By Far The Best Deal on Domestic Business Class is JetBlue Mint Class

JetBlue Mint Class is a fully enclosed suite between New York and Los Angeles, and New York and San Francisco starting October 26, 2014. JetBlue Mint Class is the nicest Business Class experience on a transcontinental flight in the United States–by far–and it is available for $599 each way or 35,000 TrueBlue points.

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Mint seats extend to fully flat 6’8″ beds, the longest on domestic routes, and four out of the 16 Mint seats are fully enclosed suites, which are currently available for no extra charge.

Mint passengers get everything you’d expect in business class on a premium route:

  • Priority check in, security, and boarding
  • Free multi-course meal
  • Free alcohol
  • Two free checked bags

Mint passengers also receive some amenities that few or zero airlines match:

  • Free wifi
  • Free DirecTV (100 channels)
  • Amenity Kit

Mint is pricey, but far cheaper than competing business class seats at as little as $599 each way. The seats can also be booked for 35,000 TrueBlue points or 43,750 American Express Membership Rewards each way.

  • What flights have the special $599 / 35,000 point price?
  • Can you select an enclosed suite for that price?
  • How can you get TrueBlue points?
  • Is this a good deal?

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Hurry: Lufthansa Card’s 50,000 Bonus Miles Disappear Today

Update July 1, 2014:

The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

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Today (June 30, 2014) is the last day to get 50,000 bonus Lufthansa miles from the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days.

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See my Miles & More Program Primer for more information on the Lufthansa frequent flyer program and six great uses for the mega sign up bonus.

The cliff notes? Lufthansa is a major member of the Star Alliance, which also includes United, Air New Zealand, Thai, South African, and 20+ others. Lufthansa Miles & More miles can be used on any Star Alliance partner.

55,000 Lufthansa miles–the sign up bonus plus normal spending needed to unlock it–will get you:

This is a card I got for myself last year, and I’ve been using the miles to fly United flights between the mainland and Hawaii, a trip that costs fewer Lufthansa miles than United miles for the exact same flights.

  • How can you use your Lufthansa miles?
  • When does the 50,000 mile offer end?
  • Who is this offer right for?

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Three Emirates First Class Showers for 100k Alaska Airlines Miles

You can take up to three showers in the First Class Shower Spa onboard Emirates A380s on a single award that costs only 100,00 Alaska Airlines miles. Emirates Airlines First Class is the standard for luxury as the only airline with two showers onboard in which the 16 First Class passengers can freshen up.

In January 2013, I flew Emirates First Class from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia–one of three tag flights between New Zealand and Australia.

I enjoyed the chauffeur service, lounge, onboard bar and meal service, suite, and the shower.

I have wanted to get back into Emirates First Class on a longer flight since then, so I started collecting Alaska Airlines miles, which are the means by which Americans can take a 7-mile-high shower.

Since opening three Alaska Airlines personal cards and two business cards, I have 140,000 Alaska Airlines miles.

Alaska charges only 90,000 miles one way in First Class from the United States to the Middle East or India and only 100,000 miles one way to Africa, East Asia, or Europe. It’s quite simple to book over 24 hours worth of Emirates First Class flights on a single one way award, and I’ve even found a routing that gets you three Emirates A380 First Class flights on a single award.

  • How can you get Alaska Airlines miles?
  • Where can you search Emirates award space?
  • How can you maximize an Emirates First Class award with Alaska miles?
  • What routing features three Emirates A380 flights?
  • What are the stopover rules for Alaska awards?

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Can You Earn 1.2 Miles Per Dollar on Your US Airways Card Through August 31?

I just got an intriguing email from Barclaycard and US Airways with the subject line “Limited-time Offer: Earn more miles this summer.” The email says that I will earn 1.2 miles per dollar on my US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® in July and August automatically without having to register for the promotion.

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The fine print says that I will earn 1.2 miles per dollar from July 1 until August 31, 2014 up to a maximum of 10,000 bonus miles. That would require $50,000 worth of spending on the card in two months, so I think the maximum bonus is out of reach for most of us.

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The offer says that it is “for select cardmembers and is not transferable.” You can check your email to see if you were targeted and call the number on the back of your card to confirm.

These are some nice bonus miles if you’d use the card anyway, but I’m not sure it will get me to use the card more. You can already effectively get 1.25 US Airways miles per dollar by spending on the Starwood Preferred Guest card. That card earns 1 Starpoint per dollar and 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 US Airways miles.

This promotion is a good continuation of recent US Airways promotions which have come up quarterly and offered bonus miles in rotating categories like gas and groceries.

Still, though, the reason to get the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is not for the 20% bonus on spending but for the 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and payment of an $89 annual fee. There is no card that offers even close to this good of a bonus with no spending requirement.

Plus this card, and its bonus, miles will disappear some time in early 2015. Before then, you can use the miles on the awesome US Airways chart. After that, the miles will become American Airlines miles. Get the bonus miles while you still can.

