Deal

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I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Update 8/20/15: Delta now advertises this fare sale and says the deals must be booked by tomorrow August 21, 2015.

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This page also lists some of the fare sale city pairs, though definitely not all.

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Yesterday, Delta started selling awards to Europe for 21,000 miles each way in economy and 43,500 miles each way in Business Class. These are huge discounts off the “normal” price of 30,000 miles each way in economy and 62,500 miles each way in Business Class. (Though “normal” is tough to say since Delta deleted its award charts.)

At the time, the awards were only open to Delta elites and credit card holders. Now these discounted awards are bookable by everyone.

I did a lot of searching this morning, and I think I’ve sussed out the rules for these discounted awards to Europe.

  • Who can book the awards?
  • Where can you book from?
  • Where can you book to?
  • Which partners can be booked at discounted rates?
  • What dates are discounted?

Now Open to Everyone

Yesterday Delta said that elites and credit card holders were getting a one day pre-sale. That pre-sale has ended, and everyone can access the discounted awards in this post without even signing in to delta.com.

Discounted Region

The only discounted awards I see are to Europe. It would be nice if other regions were included in this deal! Let’s see if Delta adds other regions.

Discounted Routes & Partners

Yesterday, screen shots of discounted partner awards (flying KLM and Virgin Atlantic) surfaced. I cannot recreate those today. In fact, I found no discounted partner awards in my many searches. Please leave a comment if you can find a discounted partner award today. Until we find a discounted partner route today, it looks like the sale is for Delta-operated flights only.

Not all Delta flights/routes can be booked for the discounted prices. I’ll give a lot of examples of discounted routes in this post, but let me first give some routes on which I found no discounts:

  • New York to Madrid
  • Atlanta to Madrid
  • New York to Rome
  • New York to Nice, France
  • New York to Barcelona
  • Los Angeles to London

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.47.33 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.47.36 AM

The warm-weather lover in me notes that, other than Los Angeles to London, those destinations are in Southern Europe, which would be the most pleasant place to visit during this Fall and Winter sale.

If the route you want to fly isn’t mentioned in the excluded or included section, a search will quickly reveal if it has discounted award space.

Let us know the excluded/included routes you find in the comments.

Discounted Dates

Across all the routes I searched, the discounted awards all fall between October 20, 2015 and February 29, 2016.

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Let me know if you see discounted awards outside those dates in the comments.

Discounted Prices

If you fly all Delta flights during the discounted dates on included routes, you can get the following award prices:

  • From the Eastern and Central time zones plus Alaska to Europe for 21,000 SkyMiles each way in economy
  • From the Eastern and Central time zones plus Alaska to Europe for 43,500 SkyMiles each way in Business Class
  • From the Mountain and Pacific time zones plus Hawaii to Europe for 24,000 SkyMiles each way in economy
  • From the Mountain and Pacific time zones plus Hawaii to Europe for 50,000 SkyMiles each way in Business Class

I am not 100% sure that the break down is by time zone, but all the examples I found fit that pattern. If you find a discount that doesn’t fit that pattern, leave it in the comments, and maybe we can improve our understanding of the pricing.

Other Notes On Pricing

These awards are available one way. Roundtrip awards cost double. Mixing a discounted award with a partner award leads to the price you would expect. For instance, here is New York to Paris roundtrip in Business Class. One way is at the discounted price on Delta flights (43.5k) and the other is on a partner (62.5k). The total price is the sum: 106k.

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Delta awards originating in Europe, whether one way or roundtrip, include fuel surcharges. Here is Paris to New York for 43,500 SkyMiles + $335 in Business Class.

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Examples

Here are the screenshots from which I drew the above conclusions.

Atlanta to Amsterdam for 21k/43.5k

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JFK to London for 21k/43.5kScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.17.14 AM

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Detroit to London for 21k/43.5kScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.25.05 AM

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Charlottesville, Virginia to London for 21k/43.5kScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.25.35 AM

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Los Angeles to London for 30k/62.5k

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Minneapolis to London for 21k/43.5kScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.27.12 AM

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Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.27.56 AMSalt Lake City to London for 24k/50k

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Houston and Dallas to London for 21k/43.5kScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.30.40 AM

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Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

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I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

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

Travel from Houston (IAH) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) for $651 roundtrip on Delta this Fall or Winter.

Contents:

  1. When are the $651 fares?
  2. Where to Search and Where to Book Them
  3. Getting Around South Africa
  4. Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket

$651 Roundtrip from Houston to Johannesburg

Sample Dates: October 26 – November 5 on Delta

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According to Secretly Flying, these other dates are also $651 roundtrip:

27th Oct – 8th Nov
28th Oct – 9th Nov
3rd-15th Nov
5th-15th Nov
10th-22nd Nov
12th-22nd Nov
16th-26th Nov
24th Nov – 6th Dec
26th Nov – 7th Dec

There are many other dates available for $651 also.

 

How to Search and How to Book These $651 Fares

 

Search the fares on delta.com. Say that your dates are flexible to see a grid like this. Find a departure-return pair for $709.80.

