Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Best Cards for Travel Purchases, New Flights to Cuba, In-Flight Phone Calls & More

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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 card is a solid choice for your travel purchases in 2016.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a solid choice for your travel purchases in 2016.

6 Best Cards for Your 2016 Travel Purchases

Travel purchases like plane tickets and hotel stays earn you bonus points with cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card. If you want to maximize your travel spending this year, we recommend having at least one of these options in your wallet.

Scheduled flights to Cuba can begin operating soon.
Scheduled flights to Cuba can begin operating soon.

US Airlines Can Now Operate Flights from the US to Cuba

In recent months, the US and Cuba have worked together to help ease more than 50 years of travel and commerce restrictions between the two countries. This week, the US Department of Transportation announced that American carriers will soon begin operating regularly scheduled flights to the island nation.

These tips could help you get an empty middle seat on your next flight.
These tips could help you get an empty middle seat on your next flight.

8 Ways to Get Other Passengers to Pass You By on Southwest

One perk of flying on Southwest Airlines is the prospect of snagging that elusive vacant middle seat. While you’re usually at the mercy of pure chance for securing a bit of extra space, these tongue-in-cheek tips could help “encourage” your fellow passengers to continue moving down the aisle on your next flight.

Take a peek inside the world's smallest airport — without leaving your computer.
Take a peek inside the world’s smallest airport — without leaving your computer.

Google Street View Goes Inside the World’s Smallest Airport

You probably won’t be flying out of this airport anytime soon — Miniatur Wunderland’s Knuffingen Airport, located in Hamburg, Germany, is a model-sized airport complete with planes, passengers and more. Google Street View takes a look at the airport from the ground up.

Check out some of Team TPG's favorite amenity kits.
Check out some of Team TPG’s favorite amenity kits.

Team TPG’s Favorite Business- and First-Class Amenity Kits

Fancy amenity kits are one of the best perks when you’re flying in a premium cabin — some airlines offer luxury products ranging from Rimowa on Lufthansa to newly unveiled Cole Haan amenity kits on American Airlines.

A look at the new AA flagship lounges. Image courtesy of AA.
A look at the new AA flagship lounges. Image courtesy of AA.

American Airlines To Open New Flagship Lounges in Three Cities

AA is expected to open new flagship lounges in Dallas, Miami and Philadelphia for first class passengers and Executive Platinum members on international itineraries. The airline’s also planning to renovate its existing lounges at JFK, LAX and Chicago (O’Hare).

In Other News…

United Airlines is increasing day pass prices at its lounges.
United Airlines is increasing day pass prices at its lounges.

United Airlines Raises Club Access Prices to $59 Per Day

United is bumping up the cost of its lounge day passes from $50 to $59 per day. While that seem like a bit too much to pay for a single lounge pass, cards like the United MileagePlus Explorer include two lounge passes per year with the $95 annual fee, and that perk becomes even more valuable with United’s latest rate hike.

Swiss will introduce phone calls its 777 flights.
Swiss Air Lines will introduce phone calls on its 777 flights.

Swiss Air Lines to Test In-Flight Phone Calls on New 777s

Swiss Air Lines will reportedly introduce a service to allow customers to make phone calls on select flights. Of course with the Wi-Fi available on flights today, passengers can easily make calls (although this isn’t always allowed), but Swiss’ option might be designated for phone service and separate from current Wi-Fi calling options like Skype.

United updated its award search feature.
United Airlines has updated its award search feature.

United Adds Nonstop Options to Award Searches

United’s website update has been a persistent problem for travelers looking to book award tickets — to the point that work arounds to reach the old website were becoming necessary. The airline recently updated its system to include the option to search for nonstop service.

United Airlines plane.
United Airlines will be adding more Dreamliner flights this spring.

United Will Add the Dreamliner to Flights Between San Francisco and London

United will fly its Dreamliner between San Francisco (SFO) and London (LHR) later this spring. At present, the airline operates these routes on its 747 — with this change, United will break the service into two flights, including one on the Dreamliner and the other on a 777.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward 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 worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit