Authors Posts by Scott Grimmer

Scott Grimmer

2367 POSTS 7225 COMMENTS

0

Since June 1, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® has offered 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

The offer expires Wednesday (August 31, 2016.) The previous offer was 50,000 bonus miles.

American Airlines miles are the best for super-cheap economy redemptions and ultra-luxury redemptions. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® also offers Admirals Club lounge membership, meaning you can access over 90 American Airlines Clubs in airports around the world whenever you’re flying–even if you’re not flying on American. Plus you can bring in any two guests for free OR your spouse and all children under 18 for free on each visit.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 1.54.46 PM

The only hitch is that the card has a $450 annual fee. That’s actually cheaper than the price of a new Admirals Club membership, and the 60,000 bonus miles are worth $900 to me, so I don’t mind paying the annual fee.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 3.49.53 AM

Prices of Admirals Club Membership

After meeting the card’s minimum spending requirement, you’ll have at least 65,000 American Airlines miles. That’s enough miles for a lot of flying at American’s off peak prices:

  • 3 off peak one ways to Hawaii
  • 5 to Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America
  • 3 to Central America and Northern South America
  • 2 to Southern South America
  • 3 to Europe [for 67.5k miles]
  • 2 to East Asia

Or go for luxury and use you American Airlines miles to book:

If you’ve been wanting to get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® with 60,000 bonus American Airlines and just haven’t gotten it yet, don’t delay any longer. The offer ends Wednesday.

Also See

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

0

Virgin Atlantic begins service between London and Seattle at the end of March 2017, and there is a ridiculous amount of flat bed Business Class award space on the route throughout the spring and summer.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 8.36.12 PM

Here are the daily flight schedules:

  • Seattle –> London, 7:10 pm – 2:00 pm
  • London –> Seattle, 11:00 am – 1:20 pm

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Product

Virgin Atlantic’s Business Class, called Upper Class offers a flat bed, Clubhouse access, and access to an onboard bar.

Award Space

Seattle -> London

Here is the color coded key to understanding virginatlantic.com’s award search calendar:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 7.40.00 PM

Over two thirds of the days in April have SIX Upper (Business) Class award seats open.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 7.40.10 PM

There are six Upper Class award seats available every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of May.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 7.42.18 PM

Every Saturday, a couple Thursdays, and a Sunday in May open up if you change the calendar to two travelers.

In June you seem the same pattern as May of every Monday through Wednesday with six Upper Class award seats available.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 7.42.54 PM

If you change the June calendar to two travelers, pretty much every single day of June has Upper Class space.

July’s got the Monday through Wednesday pattern for six available, same as the previous two months, plus a couple Saturdays and a Thursday.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 7.43.36 PM

Changing July’s calendar to two travelers shows Upper Class award space for every single day.

 

London -> Seattle

Space for the return is sufficient, just not as ridiculously plentiful as the outbound. Calendars for six travelers during April – July were sparser, but lower that traveler count to four or two and you have plenty of options, especially if you can travel Monday through Wednesday.

The other factor to consider on the return is that leaving London will have high departure taxes of over $300) no matter what miles you use or airline you fly. So instead, perhaps use Avios or a low-cost carrier to hop somewhere else in Europe and return home with a different type of miles from a low tax country. Have United miles? There’s heaps of Star Alliance Business Class award space returning to the US from Vienna over this coming summer.

Booking Virgin Atlantic Awards

You can book Virgin Atlantic flights with Virgin Atlantic miles or Delta SkyMiles. The advantage of booking with Virgin Atlantic miles is that you need way fewer miles. Here is the roundtrip award chart to the United Kingdom with Virgin Atlantic miles. One way awards cost half the number of miles.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 3.02.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-09 at 3.02.35 PM

The drawbacks are that Virgin Atlantic awards booked with Virgin Atlantic miles have BIG fuel surcharges (between somewhere in the $400 range) and the prices are valid only to London, not the rest of Europe.

When booked with Delta, there are no fuel surcharges, and you can connect in London to other cities in Europe. All Delta awards that fly Virgin Atlantic cost 62,500 miles one way in Upper Class between the United States and Europe.

I don’t live in Seattle… can I still utilize this award space?

Yes, if you are booking with Delta miles. Tack on an Alaska Airlines flight in Economy or Business (Alaska is partners with Delta). As long as it’s the least expensive award space available, it shouldn’t change the price of the Delta award. I would say you could tack on a Delta flight in the same manner, but One Mile at a Time claims the pricing will go haywire for reasons I’m not so sure about. But it’s SkyMiles after all, so anything is possible, or not possible…

If you try, let us know how it goes in the comments.

Booking the Award

You can search for award space on virginatlantic.com or delta.com. If booking with Virgin Atlantic miles, you can book on their site as well. If booking with Delta miles, you can try pricing it out on delta.com, which should work fine as long you’re booking just the main segment between Seattle and London. But if you’re adding any domestic connections to get to Seattle or fly onwards from London, the pricing will likely be funky and you’ll need to call Delta SkyMiles (1-800-323-2323) to make sure you pay no more than 62,500 each way for Upper Class.

Pay the taxes and surcharges with your Citi Prestige® Card.

The Citi Prestige® Card offers a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year that offsets your first $250 in spending on airlines with the card. Taxes on an award ticket definitely count.

The card also comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, which can be transferred to 12 types of airline miles or used like cash toward the purchase of any ticket.

Bottom Line

There is a seriously large amount of flat bed Upper Class Virgin Atlantic award space between Seattle and London over next spring and summer. The best way to book it is probably with 62,500 Delta miles and no fuel surcharges one way.

Don’t have any Delta miles? Transfer SPG Points (and remember, you get a 5,000 mile bonus for every SPG Point transfer in increments of 20,000) or Membership Rewards 1:1 to Delta SkyMiles.

Hat Tip One Mile at a Time

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

0

JetBlue is running a Flash Fares sale right now. You can book a one way flight from New York City (JFK) to Liberia, Costa Rica on September 4, 2016 for a ridiculous 300 JetBlue points and $23.25 in taxes. You can also book a one way flight from New York City (JFK) to Puerto Porto in the Dominican Republic on September 4, 2016 for a silly 800 points and $36.90 in taxes. Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 5.54.45 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 6.34.21 PM

There are a variety of flights on sale, those are just two of the best deals I spotted.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 7.07.39 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 7.07.05 PM

The catch for these deals is that you have to fly on the date give, those prices don’t apply for any other day. The other catch is that the Blue fare doesn’t include a checked bag. One bag travel anyone?

Even if you do want to check a bag you only have to pay 1,200/1,100 more TrueBlue points more by purchasing the Blue Plus fare.

Or if you have the JetBlue Plus card, you and three travel companions get a free checked bag (not to mention 10% of your TrueBlue points rebated).

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 6.59.57 PM

The reality is that most of you won’t be able to take advantage of those crazy TrueBlue point prices, and that is why they’re so cheap. But if you can, wow. Please do.

If you don’t have any TrueBlue points, the cash prices are still pretty cheap for international travel:

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 6.06.14 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 6.36.59 PM

TrueBlue points are worth roughly 1.3 cents each (remember, they are tied to the cash price of the ticket). So use the points if you have them, it’s a better deal.

@JetBlueCheeps

The dirt cheap prices to Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are JetBlue Flash Fares. Flash Fares are sales on a specific flight, i.e. a specific route on a specific day. When you can purchase isn’t time sensitive but as it’s only one flight, the sooner you purchase the better as it’s obviously highly capacity controlled by the amount of seats on that one flight.

Flash Sales are also time sensitive, just in a different sense. Flash Sales are discounts on a specific route, but not just one flight on a certain day. Usually there’s a span of months in which you can book a flight with the discount, like the labor day sale they had on August 17th last week. The time sensitive part is that you normally have about 24 hours to book until the sale expires.

