AIRLINE ROUTE MAPS SEARCH?
Ever wondered, which airline flies which route and what are the flight options for the given city? Would that not be much easier if there was single source or page listing all the flights departing a airport? or showing flight details between two city pair?. Although no single website exists which could satisfy this needs there are several resources which could help you find that info. Below are some of the useful websites which can help you get that info, which would help you finalize that missing puzzle of your successful award or revenue travel.
Currently in beta flightconnections will help you find what are the "destinations" served from the airport of your desire and if you key in source/destination pair the available airline/flight options between those two airport/city pair. Of-course you could click on one of those airlines and go to one of their "affiliate" booking web-page, but at least you get the info you need.
Open Flights is like a wikipedia of flights. As it is open-source it is maintained by community of volunteers, and thus would have good info albeit some of the info might be wrong. The interesting part is you could view or list flights from a given "airport" or "city" and the data could be either seen as a map or read as a list. You can even sort the data as well as filter per the "airlines". As seen from below snapshots!
This tool would be useful if you know the source and destination as well as the dates of your travel and want to know all the available flight options. So, although limited compared to open flights or flightconnection it is still useful as it can quickly list all the options on various airlines as can be seen from below search.
This website requires a little more info before spitting out the route-map but it is useful if you are looking for a route map by "region" or "airline". You could plug in your short-listing criteria and get set of route-maps which are available. You can see a simple search for American Airlines below yields links to various route maps by region as well detailed info on the "hubs".
Airline Route Mapper
Airline route mapper is another tool which was created by flyertalk member cockpitvisit. You need to download this tool but it does list a fairly comprehensive and updated route map. So, if you are one of those who do lot of search and do not mind installing this tool on your laptop/desktop then this is for you.
Apart from above there is a route map (which might be a little limited in its usage but still useful) for One World Alliance routes which can be found here and Star Alliance routes which can be found here.
SPG in partnership with American Airlines/US Airways is running a promotion where you get 20% bonus on the miles converted from SPG to American Airlines or US Airways. The sweet spot is of-course when converting 20k points from SPG you typically get 5k bonus from SPG, thus making 25k AA/US miles. With the 20% bonus offer you get additional 5k AA/US miles thus getting 30k AA/US Miles for 20k SPG points.This is a limited time offer and runs till end of July 31st, 2014. No registration is required for this. SPG allows a maximum of 79,999 points transfer in a day, so at max you should do only 60k points in a day to get 90k AA/US Airways miles. Below is the link for the transfer:
Below is the details of the American Airlines (AA) offer:
From July 1 through July 31, 2014, simply convert your Starpoints® to American Airlines AAdvantage miles and earn a 20% bonus. As always, for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred within the same transaction, SPG® will automatically add another 5,000 miles. With the additional 20% mileage bonus offered by the AAdvantage program, you will receive a total of 30,000 miles from the transaction.
20,000 Starpoints = 20,000 AAdvantage miles
Standard SPG bonus = 5,000 AAdvantage miles
AAdvantage 20% mileage bonus = 5,000 AAdvantage miles
Total = 30,000 AAdvantage miles
Below is the details of the US Airways offer:
From July 1 - 31, 2014, convert your Starpoints® into Dividend Miles and earn a 20% bonus.
Here's how it works:
Note: Do not transfer the points speculatively if you do not really have any intended use already. SPG points are valuable as they can be transferred to many other airlines at 1:1.25 ratio for most partners.
KEEP THOSE BOARDING PASS ..
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".
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.
US Airways is running the Sale of miles till 31st of May 2013. Usually the miles sale for 3.5 cents/mile, but every month they run either a public or targeted miles purchase offer at discounted rates. They are offering the tiered bonus this month. If you buy 50k miles you would essentially get 100k miles (50k + 50k) at a cost of $1881. Check out the snap shot below!
I would recommend buying only if you are looking for specific redemption. US Airways allows holding the award for up to 3 days. So you can hold the award and than purchase the miles which usually are credited within a day. US Airways is Star Alliance member so you can search for awards either on Aeroplan or United but need to call in for reservation. Here is the link to the award chart and booking fees.
The purchase is processed through points.com so you would not earn any "bonus" miles if you use a credit card which bonuses Air Purchases.
