Category Archive for 'Miles'

1 Day Left Until British Airways Avios Devaluation; Info On Changing Dates After 02/02 And On Transferring Points To Iberia Avios

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Related posts:

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

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn up to 100,000 Avios for a limited time only! Earn 50K for spending $2K in 3 months, earn an additional 25K for spending another $8K in 12 months, and earn an additional 25K for spending another $10K in 12 months.
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Effective 02/02/16 at 5am EST British Airways is raising the cost of short-haul zone 1 flights between 1-650 miles in flight distance from 4.5K Avios to 7.5K in coach, from 9K Avios to 15K in business, and from 18K Avios to 30K in first.

This change is only for flights that are to, from, or within the United States. Short haul zone 1 flights like London-Milan, Iguazu Falls-Sao Paulo, Johannesburg-Victoria Falls, and Sydney-Melbourne remain 4.5K Avios in coach.

All other awards remain the same.

Still, with travel starting at 7.5K Avios with no close-in fees and just $5.60 in cancellation fees, Avios travel remains a bargain for domestic flights.

You can book a 9K round-trip award now and change the dates later without paying the additional 6K Avios. But BA charges $55/award for date changes and just charges the tax paid ($5.60/way for domestic flight) for cancellations, so if you need to change the date, that will eat up a lot of the savings. But if you might need to fly it’s worth hedging that bet for the cancellation penalty of $5.60 each way.

Note that for awards from Canada the taxes are about equal to the cancellation fee. In that case if you need to change your travel dates, you can spend $55 for a change fee when you do have dates and that will save you 6K Avios. You don’t forfeit the taxes paid on award changes.

The same story applies to 4.5K awards from Mexico or the Caribbean as well.

Normally I advise booking one-way with BA as it’s far cheaper to cancel a domestic flight than to change it and for several other reasons. But if you do plan on changing dates on an award instead of cancelling to beat the devaluation, be sure to book round-trip awards to limit your change fees.

Current BA award chart:

ZoneFlight DistanceCoachBusinessFirst
11-6504.5K9K18K
2651-1,1517.5K15K30K
31,152-2,00010K20K40K
42,001-3,00012.5K37.5K50K
53,001-4,00020K60K80K
64,001-5,50025K75K100K
75,501-6,50030K90K120K
86,501-7,00035K105K140K
97,001+50K150K200K

BA award chart effective 02/02/16:

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

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

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

There is no minimum transfer amount:

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

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

If not you can open an Iberia account here.

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

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

Here is a look at Iberia’s award chart for travel on AA:

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There are at least 6 critical things to keep in mind. There may be more as personally I don’t have experience using Iberia Avios as of yet, so feel free to hit the comments.

1. While BA charges for each segment, Iberia charges for the total mileage of the trip.

BA’s zones are for each leg each way, while Iberia’s zones are for the sum total of all legs on a round-trip.

Let’s say I want to visit my in-laws in Kansas City (Oh stop that snickering!)

American doesn’t fly direct, so I’d have to connect in a hub like Chicago if I wanted to use Avios.

-Cleveland-Chicago is a 315 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01.
-Chicago-Kansas City is a 403 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01.
So the round-trip from Cleveland to Kansas City is currently 18K BA Avios, but will be going up to 30K after 02/01.

With Iberia the total flight distance is calculated without regard to the segments. So Cleveland-Chicago-Kansas City and back again is 1,436 flown miles, making it an Iberia Zone 3 award. That costs just 17K Avios round-trip.

What if I just want to go on my usual day trip to Chicago and hit up Milt’s, a ballgame, and some Shallot’s before flying home?

Cleveland-Chicago is a 315 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01. So the round-trip from Cleveland to Chicago is currently 9K BA Avios, but will be going up to 15K after 02/01.

With Iberia the total flight distance is calculated without regard to the segments. So Cleveland-Chicago and back again is 631 flown miles, making it an Iberia Zone 2 award. That costs 12K Avios round-trip.

2. Iberia’s cheapest award will be 4K cheaper than using BA.

Come 02/02 and you may want to book a flight from Detroit to Chicago with Iberia. At just 469 miles in round-trip distance, it falls within Iberia’s limited zone 1 award for travel up to 600 miles and costs just 11K Iberia Avios round-trip.

With BA that’s currently a 9K round-trip award, but it will be 15K effective 02/02.

-A round-trip flight from Detroit to St. Louis via Chicago is now 18K BA but will go up to 30K on 02/02. With Iberia that round-trip is just 12K Iberia Avios as the total flight distance falls into a zone 2 award.

-A round-trip from NYC to Toronto or Montreal is now 9K BA Avios in coach or 18K in business. That goes up to 15K in coach or 30K in business on 02/02. Those are Iberia Zone 2 awards costing 12K in coach or 24K in business.

Or maybe you won’t want to do that for the following 4 reasons:

3. Iberia only has round-trip partner awards. BA allows one-way awards.

4. Iberia doesn’t allow for changes or cancellations to partner awards. BA allows cancellation of domestic awards for just $5.60/one-way award up to 24 hours ahead of the flight time.

5. Iberia charges more tax for domestic flights than BA.

While BA charges $5.60 for domestic one-ways and $11.20 for domestic round-trips, Iberia charges $20.20 for domestic nonstop round-trips and $29.20 for domestic connecting round-trips.  It’s probably a mistake and/or illegal tax collection, but that’s what their system charges for now.

CLE-ORD-CLE on BA, now 9K+$11.20, soon to be 15K+$11.20:

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CLE-ORD-CLE on Iberia, 12K+$20.20:

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CLE-ORD-MCI-ORD-CLE on BA, now 18K+$11.20, soon to be 30K+$11.20:

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CLE-ORD-MCI-ORD-CLE on Iberia, 17K+$29.20:

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

So there will be times in the future that I’ll use BA and there will be times in the future when I’ll use Iberia. Namely when I need to fly round-trip, when I’ll definitely take the trip, and when the mileage savings is large enough to make it worth the extra tax and make up for the lack of ability to cancel. When connecting the advantage for Iberia is going to be even bigger after 02/01.

Good thing you can transfer points back and forth as needed!

Want to earn Avios?

-You can also earn Avios directly with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature cardwhich is offering up to 100K Avios currently!

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

The Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

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

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

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

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

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred instantly at a 1:1 ratio into BA Avios from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus credit cards.
Cards like Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Cash can’t directly transfer points into miles, you’ll have to transfer those points to a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus that belongs to an additional user before you can transfer those points to British Airways.

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SIZZLING! Delta Cardholders Can Book First Class Award Tickets From Canada To The US For 250 Miles+$0 Tax!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Update 2: DEAD!

Update: Commenters are reporting that you need 25K miles in your account for this deal to work. You can transfer miles from AMEX to Delta instantly.

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

If you have a Delta credit card like the Delta Gold, Delta Platinum, Delta Reserve, or Delta Business AMEX then you can use pay with miles. You just search for a revenue flight on Delta.com, select a fare, and then a drop-down menu lets you know how many miles you can use. A $200 ticket would normally cost you about 25K miles.

However right now tickets that originate in Canada that cost less than C$284 can be had for just 250 miles with no taxes owed! Now that’s maximizing your Skypesos like never before!

You can use Google Flights Canada to find Delta flights originating in Canada for C$284 or less.

Then login to your mileage account on Delta.com and search for a flight. You must have a primary Delta credit card attached to the mileage account for this to work.

Again, this will only work for tickets originating in Canada and it will only work for tickets that cost C$284 or less.

Don’t forget that you can book a one-way flight from NYC or Chicago to Toronto for 4.5K Avios, from Los Angeles to Vancouver for 7.5K Avios, or from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto for 10K Avios, and then you can book the return for just 250 miles with this deal!

For example this round-trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles is C$282 after sorting the flights by price and selecting the flights. After selecting the flight just use the drop-down menu to save C$282 by using just 250 miles!

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The next page will confirm the 250 miles+$0 price:

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The email confirmation shows C$282, but that the total charge is $0. No pending charge came on my credit card when I booked this ticket:

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Only 250 miles were deducted from my Delta account:

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You’ll even earn Medallion qualifying miles and segments with these fares!

I didn’t need the ticket so I cancelled it and got my miles back as it was within the 24 hour cancellation period.

 

While I couldn’t find any round-trips from Montreal or Toronto to NYC for C$284 or less, I did find one-way first class tickets that worked:

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Will Delta honor this?

They have a pretty good record.

They honored $150 tickets to Europe.

They honored $370 tickets to Israel via Europe and even allowed people to upgrade to a nonstop flight for free.

They honored thousands of $50 round-trip first class fares from places like NYC to Alaska, California, and Hawaii. They even honored the tickets of thousands more people who didn’t receive ticketing confirmations.

They also honored $10 fares from Vancouver to Los Angeles just 2 weeks ago.

But they may follow United’s lead and decide not to honor mileage ticket mistakes. Time will tell, stay tuned!

Everything in this post was discovered by trial and error and I’m sure there are lots of other great deals, so keep searching and post them in the comments!

HT: Sol B.
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Discounted United Awards Between North America And Sydney; How Much Time To Spend In Australia

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Update: This promotion ends tomorrow!

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Originally posted on 01/06:

Discounted United Awards Between North America And Sydney

Currently this promotion is only open for Chase United cardholders and premiers. Just login before searching to view the discounted rates. I’ll bump this post when it’s open to the general public. Now open to everyone!

-Travel valid between Canada or the United States and Sydney.

-Travel on every day except Friday and Saturday will be 25% off for a round-trip award price of 60K miles instead of 80K miles.

-Travel on Friday and Saturday will be 20% off for a round-trip award price of 64K miles instead of 80K miles. If you travel just one direction on Friday or Saturday then the total will be 62K miles.

-Round-trip is required, but you can get the discount on half the trip if one of the dates falls within the promo period.

-Book by 01/28

-Travel between 02/02-06/22

-Travel valid only valid on United and only in coach.

-Stopovers are not allowed with the promo discount, but you can do an open jaw originating from one city and ending up in another city. Of you can always connect for up to 24 hours. For example here’s a free 23 hour, 51 minute connection in Los Angeles:

syd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can set that up by choosing multi-city on United’s advanced search page:

 

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So how long should you spend down under?