Pro tip: To be the first to know about either of these types of sales, follow @JetBlueCheeps on twitter. 

Bottom Line

You can fly from New York City to either Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic on September 4 for an insane 300 points (to Costa Rica) or 800 JetBlue points (to the Dominican Republic). Book before those two planes fill up and then brag to all your friends that your international flight costs less than their dinner.

It’s deals like these that should make you think about getting the JetBlue Plus card. While the 30,000 TrueBlue point sign up bonus is comparatively small, those points could last forever if you stretched them on JetBlue’s very commonplace flash sales and flash fares. The free checked bag is a big money saver too.

cc-reward-320x50

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

0

Hotel cards offer a variety of perks like free night, hotel points (that can be used for free nights), hotel status, and increasingly other benefits like statement credits.

There are tons of hotel cards out there, but I think you can focus on these five cards first.

#5 the 75,000 bonus point Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card drops its bonus on Wednesday (8/31/16)

#1 Chase Sapphire Reserve

While not strictly a hotel card, this is still the clear #1 hotel card because the 100,000 bonus points can transfer to 100,000 Hyatt points, which are worth 3-20 free nights in Hyatts depending on category or 2-12 nights in suites.

Plus the $600 in travel credits you can get in the first 12 months of having the card can be used to offset another $600 in hotel stays.

  • Sign Up Bonus: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in spending in the first three months, can transfer to four types of hotel points
  • Statement Credits: First $300 in travel purchases each calendar year are offset; $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck Credit
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on travel and restaurants
  • Value of Ultimate Rewards: Worth 1.5 cents toward the cash booking of any hotel OR can be transferred to seven airlines and four hotels for higher value
  • Lounge Access: Priority Pass Select Membership means free access to 900+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Global Acceptance: Visa, chip technology, and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Eligibility: Chase 5/24 Rule
  • Full MileValue Analysis of Chase Sapphire Reserve

Apply: Chase Sapphire Reserve

#2 Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

This is another card with a mega annual fee and mega benefits. (Don’t worry cards #3-#4 have low annual fees, and #5 has no annual fee.)

The Ritz-Carlton offers three free nights at Tier 1-4 properties after spending $5,000. There are only five tiers, so you can stay in some very fancy hotels that go for $500+ per night.

Adding an authorized user and meeting the minimum spending requirement gets you at least halfway to another free night.

The statement credits are not nearly as valuable as those offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

  • Sign Up Bonus: Three free nights at Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carltons after $5,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Authorized User Bonus: Get 10,000 bonus points for adding one when signing up for the card
  • Statement Credits: First $300 in spending on “airline lounge day pass, or towards a yearly lounge membership of your choice; airline seat upgrades; airline baggage fees; in-flight Internet/entertainment; in-flight meals” are offset each calendar year; $100 Global Entry Credit
  • Category Bonuses: 5x at Ritz-Carlton; 2x on airlines, car rentals, and restaurants
  • Value of Ritz-Carlton Points: Need 30k to 70k for a free night
  • Lounge Access: Priority Pass Select Membership means free access to 900+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Discounted Flights: $100 discount on domestic flight bookings for 2+ passengers
  • Global Acceptance: Visa, chip technology, and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • EligibilityChase 5/24 Rule

Apply: Ritz-Carlton Card

#3 Starwood Preferred Guest Card

This has a sign up bonus more valuable than other hotel cards, but I’d still hold off for the once or twice per year increase of the bonus to 30,000 or 35,000 Starpoints, since American Express only lets you get one bonus per product. That means if you get a 25,000 point bonus now, you can never get the bonus again, even if it increases to 30,000 or 35,000 points.

Apply: SPG Card

#4 Hilton Reserve

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is the best card for giving you free luxury hotel nights. The card comes with two free weekend nights at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in the first four months. The free nights are best spent at top-tier Hiltons and Conrads that can go for $1,000 or more per night.

This card is perfect to get aspirational stays at top tier properties like the Conrad Koh Samui that goes for 95,000 Hilton points per night and costs more than $1k per night.

The card also comes with Hilton Gold Status, so you can enjoy free internet and breakfast on those free stays.

The card earns 10x points on Hilton stays, 5x on airlines and car rentals, and 3x on all other purchases.

There card has no foreign transaction fee. The annual fee is $95.

  • Sign Up Bonus: Two free weekend nights at Hiltons worldwide after $2,500 in spending in the first four months
  • Annual Spending Bonus: One free weekend night any calendar year you spend $10,000
  • Category Bonuses: 10x at Hiltons, 5x at airlines and car rental agencies, 3x on everyday spending
  • Value of Hilton Points: Worth 0.4 cents to me. Should be used at Category 1-3 Hiltons for free nights from 5,000 to 20,000 points per night instead of Category 10 Hiltons which cost 95,000 points per night
  • Automatic Status: Hilton Gold Status as long as you hold the card
  • Global Acceptance: Visa, chip technology, and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Eligibility: You can get the bonus again as long as your last Citi Hilton has been closed for 24 months.
  • Where to use free night certificates

Apply: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

#5 75,000 Point Hilton No Annual Fee Card (Expires Wed)

Until Wednesday August 31, 2016, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card comes with 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months, automatic Hilton Silver status, and no annual fee.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 12.06.33 AM

This is a huge sign up bonus for a card with no annual fee.

The card offers 6x points at Hilton hotels; 3x at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations; and 2x on all other purchases. Plus any year you spend $1,000 at Hiltons, you get 10,000 bonus points.

Free night awards start at 5,000 points per night and because the card gives you free Silver status, cardholders get the fifth night free on all awards.

Spending $2,500 on the card (of which at least $2,000 is in the first three months) will give you 80,000 Hilton points, enough for 4 five-night stays at Category 1 hotels, 20 total nights!

  • Sign Up Bonus: 75,000 Bonus Hilton Points after spending $2,000 in the first three months
  • Spending Bonus: Any year you spend $1,000 at Hiltons, you get 10,000 bonus points
  • Category Bonuses: 6x at Hiltons; 3x at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations; 2x on everyday spending
  • Value of Hilton Points: Worth 0.4 cents to me, but you can get a lot more value. Should be used for five night stays at Category 1-3 Hiltons to take advantage of cheap award prices and the fifth night free. 80,000 Hilton points = 20 free nights at Category 1, 10 at Category 2, and five at Category 3
  • Automatic Status: Hilton Silver Status as long as you hold the card
  • Global Acceptance: Visa, chip technology, but 3% foreign transaction fee. Do not use abroad
  • Annual Fee: none
  • Eligibility: You can get the bonus again as long as your last Citi Hilton has been closed for 24 months.
  • Full card breakdown and analysis

Apply: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

August 31, 2016 will be the last day to get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® sign up bonus of 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles.

There’s a lot you can do with the 60,000 mile sign up bonus from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. You’ll actually have 65,000 miles after meeting the $5,000 minimum spending requirement to unlock the bonus. 

Here’s four ways to spend those 65,000 American Airlines miles.

  • Fly five people to the US and Mexico, Caribbean, or Central America during the time window of April 27 to May 20 or September 7 to November 14 (off peak dates). If you and your spouse both got this card, you could take five people including yourselves on roundtrips and still collectively have 5,000 miles leftover.
  • Fly yourself to Europe from the US in Business class and still have 7,500 miles leftover
  • Fly roundtrip in Business Class to Northern South America and still have 5,000 miles leftover.

Lucky for you, there’s plenty of award space for upcoming months on these routes that makes these trips not just theoretical prices on an award chart, but 100% doable in the near future.

