Category Archive for 'Miles'

IHG 2017 Category Changes

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Update: Today is the last day to book under the current award chart rates.


Originally posted on 12/28:

IHG’s 2017 category changes go into effect 1/15/17.

Hundreds of hotels are chaning categories and the vast majority are getting more expensive.

If you want to lock in lower rates but are short on points you can buy points from IHG here. Once you have 5,000 points in your account you can buy points via the method described here for $31 per 5K points.

Sample hotels getting more expensive (Book these now):
-Staybridge Suites Thornhill Toronto: Was 15K, now 20K
-Holiday Inn Tbilisi, Georgia: Was 15K, now 20K
-Holiday Inn Lisbon: Was 15K, now 25K
-Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fairbanks: Was 15K, now 25K
-Holiday Inn Amsterdam Area Towers: Was 20K, now 25K
-Crowne Plaza LAX: Was 25K, now 30K
-Holiday Inn Montreal Downtown: Was 25K, now 30K
-Holiday Inn Auckland: Was 25K, now 30K
-Holiday Inn JFK: Was 25K, now 35K
-Holiday Inn LGA: Was 25K, now 35K
-Holiday Inn Aruba Resort and Casino: Was 30K, now 35K
-Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kailua-Kona: Was 30K, now 40K
-Intercontinental Prague: Was 35K, now 40K
-Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand Canyon: Was 35K, now 40K
-Holiday Inn Manhattan-Financial District: Was 35K, now 40K
-Holiday Inn Cancun: Was 35K, now 40K
-Holiday Inn Old Sydney: Was 35K, now 40K
-Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre: Was 35K, now 40K
-Holiday Inn Niagara Falls: Was 35K, now 40K
-Intercontinental Porto, Portugal: Was 35K, now 45K
-Intercontinental Los Angeles Century City: Was 50K, now 60K
-Intercontinental Boston: Was 55K, now 60K
-Intercontinental Washington DC The Willard: Was 55K, now 60K
-Intercontinental Sydney: Was 55K, now 60K

Sample hotels getting less expensive (Wait until 1/15 to book these):
-Holiday Inn Helsinki : Was 25K, now 20K
-Holiday Inn London West: Was 30K, now 25K
-Crowne Plaza Moscow World Trade Center: Was 30K, now 25K

Which hotel’s category change will affect you the most?

HT: moe8555, via DDF

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Last Chance For Chase Sapphire Reserve 100,000 Point Signup Bonus; Get $2,100 In Travel!

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Update, 1/12: This offer is set to expire at about noon, EST. As long as the landing page shows the 100,000 point bonus you can still signup for the card!


You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.


Related:
-Are Bank Points Overtaking The Value Of Airline Miles? 2 Hybrid Cards Allow You To Lock In The Best Of Both Worlds
-Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered
-Final Hours To Earn 100K+ Chase Points On 1 Card; Here Are 22 Ways You Can Use Those Points!


The Chase Sapphire Reserve took the mileage world by storm last year by offering 100,000 signup points and a boatload of other benefits. Chase took a $200-$300MM loss just in the 2016 Q4 on the card, so it’s no surprise that the massive signup bonus is coming to an end.

Here’s How To View Credit Card Offers On This Site

Currently the card offers 100,000 points for spending $4,000 in 3 months. Effective 1/12 that will go down to 50K points for spending $4,000. This offer will go offline sometime on the 11th, so try to apply by 1/10 to lock in the 100K bonus. The 100K bonus should be available in branch until 3/12.

You can use the 100K points for $1,500 in travel or you can transfer them into airline miles or hotel points.

The $300 in travel spend and $100 Global Entry fees that are refunded count towards the $4K threshold. You’ll even get the keep the bonus points for travel spending that is refunded. The annual fee does not count towards the spend threshold.

Note that if you have opened up 5 or more consumer credit cards in the past 2 years it can be difficult to get approved for most cards from Chase. Read more about 5/24 here.

Annual fee:

The card has a $450 annual fee which is not waived for the first year. The effective annual fee though is much lower thanks to the travel credit.

Travel credit:

The Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 automatic travel credit to offset the annual fee.

The credit is good for any kind of travel related spending including airfare, car rentals, hotels, Disney tickets, Cruises, subways, taxis, and much more. Read a list of confirmed transactions that will trigger a credit here.

As the credit is per calendar year that means you’ll get $600 of travel refunds in your first cardmembership year with a $300 credit in 2017 and a $300 credit in 2018.

You must finish 2017 travel spending before your December 2017 statement closes and you you can start 2018 travel spending in December 2017 after your December statement closes.

Combined with the signup bonus that means you can get $2,100 in travel in your first cardmembership year.

After the first year, the annual travel credit effectively lowers the annual fee of the card to $150 per year. That’s only $55 per year more than Sapphire Preferred and it comes with a lot of valuable benefits that make the card a keeper:

Sapphire Reserve offers 3 points per dollar on all of the travel items listed in this post. It also offers triple points on dining including restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, and cafes.

There are no foreign transaction fees.

You’ll be able to access over 900 clubs worldwide with Priority Pass and you can bring unlimited guests with you into the lounge for free! That includes lounges with kosher food and wine in Newark and Tel Aviv. You can call Chase to enroll in Priority Pass or you can enroll online here. You can even pay to access Priority Pass lounges before you get your membership card and you can call Chase to refund those lounge entries!

The Newark Art & Lounge in Terminal B is located before security and doesn’t require a boarding pass, so you can stop in for free kosher food and wine at any time!

Every 4 years you can get a $100 credit for a 5 year Global Entry membership which also includes TSA pre-check. That means you can skip the lines and forms when flying back from abroad and you can leave your shoes on, laptops in their bags, and go through metal detectors when flying from the US. It makes flying so much easier!

Additional cardholders cost $75/year and include a Priority Pass membership with free guesting privileges as well.

Increased cash back or miles:
The Sapphire Reserve allows you to use all your Chase points for 1.5 cents each per dollar towards travel.

The ability to choose between 1.5 cents per dollar or mileage transfers make Sapphire Reserve an incredibly versatile credit card. Thanks to their ability to be used at a high value as miles or when redeemed directly from Chase for travel, I called them “Hybrid points.”

You can choose to hunt for award tickets bargains and then transfer them into real airline miles instantly. The value of airline miles can be extremely high for one-way tickets, last-minute tickets, and first class tickets.

Or you can just use them for paid airfare, hotels, car rentals, or activities at a value of 1.5 cents each.

You can earn even more by spending on other Chase cards and transferring those points to Sapphire Reserve:
-If you have a Freedom Unlimited card you earn 1.5 points per dollar everywhere that are worth 2.25% towards travel when you transfer them to Sapphire Reserve.
-If you have a Freedom card you earn 5 points per dollar on rotating categories that are worth 7.5% towards travel when you transfer them to Sapphire Reserve.
-If you have Ink Plus or Ink Cash card you earn 5 points per dollar on office supplies, gift cards from office supply stores to hundreds of other stores, and telecom that are worth 7.5% towards travel when you transfer them to Sapphire Reserve. Gas, hotel, and dining purchases also have double point bonuses worth 3% towards travel.
-If you have Ink Business Preferred card you earn 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable, and telecom, and advertising on social media and search engines.that are worth 4.5% towards travel when you transfer them to Sapphire Reserve.

That means you can be earning between 2.25%-7.5% back everywhere.

If you already have a Sapphire Preferred card you can downgrade it to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited to take advantage of their spending benefits and you can always transfer those points to Sapphire Reserve to make them 50% more valuable.

As a Visa Infinite card, it also comes with some benefits like discounts on car rentals, including 30% off at Silvercar.

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

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

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

-Roadside Assistance: Coverage for up to 4 incidents per year. The battery in my 2011 Altima died on me twice in the past month and Chase sent out assistance with ease. And yes, I did finally buy a new car battery.

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

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

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

You can also transfer points at an equal ratio to your own or to one authorized user’s airline and hotel programs:
-United (Star Alliance)
-Singapore (Star Alliance)
-British Airways (OneWorld)
-Korean (Skyteam)
-Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam)
-Southwest
-Virgin Atlantic
-Hyatt
-Marriott
-Ritz Carlton
-IHG

Point Currency:

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

You can transfer points to a household member’s Chase card or to an authorized user’s airline/hotel programs.

You can also transfer points to Chase business Ink cards like Ink Plus and Ink Cash where you can transfer from there to other business owner’s cards and/or programs.

Transfer partners include:
United (Star Alliance) is an excellent currency. They never charge fuel surcharges, they allow one-way awards for half the mileage, they have short-haul awards for 10,000 miles, they often run discounted award promotions, they allow for an “excursionist perk“, and they have dozens of partners to fly on, most of which can be booked on their website.
British Airways (OneWorld) is awesome for short-haul awards, though partner American has been stingy with award space of late. Awards start from just 4.5K miles. Flights to Israel on Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. They allow one-way awards for half the mileage. There are no close-in or expedite fees. You can cancel an award for as little as $5.60. Infants are only charged 10% of the miles on international trips instead of 10% of the full fare like US carriers charge. Plus they don’t collect fuel surcharges on American within the western hemisphere, on Qantas from or within Australia, on Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Alaska, or LAN and you can transfer points to Iberia to limit fuel surcharges there as well.
You can read more in this post on everything you need to know about BA Avios. And you can see 110 places you can go to nonstop from NYC with Avios.
Korean (Skyteam) offers unbeatable first class availability (A380 First Class Trip Report here) and they also have true bargains on partner travel, just 30,000 miles to fly round-trip on Hawaiian or Alaska to Hawaii in coach or 60,000 miles in first. And it’s just 20,000 miles to fly to Alaska in coach or 40,000 miles in first. You can even get a free stopover on the way to or in Alaska! If there is Delta saver availability you can even fly to Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands round-trip for just 25,000 miles in coach or 45,000 miles in business. 
Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam) offers promo awards from rotating North American cities to Europe, Israel, and Russia from just 12,500 miles each way. Regular awards to Israel are just 25K miles each way, though some fuel surcharges apply on most airlines except for Delta.
Singapore (Star Alliance) offers private walled-in first class suites that can only be booked with their miles. A suite one-way from JFK to Europe is 57,375 miles. Travel to the US48, Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and Israel can all be had on the cheap. There are no close-in booking fees and changes and cancellations are very cheap. Fuel surcharges apply when flying on most airlines besides United. More info here.
Southwest offers a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel, though that rate can now vary. Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down.
Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta.
Hyatt is a very powerful hotel currency. They have a cash and points option that offers some excellent values and more importantly those stays earn points, elite stay credits, promo credits, and you can use suite upgrades on cash and point stays as well. It remains far less expensive for high-end hotel stays than any other hotel program.
-You can also transfer points to Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and IHG.

-Generally speaking you’ll want to use the 1.5 cents per point option when redeeming for round-trip coach tickets booked in advance. You’ll generally want to transfer to miles for business class, first class, last minute and one-way coach awards. You’ll be better off with 1.5 cents per points for IHG and Marriott hotels, but Hyatt points can often be worth more than 1.5 cents each, so you’ll want to transfer points to Hyatt in those cases.

Will you be signing up for Sapphire Reserve before the 100K bonus goes away? Hit the comments!

HT: 12HRS, via DDF and TPG

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Final Hours To Earn 100K+ Chase Points On 1 Card; Here Are 22 Ways You Can Use Those Points!

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s whopping 100,000 point bonus ends this afternoon for online applications.

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

Here’s How To View Credit Card Offers On This Site

You need to spend $4,000 to get the bonus within 3 months, though the card counts the $300 in refunded travel expenses and $100 in refunded Global Entry/Pre-Check fees towards the $4K. If you visit Priority Pass lounges before you get your physical membership card you can get those charges refunded and they will also count towards the $4K. The Newark Art & Lounge used by El Al is located before security and doesn’t require a boarding pass. You can stop in there for free kosher food and wine at any time!

When you’re done spending $4,000 you’ll have between 104K-112K points depending on your spending categories.

If you and your spouse each signup you can quickly have double that. I helped a friend apply and get approved for a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and an Ink Business Preferred card via 3BM and now he has a quarter million points!

What can you do with the 104K-112K points you’ll have after opening a Sapphire Reserve and meeting the spend threshold?

There are endless possibilities, but here are 20 in no particular order.

Point transfers to all airline and hotel partners are at a 1:1 ratio.

1. You can redeem them for $1,100 in cash.

I hope you don’t, but the option is available if you just want to take the cash and run.

2. You can redeem 110K points for $1,650 in travel.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you redeem for travel at a value at 1.5 cents per point, a 50% bonus from cards like Chase Freedom. (Or course you can still spend on Freedom to earn 5 points per dollar and then transfer them to Sapphire Reserve to make them worth 1.5 cents each).

You can transfer points from your other cards and from cards belonging to your spouse or additional cardholders to your Sapphire Reserve as well to redeem them for 1.5 cents each.

That includes airfare, hotels, car rentals, or travel activities redeemed via the Chase travel portal.

You can also call to book awards not found on the portal, like to book Southwest flights.

You can save tons of miles this way when redeeming for inexpensive coach flights.

The same United flight that is 49.9K Chase points…

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…would cost 170K United miles+$46:

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The same Delta flight that is 49.9K Chase points…

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…would cost 140K Delta miles+$46:

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3. You can transfer points to United to book 11 short-haul one-way awards (10K each) or 8 long-haul domestic one-way awards (12.5K each).

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Even last-minute flights are just 10K-12.5K miles. I’ve redeemed for last-minute flights that would have otherwise cost more than $1,000 for 10K miles, talk about a good use of miles!

4. You can transfer points to Korean to book 4 round-trips to Hawaii (25K miles) on Delta or 5 round-trips to Alaska on Alaska Airlines (20K miles).

There are no fuel surcharges.

JFK-Honolulu nonstop for 25K miles round-trip:

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The 25K coach award and 45K first class award within North America applies for any travel within “Mexico, United States (including Hawaii), US Virgin Islands, Canada, and Puerto Rico” Read more about this option here.

5. You can transfer points to Korean to book a first class suite from JFK to Asia or Asia to Tel Aviv for 80K miles:

You can fly in a Kosmo 2.0 walled-in suite on a brand new 747-8 from JFK to Seoul for just 80K miles+$104. If you were paying cash for the flight it would set you back over $10,000, so this is a value greater than 12 cents per mile:

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80K miles plus $23 is enough to fly in first class from Seoul to Tel Aviv. Or fly from Asia to Tel Aviv for 35K in coach or 62.5K in business.

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6. You can transfer to British Airways for 24 one-way international short-haul awards (4.5K each) or 14 domestic short-haul awards (7.5K each).

You can fly short hauls like London-Milan, Iguazu Falls-Sao Paulo, Johannesburg-Victoria Falls, Hong Kong to Taiwan, Melbourne to Sydney, and between most cities within Europe for 4.5K Avios.

You can fly between New York and places like Bermuda, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Orlando, Montreal, Pittsburgh, or Toronto, or between Miami and the Bahamas or Cancun, or between LA and Cabo on OneWorld partner American.for 7.5K Avios.

7. You can transfer to British Airways for 7 one-way domestic first class short-haul awards (15K each).

These used to cost 30K Avios as American coded their domestic first class flights as true first class, costing 4 times the price of coach. Now they have been reclassified as business class which means it only costs twice the price coach.

There are no fuel surcharges.

If you find nonstop MileSAAver award space on AA.com then BA can book it. For example NYC-Miami in business class is 25K AA miles or just 15K BA Avios. Plus BA only charges $5.60 to refund your award versus $150 to refund an AA award.

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8. You can transfer to Singapore for 5 one-way flights on United in a lie-flat business class bed between Newark and Los Angeles or San Francisco (20K miles each).

Singapore only charges 20K miles each way for domestic business or first class on United. The same rates apply for United’s premium service between Newark and Los Angeles or San Francisco!

There are no fuel surcharges.

9. You can transfer to Singapore for 2 one-way flights in a couples suite between JFK and Frankfurt.

You can fly in Singapore suites class from JFK to Frankfurt for just 57,375 miles one-way with the 15% online booking discount that is applied after selecting a flight.  This is truly an aspirational award and Singapore service is second to none.  You’ll even have access to the Virgin Clubhouse in JFK with good kosher meals as well.

Fuel surcharges are about $200.

You can read my trip report on flying Singapore to Paris here.

There are single and double suites available. This is the double:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. You can transfer miles to British Airways for 9 one-way nonstop from the West Coast to any Hawaiian Island.

You can fly from the west coast nonstop to Hawaii on AA or Alaska for just 12.5K Avios each way.

Note that you must call BA to book awards on Alaska.

There are no fuel surcharges.

11. You can transfer to Hyatt for 4-9 nights in resorts like the Park Hyatt Maldives.

The Hyatt award chart is great for high-end hotels.  It caps out at 30K points for real gems like the Park Hyatt Sydney, the Park Hyatt Paris, and the Park Hyatt Zurich that can go for $1,500 per night.  Other hotel chains charge double, triple, or quadruple that amount of points for their high-end properties and they’re not nearly as good as the Park Hyatt chain.

Park Hyatt Sydney

A real sweet spot for Hyatt points are cash and points for category 6 hotels. These include real gems like the Park Hyatt Maldives, Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Andaz Maui, the Confidante Miami Beach, the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, and the Andaz 5th Avenue.

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Andaz Maui

The Park Hyatt Maldives can also go for $1,500 per night but it’s just 25K points!

 

You can stretch your points even farther by using just 12,500 points plus $150 per night for a category 6 hotel.  Best of all it’s considered a paid stay, so you qualify for promotions and can use suite upgrade certificates.

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There are also incredible uses for lower categories.

Category 3 hotels include the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Honolulu, the Hyatt Place LaGuardia, the Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo, the Hyatt Palm Springs, CA.

You can stay in a category 4 property for just 15K points or 7.5K points+$100 in hotels like the highly rated Andaz Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica, the Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami, the Park Hyatt Toronto, the Hyatt Regency Kowloon, Hong Kong, the Park Hyatt Seoul, or the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile.

Category 5 hotels include the Andaz West Hollywood in LA, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort an hour south of LA, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort just north of San Diego, the Hyatt Regency Maui, the Hyatt Place NYC, and 2 of my favorite Hyatt hotels, the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, and the Park Hyatt Melbourne.

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

12. You can transfer points for 2 or 3 one-ways from Bangkok to Sydney.

Want to get to the Park Hyatt Sydney and see the opera house from your bed?

When Mimi and I flew around the world in 2010 we started off in Thailand and then flew down under to tour Australia for a few weeks.

It’s just 40K miles for a 10 hour flight in Thai first class from Thailand to Australia. You’ll even get an hour long massage for free in the Bangkok first class lounge.

There are no fuel surcharges.

13. You can transfer points to Korean to fly round-trip from Australia to New Zealand in an Emirates First Class A380…with a shower spa onboard.

While you’re down under, hop from Australia to New Zealand in gilded style on Emirates and brag about taking a shower 39,000 feet in the air.

An A380 first class flight from the US to Dubai would run 210K Korean miles.  There are cheaper ways of doing that with miles from JAL, though you’ll need Starpoints to transfer to JAL.

14. Transfer to Hyatt to help earn a Southwest companion pass.

Until 3/31 you can transfer hotel points to Southwest and they will count towards the 110K points needed to earn a companion pass valid for unlimited uses 12/31/18.

While transfers from Chase don’t count for companion pass, transfers from Hyatt do.

50K Chase points transfers into 50K Hyatt points. 50K Hyatt points transfers into 30K Southwest points and those points will count towards the 110K requirement.

If you transfer 100K Chase points to Southwest via Hyatt you’ll have 60K points towards the 110K requirement.

If you don’t have any Starpoints or Marriott points to transfer to Southwest you would need 200K Chase points which would become 120K Southwest points via Hyatt and you would have the companion pass.

Points earned from the Southwest credit cards also count towards the 110K requirement.

15. Transfer to Southwest points.
There are no aspirational awards with Southwest, but you will get a decent value per point towards award travel.
Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes and flight cancellations. You can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down. There are no fuel surcharges.

A flight from Long Beach to Vegas is just 987 points+$5.60 one-way, a value of 2.4 cents per point. And it can be cancelled at any time with no penalty!

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16. Transfers points to Singapore and fly round-trip on United between the US48 and Alaska for 25K miles in coach or 40K in business class.

United charges 35K miles to get to stunning Alaska in coach and 60K in business.  Transfer miles to Singapore and they’ll book those same flights for just 25K or 40K.

There are no fuel surcharges.

Never thought of going to Alaska?  Read Something Fishy’s epic trip report with his trademark stunning pictures and you’ll want to start planning a trip.


Photo credit, Something Fishy, Trip Report part 2.

 

17. Transfer points to Singapore to fly round-trip on United between the US49 and Hawaii for 35K miles in coach or 60K in business class.

United charges 45K miles to get to the paradise also known as Hawaii in coach and 80K in business.  Transfer miles to Singapore and they’ll book those same flights for just 35K or 60K.

There are no fuel surcharges.

Need some inspiration for a Hawaii trip? This should keep you busy for a while:

DansMeals: Hawaii For The Kosher Traveler:
Part 1: General Info And The Island Of Oahu
Part 2: The Big Island of Hawaii
Part 3: Maui
Part 4: Kauai

Trip reports and posts on Hawaii:
-Trip Notes: Maui No Ka ‘Oi (2014)
-Trip Notes Kauai: Heaven On Earth (2014)
-The Hawaiian Islands. (2011)
-Traveling To Hawaii…With A 5 Month Old (2011)
-View From The Room (2011)
-Pearl Harbor…70 Years (2011)
-Shaloha! (2011)
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Kauai (2009)
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Oahu (2009)

DDF forum threads:
Hawaii Master Thread: General Questions And Which Island To Visit?
Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
-Kauai Master Thread
-Lanai, Molokai, and Niihau, Hawaii Master Thread
Maui Master Thread
-Oahu Master Thread
-Links to trip reports from other DDF members.
-Something Fishy’s Maui trip report.

18. Transfer points to Singapore and fly one-way on United between the US and Israel for 37.5K miles in coach or 57.5K in business class.

Singapore charges fuel surcharges on most airlines, but not on United.

While you may be better off redeeming points for a round-trip, one-way tickets are notoriously expensive and can be a great use of a mileage redemption.

Note that if you want to travel on other airlines you may do better transferring to United, where fuel surcharges are never collected.

You’ll need to call Singapore to book.

19. Transfer points to Air France/KLM Flying Blue to book travel to Israel for 12.5K-18,750 miles each way.

Air France and KLM have monthly promo awards where you can book travel to/from the US and Europe, Israel, or Russia for just 12.5K or 18,750 miles each way in coach or 46,875 miles in business class.

You can view this month’s promo awards here.

Fuel surcharges can add $90 in coach or $220 in business.

20. Transfer to United for the excursionist perk.

Sure you can use 85K miles to fly from Tel Aviv to NYC.

But why not make life more interesting and fly to NYC and Alaska for the same amount of miles thanks to the excursionist perk.

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21. Transfer to British Airways and fly from JFK to Vancouver in Cathay Pacific business class for 37.5K Avios or first class for 50K Avios.

Cathay Pacific has the most comfortable seat, bed, and first class Pajamas in the sky.

You can fly in business class nonstop from JFK to Vancouver for 37.5K Avios in business class or 50K Avios in first class each way.

I’ve flown this route in 2011 and 2016 and it’s by the far the best flight within North America. Vancouver is also a fantastic city with amazing sights and great kosher food. I keep finding myself wanting to return and I’ll do just that for Pesach this year where I’ll talk more about some great redemption options.

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22. Bid on United exclusive experiences.

United auctions off some incredible experience with their miles.

Until I tossed the first pitch before game 7 of last year’s World Series I thought that my coolest use of miles when redeeming 25K United miles to steal 2nd base in middle of the 7th inning.

Another reader then bought their son a Bar Mitzvah present that he’ll never forget with their United miles.

Have you used United miles to bid on experiences yet?

 

Points can also be transferred to Virgin Atlantic, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and IHG.

What is your favorite use of Chase Ultimate Rewards points? Hit the comments!

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Convert Virgin America Miles Into Alaska Miles At A 1:1.3 Ratio; Check Your Account For 10K Bonus Miles!

Monday, January 9th, 2017

You can now convert Virgin America miles to Alaska miles at a 1:1.3 ratio here. Points transfer instantly.

There are lots of great uses for Alaska miles.

Note that this is a one-way street. The only reason to transfer now is to redeem an award with Alaska. Otherwise you can let your points stay on the Virgin America side and wait until you need Alaska miles or until they forcibly transfer all points over to Alaska.

In other news, people that had a Virgin America account as of 12/5 also got a nice surprise in their Alaska account. Here is the gift I found in my account:

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If you only have a Virgin America account and not an Alaska account you should get an email asking you to open an Alaska account to claim your choice of 10K miles or $100 off a flight.

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No, Starwood Hasn’t Eliminated Transfers To Virgin America; Should You Transfer Your Starpoints Now?

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Update, 1/6: Today is final day to make transfers from Starwood to Virgin America. Those points transfer at a 20K:25K ratio. Starting on 1/9 you can transfer points from Virgin America to Alaska at a 1:1.3 ratio, making the effective SPG: Alaska ratio 20K:32.5K.

Update, 12/28: SPG has announced that 1/6/17 will be the last day to transfer points to Virgin America. Will you transfer points from SPG to Alaska via Virgin America at a 1:1.625 ratio before then?


Originally posted on 12/21:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.


On Monday I wrote about an incredible use of Starpoints. You can transfer 20K SPG points into 25K Virgin America Elevate points. Effective 1/9/17 you’ll be able to transfer Virgin America points into Alaska miles at a 1:1.3 ratio, so those 20K Starpoints will become 32,500 Alaska miles.

That’s an effective 1.625 Alaska miles per Starpoint, an awesome transfer option considering:
The breadth of partners that Alaska has. They include American, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Korean, JAL, and Qantas.

-The very generous stopover and routing policies that Alaska has. You can get a free stopover on a one-way award. You can route from the US to Israel via Asia or from Hawaii to Asia via the US48, etc.

-The very generous award change and cancel policies. You can redeposit an award 60 days before a flight without any fees.

The very generous award charts that Alaska has.

A one-way flight to Europe or South America on American is just 20K coach off-peak, 30K coach peak, 50K business, or 62.5K first with no fuel surcharges.

One-way Flights to Asia on award-winning Cathay Pacific are just 30K coach, 35K premium economy, 50K business, or 70K first with no fuel surcharges.

One-way Flights to Israel on Cathay Pacific are 50K coach, 55K premium economy, 62.5K business, or 70K first with no fuel surcharges and a free stopover in Hong Kong if you want one. Cathay starts flying to Israel on March 26. You must call Alaska to book travel on Cathay Pacific.

You’ll effectively get 1.625 Alaska miles for each Starpoints, so just divide Alaska’s award rates by 1.625 to see how many effective Starpoints those routes will cost.

In other words a one-way business class flight to Israel would cost 62,500/1.625=about 38,461 Starpoints thanks to the 25% transfer bonus from Starwood to Virgin America and 30% transfer bonus from Virgin America to Alaska! A 40K Starpoints transfer would net 65K Alaska miles via Virgin America, more than enough for that award.

The big winners were those who already transferred Starpoints to Virgin America for the JetBlue Pointsmatch promo.

Several bloggers and DD readers have noted that Virgin America no longer appears on the SPG transfer page.

I reached out to Starwood and they confirmed that it’s merely a glitch and it will be restored:

 

I chatted with SPG and the agent confirmed that he would be able to transfer my Starpoints to Virgin America, despite the website glitch.

Of course eventually the transfer option will be eliminated as the Virgin America program is merged into Alaska’s. But until then, you can funnel Starpoints into Alaska miles at a great rate.

The only reason I haven’t done so yet is that I’m not sure how much I trust Alaska. They devalued their Emirates award chart without notice. They say they’ll never do that again, but if their American or Cathay Pacific redemption costs grow too high, do I really expect them to give fair notice?

