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The Best Credit Cards for Someone New to Points and Miles

If you’re new to earning points and miles through credit cards, you have many options when it comes to what cards you can get and earn the bonus on.
This changes when someone has been signing up for cards for a while due to some rules that various credit card issues have. Deciding which cards to get first is pretty straightforward if you know what to look for.

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Stride Travel – If The Beach Just Isn’t Enough

The home page at Stride Travel includes a banner that says “Life’s too short for vanilla vacations.” While most of us would agree with that conclusion, planning that perfect combination of travel, accommodations and sightseeing is not an easy task.

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Premium Credit Card Comparison

There are a number of premium credit cards available and each one has it’s own set of benefits. Depending on your travel and spending patterns, one may be a significantly better choice for you than another. In some cases it may make sense to have more than one.
In this article we’re going to compare the major premium credit cards from American Express, Chase and Citi. U.S. Bank has also just entered the premium card market with the launch of it’s Altitude card. We’ll have more on that one next week.

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Comparing Premium Economy Products on the Domestic Legacy Carriers

Over the past several years, airlines have taken steps to differentiate their classes of product segment in order to maximize revenue. Cabin configurations traditionally consisted of either two classes (economy and business class) or three classes (economy, business and first class).
Now planes are configured with four or even five cabins, with the more recent additions being premium economy. In many cases, premium economy has become the new “middle class” as airlines have done away with first class, and are flying with planes that have standard economy, premium economy and business class.

Let’s take a closer look at premium economy products by comparing the products and services offered, as well as the booking process and elite upgrade rules.

Delta Airlines

Delta’s premium economy offering is called Comfort+. This product is clearly the best of the three legacy airlines. Comfort+ seats offer 3 inches of additional leg room compared with standard economy seats. The seats are located in front of the main economy cabin, so you will be able to exit the plane faster.
There is dedicated overhead bin space so you don’t have to worry about your roll-aboard getting checked at the ramp. You receive priority boarding so you can get on the plane and get settled more quickly. Delta offers complimentary alcoholic beverages including beer, wine and spirits. The seats include both connectivity and power so you can charge your devices while you fly.
You will have a choice of a variety of complimentary premium snacks instead of just the standard offerings like pretzels and peanuts. Longer transcontinental flights include additional sleeping and entertainment amenities such as a pillow, blanket, complimentary headset and amenity kit. The seats on these flights also recline up to 50% more than standard economy. In addition, since this is a true premium economy product, it is being sold as a separate class of service. This means that the seats can be booked directly as an award ticket for a price between the standard economy price and business/first class price.
Features of Delta's Comfort+
Features of Delta’s Comfort+
There are a variety of details to keep in mind if you are an elite member looking to upgrade from a standard economy seat. The availability rules based on elite status are as follows:
  • Diamond and Platinum elites can get confirmed upgrades at the time of booking
  • Gold elites can be confirmed beginning 72 hours prior to departure
  • Silver elites can be confirmed beginning 24 hours prior to departure
Elites may be upgraded along with one companion traveling on the same reservation. In a tweak to the program, companion upgrades are now based on the highest elite status of the two people. Previously, upgrades cleared based on the lowest status, which was very irritating to higher level elites who may have been passed over by passengers with a lower level of status because their companion had an even lower status.

There is one significant downside to the way Delta handles upgrades into Comfort+ seats. If you are cleared for an upgrade, the upgraded seat is automatically assigned based on availability. Therefore, you could have reserved a window or aisle seat in standard economy and be “upgraded” to a middle seat in the Comfort+ section. You will have to decide for yourself what is more important: avoiding a middle seat at all costs, or the extra legroom, snacks, and free drinks offered in Comfort+.
If you decide you’d rather not take the chance of ending up in a middle seat, there is an easy way to opt out. When you make a booking, and click on the upgrade request link, there are two separate boxes. One is for upgrades into first or business class, and the other is for upgrades into Comfort+. You may simply check the box for first/business class, and leave the box for Comfort+ unchecked. This will ensure you are only considered for upgrades into first or business class. The relevant portion of the screen will look like this:
Comfort+

American Airlines

American does not have a true premium economy offering on domestic flights. However, it does have a product called Main Cabin Extra. Some people simply refer to these seats as “extra legroom seating”. The list of amenities is quite short. The only real benefits are extra legroom and a position in the plane in front of the standard economy seats.

Unlike their true premium economy seats on long haul international flights, these Main Cabin Extra seats are not a separate class of service. This is nice because it means that an upgrade is not required; you simply select the seat at the time of booking. Main Cabin Extra seats are highlighted in red, and the price is displayed for those who do not receive complimentary access. As you can see, some of the seats that cost extra are simply the exit-row seats and are not located as far forward in the plane as the rest of the Main Cabin extra seats.
Main Cabin extra seats
  • AA elites with Platinum status or above have complimentary access to these seats.
  • Gold elites may select these seats and receive a 50% discount at booking, and complimentary access if seats are still available within 24 hours of departure.


