Category Archives: Airlines + Miles

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My 7 Tips for Using Award Booking Services

It seems to me in the world of travel there are three phases: the planning process, the getting there process, and the being there process. For me, the planning process can sometimes be the most daunting. It’s fun and exciting to acquire all the miles and points and pick my dream destinations.  And then comes booking the award tickets. Exciting, though often oh-so-frustrating.

If you’re like me, there are times when you’ve considered using an award booking service. You want help booking the tickets, planning a great itinerary, and choosing the best aircrafts and class of service. In other words, you want a great value for the miles you’ve accumulated. Who wouldn’t?  After personally using various award booking services, and settling on the one I think is the best, here’s my list of 7 must-know tips.

I’ve had very varied experiences using these services and I want you to benefit from what I’ve learned. I want you to get the best possible value and have the smoothest experience when you hire award booking services.

7 Tips For Using Award Booking Services

1. Your Preferences. It clearly helps to have specific destinations in mind, as well as approximate dates. However, I’d suggest having a back-up plan both for destination and dates. Knowing what’s most important helps, too. For instance, are non-stop flights more important than class of service?  Would you fly business class even if you’ve got the miles for first class if the route is non-stop and on the exact dates you want? Knowing your preferences helps the award services guide you. Continue reading

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Google Flights Price Tracking, WOW Air KEF-SFO & JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Travel Credit

Good morning everyone, happy Thursday.  I just wanted to give a quick shoutout to everyone who attended the SF Travel Hackers March Meetup last night.  I gave a presentation about my recent trip to Iguazu Falls, Argentina.  I will work on getting that presentation turned into a blog post “soon”.  In today’s post, I will show you how I used Google Flights to track a WOW Air flight from Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF) to San Francisco (SFO).  I’ve always been interested in Iceland, and even more so after reading Whitney’s posts (Iceland & What I Wish I Had Known Before Going – Part 1 and Part 2).

I’ve been planning a trip to Iceland for the last few weeks and knew the dates I wanted to travel, but I just had to wait for the price to go down.  One of the many great things about Google Flights is that you can track specific routes on specific days, and you can even track specific flights on specific days.  I received the following email from Google Flights that the WOW Air flight I was tracking dropped from $469 to $263.  Granted, this is not the cheapest possible WOW Flight I have ever seen, but the price was right for me so I jumped on the deal.

Google Flights Price Drop KEF-SFO Email Alert

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Flights Booked with Citi Thank You Points + Cash do not Trigger Citi Prestige $250 Airline Travel Credit

Good afternoon everyone, I have one more quick post to share this weekend.  My Citi Prestige Credit Card annual fee is set to post in early May and I do not anticipate keeping the credit card for another year, since there is a big devaluation to the card benefits that goes into effect on July 27.  Doctor of Credit has more details, but here are the big blows to the card benefits:

  • Eliminating 3 free rounds of golf.
  • Eliminating American Airline redemptions at 1.6 cents per point (if you have any upcoming AA flights, read How to Book American Airlines Flights with Citi Thank You Points (1.6 Cents Per Point Value)).
  • For all other flights booked with Citi Thank You Points, the redemption rate is changing from 1.33 cents per point to 1.25 cents per point.
  • Fourth-night-free hotel benefit will be based on average nightly rate instead of the 4th night’s rate (and the fourth-night-free benefit will no longer include taxes).
  • Eliminating Admirals Club access.

With those devaluations in mind, I wanted to redeem the full $250 airline travel credit before the annual fee posts.  I wanted to experiment and see if flights booked with Citi Thank You Points and cash would trigger the $250 airline travel credit.  For those unfamiliar with booking flights through the Citi Thank You portal, you have the option to pay for flights with all Citi Thank You Points, with all cash (you might as well book directly on the airline’s website) or a combination of Thank You Points and cash.  In the example below, the flight costs $178.20 or 13,398 Citi Thank You Points.

13,398 Citi TYPs + $0

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Barclaycard JetBlue Plus MasterCard 30,000 TrueBlue Points Sign Up Bonus Posted Slowly

Good morning everyone, happy Sunday!  This is a short post detailing how long the Barclaycard JetBlue Plus MasterCard 30,000 TrueBlue Points took to post to my JetBlue account.  I was instantly approved for the credit card on December 6 and received the credit card about a week later (card art and features).  My first statement closed on December 26.  The $99 annual fee posted on December 30.  I met the $1,000 minimum spend requirements on January 9.  My second statement closed on January 26 but the sign up bonus points were not on that statement.  The 30,000 JetBlue TrueBlue points finally posted on February 25 (2.5 months after getting the credit card and 1.5 months after completing the minimum spend requirement).

JetBlue Account Balance 30,000 Miles Posted

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