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Frontier Airlines is having a one day sale today with fares from $19 to $49 from Atlanta, Georgia to:

  • Austin
  • Chicago-O’Hare
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • New Orleans
  • New York-La Guardia
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Trenton/Princeton
  • Washington-Dulles

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Tickets must be purchased by 11:59 PM ET today (February 24) for nonstop travel on:

  • April 30, 2015
  • May 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 27, 2015

These are all Wednesdays and Thursdays.

These promotional fares sell out really quickly. They’re more of an advertising cost than anything because a few super cheap fares are sold at a loss in return for all the free press. And, of course, in addition to the $19 base fare, you will have to pay for a seat assignment (or be assigned bad one), checked bags, carry on bags, and even water on board.

Still, it’s a great deal for Atlantans or folks who want to visit if they can snap up a ticket before they’re gone.

Share your success in the comments.

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Meeting the minimum spending requirement on the Arrival Plus give you about $500 worth of free flights on any airline including Frontier with no blackouts.

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Through 11:59 PM tomorrow February 25, 2015, British Airways is offering a 50% bonus on the purchase of Avios. This is the biggest bonus ever offered on the purchase of Avios.

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The maximum Avios you can purchase in a year is 35,000. With a 50% bonus, that means you can add 52,500 Avios to your account. Americans are being offered those Avios for 1.88 cents each, but with one simple trick, you can drop the price to 1.43 cents per Avios!

The Trick

If you set your British Airways account address to a country that uses the euro, say France, you will be sold Avios in euros instead of dollars. The euro price on this sale is way cheaper! (Hat tip this Flyertalk thread and user Lefly)

The cost to purchase 52,500 Avios for people with an American address is $988 or 1.88 cents per Avios.

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To change your address, click “Manage my account under Executive Club on any page.
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Click “Update my personal information” on the left side of the screen.

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

Hit Continue about three times. The first time I tried to make the change, I stopped a screen short. You’ll know if you succeeded because when you go back to the Purchase Miles screen, you will be offered the Avios in euros.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.41.04 PM

The price of 52,500 euros is 661 euros or $749.30 after the dramatic slide in the euro. That’s under 1.43 cents per Avios.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.42.27 PM If you purchase in euros–actually any purchase from BA.com–make sure you use a card that charges no foreign transaction fees. If I purchase my Avios–and I’m on the fence, it’s really close for me–I’ll use the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card because it has no foreign transaction fees, and I am working on my 30,000 point bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months of the second year of having the card.

Does Putting Your Account in France Mess It Up?

There was an interesting question in the FlyerTalk thread: if I set my British Airways account to France, will I mess up my ability to transfer in Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards?

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

Eventually you can change your address back to your home address, but British Airways makes you wait six months between address changes.

Is This a Good Deal?

The best uses of Avios are short, direct, economy flights on partners without fuel surcharges. This is doubly so in view of the impending devaluation of Business and First Class awards that is coming in April.

At 1.43 cents per Avios, domestic (including Hawaii) one way awards that cost XXX Avios plus $5.60 in taxes one way would cost:

  • 4,500 Avios (like Tampa to Charlotte): $69.8 all in
  • 7,500 Avios (like Dallas to Chicago): $112.9
  • 10,000 Avios (like Dallas to New York): $148.6
  • 12,500 Avios (like Seattle to Honolulu): $184.4

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

The bottom line with all miles sales is that they are a good deal if you have an immediate, high value use for the miles, and a poor deal otherwise. As I said, I’m on the fence, though I do think I can burn about 50,000 Avios by the end of the summer.

Bottom Line

The biggest ever bonus on purchasing Avios ends tomorrow. Ignore the 1.88 cent price for Americans. Anyone with a euro-zone address on file with British Airways and a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card can get the Avios for 1.43 cents each. The sales are consummated by points.com, so there is no bonus for an airline or travel purchase on your credit card.

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

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Pay your award taxes and fees with the Arrival Plus then redeem Arrival miles to remove the charge.