United Airlines

United is very similar to American in that they do not offer a true premium economy product on domestic flights, but they do offer extra legroom seats which are called Economy Plus. As with American, these seats are not sold as a separate class of service, but are available to select at the time of booking. The screenshot below shows an example seating map with Economy Plus seats in blue:
Economy Plus seats in blue
United has different rules for elite access and guest privileges.
  • Those with Platinum elite status and above receive complimentary access for themselves and up to eight companions at the time of booking.
  • Those with Gold elite status receive complimentary access for themselves and up to one companion at the time of booking.
  • Silver elite members may receive complimentary access for themselves and up to one companion at the time of check-in.

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Are Virgin Atlantic Miles Better Than You Think?

It’s easy to get Virgin Atlantic miles because the carrier has a long list of transfer partners, but Virgin’s Flying Club program isn’t known for its generous redemptions. However, there are some great deals hidden in the program’s award charts that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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VolunteerMatch Brings People Together For a Cause

If you’re looking for the satisfaction that comes with helping others, you may have found it hard to find an organization that needs someone just like you.

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Priceline Offers Vacation Packages Based on 2017’s Top Movie Releases

Wouldn’t it be nice to travel the globe like a celebrity, visiting all the best places before the masses are clued into their fabulousness? Or conversely, making places fabulous simply by your presence there?
Well, we can’t offer you a ticket to instant celebrity. But we can provide you with some insight about where movie stars have been spending their time (at least during their work hours.)

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Capital One’s New Premier Dining Rewards Card is a Foodie’s Best Friend

Do you have a passion for food? Whether you’re on the hunt for the next hot dining trend, hanging out with friends at the local brewpub, or planning a dinner party at home, Capital One just released the perfect card for you, the Premier Dining Rewards card.

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What You Need to Know About Malaria

For many of us in the industrialized world, malaria seems a distant and fading issue, encountered only when visiting the most remote regions of the globe.

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Which Card Is Better – Amex Platinum Personal vs. Business?

Amex has been announcing a series of changes to both the personal and business versions of the Platinum card over the past several months. The pace of these announcements has increased in recent weeks, and now the differences between the two cards are greater than ever before.

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Fetch Better Care for Your Pets With Rover

As much as you love your dog, it’s not always possible to travel with them. You could ask a friend, family member or neighbor to drop by and take care of the everyday duties, but not all dog owners have that luxury.
That’s where Rover.com can help.

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Which Miles or Points Should You Use When Making an Award Booking?

Travel hackers have more choices than ever when it comes to which points or miles currency to use when making an award booking. In many cases, the most obvious choice isn’t always the most economical.
For example, if you wanted to book a flight within the U.S., you first choice may be to use the miles of a domestic airline. However, it may be possible to pay a lower number of miles by booking that same flight via the award chart of an international partner. In all cases, you will want to compare the value of mileage redemption to the redemption rates available for fixed value currencies.

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Upwork: Helping Freelancers Earn from Anywhere in the World

upwork

Imagine traveling the world, exploring exotic locations, immersing yourself in extraordinary cultures, and meeting new exciting people, all while earning a living. Sounds like a dream, right? Fortunately, it’s one that can become your reality—even if you’re not a travel blogger or adventure photographer—with the help of Upwork, a web-based platform designed to connect freelancers with companies and the contract jobs they need to fill.

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Making Sense of Airline Fuel Surcharges

Beware of fuel surcharges when booking a flight, whether you are using miles or cash. The practice of imposing fuel surcharges blossomed around 2004 when world oil prices spiked. But they can vary greatly from one carrier to the next, even on carriers flying the same route with the same aircraft.

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How to Score Discounted Business Class Award Tickets

Being able to cash in your miles and points for an award flight is a great feeling. Even better? Getting an incredible deal. The key to redeeming fewer miles is to take advantage of sweet spots found on award charts to book flights for great prices compared to what else is out there.

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CheapAir Identifies the Best Times to Buy Your Next Plane Ticket and Book Your Award Ticket

CheapAir

Figuring out the best time to buy an airline ticket is often one of the most vexing parts of planning a trip. Wait until the last minute and the airfare skyrockets. Book too early and you may spend more than you should as well.
So what’s the best approach? As it turns out, it’s somewhere in between those two extremes.

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The Ultimate Oregon Destination Guide

Oregon

Between Portland’s exploding culinary scene, the recent recognition of the Willamette Valley as one of the world’s best wine regions, and the soon to open Oregon Timber Trail for mountain bikers that was inspired by the iconic Pacific Crest Trail, Oregon seems to be maturing into a new level of sexy as a travel destination.

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The Credit Scores You Need for the Best Travel Credit Cards

Are you ready to apply for a new rewards credit card? But maybe you’re not sure which one you’ll qualify for? We’ve taken a look at the major travel cards on the market and figured out the credit scores you’ll need to get them.

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How to Use Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards to Fly American Airlines

transfer partners

United is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Delta is a partner of American Express Membership Rewards, but you won’t find American Airlines in the transfer partners list of major credit card rewards programs. That, however, doesn’t mean you can’t fly American using the points from these programs and Citi’s ThankYou program.

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How to Get Elite Status at a Hotel Fast Through Matches, Challenges and Credit Cards

hotel elite status

Do you want to enjoy all the benefits of elite status at your favorite hotel including complimentary room upgrades, discounts, club access and more? There are a number of ways you can earn status quickly.

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