Category Archive for 'Miles'

Roundup Of Combined Marriott And Starwood Award Charts With Sample Hotels, Extend Your Points Expiration, And More

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Related posts (Read these first!):
Marriott Completes Starwood Buyout; Link Your Accounts To Transfer Points, Match Elite Status, And Take Advantage Of Each Program’s Strengths
Transfer 18,667 Starpoints Into 25K United Miles Or 90K Starpoints Into 132K United Miles And 7 Nights In A Marriott Hotel
Redeem 90K Starpoints For 120K Southwest Points, Southwest Companion Pass Status, And 7 Nights In A Marriott Hotel


The Starwood-Marriott merger completed last Friday.

In 2018 the programs will combine and form a new program, but in the meantime you can link your SPG and Marriott accounts together and then transfer points freely back and forth in order to take advantage of the best that both programs have to offer.

-You can receive 3 Rewards points for every Starpoint transferred into Marriott.

-You can receive 1 Starpoint for every 3 Marriott Rewards points transferred to Starwood.

-Transferring any Marriott points to Starwood will keep your Starpoints alive for another 18 months, so it’s worth doing it just for that. Marriott points expire after 24 months and you need to earn or redeem points to keep them alive, transfers don’t extend their expiration. However Starwood counts transfers as activity to keep your points alive. Officially Starwood has a 12 month expiration policy, but they don’t enforce it until 18 months have gone by. Starwood is also generous about reactivating expired miles if you plead your case.

-Starwood also has a more liberal member transfer policy. You can transfer Starpoints to any member who shares an address with you. If the addresses don’t match you’ll need to wait 30 days after changing the address before initiating a transfer. If you want to transfer Marriott points to someone living at your address you can transfer those points into Starpoints, transfer those Starpoints to the other member, and then that member can transfer those points back to Marriott.

-The minimum transfer from Marriott to Starwood is 1,000:333. The minimum transfer from Starwood to Marriott is 1,000:3,000. This post does not factor in minimum transfer amounts.

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

-Marriott has 9 categories of hotels that range from 7,500 to 45,000 points per night or 6,000 to 40,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

-Marriott also has 5 tiers of Ritz Carlton hotels that range from 30,000 to 70,000 points per night or 20,000 to 60,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

Starwood has 7 categories of hotels that range from 2,000 to 35,000 points per night.

-Both chains also offer capacity controlled Cash+Points options that aren’t displayed in this chart.

-Starwood category 5-7 hotels have low and high season dates that are set annually by each hotel.

Chart 1: View how many Starpoints or Marriott Rewards are needed for Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and SPG hotels, along with a few sample hotels from each level.

The top number is the points required for a 1 night stay. The bottom number is the points required per night if you stay for 5 nights:

Hotel CategoryStarpoints per night for a 1 night or 5 night stayMarriott Rewards per night for a 1 night or 5 night staySample Hotels 
Marriott Category 12,500

2,000
7,500

6,000
-MOXY Milan Airport
-Protea Hotel Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Zambia
-Protea Hotel Kruger Gate, South Africa
Marriott Category 23,333

2,666
10,000

8,000
-Courtyard Toronto Airport
-Courtyard Detroit Southfield
Marriott Category 35,000

4,000
15,000

12,000
-Courtyard Oxnard
-Denver Marriott Tech Center
-Protea Hotel Sea Point, Cape Town
-JW Marriott Hanoi
Marriott Category 46,667

5,333
20,000

16,000
-JW Marriott Hotel Beijing
-JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City
Marriott Category 58,333

6,667
25,000

20,000
-Residence Inn Los Angeles Airport
-SpringHill Suites Fairbanks
-Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Suites
-Marriott Tbilisi, Georgia
-Marriott Lisbon
Marriott Category 610,000

8,000
30,000

24,000
-Residence Inn San Diego La Jolla
-Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
-Renaissance Sao Paulo, Brazil
Marriott Category 711,667

9,333
35,000

28,000
-Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel
-Courtyard Cadillac Miami Beach/Oceanfront
-S. Kitts Marriott Resort
Marriott Category 813,333

10,667
40,000

32,000
-Turnberry Isle Miami
-Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
-Atlantis, Royal Towers, Bahamas
-JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa
-Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Marriott Category 915,000

12,000
45,000

36,000
-Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
-Boscolo Venice
-JW Marriott Hong Kong
-Scrub Island Resort, Virgin Islands
-Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe, Paris
-Grosvenor House Lonson, A JW Marriott Hotel
Ritz Tier 110,000

8,000
30,000

24,000
-Ritz-Carlton Beijing
-Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi
Ritz Tier 213,333

10,667
40,000

32,000
-Ritz-Carlton Cleveland
-Ritz-Carlton Atlanta
Ritz Tier 316,667

13,333
50,000

40,000
-Ritz-Carlton Herzliya
-Ritz-Carlton Cancun
-Ritz-Carlton Toronto
Ritz Tier 420,000

16,000
60,000

48,000
-Ritz-Carlton Maui
-Ritz-Carlton NYC/Battery Park
Ritz Tier 523,333

18,667
70,000

56,000
-Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour
-Ritz-Carlton South Beach
-Ritz-Carlton New York/Central Park
-Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
SPG Category 12,000 (Weekends)

3,000 (Weekdays)

No 5 night discount
6,000 (Weekends)

9,000 (Weekdays)

No 5 night discount
-Aloft San Jose, Costa Rica
-Le Méridien N'Fis, Morocco
SPG Category 23,000 (Weekends)

4,000 (Weekdays)

No 5 night discount
9,000 (Weekends)

12,000 (Weekdays)

No 5 night discount
-Four Points Niagara Falls Fallsview
-Sheraton Eatontown, NJ
SPG Category 37,000

5,600
21,000

16,800
-Le Méridien Chiang Mai
-Sheraton Suites Fort Lauderdale
SPG Category 410,000

8,000
30,000

24,000
-Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa At Keauhou Bay, HI
-Four Points Miami Beach
-Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
SPG Category 512,000 (Low)

9,600 (Low/5)

16,000 (High)

12,800 (High/5)
36,000 (Low)

28,800 (Low/5)

48,000 (High)

38,400 (High/5)
-Royal Palm South Beach
-Sheraton Kauai Resort
-Sheraton Tel Aviv
-Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa
SPG Category 620,000 (Low)

16,000 (Low/5)

25,000 (High)

20,000 (High/5)
60,000 (Low)

48,000 (Low/5)

75,000 (High)

60,000 (High/5)
-W Hong Kong
-Westin Venice
-SLS Beverly Hills
-W Retreat Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
SPG Category 730,000 (Low)

24,000 (Low/5)

35,000 (High)

28,000 (High/5)
90,000 (Low)

72,000 (Low/5)

105,000 (High)

84,000 (High/5)
-S. Regis Bal Harbour
-S. Regis Princeville, Kauai
-Gritti Palace, Venice

Chart 2: View how many Starpoints or Marriott Rewards are needed for a air+hotel package at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels.

With these packages you will get miles and a 7 night hotel certificate.

The best value is the largest mileage option, though there are smaller mileage options as well.

-For example for 90K Starpoints or 270K Marriott Rewards points you will get a 7 night hotel stay at Marriott category 1-5 properties and 132K miles if you choose to transfer the miles to United.

-You’ll get 120K miles if you choose to transfer the miles to Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Southwest, or Virgin Atlantic. Transfers to Southwest qualify for Companion Pass Status which allows you to bring a friend with you for free on all paid and award travel through the end of the year after you qualify.

-You’ll only get 85K miles if you choose to transfer the miles to Aeroflot, airberlin, Air China, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Asia Miles, Asiana Airlines, Avianca-TACA LifeMiles, China Eastern, China Southern, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Korean Air SKYPASS, LAN, Lufthansa Miles & More, Multiplus, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Saudia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways Voyager, TAP Air Portugal, or Turkish.

-You’ll get a miserly 60K miles if you choose to transfer the miles to JetBlue or Virgin America.

-The miles will post right away regardless of when or if you use the 7 night certificate.

-The 7 night hotel certificate expires in 1 year, though Marriott currently will extend them for 1 additional year if you contact them. The certificate must be used at one property for 7 consecutive nights. You can have the certificate issued in anyone’s name.

There is also a 5 night hotel option, but officially that’s only available for Marriott timeshare owners. On rare occasions some reps will book the 5 night packages for non-timeshare owners.

Hotel CategoryStarpoints required for 7 nights and 132K milesMarriott Rewards required for 7 nights and 132K miles 
Marriott Category 190,000270,000
Marriott Category 290,000270,000
Marriott Category 390,000270,000
Marriott Category 490,000270,000
Marriott Category 590,000270,000
Marriott Category 6100,000300,000
Marriott Category 7110,000330,000
Marriott Category 8120,000360,000
Marriott Category 9130,000390,000
Ritz Tier 1140,000420,000
Ritz Tier 2140,000420,000
Ritz Tier 3140,000420,000
Ritz Tier 4180,000540,000
Ritz Tier 5180,000540,000

 


Chart 3: View how many Starpoints or Marriott Rewards are needed for a nights+flights package at Starwood hotels. This option only exists for SPG category 3 and 4 properties.

With these packages you will get 50K miles credited to your choice of dozens of airlines and a night hotel stay.

Hotel CategoryStarpoints for 5 nights and 50K milesMarriott Rewards for 5 nights and 50K miles
SPG Category 360,000 180,000
SPG Category 470,000 210,000


-The Chase Marriott card offers 87,500 Rewards points (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 “Other Credit Cards” 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.

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.

-This link for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 2 free Starwood category 1-5 nights for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

-This link for 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!


Do you have plans to transfer points or stay in a hotel that wasn’t possible previously? Share your redemptions in the comments!

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JetBlue Points Match: It’s The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Related posts:
-It’s Time To Mileage Run! Earn Up To 75K Bonus JetBlue Points After Just 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!
-Roundup Of JetBlue Sale Fares From $66 Round-Trip To Earn Up To 75K JetBlue Points
-Should You Buy Or Transfer Starpoints To Join The Most Lucrative JetBlue Promotion Of All Time?
-Is This The Secret To Get A 60K JetBlue Signup Bonus?
-Where Are You Mileage Running On JetBlue?
-Virgin Strikes Back At JetBlue, Weakly
-Thanks JetBlue!


Last month we flew from Cleveland to Newark via Boston and wound up with this:

jetblue3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard you get an additional 10% of your points back every time you redeem them, making the promotion even more lucrative.

Last month Virgin America emailed a 25% off flight coupon to people who they believed transferred points to Virgin to participate in the JetBlue promo.

I wrote a “Thanks JetBlue” post last month and today I got an email from JetBlue thanking me for participating in Points Match and offering double points on my next JetBlue flight.

One DDF’er reports that JetBlue wrote to him “We see you registered for the promotion, but missed out on earning points” and he was offered triple points on his next flight!
In fact he did get the Points Match bonus but he had to call to request that the points be manually posted to his account, so that worked out pretty well for him!

Did you get a JetBlue bonus points offer via email today?

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Transfer 18,667 Starpoints Into 25K United Miles Or 90K Starpoints Into 132K United Miles And 7 Nights In A Marriott Hotel!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

20K Starwood points can transfer into 25K airline miles with dozens of airlines.

That used to include Continental and United, but as the AMEX and Chase co-brand battles heated up, the Starwood transfer ratio to those airlines was chopped to a measly 20K:12.5K transfer ratio.

Marriott and United both have co-brand relationships with Chase and have a much cozier relationship. That means you can now take advantage of those relationships even if you’re an SPG loyalist.

-If you have Starwood Platinum Status you can match it to Marriott Platinum which will also get you United Silver status!

You can transfer 56K Marriott Rewards points into 25K United miles. That’s more miles than any other airline Marriott partners with.

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 25K United miles, an effective 33.9% bonus compared Starwood’s normal 25% bonus.

-An even better deal is with Marriott’s miles+nights packages. 270K Marriott Rewards points would give you 132K United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel.

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

-Even if you don’t use the 7 night hotel certificate being able to transfer 90K Starpoints into 132K United miles is an effective 46.7% bonus!