Award Space

Miami <-> Belize

An atoll in Belize
An atoll in Belize, by Serge Melki

The calendars below show non-stop award space for five travelers between Miami and Belize flying American Airlines (you only get the Off Peak price of 12,500 each way when flying AA planes).

Here is Miami to Belize.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 9.51.19 PM

And here’s the return back to Miami from Belize.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 9.51.19 PM

New York City <-> Paris

9441717990_9494e6066b_zTreat yourself one of the ways to Paris in Business Class. Calendars below show non-stop award space for one traveler, flying only American Airlines planes since you want to avoid British Airways for the massive fuel surcharges.

Here is New York City to Paris.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 10.55.47 PM

And here’s the return to New York City from Paris.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 11.02.33 PM

Miami -> Lima, Quitos -> Miami

Take that dream trip to Machu Picchu, and pamper yourself with Business Class roundtrip. The calendars below show non-stop award space for one person.

IMG_1670-e1468342216489

January and February is the prettiest time to be in Lima. That is the wet season for the area around Machu Picchu, but I think the ruins are especially mystical shrouded in cloud and fog, and there are less people.

Here is Miami to Lima.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 11.15.48 PM

And here’s Quito to Miami.

Be adventurous! Business Class award space from Lima to Miami around the time of return is not so hot. But there’s tons of room flying back from Quito. Just imagine, you can see the Galapagos AND Machu Picchu in one trip! Use 7,500 Avios to hop between Lima and Quitos– it’s only a two hour fligh

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 11.46.45 PM
A sea lion in the Galapagos, by Derek Keats

Connections

If you don’t live in one of the gateway cities listed above, you can add a leg from or to your hometown airport in the United States for no extra miles as long as it’s SAAver level space and is in the same or a lower cabin than your transoceanic leg.

Bottom Line

The 60,000 mile sign up bonus for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is ending on August 31, 2016. If you want all 65,000 miles you’ll earn by meeting the minimum spending requirement, sign up this week. As you can see, there’s a lot you can do with those miles, and not just theoretically.

Want more inspiration for how to spend 65,000 American Airlines miles? Read 11 Cool Things You Can Do With the Sign-up Bonus from the AAdvantage Executive Mastercard.

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

10

The brand new Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.01.56 AM

Plus it offers up to $700 in statement credits in the first year of cardmembership.

There’s a $300 per calendar year to offset your first $300 in “travel” purchases. This broad category includes airfare, flight award taxes and fees, airline fees, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals, cruises, tolls/E-Z Pass, parking, Uber/Lyft, and taxis.

Everyone reading this blog must rack up well over $300 in such charges per year, so that’s basically free money, and since the credit resets after your December statement, you can get two $300 credits before your second annual fee is due. That’s $600 in statement credits in the first 12 months you have the card.

And there’s a $100 Global Entry credit.

The card offers valuable, transferable Ultimate Rewards; 3x points on travel and dining; and airport lounge access at over 900 lounges worldwide.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Statement Credits: First $300 in travel purchases each calendar year are offset; $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck Credit
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on travel and restaurants
  • Value of Ultimate Rewards: Worth 1.5 cents toward the purchase of any airfare or may other travel purchase OR can be transferred to seven airlines and four hotels for higher value
  • Lounge Access: Priority Pass Select Membership means free access to 900+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Global Acceptance: Visa, chip technology, and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Eligibility: Chase 5/24 Rule

Sign Up Bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This would be a great card with half the bonus, but I’m not turning down a six figure sign up bonus.

Ultimate Rewards have two primary uses.

  1. Use them like cash to purchase airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises with no blackouts.
  2. Transfer them to miles with six airlines or four hotels. Then they are whatever miles or points you chose, subject to those rules.

If you use these like cash toward airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises, you will get 1.5 cents each of value, making the sign up bonus worth $1,500 toward travel without the hassle of searching for award space. When you redeem Ultimate Rewards like cash toward any flight, the operating airline sees you as a cash-paying passenger, so you earn miles for your flights.

As good as that sounds, don’t use Ultimate Rewards like this.

Instead of redeeming the points like cash, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards to one of the 11 airline and hotel partners.

The airline partners are awesome because of their versatility. The partners include at least one member of each alliance plus Virgin Atlantic and Southwest. And they include at four programs with region-based miles, one with distance-based miles, and one with airline pointsScreen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.20.44 AM

United miles are awesome for economy and Business Class awards with no fuel surcharges and great Saver award availability. Korean miles are awesome for the best First Class award space in the world or to fly Delta to Hawaii. Singapore miles are awesome to fly a double bed in the sky or to get to Hawaii or South America.

The most valuable hotel partner is Hyatt, but you’ll generally get more value transferring to airlines.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 12.37.51 AMOverall, I value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each because of the transfer partners, so a 100,000 point bonus is worth $2,000 to me.

Statement Credits

Every calendar year, you get a $300 travel credit to offset your first $300 in purchases like:

Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages

This is an automatic credit that you don’t need to register for. Even better, it resets in December.

A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to $300 in statement credits annually (“annually” means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and each 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date).

That means that if you got the card now, you’d have about four months to get the first $300 in credit, and about eight months to get another $300 in credit before your next annual fee. That’s $600 in refunded travel purchases.

In addition, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are entitled to a $100 statement credit when they pay the $100 Global Entry enrollment fee with their cards.

Global Entry is a United States Customs and Border Patrol program designed to let trusted travelers 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 also lets you use TSA Precheck lines in the US, even on domestic itineraries.

I would pay the $100 in a heartbeat for Global Entry 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

Global Entry is good for five years, and you can get this credit once every four years.

Lounge Access

Chase Sapphire Reserve holders get a free Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. Sapphire Reserve card holders get free Priority Pass Select membership, which entitles them to free access to 900+ lounges worldwide.

I downloaded the Priority Pass 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.

Category Bonuses

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3x Ultimate Rewards on travel and restaurants. Those are broad categories that include flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, tolls, parking, Uber, taxis, restaurants, bars, fast food, and night clubs.

I’m salivating at the prospect of 3 United/Korean/BA/Singapore miles per dollar in these categories.

Fees

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has no foreign transaction fees. It also has chip technology for global acceptance, so it’s a great card for overseas travel.

The card has an annual fee of $450, and the first one is due on your first statement. If that is offputting, you totally missed the part about the $700 in statement credits you can get during your first 12 months, and the bonus points worth $2,000 to me.

Eligibility to Be Approved

If you have opened five or more new credit cards in the last 24 months, you will be denied for Chase cards, including the Sapphire Reserve. This is the so-called Chase 5/24 rule.

Bottom Line

I think the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best credit card offer ever. The bonus points are worth $2,000 to me, the first year statement credits are worth $700 to me, and the lounge access and 3x category bonus are incredible. All of that swamps the $450 annual fee in my opinion.

If you aren’t limited by Chase’s 5/24 rule, you should get this card.

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

5

Citi offers Price Rewind as a free feature on its personal cards like the:

It’s not a highly publicized benefit, but it can save you a lot of money each year, as proven by our reader success stories in this post.

Basically you register purchases online and if the price drops within 60 days of the purchase, Citi refunds you the difference up to $2,500 per year with a maximum of $500 per item.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.07.38 AM

The process is explained clearly in this video.

Or, if you prefer, this infographic.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.09.33 AM

Citi Price Rewind has saved cardholders $3,022,232 in January through June of 2016 alone at an average of $24.42 per refund.

How to Access Price Rewind

There are two ways:

1. Go to citipricerewind.com and sign in with your Citi card’s online account info (click on either sign on option)

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 4.47.54 PM

2. Go to Citi’s website, sign in, and click card benefits. You can find it from there.
Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 4.51.53 PM

How to Register a Product

Enter your product name to search Citi’s inventory on citipricerewind.com

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 6.53.31 PM

When registering a product, be as specific as possible since Citi has quite a large inventory. Details that can help specify aside from the product name are model number and/or UPC code (try Amazon if you can’t find them elsewhere).