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Then do NOT book it on delta.com. Go to budgetair.it to find the same fare for 587 euros ($651.) Use Google Chrome to translate budgetair.it.

Getting Around South Africa

Jo’burg has some fascinating museums about the struggle against apartheid, and Freedom Park in Pretoria is a little known gem, that is just a short train ride away.

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View of Cape Town from top of Table Mountain

To get to Cape Town and your safari, you’ll want to fly. There are several airlines in South Africa:

Check the cash price on the low cost carriers like Kulula, and then check whether award space is available on Comair (marketed as British Airways) on ba.com with your Avios.

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

You should definitely purchase your this ticket with a credit card that imposes no foreign transaction fees. Your top choice should be the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will cover the purchase of this ticket. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy this fare with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement: bringing the price down to $401 roundtrip!

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

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

My second choice would be the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which offers 3x on all travel and gas purchases and also has no foreign transaction fees. The card comes with 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

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Hat Tip Secretly Flying

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Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

 

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Yesterday I reported that some Delta domestic awards cost only 5,000 SkyMiles one way, a 60% discount on the prevailing 12,500 mile rate we expect from legacy carriers. Other routes cost 10,000 SkyMiles one way. From playing around on delta.com, I’ve discovered a few more things.

  • So far, there are no known 5k segments that can be combined onto one award, so we don’t know how that would price.
  • Combine a 5k segment and a 10k segment, and you get a 10k award.
  • Combine a 5k segment and 12.5k segment, and you get a 12.5k award.
  • Combine a 10k segment and 12.5k segment, and you get a 12.5k award.
  • City pairs do not have a price. Segments have a price. (Explained below.)
  • All 5k and 10k awards are only bookable for flights through December 31, 2015.

Segments Have a Price, Not City Pairs

  • A “city pair” is your departing and arrival city no matter how many stops you have in between.
  • A “segment” is one wheels up and wheels down of an airplane.

The 5k and 10k prices we’ve uncovered on delta.com are for segments, not for city pairs. How do I know? Portland/San Francisco as a city pair doesn’t have just one price. The direct flight costs 12,500 miles. The routing via Seattle costs 10,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.50.21 PM

Why is that? Because Delta has clearly assigned prices to each segment.

  • The Portland-to-San-Francisco segment costs 12,500 SkyMiles as we can see above.
  • The Portland-to-Seattle segment costs 5,000 miles.
  • The Seattle-to-San-Francisco segment costs 10,000 miles.

Proof SEA-SFO segment is 10k:

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.51.31 PM

Proof SEA-PDX is 5k:Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.51.58 PM

When you fly a connecting domestic Delta award itinerary in which one segment prices at one price and the other at another, you just pay the higher segment price.

That’s why PDX-SFO is 12,500 miles and PDX-SEA-SFO is 10,000 miles.

You can see this rule over and over if you try to combine a 5k and 10k segment, a 5k and 12.5k segment, or a 10k and 12.5k segment.

For instance, San Diego to Sacramento prices at 10,000 miles via Los Angeles.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 4.23.46 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 4.23.52 PM

That’s because the San Diego-to-Los-Angeles segment costs 10,000 miles, the Los-Angeles-to-Sacramento segment costs 5,000 miles, and delta.com goes with the higher price on connecting itineraries.Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 4.24.52 PM

This logic implies that combining two 5k segments would cost just 5,000 total miles. Unfortunately we can’t test that because no two current 5k segments can be combined into a legal route.

I tried to combine the Sacramento-to-Los-Angeles and Los-Angeles-to-San-Jose 5k segments, but that’s not a legal routing, so I got this error.Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.47.10 PM

All the 5k and 10k segments disappear after December 31

When Delta first made some SkyMiles awards 10,000 miles in March, they put out a press release and said that the discount was for awards flown by December 31, 2015 only. That rule appears to still be in place for both the 5k and 10k awards.

San Diego to Los Angeles only offers 10k awards until December 31, and the best price after that is 12,500 miles.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.56.27 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.56.34 PM

Similarly, Seattle to Portland jumps to 12,500 miles from 5,000 miles after December 31.Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.55.26 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.55.33 PM

That’s everything my digging has uncovered:

  • So far, there are no known 5k segments that can be combined onto one award, so we don’t know how that would price.
  • Combine a 5k segment and a 10k segment, and you get a 10k award.
  • Combine a 5k segment and 12.5k segment, and you get a 12.5k award.
  • Combine a 10k segment and 12.5k segment, and you get a 12.5k award.
  • City pairs do not have a price. Segments have a price.
  • All 5k and 10k awards are only bookable for flights through December 31, 2015.

Do you have any questions? Have you uncovered anything else?

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Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

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Frontier’s spring sale ends today. Fares start at $29 one way!

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The sale is valid for bookings made by 11:59 PM ET on March 25 for domestic, nonstop travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays between April 14 and May 20.

Here is the sale page and restrictions. Here are the sale city pairs.

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I had no trouble pricing out Washington to Chicago for $29.

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Fees

Frontier now follows the ultra-low-cost, fee-for-everything model.

Seat selection costs $4+. They’ll assign you a seat at check in for free, but you’ll probably get the worst one.

