status

Tag Archives for status.

Delta Beats American If You Credit Premium Flights to Alaska Mileage Plan

Welcome indeed

Or, “Why I’m Flying Delta Again”

In my quest to credit partner flights to earn elite status on Alaska Airlines, I’ve been focused on flying coach with American. That’s because ALL AA economy flights get 100% credit with Mileage Plan.

Welcome indeed

Welcome indeed

If economy is your preference, American is by far better than Delta – if your end goal is to earn status or redeemable miles with Alaska.

But, if you fly Business or First, Delta wins hands-down. And, it might even be worth it to fly Delta anyway.

Let’s take a look.

Why Delta as a means to Alaska Airlines status?

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Imagining a New Premium Chase Card

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There were rumors on Reddit that Chase is putting together a new premium credit card with a high annual fee a la AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige.

Moreover, on that same link, there’s another rumor that Chase is planning an overhaul to its Ultimate Rewards program to make it less lucrative.

While I don’t believe Chase would mess with Ultimate Rewards any time soon (because they need to compete with AMEX and Citi’s transferable points programs), I do think Chase is ripe for a new ultra-premium credit card offering.

I thought it’d be fun to imagine what that card might look like. And what features it would need to have for Chase to remain a viable competitor in the premium credit card space.

A new Chase card?

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It’s Back! 75,000 Hilton Points for Citi Hilton Visa With No Annual Fee

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If you want to boost your Hilton points balance, you can earn 75,000 Hilton points when you get the Citi Hilton Visa. The minimum spend is $2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of account opening.

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75,000 Hilton points for a no annual fee card is a pretty good deal

If I didn’t already have this card, I’d sign up for it. I caved after being seriously tempted the last time this offer popped up because:

  • 75,000 Hilton points is nearly enough for 2 five-night award stays at Hilton Category 2 properties
  • The card comes with automatic Hilton Silver elite status
  • You’ll get the 5th night free on all award stays
  • The card has no annual fee
  • It helps to build a positive relationship with Citi, who you’ll note is NOT AMEX or Chase
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Drugstores, eh?

You’ll earn 6X points on your Hilton stays, which is awesome. (Just don’t use it outside the US, because there’s a foreign transaction fee!)

But this is one of the few cards that still earns bonus points at drugstores.

You’ll earn 3X points at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations. And 2X points everywhere else.

Is a Hilton card better than a 2% cash back card at drugstores?

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Yup, FoundersCard Still Offers Caesars Total Rewards Diamond Status Through 2017

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The title says it all.

I’ve written about FoundersCard a lot over the years. Some peeps think it’s phooey, others love it. I’m in the latter camp.

The selection of ancillary benefits reads like a round-up of the best of the best from co-branded cards (free TripIt Pro, Hilton Gold elite status, Cathay Pacific Silver elite status, 10% off British Airways flights).

The one benefit I’m consistently asked about is Total Rewards Diamond elite status.

It still works

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Just Booked: Tokyo and Osaka, Japan in April for Cherry Blossoms

Literally so excited

Thanks to Frequent Miler for posting this “Quick Deal!”

It certainly did go quick.

I saw Business Class award availability shrink away from me with the Wicked Witch of the East’s shoes when the house fell on top of her.

But First Class seats were still there – at least 2 of them – and I thought, you know, whatever. And just did it. DFW-NRT First Class on American Airlines. And ITM-NRT-DFW coming back.

At least I got in on this one during its prime time unlike the ~$747 AA Business Class ticket to Barcelona (which still ended up being a very good deal).

This trip cost 62,500 American Airlines miles each way, but I got back 10,000 miles for having the Citi AA credit card.

In total, I paid 120,000 American Airlines miles round-trip.

I wish it were on JAL, or Cathay Pacific, instead of AA, but oh well. It’s in the middle of cherry blossom season. I hope these dates are lucky so I’ll be able to see cherry blossoms during Japan’s spring.

By the numbers

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Complete the Hyatt Diamond Challenge in 9 Nights With the Citi Prestige Card

Random thought of the evening.

I’m going through my cards and want to dump:

And replace them with:

The hitch is that you have to wait ~8 days between applications with Citi, so I’m not sure which of their cards to get first. But I’m warming up to the idea of Category 1 and 2 Hilton hotels – there’s a ton of value to be had there.

Anyway.

Citi Prestige + Hyatt Diamond Challenge

Via The Points Guy, tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Hyatt Diamond Challenge (something that’s always tempted me). You’ll have 60 days to complete it when you sign up (so until September 30th).

And via View From the Wing, the Citi Prestige card’s 4th night free benefit is “too good” to last. (I agree.)

Hyatt hotels are easily bookable with the Citi Prestige travel program. (Here’s the link to Carlson Wagonlit to search.)

