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How to Get In The Free Travel Game

free ticket

What if you could travel for free whenever you want to get away? It seems far-fetched, but some people do it and it may not be as difficult as you think.
Free travel, sometimes called travel hacking or travel rewards, is all about collecting points or miles and redeeming them for free airline tickets, hotel rooms, gift cards or cash.

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How to Pick the Best Travel Rewards Cards

With so many travel rewards credit cards on the market, it can be difficult to decide which ones are worth getting and which should be ignored. If you get too many cards, you may end up paying more in annual fees than the value you get out of the cards. On the other hand, if you have too few cards you might miss out on programs and points that fit your travel needs.

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New Elite Qualifying Dollar Benefit on American Airlines Aviator Cards

Earlier this year American Airlines made the latest copycat move in the world of frequent flyer program devaluations when they announced the addition of an Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQD) requirement beginning in 2017. EDQ requirements mean that you must spend a certain amount of money with the airline in addition to flying a certain number of miles or segments to qualify for elite status.

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A Primer on Boeing 777 Premium Seats

boeing 777

The Boeing 777 is the most widely operated wide-body commercial jetliner in the sky today. There are over 1,100 of these planes currently in operation with orders for many more on the way. Here’s a rundown of who’s flying them and what they are offering.

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AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard From Barclaycard Review

Who Is the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard Good For?

The AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard is Barclays’ midrange American Airlines co-branded card. If you often fly on American, this card comes with some nice perks, including an annual $100 flight discount, free checked bags, priority boarding, in-flight discounts and access to Reduced Mileage Awards.

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Faster Path to Elite Status on AA Through Card Spending and Free Marriott Points for Linking Social Accounts

There are some opportunities to score bonus points with many travel companies this week. Scoop ‘em up while you can! And American peeked in some good news announcing a partial waiver for the elite qualifying dollar spend requirement put into place for next year’s elite program. We have all the details.

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Business Class Comparison: Qatar vs Emirates to the Middle East

Who has a better business class product between Qatar Airways and Emirates? Let’s compare the two airlines on flights from the U.S. to the Middle East in two broad categories to figure that out. Wed’ll look at:

  • Hard product: Planes, seats and entertainment
  • Soft product: Service, food and amenity kits

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The Best Use of Allegiant Air Points

Allegiant Air’s reward program, myAllegiant, is a bit unusual. You can’t earn points by flying and the airline doesn’t offer elite status. In fact, the carrier’s gone out of its way to say that its program is for “infrequent flyers.”

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5 Must-Have Travel Apps For Holiday Travel

Mobile apps are all about convenience, and there is no better time for efficiency than when traveling. As you plan holiday travel, take a look some of our favorite travel apps out there to help you from planning to packing.

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Big Bonus on Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Credit Card

Between now and the end of the year, Barclaycard is offering one of its biggest signup bonuses ever for new cardholders. If you are approved for the card before the end of the year and spend $3,000 in the first 90 days, you can earn 50,000 bonus miles, which is equal to $500 in travel redemptions.

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How to Navigate Thailand in the Next Year

Thailand vacation

When it comes to redeeming points and miles for a dream vacation, Thailand is often at the top of the list. Low prices for hotels, tours, and dining combined with lots of flights with relatively decent award space into Bangkok create the perfect, friendly storm for an amazing trip.

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Changes Coming for Chase INK Business Cards

chase news

There have been several big rumors floating around the blogosphere recently regarding changes to the business card offerings from Chase. These have included rumors of a new product, possible changes to bonus categories, and the possible elimination of one of Chases’ current offerings. We now have official confirmation from Chase of exactly what is in store.

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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.

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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.
transfer-from-sapphire-cards
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.
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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.
redeem-for-cheap-tickets-to-europe

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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