I receive compensation for many links on this blog. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

Back in March I spoke with David Rabkin, American Express Senior Vice President of consumer lending, about the biggest new credit card product launch from American Express we’ve seen in a long time.

What Amex had in store was:

Amex Everyday: It’s Not Even Called American Express. For Many Folks, It’s Better.

The Amex EveryDaySM Credit Card from American Express is a no fee, true Membership Rewards-earning card.

One of the interesting things is that Membership Rewards itself used to come with an annual fee to earn and redeem points, and then some cards started bundling the program — but it was a premium program for premium cards.

I get asked all the time by folks who decide premium products like the American Express Platinum or Premier Rewards Gold isn’t for them, they want to downgrade their card so they still have an American Express product and can keep their Membership Rewards card active, what should they do? But there’s only been one no fee card that can house your Membership Rewards points, and that was a business card (which didn’t allow points transfers out to miles, so you’d have to get another Amex card later in order to do that). As a result many people wind up transferring points out of their account to a mileage program just to not lose the points.

All of this points to American Express missing part of the market with their consumer cards. And I think they’ve filled that gap with Amex Everday.

  • No annual fee
  • Earns full membership rewards whose points transfer to airline and hotel programs
  • 20 charges per billing cycle on the card earns a 20% bonus on points earned for the month
  • The card also earns double points at supermarkets (up to $6000 spend per year)
  • Signup bonus is 10,000 points after $1000 spend in 3 months

The Premium Version of the Card Can Earn 1.5 Points Per Dollar on All Spend — Or More

The Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card from American Express is a premium $95 fee version which offers more bonuses and up to 1.5x on ALL spend.

  • Earns 3x at supermarkets, and 2x at gas stations. Supermarket bonus earn is capped at your first $6000 in spend each year.
  • 30 swipes in a billing cycle will get you a 50% bonus on all of your points-earning for that month — and the bonus even applies to the supermarket and gas station bonus categories (so supermarkets are up to 4.5 points per dollar).
  • 15,000 point signup bonus after $1000 spend in 3 months

I attended the launch party for the card in April and got a sense of what they’re after.

The cards aren’t “American Express” and they don’t use the logo of the Centurion (Roman Soldier) — too masculine.

They set out to design a card primarily marketed to women, multi-taskers, a card to use for all their purchases, large or small.

    Amex Everday

And they wound up designing the strongest travel rewards card in their arsenal, which seemed pretty ironic to me.

The cards are chip and signature. Both cards will offer additional cards on the account for free, and spending by secondary cardholders will count towards the 20 or 30 uses per month to earn that month’s bonus.

These aren’t all-purpose killers, they don’t waive foreign transaction fees which makes sense because their target market isn’t international travleers. They don’t have the biggest bonuses. And while they come with standard American Express protections, they aren’t premium benefits cards like Platinum.

What they are is the strongest cards for earning American Express Membership Rewards points for ongoing spend. 1.5x earning on all spend (for making 30 charges in month) on the premium version of the card is huge, and that’s before we even get to the category bonuses. Triple points with 30 swipes in a month at gas stations is really strong.

Unless the vast majority of your spending is already getting bonused, then Everyday Preferred gives you the best rate of return for your spend – and it earns one of the three most valuable currencies.

Meanwhile, for someone just getting started and looking for a no fee card (or a card to use to retain Amex points already earned), there’s no other no annual fee card that offers full transferable points.

My favorite Amex points transfer partners are:

  • Air Canada’s Aeroplan: good online booking of Star Alliance awards; points transfer instantly; US – Western Europe is just 45,000 miles each way in business class, and about half of their airline partners can be booked without fuel surcharges.
  • British Airways: Short-haul, non-stop flights are super cheap. I frequently redeem 4500 points each way from DC to New York, Chicago, etc.
  • Singapore Airlines: Singapore’s award availability for their own members is really good, and the points are useful for US domestic flights including Hawaii.

I still have the Premier Rewards Gold card, and put $30,000 in airfare spend on it each year at 3x points-earning. That threshold gets me bonus points that I consider cover its annual fee. On the whole, though, Everyday Preferred is probably the better card and I’m thinking seriously about changing my strategy here.

