Tag Archives: United Airlines

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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My 2017 Elite Status Strategy: Should I Move from Alaska AIrlines to American Airlines?

Buenas dias everyone,

Since my travel has started ramping up in 2017, I decided it was time to sit down and look at my strategy for earning airline elite status in the coming year. Which means…spreadsheet time!

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A portion of my elite status planning spreadsheet

Where I am Today

I currently have Alaska Airlines MVP Gold, United Airlines Gold, and Virgin America Silver elite statuses. I’ve already credited a couple of trips to my Alaska Airlines account (two on American Airlines and one on Delta). Most of my confirmed flights later this year are on American Airlines or other OneWorld carriers.  Continue reading

Around the World in 14 Days (Business Class Mistake Fares, Airbnbs & a Cooking Class)

Buenas dias everyone!

I’m a bit late on this, but I wanted to let you know that we started a round-the-world trip earlier this week and will be sharing some updates along the way.

After spending the weekend with some friends in Austin, we took off for Madrid in business class on an American 787-9 – booked with Citi Thank You Points and upgraded with AA System Wide Upgrades. (Four other friends were on our same flight, but we left them behind in Premium Economy…and then they left us behind at the Madrid airport!)

AA business class on the 787 Dreamliner. Photo from aa.com

AA business class on the 787 Dreamliner. Image from aa.com

We immediately hopped on a train to Valencia to visit a friend of my partner’s, crashing at an Airbnb for two nights, and are now on our way to spend two nights at the Holiday Inn Express Barcelona City 22@. Two other members of the group got to Barcelona yesterday, so tomorrow we’re doing the same EatWith cooking class that Whitney wrote about last week. On Friday, we’ll be taking a short flight to Algeria on Air Algerie, then hopping on a Qatar business class mistake fare to Hong Kong via Doha. (Two other friends will be on the ALG-DOH flight, and we’ll meet up with the other four in Doha and fly the rest of the way together). Continue reading

How to Request Mexico Tourism Tax Refunds for Mexican Citizens, Residents & Transiting Visitors

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 390 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $20 USD.

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax

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

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Tonei’s 2016 Year in Review: A Record-Breaking Year of Travel and Reselling

Buenas tardes from Cancun! I wanted to tell you all a little bit about how my last year went. In 2016, I blew past my previous record for miles traveled, went all in on gift card reselling, moved to Mexico, and picked up a handful of credit cards and bank signup bonuses along the way.

Travel

I flew just over 197,000 miles last year, a significant increase from my previous record of 125,000 miles in 2015. The change was mostly because I did a lot more flying across oceans – my 2015 trips were entirely in the Americas, but I spent a lot more time in Europe and Asia in 2016.

Tonei's 2016 flight map, courtesy of openflights.org

Tonei’s 2016 flight map, courtesy of openflights.org

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