Author Archives: Tonei Glavinic

About Tonei Glavinic

Tonei Glavinic is an Alaskan travel expert, educator, social justice advocate, and digital nomad currently based in Mexico City. Find them on Twitter @tonei.

Alaska Airlines Flights to Mexico City (MEX) Now Bookable (Travel August 8 from SFO & LAX and November 6 from SAN)

Buenos dias everyone. I shared a few months ago that Alaska Airlines announced new flights to Mexico City from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Although they are still awaiting for approval from Mexican authorities to operate the flights, they have announced tentative start dates and are now accepting reservations. Flights from SFO and LAX begin on August 8th, with SAN following on November 6 (probably because they have to wait to have a new Embraer 175 available).

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PSA: Check your American Express OPEN Small Business Savings Preferences (5% Cash Back vs. 2 Membership Reward Points)

Buenos dias everyone. A few months ago, I purchased some items from HP.com using my American Express Business Platinum Charge Card, which offers the choice between 5% cash back or 2 bonus Membership Reward Points per dollar spent on purchases from HP and other select merchants through the American Express OPEN Small Business Savings program.  All American Express issued business cards are part of OPEN – Membership Rewards-earning cards offer a choice between the two, while others like the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card only offer the 5% cash back option.

5% cash back is clearly worth more than 2x Membership Reward Points, so I was disappointed when I realized that the card defaulted to 2x Membership Reward Points and I had never changed my savings preferences. I chalked it up to experience and switched the settings in my OPEN preferences so I wouldn’t make that mistake again.

Amex OPEN Savings preference selection screen Continue reading

ICYMI: Travel News Roundup for Saturday, May 13, 2017

Here’s all the news that caught my eye this week – let me know in the comments if I missed something important or helped you find something new!

Airlines + Miles

Air Canada announced they plan to end their contract with Aimia, the company that runs Aeroplan, and launch their own in-house loyalty program in 2020. Many questions remain, including what happens to existing Aeroplan balances and whether the miles will be worth anything after the transition. Aimia’s stock dropped 57% after the announcement. [Toronto Star]

Alaska Airlines lounges now offer access to Virgin America passengers traveling on paid or award (not upgraded) first class tickets. [Travel Codex]

Alaska also announced that they will extend elite status for a year for Alaska Airlines and Virgin America elite members who take time off of work for a new child. [Skift]

Air India is launching nonstop service from New Delhi to Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Washington Dulles. [Travel Codex]

Delta has partnered with LSTN Sound Co. to offer sleek, socially conscious noise cancelling headphones in its Delta One suites this summer. [Runway Girl Network]

Flying Blue miles can get you from the US to Hawaii on Delta for just 15,000 miles one way. [Travel with Grant]

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is going to spend $38 million to create temporary bus gates in Terminal D while it works on a permanent airport expansion. [Travel Codex]

United is increasing its domestic presence out of SFO with more flights and bigger planes in response to Alaska’s expansion. [Travel Codex]

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Booking a Last Minute Award Trip to Tokyo with American Airlines & United Airlines Miles

Buenos dias everyone! For a few months now, we’ve been talking about going to Tokyo in May, but we weren’t sure exactly when or for how long. When we were in Barcelona earlier this year, we picked up tickets to the Ghibli Museum for May 13 at the local JTB office, but that was all the planning we had done. This was largely because my partner just enrolled at Universidad Autonóma Metropolitana (UAM) in Mexico City, and classes started this week – but he didn’t get his class schedule until last Thursday! And it turned out he has an early morning lecture five days a week.

We knew that this Wednesday and next Monday were school holidays, so we had a general sense of how it could work, but we weren’t 100% certain how much class he would be comfortable missing until he actually went to class. Ultimately, we decided we could leave Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning and return on Monday, which would mean he’d miss two days of school for a five day trip.

It’s not a very long time to go all the way to Tokyo, but we really wanted to visit the museum and catch the end of wisteria season, so we decided to make it happen. As a result, I ended up booking some of the shortest-notice award tickets of my life – I made reservations on Monday afternoon for a flight on Tuesday evening.

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Mexico Eliminating Customs Forms & Random Screenings for Arriving Passengers

Buenos días everyone. Before I arrived at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City on Saturday evening, I was a bit irritated when the flight crew announced that they did not have customs forms on board. After I cleared immigration and proceeded to baggage claim in the customs hall, I was confused because I couldn’t find any blank forms anywhere. That confusion turned into surprise when I approached an American Airlines baggage agent and was told “We don’t use those anymore.” Sure enough, when I went up to the customs agent, she just asked me if I had anything to declare and told me to push the red button – thankfully the light turned green. Continue reading