Last August, Chase made a big splash by introducing the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a brand new card with top-of-the-line benefits as well as an attractive 100,000-point signup bonus. As you may have heard, that signup bonus was recently lowered from 100,000 Ultimate Reward points to 50,000 as of March 12.
More Details Emerge From the Alaska and Virgin America Merger
Alaska Airlines recently received permission from the Department of Justice to purchase Virgin America, meaning the takeover is officially happening. Now that Alaska is sure the deal will go through, they have announced more details on how the two airlines will operate going forward, what changes will be made to elite benefits, and how the mileage accrual and award tickets will work.
Get the Most Out of Your SPG Points
You’re probably already familiar with the three big credit card award programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou. They’re great because you can transfer the points you earn directly to frequent flyer programs. But there’s another very flexible program you should know about that also offers transfers to airlines partners: Starwood Preferred Guest.
How to Pay Student Loans or Contribute to 529 Plans and Earn Miles and Points
There is a fantastic new way to give the gift of education to any friend or family member. And, it’s even a method to help you pay down your student loan while earning miles and points. Gift of College is a college savings registry of sorts.
You can purchase gift cards from the company that the recipient (or you) can use to pay off a student loan, or establish or contribute to his or her existing 529 plan. For miles and points enthusiasts, it finally paves the way to earn valuable loyalty currency just for paying off your loan or helping someone else afford college. Let’s look at how the program works.
Secrets to Earning Oneworld Alliance Tier Status
Here’s the scoop on how to earn status on an alliance and not just an airline. The oneworld alliance may be smaller the other two major ones, but its 14 members (plus 21 affiliated members) can literally take you anywhere in the populated world.
If you regularly fly on Air Berlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Iberia, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, or SriLankan Airlines, it’s a safe bet that you might benefit from oneworld tier status.
New Year’s Resolutions for Travel Hackers
You may not be a New Year’s resolution type of person, but you’ll actually do yourself a disservice if you don’t make a few promises related to your travel hacking hobby. Earning miles and points that will help whisk you and your family around the globe in style isn’t easy, and it takes planning and organization.
Before you sing “Auld Lang Syne” at the dawn of the New Year, make a few resolutions that may help you get where you want to go in the next 12 months. Here are some resolutions shared by us at RewardExpert. You may want to commit to them as well.
Award Ticket Availability to the Super Bowl in Houston
Airline ticket and hotel prices go through the roof for the host city during big events like the upcoming Super Bowl, which is being held in Houston on Sunday, February 5.
One way to cut costs if you want to see it in person is to use points and miles where the price in miles is fixed regardless of the cash price of the ticket. Because tickets will be costly. You can expect to use 25,000 miles to get to Texas for the game though some airlines will cost more and at least one route is less.
Extreme Reward Stacking When Dining Out
Unless you’re a road warrior with elite status, chances are you earn more points and miles through credit card spend rather than actually flying. Hopefully, you have one or two credit cards in your wallet that earn bonus points on dining, but there could be extra points you’re leaving on the table. In the points and miles hobby, the art of stacking is an advanced skill to accelerate your points earning potential, and it might even save you money.
5 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Score
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Your credit score is one of your most valuable assets and you should nurture it and protect it. You want a healthy credit score to help you accomplish all of your life goals, including getting a mortgage or car loan (with reasonable interest rates) or passing a potential employer or landlord’s background check.
You also want a high credit score so you can fully participate in the lucrative hobby of collecting frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty program points, or bank points (such as American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou points).
Amex Sign-up Bonus Clawbacks and Hitting Minimum Spend Requirements
American Express sometimes offers 100,000-point sign-up bonuses. Not too long ago, some people found a link online for a 100,000-point sign-up bonus for the personal Platinum card which was not supposed to be made public.
Best App for Renewing Your Passport
The appropriately named ItsEasy app makes it easy to renew your passport. You’ll never need to trudge down to the post office and wait in line again. Just use an iPhone or iPad to snap your photo, fill out the appropriate forms and send them off to ItsEasy. They’ll take care of the rest.
Using Citi ThankYou Points on Virgin Atlantic to Fly Delta and on JetBlue to Get to Cuba
Virgin Atlantic can be a fantastic airline to transfer your Citi ThankYou points to. The airline has 10 redemption partners of its own, so finding a good value is not an issue. You just need to be strategic and do your homework before transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Transfers are usually instantaneous, and you can even transfer your points while on the phone with an agent.
Best and Worst Use of Citi ThankYou Points on Air France/KLM and Singapore
Unlike Chase which partners with United, and American Express which partners with Delta, Citi doesn’t have a major U.S. airline partner. But it does have many foreign airline partners that you can transfer ThankYou points to and book one of the three domestic legacy carriers.
Best and Worst Use of Citi ThankYou Points Through the Bank’s Travel Center
The Citi ThankYou travel rewards program is very similar to the American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards programs. Just like those two, Citi ThankYou allows you to book travel through its own portal or transfer your points to airline partners if you have a premium card.
Annual Spending Bonuses to Hit Before the Year is Over
Did you know that many travel rewards credit cards come with annual spending bonuses? These bonuses can often boost you to higher levels of elite status. But there is an element of art as well as science in determining whether to ramp up spend on a specific card. We’ll break it down for you here.
Best and Worst American Express Membership Rewards Redemptions on Cathay Pacific and Etihad
American Express has almost 20 airline partners, and you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to any of them. Two of the best Amex airline partners you might consider are Cathay Pacific and Etihad, but like other airline frequent flyer programs there are some sweet spots and some that may not be worth the transfer.
How Small Businesses Can Maximize Rewards for Air Travel
Big companies get discounts and special deals for committing their business to one airline. This is often done behind the scenes and is a common and expected practice among airlines. It might even include complimentary elite status and fee waivers for corporate travelers.
But what about smaller companies? Isn’t their business valuable, too? Isn’t that the entire idea behind loyalty?
How to Increase Your Credit Limit
Credit card companies will typically increase the maximum amount of money they will let you borrow over time, particularly if you have good credit. But what if you want a higher credit limit before they offer it to you? Is there a good way to increase your credit and is it a good idea? Let’s find out.
Best and Worst Use of American Express Membership Rewards When Transferring Points to Airlines
We explained the best and worst redemptions for American Express Membership Rewards through the Amex Travel Portal. Now we look at the value of those points when transferred to frequent flyer programs.
When You Should Use Amex Membership Rewards Points Through its Booking Portal
The American Express Membership Rewards program offers members the ability to redeem points for all kinds of rewards. Like similar credit card rewards programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou, the best Membership Rewards value usually comes from transferring points to an airline partner. However, there are some exceptions that are worth considering like booking tickets through the Amex travel portal. Here’s a rundown of when that makes sense and when it doesn’t.