Scott Grimmer

1350 POSTS 5033 COMMENTS

8 40

Existing cardholders can earn up to 50,000 bonus US Airways miles by referring friends to the 50,000 mile bonus offer on the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. For every friend who applies through your referral, cardholders earn 5,000 US Airways miles up to a maximum of 50,000 bonus miles.

Check your email inbox for the subject “Refer your friends and earn up to 50,000 bonus miles”, and click the button Start Sharing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.41.11 PM

You are taken to an email form, where you enter the email addresses of people who you want to refer.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.41.43 PM

Unfortunately there is no twitter or facebook option as Chase always offers for referral bonuses to the Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Plus.

The Offer

The offer appears to be identical to the best offer available now, which is the best I’ve seen:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee*
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights
  • One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flightsRedeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
  • Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways and American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • Receive a 25% savings on eligible US Airways and American Airlines in-flight purchases

For more info and my review of the offer, see US Airways Card Now Offering 50,000 Bonus Miles.

The Conga Line

If you leave a comment asking for a referral, I will send you one. You don’t need to publicly disclose your email address because I can see what you filled in on the comment form.

If you want to refer people, leave your email address in the comments and ask them to email you. Then you can refer them via the email address from which they send you an email.

Plus AA Cards

All US Airways miles not redeemed on the US Airways chart by the time of integration will become American Airlines miles, and American Airlines has committed to not devaluing its award chart at the time of combination. The two types of miles are roughly equal in value. Getting both personal cards now and meeting both spending requirements means you will have at least 103,000 American Airlines miles in early 2015.

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus miles and two lounge passes after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® is a business card that offers 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles and two Admirals Club lounge passes after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. Getting both American Airlines cards plus the US Airways personal card, and meeting their minimum spending requirements, would mean having at least 156,000 American Airlines miles in early 2015.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

1 11

Right now, awards:

  • booked with United miles
  • between the United States and Europe
  • for flights in January, February, and March 2015
  • on partner airlines
  • cost only 57,500 miles each way in Business Class

That’s the same price that awards booked on United’s own flights cost, and 12,500 miles off the normal price for Business Class awards on United partners–70,000 miles each way.

I have been monitoring what I believe to be an un-announced sale (rather than a glitch) closely because I am looking to book myself an award in Business Class from the United States to Seville, Spain near the end of March.

An award leaving March 30 using Air Canada Business Class (flat bed!) to cross the ocean is 57,500 United miles, an un-announced discount.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.21.18 PM

An award leaving in April using Lufthansa Business Class (angled lie flat) is 70,000 miles, the normal price.Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.21.46 PM

This sale appears to be only in January, February, and March. Flights leaving December 30 price partner Business Class at 70,000 miles one way.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.23.07 PM

The same route in Air Canada Business Class on January 1, 2015 prices at the discounted 57,500 mile price.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.23.39 PM

How Good Is This Sale?

This is a nice sale, but nothing to go nuts over for two reasons:

  1. It’s not that cheap. American Airlines charges 50,000 miles each way in Business Class to Europe on its own flights or partners. Delta will charge 62,500 miles each way in Business Class to Europe for awards booked on or after January 1, 2015.
  2. United Business Class is better than most of its partners to Europe. United BusinessFirst (as they confusingly call Business Class) features fully flat beds and is more widely available than many partners’ offerings. Lufthansa Business Class, the easiest award space to find to Europe with United miles mostly features angled lie flat beds. Generally to Europe, I’d use my United miles to fly United BusinessFirst any way, so this sale doesn’t change that.

Your Take

Will this sale cause you to take a trip you otherwise wouldn’t? Will you take advantage of the discount for a trip you were already planning?

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

0 235

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card is offering 50,000 SkyMiles and a $50 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.55.21 AMBusiness owners can get the same offer on the business version of the card.

Delta Miles

I value Delta miles at around 1.2 cents each. Delta partners release just as much award space as any airlines though Delta itself lags behind.

Delta miles are better than any other miles for Australia in business class and the west coast to Europe in economy or business. Delta miles are also good to Central America, South America, Africa, and Europe from anywhere else in the United States.

At the moment, you have to book roundtrip awards with Delta miles, but starting January 1, 2015, you can book one way awards with Delta miles.

Here are my top choices to burn 160k, 140k, 125k, 92.5k, 60k, and 25k SkyMiles and the products I most want to book when one way awards are possible in less than two weeks.

