Authors Posts by Scott Grimmer

Scott Grimmer

2252 POSTS 7110 COMMENTS

0

Through Friday (June 3, 2016), you can buy IHG Rewards Club points with a 100% bonus. That brings the per-point price down to 0.575 cents, which means you can book certain hotels for as low as $29.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 5.31.56 PM

IHG is the loyalty program of these brands, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.44.58 PM

IHG points normally cost 1.15 to 1.35 cent each.

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points

If you buy 26,000 IHG points by tomorrow–the smallest number that gets the lowest price–you’ll receive 52,000 points for $299 or 0.575 cents each.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.36.20 PM

The maximum number of points you can purchase is 60,000 plus bonus points, meaning 120,000 total points.

IHG has nine categories of hotels that cost 10,000 to 50,000 points per night. There are some OK deals on this chart, but the best use of IHG Rewards points is always to book PointBreaks hotels for 5,000 points per night.

Buying points for 0.575 cents each and redeeming free nights at the 5,000 point PointBreaks price means hotels cost $28.75 per night.

When to Buy (Math)

Is buying IHG points for 0.575 cents each a good deal?

I would not buy IHG points speculatively for 0.575 cents each because I value them at 0.5 cents each. But if you have an immediate high value redemption in mind or if you are preparing your account for future PointBreaks, buying points can be a good deal.

For instance, with a 100% bonus, PointBreaks hotels are $28.75 per night. Category 1 properties would be $57.50 per night. Top tier Category 9 properties would be $287.50 per night. For all these categories, you can get a big discount off the retail nightly rate if you travel at a peak time.

Search your dream hotel to see how many points you’d need to book the hotel you want for a night. Search the dates you’d like to stay to see the paid price. If buying the points makes sense, there is award space on your dates, and you are ready to redeem now, buy the points.

For instance, this summer The InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea Hotelin French Polynesia costs 40,000 points (Category 7) per night or about $313 after taxes.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.45.42 PM

For $690, you can but 120,000 IHG Rewards points and redeem them for three free nights at the hotel, saving $249 off of retail.

Buy IHG Points with These Credit Cards

IHG points purchases are processed by points.com, so the purchases will not code as a bonus “travel” or “hotel” purchase on any credit card. You will not earn category bonuses from the purchase of IHG points.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 6.31.02 PM

That means you should make the purchase with whatever card you need to meet a minimum spending requirement on.

Bottom Line

You can buy IHG Points for as little as 0.575 cents until Friday. That’s too high to buy speculatively, but there are a lot of immediate awards you can book where that price offers great value.

The best use of IHG Rewards points is always to book PointBreaks hotels for 5,000 points per night.

Purchase link: Buy IHG Rewards Club points with a 100% bonus

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card is currently offering a couple sign-up bonus offers targeted to United MileagePlus account holders that are higher than the official public offer:

  • 70k bonus miles after spending $3,000 in your first three months as a cardmember + 5k miles for adding an authorized user.  You’ll also earn at least 3k miles from 1x spending to unlock the sign-up bonus, so that’s at least 78k miles. This offers appears to only be available through June 30, 2016.
  • 50k bonus miles after spending $2,000 in your first three months as a cardmember + 5k miles for adding an authorized user. You’ll also earn at least 2k miles from 1x spending to unlock the sign-up bonus, so that’s at least 57k miles.

The official public offer is:

  • 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account + 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user + 1k miles from 1x spending to unlock the sign-up bonus  = at least 36k miles

How to Check if You’re Targeted

  1. Log in to your United MileagePlus account on United.com’s homepage.
  2. Click this link.

You will either see an offer for 30k, 50k, or 70k miles– with spending thresholds of $1k, $2k, or $3k respectively– depending on what you are targeted for.

Card Benefits

  • Either a 30k, 50k, or 70k mile sign-up bonus
  • 5k mile bonus for adding an authorized user**
  • 10k mile bonus when you spend $25,000 in net purchases each year
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from United
  • Earn 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Free first checked bag for cardmember and one companion on United flights purchased with Explorer Card
  • Priority boarding
  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • EMV chip provides more security and global acceptance
  • 2 United Club passes per year
  • Annual fee is $95 for the 70k targeted offer– it is not waived the first year of card membership. For the 50k targeted offer and the public offer, the annual fee is waived the first year and is $95 thereafter.
  • Cardholders get more United award space than non-cardholders

**Add an authorized user to the account during the application for an easy 5k mile bonus– this applies to all offers, targeted and public. The extra card will be sent to you, so you can always decide not to give it to the authorized user. The authorized user will not be precluded from opening his own account with a 50k mile bonus later. You will receive the 5k miles after one purchase is made on the authorized user’s card.

Data Points of Targeted Offers

When I tried this myself, I received a sign-up bonus offer of 50k miles after spending $2,000 within three months of opening the account (+5k after adding an authorized user).

13293346_10102729084619356_1148400212_n

Multiple Doctor of Credit readers have reported receiving a 70k mile offer (like this one posted by reader Red) for spending $3,000 within three months of opening the account (+5k after adding an authorized user):

heGif6L

Why Collect United Miles

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.14.50 PM
Star Alliance Members

As I explained in the Basics of United MileagePlus, United is one of my favorite mileage programs because:

  • United miles can book flights on all 27 Star Alliance members, the biggest alliance with the best award space worldwide.
  • United doesn’t collect fuel surcharges.
  • United has great prices on economy awards and reasonable prices on awards in its own fully flat bed BusinessFirst and Global First products that I’ve flown many times and found very comfortable each time.

However do not collect United miles to use in luxurious First Class on its partners’ flights. Since United introduced a separate, higher-priced award chart for premium cabin awards on its partners, these flights are a terrible deal.

Chase Matches

Chase is the best about matching people who have applied for and been approved for inferior offers to the best available offer. You can always send a Secure Message through chase.com to ask to be matched to a better offer on a card you have. In my experience, Chase will only match you if you were approved within 90 days of your Secure Message. Your experiences may vary. Share them in the comments.

Doctor of Credit reported that people who applied with lower sign-up offers within the last 90 days and are now targeted for the 70k offer have had success matching by sending screenshots of the higher offer to Chase.

Eligibility

You can only get the bonus on the same Chase card once every 24 months. This 24 month clock starts when you got the last bonus (which may be several months after you got the card). Read more about issuing bank rules for approvals and new bonuses here.

The Chase 5/24 rule (that your application will be denied if you’ve opened five credit cards from any institution within the last 24 months) applies to the official public offer for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, but I do not think it applies to targeted offers. Let us know in the comments if you have any experience with the 5/24 rule in regards to these targeted offers.

Bottom Line

Check to see if you’re targeted for one of these inflated sign-up bonus offers for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card by signing into your MileagePlus Account on United.com and then clicking this link. You could earn up to 78,000 United miles for spending $3,000 within three months of the account opening and adding an authorized user.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

I was almost the star of a Quilmes Copa America commercial in Argentina. Quilmes is the biggest beer brand in Argentina. The Copa America is like the World Cup but only for South American countries (except this year for the 100th anniversary it is being held in the United States and six North American, Central American, and Caribbean teams are playing too.)

I assume this commercial will be running nonstop for the next month in Argentina, where the Copa America will be one of the biggest stories, and I auditioned for the lead role of American Border Patrol Agent!

Back Story

There is a very active Facebook group called Buenos Aires Expat Hub where all things interesting to expats are shared. Last month, a casting agent posted in that group that they were seeking Americans for a commercial audition for the next morning. I replied because I always seek out unique experiences, and she got back to me with the script and address for the audition.

I memorized the stilted English that only an Argentine could love.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 6.17.37 PMThe next morning I walked a few blocks to the casting office. They were casting commercials for several huge companies, and I was surrounded by professional actors and their girlfriends.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 6.18.02 PM

One pretty actress came in to audition, and when she turned her head I noticed that her face and neck were completely different colors from all the make up she had caked on. These people were serious. I, on the other hand, was carrying the little bag they give you when you fly Emirates First Class with a water bottle and a protein shake so I could go to the gym afterwards.

About an hour after I was told to arrive, they called three of us into a small room to audition. There was a 40-something American guy who was clearly a professional actor who said he had been living in Buenos Aires for ten years. There was a Dutch guy who spoke English like a Dutch guy. There was a frequent flyer miles blogger.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 6.17.44 PM

We had to stand up one by one and have pictures taken straight on and of our profiles. We introduced ourselves, and then we ran the lines.

When it was my turn, I channeled the menacing Border Patrol Agents who threatened to x-ray me on my way back from Central America. I tried to over-act my part, since subtlety doesn’t seem to be prized based on the TV I’ve seen in Argentina.

It was over in five minutes, and I was out the door. I figured I had a very slim chance of hearing from them again, but I actually got an email that night.

“QUILMES PRE SELECCION” the subject blared, and it asked several questions that they’d already asked me like whether I was available on the day of filming and whether I’d shave my beard.

Five days later I got another email telling me I was still in the “PRE SELECCIONADOS” (what is this a credit card mailer?) and telling me I’d get a call first thing in the morning and that wardrobe fitting was the next morning.

That was it. I never heard from them again.

I never expected to get the job, so I put the whole thing aside as a funny story and travel memory.

Then, last night in Prague, I got an text from my friend in Buenos Aires saying she had seen the commercial. Here’s what I am not starring in:

I’ll give the commercial a 7/10 and the actor an 8/10. He certainly did better than I would have.

Are any readers “big in Japan (or Argentina)”?

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

64

A Delta mile does not equal an Alaska Airlines mile. The former has a more expensive award chart, imposes fuel surcharges in more situations, and has access to less Saver award space.

All miles are worth different amounts.

In this post, I’ll list the top 11 most valuable miles to me and my valuation for those miles. First a few caveats:

  1. I am not including transferable points. For reference, I value Starpoints at 2.5 cents, Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards at 2 cents, and ThankYou Points at 1.9 cents.
  2. The value of a mile depends on how many of that mile you have. Your 100,000,000th American Airlines mile is worth nothing because you can’t redeem that many. For all my valuations, I’m valuing the miles assuming you have a balance of around 50,000 to 200,000, which is a few awards worth.
  3. The value of your miles tends to go up the more types of miles you have. If you only have British Airways Avios and want to travel all over the world, you’ll probably average 1 cent of value per Avios or less. But if you have Avios and several other types of miles, so that you can use your Avios only on high value Avios awards, you can squeeze a lot more value out of them. I am assuming you are like me and have lots of types of miles.
  4. The value of a mile depends on the trips you like to take. My favorite places to start and end trips, Hawaii and South America, happen to be fuel-surcharge free. That means I value miles that normally collect fuel surcharges–but don’t collect them on trips to Hawaii and South America–very highly. If you only want to go to Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia, these miles will be much less valuable.

Here’s my top 11 list (note that programs #1 and #4 will be combined in the next few years, I’d guess in 2018):

1. Virgin America points (2.3 cents each)

High Value Awards: Getting 2.3 cents per point toward Virgin America cash fares. Los Angeles to Australia in flat beds on Virgin Australia for 80k Virgin America points roundtrip with no fuel surcharges.
Get the Miles: Virgin America credit cards with tiny sign up bonuses, but 1 point per dollar on spending. SPG Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Virgin America points with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 transferred. Membership Rewards and ThankYou Points transfer 2:1 to Virgin America points though both run transfer bonuses.

You can use the points toward any Virgin America flight with no blackouts. You will get 1.5 to 2.3 cents per point of value. The number of points needed is determined by the equivalent cash ticket’s price.

Or you can redeem points for Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Hawaiian, and Singapore flights. Each has its own award chart. Virgin America collects fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic and Emirates (plus doesn’t allow Emirates First Class redemptions.) Virgin America does not collect fuel surcharges on Hawaiian, Virgin Australia, or Singapore flights (and Singapore Suites Class is bookable.)

All the award prices are deflated compared to other American programs.

  • Los Angeles to Australia in Virgin Australia Business Class: 80,000 points roundtrip
  • Auckland to Honolulu: 35,000 points roundtrip

Oddly, one way awards are usually about 60% of the roundtrip price, not 50% like we like or 100% like we hate.

2. Asiana miles (2 cents each)

High Value Awards: USA to Southern South America in Business Class for 35k Miles and no fuel surcharges, USA to Europe in Lufthansa First for 50k Miles Plus Fuel Surcharges
Get the Miles: Transfer Partner of SPG

To some regions, Asiana’s award chart is so under-priced that some awards are a good deal even after fuel surcharges. Plus, as mentioned above, I love flying to South America, and no Star Alliance flights to South America have fuel surcharges, meaning I get the insanely good award chart without having to pay much cash out of pocket.

If only Asiana miles were easier to get.

3. Singapore miles (1.75 cents each)

High Value Awards: Mainland to Hawaii in United First Class (30k), Intra-South American Business Class (20k), and Singapore Suites starting at 32k miles
Get the Miles: Transfer partner of UR, MR, TY, and SPG. Right now the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offer 50,000 and 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points respectively after $3,000 in spending that can be transferred to Singapore miles.

I probably value Singapore miles more than you. My travel preferences are heavily South America and Hawaii based. These miles are awesome for flying Flat Bed First Class to Hawaii and Business Class from Colombia to Argentina.

Watch out for fuel surcharges on most awards, but not within the Americas or on United flights.

4. Alaska miles (1.75 cents each)

High Value Awards: USA to Fiji to New Zealand or Australia for only 55,000 miles one way in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji
Get the Miles: Churnable personal and business cards. Transfer partner of SPG. Decent mileage sales around 2 cents each.

Alaska has a diverse and interesting set of partners. I do wish you could combine partners on one way awards though, and I wish you could book all Emirates flights. Currently you can only book Emirates awards from the United States to Asia, Africa, and Europe and vice versa.

5. & 6. Iberia and British Airways Avios (1.6 cents each)

High Value Awards: short, direct, economy flights on partners/routes with no fuel surcharges like 12,500 Avios from the west coast to Hawaii
Get the Miles: British Airways Visa. Transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and SPG.

I value Avios highly because I use them a lot from Hawaii to Los Angeles and sometimes for hopping around on the East Coast, in South America, in Africa, and in Australia.

You might value them even more highly if you live at an American Airlines hub like Dallas or Miami. You probably value Avios very little if the only trips you ever take are from your small home airport to Europe in Business Class.

Iberia and British Airways Avios are very similar but have slightly different award prices. Iberia Avios are slightly more valuable because they can book Iberia flights with lower fuel surcharges and because they offer a lower miles price on Business Class from the United States to Europe. You can freely transfer the two types of Avios if both accounts have been open for a few months.

7. & 8. United and Copa miles (1.6 cents)

High Value Awards: Six Under-Priced Awards on the United Award Chart
Get the Miles: United personal, business, and Club cards; Ink Plus; and Sapphire Preferred. Transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. (Those are ways to get United miles. There is no easy way to get Copa miles.)

United and Copa used to both use the MileagePlus program jointly. Copa broke free this year to create the Connect Miles program, but its chart is basically identical to United’s, so I value the miles equally. If only there were an easy way to get Copa miles.

I’m as bummed as anyone that the vast majority of United partner awards in First and Business Class are terrible values (though not this one), but there are enough good deals in United economy and United Business Class to keep me interested. Plus the Star Alliance has great availability to every continent in economy and good availability in Business Class to most continents, which is a huge plus for United miles.

9. Korean miles (1.6 cents)

High Value Awards: Korean First Class from 45,000 miles one way, Delta First Class to Hawaii for 45,000 miles roundtrip
Get the Miles: Transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and SPG

You can book a roundtrip from anywhere in the United States to Hawaii on Delta flights for 25,000 Korean miles. First Class is only 45,000 miles roundtrip. That makes my 1.6 cents per mile valuation look way too low, but I’ll stick to it because Delta doesn’t release enough award space to Hawaii to make this a consistent award–instead you’ll need to be very flexible.

I also love Korean First Class awards, which are widely available from the United States to Northern Asia for 80,000 miles and mild fuel surcharges each way.

10. Avianca LifeMiles (1.6 cents)

High Value Awards: 63,000 miles in Business Class to Europe (~$1,000 at 1.5 cents per mile purchased)
Get the Miles: Buy them during frequent sales for 1.4 to 1.65 cents each.

Like United and Copa miles, Avianca has a Star Alliance program with a mostly fair award chart and no fuel surcharges. I bumped up the value of LifeMiles in January 2016, since LifeMiles began to allow mixed-cabin awards like every other airline allows. I often need to book an award that has one segment in Business and another in economy or one in First Class and one in Business Class, so this was an important change for me.

11. American Airlines miles (1.5 cents each)

High Value Awards: Off peak to Caribbean, Mexico, Central America for 12,500 miles one way, Business Class to Europe or Southern South America for 57,500 miles one way, Business Class to Peru for 30,000 miles one way, others
Get the Miles: Several AA Credit Cards including the the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

Even after the March, 2016 devaluation, American Airlines miles still have plenty of solid uses, plus they are very easy to get from a variety of sources.

While I don’t love award availability to Africa or Europe, I find acceptable space to Asia, Australia, the Middle East/India, and throughout the Americas. Plus there are no fuel surcharges on American Airlines awards unless you fly British Airways or Iberia.

…..

Somewhere much farther down the list:

?? Delta SkyMiles (1.3 cents)

High Value Awards: Coolest Things You Can Do with 12,500 to 92,500 SkyMiles
Get the Miles: Delta Gold, Platinum, and Reserve personal and business cards from American Express. Transfer partner of Membership Rewards Rewards and SPG

The reason SkyMiles are worth so much less than American and United miles is an expensive chart, the worst award space of any American airline, and the fact that Delta collects fuel surcharges on more partners than United, Delta, and Alaska combined. Delta even charges fuel surcharges on all awards that originate in Europe, including one way awards back to the United States.

Basically there are a lot of times when Delta miles are nearly useless, so if you find a time when a Delta award costs nearly the same number of miles as an American, Alaska, or United award, burn those Delta miles.

Your Take

What’s too high? What’s too low? What’s missing from the list?

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

The American Airlines eShopping portal is offering 50 miles per dollar spent at magazines.com through today (May 27, 2016.)

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 3.46.35 PM Portals are a way to earn extra miles. You start your online shopping at a portal, click a link that adds cookies to your browser to prove you started in the portal, and then purchase things on other sites at normal price while getting bonus miles.

Portals generally offer small miles per dollar at stores that have small margins. For instance, you can get 1 bonus mile per dollar at walmart.com through the American Airlines portal. But at stores with big margins, you get more miles, like the normal 25 per dollar at magazines.com and today’s 50 per dollar there.

To get the 50 miles per dollar, start on the American Airlines’ portal and sign in, then click “Shop now” under the magazines.com offer.

There are many magazines available for subscription.
Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 3.47.32 PM

I am not an expert on magazine prices, but I expect that magazines.com is selling subscriptions at an inflated price to be able to afford to offer so many American Airlines miles. And indeed these prices for The Economist look quite a bit higher than I recall seeing by mail and other places.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 3.47.47 PM

 

Good Deal?

You get 51 miles per dollar for subscriptions, 50 from the portal and 1 from your credit card. I value American Airlines miles at 1.5 cents each, so you are getting–in my estimation, and yours could vary–76.5 cents worth of miles for every dollar spent.

That means this is a good deal if that magazine is worth at least 23.5% of the price on magazines.com AND there is nowhere else you can buy the magazine for less than 23.5% of its price on magazines.com.

Example: One year of The Economist is $152 on magazines.com. You should purchase that subscription if:

  • you value AA miles at 1.5 cents each
  • you value a year of The Economist at more than $35.72 (that’s 23.5% of $152)
  • there is nowhere else to subscribe to The Economist for less than $35.72 for a year

Bottom Line

The American Airlines portal is offering 50 miles per dollar on magazines.com purchases today only. Take a look if you’re in the market for magazines.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

If you’re just getting started you need to get the most powerful combo of credit cards to earn miles. I’ve discussed the general strategy to maximize miles from credit cards over your lifetime recently, but let me be very specific for beginners.

Start with the Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Preferred. While you’re at it, get the Ink Plus if you have more spending capacity and a business (because the Ink Plus is a business card.) I recommend these 2-3 cards because:

  1. They earn Ultimate Rewards, which transfer to seven types of airline miles, which can book over 60 airlines’ award space.
  2. They complement each other. Most of my cards don’t work together; they are all just separately working towards different goals. But the Sapphire Preferred actually makes the Freedom Unlimited more valuable by making the Freedom Two Step possible.
  3. The bonuses are huge. If you get the Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Preferred and meet their spending requirements, you’d have 74,500 Ultimate Rewards, enough for two roundtrips to Hawaii with one in First Class or one roundtrip to Europe with three nights in free hotels. If you get those two cards and the Ink Plus, that would be 139,500 Ultimate Rewards, enough for two roundtrips to Europe or one round-the-world trip partially in First Class.
  4. If you get all three cards, you’d earn a minimum of 1.5 miles per dollar on all purchases; 2 on travel, dining, and gas dining; and 5 on office supplies and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services.

What to Do

Get the Cards, Meet the Spending Requirements

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers:

  • 15,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in the first three months
  • 1.5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on all purchases
  • no annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Freedom Unlimited offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

If you get just the Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Preferred (and add an authorized user on the Sapphire Preferred), that’s 70,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,500 in the first three months. If you get all three, that’s 130,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $9,500 in the first three months.

Are You Eligible?

These are all Chase cards. Chase will deny your application if you have five new credit card accounts in the last 24 months from any banks. Additionally the Ink Plus is a business card, so you will be denied if you don’t have a business (though sole proprietorships and putting your SSN for your tax ID are fine.)

Other than that, you just need to be approved for the cards to get the bonuses.

Which Cards for Spending

Down the line, when you’ve met the minimum spending requirements, put:

  • spending at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services on the Ink Plus for 5x per dollar
  • spending at gas stations on the Ink Plus for 2x per dollar
  • spending on travel and dining on the Sapphire Preferred for 2x per dollar
  • spending everywhere else on the Freedom Unlimited for 1.5x per dollar

Why to Do It

Ultimate Rewards

These cards earn ultra-valuable Ultimate Rewards that I value at 2 cents each. Chase Ultimate Rewards can transfer 1:1 to seven types of airline miles and four types of hotel points.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 10.30.59 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 10.31.06 AM

All the airline programs and Hyatt have value. (The other three hotel programs you should avoid.)

For instance, you can use 57,500 United miles for a one way trip in a flat bed from the United States to Europe, or 40,000 United miles for a one way trip in Thai First Class from Bangkok to Sydney with a free hourlong Thai massage before the flight.

Southwest Rapid Rewards are worth about 1.4 cents toward any Southwest flight with no blackouts. You can often do better with other transfer partners, but it’s still a good option to save cash and get on any Southwest flight.

For only 45,000 Korean miles, you can fly roundtrip from the United States mainland to Hawaii in Delta First Class. Or you can book amazing Korean First Class for as cheap as 45,000 miles.

Free nights at Hyatts worldwide start at 5,000 points.

Award flights with British Airways Avios start at 4,500 miles one way, and Boston to Ireland or the west coast to Hawaii is only 12,500 miles one way.

You can fly Singapore Suites Class for only 57,375 miles to Europe, or use 30,000 Singapore miles for a United First Class flight to Hawaii.

For only 50,000 Air France Flying Blue miles, you can fly roundtrip to Israel.

Freedom Two Step

So far I’ve only hinted at something important. The Freedom Unlimited earns Ultimate Rewards, but they cannot transfer to those awesome transfer partners above; they can only be redeemed for 1 cent each. However, if you have the Sapphire Preferred too, you can transfer the Freedom Unlimited’s Ultimate Rewards to your Sapphire Preferred and from there to hotels and airlines. That’s the Freedom Two Step.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 12.26.46 PM

Read more about the Freedom Two Step here.

Bottom Line

New to miles?

Get the Sapphire Preferred and Freedom Unlimited. If possible, get the Ink Plus too. Now you’re all set for some huge travel. The 139,500 Ultimate Rewards you’d earn from meeting all their spending requirements is enough for a round-the-world trip partially in First Class.

While I can not directly link to the current Freedom Unlimited offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

35

Updated with the Chase 5/24 rule going into effect

Will you be approved for a new card? Will you get its bonus?

What if you’ve already had that card and gotten its bonus before?

The answer to these questions depends on the issuing bank of the credit card. The issuing bank is not the payment network like Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. The issuing bank is the bank that gives you the card, collects interest, and provides customer service. For rewards cards, the main issuing banks are Chase, Citi, American Express, Barclaycard, and Bank of America.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 3.44.58 PM

Let’s look at the rules for each issuing bank, which vary widely.

Chase

  • If you have 5+ new credit card accounts with any bank in the last 24 months, you will be denied all Chase personal and business credit cards. However if you were targeted for a Chase offer, you can still be approved even if you have 5+ new credit cards in the last 24 months.
  • You can only get the bonus on the same Chase card once every 24 months. This 24 month clock starts when you got the last bonus (which may be several months after you got the card).
  • You can be approved for multiple cards on the same day. I know people who have been approved for two personal and one business card from Chase on their first ever credit card applications.

American Express

  • You can only get the bonus on an American Express card once per lifetime. However if you were targeted for an American Express offer, you can still be approved even if you have 5+ new credit cards in the last 24 months.
  • You are limited to holding four American Express credit cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (AMEX Gold, Everyday, Delta, and SPG are credit cards.)
  • Separately, you are limited to holding four American Express charge cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (AMEX Platinum is a charge card.)

Citi

  • You can be approved for no more than one Citi card in an eight day period. If you want two Citi cards, get them on days 1 and 9.
  • You can be approved for no more than two Citi cards in a 65 day period. If you want three Citi cards, get them on days 1, 9, and 66.
  • You can only get the bonus on a Citi card you’ve had before if the old card has been closed for 24 months.

Barclaycard

  • Applicants with zero Barclaycards may be able to get several at once.
  • Applicants who have a Barclaycard will not be approved for another for at least six months since the last application.
  • Barclaycard denies people for having too many Barclaycards, not enough spending on existing Barclaycards, too much credit with Barclaycard, or too many accounts with other banks.

Bank of America

  • At least for the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards, the only cards worth getting, you can get as many as you’d like at one time. I get one of each every 91 days, but people have gotten multiple at once or waited less time between applications.

Bottom Line

Every issuing bank has different rules on how often you can apply for its cards and how often you can get a new bonus on a card you’ve had previously. The rules are changing, and the general trend is toward a tightening of the rules. The rules are sometimes written down and sometimes figured out by aggregating data points on FlyerTalk or good, old-fashioned experimentation.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

I tweeted this deal first from @MileValueAlerts. Follow @MileValueAlerts on Twitter and follow these directions to get a text message every time I tweet from that account. I tweet from @MileValueAlerts only a few times a month because it is designed to be used only for the best and most limited-time deals–like mistake fares–so that you aren’t bombarded by text messages.

Travel from Chicago, Houston, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Washington DC, and Los Angeles roundtrip to Panama City; Lima, Peru; or Cuzco, Peru for $313+ roundtrip in Avianca Business Class. Most of the deals are valid for next month: June 2016. These are the best deals Secret Flying found:

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 2.29.51 PM

There is some chance Avianca will try to cancel these ticket, so even though travel starts in just a few weeks I would hold off on booking hotels or tour bookings until Avianca reacts (or doesn’t react for a few days/weeks.)

Contents:

  1. When are the cheap fares?
  2. Why Peru?
  3. Mileage Earning
  4. Baggage Allowance
  5. Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket

$422 Roundtrip from Chicago to Cuzco

I could not find these fares on ITA Matrix, but I did find them on Expedia.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 2.34.27 PM

Head to Expedia and search your dates and city pair. All the dates I saw were for travel in June, so you have between a few days and a few weeks to pack.

Why Peru?

It is one of my five favorite countries in the world: Machu Picchu and the Inca Ruins, the Amazon Rainforest, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon, a mega-city (Lima), and even the beach are the highlights. See my Peru Top Ten.

If you choose Peru, I’d recommend flying roundtrip to Cuzco if you only have five days or less or flying open jaw into Cuzco and out of Lima if you have more time. (Then fly around the country on Avios awards or low-cost carrier flights.)

Mileage Earning

I don’t see fare class. Once you have the ticket and see the fare class, you can select which program to credit the miles to–consider LifeMiles, United, and Singapore at least–and input your account number for that airline. Here’s how the process of crediting to a partner works.

Baggage Allowance

You get a free personal item, free carry on, and two free checked bags up to 70 pounds each included in the ticket price.

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

Your top choice should be the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will cover the purchase of this ticket. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy this fare with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement: a $63 roundtrip to Panama or $170 roundtrip to Peru!

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases.

See my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like it annual $250 Air Travel Credit, 50,000 point sign up bonus, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

Go to the deal to buy now; these prices will last only a few minutes or hours at most!

Hat Tip Secret Flying

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

Singapore Airlines Flight 67
Sao Paulo (GRU) – Barcelona (BCN)
Depart: 5:50 PM on Monday May 16, 2016
Arrive: 9:25 AM next day
Duration: 10 hours, 35 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777
Seat: 1A (First Class)

A few weeks ago, I booked myself 10+ hours of Singapore First Class for 58,225 Singapore miles + $37 to get from Brazil, where I spent a week and a half to close out the South American summer, to Spain where I was kicking off the European summer.

The Anatomy of an Award post explains why the award was so cheap, so check that out now if you’re blown away by the price. The flight flew a Singapore 777, which features on several major Singapore routes including those to San Francisco and Houston.

I had an amazing flight!

I woke up the morning of my flight in Sao Paulo to an earlier alarm than I had been using. My plan was to get onboard a little sleep deprived because otherwise I would never sleep from 5:50 PM to 4:25 AM, the Brazil times of departure and arrival. I had to vacate my Airbnb by 1:45 PM, so I took an Uber to the airport, arriving at 2:30 PM, more than three hours before the flight.

Luckily check in was already available, and the dedicated line for First Class was empty.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.52.41 PM

Fifteen minutes later I was through security and immigration and on my way to the Star Alliance lounge (separate trip report forthcoming.)

Before Take Off

I got to the gate at 5:30 PM when boarding was in full swing. There was a separate line for premium passengers, and First and Business Class even boarded through a separate door, so I was quickly onto the plane. At the front door, several flight attendants waited to greet us. Business Class passengers were greeted and pointed to their seat. First Class passengers were greeted and escorted to their seat, which is a nice touch.

First Class on the Singapore 777 is two rows of four seats each, arranged 1-2-1. I had seat 1A.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.05 PM

The only other passengers in First Class for my flight were in the middle two seats of row 2.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.13 PM

A window seat is the obvious choice if flying solo. The middle seats are the obvious choice if traveling with a companion, although unfortunately there is a barrier between the two middle seats, so they cannot be combined into a double bed like on the Singapore A380.

I seemed pretty intent on putting my bags away–there are no overhead bins, storage is under the ottoman in your suite–and taking pictures, so the flight attendant said he would give me a minute and return for my drink order.

A minute later he returned and I ordered water and champagne. I was informed with what I can only describe as a mixture of horror and contrition that the “only” champagne available on the ground was Dom Perignon, which retails for about $180 per bottle. Imagine my disappointment. 😉

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.45 PM

The bubbly was quickly brought to my seat and poured.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.54.08 PM

And just as quickly drunk.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.55.32 PM
Next I was brought a hot towel, the first of about 10 on the flight. A newspaper selection quickly followed, and I went with the New York Times and Financial Times.

While a few flight attendants kept very busy with pre-flight service, the inflight supervisor came by and personally introduced himself to the three First Class passengers.

Next came the magazine selection, and I snagged the Economist and National Geographic. At this point in the flight–negative 30 minutes in, since take off would be slightly delayed–I’d already gotten more than the $37 I paid for the ticket between the glass of wine, newspapers, and magazines.

Next I was brought pajamas (called a “sleeper suit” by the flight attendant) and my amenity kit. The pajamas were comfortable, and I wore them for most of the flight. You’ll see photographs of them throughout the trip report. The amenity kit was a little perplexing.

It was fancy enough–Salvatore Ferragamo branded.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.13 PM

And it had nice travel sized bottles of lotion, cologne, and lip balm.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.24 PMBut it didn’t have ear plugs, an eye mask, toothbrush, or toothpaste, which I think are essentials in an amenity kit. (I travel with all of them any way.) A flight attendant gave me an eye mask after take off; I am not sure if the rest were available upon request or not.

Finally before take off, menus were distributed. The menu books were huge, since they also contained the menu from Barcelona to Singapore.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.55.42 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.56.19 PM

At this point, we should have been pushing back, but the captain came on to inform us that weather was delaying our departure, and that he’d have an update in 15 minutes. I was very happy to hear I’d get an extra 15 minutes in First Class since the flights never seem long enough in the front. I ordered another glass of Dom and was quite disappointed that we pushed back at 6:06 PM, just 15 minutes late.

Dinner

We took off at 6:32 PM, but turbulence delayed the start of the service.

When flight attendants could finally get up half an hour later, they distributed slippers, socks, and eye masks. Then the dinner service began.

I had ordered caviar, chicken broth, and beef fillet, which were served as part of an eight course meal.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.56.29 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.57.10 PMFirst came a canape of two chicken satay skewers and one lamb satay skewers, served with a peanut sauce. Chicken satay is one of my favorite foods, and I thought this was star of the meal. I even ate the lamb, which I normally avoid. Maybe my palate is maturing…

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.59.18 PM

This was served with a glass of $200-a-bottle Krug.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.59.06 PM

Next came the fancy place setting, the bread basket, and the caviar.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.59.52 PM

The warm bread basket was incredible. You cannot mess up garlic bread, and the hot pretzel roll was incredible with butter.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.00.10 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.00.25 PM

The caviar was, well, caviar. It was served with a shot of vodka.

As I finished each course, it was cleared quite quickly for the next one. With the same number of flight attendants and passengers up front, the service was very personalized.

The third course was soup.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.00.42 PMI ordered the chicken broth.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.00.52 PM

The fourth course was a very simple salad. Freshly ground pepper was added at my seat.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.01.18 PM

Finally it was time for the main course. I had a hard time deciding, but eventually went with the beef filet because I was intrigued by one side in particular: yukon gold potato blue cheese croquettes. That was probably a silly reason to decide, since I bet I could have had that side with any main course.

The steak was plated elegantly and was cooked medium as I had hoped–that’s usually a gamble on planes since the steak is cooked on the ground. I was offered two mustards for the steak. The croquettes were potatoey, cheesey, and gooey and met my expectations.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.01.32 PM

After the main course, I was stuffed, so I skipped dessert, fruit, and pralines, instead opting just for a cheese plate. I wish I had snapped a photo of the cheese platter that was brought to my seat from which I could select cheeses. I asked a for a slice of each one, and it was served moments later with crackers, dried apricots, walnuts, and grapes.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.02.18 PM

Although it was only about 8:20 PM in Brazil when I finished eating, I was exhausted, so I decided to try to sleep.

Seat/Bed

The seat is a throne. It is wide enough for two or three people to sit comfortably.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.13 PM

It can recline to comfortable positions for working, reading, or watching TV and is controlled by an intuitive system of three buttons next to the seat.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.58.33 PMThere is a large ottoman in front of the seat to rest your feet and a large television above the ottoman.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.28 PM
There are storage cabinets beside the seat for things you want at hand, though the main storage is under the ottoman.

A very large table slides out from under the television for meal services.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.04.33 PMThe seat can fold into a fully flat bed. After dinner, I asked the flight attendant to make the middle seat next to me into a bed, so I could have a separate seat and bed. She happily obliged.

To make the seat into a bed, a mattress pad, blankets, and pillows are added.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.02.46 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.02.33 PM
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.16 PMThe bed is perfect if you are 6’2″ or shorter. It is very comfortable, very wide, has nice pillows, and–if you’re that height–is plenty long. Unfortunately I am 6’4″, and my feet were up against the wall under the television. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but two extra inches would have been nice.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.00 PM

I was able, with the help of melatonin, to sleep about five hours. I woke up with a sore throat that had been lingering for a few days, feeling very hot. I am not sure if that was just being sick or whether the cabin/blanket/pajamas were hot.

I stumbled over to my seat and started watching TV.

Breakfast

A few minutes later, a flight attendant brought me a snack basket, but I declined. Beyond the chips and cookies, I could have also ordered from the snack menu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.57.50 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.57.43 PM

About 15 minutes later, at 2:15 AM in Brazil, the sun rose. During this period, I really got to see the service during non-meal periods. Every few minutes a flight attendant would walk down the aisle. She wouldn’t say anything, but she was ready to take any order. You could, of course, use the flight attendant call button, but Singapore is pro-active with service and is constantly in the cabin to be ready for your order. Some other airlines basically have the flight attendants hide in the galley and wait for your call. I don’t have a preference one way or the other.

At 2:42 AM Brazil/7:42 AM Spain, the flight attendant asked if I would like breakfast. She had asked me before I went to bed for my order and had asked whether I wanted to be woken for it (I didn’t) at the time.

For breakfast, I had ordered both the braised beef brisket with noodles and warm Belgian waffles.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.57.58 PMFirst I was served a fruit plate and my choice of beverage, water.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.42 PM

Then I had my pick of a bakery basket, though it wasn’t as good as the dinner options.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.52 PMFinally I got both main courses simultaneously. The beef and noodles really hit the spot. I like my breakfasts with some protein instead of just carbs, carbs, carbs.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.04.26 PMThe waffle looked amazing when it came out. I thought I had lucked into a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then I took a bite and realized it was the far less delicious, mascarpone cream. Why anyone would want that much is beyond me. I ditched the cream and enjoyed the waffle, syrup, and strawberries.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.04.06 PM

Entertainment

During the flight I watched The Big Short and several episodes of Modern Family. The large television had a standard selection of movies and television programs, which is more than enough for any flight. It was controlled by a remote next to the seat.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.58.41 PMBose noise-canceling headphones were provided.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.58.20 PM

If you bring your own entertainment, there is a universal outlet built into every First Class seat to charge your devices.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.58.08 PM

Service

Service in Singapore First Class is amazing, and it is really the main thing that separates the product from Singapore Business Class, which is a nearly identical seat/bed.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.07 PM

I’ve already mentioned being escorted to my seat, being personally greeted by the inflight supervisor, and the constant walking of the aisles.

Whether this is worth a premium over Business Class depends on your preferences. For me, it was worth the premium from Sao Paulo to Barcelona because that premium is only about 8,000 Singapore miles. On other routes, it may not be worth the premium.

Bottom Line

Bed

Very tall people will be cramped, but overall it is very comfortable and wide flat bed, unlike the coffins you often find in Business Classes.

Entertainment

Large selection of movies and TV shows on demand. Noise-canceling headphones.

Service

Friendly, service-oriented flight attendants who are almost always visible and take pride in delivering a great experience.

Food

Delicious, plentiful, on demand, and, dare I say, gourmet.

 

Overall

This flight is an amazing value for 58,225 Singapore miles + $37 in First Class. (Economy is 25k miles.)

How to Book Yourself Singapore First Class

Award space is WIDE OPEN and Singapore miles are the world’s easiest to get since they partner with every program. Here’s how I booked my ticket.

Getting Singapore Miles

You need Singapore miles to book Singapore First Class, Suites Class, and Business Class on longhaul flights. Singapore protects the cabins by not releasing award space in them to partners. Luckily Singapore miles are easy to get.

Singapore is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points. Plus 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 Singapore miles.

The best cards to get Singapore miles are the Citi Prestige® Card, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Plus.

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

My review of the Citi Prestige Card explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Other Menus

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.06.24 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.06.16 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.06.07 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.56 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.46 PM
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.28 PM















a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Through tomorrow (May 26, 2015), British Airways is offering a 40% bonus on the purchase of Avios. The biggest bonus ever offered on the purchase of Avios was 50% in February 2015, so this is a big bonus.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 2.19.15 PM

The maximum Avios you can purchase in a year is normally 35,000, but is being raised to 100,000 during this promotion. With a 40% bonus, that means you can add 140,000 Avios to your account. Americans are being offered those Avios for 1.98 cents each, but with one simple trick, you can drop the price to 1.44 cents per Avios!

The Trick

If you set your British Airways account address to a country that uses the euro, say France, you will be sold Avios in euros instead of dollars. The euro price for buying Avios is way cheaper!

The cost to purchase 140,000 Avios for people with an American address is $2,775 or 1.98 cents per Avios. The cost to purchase 140,000 Avios for people with a euro-area address is $2,016 (1,800 euros) or 1.44 cents each. You save more than 25% just for changing your address.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.56.45 PM

To change your address, click “Manage my account under Executive Club on any page.
Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.35.52 PM

Click “Update my personal information” on the left side of the screen.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.36.16 PM

Give an address in a euro-using country.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.38.40 PM

Hit Continue about three times. The first time I tried to make the change, I stopped a screen short. You’ll know if you have succeeded because when you go back to the Purchase Miles screen, you will be offered the Avios in euros.

If you buy fewer Avios, the price is a bit higher. For instance, buying 14,000 (10k + 4k bonus) Avios results in a price of 1.60 cents per Avios.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 3.02.51 PM

If you purchase in euros, make sure you use a card that charges no foreign transaction fees like the Citi Prestige® Card. You should also probably pay with a MasterCard instead of a Visa (again like the Citi Prestige.)

Does Putting Your Account in France Mess Up Points Transfers?

After setting my account to France, I initiated a 1,000 Ultimate Rewards transfer to my British Airways account that was already stored on chase.com. The transfer went through instantly as usual, so changing your address doesn’t appear to mess this up.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.46.45 PMScreen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.46.53 PM

Eventually you can change your Avios account address back to your home address, but British Airways makes you wait six months between address changes. However I have had my address in France for over a year now, and I seem to be offered better deals for mileage sales and Cash & Avios awards, so I see no reason to change my address back to the United States.

Is This a Good Deal?

The best uses of Avios are short, direct, economy flights on partners without fuel surcharges.

At 1.44 cents per Avios, domestic (including Hawaii) one way awards that cost XXX Avios plus $5.60 in taxes one way would cost:

Those are pretty good deals. I’ve seen cheaper with cash on every route, and I’ve also seen a lot more expensive.

The bottom line with all miles sales is that they are a good deal if you have an immediate, high value use for the miles, and a poor deal otherwise.

Bottom Line

You have until tomorrow (May 26) to get a big bonus on purchasing Avios. Ignore the 1.98 cent price for Americans. Anyone with a euro-zone address on file with British Airways and a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card can get the Avios for 1.44 cents each. The sales are consummated by points.com, so there is no bonus for an airline or travel purchase on your credit card.

The best deals with Avios are short, direct, economy flights on routes/airlines without fuel surcharges. That includes all domestic flights and all these flights.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

26

Update 5/25/16: A One Mile at a Time commenter confirms booking a Brussels Business Class roundtrip from New York to Brussels for 36,620 Etihad miles plus under $100 in taxes per person. There is an Amex Membership Rewards to Etihad 30% transfer bonus through June 15, 2016 that would make this bookable for 29,000 Membership Rewards.

The only thing I would change about this article published in February 2016 is that I think you might be better off calling Etihad directly instead of searching on united.com for the space first. My new recommended order would be call Etihad to award search, transfer to Etihad, book with Etihad.

Brussels airlines is a partner of Etihad Airlines, and this is the amazing award chart for roundtrip redemptions.

Etihad Brussels redemption chart

Those deals are fantastic, so I figured some serious investigation was in order.

How to Book a Brussels Airlines Flight with Etihad Miles

To book Brussels Airlines flights with Etihad miles, first you have to search united.com for Saver award space on Brussels flights. Then you have to call Etihad to book.

  • You cannot search etihad.com for award space because it only displays Etihad flights.
  • You cannot book flights operated by other airlines that you find on united.com. Etihad partners with Brussels, not Brussels plus all its partners. If this confuses you, see There is No Transitive Property of Miles.

To search on united.com:

1. Fill out the Book Travel box on the home page of united.com, and be sure to check “search for award travel”:

united book travel box

2. Choose a flight that has Saver award space that is operated by Brussels.

united saver award 2

3. Note the date, flight number, and cabin of the award space you find on united.com.

4. To book that flight with Etihad miles, call Etihad at 888-8-ETIHAD. Tell the agent you want to book a Brussels Airlines flight and feed them the date, flight number, and cabin of the award space you found on united.com.

My Experience Booking a Brussels Airlines Flight with Etihad Miles

I easily found Saver award space for a roundtrip economy flight between New York and Brussels during the month of June on united.com. Availability was generally open for economy over the summer months, but no space was open in business. I took the date, flight number, and cabin of the award space I found and had to feed it to 10 different Etihad Guest representatives over the course of two days, because the agents were having a near impossible time seeing the same award space that I saw on united.com.

After some serious nudging (see specific details about what to say to Etihad Guest’s representatives below), the last representative I spoke to was able to find space, but oddly enough it was for a business seat on the same roundtrip between New York and Brussels that I originally found only in economy. He also told me that the total of all fees would be $94.70.

With conflicting information these results are obviously not definitive, but the experience was informative nonetheless. Below is a summation of what I know and what I still don’t know from spending two days on the phone with various representatives.

What I Do Know

  • You can only redeem Etihad miles on Brussels flights between New York and Brussels. Washington, DC is also listed as a destination for Brussels Airlines on Wikipedia, so I asked some of Etihad Guest’s representatives for availability and prices for roundtrip flights out of Washington, DC to Brussels guessing that perhaps it was left out of the chart on accident. Every representative that I asked had the same response: You cannot book flights in and out of Washington, DC, for no good reason other than it’s not listed in the redemption chart, and that is the rule.
  • You can redeem Etihad miles on a Brussels flight that originates in New York. It does not have to originate in Brussels like the redemption chart might convey.
  • One way awards are not permitted for Etihad redemptions on Brussels Airlines, only roundtrips (or as they phrase it in the footer of the chart: “Mileage Values in this table are for return journeys only. One way redemptions are not permitted.”)
  • The mileage amounts on the redemption chart for roundtrips in economy and business are indeed 21,972 miles and 36,620 miles respectively– each of Etihad Guest’s representatives I spoke with confirmed that.
  • If you do manage to find award space over the phone, the award has to be booked out of New York to Brussels or vice versa to get the value, adding on other Brussels Airlines flights to either end is technically possible but will be like paying for two awards.
  • Don’t call Etihad Guest’s US offices (1 888 8 ETIHAD) as they were the least helpful. I recommend the UK office (+44 0345 6081225). More on that and other call strategies below.

What I Do Not Know, and Why I’m Not Sure

I am not sure that Etihad miles can actually book Brussels award space because:

  • The award space found by the final Etihad Guest representative (in Business Class from June 2 – 13) I spoke to from the UK office is not available on united.com:

business not available

no biz saver return

If Etihad miles can book Brussels space, I think there are no fuel surcharges on the award, but I am not sure. The Etihad Guest representative that found space for me in business on the flight from New York to Brussels quoted all taxes and fees to be $94.70. If you purchased the same ticket in cash, ITA matrix shows taxes of $94.70 and fuel surcharges (YQ and YR) of $873.50, meaning that he was quoting a price with no fuel surcharges.

ita matrix jfk to bru

That is a promising sign that the space is bookable with no fuel surcharges, but considering only one agent got that far, and I didn’t actually book, I am not ready to promise that there are no fuel surcharges on the award.

Advice for More Efficient Communication with Etihad Guest Representatives

The first step is choosing which Etihad Guest office to call. Their UK office (+44 0345 6081225) was the most helpful to me and this FlyerTalker. Etihad Guest’s US offices (+1 888 8 ETIHAD) were the least competent. I tried the offices in New York, Chicago and Washington DC at different times of day over the course of two days, to ensure a different pool of representatives, yet still met no one capable of actually helping me. The UAE office was slightly more informed and at least had the award searching software on their computers (unlike one of the representatives from the US!)– but still no dice when it came to availability.

The next and most important step is clearly communicating what you want them to do for you. Emphasize that you would like to redeem your Etihad miles on a Brussels Airlines flight, not an Etihad flight. Feed them the date, flight number, and cabin of the award space you found previously on united.com. Finally, before they put you on hold to search, suggest they put a “longsell query into their system”, or if they don’t understand that term suggest they do it manually or directly. A FlyerTalker suggested that choice of wording that ultimately led the final Etihad Guest representative I spoke with from the UK office towards the answer I wanted– availability!

Another point to mention is that the redemption chart lists mileage for roundtrips, as it is easy to make the assumption that the mileage amounts are for one ways because of the way chart is set up. I had more than one Etihad representative make that mistake. Nudge them towards the asterisk at the the bottom of the chart that reads “Mileage Values in this table are for return journeys only. One way redemptions are not permitted”.

What to Do If You Want to Book This Space

If you want to book New York to Brussels roundtrip in economy for 22,000 ThankYou Points or in Business Class for 37,000 ThankYou Points, here’s what you should do.

  1. Find award space on united.com.
  2. Call Etihad Guest’s UK office to confirm that an agent sees that space, and get him to quote total taxes and fees.
  3. Transfer ThankYou Points to Etihad miles.
  4. Hope award space doesn’t disappear during the approximately seven days it will take for the Etihad miles to post.
  5. When the miles appear, book the Brussels flights with Etihad miles.
  6. Report back your experiences in the comments of this post.

Bottom Line

The best case scenario is that you can book a roundtrip Business Class flight to Europe without fuel surcharges for 37,000 ThankYou Points. That’s an incredibly awesome deal.

The worst case scenario is that all the flights mentioned are completely unbookable due to lack of availability and/or a disconnect between Etihad Guest and Brussels Airlines. That would be a bummer.

The middle scenario is that the award space is bookable, but with fuel surcharges, taking a lot of the value out of the deal.

We still don’t have proof that you can redeem Etihad miles on a Brussels Airlines flight.  But considering the range of scenarios, I do not think putting a bit of time and research into this yourselves would be a waste.

Happy hunting. 

This deal wouldn’t be possible without Citi ThankYou points. Luckily, ThankYou Points are easy to get.

  • Citi Prestige® Card with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open

With the miles earned from the sign-up bonuses of the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, you could have 96,000 ThankYou points. That’s more than enough to book two roundtrip trips to Europe in Business Class in a flat bed as long as Etihad can book Brussels Business Class.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

This is a post I am writing to illuminate how my friend can get from Denver to Tel Aviv with Amex Membership Rewards. I highly recommend you read it even if:

  • you don’t live in Denver
  • you don’t want to go to Israel
  • you don’t have Membership Rewards

Why? This post explains how I figure out how to get from anywhere to anywhere with any type of miles.

My friend emailed me:

Who has the best economy award redemption chart to middle east? Trying to get three of us to Tel Aviv this winter, and have ~125k amex points to transfer. Assuming that won’t cover all 3 of us, but if I could cover 2 that’s a good start. I also have some amount of United, delta, and American miles already.

First Step: Look at Award Charts

American Express Membership Rewards transfer to more than a dozen airline partners. Instead of looking up all of their charts individually, I headed to milez.biz to search pretty much every award chart at once.

The two deals that caught my eye were:

  • Air France Flying Blue for 25,000 miles each way from Denver to Tel Aviv. It is so cheap because Israel and parts of Northern Africa are inexplicably in Flying Blue’s Europe region as I always mention in Promo Awards posts. Unfortunately Flying Blue awards will have fuel surcharges, but maybe they won’t be so bad.
  • ANA for 65,000 miles roundtrip from Denver to Tel Aviv. ANA awards will have fuel surcharges unless they fly United, which does fly from Newark and San Francisco to Tel Aviv.

Second Step: Creativity

Europe tends to be a much cheaper award that Israel, so how about flying one award to Europe and then getting to Israel with Avios or a low-cost carrier. I wrote up this idea fully three years ago, and the only thing that has really changed is that American Airlines charges 22,500 miles one way during a shorter off peak window to Europe (compared to 20,000 miles and a longer window when the post was written.)