Back in 2010 Mimi and I flew around the world on AA’s defunct round-the-world award and for Australia we stopped off in Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmania, and the Whitsunday Islands. Truly an awesome country!

-3-5 days in Sydney would give you enough time to experience the phenomenal Park Hyatt, climb the Harbour bridge, check out the Opera House, pet some Koalas and Kangaroos, and have a day in the Blue Mountains.

-4-6 days in Melbourne would allow for a road trip of the sublime Great Ocean Road and the breathtaking Grampians before going to to Malborune for Shabbos at the excellent Park Hyatt which is around the corner from a great Chabad House. A flight from Sydney to Melbourne is 4.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges.

-2-4 days in Hamilton Island or Cairns would give you time to snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re based in Hamilton Island you’ll also be able to checked out famous Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. A flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island is 7.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges. Sydney to Cairns is 10K Avios.

-We spent 4 nights covering the entire beautiful island of Tasmania without realizing just how much driving that would entail. Doing over a week would have been ideal.  A flight from Sydney to Hobart is 4.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges.

-We didn’t make it to more remote places like Uluru, Kangaroo Island, Perth, or the Australian Outback, but perhaps on a future trip?

Then again 10K BA Avios can also get you from Sydney to New Zealand. That’s been on my bucket list for a very long time…

HT: RWM
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United 3-Class 777 From Newark To LA And San Francisco With Wide Open Business And First Award Space; Book The Entire First Class Cabin With Miles!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

United typically serves their transcontinental routes with narrow-body 2 class aircraft, but they are operating an international 777 with coach, business, and first class on several routes for limited dates:

-Newark-San Francisco: 1 daily flight from April 5-May 4
-San Francisco-Newark: 1 daily flight from April 6-May 4
-Washington/IAD-San Francisco and San Francisco-Washington/IAD: 1 daily flight (except Saturdays in March) from March 3-May 4
-Washington/IAD-Los Angeles: 1 daily flight from April 5-May 4
-Los Angeles-Washington/IAD: 1 daily flight from April 6-May 4

I’ll break down the exact award availability on the Newark-Los Angeles and Los Angeles-Newark routes below. There’s first class award space on every date that the flight operates. In fact there are just 8 first class seats, so you can book out the entire first class cabin with saver awards on many dates!

We flew to Brazil on TAM by booking out the entire first class cabin with miles, though granted that cabin just had 4 seats so it worked perfectly for our family. It was an unforgettable experience.

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View which miles to use, the full availability between Newark and Los Angeles day by day, and more about the seats after the jump:

(more…)

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East Coast Travel Weather Waivers Will Be Issued Soon, Here’s What You Might Want To Do Beforehand

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

This is usually a topic that I discuss at DansDeals Seminars, but I haven’t done one of those in a while, so here goes.

Most weather models are forecasting heavy snow this weekend on the east coast. I think that’s it’s very likely that by tonight (or tomorrow at the latest) the airlines will allow free changes and cancellations for tickets booked for travel for Friday-Sunday, with the exact dates varying based on the city.

The airline industry is notorious for sticking it to consumers when they have a change of plans, but weather waivers are one way that consumers can have a leg up on the airlines.

But are you a gambler?

Say you have an award ticket on American from JFK-LAX in June that you know you want to cancel. Most airlines charge about $150 to redeposit those miles. However making a simple date change is free on American, although on other airlines it might set you back $75. You could change the ticket to fly this Saturday and hope the weather waiver falls into place and then you would be able to cancel and get back the miles for free.

Only tickets booked for travel on weather waiver dates before the waiver is issued are eligible for free refunds or cancellations. Once the weather waiver is issued it’s too late.

Same story goes if you want to travel next week on a flight where flights are expensive. For example a flight on American from NYC to Miami on Saturday is $82 while Sunday is $201, but that Saturday flight will be changeable for free, assuming the weather forecast remains on track.

And the same thing applies if you want to travel next week on a flight without award space. United has saver award space from Newark to Tel Aviv this Saturday, but nothing for travel on Sunday, Monday, or Wednesday. Assuming a weather waiver is issued for Saturday travel that would be changeable and most agents can force open award space.

You can hedge your bets as tickets booked on Priceline are cancellable for free until 11:29pm tomorrow. And awards on most airlines besides American can be cancelled within 24 hours of booking for free.

Have you ever used weather waiver policies for your advantage? Hit the comments!

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Membership Rewards Canada: 25% Bonus For Transfers Into British Airways Avios

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Related post (Read this first!): -Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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Membership Rewards Canada: 25% Bonus For Transfers Into British Airways Avios

This promotion applies for Canadian cards only.  Through 03/28, transfers from Membership Rewards Canada to British Airways will be at a 1K:1.25K ratio.

This promotion does not apply for transfers from US based AMEX Membership Rewards cards.

Destination charts for nonstop flights from Montreal and Toronto that can be booked with Avios can be found in this post.  With flights starting at just 4.5K Avios in coach and 9K Avios for a lie-flat business seat there are some real bargains.  With the 25% bonus that means that a coach award will start at just 3.6K AMEX points and a business award will start at 7.2K AMEX points.

Note that you’ll need to act fast though as effective 02/02 those awards go up to 7.5K Avios each way. However you can transfer BA Avios into Iberia Avios where those round-trips are 12K Avios round-trip.

HT: jstu, via DDF

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AAdvantage Devaluation Hedging: How Will American’s Cancel Without Redeposit Option Work Compared To United’s?

Monday, January 11th, 2016

In December 2013 I wrote a post advising people to use United’s “cancel without redeposit” feature to lock in awards under their old award chart.

United would only say that date changes would be allowed and wouldn’t comment further.

Other bloggers wrote that I would be proven dead wrong.

But I booked a half dozen awards and it worked better than I imagined. Having such a ticket allowed full access to the old chart, even if you changed the origin and destination!

American’s devaluation that is coming on 03/22 does a lot to copy United, but the truth is that it’s much worse. United has very generous routing, and stopover, and open-jaw rules that cushioned the blow. American has very strict routing rules and they don’t allow any stopovers or open-jaws. At least they didn’t copy Delta in deleting their award charts, but it’s not pretty.

American too says that they will allow date changes without being forced into the new award chart. And best of all AA doesn’t charge for date changes on awards.

Changing the origin or destination will likely result in having to use the new chart, but what about a change to the connecting city?

What will happen if you’re booked on Etihad business class from JFK to the Maldives and a first class apartment opens up? Business class is only going up from 67.5K to 70K, but first class goes up from 90K to 115K.

Or what will happen if you’re booked on Cathay Pacific business class from JFK to Hong Kong and a first class seat opens up? Business class will “only” be going up from 55K to 70K, but first class goes up from 67.5K to 110K.

Will you be able to upgrade that seat under the old award chart or will you have to use the new award chart?

It’s impossible to say at this point.

But if you know you want to fly somewhere in business or first class that’s getting significantly more expensive I’d risk it and use the same cancel without redeposit method. Find the availability on your preferred route for any date and book it. Then after it’s ticketed just use the cancel button on AA.com. That puts the itinerary in an inactive state. When you find dates that work for you just call AA and give them your existing record locator and they should be able to put in those dates without any charge.

Of course it can be tough finding business and first availability months before a flight. Typically the best award space is released as the flight date gets closer.

AA hits their non-elites with a $75 close-in booking fee, but that’s nothing compared to the cost increase to fly in first class after the devaluation.

Of course AA.com doesn’t show most partner awards. You can call AA to search for awards or you can use partner sites like Etihad to search for Etihad awards (AA can book awards labeled “Guest”). Or you can use a site like BA.com to search for Cathay awards before calling AA to book.

While you’ll never find many first class seats for JFK-Vancouver in advance, the entire 6 seat first class cabin is wide open for tonight! (You can read my 2012 trip report here) Currently those are 32.5K awards, come 03/22 and they’ll be 50K awards. My proposal would be to book a close-in award like this, cancel it right after it’s ticketed (there’s no charge to cancel without redepositing the miles), and then call AA back at a later date when space opens up on a flight that works for you. Note that tickets are only valid for a year, so if you don’t use it within a year of ticketing you’ll have to pay to redeposit those miles. Currently AA charges $150 redeposit fee for the first passengers and $25 for each additional passenger.

 

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Same story for JFK-Hong Kong. Currently 67.5K in first class, soon to be 110K. Beat the increase for travel after 03/22 by locking in current rates on dates with available space:

 

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It’s worth repeating that word of caution: Nobody can tell you with 100% certainty what exactly will happen with changes made on 03/22 to tickets booked under the old award chart and nothing is foolproof. But based on past experience I’d feel very safe using this method myself. Of course you’ll have to assess your own risk tolerance level to decide whether the upside (savings tens of thousands of miles per passenger) outweighs the potential redeposit fees if this method doesn’t work out after 03/22.

Will you be using this method to lock in awards under the current award chart? Or are you not the gambling type? Hit the comments!

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Poll: Was Your Serve Or Bluebird Card Closed?

Monday, January 11th, 2016

On Friday morning I wrote about the wave of Serve and Bluebird closures.

There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for the shutdowns. Some people with the same patterns on 2 household cards had 1 card shutdown while the other is still open.
One possible pattern is that people who kept funds in the Serve account rather than transfer them out quickly, are being spared. That may explain why I wasn’t shutdown despite $5,000 in loading last month.

But I’m not one to take things cautiously. I loaded $2,500 on my Serve card on Friday at Rite Aid and another $2,500 today. I still have a stash of gift cards to liquidate so I also bought $5,000 in money orders. Luckily I have numerous local stores that will sell me money orders and I have a bank that doesn’t seem to mind all of the money order deposits. That makes for a good backup in case my Serve card is closed, but that’s something that doesn’t necessarily exist everywhere.

At any rate, vote now and share your patterns in the comments:

Was Your Serve Card Closed?

View Results

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Has Serve Served You A Shutdown Notice Today?

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Numerous DDF’ers are reporting that their Serve cards have been closed today. There are also Bluebird shutdown reports as well.
The emails they got have said,

“We are writing to let you know that we have observed unusual usage patterns on your American Express Serve Account. Because of this, effective immediately, you will no longer be able to add money to your Account.1 We have made this change in accordance with Section 15.d of our Consumer User Agreement, which you can view here.

Please be aware that you continue to have full access to the funds on your Account and can withdraw them at any time. Any applicable monthly fees continue to apply.

