Hello from St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia). I'm spending the next week here with my mom, and am having a great time. This morning I ran in my first-ever 10k (thanks to you guys for your generous donations and thoughts). OMG I still can't move. Bonus points to anyone who can guess my time. ;)
On the points & travel front, this week several hotel programs introduced new bonuses on purchased points and new promotions for stays, Etihad devalued Royal Air Maroc awards, XL Airways stopped selling tickets, Air Senegal announced they'd start flying to the US, and more.
With that out of the way, here's a recap of this week on the blog:
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In July I wrote about an awesome initiative that American Airlines is undertaking. The airline partnered with Stand Up To Cancer to paint an Airbus A321 in a very special livery.
Anyone who made a donation of $25 or more during the month of July to the organization could have a loved one's name written on the plane, whether they're a cancer survivor, currently battling cancer, or lost their battle with cancer. 100% of the donations received were to support SU2C’s cancer research programs.
On top of that, American added the names of all of their employees who self-identified as cancer survivors or who are currently battling cancer to the plane.
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Air Senegal has just announced that they plan to launch flights between Dakar and Washington within the next six months... will it really happen, though?
South African Airways historically operated 5x weekly flights between Johannesburg and Washington, though the flights had intermediate stops -- they operated 3x weekly via Accra, Ghana, and 2x weekly via Dakar, Senegal.
However, as of this month the airline cut their Dakar to Washington flights, instead choosing to route their Washington flights exclusively via Accra.
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I can't believe we're just over a week away from the last quarter of the year. Where the heck did the summer go?
As we enter the final quarter of the year I tend to think it makes sense to start considering your overall elite status qualification plans. What status will you be earning, and how far off are you from earning it? Is a last minute mileage run worth it?
As I look at my current situation, I can't help but feel quite a bit of indecision. I'm in uncharted territory -- for the first time in about 15 years, it looks like I won't earn top tier status with any airline this year.
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For those of you not familiar with Amex Offers, it’s a program available through most American Express cards, where different cards are eligible for different savings and bonus offers. In many cases the offers can be huge, and more than offset the annual fee on a card.
To view Amex Offers, go to the bottom of the account summary page of any American Express card, where you’ll see all the offers you’re eligible for. These offers come in different forms, including discounts and even in some cases bonus points.
Last week there was news of a new offer rolling out for Delta purchases, though none of my cards were targeted. I checked again and see this offer has now been added to my Amex Platinum Card, so figured it was worth writing about.
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We frequently see loyalty programs sell points at a discount, and for many this is an opportunity to buy points at a cost that makes sense, especially for aspirational redemptions.
At the moment we're seeing several loyalty programs offering great deals on purchased points, most of which I've written about in the past several weeks. In this post I wanted to provide a consolidated rundown of the best deals currently available for buying points.
In order of promotion expiration dates:
The post 8 Great Opportunities To Buy Points appeared first on One Mile at a Time
Chase and Southwest Airlines have two business credit cards -- the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. I've reviewed the Performance Card, and in this post wanted to take a closer look at the Premier Card.
Note that these two cards are in addition to the three Southwest Airlines personal credit cards, the best of which I consider to be the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Card.
The Southwest Premier Business Card is Southwest's most established business card, as the Performance Card was just introduced this year. So let's take a look at the welcome bonus, return on spending, and other perks of this card.
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At the moment American is selling miles for 35% off, which is an opportunity to buy American miles for as little as 2.08 cents each.
If you're interested in buying American miles but that price is too steep, there's an opportunity to buy American miles for significantly less than that by stacking two promos.
There are two promotions that can be stacked to get a better deal on purchased American miles:
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Of the "big three" Gulf carriers, Etihad has by far the best frequent flyer program when it comes to redemption opportunities. This includes them having what's one of my favorite award chart sweet spots out there.
Historically you've been able to fly business class one-way anywhere in Royal Air Maroc's route network for just 44,000 miles. Here’s the Etihad Guest award chart for travel on Royal Air Maroc:
So any one-way journey (including connections) of over 2,001 flown miles costs 44,000 miles in business class. This means that for that price you've been able to fly from Miami to Casablanca to Doha, or New York to Casablanca to Frankfurt, or Boston to Casablanca to Praia, just to give a few examples.
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World of Hyatt has a cool partnership with M Life Rewards, allowing World of Hyatt members to earn and redeem World of Hyatt points for MGM stays.
Stays at select MGM properties accrue points at the same rates as normal Hyatt properties, and you're also eligible for elite nights when staying at these properties.
