Category Archive for 'Miles'

4 Weeks Left To Fly Upstairs Or In The Nose Of United’s Queen Of The Skies On A Domestic Route

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

2 weeks ago I went on a quick 2 day father-son trip to San Francisco. Rafi is obsessed with airplanes, and having taken him on over 100 flights I suppose that’s my fault. He had been begging for quite some time to fly upstairs on a 747 or A380 and United’s upcoming retirement of the 747 was a good impetus for the trip.

We got business saver awards from Cleveland to San Francisco and back via Chicago to catch a ride upstairs on the Queen of the skies, a rightfully deserved title for a beautiful airplane.

We had the time of our lives, words can’t come close to describing the experience. I’ll try to cover it in a future trip report and you can peruse a few pictures from the trip on my Instagram account.

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View which miles to use, the award availability day by day, and more after the jump:

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IHG Pointbreaks Now Bookable For Stays Through July, Hotel Rooms For Just $35/Night

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

IHG PointBreaks Linky

IHG Booking Linky

-The current list is valid for stays through 07/31
-Hotels can sell out of discounted rooms quickly and only a limited amount of rooms are available per night.

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

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

If you already have 5,000 IHG points in your account then you can buy increments of 10,000 points for $70 as described below.

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

You can also get 70K points for signing up for their credit card.  That’s not as strong as bonuses from cards with more valuable point currencies, though it does come with an annual certificate good for a free stay in any IHG hotel. Those are best utilized at Intercontinental hotels where a night can set you back 60K points or $800/night in places like Bora Bora. The card is free for the first year and then $49/year.  If you have a credit card you’ll also get 10% of your points back on award reservations!

After you have 5,000 points in your account there is a “trick” to buy additional points for 0.7 cents each. You can book any cancellable 15,000 point hotel stay using cash and points for $70+5,000 points.

All you need to do is search for reward points stays in any metro area and you should find a hotel for 5,000 points+$70 like the one below. The room is normally 15,000 points but with IHG points and cash option you can buy 10,000 points for $70 when making a reservation. Just select the 5,000 points+$70 option to complete this purchase.

The $70 that you pay is nonrefundable so when you cancel the hotel you will actually get back 15,000 points in your account. Effectively you are buying 10,000 IHG points with this method for $70 or 0.7 cents per points.

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

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In other words the cost per each 5,000 point PointBreaks stay is just $35 once you already have 5,000 initial points in your account.

Where can you stay for $35?
The full list is here, but here are a few samples:
-The Crowne Plaza Fairfield, NJ will put you just 30 minutes away from Times Square.
-The Staybridge Suites Canton, OH is just 3 miles from the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. You can use 12K Iberia Avios, 15K AA miles, 15K BA Avios, or 20K United miles to fly round-trip nonstop from LGA or Newark to Akron/Canton or Cleveland.
-The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Philadelphia- Mt Laurel is just 20 minutes from the Liberty Bell.
-The Holiday Inn Eugene, OR is a good base to explore Oregon’s stunning Crate Lake and the Sea Lion Caves.
-The Candlewood Suites San Antonio Downtown is just 10 minutes away from the AT&T Center, where the Spurs will host the Cavs in June 😉
Locations abroad include the:
Crowne Plaza Antwerp, Belgium
-Holiday Inn Paris – Marne la Vallée, France
-Holiday Inn Milan – Assago, Italy
-Holiday Inn Express Luzern, Switzerland
-Crowne Plaza Johannesburg, South Africa

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Daily Getaway For 4/22: Discounted Hertz Points

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Daily Getaways Linky

With Daily Getaways you can purchase discounted travel packages, but you have to be really quick.  At 1pm EDT every weekday from now through 5/6 there is a new offering. The best deals will sell out in seconds, so you need to be waiting on the page at 12:59pm and refreshing the page. Be sure to have a Hertz number handy.

There are 3 Hertz packages that will be available to purchase at 1pm:

1. 5,500 points for $250 (4.55 cents per point)

2. 13,200 points for $560 (4.24 cents per point)

3. 16,500 points for $698 (4.23 cents per point)

Here is the Hertz award chart.

-A free week rental is 2,750 points, so package 1 would be enough for 2 weeks of rentals at a cost of $17.86 per day.

