There is a targeted promotion valid till 06/25/2017 for earning easy 1500 United Airlines and/or American Airlines miles by participating in the dining program offered by these programs. Check your email to see if you are targeted with the offer. The promotion gives 500 miles for each restaurant visit up to 3 visits. So you can earn 1500 miles in total. Below are the actual terms of the promotion for those who are targeted.:
Before June 25, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, you must dine at any participating restaurant, bar, or club and spend a minimum of $1. Limit one bonus-qualifying visit per restaurant per day.
The interesting part is that there is an identical offer for both American Airlines and United Airlines. As you can see the offer requires only spending $1+ on each visit and so you can easily earn 1500 miles for minimal spend out of pocket on dining.
Unfortunately as I mentioned this seems to be a targeted offer so check your email to see if you have received this offer. But If you are not a member of any of these dining programs there is still a nice sign up offer for both of them.
Earn up to 4000 United Airlines MileagePlus miles:
MileagePlus Dining has offer where you can earn up to 4000 miles for dining by joining on or before June 30th 2017 and dining within the first 30 days. The earning bonus are as below:
Earn up to 2000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles:
American Airlines dining has offer where you can earn up to 2000 miles for dining by joining before July 31st 2017 and dining within the first 30 days. The earning bonus are as below:
So, check your email and get going for easy American Airlines AAdvantage or United MileagePlus miles.
There is currently an offer available for new members of Mileage Plus Dining where you could earn 6k United miles if you are MileagePlus member or 7k United miles if you are MileagePlus Premier member. Let's dissect the offer to see what it really means. Below is what is stated for the offer:
Now here is one of the way (Thank You Amex!) using which you can maximize this without dining and minimum out of pocket cost. There is an American Express Sync offer for dining place called "Buca Di Beppo" where you get $10 statement credit for spend of $50. The Amex sync offer expires on 09/16/2015. This restaurant is a participant on United Mileage Plan dining and other Reward Network Dining Program at lot of locations. (You will need to check for your location, but below is a snap shot in Bay Area). The interesting thing is that they sell gift cards for dining with them in their restaurant locations and buying those gift cards would still trigger the cash back and bonus for United Miles. Also these gift cards have "re-sale" value of ~70% at the time of this writing.
So here is the gist of the deal:
As you can see if you spend ~$550 (spend needed to earn full promotion bonus) you would earn 6k or 7k United miles (plus any additional 5 miles/$ spend for your dining). Thus for an out of pocket spend of $55 you can earn 6k or 7k miles.
Of-course there are better ways to maximize this deal. As a teaser by going after just the initial sign up bonus for multiple family member accounts you can earn 1k/2k miles for net cost of $5 only!
Having a high level status with airline could be beneficial in many aspect. Also once you reach a high elite status in one airline you could use airline status match as one of the easy ways to acquire status benefits in different airline, partner or alliance. The benefits could vary from airline to airline but some of these benefits include:
The biggest benefit of airline status match is you could leverage a high level status acquired on one airline to other airlines for various benefits. You could even extend the status beyond the usual 1 year by doing status match towards the end of the benefit year. The best part is you could used status on Airline-A to match with Airline-B. Once the match is approved you can turn around and match the status on Airline-B with Airline-C. These could very well extend you having Elite status for much more than initial 1 year.
Some of the airlines will only match status during certain period and with certain airlines while others may choose to match status year around while yet some airlines will allow for "Status Challenge" rather then status match where you need to fly certain amount of miles with the airline in certain period of time to keep the status. Also most of the airlines which are part of one alliance might not status match with any of the airlines belonging to the same alliance. With that in mind listed below are various airlines that will match status.
Apart from above, some airlines will status match folks residing in specific country or region so as to get more business in those regions. As of this writing Etihad Airways and Qantas Airways (Only for New Zealand residents) are running status matches. You could look up this flyertalk thread or check this status matcher website to know about latest status matches which worked or failed.