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Update: This fantastic deal ends in five days on February 28! You can book through December 31 at the discounted prices.

You know those “secret” sales United has been having where they discount a lot of partner Business Class awards? Partner Business Class awards have cost more than United Business Class awards for a year now, but with these sales, both are the same price.

Well now United has published and expanded the sales.

  • Book by February 28, 2015
  • Travel by December 31, 2015
  • Saver Award prices for Star Alliance and other worldwide partner airlines are temporarily reduced for select regions and cabins. Choose your favorite qualifying destination and book a flight by February 28 to take advantage of this offer

Here’s the chart of price reductions:

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Interestingly the sale was posted February 3, but indicates United knew the sale has been going on since January 30.

For me, the exciting sales are the Business Class sales from the United States to Europe and Asia.

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There is real value in partner Business Class to Europe and Asia at these prices, which are still higher than American’s prices to Asia and Europe, but are pretty good. Book your summer vacation to Europe now–I already explained how in complete detail.

The other sales don’t jump out at me as great deals, but all of them will be useful for someone.

These deals are automatic and hard-coded into the search results. You don’t have to do any registering to save miles on your next United award booked by February 28.

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Update 2/18/15: According to a Mommy Points/Hyatt Concierge conversation on Twitter, you can get the Hyatt card now and register for the promo by March 31, and you’ll get a 20% rebate on all awards. You’ll even retroactively get 20% back on the awards between now and when you register. Sweet!

If you were a Hyatt credit card holder as of January 31, 2015, you can get a 20% rebate on the points needed for award stays completed by July 31, 2015 by registering for this promotion.

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The 20% rebate on the points needed for award stays applies to free nights, points + cash nights, suite upgrades, and dining and spa redemptions. The 20% rebate does not apply to other redemptions of points like exchanging them for airline miles or car rentals. Here’s the chart before the 20% rebate. Now Category 1 hotels drop to 4,000 points per night at Category 7 drops to 24,000.

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Three thoughts on the promotion:

  1. Thanks, Hyatt and Chase!
  2. You have to have all the points already in your account for a full-priced stay because this is not a 20% discount at the time of booking, it is a 20% rebate that posts 4-6 weeks after your completed stay. A 20% discount would be a little nicer, but the 20% rebate keeps us more engaged because we’ll end up with points in our account instead of zeroing out the balance.
  3. This makes points + cash nights a worse deal.

While free night awards are available whenever a standard room is for sale, points + cash nights are capacity controlled award nights where you pay half the points of free night plus a cash copay. I think of that cash copay as re-purchasing half my points as compared to a free night award. The cost to re-purchase points on a points + cash stay is 1.2 to 2 cents per point, with the best deals at Category 3-6 properties.

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This rebate is a 20% rebate on the points needed for free nights and points + cash stays, but no rebate on the cash copay. That makes the cost to re-purchase your points higher. During the promotion, it will range from 1.5 to 2.5 cents. I’ve never made a points + cash booking with Hyatt points anyway–only free nights–and this promotion makes me less likely to make a points + cash booking for a stay before July 31.

I’m registered for the promotion. I don’t have a lot of Hyatt points, but I do have a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards, which transfer 1:1 instantly to Hyatt points. I’ll consider this promotion if I need a hotel stay, though I generally prefer airbnb and using points from my Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, which offers 85,000 bonus points after spending $2,500 on the card in the first 90 days and the last night free on all award stays of 2+ nights.

Full Terms and Conditions:

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Meeting the minimum spending requirement on the Arrival Plus give you about $500 worth of free flights on any airline with no blackouts.

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United has posted a statement saying that it will not honor the mistake fares I posted about this morning that allowed one way or roundtrip First Class bookings from the United Kingdom to the United States for $100 or so. Here is the entire statement:

United is voiding the bookings of several thousand individuals who were attempting to take advantage of an error a third-party software provider made when it applied an incorrect currency exchange rate, despite United having properly filed its fares. Most of these bookings were for travel originating in the United Kingdom, and the level of bookings made with Danish Kroner as the local currency was significantly higher than normal during the limited period that customers made these bookings.

Isn’t that impressive? Several thousand tickets were booked. Good work guys! I couldn’t get my ticket booking done because Argentina.

My instinct on these is that every single person who booked one of the mistake fears knew it was a mistake, and over 99% of the people who booked one found out about the mistake from a forum or blog post that made it clear that this was a mistake. Maybe its my moral compass or maybe its my Contracts class from law school talking, but I think mistake should void a contract. Since United has cancelled the tickets within about 8 hours of their booking, no one should be inconvenienced by the bookings unless they made other non-refundable arrangements.

However, current United States Department of Transportation regulations are actually pretty clear that United can’t cancel mistake fares. That would constitute “increas[ing] the price” of air transportation after purchase, which is forbidden. (It is an increase in the price because canceling the ticket means the only way to fly the route is to purchase a new, more expensive ticket.) Check out all the legalese in 14 CFR 399.88. Based on my thoughts in the previous paragraph, I’d urge people to consider the mistake fare a free lottery ticket. If it’s honored, you win. If it isn’t, you didn’t lose, and you had fun playing. All this drama is fun.

But I’m sure a lot of people will file DOT complaints and maybe law suits. They are within their rights to take this mistake-fare saga that route, but morally they’re in the wrong. United isn’t trying to get one over on these people. These people are trying to get one over on United.

Now before anyone posts too angry of a reply, I want to clarify that I don’t think this is a small matter or morality, not a big one. If my friend said he was filing a DOT complaint, I’d say, “I hope you lose, but you’re still my friend.” It would be on the level of telling me he supported a different presidential candidate than me. No big deal.

I’ll be interested in how this all plays out, and I will keep everyone posted.

What’s your take? Did United respond appropriately? Is a DOT complaint appropriate?

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Meeting the minimum spending requirement on the Arrival Plus give you about $500 worth of free flights on any airline with no blackouts. That would have been five cancelled mistake fares today. ;)

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Update: Deal is dead. Hopefully if you saw this post this morning, you booked immediately like I suggested. It wasn’t too hard to spot that this deal was too good to last. Also hopefully, the bookings made are honored.

Expedia is running a promo. Use the following coupon codes for instant savings at payment:

  • $100 off nearly any hotel stay of 3+ nights using coupon code: DISCVR105
  • $150 off nearly any hotel stay of 4+ nights using coupon code: DISCVR151
  • $200 off nearly any hotel stay of 5+ nights using coupon code: DISCVR201

The only restrictions I can find:

  • Checkout must be August 31, 2015 or earlier.
  • You cannot get a free stay. The total minus the coupon must be at least $0.01. More on this below.
  • There is a list of excluded properties. The list is short when you consider the thousands of hotels bookable on Expedia worldwide. The list of excluded properties is a ton of Accor properties in France and Europe. All the properties I tested in several countries from other chains and non-chains worked.

I am going to use this sale to speculatively book a ton of 3, 4, and 5 night hotel stays that offer free cancellation at cheap hotels, so that all my nights are under $20.

I have already booked myself two 4-night stays at motels along the East Coast that I will probably need for March Madness. I’ll also make sure to book myself stays in Thailand, Egypt, and Europe for the rest of the summer.

How the Deal Works

I booked a four night stay in Charlotte. On the payment page, I clicked “Enter a coupon or promotion code” under “How would you like to pay?”

I entered the 4-night promo code.

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That brought the price from $215 to $65 or about $16 per night.

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When following my basketball team for March Madness, I always stay in these low-quality cheap motels, and this deal is perfect for hotels in the $50 price range because the percentage discount in humungous.

I also booked myself a four night stay the following weekend in Syracuse. I’m not sure we’ll make it to Syracuse, but I can cancel the reservation without penalty until a few days before the stay.