The Amex EveryDaySM Credit Card from American Express
The Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card from American Express

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


.. this started as, and in many ways, just remains my personal blog. That lots of folks join in and read, for which I’m extremely grateful.

With that I offer News and notes from around the interweb:


Lucky posted about his rankings of first class airline products.

This followed my ranking of top first class airlines list.

You can see our full rankings, side-by-side, at FlightFox. Click ‘Flight Blogger Ratings’ on the upper right hand side. You can then sort by his and by mine.

He threw down in a couple of places, offering disagreements. And I think that comes down to a few key differences. Read More…

Air France KLM’s Flying Blue program should be interesting to U.S. frequent flyers for several reasons.

  1. They offer one-way awards, which Delta won’t have until next year.
  2. They are an American Express Membership Rewards and a Citi Thank You points transfer partner.
  3. They have access to award space that Delta won’t let you have.
  4. They have most of their partners available for online booking

Unfortunately their call centers are frustrating, their website can be too (and has been known to show ‘phantom’ award availability, seats that look available but aren’t really here to book).

And they add fuel surcharges onto award tickets.

One of the great values, historically, has been their ‘promo awards’.

Award tickets at half the cost of their regular award chart can be a great value, for a relatively short booking window and for travel between specific cities and Europe. (For instance, travel from a featured U.S. city through Paris on Air France or Amsterdam on KLM to anywhere in Europe half the usual miles.)

A few things have made these awards less valuable than they used to be, though.

  1. The award chart got more expensive. So half off is still more miles than before.
  2. Promo awards aren’t even always half off anymore, they’re frequently now 25% off. Raise prices, then discount them a little bit, and you’re really looking at ‘regular price’ (at least what regular price was 15 months ago).
  3. Promo awards tend to be available for fewer destinations, at least for business class.

Indeed, the new promo awards list is out for September bookings and travel in November and December, and these become bookable Monday. Here are the North America-Europe options.

  • 50% off Detroit – Europe in economy, so 12,500 miles each way.
  • 25% off Mexico City – Europe in economy, so 18,750 miles each way.
  • 25% off New York JFK – Europe in economy, so 18,750 miles each way.
  • 50% off Washington Dulles – Europe in premium economy, so 25,000 miles each way.

These are all economy and premium economy only, nothing in business class. And they’re all on Air France, nothing on KLM this go. A disappointing list, but one that will be strategically useful to some flyers.


Malaysia Airlines is struggling financially, with very low load factors (read: empty planes). They aren’t losing nearly as much money as Qantas, of course.

I genuinely feel bad for them. Lots of employees affected, generally not at all their fault, the carrier getting restructured.

I much like the airline. They have my favorite satay.

Although there have been big cutbacks — a couple of years ago lobster in the first class lounge now the options are much more limited. Not surprising, they were struggling even before recent events.

Overall though I consider theirs the 10th best first class product (Lucky disagrees).

For the frequent flyer, though, it’s worth noting that first class award space on Malaysia Airlines is back.

Generally only one seat for long haul Europe – Kuala Lumpur, but back nonetheless.

Here’s a search for next June, and you’ll see at least one first class award seat every single day flying London – Kuala Lumpur and Paris – Kuala Lumpur.


I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

There’s a new no-fee cash back card from Citibank that will offer most people the highest rate of return in the market.

Citi® Double Cash Card

You earn 1% when you make purchases and then 1% more when you pay off the purchases (which you should do right away, natch).

This is better than the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express (which I’ve written about for a very long time) if you make purchases at places that don’t take American Express. (It’s a MasterCard.)

This is better than the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard if you don’t want to spend your rewards on travel. The Arrival Plus effectively earns 2.2% rebated towards travel. It also comes with an $89 annual fee ($0 fee the first year).

The only cash back card that could potentially be better, it seems to me, is Bank of America’s new offering that will let those who put $100,000 or more in assets on deposit with BofA earn 2.625%.