Once your balance reaches $0, please close your Account online via your Profile page accessible here. Scroll down to the Close Account section and click Close Account.”

It’s not a surprise that they don’t like manufactured spend and there have been sporadic reports of this over the years, but today’s reports seem to indicate a large wave of shutdowns.

Somehow my account and other heavy hitters on DDF didn’t get the email, so it’s not across the board. Yet.

Did you get that email today or are you still safe? How were you loading and unloading your Serve card?

Rough day in the manufactured spend world. Good time to brush up on stores that have money order and billpay options with debit cards…

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Evolve Soon To Be Extinct

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Back in 2014 Evolve was a lot of fun. I wrote about them a lot, but kept the secret that you can manufacture unlimited miles on your credit card with Evolve limited to DDF and seminars. At seminars I talked about using my Gap and Banana cards to cycle through tens of thousands of free miles.

After a few months some other sites covered that news as a limited time glitch. Of course it wasn’t that at all. I have no problem writing about a true limited time glitch, but when something good lasts a long time it’s a shame to see it die. Most credit cards stopped working soon after that point, but on DDF we discussed some cards that continued to work.

Later that year they limited things by allowing just 1 payment per biller per month and last year they stopped allowing debit cards, though people have still been using it with reloadit cards.

However effective 02/01/16 they will cease to exist. They never seemed to have a plan to actually make money, so no surprise there.

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Chase Freedom Q1 Bonus Spending Now Live: Save On Gas, Uber, Subway Rides, And More!

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Chase Freedom Linky

Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card thanks to its quarterly 5% categories. While they call it 5% cash back, you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points over the course of a year (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).

For a limited time only the signup bonus is increased to $150 for spending $500 in 3 months plus $25 for adding an additional user and making a purchase. Those actually come in the form of 17,500 points that can be used for $175 cash back, but would be put to better use if used as airline miles.

You can click here to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories.

2016 bonus categories:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and more to be announced.
Q3: Restaurants and more to be announced.
Q4: Holiday shopping (Likely Amazon.com and more to be announced)

Q1 bonus spending:

You can earn 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in spending at gas stations between 01/01-03/31. You can buy gift cards to other stores at gas stations as well.

Visa seems to count all 7-Eleven’s as gas stations, even if they don’t sell gas! That’s perfect as I’ll stock up on Vanilla gift cards that I’ll load onto my Serve card and earn a boatload of miles while doing so. It helps to have several Freedom cards as well 😀

You’ll also get 5 points per dollar on local commuter transportation which includes:
-Local and suburban passenger commuter train, subway, buses, metro, and ferry tickets.
-Taxis
-Uber
-Lyft

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

The value of the points will be based on where you use them, but if you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each then you’ll have effectively earned 10% back on those “5 point categories.” The sky is the limit of the value of airline miles as they aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket. That’s good for people in the know and bad for those who are not. 1 mile can be worth 0.25 cents or it can be worth 25 cents, it all just depends on how you use them!

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

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 1/3 and 1/9 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

This is valid in-store only.

Officially there is a limit of 1 rebate per household.

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

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

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

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

You can use the last 4 digits of the Visa cards numbers as the PIN for debit transactions.

Even without the rebate, the argument can be made to buy gift cards from Staples for your everyday spending.

Say you spend $2,000 on everyday spend. On a typical card earning points or cash back worth 2% you would save $40.

If you bought $2,000 in Visa gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?
-You can load up to $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month onto a One VIP Serve card or Bluebird card at a WalMart ATM, cashier, or customer service counter for free. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card. Note that some WalMart employees and stores may not want to allow such loads.
-You can also load a Serve card at Rite Aid, Dollar General, or Family Dollar.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders. I find that grocery stores work well for this.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can give a Visa gift card to charity.

HT: SearchGuy, via DDF

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Get A 25% (Or 56%) Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into Avios; Here’s What You Need To Know Before Using Iberia To Cushion The Avios Devaluation!

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Update 12/31: This transfer bonus ends today!

Update, 12/15: The glitch has been corrected to the proper 1:1 transfer ratio, congrats those who got in while it was live!

Update, 12/07: After reading several DDF reports of people who received 313 Iberia Avios for a 250 point Membership Rewards transfer last Wednesday and Friday (an effective 56.5% bonus from the regular 200 Avios they would get) I sent over 1,000 points on Saturday night and now have 1,250 Avios in my account!

These points can now be freely transferred and redeemed on Iberia.com, BA.com, or Avios.com, depending on the best usage for the flight I need!

Although this is advertised as a 25% bonus, that’s actually an effective 56.25% bonus from the 800 Avios that I would normally receive with the 1K:800 ratio for Avios transfers that went into place in October.

It appears that the 25% bonus is being applied twice, once for what should be 800 Avios to become 1,000 Avios and then again for another 250 points on top of that.

Points in my Iberia account:

ib1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote from AMEX showing that I should have received 1,000 Avios for the transfer after the 25% bonus:

ib3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMEX statement showing 1,000 points redeemed:

ib2

 

 

 

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Originally posted on 12/02:

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

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn up to 100,000 Avios for a limited time only! Earn 50K for spending $2K in 3 months, earn an additional 25K for spending another $8K in 12 months, and earn an additional 25K for spending another $10K in 12 months.
———————————————————————————–

Get A 25% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into Avios

On 10/01 the transfer rate from AMEX MR points into Avios went from 1:1 to 250:200.

Some bloggers postulated that it would also mean the end of AMEX MR bonuses to Avios.

At the time I wrote that “I do still think we’ll still see bonus promotions in the future, but a 25% bonus will only bring the transfer back to parity.”

And that’s exactly what this new bonus does, it brings the ratio back to 1:1. The bonus is valid through 12/31.

With a catch. The bonus is only available for transfers into Iberia Avios.

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

You can combine points via this link via the BA site.

Or via this link on the Iberia site.

There is no minimum transfer amount:

iberia5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

If not you can open an account here.

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

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

Of course it’s worth noting that effective 02/02 BA is eliminating 4.5K awards for flights that touch the USA and making the minimum award 7.5K for those flights.

While we’re on the topic though, let’s take a look at Iberia’s award chart for travel on AA:

iberia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s BA’s award chart for all airlines:

Current BA award chart:

ZoneFlight DistanceCoachBusinessFirst
11-6504.5K9K18K
2651-1,1517.5K15K30K
31,152-2,00010K20K40K
42,001-3,00012.5K37.5K50K
53,001-4,00020K60K80K
64,001-5,50025K75K100K
75,501-6,50030K90K120K
86,501-7,00035K105K140K
97,001+50K150K200K

BA award chart effective 02/02/16:

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

 

There are at least 6 several critical things to keep in mind. There may be more as personally I don’t have experience using Iberia Avios as of yet, so feel free to hit the comments.

1. While BA charges for each segment, Iberia charges for the total mileage of the trip.

BAs zones are for each leg each way, while Iberia’s zones are for the sum total of all legs on a round-trip.

Let’s say I want to visit my in-laws in Kansas City (Oh stop that snickering!)

American doesn’t fly direct, so I’d have to connect in a hub like Chicago if I wanted to use Avios.

-Cleveland-Chicago is a 315 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01.
-Chicago-Kansas City is a 403 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01.
So the round-trip from Cleveland to Kansas City is currently 18K BA Avios, but will be going up to 30K after 02/01.

With Iberia the total flight distance is calculated without regard to the segments. So Cleveland-Chicago-Kansas City and back again is 1,436 flown miles, making it an Iberia Zone 3 award. That costs just 17K Avios round-trip.

What if I just want to go on my usual day trip to Chicago and hit up Milt’s, a ballgame, and some Shallot’s before flying home?

Cleveland-Chicago is a 315 mile flight, therefore BA currently charges 4.5K Avios for it. That goes up to 7.5K for tickets booked after 02/01. So the round-trip from Cleveland to Chicago is currently 9K BA Avios, but will be going up to 15K after 02/01.

With Iberia the total flight distance is calculated without regard to the segments. So Cleveland-Chicago and back again is 631 flown miles, making it an Iberia Zone 2 award. That costs 12K Avios round-trip.

2. Iberia’s cheapest award will be 4K cheaper than using BA.

Come 02/02 and you may want to book a flight from Detroit to Chicago with Iberia. At just 469 miles in round-trip distance, it falls within Iberia’s limited zone 1 award for travel up to 600 miles and costs just 11K Iberia Avios round-trip.

With BA that’s currently a 9K round-trip award, but it will be 15K effective 02/02.

-A round-trip flight from Detroit to St. Louis via Chicago is now 18K BA but will go up to 30K on 02/02. With Iberia that round-trip is just 12K Iberia Avios as the total flight distance falls into a zone 2 award. Without knowing about Iberia someone might use 37.5K AMEX points for 30K Avios to book that award (though I sure hope not!) With Iberia just 12K AMEX points will be sufficient for the round-trip.

Or maybe you won’t want to do that for the following 4 reasons:

3. Iberia only has round-trip partner awards. BA allows one-way awards.

4. Iberia doesn’t allow for changes or cancellations to partner awards. BA allows cancellation of domestic awards for just $5.60/one-way award.

5. Iberia charges more tax for domestic flights than BA.

While BA charges $5.60 for domestic one-ways and $11.20 for domestic round-trips, Iberia charges $20.20 for domestic nonstop round-trips and $29.20 for domestic connecting round-trips.  It’s probably a mistake and/or illegal tax collection, but that’s what their system charges for now.

CLE-ORD-CLE on BA, now 9K+$11.20, soon to be 15K+$11.20:

iberia4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLE-ORD-CLE on Iberia, 12K+$20.20:

iberia3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLE-ORD-MCI-ORD-CLE on BA, now 18K+$11.20, soon to be 30K+$11.20:

iberia6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLE-ORD-MCI-ORD-CLE on Iberia, 17K+$29.20:

iberia2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

So there will be times in the future that I’ll use BA and there will be times in the future when I’ll use Iberia. Namely when I need to fly round-trip, when I’ll definitely take the trip, and when the mileage savings is large enough to make it worth the extra tax and make up for the lack of ability to cancel. When connecting the advantage for Iberia is going to be even bigger after 02/01.

Good thing you can transfer points back and forth as needed!

Want to earn Avios?

-You can also earn Avios directly with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature cardwhich is offering up to 100K Avios currently!

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

The Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

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

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

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

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

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred instantly at a 1:1 ratio into BA Avios from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus credit cards.
Cards like Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Cash can’t directly transfer points into miles, you’ll have to transfer those points to a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus that belongs to an additional user before you can transfer those points to British Airways.

HT: tjak, via DDF

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HURRY! $300 Visa Gift Cards From Staples For Below Face Value With Free Shipping!

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Update: Sold Out!

—————————————————————

$300 Visa Gift Card Linky

These normally have an $8.95 shipping and processing fee, but there is a $10 instant discount, making these just $298.95 shipped.

These will sell out quickly!

Limit of 2 discounted cards in an order. But I doubt you’ll be able to scale an online deal like this 😉

If you buy 2 on a Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card you’ll get 2,990 points thanks to 5 points per dollar spent.

Even without the $10 rebate it’s worth buying these cards with the $8.95 fee as the points are worth much more than that.

You can use the gift cards for everyday purchases or you can cash them out.

You can use the last 4 digits of the card as the PIN number to cash them out via methods like:

-You can load up to $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month onto a One VIP Serve card or Bluebird card at a WalMart ATM, cashier, or customer service counter for free. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card. Note that some WalMart employees and stores may not want to allow such loads.
-You can also load a Serve card at Rite Aid, Dollar General, or Family Dollar.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders. I find that grocery stores work well for this.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can give a Visa gift card to charity.

HT: GTR, via DDF

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110 Direct Flights From NYC That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Update: This chart has been updated with the routes that will be affected by the upcoming devaluation on 02/02 for flights that touch North America.

4.5K/7.5K means if you book before 02/02 (for travel anytime into the future) the rate is 4.5K, but if you book on or after 02/02 the rate will be 7.5K.

Note that you can transfer British Airways Avios into Iberia Avios where some routes will be cheaper. Transfers from AMEX into Iberia this month are at a 1:1 ratio (The 1:1.25 glitch is dead).

———————————————————————–

Originally posted on 08/12/13.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn up to 100,000 Avios for a limited time only! Earn 50K for spending $2K in 3 months, earn an additional 25K for spending another $8K in 12 months, and earn an additional 25K for spending another $10K in 12 months.

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

Rates in the following charts are currently only accurate for travel in coach:
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From Montreal, Toronto, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, S. Francisco, And 6 Ohio Airports
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 29 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 196 Direct Avios Flights From Dallas
-Click to view 12 Direct Avios Flights From Johannesburg
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 102 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
———————————————————————–

Did you know that there are 110 places you can fly direct to from NYC with your BA Avios?

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

Be sure to read this post for everything you NEED to know about the BA program and how to best search for BA award availability with tips like always booking one-way awards.  If you have a question it’s probably already been answered there!

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

2. Rates are always given in Avios.  There is always a 25% bonus for transferring increments of 20K Starwood Starpoints into Avios.  That just means that if a route requires 25K Avios for example you will only need 20K Starpoints.

3. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges, which can vary from $25 (JFK-Vancouver on Cathay Pacific) to several hundred dollars each way.

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

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

For example Tel Aviv isn’t on the chart as BA does not have any partners that fly nonstop from NYC to Tel Aviv.  Though you can always fly to Tel Aviv via Berlin or Dusseldorf for 20K for the overseas segment and 10K for the Berlin/Dusseldorf/Munich-Tel Aviv segment with no fuel surcharges. It can help to search for NYC-Berlin or Dusseldorf and Berlin or Dusseldorf-Tel Aviv separately.

Maui isn’t on the chart as no airlines fly nonstop from NYC-Maui.  Though you can always fly to Maui from Los Angeles, S. Diego, or Seattle, for 12.5K for the NYC-west coast segment and 12.5K for the West coast-Maui segment with no fuel surcharges. Plus you can stopover in the connecting city for as long or short as you want.

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

Note that you should also search AA.com for flights as BA.com doesn’t display all options. See this post for more info on that and for how to book saver award flights found on AA.com with BA Avios.

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

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

9. A dash means that class of service isn’t offered on that route.

10. While the Qantas flight from JFK to Sydney stops in Los Angeles it is considered a direct flight by BA as the flight number remains the same. Therefore they do charge Avios as if it is just 1 flight segment.
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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

-You can also earn Avios directly with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature cardwhich is offering up to 100K Avios currently!

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

The Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

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

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

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

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

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred instantly at a 1:1 ratio into BA Avios from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus credit cards.
Cards like Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Cash can’t directly transfer points into miles, you’ll have to transfer those points to a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus that belongs to an additional user before you can transfer those points to British Airways.

—————————————————————-
View the complete 110 route chart after the jump:

(more…)

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Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable For Flights To/From Tel Aviv Or Europe And Atlanta, Boston, Houston, JFK, Or Washington DC For 12.5K Miles Each Way!

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Update, 12/10: This promotion has been extended to allow bookings until 12/20!

Originally posted on 12/01:

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.

With the current offer that starts today you can fly in either direction between Atlanta, Boston, Houston, JFK, Or Washington DC and Israel, Europe, or Russia for just 12.5K miles each way!

Tax and fuel surcharges from the US adds about $101 one-way while tax and fuel surcharges from Israel adds about $137 one-way.

Availability is wide open. For example from JFK-TLV:

fb3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And BOS-TLV:

fb4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample itinerary from JFK-TLV-JFK for 25K miles plus $239 with 2 hour connections in Paris:
fb1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

-They normally charge 25K miles each way in coach to Israel but they run rotating 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 12/10.

-Travel is valid between 01/15-03/15.

-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.

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

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

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

The Preferred card awards 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere, 3 miles per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 miles per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can just buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

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

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from 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. 

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

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

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Starwood Adds A 34th Airline Transfer Partner And It’s Excellent For Awards To Israel!

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Starwood Mileage Transfer Linky

Effective immediately you can transfer Starpoints to Aegean, a member of the Star Alliance.

You can view the Aegean Star Alliance award chart here.

Aegean considers Israel to be part of Europe/North Africa, so you can book a one-way between North America and Europe (including Israel) for just 30K miles in coach, 45K miles in business, or 60K miles in first class!

And that means I’ll have to update the The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart and the Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints chart once again. Just yesterday I wrote about ANA and Singapore being the best options for using miles to fly United to Israel, but Aegean is even cheaper than them!

A flight within Europe/North Africa (including Israel) is just 12.5K miles in coach or 21K miles in business class each way.

Plus of course you get 25K miles for every 20K Starpoints transferred!

Aegean does not charge fuel surcharges to fly on Air Canada or United.

Aegean only charges 20 Euros to change or cancel an award ticket and there are no close-in fees.

You need to call Aegean to book awards on partner airlines.

Aegean miles expire after 24 months, but if you credit any Star Alliance flight to Aegean your points will be extended by another 24 months.

Want to pickup some Starpoints?

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can earn them on the Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX. Aside from valuable Starpoints, they also provide 4pm late checkout and free premium internet at Starwood hotels. The business card also provides free lounge access at Sheraton hotels like the Sheraton Tel Aviv. They also provide free unlimited Boingo WiFi access worldwide.

You can learn all about Starwood and using Starpoints in this post. Note that Marriott is in the process of buying Starwood, though it will be quite a while before the loyalty programs can be merged. And the great thing about Starwood is that we can always bail and transfer our points into airline miles with a 25% bonus if we don’t like the details of the new program.

Curious about the 34 Starwood transfer options and ratios? Here they are!

With so may 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)
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)
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 Australia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Points can also transfer to Amtrak at a 1:1 ratio. Amtrak rides on select routes are just 1,500 points in coach or 2,000 points in business. Within the Northeast corridor a ride is 4,000 points in coach, 6,500 points in business class, 8,000 points in Acela Express business class, or 12,000 points in Acela Express first class.  A private bedroom and bathroom with kosher meals from NYC-Miami would be just 12,500 points per adult. Note that Amtrak’s award chart will change on 01/24, see more in this post.

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.

HT: Baglach, via DDF

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Will You Transfer Chase Points To Amtrak Before 12/08?

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Update: Monday, 12/07, will be the final day that Chase points can be transferred into Amtrak points.

Originally posted on 10/14:

Amtrak is moving their co-branded credit card business from Chase to Bank of America and the last day to transfer Chase points to Amtrak will be 12/07.

It’s not something that I’ve taken advantage of, but some people will definitely mourn the loss of the transfer option.

If you are going to transfer points, it’s worth bearing in mind that the entire program will shift from a flat-rate zone program to a revenue based award program effective for redemptions made on 01/24. You can however book 2016 travel before 01/24 using the current zone based award chart.

The new program will value points made for redemptions at a surprisingly high value of about 2.56 cents per point on Acela trains and 2.9 cents per point on other trains. However the new program excludes saver fares from point redemption, and that muddles the true value of some redemptions.

At any rate, here is a link to the current zone based award chart and here is a link to the zones under the current program. Cities like Atlanta and Denver that straddle a zone can be used in either zone for lower rates.

-Currently you can use 1,500 points in coach or 2,000 points in business class for routes like Chicago-Detroit, Los Angeles-San Diego, Chicago-Milwaukee, Chicago-S. Louis, Portland, OR-Vancouver, BC, and Kansas City-S. Louis.

A ticket from Portland, OR-Vancouver, BC on 10/25 is $97 in coach or $151 in business class. Under the new program coach will go up from 1,500 points to 3,347 points and business will go from 2,000 points to 5,210 points.

-A ticket from Boston-Washington DC on 10/25 is currently 8,000 points/$305 in Acela business class or 12,000 points/$441 in Acela first class. Under the new program business will go up to 11,895 points and first will go up to 17,199 points.

-A private bedroom for 2 people with a private shower on the Silver Meteor route from NYC-Miami on 10/25 is currently 25,000 points or $1,469. Under the new program this would cost 50,681 points.

Meals for all passengers on the Silver Meteor route, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are included. You can even request complimentary kosher meals! Bedrooms have climate control, fresh towels and linens, bottled water, etc. Need more space? Redeem for 2 bedrooms and 2 adjoining bedrooms can be opened up into a suite. Learn more about Amtrak Bedrooms here.

You can even combine 2 bedrooms to make a bedroom suite with 2 bathrooms and 2 showers in it.

You can always use your miles to fly back home once the train nostalgia has worn off 😉

-A private bedroom for 2 people with a private shower with all meals included from NYC-Denver on 10/25 is currently 40,000 points or $2,530. Under the new program this would cost 87,285 points.

-A private bedroom for 2 people with a private shower with all meals included from NYC-Los Angeles on 10/25 is currently 60,000 points or $3,116. Under the new program this would cost 107.502 points.

Some routes do get cheaper though.

-A ticket from NYC-Washington DC on 10/25 is currently 8,000 points/$160 in Acela business class or 12,000 points/$281 in Acela first class. Under the new program business will go down to 6,240 points and first will go up to 10,959 points.

-A ticket from NYC-Washington DC on 10/25 is currently 4,000 points/$88 in northeast regional coach or 6,500 points/$133 in northeast regional business class. Under the new program coach will go down to 3,036 points and business will go up to 4,589 points.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Points can be transferred from Starwood (which can be earned on the Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX) even after 12/07 at a 1:1 ratio.

Will you be transferring Chase points to Amtrak? Have a grand train ride planned? Hit the comments and let us know!

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

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa, Mastercard, or AMEX gift cards from Staples between 12/06 and 12/12 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Staples gift card.

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

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

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

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

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

You can use the last 4 digits of the Visa cards numbers as the PIN for debit transactions.

The Mastercard gift cards also have PIN numbers in the package or you can call to set a new PIN.

The AMEX gift cards have no PINs and can’t be used for debit.

Even without the rebate, the argument can be made to buy gift cards from Staples for your everyday spending.

Say you spend $2,000 on everyday spend. On a typical card earning points or cash back worth 2% you would save $40.

If you bought $2,000 in Visa gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?
-You can load up to $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month onto a One VIP Serve card or Bluebird card at a WalMart ATM, cashier, or customer service counter for free. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card. Note that some WalMart employees and stores may not want to allow such loads.
-You can also load a Serve card at Rite Aid, Dollar General, or Family Dollar.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders. I find that grocery stores work well for this.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can give a Visa gift card to charity.

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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Here’s What You Need To Know About Loading Serve At Rite Aid

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

In October I wrote about my experience switching from REDcard to Serve after Target stopped allowing debit card funding on the REDcard.

I got a One VIP Serve card that has a $1 monthly fee which is waived if you load it $500 that month. It’s also waived if you live in NY, TX, or VT regardless of funding. You can load it with $1,000/month from AMEX cards online, but AMEX issued cards don’t earn miles or points for online loads to Serve, though the spending does count towards meeting signup bonus thresholds. AMEX cards issued from 3rd party banks, like my grandfathered Citi AA AMEX or with a USBank Flexperks AMEX., do earn regular miles for online Serve loads.

Of course from Serve you can pay off your credit card or other bills.

But the big news this week is that in addition to WalMart and Family Dollar, you can now load Serve from Rite Aid and Dollar General.

I buy lots of gift cards to earn miles. Just last week Office Max was selling gift cards below face value that also earn 5 miles per dollar with Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash. Even with a fee it’s worthwhile, but when there’s a special offer it’s even more lucrative.

I also buy gift cards at grocery stores and gas stations with a card like Amex EveryDay Preferred which earns 4.5 points at grocery stores and 3 points per dollar at gas stations with 30 total transactions per month.

Until now I’ve been unloading those gift cards at WalMart, but their ATM machines go down often and their lines are long. Some cashiers and stores won’t allow you to use gift cards as debit cards (though most are fine if you say you have a debit card). Some Mastercards require quickly pressing cancel to change from credit to debit, though that’s not a big deal.

The bigger deal is that Vanilla gift cards only work for transactions under $50 at Walmart. So for $500 Vanilla cards I’ve been going to a grocery store to unload them onto a money order for 58 cents each.

Last night I took 2 $500 Vanilla cards to Rite Aid. The cashier had never heard of Serve card loading, but figured it out with a manager’s help.
The system wouldn’t allow a load of more than $500. After swiping my Serve card I was able to select Serve Free Reload from the credit card keypad and the cashier entered in $500.

I tried using a credit card, but the system said that tender type was not allowed.

So I swiped the Vanilla Visa, entered the last 4 digits of the card as the PIN, and got instant email confirmation from AMEX that it had went through. I loaded my 2nd Vanilla card as well, said thanks, and went on my way.

Today I went back with $1,700 in Metabank and USBank Visa and Matercard gift cards from office supply stores that I hadn’t yet liquidated. I did a $500 load and had the cashier do a split tender and type in the $200 or $100 amount on each card and it worked perfectly as well. You should be able to load $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month, per Serve card.

Quick and painless. Quite the Chanukah present from Rite Aid!

These things never last forever, so take advantage of them while you can, and always be on the lookout for the next development in the manufactured spending world.

Next up I’ll test out Dollar General.

Have you been to Rite Aid or Dollar General to load your Serve card yet? Share your experience in the comments!

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Wide Open United Business Class Saver Award Space Nonstop From Tel Aviv To Newark In The End Of December For You And Your Entire Family

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The nonstop routes between Tel Aviv and North America are some of the hardest for business saver awards.

Earlier this year I took my family to Israel on USAirways business class when they had a glitch and opened up their entire schedule for business saver awards while they were converting their fare classes to match American’s. That was actually the 2nd glitch of the year. It happened the day before but I slept through it while DDF’ers were having all the fun. And then it happened a 3rd time a couple of weeks later. But aside from those glitches it’s a tough award.

Even finding 1 business saver award seat requires hunting, but DDF user D93 notes that United has at least 9 business saver award seats available on December 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 on their Tel Aviv-Newark morning flight. There are also at least 9 coach saver awards, but the coach award seats aren’t rare.

Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be the same kind of business saver award space from Newark to Tel Aviv, though you can fly nonstop in United coach, in partner business class with a stop, or if you’re feeling adventurous you can give Plan B a try for United business saver award when there’s only coach saver availability.

Unfortunately United killed their legacy Continental website, and with it the ability to actually see which of these dates actually have nonstop award space.

Consider that Smisek’s last hurrah.

United’s biggest downgrade? The new website’s award calendar’s lack of ability to show nonstop saver award availability:

ua11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what’s the best way to book?

It’s 70K miles with United and you can transfer points from Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus to United. Those points transfer instantly and United never charges fuel surcharges.

However United will charge you $200 should you need to cancel and redeposit the miles.

Alternatively you can transfer points from AMEX, Chase, Citi, or Starwood to Singapore, however that transfer isn’t instant. From AMEX, Chase, or Citi it can take anywhere from a 2-48 hours while transfers from Starwood can take 2-6 days. In the meantime the award space may dry up.

But if you want to risk it Singapore charges just 57.5K miles for the same flight with no fuel surcharges. And should you need to cancel and redepsoit the miles you’ll pay just $30.

The same story applies in coach, United charges 42.5K miles while Singapore charges just 37.5K miles for the same United flight.

You need to call Singapore to book travel on United.

It’s also worth noting that while United miles can stay alive forever if you have their credit card or account activity, Singapore miles expire 36 months after they’re transferred in, regardless of activity. And Singapore charges a fuel surcharge for travel on most airlines besides for United.

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Ending At Noon Today: Stay In A Suite At The Venetian Or Palazzo Las Vegas For 25K IHG Points/$143.75 Or Less Per Night!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Update: Point purchases from IHG now post instantly, so you can buy points on sale and then book suites with this offer before it ends at noon today!

Originally posted on 11/23:

24 Hour Sale: Stay At The Venetian Or Palazzo Las Vegas For 25K IHG Points Per Night

Sale ends at Noon, 12pm ET, on 11/24!

You can buy between 52K-120K points here for just .575 cents each that’s like paying $143.75/night for a suite at either hotel. An IHG account is required, you can join here for free.

If you have a Chase IHG credit card you’ll also get 10% of your points back, making this just 22.5K points/night. Plus of course you get a free night systemwide upon every card anniversary.

25K rates are not available on:
11/21/15
11/27/15 Palazzo only
11/30/15
12/1/15—12/2/15
12/5/15
12/8/15 Venetian only
12/9/15
12/10/15—12/12/15 Palazzo only
12/31/15
1/1/16
1/5/16—1/7/16
1/11/16—1/12/16
1/18/16—1/21/16
1/25/16—1/26/16
2/2/16—2/3/16
2/13/16—2/16/16
2/29/16—3/2/16
3/8/16—3/12/16
3/18/16—3/19/16
3/21/16—3/23/16

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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Get A 100% Point Bonus When Purchasing IHG Points; Lock In PointBreaks Rooms For $28.75/Night

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Update: Purchased points now post instantly to your account!

IHG: Get 100% bonus points through 11/30.

An IHG account is required, you can join here for free.

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

You can purchase 60K points per member per year, so you can get up to 120K points with this promotion.

You’ll want to buy at least 26K points to get the lowest price per point.

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

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

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

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

HT: D93, via DDF

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Delta Pre-Black Friday Discounted Award Sale

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Delta Pre-Black Friday Award Sale

-Fly round-trip between select cities for 20K miles.
-Purchase By 11/30/15.
-Travel between 01/05/16-02/24/16
-Saturday night stay is required.
-Blackout dates: February 12 – February 16, 2016, and February 19, 2016.

For example you can fly nonstop between JFK and San Diego or between Los Angeles and Tampa for 20K miles round-trip:

Use flexible dates for best results:

dl12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Get free checked bags and priority boarding with a Delta Consumer Credit Card from American Express or a Delta Business Credit Card from American Express.

HT: Emkay, via DDF

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Get $20 Off Every $300 Of Visa Or Mastercard Gift Cards From Office Max This Week!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

For every $300+ in Visa or Mastercard gift cards that you buy in Office Max stores by 11/28 you’ll get $20 back instantly!

If you buy 3 $200 Visa gift cards in store you’ll pay $20.85 in card fees and get back $40 instantly.

If you buy 9 $200 Visa gift cards in store you’ll pay $62.55 in card fees and get back $120 instantly.

But the real reason to bother with these if that when you use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card you get 5 points per dollar spent.

If you buy $1,800 in gift cards you’ll pay $1,742.55 and you’ll get 8,713 Ultimate Rewards points! If you value those points at 1.6 cents each that’s a profit of $57.45 off face value plus $139.40 worth of points=$196.85 total profit!

The $100 gift cards will also be profitable, though not as lucrative as the $200 gift cards.

You can use the gift cards for everyday purchases of you can cash them out.

You can use the last 4 digits of the card as the PIN number, or looks inside the packaging for the PIN.
-You can load up to $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month onto a One VIP Serve card or Bluebird card at a WalMart ATM, cashier, or customer service counter for free. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card. Note that some WalMart employees and stores may not want to allow such loads.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders. I find that grocery stores work well for this.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can give a Visa gift card to charity.

HT: PillanSmye, via DDF

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United Cardholders And Elites: Fly Between The US And Europe For 45,000 Miles Round Trip Instead Of 60,000 Miles.

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Related: United: Discounted Awards To Brazil And Chile
————————————————————
Chase United cardholders can book travel between the US and Europe for as low as 45K miles round-trip on United.com.

Not the most exciting sale as it’s only valid on United and only in coach, but this might be useful for some.

-You can book a round-trip or an open jaw with the discounted rates.
Examples of an “open jaw” include a flight from Newark to London on 01/25 and then back from Amsterdam to Newark on 02/08 is 45,000 miles plus $51.90 tax.
A flight from Los Angeles to London on 01/25 and then back from Zurich to Newark on 02/08 is 45,000 miles plus $59.10 tax.

You can always use 4,500 BA Avios for a one-way flight in Europe.

Rules:
-Round-trip travel is required.
-Flights on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will price at 22.5K miles each way.
-Flights on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will price at 25.5K miles each way.
-Book by 12/08.
-Travel 01/11/16-03/10/16
-Discounted Saver Award is valid only for travel between the U.S. (excluding Hawaii) or Canada, and Europe.
-Valid only on United, not on partner airlines.
-Valid for travel to/from the US48, Alaska and Canada to/from Europe.
-Valid for coach saver awards only.
-Stopovers are not permitted.

If you have 1 segment that falls within the promo dates it will be discounted, even if the outbound or return segment doesn’t fall within the promo window.

HT: menachem_m, via DDF

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The American AAdvantage Devaluation Chart For Flights To/From The Middle East

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Related post (Read this first!): American Airlines AAdvantage MAAsacre Has AArrived: MAAsive 2016 Devaluations For Earning And Redeeming Miles
————————————————————————

Several people asked if I could make a chart for flights to/from the Middle East to show the price increases that will occur there for awards booked as of 03/22/16.

There’s lot of pain in this chart as well. Without a doubt the Etihad partnership is responsible for some of the jumps in business and first class award rates. Sweet spots like business and first class to Australia have jumped as much as 77% under the new chart. Etihad First Class from the US to the Maldives climbs from 90K to 115K. Etihad has good availability in their A380 First Class Apartments from London to Abu Dhabi and that award climbs 56% from 40K to 62.5K. Still a relative bargain, but a big increase over the current chart.

There are a couple bright spots, namely coach awards to the Western Hemisphere. But overall, this is pretty ugly as well.

Between the Middle East and: Class of ServiceCurrent RateNew Rate
US48 Coach
Business
First
45K
67.5K
90K
40K
70K
115K
Canada & AlaskaCoach
Business
First
45K
67.5K
90K
42.5K
75K
120K
HawaiiCoach
Business
First
45K
67.5K
90K
47.5K
82.5K
140K
Caribbean/MexicoCoach
Business
First
45K
67.5K
90K
45K
80K
130K
Central America Coach
Business
First
60K
82.5K
102.5K
45K
80K
130K
South America 1Coach
Business
First
60K
82.5K
102.5K
60K
87.5K
130K
South America 2Coach
Business
First
67.5K
90K
110K
60K
90K
135K
EuropeCoach
Business
First
20K
30K
40K
20K
42.5K
62.5K
Middle East Coach
Business
First
17.5K
25K
35K
17.5K
30K
40K
AfricaCoach
Business
First
30K
45K
60K
30K
55K
80K
Asia 1Coach
Business
First
22.5K
30K
45K
22.5K
40K
50K
Asia 2Coach
Business
First
22.5K
30K
45K
25K
40K
50K
South Pacific Coach
Business
First
30K
45K
60K
42.5K
80K
100K
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American Is Pulling Out Of Tel Aviv 01/04/16, Grab Award Seats Now For Reaccommodation…

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Update, 10/30: It appears that today may be the last day to change cancelled American flights to Tel Aviv to El Al, British Airways, or Iberia. The re-ticketing period may be further extended, or the only option after today may be to get a refund, or perhaps just the El Al option will be eliminated after today.

It’s worth noting that since this article was written Delta has announced that they are moving from 7 to 11 weekly flights to Tel Aviv and United has announced that they are launching 3 weekly San Francisco-Tel Aviv flights on their new 787-900s, as was predicted 3 years ago.

—————————————————————————————————–

Update, 08/30: American has reached a protect agreement with El Al, in addition to previously available options to be reaccomodated on British Airways and Iberia. And you can request a refund as well if no options work for you.

A commenter has already been rebooked on El Al.

There are fare class requirements to be moved to El Al:

ly1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if you are booked in an inexpensive O or Q fare class on American you might get lucky and be put on El Al, but officially they will only put you on BA, Iberia, or offer a refund. It appears that the commenter was on an O class fare and got lucky, so it’s worth using HUCA if you get shot down at first.

If you are booked in N class for example, you will officially only be rebooked on El Al if El Al has U class availability for the flight you are requesting. You can fly El Al out of Boston, JFK, Newark, or Toronto, and dates may be slightly flexible, so it is worth asking about all of those options to try to find a flight with inventory that matches what they can provide you.

HT: Chaikel

———————————————————————————————————

Update, 08/20 at 5:30pm: The flights have now been pulled from AA.com. The final flight from Philadelphia-Tel Aviv will be on 01/04 and the final flight from Tel Aviv-Philadelphia will depart on 01/05.

———————————————————————————————————

Originally posted on 08/20 at 1:30pm:

American Airlines will end service to Tel Aviv after 01/04/16.

USAirways has been serving the Philadelphia-Tel Aviv route since 2009 and now just as their merger is finalized the route is going away, proving once again that airline mergers are never good for consumers.

I flew the route to Tel Aviv with my family earlier this year due to the business class award availablity glitch, and it’s definitely one of the best business class seats that fly between North America and Tel Aviv, so it’s a real shame to lose the route.

On 11/19/13 I made a number predictions about the American-USAirways merger. Several have already come true. The American OneWorld round-the-world award chart was killed. USAirways started collecting fuel surcharges on British Airways and killed their lucrative off-peak awards. American and El Al ended their relationship.

And in that same post I wrote that the unresolved TWA pensions may well doom the Philadelphia-Tel Aviv route for American.

American still owes Israeli ex-TWA employees over $15 million.

However American is saying that the reason for the cancellation is that the route has always been a money-loser.

That’s rather curious as USAirways’ president Scott Kirby has called the route among the most lucrative in their system. Newark-Tel Aviv was also publicly called the most profitable in Continental’s system in the past.

Of course profit is a funny thing. United CEO Jeff Smisek lied about Cleveland’s hub not being profitable when the real reason for the cuts was a severe regional jet pilot shortage. But that couldn’t be the stated public reason because that would make United liable to pay millions of dollars to Cleveland and Ohio for pulling out against their promise to keep the Cleveland hub alive as long as it remained profitable. United is even adding flights back to Cleveland , including several nonstops to Florida and more routes will be returned as well according to sources.

Profit can easily be manipulated by attributing various costs to the flight. And no doubt the cost of paying back the ex-TWA workers is a factor here.

Or perhaps American doesn’t want to pay off TWAs debts to avoid setting a precedent of paying off TWAs debts when they only purchased TWAs assets in the first place?

I’m sure some people will say the BDS movement was a factor here. I find that difficult to believe as OneWorld airlines like Royal Jordanian, Air Berlin, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia continue to serve Tel Aviv. That makes about as much sense as the ZoA boycotting Lufthansa.

At any rate, American is stating that they will not be serving Tel Aviv from other hubs. Both their JFK and Miami routes are natural fits for service to Tel Aviv, so if American’s issues are ever resolved I’d expect routes from those hubs rather than Philadelphia.

American will be contacting customers booked to fly the Philadelphia-Tel Aviv route next year with options for alternate arrangements or a refund.

For now the route is still bookable, so you can still grab an award seat or cheap ticket and you’ll be reaccommodated on another airline or you’ll get a refund if you don’t agree with the reaccommodation offer.

American has a whopping 9 hubs now. I have to wonder if hubs like Phoenix or Philadelphia, that are so close to Los Angeles and JFK respectively, will be around in 5 years from now?

I do think that other airlines will pick up the slack here.

This should be a golden opportunity for United to add Chicago or San Francisco to Tel Aviv service on a 787-900. Perhaps El Al will use their upcoming 787s to serve Miami?

Will American restart their relationship with El Al? That would indeed be a nice consolation prize for losing this route.

HT: aussiebochur, via DDF

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British Airways Eliminating 4.5K Avios Awards For Flights To, From, Or Within The United States

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Related posts:

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

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn up to 100,000 Avios for a limited time only! Earn 50K for spending $2K in 3 months, earn an additional 25K for spending another $8K in 12 months, and earn an additional 25K for spending another $10K in 12 months.
———————————————————————————–

Effective 02/02/16 British Airways is raising the cost of short-haul zone 1 flights between 1-650 miles in flight distance from 4.5K Avios to 7.5K in coach, from 9K Avios to 15K in business, and from 18K Avios to 30K in first.

Curiously this change is only for flights that are to, from, or within the United States. Short haul zone 1 flights like London-Milan, Iguazu-Sao Paulo, Johannesburg-Victoria Falls, and Sydney-Melbourne remain 4.5K Avios in coach.

My guess is that American may be raising the minimum cost of an award flight to British Airways, hence the price increase for zone 1 short-haul flights in the US market only.

All other awards remain the same.

It’s changes like these that are the reason I advised people to only transfer Avios for the next 6-9 months of travel back in September when AMEX stopped transferring Membership Rewards points to British Airways at parity.

Still, with travel starting at 7.5K Avios with no close-in fees and just $5.60 in cancellation fees, Avios travel remains a bargain for domestic flights.

