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Early Holiday Shopping Bonuses from Amex, AA and United and New Rewards Program from Hyatt

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.

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Honeymoon in French Polynesia on Miles

Crystalline azure waters, near-constant sunshine, and overwater bungalows are the images conjured up when one thinks of their dream vacation to French Polynesia. Most people know of Tahiti, which is the largest island in French Polynesia, but there are many others with stunning resort properties like Bora Bora and Moorea.

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Best and Worst Chase Ultimate Rewards Redemptions: British Airways

British Airways Executive Club is a great program that can really stretch the value of your Ultimate Rewards points. Since BA is an airline partner of UR you can transfer points to Execuive Club, the airline’s frequent flyer program. While British Airways is not a U.S. airline, you can use Avios to fly on its partner airlines, which include American or Alaska.
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.

Best Credit Cards for British Airways

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  • April 2019: Best British Airways Rewards and Air Miles Credit Cards
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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.
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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
For better understanding of this valuation, read the Best and Worst Examples of Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points – The Portal.
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.
avios-hnl-west-coast

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.
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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).
lan-syd-akl
Buy business class tickets to Auckland for 20,000 Avios

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.
Avoid connecting flights
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.
Once again, this is not always the case, so try to price your itinerary on the British Airways website first.

Avoid redeeming Avios for premium class travel

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.
  • Economy
  • Premium Economy
  • Business
  • First
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.

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How to Book Allegiant Air Award Flights

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.

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The Best Credit Cards to Get to China and Hong Kong With Miles

travel credit cards

You can get to China and Hong Kong for as little as 60,000 miles. So save your cash for a nice new bespoke suit from the world famous tailors of Hong Kong. Or head straight to Beijing and start your journey in the Middle Kingdom with a trip to the Great Wall. With the right rewards credit card, you can earn enough with just the sign-up bonus.

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Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard Review

Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard Review

Who Is the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite Card Good For?

The Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard has the smallest annual fee and least benefits of all the co-branded American Airlines cards offered by Citi. However, if you’re primarily interested in getting the sign-up bonus, or if you’re just looking for a solid introductory card that earns American miles, it might be for you.

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The Best Credit Cards to Get to Japan With Miles

The Best Credit Cards to Get to Japan With Miles

You can easily earn a free flight to Japan in less than a year, but you’ll have to get the right credit card. Find out which card you need and which frequent flyer program can get you there the fastest.
For most airlines, award flights cost the same from either the East or West Coast to Tokyo, Japan’s main international hub. There are a few frequent flyer programs, though, that charge notably less if you fly from the West Coast.

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Devaluations from Delta and More While American Set to Introduce Basic Economy Fares In 2017

delta news

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.

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How Do I Find a Cheap Mileage Run to Bump Up My Frequent Flyer Account?

How Do I Find a Cheap Mileage Run to Bump Up My Frequent Flyer Account?

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.

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Allegiant Air myAllegiant Program Review

allegiant program

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.

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The Best Credit Cards to Get to the Middle East With Miles

travel credit card

Have you ever wanted to experience the over-the-top luxury and outrageous architecture of the Middle East’s top tourist spots? You don’t have to be a jet-setting playboy or prince to visit five-star hotels, fine-dining restaurants, the world’s largest malls and man-made island resorts.

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12 Travel Benefits You May Not Know You Have in Your Wallet

travel benefits

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.

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Tips and Tricks for Beating the New United Award Booking Rules

Tips and Tricks for Beating the New United Award Booking Rules

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.

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Double Miles for Virgin First Class, More Fees with Aeroplan Flight Changes and Points Transfer Options

Double Miles for Virgin First Class, More Fees with Aeroplan Flight Changes and Points Transfer Options

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.

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Get These Credit Cards to Top Off Your AA, Delta or United Frequent Flyer Account

Get These Credit Cards to Top Off Your AA, Delta or United Frequent Flyer Account

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?

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Best Use of Citi ThankYou Points for Flights to Asia

Best Use of Citi ThankYou Points for Flights to Asia

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.

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9 Tips When Applying for a Travel Rewards Cards

10 Tips When Applying for a Travel Rewards Cards

There are so many travel rewards credit cards out there, choosing can be a dizzying process. Features including sign-up bonuses and other perks that can often make many cards sound perfect.
Beyond the bonuses and perks, though, lies a minefield of caveats. These 10 tips can help you come out on the other end with the card of your dreams.

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How to Fly Etihad’s Luxurious Residence on Miles and How to Get 500 Miles in Five Seconds

How to Fly Etihad’s Luxurious Residence on Miles and How to Get 500 Miles in Five Seconds

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.

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The Best Apps for Tracking Miles and Points

The Best Apps for Tracking Miles and Points

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.

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Best Airline Programs to Fly in Premium Cabins to South America

When you think about ultra-long hauls we usually think Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. But flights to South America can be almost as long. A nonstop journey between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo is clocked just under 13 hours. That’s even longer than a flight from the west coast to Seoul. A journey from the east coast can be almost as tedious – about 12 hours for flights to Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile. That’s a long time to spend in a cramped economy seat.

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