Showing posts from May, 2017

Planning for a fall trip to Japan

Since our extended-remix trip there last year, we've been yearning to go back to Japan. It's tough accruing much paid time off (PTO) given that we literally went into a PTO-hole to make last year's trip happen. First we thought we'd chain together the "free" Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years work holidays with PTO and a bit of remote working to pull off another 3 month visit. But it's been a rough year for us and we ultimately decided we didn't want to spend all of the winter holidays away from our friends and family. So we're shooting for a 3 week trip in October instead.

The dream, of course, would be to repeat our ANA First experience but using the Virgin Atlantic "trick" to do it for way fewer miles. Unfortunately the big travel bloggers have been flogging this option for the past few months and availability is basically zero now. 😠

What we ended up doingUsed the "Combine Points" option on to move points fro…

Delta bonus promo

If you haven't done so already, you should sign up for the Delta partner bonus promotion.

Once you're registered, you'll earn 1000 bonus SkyMiles for each new Delta partner you earn miles with until June 30th. A list of the partners is here
UPDATE (14 June):So far we've netted 7,000 bonus points on this promo with another 2,000 pending! I fly Delta fairly regularly for domestic travel, and I generally avoid United at all costs. But United's miles are still so much more useful that I pretty much only use the United Mileage mall and United Mileage Dining websites when I'm shopping or eating out.

That turned out to be perfect for this promo, since I'm both a Delta SkyMiles shopping AND a SkyMiles Dining virgin. Once I was signed up for the Delta SkyMiles shopping program, I used it to buy a few things from and collect my first 1000 point bonus. (Do note the dates – the bonus takes 6 weeks to post).

Last month when we needed to take an emergency t…

Bye-bye Aeroplan!

Big news today that Air Canada is dropping its 3rd party Aeroplan mileage program in favor of an in-house solution in 2020.

I don't normally fly Air Canada, but here's why I care: Aeroplan one of the few Star Alliance transfer partners for American Express points. Of the other two partners: ANA still only allows round-trip rewards, and Singapore doesn't permit partner reward booking online - you have to call in.

Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Iberia have a similar setup where a separate company (Asia Miles, Avios) administers their points program. Air Canada sold their program off to a company called Aimia after 9/11 to earn some cash in a tough economic climate, but times have changed and this is a multi-billion dollar business they want to repatriate.

My recommendation:
Spend any Aeroplan miles you have before 2020. The miles are NOT going to roll from the old plan into the new one, and everyone is predicting a massive devaluationUnless you're chasing Air Cana…

OMG Shoes!

It's unfortunate, but American department store and malls in general are on the verge of dying. In an effort to stay relevant, many old school retailers are making various kinds of online offers to lure you to their website instead of or specialty online shops like Bluefly or Jet. The bonus points from my last big shopping portal victory just cleared (5400 United points and 1100 Amex points for a pair of shoes!) and I thought I'd share a few tips.

Airline shopping portal tips:
Be patient. High markup retailers have specials in the 8-12 points per dollar rangeLow markup retailers (Amazon, Jet, BestBuy) rarely have specials Stack promos whenever you can (Amex offer + portal + portal bonus!)Don't buy anything you wouldn't have bought otherwise (this is the hardest part!)Comparison shop so you know if you're overpaying (have you seen Wikibuy?!)Utilize free shipping options whenever possibleTurn off adblock before using the shopping portalUse shopping portals …

You can now earn JetBlue miles flying Iceland Air

One of the weakest things about JetBlue is their mileage program – they have very few options for earning and redeeming miles beyond their own flights.  You can earn TrueBlue points when you fly on: EmiratesHawaiianJetsuiteX and Silver AirwaysSingaporeSouth Africanand now Iceland Air! To celebrate Iceland Air being added to the family, they're running a special double-miles promo through July 7th. If I were flying soon, I'd probably take the 2x credit to JetBlue, but once the promo is over and it's back down to 1x, I'd probably choose to credit any Iceland Air flying to my Alaska account. They have lots of great redemption partners, whereas JetBlue doesn't.

When you want to redeem your TrueBlue points, you still only have two options: JetBlue and Hawaiian. When you redeem for JetBlue flights you get a fixed value of around 1.4¢, which works out to a 4% rebate on the purchase price of your flight. (If you have their credit card, attain Mosaic status, and hit all of t…