Monthly Archives: December 2014

Discover and Freedom Bonus Categories for 2015

Both the Discover card and the Chase Freedom card offer rotating quarterly bonus categories where you can earn 5% cash back (Discover) or 5x points (Freedom).  The categories for 2015 have been released.

Discover

Discover’s categories for the first quarter of 2015 are Gas and Ground Transportation.  That’s great for those who have to fill up often!  Also included are rental cars, public transportation like buses and trains, charter and tour buses and limos.  You can go ahead and sign up HERE and you’ll be all set come January.

2014-12-08 Discover 2015 Bonus

Chase Freedom

The Freedom categories are Grocery Stores, Movie Theaters and Starbucks.  Note that the Grocery Store category does not include Wal-Mart or Target.  The 5x bonus is limited to $1500 per quarter.  Sign up will be available on December 15th.

2014-12-08 Freedom 2015 Bonus

 

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British Airways 777 First Class IAH-LHR

Turkey Trip Overview
Booking Flights To Turkey
British Airways First Class Lounge IAH
British Airways 777 First Class IAH-LHR
Transiting Heathrow and British Airways A320 Business Class LHR-IST
Marriott Courtyard Istanbul Airport
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul to Izmir and Back
Ephesus, Mary’s House and Basilica of St. John
Swissotel Efes
Pamukkale Bus and Preiene
Ritz-Carlton Istanbul
Major Sites to see in Istanbul
Radisson Blu Bosphorus
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class IST-IAH

 

We began the boarding process on time and soon enough I was down the jetway and through door 2L.

BA 196 IAH-LHR
Departs: 20:40
Arrives: 11:45 + 1
Boeing 777
Seat: 3K (First Class)

Waiting at my seat was an amenity kit, a blanket and headphones and very soon the flight attendant stopped by to ask about what size pajamas I needed. The seat came with its own small closet and I used it to hang up my windbreaker and store my shoes. I noticed no slippers were included but when I asked, the FA was able to find some for me. I was glad because I’d intended to use those for the rest of my trip! I changed into my pajamas as soon as the FA brought them as I figured I’d rather chance spilling my food on them than on my street clothes.

BA 196 First Class Blanket and Headphones

BA 196 First Class Blanket and Headphones

 

 

BA 196 First Class Amenity Kit

BA 196 First Class Amenity Kit

BA First Class Pajamas

BA First Class Pajamas

I found the seat very comfortable and the controls intuitive. I actually had two windows at my seat but the downside of the cabin design meant I couldn’t see out the window during takeoff and landing. Even while flying I had to sit very far forward to be able to see outside. But you know, if that’s the trade-off for flying in first class – I’ll take it!

BA 196 Seat 3K

BA 196 Seat 3K

BA 196 Seat 3K

BA 196 Seat 3K

BA 196 Seat 3K Footrest

BA 196 Seat 3K Footrest

BA 196 Seat 3K Windows

BA 196 Seat 3K Windows

The menu had what seems to me to be a reasonably expansive wine list. But then, I don’t drink so what do I know?! Here it is:

BA 196 First Class Menu 1BA 196 First Class Menu 2BA 196 First Class Menu 2BA 196 First Class Menu 3BA 196 First Class Menu 4BA 196 First Class Menu 5

And here’s the menu:

BA 196 First Class Menu 6

Since the flight is only nine hours, I wanted to eat dinner as quickly as possible so that I could maximize my sleep time. I had the tomato soup as a starter:

BA 196 First Class Soup

And the braised beef as my entree:

BA 196 Braised Beef Entree

BA 196 Braised Beef Entree

BA 196 First Class Condiments

BA 196 First Class Condiments

As none of the desserts struck my fancy (no chocolate!) and I’m not much of a cheese eater (I love it on/in things, just not by itself) I skipped both.

Here are the dessert and cheese selections:

BA 196 First Class Menu 7
After dinner the FA made up my bed which consisted of a nice matress pad and a thicker comforter. The pillow was a bit small but did the job. I got about 4-5 hours of sleep, which is not bad. It was definitely a better quality sleep than I got in business class on the flight from Houston to Amsterdam on my trip in April.

Breakfast menu:

BA 196 First Class Menu 8 BA 196 First Class Menu 9

For breakfast I picked a few things from the a la carte menu and then topped it off with the lemon pancake with wild berry compote. Unfortunately my early-morning fuzzy brain forgot to remind me to take photos of what I had. But it was good and it was filling, just what I needed to help me wake up.

All too soon it was time to change back into street clothes for landing at Heathrow. The whole time we were on final approach I kept reminding myself not to forget my windbreaker in my closet. Somehow by the time we landed I managed to do just that. I was off the plane and a couple of minutes down the concourse before I remembered it. Fortunately people were still deplaning and the gate agent was able to retrieve it for me.

I had a lovely flight and a wonderful FA (and I wish I’d caught her name) and would fly this route again in a heartbeat. Would dearly love to do it without the fuel surcharges though!

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Bonus on Purchased US Airways Dividend Miles

2014-12-06 Dividend Miles Sale

Now through January 2, 2015 you get bonus miles when you buy US Airways Dividend miles. The bonus miles varies depending on how much you buy. If you max it out and buy 80,000 miles, you’ll get a 45,000 mile bonus for a total of 125,000 miles. For a cost of $2360, that comes out to 1.8 cents per point. That sounds like a decent deal when you consider that Ben values these miles at 1.6 cents each while Brian values them at 1.9 cents apiece. However, when you add in the taxes and fees, the actual cost is $2572 or 2.06 cents per point. Not such a great deal – unless you just need a few miles to top off an award. If you’re going to get a better value than that – then go for it! Also remember that purchased miles are processed by Points.com and therefore do not earn any airline bonus category miles on your credit card.

Remember that in the second quarter of next year Dividend Miles will be converted at a 1:1 ratio to American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

Categories: Purchased Miles, US Airways | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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