The Other Big Reason to Get This Card

To earn Delta status, you need to fly a certain number of miles or segments on Delta flights AND pay a certain amount for those tickets. Next year, those dollar requirements are rising.

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 12.12.28 PM

But as the bottom of the chart notes, spending $25,000 on a Delta co-branded card in a calendar year waives the Medallion Qualifying Dollars requirement, leaving just the miles or segments flown requirement.

(As you can see on my chart comparing airline credit cards, the United card has a similar feature but it only waives the requirement up to the second-best status, while the Delta card spending waives the requirement all the way to Diamond.)

For people who fly a lot of cheap flights, the ability to spend a little over $2,000 per month on their Delta card to waive Delta’s expensive MQD requirement is welcome.

Remember

American Express recently changed its rules, so that you can only get the bonus on personal cards once in your lifetime, so if you’ve ever gotten the sign up bonus on the Gold SkyMiles card like I have, this offer is of no use.

Bottom Line

This is a solid offer, but not as valuable as 50,000 American Airlines miles or US Airways miles because of the difficulty of finding Delta award space and its inflated award chart. The listed expiration date of this offer is December 21, 2014.

Hat Tip Doctor of Credit

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

0 249

I just got an email today from Starwood Preferred Guest announcing up to a 25% discount on the purchase of Starpoints. Through December 31, 2014, you can purchase up to 20,000 Starpoints with the following discounts:

  • 500 – 9,500 Starpoints — 3.15 cents each (10% off)
  • 10,000 – 14,500 Starpoints — 2.975 cents each (15% off)
  • 15,000 – 19,500 Starpoints — 2.8 cents each (20% off)
  • 20,000 Starpoints — 2.625 cents each (25% off)

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.48.07 PM

 

Should you buy Starpoints at the discounted price? Maybe…

Who shouldn’t miss this sale? Who can skip it? How can you get around the 20k Starpoint purchase cap?

I value Starpoints at 2.5 cents each, so buying them without a use already in mind doesn’t made sense at 2.625 cents each, especially when you can get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express with a 25,000 Starpoint bonus after spending $5k within six months.

But there are a ton of Starpoint redemptions where you can get 3-4+ cents of value per point. If you have one of those redemptions ready to go, but you need a few more points, this can be a great deal. What redemptions specifically might offer you a great deal?

Nights & Flights Awards

My favorite SPG awards are Nights & Flights, which allow you to redeem Starpoints for hotel nights and airline miles at once.

  • 60,000 Starpoints: you get 50,000 American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, or other 1:1 SPG airline partner miles plus five free nights in a Category 3 hotel
  • 70,000 Starpoints: you get the same 50k airline miles plus five free nights at a Category 4 hotel

Check out my full write up of Nights & Flights Awards in How to Get 10 Nights in Hawaii and First Class Flights for Free.

Cash & Points Awards

Cash & Points Awards often let you get 3 or 4 cents of value per point by getting a hotel award night for half the normal amount of points plus a cash co-pay to make up the difference. The drawback is that they are capacity controlled, unlike free night awards, which are available whenever there is a room for sale.

Check out my full write up of Cash & Points awards in A Chance to “Buy” Starpoints for 1.1 Cents: Starwood Cash & Points Awards.

Transfer to Airline Miles

Starpoints transfer to dozens of airline partners, often at a better than 1:1 ratio. For any of the airline partners–including US Airways, American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, and many more–listed here with a 1:1 ratio, you can transfer 20k Starpoints to 25k miles.

That means buying 20k Starpoints gets you 25k miles for $525, which is 2.1 cents per mile.

I don’t value any of those miles at 2.1 cents in the abstract, but there are tons of awards you can book that get more than 2.1 cents of value from any of those miles. If you have such an award in mind and see award space, this can be a great way to get the miles you’re short.

Getting Around the 20k Purchase Limit

You are limited to purchasing 20,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year. But Starwood is encouraging folks to buy Starpoints at the discounted rate for friends and family during this promotion.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 7.05.42 PM

 

There is no limit to how many gifts of 20k Starpoints you can give.

And the only limit to free sharing of Starpoints between accounts is that the addresses on file with SPG must be the same for 30 days before sharing. So you can buy 20k Starpoints for all the people with whom you share an address and later combine them into one account.

Don’t Expect a Category Bonus for Buying Starpoints

Starpoints purchases are through points.com, not starwood.com, so you won’t get a category bonus for hotel spending.