-The 7 night hotel certificate expires in 1 year, though Marriott currently will extend them for 1 additional year if you contact them.

mr1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-If you wanted 7 nights at the tier 3 Ritz-Carlton Herzliya you would need 420K Marriott or 140K Starpoints for that stay and 132K 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 132K 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.

-This link for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 2 free Starwood category 1-5 nights for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

-This link for 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?

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Marriott Completes Starwood Buyout; Link Your Accounts To Transfer Points, Match Elite Status, And Take Advantage Of Each Program’s Strengths!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Starwood-Marriott Account Link Setup

Marriott completed their buyout of Starwood today and you can now transfer Starpoints to Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio and Marriott Rewards points to Starwood at a 3:1 ratio. The minimum amount of points that can be transferred are 1,000 Starpoints into 3,000 Marriott Rewards points and 1,000 Marriott Rewards points into 333 Starpoints. There is no maximum amount of points and you can continue to transfer points back and forth at will. That’s pretty much the best case scenario that Starwood fans could have hoped for!

I signed up to link my accounts and my Starwood Platinum status was instantly matched to Marriott Platinum status. Somehow I now have top-tier elite Diamond and Platinum status with Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Starwood without any paid stays 😀

Both your Marriott and Starwood accounts remain separate, but they now have the ability to transfer points back and forth at will.

-If you have Starwood Gold status you’ll be matched to Marriott Gold.

-If you have a Starwood credit card you’ll be matched to Marriott Silver.

-Matching also works the other way, Marriott Platinums will get Starwood Platinum and Marriott Golds will get Starwood Gold.

-If you have United Gold status or higher you can get Marriott Gold which will also get you Starwood Gold.

-If you have Starwood Platinum Status you can match to Marriott Platinum which will also get you United Silver status!

-Marriott elites can also take advantage of Delta crossover benefits by matching their status to Starwood.

The combined company will be called Marriott International. All 30 hotel brands are being kept for now and you can view them here.

The ability to transfer points back and forth make this a time where you can get amazing value out of your Starpoints and Marriott Rewards points. The Starwood and Marriott programs will exist on their own until 2018, at which point they will be merged into a combined program with 1 award chart. But for now you can take advantage of the best of both of their award charts.

Credit cards:
-The Chase Marriott card offers 87,500 points 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 “Other Credit Cards” 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.

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.

-This link for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 2 free Starwood category 1-5 nights for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

-This link for 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!

Hotel awards:

Marriott has 9 categories of hotels that range from 7,500 to 45,000 points per night or 6,000 to 40,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

Marriott also has 5 tiers of Ritz Carlton hotels that range from 30,000 to 70,000 points per night or 20,000 to 60,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

Starwood has 7 categories of hotels that range from 2,000 to 35,000 points per night.

When you stay 4 nights at either chain you get the 5th night free.

Both chains also offer Cash+Points options.

For now you can transfer points back and forth to take advantage of the best values that either chain has to offer. Thanks to the 1:3 transfer ratio it’s likely that many Marriott hotels may offer a better value than Starwood, but there will be lots of exceptions. But in general Starpoints will be more valuable when used for hotel stays thanks to Marriott tripling them when they’re converted to Marriott Rewards points.

Airline transfers:

20K Starwood points can transfer into 25K airline miles and that 1:1.25 ratio is what makes Starpoints valuable. You can now transfer Marriott Rewards points to Starwood for airline transfers.

Marriott Rewards point transfers to airlines are more confusing.

One great deal will be the ability to transfer Starpoints into United miles. Starwood and United have a strained relationship due to AMEX and Chase co-brand battles and it’s one of the few airlines that has a poor 20K:12.5K transfer ratio.

However you can transfer 56K Marriott Rewards points into 25K United miles, a 2.24:1 ratio. 19K Starwood points can now become 57K Marriott Rewards points, which will give you 25K United miles and you’ll have 1,000 Marriott Rewards leftover that you can convert back into 333 Starpoints. Effectively you can transfer 18,667 Starpoints into 25K United miles!

It’s not all roses though. With many airlines you’ll need 70K Marriott Rewards points for 25K airline miles. You’ll need 23,333 Starpoints to become 70K Marriott Rewards points to get 25K airline miles, so that’s worse than Starwood’s tranfer ratio.

And with many other airlines you’ll only get 17,500 miles for 70K Marriott Rewards points, a big dropoff from the Starwood offering.

You’ll need 140K Marriott Rewards points for 25K Virgin America miles. That equals a whopping 46,666 for the same thing you can do with 20K Starpoints. That’s an outlier though and Virgin America’s days are coming to an end anyway as they were bought out by Alaska.

Airline+hotel awards:

Starwood offers a valuable Nights and Flights program, but it only works at category 3 and 4 hotels. 60K Starpoints gets you 50K miles and 5 nights in a category 3 property (normally 40K+28K Starpoints), or 70K Starpoints gets you 50K miles and 5 nights in a category 4 property (normally 40K+40K Starpoints).

Marriott offers excellent miles+nights packages when you combine a 7 night stay with a mileage transfer. Those values will be your best bet for transferring points into miles if you can also use the hotel stay.

For example if you compare Marriott Tier 5 (which is the most expensive of their 14 total categories and tiers) to a Starwood category 7. If you stay 7 nights in that Starwood hotel it would cost 180K or 210K Starpoints. With Marriott tripling your Starpoints those points would be worth 540K or 630K Marriott Rewards points. Marriott will give 7 nights in Tier 5 and 55K United miles for 470K Marriott Rewards points. Or better yet, Marriott will give 7 nights in Tier 5 and 132K United miles for 540K Marriott Rewards points.

The 7 night hotel certificate expires in 1 year, though Marriott currently will extend them for 1 additional year if you contact them.

Lower categories have relative bargains as well.

All in all, things could have been a lot worse. I feared a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio. 1:3 seems pretty fair overall.

Of course the real question will come in 2018. Will you transfer your Starpoints to airline miles at favorable ratios before Starwood goes away?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

HT: SearchGuy, via DDF

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Starwood Adds 36th Airline Partner!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Related:
-Starwood’s 35th Transfer Partner Increases The Value Of Your Starpoints; Fly Roundtrip JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Or JFK-Europe For Less Than 20K SPG!
-Starwood Adds A 34th Airline Transfer Partner And It’s Excellent For Awards To Israel!


Starwood has added LifeMiles as their 36th airline partner.

Starwood Airline Miles Transfer Linky

It’s fascinating that Starwood is still actively recruiting partners despite their merger with Marriott. Hopefully that’s a good sign…

-LifeMiles is the Star Alliance program run by Avianca/TACA.  Miles don’t expire as long as there is activity every 24 months.

-You can book partner travel online and one-way awards are allowed at half the rate of round-trip awards.

-They have a good Star Alliance award chart and don’t charge any fuel surcharges.

-Beware that their call center customer service is notoriously poor.

-Most of the exciting Lifemiles tricks that I talked about in DansDeals seminars in the past are dead.

Curious about the 36 Starwood transfer options and ratios? Here they are!

With so many different airlines to transfer to it’s just a matter of figuring out which one has the lowest rates to where you want to go. I’ve separated them by alliance so you can know which airlines are partners and will therefore let you book award travel on partner airlines. Of course airlines also have lots of non-alliance partners, but by definition they are partners with all airlines in the same alliance.

In parenthesis you can see if American Express Membership Rewards (MR), Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR), or Citibank Thank You (TY) points transfers to the airline as well.

OneWorld Alliance:
Air Berlin: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
American: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
British Airways Avios: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, UR)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY)
JAL: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
LAN: 20,000 Starpoints=37,500 kms (No other transfers)
Qatar: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)

Skyteam Alliance:
AeroMexico: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
Alitalia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
China Eastern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
China Southern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Delta: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Korean: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (UR)
Saudia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Star Alliance:
ANA: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Aegean: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Air Canada/Aeroplan: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Air China: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Air New Zealand: 20,000 Starpoints=385 points (No other transfers)
Asiana: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Avianca/TACA LifeMiles: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Lufthansa Miles & More: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Singapore: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
Thai: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
United: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles (UR)

Unaligned:
Alaska (Partners with several airlines from different alliances):20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Emirates: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Etihad: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
Gol/Varig Smiles: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles (No other transfers)
Hainan: 20,000 Starpoints==25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Hawaiian: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Jet Airways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Virgin Atlantic: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
Virgin America: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Virgin Australia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Points can also transfer to Amtrak at a 1:1 ratio.

You can view the expiration policies for each transfer program here. Remember that points can only transfer from Starwood to an airline, they can never transfer from an airline to Starwood.

I don’t recommend using the SPG Flights or the SPG Merchandise/Gift Card programs as the value per point is way too low.

HT: Dov B, via DDFB

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Enroll In Fairmont President’s Club And Get 1,000 Air Canada Aeroplan Miles

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Enroll In Fairmont President’s Club And Get 1,000 Air Canada Aeroplan Miles

Enter your Aeroplan number in the enrollment process. If you don’t have one yet you can enroll here. You can read more about Aeroplan here.

While there is no mention of the offer via the link above, Patrick from frequentflyerbonuses sent me the original email from Fairmont that mentions the offer and has the enrollment link above with an embedded enrollment code. A screenshot of that email is below:

 

fairmont1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms:
-Please allow 4-6 weeks for your Bonus Aeroplan Miles to be awarded to your account.
-Only existing or new Aeroplan members who join Fairmont President’s Club between August 18 and November 15, 2016 will receive the bonus miles.

I miss the days of BMI when they instantly awarded 1,000 miles for enrolling that were transferable to BA. Got several Cathay Pacific first class tickets from that 😀

HT: hvaces and Patrick

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Chase Quietly Removes 3 Dining Bonus Categories

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

I was surprised when I noticed that I didn’t get triple points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve for a recent dinner at Chef Dave’s Catering in Cleveland. Chef Dave’s runs upscale restaurant nights several nights per month and I had been used to getting double points on my old Sapphire Preferred card. Did that card have an advantage over Sapphire Reserve?

I sent Chase a secure message and first they responded with this nonsense,

“Thank you for contacting Chase to inquire about the reward points on your account.
Let me share that the rewards adjustment on your Sapphire Reserve card you requested cannot be made because the merchant is not in an eligible category.

Visa and MasterCard systems assign a category code to each merchant, based on the kinds of products and services they sell. Sometimes the system places merchants in a generalized category, like “superstores” instead of “grocery stores” or “gas stations.”
Since the merchant in question did not assigned an appropriate category for your purchase, your purchase did not qualify for this reward.”

 

I confirmed that the charge was categorized as catering on Chase’s site. The front-line SM agents aren’t very good, so I replied asking that they have their supervisor read my original question and get back to me.

A senior agent then replied,

“Thank you for contacting Chase about rewards points earned on your Chase Sapphire Reserve account.
I have researched the account and determined that the charge of $147.50 from Chef Dave’s Catering bills as “Caterers”.

I would like to explain that as of 8/30/2016 transactions billed as Bakeries, Caterers, & Dairy product stores will no longer qualify as accelerated rewards earnings. This is for all Chase products to remain fair and consistent.

I have added 443 points to your rewards balance for this purchase. These points are available for immediate use and will appear on the next billing statement for review.

Please keep in mind that going forward, transactions billed as Caterers will only qualify to earn 1 reward per $1 spent.”

 

Bummer. I’m quite surprised that they didn’t send out a notice about this, though because of that if you do have any charges in those categories you should be able to send a secure message or call to get triple points for it.

For those keeping score at home, triple point categories for Sapphire Reserve now include:
Dining:
Restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, and bars.
Travel (Valid for $300 in annual automatic refunds and triple points):
-Airfare, including tickets bought from travel agents and online agencies.
-Car rentals.
-Hotels, Airbnb, and campgrounds.
-Timeshares (just in case you’re a real sucker)
-Cruises
-Transportation including trains, buses, subways, taxis, Uber, Lyft, Gett, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.

 

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Even With Delta’s Flash Sale To Hawaii, There’s A Far Better Way To Book; Wide Open Availability To Fly Nonstop From JFK To Honolulu For 12.5K Miles!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

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


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

And yet they frequently have award sales, such as this one for travel to Hawaii if you book today and travel between 1/9-3/13 or 4/12-5/23.

