Category Archive for 'Miles'

Korean Returning As A Chase Transfer Partner 01/25.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Update: I have confirmed this myself via SM as well:

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DDF member mayer522 reports that he was told in a SM from Chase that Korean Airlines will be back as a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner after a 2 month hiatus effective this Sunday, 01/25.

Thank you for contacting Chase about transferring points
to Korean Air.

Please note, for contractual reasons, Korean Air was
removed as a points transfer partner in Ultimate Rewards.
I apologize for any inconvenience caused.

However, Chase has renegotiated the contract for Korean
Air and it will return as a points transfer partner on
January 25, 2015.

If you have any further questions, please reply using the
Secure Message Center.

I have not been able to independently verify this, but Korean offers lots of sweet award redemptions that were part of the “30 awesome things you can do with Ultimate Rewards” so that’s great news if it pans out!

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Hyatt 2015 Category Changes. Plus: A Unified Hyatt Award Chart

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Update: There are just hours left to book Hyatt rooms at 22 hotels for future stays before they will require more points.
If you’re dreaming of a trip to the Maldives now is the time to book.
Most hotels can be cancelled until a few days before the stay, but always check the terms when booking.

The 48 hotels going down in category can be booked tomorrow at the new lower rates.
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Originally posted on 12/09/14:

Hyatt 2015 Category Changes Linky

Effective 01/22/15 there will 22 Hyatt hotels that go up in category and cost more points and 48 hotels that will go down and cost fewer points.

You can lock in lower rates by booking future reservations by 01/21/15.

Here is the Hyatt award chart:

Hotel CategoryStandard Room AwardSuite Night AwardPoints+Cash Standard Room AwardCost of points saved with P+C Award
15K8K2.5K+$502 cents/point
28K13K4K+$551.38 cents/point
312K20K6K+$751.25 cents/point
415K24K7.5K+$1001.33 cents/point
520K32K10K+$1251.25 cents/point
625K40K12.5K+$1501.2 cents/point
730K48K15K+$3002 cents/point

When booking a points+cash reservation I included a metric in the chart above that shows the rate that you’re effectively buying your points back at.  The category 6 rate is the biggest points+cash bargain. You “buy” back or save 12.5K points per night for $150.  Effectively you paid just 1.2 cents per point ($150/12,500) to save those 12.5K points per night.  The category 1 and 7 points + cash deals are the worst as you are effectively paying 2 cents per point.

Note that standard awards have no blackouts or capacity controls on standard rooms and suites.  However points+cash reservations are capacity controlled.  A nice benefit of points+cash rooms is that they are considered a paid rate, so they qualify for all promotions that apply to paid hotel stays and you can use a diamond suite upgrade certificate to confirm them into a suite.

Suite nights require a 3 night minimum stay and can only be booked over the phone.

Points+Cash nights can also only be booked over the phone.

Sample hotels getting more expensive:
-Park Hyatt Maldives goes from category 6 to 7.
-Andaz Amsterdam goes from category 5 to 6.
-Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee goes from category 5 to 6.
-Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar, Nassau, Bahamas goes from category 4 to 5.
-Grand Hyatt Macau goes from category 4 to 5.
-Park Hyatt Seoul goes from category 4 to 5.
-Grand Hyatt Taipei goes from category 3 to 4.
-Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo goes from category 3 to 4.
-Excalibur Las Vegas goes from category 2 to 3.
-Hyatt Regency Toronto goes from category 2 to 3.

Sample hotels getting less expensive include:
-Hyatt Place Orlando Airport goes from category 2 to 1.
-Hyatt Regency Montreal goes from category 3 to 2.
-Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal goes from category 3 to 2.
-Park Hyatt Chennai goes from category 3 to 2.
-Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Fort Lauderdale goes from category 4 to 3.
-Hyatt French Quarter New Orleans goes from category 5 to 4.
-Grand Hyatt Washington DC goes from category 5 to 4.
-Hyatt Regency La Jolla goes from category 5 to 4.
-MGM Grand Las Vegas goes from category 5 to 4.
-Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, FL goes from category 5 to 4.
-Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Orlando goes from category 5 to 4.
-Mandalay Bay Las Vegas goes from category 6 to 5.
-Park Hyatt Washington Washington DC goes from category 6 to 5.

If you want to lock in a dream trip to the Park Hyatt Maldives in 2015, now is the time to book.

Even a reservation at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar that doesn’t open until June will become 33% more expensive (15K vs 20K) come 01/22. Plus it will no longer be eligible for Hyatt anniversary night redemptions once it becomes a category 5 property. You can reserve a stay now for travel through January 2016 at the lower rates or with anniversary nights.

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

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HURRY! Unprecedented USAirways Business Saver Award Space Between Philadelphia And Tel Aviv!

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Update: DEAD!

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

AA.com and USAirways.com are showing tons of saver business class avaialbility between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv.

USAirways business class features a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access for all passengers.

Typically there its rare to find more than 1 business class seat on this route, but right now most days have more than 6 seats available!

There is even availability during peak travel times, like Purim, Pesach, summer vacation, and Sukkos.

This is a glitch in the fare booking class as U class just recently switched from being a coach booking class to a business booking class.  When you book your business award the confirmation page will show U class/economy. However it will charge you the business class rate and you will be seated in business class and U class is now in business class.

Space to many European cities is excellent as well.

AA.com charges 67.5K miles one-way/135K round-trip to Tel Aviv.
USAirways.com charges 120K miles round-trip (115K for cardholders) and doesn’t sell one-way awards.

AA allows 5 days holds and USAir allows 3 days holds.

You can transfer Starpoints to either airline, 20K Starpoints becomes 25K miles. That transfer can take a few days, but with a 5 day hold there should be enough time for the miles to post.  Those points can be earned on a card like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

American requires that the name on the Starwood account (or at least the last name) match in order to do a transfer.  However USAirways allows transfers from anyone’s Starwood account.  You can transfer points between Starwood accounts if the home address on both members Starwood accounts are the same, but that transfer can take a few days as well.

Below is a search for 6 nonstop saver business class awards on AA.com.  Just search Philadehpia-Tel Aviv and click non-stop flights only to see what dates are avaialble.  Once you find a date you can then search from other airports in the US to Tel Aviv on that date:

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Post what you book!

HT: million miler and D93, via DDF

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Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Card: Get 50,000 Points. Award Flights Start At Just 2,214 Points With 2 Free Bags And Free Cancellations!

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Signup offer and anniversary bonus:

You can get 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 within 3 months of getting the card. They’re marketing this as 2 roundtrip flights but in fact it is enough for up to $960 of flights on Southwest.

For example a one-way Los Angeles-Las Vegas flight on 02/18 is $48.10 with tax.
It can also be bought for 2,214 points plus $5.60 tax.
So 2,214 points gets you a value of $42.50 ($48.10 airfare less the $5.60 tax required on the points ticket)
So each point is worth 1.92 cents (42.50/2,214), valid for redemption on all flights. so you can stretch out those 50K points points for as more than 22 free flights with Southwest’s low prices or 44 free flights if you earn a companion pass.

Every anniversary you’ll also get a 6,000 point bonus.

Free changes and cancellations. Lock in low fares with no penalty:

While other mileage currencies now charge $200 to cancel an award ticket, Southwest continues to allow you to cancel an award flight and redeposit the points in your account for future use without any penalties! Coupled with 2 free bags per person and that’s a lot of added value. A family of 4 needing to cancel award tickets on another airline would set you back $800 versus it being a free change on Southwest. A family of 4 checking 2 bags each would run $480 round-trip on another airline versus paying nothing on Southwest.

Thinking of taking a trip but not 100% sure about it? With Southwest points you can lock in a good rate and just cancel the trip free of charge at any point before the flight if you can’t make it!

You can use the points for yourself or book award tickets for anyone else you want to give a ticket to.

Don’t fly?

You can also use 50,000 points to get $500 worth of gift cards to places like Alamo, Amazon, Avis, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, Budget, Carnival Cruises, Children’s Place, Express, Fairmont, Gap, Hertz, Hyatt, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Marriott, Motherhood Maternity, National, Nike, Office Depot, Saks, Sea World, Sears, Shutterfly, Staples, Starbucks, Toys R Us, TJMaxx, Walmart, Zappos and many others.

With Southwest’s Rapid Rewards “2.0” program you can redeem points for any seat on any flight. There are no blackout dates or capacity controls.

The value per point will depend on your route, but points always seem to be worth more than 1.8 cents each for discounted fares.

When Southwest has a fare sale the amount of points go on sale as well as it tracks to the price of the ticket. Best of all Southwest will refund your points if the price of your award ticket falls!  Just rebook your trip online for the same dates or give them a call for the credit.

You get 1 point per dollar on regular purchases and 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, including hotel and car rentals via Southwest.

Companion pass:

You can get a free companion pass if you earn 110,000 points in a year from most sources, including earnings from credit card signups and credit card spending! If you earn 110,000 Southwest points in 2015 the pass will be good until 12/31/16. The pass allows you to bring a companion with you for free whenever you fly Southwest, even if you are flying on a free ticket! There is no limit to the number of free companion flights that you can take.

Points transferred from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest don’t qualify towards companion pass status, but points transferred from Ultimate Rewards into Hyatt and then into Southwest do qualify. So you can transfer 50K Ultimate Rewards points into 50K Hyatt and 50K Hyatt transfers into 30K Southwest.

In other words if you get 50K points from signing up for this credit card you can transfer 100K Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and then into 60K Southwest points, worth about $1,152 towards Southwest travel. Plus then you’ll have a companion pass so that you can bring your companion for free whenever you fly Southwest, so that $1,152 toward Southwest is really doubled to $2,304 because of the free companion ticket. Not a bad value for a 100K Ultimate Rewards transfer.

See this post for more info on the Ultimate Rewards program and associated credit cards.

And as always, Southwest:
-Gives 2 free checked bags per passenger.
-Does not charge change fees to switch your flight. Whether you are on a paid or an award flight you can change without penalty!
-Does not charge a cancellation fee to cancel your flight (you will get Southwest credit for the full amount paid, even on non-refundable wanna get away fares) or to cancel and redeposit your award flight.
-Refunds the fare or point difference if the price of your flight goes down after you buy it, just call to get the credit at any time before your flight!

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Other Chase cards you can apply for at the same time include the Chase British Airways (Which has no fee for the first year for a limited time only, 50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a  year), the Chase Freedom (which has no annual fee, gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories, and 10% bonus points in 2015 if you have a Chase checking account), the Chase United Explorer (30K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, and it gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more), the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, no fee the first year, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, plus 2-2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), the Chase Marriott (with 50K signup points plus a free night upon signup and a free night every subsequent year upon renewal),the Chase Ink Plus (50K signup points, 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies, 2 points per dollar on hotels and gas) and the Chase Ink Cash (which has no annual fee and gives 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies and 2 points per dollar on dining and gas).

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The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

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

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

See all of the possibilities along with the mileage booking policies of mileage program from around the world after the jump:

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

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

This post is a compilation of the advice scattered throughout several posts made over the past few years along with new tips and tricks when using Avios.

British Airways Avios are awesome.  They effectively fill the gap that is left by the major programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus.  The major programs provide a fantastic value for long-haul flights, but most programs are not great for short flights.

In 2011 BA launched the Avios program and since then it has continued to provide an incredible value for short-haul flights.  A last-minute one-way flight that would otherwise cost $600 can be had for just 4,500 Avios plus $5.60.

Everything you need to know about the program can be found after the jump:

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Avios Destination Charts For Montreal, Toronto, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, S. Francisco, And 6 Ohio Airports

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Related posts:
-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! For a limited time only this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.

-Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 120 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
-Flying Round-Trip To Israel On Air Berlin For 50K American Express Membership Rewards Plus $81 Tax: A Tutorial
-Flying With An Infant With Miles In Business Or First Class? Start Collecting Air Canada Miles Or British Airways Avios
-Fly From JFK To Toronto For 4.5K Avios Or $94…And Get 141 Pounds Of Free Luggage! Also: When Redeeming Avios For Business Pays For Itself
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In honor of the thrilling Ohio State championship win last night I’ve compiled Avios lists for all 6 OH airports (yes I’m aware that CVG is not technically in OH) as well as 6 other airports that people have asked for in the past. Feel free to request a list for other airports and I’ll try to cover those as well!

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 several cities that can be booked with Avios.

Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program and how to best search for BA award availability with tips like always booking one-way awards. If you have a question it’s probably already been answered there!

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

2. Rates are always given in Avios. Currently there is a 40% bonus for transferring AMEX MR points into Avios and 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 and if a route requires 35K Avios for example you will only need 25K AMEX MR points with the current promotion.

3. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges, which can add up to 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 and USAirways flights within the western hemisphere, for JAL flights within Japan, and for Qantas flights within Australia. Fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights are also typically quite low. Fuel surcharges for travel on Cathay Pacific aren’t too bad while fuel surcharges to fly on British Airways border on the criminal.
You can save on the fuel surcharges imposed on Iberia flights by transferring British Airways Avios into Iberia Avios.

