Tag Archives: Alaska Airlines

Basic Economy Buyer Beware: The Good, the Bad & Mostly Ugly

To say Basic Economy fares are frustrating and confusing is an understatement. Regardless of how often you travel, this fare category is something we all need to understand, especially so we don’t book these fares without intentionally meaning to. That’s what happened to my friend. Maybe it’s happened to you too? She’s not blaming the airlines, though. She didn’t quite understand and didn’t pay good attention to what she was booking. But she won’t make that mistake again! In talking to her, I realized it would be a good idea to explain what Basic Economy fares mean and to understand what restrictions are placed on your ticket.

The three legacy airlines all have a Basic Economy category. Delta was the first one to introduce these fares, but now United and American Airlines have them as well. Each of them have their own set of restrictions. In general, though, the restrictions usually mean: NO advance seat selection, NO carry-on baggage allowances (your personal item will have to fit under the seat in front of you), last to board, NO accruing miles for the trip, fares are non-refundable and non-changeable, and other restrictions. Delta’s policy is slightly different on a few of these, so check each airline carefully. The legacy airlines see this as competing with what we might call the Low Cost Carriers such as Southwest and JetBlue. Or competing with the Ultra Low Cost Carriers such as Frontier and Spirit.

Delta flight options with various fare classes

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My 8 Credit Card App-O-Rama Results (Mostly Bad News)

Good morning everyone, I hope you all has a great weekend.  A few weeks ago, I applied for 8 new credit cards during my App-O-Rama.  Here are the 8 credit cards and sign up bonuses that I applied for (not in this particular order).  Unfortunately, my App-O-Rama skills are not as good as they used to be and I was (ultimately) declined for most of these credit cards.

  • Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card: 30,000 AS Miles + $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 in 3 months ($75 annual fee)
  • Bank of America Virgin Atlantic Credit Card: 75,000 VA Miles after spending $12,000 in 6 months ($90 annual fee)
  • Bank of America Amtrak Rewards Credit Card: 30,000 Amtrak Points after spending $1,000 in 3 months ($79 annual fee)
  • US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card: 50,000 FlexPoints ($750 in travel credit) after spending $4,500 in 3 months ($400 annual fee)
  • Wells Fargo Visa Signature Credit Card: 20,000 Go Far Reward Points after spending $1,000 in 3 months ($0 annual fee)
  • First Bankcard Best Western Credit Card: 50,000 Points after spending $1,000 in 3 months ($59 annual fee, first year waived)
  • Synchrony Bank Cathay Pacific Credit Card: 50,000 CX Miles after spending $2,500 in 3 months ($95 annual fee)
  • Barclays Wyndham Rewards Credit Card: 45,000 Wyndham Points (3 free nights) after spending $2,000 in 3 months ($75 annual fee)

Long story short, I applied for 3 Bank of America credit cards, starting with the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card.  I recently closed my previous Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card a few weeks ago, so I was ready to apply again and earn more Alaska Airlines miles.  Unfortunately, my application went to pending.  Since I was not immediately declined, I decided to apply for a Bank of America Virgin Atlantic Credit Card.  Surprisingly, I was instantly approved for that credit card with a pretty small credit limit.  With that success, I decided to apply for a Bank of America Amtrak Rewards Credit Card.  Unfortunately, that application went to pending as well. 1 out of 3 instant approvals was not bad.  I was hopeful that the 2 pending applications could be approved with a short reconsideration call.

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Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Airport Guide & Airline Lounge Locations

Buenos dias everyone! A friend recently asked some questions about an upcoming connection through LAX, and since there have been so many changes at that airport this year, I decided to write up a quick guide in case anyone else has an upcoming trip.

The Basics

LAX has 9 terminals – numbered 1-8 and TBIT (Tom Bradley International Terminal). TBIT and terminals 4-8 are connected by tunnels and bridges post-security; terminals 1-3 are not connected to anything. Note that if you’re going to TBIT and you have TSA PreCheck, there is no PreCheck at TBIT – you can go through the PreCheck lane in T4 and then walk to TBIT via the terminal connector (which conveniently drops you off right next to most of the lounges).

LAX Airport map from lawa.org

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How to Request Mexico Tourism Tax Refunds for Mexican Citizens, Residents & Transiting Visitors [UPDATED September 2017]

Originally Posted in January 2017 – Updated with new data points in September 2017!

Buenos dias!

If you or someone you know has a Mexican passport or resident card, they might be leaving money on the table when they purchase airline tickets to/from/through Mexico.

When you purchase a plane ticket to Mexico, the fare has a tourism tax built in – similar to US customs and immigration fees.  This fee goes toward the cost of immigration processing and the arrival / departure card required for foreign visitors. The fee is 500 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $28 USD. (The fee increased from 390 pesos at some point in 2017). On your ticket receipt you may see this referred to as UK (the IATA code for this tax) or DNR (the Spanish abbreviation).

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax – tax and exchange rate as of December 18, 2016.

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Will My Carry-On Bag Fit? Master Chart of 150+ Airlines Carry-On Luggage Weight & Dimension Restrictions

Airline policies often baffle me. The carry-on luggage restrictions are mind-boggling, to say the least. There are no standards and each airline sets their own rules. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago. I was in a mall and walked by a House of Samsonite store. Inside the store were signs showing luggage dimensions and weights for a few airlines. I found the signs helpful, but also realized they were obviously incomplete for those of us who travel a lot and use a broad variety of airlines.

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