For example, when I searched a very general term like “macbook”, it turned up 29,959 results.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 8.34.44 AM

Once you’ve narrowed down your product, click Track This Item and you will be brought to a page where you need to fill in the purchase price, date of purchase, and where you bought it:

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 6.59.51 PMThen you Start the Price Rewind.
Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 6.59.51 PM

Quick Facts About the Process

  • Citi will search for lower prices for a 60 day period of time post-purchase (not from when you registered the purchase, but from when the purchase was actually made)
  • The most you can get refunded for one item is $500.
  • The most you can get refunded in one year is $2,500.
  • You will receive an email alert if a lower price is found within the 60 day post-purchase time period
  • If you receive the email alert, sign in to citipricerewind.com and request a refund. Remember to keep your original, itemized receipt for this as they will likely ask you to upload it.
    • If your refund is $25.01 or more, you can choose between a statement credit or a check through the mail. If you request a check Citi says it will take 10 to 14 business days.
    • If your refund is less than $25.01, it will automatically be issued as a statement credit (processing time of two to three days)
  • Requests for a refund must be done within 180 days of the original purchase.

Which Purchases You Can Register and When You Should

Anything you buy with your Citi card within the United States qualifies, as long as it’s not in the list in the next section (Which Purchases You Can’t Register).

When you make any large purchase on your Citi card, the likelihood for bigger savings via Price Rewind increases. So register all your expensive purchases.

It would also be wise to register any purchases around the holidays, as sales are common post-holiday season to get rid of access inventory. Here’s a good hack: avoid getting trampled by Black Friday crowds by doing all your holiday shopping the week before on your Citi card. Register all the products on Price Rewind, watch the savings role in the next week, and laugh at your friends who wake up at 5 am to wait at doorbuster sales.

Which Purchases You Can’t Register

Items purchased with reward points, miles, gift cards or store credits do not count (the entire purchase must have been made on a Citi card).

The following list about which purchases don’t qualify is from the terms and conditions page of citipricerewind.com:

  • Any motorized land or air vehicles or their permanently attached parts, such as tires.
  • Boats.
  • Products that can spoil or be used up, such as food, fuel, perfume, printer cartridges and cosmetics.
  • Jewelry including loose gems, precious stones, metals and pearls. Watches are covered.
  • Antiques, art objects or stamps.
  • Tickets.
  • Land, buildings or fixtures meant for installation, such as windows, wallpaper or wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Cash (including rare or precious coins), checks, promissory notes, gift cards or any other financial document that represents money.
  • Items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use.
  • Plants or animals, including stuffed or mounted animals or fish.
  • Advice or services for a purchased item, such as product installation, labor, maintenance or repair.
  • Firearms or ammunition.

What if I Find a Lower Price than Price Rewind?

If you find a lower price than Price Rewind does, you can file a claim manually. You have a 180 day window to find and claim the lower price.

You can download a claim form by logging on to citipricerewind.com and clicking on “My Price Rewinds”:

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.05.55 PM

In the bottom right hand corner of every one of your Price Rewinds, there is a link to download a claim form.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.07.08 PM

These are the documents you will need to send in with the claim form according to Price Rewind’s FAQ’s:

  • A copy of the itemized receipt for the item purchased.
  • A copy of the merchant’s advertisement with the lower price for the same item by the same manufacturer. The advertisement must state; Item
  • Effective date of sale (within 60 days of purchase)
  • Sale price
  • Model number and model year
  • Authorized dealer or merchant name (in US only)

Send everything to:

Citi® Price Rewind
P.O. Box 901024
Fort Worth, TX 76101
Call Toll Free 1-855-569-7366
Fax: 817-820-5917

Peoples’ Experiences with Price Rewind

Flyertalk

There isn’t a whole lot of buzz on Flyertalk about Citi Price Rewind, but what talk has gone on is nearly all positive. This Flyertalker dropped some useful knowledge that the refund per year limit is not person, but per account. So he’s saying if you have the Citi Prestige® Card and the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card for example, you could apparently get up to $5,000 refunded from Citi per year. Anyone have any personal experience with this? Let us know in the comments if so.

Reader Success Story

Reader Amy C saved at least $59.20 on a dress she bought at Nordstrom for $148 thanks to Price Rewind:

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 4.35.35 PM

She sent us the following screenshot of one of her Citi Price Rewind account page (the whole 60 day post-purchase period had not elapsed yet, this was only partially through it):

dress

More recently Amy C sent me another great illustration of how Price Rewind is saving her another $50.

image

Price Rewind found a cheaper bluetooth speaker than the one she bought on Amazon in June.

image (1)

Thanks for continuing to share these data points, Amy C!

Dissatisfied Reader

Reader Gina had a less than satisfactory experience when she did not receive the refund due to her:Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.34.22 PM

Any update on this, Gina?

Tips From Readers Who Have Used Citi Price Rewind

  • If you plan on buying multiple of the same item you want to register on Price Rewind, be sure to buy them in separate transactions:

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 3.51.15 PM

  • Use it to save on high shipping costs and to get your desired item sooner when the online price is cheaper than the store:

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 3.50.48 PM

Bottom Line

The next time I buy something expensive, I’ll give Citi Price Rewind a whirl if I’m not meeting minimum spending requirements on other cards. It’s a great way to save yourself time and money on big purchases since Citi Bank does the market research for you– and nearly all the reviews I’ve read have been happy customers.

Have you ever used Citi Price Rewind? Did you get a refund?

If you haven’t used it yet, and you have one of these cards, give it a shot and let us know how it turns out.

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

1

Right Now

Citi Prestige® Card offers American Airlines lounge access on any day you are flying American Airlines flights for you and either your spouse and kids or any two guests.

It also offers Priority Pass lounge access worldwide for you and either your spouse and kids or any two guests, no matter what airline you fly.

Full post on Citi Prestige Airport Lounge Access

But Only Until July 23, 2017

The Citi Prestige® Card loses access to American Airlines lounges on July 24, 2017. It maintains Priority Pass lounge access.

By August 31, 2016

If you are a current cardholder or open a new Citi Prestige® Card by August 31 (next Wednesday), you can enjoy American Airlines lounge access through July 23, 2017. If you open your card September 1 or later, you don’t get that 11 months of American Airlines lounge access.

That information is from an email Citi sent me:

I wanted to note that you are correct in stating that existing Citi Prestige cardmembers will have Admirals Club lounge access until July 23, 2017. But, we also want to be transparent that for those who become a Citi Prestige cardmember on or after September 1, 2016they will not have access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges.

 

The following benefits of the Citi Prestige card will remain unchanged:

  • Annual $250 Air Travel Credit
  • $100 Statement credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • 24/7 Access to the Citi Prestige Concierge
  • 3x Points on Air Travel & Hotels, 2X points on Dining & Entertainment and 1 Thank You® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Travel & Emergency Assistance, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection and Trip DelayProtection

Full Admirals Club membership costs $500 per year, so an extra 11 months of free membership is a big deal for a lot of people. Admirals Clubs feature free:

*only at select Clubs

My favorite Admirals Club is at Honolulu Airport with lots of food and overlooking the gardens. There are more than 50 Admirals Clubs worldwide.