This stay came out to $53 for four nights, or about $13 per night.
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Important Trick If You Want to Book Yourself More than One Stay

I’ve already booked myself two stays. On the second, I got an error saying I had already used that coupon code from my account.

I opened a new Chrome Incognito browser window, didn’t sign in, and used a different credit card and email address for the reservation. I am not sure which of those steps were necessary, but I have a lot of email addresses and credit cards, so I will follow the same procedure going forward.

Interestingly the terms and conditions say you need to be signed in to use these coupons, but that isn’t currently true in practice.

How to Maximize the Promo?

I definitely think the best deal is to find hotels in the $40 to $60 per range, so you get them nearly free. When I think cheap hotels, I think Vegas midweek.

The only problem is that those hotels generally charge resort fees that you’ll have to pay at the hotel. Here’s Hooters Casino for five nights next month. You only have to pay $32 up front, $6 per night, after the $200 discount, but you will have to pay another $89, $18 per night, upon checkin.
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Another place with very cheap hotels is Southeast Asia. Look at this 3.5 star Bangkok hotel for $8 per night.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 11.33.30 AMHow Cheap Can Your Hotel Be?

The cheapest hotels I could find were $6 per night. You can probably find better, but it’s very hard to get a free room because of how the coupon works.

Your total price (including taxes and fees) needs to exceed the coupon amount. But even then, the coupon only eliminates the base price, not the taxes and fees. For example, this hotel is $199 for five nights, which is less than the $200 coupon.

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That means that the coupon will be rejected.

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This hotel is $202 for 5 nights, $172 base + $30 taxes and fees. Using the $200 coupon only actually removes the $172 base price. You still pay the $6 per night in taxes and fees. Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 11.44.35 AM

Book Now

This promo is set to last until 11:59 PM PT on March 15. But doesn’t it strike you as a bit overgenerous? Hotel rooms for under $10, worldwide, until the end of August, for as many stays as you like? I predict it ends early. Book now.

Which Card to Use?

Use your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® to book the hotel stays. The card comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3k in the first 90 days. Just meeting that minimum spending requirement means you’ll have 46,000 Arrival miles, which are worth more than $500 in free flights on any airline with no blackouts, any hotel stay, any car rental and more.
Book your hotel stays with the Arrival Plus then redeem Arrival miles to remove the charge.

Hat Tip Travel Summary

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Both cards offer other benefits too. One benefit that I had overlooked in the past, but is actually fantastic: both offer a gigantic list of domestic award destinations for 8,750 miles one way!

American Airlines offers discounted MileSAAver awards within the United States and Canada to select cardholders. Both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are on the list of cards that offer a 7,500 mile discount roundtrip.

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Every two months, American Airlines publishes a list of new destinations in the United States and Canada eligible for discounted awards. The current list covers awards that must be booked by March 31, 2015 for travel by May 31, 2015.

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Award travel must originate somewhere in the continental United States or Canada and must go to a city on the very long destination list. Awards can be booked one way for 8,750 miles in economy or 21,250 miles in First Class. Roundtrip awards are double those prices.

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You have to call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 to book the discounted awards. Luckily American Airlines just eliminated the phone booking fee for awards that can’t be booked online!

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Here is the full list of discounted destinations for February through May. Not all destinations are discounted each month. For instance, Houston is only discounted in February, March, and April while Greensboro is discounted all four months.
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Major cities are on the list–Montreal!–as well as competitors’ hubs like Houston, Atlanta, and Newark.Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 12.59.05 PM

How Good Are These Awards?

Let’s say you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®.

You decide to go from Los Angeles to Atlanta with your miles. You find ample award space with a search on aa.com (which is what you’ll find for pretty much every domestic route over the next few months.)

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You pick out your American Airlines-operated flights with MileSAAver space, even finding award space on the new, direct flights.

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At this point, you do NOT complete the purchase. Purchasing online will cost 25,000 miles. You have to call in to get your discount: 800-882-8880.

