This one is credit to One Mile at a Time.

There are business class roundtrip fares next summer on Skyteam airlines from the West Coast to Europe for less than $1500 roundtrip through end of the schedule.

$1500 isn’t cheap per se but it’s about what you’ll often pay for summer travel in economy, and it’s the cheapest regular fares I’ve seen for business class from the West Coast.

Here’s what it ‘normally’ costs on other airlines.

Continue reading for the details!

Frequent Traveler University, December 5-7, Hyatt Regency Crystal City (near Washington’s National Airport)

All you need to do is read this post..!

This week I ran a giveaway of free tickets to Frequent Traveler University paired with hotel nights for the event.

All you had to do was leave a comment to enter.

The event is December 5-7 in Arlington, Virginia and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Two winners were drawn with the help of random.org.

The first winner is Jim:

The second winner is David:

Both will receive a ticket to Frequent Traveler University and the nights of December 5 and 6 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, host hotel for the event.

If you didn’t win, you can still attend! Make sure to get your tickets for the event.


News and notes from around the interweb:


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 discounted as much as 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 November bookings and travel in January and February, and these become bookable tomorrow (Saturday). Here are the North America-Europe options.

  • 25% off Montreal – Europe in business class on KLM
  • 50% off Chicago – Europe in business class on KLM
  • 25% off Toronto – Europe in business class on Air France
  • 50% off Houston – Europe in economy on both Air France and KLM
  • 50% off New York – Europe in economy on both Air France and KLM
  • 50% off Washington Dulles – Europe in economy on KLM
  • 25% off Los Angeles – Europe in economy on Air France
  • 25% off Washington Dulles – Europe in economy on KLM

  • 50% off Miami – Madrid (suggesting perhaps not possible to connect beyond Madrid) in both economy and business class on Air Europa

    Two other interesting things of note in this round of promo awards:

    1. Tahiti is on sale, too. They’re offering 25% off Tahiti in economy on Air France, so just 30,000 miles each way.
    2. Kenya Airways is included. I don’t remember seeing that before. They’re offering discounts between Nairobi and Guangzhou, Bangkok, and Dubai.


  • Aeroplan has imposed a new, more restrictive pricing system for award travel.

    But there’s apparently an interesting situation that’s arisen, maybe they want to make things go down a bit more smoothly with the introduction of these new rules!

    Every award is pricing based on the first stopover you book. If you stopover domestically, you can travel anywhere in the world for the cost of a domestic award.

    First class to Europe? South America? No problem, just pay the domestic award price.

    Continue Reading to See How This Works, and How to Get the Cheap Prices..!

    About a month ago I offered the first in a series, Questions That Are Rarely Asked. (Why do flight attendants have to collect pre-departure beverage cups, but you’re allowed to keep the beverage you brought onboard yourself?)

    Today’s entry concerns airport parking: why are there always so many empty spaces, and more specifically why don’t parking lots adjust pricing because of this?

    Casino hotels are the extreme, where historically they’ve adjusted their rates downward — even close to zero — to ensure they are as close as possible to full every night. If it takes a $9 rate to get there, so be it. But they earn incremental revenue from gambling.

    But other hotels discount unsold rooms, such as though opaque channels like Hotwire and Priceline. Every room that stays empty is revenue they cannot ever get back. And the marginal cost of an additional hotel guest in an otherwise empty room is very low.

    Airlines discount seats, virtually any revenue from a seat that would have taken off empty is cash positive for an airline.

    But airport parking? Parking lots have the same characteristics as airplane seats and hotel rooms. They already exist, which means the costs have been incurred, and each day a space is empty that’s revenue that can never be earned back.

    So why don’t airport parking lots discount their spaces? Here I’m talking about the official daily lots, not private off-airport parking. Interestingly, those lots do discount. They offer coupons. They offer frequent renter credits. They market aggressively to fill up. But generally speaking airport lots do not.