There’s no signup bonus for the card. It’s just the most solid broadly applicable cash back card on the market, the new benchmark. The Fidelity card was on record six months ago saying they wouldn’t reduce earnings for at least 18 months. That made me think it was plausible they’d do so after 18 months. Having this card in the arsenal may make that less likely, but at least provides an alternative if they do. And it isn’t an Amex.

I favor points over cash back. But I also recognized that if I’m doing any un-bonused spend, I’m effectively buying points at 2 cents apiece, since I could otherwise be earning two cents per dollar spent. I don’t want to do that with most points currencies. So as I’ve long said, a cash rebate like this may be the best option for spending that isn’t going to earn a bonus on a points and miles credit card.

So thrilled to have Citi® Double Cash Card enter the market.

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

Julie D. asks me about authorized users and credit card signup bonuses.

Her husband has authorized user cards on several of her accounts, and wants to know if he can still sign up for the cards himself – for his own account – and whether he’d be eligible to get the signup bonus when he does.

Authorized user cards can be great:

  • To get someone access to credit if they don’t qualify on their own.
  • To get someone a card to earn points with, where the authorized user might be free (but if they got their own card there might be an annual fee)
  • So that someone else can help you to meet the minimum spend requirement on the card.

And there are even cards that will give you bonuses for adding an authorized user to your account.

For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers an extra 5000 bonus points for adding a no fee authorized user to your account and making a purchase with the card within 90 days of account signup. That’s on top of the 40,000 points after $3000 spend within that same 90 day period.

And the United Explorer Card gives an additional 5000 miles for adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the same 90 day period. That’s on top of the 50,000 point signup bonus that’s available through September 2nd after $2000 spend within 90 days.

Some folks can even get the card with a $50 statement credit — it’s something that Chase is offering through the purchase process of United tickets.

There’s a $0 fee the first year, then $95 thereafter, on each of the two cards and both come with primary collision damage coverage for rental cars — for both the primary and additional cardholders.

Being an authorized cardholder on someone else’s account does not disqualify you from getting your own signup bonus for the card.

Sure, you’ve “had” the card before — but not on your own account. When you sign up for your own account, you are a new primary cardholder, and as long as you are otherwise eligible for the bonus you’ll receive it. Having been an authorized user doesn’t get in the way of that.

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


Via William T. and others, a Tax Court has ruled on the taxability of points programs under certain circumstances.

The Tax Court yesterday required the taxpayer to include $668 in income as reported by Citibank on Form 1099-MISC as the value of an airline ticket received by the taxpayer upon redemption of 50,000 “Thank You Points” from opening a Citibank account. Shankar v. Commissioner, 143 T.C. No. 5 (Aug. 26, 2014).

Here’s What the Ruling Means for You

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

Lucky asks Is the relative value of Delta Skymiles increasing?

And technically the relative value might be — if they’re a 2 on a scale of 1-10, and United used to be an 8 but has dropped to a 6 then Delta miles are, relative to United, more valuable than they used to be. But that really doesn’t tell us much.

Here’s why it matters: The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is offering 50,000 bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases within 3 months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within that period as well. It’s a better offer than usual, carries a $0 fee the first year (then $95) and it’s available just through September 8 only.

It’s a good offer, better than usual, and Delta miles have use. To me, it’s worth picking up an easy 50,000 miles!

But make no mistake, Delta miles haven’t all of a sudden gotten ‘great’.

They definitely have good uses. I’ve got a couple of Virgin Australia business class award seats booked, which will get me to my cousin’s wedding in Sydney (and a pop up to the Great Barrier Reef included). That was a great ‘get’ considering that all of the points were earned via the Suntrust Delta debit card.

Many issues remain:

  • Delta doesn’t offer first class awards. Right now American miles are best for that (Cathay Pacific, Etihad especially but also British Airways with fuel surcharges and Qantas if you gave it right).

  • Good luck getting to Asia with more than one passenger. Delta generally releases one business class seat only much of the time. Their partner Korean would be great — and is great with miles from other carriers — but Delta blacks out all dates for all routes on Korean whenever Korean has blackouts for saver awards on any date and route. That’s about a third of the year, and it’s Delta doing it not Korean.