Tip of the hat (OneMileAtaTime).
US Airways is running promotion where you get 50% bonus miles when you transfer the "participating" hotel points into miles. This promotion is valid till April 30th and you are limited to "ONLY ONE TRANSFER BONUS OF 50%". Below are the transfer partners:
Although hotel points transfer to Airline miles is rarely a good value and a good partner like "SPG" is excluded. There are couple of good value to have above.
Wyndham Rewards Transfer:
Wyndham Rewards points transfer to US Airways miles with a ratio of "2.5:1". Adding 50% bonus the ratio becomes "2.5:1.5".
For e.g. Transferring 8000 Wyndham Reward Points with will you 4800 US Airways Dividend Miles.
Marriott Rewards Transfer:
There are two different ways of getting US Airways miles in exchange for Marriott Rewards Points:
1. Air Mileage: Marriott Rewards Points can simply be converted to US Airways miles with a variable ratio ranging from "5:1" for 10k points transfer to maximum of "2.5:1" for 125k points transfer. Thus with 50% bonus you will earn anywhere from "5:1.5" to as good as "2.5:1.5". Here is the link to get started.
e.g. 1: Transferring 10k Marriott Reward Points would yield 3k US Airways Dividend Miles.
e.g. 2: Transferring 125k Marriott Reward Points would yield 75k US Airways Dividend Miles.
2. Hotel + Air Package: Marriott Rewards Points have an option for redeeming for "Hotel + Air Package" deal. One of the good redemptions here is "7 nights in category 1-5 hotels + 120k miles" for 270k Marriott Reward Points. The good deal about this package is you not only get 7 nights worth of stay in category 1-5 hotels (which by the way you could finalize at later point in time) but you would get a transfer ratio of "2.25:1" without bonus. Adding the 50% transfer bonus would yield "1.5:1" transfer ratio which is "awesome" considering you get 180k miles + 7 nights of hotel stay as well.
Do note that the 50% bonus is only applicable for "1 transfer only" but you could always transfer the points to your spouse account as well and get similar benefits. Both Wyndham Rewards and Marriott Rewards allows such transfers. If you do not have either Wyndham Rewards Points or Marriott Rewards Points but are having "few thousand points lying over" in any other participating hotel program, now would be a good time to get a good 50% bonus on them.
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.
As always most often than not folks buying the revenue ticket are concerned about getting the lowest priced ticket that works for them without any consideration to airline miles earned. For e.g. you might find a flight which has a lowest fares that works for you but does not earn any miles as the ticket might be "highly discounted". But unless you are flying airlines which does not have "any" partners or does not belong to any "alliance" there might be some opportunity to earn miles even though the airlines you booked your flights on does not provide any such mileage credit. Make note of below pointers which would help you earn those miles!
Case 1: You booked the Cathay Pacific (CX) flight in "S" class which would not be earning any CX miles:
Knowing that "S" class would not earn any miles on "CX", you would want to find out if any of the "alliance/partners" provide any mileage credit for "S" class of service. Doing a little research you will see that "British Airways (BA)" provides 25% credit of miles traveled in "S" class while "Finnair (AY)" provides 50% of miles traveled as of this writing. You would need to check out the "relative value" of 50% earned miles to 25% earned miles and decide accordingly. But just using the Frequent Flyer membership number of either of these programs would be a great idea for crediting your miles to them rather than not receiving any miles. You can check out the "chart" for BA here and for AY here.
Case 2: You booked the Qatar Airways (QR) flight in "V/W" class which would earn 25% of actual miles:
Doing a little research you see that Qatar Airways (QR) is a "partner" of US Airways (US) (One World Alliance member) and Asiana Airlines (OZ) (Star Alliance member) which earn 50% of actual miles flown as well as give you access to use those miles for redemption on either One World or Star Alliance. Thus becoming Frequent Flyer (FF) member of either of these two and crediting your miles to them you would not only get a better earning rate but also access to other "alliance" airlines awards. You can check out earning for QR here, US here and OZ here.