It’s hard to say.

Alaska is also notorious for having a nasty audit department that heavily frowns on booking awards for others and credit card churning.

So I won’t proactively transfer Starpoints at this rate. But if you’re ready to book an award in the near future, it’s an awesome transfer ratio.

Then again, with new opportunities made possible by the Marriott merger such as new hotels, Southwest companion pass, and the recent United transfer bonus, there are more amazing uses for Starpoints than ever.

Will you transfer Starpoints into Alaska miles at a 1:1.625 ratio while the opportunity lasts?

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Redeem 90K Starpoints For 120K Southwest Points And Get 2 Years Of Southwest Companion Pass Status Plus 7 Nights In A Marriott Hotel!

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Related posts (Read these first!):
-Roundup Of Combined Marriott And Starwood Award Charts With Sample Hotels, Extend Your Points Expiration, And More
-Transfer 18,667 Starpoints Into 25K United Miles Or 90K Starpoints Into 132K United Miles And 7 Nights In A Marriott Hotel!
-Marriott Completes Starwood Buyout; Link Your Accounts To Transfer Points, Match Elite Status, And Take Advantage Of Each Program’s Strengths!
-Don’t Make This Mistake When Transferring Starpoints To Marriott Points
-Mileage Expiration And Points Transfer Chart For 54 Loyalty Programs, How To Keep Your Points From Expiring, And How To Bring Them Back To Life After They’ve Expired


On Sunday, Southwest stealthily changed their program rules without advance warning, removing hotel point transfers as a method to earn Southwest Companion Pass.

After an apparently controversial campaign to write to Southwest, file DoT complaints, and raise awareness of the change on social media, Southwest agreed to give a 3 month grace period to transfer hotel points and have them qualify to earn Companion Pass status. Southwest has posted about their change of heart here.

If you earn 110K Southwest points by 12/31/17 you’ll earn Southwest Companion Pass status that will be valid until 12/31/18. 

With Southwest Companion Pass you’ll get to bring a companion with you for free on all Southwest paid tickets, Southwest award tickets, and Southwest tickets booked with AMEX or Chase points, though you need to call AMEX or Chase to actually book travel on Southwest. There is no limit to how many times you can use the companion pass.

Southwest still offers 2 free checked bags. Plus you can cancel revenue tickets with no charge and use the funds for a future flight. Point reservations can be cancelled for free with the points redeposited back to your account.

Until 3/31/17 Southwest will count hotel point transfers towards companion pass status.

After 3/31/17 only points from the Southwest credit cards, from flying on Southwest, and base points earned through transactions with Rapid Rewards partners will count. However hotel transfers made by 3/31 will combine with points earned from Southwest credit cards and paid flights to earn companion pass status by earning 110K points by 12/31/17.

Note:
-Transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards don’t count towards Companion Pass.
-You can’t transfer Starwood points directly to Southwest, but you can transfer Starwood points to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio and then transfer Marriott points to Southwest.
-You can transfer 50K Chase points to 50K Hyatt and 50K Hyatt points into 30K Southwest points and those points will count for Companion Pass status.
-You can transfer Chase points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.
-You can earn Companion status from signup up and spending on Southwest credit cards.
-You can transfer points to another Marriott member to complete an award.
-You can transfer points to another Starwood member living at your address.

If you use the regular Marriott Rewards transfer chart you would need 310K Marriott Rewards points to transfer 110K Southwest points.

However it’s a much better deal with Marriott’s miles+nights. 270K Marriott Rewards points would give you 120K Southwest points and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel. You’ll also earn Southwest Companion Pass status with that award!

A transfer of 90K Starpoints into 270K Marriott Rewards points will make that happen.

You must call Marriott at 800-321-7396 if you want to book a miles+nights package.

-It will take 2-3 days for the points to reach Southwest and your Southwest account will be updated to Companion Pass status within a few days of the transfer.
-The 7 night electronic hotel certificate expires in 1 year, though Marriott currently will extend them for 1 additional year if you contact them.
-You don’t need to choose the hotel at the time of a nights+miles redemption.
-The certificate must be used at one property for 7 consecutive nights.
-You can have the certificate issued in anyone’s name.
-You can use more Marriott points to get yourself into a higher hotel category or you can save points if you already earned Southwest points this year and don’t need 110K points for the Companion Pass.
-You can upgrade your hotel certificate by paying the difference in points later on.
-Some agents will refund 45K Marriott points (15K Starpoints) if you return the 7 night stay certificate, but not all agents will do that.

You can view hotels by category and tier via the “find” button on this page.

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-120K Southwest points will net between $1,800-$2,400 of free flights. Thanks to the companion pass you can bring someone along for free, which will mean you can use those points for $3,600-$4,800 of free flights. Plus of course you’ll get a 7 night category 1-5 hotel stay. Not a bad deal for 90K Starpoints!

-If you wanted 7 nights at the tier 3 Ritz-Carlton Herzliya you would need 420K Marriott or 140K Starpoints for that stay and 120K Southwest points with Southwest Companion Pass Status.

-If you wanted 7 nights at the category 7 Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel you would need 330K Marriott or 110K Starpoints for that stay and 120K Southwest points with Southwest Companion Pass Status.

There is also a 5 night hotel+points option that can save you some Marriott points, but officially that’s only available for Marriott timeshare owners. 5 nights and 120K Southwest points would cost 235K Marriott points. That’s 35K fewer Marriott points than are required for the 7 night package. On rare occasions some reps will book the 5 night packages for non-timeshare owners.

You can buy Starpoints here if you need some extra points to top off your account.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

-If you have the Platinum Card® from American Express or the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN you can call to have your Starwood account upgraded to Gold status which will then be matched to Marriott Gold as well!

-The Chase Marriott card offers 87,500 Rewards points (also transferable to 29,167 Starpoints) for spending $3,000 and adding an additional user card. After hitting the signup bonus it’s not worth spending on this card. You’ll get 3 Marriott Rewards points per dollar by spending on a Starwood card instead!
You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.

Will you go for Companion Pass status before the hotel point transfer opportunity ends?

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Southwest Relents, Will Allow Hotel Point Transfers To Count For Companion Pass For 3 More Months!

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Update: Southwest has now posted this change on their website here.


On Sunday, Southwest stealthily changed their program rules without advance warning, removing hotel point transfers as a method to earn Southwest Companion Pass.

They timed that change exactly to the day when many people were waiting to transfer their hotel points in order to earn 2 full years of companion pass status.

Today they made matters worse by sending out emails congratulating people who didn’t get Companion Pass status for earning Companion Pass. That’s a whole new level of trolling.

I filed an official complaint about Southwest’s unannounced program rules change with the DoT and recommended that readers who felt that Southwest was being deceptive should do the same.

Many others took offense that I suggested taking that course of action. Some people felt so strongly that they even posted expletive filled messages.

Apparently sticking up for your rights and exercising free speech is now a bad thing. Would they feel the same if Southwest cut the value of their points in half without warning?

Others agreed with my approach and some even cancelled their Southwest credit cards due to their behavior.

I’ve had good luck with the DoT in the past. They helped me get a full refund and compensation for my cancelled American Airlines trip to London when they stranded us in JFK overnight.

The DoT responded to me as follows,

“This responds to your communication regarding Southwest Airlines. The U.S. Department of Transportation seeks to ensure that all airline passengers are treated fairly. Complaints from consumers are helpful to us in determining whether the airlines are in compliance with our rules and to track trends or spot areas of concern that warrant further action.

We will forward your complaint to the airline and ask the company to respond directly to you with a copy to us. Airlines are required to acknowledge receipt of a consumer complaint within 30 days and provide a substantive response to the complainant within 60 days. We will review the airline’s response. If you need to contact me, please include your name and case number (see above). I will make every effort to reply to your message within one business day.

If our review of your complaint and the response from the company discloses a potential violation of our rules, we may pursue enforcement action. Generally, we pursue enforcement action on the basis of a number of complaints which may indicate a pattern or practice of violating our rules. Your complaint may be among those considered and may lead to appropriate enforcement action including the assessment of civil penalties. However, we have no authority to order compensation for individual complainants.”

Zach Honig reports that Southwest has decided to relent rather than fight. Here is the statement they sent him,

“As we began the New Year on January 1, we took the opportunity to close a loophole in our Rapid Rewards Companion Pass terms and conditions related to transferred points from our Partners. This was an effort intended to clarify qualification requirements for Companion Pass, one of the best benefits in travel, as well as to protect the integrity and value of the Rapid Rewards program.
In doing so, we updated our terms and conditions which now clearly state that points transferred from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club will no longer count toward qualification for a Companion Pass. Members will continue to earn toward Companion Pass benefits through paid flights flown on Southwest, Points earned through spend with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards, and base points earned through transactions with Rapid Rewards partners.

Many of you have reached out to us since then, and we greatly appreciate your honest and candid feedback. Because we are a Company that values our Customers and believes in doing the right thing, we are offering a limited window for Customers to earn toward Companion Pass by transferring their loyalty points from these Partners.

To that end, points converted from the above mentioned programs will count towards a Companion Pass until March 31, 2017. This is a hard deadline and we will not be able to make any exceptions beyond March 31. If you have points with these Partners that you wanted to transfer, please do not wait. Make the transfer before the deadline.

We appreciate all of our Customers and look forward to seeing you onboard very soon!”


Sure it was a great opportunity, but personally I fail to see why this was a loophole. Regardless Southwest is well within their rights to change their program terms, provided they give advance notice. I applaud them for coming clean and making their customers whole.

I definitely think that the noise on social media as well as the DoT complaints helped the cause.

So there you have it. If you earn 110K points by 12/31/17 you will be able to take a companion with you for free whenever you fly on Southwest until 12/31/18. Until 3/31/17 it will count hotel point transfers towards companion pass status. After 3/31/17 only points from the Southwest credit cards, from flying on Southwest, and base points earned through transactions with Rapid Rewards partners will count. The companion pass works on paid tickets, Southwest award tickets, and tickets booked with AMEX or Chase points, though you need to call AMEX or Chase to actually book travel on Southwest.

The best hotel transfer options are:
-Hyatt, where 50K points will earn 30K Southwest points. You can transfer Chase points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.
-Starwood, where 90K points can transfer into 270K points Marriott points which will earn 120K Southwest points and 7 nights in a Marriott hotel. I’ve written about that option in the pass and will write more about that option shortly.

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Southwest Is Just Trolling Us Now

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

On Sunday we learned that Southwest is no better than the network carriers when they stealthily changed their program rules without advance warning.

I thought that move was dirty pool. Airlines make billions of dollars annually selling their miles to banks, hotels, and other partners. They owe it to consumers to give notice when they want to move the goal posts.

Some commenters felt I was wrong for telling people to write to Southwest executive and to complain to the DoT about Southwest’s change without warning here..
I don’t see what is wrong with asking the DoT their opinion on mileage program changes that are made without warning.

But now Southwest is just trolling us.

This morning they sent out an email to tons of former Companion Pass holders with the subject, “Congrats! You earned Companion Pass”
Lots of DDF members got this email, despite no longer having a companion pass:

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Don’t get your hopes up. Southwest isn’t handing out Companion passes if you got the email and didn’t earn it:

Stay classy there Southwest.

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Southwest Kills Companion Pass Earning Option Without Advance Warning

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Southwest updated their Companion Pass terms and conditions today to exclude point transfers from hotels.

The new paragraph they added into the terms excludes point transfer from hotel partners as Companion Pass qualifying,

“Purchased points, transferred points transferred between members, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club, points earned from program enrollment, tier bonus points, flight bonus points, and partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not qualify as Companion Pass Qualifying Points.”


This effectively kills the 90K Starpoints transfer into 120K Southwest points, companion pass, and 7 nights in a Marriott hotel.

There are still some other great Starwood transfer options including 90K Starpoints for 132K United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott hotel. Or until 1/6/17 you can transfer Starpoints into Alaska miles via Virgin America at an outstanding 1:1.625 ratio.

When I wrote about that deal back in September I wrote,

“If you transfer points now then the Companion Pass status will expire on 12/31/17.
If you wait to do the transfer until 2017 then the Companion Pass status would last until 12/31/18. Then again, it’s always possible for Southwest to stop awarding Companion Pass status for hotel transfers, so you might want to take advantage of this deal while it’s still alive.”


And that’s exactly what Southwest has done. I’m just disappointed that Southwest didn’t give any advance warning. So much for Southwest being different than the network carriers.

#WhereIsTheLuv?

Feel free to Retweet to get Southwest’s attention:

You can also complain to the DoT about Southwest’s change without warning here.

HT: mochjas, via DDF and TPG

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Check To See Your Targeted Offer To Buy Starpoints

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Update: Commenter “mw” notes that you are now able to purchase more Starpoints even if you already purchased the maximum 30K Starpoints for your account earlier this year.

If your account is targeted for a discount you can also purchase Starpoints for other accounts with the same discount, just select “Give Starpoints.”

The discounted point offer ends tonight!


Originally posted on 11/3:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months


Starwood allows you to buy up to 30,000 Starpoints per year. They are normally 3.5 cents each, but through 12/31 you can save between 25%-50% off Starpoints here.

Just login to your SPG account to find your offer. With the discount you can pay as little as 1.75 cents per Starpoint, a record low price for Starpoints if you have that offer. If you pay with a Starwood AMEX you’ll also get 2 points per dollar, so if you buy 30K points for $525 you’ll also be earning 1,050 Starpoints for the credit card purchase. In total you will have paid $525 for 31,050 Starpoints or 1.69 cents per Starpoint.

As Starpoints can convert to airline miles at a 20K:25K ratio, the cost per mile can be as low as 1.4 cents.  Starpoints can also convert to Marriott points at a 1K:3K ratio, so the cost per Marriott points can be as low as 0.58 cents each.

If you use your Starwood AMEX you’ll also get 2 Starpoints per dollar spent, so you’re effective cost per points will be just 1.69 cents as you’ll get an extra 1,050 Starpoints for a $525 purchase of 30,000 Starpoints.

Your account needs to be 14 days old to buy Starpoints. While there is a limit of 30K Starpoints per person, people living in the same household can transfer Starpoints between each other for free. It even extends the life of their Starpoints by another 18 months.