  • Delta doesn’t make all award seats available on partners that those partners are offering. Just compare the Air France award seats offered to Alaska Airlines versus what Delta will book. Expect more of that with partners as Delta re-negotiates contracts. I’ve had terrible luck trying to book available China Southern award seats using Delta miles.

  • Delta’s website is terrible and its agents are worse. The website either won’t find available seats, errors out in the booking process, or misprices awards. Their agents don’t know who their partners are, or the correct booking classes into which to book seats.

  • What you get is a worse inflight product. In general Delta’s partners have worse business classes. Eventually Air France will get decent seats. Delta’s business class isn’t bad as far as it goes. But most partners still fly angled seats in business. It’s still business class — it’s a ton better than coach, and it gets the job done. All things equal I prefer most of the offerings from Star and oneworld airlines.

On the other hand, it’s true, there are some good things about the program (in some cases, not new).

  • Delta is going to start allowing one-way awards at half the price of roundtrip next year. So that much is (finally) better.

  • Delta miles are best for business class to Australia. This is one of the toughest awards if you want to fly non-stop, but Delta partners with Virgin Australia – the only airline that releases tons of space. It’s 160,000 miles roundtrip and you may not find the domestic connection out to Los Angeles, but it gets you there without flying via Asia (and Delta does permit routing via Asia).

  • Delta books awards on Virgin Atlantic without fuel surcharges. Good business class product, less cash than other partners charge for it. So that’s good.

  • Delta miles are in some ways best for Tahiti. This is probably the toughest award overall, given limited service, and Delta partners with both airlines flying from the mainland US to Tahiti. But since the Air France flight is non-daily, and doesn’t have much award space, and Delta is stingy with giving you what is available, it almost doesn’t count. And Delta adds fuel surcharges onto Air Tahiti Nui awards, while American charges fewer miles and no fuel surcharges.

  • Delta’s transatlantic award space is much better than it used to be. If you’re avoiding peak summer months it’s actually quite good, especially to London and even Paris but generally not to destinations where they lack direct competition (say, for instance, the Nice flight). Right now there’s even good availability for next summer.

We don’t really know what next year holds for Delta miles when they implement revenue-based earning and their new 5-tier redemption chart — we know the prices, but not availability on Delta flights at each price point and also not what availability is going to look like on partners as that has seemed to shift in some cases to being only a subset of what those partners are making available.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Update: to add, since Lucky is talking about the relative value of Skymiles, I should say that I am in an odd position of having to transfer about a million Amex points out to programs. I am not making any transfers to Delta.

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


Back in June I wrote about finding at least four business class seats non-stop between the US and Australia almost every day.

That was using Delta miles on its partner Virgin Australia. Virgin Australia awards are even bookable on the Delta website and Delta no longer adds fuel surcharges to Virgin Australia awards.

Then last month all of a sudden Virgin Australia’s business class inventory simply dried up. It was gone, pretty much across the board, with only a few stray dates available.

At the time I said DON’T PANIC. Virgin Australia inventory goes in cycles. So there was reason to believe it would come back. And it has.

See What Amazing Business Class Award Space to Australia is Out There!

A couple of weeks ago I revealed a bunch of Holiday Inn Express secrets – the things they tell their hotel owners, and what those hotels are required to do for guests and for the chain.

Simon L. points out to me that a similar document is available for Club Carlson as well (.pdf). It’s fascinating reading and explains how the loyalty program works from the perspective of a hotel and its requirements to the chain. That’s useful for a guest — to know what they’re entitled to — and a points strategist, to know the economics of the program.

The document spells out the details of upgrades, early and late check-in and out, and breakfast. It explains how much hotels get reimbursed on awards, and what they have to pay to award miles to members. And I read the very long document, to provide the juicy details to you! Read More…

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

The great short-distance award redemption values that British Airways offers don’t just apply to flights on American, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines inside the United States.

Jerry R. writes about the great value he’s gotten from his British Airways Visa Signature® Card which is currently offering 50,000 points after $2000 in purchases within 3 months.

I’m going with my wife to Shanghai and Hong Kong in a few months with my business class fare paid for by my organization so I’m using the Amex Platinum 2-1 on Air Canada which, despite the high business class fares the program generally charges, will allow her to fly for virtually nothing without my charging the organization inappropriately.