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Only a personal item is free to bring on board. Checked bags cost $20+ and carry ons cost $30+, so I would think of these fares as costing $20 more each way and plan on checking a bag.

Even water costs money. Here’s the snack and drink menu.
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Getting These Flights for Free

There’s no need to pay cash for cheap, cash fares. You can redeem ThankYou Points at a rate of 1.25 cents each to purchase any airline ticket. That means a $29 fare would be 2,320 ThankYou Points and $0.

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is now offering a 50,000 point sign up bonus worth $625 in free flights on any flight, any time, on almost any airline with no blackout dates.

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  • Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards
  • Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
  • 3x and 2x category bonuses for travel, dining, and entertainment
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first twelve months, $95 thereafter
  • Points also transfer to 11 airlines and one hotel if you prefer to use them as miles instead of fixed-value points

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Earn up to 20 free hotel nights after meeting spending $2,500 in the first 90 days on the Club Carlson Visa.

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I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

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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I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

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

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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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Book any JetBlue award by 11:59 PM ET tomorrow (July 25, 2014) for travel from September 2 to October 31, 2014, and you’ll get 20% of the points back in November or December 2014.

If you have Fall travel planned but not booked, this is a nice rebate.

You can transfer 250 Membership Rewards to 200 JetBlue points if you’re short of the award you want. With this 20% rebate on awards, that may make sense.

The highest value award is for Mint Class between New York and Los Angeles and, starting October 26, New York and San Francisco. You can get a fully flat bed in a fully enclosed Mint Suite for 34,800 TrueBlue points, plus you’d get 6,960 TrueBlue points back for use on a future flight.

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I wrote extensively about the amenities and price that make Mint “By Far The Best Deal on Domestic Business Class” so check out that post for far more information on why I’d take advantage of this rebate to book Mint Class.

  • What are the full terms and conditions of the 20% rebate?

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Commenters are not having success with calling in. Writing a Secure Message is still untested. If you want a 50k offer, just wait a few months. They pop up every few months.

I got an email from Southwest over the weekend with the subject “Get 2 Roundtrip Flights along with a $50 statement credit for EarlyBird Check-In” that advertised the best Southwest credit card offer I’ve ever seen.

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The offer is for 50,000 Rapid Rewards (worth over $700 in free Southwest flights) after spending $2,000 in the first three months after opening the account. In addition, the card comes with $50 in statement credits to offset EarlyBird Check-In on four Southwest flights.

  • Is this a good deal?
  • Is this a public offer?
  • What is EarlyBird Check-In?

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Update 7/15/15: The best current offer is 75k miles:

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines after spending $7,500 in the first three months.

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 Clubsin 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.

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  • For a limited time, earn 75,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $7,500 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Admirals Club® membership for you with guest privileges*
  • 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles from American Airlines after $40,000 spent in purchases each calendar year*
  • Receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines and US Airways purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines and US Airways itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*

The card also has a $450 annual fee.

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

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The strange saga of the Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard with 100,000 bonus American Airlines miles keeps getting stranger. The good news is that the offer, after disappearing for three days, is back. You can still get 110,000 American Airlines miles from a single credit card sign up. That’s enough miles to fly anywhere in the world roundtrip on American Airlines partners.

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The saga:

  • January 2014: The Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard’s sign up bonus increases from 60,000 to 75,000 to 100,000.
  • June 27, 2014: I wrote that the landing page for the 100,000 mile offer was gone but that a direct link to the card’s application (with no mention of the 100,000 mile bonus) still worked. Several readers confirmed getting the bonus through that link.
  • July 11, 2014: The direct link stops working. There were still offers available for 75,000 miles on the card.
  • July 14, 2014: The same direct link works again.  FlyerTalkers are reporting applying through the link, getting approved, and confirming with a phone agent that they are in line for 100,000 bonus miles on the card.

It is still be possible to quickly earn 110,000 American Airlines miles by getting the card and meeting its minimum spending requirement of $10,000 in the first three months, but there are major drawbacks to the Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard that you should consider before getting the card.

  • What is the direct link to the Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard application?
  • What is the full offer on the Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard?
  • Can you get the card if you’ve had other Citi American Airlines cards?
  • Can you get this sign up bonus more than once?

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United left one of the best values on their award chart when they devalued their chart in February.

You can fly between Southern South America–Brazil, Argentina, Chile–and Africa for 30k miles each way in economy and 45k miles each way in business class as long as your itinerary features South African Airways’ flights between Sao Paulo and Johannesburg.

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This is such a high value award that when reader Ryan pointed it out to me, we both thought it was a mistake. Ryan had searched for a September departure between Johannesburg and Santiago, Chile and the Saver economy award was 60k miles while the Saver business award was only 45k miles.

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At first I thought the price of the business class award was a mistake. After all, United’s chart lists the business class price between South America and Africa as 97,500 miles one way.

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But after about an hour of playing around on united.com, I figured out that the 45k mile price in business class between South America and Africa is not a mistake. It is the price United means to charge, and it’s a holdover from United’s last award chart.

  • Why did Ryan find economy on his route for 60k miles and business for 45k miles?
  • What is the key route that features the discounted price?
  • How is award space on that route?

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