January Valuations, $30 Uber Credit, Emirates Expansion at LAX & More

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Each Saturday, we round up news stories that you may have missed from the week before, including several that already appeared on The Points Guy, and some more that we haven’t covered yet. If you’re an avid TPG reader, scroll down for the new stuff. Here’s the top miles, points and travel news you may have missed this week:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the perfect card to start with in 2016.

5 Reasons Chase Sapphire Preferred Should Be Your First Card in 2016

With 2016 finally here, it’s time to gear up for another year of earning and burning, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the perfect card to get you started. 2x points on travel and dining and a killer sign-up bonus are just two reasons why this should be your first pick for the new year.

Our latest points and miles valuations include a new program.

What Are Points & Miles Worth? January Monthly Valuations

The latest installment of our valuations series is here. With the new year comes plenty of changes to rewards programs, so stay tuned as airlines, hotels and credit cards begin rolling out their new updates. For this month, we added a program into the mix and put two on notice in anticipation of the upcoming devaluations in 2016.

With 1,500 sign-up bonuses, you can spend a lot of time in first class.

This Man Has Many More Credit Cards Than You

Think you’re dedicated to the credit card game? It’s unlikely that you’ll beat Walter Cavanagh, also known as “Mr. Plastic Fantastic,” and the nearly 1,500 credit cards he keeps in his wallet. In total, Cavanagh has a credit line of $1.7 million but still manages to keep a healthy score, which is so important when applying for new travel rewards credit cards.

A new Aman in Japan is just one of 2016’s most exciting new hotels. Image courtesy of Aman Resorts.

16 Exciting Hotels Opening in 2016

New and re-branded hotels tend to be a bit less exciting than new flight routes, but each year there are some great openings worth keeping an eye on. 2016 looks to be a great year for new properties in exciting destinations ranging from New York City to the Maldives, and our list of the 16 best is certainly worth a look.

AirlineRatings.com unveiled its latest list of the world’s safest airlines.

The Safest Airlines in the World for 2016

In-flight safety seems to have been front and center in 2015 with all of the disasters and tragedies over the past couple of years, making AirlineRatings.com’s annual list of the top 20 safest airlines all the more interesting. Spoiler alert: Four US airlines made the cut this year but a foreign carrier ultimately came out out on top.

In Other News…

Get an Uber credit with Amex.

Uber Offers $30 Off Your First Ride When You Pay With Amex

New Uber users can earn $30 off their first ride with promo code UBERAMEX. The ride-sharing service typically offers a $15 credit for normal referrals — it even has offers for existing users to get a discount — so this is a good chance to stretch your first ride a bit further. To take advantage of the offer, you must pay your fare with an American Express Card, like the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card, which also earns Uber riders double points.

Emirates is improving frequency at LAX.

Emirates Expands A380 Service at LAX

Emirates slowly seems to be taking over the world of travel and connecting some of the farthest corners of the globe through its primary hub in Dubai. This week, the airline announced that it would be adding a second daily flight from Los Angeles (LAX) on its massive A380. The expansion won’t officially begin until this summer, but there are still plenty of ways to fly Emirates in the meantime.

Netflix can now be streamed from nearly every country worldwide.

Netflix Brings Its Service Global

Netflix announced this week that it would be bringing its service to more than 130 new countries around the world. While this is certainly big news for people living in previously unsupported countries, it’s also of interest to travelers around the world. Before the announcement, Americans looking to binge-watch their favorite programs abroad had to use a VPN to connect, so now it’ll now be a bit easier to stream. There are still a few notable holdouts (we’re looking at you, North Korea), but the coverage is still quite expansive.

United Introduces Complimentary Prosecco in Lounges

Over the past few months, United has been working hard to impress its flyers with the introduction of free drinks for all elites — even for passengers in coach — not to mention the switch to gourmet coffee. The latest news is the introduction of complimentary prosecco for United Club visitors starting in 2016.

Thai Airways could resume service to Los Angeles in 2016.
Thai Airways could resume service to Los Angeles in 2016.

Thai Airways Expects to Resume Los Angeles Service in late 2016 or 2017

Thai Airways is allegedly planning a service resumption to Los Angeles this year. In late 2015, the FAA announced that it lowered Thailand’s aviation safety rating to denote that the country lacks laws or regulations to comply with international aviation standards. The changes also mean that the airline is banned from opening new routes, so it’s unclear how the airline will proceed with US travel going forward.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
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  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel confidently with premium Travel Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Delay Reimbursement and more
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Balance Transfer Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 See Terms Excellent Credit