Bits ‘n Pieces for August 27, 2012

News, opinion, and minor notes from around the interweb:

  • Via the Points Guy, American Express Membership Rewards is offering a 30% bonus on points transfers to Virgin America through September 2. Transferring to Virgin America is almost never a good idea, poor value per Amex point, and this bonus doesn’t change that calculation. This is really only useful is moving over a small number of points to top off towards a specific award level.

  • According to this Milepoint discussion, Avis has removed blackout dates for redeeming AvisFirst two-day free rental day certificates.

  • Via Merginal Revolution, another reason that Singapore fascinates me, garages in the sky that allow you to keep your car next to your living room in a high rise condo (subscription required).

  • Hertz has made a deal to acquire Dollar and Thrifty car rental companies, while also offloading Advantage Rent a Car in a move to help ease regulatory approval for the deal.

  • Christopher Elliott says wireless phone protection plans are a bad deal and even though I cracked the screen on my new phone, I agree — you pay a monthly fee, there’s still a deductible of about $100, and you have to navigate the bureaucracy of the outsourced company whose bottom-line is made better by not paying in hopes they’ll come through. You’d expect that only people likely to need the insurance would buy it (adverse selection) when in fact it’s cautious, conservative types who are buying ‘peace of mind’ more than likelihood of reimbursement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary Ā»

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  1. I have to disagree about phone insurance if you buy a phone directly from Apple, and purchase AppleCare. My fiancee had a problem with her iPhone, took it into an Apple Store, and since they could not fix her problem, 15 minutes later she walked out with a brand new iPhone and wasn’t charged a deductable due it still being under the warranty period in addition to having insurance.

  2. Here’s a link to the same article on the Singapore apartments from the Sydney Morning Herald (no subscription required)-

    Have been tempted to go by the sales office and ask “If I take a cab, can that also go up to my apartment?”… “What about a bus- lots of people take buses- can I get him to drop me off on my floor instead”?

    @Max- if there is a problem with your handset, and you are under warranty, then you should get a replacement device. So again, insurance was a waste… I do agree that Apple gives excellent post sales support- one of the best reasons to buy their products.

  3. Between my wife & I getting new headsets every two years, we keep the old headsets around the house as “our” insurance in case the headset does not last the 2 yrs.

    My wife used to take out the insurance (before we got married in 2006) and the one time she lost her phone, there was a $50 deductible (basic phone) and she had to get a police report before they would replace the phone. šŸ™ Talk about a waste of time. (police officer’s time & wife’s time!!).

    I put her under my plan since I get a govt discount and we now have a 3 person plan. (wife, I , relative).

    I know that we can order a refurnished/CPO phone from the phone company for under $100 for a basic headset and there is also people on e-bay selling their headsets for cheap.

    Bottom line: The insurance (non Apple) is typically a BAD deal! There are so many exclusions like water damage, etc.

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