American Award Space ‘Back to Normal’ (Cough)

Jul 05 2015

I value my American miles for partner awards, but most members look to redeem American miles on American flights and that’s gotten very hard. It used to be exceptionally easy. Sometime in mid-2012 premium cabin awards to Europe really tightened up. About 18 months ago premium cabin awards to Asia tightened up, and awards to South America did as well.

About a week ago I wrote about American removing saver awards entirely from some domestic markets. Starting a month from now, there were only three days through the end of April where you could find a saver award flying Austin – Dallas. That’s a short, cheap one hour flight where American offers at least 14 flights a day.

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How to Get Emails When Delta (And Other Airline) Award Seats Open Up

Jul 05 2015

Expert Flyer is one of my favorite tools. It has several important uses for frequent flyers — but since September Delta has prevented the site from displaying anything about the airline’s flights.

Fortunately they’ve brought back searches for Delta saver awards, and that means you can use their automated tool to email you when the award seats you want on a given flight open up!

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American Eliminating First Class From 2 Of Their 3 New York – London Flights

Jul 05 2015

As American retrofits its Boeing 777-200 fleet, their only aircraft that will retain a first class cabin is their Boeing 777-300ERs.

The 777-200s get a good business class seat (similar to American’s 787 business seat), but once reconfigured no longer have a first class cabin.

Effective December 17 American is putting reconfigured 777-200s in for 2 of their 3 New York – London flights, apparently to free up aircraft for Sydney service.

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What’s the Best Hotel Breakfast?

Jul 05 2015

I’ll take a good quality restaurant breakfast (not the standard US airport hotel buffet) over a club lounge, foregoing evening options. But for a mediocre restaurant breakfast I’ll prefer the quick service of the lounge.

There are hotels that offer some amazing breakfast spreads, especially in Asia. If I had to pick one city with the highest average it’s Kuala Lumpur. The best single hotel breakfast I’ve had was probably the St. Regis Bali. And the chain with the best breakfast benefit for top elites is unquestionably Hyatt.

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What’s the Best First Class for West Coast – Asia?

Jul 05 2015

The choice here is ultimately going to be driven by availability, although there are plenty of airlines worth checking given the miles that are available.

Consider that it’s entirely possible to use a different airline for the outbound as the return — not just to try different products, but because schedules and availability may differ, especially for an outbound to North Asia and a return from Southeast Asia.

I’d generally rank the first class products of airlines flying from the US West Coast across the Pacific as follows:

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Review: Delta Business Class, Sydney – Los Angeles

Jul 05 2015

After missing my Virgin Australia flight to Los Angeles and spending the night at the Rydges hotel at the airport, I was re-booked onto Delta’s own Sydney – Los Angeles flight.

I was actually excited to be able to compare Virgin Australia’s 7-across business class to Delta’s four-across. Delta operates the flight with a Boeing 777 fitted with (not reverse) herringbone seats and unfortunately no internet. So not the airline’s best product, but decent enough.

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How the Selfie May Limit Your Credit Card Rewards

President Barack Obama poses for a selfie with Bill Nye, left, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson in the Blue Room prior to the White House Student Film Festival, Feb. 28, 2014.  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.
Jul 04 2015

Some people sign up for credit cards in the name of family members (who are willing participants) — they want the bonus miles, but spouse or sibling doesn’t want to deal with meeting minimum spend and doesn’t themselves value the miles.

Things get tricky when it comes time to cancelling, a male voice may have a hard time calling to cancel a woman’s card (so cancel by mail or online). And meeting minimum spend either needs to be done with an authorized user card, or online.

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Review: Air New Zealand Temporary Lounge Sydney

Jul 04 2015

The last stop on my Sydney lounge tour was the Air New Zealand temporary lounge.

The temporary lounge was.. interesting. It’s a drab, windowless space that was definitely too small for all of the passengers it was servicing. Like the rest of the downstairs lounges, the ceilings weren’t especially high. This one had no windows.

But it did retain the Air New Zealand hot dog stand.

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Which Bank Points-Earning Card is Best: Chase, Citibank, or American Express?

Jul 04 2015

I’m a big believer in points that you can transfer to a variety of different frequent flyer programs — instead of earning miles with one airline or points with one hotel chain, you pick where you want the points to go later based on what you want to do with the points and who has the availability you need.

Over the past year both Citibank and American Express have improved their offerings for strongest-earning points cards.

Each bank now has a $95 annual fee card (ThankYou Premier and Sapphire Preferred are $0 the first year) that earns quickly with strong bonuses for spending.

Just how quickly depends on what your spending patterns are like. And which card offers the most valuable points depends on what you’re going to do with them. But we can make some useful generalizations about which points are best.

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