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[Targeted] 2x Bonus Miles from AA Aviator

The AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard is offering a targeted bonus for the second quarter of 2017.  Normally this card only offer bonus miles on purchases from American Airlines but during this promotion cardholders may earn 2x bonus miles for every $1 spent at grocery stores, home improvement stores and restaurants between April 1 and June 30, 2017, up to 2500 bonus miles.  If you were targeted you should have received an email from Barclays providing a link to activate the offer.  Note that you must activate the offer by May 31 to be able to take advantage of it.

The phrase “2x bonus miles” had me stumped.  To me, that sounds like I should get 2 miles (the bonus) in addition to the 1 mile per dollar I’d normally get at these types of businesses, which would mean I’d only have to spend $834 to max out the offer.  I reached out to both the Twitter team (@AskBCUS) and using the secure message center on the Barclays US credit card website. The folks at the secure message center didn’t even take the time to understand my question.  They seemed to think I was having trouble registering.  Fortunately the Twitter team was on the ball.  They clarified the offer is for a total of 2 miles per dollar spent in these categories, meaning I’d need to spend $1250 to accumulate all 2500 miles.  That was what I had suspected but it was good to get clarification.

For me this is one of the easiest offers to use.  Grocery stores and home improvement stores each sell gift cards – both Visa and merchant – which makes it a piece of cake to meet the requirement.

Note that bonus miles will not be awarded until 6-8 weeks after the promotion ends.  While I hate that it takes that long to get the extra miles, that’s pretty standard for Barclays.

Categories: AAdvantage Aviator, American Airlines, Barclays, Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Danger of Using Credit Card Points to Buy AA and UA Tickets

Yesterday both American Airlines and United Airlines rolled out their new basic economy fares in limited markets.  These are cheaper fares that come with a number of restrictions like no carry-ons in the overhead bin, no seat selection, no flight changes (even for a fee), last boarding group, limited mileage accrual and lesser credits toward elite status. (Some of these restrictions are waived if you have elite status and/or hold one of the co-branded credit cards.) When you book these fares on their website, there should be clear indication of what is and is not included in your fare.2017-01-18-aa-basic-economy
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Categories: American Airlines, United | Tags: , | Leave a comment

AA Introduces Basic Economy Fares

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Today American Airlines presented the details of its new basic economy fares.  Following the leads of Delta and United, this cheaper fare will come with a number of restrictions – though travelers will be able to decide for themselves what the better choice is.

These fares will be for seats in the Main Cabin (aka Economy) and the standard free snacks, soft drinks and inflight entertainment will still apply.  But there are a number of items not included:

  • Only one bag may be carried on and it must fit under the seat (no access to overhead bins)
  • If you try to bring on a bag that does not fit under the seat, there will be a $25 fee to check it in addition to the standard checked bag fee
  • Seats will be assigned at check-in
  • If you want to select a specific seat you may do so within 48 hours of departure but there will be a fee
  • Basic Economy fares are not eligible for upgrades
  • Travelers on Basic Economy fares may not change their ticket (even for a fee) or get a refund
  • Basic Economy will be the last group to board

There are some exceptions if you’re an elite member of the AAdvantage program or if you hold a co-branded AAdvantage credit card:

  • You may have a carry on that fits under the seat as well as one in the overhead bin
  • You’ll retain any priority or preferred boarding privileges
  • You will still receive at least one free checked bag per the terms of your elite status or credit card

There are further restrictions on the number of Elite Qualifying Dollars/Miles/Segments earned on these type of fares.

Basic Economy Fares will go on sale in late February on specific routes.

I’ve been analyzing how this will affect me personally.  I don’t have elite status with American but I do hold two of their co-branded credit cards.  So I don’t have to worry about boarding last or not being able to use the overhead bins.  The real difference is seat selection.  For me, I think it will depend on my destination. I think that for a single-leg (each way) flight this might work for me.  I’m specifically thinking of flights to Chicago that are serviced by a regional jet.  These seats are in a 2×2 configuration so there’s no worry of a middle seat.  If I’m not making a connection it doesn’t matter whether or not I’m in the back of the plane.  Even if I have a relatively short flight, a middle seat is not the end of the world.  But for longer or multi-leg flights I suspect I’ll be paying more to sit where I want.

Categories: American Airlines | Tags: | Leave a comment

Enter to Win 100,000 AA Miles

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American Airlines is offering entrants the chance to win up to 100,000 AAdvantage® miles by entering their Latitude Adjustment Sweepstakes.  To enter, all you need to do is either join the AAdvantage® eShopping program or, if you’re already a member, simply sign in to your eShopping account.  Register or sign in by 9 October 2016.

The Grand Prize winner will receive 100,000 AAdvantage® miles and $2,500 (to cover the taxes) and three First Prize winners will each receive 20,000 AAdvantage® miles.

If you already have an AAdvantage® account, you should have received an email with a link to the registration.  Others can go to https://www.aadvantageeshopping.com/ and click on the link for the sweepstakes

Categories: American Airlines | Tags: | Leave a comment

Earn AA Miles with Sprint

2016-09-17-aa-miles-for-sprintActivate a new Sprint account between now and the end of the year and earn 25,000 AAdvantage miles! You’ll need to activate a new account with at least one phone, request your miles through this link and in 8-10 weeks your AAdvantage account should be credited.

Already a Sprint customer?  You can earn up to 5,000 miles for your current service.  These miles will be awarded in monthly installments up to 5,000 miles per year as long as your Sprint account remains active and in good standing.

