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American Express rewards spenders at small businesses
Between now and the end of the year, earn double miles and points when using your American Express card at qualifying small businesses in your area. Included in the offer are more than 50 Amex-branded cards including the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express and Hilton HHonors American Express. What’s unique about this promotion is that Amex is doubling whatever rewards currency your card offers.
Also, unlike most U.S. based airline programs, British Airways Executive Club is a distance-based program, and it works best on relatively short, non-stop flights. Redemption levels start at 7,500 Avios per one-way flight (15,000 roundtip) in the U.S. and 4,000 Avios (8,000 roundtip) elsewhere.
Ultimate Rewards to British Airways: Best Redemptions
Short flights in the U.S.
Nonstop flights for distances up to 1,150 miles in the U.S. are priced at 7,500 Avios one way, which is a much better rate than reduced United flights priced at 10,000 miles for distanced up to 700 miles. The next level is 10,000 Avios for distances between 1,151 and 2,000 miles.
1) For travel originated or terminated in the U.S., consider transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC if:
You hold a Sapphire Preferred card and your desired roundtrip ticket costs $187.50 or more on the Ultimate Rewards site or
You hold a Sapphire Reserve card and your roundtrip ticket costs $225 or more on the Ultimate Rewards site.
2) For travel not originating or terminating in the U.S., consider transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC if:
You hold a Sapphire Preferred card and your desired roundtrip ticket costs $112.50 or more on the Ultimate Rewards site or
You hold a Sapphire Reserve card and your roundtrip ticket costs $135 or more on the Ultimate Rewards site
A few examples of flights under 1,150 miles are: NYC – Miami, Toronto/Montreal, Washington, Chicago or Bermuda or Los Angeles to Seattle on the West Coast. You can find the distance between cities with this free tool.
West Coast to Hawaii on Alaska or American
Flights between the continental U.S. and Hawaii cost 22,500 one way, but the West Coast lies well within a 3,000-mile distance from Honolulu, so if you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC, you can fly between the West Coast and Honolulu on American or Alaska for 12,500 Avios or 25,000 per roundtrip.
Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus
One of the most amazing Ultimate Rewards values is redeeming Avios between Boston and Dublin on a British partner Aer Lingus for 25,000 per roundtrip. Even a business class ticket (redeeming Avios for business class tickets are not usually recommended) for 75,000 Avios per roundtrip is a good deal compared to United’s 100,000 miles price tag.
Northeast to Western Europe on Airberlin or Iberia
Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC and fly from New York to Berlin/Dusseldorf for 40,000 Avios on Air Berlin (per roundtrip), or to Madrid for 34,000 Avios on Iberia. United charges 60,000 miles for flights between the U.S. and Europe.
London to Europe on BA
We generally discourage people from using Avios to fly British Airways over the ocean due to high fuel surcharges, but short- and medium-haul flights between London and Continental Europe can be a real bargain. The fees on intra-Europe BA flights are capped at £35 (which is slightly above $45 with current exchange rates), so you can connect anywhere in Europe for cheap. You can fly to Marseilles or Copenhagen for 9,000 Avios per roundtrip, Rome, Ibiza and Budapest for 15,000 Avios, or Moscow, Athens and Istanbul for 20,000.
Save even more by flying BA off-peak
British Airways has discounts if you don’t mind flying off-peak with them. Your savings for short-to-medium-haul one-way flights are as follows:
4,000 Avios vs. 4,500 for Zone 1
6,500 Avios vs. 7,500 for Zone 2
8,500 Avios vs. 10,000 for Zone 3
10,000 Avios vs. 12,500 for Zone 4
Intra-South America on LAN/TAM
Intra-South American flights can be prohibitively expensive; a one-hour flight between Lima and Cuzco (a gateway to Machu Picchu) can cost hundreds of dollars. However, the same flight can be yours for 4,500 Avios one way. Same 4,500 Avios can get you between other popular cities, for example, Sao Paulo and Iguassu Falls or Rio and Florianopolis. Or you can fly from Buenos Aires to Santiago de Chile for 7,500 one way.