A quick search in Dallas turned up 6 Hyatts, most under $100 a night

A quick search in Dallas turned up 6 Hyatts, most under $100 a night

If you book a 4-night stay for $100 a night, you’d pay $300 (after the Citi Prestige statement credit).

Do this 3 times in 60 days, pay $900, get Hyatt Diamond status. Any many hotels are available for under $100.

If you have Hyatt stays coming up anyway, this might be something to mix-and-match with cash + points stays.

And hotels booked with the Citi Prestige card do earn elite credit.

What’s Hyatt Diamond status worth?

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My Top 5 Hilton Category 2 Hotels for Award Stays

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I looked through the Hilton Category 2 hotel list to see what gems I could unearth from that piece of barren internet.

I was surprised to find lots of hotels (131, to be exact) all over the US and Europe (and globally). I pulled out my Top 5 picks.

In particular, I’d like to maximize the 5th night free benefit that Hilton gives to all of its elite members.

Here are 5 Hilton Category 2 hotels where I could see myself spending 5 days.

Note: Prices are based on travel in September 2015 and are after taxes as shown on the checkout screen. Read More

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Chase IHG MasterCard Sign-Up Bonus Counts Toward Spire Elite Status!

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Update 7/13/15: Some peeps are reporting their sign-up bonus is NOT counting toward Spire elite status. I got my Chase IHG MasterCard in February of 2015. If you got the card this year, it’s worth checking to see if the sign-up bonus counts toward Spire status. Also, for some at least, ALL of the spend on the Chase IHG MasterCard counts toward Spire status!

I was all hot-n-heavy for IHG for a second there. I was targeted to receive 80,000 IHG points on the Chase IHG MasterCard and I thought you know what, OK. So I got it, met the minimum spend and then… never used it again.

I logged in today to see how many IHG points I had, and noticed I’d been upgraded? To Spire?

I mean, yeah, that's cool

I mean, yeah, that’s cool, but… how?

Then I dug a little and realized…

The sign-up bonus counts toward Spire

I haven’t stayed at an IHG hotel since the fantastic InterContinental in Sydney.

All I did was get the Chase IHG MasterCard, register for the “Set Your Sights” promo, and meet the minimum spend.

But apparently the 80,000 points I earned from the Chase IHG Visa overqualified me toward Spire, which requires 75 nights at IHG hotels or 75,000 elite qualifying points.

All points earned from the Chase IHG Visa, including the sign-up bonus, counts toward Spire status

All points earned from the Chase IHG Visa, including the sign-up bonus, counts toward Spire status

Here’s literally all of the activity in my IHG this year:

All

All the Chase IHG MasterCard Activity adds up to all the IHG EQPs I’ve earned this year

And as you can see, after upgrading to Spire, I was given the choice to add 25,000 IHG points to my account -or- gift IHG Platinum status to a friend.

I took the 25,000 IHG points and ran! 

Yay-isss!

Yay-isss!

So when you think about it, I actually got over 100,000 IHG points for opening the Chase IHG MasterCard. Because the bonus alone was enough to earn Spire, and then IHG gave me 25,000 more points.

And, I’ll have the status until the end of 2016. IHG says:

Once you have earned the newest membership status in any calendar year, you will maintain such status until the end of the following calendar year.

So that’s kinda… awesome!

Bottom line

The upgrade to Spire makes me want to plan more IHG stays so I can earn 100% bonus points… and see how good the upgrade situation really is and assess elite treatment.

I might go out of my way to stay at more IHG properties this year, if only for the sake of using IHG points. To be continued…

Was anyone else auto-upgraded to Spire? 

Thank you for using my links to get a travel rewards card! Right now, the bonus on the IHG card is 60,000 IHG points after meeting the minimum spending requirement of spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

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Should I go to a different state for my IHG Set Your Sights Promo?

A new (to me) program

A new (to me) program

AKA how crazy should I be to get some points? 

IHG is rather new to me, so I’m really open to pretty much anything with regard to the Rewards Club program.

I know the Set Your Sights promo is personalized, and, given that I have no paid stays for the past couple of years, or status, or anything, mine is pretty dismal:

My IHG Set Your Sights promo offer

My IHG Set Your Sights promo offer

But I gotta start somewhere. I am hoping that the next one will be a little more… favorable, but when I break this down, I can complete 3 out of 4 in one fell swoop… it just involves going to Connecticut.

Running the numbers on the promo

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FoundersCard offering free AA Platinum Status Challenge for members

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New AA perk this quarter from FoundersCard

I’ve written about FoundersCard extensively in the past. They are one of my favorite auxiliary programs for travel, business, and lifestyle benefits.