So if you’re looking to change your service, maybe this offer is worth a look for you.  If Sprint is already your provider then there’s no reason not to register for this offer.

Categories: American Airlines | Tags: | Leave a comment

Get Bonus Miles When Transferring Membership Rewards to Avios

British Airways logo

Avios are the currency of the British Airways Executive Club that can be useful in different ways. Since Avios pricing is distance-based, they’re super-useful on non-stop shorthaul flights as the shortest flights cost only 7500 Avios.  Since each leg of a flight is priced separately, the more connections required, the more Avios required.  For this reason, and the fact that on international flights BA passes along the fuel surcharges, they’re not as useful for international flights.  There are exceptions to this general rule however: BA’s booking window opens up a couple of weeks before American’s does, giving those with Avios first crack at award seats on certain carriers.  For example, I was able to use Avios to book a first class seat on a Qantas flight to Australia before it was available to AA members.  I had to pay the fuel surcharges but since premium cabin seats are so scarce on Qantas, I thought it was worth the cash required to obtain that seat.

Normally you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points to Avios at the rate of 250 MRs to 200 Avios.  But from now through October 10, 2016 you’ll earn a 50% bonus when transferring MRs to Avios. So transfer 250 MRs and get 300 Avios.  To make the transfer, log into your Amex account and indicate the number of MR points you want to transfer.  The website will show you how many Avios you’ll receive.

All transfers are final so if you’re transferring for a specific flight, be sure there is award space available.  If you’re planning to use the Avios on a BA partner flight you’ll need to be sure the available award space is at the saver (cheapest) level.

Categories: American Express, British Airways, Membership Rewards | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Stand Up to Cancer and Earn AA Miles

This past Friday you may have seen the Stand Up to Cancer telethon on many TV stations.  American Airlines is offering the opportunity to earn AA miles while donating to this cause.

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For a minimum donation of $25 you’ll earn 10 AA miles for each dollar you donate. This page on the AA website has the link to use.  Almost everyone knows someone who has won or lost a battle with cancer. Here’s your chance to fund the research to make sure everyone wins in the future.

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Great airfare deals on AA and UA to/from Chicago

I saw a tweet this morning from Ric Garrado of Loyalty Traveler that American and United are having fare wars between certain cities.  His blog post showed a screen shot of a fare on United where the base fare was $53!  There were taxes and fees that brought the cost up to $86 but still, that’s a fantastic deal for a round-trip ticket.  His post lists the 12 cities and the base fares that he found.

Great news for those who live in Chicago or want to visit the Windy City!

Categories: American Airlines, United | Tags: , | Leave a comment

SPB Flying to/from Uluru

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

Our next stop was Uluru, the giant red rock practically in the center of the continent. I think many of us, myself included, forget how large the continent of Australia is and misjudge the distance between cities. For comparison purposes, the distance between Sydney and the Ayers Rock airports is almost exactly the same distance as between Washington Dulles and Amarillo, Texas – just over 1360 miles!

GC Map to Uluru

When doing our original trip planning, I was hoping to leave the US on a Friday or Saturday to minimize the amount of vacation time we’d take off but the availability of the DFW-SYD flight mid-week changed that plan. Now I’m glad it worked out that way because if we’d left the US on the weekend, we’d be flying to Uluru the following weekend and as I found out, Qantas doesn’t seem to release many (any?) award seats to Uluru on the weekends. We’d have been fine flying in economy but booking 11 months in advance the only award seats we found were in business class (equivalent to US domestic first class). Not only that but I only found two seats from Sydney and two from Melbourne. Fortunately there were plenty of SYD-MEL seats available. So my friends got to sleep in a bit while I got up for an early morning trip to Melbourne. We all met in Alice Springs at its cute little airport and took the last leg together.

I did stop in the Qantas lounges in Sydney and Melbourne and had a bite to eat. They were quite busy so I didn’t take any photos. But both offered hot and cold foods and had quite a large selection.

Since we were in business class we also had food on the plane so I didn’t have to worry about going hungry at all.

GC Map to Melbourne

On our flight back to Melbourne, there were only two business class seats available so one of my friends bit the bullet and paid cash for a ticket. Fortunately it wasn’t too expensive and for a relatively short flight she said it was fine.

So that’s how we got around the country. Next up, our visit to the Red Centre!

Categories: Australia, Oceania, Qantas | Tags: , | Leave a comment

SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

The day finally arrived when I was on my way for this much-anticipated South Pacific birthday vacation. Since I had booked the DFW-SYD flight on a separate ticket, I booked my MEM-DFW flight to arrive well in advance so that if something should go wrong and the flight should get canceled, there was still another MEM-DFW flight that would get me to Dallas in time to catch my flight to Sydney. That meant I got to Dallas mid-afternoon and the Sydney flight didn’t leave until after 9 PM, but I was fine with that. I have a friend who works near the DFW airport and we went out for a light dinner at the normal dinner time though I didn’t want to overeat knowing I’d have a full meal on board.

Qantas Lounge DFW

Once I got back to the airport, I decided to visit the Qantas lounge in Terminal D. It’s actually one of several small contract lounges located on the second floor of the terminal. To reach the club, enter the generic airline clubs entrance and take the dedicated elevator to the second floor. There the folks at the desk will point you to the correct lounge.

Qantas Lounge DFW Entrance

Entrance to airline clubs in DFW Terminal D

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Categories: Australia, Qantas | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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