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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
I’m a fan of travel disrupters (like Uber) and now Norwegian Air. The scrappy carrier is driving down fares with new cheap flights to locations throughout Europe to the US. It is shaking up the airline industry and has even prompted lawsuits from jealous competitors. Just this morning I saw a sidebar ad showcasing Ft. Lauderdale to London flights for $296 one-way on Norwegian – not so bad!
It seems like United and Delta/KLM/Air France have decided to battle the Nords with some cheap flights on numerous routes to Scandinavia and beyond. TPG reader Brian gave us the heads up this afternoon about some really cheap flights to Oslo – as low as $408 total roundtrip on United from Newark.
Once I was able to get to a computer, I looked through the trusty full ITA Matrix site (a very simple to use web portal that I use on a near daily basis) and found the following options by searching using the ‘Advanced Search Options” and was able to see that there are several dates to highlighting these cheap rates.
Searching deeper, it looks like these low rates are available starting November 2014 and through March 2015.
As you can’t book directly through the ITA Matrix, I popped over to the United site and searched for a few dates and found the same availability, ranging from dates in November though March 2015 at the same rate.
Similar options heading to Oslo are available on the Delta site connecting through Paris, but the return flights that populate at first originate from Sandefjord Airport in Torp (TRF) which is located nearly two hours (!) from Oslo, so uncheck that option on the left hand side when looking at flights.
There are some other options that our friends at FlyerTalk gave up the heads up to for additional cities on cities in Scandinavia including Gotenburg, Arnberg and Helsinki that originate from LAX, and started around $561.
Maximizing Flight Bookings With Credit Cards and Portals
Earlier this year, I wrote about maximizing point accrual on flights by using the right credit cards and booking via online travel agencies via portals. The Amex Premier Rewards Gold and Business Gold Rewards Cards both offer 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and then you can transfer those American Express Membership Rewards points to any of 17 airline partners. When you hit $30,000 in spend per calendar year, you also get a 15,000 point bonus on the Premier Rewards Gold.
Delta and United have both instituted revenue requirements to retain elite status and they have waivers for those who spend $25,000 per calendar year on their cobranded cards like the United Explorer card (2 miles for each $1 spent on United tickets purchased directly from the airline), the United Club (2 miles per $1 spent on United airline tickets and 1.5 award miles per dollar spent on everything else) and Delta Amex Gold / Platinum/ Reserve cards (2x on Delta purchases plus MQM thresholds on the Platinum/Reserve cards). Note: United does not offer a spend waiver for 1k- only Silver/Gold/Platinum.
Make sure you ticket as United/Delta tickets if you want your spend to count towards elite spend qualification, though these cheap fares may not get you that far! See: Determining What Spending Counts Toward United’s Premier Qualifying Dollars to better understand the value of your miles and what makes a qualifying dollar count and the same for Delta.