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Andy Shuman

Andy Shuman

Andy Shuman is a freelance travel blogger and the author of the Lazy Travelers Handbook series. He is also a miles and points aficionado with a strong knowledge of frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Most of all, he is a travel junkie who wants to be on the road as much as possible.

Loyalty programs: American, United, US Airways, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Southwest, Jet Blue, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Iberia, LAN, Japan Airways, Air Nippon, Bangkok Airways.

Favorite program: American Airlines. It is still the best despite some shortcomings.

Favorite travel destinations: Latin America, Southeast Asia.

Most memorable trip: Argentina/Brazil 2005. Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls, Oktoberfest in Blumenau and short resort stay in Camboriu.

Travel rewards credit cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Amex Platinum, Chase IHG Club, Citi AAdvantage, Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, Barclays Arrival, etc. I’d better stop right here or it will take up the whole page.

Favorite rewards: Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can transfer your points to several airline and hotel programs, book travel, or redeem for cash. It’s a very versatile program.

Andy Shuman Andy Shuman’s posts:

Best Way to Redeem Miles on United Partners for Premium Class Seats to Europe

redeem ubited miles

There might be compelling reasons to book a partner’s flight rather than one on United, even if United metal is cheaper to fly. First, United might be unavailable. Second, it can take more connections and/or time to reach your destination. Third, you might want to splurge to have a better seat, service and food.

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How to Book a United International Premium Class Award

united premium class

United Airlines has a huge number of partner airlines: 28 Star partners and 12 non-alliance partners, all of which you can book with United MileagePlus miles. However, booking award flights (especially in business or first) on United rather than partners, has a major advantage. Since United charges more for premium class awards on partners, you will pay considerably less if you fly on United metal.

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How to Get 100,000 United MileagePlus Miles or More Without Flying

mileage plus miles

The United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flyer program has dozens of business partners that can help you earn miles on the ground. You can earn miles when you rent a car, stay at a hotel, ride a train or get away from it all on a cruise. You can also earn miles when you buy a cellphone or cable service, eat at a restaurant or choose a car. Wherever there is a consumer product or service, the chances are you can earn miles for giving it a try.

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ANA Miles Can Get You Better Business Class Values on United and Partners

ana miles

United drastically devalued its business and first class award levels a few years back, then Delta followed suit and recently American. As of now, all U.S. and many foreign frequent flyer programs charge a lot of miles for the privilege of flying in the front of the plane, and the trend is likely to continue. But there are still bargains out there. You just need to know where to look.

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Oneworld and Other Best Business Class Redemptions to the Middle East and India

American Airlines business class level between the U.S. and the Middle East/India has only increased by 2,500 miles, but the first class rate, which wasn’t cheap to begin with, is now a whopping 25,000 miles more. It’s hard to recommend spending 230,000 miles just to get pampered, especially since all airlines flying to India and the Middle East offer lie-flat seats in a business class cabin. 

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Oneworld Best Business Class Redemptions to Asia

A direct flight from North America to Asia can take you 12 to 15 hours. Spending that amount of time in a great business or first class seat will not just make you feel pampered — it will help you adjust to the time difference easier. Enjoying a good night sleep in a comfortable 180-degree bed helps your body clock adjust despite crossing a dozen time zones.

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Oneworld Best Business Class Redemptions to Latin America

Unlike Europe, you don’t have a lot of options for Latin America with AAdvantage miles. Aside from American Airlines, there are only two carriers that can get you there, the Chile-based giant LAN and Brazil-based behemoth TAM. The two carriers merged a few years ago to form an even bigger airline called LATAM, but they are running things separately for now, until at least 2017.

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Oneworld Best Business Class Redemptions to Europe

Europe is small and very nicely interconnected. Don’t get bummed if you can’t get a business class award seat to your final destination there. The most important part is to cross the ocean and arrive relaxed and happy in that premium seat. Connecting from one point in Europe to another is a breeze compared to getting your perfect ticket across the pond.