So he could perhaps use 45,000 American Airlines miles plus taxes and no fuel surcharges to fly Denver to Europe roundtrip and then book a separate Avios or low-cost carrier flights on to Israel. The disadvantage is the complexity of multiple tickets. The advantage–if he has the time–is he can see two European cities for as long as he’d like, one on the way there and one on the way back.

If he went this route, I’d recommend booking his awards from Denver to Cologne or Berlin to take advantage of 10,000 Avios awards to Tel Aviv on airberlin. (What are Avios?) That would be 45,000 American Airlines miles and 20,000 Avios roundtrip to Israel per person.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 10.00.15 PM

Or he could book the American Airlines awards to/from one of these cities with low-cost carrier flights to Tel Aviv (which I found on Wikipedia.)

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.30.35 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.31.18 PM

I’m going to drop this creative plan for the rest of the post, since I fleshed it out so fully in a previous post, and since I think the other options in the next step look really good.

Third Step: Look at Award Space

The prices of 50k Flying Blue miles and 65k ANA miles roundtrip are just theoretical if there is no award space.

Searching Flying Blue Award Space

Sign in to airfrance.us and search. You’ll find that winter 2017 has amazing award space between Denver and Tel Aviv, with nearly every day having award space for two people at the 25,000 miles one way price.
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.44.03 PM Unfortunately, you are generally looking at three flights each way. The ones that fly Delta across the Atlantic have only $50 in taxes and fuel surcharges.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.45.07 PM The ones that fly Air France have another $55 in fuel surcharges.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.45.23 PM The returns have about $85 in taxes and fuel surcharges with Delta flying across the Atlantic plus another $55 if you fly Air France to the USA.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.45.51 PM My friend absolutely can book two people a roundtrip from Denver to Tel Aviv for 100,000 Flying Blue miles (an instant 1:1 transfer partner of Amex) + $269. The drawback is the ~$165 extra out of pocket compared to the ANA/United option below and the three flights per direction.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.46.13 PM

Searching United Award Space

The last section was about searching Flying Blue award space. It didn’t matter much which Flying Blue partner he flew as the fuel surcharges are minimal.

This section is about using ANA miles, but the only partner he would want to fly is United. Flying United, ANA doesn’t collect fuel surcharges. If he flies another partner, say Lufthansa, the fuel surcharges would probably exceed $1,000 for two people roundtrip.

To see only United award space, he should go to united.com and NOT sign in. (Signing in will bring up extra award space ANA cannot book if he is a United elite or credit card holder.) On the home screen, he should click “All search options” in the search box.
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.46.41 PM

Then he needs to scroll down and click “My search preferences.”Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.46.54 PM

He needs to select “United and United Express only” to exclude results like those fuel-surcharge-infested Lufthansa flights.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.47.00 PM Now his searches should bring up only United results. (Unfortunately the calendar will show both United and partner results. I wrote about this glitch last month.)Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.47.25 PMAny award space he finds on united.com, he can book on ana.com. (Here’s how to book on ana.com.) I pulled up award space for two people on ana.com on United flights, and it priced at 130,000 ANA miles + $105 for two people.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.19.25 PM

Unfortunately I could only pull up Denver to Tel Aviv and vice versa connecting in Newark on ana.com. There’s no reason I can see that ANA couldn’t book the connections in San Francisco that united.com brought up, so if my friend wants to book those, he should call ANA instead of booking online.

Planning, Transferring, Booking

My friend has some planning to do. Does he prefer the 100,000 Flying Blue miles and $269 Flying Blue awards with three segments or the 130,000 ANA miles and $105 ANA awards with two segments. Or does he want to stop each direction and explore Europe on an American Airlines off peak award to Europe, supplemented by separate flights to Israel?

If he prefers the Flying Blue award, he can find award space on airfrance.us, transfer instantly from Amex to Flying Blue, and book online tonight. Or he could try to get 25,000 more American Express, Chase, or Citi points or 20,000 SPG points, all of which would combine with his 125k Amex points to get him enough points for three award tickets.

I’d recommend the Sapphire Preferred with 50,000 bonus Chase points. While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

If he prefers the ANA award, he needs 5k more Amex points, so a few months of spending should get him there. Then he can search for award space, transfer from Amex to ANA, wait approximately 36 hours for the miles to post, and book.

If he prefers the American Airlines award, he should put it on hold for five days, book the segments to and from Israel, then ticket the American Airlines award.

Bottom Line

The outlook is good for my friend’s trip to Israel. He has great options through a few obscure foreign airline programs. The key is to find the good deals on the award charts, including getting creative about where you book your award, and then make sure there is actually award space available for that price.

The process is basically the same no matter where you want to go and no matter what points you have. If it seems too complex, hire my Award Booking Service to plan and book your award for you.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

Through Friday (May 27, 2016) at 11:59 CT, United is offering a 100% bonus on purchased miles. The size of the bonus depends on the number of miles you buy, with the largest 100% bonus kicking in at 40,000 miles purchased.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.45.21 PM

United miles normally cost 3.5 cents per mile plus a 7.5% tax, bringing the full price to 3.76 cents each. During the sale, the prices, including bonus, are:
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.45.27 PM

  • Get 1,000 to 4,000 miles: 3.76 cents per mile
  • Get 6,250 to 23,750 miles: 3.01 cents per mile
  • Get 30,000 to 58,500 miles: 2.51 cents per mile
  • Get 80,000 to 150,000 miles: 1.88 cents per mile

Buying 40,000 miles–the fewest you need to purchase to get the biggest bonus–costs $1,505, which is 1.88 cents each for the 80,000 United miles you get.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.45.42 PM

Is This a Good Deal?

No, this is a bad deal for speculative purchases. Since United’s huge devaluation in 2014, I value United miles at around 1.6 cents. The bottom line on all mileage sales is that they’re a good deal if you have an immediate, high-value use and not a good deal otherwise.

There are a few United awards for which you’ll get more than 1.88 cents of value per mile, but even in those cases, you’d probably be better off buying LifeMiles for 1.47 each and redeeming them for the exact same award.

Math

To figure out if you have a high-value use, use this simple expression:

(A – B) / (C + D)

  • A: Value of the award. Important: this is the lesser of the cash price and your subjective value.
  • B: Taxes on the award
  • C: Miles used on the award
  • D: Miles you would earn if you purchased the award ticket with cash

This will spit out the dollar value you are getting for your miles. If that number is greater than 0.0188, and you can book the dream award now, and LifeMiles somehow is offering a worse deal, buy during this promotion. Otherwise, don’t buy.

Bottom Line

You can buy 150,000 United miles for 1.88 cents each until Friday (May 27). That’s way too high to buy speculatively.

United sales are processed by points.com, so you do not get category bonuses on cards that bonus airline or travel purchases like the Citi Prestige® Card, which offers 3x on purchases from airlines.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6

Download a free app and get 1,000 free United miles in a few weeks.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 1.50.43 PM There are three steps:

  1. Register for the promotion here. (The promotion is that if you download a personal finance app called Prosper Daily and register your account, you get 1,000 free United miles. I don’t need a personal finance app, so I’m just in it for the miles.) You will be asked your name, zip code, United MileagePlus number, and phone number.
    Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 1.51.39 PM
  2. Click the link that’s texted to you to download the app.
  3. Give an email address, password, and PIN to register your account in the app.

That’s all I did. I didn’t link any bank accounts or give any personal information. I believe I’ve done enough to get the 1,000 miles. We’ll find out for sure in 6-8 weeks, though I suspect the miles will post much sooner.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 2.05.57 PM

If you like free mini-miles like this, which are nice to reset the expiration date on your account, you still have a week left to get 700 free American Airlines miles in five minutes.

Hat Tip The Points Guy

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Follow Me