As a reminder, to access an Admirals Club with a Citi Prestige® Card:

  • You must present your Citi Prestige® Card and a boarding pass on American Airlines for a flight that takes off in the next 12 hours or landed in the last 12 hours.
  • You can bring in your spouse and all your children under 18 for free, or you can bring in any two guests for free.
  • Only the primary cardholder of a Citi Prestige® Card account receives the Admirals Club lounge access benefit. Authorized users on the same account do not.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 6.30.43 PM

Should You Get the Prestige by Next Week?

Right now the Citi Prestige® Card comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

I value those bonus points at about $760.

If you get the card this week, you have about four months to get your first $250 Air Travel credit and eight months to get your second. That’s $500 worth of airfare, award taxes, airline fees, or fuel surcharges in the first twelve months.

Full post on $250 Air Travel Credit

If you get the card this week, you’d get 10.5 months of AA lounge access and 12 months of Prioirty Pass lounge access for you and guests in the first year of cardmembership.

All that dwarfs the $450 annual fee.

Maybe you’re kicking yourself because a few weeks ago you could get the card with 50,000 bonus points and a $3,000 spending requirement. But if you missed that, getting the card this week is the next best deal, and quite a bit better than getting it in September with no American Airlines lounge access.

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Next month I want to fly Lufthansa First Class from the United States to Europe, like I did a few years ago, because I love the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, the luxury of sitting in the nose of a 747-8, and the onboard food and drinks.

But I want to do it smartly. Instead of paying 110,000 United miles one way, I want to pay 40,000 Starpoints. To do that, I needed to do a few things today, a month before my planned flight to get in position to book.

First a few facts about Lufthansa First Class bookings:

  • Lufthansa miles can book Lufthansa First Class up to a year in advance.
  • Partner miles can book it up to 15 days in advance.
  • Partner award prices vary greatly from 50,000 Asiana miles one way between the United States and Europe to 110,000 United miles. Some partners collect fuel surcharges on Lufthansa First Class award tickets; some don’t.
  • Taxes and fuel surcharges vary greatly by route.

The best way to book Lufthansa First Class is to use Asiana miles and book one way from Europe to the United States on a route with low taxes and fuel surcharges. This uses the fewest miles (50,000 Asiana miles = 40,000 SPG Starpoints), can cost as little as $200 out of pocket, and means you can enjoy the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt before your flight.

To set myself up to book an Asiana award, I needed to do a few things today, about a month before I plan to fly.

#1 Check the Award Chart

I haven’t checked Asiana’s award chart for a few weeks. It is still the same, showing 100,000 miles for a First Class roundtrip between the USA and Europe. You can book one way for half price.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 4.23.33 PM

#2 Check Award Space

No award space is available in Lufthansa First Class for my preferred dates because I want to fly more than 15 days from now and award space is only open to partners 15 days out in Lufthansa First Class.

But as I often say, the best way to estimate whether award space will be available for you on your date at the last minute is to search for last minute award space now.

My ideal itinerary is Zagreb to Munich to Frankfurt to Washington-Dulles. I’d like to have a 23 hour layover in Munich during Oktoberfest, then a 3-6 hour layover in Frankfurt to enjoy the First Class Terminal, and then fly to DC.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 4.37.54 PM

I searched the next few days to see if such an itinerary is likely. I think it is. There is a flight from Zagreb to Munich that lands at 8 AM that would be ideal (and if there’s no space on it, then I can probably find a one stop way to get to Munich.)

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 10.01.06 PMThen there are flights every hour from Munich to Frankfurt including a 7 AM departure that would give me five hours and fifteen minutes in the First Class Terminal. There is also plenty of award space on the daily 1:15 PM Frankfurt to Dulles flight in First Class.Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 10.03.06 PM Satisfied that I could find award space, I decided to go to the irreversible step three.

#3 Transfer Starpoints to Asiana Miles

I need to transfer from SPG Points to Asiana miles with some anticipation because my last transfer took a week to post, and the transfer can take as long as two weeks.

Once I make the transfer, I can’t send the Asiana miles back to SPG points. So there is some risk of losing my most valuable points (SPG) and not getting the ticket I want. You have to be comfortable with that risk to make the transfer. I am, because even if I can’t get Lufthansa First Class, there are great deals with Asiana miles between the United States and South America, which is a trip I take often.

To transfer points, sign in on spg.com and choose to Redeem Starpoints.
Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 4.17.55 PM Select the option to transfer to airline miles and select Asiana Club. For every 20,000 Starpoints, you get 5,000 bonus miles, 40,000 Starpoints equals the 50,000 Asiana miles I need.Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 4.19.52 PM

#4 Wait and See

Now I’ll wait to see when my Asiana miles post. Then 15 days before my desired date, I’ll start searching for award space, and hopefully I can book it about a week before departure. I’ll keep you posted.

Bottom Line

For Lufthansa First Class awards, you should use Asiana miles, and you should start planning and complete your preliminary steps about a month before departure.

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

20

I originally wrote this series in 2012.  As it has turned out to be quite popular, I am in the process of updating it to reflect current information for 2016.

“Top 10 Things to Do, See, and Eat in Peru” Series Index

7. Wander the Inca Streets of Cuzco

cuzco

Almost every visitor to Peru will come to Cuzco because it’s the only way to get to Machu Picchu (#1) and the Sacred Valley (#3), but the city itself is worth your time.

The most important thing to know about Cuzco is that it is over two miles above sea level. You must prepare in advance to avoid altitude sickness. If you know that you don’t handle altitude well, it may be worth your while to purchase acetazolamide (Diamox) and take it for a few days before flying from Lima–at sea level–to Cuzco on a one hour flight. (Now’s as good a time as any to tell you not to take legal, financial, or medical advice from this blog.)

My brother had a severe negative reaction to the altitude in Cuzco that manifested over several days and caused us to visit the emergency room and fly back to Lima before we had planned. I’ve never had a problem in Cuzco with the altitude. Here are the steps I take to mitigate the effects.

  1. Take an early morning flight from Lima, and check into a hotel that allows you to check in whenever you arrive.
  2. Drink some coca tea in the lobby while checking in. Every hotel and restaurant in Cuzco has coca tea. Why not deal with the altitude the same way as the inhabitants of the region have dealt with it for centuries? Coca can also be chewed. You may notice that coca is the base of the substance and word “cocaine.” Coca itself though is not a harmful drug, just a mild stimulant, less stimulating than caffeine.
  3. Take a nap. Resting is crucial to acclimating. Getting up too early for the flight ensures I can fall right to sleep. After waking up, I have half the day left to explore, and I’m pretty acclimated.
  4. Continue to walk slowly and avoid alcohol for at least the first 24 hours.
  5. Hydrate.

Once you’re acclimated, it’s time to explore the city. For me the main highlights are around the Plaza, Qorikancha, and Sachsayhuaman.

The plaza itself is my second favorite in Peru behind Arequipa’s. It’s a beautiful place to while away hours reading or people watching. Make sure you see it by day and by night; it’s like two different worlds. Surrounding the plaza are several churches, the largest and most interesting being La Catedral.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 5.18.38 PM

Walking distance from the Plaza–everything in tiny Cuzco is walking distance–is Qorikancha, which I think is the most interesting ruin within Cuzco. These Inca ruins were once a temple literally completely covered in gold. Pose outside with entrepreneurial locals in customary dress and their llamas for a small tip.

Included in any package tour is Sachsayhuaman, an incredible fortress made of massive stones. I enjoy tour guide humor, and here you’re sure to get a joke about the similarity the pronunciation bears to “sexy woman.”

sexySachsayhuaman will cause you to marvel at the sheer size and wonder how much sweat had to go into its construction. Then consider that what you see is one fifth of its original size!

Cuzco has the best backpacker nightlife in Peru; you’ll find the clubs and young people clustered around the plaza at night.

