My US Airways miles have been combined into my American AAdvantage account.

  • They started with Dividend Miles members who did not have an AAdvantage account
  • Then transitioned members who had matched their AAdvantage and Dividend Miles accounts.
  • They continue with those who may have had accounts in both programs but didn’t link their accounts.

The data combination will continue for a few days, with sweeps to ensure completion and some upgrades still to post.

With this progress made, bobbieddie asks,

Gary – I just received my summary from AA re: the transfer and for the first time saw that I have 997,516 in my million mile balance account. I’ve never paid attention to this or even thought about it. Can you give me the highlights of attaining 1M miles status, benefits going forward, and where I can read about it. Thanks.

Here’s how lifetime status works 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).


Reader Steve asked about how to get credit card bonus twice (or more),

You already provided a useful answer to me when I asked about Chase some time ago (thanks!), but I think it could prove useful more generally if for each of the major credit card-issuing companies (Chase, Citi and Amex) and if possible the smaller ones (Barclays and US Bank) you provided:

1. For each of these cc companies, how long one has to wait after getting a card affiliated with a given airline or hotel chain before having a good chance of repeating the initial sign-up/spending bonus of miles or points.

2. Whether one has to cancel the previous card in order to get the new bonus – and, if so, how long one should wait after cancellation before applying for the new card.

I think the idea from a bank’s perspective is that a past cardholder who for one reason or another gave up the card could be a valuable cardmember in the future.

In fact, someone who liked it before is a great target market for someone who will like the card now. Denying them the bonus being offered to everyone else is a turnoff.

There’s a balance between not just wanting to hand out bonuses over and over, and attracting good cardmembers who are among a card company’s most likely pool of customers to bring onboard for a product.

    Imagine a United Explorer cardmember who spends $30,000 a year on the card. She has an awful United flight, gets mad, and decides to cut up her card in protest, promising never to fly the airline again.

    She keeps that promise for awhile, but finally relents and flies United. And realizes she really liked the perks of the card (like early boarding and free checked bags) and values her miles.

    She sees an ad in United’s Hemispheres magazine and decides to sign up. She’s denied the bonus. Now she’s really mad. Why is a new cardmember, who never had a relationship with the card, more valuable than she is — when she’s proven herself a loyal cardmember for years?

Here are the current approaches each of the major card-issuing banks take, as I understand them.

Chase

Chase’s current policy for welcoming back past cardmembers is that they’ll generally give a bonus again to people that do not currently have the card they’re applying for, and who have not received a bonus for that card in 24 months.

If you meet these criteria, consider signing up again for:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 40,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months plus another 5000 points for adding an authorized user to the account and making a purchase within that time period. $0 fee the first year, then $95.
  • British Airways Visa Signature 50,000 points after $2000 spend within 3 months. $0 fee the first year, then $95.

Citibank

In general, and Citibank’s approach may vary by card product, you have to have had your card account closed for 18 months before they’ll give you a bonus if you sign up for the card again.

Last year’s Citi Executive card 100,000 mile bonus with folks signing up for several cards one after another days apart has passed.

You have to wait 8 days between Citibank applications, and can’t have more than 2 applications in a 68 day period.

If you meet these criteria, consider signing up again for:

Barclays

You can get the same card more than once .. at least if you’re instantly approved for it. Barclays is not easy to deal with in asking for reconsideration if you’re denied a card. And it’s not worth calling to ask to have your application expedited. You want to maximize your chances for instant approval so best to reduce the amount of credit that Barclays has extended to you before applying.

If you meet these criteria, consider signing up again for:

American Express

American Express limits you to one bonus per card product for personal cards.

Recently they were more generous, but they’ve returned to the policy that they had in force about a decade ago.

Business cards usually have more generous terms, such as allowing past cardmembers who have been without a card for 12 months to get a bonus again.

It’s always worth noting on an American Express card application whether there are additional restrictions, e.g. not allow Platinum cardholders to get a bonus on a Gold card.

Bank of America

Bank of America will give you the same card product multiple times. You can even have more than one of a card at the same time. For instance, you can have a personal and a business Alaska Airlines card and sign up for another personal and business Alaska Airlines card without cancelling the first ones.

What Bank of America seems to understand is that you may want to keep your expenses separate for easier tracking on different cards. And that it’s better for them if you have two of their same card, than if you had one of theirs and one of another bank’s.