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American Airlines Devaluation: Book AA Seats at Former Levels via Etihad Airways

Etihad is an American Airlines partner that still features old AAdvantage award levels. At some point in the future, they will update their chart, but for now you can book American Airlines awards the old way.
Unfortunately, there is no way to book partners on the Etihad website. You have to search for an award on and then call Etihad to book it.

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American Airlines Devaluation: Book AA Seats at Former Levels via Alaska Airlines

If you feel nostalgic about the old American Airlines’ award chart, you’re not alone. AAdvantage used to be the most valuable frequent flyer program bar none, but since March 22nd it’s more on par with other legacy programs like United and Delta that have undergone severe business and first class award devaluations.

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How to Earn 200,000 AA AAdvantage Miles So You Can Fly in Premium Class

Despite the recent devaluation, AAdvantage still remains one of the most valuable frequent flyer programs in North America. There are many reasons for that, one of which is the sheer number of American partner airlines you can fly on using AAdvantage miles. Between the oneworld alliance and additional airline partnerships, American has 22 strategic partners that can take you to every corner of the world.

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Aeroméxico Club Premier Elite Status: How to Reach and What’s in It for You

Aeroméxico is a founding member of the SkyTeam Alliance and a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest and American Express Membership Rewards programs. The flag carrier of Mexico is not a very popular airline for North American frequent flyer aficionados because it usually adds fuel surcharges to its partners’ rewards flights, and because finding Aeroméxico availability, especially for premium flights on partners, can be a daunting task.

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Best American Airlines First and Business Class Redemptions

As we discussed earlier, not all business or first class seats are worth spending miles and efforts. In the last few years, airlines have done a great job designing new aircraft and retrofitting the old ones with swankier-than-ever premium class seats. Of course, the mile price of these seats is also higher than ever, but it’s still be a great deal, especially if you are embarking on a major trip and eager to arrive rested and ready to enjoy your destination right away.

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Flat-Bed Seats to Hawaii on Miles

A flight to Hawaii can take longer than flying to Europe for some. For East Coasters it’s a  whopping 11-12 hour journey, about as long as it takes to fly between New York and Buenos Aires. There is a considerable shortage of comfortable premium class seats from the U.S. to Hawaii, although they do exist and more are on the way. Here’s a rundown.

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Transcontinental in Style: East Coast to West Coast in Premium Cabins

As a rule, it’s not worth splurging miles for premium travel domestically. The flights are usually short, the seats are old-school recliners, there are no individual entertainment systems and the food is usually average at best.

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Are First and Business Class Seats Worth the Extra Miles?

Award travel offers incredible opportunities. The most amazing aspect of flying on miles is that it can put business and first class travel within your reach. Not everyone can afford to pay cash for a premium-class ticket. However, first and business class seats are within your reach with miles, especially if you’re flexible.

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El Al Matmid Elite Levels: How to Reach and What’s in It for You

El Al doesn’t have a lot of airline mileage partners – in fact, there are only three left since it lost the partnership with American (South African Airways, Air Mexico, and Qantas), but the appeal of El Al, and one of the major reasons why it has so many devout followers, is security.

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Will You Have a Problem in Europe with a U.S. Issued Credit Card?

If you travel overseas with any kind of frequency, you already know what EMV cards are. And if you don’t, you might’ve noticed the new types of terminals in stores here in the U.S. Instead of swiping your card, you’re often asked to enter it into the slot in front of the terminal.

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Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Elite Status: How to Earn it and What’s in it for You

Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance and transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Diners Club. If you fly Thai Airlines regularly you might consider attaining their elite status. Unfortunately, the entry-level elite Silver tier hardly offers any benefits. The first sensible elite tier is Gold. Attaining Gold status is not easy, but the benefits are good even if they don’t include earning bonus miles.

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Singapore KrisFlyer Elite Status: How to Earn it and What’s in it for You

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, and a transfer partner of all four U.S.-based airline travel programs: Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Citi ThankYou. Singapore Airlines also has partners outside of the Star Alliance: Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Australia, JetBlue and Indian airline Vistara.

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