I did however, have to book a separate Shanghai-Hong Kong ticket (the business is in Hong Kong) and was about to fork over $650 each to fly Cathay Pacific business class when I remembered your discussion of the value of Avios points for short hauls and, lo and behold, 15,000 miles each and $78 for the two of us bought us the seats.

Thank goodness those valuable short-haul redemptions seem to be sticking around!

British Airways points are highly useful for short distance non-stop flights. And they even useful for premium cabin travel, not just coach, when — outside of US domestic travel — the forward cabin is called business class rather than first.

That’s because British Airways charges double the economy price for business class, but triple for first. And US domestic first class is ‘first’ in this scheme making it 3x the cost of economy.

But where it’s business class — and that includes transborder flights (between the US and Canada or Mexico) — then you pay double the points price. For short trips, that can be a value.

  • It’s not just a more comfortable seat, cocktails, and maybe a meal.
  • It’s priority checkin and free checked bags.
  • And for travel beyond North America generally includes lounge access

In this case the difference between economy (7500 points per person one-way) and business class (15,000 points per person one-way) may be worthwhile.

I recently booked a similarly-priced trip between Tokyo and Shanghai using British Airways’ oneworld partner Japan Airlines.

British Airways even lets you book Japanese domestic awards far in advance which American believes is illegal for them to do (and some Japanese domestic awards have no taxes or fees at all).

The nice thing about Hong Kong flights — aside from the fact that British Airways is partners with Hong Kong mega-carrier Cathay Pacific and its sister regional airline Dragonair — is that Hong Kong is a low fuel surcharge market so flights tend not to be especially costly to book as awards, either, in terms of taxes and fees.

You can also transfer points to British Airways from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card, and the Amex Everyday Preferred Card (as well as other American Express Membership Rewards-earning cards).

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


Evolve Money has been one of the easiest ways to earn miles at little cost.

It’s a bill pay service that at one time even took credit cards, but in general has been useful for using gift cards to pay big bills like mortgages.

In June they began limiting payments to a single vendor to four per month. That was still useful, though not quite as leveragable.

Now it seems they’re only allowing one payment per month per payee. Chandler W. tweeted me about this, Tom S. emailed. And I got the sad email as well.

Dear Evolve Money Customer,

Due to changes in our risk and regulatory compliance policies, Evolve Money will be implementing a limit of one payment per biller account per month. This change takes effect September 1, 2014. There are no limits on the number of cash payments made with a Reloadit pack or Evolve Pay Bucks.

We realize that some of our users have taken advantage of the multiple payments per month to pay off larger expenses such as mortgages. We are currently working on ways to improve the bill paying experience for you and expect to announce details soon.

The Bill Payment Transaction Limits section of our End User License Agreement has been updated to reflect this change. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please feel free to contact us at support@evolvemoney.com with any questions.

Sincerely,
The Evolve Money Team


Ronald A. asks,

I’ve got an Aeroplan award ticket for two booked for next Spring on Turkish Airlines and Brussels Airlines (Istanbul-Brussels-Washnigton Dulles). The Brussels Airlines flight has had a huge schedule change which causes a misconnect in Brussels, so I’ll need to rebook.

It looks like there is nothing with saver availability in business class for my dates on Brussels Airlines for the transatlantic segment, so I’d imagine they’ll want to flip me over to Austrian, which has availability, but that has fuel surcharges on a normal booking.

Will I be charged the fuel charges for an involuntary rebooking like this due to a schedule change?

Also, given that it’s a huge schedule change, is there any chance they can contact revenue management at Star Alliance (or something to that effect) and request that Turkish open up two business seats on the nonstop Istanbul-Washington Dulles flight? What happens if I wait and call Aeroplan on a day where there is no saver award availability at all, meaning they have to open something up in order to accommodate me? Will that increase the likelihood of getting the nonstop on Turkish? (Or will Air Canada just open something up on their own metal?)

Find Out What to Expect When There’s a Major Schedule Change to Your Award Ticket

Australian Business Traveler carries the details on a new business class seat that British Airways has patented.