Cuzco is also the best place in Peru to try anticucho and cuy. Anticucho is beef heart on a stick, preferably grilled on the street. Pay your 50 cents, and try it with whatever sauce they offer! Cuy is guinea pig. Tourists seem to think gross foods are less gross if they’re referred to as a delicacy, and cuy is the ultimate delicacy. Try to find a restaurant that lets you pick your own guinea pig.

Getting there: 4,500 Avios and a few dollars tax each way on LATAM from Lima

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 4.24.43 PMHotels: There are tons of options, indie as well as major hotel brands. Pick your hotel by its proximity to the plaza.

Time needed to visit: 2 days (not including the Sacred Valley or Machu Picchu)

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 7.11.58 PM

The Food in Cuzco by Sarah Page

Eating well is important to me. There are few things in life I value more than a good meal.

Possibly my favorite traditional dish from Cuzco, and maybe even the best thing I ate in all of Peru (especially considering it was dirt cheap), was a spicy pork stew-like dish called adobo. The adobo I sampled was delicious but in a nondescript location a block off the Plaza de Armas, near the intersection of Mantas and Avenida del Sol. It was a sort of convenience store in the front and a very basic restaurant in the back. Order the adobo de cerdo, and be warned that it will make your nose run.

Adobo de cerdo
Adobo de cerdo

I also thoroughly enjoyed Cuzco’s central food market, Mercado San Pedro. You can browse interesting and weird ingredients, sip on fresh juices and smoothies from one of the many vendors near the entrance, or head towards the back to get a cheap and authentic meal.
Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 7.13.06 PM

Here are a few restaurants I recommend in Cuzco:

6. Stroll the Cliff Parks in Lima

Everyone hates Lima but me. So let me evangelize for a few paragraphs. Lima is a bustling, traffic snarled, dirty, gray, ugly 9 million person mega-city. You can’t avoid it since you’ll be flying in and out of Lima, and you shouldn’t try to avoid it.

Why? Because Lima is also the most exciting and beautiful city in all of Peru. To not enjoy Lima is to not enjoy Peru. All parts of Peru, good and bad, are present in the city, along with one third of the people.

While other places have things to see or to do, Lima is just a place to be. Enjoy the street vendors, the taxi bargaining, the combis (public big vans or small buses), and the residential areas with their spiked fences and security guard on every block.

If that doesn’t sound as charming to you as it does to me, then I’ll tell you about the gem of Lima, it’s mile-long stretch of verdant parks on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 7.17.49 PM

The stretch starts at Larcomar in Miraflores. Miraflores is one of two dozen districts in Lima, and it has the highest concentration of nice restaurants and hotels, so you’ll probably spend most of your time there. Larcomar is a shopping mall in Miraflores overlooking the Pacific Ocean, featuring a movie theater, two night clubs, an arcade, international chain restaurants, and local restaurants. Stop in for a pisco sour at sunset.

From Larcomar there is a string of parks heading northwest. The highlights include:

  • Parque del Amor, with its love poems on the tiles around the park and a gigantic statue of a couple making out in the middle
  • El Faro, an old lighthouse looking out over the Pacific
  • paragliding, every afternoon, just southeast of El Faro, paragliders line up to take you on tandem flights; a few years back it was $40 for a 15 minute flight over Miraflores

Take a book and your walking shoes, and spend a day traversing the parks. At sunset on clear days, watch the sun dip into the water over the horizon.

Other things to consider in Lima are the museums (in particular, the Larco Herrera Museum), the nightlife (the two clubs at Larcomar), and the casinos. I highly recommend Casino Atlantic City and Majestic, both in Miraflores. They have games with favorable rules and very low limits in dollars or soles.

Lima is the gastronomic capital of Peru. Ask at your hotel for the hottest restaurants. But don’t leave without trying Bembo’s, Peru’s answer to McDonald’s. The spicy aji sauce is a must-haves. And I highly recommend trying out a restaurant with a menú priced at five or six soles ($2).

In Peru, a menú is a set meal or small selection of options. For instance, you might get to choose one of the three appetizer choices and one of the three main courses. If you leave the main tourist streets in Miraflores, you’ll find a ton of hole-in-the-wall places with a blackboard scribbled with a few choices. In addition to dishes I’ve already recommended, I highly encourage you to try:

  • Aji de gallina- shredded chicken in a mild (or occasionally spicy) and creamy yellow pepper sauce served over potatoes and rice; my favorite Peruvian dish
  • Lomo saltado- strips of steak fried together with vegetables and french fries

Five or six soles is a good price point. It’s not too cheap that you’ll get low quality, but it’s not so expensive that you’re at a touristy place.

There’s so much I haven’t mentioned in Lima, like the historic center and its shanty-town outskirts. Lima is a place that can be skipped over in a day, or it can reward you for weeks.

How to get there: To learn more about how to get to Lima, the gateway to the rest of Peru, read the Prologue to this series.

Hotels: The best located hotel is the Marriott in front of Larcomar. In general, I would strongly recommend staying in Miraflores, and not in the center where some major brands have their hotels. There is nothing to do in the center after dark.

Time needed to visit: 1+ days

The Food in Lima by Sarah Page

Lima has a thriving gastronomy scene, with options for every budget spanning from street and market food to famous establishments like Central, ranked in the top 5 restaurants in the entire world.

Whatever you do don’t leave Lima without sampling your fair share of ceviche, the city’s signature dish. There are many different types of ceviche, but essentially it always involves a type of seafood cured in lime juice with raw onions, cilantro, hot peppers, corn, and sweet potato.

I also recommend trying Nikkei style food, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian that is taking South America by storm. I did a tasting menu at Maido, one of Lima’s top restaurants that specializes in Nikkei and is also a sushi bar. It was and will probably always remain amongst the top five dining experiences of my life.

One of the many courses of a tasting menu at Maido
One of the many courses of a tasting menu at Maido
More from Maido
More from Maido

Here are some more pictures from other eating adventures in Lima.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 7.21.07 PM
The dessert course of the tasting menu at IK
Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 7.17.00 PM
Bam Bam’s ceviche sampler
With the Chef from Bam Bam
With the Chef from Bam Bam
Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 7.17.26 PM
Concentrado de cangrejo, a type of crab soup

Restaurants I recommend in Lima:

An important thing to note about the cebicherías of Lima (restaurants that sell ceviche) is that many are only open for lunch, so be sure to check the hours beforehand.

Bottom Line

Lima is the gateway to the rest of Peru, so one way or the other you will pass through the city. As the pulse of the nation, I think Lima is worth spending time in apart from just flying through. Stroll along the cliff parks and eat in one of it’s many acclaimed restaurants.

Cuzco is the gateway to Machu Picchu, so again you will have the choice to either spend some extra time there or just pass through. I recommend spending extra time. As the ancient Incan capital, it’s a culturally and historically rich place. The food isn’t too shabby either.

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

1

On August 31, 2016 at 5 pm ET the 75,000 HHonors point sign up bonus for spending $2,000 within three months of opening the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is ending. It will most likely change to 40,000 HHonors points as that was the prior (and standard) offer. 

Here are the details of the current offer.
Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 12.06.33 AM

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 75,000 Hilton HHonors Points after $2,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses: 6x at Hilton hotels (see full list of brands above); 3x at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations, 2x on all other purchases
  • Spending Bonus: Any year in which you spend $1,000 at Hilton hotels, you will get 10,000 more Hilton points
  • Value of Hilton Points: Free nights are available for 5,000 to 95,000 points, depending on the hotel’s category. I focus on the 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 point hotels.
  • Perks: Free Hilton Silver Status, and Gold Status if you make four paid Hilton stays in 90 days
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology, 3% foreign transaction fee (do not use the card abroad!)
  • Annual Fee: None

The standard offer for this card is 40,000 HHonors points, so that is what we can safely assume it will return to:

Screen-Shot-2016-02-22-at-11.21.30-AM

What HHonors Points are Good For

After meeting the minimum spending requirement, you’ll have at least 79,000 Hilton points (more if you use the card’s category bonuses) Earn 1,000 more to get to 80,000 total, and you’ll have enough for:

I stayed at an awesome DoubleTree in Kuala Lumpur that was a Category 2 Hilton.