Current BA award chart:

ZoneFlight DistanceCoachBusinessFirst
11-6504.5K9K18K
2651-1,1517.5K15K30K
31,152-2,00010K20K40K
42,001-3,00012.5K37.5K50K
53,001-4,00020K60K80K
64,001-5,50025K75K100K
75,501-6,50030K90K120K
86,501-7,00035K105K140K
97,001+50K150K200K

BA award chart effective 02/02/16:

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

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

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 10/25 and 10/31 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $20 Visa gift card.

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

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

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

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

That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase. Plus you’ll get the $20 Visa card via Easy Rebate to bring your cost basis down to $393.90 without accounting for the points.

It’s worth noting that some Office Max stores have $500 Visa and Mastercard gift cards for just a $5.95 fee, though I haven’t found those in my neck of the woods.

Even without the rebate, the argument can be made to buy gift cards from Staples for your everyday spending.

Say you spend $2,000 on everyday spend. On a typical card earning points or cash back worth 2% you would save $40.

If you bought $2,000 in Visa gift cards for $2,069.50 you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $69.50 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $111.59 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 5.58% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 10,348 points at $165.57, leaving a profit of $96.07 or an effective rebate of 4.8% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the Visa gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month onto a One VIP Serve card or Bluebird card at a WalMart ATM, cashier, or customer service counter for free. Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card. Note that some WalMart employees and stores may not want to allow such loads.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders. I find that grocery stores work well for this.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can give a Visa gift card to charity.

HT: Iz, via DDF

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

Monday, October 19th, 2015

El Al is offering discounted award tickets systemwide.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s pretty 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.

Winter travel from Boston, NYC, and Toronto normally costs 700 Matmid points each way (35K AMEX).

Outbound travel or one-way travel is valid between 11/01/15-03/31/16. On a round-trip award the return leg is valid anytime as long as the outbound leg occurs by 03/31.

Fuel surcharges and taxes add $160 for the USA-TLV segment and $194 for the TLV-USA segment.

NYC to/from Tel Aviv one-way rates:
Executives: 490 Matmid points (24.5K AMEX)
Non-Executives: 590

Boston to/from Tel Aviv one-way rates:
Executives: 400 (20K AMEX)
Non-Executives: 500

Toronto to/from Tel Aviv one-way rates:
Executives: 425 (21,250 AMEX)
Non-Executives: 525

Los Angeles to/from Tel Aviv one-way rates:
Executives: 785 (39,250 AMEX)
Non-Executives: 885

-All other cities are on sale as well. Here are some sample executive one-way rates between Tel Aviv and:
-Venice: 45
-Madrid: 80
-Geneva: 75
-London: 165
-Beijing: 250
-Johannesburg: 595

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 consumer cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card , The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Amex Platinum Card.

Business cards include The Business Gold Rewards Card and The Business Platinum Card.

HT: Drago, via DDF

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Philadelphia To Athens, Paris, Or Rome Nonstop In Business Class From $273 Plus 30K Avios Round-Trip, And Get Rebated Back 15K Or Possibly 40K Avios…

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Update: DEAD!

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn up to 100,000 Avios for a limited time only! Earn 50K for spending $2K in 3 months, earn an additional 25K for spending another $8K in 12 months, and earn an additional 25K for spending another $10K in 12 months.
———————————————————————————————-

Business class flights from NYC have climbed in price (though not before lots of readers and myself were able to nab bargain priced seats), but there are still amazing deals from Philadelphia.

I found business class fares from:

-Philadelphia to Rome nonstop for $273+30K Avios

ba21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Philadelphia to Athens for $278+30K Avios (Service starts 03/26/16)

ba20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Philadelphia to Paris for $338+30K Avios

ba22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get these rates you’ll need to Use this link to access the BA AARP site.

AARP members get $400 off BA business class tickets. Anyone can join AARP for $16. Just click “Log in to your AARP account here” to join AARP for $16 or to login to your existing AARP account. (And it’s always worth a laugh when my guests wonder why I have “AARP The Magazine” in my stack of bathroom reading material 😀 )

Creating an account takes just a minute and as soon as you open an account you can make a login and then unlock the BA offer which can be used an unlimited amount of times.

Once you have an AARP account you can book discounted tickets for anyone.

Afte you are logged in just use the BA AARP link again (you may need to click on “verify membership) and search for flights in business class.

After selecting flights look for the Avios part-payment offers.

According to BA it’s a regular cash booking that also earns Avios for the flight. It’s not considered a redemption like using straight Avios or Avios+Cash which is subject to award availability.

That means you’ll get 15K Avios for flying Philadelphia-Athens round-trip.

Plus if you fly by 01/31 you can register here to earn an additional 25K bonus Avios.

Or you can register here for 25K bonus AA miles.

I can’t guarantee the 25K promotion will work with Avios part-payment, but I’m not seeing any reason why it wouldn’t.

Plus of course you’ll earn triple miles on the fare by using a card like the Chase British Airways Visa or the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card.

In total the cost of the business class round-trip from to Rome or Athens would be 30K Avios plus $278, but you should get back 13K-15K base Avios+25K bonus Avios if you travel by 1/31+834 Avios for the airfare for a total of around 40K Avios.

In other words you’ll pay $275 and get back a net refund of about 10K Avios…assuming that the 25K promotion works out.

But even if it doesn’t, the net will be just $275 and 15K Avios for a round-trip business class fare. And that’s a fantastic deal!

Cancellations are permitted within 24 hours for free over the phone. After 24 hours the fee is a whopping $500 per ticket.

Once you are in Europe you can buy a separate ticket to get to Tel Aviv on the cheap from Priceline, like this one from Athens to Tel Aviv:

ly2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HT: Levi D.

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Join the 63,700+ 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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HOT! Book A Round-Trip Business Class Ticket From The US To London For $440+30K Avios And Get Rebated Back 12K Or Possibly 37K Avios…

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Update 3: Fares have gone up by $400.

Update 2: And we’re booked 😀

$1,784+120K BA Avios out of pocket.

Hopefully will be get 100K AA miles or BA Avios from the promotion, plus 41.5K base miles, plus 5.3K for purchasing the tickets=146.8K miles rebated.

Valuing the extra 26.8K miles rebated at $455 that means 4 business class seats cost a total of $1,329 or $332 per round-trip ticket!

ba19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

———————————————————————-

 

Update: The price has dropped even further! This deal is valid from Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles, and more cities!

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Well this is getting almost too good to be true.

Earlier today I posted how to get business class fares from many US cities to London for just $1,083 round-trip, so read that post first.

An eagle-eye commenter noted that on the page after selecting flight you can also use 30K Avios to knock down the fare to just $440:

ba17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is a promotion called Avios part-payment.

You can’t use the 10% off Chase Visa code together with Avios part-payment. But that means you can book travel on American’s 77W aircraft.

According to BA it’s a regular cash booking that also earns Avios for the flight. It’s not considered a redemption like using straight Avios or Avios+Cash which is subject to award availability.

That means you’ll get 10,379 Avios for flying JFK-London round-trip.

Plus if you fly by 01/31 you can register here to earn an additional 25K bonus Avios.

Or you can register here for 25K bonus AA miles.

I can’t guarantee the 25K promotion will work with Avios part-payment, but I’m not seeing any reason why it wouldn’t.

Plus of course you’ll earn triple miles on the fare by using a card like the Chase British Airways Visa or the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card.

In total the cost of the business class round-trip would be 30K Avios plus $440, but you should get back 10,379 base Avios+25K bonus Avios+1,920 Avios for the airfare=37,299 Avios.

In other words you’ll pay $440 and get back a net refund of 7,299 Avios…assuming that the 25K promotion works out.

But even if it doesn’t, the net will be just $440 and 18K Avios for a round-trip business class fare. And that’s a fantastic deal!

Cancellations are permitted within 24 hours for free over the phone. After 24 hours the fee is a whopping $500 per ticket.

—————————————————————————————————-

Join the 63,500+ 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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Goodbye REDcard, Hello Again To Serve!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Last October I posted my experience switching from Serve to REDcard.

As the cards were readily available in Cleveland but not on the coasts, I gave away a number of REDcards (among other prizes) at last November’s DansDeals seminar in Brooklyn.

For 8 months I was able to load $5,000 per month from a credit card to each of the REDcards under my control.

In May I broke the news that Target would no longer accept credit card funding for REDcard. That stung, but it wasn’t a death knell. After all, you can still generate miles on the cheap by cycling money through gift cards and REDcard. I subsequently wrote why I was sticking with REDcard for the time being.

Alas the time has come.

As of yesterday Target’s registers stopped accepting debit card funding for REDcard, which effectively kills the value proposition for manufactured spending as it eliminated the ability to load gift cards onto REDcard. My local store confirmed to me that they had received a memo today stating that only cash can be used for REDcard loading from now on.

Luckily there’s still Serve and Bluebird and WalMart’s point of sale system isn’t programmed like Target’s to reject debit card funding. While individual WalMart stores and cashiers may not accept gift cards, it’s still not hard (especially as you gravitate away from NYC) to load gift cards at WalMart onto Serve or Bluebird. Plus WalMart ATMs can also load gift cards onto those cards.

Unfortunately I can’t get back my Serve with Softcard product. The lucky folks that kept that card are still able to load $1,500 per month for free from their Mastercards and Visa cards all from the comfort of their own homes.

Back in 2012 I called I called Bluebird the next dollar coin churn. After switching to Serve, Serve with Softcard, and REDcard in the interim it’s time to start working backwards.

It’s not hard to switch. I just drained the funds out of my REDcard account and used the remaining balance to pay off a credit card bill.

Then I clicked on profile and scrolled down to close account and let them know exactly why I was closing my account.

I immediately got email confirmation that my account was closed.

After that I applied for an AMEX Serve card and was approved instantly.

The One VIP Serve card has a $1 monthly fee, but it’s waived if you load it with $500 that month from any source. It’s also waived if you live in NY, TX, or VT regardless of funding. Serve can be loaded with $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month from debit cards in WalMart and there’s no reason to advertise that you’re using a gift card instead of a debit card. Serve can also be loaded with a gift card in Family Dollar, though some people have had technical difficulties loading cards there.