The only thing is though that Bank of America may not want to continually extend you more credit. So keeping plenty of open cards could reduce your chance of future approvals.

I don’t know of any timeframe required between getting cards, there are plenty of people that have gotten more cards of the same kind in under 60 days from original application — though the particulars are something for which your mileage may vary.

If you meet these criteria, consider signing up again for:

Other Banks

US Bank can be tricky with approvals in the first place, I don’t know how likely they are to give a bonus a second time. Most of their cards have low bonuses. I’ve had the Korean Air Visa with a 40,000 mile bonus once before. If I were targeted with that offer again I’d probably be tempted to apply for the card and find out.

Capital One usually has low signup bonuses, and pulls credit reports from all three bureaus, making going back to them for a card a second time a rare proposition — although I’ve seen people report getting the Venture card more than once.

get credit card bonus twiceEditorial 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. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.
get credit card bonus twice

News and notes from around the interweb:

A few days ago I explained the wind down schedule for the US Airways credit card, with the Dividend Miles program being folded into American AAdvantage.

Barclays was only able to issue new cards for the Dividend Miles program. Existing cardmembers get to keep their cards and are transitioned into Barclays-issued American AAdvantage cards.

But new AAdvantage personal credit cards can only be issued by Citibank.

But just because Dividend Miles is over as a program, doesn’t mean that the US Airways credit card application links are gone. They’re only ‘mostly gone’.

Most US Airways links are dead.

In my earlier post I explained that ‘remind later’ feature on the application would generate a link that would still allow applications for 30 days.

This link still works at least as of this writing. I would expect it to remain valid for a few more weeks, but there are no guarantees.

American is making some changes to its upgrade processes along with the merging of Dividend Miles into AAdvantage for a single frequent flyer program.

  • Complimentary upgrades for all elites on flights of 500 miles or less (instead of requiring 500 mile upgrade certificates for all domestic upgrades, with complimentary upgrades only for top tier elites)
  • No more ‘grace’ of 51 miles for 500 mile upgrade certificates — a 501 mile flight requires (2) 500 mile upgrade certificates.
  • Auto-requesting of upgrades, the default it to auto-request an upgrade where it’s complimentary instead of having to proactively opt-in

Per Traveling Better there are some glitches to this process that are being worked on.

  1. Elite ‘AAirpass’ (prepaid travel) members traveling with a companion cannot have upgrades requested online, and have to contact American to make their upgrade request.
  2. Corporate travel bookings that utilize a corporate name field (this may not be common) aren’t having upgrades auto-requested, and have to contact American to make their upgrade request. American’s website may even incorrectly show that upgrades have been requested — if you’ve booked booked through a corporate travel portal or agency and want an upgrade it may be wise to ring American, even though your booking may very well not contain this glitch.
  3. Reservations that contain a lap infant won’t get an auto-request, and so the passenger will need to call to make the request.
  4. Flights to Guatemala City and St. Maarten are being displayed as ineligible for 500 mile upgrade requests, when of course they are eligible.

These are all minor issues, though of course it’s important for affected customers to be aware of them. I’d anticipate American will have fixes in place in the near-term for these.

Now that US Airways Dividend Miles is being combined into American AAdvantage, the American website login process requires you to enter your frequent flyer number and password.. and last name.

You can log into the American or US Airways sites with either your Dividend Miles or AAdvantage account number. If you were a Dividend Miles member and not an AAdvantage number you may not even know your new American Airlines frequent flyer number yet.

Here’s why they need to know your last name. Read More…

News and notes from around the interweb:

Reader WR asked for “[w]ays to maximize miles *without* use of credit cards.”

I’ll take the question to mean, what are the best ways to earn miles without signing up for credit cards, or using credit cards as the means of earning miles (through bonus categories, or heavy spend – manufactured or not). I’ll allow that credit cards can be used as a payment mechanism for activities you’d do otherwise.

There have been plenty of great opportunities over time. I’ll never forget earning 20,000 Delta miles for a Bosley hair restoration consultation (I had more hair back then). I used to benefit mightily from United’s GroceryMiles program with Safeway. And then there was dumpster diving.

But there are lots of ways to earn miles today: Read More…

Reader Justin asked,

Hi Gary – Do you have any recommendations for points or miles careers working out of Boston? Maybe working in the loyalty space or for a blog? I have a financial services consulting background and recently left my firm. I am an avid traveler and would love a career where I could pursue my passion. I have been reading your blog for over 6 years now and would love any advice you have to offer. Thank you so much!