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Chance to Buy US Airways Miles for 1.67 Cents Each Ends Monday

US Airways’ Share Miles promotion that allows two friends each to buy up to 50,000 US Airways miles for only 1.67 cents each ends Monday June 30, 2014.

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I wrote about it fully in The New US Airways Share Miles Promotion is 100% Different.” The title of that post is in reference to previously structured, better Share Miles deals that allowed for the generation of US Airways miles at 1.13 cents each.

For some people, it will be a great way to top up your US Airways account for deeply discounted premium cabin award space. For others, getting the The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and paying the $89 annual fee

Check out “The New US Airways Share Miles Promotion is 100% Different” for more information.

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Lufthansa Partner Routes and Airlines with No Fuel Surcharges

Update July 1, 2014:

The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

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The Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is offering 50,000 bonus Lufthansa miles for only three more days. The offer expires Monday June 30, 2014.

All airline awards require the payment of government taxes, but some Lufthansa awards also incur fuel surcharges. The key to getting huge value from your 55,000 Lufthansa miles is to redeem the miles for awards without fuel surcharges.

You can redeem Lufthansa miles with under $5 in fuel surcharges to the following regions:

  • Within North America
  • to Hawaii and Alaska
  • to Europe
  • to Central America
  • to South America
  • to the Caribbean
  • to Africa
  • to Asia

Lufthansa miles can be used for flights on all 26 Star Alliance airlines including United. Lufthansa has a competitive award chart with many destinations costing fewer Lufthansa miles than United miles to reach. See “Comparison of United and Lufthansa Award Charts.”

I checked the fuel surcharges on Lufthansa’s partners to find partners and routes with no fuel surcharges or fuel surcharges under $5 per direction.

  • What routes and partners can you use to pay zero fuel surcharges on Lufthansa awards?
  • How can you figure out the fuel surcharges on a route without calling Lufthansa?
  • How can you search for award space for Lufthansa awards.
  • How can you book Lufthansa awards?

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How to Get 110,000 American Airline Miles in Three Months or Less

For five months, the Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard has been offering 100,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $10,000 in the first three months. That’s why it is the #1 card for travel for June 2014.

Meet the card’s minimum spending requirement, and you’ll have 110,000 American Airlines miles, more than enough for a roundtrip award anywhere in the world or for a business class roundtrip award to Europe or South America.

This week, the link to the card’s former landing page (pictured below) disappeared.

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However a direct link to the card’s application where none of the bonus details are listed is still active. I have read reports online that this direct link is still offering 100,000 bonus miles. Folks have confirmed the sign up bonus with a rep while activating the card.

It appears to still be possible to quickly earn 110,000 American Airlines miles, but there are major drawbacks to the Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard that you should consider before getting the card.

  • What is the full offer on the Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard?
  • Can you get the card if you’ve had other Citi American Airlines cards?
  • Can you get this sign up bonus more than once?

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What Cards Did I Bring to Brazil?

I landed in Brazil a few minutes ago to see the World Cup in person. It’s a short trip, so I packed lightly including when it came to which cards to bring.

I only brought four cards:

  • Two credit cards
  • One debit card
  • One membership card

The cards are going to earn me miles, get me lounge access, and save me ATM fees in order to make my trip cheaper and more comfortable.

  • Which cards do I carry for international travel?
  • Why did I bring each one?

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Pay to Save on Your Big Vacation from The List TV ft. Me

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by The List in Phoenix for a segment on using frequent flyer miles.

You can check out the interview here:

If you’re in Phoenix, Tampa, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, West Palm, or Tulsa, you can watch The List every weeknight.

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When Do Arrival Miles Expire?

Arrival miles never expire as long as you hold your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®. They do disappear the second you cancel the card though.

Arrival Plus Card Image

Other than cancelling the card, the only time constraint on using Arrival miles is that you have 120 days after any travel purchase to redeem miles for an offsetting statement credit.

If you forget to use your Arrival miles to offset a travel purchase within 120 days though, it’s usually not a big deal, since all travel redemptions get the same value per Arrival mile. You can just use your Arrival miles to offset the next travel purchase.

These are great redemption rules for us:

  1. Since Arrival miles never expire, you don’t need to earn Arrival miles with a specific redemption in mind. Once you earn Arrival miles, they stay in your account until you’re ready to use them.
  2. With 120 days after any travel purchase to redeem miles, you have the ability to take a trip, then earn miles, then redeem the miles to make the trip free retroactively.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is the king of cash back cards without even being a cash back card. I got one myself in February and have included it as one of the June 2014 top ten credit card offers for travel. The Arrival Plus earns 2.28% back toward travel on all purchases, offers flexible redemption options, and just clearing the sign up bonus is worth $500 in free travel!

Since I got the card, Barclaycard has expanded its definition of a travel purchase, which increases redemption options, and now offers Chip & PIN technology, which means it can be used abroad more easily where it has no foreign transaction fees.

  • What are the best uses of Arrival miles?
  • How do you earn and redeem Arrival miles?
  • Who is the Arrival Plus card best for?