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

For example Kauai isn’t on the chart as BA does not have any partners that fly nonstop from any of these 11 airports to Kauai. Though you can always fly to Kauai via Los Angeles or Phoenix for example, just add 12.5K Avios to make a separate booking to Kauai segment with no fuel surcharges on American or Alaska.  Plus you can stopover in the connecting city for as long or short as you want.

You can figure out the cost to go to hundreds of other cities by just looking at the related chart links above.  For example a flight from Pittsburgh to Dublin can be had via Boston, so the chart below shows that a flight from Pittsburgh to Boston is 4.5K Avios and the Boston chart linked to above shows that a flight from Boston to Dublin is 12.5K Avios with no fuel surcharges.

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.

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.
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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.

-The Chase British Airways Visa Signature offers 50,000 Avios for spending $2K. Until 12/31/14 the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year as well. This card earns 1.25 Avios per dollar spent. You also get 10% off British Airways flights and can earn a companion pass that is good for a free companion on a coach, business, or first class award ticket if you spend $30K in a calendar year.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with the $65 annual fee waived or the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus.

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

Those cards both offer a year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only. The Everyday Preferred card earns more points per dollar for everyday purchases than any other card in its class. The Everyday card is the only no annual fee card that allos points transfers into airline miles.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

AMEX MR points normally transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios but until 01/31/15 you’ll get 1,400 Avios for every 1K AMEX MR points transferred to British Airways.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom. They can also be earned on business cards like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash. These points also can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.
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View charts of Avios flights from 6 Ohio airports, Montreal, Toronto, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and S. Francisco after the jump:

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Can’t Find Saver Award Availability? There’s One Must-Have Credit Card That Can Help You Out

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Visa is the only card that gives expanded award availability. As long as there is 1 seat on the plane you can redeem standard level miles for it.

But more important than that is the incredible amount of additional saver award space it gives you access to.

While throwing together the Chicago DDF DO last week I found a flight option for AJK from NYC using 10K United miles (the 7.5K Avios flight options didn’t work for him)

Alas he had just cancelled both his and his wife’s consumer and business United cards. And the flight I found only had saver award availability for cardholders.

The United card is crucial for anyone who collects United miles.  If you have elite status you can only get elite upgrades on award tickets if you have a United card.  If you don’t have elite status then the expanded award availability alone makes the card an absolute must.

While the card doesn’t directly help with business class saver award availability (only Platinum, 1K, or GS status helps for that), it does make Plan B business class saver award availability easier as that award requires there to be coach saver availability. Read more about Plan B here.

So, just how much extra saver award availability is there?

Below is a look at the saver award space for 2 popular routes through March (Saver awards typically become available within a couple months of the flight).  Flight results are shown from one flight on the date listed.

For example on March 22nd United is willing to sell a cardholder up to 9 coach saver award seats for 42.5K miles but there are no saver awards available for non-cardholders, so they would have to swing for the 85K standard level award. Cardholders can redeem those saver award seats for anyone, even if they don’t have a United card.  Additionally United will be willing to sell a cardholder a 70K Plan B business class award but would not sell that award to a non-cardholder as there would be no saver award space to book at all.

Availability for a cardholder:

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Availability for a non-cardholder:

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(Want to learn how you can see how many seats are bookable for cardholders and non-cardholders on United.com? I explained it all on this post about United.com Expert Mode)

Note that saver award availability is very fluid, the results below are accurate as of 12:30am this morning.

Newark-Tel Aviv (Number of available saver award seats):
01/12: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 6
01/18: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
01/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/24: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
01/27: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/29: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
02/02: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/03: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/05: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
02/09: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/10: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
02/15: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/17: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
02/18: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 0
02/19: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/20: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
02/21: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/24: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 0
02/25: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/28: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/01: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
03/02: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/03: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/04: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/09: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
03/17: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/22: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0

JFK-Los Angeles (Number of available saver award seats):
01/12: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 4
01/13: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 6
01/14: Cardholders: 5, Non-cardholders: 3
01/17: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/18: Cardholders: 2, Non-cardholders: 0
01/20: Cardholders: 3, Non-cardholders: 0
01/21: Cardholders: 6, Non-cardholders: 2
01/22: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
01/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/24: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
01/29: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 3
02/01: Cardholders: 8, Non-cardholders: 1
02/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
02/06: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 5
02/11: Cardholders: 5, Non-cardholders: 0
02/19: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 6
02/20: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 2
02/21: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
02/25: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
02/26: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
02/27: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
02/28: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 4
03/01: Cardholders: 7, Non-cardholders: 0
03/05: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/06: Cardholders: 4, Non-cardholders: 0
03/12: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0
03/16: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
03/18: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 2
03/23: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 7
03/30: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 1
03/31: Cardholders: 9, Non-cardholders: 0

How do you find expanded award availability? All you need to do is login to your United.com account before you search for award flights. Never use the United.com remember me option when logging in.

How do you know if your card is properly linked to your account? Just login on United.com and then hover over the words “Mileage Expiration”

If your card is properly linked you will see the following message that your miles won’t expire as long as you remain a cardholder:
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If your card isn’t properly linked then you will see the following message that your miles will expire if you don’t have activity every 18 months:

 

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If you have a United card but don’t see the non-expiring message just add the card to your United.com account here and it should be linked within 48 hours.

Other card benefits:
Besides for the signup bonus of 30K miles for spending $1,000 and another 5K miles for adding a free authorized user and the expanded award space, there are other really nice benefits of the Explorer card:
-Primary CDW insurance in every country in the world.
-First checked bag free.
-Priority boarding so that you’ll have space for your carry-ons.
-No foreign transaction fees.
-2 free transferable United lounge passes per year.
-10K mileage bonus every year that you spend $25K, a 40% mileage bonus which means you’ll have earned 1.4 miles per dollar everywhere.
-Spending $25K in a year also waives the requirement to spend $3K on United flights to get Silver status, $6K on United flights to get Gold status, and $9K on United flights to get Platinum status. You only need to fly the 25K, 50K, or 75K miles like in the good old days.
-Double miles on United purchases.
-Elite members can get upgrades on coach award tickets on upgrade eligible routes if they have a United card.
-Miles don’t expire as long as you are a cardholder.

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

-You can also get the business version of the Chase United Explorer card which also qualifies for expanded saver award space. Just click on “Are you a business owner” in the top-right of the Explorer card link.

-Want a 2nd free bag, a 50% mileage bonus per dollar spent everywhere, United club access for you and your entire family, post-security terminal access without a ticket, priority baggage handling and priority security access, and waived award expedite fees? The United Club card comes with all of that.  Just click on the MileagePlus Club tab at the right side of the Explorer card link.

The Explorer business, Club, and the now defunct Presidential Plus card also give expanded saver award availability.

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Other Chase cards you can apply for at the same time include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a year and the annual fee is waived for a limited time only), the Chase Freedom (which has no annual fee, gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories, and 10% bonus points in 2015 if you have a Chase checking account), the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, no fee the first year, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, plus 2-2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), the Chase Marriott (with 50K signup points plus a free night upon signup and a free night every subsequent year upon renewal),the Chase Ink Plus (50K signup points, 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies, 2 points per dollar on hotels and gas) and the Chase Ink Cash (which has no annual fee and gives 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies and 2 points per dollar on dining and gas).

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Do You Maximize Your Credit Card Spending? Here’s Where You Should Be Using Each Of Your Credit Cards.

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

-Find more posts like this by clicking on the “Credit Card Posts” tab and find credit card offers in the “Credit Cards” tab above of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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People always ask me what credit card they should be using to get the most bang for their buck.  There are lots of great credit card, but there is no best credit card, so the trick is to optimize your spending to earn the most possible rewards.

To figure that you need to calculate the value of a mile, another challenging topic.

You can value a mile by what they sell for on the grey market, but that’s not really fair because those miles are being resold by a broker to someone else at a higher valuation.  So there’s 1 grey market value for what a broker will pay (and even that will depend on the broker, the amount being sold, and constantly changing market conditions) and there’s another grey market value if you actually know end users as the brokers do.

I know of folks who fly first class internationally just to make contacts with people who actually pay $30,000 to be in the pointy section of the plane.  On a flight back home from Hong Kong in Cathay First another passenger offered to take us on his yacht.  He paid the full fare and doesn’t have the time to figure out the mileage game. However I’m sure he’d be happy to save $10K on his $30K tickets, and that would have an astronomical value per mile. Of course the airlines frown on all this and some airlines aggressively shut accounts down for selling their miles.

A better way of valuing miles is according to what you use them for as that’s how they’re intended to be used, though again, the problem with that is the sky is the limit.  A last-minute British Airways award for a flight that costs $1,200 is just 9,000 Avios, a value of  over 13 cents per mile. You can fly in a private walled-in Singapore suite to Europe for 57,000 miles one-way. In business or first class you miles can easily be worth more than 20 cents each.  I’ve had redemptions where my miles were worth over 50 cents each.  Combine with that a card that earn over 2 miles per dollar and it means that everything you buy is free ;)  OK, that’s an ridiculously extreme way to look at things, but it shows how difficult this exercise is.

And then you have Pa Kettle who redeems 50,000 miles for a $200 domestic ticket where their miles will only be worth less than half a cent each.

Determine the value:

I don’t care for posts that claim to put a value on the various currencies without any disclaimers.  Their value ultimately depends on what YOU will do with the points.

If you’re selling your miles to a broker, realize they need to turn a profit as the middleman, and that means you’ll probably lose between 0.1-0.4 cents off of these valuations depending on the broker and the amount you’re selling.  You’ll never do as well selling to a broker as you will selling directly to someone actually flying somewhere last minute coach or in business or first class or by just using the miles yourself.

Having miles locked into a program is worth less than having points in a flexible currency.  Flexible currencies allow you to wait and see what is available for when you want to travel. And they are a hedge against devaluations. Therefore they are worth more than any individual program.

Instead of giving a value to each currency, I’ll just share the minimum value I aim for when I use my points. Often I get several times that value, but let’s call their value the minimum level at which if I can’t attain that value I won’t burn the points. Feel free to plugin your own numbers as this is a highly personal exercise.

-Starwood Starpoints: 2.1 cents (Use for hotels or get a 25% points bonus when you transfer increments of 20K into 25K miles with dozens of airlines like ANA, Air Canada, Alaska, American, British Airways, Delta, Flying Blue, Singapore, and USAirways. Caveat: Transfers aren’t instant.)
-Chase Ultimate Rewards points: 1.75 cents (Transfer to hotels like Hyatt or airlines like British Airways, Singapore, Southwest, and United)
-American Express Membership Rewards points: 1.65 cents (Transfer to airlines like ANA, Air Canada, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue, and Singapore. Caveat: No good hotel options and transfers to domestic program incur fees.)
-United miles: 1.7 cents
-American/USAirways miles: 1.7 cents
-British Airways Avios: 1.5 cents
-Delta miles: 1.4 cents
-Barclay Arrival gives 2.22% cash back.
-Fidelity gives 2% cash back
-Blue Cash gives 1-3% cash back
-Blue Cash Preferred gives 1-6% cash back

Of course you can currently transfer 1 AMEX MR point into 1.4 British Airways Avios, so that would give AMEX points an imputed value of 2.1 cents.  However that promotion ends 01/31, so while the points may be temporarily worth more, I wouldn’t call that their long-term value.

To repeat: Value is highly subjective.  Determine how you value each currency, use the formulas I’ve laid out at the bottom of this post, and figure out if that will change where you should be using each card.

Let’s take a look at what you can earn for spending on 19 different cards:

Cards with transferable point currencies:
-Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 40K for spending $4K plus 5K for adding an additional user. Highlights: Signup bonus, double points for dining and travel.
-Chase Ink Plus Business Card
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $5K. Highlights: Signup bonus, double points for gas and hotels, quintuple points for office supplies and telecom, annual lounge passes.
-Chase Ink Cash Business Card
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 20K for spending $3K. Highlights: Double points for gas and dining, quintuple points for office supplies and telecom, annual lounge passes.
-Chase Freedom Visa
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 10K for spending $500. Highlights: Quintuple point rotating categories, 10% checking bonus (ending 12/31/15)
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: Free then $65. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 25K for spending $5K. Highlight: 25% bonus for converting points into miles.
-The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 10K for spending $1K plus a year of Amazon Prime ($99 value). Highlights: The only free card that allows that allows direct mileage transfers, 1.2-2.4 points per dollar everywhere.
-The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: $95. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 15K for spending $1K plus a year of Amazon Prime ($99 value). . Highlights: 1.5-4.5 points per dollar everywhere.
-American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card
Annual fee: Free then $175. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 25K for spending $2K. Highlights: Double points on gas and groceries, triple points on airfare.
-Platinum Card® from American Express
Annual fee: $450. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 40K for spending $3K. Highlights: Signup bonus, Centurion lounge access, Airspace lounge access, Delta lounge access, Priority Club worldwide lounge access, $200 annual airline fee refund, Starwood Gold Elite status, Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check enrollment fee refund.

Airline cards:
-Chase British Airways Visa Signature
Annual fee: $95. This fee is waived for the first year for a limited time only. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $2K. Highlights: Signup bonus, 1.25 miles per dollar spent, 10% off BA flights, worldwide companion certificate on award tickets if you spend $30K/year.
-Chase United MileagePlus Explorer
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 30K for spending $1K plus 5K for adding an additional user. Highlights: Signup bonus, free checked bag, expanded saver and standard award availability, never-expiring miles, priority boarding, 2 annual club passes, elite upgrades on award tickets.
-Chase United MileagePlus Club (Click on Club card on the right of the page)
Annual fee: $395. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: $100. Highlights: United Club membership including security passes when not flying, 2 free checked bags, waived award last minute booking fees, premier baggage handling, security, and boarding, expanded saver and standard award availability, never-expiring miles, elite upgrades on award tickets.
-Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 30K for spending $1K plus $50 back for making a Delta purchase. Highlights: Signup bonus, free checked bag, priority boarding.
-Citi AA Mastercard
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $3K. Highlights: Signup bonus, priority boarding, free checked bag, 10% up to 10K award rebate.
-The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®
Annual fee: $89. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $1. Highlights: Signup bonus, priority boarding, free checked bag, 5K mileage discount on USAir flights

Cashback cards:
-Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Annual fee: Free then $89. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: $400 for spending $3K. Highlights: Signup bonus, 2.22% cash back everywhere.
-Fidelity American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 1%. Signup bonus: None. Highlight: 2% cash back everywhere.
-Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: $50 for spending $1K plus a year of Amazon Prime ($99 value). . Highlight: Up to 3% cash back.
-Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Annual fee: $75. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: $100 for spending $1K plus a year of Amazon Prime ($99 value). . Highlight: Up to 6% cash back.

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Now that we have a value set for each currency we can translate that into the rewards percentage you’ll get for various types of purchases.  Below are the numbers for regular purchases as well as several common categories where you earn more than everyday purchases.

Everyday purchase (Click here to see how many points are earned and how these calculations are made):
-Ink (general spending made via $200 gift cards bought from Staples at a cost of $6.95): 5.58%
-United Club: 2.55%
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (if you make 30 transactions per month): 2.48%
Note: You can buy $0.50 Amazon gift cards to get up to 30 each month.
-United Explorer (assuming you spend exactly $25K per year): 2.38%
-Barclaycard Arrival: 2.22%
-Starwood: 2.1%
-Fidelity: 2%
-AMEX EveryDay (if you make 20 transactions per month): 1.98%
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking: 1.93%
-British Airways: 1.88%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 1.87%
-Ink: 1.75%
-Freedom without checking: 1.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 1.75%
-United Explorer (under $25K spend per year): 1.7%
-American/USAirways: 1.7%
-Premier Rewards Gold: 1.65%
-AMEX Platinum: 1.65%
-Delta: 1.4%
-Blue Cash/Blue Cash Preferred: 1%

Amazon.com Purchase:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Ink (via Amazon gift card bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Airfare:
-Ink (For Southwest flights via Southwest gift cards bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Premier Rewards Gold : 4.95%
-United Explorer on United flights (assuming you can spend exactly $25K in a year): 4.08%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
Note: Sapphire Preferred also offers valuable insurances on airfare.
-British Airways on British Airways flights: 3.75%
Note: The British Airways card also gets a 10% discount on BA flights.
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5% (This card also offers valuable insurances on airfare)
Note: Sapphire Preferred also offers valuable insurances on airfare.
-United Club on United flights: 3.4%
Note: You must use the United card to get free baggage.
-United Explorer on United flights (under $25K spend/year): 3.4%
Note: You must use the United card to get free domestic baggage.
-American on American flights: 3.4%
-USAirways on USAirways flights: 3.4%
-Delta on Delta flights: 2.8%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Car Rental:
Sapphire Prefered and United cards have primary insurance coverage worldwide:
-Ink Plus at Alamo or National: 5.75%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-United Club: 2.55%
-United Explorer (assuming you can spend exactly $25K in a year): 2.38%
-United Explorer (under $25K spend/year): 1.7%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Hotel:
-Ink Plus at any Wyndham hotel brand: 8.5%
-Starwood at a Starwood hotel: 4.2%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-Ink Plus: 3.5%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Restaurant:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Ink (For restaurant gift cards bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-Sapphire Preferred on the first Friday of the month with 7% dividend: 5.62%
-Sapphire Preferred on the first Friday of the month without 7% dividend: 5.25%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Ink Cash: 3.5%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Gas:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Ink (via gas gift card bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (if you make 30 transactions per month): 4.95%
-Ink at Chevron or Texaco: 4.5%
-Ink: 3.5%
-Premier Rewards Gold: 3.3%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Groceries (Including gift cards):
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Ink (via grocery gift card bought from an office supply store): 8.75%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (if you make 30 transactions per month): 7.43%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 6%
-AMEX EveryDay (if you make 20 transactions per month): 3.96%
-Premier Rewards Gold: 3.3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Office Supply purchases (including gift cards to other stores)
-Ink: 8.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

-Internet/Phone/Cable bills:
-Ink: 8.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Department stores:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Uber:
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (if you make 30 transactions per month): 4.95%
-AMEX EveryDay (if you make 20 transactions per month): 3.96%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-Premier Rewards Gold: 3.3%
-AMEX Platinum: 3.3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Things to bear in mind:

-If you might need return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, or dispute resolution on an item you’ll probably want to use an American Express card as their protections are pain-free and amazing. If you have a problem with a merchant you can file an easy dispute online. If you buy a final sale item they will take it back without a fuss, or if it’s under $100 they’ll usually credit you without even needing you to send it back. If your computer breaks in the extended warranty year they will refund it.

-You can change how you value each mileage currency and that will change the results.  Above is a general guideline, but it’s highly variable based on how you use your miles.

-When buying gift cards for spending you will lose the protections that a credit card offers like dispute resolution. You also have to factor in the “pain” factor of getting the gift card and the fact that you can cash out the gift card at Walmart or other stores for free or for a nominal fee.

-Some of the bonuses have spending caps such as:
-Ink Plus: $50K annual spend in quintuple and $50K annual spend in double point categories.
-Ink Cash: $25K annual spend in quintuple and $25K annual spend in double point categories.
-Freedom: $1,500 quarterly spend in quintuple point categories.
-Blue Cash/Blue Cash Preferred: $6K annual spend in grocery category.
-AMEX Everyday/Everyday Preferred: $6K annual spend in grocery category.

-The points from Freedom and Ink Cash can’t transfer directly into real miles. You or your spouse will need an active Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus when you want to make that transfer.
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Read the methodology and calculations behind the numbers, and learn to plugin your own mileage values after the jump:

(more…)

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HURRY! Unprecedented Coach And Business Class Saver Award Availability On Select Delta Partner Routes Now Bookable With Delta Miles!

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Delta Skymiles have long been derided as Skypesos for their exorbitant award rates and lack of saver award availability.

A week ago they started finally allowing one-way award redemptions, though that came at the expense of a free stopover.

If you act quickly Delta.com is showing impossible amounts of saver award space on some partner routes. And people are reporting that it is ticketing properly.

Take the JFK to London route for example.  Delta is partners with Virgin Atlantic, which flies an excellent business class product on the route, and has top-notch lounges with kosher meals available in the lounge as well.

I did a search for 9 seats in peak summer travel time. Under any normal circumstances there would be nothing available for that many seats on a single flight.  But check this out…

 

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Almost every single day has 9 seats available in business saver class on Virgin Atlantic.

The best way to search is to use this advanced search form and set it up as shown here:

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It’s not just business class either. A search for 9 coach seats from JFK to London:

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Note that one-way flights from Europe do have a fuel surcharge, so you’ll want to book flights to Europe as a round-trip.  It’s just easier to initially search for a one-way trip.

Here’s a search for 4 seats in business class on a nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.  Nearly every date came back as bookable on Virgin Australia:

 

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A search for 9 seats from Paris to Johannesburg in business class, nonstop on Air France:

 

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New York to Paris isn’t showing availability every day like this, but still this is great availability for 2 business class seats from JFK to Johannesburg via Paris. Just be sure to switch from nonstop to all flights.

 

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Here is a search for 9 business class seats nonstop from JFK to Seoul on Korean:

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And a search for 4 seats from JFK to Hong Kong in business class on Korean via Seoul. Be sure to switch from nonstop to all flights:

 

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can earn Delta miles on the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and you can transfer AMEX points instantly to Delta at a 1:1 ratio from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express. You can also earn Membership Rewards points from charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

You can also transfer points from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express at a 20K:25K ratio, but those transfers can take a few days.

Delta miles never expire and they have no close-in expedite fee.

Post what other routes you find with incredible award availability!

HT: Moishebatchy via DDF and DCTA

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Get A 40% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into British Airways Avios!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Update: Just 3.5 weeks left for this transfer bonus, how many points have you transferred over?

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Originally posted on 12/15/14:

Related posts:
-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! For a limited time only this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.

-Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-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
-Flying Round-Trip To Israel On Air Berlin For 50K American Express Membership Rewards Plus $81 Tax: A Tutorial
-Flying With An Infant With Miles In Business Or First Class? Start Collecting Air Canada Miles Or British Airways Avios
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BA/MR Promo Offer Linky

-Through 01/31/15 you will get 1,400 Avios for every 1,000 Membership Rewards (MR) Points transferred to BA.

This is only valid for US cardholders.

This is the first transfer bonus into Avios in 2014!
Previous MR->Avios bonus offers:
11/27/11=30%
03/15/12=50%
08/28/12=40%
12/03/12=30%
04/22/13=35%
10/15/13=20%

About British Airways Avios:

-BA Avios are awesome.  They effectively fill the gap that is left by the major programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus.  The major programs provide a fantastic value for long-haul flights, especially for one-way flights, last-minute flights, stopover flights, or flights in business or first class.  But most programs are not great for short flights.

In 2011 BA launched the Avios program and for the past 3 years it has continued to provide an incredible value for short-haul flights.  I’ve booked dozens of short-haul tickets using Avios for travel on American.  A Cleveland-NYC ticket can cost $1,200 round-trip if you don’t stay for at least 3 days or if you book last-minute.  But BA allows me to use just 9,000 Avios for that same flight, a whopping value of over 13 cents per mile.  I can hop over to Chicago or NYC on a whim without any kind of mileage regret like I used to have in the pre-Avios days.

-Avoiding fuel surcharges:
-There are no fuel surcharges for travel on American or USAirways within the Western Hemisphere. Flights start at 4,500 Avios plus $5.60.
-Air Berlin flights still have no fuel surcharges systemwide and remain the cheapest way to get to Israel. They have flights to Israel from Berlin, Dusseldorf, or Munich for 10K Avios. Flights to several US cities cost just 20K Avios.

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-Niki flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide. They fly from Israel to Vienna for 10K Avios.
-Aer Lingus flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide, though they can only be booked over the phone.. A flight from Boston to Dublin or Shannon is just 12,500 Avios in coach or 25,000 Avios in business. From there you can fly elsewhere within Europe without paying fuel surcharges.  Plus you can fly to Boston from cities like Buffalo, NYC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Washington DC for just 4.5K Avios. These flights can only be booked over the phone.
-Alaska flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide with flight starting at just 4,500 Avios. These flights can only be booked over the phone.
-LAN and TAM flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide. Some of their flights can only be booked over the phone.
-Flights within Australia, Europe, Japan, and many other countries and regions have little to no fuel surcharges.
-There are also no fuel surcharges for flying on Qantas within Australia.
-Fuel surcharges on award-winning carrier Cathay Pacific are also pretty low and you don’t even need to fly all the way to Hong Kong (though you should-great city with awesome kosher food, airport lounges with kosher food, and a business or first class flight you’ll never forget!) to get a taste of their awesome service, seat, pajamas, and amenities. They fly a daily 777 nonstop between JFK and Vancouver which I reviewed in this trip report.
-You can significantly cut the fuel surcharges when flying on Iberia by transferring your BA Avios into Iberia Avios
-British Airways 5th Freedom Flights (flights that don’t depart from or arrive to the UK) have significantly lower fees. For example even though Singapore-Sydney is a longer flight than NYC-London the fees in first class on Singapore-Sydney are less than half of those from NYC-London.

-There are no expedite or close-in fees for last minute award ticket bookings with BA Avios.  That saves you $75 compared to other programs.

-You can book one-way tickets for half of the miles listed below!

-Earning or redeeming any amount of Avios extends your entire account validity for another 36 months.

-You can cancel tickets and redeposit miles for the lessor of $55 or the taxes you paid.  That means you pay just $5.60 for cancel a one-way domestic itinerary (and you always should book domestic flights as one-ways). That saves you $200 compared to opther programs when you need to cancel.

-British Airways only charges 10% extra miles for a lap child flying internationally, even when traveling on AA. AA and other domestic carriers charge a whopping 10% of the full fare, which can add up to be a small fortune.

-Points transfer instantly from MR to BA and there are no fees or taxes for transferring points to British Airways.

-You can search American, Alaska, and USAirways award availability on AA.com and looking for sAAver awards. BA can’t book AAnytime awards, but you should be able to find all AA sAAver awards on BA.com. BA.com does not display all available awards on all airlines, airlines like Alaska, Aer Lingus, and LAN have to be booked over the phone.  Additionally you will have to call BA to make a booking if you see a sAAver award on AA.com that’s not showing on BA.com.

Sample uses:

-7,000 MR points will transfer into 9,800 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip short-haul ticket between New York and places like Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Montreal, Pittsbugh, or Toronto or between Miami and the Bahamas or Cancun, on OneWorld partner American. It’s also enough to fly from Melbourne to Sydney, or to many cities within Europe.

-11,000 MR points becomes 15,400 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip flight between New York and Chicago or Florida, from LA to Cabo, or from JFK to Bermuda.

-15,000 MR points becomes 21,000 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip flight between Germany or Austria and Tel Aviv, Chicago and LA, Hong Kong to Singapore, or JFK to Cancun, S. Maarten, or S. Juan,

-18,000 MR points becomes 25,200 Avios, more than enough for a 25K round-trip flight between the west coast and any of the Hawaiian islands, New York and the west coast, or New York and Costa Rica. It’s even enough for a round-trip flight between Boston and Dublin or Shannon, Ireland with no fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus! You’ll have to call to book trips on airlines like Aer Lingus or Alaska.

-25,000 MR points becomes 35,000 Avios, more than enough for a 34K round-trip flight from NYC-Boston-Ireland on Aer Lingus with no fuel surcharges. You must call BA to book Aer Lingus flights.  Fly from Ireland to elsewhere in Europe for 9K Avios round-trip without fuel surcharges by booking over the phone as well.

-29,000 MR points becomes 40,600 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip flight between Dallas and Hawaii or New York and London (though you’ll be hit with fuel surcharges for crossing the Atlantic on most airlines). It’s also enough for a round-trip flight nonstop flight between NYC or Chicago and Dublin or Shannon, Ireland with no fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus.

-36,000 MR points becomes 50,400 Avios, more than enough for a round-trip flight between New York and Brazil or Argentina.  It’s also more than enough for a round-trip in a lie-flat business class seat between JFK and Vancouver on Cathay Pacific or on business class between Boston and Ireland.

-43,000 MR points becomes 60,200 Avios, enough for a 60K round-trip flight between New York and Tel Aviv on Air Berlin with no fuel surcharges.

-50,000 MR points becomes 70,000 Avios, enough for a round-trip flight between the US and Hong Kong in coach. Or fly round-trip in Cathay Pacific lie-flat business class for 100,000 MR points (140,000 Avios).
——————————————————————————————

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Need some Membership Rewards points?

-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 Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

-Key perks of The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express:
-Signup bonus: 15K Membership Rewards points (21K Avios with a 40% bonus) plus for a limited time 1 year of Amazon Prime (a $99 value) for spending $1,000 within 3 months. There is a $95 annual fee.
-One of the best cards that exist for everyday spending thanks to a 50% point bonus for making 30 transactions per billing period. That’s 1.5 points per dollar everywhere you shop. At a conservative 1.6 cents per point valuation that’s a minimum of 2.4% back.
-4.5 points per dollar on up to $6,000 per year at grocery stores if you make 30 transactions that month (3 points if you don’t). At a conservative 1.6 cents per point valuation that’s 7.2% back.
-3 points per dollar on gas and Uber if you make 30 transactions that month (2 points if you don’t). At a conservative 1.6 cents per point valuation that’s 4.8% back.
-Up to 99 fee-free additional cards that each qualify for AMEX promotions.
-Transfer points to all Membership Rewards airline and hotel partners.
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. Or just swipe to add a quarter to people’s parking meters. Note that even if you return an item it doesn’t subtract the original transaction.
Signup bonus:
The EveryDay Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, but that’s low considering it’s one of the only card that gives 1.5 real airline miles (not fake bank miles) per dollar everywhere. The only other card that does that is the United Club card which costs $395 per year.

-Key perks of The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express:
-Signup bonus: 10K Membership Rewards points (14K Avios with a 40% bonus) plus for a limited time 1 year of Amazon Prime (a $99 value) for spending $1,000 within 3 months. There is no annual fee.
-The only no-annual fee card that can transfer points into real airline miles.
-20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per billing period. That’s 1.2 points per dollar everywhere you shop.
-2.4 points per dollar on up to $6,000 per year at grocery stores if you make 30 transactions that month (2 points if you don’t).
-3 points per dollar on Uber if you make 30 transactions that month (2 points if you don’t).
-Up to 99 fee-free additional cards that each qualify for AMEX promotions.
-Transfer points to all Membership Rewards airline and hotel partners.

-Key perks of the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card
-Signup bonus: 25K Membership Rewards points (35K Avios with a 40% bonus) for spending $2,000 within 3 months. The $175 annual fee is waived for the first year.
-3 points per dollar on airfare.
-2 points per dollar on gas and groceries.

-Key perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express.
-Signup bonus: 40K Membership Rewards points (56K Avios with a 40% bonus) for spending $3,000 within 3 months. $450 annual fee.

-Every calendar year you can get a $200 airline fee refunds.  That means in your first cardmembership year you can get a $600 refund thanks to a $200 credit in 2014, a $200 credit in 2015, and a $200 credit in 2016 if you get the card right now…

-Centurion lounge access: Bring your entire family or you and 2 guests into lounges in Dallas, Las Vegas LaGuardia, San Francisco, and more to come. Miami will be the next to open.  There are also lounges in Argentina, Brazil, India, and Mexico.
-Airspace lounge access: Bring your entire family or you and 2 guests into lounges in Baltimore, Cleveland, JFK (JetBlue terminal), San Diego, and more to come.  These are modern lounges with free premium coffee, bottled water, and self service soft drinks.  Additionally you and every guest also gets a gift card valid towards purchasing premium alcohol, local craft beers, cocktails, and meals.
-Priority Pass lounge access.  There are over 600 lounges worldwide that accept Priority Pass and you can access all of them for free.  In Newark you can access the Art & Lounge.  That’s the same lounge that El Al provides for their business and first class passengers. It has exclusively kosher food and Israeli art.  In Tel Aviv you can access the Dan lounge.  See the Priority Pass site for their complete list of lounges. Note that you can’t access United lounges with the Priority Pass membership that you get from the Platinum card.  You don’t get any free guests, but secondary Platinum cardholders can get their own free Priority pass membership.
-Delta SkyClub access:  Platinum cardholders can also access Delta Skyclubs, though they can no longer bring in free guests there.  However you can add 3 additional users onto a personal Platinum card for $175 (That’s just $58.33 per additional cardholder per year).  Secondary users do get full lounge access so they will have access to Delta and Priority Pass lounges for themselves and they will be able to guest others into Airspace and Centurion lounges.
-TSA Pre-Check makes flying pleasant again. Shorter lines, no need to remove your shoes, belt, jacket, or hat. You can keep your laptop and freedom baggie with liquids in your carry-on. And you go through a good old fashioned metal detector instead of assuming the position in a nude-o-scope.  It costs $85 for 5 years but you’ll get an $85 statement credit when you pay with a Platinum card. Additional cardholders get it free as well.
-Or you can get Global Entry which includes TSA Pre-Check for free.  Normally Global Entry costs $100 and it also lets you bypass the customs line when returning from abroad. If you charge it on your Platinum card the fee will be refunded.  Additional cardholders qualify for a Global Entry fee refund as well.
-Platinum cardholders get Starwood Gold elite status for free.  That gets you free Wi-Fi or you can get a 250 point rebate every time you stay at a Starwood hotel-even if you are on an award stay!  It also gets you free upgrades and 4pm late checkout.
-The card also comes with free checked baggage insurance and it has no foreign exchange fees.  And of course it comes with all of the amazing purchase protections that other American Express cards have as well.
-Lost item protection: If you buy something on your Platinum card up to $10,000 and lose it within 90 days of purchase it will be fully covered.  No other card I’m aware of offers lost item protection.  Many cards offer stolen item protection, but that requires a police report to be filed and often it has a cap of just $1,000.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

HT: Meir613, via DDF

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Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable For Flights Between Atlanta, Houston, Montreal, Or Toronto And Tel Aviv From 18,750 Miles Each Way

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Flying Blue Promo Awards (Click here to view worldwide promo awards)

Air France Flying Blue Award Search (Login required to search for award flights)

Flying Blue is the joint program of SkyTeam member Air France and KLM.
They consider Tel Aviv to be part of Europe which can make for some decent deals.

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

-They normally charge 25,000 miles each way in coach and 62,500 miles each way in business to Israel but they run rotating promo awards 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 01/31.

-You need to travel with the current promo awards between 03/01-04/30.

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

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

Current deals:
-You can travel between Houston and Tel Aviv in March or April for 18,750 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between Atlanta and Tel Aviv in March or April for 25,000 miles each way in premium economy.
-You can travel between Montreal or Toronto and Tel Aviv in March or April for 31,250 miles each way in business class.

-Air France premium economy gives a more comfortable seat with a leg rest, 20% more legroom, a 20% wider seat thanks to a 2-3-2 configuration rather than 2-4-2, gives 2 free checked bags, an amenity kit, and more.  It’s a whole lot better than the sad “premium economy” offerings from the US carriers.

-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 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.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Flying Blue with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

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

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

Both of those cards also give a free year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

-You can see the miles and fees for one-way tickets in the images below:

 

Houston in economy:

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Atlanta in premium economy:

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Montreal in business class:

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Toronto in business class:

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

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

If you buy $300+ in Visa gift cards from Staples between 01/04 and 01/10 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. Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. That’s 2,070 points for a $413.90 purchase.  Plus you’ll get the $20 Visa card via Easy Rebate to bring your cost basis down to $393.90 without accounting for the points.

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

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

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

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

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

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free.
-You can cash out the Visa cards using EvolveMoney to pay bills like your mortgage, property tax, auto loan, health insurance, store charge card (Gap, Macy’s, Target, etc).  There is no fee for this but you can only make 1 payment per biller per month month.
-You can load Visa cards to your Serve card with a Family Dollar cashier for no fee (though some stores won’t do this)
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office).  Such stores exist even in manufactured spend deserts like NYC.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can swipe the card on an Amazon card reader for a 1.75% fee.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moe’s Tavern, via DDF

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Reminder: Triple Points Per Dollar With Sapphire Preferred At Restaurants And Caterers Today

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Today is the first Friday of the month and with the Chase Sapphire Preferred First Friday promotion you earn triple points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card on all dining purchases.

Normally you earn double points per dollar on airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, restaurants, catering, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, cafes, taxis, Uber, parking, limos, buses, trains, EZPass, bridges, ferries, timeshares, etc.

Today you will earn triple points on sit-down restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, catering, bars, lounges, and more.

If you opened your card before 07/20/14 you’ll also get a 7% annual dividend that means 3.21 points per dollar. For example if you spend $100 in any restaurant you’ll get 300 points on your next statement plus 21 additional points as part of your annual dividend.

Don’t want to eat out today? Ask your favorite eatery if they sell gift cards or will allow you to have a credit balance in your name and lock bonus points by purchasing them today!

Need to pay a caterer? Do it today and pocket all those extra miles! It’s a great day to pay for bar mitzvah or wedding bills!

Are you outside of the USA? Not to worry, the Sapphire Preferred card does not charge any foreign transaction fees. (Which also makes it the best card for car rentals in every country in the world: Double points for car rentals, free primary CDW insurance with no deductible, and no foreign exchange fees).

The card is made from metal and a real live human being answers the phone when you call customer service without having to navigate a phone-tree maze.

Currently you get 40,000 points for spending $4,000 on a new Sapphire Preferred card and you get another 5,000 points for adding a free additional user card and using it once.

Those points can go far.  Here are some awesome things you can do with Ultimate Rewards points.

The $95 annual fee is currently waived for the first year.

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

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

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

You are covered for almost all non-exotic rentals as long as the rental period is 31 days or less.

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

Other card benefits include:
-Price protection. Find a lower price in a store or online on a non-auction site within 90 days and get back up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year.
-Return protection. Return an item to a store that won’t take back an item for up to 90 days ($500/item, $1,000 per year)
-Purchase protection: 120 days of protection in case of damage of theft on items you buy ($500/item, $50K/account)
-Warranty protection: An extra year of warranty coverage on purchases ($10K/item, $50K/account)
-Lost Luggage Protection: If your checked or carry-on bags are lost you can be reimbursed by up to $3,000 per person.
-Trip Delay Protection: If you are delayed that either requires an overnight stay or is more than 12 hours you can be reimbursed for up to $500 in expenses per person.
-Baggage Delay Protection: If your bags are delayed by more than 6 hours you can reimbursed for up to $100 in expenses per person per day, for up to $500 per person.
-Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage if you are injured or killed on a trip.

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

Points transfer at an equal ratio to:
-United (Star Alliance)
-Singapore (Star Alliance)
-British Airways (OneWorld)
-Korean (Skyteam), transfers available later this month.
-Southwest
-Virgin Atlantic
-Hyatt
-Marriott
-Ritz Carlton
-Priority Club
-Amtrak

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Other Chase cards you can apply for at the same time include the Chase British Airways (Which has no fee for the first year for a limited time only, 50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a  year), the Chase Freedom (which has no annual fee, gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories, and 10% bonus points until the end of the year if you have a Chase checking account), Chase United Explorer (30K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, and it gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more), the Chase Marriott (with 50K signup points plus a free night upon signup and a free night every subsequent year upon renewal), the Chase Ink Plus (50K signup points, 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies, 2 points per dollar on hotels and gas) and the Chase Ink Cash (which has no annual fee and gives 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies and 2 points per dollar on dining and gas).

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Delta 2015 SkyMiles Program Now Live

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Delta’s 2015 program is now live. What does that mean for you?

1. You can now book one-way awards, though you can no longer take a free stopover.  That’s the same policy as American.

For now United still allows stopovers on round-trip awards, but I can’t see that lasting for long.  USAirways also allows for free stopovers, though that program will end in the 2nd quarter of this year.

2. New Delta award charts with 5 levels of pricing are in effect.

For example for JFK to Tel Aviv a one-way coach award can now run 40K, 50K, 62.5K, 75K, or 85K.

A domestic one-way coach award can run 12.5K, 17.5K, 20K, 25K, or 32.5K.

3. Unless you are flying on very expensive tickets, you will earn a small fraction of the miles that you used to earn thanks to revenue based mileage earning instead of distance based mileage earning.

United will match this change in March.

4. The best way to search for Delta award space is to search for a one-way flight with flexible dates using miles:

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Then you can expand the flex search to 5 weeks and you can limit it to nonstop flights if you so desire.

Although you can select between Delta flights or Delta+partner flights it’s worth noting that most Delta partner award flights can only be booked over the phone.

Here is a 5 week view of nonstop one-way awards from JFK to Tel Aviv:

 

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New Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable: Fly Between Tel Aviv And Chicago, JFK, Or Toronto For 12.5K-25K Miles Each Way

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Update: Now is the last chance to book the promo awards listed below. Officially it’s bookable until tomorrow, but they are often pulled early.

In January you’ll be able to book discounted coach awards from Houston or Atlanta or discounted business awards from Montreal or Toronto.

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Originally posted on 12/02:

Flying Blue Promo Awards (Click here to view worldwide promo awards)

Air France Flying Blue Award Search (Login required to search for award flights)

Flying Blue is the joint program of SkyTeam member Air France and KLM.
They consider Tel Aviv to be part of Europe which can make for some decent deals.

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

-They normally charge 25,000 miles each way in coach and 62,500 miles each way in business to Israel but they run rotating promo awards 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 12/31.

-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.

Current deals:
-You can travel between Chicago and Tel Aviv in February or March for 12,500 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between JFK and Tel Aviv in February or March for 25,000 miles each way in premium economy.
-You can travel between Toronto and Tel Aviv in February or March for 25,000 miles each way in premium economy.

-Air France premium economy gives a more comfortable seat with a leg rest, 20% more legroom, a 20% wider seat thanks to a 2-3-2 configuration rather than 2-4-2, gives 2 free checked bags, an amenity kit, and more.  It’s a whole lot better than the sad “premium economy” offerings from the US carriers.

-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.

-For example on 02/05-02/15 you can fly from JFK to Tel Aviv nonstop on Delta for 50,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $84.92 or in premium economy with a stop on Air France for 50K Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $436.20.

Note that Flying Blue can only book Delta saver availability which is much far more limited that Air France and KLM saver availability. The easiest way to search for Delta saver availability is to do an award search on Delta.com, click on “View award calendar” and look for the dates that say 85K miles nonstop. Then plugin those dates on the Air France site and it should pull up the Delta option.

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

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Flying Blue with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

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

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

Both of those cards also give a free year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

-You can see the miles and fees for one-way tickets in the images below:

Chicago-Tel Aviv in coach:

 

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JFK-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

 

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Toronto-Tel Aviv in premium economy:

 

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1 Day Left For Extra Savings At Staples With Visa Business Cards

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

There is just 1 day left to earn a bonus 1% cash back when using cards like Ink Plus or Ink Cash at Staples with Visa Savings Edge:

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Until 12/31/14 you can still earn the 1% cash back on $200+ purchases on Staples. That’s on top of the 5 points per dollar you earn with office supply spending on the Ink cards.

Now is a really good time to stock up on gift cards from Staples to take advantage of the bonus 1% cash back.  You can see this post for a list of the gift cards you can buy.  You can lock in savings for eBay purchases, Shell, Groupon, Gap, Nordstrom, Southwest, Starbucks, Whole Foods, etc.

Or you can lock in savings on Visa gift cards.  A $200 gift card costs $206.95 but the 1% cash back knocks down the cost to $204.88. With an Ink card you’ll earn 5 points per dollar, or 1,035 Ultimate Rewards points on each Visa card.  At a cost of $4.88 that’s like buying points at 0.47 cents each.  On the Ink Plus card you can earn 5 points on dollar on $50,000 in annual spending (250,000 potential points per card per year), on the Cash card it’s capped at $25,000 of annual spending (125,000 potential points per card per year).  Even with the $4.88 fee, that amount of points far surpasses the cost of the gift card and the rewards that any other card provides for everyday purchases.

You can use those Visa gift cards wherever you would normally use your credit card.

Why should you buy points at 0.47 cents each?
-You can use 9,000 points transferred to BA for a free round-trip short-haul flight like NYC to Montreal or Miami to the Caribbean/Mexico. That costs you $42 at .47 cents per mile
-You can use 15,000 points transferred to BA for a free round-trip medium-haul flight like NYC/Philadelphia to Miami. That costs you $70.50 at .47 cents per mile
-You can use 25,000 points transferred to BA for a free round-trip flight like from the west coast to Hawaii or from Boston to Dublin. That costs you $117.50 at .47 cents per mile
-You can use 30,000 points transferred to Southwest for about $500 worth of paid flights. That costs you $141 at .47 cents per mile
-You can use 85,000 points transferred to United for a round-trip to Israel. That costs you $400 at .47 cents per mile.

Of course you’re not limited to using those Visa gift cards for purchases, you can also cash them out…

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United: Discounted Coach Awards Within North America And To Japan, Discounted Business Class Awards To Europe, Middle East, And Asia!

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Update: Discounted awards between the US and Japan and between Europe abd the Middle East have been added.

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Originally posted on 12/09:

Roundup of current United discounted awards (Travel valid from any city in the US48)

1. Fly round-trip to select destinations within the US in coach for 20K miles (normally 25K)
2. Fly round-trip to Hawaii in coach for 36K miles (normally 45K)
3. Fly round-trip to Canada in coach for 20K miles (normally 25K)
4. Fly round-trip to Mexico in coach for 28K miles (normally 35K)
5. Fly one-way to Europe on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 57.5K (normally 70K)
6. Fly one-way to Central Asia on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 70K (normally 80K)
7. Fly one-way between Europe and the Middle East on a partner airline in business class for the United rate of 35K (normally 45K)
8. Fly round-trip between the US49/Canada and Japan in coach for 56K miles (normally 70K)

See the full details after the jump:

(more…)

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Fly From JFK To Toronto For 4.5K Avios Or $94…And Get 141 Pounds Of Free Luggage! Also: When Redeeming Avios For Business Pays For Itself

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Brazilian carrier TAM has announced that they will start flying nonstop between JFK and Toronto. The flight will operate once daily on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday effective 03/29/15.

It’s a tag-on flight from Sao Paulo and operated so that the 767 doesn’t just sit parked at JFK all day.  It’s a 5th freedom route that allows a foreign carrier to sell tickets on select routes between 2 other countries.  Similar to the JFK-Vancouver 777 route that is sold by Cathay Pacific.

When a foreign carrier operates a route within 1 other country, like Qantas’ JFK-Los Angeles route, it can only be booked when continuing onto Australia.   However the TAM and Cathay routes can be booked by themselves and offer some of the most comfortable seats you’ll find between the US and Canada.

It’s a route that used to be flown by TAM’s merger partner LAN, but that ended a few years ago.

TAM allows 2 free 32KG (70.5 pound) bags on all tickets from the US and Canada, so you’ll get 141 pounds of free checked luggage.

Introductory pricing on the route can be had from JFK to Toronto one-way for $94 and from Toronto to JFK for $128.  If you have 2×50 pound checked bags on other airlines that can set you back $60 each way. 2×70 pound checked bags on American would set you back $260 each way.

Those fares are bookable now on Orbitz.

TAM is a OneWorld airline, so you can use Avios for this route.  The rates are the same as for flights on American, 4.5K Avios in coach and 9K Avios in business each way.

However TAM is currently only releasing 1 coach award seat per flight.  I do expect them to release more award seats as we get closer to the start of these flights.

Want to travel with lots of bags on an award without waiting for that to happen?

You can redeem 9K Avios for a one-way business class flight on American and get 3 free 70 pound bags for a total of 210 pounds of free checked luggage.  That’s an awesome business class redemption, just 4.5K extra miles to go to a business class and from no free bags to 3 free bags!

3×50 pound bags on a coach ticket would set you back $210 each way. 3×70 pound bags on a coach ticket would set you back $510 each way!  Or use a business award to get that for free.

You can earn 50K Avios on the Chase British Airways Visa which has the annual fee waived for a limited time only.

Currently there is a 40% bonus for transferring AMEX MR points into Avios. That means that a round-trip business class redemption with 3 free bags each way will take just 13K AMEX points!

On domestic flights BA charges triple the Avios for business class.

However on international flights it’s just double the Avios, so it’s worth bearing in mind that flying in American business class comes with 3 free bags as it will often make sense to splurge for the extra 4.5K or 7.5K Avios just to get the free bags.

So the next time you use Avios to fly on a short flight to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central America do it in business if you will have several checked bags.

If you’re a family consider flying 1 or 2 members in business to get 3 free bags each.  If you just want to sit together they’ll be happy to seat you all in coach and you’ll just have used the extra Avios for the free bags :D

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12 Nonstop Flights From Johannesburg That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! Until 12/31/14 this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.
-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 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 103 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.
———————————————————————–

A special international edition of the Avios Route Roundup in honor of today’s fare glitch on Etihad :D
Dirt cheap flights to Joburg are still available as of the time of this posting!

Feel free to use this post to comment on the best trip ideas and tips for people flying to Joburg. More info can also be found on DDF.

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.

Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program and how to best search for BA award availability with tips like always booking one-way awards. If you have a question it’s probably already been answered there!

Notes:
1. Rates in the chart are for one-way flights.

2. Rates are always given in Avios. Currently there is a 40% bonus for transferring AMEX MR points into Avios and 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 and if a route requires 35K Avios for example you will only need 25K AMEX MR points with the current promotion.

3. There are fuel surcharges on all flights from Johannesburg. Therefore I’ve included the total fees owed on each one-way flight.

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

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

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.

-The Chase British Airways Visa Signature offers 50,000 Avios for spending $2K. Until 12/31/14 the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year as well. This card earns 1.25 Avios per dollar spent. You also get 10% off British Airways flights and can earn a companion pass that is good for a free companion on a coach, business, or first class award ticket if you spend $30K in a calendar year.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with the $65 annual fee waived or the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus.

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

Those cards both offer a year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only. The Everyday Preferred card earns more points per dollar for everyday purchases than any other card in its class. The Everyday card is the only no annual fee card that allos points transfers into airline miles.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

AMEX MR points normally transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios but until 01/31/15 you’ll get 1,400 Avios for every 1K AMEX MR points transferred to British Airways.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom. They can also be earned on business cards like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash. These points also can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.

One way rates from Johannesburg:

DestinationAirlineCoachBusinessFirst
Cape Town, SABritish Airways7.5K+$4415K+$50-
Doha, QatarQatar20K+$15440K+$180-
Durban, SABritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
Harare, ZimbabweBritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
Hong KongCathay Pacific35K+$13070K+$130-
Livingstone, ZambiaBritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
LondonBritish Airways25K+$20750K+$34275K+$342
MauritiusBritish Airways10K+$4420K+$50-
Port Elizabeth, SABritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
SydneyQantas35K+$23270K+$237-
Victoria FallsBritish Airways4.5K+$449K+$50-
Windhoek, NamibiaBritish Airways7.5K+$4415K+$50-

Find a mistake? Post a comment!

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196 Direct Flights From Dallas That Can Be Booked With British Airways Avios

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

8th in a series.

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! Until 12/31/14 this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.
-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 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 103 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
-Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
———————————————————————–

Did you know that there are 196 places you can fly direct to from Dallas 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 Dallas that can be booked with Avios.

Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program and how to best search for BA award availability with tips like always booking one-way awards. If you have a question it’s probably already been answered there!

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

2. Rates are always given in Avios. Currently there is a 40% bonus for transferring AMEX MR points into Avios and 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 and if a route requires 35K Avios for example you will only need 25K AMEX MR points with the current promotion.

3. Routes that are displayed in bold are subject to fuel surcharges, which can add up to 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 and USAirways flights within the western hemisphere, for JAL flights within Japan, and for Qantas flights within Australia. Fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights are also typically quite low. Fuel surcharges for travel on Cathay Pacific aren’t too bad while fuel surcharges to fly on British Airways border on the criminal.
You can save on the fuel surcharges imposed on Iberia flights by transferring British Airways Avios into Iberia Avios.

