Author Archives: Scott Grimmer

How I Just Blew Rudy Maxa’s Mind

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

I just appeared on the Rudy Maxa radio show to talk about United making it harder to achieve elite status by adding a separate spending requirement on United tickets in addition to miles flown, a requirement which came into effect this year and is increasing next year.

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 10.18.25 AM

Rudy asked how folks should adapt to this change, and I don’t think he expected such an easy answer.

Continue reading

50k Bonus Miles on CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® is a business card that offers 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles and two Admirals Club lounge passes after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 1.51.10 PM

This card is in addition to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® personal card which offers 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles and two Admirals Club Passes after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

You can hold both cards at the same time to take advantage of earning American Airlines miles for your personal and business spending, but you cannot be approved for both on the same day. The collected wisdom is to put at least 8 days between applications for cards issued by Citi.

The Business card is actually better than the Personal card for accruing miles because it has two unique benefits:

  • 2x AAdvantage miles at certain office supply merchants, telecommunications merchants, and car rental merchants
  • 5% mileage bonus when you renew your card

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® offers a huge sign up bonus, nice category bonuses, and a great mechanism to encourage renewal.

The card also comes with a free checked bag on American Airlines flights and priority boarding.

  • How does the category bonus work?
  • How does the 5% mileage bonus work?
  • What are the other benefits of the card?
  • Are you eligible for this card?

Continue reading

Chase Freedom 20,000 Point Bonus

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

The Chase Freedom is offering 20,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in the first three months. This is double the normal sign up bonus.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.18.59 PM

It is also offering up to 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for existing cardholders who refer their friends to the Freedom.

I have the Freedom. The sign up bonus is puny, but the card has no annual fee, and has 5x bonus categories that rotate every quarter. I got it to hold forever and to maximize the 5x category each quarter to the tune of 30,000 Ultimate Rewards per year.

  • How can you maximize category bonuses with the Freedom?
  • What card do you also have to have to maximize the value of a Freedom?
  • How can you sign up for the 20k offer while getting another 5k bonus points for someone else?
  • How can you get your referral link into this post?

Continue reading

Last Minute Award Space to South American Summer

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

The calendar is turning to Summer below the equator, and it’s not too late to book yourself an award to escape the cold in the United States.

Many airlines release unsold seats as Saver award space in the last weeks, days, or even hours before a flight. I searched for award space between Miami and several South American cities on American Airlines for the next few weeks to see what American’s pattern of last-second award space will be this South American Summer.

American Airlines miles have the best award space to South America on American Airlines and LAN Airlines flights. Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

If you got the card today, and spent $3,000 on it in the first month, you’d have 53,000 American Airlines miles around the New Year. That’s more than enough for a roundtrip to Northern South America including Peru and just short of the 60,000 miles needed for a roundtrip to Southern South America.

  • What is the award space to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and more for the next few weeks?
  • What is the award space in economy, business, and first class?
  • Where can you search and book this award space?

Continue reading

Comparison of Four Major Airline Credit Cards

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

American Airlines, United, Delta, and US Airways all release several co-branded credit cards with various benefits, bonuses, and fees.

I have attempted to summarize the following cards on one table for easy comparison:

I consider these to be the “basic” personal card for each of the four legacy carriers in the United States. Each airline also has a lower-tier cards which earn miles at a lower rate and come with no sign up bonus. And several of the airlines have higher tier cards that come with gigantic annual fees and even better benefits. But these are the four basic cards.

  • Which cards have the best sign up bonus?
  • Which have the best benefits?

Continue reading

Delta Releases 2015 Award Chart

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Delta had already released its 2015 award chart for travel beginning in the United States (exlcuding Hawaii) and Canada, and now Delta has released SkyMiles Award Charts for 2015 from all other parts of the world.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 1.08.23 PM

The current award chart controls for awards BOOKED in 2014, and the 2015 chart for awards BOOKED in 2015, regardless of when the flights are flown.

In addition to new award charts, we will see two major rule changes on Delta awards for awards booked January 1, 2015 or later:

The award charts reflect only minor changes from the 2014 chart, so don’t expect to find a big devaluation.

I scoured the new charts looking for creative, cheap awards, and I found a few.

  • What are the best deals on the new 2015 SkyMiles charts?

Continue reading

Uber New Rider Bonus Drops November 24

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Uber has replaced taxis for me. I always use the app for airport pickups and safely getting around on weekeend nights.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 1.17.39 AM

Uber is the world’s best taxi service because it has clean, courteous drivers and the easiest ride-ordering app imaginable. Tap, tap, tap, and a car whose progress you can track towards you is on its way.

For many months, Uber has offered a massive $30 off your first ride to new users who sign up through a referral link. (Sign up with mine and I’ll also get one free ride up to $30. Leave your referral link in the comments if you’d like.)

That offer ends November 23, 2014.

  • What will the new offer be?
  • When do you need to sign up and ride by to get the current offer?

Continue reading

No Stopovers on Delta Awards from January 1, 2015

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

As widely predicted, Delta is eliminating stopovers on its awards starting January 1, 2015. Its SkyMiles program rules page says as much.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 8.15.02 AM

This is a bummer, but the good news is that one way awards will be bookable with Delta miles starting January 1, 2015, and Delta has already improved its online search.

American eliminated stopovers on awards this year, and the US Airways program will cease to exist in quarter 2 of 2015, which means United will be the only American program that allows stopovers very soon. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Your last chance to book a Delta award with a stopover will be December 31, 2014. At that point, you can book an award through about November 2015.