There are tons of great uses for Starpoints:

You can use them to stay in Starwood or Marriott hotels.

-You can transfer Starpoints to Alaska via Virgin America with a 62.5% bonus through 1/6/17. A flight from the US to Europe or South America will start at 12.3K Starpoints, business class on Cathay to Asia will be 30.7K Starpoints, and business class on Cathay to Israel will be 38.4K Starpoints after an effective 38.5% transfer discount.

90K Starpoints is currently enough for 132K United miles and a 7 night hotel stay via Marriott.

90K Starpoints is also enough for 7 nights in a Marriott hotel, 120K Southwest points, and a Southwest companion pass via Marriott that is valid for the remainder of the year and the entire following year. You can make the transfer in January of 2017 and you would be able to fly with a companion for free through December of 2018!

-Or you can start saving up to play softball in Wrigley, cruise to Antarctica, or throw out the first pitch of the 2017 World Series with SPG Moments.

What offer are you targeted for and will you be buying Starpoints?

HT: davidmal, via DDF

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Korean Now Selling SkyTeam Awards Online; Fly From JFK To Honolulu For 25K Miles Round-Trip!

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

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


Korean Air is known among mileage junkies for having the best first class award space in the industry. They also have a generous award hold policy and their miles don’t expire for 10 years.

You can fly in a Kosmo 2.0 walled-in suite on a brand new 747-8 from JFK to Seoul for just 80K miles+$104. If you were paying cash for the flight it would you back over $10,000, so this is a value greater than 12 cents per mile:

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And that’s the beauty of “hybrid points.” You can transfer Chase points from cards like Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Plus, or Ink Business Preferred at a 1:1 ratio to Korean to get the flight for 80K points. It would make no sense to redeem it directly from the Ink Plus or even the Chase Sapphire Reserve which makes your points worth 1.5 cents each with direct redemption:

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80K miles plus $23 is enough to fly in first class from Seoul to Tel Aviv:

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But it was news to me that you can now search for SkyTeam awards on KoreanAir.com

View the rest of this post after the jump:

(more…)

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Here Are The Ways You Can Spend Your Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Annual Travel Credit; Plus: Timing The Spending And A 2017 Spend Report

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Update: If you changed your due date to the 25th of the month then your statement should close on December 28th. You should make your travel charge by today to make sure that it posts by the 28th for a 2016 travel credit.


Originally posted on 12/4:

Related:
-Are Bank Points Overtaking The Value Of Airline Miles? 2 Hybrid Cards Allow You To Lock In The Best Of Both Worlds
-Here Are The Ways You Can Spend Your AMEX Airline Fee Credit
-Now Is The Best Time To Apply For A Sapphire Reserve Or Business Platinum “Hybrid Card”

-30 Awesome Things You Can You Do With Ultimate Rewards Points
-Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered


You can spend $300 per year on travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You’ll receive an automatic refund for transaction in any of these categories until you reach $300 in refunds per year. The credit will post within a few days of the spend.

Click here to view how much of your annual travel spend has already been credited:

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View the full list of valid travel charges after the jump:

(more…)

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HOT! 90% Off Garuda Indonesia Award Redemptions In All Classes!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Update, 12/24: This promotion has been cancelled as of today. If you held a reservation you can still ticket it until 12/31.


90% Off Garuda Indonesia Award Redemptions In All Classes!

With this promo you can save 90% on Garuda Indonesia award redemptions in coach, business, and first class.
You need to book travel by 12/31.
You can travel between 2/1 and 5/31.

You need to call to book this promo at +62-21-2351-9999

Youmay also be required to go into a ticket office to confirm your tickets. In the US those are located in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and NYC.

This promo has already reportedly been booked by DDF members.

Garuda Indonesia is a very highly rated Skytrax 5 star airline.

Their first class includes walled in suites and chauffeur service to and from the airport!

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I signed up for a mileage account here and got 200 miles instantly. It didn’t let me register with a US address, so I entered an address in Israel.

You can print a copy of your membership card upon enrolling. You may need that in case you need to go into an office to complete ticketing.

Once enrolled you can search for award availability, though you can’t book the 90% off promo online.

Unfortunately Garuda does not have flights to the US.

-You can transfer points from Citi to Garuda, but it will take 2-3 days. Some agents will hold award flights for you.

You can buy up to 50K miles per year for 3 cents each, but you need to fill out a form to purchase them and it’s unclear how long that process will take or how to even complete the process. If you try purchasing miles please let us know how it goes!

You can calculate the normal award rates here and take off 90% with this promo.

First class one-way award rates:
-London/LHR to/from Singapore: Normally 190K miles, now 19K miles.
-London/LHR to/from Jakarta: Normally 190K miles, now 19K miles.
-Amsterdam to/from Jakarta: Normally 190K miles, now 19K miles.
-Tokyo/HND to/from Jakarta: Normally 90K miles, now 9K miles.
-Tokyo/NRT to/from Bali: Normally 90K miles, now 9K miles.

Business class one-way award rates:
-London to/from Singapore: Normally 90K miles, now 9K miles.
-London to/from Jakarta: Normally 90K miles, now 9K miles.
-Amsterdam to/from Jakarta: Normally 90K miles, now 9K miles.
-Tokyo/HND to/from Jakarta: Normally 63K miles, now 6.3K miles.
-Tokyo/NRT to/from Bali: Normally 63K miles, now 6.3K miles.
-Sydney to/from Bali: Normally 54K miles, now 5.4K miles.
-Sydney to/from Jakarta: Normally 63K miles, now 6.3K miles.
-Melbourne to/from Bali: Normally 54K miles, now 5.4K miles.
-Melbourne to/from Jakarta: Normally 63K miles, now 6.3K miles.
-Perth to/from Bali: Normally 54K miles, now 5.4K miles.
-Perth to/from Jakarta: Normally 63K miles, now 6.3K miles.
-Shanghai to/from Bali: Normally 54K miles, now 5.4K miles.
-Shanghai to/from Jakarta: Normally 63K miles, now 6.3K miles.

Fuel surcharges can add $20-$200 per one-way award.

Be sure to call to confirm the details and check award space before transferring points to Garuda. Of course the award space can disappear before the transfer is complete, though award space appears to be excellent for now.

HT: Hershelsdeals, via DDF and Lucky

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Rare United Polaris Dreamliner Award Space Between Tel Aviv And San Francisco; United Now Has 747s Masquerading As 777s

Friday, December 16th, 2016

1. Business class award space between North America and Tel Aviv is notoriously scarce. So it’s news when non-Shabbos dates have business class award space from Tel Aviv.

United launched San Francisco-Tel Aviv nonstop service earlier this year and it has been wildly successful.

It’s operated by United’s 787-8 Dreamliners.

This Sunday there are 3 business class saver award seats from Tel Aviv to San Francisco and this Tuesday there are at least 9 business class saver awards seats.

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You can book those with 70K United miles one-way, but if you have Singapore miles (AMEX, Chase, Citi, and Starpoints can all be transferred there) you can book it for just 57.5K miles!

The only other non-Shabbos dates with nonstop business class saver award space from Tel Aviv to San Francisco is on September 4 and 11, which each have at least 9 seats available.

These business class seats include United’s newly launched Polaris business class service with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding and pillows. Smart travelers will also request a Saks Fifth Avenue mattress pad, gel cooled pillow, and Pajamas, as those are not offered proactively by flight attendants. The Pajamas are officially only offered on routes that are 12 or more hours.

2. There are also at least 9 business class class saver awards from San Francisco to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, 12/28.

That is currently the only business class class saver award from San Francisco to Tel Aviv that is not on Shabbos or Yom Tov until November 14th, though saver award space can change frequently.

It can also be booked for 70K United miles or 57.5K Singapore miles.

That’s a value of 13.4 cents per mile!

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3. I previously wrote about United having 747s masquerading as A320s on the Chicago-San Francisco route.

Well now they have 747s masquerading as 777s on the same route:

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United discontinued regular 747 domestic flying earlier this year, but you can find them occasionally making their way between Chicago-San Francisco. The problem is that unless you look at the seat map it can be very hard to tell that it’s a 747. If you search using ITA Matrix for 747s or if you click flight details or flight status on the United.com search page you won’t find a thing. United is discontinuing 747 service altogether in 2018.

I found them operating from Chicago-San Francisco and vice versa today, tomorrow, and Sunday.

I flew with Rafi on the upper deck on that route earlier this year and he had the time of his life. 8 months later and he still talks about all the time. Now that was a good use of miles!

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Don’t Make This Mistake When Transferring Starpoints To Marriott Points

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Related posts (Read these first!):
-Roundup Of Combined Marriott And Starwood Award Charts With Sample Hotels, Extend Your Points Expiration, And More
-Redeem 90K Starpoints For 120K Southwest Points, Southwest Companion Pass Status, And 7 Nights In A Marriott Hotel!
-Transfer 18,667 Starpoints Into 25K United Miles Or 90K Starpoints Into 132K United Miles And 7 Nights In A Marriott Hotel!
-Marriott Completes Starwood Buyout; Link Your Accounts To Transfer Points, Match Elite Status, And Take Advantage Of Each Program’s Strengths!
-Mileage Expiration And Points Transfer Chart For 54 Loyalty Programs, How To Keep Your Points From Expiring, And How To Bring Them Back To Life After They’ve Expired


A few months ago Marriott completed their buyout of Starwood and starting allowing members to transfer points back and forth at a surprisingly fair ratio of 1 Starpoint to 3 Marriott Rewards Points.

I noted in this post that transferring Marriott points to Starwood extends the life of your Starpoints, but transferring Starpoints to Marriott points does not extend the life of your Marriott points.

Marriott has a 24 month expiration policy. Here is a list of activity that Marriott considers as qualifying to extend the life of your points.
FT member “Astrophsx” notes that his last qualifying Marriott activity was on 10/6/14. He transferred Starpoints to Marriott on 10/15/16. On 11/23/16 Marriott expired those points.

After several hours of work he was able to get those points reinstated, but there are lessons worth learning here. If you have a Marriott account that had points expire, don’t transfer Starpoints there and let them sit or else they will be lost. In fact there’s no reason to leave any points sitting in a Marriott account as Starwood’s expiration extension policy is far friendlier.

There are plenty of good reasons to transfer Starpoints to Marriott such as during the recent lucrative United+7 nights transfer promo or for a Southwest companion pass, though you should wait until 2017 to transfer points to Southwest. But I don’t recommend keeping any points in the Marriott program until you’re ready to redeem them.

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Turkish Airlines: Fly 1 Paid Round-Trip And Get Enough Miles For A Free Round-Trip Award Ticket!

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Update: Turkish Airlines has just added the following new rule to the promo page:
“Only the segmented members who be informed by Turkish Airlines can benefit from this campaign. Usage rights within the campaign can not be transferred to third parties. Turkish Airlines reserves legal rights in case of violation of this rule.”

For a limited time you can still view the page and save a screenshot as it was yesterday here.

I tweeted Turkish Airlines yesterday to confirm the promo details.

You can tweet Turkish Airlines @TK_HelpDesk and @turkishairlines and you can file an official DoT complaint here about their changing of the offer’s terms without notice.


Turkish Airlines: Buy A Round-Trip Ticket And Get Enough Miles For A Free Award Ticket!

In order to view the promo you will have to click on “Revert to old version” twice and then click on the link above again.

For example you can fly from:
-JFK to Tel Aviv from 12/7-12/14 for $789 in coach and you’ll get 64K Turkish miles for a future free round-trip coach ticket.
-Tel Aviv to JFK from 12/8-12/13 for $789 in coach and you’ll get 64K Turkish miles for a future free round-trip coach ticket.
-JFK to Tel Aviv from 12/13-12/20 for $2,724 in business and you’ll get 94K Turkish miles for a future free round-trip business ticket.

You must complete travel by 12/27/16 and give a Turkish mileage number at the time of booking to qualify for this bonus.

You can view how many miles you’ll earn with this promotion by looking at the Turkish Airlines award chart.

Coach passengers can check 2×50 pound bags and business passengers can check 2×70 pound bags.

Turkish Airlines’ US destinations include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, JFK, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington DC.

Turkish is a very highly rated airline. Thousands of religious Jews have taken their flights without issues and report that service has been far superior to other airlines. Turkish has an award winning Star Alliance lounge in Istanbul. They operate a whopping 8 flights a day between Istanbul and Tel Aviv.

Turkish offers freshly made kosher meals in all classes and they are highly rated! They are made in Turkey and are kosher supervised by the OK.

The full terms are as follows:
-With your roundtrip ticket purchased until 27 December 2016, you will be awarded with Miles equal to the amount of a roundtrip Award Ticket on the same route.
-This offer is valid from 10 November 2016 to 27 December 2016
-Flight starting point should be outside of Turkey.
-Tickets must be issued as round-trip and must be flown.
-Mileage earned from the flight will be rounded to the amount of the same round trip limited capacity award ticket.
-The related promotion will be applied only for Turkish Airlines scheduled flights. Promotion is not permitted on Turkish Airlines codeshare flights and Star Alliance member airline flights
-Only the flights issued during reservation or at the time of ticketing to the Miles&Smiles account will be considered valid.
-Retroclaim requests are not included for this promotion.
-Extra miles earned from this promotion will be posted to member’s account on 20th of January, 2017.
-All reservation classes (Economy/Business) except award ticket classes are valid for this promotion.
-Turkish Airlines has the right to change terms and conditions of the promotion.
-A member can join to this promotion only one time.
-If there is more than one round-trip flight within promotion dates, only the first one will be considered valid for promotion.

HT: Hershelsdeals, via DDF


Join the 77,800+ people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted.

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Convert Hotel Points To Cathay Pacific Asia Miles And Get A 30% Bonus, 20K Starpoints=32.5K Asia Miles; OneWorld Mileage Bargains

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Convert Hotel Points To Cathay Pacific Asia Miles And Get A 30% Bonus

-Convert hotel points between 12/1-12/31 Hong Kong time and get a 30% bonus.
-Bonus miles will be added by 3/31/17.

