Good morning and buenos dias amigos! This weekend, I will be heading to South America for a week. First stop is Bogota, Colombia, then down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then onto Iguazu Falls (on the border of Argentina and Brazil). Here is how we planned the trip (Great Circle Mapper):
SFO-DFW-BOG in economy on American Airlines using 20,000 AA miles + $26.20 taxes/fees
BOG-EZE-IGR in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas using 25,000 KLM miles
IGR-EZE in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas for $140.70
EZE-MIA in business + MIA-ORD-SFO in first on American Airlines for 57,500 AA miles + $93.46 taxes/fees
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 390 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $20 USD.
Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax – exchange rate as of December 18, 2016.
For most of us, most of the time, we have the luxury of thinking through our travel plans maybe months or even a year in advance. Especially if we’re using miles and points to book air and hotel reservations, booking way ahead is a good idea.
But what happens when we have an emergency trip that needs to be booked NOW?
That’s the situation I found myself in just last month. As I mentioned here, there was a death in my family and I wanted to get to Florida for the memorial service.
Here were my parameters:
My flight was from San Diego to Florida on specific dates, both on the outbound and inbound.
I had to fly into Fort Lauderdale (FLL).
I had to land at FLL in the evening so my cousin could pick me up after work.
I had to leave late in the day after the Miami Dolphins game. Don’t ask, my cousins are nuts for those Dolphins and luckily they won their game so everyone was in good spirits.
Disclaimer: I have made some travel predictions in previous years and I am more often wrong than right, but that losing streak has not dampered my prediction spirit. To see how bad I am at making predictions, please read A Look Back at my 2016 Predictions (Airlines, Hotels, Credit Cards & MS). I consider myself an optimistic pessimist (I prepare for the worst, but hope for the best), so these travel predictions will sound depressing.
Southwest seems bent on making the Companion Pass very difficult to get unless you fly Southwest every week. I believe credit card signup bonuses will no longer count toward the Companion Pass and Southwest might kill the whole concept of the Companion Pass entirely or switch to a certificate program similar to the Alaska Airlines companion fare or Virgin America companion ticket.
Other airline credit cards will adopt the Alaska Airlines companion fare (you pay full price and your companion pays up to $120) or the Virgin America companion ticket (you pay full price and your companion pays full price minus $150).
Good afternoon everyone, here is the filler post of the weekend. Enjoy!
Usually this time of year, we look back at the predictions we made at the end of 2015 or early 2016 and see how many things we got right and how many things we got wrong. It is usually a little depressing to look back and see how much has changed (for the worse) over the last 12 months. I wanted to put a positive spin on the predictions this year and turn it into a Christmas wish list for Santa. If Santa had the power to make travel hacker lives better, what would you wish for?
Grant’s wish list (in no particular order):
I want Chase to create a “no 5/24 rule day” so everyone can be approved for the Chase credit card they really want (I have my eye on the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card).
I want the JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card to change the $300 travel credit (incidentals only) to match the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card $300 travel credit (paid airfare and hotels).