Hat Tip: Lisa in the comments

Two Tricks I Used on My Last Award Booking

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

As you read this, I’m 35,000 feet up on my way to Medellin, Colombia.

I was in Tucson over the weekend for a tennis tournament, and I didn’t have any exit flight booked. I really wanted to return to Colombia because I had enjoyed Bogota so much and heard even better things about Medellin, but award space didn’t appear to be available for a Monday departure from Tucson to Medellin.

I used two tricks and a little bit of creativity to come up with a Saver award, save myself $75 in fees, and give myself a chance to hang out with a buddy I haven’t seen in a few years.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 3.40.47 PM

  • What were my two tricks?
  • How did I save $75?

Continue reading

Register Now for American Express Small Business Saturday

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

American Express Small Business Saturday is back the Saturday after Thanksgiving–November 29, 2014. You can register your American Express cards now.

This year, you can get up to three $10 statement credits per American Express card. Since I have five American Express cards, I could get $150 in statement credits.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 2.36.23 AM

  • How can you register for Small Business Saturday?
  • How do the statement credits work?
  • What counts as a small business?

  Continue reading

Buy Up to 250k AA Miles. Good Deal?

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

American Airlines and US Airways are both running sales on the purchase of their miles through November 30.

For now, your American Airlines miles and US Airways miles will sit in separate accounts, and you can redeem them on separate charts, with different routing rules, and slightly different partners. Some time between April and June 2015, your US Airways and American Airlines miles will be combined into your American Airlines account, and the American Airlines chart, partners, and rules will control.

That means the chance to buy both kinds of miles at a discount could be a way to eventually have one huge American Airlines balance. Similar reasoning has led me to recommend getting the American Airlines and US Airways credit cards before the US Airways program disappears.

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® is offering 50,000 bonus miles and two lounge passes after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.

We know that the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered to new applicants as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate. That means that the chance to earn 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.

From the credit cards, you could have 93,000 American Airlines miles next year. From the mileage sales, you could add another 250,000 miles. But are they a good deal?

  • How expensive are the US Airways miles?
  • How expensive are the American Airlines miles?
  • How long do the sales last?

Continue reading

Delta Improves Award Searches Dramatically

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

An actual improvement to delta.com!

Previously, you could search award space one month at a time with a calendar on delta.com, but that calendar only took into account award space on Delta flights. Because much of the Saver award space available to people with Delta miles is available on partner airlines, that meant that in practice, you really had to search delta.com one day at a time to get the full picture. See “A Major Problem with Delta.com and the Only Solution.”

The nearly useless delta.com used to display

Now, multi-day award searches can display a grid of +/- 3 days, and do take into account partners. This is a big improvement in my mind. It will certainly save me a lot of time when I am booking awards for clients of my Award Booking Service.

  • How does the new delta.com search work?
  • What airlines are searchable on delta.com?
  • Why should you still call in to book most Delta awards?

Continue reading

Questions My Beginner Friend Asked as She Applied for Two Credit Cards

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Today I was with my friend as she applied for two credit cards. Her knowledge of miles and points is average for an American, which is to say, it’s almost non-existent.

The questions she asked me while we talked about which cards she should get were illuminating. They reminded me of a few facts that I’d like to drill into beginners’ heads. Please forward this post to anyone who has ever expressed interest in miles and points or envy at the way you travel.

My friend told me that she wanted to collect miles to go to Japan and London in economy. For Japan, the best miles are American Airlines miles because you can fly on American or Japan Airlines, and for six months per year, the price is only 25k miles each way. For London, many miles are roughly equal including American Airlines miles, which allow you to fly to Europe for 20k miles each way seven months per year.

Japan's Cherry Blossoms

Japan’s Cherry Blossoms

I suggested that she open the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® at the same time to earn 93,000 American Airlines by early next year by taking advantage of the merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

She accepted the advice, but she had a lot of questions.

  • What does she have to do to combine the miles?
  • What if the spending requirement is too much?
  • Will I see her financial information if she applies for the cards through links on my site?
  • What are the fees associated with the cards?
  • Will canceling these cards in the future cause her to forfeit the miles?
  • How can she check her credit score?
  • Should she close other credit cards she has?
  • How can she book her award tickets?

Continue reading

Transfer Bonus from ThankYou Points to Hilton HHonors

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

ThankYou Points are a transferable points program offered by Citi on select credit cards. ThankYou Points transfer to nine airlines and Hilton. Normally 1,000 ThankYou Points transfer to 1,500 Hilton points. Until January 8, 2015, 1,000 ThankYou Points transfers to 2,000 Hilton points!

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 12.17.25 PM

This is exciting to me because there are some high value uses of Hilton points, and also because this is the first Citi ThankYou Points transfer bonus. Hopefully the first of many.

We have seen transfer bonuses from American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest points, but never from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points until now.

Citi ThankYou Points are extremely easy to earn. The Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card offers 20,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months and 30,000 more bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of your second year of cardmembership. That’s 50,000 total bonus points.

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card also earns 3x points on dining and entertainment and 2x on airfare and hotels.

Before you rush off and transfer all your Citi ThankYou Points to Hilton HHonors points, though, make sure you are moving toward a high-value redemption.

  • What are the high value redemptions for Hilton points?
  • What are the other options with your ThankYou Points?

Continue reading