-20K Starpoints normally converts into 25K Asia Miles. With this promotion it will convert into 32.5K Asia Miles once the bonus is added. That’s an effective 62.5% bonus.
-270K Marriott points (90K Starpoints can transfer to 270K Marriott points) normally converts into 85K Asia Miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel. With this promotion it will convert into 110.5K Asia Miles once the bonus is added.

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. I earned my first million miles with one airline on Cathay thanks to their eBay Anything Points partnership and have flown in many memorable first class flights around the world with them.

Like many OneWorld airlines, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles has a distance based chart. However unlike the charts of British Airways and LAN, they don’t charge more miles for connecting flights.

Cathay Pacific also charges lower fuel surcharges for travel on British Airways than other carriers do which is great as BA has the best OneWorld award availability.

Asia Miles also has access to more Cathay Pacific saver awards than partner airlines do.

This chart of every OneWorld flight from NYC will give you an idea of how many Asia Miles you’ll need for an award flight.

For example:
-A round-trip on American from JFK-Los Angeles in business class is just 50K miles and in first class is just 70K miles. American charges 65K in business and 100K in first. Of course the trick is finding American saver award space…
-A round-trip on British Airways from JFK-London in business class is just 80K miles and in first class is just 120K miles. American charges 115K in business and 170K in first and charges higher fuel surcharges.
-A round-trip on American from JFK-Rio de Janeiro in coach is just 45K miles and in business class is just 80K miles. American charges 60K in coach and 115K in business.
-A round-trip on Cathay from JFK-Vancouver in business class is just 50K miles and in first class is just 70K miles. American charges 75K in business and 125K in first and chargers more fuel surcharges.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

Will you be transferring Starpoints or Marriott points to Cathay Pacific with this promotion?

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Now Is The Best Time To Apply For A Sapphire Reserve Or Business Platinum “Hybrid Card”

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Earlier this week I explained the extreme value offered by “hybrid cards” like Chase Sapphire Reserve and AMEX Business Platinum.

Each of those cards offer 100,000 points for signing up and meeting the spend requirements.

The game changing aspect is that you can choose to transfer them into airline miles when tickets are expensive, or you can use them for paid tickets when tickets are less expensive. Combined with other cards you are looking at a value for travel of 2.25% back on everyday spend and up to 7.5% in specific spending categories on Sapphire Reserve for paid tickets (potentially more with transfers to miles). Or combined with other cards you’ll get a value of value for travel of 3% on everyday spend and up to 20% on Business Platinum (potentially more with transfers to miles). Yesterday’s post explains the nuances involved with those calculations.

The hybrid cards aren’t cheap, they cost $450/year each. But they come laden with benefits like lounge memberships (4 different varieties with AMEX Platinum or with unlimited free guests on Sapphire Reserve), elite status (3 with AMEX Platinum), 10 annual free in-flight WiFi with AMEX Platinum, bonus spend points (triple points on ravel and dining with Sapphire Reserve, Global Entry/Pre-Check fee refunds on both cards, and most importantly, the ability to increase the value of all of your AMEX or Chase points when redeeming for travel.

The annual travel credit that each card offers help reduce the effective annual fee.

-The Sapphire Reserve offers a very generous automatic $300 credit for anything that is travel related. All travel related transactions will be automatically refunded until you reach $300.

Unlike what some Chase reps may claim, you can earn that credit once per calendar year, not per cardmember year. But the key is that the spending needs to be completed before your December billing statement prints.

Right now you can apply for the card and take advantage of $900 in travel credits in your first cardmembership year. You can get $300 in travel credit before your December 2016 statement prints. You can get $300 in travel credit anytime after that point until your December 2017 statement prints, and you can get $300 in travel credit in December 2017 right after your December statement prints. Your first annual fee will be due in January 2017 and your next annual fee won’t be due until January 2018.

People that have been approved for the card now are reporting that their first due date will be between January 15-23. If you have a due date of January 15 that means your statement end date is December 18. If you have a due date of January 22 that means your statement end date is December 26. Try to spend a couple of days before then and you will be good to go.

-The AMEX Business Platinum offers a $200 credit for fees related to an airline of your choice. This credit goes strictly by calendar year, but the same concept applies here. If you apply now you can spend $200 in December 2016, $200 in 2017, and $200 on 1/1/18. Your first annual fee will be due in mid-January 2017 and your next annual fee won’t be due until mid-January 2018.

I’ll make another post shortly with a list of items that qualify for credits on both cards.

With either card you should be able take full advantage of a triple-dip now. That’s 3 travel credits in your first cardmembership year. Of course you’ll also get another travel credit credit in each subsequent cardmembership year that will help take most of the sting out of their $450 annual fees so that you can enjoy the cards other amazing benefits at an affordable cost.

There’s no better time to apply for either card than right now.

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Flying Blue Discounted Promo Awards To Europe/Israel Now Bookable For January-February; JFK To/From Tel Aviv For 18,750 Miles

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Update: Today is last day to book this promo for the current cities. The promo can end as early as 6pm EST.


Originally posted on 11/1:

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 charges fuel surcharges on their own flights but not on Delta flights. However availability is significantly 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 25K miles each way in coach and 62.5K miles each way in business class to Israel but they run rotating monthly promo awards throughout the year that are valid for select cities.

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

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

-You need to book the current promo awards by 11/30.

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

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

-With the current offer you can fly in January or February in either direction between Boston, Chicago, Houston, JFK,  or San Francisco, and Israel, Europe, or Russia for 18,750 miles each way in coach.

-With the current offer you can fly in February in either direction between Detroit, or Washington DC, and Israel, Europe, or Russia for 18,750 miles each way in coach.

-You can fly in January or February in either direction between Calgary, Edmonton, or Montreal, or Vancouver and Israel, Europe, or Russia for 46,875 miles each way in business class.

-You can fly in February in either direction between Vancouver and Israel, Europe, or Russia for 46,875 miles each way in business class.

-Availability is wide open:

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Want to pickup some Flying Blue miles?
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers from all banks.

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

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

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

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

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card (limited time 50K signup bonus) or The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN (limited time 100K signup bonus).

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and for a limited time offers 10 points per dollar at restaurants, 2 points per dollar everywhere, and a 30% annual points bonus based on the past year’s purchases. However you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

Citi Thank You Premier, Prestige, and Chairman cardholders can also transfer points into Flying Blue. You can find credit card offers by issuing bank in the “other credit cards” tab at the top of this site.

Chase cards includes Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Plus. Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Cash can also earn points, but you’ll need one of the aforementioned cards to transfer points from those cards into airline miles.

HT: davidmal, via DDF

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United 25% Transfer Bonus: Transfer 18,667 Starpoints Into 31,250 United Miles, 75K SPG Into 152K Miles, Or 90K SPG Into 152K Miles And 7 Nights In A Marriott Hotel!

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Update: Today is the last day for the 25% United transfer bonus!

You can buy Starpoints on sale here.

You must call Marriott at 800-321-7396 if you want to book a miles+nights package.


Originally posted on 10/14:

You can register here for 25% bonus when you transfer hotel points to United miles.

United just massively devalued their miles by eliminating stopovers and eliminating the ability to select your own award routing. Either you like what United.com shows you or you’ll need to pay more. But that’s not to say there isn’t still value left in the program.

-The promotion runs through 11/30. It is run by United, so you won’t see any mention of it on the hotel’s points site or during the transfer process.

-United will add 25% bonus miles for all transfers from hotel programs made between 10/12-11/30. (Transfers from Club Carlson will be multiplied by 40%, and transfers from Choice Privileges will be multiplied by 50%, all other chains will be multiplied by 25%.)

-You can earn up to 20K bonus miles with this promotion per United account.

-United will add the bonus miles by 1/31/17.

You won’t want to transfer Starpoints directly to United. While 20K Starwood points can transfer into 25K airline miles with dozens of airlines it only transfers into 12.5K United miles.

However you can transfer 56K Marriott Rewards points into 25K United miles. United will add 25% more miles, leaving you with 31,250 miles.

You can transfer 19K Starwood points into 57K Marriott Rewards points, which will give you 25K United miles and you’ll have 1,000 Marriott Rewards leftover. You can convert those leftover points back into 333 Starpoints. Effectively you can transfer 18,667 Starpoints into 31,250 United miles, an effective 56.3% bonus compared Starwood’s normal 25% bonus!

The maximum you can earn is 20K bonus United miles. You can transfer 56K Starpoints into 168K Marriott points which will earn 75K United miles before the bonus and 93,750 miles after the 25% bonus.

-Don’t forget that if you have Starwood Platinum Status you can match it to Marriott Platinum which will also get you United Silver status!

-An even better deal is with Marriott’s miles+nights packages. 90K Starpoints transfers into 270K Marriott Rewards points. That can be used for 152K United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel with the 20K bonus miles from this United promotion. Even if you don’t use the 7 night hotel certificate being able to transfer 90K Starpoints into 152K United miles is an effective 68.9% transfer bonus!

-Alternatively about 83,333 Starpoints becomes 250K Marriott points which is enough for 130,000 United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel with the 20K bonus miles from this United promotion. Even if you don’t use the 7 night hotel certificate being able to transfer 83,333 Starpoints into 130K United miles is an effective 56% transfer bonus!

-The 7 night hotel certificate expires in 1 year, though Marriott currently will extend them for 1 additional year if you contact them. You don’t need to choose the hotel at the time of a nights+miles redemption.

-Some agents will refund 45K Marriott points (15K Starpoints) if you return the 7 night stay certificate, but not all agents will do that. If you find an agent to do that you can effectively use 75K Starpoints for 152K United miles, an effective 102.7% transfer bonus.

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-If you wanted 7 nights at the tier 3 Ritz-Carlton Herzliya you would need 420K Marriott or 140K Starpoints for that stay and 152K United miles.

-If you wanted 7 nights at the category 7 Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel you would need 330K Marriott or 110K Starpoints for that stay and 152K United miles.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

Will you be transferring Starpoints to United with this promotion?

HT: yelped, via DDF

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Are Bank Points Overtaking The Value Of Airline Miles? 2 Hybrid Cards Allow You To Lock In The Best Of Both Worlds

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

I’ve always been an advocate of using airline miles over proprietary points from banks.

However the hits keep coming for airlines and the value of their miles.

After gobbling up airlines like Airtran, Continental, Northwest, and USAirways, the remaining airlines have made it increasingly expensive to earn elite status, while reducing benefits at the same time. They have reduced hub service and capacity in order to raise airfares. They have stopped awarding miles for flights based on distance flown. Their cheapest fares will no longer include free carry-ons.

They have all devalued their award charts, nearly doubling the cost of many awards:

-United massively devalued their award chart in February 2014.
-Delta removed their award charts from public view in February 2015. They have been stealthily making monthly devaluations since then, though their award availability has improved somewhat.
-Southwest has made a number of devaluations to their points value, despite having a fixed value that shouldn’t need devaluation like traditional award charts do when airline tickets get more expensive.
-American forced British Airways to charge 7.5K for their awards on AA instead of 4.5K in February of this year.
-American made huge devaluations to their own award chart in March of this year.

American, which once had the best saver award availability, has made it nearly impossible to redeem for saver awards. They have also increased the cost of their anytime award to eye-watering levels.

That’s not to say you can’t get some amazing values from airline miles. But it’s become increasingly difficult.

In the meantime there is still healthy competition in the credit card industry.

Non-convertible point cards:

-A 2% cash back card, like Citi Double Cash becomes increasingly compelling in the face of mileage devaluations, though that card has no signup bonus.

-The Capital One Spark Cash for Business offers a $500 bonus for spending $4,500 and 2% cash back.

-The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is offering 50K points for signing up for a limited time. It offers 2 miles per dollar everywhere and a 5% refund when you redeem points for travel.

The problem with non-convertible cards is that they can’t transfer points into real miles. There are hundreds of times that I’ve redeemed points for tickets that would have been prohibitively expensive without miles. Accumulating straight cash back or points that can’t be converted into miles leaves you at risk when airfare is expensive.

Convertible point cards:

Convertible cards traditionally offer a poor value for paid airfare. They allow you to transfer points into miles, but when tickets are inexpensive it’s not worth using miles. Devaluations and increasingly tight capacity controls have also hurt the value of miles.

But just in the past few months we now have 2 credit cards that offer the best of both worlds.

Let’s call them Hybrid cards.

Hybrid card #1: Chase Sapphire Reserve:

Chase launched the Sapphire Reserve in August and it has been wildly successful. It costs $450/year, but there are many intriguing benefits that make up for that including:
-100,000 points for signing up and meeting the spend threshold.
-$300 in travel spending per calendar year that is refunded back automatically
-Priority Pass lounge membership with unlimited free guests
-3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining
-Global Entry+TSA Pre-Check fee refund

But often times overlooked is that cardholders can use all of their Chase points at a value of 1.5 cents each towards airfare, hotels, car rentals, and vacation activities.
That means you can use 44K points today for a round-trip to Israel that would cost 80-170K miles from the airlines. Plus when you use the credit card points it covers the tax and you earn miles for the flight as if you had paid for it.

You can login to your account and redeem Chase points for travel here.

The same United flight that is 49.9K Chase points…

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…would cost 170K United miles+$46:

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The same Delta flight that is 49.9K Chase points…

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…would cost 140K Delta miles+$46:

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That means you effectively get back 4.5% on travel and dining spending on the Sapphire Reserve card.

You can earn even more by spending on other Chase cards
-If you have a Freedom Unlimited card you earn 1.5 points per dollar everywhere that are worth 2.25% towards travel when you transfer them to Sapphire Reserve.
-If you have a Freedom card you earn 5 points per dollar on rotating categories that are worth 7.5% towards travel when you transfer them to Sapphire Reserve.
-If you have Ink Plus or Ink Cash card you earn 5 points per dollar on office supplies, gift cards from office supply stores to hundreds of other stores, and telecom that are worth 7.5% towards travel when you transfer them to Sapphire Reserve. Gas, hotel, and dining purchases also have double point bonuses worth 3% towards travel.
-If you have Ink Business Preferred card you earn 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable, and telecom, and advertising on social media and search engines.that are worth 4.5% towards travel when you transfer them to Sapphire Reserve.