You book the roundtrip for 17,500 miles and $11.20. You use about 1/3 of the 50,000 mile bonus you got from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®.

United and Delta charge at least 25,000 miles roundtrip for domestic awards. You could book these flights for 25,000 British Airways Avios roundtrip, though sometimes using Avios will be cheaper than one of these discounted awards because Avios award prices are distance based.

Bottom Line

Discounted domestic and Canada MileSAAver awards open to American Airlines credit card holders are a fantastic deal.

If you need to book a domestic award, see make sure to check what destinations are discounted. If your destination is on the very long list, you can save big miles.

Key Links

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Meeting the minimum spending requirement on the Arrival Plus give you about $500 worth of free flights on any airline with no blackouts.

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La Compagnie, a new French airline with an all Business Class fleet, is offering $1,007 roundtrip fares from Newark to London-Luton for travel from April 24 to June 30, 2015.

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Even though La Compagnie has the worst transatlantic Business Class, the offering is far better than anyone else’s economy or Premium Economy, and at a lower price, so this is a great deal.

The Deal

La Compagnie begins service from Newark to London-Luton, which is an airport dominated by low-cost carriers like easyJet and Wizz Air, on April 24, 2015. I flew Wizz Air from Luton to Ljubljana, Slovenia last year. I went to the airport by train and bus, and hung out in a Priority Pass lounge for a few minutes. It’s no more inconvenient than Heathrow and Gatwick for me.

On La Compagnie’s home page, you can run your search.

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I found the promo fare available basically every day until June 30. Promo fares were indicated by the date saying “FROM $557.” Miles tickets are often harder to find for Friday and Sunday departures–departure days that maximize vacation while minimizing vacation days–so it is nice that this fare is available every day of the week.Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 7.34.34 PM

Oddly since $557 + $557 = $1,114, selecting two $557 fares brings up a total of $1,007 roundtrip. My search was for two passengers, so the total is $2,014.

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This is unbeatable for Business Class, which usually goes for several thousand dollars. Even economy fares for Friday-until-the-next-Sunday nine day trips for June are going for about $1,000 roundtrip from the New York area to London.

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Note that the change fee is listed as $500 and there is no cancellation of these promo tickets.

The Product

I feel a little weird calling La Compagnie’s offering Business Class. Its seat is worse than every Business Class that flies across the Atlantic.

But the seat is better than economy and Premium Economy.

This is what La Compagnie says about the 74 Business Class seats that make up the all-Business flight:

Integrated in fixed shells, our seats offer passengers ultimate privacy and comfort. Our seats recline to a 180-degree angle with a built-in massage feature for added comfort during your journey. Arranged in 2×2 rows, our comfortable seats are spaced by a pitch of 62 inches.

The seat height is 46 ½ in. with a width of 26 in.

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Photos make it very clear that not all seats have direct aisle access. The seat does is not parallel to the ground, so it’s an angled flat seat.

I would rather fly any flat-bed seat and most angled flat seats, but this is at least a lot of legroom plus it comes with some of the perks of Business Class.

Free Bags

  • Two checked bags up to 70 pounds each (one more than coach usually gets to Europe)
  • Two carry ons (one more than coach gets)
  • One personal item

Free Lounge Access in Newark

It doesn’t look that great, but it is better than a United Club or the terminal.

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No lounge access is listed for London. If you have Priority Pass access from a Citi Prestige® Card, there is an OK lounge in Luton.

Inflight Entertainment

You get a Samsung Galaxy Pro tablet at your seat loaded with entertainment options.

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Free Food and Wine

They’ve got a chef with a French name and sommelier’s with “personal relationships with harvesters.”

The point I’m trying to get across is that it sounds like somewhere between a Business Class product and a Premium Economy product. If I bought someone one of these tickets as a surprise, I’d just tell her we are going to London and let her expectations be exceeded by the Business Class instead of telling her we were going in Business Class and leaving her expectations unmet.