My Plan

I am not going to buy Starpoints now because I have enough at the moment to meet my needs.

Recap

The 25% discount on Starpoints means you can buy them for 2.625 cents each. If you have a great idea for their use, and you already have the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and business version, this can be a great deal for you. But I do not recommend buying the points speculatively.

9 1867

A friend passed along an article from Time.com that advocates doing something I’ve done a few times, but not described:

You can often get a cheaper price on a cash ticket if you book the ticket in foreign currency through airline’s website designed for use by people in another country.

For instance, you can save about 35% on a roundtrip from Santiago, Chile to Easter Island, Chile booking in Chilean pesos through the LAN Chile website instead of in dollars through the LAN USA website.

I’ve noticed similarly cheaper flights using Colombian websites intra-Colombia and, most notably, Argentine websites intra-Argentina.

It’s easy to search the foreign websites, easy to translate them to English, and easy to pay with a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, so this is a trick everyone should be using.

Searching Foreign Websites

I recommend starting at the ITA Matrix. There you can quickly search for flights while toggling the “Sales city.” I searched Santiago to Easter Island roundtrip in April twice.

The first time I left “Sales city” blank, which defaults to departure city.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.23.26 PM

The second time I put Washington DC for the “Sales city” to see what the price would be on American websites.

Washington DC as a sales city led to a price of $616.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.23.53 PM

Santiago as a sales city led to a price of CL$242,586.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.24.24 PM

That is $393 or a 36% discount on the price designed for Americans.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.25.01 PM

You can continue to select different sales cities and might find a cheaper price, but generally the cheapest price will be the foreign country where the flights are.

To get the price in pesos, head to lan.com. Along the top, you’ll see United States (English) as the default selection.
Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.25.49 PM

Change it to Chile. This will give you a Spanish-language site of course.

Getting the Foreign Website into English

If you use Google Chrome as your browser, you’ll be asked whether you want to translate the page to English.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.26.07 PM

Going through the purchase steps, I was able to replicate the price of CL$242,586.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.27.42 PM

Avoiding Foreign Transaction Fees

The last step would be to purchase the ticket with a card with no foreign transaction fees to avoid being dinged 3% on top of the $393.

If you want a free ticket, purchase the flights with your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® and then redeem Arrival miles to remove the $393 purchase from your statement. See how to redeem Arrival miles.

If you want to earn 3x ThankYou Points per dollar, use your Citi Prestige® Card, which also gets you $250 in free flights per year. See my review of the Prestige.

 

If you don’t have either, you can also get 2x ThankYou Points per dollar on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card or 2x Ultimate Rewards on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, both without foreign transaction fees.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Citi Prestige® Card with 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months, lounge access, $250 per calendar year in airline fee credits, and more

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
  • Earn 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

 

 

10 1133

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open, $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.

It’s clearly an intriguing card that requires a lot of analysis because of its unique perks and high annual fee. I’ll tackle the benefits and drawbacks one by one, so you can see whether the Citi Prestige® Card makes sense for you.

  • Sign Up Bonus: 30,000 ThankYou Points after $2,000 in spending
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • Air travel fee credit:  $250 annual credit ($500 first year of cardmembership)
  • Lounge access: Admirals Clubs lounges and Priority Pass lounges worldwide
  • Free hotel nights: Get your 4th night free on all paid hotel stays (no blackout dates)
  • Global Entry: $100 application fee credit
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450 not waived, well worth it for some

Sign Up Bonus

The headline sign up bonus is 30,000 ThankYou Points after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the card. That’s solid, but it is frankly not the selling point of this card, which is more about the benefits of cardmembership.

Those 30,000 points are worth over $500 to me because I am very high on ThankYou Points, which transfer to nine airlines and Hilton.

I recently transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines miles to fly from Colombia to Argentina in Business Class for half the price it would have been with United miles. Singapore miles are also the only way to fly Singapore Suites, cheaper than United miles to book United flights to Hawaii, and offer an amazing deal to Central and South America.

I also love Air France Flying Blue as a transfer partner because of its cheap awards to Europe, Israel, Hawaii and South America.

Beyond transferring ThankYou Points, you can also redeem them directly for cash flights at a fixed rate. When you do this, the airline sees your ticket as a cash ticket, so you earn miles on the flights.

ThankYou Points are redeemable for 1.6 cents each toward American Airlines or US Airways tickets, and 1.33 cents each toward tickets on any other airline.

