Thursday, October 6, 2016

Matched to Marriott Platinum? Get United MieagePlus Silver!

If you recently matched to Marriott Platinum due to the status match with Starwood from the Marriott - Starwood merger, then one of the new perks you get is MileagePlus Silver status on United, through the RewardsPlus program.

The main limited benefit of Silver status is free Economy Plus seating, which isn't available even to other Star Alliance Gold+ members.


  • Priority Check in
  • Priority Security
  • Upgrades, behind all other elites
  • Reduced change fees
  • Extra checked baggage
Sign up if you haven't!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Centurion Lounge benefit for American Express Platinum holders

American Express Platinum cardholders lost United Club membership a few years ago after Chase and United/Continental began solidifying their relationship over their cobranded cards. This year, starting March 22, Platinum cardholders also lost access to American Admiral's Clubs.

This is certainly a large benefit lost, but many cardmembers were successful in calling in and having between $100 to $500 of AA/US Airways fees reimbursed.

Amex countered that they were adding Centurion Lounge access steadily to replace the club access. Currently they only have locations in DFW and Las Vegas, and are building in LGA and SFO.

I guess we'll soon see if they keep the Amex Platinum Card worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax day 2014 promotions!

Two airlines I don't use too frequently, are offering promotions for Tax day this year!

JetBlue has 15% off Vacation packages until April 20

Taxes done? It’s time to plan a vacay! Get 15% off* base airfare (that’s everything but the government taxes/fees) when you book a JetBlue Getaways vacation package (air + hotel) by April 20 for travel April 29 – June 18, 2014 (Blackout dates: May 22 – 27). Fly Monday – Thursday only.

Frontier is offering 15% off fares if you buy before April 17

Frontier Airlines will offer a 15% discount on domestic fares from Tuesday, April 15, 2014, through 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, Thursday, April 17, 2014. The discount will apply to regular and sale fares for domestic travel through June 12, 2014, for flights operating Monday through Thursday and Saturdays. All fare rules will apply.
Tickets must be purchased below using the promo code REFUND. No exceptions will be made.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

50% bonus on buying American Airlines Miles

American Airlines has a promotion running until Feb 28, 2013 that offers 50% bonus on purchased miles!

  • Buy 5,000-9,000 miles = earn 1,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 10,000-14,000 miles = earn 3,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 15,000-19,000 miles = earn 4,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 20,000-29,000 miles = earn 10,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 30,000-39,000 miles = earn 15,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 40,000-49,000 miles = earn 20,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 50,000-59,000 miles = earn 25,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 60,000 miles = earn 30,000 bonus miles
It seems the best miles per dollar will be buying 60,000 miles and getting 90,000 miles for $1650. This is 1.8c/mi. Consider that international business class tickets run $4500+, which you could get starting from 100,000 miles. But at the same time, you won't earn any elite qualifying miles if you buy miles to redeem for a ticket! 

I'd consider this is mediocre deal but decent if you need to top off some miles.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Traveling Business Class internationally on the cheap

Recently I was shopping around for flights to Taiwan for some time off. My research found the cheapest economy prices from NYC to be around $1400 roundtrip. This is a pretty standard rate for NYC to TPE in economy. The airline was Korean Air, which is Skyteam and doesn't help me get miles/status on the airlines I fly, which are mainly Oneworld and Star Alliance. So I looked at my other options.

Redeeming miles on American Airlines was my first option, because I have several hundred thousand points from Citi AAdvantage card bonues - unfortunately, none of the international availability was online so I had to call in. Typically you can get a roundtrip economy flight to Asia for 50k-65k miles under MilesAAver, but only the AAnytime Economy awards were available for 110k miles. That would value my miles at 1.27c/mi, which is way less than you can redeem them for.

Second option was converting my Chase Ultimate Rewards points from my Chase Sapphire card and Chase Ink Bold into United miles and getting an award ticket there. This was viable, as there was a good amount of availability for 65k economy roundtrip. Good backup option.

The last option was TavaAvianca Lifemiles. They're a member of Star Alliance so they have good availability with United, Thai Airways, and Singapore Airlines. Their award program is one of the best for a few reasons. They frequently run a promotion of getting 100% bonus miles when purchasing miles - normally $30 for 1000 miles, and after the promo $30 for 2000 miles. That's approximately 1.5c per mile.

Their second perk is the ability to buy award tickets with cash and miles. If you have 40% of the required miles, you can purchase the remaining miles for $12.75 per 1000 miles. So for a roundtrip business class ticket to Asia (120k miles), this cost me approximately $1650. And a roundtrip business class ticket to Europe could cost you even less than that.

So in the end, I paid $1650 for a roundtrip business class flight to Asia, only $250 more than the cheapest economy ticket.  Kayak listed the cheapest business class ticket for $4700!

Tip: Sign up for a Lifemiles account now, since they sometimes only allow those with accounts opened prior to the promotion announcement to participate!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Free Executive Status on National Car Rental

When you have National Car Rental's Executive Emerald Club status, you can choose any vehicle from the Emerald Aisle while paying only the mid-size sedan rate. There are usually only two ways to get Executive Emerald Club status: complete 12 rentals in a calendar year or for 40 rental days. The other way is to get it as a free benefit from the American Express Platinum card.

But here is a chance to get the status for free!

Free Executive Emerald Club status

Other benefits include a free rental after every 6 rental credits, and the ability to walk straight up to the car in the Emerald Aisle and drive off without waiting in any lines.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Saving $200 off my Spring Break flight

This year, several of my friends and I found a week that we all had off and were free, and we booked a spring break trip to Cabo. We found some very reasonable flights on United that we decided to buy immediately. Instead of paying the full fare, I used my Amex Platinum's $200 Airline fee reimbursement feature to shave $200 off.

This is how you do it. I logged in to my Amex account to choose the airline I wanted my $200 in fees to be reimbursed from.  Then I went to United's website and purchased a $200 gift card on my Amex Platinum. Using the gift card, I was able to book the ticket with United and pay almost half of what my friends paid for their tickets. Within a day, Amex credited the $200 back to me.