In the previous installment we talked about how Hidden City Revenue Ticket can be booked. Let's see how we can apply the same to book award tickets with hidden city which can either reduced the "fuel surcharges" or the "number of miles" required for the award. Below are the traits of booking such an award:
Lets see the usage of above with few examples:
Going from South Asia to Central Asia using United Miles:
United typically charges 35k/60k/110k miles in Economy/Business/First respectively for travel between South Asia region and Central Asia region yet it only charges 20k/35k/45k miles for travel wholly within "South Asia" region. As you can see from below a trip from Kathmandu (KTM) to Bangkok (BKK) requires 35k miles in Economy and 60k
Now, lets try one of the "hidden city" concept to see if we can reduce the price. Let's see what happens if we change our destination to Colombo (CMB) which is in South Asia region.
As you can see from above the mileage cost has reduced from 35k/60k to 20k/35k and you are still travelling via Bangkok (BKK). The idea here is you can book the flight from Kathmandu to Colombo via Bangkok and can get down at Bangkok as long as you do not have any checked-in Bags and have "visa" for Colombo (you will need Colombo visa to board the flight from Kathmandu).
Going from North America to South Pacific using Delta Skymiles:
Most of you would consider Delta Skymiles to be useless but one of the sweet redemption is travelling to Australia on Virgin Australia using Delta Skymiles. You can only book Delta flights round trip but can have one-stop over and one open-jaw in the route. Ideally Delta would charge 100k/160k in Economy/Business to fly Australia as shown below:
Lets now change to destination in some other region where Virgin Australia flies. How about some another vacation spot? If you change the destination to Bali (DPS) which is in Southeast Asia you can reduce the mileage cost to 80k/140k in Economy/Business as shown below:
As you can see there are quite a few opportunities which reduces the mileage cost with the help of "Hidden City Ticketing". On similar lines changing the destination to something which has "low fuel surcharge" when booking through mileage currency from programs such as ANA or Aeroplan which typically levies fuel surchage can provide good amount of savings.
So, look around for such opportunities before you book your next vacation.
If you ever thought about getting the retroactive miles/points credit for any of your past trip, the first most important thing you need is the "boarding pass". Most of the time we do not care about keeping the boarding pass once we board the aircraft. But most often you could still get those miles for your air travel if you have your boarding pass. One of the best way is to take a "picture" of the boarding pass so that you still have proof of boarding the aircraft in case you need it at a later date. In fact sometimes the airlines miles/points might not post even though you might have entered your Frequent Flyer (FF) number. In such situations as well you might need to have the boarding pass from the trip to email/fax the customer support.
The other important aspect of air travel is to know what "fare bucket" your travel was booked into. For commoners all we know are the "classes" such as Economy, Business and First. But there are many fare buckets from which your ticket might originate and those determine how much "miles credit" you get for your trip. Fare bucket information is usually displayed on your itinerary right beside the the "class" information. This is important to know as it would "save you hassle" of contacting the airlines if you know before hand (by looking at airlines website) if your "fare bucket" earns any miles or not.
So, once you have above two pieces of information and provided the airline you flew allows retroactive miles credit (which most airlines do), you can earn the miles for the trip you took in the past. Ideally airlines have partners or belong to alliance so you could potentially credit your miles to those partners or alliance airline provided you enter that airline Frequent Flyer number in your reservation (This could be done online or by calling the airline you are flying). But, when you do not enter this info before taking your flight and would be doing retroactive credit majority of airlines will only allow you to credit the miles to their "own frequent flyer program".
Below is the information regarding the time frame you can get retroactive credit for your flights. Before you "contact the airlines", you would need to create the Frequent Flyer account in their program if you do not have one. I have listed only few airlines here, but you should be able to easily look up this information on the airlines website:
So the next time you travel, make sure you enter your Frequent Flyer number in your reservation record (can be done after booking your reservation) and always "keep your boarding pass" to ensure "airline mileage credit".
After the recent devaluation of United Award chart, the awards in premium cabin on partner airlines has gone quite expensive. But the new award chart has a sweet spot created for visiting "Down Under" from quite a few Asian countries that too in premium cabin on partner airlines. To begin with look at the United award chart below:
As you can see from the highlighted section above, visiting "Down Under" from South Asia is just 30k miles one way in business or 40k miles in First. You could even do a return trip with a stop-over or 2 open-jaws and still pay 60k/80k in business/first. That is an incredible deal knowing how large is South Asia. Just to get an idea look below on countries classified under "South Asia" by United.