    1. The want to remain empty on purpose. Part of what they’re charging for is the reliability of finding a space whenever you need it, their mission isn’t to make money for the airport authority it’s to provide convenience to support the airport operation. So when you ‘overpay’ for a space you’re paying not just for your own space but for empty spaces as well, the convenience of knowing you’ll be able to park when you show up.
    2. Then why don’t airport lots raise price over Thanksgiving and Christmas? Peak holidays are the only times they do seem to truly fill up. If their mission is to ensure parking is always available, overcharging to accomplish that, shouldn’t they increase price in order to make sure that happens when demand outstrips supply at their usual price?
    3. Are the just insufficient incentives for airports to care? Or perhaps there are barriers that make it not worth prioritizing, since airport authorities are political environments and a controversial pricing model like discounting and surge pricing would have to be explained and perhaps voted on — why should an bureaucratic entrepreneur stick their neck out?

    Every day plenty of spaces go empty, which means lost revenue for airports. That means either airports aren’t getting the funding they need, or they’re raising fees on flights — pushing away discount airlines, increasing ticket prices.

    So isn’t this a real lost opportunity?


    You’ll Also Want to Be Sure to Read:

    The Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is a great city hotel, set in an upscale neighbor apart from the hustle and bustle of the city and just a few blocks from the Four Seasons. Service is excellent, and it’s a great value to stay there as a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member especially when cash and points is available.

    My Park Hyatt Buenos Aires review begins with arrival at the property. There are two separate buildings, connected via underground walkway or outside through the garden. There’s the original Palacio and there’s a new tower.

      park hyatt buenos aires review

    I came in through the historic wing, which is their main reception though the building has only a couple dozen rooms. Once I identified myself I was escorted across to the other tower for in-room check-in.

      park hyatt buenos aires review

    The booking was made with cash and points, so just 10,000 points and $125 per night while room rates there would have been over $600. The hotel is known for treating Diamonds well, and I was brought to a Park Executive Suite for my two night stay… a complimentary upgrade, not something I had confirmed with a Diamond suite upgrade award. My room, incidentally, was ready when I arrived a little before 11 a.m. Continue Reading to Learn More About the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, and Hyatt Gold Passport member benefits!

    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 signup offer for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card has just gotten better.

    The card still offers 50,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

    What’s new is that the annual fee is now $0 the first year, $95 thereafter (instead of the $95 applying in year one). So that’s great!

    • It’s a lot of points
    • And with a low spending requirement to get them.
    • Which can be put to great use
    • Without having to pay an annual fee in the year you earn the bonus

    The card earns 1.25 points per dollar on all spending (2.5 points per dollar on British Airways spend, and cardholders get a 10% discount on purchased British Airways tickets).

    If you spend $30,000 on the card in a year you earn a Travel Together award ticket — your companion’s award ticket on British Airways or OpenSkies flights costs 0 points (you pay taxes and fees).

    There are no foreign transaction fees with this card, and with their distance-based award system short-distance non-stop flights start at just 4500 points each way including on their partners American Airways, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines

    What If You’ve Had This Card in the Past?

    As I explained earlier in the month, Chase has gotten a lot more generous welcoming back past cardmembers to their card products.

    This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new card member bonus for this product in the past 24 months.

    The Short-Distance Non-Stop Solution

    I consider short-distance domestic flights to be the best use of Avios. 50,000 points is literally 11 flights between Washington DC and New York LaGuardia on the US Airways shuttle, or any number of other flights on American, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines that are under 650 miles.

    These short flights are often expensive – my one-way shuttle flights or DC-Chicago flights can run up near $400. I never expect to get more than 2 cents a point domestically, and I frequently get 7 cents per point when redeeming Avios. And there are no last minute booking fees.

    Here’s the award chart showing price per flight based on its distance:

    Note that business class is double the price of economy, and first class is triple.

    The Companion Award ‘Travel Together’ Ticket Doubles the Value of Your Points!

