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Sapphire Reserve Hits the Market, Bye to Etihad Limos, Birthday Bonuses From Virgin

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Virgin America bonuses

This week’s roundup has both good and bad news. The Chase Sapphire Reserve applicataion went live this past week with its 100,000 point sign-up bonus. But while there are lots of great ways to earn bonus miles, Etihad has squashed one of our favorite benefits on first class award tickets. Read it and weep amidst the plethora of other good deals out there.

Virgin America doles out 999 bonus points in birthday celebration

Between now and Sept. 30, flyers can earn 999 Elevate bonus points by booking and flying any Virgin America flight. All fares are eligible for this promotion, but Elevate members must register for the promotion before their flight.

Delta moves flights to Heathrow terminal three

Say goodbye to the SkyTeam lounge at London Heathrow’s terminal four and hello to the far swankier Virgin Clubhouse at terminal three. Delta is moving all of its arriving and departing flights to Virgin’s main terminal three. By Sept. 14, it might pay to get to the airport earlier to enjoy a massage, haircut, or specialty cocktail in the Clubhouse before departure.

London Heathrow’s Virgin Clubhouse
London Heathrow’s Virgin Clubhouse

Etihad cuts benefits for American award tickets

Many of us like to redeem American miles for Etihad’s first class apartment, which comes with extra perks like pajamas and suites with doors that closed. These tickets used to include free limo transfers from home or a hotel to the airport and back, but this service is now only reserved for revenue tickets.

Chase Sapphire Reserve card ready for signup

Chase’s newest high-end credit card has released its application form and is offering a generous signup bonus. If you spend $4,000 within the first three months of having the card, Chase will award new members with 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points. Just be careful, the credit card issuer is quite strict and will not permit new cards to anyone that has opened five cards or more within the past two years.

Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card generous sign-up bonus
The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card has a generous sign-up bonus.

Alaska Airlines offers bonus on purchased miles

Need to top up your Alaska Mileage Plan account for a big redemption like Emirates first class? Then now is the time. Alaska Airlines is giving a bonus that is tied to how many miles you buy. The more you buy, the more bonus miles you get, and the bonus can vary by member so check your account. This offer lasts through September 29.

Cheaper reward flights with the American Airlines-branded Citi credit card

American’s co-branded Citi credit card comes with a unique benefit that slashes mileage required for certain award tickets. Each quarter, the airline releases a list of destinations that are eligible for the discount (available on either one-way or roundtrip flights). See if any of your travel plans qualify to take advantage.

American fiddles with award ticket pricing

Reports are surfacing that American is following Delta’s lead when it comes to pricing awards dynamically. This means that American doesn’t just price reward tickets at “saver” and “anytime” levels based upon the date, but actually breaks up different flights into subcategories presumably based upon the price or popularity of certain flights. This means that flights can cost a range of mileage prices, which more closely aligns award ticket cost with the actual cost of a flight. Delta is doing this with a large chunk of its flights, but American seems to be trialing it on its premium transcontinental flights between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Book early if you have a specific flight in mind.

Transfer Starwood points to American for a limited-time bonus

Starwood Preferred Guest is pretty awesome in that it lets you earn a 20% bonus anytime you transfer points from the hotel program to many airlines. American is not one of those lucky airline partners, but for a limited time between now and Sept. 24, members can receive the same bonus with American. That means transferring 20,000 SPG points turns into 25,000 American miles, which could be especially beneficial if you are running low on miles for upcoming holiday travel plans.

Transfer Starwood Points to American and earn 20% bonus

Don’t forget crazy ways to earn miles

Back when I was buying my condominium, I specifically searched for a real estate agent that partnered with a mileage program (netting me several hundred thousand airline miles in the process). still lets you rake in the points. If you need to sign up for cable TV, both DirectTV and Dish Network offer special mileage promotions for new members. The same loyalty bonuses can come with paying for utility bills through companies like Energy Plus. If all of this makes your head spin, use to search for a massage that awards miles for the experience. Think outside of the box to be rewarded, maybe even when you buy a box (the Chase Ink Plus card awards 5x miles at office supply stores).

Spirit bucks the trend and rewards more for less

Spirit is earning media attention for giving flyers on its most discounted fares more miles (2,500 for its $9 club members) to only 150 miles to those buying pricier tickets. Register for this promotion, which lasts until Aug. 31, before travel.

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