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

For example Kauai isn’t on the chart as BA does not have any partners that fly nonstop from Dallas-Kauai.  Though you can always fly to Kauai via Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, or Seattle for 10K for the Dallas-west coast segment and 12.5K for the West coast-Kauai segment with no fuel surcharges on American or Alaska. Or fly to Phoenix for 7.5K and from Phoenix to Kauai on USAirways for 12.5K. 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.

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.
————————————————————————

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.

-The Chase British Airways Visa Signature offers 50,000 Avios for spending $2K. Until 12/31/14 the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year as well.  This card earns 1.25 Avios per dollar spent.  You also get 10% off British Airways flights and can earn a companion pass that is good for a free companion on a coach, business, or first class award ticket if you spend $30K in a calendar year.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with the $65 annual fee waived or the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus.

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

Those cards both offer a year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.  The Everyday Preferred card earns more points per dollar for everyday purchases than any other card in its class. The Everyday card is the only no annual fee card that allos points transfers into airline miles.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

AMEX MR points normally transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios but until 01/31/15 you’ll get 1,400 Avios for every 1K AMEX MR points transferred to British Airways.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom. They can also be earned on business cards like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash. These points also can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.

—————————————————————-
View the complete 196 route chart after the jump:

(more…)

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500 Free Virgin America Elevate Points

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

500 Free Virgin America Elevate Points

Offer expires 12/31.

Allow 3 weeks for points to post to your account.

HT: bb1836, via DDF

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What’s Your IHG Point Purchase Bonus?

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Update: This offer ends tomorrow!

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Originally posted on 12/11:

IHG Point Purchase Linky

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, though that hack requires that you have points to start with.

They currently have a promotion to get a bonus when you buy points.

There’s a DDF thread on the promotion and people are reporting 0%, 25%, 50%, 75, and a 100% bonus when buying points.

Login to your account via the point purchase link above to see what offer is on your account.

My account has a 100% bonus offer:

ihg1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other words I can buy 60K points plus a 60K bonus for $690.  That’s just 0.575 cents per point for 120K points..

If you have a 75% bonus you would be able to get 105K points for $690 or 0.657 cents per point, also a good deal.

This promotion expires on 12/23.

IHG points never expire.

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 can buy points at .575 cents each. Those hotels rotate every couple of months and a new list will be out very shortly.

There are also good values to be had at high-end properties.  The highest tier is 50K points.
-Intercontinental has a heavy presence in French Polynesia with properties on Tahiti and Moorea islands for just 40K points ($230 at .575).

-An overwater bungalow in Bora Bora at the Intercontinental Thalasso 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.

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

-There are lots of IHG hotels in Israel including Ashkelon (10K), Dead Sea (30K), Eilat (30K), Haifa (30K), Jerusalem (20K), and Tel Aviv (30K).

So what’s your bonus? And will you be a buyer at that rate?

HT: yoss1, via DDF

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Poll: Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use? A Recap Of All The Different Options

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Which Prepaid AMEX Card Do You Use?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

AMEX’s array of prepaid cards make it easy to generate spend on your credit cards. However you can only have one prepaid card as they track it by your social security number.  You will have to empty out the funds and cancel your prepaid card to switch to another prepaid card product.
There is no credit check to get a prepaid card, but you do need to provide your social security number.

Here’s the rundown of the options:

Bluebird:
-Getting it: You can get a Bluebird card on Bluebird.com for free.
-Fees: There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can’t load Bluebird online from a credit card. You can load $200 per day up to $1,000 per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online. There are some debit cards that still award miles for purchases.
-In-store loading: You can load Bluebird from select gift cards at WalMart ATMs or with WalMart cashiers for free. The limits are $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month per Bluebird card. In other words you can buy Visa gift cards from grocery stores or from Staples or Office Max (buy with Ink Plus or Ink Cash and earn 5 points per dollar) and then use them to add funds to Bluebird in WalMart stores. The pin is the last 4 digits of the card number. On some gift cards when loading with a cashier you’ll need to press cancel on the pin pad after swiping the card and then click to change the payment method from credit to debit.
Note that ATMs are often are broken (though you can call WalMart corporate to complain about that) and in some stores cashiers won’t load gift cards to fund Bluebird.
You can also load funds via Vanilla Reloads, but it can difficult to find stores that will sell those with a credit card and they are being discontinued effective 04/01/15.
-Cashing out: You can get a free checkbook to write checks from your Bluebird account or you can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Bluebird send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Bluebird for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday and you can take advantage of 2x savings catcher on WalMart purchases.

REDCard AMEX:
-Getting it: You can currently only get a REDCard AMEX at these select Target stores. You can only purchase 1 REDCard per day per social, but if you have other people’s social security numbers then you can buy a REDCard for each of them on the same day. Once you have a REDCard any Target store in the nation can activate or load funds to it.
The nearest Target selling REDCards to NYC is apparently in Aberdeen, MD. You can also use 9K Avios to fly round-trip to Baltimore, Boston, or Pittsburgh to pick some up.
The card sold in-store is only a temporary card. You must register the account online and then you will be sent a permanent card in the mail. Once you activate the permanent card you will unlock full usage of the card.
-Fees: In some markets there is a $5 purchase fee while in other markets there is no purchase fee. There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can’t load REDCard online from a credit card. You can load $200 per day up to $1,000 per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
-In-store loading: You can fund REDCard from any credit card or gift card with any Target cashier for free. When you first purchase the REDCard you can load it with $500. Once you get your permanent card the limits are $1,000 per transaction, $2,500 per day, and $5,000 per month per REDCard.  You can load as many REDCards as you want, though you’ll probably need to call your credit card company to unfreeze your card when they freeze it due to suspicious activity.
-Cashing out:  You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have REDCard send anyone a check for free. You can also make free withdrawals at Target ATM machines.
-Other benefits: 5% off everything you buy from Target with the card, free shipping on all Target.com orders, and an additional 30 days to return items to Target. REDCard does not qualify for AMEX Offers.

 

REDCard makes life easy:

chase3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

target3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serve:
-Getting it: You can get a Serve card on Serve.com for free.
-Fees: There is a $1/month fee that is waived if you add $500 to your account that month. It’s also waived for residents of NY, TX, and VT even without loading $500.
-Online loading: You can load $200 per day and up to $1,000/month to Serve online from a credit card with no fees. Note that some banks consider loads to Serve to be a cash advance. With Chase for example it will actually go into a pending state as a cash advance but it will post as a purchase that will earn miles with no fees. You need to have the cash advance limit on your card exceed the amount of funding in order for the transaction to go through. Loads from Barclays should be safe as well.  Loads from AMEX cards will not earn points, though they do count for signup thresholds.
You can also load $200 per day up to $1,000/month per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
-In-store loading: Identical to Bluebird.
-Cashing out: You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Serve send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Serve for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday.

Serve with Softcard:
-Getting it: You must apply for Serve with Softcard in the Softcard app.
-Fees: There are no monthly fees.
-Online loading: You can load $500 per day and up to $1,500/month to Serve with Softcard online from a credit card with no fees. Note that some banks consider loads to Serve to be a cash advance. With Chase for example it will actually go into a pending state as a cash advance but it will post as a purchase that will earn miles with no fees. You need to have the cash advance limit on your card exceed the amount of funding in order for the transaction to go through. Loads from Barclays should be safe as well. Loads from AMEX cards will not earn points, though they do count for signup thresholds.
You can also load $500 per day up to $1,500/month per month online with a debit card, though gift cards won’t work online.
-In-store loading: Identical to Bluebird.
-Cashing out: You can transfer funds to your checking account, pay off your credit card bill, or have Serve send anyone a check for free.
-Other benefits: You (and up to 4 free additional users) can use Serve for AMEX Offers like Twitter and Small Business Saturday. You can also take advantage of numerous Softcard promotions.

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

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

This chart has been updated as of 12/18/14:
———————————————————————–

Originally posted on 08/12/13:

-Chase British Airways Visa: Earn 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000, that’s enough for 11 one-way flights! Until 12/31/14 only this card’s annual fee is waived for the first year.
-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 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
-Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
———————————————————————–

Did you know that there are 103 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 Boston that can be booked with Avios.

Be sure to read the British Airways knowledgebase and the 22 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Avios for everything you NEED to know about the BA program and how to best search for BA award availability with tips like always booking one-way awards.  If you have a question it’s probably already been answered there!

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

2. Rates are always given in Avios.  Currently there is a 40% bonus for transferring AMEX MR points into Avios and 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 and if a route requires 35K Avios for example you will only need 25K AMEX MR points with the current promotion.

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 and USAirways flights within the western hemisphere, for JAL flights within Japan, and for Qantas flights within Australia. Fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights are also typically quite low. Fuel surcharges for travel on Cathay Pacific aren’t too bad while fuel surcharges to fly on British Airways border on the criminal.
You can save on the fuel surcharges imposed on Iberia flights by transferring British Airways Avios into Iberia Avios.

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-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.

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.
————————————————————————

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.

-The Chase British Airways Visa Signature offers 50,000 Avios for spending $2K. Until 12/31/14 the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year as well.  This card earns 1.25 Avios per dollar spent.  You also get 10% off British Airways flights and can earn a companion pass that is good for a free companion on a coach, business, or first class award ticket if you spend $30K in a calendar year.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with the $65 annual fee waived or the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus.

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

Those cards both offer a year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.  The Everyday Preferred card earns more points per dollar for everyday purchases than any other card in its class. The Everyday card is the only no annual fee card that allos points transfers into airline miles.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

AMEX MR points normally transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios but until 01/31/15 you’ll get 1,400 Avios for every 1K AMEX MR points transferred to British Airways.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom. They can also be earned on business cards like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash. These points also can transfer instantly 1:1 to Avios.

—————————————————————-
View the complete 103 route chart after the jump:

(more…)

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American Express PRG And Delta Downgrades; A Possible Delta Workaround?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Update: Delta has wisely decided that they will not implement a limit on points transfers from any program into Delta miles.

There’s no longer going to be a need to resort to the various workarounds described in this post :D

Now if only they would do an about-face on their decision to no longer award miles for the distance of flights flown next year…

——————————————————————————————

Originally posted on 10/01:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

1. Effective 01/01/15 the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card will no longer give a 15K point bonus for spending $30,000 in a year.  It will still give 3 points per dollar spent on airfare and 2 points per dollar spent on gas and groceries.

Annual spend threshold bonuses seem to be a dying breed.  One of the few remaining cards that have an annual spend threshold bonus is the Chase United Explorer card which gives a 10K point bonus for spending $25K in a year.

2. Effective 01/01/15 you will only be able to receive 250K Delta Skymiles per Delta account from Membership Rewards per calendar year.

Additionally you will only be able to spend out 250K points per Membership Rewards account to any number of Delta accounts.

This is a Delta imposed limitation.

In AMEX’s words,

“Beginning January 1, 2015, the maximum number of Membership Rewards® points you will be able to transfer out of a single Membership Rewards account to one or more SkyMiles accounts will be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year. Additionally, the maximum number of Membership Rewards points you will be able to transfer into a single SkyMiles account will also be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year.

You are able to transfer Membership Rewards points to a SkyMiles account without any annual limitations through December 31, 2014″
Workaround?  You are able to request that different American Express cards accumulate points in their own Membership Rewards account. It seems like that should function as a workaround to transferring out more points to Delta as AMEX clearly states that the 250K limit is just from a single Membership Rewards account.
You can also freely transfer points between each of your Membership Rewards accounts so that each of your Membership Rewards eligible cards can transfer 250K points to Delta annually.

While your personal Delta account would only be able to receive 250K points per year, you can add a spouse or child as an additional user for example and transfer points to their Delta accounts. From there you can book award travel for anyone.

Delta is the only major US airline in the Membership Rewards program, so this is definitely a downgrade.  It’s worth noting that Delta will allow one-way awards starting 01/01/15, so that will help things a bit.

Either way Delta is one of the weaker partners in the Membership Rewards program and their miles are far less valuable than American or United miles.  Plus Membership Rewards charges a fee to transfer points to domestic programs like Delta.

Other international Membership Rewards partners offer a better value. For example:

-Air France can book one-way travel on Delta today and their rates are often less.  A round-trip to Israel is just 50K Air France miles and if you find Delta saver availability there are no fuel surcharges.

-A round-trip to Israel using Alitalia miles is just 80K in business class and fuel surcharges are relatively mild at about $300.

-British Airways Avios offers free travel starting at just 4,500 Avios.  Flights to Europe or Hawaii start at just 12.5K Avios each way with no fuel surcharges on select airlines.

-Air Canada has several award sweet spots. You need just 45K miles to fly to Europe each way in business class and many airlines have no fuel surcharges.

-El Al will soon be the only good way to book travel on El Al starting 11/01.

-ANA offers 38K round-trip tickets from NYC to London and 60K round-trip tickets to Israel with no fuel surcharges on United.  Or fly from NYC to the Caribbean or Central America for just 22K miles with no fuel surcharges.

-Singapore offers a private suite from JFK to Europe for just 57K miles. They also offer good rates to other destinations that United flies to with no fuel surcharges.