    If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year on the card you earn a companion award ticket which allows you to book two passengers on an award ticket for the mileageprice of one award. You still pay taxes and fees for both passengers. And two award seats must be available in the ticketed cabin for both passengers as well.

    The basic rules for the travel together ticket are:

    • Each calendar year that you spend $30,000 on your British Airways Visa Signature Card, you earn a Travel Together Ticket valid for two years. Travel must begin by the expiration date of the certificate.
    • Since the vouchers are valid for two years, if you earn one in each calendar year it is possible to have two vouchers in your account at the same time. You can use both on the same itinerary so that four passengers can travel for the mileage cost of two awards (plus taxes and fees).
    • You can earn only one companion award ticket per British Airways Visa primary account. Spending $60,000 on the card does not earn two.
    • All travel must originate in or return to the US.
    • The person who earns the voucher (the visa cardholder) must be one of the passengers on the award ticket.
    • Only flights on British Airways aircraft may be used on the award.
    • Regular award space must be available for all passengers.

    Since the companion ticket works for British Airways flights to and from the US only, you need to fly British Airways metal, that means routing via London.

    I find that these vouchers are best used for travel to and from Europe as travel beyond can get costly in miles.

    This travel together ticket can be one of the most strategic plays in the frequent flyer universe.

    For instance, a couple can sign up for two of these cards and have 105,000 points after meeting minimum spend requirements. They link their accounts into a household to share the miles. They spend $30,000 on one card, $2000 on the other and they now have 140,000 points and a travel together ticket.

    That 140,000 points is enough for both passengers to travel roundtrip first class from the East Coast, and nearly enough from the West. In a sense, those miles can be spent twice.

    Again, you pay taxes and fees on both tickets — I view it as being like buying a deeply discounted non-mileage earning coach ticket and getting a triple upgrade to first class.

    And it’s the only way I know for two people to travel in premium cabins to Europe off of only two credit card signups, though it does take spending $30,000 on the card to earn a travel together certificate in order to do it.

    British Airways premium cabin availability can be really good out of some gateways like Washington Dulles and New York JFK, Chicago and Philadelphia. Like with any award ticket, flexibility helps a lot.

    Double Your Bonus With British Airways Family Accounts

    British Airways offers family accounts — you can set up your account with family members so you can pool your miles towards a single award.

    This means you and a spouse, for instance, could each get the card. After meeting the minimum spend for to earn the bonus, you’d have earned a total of 105,000 for the two cards. Even though the miles are in two different accounts, you can spend them on one award ticket as though they were in a single account if you link the accounts together.

    Creating a family account — which can be undone — means you can only redeem awards for people that are linked in the family account.

    And you can have up to 7 people in a family account, at the extreme if 7 people linked through a family account each got the card and earned the bonus that would be 367,500 miles to spend as though they were all in one account.

    The Elephant in the Room: Fuel Surcharges

    There aren’t any fuel surcharges if you redeem your points for US domestic flights, or between the US and South America.

    But like most frequent flyer programs based outside North America, British Airways adds fuel surcharges onto the cost of an award ticket — whatever that charge would have been on a similar purchased ticket.

    Here’s how to keep the cost down (or even eliminate fuel surcharges entirely) when redeeming awards through British Airways:

    • Fly US domestic economy. It’s what I do most with my Avios, just 4500 points each way on flights 650 miles or less.

    • US – South America flights have no fuel surcharges. Australia domestic is a great deal here, too. Japanese domestic flights can literally have $0 in taxes and fees.

    • The fees are cheap for many destinations in Asia. And remember that business class (not US domestic first class) is just double the cost of economy. On short routes that can be a really good value, especially when it comes with free baggage and lounge access.

    • Open an Iberia Avios account as well. Transfer your British Airways points over to Iberia (one-to-one into an account that’s been open three months and has had some points activity). The fees are de minimis when using Iberia points to fly Iberia. Here’s how. And note that Iberia business class award availability is generally excellent.