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Award Flights to Europe Next Week and All Summer

Award space is still available on several Star Alliance flights to Europe this summer!

Tons of space is bookable with United miles, Lufthansa miles, or miles from any other Star Alliance carrier.

A lot of people are contacting the MileValue Award Booking Service saying they’d love to head to Europe this summer but are resigned to waiting until next summer if there’s no space. Good news! On some routes, there is plenty of space for 2-8 people in economy, business, and first class.

2 people Jun Jul Bos Fra

  • What routes still have premium cabin award space to Europe this summer?
  • What route has award space for eight people to Europe this summer?
  • Is there award space on direct flights from the West Coast to Europe?
  • What’s available this week?

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Hurry! Last Week to Book Air New Zealand Award Flights with US Airways Miles

Two months ago I wrote that US Airways would be losing five of its Star Alliance partners over the course of 2014.

Another one bites the dust in five days! June 29, 2014 is the last day to use US Airways miles to book Air New Zealand flights.

Note that Air New Zealand flights need only be booked by June 29. You can book US Airways awards up to about 335 days in advance. That means you can fly awards containing Air New Zealand flights until about May 30, 2015.

The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase. You can’t get the miles in time to book Air New Zealand, but you can get them in time to book the other partners US Airways is losing like Turkish and Singapore at the end of July.

  • What are the current restrictions on booking Air New Zealand flights with US Airways miles?
  • What if you want to change your US Airways/Air New Zealand award later?
  • How is Air New Zealand award space?
  • What other partners is US Airways losing soon?

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Singapore KrisFlyer Sweet Spot

Singapore Airlines’ award chart has an amazing sweet spot: Hawaii and Central America are in the same region!

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Flights “within” the Hawaii/Central America region are only 35,000 Singapore miles roundtrip in economy and 60,000 miles roundtrip in business class.

That 35,000-Singapore-miles award would cost 80,000 United miles. That 60,000-Singapore-miles award would cost 140,000 United miles.

One Region!?

One Region!?

Singapore is a Star Alliance member, so you can fly United flights on these awards, and Singapore never collects fuel surcharges on United flights.

Singapore miles are easy to get, since Singapore is a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards.

You Don’t Live in Singapore, Hawaii, or Central America. So What?

The primary beneficiaries of the Hawaii/Central America mega-region on the Singapore award chart are people who live in the continental United States. Mainlanders can use this sweet spot to get all the flights for one trip and half the flights for two other trips for a bargain price.

I priced out what amounts to a roundtrip from Denver to Honolulu plus two one ways between Central America and Denver for 35,000 total Singapore miles and about $177. That’s one complete roundtrip and halves of two others for less than what United charges for just the roundtrip to Hawaii.

The award is 80,000-United-miles-worth of flights for 35,000 Singapore miles.

singapore trip

  • How does this award fit together?
  • Who can take advantage of this trick routing?
  • What are the routing rules for Singapore awards?
  • How can you get Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles?
  • How can you book a Singapore award?

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Buy Club Carlson Points for 0.4 Cents, $18 Hotel Rooms

Club Carlson has a Flash Sale that lasts until 8:59 AM ET tomorrow (June 24, 2014) during which you can buy up to 70,000 Club Carlson Gold Points for 0.4 cents per point.

The sale is billed as a 75% bonus on Gold Points, so you can only buy points in increments of 1,750.

Today’s Flash Sale is about 11% cheaper than the Daily Getaways deal last week that sold out instantly.

I plan to buy the maximum number of 70,000 Gold Points for $280 today because I didn’t get around to it during the last flash sale.

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That 70,000 points will be enough for two nights at the top-tier Club Carlson properties or nearly 16 nights (I’d need 72,000) at Category 1 hotels that dot Europe because I have a Club Carlson credit card that offers one night free on all award bookings of 2+ nights.

That means that Category 1 hotels will cost me $18 per night at these point buying prices and top-tier Category 7 hotels will cost me $140.

For more information on the Club Carlson chart, great deals on the chart, and the last-night-free benefit that makes buying Club Carlson points twice as good, check out last week’s post on the Club Carlson Daily Getaway. While reading, just remember that the points are 11% cheaper today.

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Comparison of Lufthansa and United Award Charts

Update July 1, 2014:

The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

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There is one week left to get the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus Lufthansa miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days. The offer expires June 30, 2014.

The normal bonus on the card is for only 20,000 miles. I got the card last year and racked up 73,000 Lufthansa miles. I’ve booked myself a few awards between the mainland and Hawaii, since Lufthansa charges fewer miles for the exact same United flights than United charges.

Comparing United and Lufthansa miles is natural because both are Star Alliance members with (basically) equal access to award space on all Star Alliance partners.

Between Hawaii and the mainland isn’t the only route where the United and Lufthansa award charts differ. I’ve compiled three charts to show whether Lufthansa miles or United miles are cheaper to any given destination in economy, business, and first class.

  • For which destinations are United miles cheaper?
  • For which destinations are Lufthansa miles cheaper?
  • What about fuel surcharges?

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