The sale reveals that the regular saver award prices are exactly what they are in the screenshots from last year.

Round-trip saver level 1 award rates to Hawaii:
-Coach awards are still normally 45K and are on sale for 35K.
-Comfort+ awards are normally 65K and are on sale for 50K. (This “class” of service didn’t exist last year.)
-First class awards are still normally 80K and are on sale for 60K.
-Delta One lie-flat first class awards are still normally 100K and are on sale for 75K.

That’s a good deal if you have Delta miles to burn.
But if you’re transferring points you should consider transferring Chase points to Korean at a 1:1 ratio.

They consider Hawaii to be part of domestic US, so you can fly round-trip between the US and Hawaii for just 25K miles in coach or 45K miles in first or Delta One class!

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 open a Chase Sapphire Reserve card you would have enough miles for 4 round-trip tickets to Hawaii in addition to $300 to spend on hotels, car rentals, etc:


 
 

 

 

 

The catch is that Korean can only book Delta level 1 saver award space. Delta has 5 levels of award space. However Delta level 1 saver award space has become far better of late, much better than American for example.

Unlike in the Caribbean, there is no local Zika transmission in Hawaii.

Delta flies nonstop between JFK and Honolulu between 12/17/16-3/25/17, though the flight doesn’t operate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in 2017.

Level 1 saver award space on the route is incredible. Here’s a search made on Delta.com for 8 passengers nonstop from JFK to Honolulu for example. The 17.5K dates are the dates with level 1 saver award space that are on sale today, tomorrow they will go back to 22.5K each way. However Korean can always book those dates for just 12.5K miles each way!

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Delta One first class lie-flat class saver award space is nearly impossible to find. Last week DDF member “high end hobo” posted on DDF’s rare award space thread that there was nonstop Delta One level 1 saver award space from JFK to Honolulu for a perfect 8 night stay in paradise, but DDFers snapped those up for just 45K Korean miles round-trip!

You need to call Korean to book award travel on Delta at 800-438-5000.

The best part about using Korean miles is that you can cancel and redeposit partner awards without paying any penalty! If you book with Delta miles the change or cancellation fee is $150 per person!

Korean miles also allow for 2 free stopovers compared to none if you book with Delta miles.

Korean also has great rates to Hawaii on Alaska or Hawaiian.

It’s also worth noting that Delta level 2 award space is also on sale and these can’t be booked with Korean miles. There’s a good amount of level 2 space from JFK to Honolulu in Delta One lie flat first class for 52.5K Delta miles each way. According to last year’s screenshot the regular level 2 award space for Delta One is 65K miles each way.

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Will you be booking travel to paradise? Hit the comments!

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30% Off Virgin Atlantic Economy And Premium Economy Redemptions

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Virgin Atlantic is offering 30% off economy and premium economy awards that are booked by 9/22.

You can transfer points from AMEX (1:1), Chase (1:1), Citi (1:1), or Starwood (20K:25K) to Virgin Atlantic.

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You can search mileage requirements for Virgin Atlantic flights on their homepage without logging in.

I don’t care for Virgin Atlantic miles due to their high fuel surcharges, but one way awards to London can be a good value.

Sample mileage requirements including fuel surcharges:
-A one-way economy ticket from JFK to London is 12,250 miles+$134.60 (normally 17.5K miles).
-A one-way premium economy ticket from JFK to London is 19,250 miles+$264.60 (normally 27.5K miles).
-A one-way economy ticket from Los Angeles to London is 14,875 miles+$134.60 (normally 21,250 miles).
-A one-way premium economy ticket from Los Angeles to London is 24,500 miles+$264.60 (normally 35K miles).

Tickets from London to the US get hit with fuel surcharges and UK APD:
-A one-way economy ticket from London to JFK is 12,250 miles+$235.32
-A one-way premium economy ticket from London to JFK is 19,250 miles+$387.48
-A one-way economy ticket from London to Los Angeles is 14,875 miles+$255.23
-A one-way premium economy ticket from London to Los Angeles is 24,500 miles+$404.78

It’s worth noting that fuel surcharges are less when you book 2 one-way tickets as opposed to a round-trip ticket.

HT: Hatikvah via DDF

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Get $15 Off $300 Or $30 Off $600 Of Mastercard Gift Cards From Office Max Or Office Depot This Week

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Get $15 off $300 or $30 off $600 in Mastercard gift cards from Office Max or Office Depot stores by 9/10.

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

This sale isn’t advertised in the weekly ad, but there should be a sign by the gift card rack in your local store.

Last December my local store let me buy 60 cards as I racked up the miles in record time, but most stores will limit how many you can buy.

The total charge for 3 of the $200 gift cards after fees is $590.85 and you’ll earn 2,955 points by charging it to an Ink card.

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 post offices.

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

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

Or you can always use it for everyday spending.

HT: BYB, via DDFB

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500 Free Virgin America Miles And Extend The Life Of Your Miles

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

500 Free Virgin America Miles

Register via the link above and you’ll get 500 Virgin America miles.

The miles will post to your account by mid-October.

This will extend the validity of your Virgin America miles by 18 months.

HT: 159dallas, via DDF

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Flying Blue Discounted Promo Awards To Europe/Israel Now Bookable For November-December

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

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.

-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 AMEX tabs or “Other Credit Cards” 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.

-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 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 9/30.

-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 November in either direction between Houston, Miami, or San Francisco, and Israel, Europe, or Russia for 18,750 miles each way in coach.

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

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

-Availability is wide open and you can view screenshots of the award calendars with the one-way fares with fuel surcharges after the jump:

(more…)

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Save 35% On Select Starwood Resort Award Redemptions! Plus SPG Lowers Bora Bora Point Requirements By 33%!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Earn Starpoints on the Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX.
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Starwood is running a promotion that is discounting select ultra-premium resorts by 35%.

This recurring promotion is back and is now valid for stays through 2/28/17.

These resorts fall above the top end of normal SPG hotels and are normally prohibitively expensive. They’re still very pricey, but it’s somewhat more reasonable with this recurring promo.

Additionally the regular points rate for the base room at the Le Meridien Bora Bora has been lowered from 60K to 40K points per night and the regular points rate at the S. Regis Bora Bora has been lowered from 90K to 60K points per night. I haven’t made it to Bora Bora yet, but everyone who has comes back raving about its beauty.

Eligible SPG resorts:
Le Meridien Bora Bora. Normally 40K/night. Now 26K/night or 20,800/night if you stay for 5 nights.
The S. Regis Bora Bora Resort Normally 60K/night. Now 39K/night or 31,200/night if you stay for 5 nights.
W Retreat and Spa Maldives. Normally 90K/night. Now 58,500/night or 46,800/night if you stay for 5 nights.
W Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand. Normally 60K/night. Now 39K/night or 31,200/night if you stay for 5 nights.
The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket, Thailand. Normally 40K/night. Now 26K/night or 20,800/night if you stay for 5 nights.
Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand. Normally 40K/night. Now 26K/night or 20,800/night if you stay for 5 nights.
Al Maha, Dubai, UAE. Normally 60K/night. Now 39K/night or 31,200/night if you stay for 5 nights.
Mystique, Santorini, Greece. Normally 60K/night. Now 39K/night or 31,200/night if you stay for 5 nights.

You’ll need to call SPG to book these at the promo rate.

-The Vana Belle is a 30 minute walk from Chabad of Koh Samui. A kosher restaurant is located in the Chabad House.

-The base Garden Pool Villa at the S. Regis Bora Bora is a massive 2,700 sq ft with an ocean view and includes a private pool and outdoor shower. It used to be 90K points before it dropped to 60K points. With this promotion it will be 39K points or just 31,200 points with a 5 night stay.

-You can read more about the overwater bungalow at the absolutely incredible W Retreat Maldives in my trip report here.

Bear in mind that the discounted rates are for the base room only, you’ll have to call/email the hotel directly if you want to arrange a confirmed upgrade to an overwater bungalow in places like Bora Bora or the Maldives.

When I last checked the prices for a confirmed upgrade to an overwater bungalow with a private plunge pool the W Maldives wanted $180/night.

The Le Meridien Bora Bora wanted $220/night when I last checked the price of a confirmed upgrade to an overwater bungalow. However they also said via email that as a Platinum member if there were any overwater bungalows for sale on the day of checkin they would refund the entire confirmed upgrade fee!

HT: Lucky

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What Should You Do With Your Sapphire Preferred Card After Getting A Sapphire Reserve Card?

Monday, August 29th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” 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 posts (Read these first!):
Chase’s Highest Ultimate Rewards Signup Bonus Ever: Sapphire Reserve 100,000 Point Bonus Is Now Live; Get $2,100 In Travel!
-Chase Sapphire Reserve Additional User Benefits And Lounge Guesting Policy Are Awesome, Plus Application And Spending Strategies!


Chase took the mileage world by storm last week with the launch of the Sapphire Reserve card.

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With an unprecedented 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points signup bonus, $300 in automatic annual credits and triple points at an extremely broad swath of travel categories, a lounge membership that allows for unlimited free guests, free Global Entry/PreCheck, primary car rental insurance for every country in the world, no foreign transaction fees, and a redemption system that allows all Chase points to be used as real airline/hotel miles or as a travel credit with a generous 50% bonus, the Sapphire Reserve really can be called the ultimate travel credit card.

Of course many people previously had a $95/year Sapphire Preferred card. That card becomes redundant once you have a Sapphire Reserve card. Sapphire Reserve costs an extra $55/year after the $300 annual travel credit, but the benefits are worth far more than that.

Many people have asked if they should be cancelling their Sapphire Preferred card.

A better idea is to downgrade the card to a no annual fee Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card. You can downgrade it once you have had it for 12 months. You don’t get a signup bonus when you upgrade or downgrade a card, but you’re better off applying for cards that have higher signup bonuses anyway.

-With Freedom Unlimited you’ll earn 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. You can then transfer points earned on that card to Sapphire Reserve in order to transfer those points into real airline/hotel miles or to use with Sapphire Reserve’s 50% bonus for redeeming points for travel. In fact all of your everyday purchases should be made on Freedom Unlimited and only dining/travel purchases or purchases made outside of the USA should be made on Sapphire Reserve. By doing that you’ll earn at least 2.25% off everyday purchases and at least 4.5% off dining/travel purchases.

You can pay your taxes for a 1.87% fee and still come out ahead thanks to the guaranteed minimum value of 2.25% due to earning 1.5 points per dollar on Freedom Unlimited multiplied by the minimum travel redemption value of 1.5 cents per point for Sapphire Reserve cardholders.

-With Freedom you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on rotating categories on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter. Maxing out those $6,000 in category bonuses will net 30,000 points per year. This year those categories included:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and wholesale clubs like BJs, Costco, and Sams Club.
Q3: Restaurants and wholesale clubs.
Q4: Wholesale clubs, Holiday shopping (Likely Amazon.com) and more to be announced.

In July there was even a bonus 10 points per dollar category for Freedom and Freedom Unlimited.

Last year there was also a “Q5” bonus that earned 10 points per dollar on Freedom.

If you have multiple Freedom cards you can earn the 5x bonus for spending $1,500 per quarter on each of them.

Which Freedom card should you downgrade to?

It really depends on how much you spend on everyday purchases and how likely you are to maximize the Freedom’s rotating category spending.

The true advantage of Freedom over Freedom Unlimited is the extra 3.5 points per dollar on those rotating categories. In other words spending $6,000 on Freedom bonus categories per year would net 30K points on Freedom versus 9K points on Freedom Unlimited or a potential 21K bonus points. You would have to spend more than $42,000 per year for Freedom Unlimited to come out ahead of Freedom.

However not everyone will max out their Freedom bonus category spending, which makes the math much cloudier. Limited time 10 points per dollar bonuses also cloud the math. Tax payments that will make sense on Freedom Unlimited won’t make sense on Freedom.

I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred to Freedom Unlimited. That wasn’t a major decision for me though as I already have 3 Freedom cards.

Have you been approved for Sapphire Reserve? What will you do with your Sapphire Preferred card?