It offers clues into how BA is thinking about what comes next for business class. This may not be the actual or final seat they use, there could be more than one under consideration.

Here’s BA’s patent application (.pdf). It was filed May 19 and published August 13.

Here’s the ostensible seating configuration, gone would be the dorm-style 8 across seating. Currently I’d prefer flying joint venture partner American between the US and London for their 4-across seating on the 777-300ER. Here British Airways goes all-aisle access 4-across as well.

The patent application describes the challenges of seat weight (because weight means fuel burn) and safety (such as the ability “to survive deceleration of 16g in a takeoff/landing position”).

Plans are shown for use of the seat on Boeing 747, 777, and 787 aircraft – though it’s hard to imagine a retrofit of the 747s. They’re also shown for the Airbus A350 and A380.

The idea seems to be a couch, in herringbone layout. It appears the seats are wider than they are deep (greater width than pitch). And the seat does appear to offer better storage than the present BA business class seat.

Australian Business Traveller points out that the layout is similar to Virgin Atlantic, while the wide seat and high walls are similar to Singapore Airlines (albeit in this case it seems at more of an angle).

While seat pitch is in the 40s of inches, the bed length should extend to over 70 inches.

The entertainment system is built to allow continuous viewing during taxi, takeoff, and landing.

These are just drawings, they may not come to fruition, and if they do we’ll have to see them in action to really judge. On first impression the seat looks good, certainly an improvement over BA’s current offerings, though net-net I’m not convinced I’ll like this over Cathay Pacific’s (and thus American’s) design.


Half a dozen people have sent me articles about American’s flights no longer showing up on Orbitz. US Airways flights will be pulled from Orbitz on September 1.

American sent out a press release on this yesterday, but I didn’t write about it. It’s a temporary phenomenon, basically a contract dispute. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this, about four years ago American pulled its inventory from Orbitz. It’s about pricing and about selling ancillary products through online travel agencies.

Orbitz was started by a consortium of major airlines, but is no longer owned by them. The online travel agencies have considerable volume, Expedia is number one in the space. American can’t really afford to have their flights not appear as options in the major distribution sites where consumers buy tickets. But the agencies don’t want to have the world’s largest airline available through their portal when their competitors offer more comprehensive options. It’s a game of chicken over deal terms, one that will almost certainly be resolved.

And one in which I have absolutely no opinion on who is right or wrong here. I don’t like it but it’s not that big a deal.

I’ve long liked online travel agencies because of the possibility to earn miles or cash back through shopping portals, plus points in the online agency’s own program (before devalued theirs after devaluing theirs the very same year they launched it).

I still find them useful for:

  • Combining multiple airlines on a single ticket
  • Obtaining alternative pricing, since inventory may appear slightly differently in each computer reservation system
  • Fuel dumps

Booking through an online agency makes it easier to buy a ticket and then cancel within 24 hours, versus American’s policy of offering 24 hour holds prior to purchase.

On the other hand, it’s easier to add my Business ExtrAA number as part of the booking. I used to be able to add coupon/discount codes and save 5% – 7%, but American has pretty much gotten rid of that option.

Ultimately, I like competition. I like to be able to buy the same thing in lots of places. But there are still plenty of places to buy American tickets. I guess all that matters is knowing that if you go to Orbitz right now you aren’t seeing all of the options you used to.

That and, of course, if you have an Orbitz ticket for travel on American you’re going to need to work with American on any changes rather than going back to Orbitz — because Orbitz can’t book American’s inventory right now. Again, not a big deal — but good to know not to waste your time on hold waiting for an Orbitz agent only to find out you then need to wait on hold for an American one.


Earlier this month FlightFox put out their rankings of the best first class products in the air and along with those the best prices they’ve found to actually buy each ticket.

I expressed some disagreement with their rankings. For instance, I didn’t agree that Singapore Airlines has the best all-around first class. For instance, I don’t find their seat all that comfortable for lounging although it is good for sleeping, I don’t really find their ground services to be special (although they do a great job with food in The Private Room in Singapore), and they need to work on their snack menu.

The folks at FlightFox underscored though that they were only talking about Singapore’s A380 Suites. Fair enough.