So there are plenty of other good options.  Frankly the move is a bit surprising.  AMEX pays cold hard cash for mileage transfers to Delta. A couple of years ago when AMEX points used to transfer to Continental, Delta ran significant point transfer bonuses to get people to send their points to Delta over Continental.

However this isn’t the first chink in the AMEX-Delta relationship.  Earlier this year Delta stopped allowing people who have the Platinum Card® from American Express to bring guests into their lounges. AMEX is responding to harsher airline lounge rules by opening their own network of premium airport Centurion lounges with free access for Platinum cardholders and their family/guests. Those currently can be found domestically in Dallas, Las Vegas, and NYC/LaGuardia. International locations include Buenes Aires, Delhi, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Sao Paulo.  Centurion lounges in Miami, San Francisco, and other domestic airports will open soon. Plus you can bring in your family/guests for free into Airspace lounges which can be found in Baltimore, Cleveland, NYC/JFK, and San Diego. The card also gives a Priorty Club lounge membership, a $200 annual airline fee credit, and SPG Gold status.

Of course you can still earn unlimited amounts of Delta miles on a card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. which is what Delta wants you to do (though I’m not sure why you would want to). However you would earn 25% more miles by spending on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and transferring points to Delta.  Unless a limit on Starwood transfers is in the cards as well?

Cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express offer the ability to earn 20% or 50% more miles everywhere in addition to up to 450% more miles in selected categories. And they can also each be assigned their own Membership Rewards account number, which should work to transfer more points out to Delta.  Note that the Everyday cards are credit cards and AMEX limits you to 4 credit cards per person.  Card like the Gold and Platinum are charge cards which don’t count towards that limit.

HT: miles, via DDF and Gary.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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A Look At The USAirways Award Chart For Credit Cardholders; Europe 30K Round-Trip Award Space Is Wide-Open

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Related:
-Final Gasp For USAirways Credit Card: 50,000 Mile Signup Bonus For Spending $1!
-Summary Of Dates For Barclays USAirways Card Benefits That Are Ending And Starting

————————————————————————
The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is being discontinued and for a limited time is offering a 50,000 point signup bonus.

You only need to spend $1 to get the signup bonus.

One of the unique features of the card is the discounts it gets you on award travel.

From now until the USAirways mileage program is merged with American’s (expected in the 2nd quarter of next year) it will give cardholders a 5,000 mile discount when flying USAirways.

Once the merger is complete it will switch to offering a 10% mileage rebate of up to 10K miles per year.

Need more USAirways miles? You can transfer 20K Starwood Starpoints into 25K USAirways miles. Names don’t even have to match to make a transfer!

Here is the USAirways award chart for travel on USAirways:  (They also have a OneWorld Award Chart and an Other Partner Award Chart)

(Rates are for round-trip saver award travel after the 5K cardholder discount)

Round-trip rates from North America to:Coach SaverFirst SaverCoach Saver Off-PeakFirst Saver Off-Peak
US49/Canada20K45K--
Caribbean30K55K20K45K
Mexico/Central America30K55K--
Hawaii35K75K--
South America55K95K30K55K
Europe55K95K30K-
Tel Aviv75K115K--

Off-peak for the Caribbean is in September and off-peak for Europe is 01/15-02/28.

That makes for some pretty sweet bargains. You can fly from any US city, but the non-stops to Europe leave from Charlotte, Philadelphia, or Phoenix.  If you want to fly from NYC just search for flights from LGA and it will search for the optimal routing.

Some examples:

Paris:

 

us1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 London:

us2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amsterdam:

us6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madrid:

us3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester:

us5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rome:

us11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dublin:

us4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brussels:

us7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankfurt:

us9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Munich:

us12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can even connect from Munich to Tel Aviv with 20K BA Avios:

us10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Buy $100 In Visa, Mastercard, Or AMEX Gift Cards From Staples And Get A $15 Staples Gift Card Via Easy Rebate

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

If you buy $100+ in Visa, Mastercard, Or AMEX gift cards from Staples between 12/07 and 12/13 you can send in an Easy Rebate online to get a bonus $15 Staples gift card.

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

The Visa gift cards are the easiest to cash out.

You can check your AMEX account to see if you were also targeted for $20 off $100 at Staples.  You can pay for a $200 gift card with 2 targeted AMEX cards, which will net you $40 back from AMEX and the $15 Staples gift card.

Otherwise if you buy a $200 Visa gift card in store you’ll pay $6.95 in card fees. Use your Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 points per dollar spent. That’s 1,035 points for a $206.95 purchase. In addition if you’re registered at visasavingsedge.com you’ll also get 1% cash back.

$206.95 (Outlay)
-$2.07 (1% cash rebate)
=$204.88 out of pocket for $200 face value
-As usual with Ink you’ll get 1,035 points (worth $18.11 at a 1.75 cents per point value).
-This week you’ll also get a $15 Staples gift card via easy rebate just to sweeten the deal even more.

Even without the $15 Staples gift card 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 get a 1% cash rebate of $20.70, dropping your cost down to $2,048.80. Additionally you’ll earn 10,348 points that are worth $181.09 at a 1.75 cents per point value.  After backing out the $48.80 it cost to buy those gift cards you’ll still left with a $132.29 profit, or more than triple the rewards you would earn from other cards.  It’s an effective rebate of 6.61% 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 $116.77 or an effective rebate of 5.84% everywhere.

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

The pin on the Visa gift card is the last 4 digits of the card number, no need to set anything.
-You can load up to $5,000 per month onto a Target AMEX REDCard for free.
-You can cash out the Visa cards using EvolveMoney to pay bills like your mortgage, property tax, auto loan, health insurance, store charge card (Gap, Macy’s, Target, etc).  There is no fee for this but you can only make 1 payment per biller per month month.
-You can load Visa cards to your Serve card with a Family Dollar cashier for no fee (though some stores won’t do this)
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card at a WalMart ATM machine for no fee.
-You can load Visa cards to your Bluebird or Serve card with a WalMart cashier or customer service for no fee.  Just say you want to use your debit card, no need to mention that it’s a gift card.
-You can buy a money order with the Visa card at any store that accepts debit cards as payment (except the post office).  Such stores exist even in manufactured spend deserts like NYC.
-You can pay your credit card bill at WalMart with BillPay at Customer Service.
-You can swipe the card on an Amazon card reader for a 1.75% fee.
-You can gift a Visa gift card as a wedding gift instead of giving a check.
-You can… ;)

HT: Moes Tavern, via DDF

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United: Fly Partner Airlines In Business Class To Europe For 115K Round-Trip

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Update: A list of all 7 discounted United awards can be found in this post.

——————————————————————————-

I don’t know if this is a glitch or a promotion, but partner airline award flights are showing up on United.com for 57.5K miles each way instead of the 70K miles each way that it normally costs for a partner airline saver business award to Europe.

Of course you can always fly United business class for 115K round-trip, but it’s usually 140K round-trip to fly superior business class cabins on partner airlines, so this is a 25K mile discount per person for travel on partner airlines.

It’s only pricing that way for travel in January, February, or March and there’s no telling when it will be fixed or when the promotion will end.

As best as I can tell this is only working for flights to Europe.  Though you can always use 10K BA Avios to fly from Vienna, Berlin, Munich, or Dusseldorf to Tel Aviv.

United miles can be earned on cards like the  Chase United Explorer, Chase Freedom , Chase Sapphire Preferred , Chase Ink Cash , and Chase Ink Plus.

Sample uses:

Toronto to Paris on an Air Canada Dreamliner:

ua7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC to Paris via Toronto on an Air Canada Dreamliner:

ua8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston-Zurich on Swiss:

ua3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC-Frankfurt on Lufthansa:

ua2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC-Vienna on Austrian:

ua1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago-Copenhagen on SAS:

ua6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC-Warsaw on a LOT Dreamliner:

ua5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC-Lisbon on TAP:

ua4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HT: Dav, via DDF

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Discounted El Al Award Tickets

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

I haven’t seen any official announcement, but El Al has discounted award pricing for flights between NYC or Toronto and Tel Aviv.

Normally a coach ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 700 Matmid points (35K AMEX points) each way, though those awards will get more expensive for tickets booked after 02/09/15.

From my non-elite account selected flights between Toronto and Tel Aviv are pricing out at 400 points (20K AMEX points) each way and selected flights between NYC and Tel Aviv are pricing out at 500 points (25K AMEX points) each way.

From an Israel based Gold elite account selected flights between Toronto and Tel Aviv are pricing out at 225 points (11,250 AMEX points) each way and selected flights between NYC and Tel Aviv are pricing out at 300 points (15K AMEX points) each way.

It seems that you can book discounted one-way flights from 01/31-03/07.  You can return later than 03/07 as long as you book round-trip travel and the outbound flight leaves by 03/07.

If your account has a different rate please post a comment!

Note that El Al charges about $350 in taxes and fuel surcharges on a round-trip award.

These dates had discounted awards available:

NYC-Tel Aviv
January 31
February 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 19, 22, 23
March 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.
The following dates only work as return dates on a round-trip that originates in Tel Aviv by 03/07:
March 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.
April 4, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.
Return flights in later months work as well.

Tel Aviv-NYC
February 4, 5, 6.
March 3, 4, 5, 6,
The following dates only work as return dates on a round-trip that originates in NYC by 03/07:
March 9, 10, 11, 23, 13, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24
April 6, 7, 8, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
Return flights in later months work as well.

Toronto-Tel Aviv
January 11, 13, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29
February 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 22, 24, 26
March 1, 3
The following dates only work as return dates on a round-trip that originates in Tel Aviv by 03/07:
March 8, 10, 17, 19, 22, 24
April 5, 16, 28
Return flights in later months work as well.

Tel Aviv-Toronto
January 15, 18, 22, 25, 29
February 1, 5, 8, 15, 19, 24, 26
March 1, 3, 5
The following dates only work on a round-trip that originates in Toronto by 03/07:
March 8, 10, 12
April 5, 8, 16, 21, 23, 30.
Return flights in later months work as well.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can transfer points to El Al from AMEX Membership Rewards cards such as:
-The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express (10K AMEX MR points plus a free year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per month for an effective 2.4 points per dollar on groceries and Uber and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. No annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)
-The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express (15K AMEX MR points plus a free year of Amazon Prime for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  50% point bonus for making 30 transactions per month for an effective 4.5 points per dollar on groceries, 3 points per dollar on gas and Uber and 1.5 points per dollar elsewhere. $95 annual fee. No fee for additional cardholders.)
-American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25K AMEX MR points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on gas and groceries. $175 annual fee waived for first year. 5 free additional cardholders are free, 6+ additional cards cost $35/year each.)
-Platinum Card® from American Express (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Free Starwood gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 cash back in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 cash back in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee. 3 additional cardholders for a flat $175 fee ($58.33/year each) which includes full lounge access and free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership. 4+ additional cards cost $175/year each)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

HT: Chaikel

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LifeMiles 125% Bonus Cyber Monday Sale

Monday, December 1st, 2014

LifeMiles Cyber Monday Sale

Today only, Lifemiles is giving a 125% bonus on purchased miles.

A purchase of 66,000 miles would net a total of 148,500 miles.  The cost would be $2,178 or 1.47 cents per mile.  You can buy less than 66K miles, but 66K is the max for this bonus.

-Purchase on a card like Chase Sapphire Preferred so that you don’t pay a foreign transaction fee and in order to get the 2.14 points per dollar on travel spending.

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

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

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

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

-Most of the exciting Lifemiles tricks that I talked about in seminars in the past are dead, but some still remain and were discussed in last month’s seminars such as flights from Tel Aviv to NYC for 24K miles instead of 42.5K miles, etc.

HT: menachem_m, via DDF

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Update Your SPG.com Stay Preferences And Get 500 Free Starpoints

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Update: Today is the final day to register for this promotion!  Once registered you’ll have until 12/15 to update your stay preferences.

I updated my preferences on 11/10 and the points posted for my birthday on 11/26.

——————————————————————–

Originally posted on 11/10:

Register for Starwood’s latest promotion (double or triple points on paid stays) here and you’ll also be registered for 500 free Starpoints just for updating your stay preferences.

After registering, just click here to update any of your stay preferences.

Starwood points officially expire after 12 months of inactivity, though it’s actually only enforced after 18 months. So 500 points will extend the validity of your account for 18 months.  Though Starwood is one of the best about reactivating expired points when you ask nicely (British Airways is surprisingly nice as well).

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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New Flying Blue Promo Awards Now Bookable: Fly Between Tel Aviv And JFK, Houston, Washington DC, And Other Cities For 12.5K Miles

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Update: Today is the final day to book the promo awards described below.
You can also now view the list that will be bookable starting tomorrow for travel in February and March.
Those will include discounted premium economy awards from JFK and Toronto (25K each way instead of 50K) and coach awards from Chicago (12.5K each way instead of 25K)

Originally posted on 11/01:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
——————————————————————-

Flying Blue Promo Awards (Click here to view worldwide promo awards)

Air France Flying Blue Award Search (Login required to search for award flights)

Flying Blue is the joint program of SkyTeam member Air France and KLM.
They consider Tel Aviv to be part of Europe which can make for some decent deals.

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

-They normally charge 25,000 miles each way in coach and 62,500 miles each way in business to Israel but they run rotating promo awards valid for select cities.

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

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

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

-Promo awards are nonrefundable and non-changeable.

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

Current deals:
-You can travel between Chicago and Tel Aviv in January or February for 31,250 miles each way in business.
-You can travel between Houston and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 12,500 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between JFK and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 12,500 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 18,750 miles each way in coach.
-You can travel between Washington DC and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 12,500 miles each way in coach.

-You can travel between Montreal and Tel Aviv in January or February for 46,875 miles each way in business.
-You can travel between Toronto and Tel Aviv in January or February for 46,875 miles each way in business.
-You can travel between Tahiti and Tel Aviv between 01/12-02/28 for 30,000 miles each way in coach.

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

-For example on 01/20-01/27 you can fly from JFK to Tel Aviv nonstop on Delta for 50,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $84.92 or with a stop on KLM or Air France for 25,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $252.26.

Note that Flying Blue can only book Delta saver availability which is much far more limited that Air France and KLM saver availability. The easiest way to search for Delta saver availability is to do an award search on Delta.com, click on “View award calendar” and look for the dates in green. Then plugin those dates on the Air France site and it should pull up the Delta option.

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

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Flying Blue with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.

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

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

Both of those cards also give a free year of Amazon Prime for a limited time only.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

-You can see the miles and fees for one-way tickets in the images below:

 

fb2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More images after the jump:

(more…)

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HAS Advantage Points Transferable To El Al Once Again

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

In April HAS Advantage points suddenly stopped transferring over to El Al.

In the meantime El Al has been working to create a new credit card with US Bank.
The full details on that card haven’t been released yet, though I’m told to expect an earn ratio of about 1 Matmid point per $40 spent or a 40:1 ratio.

Theoretically that’s better the AMEX ratio of 50:1, however AMEX has cards like Everyday Preferred that earn 1.5-4.5 points per dollar everywhere, which makes the effective transfer ratio between 33:1 to 11:1.

At any rate, the good news is that HAS points can once again be transferred into El Al points.
The bad news? You won’t have long to use them before the upcoming severe devaluation of the Matmid program.

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Chase App Now Allowing Point Transfers To Airlines

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Chase has updated their Android and iOS app to allow you to transfer points into miles.  Previously you had to be at a computer or call Chase to make a transfer.

Of course you’ll need a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus to make a points to miles transfer.

What can you do with your Chase points? Here are 30 awesome ideas!

HT: meshugener, via DDF

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Chase Freedom Announces 2015 Q1 Bonus Categories, Where Will You Complete Your Freedom Q4 Bonus Spending?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

-Chase Freedom Visa-For a limited time only earn 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $500 in 3 months plus 2,500 points for adding an additional user and making a single purchase in 3 months.
There is no annual fee for Chase Freedom!
—————————————————

2015 Q1:

Chase Freedom has just announced that the bonus categories for 2015 Q1 will be grocery stores, Starbucks, and movie theaters!

You’ll earn 5 points per dollar or 5.5 points per dollar if you have a Chase checking account.

The rest of 2015 has yet to be announced.

Activation for Q1 will begin 12/15/14.

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2014 Q4:

You can activate your Q4 Chase Freedom 5% categories and start spending today.

Although they are called “5% categories” you really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be cashed out for 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending you will earn at least 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points. If you or your spouse has a Sapphire PreferredInk Plus, or Ink Bold card you can transfer Freedom points over to one of those cards and then transfer them at a 1:1 ratio into much more valuable airline miles (United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, Singapore, etc) or hotel points (Hyatt, etc).  The $1,500 quarterly limit is per Freedom card, so if you’re like me and you have downgraded Sapphire Preferred cards into multiple Freedom cards then you can spend $1,500 on each Freedom card.

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

1. You can shop from millions of items on Amazon.com

2. You can buy an Amazon.com email gift card or you can buy a physical Amazon.com gift card. Once you have the gift card code you can save it to your Amazon account via this link where it will never expire.

Or give an Amazon gift card as a holiday gift and you can be sure that the recipient will be able to get something they’ll love while you earn 5-5.5 points per dollar spent!

3. You can buy gift cards from Amazon for lots of other stores as well:

-American Eagle

-Express

-Forever 21

-Hollister

-Nordstrom

-Southwest

-Starbucks

-Whote Foods

-You can buy gift cards for clothing, shoes, and accessory stores on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for grocery, gourmet, and floral stores on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for restaurants and coffee shops on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for department stores on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for travel on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for books, music, and movie theaters on Amazon.com

-You can buy gift cards for Home Improvement on Amazon.com

You can’t use Amazon gift cards to buy gift cards to other stores, but you can earn 5-5.5 points per dollar with Freedom!

4. You can shop for shoes and clothing on Zappos.com or you can buy a gift card from Zappos.

5. Shop at department stores such as:

-Bloomingdale’s

-BonTon

-JCPenney

-Kohl’s

-Lord & Taylor

-Macys

-Neiman Marcus

-Nordstrom

-Saks Fifth Avenue

-Saks Off 5th

-Sears

Find more valid department stores here.

Some stores like Kohl’s and Sears also sell gift cards to other stores.

Of course if you have an Ink Plus or Ink Cash card you will earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent all year round on telecom, cable, internet, as well as everything from office supply stores, which includes gift cards to other stores and prepaid cash cards that can be used anywhere.With the Bold/Plus cards that’s capped at $50,000 per year and with the Cash card that’s capped at $25,000 per year. Plus the Ink Visa cards earn 1% cash back on top of 5 points per dollar for $200+ purchases at Staples and other stores with Visa Savings Edge.  The cards also earn 2 points per dollar year-round at gas stations and either hotels (Bold/Plus) or dining (Cash).

But Freedom has the advantage of earning 5.5 points per dollar through 12/31/15 if you have a Chase checking account.

So, where will you use your Freedom card this quarter?

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Delta Improves Flexible Award Calendar Search!

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Delta.com’s award search calendar has long been worthless.  It had a color coded flexible search option, but it was wrong more often than it was right.

Now they have finally fixed it and it displays the actual mileage rate. Plus when making a flexible search you can choose from flexible days or a 5 week calendar as you can see below in this first class award search from Los Angeles to Sydney:

 

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Switching from flexible days to 5 weeks pulls up this handy calendar:

 

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And in no time you can find a business class flight to Sydney on Virgin Australia for 160,000 Delta miles, one of the best uses of Delta miles:

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You can even take a free stopover in Tahiti along the way to explore the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora.  But unfortunately Delta international stopovers must be booked over the phone.

It’s good to see Delta finally working to improve their dreadful mileage redemption experience.  Alas, it comes on the heels of Delta limiting how many points you can transfer to Skymiles from partners like AMEX and Starwood effective 01/01/15.

However the new policy has rather large loopholes, which I discussed in this post.

HT: miles, via DDF

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Redeem JetBlue Points And Get 20% Back

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Redeem JetBlue Points And Get 20% Back

Redeem JetBlue points today or tomorrow for travel until 01/31/15 and 20% of them will be rebated back to you by 03/15/15.

JetBlue’s currency isn’t very attractive, but 20% back makes it OK.

Some people have a targeted 40% bonus offer for transferring AMEX points to JetBlue and combined with the 20% rebate that will be quite a hot deal.

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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United: Fly To Select Cities In Europe For Just 48,000 Miles Round Trip Instead Of 60,000 Miles.

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

United Offer Linky

These are bookable now online on United.com.

Not the most exciting sale as it’s only valid on United and only in coach.  After all you can use 38,000 ANA miles (transferable from AMEX or Starwood) for a round-trip United flight from Newark-London.  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 01/19 and then back from Paris to Newark on 01/26 is 48,000 miles plus $89.60 tax.
A flight from Los Angeles to London on 01/19 and then back from Zurich to Newark on 01/26 is 48,000 miles plus $60.70 tax.

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

Rules:
-Fly to Amsterdam (AMS), Brussels (BRU), Frankfurt (FRA), Geneva (GVA), Hamburg (HAM), London (LHR), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG) and Zurich (ZRH).
-Book by 12/04/14
-Travel 01/12/15-03/12/15
-Discount is valid only for travel on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is not valid for travel on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
-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 award only.
-Stopovers are not permitted.
-Round-trip travel is required.
-This offer cannot be applied to previously issued tickets.

HT: menachem_m, via DDF

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Massive El Al Matmid Devaluation Effective 02/10/15

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Update: El Al will give “Executive member” status to elites living outside of Israel as well as to non-elites living outside of Israel who have transferred at least 100 points to Matmid in the past 12 months from non-Israeli credit cards. Israeli members who have a fly card or fly card premium credit card also get the Executive member rates.

AMEX MR points transfer into Matmid at a 50:1 ratio, so you would need to transfer at least 5,000 points to get a year of Executive member status.  Remember that as of 02/10/15 points transferred into Matmid will have a 3 year expiration policy that can’t be waived with activity.

I’ve updated the post for Executive member rates.

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El Al has the industry’s worst frequent flyer program and is coming off a broken partnership with their only worthwhile airline partner, American.

They also stiffed many of their most loyal North American customers who had been misguidedly accumulating points for years on their HAS advantage credit cards by suddenly refusing to allow points to be transferred into Matmid.

They charge $350 in fuel surcharges and fees for North America tickets even though their competition in the US does not charge those fees.

They fly first class in a configuration that is significantly behind the business class offered by Air Canada, Delta, and USAirways that offer direct aisle access to every passenger.

So what do they do next?
Announce some sort of goodwill to win over the hearts and minds of their target market once again?

Nah. They announce a humongous devaluation to their industry-trailing program.

Here are some of the lowlights:

1. Significantly worse expiration policy.

El Al has long had a strict 3 year expiration on points earned from flights, but points earned from credit cards and the like have never expired. Effective 02/10/15 points earned from credit cards and other partners will expire after 3 years, regardless of activity.
Points that are transferred by 02/09/15 won’t expire.

2. Coach awards get more expensive.

Currently a coach ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 1,400 Matmid points (70K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points)

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 there will be different rates for different seasons.

Non-executives:

In the winter (which runs this year from 02/10/15-03/24/15 and 11/01/15-12/31/15) tickets from Toronto will cost 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX MR points), tickets from NYC will cost 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points), and tickets from LA will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points).

In the summer (which runs this year from 03/25/15-10/31/15) tickets from Toronto will cost 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points), tickets from NYC will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points), and tickets from LA will cost 2,200 Matmid points (110K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

In the winter (which runs this year from 02/10/15-03/24/15 and 11/01/15-12/31/15) tickets will remain as they are priced currently.

In the summer (which runs this year from 03/25/15-10/31/15) tickets from NYC and Toronto will cost 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points).

3. Business class awards get more expensive.

Currently a business class ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 3,000 Matmid points (150K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 4,000 Matmid points (200K AMEX MR points)

Non-executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from Toronto or NYC will cost 4,500 Matmid points (225K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 5,000 Matmid points (250K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from Toronto or NYC will cost 4,000 Matmid points (200K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 4,500 Matmid points (225K AMEX MR points).

4. First class awards get more expensive.

Currently a first class ticket from New York to Tel Aviv is 5,000 Matmid points (250K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 5,400 Matmid points (270K AMEX MR points)

Non-executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from NYC will cost 7,000 Matmid points (350K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 7,500 Matmid points (375K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from NYC will cost 6,500 Matmid points (325K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 7,000 Matmid points (350K AMEX MR points).

5. Fuel surcharges remain the same, but points required to waive them go up.

Fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees will continue to add about $350 onto El Al’s “free” tickets, but effective 01/01/15 you will need to use more points if you want to reduce the fuel surcharges.

6. New earning tables.

Until 02/09/15 you will earn 100 points for a round-trip discounted paid coach ticket between Tel Aviv and NYC/Toronto, 400 points for a round-trip discounted paid business, and 800 points for a discounted first class ticket .

Non-executives:

Effective 02/10/15 you will only earn 80 points in coach and 360 points in business. First remains 800 points.

Executives:

Effective 02/10/15 you will earn 96 points in coach, 432 points in business, and 960 points in first.

7. Additional free checked baggage costs more points.

Until 02/09/15 you can redeem 230 points for a 2nd free bag. Effective 02/10/15 you will need 300 points.

8. Upgrades cost more points.

The cost to upgrade to a preferred coach seat for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 199 to 299 points.

The cost to upgrade to a business class seat with coach service for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 900 to 1,350 points

The cost to upgrade to a first class seat with business service for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 950to 1,800 points

The cost to upgrade to an economy plus coach seat for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 300 to 450 points.

I have nothing against El Al, but this is just downright embarrassing.  Compare this to ANA’s changes where a round-trip ticket to Israel costs just 60K in coach or 90K in business.

Or Flying Blue where a round-trip coach ticket is 25K points with a stop or 50K points nonstop. Or Alitalia where 80K points is enough for round-trip business class to Israel.

See other rates for travel to Israel in Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart, which will now need some updating.

HT: damaxer91, via DDF

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