Justin, the best advice I can offer is run. Run away. As far and as fast as you can.

The travel industry generally is a really tough place to make money. And while there are certainly large and enduring contracts — such as providing new CRM systems to loyalty programs, and even managing those programs for instance the Lacek Group has been providing services to Starwood for as long as I can remember — it’s hard to imagine too many places where consulting will make you less money overall.

Most travel in travel consulting is utterly pedantic, you fly to – say – Chicago or Houston or Atlanta or Dallas. For sure there are international conferences and potentially international clients. You may not indulge your love of travel by working for clients in travel.

I’d think though the first question I’d ask is, what is the unique skill or service I have to offer? If it’s financial-related, these aren’t usually the best clients, and it’s often big firms that provide those types of services for them anyway. Of course airlines buy financial services, and database services, and all manner of technology. There are loyalty consulting practices.

I imagine the worst thing you could do is to work for a blog, but perhaps I’m the wrong person to tell you that since I don’t have any employees and I don’t hire anyone to write posts. I’ve had some very modest tech consulting.

If it’s your passion by all means start your own blog, but don’t expect it to make money or make money quickly (I wrote for more than 2 years before there was even an ad on the site, and for over 6 years before the site generated $250 a month, although others of course have been more successful more quickly).

For sure, love what you do, and if you have unique skills to offer you can offer them in the loyalty space. I’ll just suggest that there are often more lucrative places to ply one’s trade.

Reader Andrew said,

Gary, would you tell us about your favorite Thai restaurants in NYC? Are any of them the same caliber as Elephant Jumps?

Bonus points for being run-down, hole-in-the-wall places.

If you want to eat Elephant Jumps’ food you’re going to have to go to Elephant Jumps. There’s unlikely to be a New York substitute.

For all of you New Yorkers that have your back up at that statement, I’ll happily concede that the Washington DC area can compete or outcompete New York in probably only one or two other areas — Vietnamese for sure, and I’m tempted to say Ethiopian although that cuisine has been in long-term decline in the District.

You’re going to get more hole in the wall places in Flushing than in Manhattan, and in Manhattan on the streets rather than the avenues, but while there are plenty of Asian options in New York there aren’t a whole lot of good Thai places.

I grew up in New York, and New Yorkers generally aren’t big on spice. When the well-known Vegas Thai place Lotus of Siam opened in New York they completely redid their cooking for a New York palate, of course they didn’t last.

New York is great in almost everything because of the concentration of people. There’s intense competition, and enough people with enough varied tastes that one can be an entrepreneur and successful by specializing.

I’m not sure if there aren’t enough consumers with a developed taste in authentic Thai (perhaps related to spice aversion) or if there aren’t enough Thai people to demand good food from their home country. But New York is simply not a mecca for Thai food.

That said, there are probably good Thai places although I’ve never eaten in any there. I haven’t been to Pure Thai, which many seem to love. So I can’t categorically say that none reach the heights of quality that I’m looking for — I haven’t tried them all. And I’ll certainly try more in the future.

In general though I’ve stopped exploring for Thai restaurants in New York because they’ve historically disappointed. Which leaves me potentially blind, of course, to changes in the culinary landscape.

With the merger of US Airways Dividend Miles into the American AAdvantage program, there’s no more separate US Airways program. There are no more US Airways miles or elite upgrades.

There’s only AAdvantage. US Airways members are now American AAdvantage members.

The two airlines remain separate and will continue to operate separately until late this year.


    American’s new domestic first class product

Until now, American miles could be used to upgrade American flights, and US Airways miles used to upgrade US Airways flights. Each airline’s top tier elite systemwide upgrades could only be used on the issuing-airline’s flights.


    American’s business class seat onboard the Boeing 777-300ER

That changes now.

  • American AAdvantage elite status is valid for complimentary upgrades on US Airways domestic flights.
  • American miles can be used (with cash co-pay) to upgrade US Airways flights.
  • American systemwide eVIP upgrades can be used to upgrade US Airways flights.

American has the most generous top tier elite upgrades — eight confirmed upgrades per year valid on any paid fare. Now US Airways Chairmans Preferred members, who are new Executive Platinums, get these as well.

And upgrades can be had on both American and US Airways flights.