Thus checking your options for mileage credit can open up more opportunities than you can think of :)
Small miles for big travel
You have heard about the ways to earn those big bonuses for credit card signup or for doing any of the airlines partner activity. But at times you would fall short by few miles (0 to 100 miles) to reach that award redemption and the best available option would seem to be "purchasing" the miles from the airlines. Since the airlines only allow you to buy miles in multiple of 1000 and that too they have additional fee associated with it, it is better to know few other tricks which could be useful at times. In this post I would like to show you few ways of filling up those "small" miles need.
Audience Rewards: Audience Rewards is one of the ways to earn miles/points if all you need is few miles. Every week they publish a trivia which earns their own show points as well as partner airline/hotel miles/points. Answering these trivia takes 2-3 minutes and could earn 10 to 18 points. The beauty is that you need not be an expert to answer these questions as you can find the answers at Inacents blog. The link to the blog is here. Currently you can earn miles for US Airways and Delta Airlines, earn points for Starwood Preferred Guest and also earn BestBuy Reward Zone points. This could also be useful to get some activity on the mileage account so as to avoid expiration of the miles.
Opinion Place: Opinion Place is where you can take surveys and earn Amazon or PayPal Credit. But the hidden gem of this program is that could also choose to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles. The only caveat is that you need to be qualified for the specific survey which depends on few factors like your interest, liking etc, but once you qualify you can earn anywhere from 75 to 150 AAdvantage miles and at times 225 miles per survey. Although it could take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to do the survey, it could be worth if you want to protect your miles from expiring or are short by few miles for that next award ticket.
E-miles: E-miles is another place where you could earn e-miles currency which can be redeemed for partner miles or points. The biggest drawback is that since you earn in e-miles currency you can only redeem them for actual airlines miles or hotel points when you reach 500 or multiple of 500 e-miles. Also you can only redeem for the partner airline/hotel program you specified while joining the e-miles program. You earn 5 to 10 e-miles for doing activities like watching a video or enrolling for e-miles vendor programs or just answering few questions. You could earn quick e-miles if you are ready to spend some money on some of their vendors. It is a useful program as you could choose any earning partner from multiple partners while enrolling.
e-Rewards: e-Rewards is another program that awards e-Rewards currency for doing surveys. The advantage of this program over e-miles is that it allows redemption of its currency for any of the large number of airline partners or hotel partners. The trick here is if your primary intent is to earn airline miles you should enroll through any of their hotel partners or vice-verse. This way although you are limited to redeem e-Rewards points towards the hotel partner you used during enrollment you are free to redeem e-Rewards points on all the available airline partners. Since, this is invitation only program, you must enroll in any of their partner airline/hotel programs to receive the invitation (Although this is generally the case you can use the links from "New girl In the air blog" to enroll).
Most of the airlines in US have a co-branded card between themselves and the merchant bank. But there are few credit cards which earn points that can be converted to miles of number of airlines. These cards have advantage of filling out the void of few thousand miles required in specific airline program as well as help in accumulating enough points which can be converted to miles for a reward travel. Lets explore these cards further:
1. American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card: This is one of the go-to card for earning points which can be converted to lot of partner programs, most of them at 1:1 ratio. This card has following features:
The best part of this card is the redemption options available. You can redeem your points into miles for following airlines at the time of this writing:
There are other airlines as partners but for them you can redeem the points only for specific tickets. You can also redeem for various hotel partners but that's not the focus of this article. The complete partner list can be found by going here and selecting "Use Points -> Airlines"
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is one of the favorite personal credit card for lot of people simply because of the ability to earn bonus points on purchases through its "Ultimate Rewards Mall". This card has lot fewer airline partners compared to American Express Premier Rewards card and it transfers the points at 1:1 ratio as well. United and Korean airlines offer great redemption value. This card also has some great features as listed below:
The airline partners are listed below:
3. Starwood Preferred Guest: The value of this credit card lies in points+cash redemption in its brand hotels as well as 1:1.25 points to miles transfer ratio to most of its partner airlines. So for every transfer of 20k points you end up getting 25k miles. Also the long list of partner airlines makes this credit card a good to keep. Below are the features of this card:
The amazing airlines partners list can be found here although few of them are listed below
Note: I do not earn any referral credit from the links above. Also I advise to look for best available offer before applying for the credit cards.
I love traveling / backpacking. This blog focuses on below 3 aspects of travel:
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