That means you can be earning between 2.25%-7.5% back everywhere.

The great thing about a Hybrid card like Sapphire Reserve is that if you need a one-way ticket, a last minute ticket, or a business/first class ticket you can transfer them instantly into real airline miles, assuming the value is better there. But if it’s not you can still get a great value from your points by redeeming them directly for a ticket without transferring them into miles.

That means you can use 53,375 Singapore miles (transferable from AMEX or Chase) to fly in Singapore Suites class:

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Instead of paying $5.3K or using 353K Chase points:

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Hybrid card #2: AMEX Business Platinum:

In October, AMEX responded to Sapphire Reserve by greatly increasing the value of The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.

It also has nice benefits that also make its $450 annual fee worthwile:
-Up to 100,000 points for signing up and meeting the spend threshold.
-10 annual GoGo in-flight WiFi passes
-Unlimited worldwide Boingo WiFi access
-$200 in airline fee credits per calendar year to spend on the airline of your choice.
-Lost item insurance
-Priority Pass lounge membership
-Centurion lounge access
-Delta lounge access
-Airspace lounge access
-Global Entry+TSA Pre-Check fee refund
-Hilton, SPG, and Marriott elite status

AMEX then added:
-A 50% rebate on points used for coach tickets on the airline of your choice
-A 50% rebate on points used for business/first class tickets on all airlines
-50% bonus points on $5K+ purchases

Thanks to the 50% rebate your points are worth at least 2 cents each. The rebate typically posts the day after redeeming points.

Having other AMEX cards increases the value proposition further:
-If you have The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express you earn 1.5 points per dollar everywhere that are worth 3% towards travel when you transfer them to AMEX Business Platinum. You’ll also earn 4.5 points per dollar on groceries that are worth 9% towards travel and 3 points per dollar on gas that are worth 6% towards travel.
-If you have the consumer AMEX Platinum card you earn 5 points per dollar on airfare that are worth 10% towards travel when you transfer them to AMEX Business Platinum.
-If you have the AMEX Blue for Business card you earn 1.3 points per dollar after the 30% annual dividend that are worth 2.6% towards travel when you transfer them to AMEX Business Platinum. Plus you’ll earn double points everywhere and 10 points per dollar at restaurants for a limited time that are worth more than 20% towards travel after the annual dividend when you transfer them to AMEX Business Platinum.
-If you have the consumer Premier Rewards Gold card you earn 3 points per dollar on airfare that are worth 6% towards travel when you transfer them to AMEX Business Platinum. Groceries and gas will earn 2 points per dollar worth 4% towards airfare.
-If you have the AMEX Business Gold you earn 2 or 3 points per dollar on categories of your choice that are worth 4-6% towards travel when you transfer them to AMEX Business Platinum.

You can login to your account and redeem AMEX points for travel here.

If you redeem 74,879 points for a ticket you’ll get 37,440 of them refunded back to you within a couple days. That’s a value of 2 cents per point.

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That’s an amazing value per point, though it comes with the annoyances of having to lock in one airline per year for coach travel and it requires waiting for the 50% rebate to come. You may have luck switching your airline of choice online via chat or over the phone, especially if you haven’t yet used your $200 in annual fee credit on that airline.

The 50% rebate for business or first class is for all airlines.

Instead of using 450K Delta miles plus $52 for business class…

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…you can use 113,319 AMEX points for business class after the 50% rebate. You’ll pay no tax and you’ll even earn miles for the flight!
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Of course having these hybrid cards gives you the flexibility to use your points at a 1.5-2 cent fixed value or to transfer into airline miles when they prove more valuable:

For example this flight tomorrow would cost just 10K United miles (which can be transferred instantly from Chase)…

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…instead of paying $573 or using 38K Chase points:

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The flexibility that hybrid cards like Sapphire Reserve and AMEX Business Platinum offer put you one step ahead of the airlines. And it hinders their ability to devalue your points in the future.

Have you taken advantage of the benefits of these hybrid cards? Share your experience in the comments!

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Enroll In Double AMEX Membership Rewards Points At Select Stores

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Enroll In Double AMEX Membership Rewards Points At Select Stores

This offer is only for Membership Rewards cards.

Note that you can only enroll one card per login, though you can always make a new login for a card.

You can also enroll in double points for spending at small businesses here. And you can check if you are targeted for a Starwood spending bonus here.

HT: cashasap, via DDF

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5,000 Bonus AMEX Points For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Premier Rewards Gold Card And Spending $500

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Related: 2,500 Bonus Delta Miles For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Delta Gold Consumer Card And Spending $500


5.000 Bonus AMEX Points For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Premier Rewards Gold Card And Spending $500

If you add a free additional user to your Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express via the link above and spend $500 on the new additional card within 3 months you will get 5,000 bonus AMEX point.

You can add up to 5 additional users onto this card for free. There is a limit of 1 5K point bonus per primary card account.

The terms state that the bonus points can take 8-12 weeks to post, though typically they post much quicker than that.

Additional AMEX cards also qualify for AMEX Offers.

Additional Card Members must be at least 15 years of age. You are able to add yourself, a family member, or a friend as an additional user.

A social security number is required for this offer. There is no hard credit pull for adding an additional user.

However the account will show up on their credit report, which means that spending on the card can help or hurt their credit score depending on your credit utilization and payments.

An additional user card will also count against the user with Chase, which limits approvals for many of their cards if you have had more than 5 new accounts in the past 24 months. It is possible to appeal that decision based on it being an authorized user account if you say that you don’t use it and aren’t responsible for payment on the card, but some have been turned down because of that approval guideline. It is possible to have the additional user account removed from the credit report by closing it and requesting removal from the bank and/or all 3 credit bureaus.

HT: yitzyul, via DDF

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Excellent Business Class Award Space To Europe For 37K Or Israel For 57K AMEX Points Round-Trip

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Brussels currently has excellent coach and business class award space to Europe and Israel.

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The least expensive way to book a Brussels award ticket is with Etihad. You can view the award chart here.

-A round-trip between JFK and Brussels is 21,972 miles in coach or 36,620 miles in business.
-A round-trip between Brussels and Tel Aviv is 12,096 miles in coach or 20,160 miles in business.

A business class flight from JFK to Tel Aviv would be the sum total of those requirements, or 56,780 miles round-trip.

DDF member jmansour just booked 3 business class awards to Israel for next Sukkos for 56,780 miles plus $100 in taxes per passenger. There are no fuel surcharges.

Etihad partner awards must be booked over the phone at 877-690-0767 and then click 1, 2, and then 1 to reach an agent. Etihad agents are very hit or miss, so booking a Brussels award can require some HUCA.

You also need to book Etihad partner awards at least 14 days in advance of travel.

Etihad also has incredible award charts for other airlines, like American and GOL and they don’t charge fuel surcharges. Etihad still uses American’s far more lucrative old award chart and discounted off-peak travel dates.

Etihad miles expire 24 months after they were earned.

You can transfer AMEX (1:1), Citi (1:1), or Starwood (20K:25K) points to Etihad, but only AMEX points transfer instantly. The best plan of attack would be to call Etihad, find an agent that sees the award space you need, ask for them to hold while you transfer AMEX points to Etihad, and then complete the booking.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers from all banks.

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

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

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

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

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card (limited time 50K signup bonus) or The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN (limited time 100K signup bonus).

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and for a limited time offers 10 points per dollar at restaurants, 2 points per dollar everywhere, and a 30% annual points bonus based on the past year’s purchases. However you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

Citi Thank You Premier, Prestige, and Chairman cardholders can also transfer points into Etihad miles. You can find credit card offers by issuing bank in the “credit card offers” tab at the top of this site.

HT: Yaalili, via DDF and Lucky

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Samsung Pay: Earn $5 For Signing Up Plus Earn $15 For Using A Chase Card 3 Times

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S6 Active, Note 5, S7, S7 Edge, or S7 Active devices have Samsung Pay.

-If you haven’t made any purchases yet, you can open the app, click on “promotions”, scroll down to enter a referral code, and enter my referral code for $5 in rewards: 715B46

-If you click on “promotions” you can also opt in to earn $15 in rewards if you use a Chase card to make 3 purchases by 12/31 at 8pm EST. This is valid for the first 100K people who opt-in, so you’ll want to opt in now. The 3 purchases must be at least 3 minutes or more apart from each other. The $15 reward will come in the form of a Visa gift card that will be added to your Samsung Pay wallet.

HT: nafnaf12, via DDF

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Get $15 Off $300 Of Visa Gift Cards From Office Max Or Office Depot This Week

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Get $15 off $300 in Visa gift cards from Office Max or Office Depot stores through 11/26.

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

Last December my local store let me buy 60 cards as I racked up the miles in record time.

There’s a limit of 1 $15 savings per transaction. Some emplyees will allow multiple transactions and others will not.

If you buy 2 $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $398.90 including fees and you’ll earn 1,995 points by charging it to an Ink Plus or Ink Cash card. If you buy a $200 gift card and a $100 gift card you’ll pay $297.90 including fees and you’ll earn 1,490 points by charging it to an Ink Plus or Ink Cash card.

You can use the gift cards to buy money orders at Walmart or at various grocery stores, gas stations or some post offices. Just use the last 4 digits of the card as the PIN number to cash them out.

Or you can donate the gift card to charity and get a receipt for the full $200 face value.

Or you can give away a gift card as a wedding or Bar Mitzvah gift.

Or you can always use it for everyday spending.

HT: davidmal, via DDF and DoC

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Buy $300 In Mastercard Gift Cards From Staples This Week And Get A Free $15 Staples Gift Card Via Easy Rebate

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

If you buy $300+ in Mastercard gift cards from Staples between 11/20 and 11/26 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $15 Staples gift card.

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

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

Use your Ink Plus or Ink Cash card to earn 5 points per dollar.

That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. Plus you’ll get the $15 Staples card via Easy Rebate.

These Mastercards should have the PIN number in the package. They’re a bit trickier to use at WalMart, you need to hit cancel on the keypad after swiping it in order to change it to a debit payment before using it to load Bluebird, buying money orders, or using bill pay.

You can also buy money orders at various grocery stores, gas stations or at some post offices.

Or you can donate the gift card to charity and get a receipt for the full $200 face value.

Or you can give away a gift card as a wedding or Bar Mitzvah gift.

Or you can always use it for everyday spending.

HT: tzfas, via DDF and FM

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25 Free Hertz Points

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Register for the Hertz Holiday promo here and you’ll instantly be awarded with 25 points.

Just register, logout, and log back in again and your point balance will be 25 points higher than it was previously.

Free rentals start at 550 points.

Unfortunately free points no longer extend the expiration of your Hertz points, you now need to earn or redeem points on a rental every 24 months, other activity no longer qualifies.

HT: Baglach, via DDF

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2,500 Bonus Delta Miles For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Delta Gold Consumer Card And Spending $500

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

2,500 Bonus Delta Miles For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Delta Gold Consumer Card And Spending $500

If you add a free additional user to your Delta Gold consumer account via the link above and spend $500 on the new additional card within 3 months you will get 2,500 bonus Delta miles. There is a limit of 1 bonus per primary Delta account.

The Delta Gold card currently is offering a limited time 50K signup bonus.

The terms state that the bonus points can take 8-12 weeks to post, though typically they post much quicker than that.

Additional AMEX cards qualify for AMEX Offers. You can have up to 99 additional users on a primary card account, but the bonus is only for adding 1 card.

Additional Card Members must be at least 15 years of age. You are able to add yourself, a family member, or a friend as an additional user.

A social security number is required for this offer. There is no hard credit pull for adding an additional user.

However the account will show up on their credit report, which means that spending on the card can help or hurt their credit score depending on your credit utilization and payments.

An additional user card will also count against the user with Chase, which limits approvals for many of their cards if you have had more than 5 new accounts in the past 24 months. It is possible to appeal that decision based on it being an authorized user account if you say that you don’t use it and aren’t responsible for payment on the card, but some have been turned down because of that approval guideline. It is possible to have the additional user account removed from the credit report by closing it and requesting removal from the bank and/or all 3 credit bureaus.

HT: Einstein, via DDF

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Get A 50% Bonus When You Transfer AMEX Points Into Avios

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Get A 50% Bonus When You Transfer AMEX Points Into Avios

Normally 250 AMEX points transfers into 200 Avios. With this bonus 250 AMEX points transfers into 300 Avios. This promotion runs through 12/31.

The bonus is only available for transfers into Iberia Avios.

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

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

There is no minimum transfer amount:

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

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

If not you can open an Iberia account here.

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

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

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

Here is the Iberia Avios award chart for travel on AA. Rates are for round-trips and are the same regardless of the number of connections:

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And here is the BA Avios award chart for partner airlines. Rates are for each segment flown.

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

Note that using Iberia Avios are more complicated than BA. Their website is terrible and often requires calling to book. They also only have round-trip awards and you can’t make changes or cancel partner award travel. But you can save quite a few Avios if you’re persistent.

Of course this is all assuming you can find AA award space for your journey. Be sure to search before you transfer.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card (limited time 50K signup bonus) or The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN (limited time 100K signup bonus).

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and for a limited time offers 10 points per dollar at restaurants, 2 points per dollar everywhere, and a 30% annual points bonus based on the past year’s purchases. However you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

HT: Yaalili, via DDF

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American First Class Awards Booked With Avios Just Got A Lot Cheaper…If You Can Find Saver Award Space

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

BA Avios was one of my favorite mileage currencies before American pulled the rug out and stopped releasing saver award space. BA can only book American flights when AA.com is showing saver award space.

Ironically that happened earlier this year after they devalued their award chart and forced BA to devalue their award chart for AA flights. That led to these posts:
-What Exactly Is American’s AAdvantage?
-A Comparison Of AA, Delta, And United Saver Award Space: Is AAdvantage The New SkyPesos?
-Is AAdvantage A ScAAm? See For Yourself And Let The DoT Know

Compounding matters is that AA has always used a first class fare code for the front cabin on 2 class planes for domestic flights. That meant flying first class with Avios was prohibitively expensive.

That has finally changed. Effective for flights on or after 1/11/17 the front cabin on 2 class planes will have a business class fare code.

For example this Philadelphia to Chicago flight in first class will now cost 15K Avios instead of 30K Avios:
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Unfortunately American is still incredibly stingy with their saver award space. Many routes have no first class saver award space at all after 1/11, but hopefully that’s due to the fare class changes and space will improve shortly.

 

You can see in this BA award chart just how many Avios the reclassification will save you.
-Zone 2 NYC to Miami in first drops from 30K to 15K.
-Zone 3 Chicago to LA drops from 40K to 20K.
-Zone 4 Los Angeles to Hawaii drops from 50K to 37.5K.

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

HT: Gary

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Even With Delta’s Business Class Flash Sale To Europe, There’s A Cheaper Way To Book

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Delta eliminated their award charts last year, though I saved screenshots of all of them.

And yet they frequently have award sales. They had a Hawaii sale recently, but I pointed out that even with the sale it was significantly cheaper to book awards with Korean miles for travel on Delta as Korean considers Hawaii to be in the same zone as a regular domestic flight!

Now they are having a business class sale for travel to Europe. You can book round-trip saver award travel for 99K miles instead of 140K miles.

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You need to book travel by tomorrow and fly between March 1-June 30.

That’s a great deal if you’re sitting on a pile of Delta miles, but if you don’t there are other options.

Korean is famous for having the best first class award space in the industry, but they also have an excellent Skyteam award chart.

If you have Chase points you transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to Korean and book that same Delta saver award for 80K miles round-trip. And that’s their regular price, not a sale price! As long as Delta has 140K round-trip business class awards to Europe available on their site (or 99K with this promo) then Korean can book it for 80K round-trip.

You need to call Korean to book award travel on Delta at 800-438-5000. As always, be sure to call to check for award space before transferring points.

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Chase’s Highest Ink Public Signup Bonus: Chase Ink Business Preferred Offering 80K Signup Points And…Cell Phone Protection

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers from all banks or view offers via the CreditCards.com banners on the side of this site.

Chase has launched the Ink Business Preferred card.

If offers 80,000 points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

It also offers 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable, and telecom, and advertising on social media and search engines. You can earn 3 points per dollar on $150K in spending per cardmember year.

There is a $95 annual fee. If you apply for the card in a bank that fee may be waived, though you should be able to request via secure message that the fee be waived to match in in-branch offer. Additional cardholders are free. There are no foreign transaction fees.

One unique protection that the card comes with is cell phone protection. If you pay your cell phone bill with the card you’ll get $600 per claim against theft or damage to your cell phone with a $100 deductible, valid for 3 claims within 12 months. You can make a claim for any cell phone that’s listed on the bill!

The Ink Plus card is now discontinued, though the no-fee Ink Cash card is still alive and offering 5 points per dollar on office supplies and telecom.

Applying for a business card and the benefits of business card spending:

The Ink cards are business cards. But you may be already running a business that qualifies for a business card and there are several huge advantages that business cards have over consumer cards as you can read here.

The Ink cards are subject to 5/24, though getting an Ink card doesn’t count towards your 5/24 count as AMEX/Chase/Citi business cards don’t show up on your credit report.

If you’re like me and you run more than one business you can signup for multiple of the same card for each business to manage each businesses expenses separately.

For example if your name is Joe Smith and you sell items online, or if you have any other side business and want a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures you can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.

A great thing about these business cards is that they don’t report your spending on your personal credit report.

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

On a business card it’s just not reported, so you can wait until the money is due without it having a negative effect on your score. Plus if you close a business card it won’t ever have an effect on your score.

Cash back:

Ink cards can be registered for Visa Savings Edge.

With that program you earn cash back on top of points. For example you’ll earn 1% cash back at Chevron, and Texaco, 2% cash back at TigerDirect, 4% cash back at Alamo and National, 5% cash back at B%H Photo, Lenovo, and several hotel brands.

Point Currency:

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

You can also use them with a 1.25 cents per point value on travel. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card you can transfer the points to that card and get a 1.5 cents per point value, which would make the signup bonus worth at least $1,200.

Or you can transfer points into miles.

Transfer partners include:
United (Star Alliance) is an excellent currency. They never charge fuel surcharges, have very flexible routing rules, they allow one-way awards for half the mileage, they have short-haul awards for 10,000 miles, they often run discounted award promotions, they allow for a stopover and an open-jaw so that you can really maximize a single award ticket into several free trips, and they have dozens of partners to fly on, most of which can be booked on their website.
British Airways (OneWorld) is awesome for short-haul awards, though partner American has been stingy with award space of late. Awards start from just 4.5K miles. Flights to Israel on Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. They allow one-way awards for half the mileage. There are no close-in or expedite fees. You can cancel an award for as little as $5.60. Infants are only charged 10% of the miles on international trips instead of 10% of the full fare like US carriers charge. Plus they don’t collect fuel surcharges on American within the western hemisphere, on Qantas from or within Australia, on Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Alaska, or LAN and you can transfer points to Iberia to limit fuel surcharges there as well.
You can read more in this post on everything you need to know about BA Avios. And you can see 110 places you can go to nonstop from NYC with Avios.
Korean (Skyteam) offers unbeatable first class availability (A380 First Class Trip Report here) and they also have true bargains on partner travel, just 30,000 miles to fly round-trip on Hawaiian or Alaska to Hawaii in coach or 60,000 miles in first. And it’s just 20,000 miles to fly to Alaska in coach or 40,000 miles in first. You can even get a free stopover on the way to or in Alaska! If there is Delta saver award space you can fly to Hawaii round-trip for just 25,000 miles in coach or 45,000 miles in business.
Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam) offers promo awards from rotating North American cities to Europe, Israel, and Russia from just 12,500 miles each way. Regular awards to Israel are just 25K miles each way, though some fuel surcharges apply on most airlines except for Delta.
Singapore (Star Alliance) offers private walled-in first class suites that can only be booked with their miles. A suite one-way from JFK to Europe is 57,375 miles. Travel to the US48, Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and Israel can all be had on the cheap. There are no close-in booking fees and changes and cancellations are very cheap. Fuel surcharges apply when flying on most airlines besides United. More info here.
Southwest offers a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel, though that rate can now vary. Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down.
Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta and often has sales for discounted awards to London.
Hyatt is a very powerful hotel currency. They have a cash and points option that offers some excellent values and more importantly those stays earn points, elite stay credits, promo credits, and you can use suite upgrades on cash and point stays as well. It remains far less expensive for high-end hotel stays than any other hotel program.
You can also funnel points through Hyatt to Southwest to qualify for a free Southwest Companion Pass which gives you a free companion every time you pay for or redeem for a free ticket.
-You can also transfer points to Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and IHG.

Will you be signing up for Chase Ink Business Preferred?

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Book JetBlue Award Tickets And Get 15% Back, JetBlue Plus Cardholders Get 25% Back! 6 Examples Of Where You Can Fly For Less Than 5K Points

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Update: This promo ends today!

Originally posted on 11/10:

Related: Which New JetBlue Card Is Right For You?


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

-If you register via the link above and book award tickets by 11/14 for travel completed by 1/14/17 you’ll get a rebate of 15% of your points.
-Offer not valid for previously booked flights or changes to a previously-booked flight.
-Points will be automatically deposited to the TrueBlue account used to book travel.
-In the event you cancel your reservation, or change your reservation so that it no longer complies with the terms for this offer, you will not receive any TrueBlue points back.
-Please allow 4-6 weeks after your flight for points to be posted to your TrueBlue account.

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

If you have a JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard you always get free checked bags and a 10% points rebate, but in this case you’ll get a full 25% rebate as both the 10% rebate and the 15% rebate will come off the original points rate paid. The card comes with a 30K signup bonus for spending $1,000 in 90 days. It has a $99 annual fee but it also comes with 5,000 bonus points (5,500 after the rebate) every year that pretty much covers the cost of the card. There is a no annual fee JetBlue World Mastercard, but it doesn’t give free bags or a points rebate.

What’s are JetBlue points worth? It all depends on the flights you take, but here are 3 examples:
1. JFK-Chicago on 12/6 is $53.10 or 2.9K points+$5.60. That’s normally a value of 1.64 cents per point (53.10-5.60/2,900). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 2,465 points after getting back back 435 points and the value will be 1.93 cents per point (53.10-5.60/2,465). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 2,175 points after getting back 725 points and the value will be 2.18 cents per point (53.10-5.60/2,175).

2. Palm Springs, CA to JFK on 12/10 is $65.10 or 3.9K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.53 cents per point (65.10-5.60/3,900). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 3,315 points after getting back back 585 points and the value will be 1.79 cents per point (65.10-5.60/3,315. With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 2,925 points after getting back 975 points and the value will be 2..3 cents per point (65.10-5.60/2,925).

3. Newark-Fort Lauderdale on 12/11 is $56.10 or 3.2K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.5 cents per point (56.10-5.60/3,200). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 2,720 points after getting back back 480 points and the value will be 1.86 cents per point (56.10-5.60/2,720). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 2,400 points after getting back 800 points and the value will be 2.1 cents per point (56.10-5.60/2,400).

4. JFK-San Juan, Puerto Rico on 12/5 is $94.90 or 5K points+$5.60. That’s normally a value of 1.79 cents per point (94.90-5.60/5,000). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 4,250 points after getting back back 750 points and the value will be 2.1 cents per point (94.90-5.60/4,250). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 3,750 points after getting back 1,250 points and the value will be 2.38 cents per point (94.90-5.60/3,750).

5. JFK-Havana, Cuba on 12/11 is $98.90 or 3.5K points+$5.60. That’s normally a value of 2.67 cents per point (98.90-5.60/3,500). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 2,975 points after getting back back 525 points and the value will be 3.32 cents per point (98.90-5.60/2,975). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 2,625 points after getting back 875 points and the value will be 3.55 cents per point (98.90-5.60/2,625).

6. JFK-Bermuda on 12/4 is $76.90 or 3.7K points+$5.60. That’s normally a value of 1.93 cents per point (76.90-5.60/3,700). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 3,145 points after getting back back 555 points and the value will be 2.27 cents per point (76.90-5.60/3,145). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 2,775 points after getting back 925 points and the value will be 2.57 cents per point (76.90-5.60/2,775).

Or if you want to fly in a private Mint suite:

Los Angeles-JFK on a red-eye on 12/17 is $548.10 or 41.4K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.31 cents per point (548.10-5.60/41,400). With the 15% rebate you’ll pay 35,190 points after getting back back 6,210 points and the value will be 1.54 cents per point (548.10-5.60/35,190). With a 25% rebate you’ll pay 31,050 points after getting back 10,350 points and the value will be 1.75 cents per point (548.10-5.60/31,050).

–Note that there is a Zika outbreak in Miami, Cuba, and Puerto Rico so talk to your doctor before traveling there if you or your spouse are pregnant or want to become pregnant.

HT: Yaalili, via DDF


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You can even have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted.

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Connect To Marriott On Social Media And Instantly Get 1,600 Rewards Points; Extend The Life Of Your Starpoints

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Connect To Marriott On Social Media And Get 1,600 Rewards Points; Extend The Life Of Your Starpoints

Click “Sign Up” to link your Marriott number with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and you’ll get 500 points for each one.
After connecting you’ll have the option to follow Marriott on Instagram and Facebook to earn another 50 points each.

In total you’ll get 1,600 Marriott Rewards points and they post to your account instantly. Just logout and back into your account to view the points.

Marriott doesn’t count social media bonus points towards extending the validity of your points, but Starwood does. You can transfer your Marriott Rewards points instantly into Starwood Starpoints at a 3:1 ratio and they can go back from Starpoints into Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio at any time.

You won’t lose the points for disconnecting the accounts or unfollowing afterward.

I highly recommend having dedicated social media accounts that you use just for the purpose of these bonuses.

HT: davidmal, via DDF

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10 Final Thoughts On Throwing Out The First Pitch

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Continued from:
8 Years Ago Was The Biggest Night Of My Life, Tonight Will Try To Come Close As I Toss A Ceremonial First Pitch At Game 7 Of The World Series
On The “Value Proposition” Of Spending A Million Starpoints For The Experience Of A Lifetime
Video And The Experience Of Throwing Out The First Pitch In Game 7 Of The World Series


1. I still grin from ear to ear thinking about throwing out the first pitch before Game 7 of the World Series. A true childhood dream come true. Being able to walk onto the field with my wife (on our anniversary no less) and my grandfather made it that much more special.

Still can't get over being called up to the mound before game 7…what an experience!

A photo posted by @dansdeals on

 

 

Points come and points go, but there are only so many moments in life like that. How do you place a value on them?

2. I’ve always been of the opinion that miles are at their best when they’re used for dreams. I’ve redeemed my miles for countless aspirational redemptions and there’s no doubt that’s what makes mileage game so much fun. There wouldn’t be thousands of DDF obsessives if it was just about a free ticket to Miami.

Things I could never have imagined as a child are coming true.

I would never pay the asking price for a first class ticket, so the exact value obtained is fairly meaningless. My point is that the bottom line value goes out the door when you’re fulfilling your dreams.

When I write about flying in a Singapore couples suite for dinner in Paris or about taking the field before game 7 the message to my readers is the same: Dream big!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. I’ve built up a stash of tens of millions of miles over the past 15 years. Opening hundreds of credit cards, taking advantage of stackable Hyatt faster free nights promos, mileage running stacked with promos like free system wide award tickets of 10K bonus miles per segment, the JetBlue 300K mileage run, Wendy’s cups, transferring eBay anything points into miles, manufacturing points with Google Checkout, US Mint, Amazon Payments, gift cards, etc, etc.

I’ve been able to use over 10 million points to fly in first class on more flights than most people do in several lifetimes. Given that I don’t sell the points or use them for others due to the risks involved, the opportunity to use them for this was a dream come true.

If you’re not a die-hard Baseball fan then this will probably never make sense to you. Then again there are few people who understood why the United Island Hopper was on my bucket list.

Cloud 9:

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4. Apparently some people are shocked that I focus on earning and burning miles and points on this miles, points, and deals blog. They feel the need to point out that my priorities are clearly mixed up.