Read this full write up of all the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card‘s benefits to learn more.

Remember to consider Citi’s new sign up bonus rule before applying for this card: you are only eligible to earn a sign up bonus if you haven’t opened or closed a card from the same type (brand or co-brand) within the last 24 months.

Bottom Line

On August 31, 2016 at 5 pm ET the 75,000 limited time offer for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is ending. It will probably change to 40,000 HHonors points based on previous information.

35,000 HHonors points, which is most likely the difference between the bonus offer now and on August 31, is at least ten extra nights at Category 1 Hiltons, three nights at Category 2 Hiltons, or one night at Category 3 Hiltons.

Sign up soon so you don’t miss the deadline and all those free room nights.

Application link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

217

There are a lot of reasons to collect miles and points.

  • For free luxury hotel stays and First Class flights
  • To travel to more countries than you could otherwise afford
  • To take your family on vacation
  • To visit home for the holidays
  • To earn big rewards for everyday spending

Whatever your reason for coming to MileValue, there is a rewards card that suit your needs.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 3.02.41 AM
Swimming in a Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam

In the last few years, I’ve been to dozens of countries, travel that would have been completely impossible without miles and points earned from credit cards. This has been my life thanks to miles:

And I’ve generally flown Business or First Class between those adventures on tickets that cost me not thousands or hundreds of dollars, but tens of dollars.

If you don’t have the money to take your dream trips, the good news is that you don’t need much money. By maximizing the sign up bonuses on rewards cards, anyone with good credit can take a dream trip anywhere in the world.

Where I've Been Through July 2016
Where I’ve Been Through July 2016

Here are, in my opinion, the top ten rewards credit cards right now.

1. Ink Plus

The Ink Plus is a business card that offers 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Singapore, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, and more.

For the reasons presented in this post, this is one of the first three cards I recommend you get if you can get a business card.

The Ink Plus earns 5x points on internet, phone, and cell phone bills; 5x points on purchases at office supply stores; 2x points on hotels and gas; and 1x points on everything else.

The $95 annual fee is not waived.

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.)

2. AAdvantage Executive

Until August 31, 2016, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® comes with 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.44.21 PM

The card also comes with Admirals Club lounge membership, which explains its $450 annual fee. Admirals Club membership means you can access over 90 lounges worldwide for free no matter what airline you’re flying, and you can bring in two guests for free.

You can even add up to 10 authorized users who can get into Admirals Clubs with two guests for free. That’s 33 total people off one card.

The card offers 10,000 American Airlines status miles if you spend $40,000 on it in a calendar year. Cardholders also get a free checked bag for themselves and up to eight companions when they fly American Airlines, priority boarding, 2x miles on American Airlines purchases, and no foreign transaction fees.

Application Link: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

3. Hilton Visa Signature

Until August 31, 2016, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card comes with 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months, automatic Hilton Silver status, and no annual fee.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 12.06.33 AM

This is a huge sign up bonus for a card with no annual fee.

The card offers 6x points at Hilton hotels; 3x at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations; and 2x on all other purchases. Plus any year you spend $1,000 at Hiltons, you get 10,000 bonus points.

Free night awards start at 5,000 points per night and because the card gives you free Silver status, cardholders get the fifth night free on all awards.

Spending $2,500 on the card (of which at least $2,000 is in the first three months) will give you 80,000 Hilton points, enough for 4 five-night stays at Category 1 hotels, 20 total nights!

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

4. Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a personal card that earns 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, Singapore, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, and more.

For the reasons presented in this post, this is one of the first two cards I recommend everyone get.

You also get 5k bonus points for adding an authorized user while applying, so I think of this as a 55k bonus point card. (Adding an authorized user does not prevent that person from getting the card at the same time or in the future as a primary account holder and getting the full sign up bonus.)

The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on dining and travel. Dining includes bars, restaurants, and fast food. Travel includes airfare, hotels, taxis, rental cars, tolls, parking, and much more.

The Sapphire Preferred has no annual fee the first year, then $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.)

5. Citi Prestige® Card

The Citi Prestige comes with the best perks of any credit card and big bonus points as well. Earn 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. You can read my full review of the Citi Prestige here. 

You’ll also get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, which can be applied twice within the first year card membership for a total of $500 in Air Travel Credit.

You’ll also receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre √®, and a complimentary 4th night for any hotel stay at hotels booked through Citi Prestige® Concierge.

Transfer points to 12 airline loyalty programs or 1 hotel program for the most outsized value. Points are also redeemable for 1.33 cents each on any airline’s cash tickets (sign-up bonus is worth $532 redeeming this way).

The category bonuses are stellar as well: earn 3x points on air travel and hotels and 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment. This is a great card to put the majority of your spending on as I assume all of us as avid travelers spend a good amount within those categories.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

6. British Airways Card

The British Airways Visa Signature card comes with 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the card.

Spend $15,000 in the first 12 months for another 25,000 bonus Avios. The maximum bonus is 75,000 total Avios for spending $15,000 in the first 12 months of which $2,000 came in the first three.

The card comes with 3 Avios per dollar on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios per dollar on other purchases.

British Airways Avios are perfect for short, direct, economy flights on British Airways partners that do not levy fuel surcharges like these partners.

For instance, the west coast to Hawaii on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flights for 12,500 Avios or only 4,500 Avios between Cuzco and Lima, Peru are two of the sweet spots.

The card has a $95 annual fee that is NOT waived.

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

7. Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Membership Rewards transfer to around 20 hotel and airline programs including Delta, Singapore, and British Airways.

The card has a $475 annual fee in the first year. But it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, and hotel status. For more info on setting up and maximizing the benefits, see Get the Most Out of Your Platinum Card.

Landing Page: Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz

The “regular” Platinum card is worse than this offer because it has a smaller sign up bonus and only a $25 lower annual fee.

8. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is the best card for giving you free luxury hotel nights. The card comes with two free weekend nights at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in the first four months. The free nights are best spent at top-tier Hiltons and Conrads that can go for $1,000 or more per night.

This card is perfect to get aspirational stays at top tier properties like the Conrad Koh Samui that goes for 95,000 Hilton points per night and costs more than $1k per night.

The card also comes with Hilton Gold Status, so you can enjoy free internet and breakfast on those free stays.

The card earns 10x points on Hilton stays, 5x on airlines and car rentals, and 3x on all other purchases.

There card has no foreign transaction fee. The annual fee is $95.

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

9. Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® comes with 40,000 bonus Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 5.54.18 PM

The card earns 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. You can redeem the miles to offset any travel expense greater than $100 inside your Barclaycard account within 120 days of the purchase. Here is How to Redeem Arrival Miles.

Arrival miles can be redeemed for any travel expense like any flight (no blackouts), taxes and fees on award tickets, hotels, airbnb, car rentals, cruises, and more. You also get a 5% rebate on all redemptions.

After meeting the minimum spending requirement on the card, you’ll have at least 46,000 Arrival miles, which you could redeem to offset a $460 charge.  And when you redeem the miles, you get the 5% rebate back instantly, so redeeming 46,000 would offer 2,300 miles back, worth another $23. It’s great for travel as it has no foreign transaction fees and is a Mastercard, which means you will probably pay less in currency conversion fees.

While I can not directly link to the current Arrival 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.)