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Chase’s Highest Ultimate Rewards Signup Bonus Ever: Sapphire Reserve 100,000 Point Bonus Is Now Live; Get $2,100 In Travel!

Friday, August 26th, 2016

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You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” 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.


Update: My Sapphire Reserve came in the mail today and it’s a great looking card with even better benefits, have you received yours yet?

Originally posted on 08/22:


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


Signup Bonus:

For a limited time only, Chase is offering an unprecedented 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $4K on the brand new Sapphire Reserve card within 3 months. You can use those points for $1,500 in travel or you can transfer them into airline miles or hotel points.

Note that if you have opened up 5 or more cards in the past 2 years it can be difficult to get approved for most cards from Chase unless you have a banking relationship like Chase Private Client. If you have opened additional user cards in the past 2 years you can request from the bank or credit bureaus to have those removed from your credit report so that it doesn’t negatively impact your ability to get approved for a new credit card.

Annual fee:

The card has a $450 annual fee which is not waived for the first year. The effective annual fee though is just a third of that thanks to the travel credit.

Travel credit:

The Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 automatic travel credit to offset the annual fee. The first $300 of any travel charged to your card each calendar year will be refunded. That includes any charges for airfare, car rentals, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, cruises, or transportation which includes trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.

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 2016 and a $300 credit in 2017. That’s far more generous than other travel refunds that only officially refund things like airline change and baggage fees.

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

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:
-Airfare, including tickets bought from travel agents and online agencies.
-Timeshares (just in case you’re a real sucker)
-Car rentals.
-Hotels, Airbnb, and campgrounds.
-Restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, and cafes.
-Catering
-Cruises
-Transportation including trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.

That’s 50% more points than the Sapphire Preferred offers in these categories.

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.

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.

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.
Previously it’s always been worth transferring Chase points into real airline miles and hotel points.
But at about 1.5 cents per dollar it can start making sense to consider redeeming points directly for paid travel without transferring them into miles. That’s especially true as those fares, as opposed to traditional mileage tickets, also earn additional miles. You can still do much better with miles when hunting for last minute tickets or for premium class tickets, but for regular coach tickets this will be hard to beat.

The ability to choose between 1.5 cents per dollar or mileage transfers make Sapphire Reserve an incredibly versatile credit card.

The 1.5 cents per dollar redemption option also means the travel and dining categories on this card earn at least 4.5% per dollar.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. Having the Sapphire Reserve makes everyday spending on that card worth at least 2.25%.

Chase Freedom and Ink cards also have 5 point category bonuses and those will be worth at least 7.5% if you have the Sapphire Reserve.

As a Visa Infinite card, it also comes with some benefits like discounts on car rentals (including Silvercar), though apparently the card won’t have the Visa Infinite benefit of $100 off companion airfare.

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!

-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.
-Roadside Assistance: Coverage for up to 4 incidents per year.

-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, 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 you can find Delta saver availability 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.
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.

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? Hit the comments!

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El Al Matmid Discounted Coach And Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

Friday, August 26th, 2016

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al Matmid Discounted Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al is offering discounted coach and business class award tickets to select cities that can be found in the link above.

Awards are only discounted for “Executives,” but it’s very easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 AMEX points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al, though it takes about a day after the transfer for the executive status to take effect on your El Al Matmid account.

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

-Discounted awards are also available between Tel Aviv and Europe, South Africa, and the Far East.

-These awards must be booked by 9/30.

-Travel must begin by 9/30, though return travel can be completed at any time.

North America coach sale (You are able to fly one-way for half the miles listed below)
-Toronto-Tel Aviv is 1,300 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 65K AMEX points or a 15K AMEX point discount.
-NYC-Tel Aviv: 1,380 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 69K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.
-Boston-Tel Aviv: 1,430 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 71.5K AMEX points or a 8.5K AMEX point discount.
-Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 1,780 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 89K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.

North America business class sale (You are able to fly one-way for half the miles listed below)
-Toronto-Tel Aviv is 3,380 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 169K AMEX points or a 31K AMEX point discount.
-NYC-Tel Aviv: 3,500 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 175K AMEX points or a 25K AMEX point discount.
-Boston-Tel Aviv: 3,600 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 180K AMEX points or a 20K AMEX point discount.
-Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 4,070 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 203.5K AMEX points or a 21.5K AMEX point discount.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

To translate Matmid rates into AMEX rates, just multiply the Matmid requirement by 50.

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

The Everyday Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, 3 points per dollar on gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. It has a $95 annual fee.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and, 2.2 points per dollar on Uber, and 2.4 points per dollar on groceries if you make 20 transactions per month. It’s the only no annual-fee card that can directly transfer points into miles.

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

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Chase Sapphire Reserve Additional User Benefits And Lounge Guesting Policy Are Awesome!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Other Credit Cards” 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.


I wrote about the incredible Chase Sapphire Reserve on Monday and I’ve answered hundreds of questions in that post, so if you have questions I’d recommend reading through the comments there first.

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The card offers 100,000 points for spending $4,000 as well as $300 in automatic cash back for the first $300 that you spend each calendar year on triple point categories like airfare, car rentals, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, cruises, or transportation which includes trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking. It also gives you the option to transfer your points to miles or use your points at a value of 1.5 cents per point, which means in your first cardmembership year you’ll get $2,100 in travel credit.

-I confirmed over the phone and via secure message that the Priority Pass Select lounge membership that comes with this card includes unlimited free guests that can accompany the member into the lounge! That includes access to over 900 clubs worldwide including 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.

-Additional users cost $75/year and they also get their own Priority Pass lounge membership with unlimited free guests.

-I confirmed over the phone and via secure message that each additional user also gets their own $100 Global Entry credit every 4 years.

-There are numerous posters in the comments here and on DDF who have been approved for this card despite opening more than 5 cards in the past 24 months but there are also many who have been denied. Many were able to call reconsideration and move over credit lines for the minimum $10,000 line required for this card, while many others have hit brick walls. Some people had luck checking in-branch to see if they were pre-approved while others were denied even when pre-approved. As always, YMMV (Your mileage may vary).

-If you have authorized user cards on your report, some reps will allow you to be reconsidered without counting them as part of the 5 cards, just say that you are not financially responsible for the card. You can always HUCA if a rep insists on counting those or you can work with the bank or credit bureaus to have them removed from your report.

-People with Chase Private Client (CPC) status have reported having much better luck with approvals via calling Chase and by having their banker call for them. Officially CPC is for people with $250K in assets with Chase, however if you have a relationship with a banker they can give you CPC status regardless of the assets that you keep with Chase. If you have a family member with CPC they can also make your account have CPC status. If you share an account or a safety deposit box with a CPC member you’ll also get CPC status.

-I recently got CPC from a banker and was able to get approved via 3BM for a Sapphire Reserve, Ink Plus, and United card, bringing my current total primary Chase cards to 13. I only had to shift my credit lines around to get approvals for those cards.

-With my Sapphire Preferred card rendered redundant by the superior Sapphire Reserve, I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred card to Freedom Unlimited. That means I’ll get 1.5 points per dollar on regular spending with my Freedom Unlimited card, 2 points per dollar on gas with my Ink Plus card, 3 points per dollar on travel and dining spend with my Sapphire Reserve card, 5 points per dollar on rotating categories with my Freedom card, 5 points per dollar on Cell Phones/Internet with my Ink Plus card, and 5 points per dollar on office supplies and gift cards with my Ink Plus card. I’ll still use AMEX for groceries, possibly for gas (though right now I’m using Costco Cash bought on Freedom for 5 points per dollar), and for any items that might need warranty or return protection.

-I was able to transfer points from Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Cash, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold cards to Sapphire Reserve and immediately my points were able to be used for 1.5 cents each towards travel, or 1 cent each as cash back (please don’t try this at home!), or transferable to miles.

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Pay Your Rent With A Credit Card Without Fees Via RadPad And Android Pay

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Update 2: RadPad is backing out of their free rent payment through 2016 offer.


Update: I’ve been able to use my United Club card with RadPad as it was grandfathered in with Google Wallet, but others haven’t been able to add their Chase cards to Android Pay. However Android Pay will support Chase cards effective September 7th.

That means you’ll be able to pay your rent to meet the spend threshold for Sapphire Reserve without fees!

HT: Aerial Dag, via DDF and Android Police.


Originally posted on 8/9:
Pay Your Rent With A Credit Card Without Fees Via RadPad And Android Pay

Download RadPad for Android and Android Pay and you can pay your rent with a credit card without paying any fees for the rest of 2016.

You’ll need to setup Android Pay with your credit card of choice before trying to pay your rent in the RadPad app. Then just enter your rent, type in your landlord’s address, and select Android Pay as your method of payment. At the final payment page you should only see your rent and not the normal 3.49% fee. RadPad will mail your landlord a check.

RadPad has been known to verify that they’re sending money to a real landlord and they may require your rental agreement.

HT: doctorofcredit, via DDF

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Thanks JetBlue!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Related posts:
-It’s Time To Mileage Run! Earn Up To 75K Bonus JetBlue Points After Just 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!
-Roundup Of JetBlue Sale Fares From $66 Round-Trip To Earn Up To 75K JetBlue Points
-Should You Buy Or Transfer Starpoints To Join The Most Lucrative JetBlue Promotion Of All Time?
-Is This The Secret To Get A 60K JetBlue Signup Bonus?
-Where Are You Mileage Running On JetBlue?
-Virgin Strikes Back At JetBlue, Weakly


I flew with my wife and kids from Cleveland to Boston last Monday and from Boston to Newark last Wednesday. They were booked as 2 one-way tickets.

The Cleveland to Boston flight posted to my account on Sunday and the Boston to Newark flight posted today, along with this little bonus thanks to Family Pooling:

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I’ll get around to writing a trip report one of these days 😉 , but suffice it to say that JetBlue Mosaic is amazing and the flights were great. I haven’t flown JetBlue since doing a 13BM for free tickets to Aruba some 4 years ago, but there’s no doubt that they are heads and shoulders above their continually devaluing competition.

#JetBlue #KSML #LoveBeingMosaic #LoveFlyFi

A photo posted by @dansdeals on

 

Now I just need to apply for the JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard to get back 10% of my points every time that I redeem them.

Where did you fly for JetBlue’s Points Match promotion and what will you do with your your windfall?

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Save 20% On United Saver Awards Within The US48, Alaska, Hawaii, And Canada

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Update: This sale ends today!

Related:
-HUCA To Save With United’s Award Sale
-Save 17,776 Miles On United Saver Awards To Asia


Originally posted on 8/9:

I haven’t seen this sale advertised anywhere, so I don’t know the full terms, but from trial and error it seems that the award sale is as follows:

-US/Canada short-haul saver round-trips (under 700 miles) will be 16K instead of 20K miles.

-US/Canada saver round-trips will be 20K instead of 25K miles.

-Alaska saver round-trips will be 28K instead of 35K miles.

-Hawaii saver round-trips will be 36K instead of 45K miles.

-Travel must be booked 14 days in advance.

-Book travel by August 23.

-Travel is valid between August 23-December 15. If you fly one leg within the promo timeframe and one leg outside of that timeframe you will still save 20% on the leg that falls within the promo timeframe. In other words, a domestic award from December 15-19 would be 22.5K miles.

-Blackout dates: November 22, 23, 26, 27, 28

-Not valid for one-way travel or stopover travel.

-Valid for coach travel only.

Be sure you are logged into United.com if you are elite or if you have select United cards with an annual fee like the Chase United Explorer card, as that gives you greatly expanded saver coach award space and last-seat standard award space in every class. It will only be reflected in the award calendar if you are logged in and you will only get free checked bags and priority boarding if you use that card.

If you find other regions or dates on sale, or if you find the sale terms page, please post a comment!

HT: sruly, via DDF


Join the 73.6K+ 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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Save 17,776 Miles On United Saver Awards To Asia

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Update: This sale ends today!


Related:
-HUCA To Save With United’s Award Sale
Save 20% On United Saver Awards Within The US48, Alaska, Hawaii, And Canada


Originally posted on 8/11:

Save 17,776 Miles On United Saver Awards To Asia

-United normally charges 70K miles round-trip to North Asia (China, South Korea, Mongolia, and Taiwan). With this sale it will be 52,224 miles.
-United normally charges 80K miles round-trip to South Asia ( Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). With this sale it will be 62,224 miles.