Full details on The Services and Good to Know before travel at the links. Here is a full trip report of flying La Compagnie Business Class. The money line: “The La Compagnie seat wasn’t angled flat, but rather angled in three different directions. Within a minute of reclining I put it back in the upright position.”

Bottom Line

If I didn’t have miles, I’d fly La Compagnie Business Class for $1,007 roundtrip in a heart beat. Because I do, I’ll skip it and look for fully flat beds.

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Get $500 off your La Companie (or any other) flights with the Arrival Plus. Book your ticket with the card then redeem Arrival miles to remove the charge.

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United.com is offering cheaper prices for partner Business Class award award bookings than what United’s chart says the price is. This sale is unannounced and could end at any time.

In February 2014, United went to two charts: a cheaper one for flights on United and a more expensive one for partner flights–way more expensive in Business and First Class.

Last month, there were unannounced sales in partner Business Class to Europe, the Middle East, and India. These sales were restricted to off peak times though–January, February, and March. Last sale:

March 31 from JFK to Delhi, India: 70,000 United miles in Lufthansa Business Class (discount in March)

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April 1 from Newark to Delhi, India: 80,000 United miles in Air India Business Class (no discount in AprilScreen Shot 2015-01-04 at 11.53.53 PM

These new unannounced sales are to more regions and can be booked for all of the current schedule–basically until the end of 2015. One way partner Business Class is pricing out at the United prices:

  1. Between the US and Europe for 57,500 United miles (normally 70k)
  2. Between the US and North Asia for 70,000 United miles (normally 80k)
  3. Between the US and Central Asia for 70,000 United miles (normally 80k)
  4. Between the US and South Asia for 70,000 United miles (normally 80k)
  5. Between Europe and Middle East for 35,000 United miles (normally 45k)

Example 1: Boston to Zurich in Swiss Business Class this summer for 57,500 United miles

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Example 2: Los Angeles to Bangkok in Asiana Business Class on the A380 this summer for 70,000 United milesScreen Shot 2015-02-01 at 12.41.21 PM

Combined, the three Asia regions on sale from the United States include all of Asia except Japan, which costs 75,000 miles one way in partner Business Class, and the Middle East. The Middle East is Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen. The Middle East is on sale from Europe.

What is United Thinking with this Sale?

I have no idea. Its on-again-off-again nature and the fact that only some regions are affected tells me this is not a glitch. United is intentionally holding this sale.

It seems to indicate that they overreached with their partner award devaluation, and they know it.

But why the secrecy? Why is this sale not trumpeted in a press release? As it is, the only people who will take advantage are lucky people who were just searching for an award to these regions and people who read miles blogs.

I’d love theories on why United is having these sales–and having them secretly at that–in the comments.

How Long Will the Sale Last?

Probably not long. The last secret sales lasted about a month. Book now if you want to take advantage.

Hat Tip Dan’s Deals

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The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card offers 85,000 bonus points after spending $2,500 on the card in the first 90 days. After meeting the minimum spending requirement, you have enough points for up to 20 free hotel nights as I explained in my review of the card.

The points themselves would only be enough for 10 free nights, but the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card has the killer benefit that cardholders get the last night free on all award stays of 2+ nights.

That means you can book 10 two-night stays with all your points (20 total nights) to maximize them.

  • How does the last-free-night benefit work?
  • Can you get two free nights on a four night stay?
  • Can you book multiple rooms at the same hotel and get the benefit multiple times?

The last-free-night benefit is automatic. Once you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, the fact that you are a cardholder is stored in your Club Carlson account online. When you make award bookings, the price reflects the last night being free.

I recently booked myself a two-night stay in Dubai. On clubcarlson.com, select Book with Points and perform your search.

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Dubai has six Club Carlson properties open and two more in the works.Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.39.40 AM

Each property lists its points price, cash price, points + cash price (which is never a good deal in my experience), and a direct link to TripAdvisor reviews.Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.45.13 AM

Hotels in Dubai ranged from 38,000 to 70,000 points for a free night. They are all Radisson or Radisson Blu brands, so perhaps the Park Inns that are set to open this year will be cheaper.