Category Bonuses

  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment

Notice that these are the reverse of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card if you’d prefer a bigger bonus for dining. My review of ThankYou Premier.

This card very clearly offers the biggest benefits to frequent travelers, since a number of its benefits like free hotel nights and lounge access will be most used by travelers. The category bonuses are no exception. If you buy a lot of airline tickets and hotel stays, and if you dine out while traveling, you will rack up a ton of extra points from these category bonuses.

Note that the 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels is worth at least 4.8% back toward travel on American Airlines and US Airways, since points are worth 1.6 cents each toward those flights. That’s an incredible return.

Air Travel Credit

Every calendar year, you get a $250 air travel credit to offset airline fees. “Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases.” (Emphasis mine.)

That means that you can buy airline tickets with this card, and the first $250 will be reimbursed each calendar year. Since I’m sure everyone reading this blog spends at least $250 on airfare each year, this is like straight cash to me and would greatly reduce the sting of the annual fee.

In fact, depending on when you get this card, this credit could be more valuable than the annual fee for your first 12 months with the card. This benefit is a calendar year benefit.

“Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year’s Air Travel Credit.”

If you get the card such that your first 12 statements post in 2015 and 2016, you should be able to use this benefit twice before paying the annual fee for a second time. In that case, you can get $500 in airline fee statement credits for your $450 annual fee. Even without considering the sign up bonus and other benefits, the card would already be a great deal.

Lounge Access

Having the Citi Prestige® Card gets you into any Admirals Club worldwide whenever you’re flying an American Airlines, American Eagle, or American Connection flight. In addition, you can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free.

Citi Prestige® Card holders can also get a free Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. Prestige Card holders get free Priority Pass Select membership, which entitles them to free access to hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).

I downloaded the app on my phone, so I can search for participating lounges by airport while I travel. I seem to find one or more options at most international airports and tons of domestic airports.

Just like into Admirals Clubs, you can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free.

Lounge access costs about $50 per visit, but I value it at about $20 per visit. Heavy users of this benefit will quickly forget about the annual fee.

4th Night Free on Hotel Stays

From the terms and conditions of the benefits of the Prestige Card:

————————————————————————————————————————-

You will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel booked by a personal travel advisor designated by MasterCard (the “designated travel advisor” is Carlson Wagonlit Travel). Bookings made through other methods such as, travel agents, websites or directly with a hotel will not qualify.

To receive your complimentary night (via a statement credit) you must:

  • Make a reservation for a minimum, consecutive four-night stay by contacting the Citi Prestige Concierge, to book directly with a designated travel advisor
  • Fully pay for your stay with a Citi Prestige Card

Receive one complimentary night (room rate for the fourth night and applicable taxes only) for any consecutive four-night hotel stay booked directly with a MasterCard designated travel advisor. Hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges are the Cardmember’s responsibility. The value of the complimentary night will be the actual rate, as provided by the designated travel advisor, on that fourth night of the reservation, even if the rate is different from the rate on other nights. Cardmember will be charged the total cost of the stay at checkout and will receive a credit to the credit card statement for the cost of the fourth night (and the applicable taxes). If the cardmember books a special “pre-paid” rate this may require upfront payment in full, at time of booking. Payment in full is defined as pre-payment for the total of all four consecutive nights. Only one complimentary night is eligible per room reservation. Rates provided will be equal to or lower than the lowest publicly-available fare at the hotel’s official website. The benefit can only be used by each primary account Cardholder. This benefit is available to all Citi Prestige Cardmembers worldwide.

For any Program related questions contact Citi Prestige customer service at 1-877-288-CITI.

————————————————————————————————————————-

If you book a lot of paid hotel nights, and the price being offered by Carlson Wagonlit is the same as you can get elsewhere, this will save you a lot of money. Using this benefit means foregoing booking the hotel through the hotel itself and earning andy bonus points and status for that.

I book zero four-night paid hotel stays per year, so this benefit is not for me, but it will be useful for many.

Global Entry Fee Credit

Prestige card holders are entitled to a $100 statement credit when they pay the $100 Global Entry enrollment fee with their Prestige cards.

Having Global Entry allows you to skip the immigrations and customs queues when arriving in the United States. Instead of spending time in line and talking to an agent, you tap a few buttons at a kiosk and get to the curb in a few minutes. Global Entry membership is valid for 5 years, and having Global Entry also lets you skip immigration queues in Australia and New Zealand.

There are two steps involved in obtaining Global entry: an application and an interview.

First, you need to fill out the online application.  To do this as efficiently as possible, make sure you have on hand: Proof of Citizenship documents (I just used my passport); your driver’s license, if you have one; and both your address and work histories for the past five years. The online application process took me about 30 minutes to complete.

If you have never registered with GOES (the Global Online Entry System), you will be prompted to register when you click the online application link above.

Once you are registered with GOES, log in to the system. You will see that you are not a member of any programs. Click “Enroll in a New Program” to begin your Global Entry application.

Select the link that allows you to start the application for the trusted traveler program.

From here, you will have to fill out a variety of personal information. There are 16 categories of information.

Fill out all the sections and submit your application. You will be prompted to pay the $100 application fee–make sure you use your Citi Prestige to pay this in order to have the fee credited back to you!

Once your application is approved, you can use the GOES system to schedule your in-person interview, which will take place at any airport that participates in the Global Entry program.

I would pay the $100 in a heartbeat even if I only traveled abroad once a year. When you can get it for free, it’s a no-brainer. How and Why I Got Global Entry.

Chip and No Foreign Transaction Fees

It shouldn’t surprise that a card very clearly designed for travelers comes with Chip technology for global acceptance and zero foreign transaction fees. The only surprising thing is that not all cards have these basic features.

Annual Fee

The annual fee is $450 and not waived. That should be a dealbreaker if you don’t use the benefits of the card, but it’s a fair price to pay if you are maximizing the card’s perks.

If you apply for the card at a time that allows double use of the airline fee credit before the next annual fee, you can get all of this for the cost of the first annual fee:

  • 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points
  • $500 worth of airline fee credits ($250 per calendar year)
  • $100 credit for applying for Global Entry
  • Lounge access + 2 at Admirals Clubs and Priority Club lounges
  • 4th night free on hotel stays with no blackouts

Those benefits clearly dwarf the $450 annual fee. After testing out the card and seeing how much you actually use the benefits, you’ll have a better idea going forward whether to keep the card for $450 per year in return for:

  • $250 worth of airline fee credits
  • Lounge access + 2 at Admirals Clubs and Priority Club lounges
  • 4th night free on hotel stays with no blackouts
  • 3x ThankYou Points on airfare and hotels; 2x on dining and entertainment

I plan on getting this card in the next few months. I am attracted by the sign up bonus, the $250 annual airline fee credit, the ability to use ThankYou Points for 1.6 cents each toward American Airlines and US Airways flights, and lounge access.

If you have a Citi Prestige, share your experiences in the comments.

Citi Prestige® Card with 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months, lounge access, $250 per calendar year in airline fee credits, and more

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
  • Earn 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

4 1198

American Airlines offers some of the most generous off peak awards in the world. Off peak awards are discounts (ranging from 20-30%) on economy awards with MileSAAver award space, the capacity-controlled space that we like to book.

To Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Central America, American Airlines charges just 15,000 miles one way seven months out of the year. Two roundtrips cost only 60,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 1.41.37 PM

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 1.41.49 PM
Two Roundtrips to Peru

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Just meeting its minimum spending requirement puts you at 53,000 miles. A little more spending gets you to 60,000 miles and two roundtrips.

When are Off Peak Awards Available

Off peak awards are available to the Central America and northern South America for most of the year, including most of winter, spring, and fall.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.43.39 PM

What Do They Cost

If you fly between January 16 and June 14 or September 7 and November 14, you can take advantage of a 20% discount on MileSAAver awards and pay only 15,000 miles one way or 30,000 miles roundtrip to Central America and Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.58.26 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.58.46 PM

Where Does American Fly in the Region

American has the strongest route network to Central and South America. Here are the flights from Miami to cities in the off peak region.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.52.25 PM

Here are the flights from Dallas. There are no destinations served from Dallas that are not served from Miami.
Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.52.46 PM

Unique to American Airlines, you can usually book off peak awards on either American flights or its partners flights. By contrast US Airways off peak awards require booking on US Airways flights only. See Master Thread: Off Peak Awards for more information.

One exception to American’s largesse is off peak awards to Central America, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Off peak awards to these countries must be booked on American Airlines flights.

That means that adding on a connecting segment on a partner will increase the price to the normal MileSAAver price of 17,500 miles one way. For instance, adding Lima to Cuzco in Peru onto an American Airlines award that would otherwise cost 15,000 miles makes it cost 17,500 miles. It still might be worth it to pay 2,500 miles to get the segment onto your award, but be aware of this rule.

You can connect from your home airport to Miami or Dallas to start the award for zero extra miles as long as the connecting flights have award space in MileSAAver economy and are operated by American Airlines. If they are operated by US Airways, the price jumps to 17,500 miles that direction.

How to Search for Award Space

Nothing fancy here. Search on aa.com for award space from your home airport to your destination. There shouldn’t even be a need for segment-by-segment searching because aa.com is pretty good at displaying even long layovers on awards like these if necessary. Here’s how to search aa.com.

Award space is generally excellent to these destinations during off peak dates. If it isn’t available on the dates you want, don’t despair, American Airlines open a lot of MileSAAver and off peak economy award space one month before departure.

Getting the Miles

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. It also comes with a ton of other benefits like free checked bags, priority boarding, a 10% rebate on awards, two lounge passes, and more. See my full review.

If you open the card and meet the minimum spending requirement, you’ll have 53,000 American Airlines miles. Spend $7,000 more on the card at your leisure, and you’ll have 60,000 American Airlines miles.

If you normally spend $2,500 per month on a card, getting to 60,000 miles will take only four months. If you spend only $1,000, this will take 10 months. No matter what, sometime in 2015, you should easily get to 60,000 miles.

With that 60,000 miles, you can book two roundtrip (or open jaw) tickets to Central America or northern South America during off peak dates.

You’ll even get a 6,000 mile rebate a few weeks after the booking from the 10% rebate that comes with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®.

Take your friend on a dream trip. Open one card, collect 60,000 miles on it including the 50,000 mile sign up bonus. Then book you and a companion an award trip to Central or South America. Head to Ecuador to see the Galapagos, Peru to see Machu Picchu, Colombia to trek to the Ciudad Perdida, Guatemala to see Semuc Champey, or wherever your dream trip is.

Is there an easier way to get two tickets to an exotic destination? Share it in the comments.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

American Express Membership Rewards transfers to British Airways Avios will come with an automatic 40% transfer bonus from now through January 31, 2015.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 3.57.36 AM

Is this British Airways transfer bonus a good deal? Should you take advantage of the 40% transfer bonus?

Until January 31, 2015, you can transfer increments of 1,000 AMEX points to 1,400 Avios automatically at membershiprewards.com.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 3.57.17 AM

 

If you have a use for Avios, this is a fantastic deal.

Avios are great for short, direct, economy tickets on airlines and routes without fuel surcharges.

For more information on Avios partners (all 18 of them), searches, award rules, fees, and how to avoid fuel surcharges, see:

FREE FIRST CLASS 2014: BRITISH AIRWAYS AVIOS BASICS

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

1 1596

How am I flying around the world in some of the world’s nicest Business and First Classes? By earning loads of miles, of course. Here are five easy ways you can earn more miles.

1. Collect More Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses

This is the easiest one, and where the vast majority of my miles come from. There are so many 40,000, 50,000, and even larger sign up bonuses available.

Many people worry about what the effect of opening credit cards will be on their credit score. There is an effect, so I recommend tracking your credit score over time to see that effect. I’ve found the effect on my score to be very small, so I open any card with a big bonus I think I can use. This gives me those mega-balances that let me travel in Lufthansa First Class or Cathay Pacific First Class while still leaving enough miles for economy awards that save me serious cash.

Check out the best travel credit card offers for December 2014 or a Free Credit Card Consultation to get started with collecting more sign up bonuses.

2. Category Bonuses

Many of the cards you have likely offer 2x, 3x, or 5x points on certain purchases. Memorize those categories or put small reminders physically on the cards, and carry all your credit cards–easier if you have a purse–to maximize every purchase.

If you figure you can get around 1.5x miles per dollar on all purchases if you maximize the category bonus on every swipe, and you spend $3,000 per month, this is an extra 18,000 miles per year compared to always getting 1x per dollar.

You’ll note that this is way smaller than even a single credit card sign up bonus, so focus there first and here second.

3. Retention Bonuses

I always cancel my credit cards by phone because I want to give the agent a chance to pitch me a bonus or bonuses for holding onto my credit cards. The bonuses might be:

  • A fixed number of miles: we’ll give you 5,000 miles to keep the card
  • Increased miles for spending on the card: we’ll give you 2 miles per dollar for the next three months
  • A waived annual fee: we’ll credit your account for $95 if you make five purchases on your card in the next month; that will offset the annual fee
  • Something else

Sometimes you can get a few offers and choose between them. I always listen carefully and decide whether the retention bonus makes keeping the card the smarter move.