-Book by August 22.

-Travel is valid between August 29-April 30, 2017.

-Blackout dates: December 9-February 3, 2017

If you fly one leg within the promo timeframe and one leg outside of that timeframe you will still save 8,888 miles on the leg that falls within the promo timeframe. In other words, an award from February 1-8 would be 61,112 or 71,112 miles.

-Not valid for one-way travel or stopover travel.

-Valid for coach travel only.

Be sure you are logged into United.com if you are elite or if you have select United cards with an annual fee like the Chase United Explorer card, as that gives you greatly expanded saver coach award space and last-seat standard award space in every class. It will only be reflected in the award calendar if you are logged in and you will only get free checked bags and priority boarding if you use that card.

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

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

For every $300+ in Visa gift cards that you buy in Office Max or Office Depot stores by 8/27 you’ll get $15 back instantly!

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

This sale isn’t advertised in the weekly ad, but there should be a sign by the gift card rack in your local store.

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

Currently I’m in Kansas and the local Office Depot wanted to limit me to 2 cards, but when I pointed out that their sign said limit 2 offers per customer they allowed me to buy 3 of the $200 Visa cards in one transaction to get $30 back.

The total charge for $600 in gift cards after fees was $590.85 and I’ll earn 2,955 points by charging it to my Ink card.

You can use the last 4 digits of the card as the PIN number to cash them out by buying money orders or using bill pay at stores like WalMart or various grocery stores or gas stations.

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

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

HT: ben89, via DDF

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Delta Europe Coach And Business Class Award Sale

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Delta Europe Coach And Business Class Award Sale 

How do you have a sale when you no longer publish the regular price?
Excellent question, but Delta has coach round-trips to Europe from 49K miles and business round-trips from 102K miles and there’s no doubt that award space is much better than American.

-Book by August 25
-Travel from September 23, 2016 through April 6, 2017.
-Valid for round-trips only
-Minimum stay requirement of 7 nights/8 days
-Maximum stay of 3 months
-Blackout dates apply, use flexible award search to help find valid dates.

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HT: Hatikvah, via DDF and Rene

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Austrian Business Class Award Availability For The Whole Family

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

It can be tough to find business class award availability when traveling with your whole family. Austrian flies lie-flat business class from Chicago, JFK, Miami, Newark, Toronto, and Washington/IAD to Vienna and nearly all dates from now through next summer have at least 8 business class saver awards available:

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You can book business saver awards to Europe for 70K United miles or to Israel via Vienna for 80K United miles each way.

If you book round-trip you can get a free stopover or a free one-way after the trip.

HT: yitrap, via Lucky

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Virgin Strikes Back At JetBlue, Weakly

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Related posts:
-It’s Time To Mileage Run! Earn Up To 75K Bonus JetBlue Points After Just 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!
-Roundup Of JetBlue Sale Fares From $66 Round-Trip To Earn Up To 75K JetBlue Points
-Should You Buy Or Transfer Starpoints To Join The Most Lucrative JetBlue Promotion Of All Time?
-Is This The Secret To Get A 60K JetBlue Signup Bonus?
-Where Are You Mileage Running On JetBlue?


The big winner of JetBlue’s recent Points Match promotion was Virgin America. Well, aside from all of us of course.

If I was running TrueBlue I would have limited the promotion to people who already had Virgin America points as of the day the promotion started. But they didn’t and thousands of people transferred points to Virgin America in order to participate in the JetBlue promotion.

JetBlue will expose all of those people to Virgin’s excellent service and extremely valuable points. Of course JetBlue has great service as well and they’re the only airline allowing people to cancel their South Florida trips due to Zika. People reported that JetBlue even allowed them to cancel Orlando trips for free. My brother-in-law was set to fly to Fort Lauderdale on a Points Match mileage run, but was nervous about Zika. JetBlue allowed him to change from Fort Lauderdale to another more expensive destination to complete the mileage run without charging him a dime!

But Virgin America wasn’t about to let this all pass without firing a shot back. They just sent this email (with the subject “Nice move, Blue”) with a 25% code to people that transferred points:

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There are some good deals with the code, such as JFK-LAX for $108 each way. But the code doesn’t work with point redemptions and let’s be honest, that’s what people are looking to use when they’re sitting on a pile of Virgin America points. It also only works for itineraries of 1 or 2 people.

It’s not a bad way for Virgin America to drive some incremental revenue from the Point Match participants, but once they were going through the effort I’d have hoped for something more creative than a 25% off coupon.

HT: YOSEF, via DDF

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HUCA To Save With United’s Award Sale

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Several DD readers have posted that they have had United call them and gotten refunds for award tickets that are now on sale with the US award sale and the Asia award sale.

My brother had a more interesting dilemma. He’s booked in September on a one-way 12.5K award from Cleveland to my alma mater, YOEC, in LA. Usually there’s no need to book a round-trip mileage ticket on domestic flights, but the award sale is only valid for round-trip tickets.

He called several times but didn’t get anywhere, so I took over.

I fully expected to have to play the HUCA lottery. That’s not something you smoke, that’s when you Hang Up and Call Again until you get the answer you want.

The first agent told me that it was a targeted promotion. Which is false of course, but I find that when an agent starts making things up it’s better to say thanks and hang up rather than try to correct them and be met with an “I’ve been doing this for 30 years sir, I think I know my job!”

The 2nd agent was happy to add a return segment to fly home for just 7,500 miles, but insisted on charging the $75 change fee as the ticket would have to be reissued.

The 3rd agent wasn’t able to find a saver award flight for the flight he wanted, despite it being clearly available. I just assume these people are grossly incompetent, are too lazy to be bothered to search, or get paid based on how quickly they process each phone call.

Finally the 4th agent was willing to book the return segment for 7,500 miles and waive the change fee as no flights were actually being changed.

All in all it took me about half an hour. Was it worth it? I suppose that depends on how you value your time, but I will say that the feeling of success feels just as good as the miles and money saved.

Have you had success having your existing United award repriced with the award sale?

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Are We Nearing The End Of The Road? A Brief History Of The Game We Play, Changes To AMEX+Chase+Citi Card Rules

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Update, 8/11: I wrote this “pre-obituary” back in February. Since then the new Chase rules went into effect on most of their cards making it far more difficult to signup for new cards if you don’t have Private Client status.

Tonight DoC shares that Citi cards now have harsh new rules.

From his post on DDF,

“American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles not available if you have had any Citi / AAdvantage card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.”
“Expedia+ Points Bonus Offer is not available if you have had any Expedia+ or Expedia+ Voyager card opened or closed in the past 24 months.”
“Bonus Hilton HHonors points are not available if you have had any Citi®Hilton HHonors™ card opened or closed in the past 24 months.”
“Bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards opened or closed in the past 24 months.”

It seems like a lifetime ago that I was 3BMing Citi American cards every 30 days racking up lifetime elite status and millions upon millions of miles.

With the new rules you can’t alternate between types of American cards or types of cards that earn ThankYou points for example. Once you’ve opened a card you’ll need to wait 24 months from that point or from when you close it to get another bonus within that brand.

For now business cards and consumer cards are not considered within the same brand, so you can still get a bonus for a Citi American business card despite having opened or closed a consumer card within 24 months.

Like I said, it’s been a fun ride. I still cashed out $5,000 of gift cards today for a quick 25K miles, but the game gets harder with each passing month. Enjoy the rest of it while it lasts!


Originally posted on 2/25/16:

It’s been a really fun run since I started blogging in 2004.

Even before I was blogging I was using eBay to flip beanie babies as a 13 year old at big profits and generated 7 figures of miles for free.

I pioneered credit card application techniques like the 2BM which became 3BM and eventually got as high as a 24BM. I typically kept the specifics limited to the 15 seminars that I ran from 2012-2015. Over the years we’ve been able to travel the world while burning over 10 million miles and banking tens of millions more along with lifetime elite statuses and other perks. Like I said in an interview last month, my problem is finding the time to burn them, not earn them. With G-ds grace, that’s an amazing problem to have and it’s one of things that I was so thankful for.

Alas, other bloggers that attended some of those seminars have taken the stories for their own. They often dumbed them down in scale and strategy, I suppose as a way to not outright break a promise to keep their lips sealed. But in the process they wound up killing many of those methods in random posts of selfishness. There’s such a fine line when deciding what things are safe to write about and what things aren’t and I’ve been guilty of poor judgement at times. But there have been posts that are so misguided that they sting. #CestLaVie

There’s no doubt that this game is on the downward slope of the bell-curve here.

It used to be easy as pie to keep applying for the same cards again and again with bonuses that just kept on growing with each passing year. It used to be really easy to meet the minimum spending requirement (Back in the day most cards only required $1 in spending) and manufacture spend by buying dollar coins or sending your spouse payments with Amazon Payments. Now those things have become increasingly difficult to do so.

Banks have gotten stricter with approvals and have policies that limit how often you can signup for the same card. And while there have always been loopholes for those in the know, those too are winnowing down.

There are still ways to manufacture spend, but in places like NYC it can be tough, especially if your Serve card was shut down.

Am I being a bit dramatic here? After all there are hundreds of avid DDF users who maximize the system, rack up millions of miles, and fly around the world in first class at a greater frequency than I do. If law school student CS91 can go from mileage newbie to racking up and burning 1.7 million miles this year, then surely all hope is not yet lost in this game. But there’s no denying that things are getting more difficult and require more time to master.

This blog has always been an odd convergence of bargain, travel/miles deals and information. It’s funny to see them come together as more and more people move into reselling as a method of manufacturing spend. That’s when people buy bargains on their credit cards and try to sell them on places like Amazon or eBay at a profit or at least break-even in order to earn miles in the process. Perhaps this will be the only way forward to keep manufacturing miles on the cheap? It’s funny to see it come full circle from the old days when I sold beanie babies and generated Cathay Pacific miles via eBay.

The airlines themselves have tried to take the gaming aspect out of the earning side of the equation as they move to reward flying based on revenue instead of flying distance. While in the past you could fly on a mileage run and earn miles worth more than the cost of the flight, those opportunities and few and far between these days. In 2004 we earned 8 tickets valid anywhere in the world on American by flying on a couple flights between NYC and California or Florida.   In 2006 I flew on a dozen AA flights in Texas and for a couple hundred bucks I had elite status and 6 figures of miles. Those days aren’t returning, though there are still ways to earn miles based on distance by crediting flights to partner airlines.

Airline consolidation has made lucrative promotions fewer and farther between as there is less need to compete. In 2005 Airtran ran a promotion to earn miles for Wendy’s cups. I sent in thousands of cups and they bought me tickets on Continental that I’m still using for free flights on United. Those were the golden days. Now airlines and hubs have been eliminated and loyalty is taken for granted.

Same goes for hotels. Not long ago I was earning 13,500 United miles+6,000 Hyatt points+1 free night at any Hyatt in the world for every 2 stays that I made. That was extremely lucrative thanks to $60 Hyatt Place stays that I was able to checkin to over the phone for every day of the promotion. Those Faster Free Nights promotions ran from about 2002 through 2010 but are gone for good. Even Starwood got in on the action and that allowed me to stay at the S. Regis Princeville in Kauai for dirt cheap in 2011. If airline mergers were the big story of the past 15 years, the ongoing hotel mergers will be the big thing. We’ll see what Marriott does with Starwood and what Accor does with my precious Fairmont, but I’m not very hopeful.

Heck, even Starbucks is moving from a “gameable” frequent user rewards based system (use their mobile app to make separate orders for every item you buy to quickly rack up free drinks) to a non-gameable revenue based system in April. The rewards landscape is changing as blogs proliferate and people maximize the benefits farther than the programs intended.

The redemption side has also become tougher with unprecedented devaluations from the likes of Hilton and United. Delta went so far as to delete their award charts and now American is poised to copy United’s devaluation in a month.