    American’s business class onboard the A321 flying between New York and San Francisco/Los Angeles

The key to booking upgrades – in addition to upgrade space being available of course, ‘C’ for upgrades from coach to business and ‘A’ for upgrades to first class — is to avoid booking codeshare flights. You need to book a US Airways-coded US Airways-operated, or an American-coded American-operated, flight if you want to confirm an upgrade in advance.

News and notes from around the interweb:

I couldn’t log into my British Airways Executive Club account today.

And I received an email from British Airways:

British Airways has become aware of some unauthorised activity in relation to your Executive Club account.

This appears to have been the result of a third party using information obtained elsewhere on the internet, via an automated process, to try to gain access to your Executive Club account.

We understand this was login information relating to a different online service which you may have also used to access your Executive Club account.

Several fascinating things here:

  • This issue is widespread, reported on blogs and multiple frequent flyer forums. I had people tweet me asking whether my account was involved in the shutdown.
  • They appear to be implyig the hack was of Award Wallet (the only service I use to track my accounts). I’m skeptical. None of my other accounts have had any points drained.
  • Separately in the email they say the login was successful but no points were taken. I wonder how they then identified which accounts to lock down?

There’s something squirrely about the British Airways email, they just don’t strike me as being forthcoming.

The email contained a link to the password reset page. I entered my account number and that generated a password reset email. I reset my password (by simply entering a new one) and I had access to my account again.

All of my Avios points were gone.

This is apparently a temporary condition and they will let me know when I can spend my points again though I can call to get access to the points earlier.

Is it too cynical to wonder whether British Airways is all too willing to lock down points redemptions in advance of next month’s huge devaluation?

Update: It’s been pointed out to me that I may have misread the email.

We understand this was login information relating to a different online service which you may have also used to access your Executive Club account.

This may mean that the login information was used on another site, not that the other site was used to access BA.

I’ve written extensively about the protectionism that US airlines are seeking from the government in bashing Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar — and about the hypocrisy as US airlines lobby for and take huge subsidies while attacking only those competitors they’re worried about for doing the same thing while ignoring the even greater subsidies offered to state airlines that they partner with (Think for instance Delta and Saudia, United and Air India).

Gulf Carriers Receive Subsidies and So Do US Airlines

There are certainly subsidies that have at various times helped to prop up the various major Gulf airlines, as we’ve seen with airlines around the world. Sometimes those subsidies have seemed larger than life, though it’s easy to forget the privileged position over time of British Airways at Heathrow and the gifting of Concorde. And it’s easy to forget that the birth of the US airline industry was laid out in industrial policy conducted by the Postmaster General who decided in essence which airlines would fly what routes profitably. Not to mention the huge anti-consumer subsidies embodied by the Civil Aeronautics Board which set prices at a level, and kept out competition, to allow airlines to earn profits.

Even today US airlines receive subsidies that have gone as high as $2 billion a year as part of the program which makes aircraft available to the government in the unlikely future event of national security needs. And those same airlines take fuel tax subsidies. Delta received nine figures for its oil refinery. The US aviation industry is one of the most heavily regulated and subsidized in the country.

Clearly US airlines go to the government not as exponents of the virtues of free markets, but hat in hand looking for still more cronyist handouts.

US Airlines Should Understand the Nature of the Competition

US airlines really should compete, but not in the way most people suspect. For the most part they don’t even fly overlapping routes now, although US airlines are trying to make it sound like they do. US carriers barely serve India and don’t serve Bangladesh or Pakistan. They don’t serve North Africa. They don’t offer much service to the Middle East.

But they’re worried about fifth freedom flights (Emirates flies New York – Milan now, though the US airlines of course do not worry about Kuwait flying New York – London).

They can realistically compete against Gulf carriers across the Atlantic, at such time as those carriers actually offer meaningful service on those routes. They just need to understand the nature of the competition.

The Big Gulf Carriers Aren’t That Great, They’ve Just Convinced You They Are

Read More…

The New York Times has a piece on visa services. I contribute,

Gary Leff, a co-founder of Milepoint.com, a website for veteran and would-be frequent fliers, and the blogger behind the miles and points site View From the Wing, has directed his readers to Allied Passport and Visa, which has given them discounts. He said the feedback from readers who have used the visa service has always been positive, though he has yet to try it himself because he’s one of those frequent fliers who have not been able to part with their passport.

I never used them because I lived in DC where countries all have embassies. Now that I’m only in DC about a week a month I will use them. For the record I’ve not taken any special consideration from them, I only use the best available public offer, but all the feedback from readers who have used them has been enormously positive.