-Package 2 would be enough points for 4 free weeks (11K) and a 4 day rental over a weekend (2.2K).  That’s 32 rental days at a cost of $17.50 per day.

Package 2 is also enough for two 4 day weekend rentals of a prestige collection car. That’s 8 days of rentals at a cost of $70 per day.

-A free rental week of a prestige collection car is 8,250 points, so package 3 would be enough for 2 weeks of rentals at a cost of $49.85 per day.

Package 3 is also enough for 6 weeks of free rentals. That’s 42 rental days at a cost of $16.62 per day.

There are blackout dates for these awards, though you can use double points to rent during a blackout as well.

Hertz points don’t expire as long as you have earned or redeemed points on a rental every 24 months.

Will you try to buy?  Or are these packages too much effort for too little reward? For many locations you may be better off spending the time figuring out the lowest Priceline bid that they would accept for your rental…

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Hilton Points On Sale For 0.5 Cents Each: Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem From $320/Night, Conrad Maldives From $375/Night

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Update: The Daily Getaways packages sold out quickly yesterday, but from today until 6/3 you can purchase points directly from Hilton for the same .5 cents per point rate that Daily Getaways offered.

You can purchase anywhere from 2K points for $10 to 160K points for $800. If you need more points you can open additional Hilton accounts in your name and then combine the accounts by clicking here.

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Originally posted on 4/20:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Daily Getaways Linky

With Daily Getaways you can purchase discounted travel packages, but you have to be really quick.  At 1pm EDT every weekday from now through 5/6 there is a new offering.

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

There are 3 Hilton packages that will be available to purchase at 1pm:

1. 100,000 points for $500

2. 150,000 points for $750

3. 250,000 points for $1,250

You can buy 1 of each package per Hilton account.  All packages effectively price points at 0.5 cents each. If you have multiple Hilton account numbers you can buy multiple of the same packages as well as long as you pay with another credit card. You can merge the accounts online.

There are some decent values to be had at some Hilton properties.

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is easily the finest hotel you’ll find in Israel. Rooms range from $450-$650 per night (plus 18% VAT for locals).

If you were to buy 80K points at 0.5 cents each that would make the effective cost per night $400.  If you have a Hilton AMEX you can stay for 4 nights for 260K points (65K points per night) that would make the effective cost per night $325. If you have Hilton elite status (it’s free with any Hilton card) they you can get the 5th award night for free, so 320K points (64K points per night) at the sale price of 0.5 cents each would make the effective cost per night just $320. No tax is owed on award stays.

If you have Hilton Gold status (it’s free with select Hilton cards and with the Platinum Card® from American Express or the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN), you’ll also get free breakfast and room upgrades.

The Conrad Maldives goes for $700-$1,000 per night. It costs 95K points per night ($475/night with this sale), 300K points for 4 nights for Hilton AMEX cardholders ($375/night with this sale), or 380K points for 5 nights for Hilton elites ($380/night with this sale).

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-Until May 4th, The Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express is offering 75K points for spending $1,000 within 3 months.  It offers 7 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Hilton AMEX before.

It has no annual fee and offers Silver status for as long as you are a cardmember. That gets you the ability to get the 5th night free on Hilton award stays. If you spend $20K on the card you’ll also get Hilton Gold status.

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-Until May 4th, The Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is offering 100K points for spending $3,000 within 3 months.  It offers 12 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 6 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. The bonus is valid if you haven’t had this particular Hilton AMEX before.

It has a $75 annual fee and gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder. If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status.

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The Hilton award chart can be found here.

Rooms range from 5K to 95K points per night depending on which of the 10 categories it falls into. If you have any Hilton credit card you’ll have elite status which also get the 5th award night for free. There are also point and money awards which are a great way to stretch your points, though those awards are capacity controlled.

As long as a standard room is for sale you can use points for the room without capacity controls or blackout dates.

AMEX Hilton cardholders can also book discounted 4 night award stays as follows:
Category 5: 130,000 points
Category 6: 160,000 points
Category 7: 190,000 points
Category 8: 220,000 points
Category 9: 260,000 points
Category 10: 300,000 points

These discounted 4 night awards are called AXON awards and can only be booked over the phone (800-920-5649), but will have the same availability as regular awards.