The good news from that end is that the major airlines know if they switch from an opaque system where savvy customers can game it and win to a non-gameable revenue based system, that they will lose billions of dollars in revenue as consumers switch from earning airline miles to earning cash back. The banks and their steady revenue stream won’t let that happen anytime soon.

In March of 2014 I broke the news that AMEX consumer cards would be much harder to churn. Officially most offers are once per lifetime now, though some don’t have that language and others have reported that after a number of years they’ve been able to get a signup bonus again on the same card. It’s hard to say exactly how many years it takes for that though.

Effective today AMEX Business card applications now have this language as well.

Citi started cracking down later in 2014 as I first reported here as well.

Bank of America went from one of the easiest to one of the hardest banks for multiple applications thanks to some blogs.

Chase’s approval guidelines on their Freedom and Sapphire cards got much more rigid last May when they started giving a tough time to people who have been approved for more than 5 credit cards within the previous 24 months. Some people have had success with reconsideration, others with $10K+ in a Chase checking account or with Private Client status have had luck by asking a banker to fill out a special reconsideration form for them, but it’s much tougher than it used to be.

Chuck from DoC has an inside source that says those same guidelines will begin to apply to Ink cards sometime in March and to all Chase cards sometime in April. With the way things have been heading that doesn’t surprise me at all.

 

What are you thoughts on where things are heading? Sound off in the comments!

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American Opens Up Business Class Saver Award Space To London And Paris

Friday, August 5th, 2016

American’s saver award availability has been far stingier than Delta’s and United’s award space of late.

American is especially stingy in business and first class, so it’s newsworthy when things open up.

Last year they opened up business class space to Tel Aviv and I flew with my extended family to Israel on miles. Unfortunately American no longer flies to Israel.

Currently there’s excellent availability to London and Paris for travel from January-May.

American now charges 115K miles round-trip for these awards, but there are better ways to book.

This post details the cost in miles for every Oneworld destination from NYC and whether the airline tacks on a fuel surcharge.

View other ways to book and sample routes with business class saver award space after the jump:

(more…)

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United *Enhancing* Award Booking Fees And Rules; 14 Examples Of United Stopover Awards You’ll No Longer Be Able To Book In 2 Months

Friday, August 5th, 2016

I’m traveling for most of this month, so excuse me for running a little bit behind, but United announced yesterday that effective 10/6 you will no longer be able to book stopovers on United awards as has been allowed in the past.

Most insultingly, the email they sent out says that the changes are for “More flexible award booking and streamlined fees” and that “Starting in the fall, we are enhancing the way you book MileagePlus award travel on united.com”

Nothing good has ever come out of an airline enhancement. I’d rather be told how it is than have their marketing team try to work their spin. #UnitedUnfriendly is rearing its ugly head once again.

United writes that “Many members found the stopover policy to be confusing. Our goal is to keep the benefit while making the process of booking your multi-city trip easier, so we are introducing the Excursionist Perk, which is a free one-way award within select multi-city itineraries.”

I have no idea how Excursionist Perk is any less confusing than stopover, but I’ll try to explain what the difference is in this post. But in short, stopovers are awesome, and the “Excursionist Perk” removes all of the awesome from stopovers.

The new stopover rules are downright awful, as is the new Excursionist Perk name for the stopover. But quite frankly, the only surprise is that they are still offering some sort of stopover option at all. American and Delta no longer offer any stopovers, though many foreign carriers still do.

Stopovers allow you to add a free segment to your itinerary and the techniques of them is something that I spent a lot of time at DansDeals Seminars discussing (though it was also when I noticed the eyes glazing over on most novices as they started to get confused). For example if you book a round-trip from NYC to London in August you can “stopover” after your London trip for 6 months and then get a free one-way to Miami in February. You can then use miles or find a cheap one-way ticket back home after that, or you can book a trip from Miami to Paris the following summer with the Miami-NYC leg in February and NYC-Paris and back the following August.

You can book a stopover award here, just click multi-city. I generally search for 3 one-way awards and when I find saver award space for those 3 legs I’ll then use the multi-city option to book it. If you initially search via multi-city it often gives errors and shows fewer options that when you search for one-way awards.

United is also eliminating round-the-world awards. Those awards were a good deal before the 2014 devaluation at 180K coach, 260K business, and 350K first. With that devaluation those rates shot up to 200K coach, 350K business, and 450K first. The last day to book a round-the-world award is 10/5.

United is also updating their award fees. Here is the new award fee structure and here is the current fee structure. Currently non-elites pay $75 for changes more than 21 days in advance of a flight, $100 for changes within 21 days of the flight, or $200 to cancel an award. As of 10/6 non-elites will pay $75 for any changes or cancellations more than 60 days in advance of the flight and $125 within 60 days of the flight, so that’s actually a nice improvement for when you need to cancel an award. However Platinum elites are very unhappy as they go from not paying any award change or cancel fees to paying $50 for any changes made within 60 days.

You can still book traditional stopover awards until 10/5 for travel through the end of schedule. If you keep the first flight of your award ticket then you’ll be able to change the rest of a traditional stopover ticket, but if you change the first flight of your award ticket you will lose your traditional stopover.

Stopover rules after 10/5:
1. Free stopovers will no longer be allowed to occur in the region of origin.
2. Free stopovers will no longer be allowed to include a flight that spans 2 regions.
3. Free stopovers will no longer be allowed if the origin and destination of the trip are in different regions.
4. Stopovers will no longer be allowed on a wholly domestic ticket for an additional 10K miles.

You can view a list of regions here.

Here are examples of what all this means in the real world:

1. Intra-Hawaii coach with stopover: Currently 12K, will be 18K:
A. Honolulu-Kauai in coach on 1/15.
B. Kauai-Maui in coach on 1/22.
C. Maui-Honolulu in coach on 1/29.
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg B occurs within the region of origin.

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View more examples after the jump:

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Save 25% On JetBlue Award Redemptions! Fly From JFK-Bermuda For 1.8-2K Points, JFK-Los Angeles For 6.3-7K Points!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Update: JetBlue is now including Mint class in this sale, it was accidentally excluded by JetBlue earlier today. Mint class includes private walled-in suites with 3 course kosher meals available.

The value is lower than coach tickets, but is a great deal for Mint class. For example a Mint class flight from JFK-Los Angeles on 9/13 is $598.10 or 34K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.74 cents per point (598.10-5.60/34,000). With an additional 10% rebate you’ll pay 30,600 points after getting back 200 points and the value will be 1.94 cents per point (598.10-5.60/30,600).

HT: AJK

Related: Which New JetBlue Card Is Right For You?


Save 25% On JetBlue Coach Award Redemptions

-Book by August 4th
-Fly September 7 – November 16, 2016
-Blackout dates 10/6–10/16/16
-Not valid for travel on Sunday or Friday
-Not valid in Mint class.

This is a great opportunity to use points earned from JetBlue’s incredible 75K promotion! 

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 an additional 10% points rebate.. 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 are JetBlue points worth with this promo? It all depends on the flights you take, but here are 3 examples:
1. JFK-Bermuda on 9/13 is $63.90 or 2K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.92 cents per point (63.90-5.60/2,000). With an additional 10% rebate you’ll pay 1,800 points after getting back 200 points and the value will be 3.24 cents per point (63.90-5.60/1,800).

2. JFK-Chicago on 9/13 is $77.10 or 3.6K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.99 cents per point (77.10-5.60/3,600). With an additional 10% rebate you’ll pay 3,240 points after getting back 360 points and the value will be 2.2 cents per point (77.10-5.60/3,240).

3. JFK-Los Angeles on 11/9 is $138.10 or 7K points+$5.60 after 25% off. That’s a value of 1.89 cents per point (138.10-5.60/7,000). With an additional 10% rebate you’ll pay 6,300 points after getting back 700 points and the value will be 2.1 cents per point (138.10-5.60/6,300).

HT: normathej, via DDF

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Transfer 20K Starwood Starpoints Into 30K American AAdvantage Miles

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser. Earn Starpoints with the Starwood Consumer AMEX or the Starwood Business AMEX

Starwood-American Transfer Bonus Details Linky

Starwood Airline Miles Transfer Linky

From today through 9/14 you can get 30K AA miles (instead of the standard 25K miles) for every 20K Starpoints that you transfer.

Back in 2010 when these SPG-AA bonuses started you were able to rack up hundreds of thousands of Starpoints thanks to the US Mint, miles transferred to AA counted for million miler status, and AA had an awesome round-the-world award chart. I took advantage of all of those, but they no longer exist.

During last year’s bonus I cautioned that American’s award chart was “so much better than their competition’s award charts that you can’t help but wonder when the devaluation will come…”

The devaluation came and it made their award chart downright terrible. Then the other shoe fell when American made their saver awards far more difficult to find than on any other airline.

Doug Parker has gone from America West to ruin USAirways and now American. Even Jeff Smisek would blush at his actions.

Regardless, with a 50% bonus it might be worth looking into transferring if you have a specific need and if there is decent saver award availability on the route that you want. Just be sure to compare American’s requirements with other airlines.

In this post I compared how many miles are required to fly on every OneWorld route from JFK.

Just for example, I flew last night from JFK to Vancouver in Cathay Pacific First Class for 35K Alaska miles. That same flight would have cost 55K AA miles. Non-elites would also have paid American a $75 last-minute fee which Alaska doesn’t charge. Even with a 50% bonus to American you would still be much better off transferring Starpoints to Alaska with the standard 25% bonus, so be sure to do your research before you transfer.

There’s no minimum or maximum on this offer, but it’s always wise to transfer Starpoints in increments of 20K and the most you can transfer in one day to maximize that is 60K Starpoints, which would net 90K AA miles. You can make 1 transfer per day.

-The names on the Starwood account and the AA account must match or the transfer will be rejected. You are able to transfer Starpoints for free between people living at the same address, though if you are changing the address on one of the accounts you’ll have to wait 30 days before transferring Starpoints to someone else’s Starwood account.

-The 20% bonus miles fulfilled by American will be posted within 7 business days after the initial conversion activity has been posted by Starwood Preferred Guest. The initial transfer usually takes a couple of days.  You can hold an AA award for 5 days which is enough time for the transfer to process.

-You are able to do a Starwood Nights and Flights redemption for 60K Starpoints in exchange for 60K AA miles and 5 nights in a category 3 property (normally 40K+28K Starpoints), or 70K Starpoints in exchange for 60K AA miles and 5 nights in a category 4 property (normally 40K+40K Starpoints).

HT: Mikey

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United Billion Mile Giveaway

Monday, August 1st, 2016

United Billion Mile Giveaway

I don’t usually write about giveaways, but we’re talking about a billion miles here 🙂

Every time you use your Chase United card in August and September you’ll get a raffle entry, but you can also enter as many times as you want even if you don’t have a card or make a purchase by entering your information here.

Winners will be drawn on 10/15.

-100 people will win 1 million United miles and $7,500 cash. The miles are valued at 2 cents each, so winners will also get a 1099 for $27,500. If you have a combined marginal state and federal tax rate of 33% you would owe some $9,000 in taxes if you win, so it’s a good thing the prize comes with cash and points 🙂
Even if you wind up having to pay a couple thousand dollars in taxes it’s still not a bad deal for enough miles to fly around the world in first class several times.
-10,000 people will win 25,000 United miles. The ARV is $500, as the ARV is less than $600, you shouldn’t get a 1099.
-130,000 people will win 5,000 United miles. The ARV is $100, as the ARV is less than $600, you shouldn’t get a 1099.

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What Exactly Is American’s AAdvantage?

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Update: American’s revenue based mileage program goes into effect today, regardless of when you purchased your tickets. On its surface it’s a match of Delta and United’s programs, but as this article and the related articles below show, it’s actually significantly worse than the other network carrier’s loyalty programs.

Related posts:
-American Joins Delta And United In Revenue Based Mileage Earning
-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


Originally posted on 6/14:

American’s AAdvantage program has been undergoing death by a thousand cuts.

Clearly the mergers of the last decade have decimated airline loyalty programs. The loss of AirTran, America West, Continental, Northwest, and USAirways have meant that the remaining oligopoly of airlines no longer need to compete on the same level that they used to. Hubs have been eliminated and will continue to disappear. Miles have become harder to earn when flying and become less valuable when cashed in.