Well, if you're headed to Las Vegas anytime soon, Hyatt has just launched a new promotion for MGM stays, which has the potential to be lucrative.
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It looks like another one is about to bite the dust...
XL Airways is a French low cost airline that operates a fleet of four Airbus A330 aircraft. They operate primarily from Paris Charles de Gaulle to popular long haul French leisure destinations (including in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean), though also have some routes to the US. XL Airways and La Compagnie are also part of the same company.
XL Airways has just announced that they've stopped selling tickets as of today due to financial difficulties. Per a notice on their website:
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A few times per year Aeroplan offers a bonus when you convert hotel points into miles, and a bit over a week ago Aeroplan announced their last such promotion. It's worth noting that Aeroplan has now extended this offer.
Aeroplan is offering a 30% bonus when you transfer select hotel points to Aeroplan between September 9 and September 25, 2019 (the offer was initially only valid through September 22).
Transfers from the following hotel programs qualify for this promotion:
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One of the best ways to rack up rewards points is with credit cards. The problem for many of us is that there are only so many things we can pay by credit card. That's where Plastiq comes into pay.
Plastiq is essentially a bill pay service that lets you pay virtually any expense by credit card. There are two common reasons people may want to use this:
Because they value the rewards offered by credit cards
For cash flow reasons (maybe someone has a 0% intro APR offer on a credit card, and sees this as a good opportunity to pay a bill)
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There are lots of things that contribute towards a great frequent flyer program. Obviously award redemption rates and award availability are both important, but there’s also something to be said for the ease with which you can search and book award seats.
American’s website is fairly good when it comes to searching award availability. Their website is my favorite for searching space for the airlines that they do display, given that you can search nonstop award availability on any partner that they display for a month at a time (at least this is the case when you're using the old version of their website -- the new version of the website is awful).
The catch is that American doesn’t show all partner airlines online. Fortunately this is something they've been working on. In May they added online award bookings on Etihad, in July they added online award bookings on Japan Airlines, and now they've added yet another partner to aa.com.
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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of my favorite programs to buy miles from, both thanks to the frequency with which they sell miles, and what a good deal their redemptions can be.
The airline sure has been taking an interesting approach towards selling miles this month, though. Last week the airline had a three day flash sale on purchased miles, while this week they have a one week sale on miles. Compare that to them historically offering promotions for weeks at a time.
So let's take a look at Alaska's current promotion.
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Four Seasons has a loyal following, and in particular I know that a lot of people (especially those on the west coast) swear by their Hawaii properties.
Well, another popular vacation destination for west coasters is Cabo, so I wanted to briefly write about a Four Seasons property opening there in just a couple of weeks. Unfortunately Four Seasons doesn't have an official loyalty program, though there are still some ways to maximize value at this property.
The Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palmas is opening October 1, 2019.
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American Airlines has been engaged in a pay dispute with their mechanics, which has led to a lot of hostility.
Earlier this month it was revealed that one Miami-based mechanic took it to the next level, when back in July he intentionally disabled the navigation system on a plane bound for Nassau. Fortunately the pilots discovered this before the plane took off, and the plane returned to the gate.
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani is the 60 year old mechanic behind all of this. He was born in Iraq and is a naturalized US citizen.
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This whole WOW Air saga just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
WOW Air ceased operations this March, though the airline is allegedly relaunching in October. The person behind this is an American businesswoman, Michele Ballarin, who is otherwise best known for negotiating with pirates and warlords.
For a while this deal had apparently been called off over failure to pay the purchase price. The purchase price for WOW Air's assets was reported to be around 1.5 million USD at the time.
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SAS has today launched a brand new visual identity for the first time in 21 years. The livery will debut on newly delivered Airbus A350 and A320neo aircraft. SAS says that this is a modern and new upgrade to their livery, just as they're updating their fleet to add modern and more fuel efficient planes.
The intent is that the new livery matches the SAS cabin and onboard concepts that they introduced in 2015, so that the interior and exterior of the planes match.
The plan is for all SAS aircraft to feature the new livery by 2024. This is because planes will get the new liveries the same time they undergo heavy maintenance, which is every 5-6 years.
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As I mentioned in the previous post, Federal Air is one of the airlines that specializes in offering flights to safari camps in South Africa. We were staying at Singita Boulders in Sabi Sands Reserve, and then Singita Lebombo in Kruger National Park, and Singita uses Federal Air as their preferred airline.
So we took the following three flights on Federal Air:
-- Johannesburg to Sabi Sands Reserve
-- Sabi Sands Reserve to Kruger National Park
-- Kruger National Park to Johannesburg
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