I selected the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira creek because it is close to the airport, close to a metro station, and the Deira area looks interesting. (Let me know in the comments if I made a big mistake and should stay at a different Club Carlson property.)

After selecting the room, the initial screen does not reflect the discount.

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But right below the undiscounted price is a red-box indicating that the discount is coming. (You only see this box if signed in. If not signed in yet, you’ll still get the discount once you sign in.)Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 11.37.54 AM

On the first screen, you review the hotel’s cancellation and other policies. I learned that I’ll arrive just after Dubai institutes a $4 per room per night tax.

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You also select your room type on this first screen.Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.46.15 AM

On the next screen, the discount kicks in. The price dropped to 50,000 points total for two nights, and I booked.Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.46.38 AM

Considering a paid two-night stay is $400, I’d say 50,000 points is a great deal especially since the cheapest cash rate is fully pre-paid, and my award can be cancelled until the day of arrival without penalty.

More Value

If you want a four night stay at the same hotel, can one person book two nights with one free and then the next two nights with one free?

No.

From the terms:

  • Only one Bonus Award Night will be available for a stay of two or more consecutive nights at the same hotel (early checkout with one night stay not eligible), regardless of the total length of stay, the total number of reservations or the number of check-in/check-outs, is subject to availability and all other terms and conditions and cancellation policies regarding Award Nights apply

And the computer follows this rule. If I try to book the two nights before or after my current Dubai stay at the same hotel, it prices as 100,000 points total for those two nights–no free night!

But if you have a travel companion and you both have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, you can get two out of four nights free. Book the first two nights from one account and the next two from another. At check in, note that you have both booked a two night stay to split costs and would prefer one room for the entire four nights instead of having to check out and check back in.

And if you’re solo, you can still get two free nights on a four-night stay in the same city. You just have to change hotels. I am offered the last night free at another Dubai Radisson for the two nights after my stay at the Radisson Deira Creek:

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Also a solo traveler can get two free nights out of five at the same hotel. Imagine I want to stay April 1 – 6 (five nights) in one hotel.

  • I could book April 1 – 3 as one award: two nights with one free
  • then April 4 – 6 as one award: two nights with one free
  • then April 3 – 4 as a cash stay or an award: one night with zero free

The computer would price that out as five nights with two free. This pattern works infinitely, and can be stated like this:

A solo traveler, at a single hotel, can get his second night free and every third night free thereafter by booking two-night award stays interspersed with one-night award or cash stays.

If you want to book multiple rooms in the same hotel, will each room enjoy the last-night-free benefit?

No.

From the terms:

  • For multiple night/multiple room bookings, only one room will receive the Bonus Award Night

Your Take

How have you maximized the last-night-free benefit of the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card?

And where would you recommend I stay on my first trip to Dubai?

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Last month, I wrote about saving money on paid tickets by using a “fake location.” The idea is that airlines charge different amounts for the same ticket depending on where you’re from or where you say you’re from.

I just had the opportunity to use the trick, and I saved 47% on an intra-Egypt flight.

I’m going to spend a week in Egypt in May, and I want to split the time between Luxor and Cairo. My fancy award tickets, which I’ll be writing about in the coming days, fly into Luxor and out of Cairo, so I’ve just got to get myself from Luxor to Cairo on a separate ticket.

Award Booking?

My first thought is always to book an award ticket, but in this case, it’s a very poor value.

United shows award space every day on the route, usually on multiple flights, but the price is 20,000 miles in economy and 35,000 in business–steep for a one hour flight.

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These segments might be very useful as part of a larger award, but I’m not spending 20,000 miles on what turned out to be a sub-$100 flight.

Paid Ticket Search

I headed to kayak.com to check out the price of a paid ticket, which was $112.

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That’s not terrible, and certainly better than 20,000 miles, but I wondered if a fake location would make the flight cheaper.

