Saturday Recap: Chase Spend Bonuses, BMI and Avios Transfers, American, Delta and US Airways Miles Bonuses

by on July 7, 2012 · 13 comments

in American, bmi, British Airways, Chase, Delta, US Airways

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Here’s a quick recap of the interesting points and miles news from the week.

Freedom Card Third Quarter Bonus Categories
July 1 marked the start of Quarter 3 of 2012, and with it, the 5 points per $1 up to $1,500 spending bonus categories on the Chase Freedom card changed over. This quarter the bonus spend categories will be restaurants and gas stations (perfect for summer road trips). To qualify for the bonuses, you must register your card by September 14, 2012.

Time to activate your Chase Freedom card for the third quarter spending bonuses.

If you just have the Freedom card, those points are just good toward cash back, but remember, if you also have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold with Ultimate Reward card those Ultimate Reward points can be transferred to United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club and Amtrak. I personally find United miles to be the most valuable transfer partner since their award thresholds are pretty low, they have generous routing rules and fees are dirt cheap. Earning 5 United miles for every dollar spent is a pretty amazing deal for a card that has no annual fee. 

Plus, you can also maximize Freedom if you have a Chase checking account because they give a 10% bonus and 10 point per transaction bonus. That makes earning on most purchases more lucrative when using the Freedom over any other card. For more info on the Chase Exclusives/Checking program, check out this post.

Earn bonus miles when you visit the great white north on American this summer.

Earn Up To 25,000 Bonus American Miles From Chicago to Helsinki
Ever since learning about Finnair’s saunas at the Helsinki airport, I’ve had a hankering to head north to the land of dogsleds and reindeer to try them out. American this week announced a bonus that makes a trip to Finland even more attractive. Travelers can earn up to 25,000 bonus miles when flying non-stop roundtrip between Chicago and Helsinki between now and September 30, 2012. Travelers in business class (J, D, R, I fares) earn 25,000 bonus miles, full-fare economy tickets (Y, B, H) earn 20,000 bonus miles, and economy tickets (K, L, M) earn 15,000–still a decent haul. Just be sure to register for the promotion and use the code AAHEL when booking. Downside: bonus miles don’t count toward elite status.

Transfer BMI Miles to British Airways Avios
Though it might not affect too many US flyers, this was still an interesting development for the British Airways Avios program this week, which is that you can now combine your BMI Diamond Club miles to British Airways Avios points. To do so, simply log into your BA Executive Club account, go to Manage My Account, then click on Combine Avios.

You can now transfer British Airways Avios to BMI Diamond miles and vice versa.

BMI isn’t part of an alliance, but it does have some interesting airline partners that BA does not, like Jet Airways and Qatar, as well as Virgin Atlantic, so check before you transfer miles to make sure the BA award you want is available, otherwise you might be better off leaving your BMI miles alone.

Delta Offers Status Match Until February 2014
If you’re thinking of switching your allegiance to an airline, but don’t want to have to go through the rigamarole of requalifying for elite status, status matching can be a quick, easy, effective way to get all the perks and benefits of elite status even as you qualify with a new airline. In its bid to assert dominance over the US market, Delta has made it pretty easy to status match with them from another airline, and has recently extended its status benefits for those who do a status match starting July 1 until February 2014, meaning, if you ask for a status match and qualify both for the match and complete the segments necessary, you could have Delta elite benefits for another 18 months. You can find all the details on qualifying for various elite levels through a status match here.

Delta 50% Bonus on Transferred Miles
Last month I reported on a current bonus Delta is offering a 50% bonus on mileage purchases that was initially available until June 30, but which has been extended through July 31, 2012. Apparently they didn’t sell enough miles in the original promo period!

It’s no wonder, either. As usual, it rarely makes sense, financially speaking, to purchase miles, even with bonuses of up to 100% like the recent US Airways promo, unless you’re trying to top up your account to obtain a specific award.

A quick look at the Terms and Conditions says that this offer is only open to recipients of the original email from Delta, though if any readers who did not get the email were able to score the bonus, tell me about it in the comments below.

The bonus does not apply to miles purchased under the SkyMiles Gift Miles program or miles transferred under the SkyMiles Transfer Miles program, so in other words, you have to be purchasing these miles for your own account. Also, if you’re thinking about doing this, your account must have been established for at least 10 days, so be sure to get one by July 21.

You can buy up to 60,000 total (90,000 with bonus), which is also your annual max of purchased miles from Delta. Ordinarily, Delta SkyMiles cost 3.5 cents each plus a 7.5% tax. With this promo, you’d be paying that same amount of $75.25 for a total of 3,000 miles, so your cost per mile would be 2.5 cents, saving you one cent per mile. That ratio holds true no matter how many miles you purchase with this bonus.

Unfortunately, I suspect the fact that Delta extended the bonus might mean there won’t be better or more lucrative purchase or transfer promos from Delta in the near future, which is too bad, so if you just need to top up points, I’d recommend transferring American Express points instantly instead.

US Airways 50% Miles Transfer Bonus
US Airways is also offering a bonus of up to 50% on transferred miles good until July 31, 2012, but since it comes so close behind the recently ended 100% bonus on purchased US Airways miles, it’s a bit less impressive even than it would have been otherwise.

Miles : Bonus
1,000-9,000 miles : 10%
10,000-19,000 miles: 20%
20,000-29,000 miles: 30%
30,000-39,000 miles: 40%
40,000-50,000 miles: 50%

Dividend members who transfer miles can earn up to 50% bonuses.

Because of the limited terms of this promotion – the mileage cap, the fact that you can only get a bonus on a single transfer – all mean that it’s going to be much harder to squeeze real value out of any transfers. But if you were thinking of transferring some miles anyway so a friend or family member could reach an award-ticket threshold, then you might as well take advantage of this bonus to help them score a few extra miles into the bargain at the same price you can only take advantage of this on a single share either as donor or recipient, and the figures look a bit dismal as it costs 1 cent a mile to share plus a $30 processing fee per transaction (and a 7.5% tax for Canadian residents).

Because of the limited terms of this promotion – the mileage cap, the fact that you can only get a bonus on a single transfer – all mean that it’s going to be much harder to squeeze real value out of any transfers. But if you were thinking of transferring some miles anyway so a friend or family member could reach an award-ticket threshold, then you might as well take advantage of this bonus to help them score a few extra miles into the bargain at the same price.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Jared B

    Do you need to activate to get the 5% bonus for the Ink Bold? If you do need to activate, is there a link for that?

  • thepointsguy

    No need to activate since the 5x is all year long.. -5x points on wireless/telecommunications services (excluding equipment such as phones and fax machines), cable and satellite television and radio services, office supply stores and wholesale distributors of office supplies.

  • PJ

    tips on Chase 5 % rebate on gas :
    I am visiting CA from NJ: I wonder why my daughter never used well much cheaper ARCO AM PM until I gave her the BP Gas cards I bought in NJ . Many people still think ARCO takes Cash and DEbit cards only..WRONG !! same price for cash and credit and 30 Cents surcharge on PIN based Debit cards. In case you can not use up the $1500 allowance buy up GAS gift cards AT GAS STATIONS you normally fet refills and use in the next quarter and beyond. Discover card has 5 % rebate on gas as well.. SImply put, with a bit better planning, you can get gas 5 % off Cash price(almost) ALL years around . The same on Groceries.

  • AKold

    I’m an Californian and you just described how I maxed out the $1500 on 2 Freedoms last month … ARCO gift cards at the local grocery store.

    All that grocery-store shopping earned me loads of fuel points where I get 20¢ off per gallon at Shell stations, so I’m saving the ARCO cards for later and using my Freedom this quarter at Shell (since it’s cheaper than ARCO).

  • Dokny

    You imply the the ink bold card is also eligible. I tried to register mine for the bonus and it would not allow me to FYI.

  • Joel

    When doing an elite status match, do you lose your elite status from the previous airline?

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    Nope, you keep your original status as well!

  • TF

    Both Gary and Ben reported that the Avios transfer could only be done one-way from BMI to BA as of earlier this week. Did you actually verify they’ve opened up the reverse option?

  • thepointsguy

    The 5x category bonuses I discuss in the post are just for the Freedom card. In the comments below, I responded just about the Ink Bold’s 5x categories which are good all the time. The two are not the same.

  • thepointsguy

    Yes, just to clarify, it is one way from bmi to Avios, not the other way around.

  • Boromisa

    Aren’t status matches usually roughly 18 months after July 1? This is why is usually pays to wait til then to do it. If you matched June 30 or earlier, the match would only be valid til Feb 2013

  • Jmever

    It appears Finnair has closed the Spa at Helsinki Airport. I to was looking forward to a trip to the Spa in September on my way from Madrid to New Delhi with a connection in Helsinki. Now I will have to just settle for the VIA Business Class lounge. Maybe some Reindeer steak with some Finlander Vodka.

  • Tim

    Please note that although you can do BMI diamond club to BA/Iberia/Avios you cannot do it teh otherway round. SO you cannot spend BA EC Avios with Virgin.

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