american airlines

Tag Archives for american airlines.

Just Booked a Trip for Next Weekend in 10 Minutes (Instant Transfers Save the Day!)

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I’ll never forget the thrill and uncertainty of booking my first award ticket. I thought I’d show up to the airport and be turned away for not paying (or something like that). Can a flight really cost ~$11 when you book with… points?

That was a few years ago. But there’s still something so novel about booking award trips. Some of them are planned in advance, like my upcoming trip to Hawaii. And some are aspirational or in the future, like the Brussels Airlines flights I booked with Etihad miles.

Mmm, love the high desert

Love the high desert!

Long story short, I needed to spend a couple of days in New Mexico to get some work done there. Looking at my upcoming weekends:

  • Next one was open
  • After that, Austin for work
  • Labor Day weekend – nothing available with points
  • Hawaii

4 weekends = a month of plans. I started poking around and realized, holy crap, I’m gonna book this trip for next weekend!

Finding flights

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Booking Hawaii: Part 2 – Using Citi ThankYou Points for Award Flights on Delta and United

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When last we parted, all was happy and good. Flights for 4 people were booked to Honolulu. Then life, as it does, got in the way.

Jay went back to New York for a too-good-to-pass-up film job. That’s right – I am now in Dallas alone. *cue torrential tears*

That was a whole other wrenching experience, but it also had consequences for this planned trip.

“So no Hawaii trip?” “I can’t.” Crap.

No Honolulu for you?

No Honolulu for you?

I called Connexions Loyalty (the travel agency Citi uses to book flights with ThankYou points) to ask if I could transfer the ticket to my little brother. I knew it would be a long shot, but worth trying.

The best they could do was cancel the ticket and give Jay the credit – no transferring, no name-changing. Oh, and there would be a $200 fee to redeem the credit. That stung, but at least part of the ticket will be put toward eventual travel.

By the time this all shook out, I accumulated more Citi ThankYou points. And continue to earn 30,000 to 40,000 ThankYou points per month.

Then I thought, why not take my little brother anyway?

How to add another person to the trip?

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Booking Hawaii: Part 1 – Flights for 4 to Honolulu

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Next month, I’m headed to Honolulu with my Mom, stepdad, and little brother. I’d been throwing around the idea of a family vacation for a while.

I haven’t been back to Hawaii since 2013.

I enjoyed my time at the Hilton Hawaiian Village so much, I swore I’d go back someday. And now that I’m all Hilton-y and have Diamond elite status, I thought my Mom would absolutely love staying here with me. So I wanted to treat her to a trip.

Nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset

Nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset

But first, to get there.

Sussing out flights to Honolulu

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

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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Review: American Airlines First Class 777-200 Dallas to Tokyo-NRT

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Back in January, American released a whole bunch of First and Business Class award seats on routes to Asia. It was pre-devaluation, and I was starting to think of ways to burn some AA miles before the late March deadline. Awards to Asia in particular went up quite a bit.

It reminded me a lot of when I booked Lufthansa First Class to Frankfurt for Oktoberfest before the United devaluation – similar timing and concept.

Our bird from Dallas to Tokyo - the old livery

Our bird from Dallas to Tokyo

I saw routes were open from Dallas (where my new condo is) to Tokyo – a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Dates were open in early April – prime cherry blossom time! 

Even more serendipitously, I had to be in Texas around that time anyway for a week-long work meeting.

Of course, booking flights to catch the cherry blossoms is always a bit of a crapshoot. But, I’m happy to report, we arrived just in time to see the beautiful blooms.

This flight was an excellent pre-cursor to a lovely stay at the the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku.

I’ve been meaning to post about it for a while, so let’s hop to it.

Grabbing the space

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I Got the SPG AMEX with 35,000 SPG Points – Here’s Why

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Yep, I caved. Because I figured now or never.

I wrote about how I didn’t care about SPG points. But I also used to love Club Carlson. And cozied up to Hyatt.

I also used to be “meh” about Hilton, but I’m enjoying being Hilton Diamond this year.

So, things change. And if anything’s changing, it’s definitely the loyalty industry. And it is an industry.

Why now?

I navigated over to the application page, and looked at it for a little while. (How’s that for an image?)

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Hook, line, and sinker

And then, I thought, well, 40,000 Starpoints is worth at least 50,000 Alaska Airlines or American Airlines miles.

It’s true. You get 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer (if the airline has a 1:1 transfer ratio with SPG).

I figured I’ll have at least 40,000 Starpoints after meeting the minimum spending requirements. Plus, I have to pay taxes this year and, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), I can complete it in one go.

That’s worth it for 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles.

Although, Cash & Points is looking mad attractive the more I dig into it.

Plus, you get the 5th night free on award stays at Category 3 and up hotels.

Nights & Flights looks pretty interesting, too.

Suffice it to say: there are a lot of ways to start using 40,000 Starwood points.

Getting the SPG AMEX

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

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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4 Things Holding Back Citi ThankYou From Being the Best Points Program

For too long, Chase Ultimate Rewards has been considered the best all-around points program for peeps who like collecting them (myself included).

You welcome

You welcome

AMEX is failing miserably at just about everything right now, except for AMEX Offers.

They lost Costco and jetBlue, might lose Starwood, Membership Rewards doesn’t have (m)any great transfer partners (maybe Delta, Aeroplan, and ANA for niche award flight redemptions), and they’ve absolutely failed to make timely and industry-leading adjustments to their credit card and points line-up for a long time (thanks for dropping forex fees after like, a decade…).

That left the door wide open for Citi to swoop in (Barclays and Bank of America were never a concern). And man, they really took their chance.

I went from having 1 Citi AAdvantage card to wanting multiple Citi cards in a short while. I’m in love with Citi Prestige because of all the money it’s saved me in the few months I’ve had it.

Current Citi cards I have and want

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Out and Out Is in Barcelona! Any Must-Dos? (And Updates!)

Dear Out and Out readers, I miss you so.

I got to Barcelona (Barcy) Wednesday morning and have spent the past 3 days wandering, sleeping, working, eating (tapas), and drinking (sangria and Spanish wines and local craft beers).

Wandering in the Gothic Quarter

Wandering in the Gothic Quarter

I still have 3 more full days in Barcy and am totally open to ideas about how to fill the time. I’m meeting with friends, and have a few things on my to-do list (on Todoist):

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Restaurants, sites, and things to see. Anything I should add?

I’ll get up tomorrow and see La Sangrada Familia, then maybe head to the Picasso Museum and see the Arc de Triomphe along the way.

Feel free to share any tips about where to go, what to do, or great restaurants you love. I’ll try to work in as many things as possible!

A few updates

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Forget AAdvantage! I’m Switching to Alaska MileagePlan This Year

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The beginning of the year is an excellent time to set new travel goals.

Especially when you’re looking at this:

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Ruh roh!

I already broke down the numbers of qualifying for top-tier status on American and Alaska, and found that Alaska MVP Gold 75K status is easier to earn with less flying. And you end up with more miles than AAdvantage Executive Platinum status when you start from zero and hit the top tier – 36,250 miles to be exact.

And now it’s even more attractive in light of American’s upcoming devalued award chart.

But… what about Dallas?

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16 Points & Miles Predictions for 2016

Happy New Year! I thought I’d hop on the bandwagon with the predictions. So here’s my effort.

"Everyone else is doing it, so why can't we?"

“Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t we?”

2015 was a crazy year

A portrait of the Fidelity AMEX card

A portrait of the Fidelity AMEX card

Out and Out’s Points and Miles Predictions for 2016

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Barclaycard Aviator Downgrade Offer + Q1 Bonus Points at Supermarkets

RIP, Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard®.

As part of closing on my house, I had to ax this card (I’ll explain why in another post). But, before the boot, I downgraded the card from the Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® (with an $89 annual fee) to the regular ol’ “Aviator card” (with no annual fee), and got it in the mail just in time to say goodbye.

You are lost and gone forever, oh my darlin', Clementine

You are lost and gone forever, oh my darlin’, Clementine

Here are 2 offers I got that might be helpful to some folks. One you have to call to receive, the other is targeted – so be on the lookout if you’re interested.

Downgrade offer

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