited after you redeem them.  You just buy a regular ticket (or any other travel expense) and click to receive a check for any amount of the purchase that you can cover with your points.  Then you collect miles for the paid flight and you get a 10% points rebate.

The real value of miles is when you need a last-minute ticket, a one-way ticket, a ticket with a stopover, or a ticket in business or first class.

In those cases you want a transferable mileage currency since that allows you to search for what’s available and then transfer over points as needed.

There are 4 transferable point currencies:

-Starwood points can be earned from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. 20,000 Starwood points generally transfer into 25,000 miles, though the transfer can take between 1-12 days. Some partners (like USAirways) do not care if you transfer to someone else’s account while others (like AA) are stricter. There are no transfer fees.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from consumer cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express , The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express, the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Points generally transfer instantly (exceptions includes transfers to ANA and Singapore which can take a day or 2) and can be made to anyone over the phone. A fee applies for transfers to domestic carriers like Delta.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from cards like Sapphire Preferred , Freedom Visa, Ink Bold , Ink Plus, or Ink Cash.
You or your spouse need to have either a Sapphire Preferred, an Ink Bold, or an Ink Plus to actually transfer points into miles. Points generally transfer instantly with no fees (transfers to Singapore can take up to a day). There are no transfer fees.

-Citi Thank You points require either a Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige, or Citi Chairman card to transfer points.  Transfer options are more limited than with the other point currencies. There are no transfer fees.
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Tips for finding saver award availability:

Award tickets to Israel are always tough, though that’s a function of it being an expensive route to fly compared to the distance of the flight.
1. Check availability at least daily (if not more often) as award seats can come and go quickly.
2. Be willing to connect in Europe for much better availability. Flights on low cost carriers from Europe to Israel can also be dirt cheap and it can make sense to use miles to get to Europe and then buy a flight to Israel from there.
3. If you are ready to fly on a whim airlines often open up saver awards the day of or the day before a flight. Otherwise a month in advance is a typical sweet spot.
4. Realize that not all partners will be displayed online and you need to do your own research on partner sites and/or call to find partner availability. For example AA.com won’t show El Al flights, BA.com won’t show Aer Lingus flights, United.com won’t show Brussels or LOT flights, etc.
5. Airline search engines are only so powerful. Use free stopovers and open-jaws to your advantage. If you are flying from somewhere besides NYC just search from NYC-Tel Aviv instead of from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv. You can always piece together an award by searching for Los Angeles-NYC separately then NYC-Tel Aviv, especially if you are willing to have a long connection, change airports in NYC, or are willing to stay overnight in NYC.
6. The same goes for tickets from NYC. Search from other gateways like Toronto and Philadelphia and piece together the flights to get there afterward. For example be willing to use Avios to get to Toronto and then use United miles to fly from Toronto-Tel Aviv, etc. Consider searching from NYC to European cities and piece together an award from Europe to Israel. You may find availability from NYC to London and then from Paris to Tel Aviv but a computer would never put that open jaw ticket together. Instead you can check out London and Paris on the way to Tel Aviv. Maybe you’ll also get to check out Venice and Rome on the way home. Sometimes you can even save miles by doing that!
7. Don’t forget to book a free domestic trailing flight anytime in the year after you arrive back to your destination. Delta, United, and USAirways will allow you to fly NYC-Tel Aviv-NYC and then stopover in NYC for up to a year before continuing on to say, Los Angeles, for no extra miles.
8. Find award availability before transferring miles. Once they’re transferred they can’t be reversed!
9. Need help? You can post your travel dates and which miles you have in this DDF thread and ask for help. Consider offering a monetary or mileage reward to the forum member that can come up with the best award ticket to meet your needs and you may find that suggestions will come flooding in!
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Airlines that fly nonstop from North America to Israel:
-Air Canada from Toronto (bookable via Star Alliance airlines)
-United from Newark (bookable via Star Alliance airlines)
-Delta from JFK (bookable via Skyteam airlines)
-El Al from JFK, Los Angeles, Newark, and Toronto. (bookable via AA, connections to Eilat for the same mileage available)
-USAirways from Philadelphia (bookable via OneWorld airlines)
None of these carriers offer First Class seating to Israel for miles on nonstop flights. (El Al does offer First Class, but you can only use AA miles to redeem for Coach or Business Class on El Al).

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Alliances:

Star Alliance:
Nonstop flights from North America include Air Canada from Toronto and United from Newark. These flights all have lie-flat business class seating and have no first class. Air Canada flies the 787 dreamliner to Israel with one of the best business classes between North America and Israel.

Star Alliance offers the best availability for flights to Israel by leaps and bounds. Besides for the nonstop flights from North America there are many options via Europe in coach, business, and first class worth looking into including Swiss via Zurich, Lufthansa via Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich, Brussels via Brussels, Austrian via Vienna, Turkish via Istanbul, SAS via Copenhagen, Singapore via Frankfurt, Aegean via Athens, LOT via Warsaw, or a mix of carriers like United from Newark to one of dozens of European cities and a European carrier to Tel Aviv.
By utilizing free stopovers and open jaws the possibilities are endless if you take the time to research your options leg by leg.

You can search for Star Alliance award availability on sites like United.com and Aeroplan.com. ANA also offers a powerful Star Alliance search tool though you’ll need to have 100 miles in your account to use their Star Alliance search. However if you perform an ANA-only search on a route they serve (like JFK-Tokyo) the site will then allow you to search Star Alliance airlines on different routes as well (just remember to click on connecting flights to expand the selection).

OneWorld:
Oneworld finally has a nonstop option between North America and Israel thanks to USAirways flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv. Other flights to Israel include Air Berlin via Berlin and Dusseldorf, BA via London, Iberia via Madrid, and Royal Jordanian via Amman. BA availability is good, but has high fuel surcharges.

El Al is not part of OneWorld (and therefore can’t be booked with miles from other airlines like BA) but they are non-alliance partners with AA.

It’s more advantageous to book El Al travel with AA miles than it is with El Al miles because El Al adds $350 in fuel surcharges onto their own tickets, but you do not pay any fuel surcharges for booking El Al tickets with AA miles. However you can only book coach or business on El Al when using AA miles, first class must be booked with El Al points. El Al has nonstop flights from JFK, Newark, Los Angeles, and Toronto to Tel Aviv.
Note that American agents may only be able to see 2 El Al awards at a time, so grab those 2 seats and then have the agent book 2 more, etc. Some agents don’t know how to properly search for El Al award seats due to their confusing class codes, so you may need to use some HUCA.

You can check OneWorld availability on incomplete sites such as AA.com, BA.com, and Qantas.com. (BA or Qantas frequent flyer account required) You can check El Al availability on elal.com (Matmid account required).
Remember to search for flights from all of El Al’s cities in North America and in Europe as you can use other American and partner flights to reach any of those El Al cities.

Skyteam:
Skyteam generally has the worst award availability. You can try searching some Skyteam availability on Delta.com and AirFrance.com. Options to Israel besides Delta’s nonstop JFK flight are on Czech via Prague, KLM via Amsterdam, Air France via Nice or Paris, Aeroflot via Moscow, and Alitalia via Rome.

Skyteam’s redeeming factor is that both Alitalia and Flying Blue consider Israel to be part of Europe, making travel there a bargain.  However both programs have draconian expiration policies, so transfer there only as needed.

 

Miles required are for round-trip travel. Close-in fees apply for tickets booked within 3 weeks of departure. Rates are for NYC-TLV unless stated otherwise.

Airline:
Alliance, partners, and fuel surcharges, and close-in fees.
Miles required for round-trip:
Notes:
Transfer partners and change fees:
ANAStar Alliance.

Fuel surcharges apply for most airlines except for United.

No close-in fee.
Coach: 60K

Business: 90K

First: 140K
One-way officially not allowed but there are "workarounds."

3 stopovers allowed.

ANA has the lowest mileage rates without fuel surcharges for travel on United
AMEX MR 1K:1K

Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Date change: Free.
Other changes: Not allowed.
Cancellation: 3,000 mile penalty.
Air CanadaStar Alliance.

Fuel surcharges apply on some airlines, see * below.

No close-in fee.
Coach: 80K

Business: 165K

First: 230K
One-way allowed.

2 stopovers or 1 stopover and 1 open jaw allowed on a round-trip.

Infants cost just $50 in coach, $100 in business, and $125 in first.

Air Canada is the best AMEX transfer option for the Star Alliance airlines without a fuel surcharge.
AMEX MR 1K:1K

Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Changes or cancellation: $90.

Cancellations aren't allowed within 21 days of departure but you can change to a flight outside of 21 days and then cancel.
Air France/KLM Flying BlueSkyteam

Fuel surcharges apply for most airlines except Delta.

No close-in fee.
Coach promo: 25-37.5K

Coach: 50K

Business promo: 62.5K-93.75K

Business: 125K
One-way allowed.

1 stopover allowed on a round-trip

Lowest rates to Israel from any program during promo periods where a round-trip can cost as little as 25K, though fuel surcharges apply.
Best program for Delta travel thanks to low mileage rates, one-way awards, and no fuel surcharges.
AMEX MR 1K:1K

Citi TY: 1K:1K

Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Changes or cancellation: $70.
Promo awards can't be changed/cancelled.
AlitaliaSkyteam

Fuel surcharges apply.

No close-in fee.
Coach: 50K

Business: 80K
Round-trip required.

1 stopover allowed.

Book awards during business hours in Italy to reach competent reps.

The 80K business award on Delta has $300 in fuel surcharges, but is still a bargain.
AMEX MR 1K:1K

Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Date changes: Free.
Other changes: 5,000 mile or 55 Euro penalty.
Cancellation: Not allowed.
AmericanOneWorld, El Al.

Fuel surcharges apply for flights on British Airways.

$75 close-in fee for non-elites plus mandatory $35 phone fee even for flights that can't be booked online like El Al.
Coach: 80K via Europe between 10/15-05/15.

Coach: 90K via Europe between 05/16-10/14.

Coach: 90K nonstop.

Business: 135K

First: 180K
One-way allowed.

Stopovers are officially not allowed but can be had for free on flights to Tel Aviv. See *** below.

Best program for El Al travel.
Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Date changes: Free.
Other changes: $150
Cancellation: $150 for 1 ticket, $25 for additional tickets cancelled at the same time.
British AirwaysOneWorld, Aer Lingus

Fuel surcharges apply for most airlines, see ** below.

No close-in fee.
Coach: 60K on Air Berlin and USAirways, 65K on other carriers.

Business: 100K on Air Berlin, 120K on USAirways, 130K on other carriers.

First: 195K
One-way allowed.

Unlimited stopovers as each flight segment incurs an additional mileage charge.

Infant travel: Instead of cash, BA charges just 10% of the adult mileage required on international segments.

Best program for surcharge free travel on Air Berlin.
AMEX MR 1K:1K

Chase UR: 1K:1K

Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Changes: $55
Cancellation: The lower of taxes paid or $55
DeltaSkyteam

Fuel surcharges apply to select airlines.

No close-in fee.
Coach: 85K

Business: 140K
Round-trip required.

1 stopover and 1 open jaw allowed.

Delta's online calendar is full of bugs.

Best program for travel on other Skyteam carriers without fuel surcharges.
AMEX MR 1K:1K

Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Changes/Cancellation: $150


No changes or cancellations are allowed within 3 days of a flight.
El AlUnaligned.

Fuel surcharges apply on all flights.

No close-in fee.
AMEX MR rates:

Coach EWR, JFK, or YYZ: 70K

Coach LAX: 90K

Business EWR, JFK, or YYZ: 150K

Business LAX: 200K

First EWR or JFK: 250K

First LAX: 270K
One-way allowed.

El Al First class can only be booked with El Al points.
AMEX MR 1K:1K. See **** below.

Date change: $60
Other changes: $75 ($125 within 3 days).
Cancellation: $125
JAL OneWorld

Fuel surcharges apply for most airlines.

No-close in fee.
Coach: 50K

Business: 80K

First: 115K
One-way allowed.

2 stopovers allowed.

Very low OneWorld award rates, though fuel surcharges sting.
Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Date changes: Free.
Other changes/cancellations: ¥3,100 (About $29 USD) or 3,100 mile penalty.
LANOneWorld

No fuel surcharges.

No-close in fee.
Coach PHL-TLV: 70K

Business PHL-TLV: 200K

Coach JFK-AMM-TLV: 82K

Business JFK-AMM-TLV: 224K

Coach JFK-LHR-TLV: 124K

Business JFK-LHR-TLV: 308K

First JFK-LHR-TLV: 384K
Round-trip required.

Unlimited stopovers as each flight segment incurs an additional mileage charge.

40K Starpoints becomes 75K LAN, more than enough for a round-trip on USAirways with no fuel surcharges.

LAN is the only program with no fuel surcharges for BA flights.
Starwood 1K:1.5K or 20K:37.5K

Changes: $75 ($150 within 21 days)
Cancellation: $125 ($300 within 21 days)
LufthansaStar Alliance.

Fuel surcharges apply for most airlines.

No-close in fee.
Coach from US: 80K nonstop

Coach from US: 100K via Europe

Coach from Israel: 60K nonstop or via Europe.

Business from US: 135K nonstop

Business from US: 185K via Europe

Business from Israel: 105K nonstop or via Europe.

First from US: 290K via Europe

First from Israel: 170K nonstop or via Europe.
One-way allowed.

2 stopovers and 2 open jaws allowed on a round-trip.

No infant charges except for airport departure tax.

Use Lufthansa miles for expanded Lufthansa and Swiss business and first class availability.

Discounted Israel rates require an Israeli address on the account.
Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Changes/Cancellation: $60
Singapore Star Alliance.

Fuel surcharges apply for most airlines except for United.

No-close in fee.
Coach: 75K

Business: 115K

First: 150K
One-way allowed.

1 stopover allowed on a round-trip.

Use Singapore to book Singapore Suites and business class.

Awards on United are a real bargain and have low change/cancel fees.
AMEX MR 1K:1K

Citi TY: 1K:1K

Chase UR: 1K:1K

Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Changes: $20
Cancellation: $30
UnitedStar Alliance.

No fuel surcharges.

$75 close-in fee, waived for United Club cardholders
Coach: 85K

Business on United: 140K

Business on partner airlines: 160K

First on United via Europe: 180K

First on partner airlines: 280K
One-way allowed.

1 stopover and 2 open-jaws allowed on a round-trip.

United cardholders
get expanded availability.

Don't be afraid of trying a Plan B award.

Best program for Star Alliance travel without ever paying a fuel surcharge.
Chase UR 1K:1K

Date change more than 21 days in advance: $75.
Other changes: $100
Cancellation: $200
USAirways OneWorld

Fuel surcharges apply for flights on British Airways.

$75 close-in fee plus $25-$50 award processing fee whether you book online or over the phone.
Coach: 80K

Business: 120K

First: 180K
Round-trip required.

1 stopover or 1 open jaw allowed.

No changes are allowed on tickets that include partner airlines once travel has begun.

USAirways cardholders get a 5,000 mile discount on USAirways flights.

Low rates to Israel and no fuel surcharges on most airlines.

This program will be merged into AA in 2015.
Starwood 1K:1K or 20K:25K

Changes/Cancellation: $150.

*Air Canada charges a fuel surcharge to fly on Adria, Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, and THAI. They do not charge a fuel surcharges if you fly on Aegean, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Brussels, COPA, Croatia, EVA, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, South African, Swiss, Turkish, and United. Minimal fuel surcharges for LOT.

**British Airways does not charge a fuel surcharge when you fly 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 also transfer BA Avios to Iberia to save on fuel surcharges on Iberia flights.

***While American got rid of stopovers on awards, due to quirky pricing you can still take AAdvantage of stopovers when flying to Israel.  This is especially helpful as El Al has lots of flights from Europe to Israel.

A nonstop flight from the US to Tel Aviv is 45K AA miles each way all year round.

Winter: A flight from the US to Europe between 10/15-05/15 is just 20K each way and a flight from Europe to Tel Aviv is 20K year-round. So you can stopover for as long as you want in any European city, even on a one-way ticket, for just 40K in that timeframe.  Whether you just connect in Europe or whether you stopover for 6 months, you’ll save 5K miles each way over the 45K nonstop option in the wintertime.

Summer: A flight from the US to Europe between 05/16-10/14 is 30K each way and a flight from Europe to Tel Aviv is 20K year-round. So you can stopover for as long as you want in any European city, even on a one-way ticket, for 50K in that timeframe. That’s a 5K premium over just connecting in Europe for less than 24 hours or flying nonstop to Israel in the summertime.

****For simplification sake, all El Al rates in this chart have been multiplied by 50.  In the real world 1K AMEX MR converts into 20 El Al “points” and a ticket from JFK to TLV in coach is 1,400 “points”.  I’ve multiplied everything by 50 to make the numbers comparable to the miles used by every other airline in this chart. Frankly El Al ought to do the same.

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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Amazon Payments As We Know It Will End On 10/13/14

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Amazon Payments has been discussed on DansDeals and on the DansDeals Forums (DDF) for more than 4 years.  There were rumors last year of its demise but I quashed those. They started cracking down later last year on abusers, but it’s lived on.

Alas it appears that its time has come.

“Additionally, we have updated the terms and conditions of our User Agreement (https://payments.amazon.com/help/Personal-Accounts/User-Agreement-Policies/User-Agreement) that apply to your use of the products and services provided by Amazon Payments. Our updated User Agreement revises certain terms (including, among other things, the elimination of person-to-person payments). Our new User Agreement will become effective on October 13, 2014, which is more than 30 days from when we first posted our updated User Agreement. By continuing to use our services after October 13, 2014, you are agreeing to be bound by the terms and conditions of our new User Agreement.”

The last day to send person-to-person payments will be 10/12/14. So you can still send $1,000 to a friend in September and another $1,000 in October. However as of 10/13/14 that option will be eliminated, pretty much making the service worthless.

An Amazon Payments phone rep confirmed that 10/12 will be the last day to send money to a friend. After that point you’ll only be able to use Amazon Payments to checkout on websites that accept Amazon Payments as a form of payment.

Luckily we still have many other ways of manufacturing spend. For example ISIS Wallet/Serve allows you to do $1,500 per month in easy credit card spend right from your computer.

HT: txtmax4, via DDF

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24,800 Points…And A Free Slurpee; Last Days To Register For Freedom Q3 Bonus Spending

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

-Chase Freedom Visa-Earn 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $500 in 3 months plus 2,500 points for adding an additional user.
There is no annual fee for Chase Freedom!
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I just got back from 7-Eleven where I picked up 9 OneVanilla cards and a slurpee.    Most 7-Eleven’s are categorized as gas stations even if they don’t sell gas, you can confirm each one on the Visa merchant categorization site if you have a Visa card.

$4,500 worth of cards cost me $4,544.55 spread across 3 of my Freedom cards. They had to bring rung up one at a time. When that was all done I reminded the clerk about my slurpee and he said that’s on the house :D

The purchase will earn 24,800 points and liquidating the cards won’t be hard at all.

We’re in the last month of Q3, so you have until the end of the month to earn 5 points per dollar spent at gas stations and Kohl’s.  Other gas stations and Kohl’s also sell gift cards good for other stores.

09/14 will be the last day to activate your Q3 Chase Freedom 5% categories. Although they are called “5% categories” you really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be cashed out for 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending you will earn at least 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points. If you or your spouse has a Sapphire PreferredInk Plus, or Ink Bold card you can transfer Freedom points over to one of those cards and then transfer them at a 1:1 ratio into much more valuable airline miles (United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, Singapore, etc) or hotel points (Hyatt, etc).  The $1,500 quarterly limit is per Freedom card.

Until 2016 if you have a Chase checking account you will also earn a 10% bonus on all points earned.  That means you’ll earn a whopping 5.5 points per dollar in these categories or 8,250 points each quarter. Those points post for the prevous year in February.

On 09/15 you’ll be able to register for Q4 which includes Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and Department stores.

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).

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ISIS Wallet To Rebrand As Softcard

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

In July I wrote about my long overdue journey from Bluebird to ISIS (click here to read more about the differences)

Of course over the past month we’ve read about the horrific beheadings perpetrated by the Islamic State which is also referred to as ISIS, so ISIS wallet has wisely decided to change their name to Softcard.

Regardless, ISIS with Serve has been amazing.
As a Verizon customer the signup bonuses are lucrative. $25 for signing up to ISIS with Serve, $20 off your first $40 Serve purchase, $1 back every time you use the ISIS wallet (up to $50/month through 2014), free coke from select coke machines, along with many other offers.

Similar offers are available with AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint customers can’t get ISIS.

Plus of course the Serve card is eligible for AMEX offers.
And you can add $1,500 in free monthly credit card funding to your Serve account without having to leave to comfort of your home.   That’s on top of $1,500 of debit card funding online and $5,000 of swiping gift cards in stores like WalMart and Family Dollar where you can add gift cards purchased that earned 5 points per dollar+1% cash back into your Serve account.

It’s all too lucrative to last.  But I’ll keep enjoying it while it does!

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United Plan B: Pretty Much The Most Awesome, Underutilized, And Underappreciated Thing Ever.

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Update: A commenter says he was told by an agent that they will no longer do this process.

Luckily I can confirm that isn’t true as can several DDF’ers.  I recently helped a couple of family members setup a Plan B award to Israel.  They were able to get saver awards on United thanks to having expanded saver class award availability as they had a Chase United Explorer card.

We held the 85K coach saver award online and used the callback line to setup the 140K business saver award with all segments waitlisted for business class.

Their return trip from Tel Aviv cleared into BusinessFirst automatically. 

They were nervous about their outbound trip to Tel Aviv as the domestic portion of the flight cleared into first class in advance while the Newark-Tel Aviv segment was still in coach. United.com was showing that BusinessFirst was completely full with several passengers standing by. Luckily United.com is explicit that if the domestic first class portion clears but the BusinessFirst portion doesn’t clear you can still get a full refund after the flight.

They had the agent waitlist them for BusinessFirst at their departing airport but I noticed that the United.com flight status page showed them at the bottom of the BusinessFirst waitlist.  So in Newark I told them to go to find another agent and explain clearly that they paid for BusinessFirst and were displaced business class passengers and therefore they deserved top priority “PR-1″ status.  They referenced the GG code listed below as well.

They found a competent agent, 3 people in business no-showed for the flight, and they both got their lie-flat business class seats to Israel!

Truly the hidden gem of United miles.
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Note that as the article below was written prior to the 02/01 devaluation, the rates and examples listed were with pre-devaluation numbers that I haven’t updated.

Originally posted on 12/12/13:

I’ve been booking Continental and United award tickets using Plan B for years. I blogged about in passing here in 2009 and here in 2011. I blogged about it still working with United last year as well.  Several DDF members have used it over the years and they have flown in business class every time!

Business class award tickets are typically a sweet spot in award redemption charts.  While you can fly to Israel for $1,000 in coach you would have to shell out 5 times that to fly in business.  Whereas with miles the difference is much smaller, United currently charges 40K miles for a one-way coach ticket or 60K miles for a one-way business ticket.  (Note that for awards booked after 01/31 those rates will go up to 42.5K in coach and 70K in United business.)

Of course that creates a lot of competition for business class award seats which is why they’re harder to find than coach award seats.  Nonstop business class awards to Tel Aviv are among the most challenging award tickets out there.  Not that it’s impossible, I recently booked a friend who is in the air right now on a USAirways business saver award to Tel Aviv and is returning in 2 weeks on a United business saver award.  But it means constantly checking to see if award seats have opened up and possibly waiting until the last minute to book.

And that’s where Plan B comes in handy.  It works as long as there is United saver coach award availability.  I find that I have the best luck booking a Plan B using this web support callback link. Ex-Continental agents staff that line and some are still familiar with this procedure that survived the merger.

Unfortunately Plan B is just the internet name for this type of ticket, there’s no easy way to describe what you want to an agent. You need to tell the agent that you found United coach saver award availability but would like to purchase and be issued a business class saver award, be seated in coach, and waitlisted for a business class seat.  I often tell the agent that I have done this in the past over the phone and was wondering if they know how to set it up.

At this point most agents will think you’re nuts and say that no such thing exists.

Indeed in preparation for this post I had the web support desk call me and the first agent just laughed at my suggestion.  She told me to book the ticket online and call in to waitlist for a business class seat. However that is NOT what I wanted as that would not have the benefits of a Plan B booking, as I’ll soon explain.

Then I called the 1K Premier line and the agent was more courteous but couldn’t help me.  Afterward I used the web support callback link again (I always take note of an agent’s name when I play HUCA (Hang up, Call again) so that I don’t bother the same incompetent agent again) and got Gary H, who turned out to be fantastic.

At first Gary said he recalled such a thing being possible in the Continental days but he hadn’t heard of it being done in years and he wouldn’t even know how to go about doing it.

Then he asked me to hang on while he was looking up documentation.  He found the exact procedure and proceeded to book my Plan B award!

He correctly debited my account the 60,000 miles needed for a one-way business class seat to Tel Aviv while he seated me in coach.  He said that I would need to call back in after the itinerary had ticketed (United itineraries can take anywhere from a minute to an hour to be ticketed with an eticket number) in order to waitlist for the business class seat.  However just 2 minutes later I actually got a call back from Gary letting me know that my reservation had ticketed and that he had waitlisted me for a business class seat!  Now that’s great customer service!

I asked him if there was anything I could tell an agent in the future so that they don’t think I have mushrooms growing out of my head.  He said they have a documentation system called CORE.  In there an agent can lookup the procedure for award waitlist guidelines and it will tell them how to manually issue a business class saver award when there is only coach saver available. If you have to refer an agent to look there I’d tell them that a previous agent who booked such a ticket for you told you to reference that system in case you have any problems in the future.

If you have correctly setup your ticket it will look something like this online:

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Notice how I was charged the full 60,000 miles, the business class rate.  However my fare class is Economy.  The letter code for a coach saver award is either X or XN.  X refers to saver coach award space for general members. XN is expanded saver coach award space for logged-in elites and people who have the Chase United Explorer credit card. (That’s an incredibly valuable benefit of having the card, especially for a Plan B award as you’ll have expanded coach, business, and first class saver award space as well.  The card also gets you free baggage, priority boarding, and it might just be the only credit card in the world that gives free primary car rental insurance in every country in the world-even in your home country and Israel.  Almost every other card only gives weak secondary coverage in your home country).