    • British Airways partner Aer Lingus (Bsoton and New York to Dublin and Shannon — and beyond) has really low charges.

    • airberlin, a oneworld partner, does not add fuel surcharges onto their fares.

    • Remember to check whether two one-way awards are cheaper than a roundtrip.

    • You can fuel dump an award ticket, adding a segment to make the itinerary extend to a destination beyond where you are going that charges lower fees. But with the British Airways program it will cost you additional miles to do it (since BA charges separately for each flight segment except for UK domestic flights).

    Other Ways to Get British Airways Avios

    You can transfer points at ‘full value’ from three programs:

    • Chase Ultimate Rewards: The Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card offers 50,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months. The Sapphire Preferred Card is offering 40,000 points after $3000 spend within 3 months plus 5000 points for adding a (no fee) authorized user to the account and making a purchase. These points can be transferred instantly.
    • American Express Membership Rewards: The Amex Everyday Preferred is probably the strongest Membership Rewards points-earning card, with a minimum earning of 1.5 points per dollar if you use the card 30 times in a month. In the past Membership Rewards has offered transfer bonuses to BA, and the points transfer instantly.
    • Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints: Points don’t transfer instantly, but there’s the built-in bonus of 5000 points when you transfer 20,000. The The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has been in my wallet since 2001.

    Finding Award Space and Booking Your Award

    The easiest place to search for availability of all (3) partner airlines for those short haul domestic non-stop flights is the American Airlines (AA.com) website. That site isn’t great for most of its partners, but it does cover American, US Airways, and Alaska.

    Of course you have to make your booking directly with British Airways. You can search American and US Airways inventory directly on the BA site, but their site won’t search for or book Alaska Airlines flights, you’ll have to call to book Alaska Airlines flights.

    For most other awards in the oneworld alliance the British Airways website is quite good for searching space and making initial bookings.

    Making changes to awards though has to be done over the phone, by a special department, and then tickets get queued for re-issue and if travel is in the future it can take a week or more for the re-issue to happen. Book one-way awards, cancel them online (it’s cheaper, forfeit the taxes on a domestic award instead of paying a fee), and rebook instead of changing.

    British Airways Visa Signature® Card

    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.


    Delta is short-term award sale.

    Delta wants you to ‘book your dream trip’ but your dream had better not include business class, because the sale is for coach only. And you had better not want to travel on peak holiday dates — because those are blacked out.

    Here’s the deal: For tickets issued by November 3 and travel between December 3 and February 18 (but subject to blackout dates), Delta is offering discounts of 4000 – 10,000 miles on economy awards within the 48 contiguous U.S. states and between those 48 States and the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America.

    Not all cities get the discount, either though as the promotion excludes travel to Caracas, Venezuela; Cancun, Mexico; and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

    Blackout dates are:

    • December 19 through December 24, 2014
    • December 26, 2014 through January 5, 2015
    • January 16, 2015
    • January 19, 2015
    • February 13, 2015
    • February 16, 2015

    In other words, you don’t get the discount on holiday travel dates you’d want to fly.

    Tickets to/from Brazil, Argentina, and Chile require a 7-day minimum stay, and all travel on this promotion has a 30 day maximum stay.

    I didn’t love it when they offered something similar last month — too many restrictions — and I still don’t get excited about it.

    The discounts certainly aren’t big enough that they ought to entice travel you wouldn’t otherwise take, which sort of seems to be the idea of discounting awards now.


    News and notes from around the interweb:


    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).

    I’m a big fan of American Express Centurion lounges in US airports, which I get complimentary access to as a Platinum Card from American Express cardholder.

    What Is An American Express Lounge?

    American Express has begun operating their own network of “Centurion lounges,” which are a step above what travelers have become accustomed to from US airline-operated lounges.

    I consider the American Express Centurion lounge in Dallas my favorite lounge in the U.S.. It’s also one of the lounges I visit most often.