I went to egyptair.com and selected Egypt as my country and English as my language.

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It’s nice that Egyptair lets you pick English/Egpyt. Some sites put you into the native language if you choose the airline’s home country. In that case, using the Google Chrome browser to automatically translate is helpful.

Searching the exact same dates on egyptair.com “from Egypt” brought much cheaper results than my Kayak search “from the United States.” (In fact, I was in Argentina for both.)

Luxor to Cairo priced out at 422 Egyptian Pounds, about $59.
Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.23.59 PMI selected my ideal flight and paid with my Citi ThankYou® Premier Card because it has no foreign transaction fees. In my Citi account, the charge shows as $59.16, a 47% discount on what someone who didn’t know the fake-location trick would have paid.

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I’m sure I’ll find plenty of ways to spend the $53 I saved on my trip!

Have you used the “fake location” trick before for big savings?

Full explanation of the trick with examples and uses: Book Tickets from Fake Location to Save Money

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Pay for your cheap flights intra-country with the Arrival Plus then redeem Arrival miles to remove the charge.

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WOW Air is offering $99 one way flights to Iceland. These are not mistake fares. These are advertised fares from Boston and Baltimore (marketed as Washington, DC by WOW Air.)

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WOW Air is a new Icelandic low cost carrier. It starts flying to Boston March 26 and Baltimore June 3.

Its $99 fare, and all of its tickets, just include a seat and up to 5 kg (11 pounds) in one carry on. Additional weight in your carry on, checked bags, and even seat selection increase the price. Here is the fee page for WOW Air.

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The latest $99 fare that I found from Boston to Reykjavik was April 17. The earliest $99 fare I found from Baltimore to Reykjavik was October 1, so these $99 fares are not available in the heart of summer. I didn’t find any $99 fares for Reykjavik to the United States.

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If I were to book WOW Air, I would book them one way to Iceland, and I would pay $29 extra to be allowed to carry on 12 kg (26 pounds) in one bag. I am a big proponent of one bag travel, so this would be plenty of space and weight for a trip of up to a month.

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Then I would fly a low cost carrier from Reykjavik to continental Europe.

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Low Cost Carrier Routes from Reykjavik

I would eventually fly home from continental Europe, either for 20,000 American Airlines miles on an off peak economy award, or in Business Class with United miles.

This would mean seeing Iceland and another European country for probably about $300 all in plus 20,000 miles for all the flights. That’s unbeatable.

And, of course, you could pay for your WOW Air ticket and fees with a Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® to get a free ticket. Here’s how to get $500 in free flights from the Arrival Plus.

Hat Tip View from the Wing
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Right now, awards:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Good Is This Sale?

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

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

Your Take

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

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Today (10/14/14) is the last day you can buy up to 56,000 Alaska Airlines miles for as little as 2.11 cents each.

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The sale is structured as a bonus on the normal number of miles you’d receive. The bonus is tiered, so the biggest 40% bonus comes from purchasing 35,000 to 40,000 miles at the normal price of about 2.96 cents each after tax.

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To buy 49,000 miles (35,000 + 14,000 bonus) during this sale costs $1,034.69, which is 2.11 cents per mile.

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I don’t think Alaska miles are worth 2.11 cents each, but they are worth close to that, and if you have a specific redemption in mind, it isn’t hard to get more than 2.11 cents of value per mile.

  • What are the best redemptions for Alaska miles?
  • Does this miles purchase count as airfare or travel spending for category bonuses?

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Updated August 14, 2014 because my miles were credited to my account several weeks ago, and I just got my free magazine and newspaper subscriptions today! The updates will appear throughout this post.

Complain about any airline in less than 140 characters to earn 8,000 Spirit miles, which are enough for several magazines or three free flights for some people.

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This is a three-step process that takes just a few minutes. I have gone through the process and now have free subscriptions to The Economist, Entrepreneur, and the Wall Street Journal.

  • What are the three steps?
  • What are the possible ways to redeem 8,000 Spirit miles?

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