You might even want to call in and ask about retention bonuses if you plan on holding your credit card. It never hurts to get free miles.

4. Refer Your Friends to Your Cards

There are frequently ways to get extra points by referring a friend to a card you have. We’ve seen that on the Starwood Preferred Guest cards, the Chase Freedom, and Chase Ink Plus among others.

You should always evangelize to your friends about miles to try to get them interested, so they can be your travel companions. (Forward them this post.) And when you can get bonus miles for referring them to a card that you believe would be valuable for them, jump at the chance.

5. Dining Programs

You can earn up to 8 miles per dollar at select restaurants if they are members of a dining program. You earn 5 miles per dollar by registering your card and dining frequently enough to earn status plus another 2-3 per dollar if you use a card with a category bonus at restaurants. I use the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card for its 3 ThankYou Points per dollar on dining and entertainment.

I wouldn’t bother eating at a restaurant just for the miles, but if your favorite restaurant is involved with a program and offers extra miles for every trip, sign up. Check here to see which restaurants are included with Rewards Network, which runs every airlines’ dining program.

But consider your time…

Balance all these ways to earn more miles against your time. We all have a finite amount of time, and sometimes there are better uses than squeezing out a few extra miles. Even I tend to save time and go for the lowest hanging fruit–credit card sign up bonuses–mostly.

Make sure to check out 4 Easy Ways to Spend Less Time on your Miles Hobby.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

5 880

The Washington Post has an interesting poll running right now. It’s really just one question about what you call the commercial airport closest to DC.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 12.06.06 PM

Beneath that, there are several demographic questions that I’m sure they’ll try to correlate your answer like how old you are, where you grew up, and how often you fly out of that airport that we’re trying to figure out what to call.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 12.06.16 PM

I grew up in Fredericksburg, VA, which is about equidistant from said airport, Dulles, and Richmond International Airport. I mainly have flown out of Dulles because it’s a United hub and because I have cousins just a few minutes from the airport.

I answered that I call the other airport “National.” I’m fairly consistent about that though if I’m writing to an audience that knows the airports, I’ll usually write “DCA.”

What do you call that other airport in Northern Virginia that isn’t Dulles?

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

2 569

United is offering a 20% discount on roundtrip Saver economy awards booked this month to Hawaii, Mexico, and several ski and warm weather destinations in the continental United States. The number of awesome winter destinations included is staggering.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.11.23 AM

The promotion is hard-coded into the search results at united.com, so as long as you search roundtrip for travel dates between January 12 and February 12, you will see the results display 20% off.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.05.16 AM

Hawaii & Mexico

Flights from anywhere in the United States (except Hawaii) or Canada to anywhere in Mexico and Hawaii are 20% off.

I performed some dummy searches between Washington DC and Honolulu, and as I expected, award space was excellent as it usually is to Hawaii during the winter.Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.06.16 AM

United flies to the four major Hawaiian islands. Atlanta to Maui priced out at 36,000 miles + $11 roundtrip, 20% off the normal 45,000 mile price.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.11.04 AM

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.11.11 AM

Two notes on heading to Hawaii with this promotion.

  1. Winter is the rainiest time in my home state. Consider Kona, Hawaii (Big Island), which sees the least rain if you go during winter. Other than rain, the weather is perfect with a high around 80 and low around 70.
  2. 36,000 miles is not the cheapest way to get to Hawaii. It isn’t even the cheapest way to book these exact flights. 35,000 Singapore miles is enough for a roundtrip to Hawaii on United flights with Saver award space. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United and Singapore miles, so transfer them to Singapore miles to book Hawaii.

Continental United States

Within the continental United States, there is a list of destinations that are 20% off that encompass nice winter escapes and ski destinations.

I searched for a roundtrip for two from Tampa to Vail. Award space was plentiful even though it is high season in Vail. Two roundtrips were 20% off at 40,000 miles + $22 (20,000 miles per person.)
Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.08.15 AM Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.08.25 AM

The list of included cities for continental United States travel:

  • Aspen (ASE)
  • Bozeman (BZN)
  • Durango (DRO)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Fort Myers (RSW)
  • Jackson Hole (JAC)
  • Mammoth Lakes (MMH)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)
  • Salt Lake City (SLC)
  • San Diego (SAN)
  • Santa Barbara (SBA)
  • Sarasota (SRQ)
  • Sun Valley (SUN)
  • Vail (EGE)
  • West Palm Beach (PBI)
  • Yampa Valley (HDN)

Unlike the Hawaii sale, which is cheaper with Singapore miles, 20,000 miles is the cheapest way to get to these destinations on the Star Alliance. I’m sure for many people, they can replace $400+ tickets with these 20,000 mile awards, which would be a fantastic 2+ cents per mile return for domestic economy.