    Other contenders for best lounge would be the New York JFK Virgin Clubhouse, first class section of Lufthansa’s club, and British Airways Concorde Room.

    There’s a Centurion lounge also at New York’s LaGuardia airport and in Las Vegas. Additional known lounges are in the pipeline for San Francisco and Miami. Others will surely come.

    Access:

    • Centurion and Platinum cardholders: Cardmember may bring in their spouse and children or two guests
    • Other American Express cardholders: $50 per adult (children complimentary when accompanied by paying adult)

    I keep my Platinum Card from American Express largely for access to the Centurion lounges. Here’s a full review of the card that explains why the signup bonus and airline fee credit make the card a no-brainer to me. (American Express even added a couple additional benefits since I reviewed the card.

    See San Francisco Opening Details and News on Upcoming Lounges

    Global Entry is fantastic skipping the immigration and customs queues when you return to the U.S.

    I didn’t love the fingerprinting or background check that went along with it, but I figured all my cell phone data was being logged anyway long before Edward Snowden was cool. So if the surveillance was inevitable I figured I might as well at least get the convenience.

    Now that I have it, it’s hard to imagine life without it — and not just queuing up at immigration, but also that I always get PreCheck at TSA now rather than having it be hit-or-miss through my airline elite status.

    A Customs and Border Patrol agent can mark you down with a strike that can take it away from you, though. So you’d better cross your I’s, dot your T’s, and respect their authoritah.

    A reader shares this experience getting one ‘strike’ on her Global Entry: Read More…

    Just days ago I shared my elite status update and why I chose each program. Since that was meant as a window into my actual travels, and I reported just 4 stays and nights with Hilton for the year, I thought an update was appropriate.

    I now have Hilton HHonors Diamond status.

    Downgraded to Silver

    I was a Silver. For the past several years I’ve been an HHonors Diamond from credit card spend. I figured that I would get a soft landing to Gold, which in the limit is just as good, but was given silver instead when I didn’t requalify.

    Hilton bumped me up to Gold as a courtesy, a generous offer which I declined. They moved me back to silver. Keep Reading to See Where I Got My Hilton Diamond Status Instantly, for Free..!

    On net I think the details of how American AAdvantage 2015 plans to combine with US Airways Dividend Miles in the second quarter of 2015 is the best possible outcome we could reasonably have expected.

    I did expect that the combined program would have 4 elite tiers (as US Airways has today, and as both Delta and United have as well) and would move to a system of unlimited complimentary upgrades or all members (though I don’t think that system is better for lower tier elites, because it pushes down their success in actually getting upgrades — a system that has them ration when they request upgrades means they are more likely to get upgrades when they do request it).

    As far as what could have happened — award chart increases, going revenue-based like United and Delta, imposing minimum revenue requirements for elite status — American didn’t pursue any of those.

    Instead they basically kept (at least for now, and for the immediate term!) the American AAdvantage platform that is great for members, and they’re folding US Airways members into that.

    Nonetheless, there’s no way to combine different programs in a way that would make everyone happy and better off. Take upgrades: if you like a system that requires using a limited number of earned upgrade instruments then you would be unhappy with unlimited complimentary upgrades (which increases competition for a given upgrade seat). American had the former system, US Airways the latter. So unless they doubled the size of their first class cabins (and gave every member a pony!) any integration becomes bound to disappoint some members.

    So I thought I’d outline who gains and who loses given the specific way American will be combining its program with US Airways.
    Keep Reading to Find Out How YOU Will Do In the New Program!

    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:

    Cool New Offer Adds In Amazon Prime to Both Cards

    They’re both really valuable cards, different people will find or the other a better bit but they make sense in a lot of wallets.

    Everyday is great for earning flexible points that transfer to miles with no fee, or warehousing Amex points that have been built up on another card. Everyday Preferred is one of the strongest-earning cards for your ongoing spend.

