There are many choices when it comes to increasing our miles and points so we can travel more for less. Recently, however, when using my companion passes and free tickets from credit cards, my friend Carrie asked how that worked and which credit cards came with that perk. Good question! There are many credit cards that come with free bags or priority boarding. Along with those benefits, these three credit cards also provide a free (or almost free) companion ticket benefit.
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card
The Alaska Airlines credit card is one I’ve had for many years and I never miss using the Companion Fare. Essentially, this annual benefit is a free buy-one-get-one ticket in economy class. The primary traveler must pay the fare, but the companion pays just $99 plus taxes and fees. I always get more than the annual fee of $75 in value per year using this fare. I’ve used it for trips across the US and most recently to Seattle. The certificate is easy to apply to your fare and more than worth the annual fee.
The competition has heated up in August with banks, credit card companies, and airlines stepping up to the plate with some of their best sign-up offers. If you qualify for these cards, now is a great time to give them a go!
Up to 175K SPG Points
Good news on the American Express front. American Express announced significant changes to their two co-branded SPG cards this week.
The card is currently offering 75K points after spending $3K within the first three months as well as 6x points on Marriott/SPG purchases and 2x points on all other purchases. You’ll also receive a free night award every year after your card account anniversary (good for redemption up to properties going for 35K per night). Beginning in 2019, you will receive 15 elite qualifying nights for holding the card. The card comes with a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
You have a limited window to obtain this card until 8/26. AmEx normally limits the card to those applicants who have not had it before, but additional restrictions will be put in place come 8/26: Effective 8/26, welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase, The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, Marriott Rewards Credit Card from Chase, or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card from JP Morgan in the last 30 days.Continue reading →
I’m well versed in flight options from the US, but when it comes time to plan trips between different regions, I have to think about my options a little more. My boyfriend and I decided to plan a trip to El Salvador for the end of May, but I was going to Cuba right before as part of the last class for my MBA. He was able to snag great flights on Delta for only 14,500 miles roundtrip during one of their sales. Unfortunately, I was locked in to flying to Cuba with my class – which, thankfully was a cheap $90 flight that I wouldn’t have used miles for anyway. I decided it would make way more sense to fly directly from Cuba to El Salvador than to come back to the US first. As usual, I checked cash prices first. I was looking at around $300 for the one-way flight… ouch.
That’s when I turned to using miles. Flyermiler, one of my favorite tools, showed that I could book with Avianca LifeMiles for only 10,000 miles! It also showed that United would cost only 10,000 miles, but that’s not actually correct. United charges 12,500 or 17,500 miles for an economy class flight, depending on routing. Luckily for me, I had some LifeMiles, so I was able to get a killer deal on my flight to El Salvador!
Hi everyone, I am happy to introduce my friend, Vincent, the newest writer on TWG. We met through the SF Travel Hackers Meetup Group (now dormant) and we have stayed in touch over the years. Here is his first post. I hope you enjoy!
What’s it like taking American’s transcontinental A321T service in economy? It’s pretty good for domestic economy, there’s a responsive IFE, and they serve a complimentary cold meal.
A few weeks ago, I had the need to get back to the East Coast. Instead of flying my usual Southwest, I decided to work in American’s “premium” transcontinental service from SFO to JFK. I purchased the flight using my Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card to further progress on my minimum spend requirement, though I otherwise would have used my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card for its useful travel benefits. (If you’re interested in these credit cards, I very much appreciate you using my referral links!)
I’m generally not a fan of red eyes as I get terrible sleep on them, but I can’t deny their utility. To my friends which travel frequently for work – or even leisure travelers with a specific schedule in mind – I can imagine them to be a godsend as they “save” an entire day. That is, you’re flying at night and not “wasting” the day.
Note: Since American calls “economy” and “economy-with-more-legroom,” “Main Cabin” and “Main Cabin Extra” respectively, I’ll be utilizing their naming convention for this post. But you’ll know it’s coach/economy.
Flight: AA 18 Route: San Francisco (SFO) to New York City (JFK) Time: 11:30pm (Pacific) to 8:20am (Eastern) + 1 Duration: 5hr 50m Aircraft: Airbus A321 Seat: 17F (Main Cabin) Capacity: 70% Full
Good morning everyone, happy Saturday! Thanks for the comments on yesterday’s post regarding which non-5/24 Chase credit cards I should get. I think I have narrowed down my App-O-Rama (AOR) credit card list to these 7 credit cards. I plan on applying for these credit cards sometime next week. Please let me know if you agree or disagree with any of the credit cards on this list. If there are any credit cards that you think are worth applying for, please share them in the comments and I will check them out.
Based on yesterday’s post, I will apply for these 2 Chase credit cards:
Chase Marriott Business Credit Card: This is the only non-5/24 Chase business credit card and who couldn’t use more Marriott points? The current sign up bonus is 75,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 in 3 months. The $99 annual fee is waived the first year. I already have the Chase Marriott Rewards Credit Card, so the annual category 1-5 Marriott free night certificates will pair nicely with each other. I don’t plan on spending much on this credit card after meeting the minimum spend requirement. As long as I can redeem the Marriott free night certificate for more than an $99 hotel night, this is a decent credit card to hold on to for a long time. *snarky comment alert* If Marriott keeps devaluing their program, by the year 2029, there will not be any Marriott category 1-5 hotels left…
Chase Iberia Credit Card: Since you can get 1 personal and 1 business credit card from Chase on the same day, I have decided to go for this personal credit card. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 in 3 months and an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $10,000 in 12 months. The annual fee is $95. I don’t plan on booking any Iberia flights in the near future, so I won’t be able to take advantage of the 10% discount on Iberia flights. I don’t plan on spending much on this credit card after meeting the minimum spend requirement and will close the credit card when the annual fee comes due the following year.