10. Freedom Unlimited

The Freedom Unlimited comes with 15,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in the first three months and 2,500 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user.

For the reasons presented in this post, this is one of the first two cards I recommend everyone get.

The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on all purchases.

Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed at a rate of 1 cent each– that’s why all the marketing of the card features cash back language. BUT if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card (#1 and #5 on this list), there is a second way of redeeming the Freedom Unlimited’s Ultimate Rewards: transfer them to your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account and from there to airline miles or hotel points. I call this the Freedom Two Step.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 12.26.46 PM

I value several of the transfer partners’ miles in the 1.6 to 1.8 cent range, so the Freedom Two Step should allow you to get far more than 1 cent of value from those same Ultimate Rewards.

Check out my full post on the Freedom Two Step for more explanation, screenshots of the process, and high value awards with the partner programs.

The Freedom Unlimited has 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.)

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

1

If you book by tonight at 11:59 PM ET, you can find JetBlue fares for as little as $29 one way or 1,200 TrueBlue points for flights this labor day weekend, September 3 & 4.

The sale is on select routes only, but there are lots of options to choose from. See the full route list and the rest of the details about the flash sale here. Sale fares are not restricted to domestic itineraries– there are some really cheap international deals as well.

Here are some of the routes that are on sale:

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.15.09 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.14.32 PM

Examples

Boston to New Orleans: $28.90 or 1,200 TrueBlue points and $5.60

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.31.26 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.31.05 PM

New York City to Cartagena, Colombia: $58.90 or 1,200 TrueBlue points and $20.60 in taxes

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.23.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.25.07 PM

New York City to Burbank, California: $28.90 or 1,200 TrueBlue points and $5.60

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.37.26 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.37.45 PM

Note these sale fares (“Blue fares”) do not include a checked bag.  If you need to check a bag, it will probably be cheaper to buy the Blue Plus fare than pay the $20 cost web check-in or $25 in person at the airport.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 5.48.48 PM

The Card to Purchase it With

If you don’t have the JetBlue Plus card which gives you 6 TrueBlue points per dollar spent on JetBlue airfare (and a 10% rebate on TrueBlue point redemptions), then purchase the flight with the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that would offset the entire cost of this ticket.

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

Bottom Line

Book by tonight on jetblue.com and you can spend as little as $29 or 1,200 TrueBlue points on a one way flight. As travel is only good for September 3 & 4, you’ll probably only be able to take advantage of the sale for one direction– but the savings potential is still large.

If you choose to redeem TrueBlue points on this sale and you have the JetBlue Plus card, you’ll also get a 10% rebate, bringing the price down from 1,200 TrueBlue points to 1,080 TrueBlue points for many flight options.

While I can not directly link to JetBlue 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.) It comes with 30,000 TrueBlue points after spending $1,000 within the first three months of card membership.

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

6

Singapore Airlines is altering its routes to the United States in October 2016. Currently, Singapore flies from four American cities to Singapore with stops along the way in Europe and Asia.

  • San Francisco to Seoul (ICN) to Singapore
  • San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo (NRT) to Singapore
  • Houston to Moscow (DME) to Singapore
  • New York (JFK) to Frankfurt to Singapore

Singapore is making several changes though. It is changing which West Coast city flies to Seoul, and adding a direct flight from San Francisco.

  • Subtracting San Francisco to Seoul (ICN) to Singapore October 22, 2016
  • Adding Los Angeles to Seoul (ICN) to Singapore October 23
  • Adding San Francisco to Singapore October 23

It also changing the routing from Houston to Singapore.

  • Subtracting Houston to Moscow (DME) to Singapore October 29, 2016
  • Adding Houston to Manchester to Singapore October 30

That means from October 30, 2016, the new routes will be:

  • San Francisco to Singapore on the A350-900
  • San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore on the new 777-300ER
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo (NRT) to Singapore on the new 777-300ER
  • Los Angeles to Seoul (ICN) to Singapore on the new 777-300ER
  • Houston to Manchester to Singapore on the new 777-300ER
  • New York (JFK) to Frankfurt to Singapore on the A380

The new route map, from October 30, 2016 will look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 8.55.04 PM

I’ve already written about Business Class award space on the new routes here; this post will focus on Business and First Class award space on the routes that are being cut.

Singapore Business Class Product

Singapore Airlines Business Class is among the best in the world. The massively wide seats/beds are laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration on the A350, 777, and A380.

The seats look almost exactly like the Singapore First Class seat and better than the First Class seat on many airlines. In addition, you will get top-notch service, delicious food, expensive alcohol, and lounge access during your journey.

Singapore Business Class is world-class.

Singapore First Class is mostly distinguished by the incredible service, food, and alcohol. I flew Singapore First Class in May and loved it. Click here for the full trip report.

5

Getting Singapore Miles

Singapore Business and First Class awards can only be booked with Singapore miles, not partner miles like United miles, because Singapore only releases longhaul Business and First Class award space to its KrisFlyer program and not to partners.

You can easily get Singapore miles because Singapore is a 1:1 transfer partner of every major transferable points program. The best ways to earn Singapore miles:

Award Space on Ending Routes

Houston to Moscow

The last Houston to Moscow flight is October 29, 2016. Until then you can find 2 First Class award seats on many flights, 2-4 Business Class award seats on many flights, and up to 6 Business Class award seats the week of departure.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.56.31 AM

After the automatic 15% discount for booking awards on singaporeair.com, the total price per person from Houston to Moscow is:

  • 48,875 miles + $202 one way in Business
  • 57,375 miles + $212 one way in First

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 11.18.49 AM

San Francisco to Seoul

The last San Francisco to Seoul, South Korea flight is October 22, 2016. Right now, the only First Class award seats I see are in the last week before departure, like the 2 on Friday’s flight.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.37.02 AM

In Business Class, I see one seat per flight on some flights in September and October.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.50.58 AM

After the automatic 15% discount for booking awards on singaporeair.com, the total price per person from San Francisco to Seoul is:

  • 65,875 miles + $193 one way in Business
  • 74,375 miles + $203 one way in First

Those are about 17,000 more miles for a flight that is two hours longer than Houston to Moscow.

Sao Paulo to Barcelona

The last Sao Paulo to Barcelona flight is October 20, 2016. I love this route because it connects two fantastic cities without a connection in the United States and because there are no fuel surcharges ever when departing Brazil.

Unfortunately there isn’t much First Class award space at the moment, just one seat here and there.

There is tons of Business Class space, though, with up to 6 Business Class seats the week of departure and 2 on many flights through October.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 11.22.12 AM

After the automatic 15% discount for booking awards on singaporeair.com, the total price per person from Houston to Moscow is:

  • 50,150 miles + $35 one way in Business
  • 58,225 miles + $35 one way in First

Bottom Line

Singapore is ending some of its routes from the Americas, presumably for lack of demand. Lack of demand usually means plenty of award space, and these routes follow that pattern. Book now to travel by October from Houston to Moscow, San Francisco to Seoul, or Sao Paulo to Barcelona in luxurious Business or First Class award space.

You can easily get Singapore miles because Singapore is a 1:1 transfer partner of every major transferable points program. The best ways to earn Singapore miles:

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

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

38

Updated 8/16/16 with Citi’s new sign-up bonus rule.

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 are only eligible to earn a sign up bonus if you haven’t opened or closed a card from the same type (brand or co-brand) within the last 24 months. For example, Let’s say you opened a Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card seven months ago. That means for the next 17 months (a full 24 months after you opened it) you are not eligible for the sign up bonus from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, the other Hilton co-branded card issued by Citi. If you close that Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, the 24 month clock will start over again and you won’t be eligible for any other Citi Hilton cards for 24 months past the date you closed it.

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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Follow Me