Whether it’s recapping the month’s news to get you caught up or passing along tips — like how to save money on airfare with special ticketing techniques or hot to get a computer to keep searching your hotel reservations for lower rates until you check in — here’s the opportunity to learn what you missed in miles, points, and travel in March.
Make the Most of Your Wallet
- Frequent flyers should have at least one card of each flavor. Different payment networks can position you to take advantage of the best deals.
- Bank policies for letting you sign up for a credit card bonus more than once and why banks let you do it.
- British Airways Visa changing earning rates April 30th. It’s still a great signup bonus worth getting, but it’s not the card I’d use even to earn BA points (and it wasn’t before).
- Barclays now has 4 different American Airlines personal cards. That’s the issuer of the old US Airways MasterCard, and they can’t take on new cardmembers anymore.
- 70,000 point signup bonus for IHG Rewards credit card offer has been extended to May 31. Should you jump on it?
- The various insurance and premium benefits your credit card has that you probably don’t even know, that can save you a ton of money and hassle.
Earning and Burning
- Quickstart guide to earning miles and points. Here’s 9 simple tips to get you started down the path to mileage riches.
- Where should you credit United flights now that they’re awarding fewer miles for flying? Singapore Airlines may be the best option for now, though I have high hopes for Copa starting next month….
- Here are the craziest things you can do with your miles — and more importantly, why it’s a really bad idea to do them. The most valuable way to use miles is for travel using the travel provider’s product. When you make them buy you something else it winds up being at a really bad rate.
- Be careful transferring Amex points to Air France KLM Flying Blue. Their fraud processes have run amok.
- Starting in May all Wyndham redemptions will cost the same amount. The cheapest roadside dive and the best resort will both be 15,000 points. That’s a big reduction at the top end (though about what these hotels cost 2 years ago) and a huge increase at the bottom — the exact opposite direction other chains are going.
- Park Hyatt New York is finally making award nights available
- Ways to maximize your miles without credit cards, while credit cards get the big headline numbers and earn fastest you can still earn miles for rewards in plenty of other ways.
- Calling out AAdvantage on their award rules, it’s time for a refresh!
Travel and Industry
- American Express launching new points current (“Plenti”). You’ll be able to earn points across a variety of brands like cell phone service, insurance, and more – regardless of the credit card you use for payment.
- Weird ideas I continue to believe the whole idea here is that it will sound a bit nutty, but in 20 years I think how aviation is managed will be really different…
- Delta flies crap airplanes.
SometimesAlways the CEO of Qatar Airways should just keep quiet. This is his response to the criticisms Gulf airlines have been taking in the media from the biggest US airlines.
- Now, how to really respond to the critics: Here’s how the US can compete and with against the big Gulf arilines instead of just lobbying the government for protection.
- This is (one reason) why I believe Greece will exit the Euro within a year
- Bet you didn’t know: MH370 became a financial windfall for Russia
- Should you travel to countries with awful human rights records? I think it’s a really tough question, here’s why I come down on ‘yes’ (mostly) and share why you agree or disagree.
Great Deals and Techniques
- How to get an American Airlines lounge membership for $100 per year. No squirrely techniques, no status matches. This is straight-up kosher and saves you $300 or more.
- American will honor its mistake $450 business class tickets to China. People that only ‘held’ the reservation instead of actually buying the tickets though are out of luck (and why that’s the correct result).
- Register to get money back from an airfare class action settlement
- When you can throw away segments of your airline ticket. This is ‘throwaway ticketing’ explained, along with the risks, and how it can save you money on airfare.
- Booking ‘mistake fares’ and ‘fuel dumps’ – what these are, how to find them, what the risks are.
- How to automatically reduce the price of your hotel reservations. You don’t need to obsessively check for price drops anymore, a new service takes care of it for you.
- Marriott Behaving Badly in its Handling of a Mistake Rate
Inside Miles and Points
- How Starwood determines how many points you’ll pay for an award. A look inside the economics and logic of hotel loyalty programs.
- What revenue-based elite status is for (from an airline’s perspective) and why United is going about it all wrong.
- My experience as an expert witness in a federal criminal trial about miles and points. A real cautionary tale, in this case about use of small business programs.
The Travel Experience
- An American Airlines Domestic Inaugural Flight where the city officials didn’t bother to show, but the breakfast tacos did!
- Chef announced for new American Express Centurion lounge in Miami. It shouldn’t be long town until the new lounge opens!
- Flying first class on the third longest flight in the world. It’s Etihad’s Los Angeles – Abu Dhabi flight, fully enclosed suites and an onboard chef, but will they run out of food?
- The LAX Star Alliance first class lounge and business class lounge. It’s all about the outdoor fire pit!
- Inflight internet: actually way too cheap on Emirates, where it’s just $1 and everyone on the plane uses it… with that much bandwidth being hogged, no one can use it.
- Free rental car elite status if you have airline or hotel status. Everyone should be an elite with Sixt, they have more locations than you’d think even in the US, and it can’t hurt..
- How to use elite status from one airline while crediting the flights to another, something that’s useful when you status match onto a foreign carrier but don’t actually want to earn miles there, you just want the perks like better seats or free checked bags and lounge access.
- 6 simple rules for when to tip (and when not to) and how much. This isn’t perfect, but it works pretty much anywhere and is much easier than trying to memorize local customs in every country. Besides most articles on tipping are wrong anyway.
- How to get by all over the world without foreign language skills. I’m an ugly American, I don’t speak the language, but that’s never stopped me — and it shouldn’t stop you, either.
Our Crazy Hobby
- The crazy stuff people complain to the Department of Transportation about
- Tourists behaving badly – Russian porn filmed illegally at the Giza Pyramids. That’s better production values than you might expect, but still pretty awful. And the rest of us look good traveling the world by comparison!
- The world’s most outrageous travel hacker: evil, or evil genius? Probably the most extreme personality in this ‘hobby’ and my take is less kind than others’.
- Air marshalls take whatever flights they want that are most convenient for sex