The gist is you can get to fly incredible Singapore Airlines, or Thai Airways to visit "Down Under" and go as far as Bangladesh (Dhaka) which is essentially very close to India/Pakistan. Below is the map of what you can do for 80k miles in first class for which US Airways would charge you 120k miles.
As you can see from the map you could potentially get a stop-over in either of DAC/BKK/SIN or for that matter any of the United classified "South Asian" country and get to travel "down under" for 80k United miles in First!! Hope this helps folks planning their trip from South Asian countries.
There are two promotions going on currently which can help you earn United Miles at ~1.8 cpm (cent per mile). Although this might not be a cool way to earn united miles, but if you are short of miles for you next award and want to get there quickly this could be for you rather than buying it directly from united at a cost of ~3.5 cpm.
There are currently two promotions going on which both co-incidentally run till November 30th, 2013.
Wyndham points can be purchase in the blocks of 1000 points with each 1000 points costing $11. So let's say you purchased 20,000 Wyndham points you would essentially pay $220 for 24,000 points (20,000 + 4000 [bonus]). Wyndham points convert at ratio of 2.5:1 to United Miles. Thus you would trade 24,000 Wyndham points to 9600 United Miles. Since United will give you 25% bonus on received miles which is 2400 additional miles (9600 x 25%). Thus you get 12,000 miles (9600 + 2400) for a payment of $220 which is ~1.833 cent/mile.
There is one more way of earning United Miles for same price as above if you do not mind renting a car at Alamo if it is available for cheap (This is YMMV and thus proceed with caution). For details of this promo offer which earns 1000 miles for 1 day rentals check here.
ITA MATRIX is one of the best "free" tool available to search for the flights with variety of options. This is really useful if you are looking to fly a specific airline carrier, or you want to know which near-by airport has the cheapest available fare to your destination, or you are looking for the specific fare class which would still earn full 100% miles. Below is a sample list of things you could do using ITA MATRIX but by no means is exhaustive:
Although you can search different combination's as mentioned above the "ITA MATRIX" does not allow you to make a final purchase nor directs you to one. But most of the time knowing the fare exists would enable you to book your ticket either through OTA (Online Travel Agent) website such Expedia, Priceline or Orbitz or book through other meta search engine sites such as Skyscanner or Hipmunk. You can also book the tickets through various airlines own websites as well if you so desire. Also note that the search does not include any OTA or airline specific coupons or discounts which you could use if available.
Q: How to do a basic search with price per mile enabled?
A: To do the search with price per mile enabled you need to add "?showPricePerMile=true" at the end of webpage link of ITA MATRIX or use this link. Let's do a search for a 2 to 3 day roundtrip from SFO to MIA on any day in the month of September 2013 for Economy Cabin Class.
The result of the above search can be seen below in Fig 2. As you can see the rates are different for different dates as well as it shows if it is for 2 or 3 days turn as well. You can modify the highlighted box in "red" for search for different month or days of trip.
As you can see from Fig. 3, selecting the cheapest trip shown in Fig. 2 loads up variety of flights at different times as well as showing "price per mile" for those trips.
As mentioned this was a simple search with single source and destination. If you want to depart from either of SJC or SFO and your destination could be either of FLL or MIA, you could put that in the search box as shown in Fig. 4
For searching flights operated by only "American Airlines", you can enable "advance routing codes" field and add "AA+" or change the "Departing from" field to look like "SFO, SJC::AA+"
As you can see there are "tons" of possibility of advance code combinations you can use to make your search more specific, but remember if you put "too many generic" options the ITA MATRIX tool will simply time-out or exit with only "partial" results. So, it is prudent to make your search as specific as possible as well as having broad characteristics of details important to you. Below are some examples of advance routing codes which would be useful. We have assumed the "Departing from" to be SFO, but you have any other airport code for your search. The "two letter" code of each airline can be found here.