FAQ

Does this discount apply to one way awards?

No. If you search one way, you will see the normal one way Saver price.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.28.34 AM

What if only one date of a roundtrip is within the discounted date range or I choose one way in First Class?

You will get the discount on one way if one way of a roundtrip is within the discounted January 12 – February 12 date range.

Here is Denver to Kauai with one way in the discounted dates and the return not. It prices at 40,500 miles roundtrip–18,000 for outbound and 22,500 for return.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.27.58 AM Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.28.05 AMSimilarly if one way of a roundtrip is in economy, it will be discounted, while the First Class portion of the award will not be.

Full terms and conditions: click here 

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

14 889

A reader writes that he used 8,010 Arrival miles to avoid paying the annual fee on his Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®, which comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3k in the first 90 days.

Arrival miles are completely unlike airline miles. Arrival miles are:
  • worth a fixed amount toward any travel redemption (1.11 to 1.14 cents) unlike regular miles which are redeemed according to a region-based award chart
  • equally good for hotel, car, flight, and cruise (and more) redemptions unlike regular miles which are only good for flights
  • able to be redeemed retroactively for up to 120 days unlike regular miles which you need to have in your account before booking your flight

In my last post about redeeming Arrival miles to buy American Airlines miles for zero cash, a ton of people were confused, so I suggest everyone read How to Redeem Barclaycard Arrival Miles.

Beside the obvious flights and hotels, I’ve shown that Arrival miles can be redeemed for:

A longtime reader just emailed me about a new use for Arrival miles that I didn’t know. His annual fee showed up on the page where travel purchases are listed.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 1.10.33 PMHe selected to remove his $89 annual fee for 8,900 miles. Like all other travel redemptions, he was immediately credited his 10% rebate on redeemed miles, which was 890 miles. That meant the net cost for not paying his annual fee was 8,010 Arrival miles.

Is this a good use of his Arrival miles?

Arrival miles are worth a fixed value, so all uses are good uses of Arrival miles as long as the thing for which you are redeeming is a good deal with cash.

The ability to redeem Arrival miles for the annual fee is good news for people with the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®.

I can basically count my Arrival miles as cash as long as I have enough purchases counted as “travel purchases” to redeem all my miles for them. Adding to the list of things that count helps. Of course, the definition of travel purchases is already so broad, and I travel so much that this is not a problem for me. Just the other day, I made two redemptions to knock $75 off my statement balance and reduce my mileage balance to 300 Arrival miles.

The Arrival Plus is one of three cards I travel abroad.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 1.43.46 PMHere’s my full review of the card and why I got the Arrival Plus, which has a sign up bonus worth $500 in free travel.

Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3k in the first 90 days

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
  • Complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer – a $49 annual value!
  • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

3 3443

I gave a well-received presentation on Trick Awards at the Chicago Seminars in October.

The presentation dealt with free one ways, negative price one ways, open jaws, stopovers, avoiding fuel surcharges, and award chart SUPER sweet spots.

Enjoy!

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

In October, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Chicago Seminars. My original slot was to speak about Trick Awards, but a last minute cancellation by another speaker had me also speak about the Southwest Companion Pass.

Here are my slides from the presentation, which are another way to consume the information in this post: Southwest 50k Offers Are Back, Leverage Them for $3,142 in Free Flights.

The presentation also contains some of my best tips about Southwest like how to snag the best seats, when Southwest’s ticket prices go up (this is pretty regular in my experience, and much more.

Also see Free Giveaway: $51 Southwest Gift Card.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

99 970

Longtime reader Cave Man is offering one lucky reader a $51 Southwest gift card.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 12.05.58 PM

Southwest gift cards are fully transferable and don’t expire. There are two ways to enter, and you can enter both ways. I’ll choose one winner from among the two types of entries next Friday and notify the winner via email.

  1. Comment on this post.
  2. Retweet this tweet.

Thanks again, Cave Man.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Follow Me

Featured Posts