At the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem we were treated to a fantastic daily breakfast, which is free for Hilton Gold and Diamond members. There is a mind-boggling quantity of awesome kosher food there, from dozens of daily hot dishes to hard cheeses, fresh fruits and pastries to fresh squeezed juices, as well as on-demand dishes like french toast, pancakes, waffles, and eggs. Unlimited wine, hot or cold chocolate drinks, and espresso drinks are included as well!

Gold and Diamond members get free cocktail certificates good for use at any time during their stay, room upgrades, in-room food and drink amenities, late checkout, and other great benefits. Their Friday night Shabbos meals are pricey, but are well worth the expense (DDFers agree with that take as well), and the in-house restaurants are excellent as well.

 

With a breakfast like this, you may not even be hungry for dinner…

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Many, many more pictures when I get around to writing the trip report 😉

 

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

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Starwood’s 35th Transfer Partner Increases The Value Of Your Starpoints; Fly Roundtrip JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Or JFK-Europe For Less Than 20K SPG!

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Bear with me as I’m still catching on the news from last week while I was flying with my son on an incredible trip on the upper deck of a 747.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Last week Starwood added its 35th airline transfer partner, Virgin America. Ironically both Starwood and Virgin America will cease to exist in a couple years from now having been snapped up by Marriott and Alaska, but there is value still to be had in the meantime.
It’s also great to see SPG still adding partners to its portfolio. Last December it added Aegean, which is excellent for awards to Israel.

Now it’s adding Virgin America as a partner at the standard 20K Starpoints=25K Virgin America points ratio. Click here to transfer Starpoints into airline miles.

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

Virgin America has hybrid award redemption system. You can redeem for flights on Virgin America based on the cost of the flight.

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way Virgin flights (Prices were researched on 4/16 and will fluctuate). Note that Starpoint rates listed below are assuming that you maximize the 25% point bonus for transferring Starpoints in blocks of 20,000 points (which you may or may not be able to do depending on the number of passengers, so you may have leftover miles):
1. Los Angeles-Las Vegas on 5/11 is $43.10 or 1,417 Virgin points (about 1,134 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.65 cents per Virgin point (43.10-5.60/1,417) and 3.31 cents per Starpoint.
2. LGA to Dallas on 5/11 is $78.10 or 3,126 Virgin points (about 2,500 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.32 cents per Virgin point and 2.9 cents per Starpoint.
3. JFK to Maui on 5/11 is $244.50 or 10,762 Virgin points (about 8,610 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.22 cents per Virgin point and 2.78 cents per Starpoint.
4. JFK to Los Angeles on 5/11 is $138.10 or 6,056 Virgin points (about 4,844 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.19 cents per Virgin point and 2.74 cents per Starpoint.
5. Los Angeles-Orlando on 5/11 is $93.10 or 3,859 Virgin points (about 3,087 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.27 cents per Virgin point and 2.84 cents per Starpoint.

The exact point requirements will vary based on the price of the Virgin flights, but those are some pretty sweet values!

You can also redeem points on partner airlines.
Those include Hawaiian, Singapore, and Virgin Australia with low or no fuel surcharges and Emirates or Virgin Atlantic with high fuel surcharges.

For example:
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Frankfurt on Singapore is just 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Honolulu on Hawaiian is 35K Virgin miles (about 28K SPG) in coach or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 15K Virgin miles+$475 (about 12K SPG) in coach, 25K Virgin miles+$790 (20K SPG) in premium economy, or 35K Virgin miles+$1,150 (about 28K SPG) in upper class, Virgin’s version of business class with an on-board bar with access to their highly-rated clubhouse lounges.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 25K Virgin miles+$475 (20K SPG) in coach, 30K Virgin miles+$790 (about 24K SPG) in premium economy, or 50K Virgin miles+$1,150 (40K SPG) in upper class.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco nonstop to any of the Hawaiian islands on Hawaiian is 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach or 50K Virgin miles (40K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Seoul on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Sydney on Virgin Australia is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach, 60K Virgin miles (about 48K SPG) in premium economy, or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business class.

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Register For MileagePlus Dining And Get 1,000 United Miles!

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Update: Today is the final day to enroll in this promotion!

Register For United MileagePlus Dining And Get 1,000 Miles

There’s no need to eat out to earn the 1,000 miles.