In the meantime Delta has put all of their focus into their airline operations and they no longer even publish award charts.
United devalued their program in 2014 in one fell swoop. But after American’s changes, the United mileage program is far superior and the airline’s operations have been rapidly improving since they fired Smisek.

American’s trickle style roll out of bad news since the merger coupled with poor airline operations and abysmal award availability has been nothing short of a horror film.

1. They removed the ability to get a free stopover on award tickets without warning. Their own partner Alaska allows a stopover on one-way tickets even when redeeming for American flights. Competition like United still allows for a stopover and open jaw on awards that make using miles very valuable when utilized properly.

2. They removed their lucrative round-the-world award chart without warning. We got great use out of it on a trip around the world in 2010 and would have liked to have known before it was removed. United and ANA still have good round-the-world options.

3. They increased their AAnytime award flight options to have multiple levels of expensive awards, making it cost prohibitive to redeem for flights on peak dates. United still maintains one rate that makes the higher award level far more reasonable than American.

4. They still don’t provide free upgrades for lower and mid-tier elites as Delta and United do.

5. The new Platinum Pro level is the most unimaginatively named level ever and is the 3rd type of Platinum in American’s program. Worse than its unfortunate name, it won’t have the fee-waiver benefits provided by Delta and United like free award cancellations and free confirmed standby and it only gives 2 free 50 pound checked bags compared to 3 free 70 pound bags with Delta or United Platinum.

6. They’re finally rolling out domestic upgrades on award tickets, but only for top-tier Executive Platinums (though that comes after cutting their international upgrade certificates in half). Delta offers this for Gold and higher while United offers this to all elites who have a United credit card.

7. They’re devaluing their Gold and Platinum lifetime status levels by introducing higher levels and upgrades that are prioritized by the amount of money you’ve spent on flights in the past 12 months, something that no other airline does. So much for long-term loyalty.

8. They’re now requiring $3K in spending on top of flying to earn Gold, $6K for Platinum, $9K for Platinum Pro, and $12K for Executive Platinum. That’s copying Delta and United’s requirements. However Delta and United waive the spend requirement for foreign members while American will not.

9. Delta and United also waive the elite spend requirement if you spend $25K in a calendar year on their co-brand credit cards (excluding the ability to earn 1K status on United), while American did not announce any such waiver.

10. Their saver award space availability has deteriorated to the point that I’m not even sure it’s better than Delta’s. Both of those airlines lag miles behind United, especially if you have a United credit card.

11. Their award chart was once a bright spot, but was mAAsacred earlier this year and no longer provides a competitive advantage.

12. They have draconian routing rules, such as not allowing a flight from the US to Australia to transit via Asia and not allowing a flight from the US to Southern South America to connect in Central or Northern South America. American also requires that there be a published fare for award flights that you take, that you take the most direct routing, and they limit the total distance you can fly to MPM+25%. These restrictions exacerbate award availability issues. United has none of these restrictions.

13. American charges a massive fuel surcharge to fly on British Airways and a small fuel surcharge to fly on Iberia, making it tough to fly to Europe without paying outrageous fees. United has far more partner airlines than American and doesn’t charge a fuel surcharge for travel on any of them.

14. Operationally speaking, American has the worst tarmac delays, cancellation, and mishandled bag rates among all domestic carriers. Delta is by far the best domestic airline from an operation standpoint, and United is better than American and has been improving.

15. American cancelled their interline agreement with Delta as it became too expensive to keep sending their delayed and cancelled passengers to Delta. United still has an interline agreement with American and Delta, meaning they have more options to accommodate passengers when issues arise. I experienced pain from this issue firsthand.

16. American ended their El Al mileage relationship in 2014 and ended their own flights to Tel Aviv this year, leaving them with zero partners that fly between North America and Tel Aviv compared to 7-11 weekly Delta flights to Israel and 28 weekly Star Alliance flights on United and their partner Air Canada.

17. The OneWorld alliance no longer requires airlines to interline bags to other carriers even within the  alliance if you purchase 2 separate tickets. American claims they will still do so, but in my experience it was very hard to get them to do that and will likely become impossible. Delta and United still interline within their alliance on 2 tickets and United will interline to other airlines if you have elite status or even if you just ask nicely.

18. Many of American’s award partners are still not available online, which means having to call and play call center roulette to book awards on airlines like Air Tahiti Nui, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, JAL, and others. Just today I had an American phone agent outright lie to me about award space that I knew was there. I HUCA’d and received it, but they have seemingly stopped making progress in getting more airlines on their website. Progress has even gone backwards as airlines like AirBerlin have shows more award space on Iberia’s site than on American’s.

19. American’s flight status on their website and app are very primitive. It’s updated very late and often displays incorrect information in delay situations. United’s flight status on their website and app provides far more useful and timely updates and information.

20. American’s customer service is horrendous. I’ve experience this firsthand on a few occasions, but every aspect of their airline from gate agents, club agents, luggage agents, Twitter agents, executive office agents, and DoT representative agents have dropped the ball on our cancelled flight to London and their failure to provide a refund or alternate flight afterward. Delta and United would have had this solved in no time, but nobody at American cares or has the power to fix anything.

21. If you do want to redeem for an American flight, you’ll always do better by using miles from partner airlines like Alaska, BA, or Etihad, so there’s no longer much of a point of collecting miles from American. If you do fly on American you should credit your flights to a partner like Alaska.

22. I’ve found American to be very inflexible to deal with for schedule changes on award tickets. Delta and United are typically quite accommodating when flight times change in my experience, while that can’t be said for American.

23. The bottom line is that if you want operational excellence then your default choice ought to be Delta. If you value your miles then your default choice ought to be United.

But unless you find a cheap fare or you’re stuck in an American captive hub like Dallas, what exactly is American’s AAdvantage and why do they deserve your loyalty?

Did I miss any other disAAdvantages? If you’re an American loyalist, are you planning on sticking around or are you jumping ship?

Hit the comments!

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IHG Pointbreaks Now Bookable For Stays Through October, Hotel Rooms From $24/Night

Monday, July 25th, 2016

IHG PointBreaks Linky

IHG Booking Linky

-The current list is valid for stays through 10/31
-Hotels can sell out of discounted rooms quickly and only a limited amount of rooms are available per night.

You can book up to 2 reservations per hotel. There’s no limit to how long each of the stays can be.

You can stay in any PointBreaks hotel for 5,000 IHG points.

If you already have IHG points in your account then you can buy points for less.

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

-The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Meadowlands allows you to redeem 5K points and $70 for a night, just click “more options” and then select rewards nights. If you cancel that night you’ll get back 15K total points, so you’ll have effectively purchased 10K points for $70, or just $35 per 5K points. IHG Cardholders pay 10K points and $59.50 and also get back 15K points when they cancel, so they pay just $29.75 per 5K points. IHG Cardholders also get 10% of their redeemed points credited back, lowering the effective cost of a 5K award to $26.78.

-The Candlewood Suites Secaucus allows you to redeem 10K points and $100 for a night. If you cancel that night you’ll get back 25K total points, so you’ll have effectively purchased 15K points for $100, or just $33.33 per 5K points. IHG Cardholders pay 10K points and $85 and also get back 25K points when they cancel, so they pay just $28.33 per 5K points. IHG Cardholders also get 10% of their redeemed points credited back, lowering the effective cost of a 5K award to $25.50.

-The Crowne Plaza White Plains allows you to redeem 10K points and $125 for a night. If you cancel that night you’ll get back 30K total points, so you’ll have effectively purchased 20K points for $125, or just $31.25 per 5K points. IHG Cardholders pay 10K points and $106.25 and also get back 30K points when they cancel, so they pay just $26.56 per 5K points. IHG Cardholders also get 10% of their redeemed points credited back, lowering the effective cost of a 5K award to $23.90.

If you don’t have points yet IHG sells 5,000 points for $67.50 (or less via targeted offers after you sign in). If those points don’t post instantly you can call IHG to get a points loan based on your purchase confirmation number in order to quickly grab a room. Alternatively you can transfer 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG, though transfers are not instant. It’s a terrible use of Ultimate Rewards points (as they’re were more than twice that to brokers or when transferred to other airlines or hotels), but it allows you to start buying points for 0.7 cents each.

You can also get 60K points for signing up for their credit card.  That’s not as strong as bonuses from cards with more valuable point currencies, though it does come with an annual certificate good for a free stay in any IHG hotel. Those are best utilized at Intercontinental hotels where a night can set you back 60K points or $800/night in places like Bora Bora. The card is free for the first year and then $49/year.  If you have a credit card you’ll also get 10% of your points back on award reservations!

Where can you stay for 5K points?
The full current list is here, but here are a few samples:
Staybridge Suites North Brunswick, NJ
-Holiday Inn Buffalo Airport, NY
-Holiday Inn Express & Suites Oro Valley-Tucson, AZ
-Staybridge Suites Denver Tech Center, CO
-Candlewood Suites Overland Park, KS
-Staybridge Suites Baltimore BWI Airport, MD
-Staybridge Suites Detroit, MI
-Staybridge Suites Minneapolis, MN
-Holiday Inn Oklahoma City Airport, OK
-Candlewood Suites Pittsburgh, PA
-Holiday Inn Express & Suites San Antonio

-InterContinental Mendoza, Argentina
-Holiday Inn Express Sydney Macquarie Park
-InterContinental Phnom Penh, Cambodia
-Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites London, Canada
-Holiday Inn Tampere – Central Station, Finland
-Holiday Inn Nola, Naples, Italy
-Crowne Plaza Panama-Holiday Inn Express Lisbon, Portugal
-Holiday Inn Moscow, Russia-Staybridge Suites S. Petersburg, Russia
-Holiday Inn Express Affoltern am Albis, Switzerland

HT: shulem92, via DDF

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Is AAdvantage A ScAAm? See For Yourself And Let The DoT Know

Monday, July 11th, 2016

A month ago I wrote a post asking “What exactly is American’s AAdvantage?

Some commenters said I was too harsh. They said that flying NYC-LAX on AA for 11,250 miles as a cardholder was a bargain, even if it required a little flexibility in your travel dates.

So a few days later I researched and posted a comparison between the nonstop saver award space of American, Delta, and United that you can view here. While Delta and United performed quite well, American’s saver award space was abysmal.

I figured I’d take another look today at the nonstop saver award space on several routes for travel from 7/13 through 12/31.

Here are the results:

-From NYC to Los Angeles there were 99 available dates on United, 107 available dates on Delta, and only 3 available dates on American. All 3 of American’s dates were Saturdays.

-From NYC to San Francisco there were 107 available dates on United, 104 available dates on Delta, and only 2 available dates on American.

-From NYC to San Diego there were 133 available dates on United, 109 available dates on Delta, and only 2 available dates on American.

-From NYC to Las Vegas there were 75 available dates on United, 125 available dates on Delta, and only 2 available dates on American. Both of American’s dates were Saturdays.

This is simply #unAAcceptable

Shortly after USAirways took control of American, AAdvantage award space fell off a cliff. Even though American devalued their award chart earlier this year it didn’t improve their saver award space woes.

Banks like Citi pay American billions of dollars for their miles. American has no problem taking in those fees, it’s making saver award space available for reservations that seems to be the issue…as Jerry would say, these pretzels are making me thirsty.

It’s time to let the DoT know about the games that American AAdvantage is playing. Click here to file an official DoT complaint against American and let the DoT know that you accumulated miles (state if you earned the miles from credit cards, purchased miles, and/or from flying) to redeem for saver awards. Explain to the DoT just how scarce American’s nonstop saver award space on your preferred routes have become compared to their competitors and compared to what American’s saver award space was like before they merged with USAirways. Feel free to send your own research to the DoT or link to posts like the one you’re reading or to this post. You can attach screenshots like this to show how bad things have become:

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Tweet your displeasure and vote with your wallet. American is devaluing elite status, miles earned from flying, award space availability, and just about everything else to levels far worse than their competition. Let American know that that you’ll vote with your feet, Delta and United will be happy to match your status.

