Featured Articles

United Fixed Its Award Availability Calendar

Feb 13 2016

Last week both unicorns and snuffaluffagus appeared at the same time Air New Zealand business class awards between the US and Auckland opened up.

The quickest, easiest way to see award availability across a period of time is to use the United website, which doesn’t require you to log in and will show you two months’ at a time (although intentionally doesn’t let you see all partners).

However the award availability calendar hasn’t been entirely reliable.

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2 Cards Offering 100,000 Total American Miles, and What You Can Do With Them

Feb 13 2016

Whether or not you’re getting 50,000 American AAdvantage miles for opening a checking account (or 50,000 for a Fidelity investment account), you may want to pick up a 50,000 mile credit card signup bonus. Or two of them. There are a lot of American AAdvantage miles on the table.

These cards are worth getting for the bonus and and least one is worth keeping if you fly American Airlines regularly but not enough for elite status (since you get boarding and checked bag privileges).

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New AND EXISTING Customers Now Earn American AAdvantage Miles With Sprint Service

Feb 13 2016

When I was new to miles and points, one of the biggest deals was signing up for and switching long distance carriers. Then there were big mileage offers for cell phone service. Those dried up a bit with number portability, when a company acquired a customer the customer wasn’t really locked in past the end of their contract the way they had been so it wasn’t worth spending as much to acquire a customer.

A dozen years ago I earned 10,000 miles for signing up for Sprint service, Sprint had a cell tower on top of the building next to my office and I got a great signal even in the parking garage.

It’s possible to earn miles again for Sprint service. You can register your American AAdvantage number at Sprint stores.

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American AAdvantage Updates Their Award Chart Regions

Feb 12 2016

American AAdvantage appears to have cleaned up its region definitions.

The number of miles for an award in a zone-based award chart is based not just on whether there’s saver award space, but the regions you are flying between.

If you want to fly from New York to London, you look up the saver award price for “Contiguous 48 U.S. states” to “Europe.” It thus matters what region a country is assigned to, as it affects the price of an award.

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European Union on Verge of Restricting Passport-Free Travel for 2 Years

Feb 12 2016

Six weeks ago I asked, Will This Be One of the Biggest Stories of the Year: The End of Europe’s Passport-Free Travel?

The free movement of people and goods is a fundamental idea of the European Union, and one that’s driven tremendous economic benefit to the region (not to mention the individual benefit from unburdening travel). It’s embodied in the Schengen Agreement and in other agreements.

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50% Bonus on Transfers from American Express to Virgin America (Biggest in Over 3 Years): Worth It?

Feb 12 2016

American Express is offering a 50% bonus on transfers from Membership Rewards to Virgin America Elevate through March 10. American Express hasn’t offered a 50% transfer bonus since November 2012.

My rule of thumb is that Virgin America’s points are deflated, that one Virgin America point is worth about 2 points in a European airline frequent flyer program. You can use the points for about 2.2 cents apiece towards travel on Virgin America, or for fixed-point redemptions on their partners. Their points are reasonably good for redeeming on partners (with fuel surcharges).

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Chase Re-Ups Amazon: the High Water Mark for Co-Brand Credit Card Deals?

Feb 12 2016

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chase has re-signed Amazon.com as a co-brand partner.

Chase has issued the Amazon Visa since 2002. I believe it’s Chase’s largest co-brand card portfolio. Amazon is bigger product for Chase than United Explorer — even though in my view it’s not in my view a top rewards product with 3% cash back at Amazon, 2% at gas stations, drugstores and restaurants, and 1% everywhere else.

While the Journal reports that at least one other card issuer was interested in a deal with Amazon, the re-signing is a good reminder that big co-brand relationships are very very hard to dislodge.

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