Rules:
-Valid for new United MileagePlus Dining members only.
-You must register via link above, create a web login, opt in and remaining opted in to receive emails from MileagePlus Dining with a valid, deliverable email address.
-Offer expires April 10, 2016.
-Allow 6–8 weeks for miles to post.

You can also earn 500 miles every time you eat in a participating restaurant within 30 days of registering, up to 2,500 miles.  If you are planning on dining out all you need to do is use your registered card to pay for your meal.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card always earns 2 points per dollar for all dining and travel purchases. and the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express offers 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on dining, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber.

United miles require activity every 18 months, so this will extend the life of your miles for another 18 months. Chase United Explorer cardholder’s miles never expire for as long as they remain a cardholder. They also get excellent benefits including vastly expanded saver and standard award availability, free checked bags, priority boarding, United Club passes, primary car rental insurance, and elites also get upgrades on award tickets as a benefit of having the card.

HT: Emkay, via DDF

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Thoughts On Alaska’s Bizarre Emirates Devaluation; Still Want To Fly In Emirates Shower Class? Take Advantage Of The JAL Award Chart While You Can…

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

This topic has been rehashed ad nauseum in the blogosphere, but in case you’ve been living under a rock…

Emirates First Class on their A380 is a bit of an enigma. It made waves when it launched nearly a decade ago for offering the first commercial shower onboard, though you are limited to just 5 minutes of water.

Full post after the jump:

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Pre-Register For Aer Lingus Avios And Get 250 Avios Upon Program Launch

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

You should know from articles like this or this that you can earn and transfer Avios between Avios.com, British Airways Avios, and Iberia Avios. Each of those programs has pluses and minuses for earning and redemption, making the free transfer feature quite useful.

Aer Lingus will join the Avios world in July with AerClub. On the plus side that should mean their awards will be bookable on BA.com. On the minus side, their flights will probably soon be hit with fuel surcharges when using Avios. They’ll probably also end their award relationship with United.

In the meantime you can pre-register for AerClub Avios and earn 250 Avios when the program launches. With Iberia Avios you need to earn Avios in the Iberia program before you can transfer Avios from British Airways to Iberia, so this can be a good way to activate that feature with Aer Lingus as well. Who knows if they’ll also have discrepancies as large as BA and Iberia have.

Just click here and follow the “not a gold circle member” link where it says you will get 250 Avios for pre-registering. Then scroll down, enter your name and email address, and click send details. In July they’ll presumably email you a link to enroll and earn 250 Avios for doing so.

HT: HFP

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Daily Getaways 2016 Starts Today

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Daily Getaways 2016 Linky

Daily Getaways starts today and runs through May 6th. You can find the full calendar of offerings via the link above.

At 1pm EDT every weekday there will be another sale, but you’ll have to be really quick. The best ones will sell out in seconds, so you need to be waiting on the page at 12:59pm and refreshing the page.

Some packages that caught my eye:

-On 4/5 you’ll be able to buy Busch Gardens tickets for $45 or Sea World tickets for $50.

-On 4/6 you’ll be able to buy IHG points for as low as .565 cents each, though that’s not as tempting as in past years due to their recent devaluation.

-On 4/20 you’ll be able to buy Hilton points for .5 cents each. Read more on the Hilton program here.

-On 4/21 you can get 2 nights in a Venetian Piazza View suite for $495.

-On 4/22 you’ll be able to buy discounted Hertz points, though some prices have gone up since last year’s deal.

-On 4/26 Loews is selling discounted night certificates at their hotels.

-On 4/27 Alamo will sell $50 rental certificates for $25.

-On 4/28 Fairmont will sell 6 nights with breakfast to their Big Island or Maui resorts for $1,800 and 3 nights with breakfast for their Scottsdale resort for $610.

-On 4/29 you can buy Hyatt points for just 1-1.1 cents each.

-On 5/2 you can buy Avis 1 day rental certificates for $30 each, though they’re not valid in NYC, for one-way rentals, and they have hidden blackout dates. You can also drop $1,115 on a year of Chairman’s status with free upgrades to select specialty cars and free car dropoffs.

-On 5/3 you can buy Marriott gift cards for 20% off.

Which packages are you going to try for?

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A Comparison Of How Many Miles Are Needed For Award Flights On 116 OneWorld Direct Routes From NYC

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

Ever wonder how many miles you need for an award flight and if you are getting the best deal?

In the chart below you can find the rates for every direct OneWorld flight from NYC when using American (AA) miles, Alaska (AS) miles, British Airways (BA) Avios, Cathay Pacific (CX) Asia Miles, Iberia (IB) Avios, or LAN (LA) kilometers.

See the full comparison for miles required with these 6 carriers on 116 routes from NYC after the jump:

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

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Update: Today is the final day to complete Q1 spending.

You can also click here to register for Q2 spending, good for 5 points per dollar at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Effective 6/20 you can even use your Freedom Visa at Costco where you should earn 5 points points per dollar!

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Originally posted on 1/4/16:

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 wholesale clubs like BJs and Sams Club. Effective 6/20 Costco will also start accepting Visa cards and should qualify as a wholesale club.
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!

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

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

North America coach sale:
Toronto-Tel Aviv is 1,300 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 65K AMEX points or a 15K AMEX point discount.
NYC-Tel Aviv: 1,380 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 69K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.
Boston-Tel Aviv: 1,430 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 71.5K AMEX points or a 8.5K AMEX point discount.
Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 1,780 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 89K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.

North America business class sale:
Toronto-Tel Aviv is 3,380 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 169K AMEX points or a 31K AMEX point discount.
NYC-Tel Aviv: 3,500 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 175K AMEX points or a 25K AMEX point discount.
Boston-Tel Aviv: 3,600 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 180K AMEX points or a 20K AMEX point discount.
Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 4,070 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 203.5K AMEX points or a 21.5K AMEX point discount.

You are able to fly one-way for half the miles.

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

These awards must be booked by 4/17.

Travel must begin by 6/30, though return travel can be completed at any time.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

The Everyday Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 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. It has a $95 annual fee.

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. It’s the only no annual-fee card that can directly transfer points into miles.

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

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 one of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

HT: ilherman, via DDF

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Poll: Was Your Serve Or Bluebird Card Closed?

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Round 2 of Serve/Bluebird shutdowns is today and this time they got my OneVIP Serve card. Just add the damage to last week’s post.
At least there’s still money orders and bill pay…

Were you shutdown today?

Was Your Serve Card Closed On 03/04?

View Results

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Originally posted on 01/11:

Last 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 On 01/08?

View Results

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Are We Nearing The End Of The Road? A Brief History Of The Game We Play, Changes To AMEX+Chase Card Rules; Which Cards To Get Before It’s Too Late

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what Chase cards should you be looking into before things get even harder?

Chase Ink Plus Visa
Offering a limited time increased bonus of 60K, up from 50K.
You can read all about the awesome benefits of the Ink Plus card here.

You can also read more about what you can do with Ultimate Rewards points here, though the post needs some updating.

(If you need a card with 0% interest the Chase Ink Cash Visa offers 12 months of 0% APR and as it’s a business card your credit won’t be affected like it would be on a consumer card carrying debt.
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-Chase Marriott Visa
Offering a limited time increased bonus of 87.5K with a free additional user card, up from 50K.
Read more about the Marriott card here.
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-Chase British Airways Visa
Offering a limited time increased bonus of up to 100K, up from 50K.
Read more about the BA card here.
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-Chase Freedom Visa
Offering a limited time increased bonus of 17.5K with a free additional user card, up from 10K and 5 points per dollar in rotating categories.
Read more about the Freeom card here.
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-Chase Sapphire Visa (Click on view card offers by bank)

Offering a limited time increased bonus of 55K with a free additional user card, up from 40K plus double points on travel and dining spending and primary car rental insurance.
Read more about the Sapphire card here.
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The Chase United Visa is a good card to keep around just for the greatly expanded access it provides for both saver and standard award tickets. The free bags, club passes, primary car rental insurance, never-expiring miles, elite upgrades on award tickets, and priority boarding are just icing on the cake for that card.

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

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Delta Nationwide Award Sale To Europe!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Delta sent me an email about an award sale if you have a Delta credit card like the Delta Gold, Delta Platinum, Delta Reserve, or Delta Business AMEX. However the sale appears to work even if you don’t have a credit card!