Many of the travel benefits they offer are the same ones given as perks for holding co-branded premium credit cards (free TripIt Pro [Barclaycard Arrival], Hertz #1 Club Gold membership [American Express Platinum Card], Hilton HHonors Gold status [Hilton credit cards], 10% off British Airways fares [Chase British Airways Visa Signature], free Shoprunner membership [American Express cards] – just to name a few).

And, they’re always switching things up each quarter. The one I watch like a freaking hawk is the American Airlines perk. And this quarter, they’ve really stepped it up.

Free AA Platinum Status Challenge

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State of the Game: What I’m Looking Forward To (MS, Points/Miles, & Status)

No doubt that the landscape of “the game” has greatly changed recently. Alas, there is no more Bluebird, Vanilla reloads are long gone, and even our trusty Serve is taking a knocking from cash advance fees. Oh, and Amazon Payments finally closed down its cash cow. Yet it trundles on. Here are a few things I’m looking forward to and can’t wait to write about in the upcoming months:

REDbird

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It’s On: AAdvantage Platinum Status Challenge 2013

Man, I’m liking American a lot lately. Today, I called the AAdvantage desk about doing a status challenge for Platinum level, beginning May 16th. I’d been thinking about doing it for a while. I have three flights that end up in Easter Island beginning on the 18th, and since it’s all in first and business class, it’s more than enough to qualify me for Platinum. The rep carefully explained the terms of the challenge, which were the same as described here, so I knew what to expect. But it was still nice to confirm. She actually pulled up my flights and assured me that I’d be Platinum by the time I landed in Easter Island, which was very kind and thorough. Then she put me on hold.

When she came back she said, “I’m gonna help you out. I’m gonna go ahead and upgrade you to Gold so you’ll have a better trip and earn more miles on the way down there.” I was blown away. Now that’s something Delta would never do!

Per the Wiki linked above, I was prepared to pay $240 for the challenge. However, I was only charged $180. Perhaps this is a new thing? I chatted with the rep a bit about the upcoming merger, Explorer Awards, and thanked her profusely for the free upgrade to Gold. That’ll net me 7,000+ free miles in addition to the class bonus. Awesome!

The rep then said I’d get an email with more information, which came as soon as we hung up. Here’s the full text of the email I received from American:

Here’s the Info You Requested on Your Elite Challenge:
Thank you again for registering for an American Airlines AAdvantage elite Challenge. To help you meet
your goal, we are resending information on completing the Challenge. Additionally, if you wish to have a
receipt of the amount you were charged to register, please follow these steps:
1. Go to https://www.refunds.aa.com/
2. Locate the form “Request a Refund or Receipt”
3. In the field for “Ticket Number” input the MSR number I provided to you today
4. Input your Last Name in the next field
5. Select “Go” and the amount you paid is displayed
Now here are some tips to help you succeed:

  • Plan your qualifying flights to meet your goal within the 3-month time frame we discussed. Travel outside this time frame will not qualify toward your Challenge.
  • Be sure to fly on an eligible carrier. Points earned on qualifying flights on American Airlines, American Eagle, the AmericanConnection®carrier, British Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Qantas (including eligible codeshare flights marketed by these carriers) count toward your Challenge.
  • If you upgrade, please keep in mind that points earned are based on the fare and booking code purchased, not the cabin in which you travel.
  • Learn more about point accrual and qualifying fares for each airline:
  • o American Airlines
  • o British Airways
  • o Iberia
  • o Japan
  • o Qantas
  • How can you determine what booking code is used for the fare you’re purchasing? Simply ask the booking agent, whether that’s your travel agent, corporate travel planner or AA Reservations representative. Or, even better, when you book your flights on AA.com, the Flight Summary screen displays the booking code in the same column as the cabin booked. 
  • Remember that the charge for your Challenge is nonrefundable — even if circumstances beyond anyone’s control prevent you from meeting the goal. 

A Challenge is intended for members who are in a hurry to get to the elite level they desire and begin
enjoying their benefits. Think of it as a shortcut to the status you would probably earn on your own
during the normal qualification period. Assuming you’re successful, please be prepared to meet the
normal criteria when it comes time to requalify for your status, since we offer limited opportunities to
earn status via a Challenge. We wish you every success in completing this Challenge.

Then I logged into my AAdvantage account and saw that I was indeed instantly upgraded to Gold.

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 6.29.18 PM

 

Looking forward to being Platinum on American this time next week. 🙂 Amazing that I’m now Gold with zero American flights this year and will be Platinum after spending a little under $1,000 on a deal of a fare (+$180). The status will be good through the end of February 2014.

I did ask, out of pure curiosity if Executive Platinum challenges were still on the go. The rep told me they were not, and that they’ve stopped doing them altogether.

So that was my experience with American today. Very generous. Feeling good about making the switch. Can’t wait to post the trip reports next week!

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