You can also load Serve with $200 per day and up to $1,000 per month online with an AMEX. You don’t get points for those online AMEX loads on AMEX issued cards, but they do count to get the signup bonus when trying to meet a spending threshold. And it also counts towards waiving the monthly fee if I fail to load funds that month at WalMart for any reason. If you use AMEX cards issued by other banks you should be able to get the points for those online loads. You can also load from a real debit card online, but loading from a gift card online will get your account frozen.

Serve also comes with AMEX offers and you can create 4 free subaccounts that also qualify for AMEX offers.

You can also get a Bluebird card with no monthly fee, though it can’t be loaded online with AMEX and can’t be loaded at Family Dollar.

We all knew that credit card loading at Target wouldn’t last long, though I’m a bit surprised debit card loading didn’t last longer. After all, debit loading is cheaper for Target and it got me into their stores multiple times per month, which was presumably their goal. Here’s hoping Serve and Bluebird hold out, as the low hanging manufactured spend fruit have been drying up of late…

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20% Off United Awards To Hawaii

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

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

————————————————————————————-

20% Off United Awards To Hawaii

The promotion is currently bookable on United.com.

-Book by 11/05
-Travel 10/19-03/03
-Blackout dates: 11/20-12/03, 12/16-01/05.

-Award travel on United from the US49/Canada to Hawaii is normally 45K miles round-trip.
With this discount it will be 36K miles if both dates fall within the promotion or 40.5K if one date falls within the promotion and one date is not within the dates of the promotion.
-Travel only valid on United.
-Travel only valid in coach.
-Valid on round-trip or on open-jaw (e.g. Newark-Kauai/Maui-Los Angeles) awards.
-Not valid on one-way awards.
-Not valid on stopover awards.

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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Extend The Life Of Your Starpoints With 150 Free Starpoints

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Related post: Mileage Expiration And Points Transfer Chart For 55 Loyalty Programs, How To Keep Your Points From Expiring, And How To Bring Them Back To Life After They’ve Expired
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An official Starwood rep writes that you can earn 150 Starpoints by just filling out 3 security questions via this link.

This promotion is valid through 10/31 and the points will post by the end of November.

It’s only valid for Starwood accounts that were opened before today.

While earning 150 points today I noticed that the 200 free Starpoints from this promotion have already posted to my account, so if you haven’t done that yet take a look at that post as well.

HT: benjie1305 via DDF and Gary.

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Staples Now Sells $300 Visa Gift Cards Online

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Related: Get A $20 Staples Gift Card For Purchasing $300 In Mastercard Gift Cards From Staples This Week
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$300 Visa Gift Card Linky

There is an $8.95 shipping and processing fee.

Stores like CVS sells $500 gift cards for $504.95, but when you use a Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card at office supply stores you’ll earn 5 points per dollar spent.

In this case that’s 1,545 points.

If you bought $1,800 in gift cards for $1,853.70 you’ll earn 9,269 points that are worth $162.21 at a 1.75 cents per point value. After backing out the $53.70 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $108.51 profit, or about triple the rewards you would earn from other cards. It’s an effective rebate of 6.03% everywhere you shop.

Even if you only value the points at 1.6 cents each that would value the 9,269 points at $148.30, leaving a profit of $94.60 or an effective rebate of 5.26% everywhere.

Want to just cash out the gift card instead of using it for everyday purchases?

The cost of manufacturing spend like this is 0.58 cents per point ($8.95 fee/1,545 points).

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free. You can load up to $1,000 of gift cards per transaction with no limit on the number of gift cards used for a split tender.
-You can load cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order at stores that accepts debit cards as payment for money orders.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can gift a gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can give a gift card to charity.
-You can… ;)

HT: tjak, via DDF

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El Al: Sorry We Don’t Match American Status, If Only You Had Continental Or USAirways Status…

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against El Al. I have everything against El Al’s incompetent management, which seemingly has not a clue about how to properly run a viable 21st century airline. Trust me, I’d love nothing more than to be singing El Al’s praises. Here’s hoping that El Al outfits their 787s coming in 2017 with a new generation business class so that I can do just that.

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In May a reader shared a hysterical customer service email that they received from El Al and the El Al employee even got in on the action in the comments.

Time for another chuckle, no?

Professor Alan Teitleman shares his experience trying to get El Al to match his American status now that they will no longer be flying to Israel as of 01/05/16.

El Al responded to him yesterday with this wonderful example of their airline industry savvy (click to enlarge):

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Should we tell El Al that USAirways merged with American already? Or that Continental was destroyed by a vandal named Jeff years ago?

Obviously this is a copy/paste job, but is this really the form that they send out to everyone who asks for their American status to be matched?

I do love the usage of the word “prestigious” to describe their industry worst loyalty program. Well, it was the worst in the industry before they lost their partnership with American and then severely devalued their already heavily fuel surcharged and exorbitantly expensive award chart. Oh, and they made all miles expire after 36 months regardless of activity just for kicks.

My post back then on the devaluation earned me a 90 minute interview with one of their loyalty program executives, but he insisted that the conversation remain off-the-record.

But where was it that “prestigious” was used before by El Al?

Ah yes, here it is!

EL AL offers its First Class customers an intimate, newly restyled cabin with a prestigious look. The seats have been redesigned and re-upholstered in a faux leather fabric, bestowing a fresh and elegant look to the seats and to the entire cabin. 

Because nothing says prestigious like faux-leather does!

I outlined a 7 step armchair CEO plan to turnaround El Al at the end of that same post from March 2014. Is there anyone home to actually implement any of them? All that’s happened since then are exacerbations of the same problems…

Sigh.

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Southwest: LaGuardia To/From Chicago Midway For 1,751 Points+$5.60 Each Way

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Southwest has a revenue based mileage program, so when there’s a sale (like there is now between NYC and Chicago) award prices go down as well.

With Southwest you get 2 free checked bags and you can get a full refund of your points without paying any penalty.

An $82 flight will be 3,502 points plus $11.20 tax. That’s a value of 2.02 cents per point ($70.80/3,502).

You can transfer Chase points instantly to Southwest if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card.

You can earn 50K points with the Chase Southwest card and if you earn 110K points from Southwest cards in a calendar year you’ll get to bring along a companion for free on all Southwest flights through the end of the following calendar year.

You can also earn 60K points with the Chase Ink Plus or 30K points with the no-annual fee Chase Ink Cash for a limited time only.

LaGuardia to Chicago Midway. 1,751 dates in black. 2,273-2,924 dates in red:
October: 14, 21, 27, 28
November: 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19
December: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16

Chicago Midway to LaGuardia. 1,751 dates in black. 2,273-2,924 dates in red:
October: 13, 14, 20, 27, 28, 31
November: 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21
December: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16

HT: moko, via DDF

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Membership Rewards Canada: 25% Bonus For Transfers Into British Airways Avios; Thoughts On The Future Of Avios Transfers From US Based Programs

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Update: The tranafer bonus from the Canadian Membership Rewards program to British Airways  ends today.

Originally posted on 06/25:

Related post (Read this first!): -Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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Membership Rewards Canada: 25% Bonus For Transfers Into British Airways Avios

This promotion applies for Canadian cards only.  Through 09/30, transfers from Membership Rewards Canada to British Airways will be at a 1K:1.25K ratio.

This promotion does not apply for transfers from US based AMEX Membership Rewards cards.

Destination charts for nonstop flights from Montreal and Toronto that can be booked with Avios can be found in this post.  With flights starting at just 4.5K Avios in coach and 9K Avios for a lie-flat business seat there are some real bargains.  With the 25% bonus that means that a coach award will start at just 3.6K AMEX points and a business award will start at 7.2K AMEX points.

It’s interesting to note that it appears that Membership Rewards Canada will continue to transfer to British Airways at a 1K:1K ratio even after 10/01 when Membership Rewards US drops to a 1K:800 ratio.

That leads me to believe that the ratio decrease was due to pressure from Chase, which doesn’t compete in the Canadian market.  We’ve seen this play out before when Chase arranged with Continental and United to have their transfer ratios from Starwood drop from 20:25K to 20K:12.5K.  And Continental/United dropped out of the Membership Rewards program to become exclusive with Chase, though those airlines have always had more exclusivity with Chase than British Airways.

True, Chase also decreased the British Airways Avios earning on the Chase BA card from 1.25/dollar to 1/dollar.  But moving the US AMEX transfer ratio down keeps their own US based card look better.  Of course the truth is for spending that their other cards like Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink are better for Avios earnings due to their superior bonus spending categories.  All Chase transfers are at a 1K:1K ratio and I don’t envision that changing anytime soon.  Chase also doesn’t believe in offering transfer bonus promotions.

In fact the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card can still do better than any of the Chase cards, even with the upcoming decreased ratio.  With 30 purchases in a month it earns 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on gas and Uber, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries. If you want Avios that means it effectively earns 1.2 Avios per dollar everywhere, 2.4 Avios per dollar on gas and Uber, and 3.6 Avios per dollar on groceries after the upcoming devaluation.  Those numbers are still higher than on Chase cards.

If you don’t want to deal with getting to 30 transactions per month you can use the Starwood Consumer AMEX or the Starwood Business AMEX which will effectively earn 1.25 Avos per dollar everywhere thanks to the 20K:25K transfer ratio.

The AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card and the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card offer 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare from all airlines, not just British Airways. And they offer a plethora of other lucrative bonus categories on top of a $100 annual airline fee credit for the personal gold card.

Some bloggers have predicted that the devaluation of the Membership Rewards US to Avios transfer ratio means that we won’t see any more transfer bonuses to British Airways.  I’m not that pessimistic. There have been transfer bonuses at least annually from the US program to British Airways ever since Avios launched 4 years ago. My guess is that those bonuses continue, though a 25% bonus will only bring the transfer rate back up to parity.  A 50% bonus will make the ratio 1:1.2.  Those numbers aren’t great, but if you do have a card like Everyday Preferred earning 1.5-4.5 points per dollar everywhere it still means that transfers can be quite lucrative.

Avios have changed the way that many people travel on short-haul flights. It’s no big deal for me to fly from Cleveland to Chicago or NYC for a day trip when it only costs 9,000 Avios instead of a same-day $1,200 flight. Though with these changes I’m quite happy that I mistakenly (story here) transferred half a million AMEX points to British Airways during the US 40% promo earlier this year that they refused to reverse…

HT: zer0k1, via DDF

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