I didn’t agree that Lufthansa has the 5th-best first class.

I’d take Qantas’ A380 First Class Suites (their #15) over Air France (#12) in a heartbeat — as well as over JAL (#11) and Qatar (#7).

They were kind enough to invite me to submit my own rankings, and they offered to publish them on their site. Click to See What The Best First Class Airlines Compare!

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

Citibank emailed yesterday to share that they’ve added Air France KLM’s Flying Blue as a points transfer partner in their Thank You program.

Thank You Premier and Prestige cardmembers can now transfer points to:

  • Air France-KLM
  • Asia Miles
  • Etihad Airways Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
  • Hilton HHonorsTM
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus

Of these, Singapore Airlines has the broadest and best uses. You can now transfer points from Chase, Starwood, American Express, and Citi over to Singapore. And that’s a really great option.

Air France’s Flying Blue does come with some benefits as a transfer partner.

  • It’s also a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, so it’s another place you can combine both Amex and Citi points.
  • Air France award availability is really good, as long as you aren’t trying to book using Delta miles.
  • Air France regularly runs discounted promo awards.
  • They have most of their partner airlines online for award booking, though the website isn’t always perfectly functional.

On the other hand, they add fuel surcharges to awards. Their call centers are frustrating. And their award chart is no longer that cheap.

To me the best thing about this move is what it says about the Citi Thank You Points program — they aren’t done. They aren’t resting on their laurels. They are actively adding partners. And that’s a good thing, it suggests that the points may be getting more valuable rather than less. (And you can transfer the points to anyone you wish.)

The best current offer for a bunch of Thank You points as a signup bonus is for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. Its 50,000 bonus points are as follows:

  • 20,000 points after $2000 in purchases within the first 3 months
  • 30,000 points after another $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months of the second year as a cardmember
  • Earns 3 points per dollar on dining and entertainment and 2 points per dollar on airfare and hotels.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • First year annual fee waived, $125 after that

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

There are two 50,000 point signup bonuses expiring soon. Both offers are much better than ‘normal’ for the cards, so if you’re open to a new Chase card (United) and a new American Express card (Delta) now could be the best time to act.

United Explorer has a 50,000 point signup bonus through September 2nd.

The spend requirement is just $2000 within 90 days, there’s no fee the first year ($95 thereafter) and the card comes with primary collision damage coverage for rental cars.

You even get an additional 5000 miles for adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the same 90 day period.

Some folks can even get the card with a $50 statement credit — it’s something that Chase is offering through the purchase process of United tickets.

Meanwhile, through September 8 Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers 50,000 bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases within 3 months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within that period as well. The annual fee is $0 the first year then $95.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express also offers 50,000 bonus miles (and 15,000 elite qualifying miles) after $1000 spend within 3 months. There’s also a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within that period. The card has a $195 annual fee.

While I’m not a fan of Delta miles generally, or their recent and pending award chart changes, 50,000 miles do have some good uses.

I earn most of my Delta miles via the Suntrust Delta debit card which still gives me 1 mile per dollar. And I recently booked a couple of business class award tickets to Australia (on their partner Virgin Australia when availability was out of this world good).

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.


Alaska Airlines is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased miles through October 14.

This isn’t all that uncommon an offer. Sometimes it’s 30%, sometimes 35%, and sometimes 40% — as often as not Alaska offers some sort of bonus on purchased miles. But this is as good as I’ve seen it.

A purchase of 40,000 points earns 56,000 miles at a total cost of $1182.50 or ~ 2.1 cents per mile.

Key things to know: Read More…

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View from the Wing is a project of Miles and Points Consulting, LLC. This site is for entertainment purpose only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

Advertiser Disclosure: Many (but not all) of the credit card offers on the site are from banks from which we receive compensation if you are approved. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards other than in banner advertising (we do not currently control the banner advertising on this blog). We don’t include all US credit card offers available on this site. Instead, I write primarily about cards which earn airline miles, hotel points, and some cash back (or have points that can be converted into the same).

Editorial Note: The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine and not provided by any bank including (but not limited to) American Express, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, Barclaycard or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.