    Neither has a gigantic bonus, but they’ve added a pretty good sweetener. Both cards currently come with a year of Amazon Prime as part of the signup bonus offer. That means free two-day shipping, unlimited instant streaming of movies and TV shows, and more. I’ve been paying for Amazon Prime for quite awhile out of pocket.

    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 US 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 US supermarkets, and 2x at US 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.

      free amazon prime

    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 travelers, and terms and conditions apply on all the offers and benefits. 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.

    For ideas on how to use the points, here are the Best Amex Points Transfers Based on Where You Want to Travel.

    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.


    Aeroplan may seem like the kind of thing only our friendly neighbors to the North care about, but it’s actually one of the most useful American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners.

    Aeroplan has access to the same awards that United does thanks to the Star Alliance. Their award chart is reasonable for many destinations. And their website is pretty good. Transfers from Amex are instant. Aeroplan costs just 45,000 miles each way in business class to nearer Europe.

    Winter is Coming for Aeroplan Routing Rules

    Two days ago I noted that Aeroplan routing rules were changing in terms of how they determined whether flights were permissible for award redemption.

    Every city pair has a published ‘maximum permitted mileage’ — a number of miles you can fly when going from A to B. Some city pairs have more than one set of allowable mileages, for instance flying between North America and Asia has one limit if you’re crossing the Pacific and another higher limit if you’re going via the Atlantic.

    Aeroplan allowed you to exceed this published maximum by 5% and sometimes by more when redeeming miles. This was really quite generous.

    One Mile at a Time was excited at the prospect of Aeroplan eliminating even this restriction.

    I didn’t think this would work out so well, especially because along with the elimination of the maximum permitted mileage rule Aeroplan was going to start automatically pricing awards instead of having agents check whether awards were ok under the rules.

    That sounds great, but if they are only allowed to book itineraries that autoprice in the computer there’s lots of room for glitches.. or hidden award constraints that simply don’t price.

    Now that the rules are in effect we know that they are worse for flyers than before, much of what used to be allowed when using miles no longer is.
    Continue Reading to Find Out What’s Going on With Aeroplan, and What it Means for Your Award Tickets…

    News and notes from around the interweb:


    Next year Delta is only going to award miles based on the cost of a ticket.

    Right now though you can earn the actual miles flown on Delta plus 5000 miles for your next flight.

    The only catch is you have to credit the flight to Delta’s Skyteam partner Alitalia, registering for your new Alitalia Millemiglia account by November 28 and taking that flight within 3 months of enrolling. Continue Reading to Unlock the Secrets of Crediting Delta Miles to Their Skyteam Partner Alitalia..!

    This is my best read and advice, not something that Delta has officially confirmed, just something I believe they have tipped their hand on.

    Delta rolled out IT changes that caused stopovers not to price correctly a couple of days ago. Adding a stopover in Europe on a business class award cost 50,000 miles more than a roundtrip.

    Instead of 125,000 miles, stopping in Paris instead of just connecting there was 175,000 miles:

    It turns out that Delta didn’t mean to eliminate stopovers. Their IT just started charging more now. Continue Reading to See How Delta Tipped Their Hand…

    US Airways offers a paid status challenge program where you get temporary status for 90 days and then have an opportunity to fly to keep that status on an accelerated basis.

    At the beginning of the month US Airways eliminated the ability to buy miles towards status, which used to be a great alternative to mileage running for those last few flights you’d need to qualify.

    But how long will these paid challenges still be around?

    Reader Mike P. asks,

    Any thoughts or predictions on how long US Trial Preferred will be around?

    I would like to start a trial as late as possible so that much of the
    trial activity can be in earning year 2015. But then again, I’m
    nervous they will pull the program.

    Mike would like to fly his challenge in 2015 so the flying also counts towards qualifying for 2016 status.

    To do that he needs his 90 day period to extend into 2015, and wants as much of the period as possible to, so he would like to wait to register. But he’s nervous the program will be eliminated before he signs up.

    I think he’s right to be concerned. Continue reading to see why…

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