Then notice how IN class is requested.  I class refers to saver business class award space. IN is expanded saver business class award space for Platinums/1Ks/Global Services.

If you have I or IN class requested AND you were debited the miles for a business class saver award then you’ve properly setup a Plan B award!

If business saver award space opens then you may be automatically moved into business or there may be a message to call in to clear you from the waitlist.  It’s important to keep checking as it may or may not automatically clear you and when you see that it says the space is available you should call in right away.

But what happens if that space never opens up?  The system will stop checking at 24 hours before your flight for that space you need.

Because you paid for a business class seat you are considered a displaced business class passenger.  Thus you should be prioritized ahead of all upgraders trying to nab business seats on the day of departure.

Unfortunately the system is not setup to automatically give you that priority, only an airport agent can do that.  So show up at the airport as early as possible for your flight (or if possible you can go to the airport 24 hours before your flight) and explain to the agent that you are not upgrading with miles but you paid for a business class ticket and are only seated in coach.  This is true as you have paid the full business class rate already.  If the agent doesn’t understand this you should ask for a supervisor, it’s crucial they understand that you’re not a coach passenger trying to upgrade with miles but a displaced business class passenger.

The agent should give you “PR-1 status” which gives you top-priority status and moves you to the very top of the upgrade standby list, ahead of employees and everyone else trying to upgrade with miles+cash.  If one agent won’t put you on the list as a displaced Business class passenger with PR-1 status then find another one who will.  With this status the odds of you getting a business class are very high if there are still open seats (or if anybody no-shows).

If the agents in the airport are all clueless you should direct them to look up “gg onestandby” in their system (they’ll know exactly what this is) and look around lines 85-89 which spell out the details of the procedure for this award. (Parenthetically, when trying to get a gate pass to access a club as a United Club cardholder when I’m not flying I sometimes need to tell an agent to look up “gg checkpoint line 53″ which instructs agents to give you a security pass for you and your guests to access post-security United and USAirways clubs even if you aren’t flying.)

If they don’t believe that you really paid the business class award rate then have them call up the reward desk.  Like I said, it’s good to leave plenty of time at the airport for Plan B tickets.

I can’t stress enough how imperative it is to have this setup correctly: If you don’t get an airport agent to properly give you top-priority status then there is very little chance that you will be flying in business class.

With the United app or on United.com you can search for the upgrade standby list for any flight by searching under flight status.  You will see how many business class seats are still open and you should see your name at the very top of that list.  If you’re on a Plan B ticket and are at the bottom of the business class upgrade list then the agent didn’t give you the right priority status as a displaced business class passenger.

Everyone I know who has properly setup and followed through on a Plan B ticket had flown in business class.  But what if you don’t clear?  Just contact United after the flight (Again, I’d use the web support callback link) and they will refund the extra miles you paid for business class.  For EWR-TLV this means a refund of the extra 20,000 miles each way they charge to fly in business saver over coach saver.

Of course this also works on connecting flights.  If you are on a connecting flight you should be sure to be waitlisted for First Class on all of your flights.  Say you are coming from Los Angeles, even if you clear into first class on the LAX-EWR flight, as long as you don’t clear on the international EWR-TLV flight you will still get the 20,000 miles each way refund!

All of this only works with United flights, it won’t work for partner flights (partner flights can be on the same itinerary, you just can’t use Plan B for them).

This Plan B process would also work for routes with global first class that has only coach or business saver awards available (Tel Aviv does not have Global First class).

Happy flying!  And when you’re flying in a lie-flat business class seat you’re guaranteed to be a whole lot happier, especially when you’re just using the miles you got from opening a single credit card :D

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FBb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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
—————————————————————–

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.
——————————————————

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.
———————————————————————–

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:

fb1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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