To be clear, learning Torah, davening with a minyan, and spending time with your family are all important things in the life of an Orthodox Jew. I started this blog while I was studying for Smicha, but that’s just not what this blog happens to be about. There are blogs that are about learning and I’m happy to learn something in person with anyone that drops by my local shul. It’s just not the focus of this blog.

5. Experiences will always trump things in my book.

Your car and your toys won’t last. The memories made will. So I drive a 6 year old Altima and look to make memories.

While on vacation we look for a photographer to take a photo shoot of our family in front of local scenery rather than buy souvenirs. Capturing the memories is better than bringing back clutter.

I take a look back at the day of our wedding and the days that our kids were born. Those are clearly in another class of memories.

But the manufactured memories are still awesome. How can I help but grin as I think about:
The day I flew to San Francisco (on a mileage ticket I had booked months earlier) to see the Cavs finally win a trophy for Cleveland.
The time Mimi and I went on a grueling 14 mile hike but got to experience the stunning Na Pali coast in Kauai in a breathtaking way.
The time spent underwater in Palau’s other-worldly Jellyfish Lake.
The trip I took with my grandfather to the MLB, NBA, and NFL Hall of Fames, capped off by an Indians win that we saw from the Green Monster.
The look in Rafi’s eyes when I took him on a father-son trip upstairs on a 747 and he got to sit in the cockpit.
The 7th inning when I walked onto the field and made off with 2nd base to the amazement of everyone in the stadium, including the Indians players.
Or the time I walked up to the mound before one of the greatest sports games in history to toss out the very first pitch. There’s not more than a small handful of fans in the world that can say they did that in their home stadium before a Game 7 of the World Series.

You can take away my things, but you can’t take away those memories.

6. Several commenters were aghast that I didn’t just donate the points to charity. I use my miles for myself and my family in order to avoid mileage auditors from looking into my account, which can happen if you book awards for too many people.

7. I wish the Tribe would have won, but being able to bring 4 people onto the field and into the game and then sit just 1 row away from the field for what may have been the best World Series game of all time is nothing to sneeze at either.

Well these aren't bad seats. Not bad at all. #SPGMoments #WorldSeries #Game7

A photo posted by @dansdeals on

 

8. Did I think of not wearing my Tzitzes out or not wearing a Yarmulkah under my hat?

Not even for a second.

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Via DansDeals Facebook #FirstPitch #Game7 #WorldSeries #Jumbotron

A photo posted by @dansdeals on

 

 

9. Yes, DansDeals traffic was up last week. Way up. No, I never thought I’d see my face on TMZ’s home page.

10. I never played in little league or owned a baseball glove. I was a studious little kid and my parents were not into sports. Though I loved the math aspect of baseball and knew the stats of hundreds of baseball players by heart.

My lack of playing ability only made the dream of walking onto the field of a World Series game that much more far-fetched. With just a couple hours to learn how to throw a baseball 60 feet I was thrilled to watch my sinker take a one-hopper to the catcher instead of watching the ball dribble to the plate or go wide right or left as so many YouTube videos show.

Bottom line folks, miles allow you to dream big. And I’ll never regret dreaming big.

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Office Depot/Office Max: No Purchase Fees For $100 Mastercard Gift Cards

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Office Depot/Office Max stores are not charging any purchase fees on $100 Mastercard gift cards from today until Tuesday, 11/8.

DDF member eliraps sent me this image of the promo.

Although it says there’s a limit of 1, he was able to buy 5 of the $100 Mastercard gift cards for $500 total without any issue.

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. Note that the Ink Plus card is slated to be discontinued in the very near future.

These Mastercards should have the PIN number in the package. They’re a bit trickier to use at WalMart, you need to hit cancel on the keypad after swiping it in order to change it to a debit payment before using it to load Bluebird, buying money orders, or using bill pay.

You can also buy money orders at various grocery stores, gas stations or some post offices.

Or you can donate the gift card to charity and get a receipt for the full face value.

Or you can give away a gift card as a wedding or Bar Mitzvah gift.

Or you can always use it for everyday spending.

HT: eliraps, via DDF

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

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 11/6 and 11/12 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

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

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

That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. Plus you’ll get the $20 Visa card via Easy Rebate.

While Staples.com now carries $300 gift cards, I haven’t seen any reports of the $300 cards being found in stores yet.

Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers.

You can use the gift cards to buy money orders at Walmart or at various grocery stores, gas stations or at some post offices. Just use the last 4 digits of the card as the PIN number to cash them out.

Or you can donate the gift card to charity and get a receipt for the full $200 face value.

Or you can give away a gift card as a wedding or Bar Mitzvah gift.

Or you can always use it for everyday spending.

HT: Iz, via DDF

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Video And The Experience Of Throwing Out The First Pitch In Game 7 Of The World Series

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Continued from:
8 Years Ago Was The Biggest Night Of My Life, Tonight Will Try To Come Close As I Toss A Ceremonial First Pitch At Game 7 Of The World Series
On The “Value Proposition” Of Spending A Million Starpoints For The Experience Of A Lifetime


It seemed like the bidding would go on forever. Starwood extends their auctions by 5 minutes every time a new bid is placed. But then it was finally over, I had won the auction for the experience of a lifetime! And on our 8th anniversary no less!

Just one not so minor detail, I’m just a spectator. A die-hard Indians fan, sure. But I’d rather watch the pros do it. I’ve never pitched a baseball in my life! Well, if you’ve never thrown a baseball, learning how to throw a ball 60 feet in just a day is no easy task.

So I turned to Adam Levine. Not that Adam Levine, just the one who davens at my local Chabad House and organizes local Sunday morning softball games. He worked with me on fielding and hitting before I played a game in Wrigley and I even wound up with a run scored and some RBIs. This time he graciously spent a lot of time making my pitch look halfway respectable. With a few more days I probably could have thrown a perfect strike, but there was just 8 hours from when the auction ended until the time of the pitch.

At first it seemed certain that I would Baba Booey or 50 Cent it:

 

But eventually I was able to throw the ball over the plate. But what would happen when I was pitching in front of 40,000 fans without even a single warmup pitch?

Meanwhile Indians fans from around the world wanted to see Charlie Sheen toss out the first pitch thanks to his Major League fame. “Get me Vaughn,” is part of Indians sports lore. They took to Twitter demanding that he throw out the first pitch.

Thanks to a Tweet and a DDF member I did get in touch with Charlie’s people. It would be cool to get up on the mound and yell “Get me Vaughn.” But MLB made it clear that they did not want Charlie Sheen on the field, period. The story somehow landed me as the top story on TMZ last night. I did help them find a suite for Charlie though after they were not able to secure one.

MLB reps met with us at the Jake’s press entrance and took Mimi, JJ, my grandfather, and me down to the field level. It’s like another world walking around the field.

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What an amazing way to spend your 8th anniversary:

 

 

 

I said hey to Tito and Mike Hargrove:

 

 

 

My grandfather loved it and told Tito about the ’48 and ’54 series he went to:

 

 

 

And then it was time for the big moment. I don’t even know how to possibly describe it. Surreal doesn’t nearly do it justice, but everything around me just froze. The announcer saying my name felt a million miles away. Through the hundreds of Indians games I’ve attended since I was a child I’ve been watching pitchers go up to that mound.

Never in my wildest childhood fantasies could I ever imagine walking up there during a game. And not just any game, but the final game of the World Series.

Mind. Blown.

It was truly an awesome experience and worth every Starpoint that I spent.

 

Via DansDeals Facebook #FirstPitch #Game7 #WorldSeries #Jumbotron

A photo posted by @dansdeals on

 

 

 

The pitch went as good as I could have hoped for considering that I had never pitched a ball and didn’t have any chance to warmup beforehand. It went over the plate with a single bounce. It didn’t go wide right or left. It didn’t dribble to the plate. And I didn’t get boos from the crowd.

That’s a win in my book!

JJ screams his head off in the video, so um, turn down your volume. But here’s the video.

 

 

And a video of the Jumbotron:

 

 

 

Is this real life?

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Cloud 9:

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And yes, I did have the first pitch. So technically Jim Thome threw out the 2nd pitch 🙂

 

The seats that came with the auction were fantastic:

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Well these aren't bad seats. Not bad at all. #SPGMoments #WorldSeries #Game7

A photo posted by @dansdeals on

 

 

The game itself was an emotional roller coaster. No doubt it will be considered one of the top World Series games of all time. The crowd was raucous and on their feet. The stadium probably had 30-40% Cubbies fans, which made for an interesting experience. After the Indians tied the game at 6, it just felt like it was bound to happen in the bottom of the 9th. They had come back from too far to not go all the way.

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It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but at the end of the day this Indians team surprised everyone. Even their own beat writer. The whole county felt like it was rooting for the Cubs as they hadn’t won for 108 years, as if the Indians 68 year drought was nothing. Even my 5 year old son Rafi told me before I went to the game that the Cubbies were going to win.

#ClevelandAgainstTheWorld #RallyTogether #LetsGoTribe #WorldSeries #Game2 #Windians

A photo posted by @dansdeals on

 

 

For the Tribe to make it so far without their best hitter and their #2 and #3 starting pitchers is mind-boggling. And for them to do it on a salary that was $100MM less than the Cubbies is a testament to great management. However the Indians heavily overworked pitching staff simply ran out of steam at the end. Sure it would have been icing on the cake had the Indians won and the loss was bitterly disappointing, but it didn’t take from the whole experience.

Right now it feels like when the Cavs lost in 2015 when they didn’t have Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love for the finals. But hey, they came back to win it earlier this year. And odds are they’ll play the rubber match next year in the Finals.

Congrats to Cubbies fans on winning it all though.

Hopefully the Indians can stay healthy next year and have an awesome rematch with the Cubbies in 2017. And may the team with the longer drought come out on top 😉

And hopefully another sports obsessed mileage junkie will have the once in a lifetime experience that I had before game 7.

 

The first pitched ball of Game 7:

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I’ve flown around the world in first class countless times, stolen 2nd base in middle of an Indians game, swam with normally poisonous Jellyfish in Palau, seen the Polar Bears near the North Pole, and thrown out the first pitch of a World Series game. But better than all that I have an awesome loving wife and an amazing little son and daughter. I thank G-d every day for those blessings and the life that I live.

The only real question is where should my next adventure be?


-Bid on your own SPG Moments packages with your Starpoints or Marriott points.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months


Join the 75,900 people who follow @DansDeals on Twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted.

Follow my travel and sports obsession on Instagram @DansDeals.

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On The “Value Proposition” Of Spending A Million Starpoints For The Experience Of A Lifetime

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Yesterday I wrote about some of the background that led to my bidding 1,060,500 Starpoints to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before game 7 of the World Series.

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Some people on the internet took offense that I would spend “$10,000” or “$25,000” on the experience.

Here are my thoughts.

I earned these points by doing things like opening hundreds of credit cards over the years and taking advantage of offers that come and go, like buying hundreds of thousands of dollar coins from the US mint that I promptly deposited back into my account while banking the Starpoints.

I don’t sell my points. That’s against the terms of the programs and it’s risky.

Despite traveling in first class many times per year, I accumulate points at a faster rate than I can burn them. Even after this bid and spending 7 figures of miles annually, I still have 7 figures of Starpoints and 8 figures of total miles. And we still have 9 Fairmont accounts that come with a lifetime of free suites, massages, and scotch that I got for free thanks to DansDeals readers taking advantage of that deal. (Thank you!) What I’m trying to say is that I won’t have to stay home because of this bid.

So if the points mostly cost my time to earn, how do you assign a value to what you spend?

 

Sure, I could have stayed at the S. Regis NY or Bal Harbour for a month with the points. (Boring!) But it’s there that I’d determine value and that I’d rather spend $159 instead of 30-35K Starpoints.

But on a once-in-a-lifetime experience like stealing 2nd base or throwing out a first pitch in game 7 of the World Series?

I don’t see that as a value based decision.

Others were aghast that I spend so much on this but didn’t spend more on the Antarctica cruise bid. The difference is that the Antarctica cruise can be purchased with money, and I think that getting there is only going to get more mainstream over time. As it had a fixed value as the auction got pricier, the value proposition evaporated. It may be a once in a lifetime experience as well, but tens of thousands of people visit Antarctica annually. I do still hope to go there, but there was nothing time sensitive about Antarctica. And besides, the cruise line was not very accommodating anyway.

There have only been 38 Game 7s in history. How many people have thrown out a first pitch at Game 7 of the World Series? How many of those people threw it out while watching their favorite team playing at home?

I’d venture to say that’s a very, very low number. Probably in the single digits and way less than the hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of people who have stepped foot on Antarctica. Fans just aren’t given opportunities like that, it goes to former players and celebrities who may not even care about the team.

And with Starwood going away, their MLB partnership or the Moments auctions may go away as well.

The auction also generated a nice amount of press about DansDeals, which was a nice bonus.

And what better way is there to spend your 8th anniversary than on the field of the 7th game of the fall classic?

At any rate, the experience also came with 2 seats just 2 rows behind the Cubs dugout. I was sitting next to die-hard fans who had ponied up north of $10,000 per ticket! In the row in front of us was the Ricketts family and Rahm Emanuel.

Thanks to Indians season ticket holder and all-around nice guy, Chaim Goldstein, I was able to get seats upstairs to all the home World Series games at face value. I would never value those seats at the $20,000 it would have cost to get them on Stubhub. But sitting so close to the field for an amazing roller coaster of a game is a completely different experience than sitting upstairs.

Besides for my wife and me, I was also able to bring JJ and my grandfather onto the field and they didn’t even need tickets, they got to stay in the ballpark for the rest of the game!

As I was bidding higher I did 2nd guess myself at times, but somehow it felt like divine providence. This was the place where G-d put me with the ability to earn all of these miles in Cleveland. And now there was an auction that could only be paid for in Starpoints for an experience as a lifelong Indians fan that I’d cherish forever.

It wasn’t a question of how could I justify going for it. It was a question of how could I justify not going for it.

To be continued…
Video And The Experience Of Throwing Out The First Pitch In Game 7 Of The World Series

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