I think it’s useful to, Read More…

After Hilton’s dramatic award chart gutting of nearly two years ago, there weren’t huge changes again this year.

And Hilton decided to change the way they made changes to how they re-assign hotels to award categories. Instead of an annual change to tons of hotels (a schedule they really weren’t wedded to in the past anyway) they decided they would make rolling changes throughout the year. And instead of informing all members proactively of these changes, they would just post them on a web page in the name of ‘transparency’.

At least they are announcing the changes. And savvy members could create a change detection for the page.

Hilton HHonors is making category adjustments to several hotels effective April 8

That said, this time they seem to have posted upcoming changes on Flyertalk but it was a couple of days later before they updated the page on the Hilton website where they promise to keep members informed of changes.

Ten properties get less expensive. Fourteen get more expensive. Overall a sliver of the overall HHonors portfolio. Although of course HHonors categories do not all have fixed award prices anyway so category changes aren’t the only way to increase reward night prices. And there are no announcements when hotels get more expensive within a category thus we really can’t say whether there have been big increases or not.

Here’s the list of changes, find out which hotels get more expensive and which will require fewer points..

No, it’s not showering onboard an Emirates Airbus A380.

I’m not really a destination blogger per se but it really can be all about the destination.

Earlier this week I took a helicopter….

…through a rainforest…

and landed on a rock.

Next to a waterfall…

.. where I sat and drank champagne.

Business class airfare thanks to Delta SkyMiles and hotel covered by Starwood Starpoints. Brunch where only a handful of people have ever gone? Well, I suppose I could have charged it to my room and convinced the hotel to claim an Instant Award against it. But, well, those aren’t an especially good value use of Starpoints.

I feel like I can take the occasional splurge when the air and hotel are covered by points. And wandering around the forest, dipping in the water, for a few hours — well, that was truly priceless.

Trip report to come…

What does your perfect travel day look like?

IHG Rewards Club has again updated its terms and conditions without notifying members.

This isn’t the big change to points-earning they snuck in just before the clock struck midnight on the New Year.

Instead it’s a change to how they reward meeting planners and corporate bookers. Roughly speaking it appears they’re aping what Starwood has done with SPG Pro but they’ve updated their terms and conditions without telling members. Read More…

There’s a reason Starwood has introduced new benefit choices for Platinums who stay 50 nights in a year. Instead of giving 10 ‘Suite Night Awards’, 50 night Platinums can choose from a variety of benefits.

Suite Night Awards are really ‘upgrade priority’ managed centrally by Starwood out of a hotel’s room inventory. They aren’t confirmed upgrades the way Hyatt offers them, at booking, but on availability beginning 5 nights prior to check-in.

Platinums who prefer something else can choose from a variety of items worth at most ~ $100 at retail. For instance, 5 free Uber rides worth $20 maximum each. Use 5 short $6 rides and the benefit won’t be nearly maximized (and you do not get to choose when to use free rides if they’re in your account, those are used on the first 5 rides you take).

It’s hard to argue that any choice could be better than Suite Night Awards. And yet Platinums do get frustrated when they receive this by email:

The problems are:

  1. Hotels are full these days
  2. Everyone wants suite upgrades at the same hotels at the same times. No one wants them on solo one night business stays. They want them at resorts at peak times.
  3. Suite upgrades have to be available every night of a stay.
  4. There are hotels that play games with inventory, though my sense is this factor is less important and less prevalent than commonly believed.

So how do you approach suite night strategy successfully? Read More…

I previously reported that US Airways accounts are ‘frozen’ with awards no longer able to be booked until miles have been transferred over to American AAdvantage.

It’s true that Dividend Miles awards are no longer available. However, American apparently has a procedure in place for members with immediate travel needs who wish to book awards with their legacy US Airways miles but that haven’t had their miles show up on the American side of the ledger yet.

  • This is for travel March 26 – 28.
  • It’s for award travel only and not for mileage upgrades. (Upgrades are not considered emergency. Some may beg to differ!)
  • This is for legacy US Airways members with enough miles in their US Airways account for an award, not for members of both programs who will only have enough miles once their balances get combined.

Those last minute award travel needs can be accommodated for Dividend Miles members, it seems, booking American AAdvantage awards even over this weekend while American is in the process of combining Dividend Miles and AAdvantage accounts. Legacy US Airways agents will be able to look up mileage balances in their frozen database and initiate the process.

« previous home | top

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.