Intra-Australia flights on Qantas
Qantas holds a virtual monopoly on intra-Australia flights, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a 1.5- hour flight between Sydney and Melbourne can cost $300-400 sometimes. Instead, transfer you Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC and book the same flight for 4,500 Avios and a few dollars of taxes.
Sydney – Auckland on LAN
This is a rare instance when we can recommend paying slightly more for a business class flight. This route is served by South American LAN on the way to/from Santiago and features Premium Business class with lie-flat seats. This 3.5 hour flight will cost you 20,000 Avios in business or 10,000 Avios in economy (one way).
Intra-Asia on Cathay Pacific and intra-Japan on JAL
You can fly from Hong Kong to Hanoi or Taipei for 4,500 Avios and to Chiang Mai or Siem Reap for 7,500 Avios one way. You can also use other oneworld partners Malaysia and SriLankan, but both add some fuel surcharges to their award tickets. Or you can redeem 4,500 Avios for any intra-Japan one-way flight on JAL from Tokyo – be it to Fukuoka in the South or Sapporo in the North.
Ultimate Rewards to British Airways: Worst Redemptions
This list is amazingly short.
Avoid connecting flights
The way Executive Club is designed is that any extra segment adds costs. So if there isn’t a non-stop flight or if you can’t find a nonstop availability, the system will usually (although not always) charge you for two segments instead of one.
For example, the flying distance between New York and Tampa, is just a hair above 1,000 miles which means it would cost 7,500 Avios per one-way flight if there was a non-stop flight between these two cities on American. Unfortunately, there isn’t, so when the computer routes your flight via Miami or Washington, DC, it adds an extra segment, meaning that you end up paying 15,000 Avios instead of 7,500. That makes transferring to United or booking your trip with Ultimate Rewards points a better option.
With some exceptions, using Avios to book first, or even business class is rarely a good deal. The BAEC scheme operates with a premise of a four-class configuration.
So if an economy seat costs 4,500 Avios, then a premium economy seat is 6,750, which is 50 percent more; a business class seat is 9,000, which is twice as much as a seat in economy; and a first class seat is 18,000 Avios, which is twice as much as a seat in business.
While redeeming Avios for a business class seat may be a decent value (like our Boston-Dublin and Auckland-Sydney examples), in general, the best value of the BAEC program is in short trip redemptions. There just isn’t much value in spending a lot of points for a two to three-hour flight. If you’re interested in business or first, save your Ultimate Rewards points for another day and transfer them into a program providing a much better value for long-haul premium class travel.
It is essential to get the Allegiant World MasterCard in order to participate in the carrier’s frequent flyer program, myAllegiant. You cannot earn or redeem points without it. The card is similar to a cash back cards, allowing you to redeem points for credit toward Allegiant Air purchases. Points are fixed at a value of one cent each.
Delta has devalued its miles for the fourth time in a year offering zero advance notice to flyers. You might want to rethink your loyalty. Just be careful if you go with American next year as it plans to introduce basic economy fares with no frills that are sure to come with all kinds of restrictions.
You’ve heard about them before. Mileage runs–the holy grail of scoring tons of miles by using cheap fares to fly a long distance. Since airlines have largely adjusted the way they award miles (based upon price of the ticket versus distance flown), mileage runs have lost much of their appeal.
Allegiant Air is a Las Vegas-based carrier that primarily focuses on holiday travel and smaller regional airports. With its current fleet of 81 aircraft, the airline serves 117 destinations with both scheduled and charter flights. Tickets are typically cheap, making the carrier a good budget option if you happen to live in an area it serves.
Traveling can be made much easier and less expensive if you know about all the benefits available to you. Some are right in your wallet and you may not even know about them. They are the extra benefits that your everyday credit cards carry. You don’t need to get out the magnifying glass to figure out the benefits. Here are 12 travel benefits to look for from your credit cards.