Although the email lists just 11 specific routes, it actually appears to work in coach from any US city to any European city!
It also works from any US city to London in business class.

After testing on numerous cities, the pattern appears to be:
-Coach flights from the Eastern and Central time zones to Europe are 42K miles round-trip.
-Coach flights from the Mountain and Pacific time zones to Europe are 48K miles round-trip.
-Business flights from the Eastern and Central time zones to London are 87K miles round-trip.
-Business flights from the Mountain and Pacific time zones to London are 100K miles round-trip.

Rules:
-Book by February 18, 2016
-Travel on select dates between March 4, 2016 and May 31, 2016.
-7 day minimum stay requirement.
-Round-trip required.

Note that it won’t work for most dates, so use Delta’s flexible 5 week calendar to help find valid dates. Availability seems to be best in April.

You can transfer points instantly from 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 alsotransfer 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. 

Post where you book award travel to!

HT: D93, via DDF

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Last Chance To Book IHG Hotels Before 2016 Category Changes

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

IHG’s 2016 category changes go into effect tomorrow.

Currently hotels range from just 5,000 points to 50,000 points per night.

Effective tomorrow new 55K and 60K categories are being added, but you can still lock in lower rates now.

You can buy points from IHG here, but once you have 5,000 points in your account you can buy points via the method described in this post for $35 per 5K points.

Sample hotels getting less expensive (Wait until tomorrow to book these):
-Holiday Inn Manaus, Brazil: Was 15K, now 10K
-Holiday Inn Express Madrid, Spain: Was 15K, now 10K
-Holiday Inn Johannesburg Airport, South Africa: Was 20K, now 15K
-Crowne Plaza Dead Sea, Israel: Was 30K, now 25K
-Crowne Plaza Eilat, Israel: Was 30K, now 25K
-Hotel Indigo Tel Aviv, Israel: Was 30K, now 25K
-Crowne Plaza Kathmandu, Nepal: Was 30K, now 25K
-Crowne Plaza Panama Airport: Was 30K, now 25K
-InterContinental Sao Paulo, Brazil: Was 40K, now 35K

Sample hotels getting more expensive (Book these tonight):
-InterContinental Melbourne, Australia: Was 50K, now 55K
-InterContinental Sydney, Australia: Was 50K, now 55K
-InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa: Was 50K, now 60K
-InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora: Was 50K, now 60K
-InterContinental Cannes, France: Was 50K, now 60K
-InterContinental Hong Kong: Was 50K, now 60K
-InterContinental Rome, Italy: Was 50K, now 55K
-Holiday Inn Resort Maldives, Was 35K, now 40K
-InterContinental Porto, Portugal: Was 30K, now 35K
-Holiday Inn Singapore: Was 35K, now 40K
-InterContinental Geneva, Switzerland: Was 35K, now 45K
-Crowne Plaza London-Kensington, UK: Was 45K, now 50K
-Crowne Plaza London-City, UK: Was 45K, now 50K

-Holiday Inn Express and Suites Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Los Angeles, CA: Was 35K, now 40K
-Crowne Plaza South Beach Z Ocean Hotel, Miami, FL: Was 45K, now 50K
-Holiday Inn Express and Suites Kona, Big Island, HI: Was 20K, now 30K
-InterContinental Boston, MA: Was 50K, now 55K
-The Venetian Las Vegas, NV: Was 50K, now 60K
-The Palazzo Las Vegas, NV: Was 50K, now 60K
-Hotel Indigo Brooklyn, NY: Was 35K, now 40K
-Holiday Inn Express LaGuardia, NY: Was 30K, now 40K
-Candlewood Suites New York City-Times Square, NY: Was 35K, now 40K
-InterContinental New York Times Square: Was 50K, now 60K
-Holiday Inn New York JFK: Was 20K, now 25K
-Holiday Inn Resort Klamath Falls, OR: Was 10K, now 15K

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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:

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 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:

iberia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

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.

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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!

dl1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

dl2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

dl3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only 250 miles were deducted from my Delta account:

dl4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

dl5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dl6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Join the 68.3K+ 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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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:

 

syd1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

cx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

 

cx1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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:

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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.
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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!

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$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).

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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.
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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.

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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:

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And BOS-TLV:

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

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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
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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
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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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