I’m not saying be a fool about it, I’ll still fly American next month thanks to a $42 ticket I got from Kansas City to Los Angeles (ironically even with fares that cheap on that route, they are still incredibly stingy with saver award space). But if you’re remaining loyal and spending extra to fly American based on the airline they were before USAirways took it over, just realize that they won’t reciprocate that loyalty.

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8 Months Later, A Conclusion To Our London Saga

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Last October I booked 4 business class tickets to fly on American from JFK to London. I redeemed 120K BA Avios+$1,784 for all 4 tickets and had we flown would have also earned back 144K miles due to a premium class bonus promotion.

I also redeemed 36K Avios for the 4 of us to fly from Cleveland to JFK.

You can read a what happened next in this post. Everything that could go wrong went wrong, every agent that could have given us good info gave us bad info, American refused to move us to another airline, agents lied about the location of our checked baggage several times, and we wasted 25 hours never making it past JFK. Not a fun way to spend a day with a 2 and 4 year old, but they were actually quite good until we had to make our way to LGA to catch a flight home.

 

 

Read about the rest of the story, after the jump:

(more…)

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Delta Domestic Award Sale From 5,000 Miles

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Delta Domestic Award Sale From 5,000 Miles

How do you have a sale when you no longer publish the regular price?
Excellent question, but Delta claims to have discounts on over 8,000 domestic routes and there’s no doubt that award space is much better than American.

You’ll need to search to find mileage prices and good luck finding rhyme or reason. Cleveland to Atlanta goes for 10K miles while nearby Akron/Canton-Atlanta is on sale for 7.5K miles

In general Delta now requires that you book award tickets 3 weeks in advance for the lowest rates.

Sale rules:
-Book travel by July 18.
-Travel between August 23, 2016-February 10, 2017.
-Blackout dates: September 1 – September 6, 2016, November 17 – November 28, 2016, December 14, 2016 – January 3, 2017.

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Cubs/Mets/Rangers Fans: Use Your Starpoints For Some Incredible Experiences

Friday, July 8th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.


A few years ago I burned 25K United miles for 4 box seats to an Indians game. In middle of the game I got to run onto the field and literally steal 2nd base. As an die-hard Indians fan it was probably the coolest use of my miles ever. People around the stadium were shocked to see someone walking around with 2nd base. I got the base signed by several players, including the winning pitcher that night, and it hangs in my office today. It still has the Jacobs Field dirt on it.

That story inspired other DansDeals readers to use their miles for some amazing experiences as well.

Earlier this year I wrote about the ability to bid Starpoints to sing the National Anthem in Wrigley Field on 7/18 for the Mets Vs Cubs game. The crazy thing about that deal was that if you weren’t accepted to sing you got your points back and still got to go to the game in the SPG suite with kosher food available upon request.

SPG Moments allows you to use points for all kinds of neat experiences, and there are some awesome ones up for bid and instant redemption right now.

If you do go to Wrigley you can park near Milt’s for a delicious lunch (The Milt’s Burger, Rib Sandwich, and Brisket Chili are my favorite items) and then walk from there to the game. A DDF reader invited me along when he redeemed Starpoints for the entire SPG suite when the Yankees took on the Cubbies and we did that and even brought along the owner of Milt’s to our suite. The suite was catered with kosher food, but nobody ate any of it after feasting at Milt’s just beforehand!

Be sure to post a comment and a “trip report” if you win!

Deliver the Line-Up Card at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs vs. Texas Rangers game on Friday, 7/15 at 1:20pm: High bid: 16K Starpoints.
Deliver the Line-Up Card at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets game on Monday, 7/18 at 6:05pm: High bid: 5K Starpoints.
-1 opportunity for a 6 to 12-year-old child to deliver the line-up card.
-Field access for two (2) for a pregame photo
-2 Field Box Infield tickets


-Announce “Play Ball” at Wrigley Field before the Chicago Cubs take on the New York Mets on Monday, 7/18 at 6:05pm High bid: 8K Starpoints.
-Access for a 6 to 12-year-old child to announce the official “play ball” at Wrigley Field on Monday, 18 July 2016 in front of up to 40,000 cheering fans.
-Two 2 Field Box Infield seats to watch the Chicago Cubs play


Take the Field Alongside the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field Before They Take on the Texas Rangers on Sunday, 7/17 at 1:20pm: Instant redemption for 27.5K Starpoints, 4 packages available.
-2 seats for the Chicago Cubs game against the Texas Rangers on Sunday, 17 July 2016 at 1:20 pm
-1 opportunity for a 7 to 13-year-old to run onto the field with the Chicago Cubs before the first pitch
-1 group photo of your child with the other participating SPG members


Throw out a ceremonial pitch before at Wrigley Field before the New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs game on Monday, 7/18 at 6:05pm High bid: 60K Starpoints.
-Access for 1 to throw a ceremonial pitch at Wrigley Field on Monday, 18 July 2016
-Field access for 2 for a pregame photo
-2 Field Box Infield seats to watch the Chicago Cubs play the New York Mets


Members Only Softball Tournament on Wrigley Field – Build Your Own Team to play on Sunday, August 7 from 12pm-4pm High bid: 11K Starpoints, 2 packages available.
-12 tickets to play softball at Wrigley Field on Sunday, August 7th
-12 Customized MLB Chicago Cubs jerseys with the names of all 12 participants.
-Meet with a retired Cubs alumnus for 12
-Behind-the-scenes tour of Wrigley Field for 12
-Complimentary food and beverages for 12 (You can request kosher food).
-No participants under the age of 13

Will you be bidding on any of these once in a lifetime experiences?

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Is There Still Time To Buy Starpoints To Join JetBlue’s Epic 75K Promotion?

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Before reading the post below, please read these posts for background information:

Should You Buy Or Transfer Starpoints To Join The Most Lucrative JetBlue Promotion Of All Time?

-It’s Time To Mileage Run! Earn Up To 75K Bonus JetBlue Points After Just 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!


I’ve been flooded with questions from people asking me if there’s still time to participate in the JetBlue promotion if they haven’t started yet.

Now that we have confirmation that the promotion is being fully honored, we’re nearing the end of the road if you still want to get in on the fun. There is still time to buy Starpoints and transfer them to Virgin America by July 4th, but that window of opportunity is closing.

If you have 40,001 Starpoints you would need to transfer them to Virgin America by Sunday to receive them by Monday in order to email JetBlue to enroll in this promotion by the July 4th deadline.

You can transfer Starpoints into anyone’s Virgin America account. If you have enough points you can transfer points to your spouse and children to enroll all of them in this promotion.

If you have at least 10,001 Starpoints you’ll have until Sunday to buy enough Starpoints to transfer 40,0001 points to Virgin America so that it’s in the the account by Monday to be matched by JetBlue.

Once you buy Starpoints you can transfer Starpoints to Virgin America even if they don’t show as available in your SPG balance.

If you don’t have 10,001 Starpoints then you’ll need to buy Starpoints in 2 different Starwood accounts (as there is a 30K annual purchase limit per account) and make transfers from both of those Starwood accounts to Virgin America are at least 24 hours apart from each other. Those Starwood accounts can be in anyone’s name. In this scenario you’ll want to buy those points ASAP to start the first of those 2 transfers from Starwood to Virgin America now, as you’ll need to wait 24 hours before that Virgin America account can receive another Starpoint transfer.

You don’t need a JetBlue Plus card or a Starwood AMEX to participate in this promotion, but having a JetBlue card will make your 75K JetBlue bonus points more valuable as well as provide free checked bags among other benefits, and using a Starwood card to buy Starpoints will net 2 Starpoints per dollar spent.

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Is JetBlue Attempting To Retroactively Change Their Promotion Terms?

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Related posts:
-It’s Time To Mileage Run! Earn Up To 75K Bonus JetBlue Points After Just 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!
-Roundup Of JetBlue Sale Fares From $66 Round-Trip To Earn Up To 75K JetBlue Points
-Should You Buy Or Transfer Starpoints To Join The Most Lucrative JetBlue Promotion Of All Time?


Update #3: JetBlue has officially confirmed to me that they will be fully honoring this promotion.


Update #2: I haven’t heard anything back officially from JetBlue, but several DDFers who did receive denial emails and were told in their original phone calls that the promo terms were changing have been able to HUCA and get registered over the phone.

I also called JetBlue several times and the reps all confirmed that the program is still going and that you actually can book 2 one-way tickets and you can book travel before being registered, as seen in writing here. So be sure to take advantage the JetBlue sale ending tonight.

Gary has also reached out to JetBlue for comment but has also not heard back from them. At this point though I’m inclined to chalk up the denial reports to some incorrect rejections on JetBlue’s end and some incorrect submissions from users.

There have also been several reports of registration confirmation after the meeting that JetBlue had earlier this afternoon about the promotion, so it seems like everything should be good to go, aside from some very rogue phone reps.

If you have been denied you should definitely call JetBlue and keep calling back until they are able to get you registered over the phone.

Be sure that you attach a screenshot from a non-mobile device and that it shows your Virgin America point balance twice when you email JetBlue or else your match will be denied.

Note that some people have reported 6 day waits for registration confirmation while others have been confirmed is as little as 30 minutes. Go figure.

There is still time to buy Starpoints and transfer them to Virgin America, see all of the related posts above for more information.

And don’t forget that you have until tonight to match your other airline elite status to JetBlue.

If there was ever a promotion that appears too good to be true, it’s this one. But hopefully it stays alive through Monday as originally promised.


Update #1: There have been several more reports of match approvals and denials, so it’s hard to say what’s going on for sure. JetBlue is reportedly huddling now to determine what exactly to do about this promotion. Clearly they didn’t expect the thousands of applications for hundreds of millions of miles that they have received, though it’s pretty shocking that they didn’t foresee that.

In the meantime, if you have transferred points from Starwood to Virgin America, it would probably be best to call Starwood to have that transfer stopped, as once it completes it can’t be reversed. If you already have Virgin America points and haven’t yet emailed JetBlue for a match you should do that ASAP.

Once again for the umteenth time, this shows that good things come to those who act quickly.

I’ve reached out to JetBlue and will update this post again when more information is available.

It’s also worth pointing out this email received by DDF member bornsub. In it the JetBlue rep tells him that 2 one-ways will qualify (as I surmised on DDF a few days ago) and that any travel booked on or after June 24th will qualify as well. Numerous phone reps have also confirmed that 2 one-ways will work. Of course officially the terms state that a round-trip is required (though JetBlue stated that a multi-city works as well) and that you must book a ticket after receiving registration confirmation for the promotion.


 

Last Friday JetBlue launched a promotion that is easily their most lucrative ever, offering 75,000 points for taking a single JetBlue flight if you have 50,001 Virgin America points.

I pointed out that it can definitely make sense to buy and/or transfer Starpoints to Virgin America to participate in the promotion.

JetBlue has been inundated with emails from people requesting to participate and thousands have already been approved. I was approved soon after I submitted my request on Friday.

-But DDF member rileywiles23 has just reported that he got an email saying that he didn’t qualify, despite his screenshot showing that he had 50,001+ Virgin America miles.

He called JetBlue and was told that they have added a clause that the points must have been earned via Virgin America flights. That clause is not listed on their website.

DDF member davidmal reports that they made an exception for him and enrolled him over the phone, but the rep stated that going forward applications will be denied if the points didn’t come from Virgin America flights.

DDF member sruly also was denied registration via email as “The points balance proof you provided doesn’t meet the requirements of the promotion.”

DDF member lfas25 reports that he was successfully matched 20 minutes ago, so the denials seem to be brand new. Or perhaps some reps are still working under the old terms?

It would be fair if JetBlue published new terms and stated the requests sent after the new terms were published will be denied. But it’s patently unfair to publish one set of terms and then change them without warning.

If you transferred points to Virgin America and have been denied via email and by phone you should file a complaint immeditately with the US DoT and explain exactly what happened. Be sure to explain that you transferred points to Virgin America based on JetBlue’s published terms of the promotion and that the transfer can’t be reversed. Include screenshots of the promotion terms as well as denials from JetBlue.

If you were already approved then I’d assume you are safe. But JetBlue appears to be playing dirty pool here, so who knows…

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