Wouldn’t it be great to earn the same intro bonus several times with your favorite rewards cards? While it might be possible to do that with some credit card issuers, it’s not the best strategy for boosting your points or miles balance. At worst, the issuer will deny your application and you’ll take an unnecessary hit to your credit score. At best, you’ll probably have to wait years to get a second bonus.
The dust has settled from United Airlines’ new award booking rules which went into effect on October 6. While the news was worse than originally thought, there are some tricks that allow for creative award routings. In United’s zeal to create a mechanical computer-dependent system, it seems they did not program in enough rules to prevent travelers from hopping around the globe with complex itineraries that provide tons of value for MileagePlus members.
This week brings good news in terms of rich promotions, but also sour news in terms of more restrictive airline fees. Read on to see who the winners and losers are in the world of travel this past week.
It happens to all of us. You’re planning a trip and you find the award flight you want, but you’re just a few miles short. What do you do? The easiest solution is to transfer points from a rewards credit card to your frequent flyer account. Or better yet, get a new card with a big sign-up bonus. You’ll probably even have enough miles to upgrade from coach to business. Why not travel in style?
Tickets to Asia are usually north of $1,000 and sometimes close to $2,000. You can use Citi ThankYou points to fly there free by booking your flight with the Citi Travel Center or by transferring the points to one of the Citi’s airline partners. Booking through the travel portal is rarely a good deal though, due to the high cost of the ticket. Transferring points to a frequent flyer program is generally a more prudent choice. We give you the lowdown on which programs are the best transfer options.
Until now, Etihad has kept its Airbus A380 private residence an option for big spenders only. Now, the airline is allowing big mileage spenders to get in on the luxurious experience. Plus, there are plenty of bonus miles and points up for grabs this week.
One of the first things you need to do when you start collecting points and miles is get the right app to keep track of your accounts. You’ll never have to worry about points expiring, forgetting passwords or losing account numbers again, and you’ll always know how many points and miles you have. And while some apps are dedicated to tracking, you might be better off with an all-around good travel app like Tripit, which offers miles tracking in its pro version.
You’ve done the research. You’ve figured out which one of the myriad of rewards credit cards you want. It’s the perfect card to earn a free flight fast to wherever you want to go. You apply and… you get declined! Don’t worry; we know what you should do next.
Anytime an airline announces changes to their award program, the changes are usually worse than the airline tries to make them sound. In August, United announced major changes to award booking rules as well as to their online booking engine. These changes became effective last week on October 6 and now that we have had some time to test out the new booking engine, we can confirm the devaluation is worse than expected and that United’s original announcement was a bit deceptive.
United is arguably the most popular Chase airline transfer partner, and transferring Ultimate Rewards points to United often makes sense when the price in points on the Ultimate Rewards website is too high compare to what you could pay for the flight using alternative currencies — frequent flyer miles. Since the United MileagePlus program is region-based and isn’t linked directly to the price of a revenue ticket, you will come ahead if the Ultimate Rewards cost is more than $300 (for a Sapphire Preferred cardholder) or $375 (for a Sapphire Reserve cardholder). For better understanding of how this valuation works, read the first installment: Best and Worst Examples of Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points – The Portal.
Airlines in the SkyTeam alliance are making it easy to request missing miles from past flights. Frequent flyers should always double-check their accounts to make sure they receive credit for flying. It’s easy to forget to look and sometimes miles are missed. Other news this week include new amenities aboard Hawaiian Airlines, new routes between North America and Europe, 3x on Airbnb through United’s app and a new 5x bonus for Amex premium cardholders.
In the travel enthusiast community, it seems we can barely go a few weeks without an announcement of some sort of award chart devaluation or benefit reduction in one of our favorite programs. So any time we can actually announce an improvement to an award program, it comes as a big relief.