There are many more such codes which are useful to trim down to the flights you are looking for. more information about these can be found on the flyerguide post here. Hope this would be useful for planning your next trip with cash and knowing what were your options before making the purchase.
Most of the credit cards offer some sort of incentive to entice you in applying for them. Sometimes they come up with great offers as well. Below are the few credit credit cards which are offering lucrative bonus miles. These credit cards offer have value of close to $400 to $500 worth of air-travel or cash equivalent. Here is the list:
1. United Explorer Card 50k Miles: United Airlines is having a 50k miles bonus promotion for signing up on their Explorer Card. The details are below:
2. British Airways 100k Miles: British Airways is offering 100k miles in total for signing up for British Airways Visa Card. The details are below:
3. American Airlines 50k Miles (x 2): There are various offers available for American Airlines Credit Card. Since Citi Bank is the card issuer it allows to apply for 2 personal credit cards at same time and thus you can maximize to earn 100k miles by applying for 2 variants of the same card (VISA & AMEX) or (VISA & MasterCard) using 2 browser trick. Also as an added advantage you only get one credit card pull on your credit report since two credit pulls get merged since they are from the same issuer and for the same card type. More info about the 2 browser trick can be found here. There are various offers floating at the moment with annual fees of ~$95 (waived for 1st year) and I am listing all the offers below. (HT to flytertalk page here)
a. 50k miles after $2500 spend in 4 months (Note: No Admirals Club passes or statement credit; Thanks to FT member jeanie). -- Expired, No landing page, but still working
b. Up to $150 statement credits for the eligible AA purchases made within 12 months of card membership, 45k miles after $5,000 in purchases within the first 4 months, 2 Admirals Club passes. (Thanks to FT member jeanie)
c. Up to $100 credit, two admirals club passes, 50k miles (40k miles for $2k within 4 months of opening + 10k miles after $5k within 12 months of opening), 2 miles/$ on AA: Direct Links:
American Airlines rewards can be redeemed for One World Alliance member flights as well as any of their partner airlines as well. Also off-peak round trip Europe travel from USA only costs 40k miles.
4. US Airways 40k Miles: You can earn 40k miles after the first purchase. Although the application page says it's only for Chairman's Preferred Members, anyone applying using the link and approved for the card have received all the benefits, but obviously YMMV. The application link is here. Some of the details for the card are as below:
US Ariways Miles can be redeemed on United Airlines or any Star Alliance flights (although with some restrictions) as well as partner airlines. Also US Airways reward flight can only be booked on phone and there is reward redemption fee for both domestic and international awards. US Airways Credit Card is offered by Barclays Bank.
Travelling using miles is a great benefit where you could fly to destinations which otherwise you might not dream of going to (as it would be too expensive for you to afford it). But there are times when you want to change those award tickets or completely cancel the trip you once planned with so much of time and effort. Most airlines would charge you a fee to cancel the award and redeposit the miles unless you have some sort of elite status with them which would waive off those cancellation fees. Let's face it, airlines wants to monetize any opportunity you throw at them as that's one of the revenue generator for them. But most often you will find creative ways of getting around this limitation. Although I do not provide any guarantee that it would work 100% of time and YMMV, but I can guarantee that it would work more often than not if one thing falls in your favor, and that thing is "Schedule Change".
What is Schedule Change?
Most airlines allow you to book award tickets for almost 330 days in advance. Since airline industry is dynamic in nature there could be routine changes to the schedule due to certain route additions/deletions or change in partnerships between the airlines or some changes due to airport maintenance requirement. All this could entail change in either departure or arrival time of flights which accounts for "schedule change".
How does schedule change help you?
Since each and every airline has a different policy regarding schedule change (and this info is often unpublished), its hard to predict what would work and what would not. But below are few instances which could very well help you to be qualified for a full refund of miles with no cancellation fees for your award tickets:
How to increase the probability of schedule change to affect your itinerary:
So knowledge of above would help you save your buck in the inadvertent circumstance where you could no longer take that trip and would still want to avoid those hefty cancellation or miles redeposit fees.
I love traveling / backpacking. This blog focuses on 3 aspects: