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What Are Points and Miles Worth? July Monthly Valuations

July 22, 2014

One of the questions I’m asked most often is “how much is a point or mile worth?” That question varies from person to person and depends on how well you can maximize a particular currency for your needs. Still, some points are worth more than others. To give readers – both old and new – some context, I’ve included […]

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Flight Review: Cathay Pacific Economy BKK-HKG

July 22, 2014

During his recent round-the-world trip, TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen took a few regional flights within Asia. Here’s how he scored a good-value award on Cathay Pacific, and his review of the service in economy from Bangkok to Hong Kong. One of the loose ends in my big itinerary traveling around the world was how to […]

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Avianca Lifemiles Program Changes & Share Miles Last Day

July 21, 2014

Sometimes I hate getting emails from airlines. While some contain information on bonus promos, others are like the one that Lifemiles, the mileage program of Star Alliance carrier Avianca, sent out to members yesterday announcing sweeping changes to its award chart. Here’s what the email said: “To maintain a reasonable relation between the miles we […]

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Ups Auto Coverage, Nixes Dividend

July 21, 2014

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the top all-around travel credit cards- offering both valuable earning capability (2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining) and strong redemption options with 11, 1:1 transfer partners and 1.25 cents per point when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards. Benefit Changes This weekend, Chase made […]

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Do You Earn 2x Points for Buying Miles from United?

July 20, 2014

I often purchase airline miles, especially when they’re offered at a good rate during a promotion. I never purchase them from the airline kiosk, because those rates can be up to $0.05 per mile, which is highway robbery. Usually when airlines do run specials, they’re processed through a third party called Points.com. The purchase isn’t billed […]

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Best Travel Credit Card Offers for July 2014

July 18, 2014

Update:  As of July 20, 2014, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card no longer offers the 7% annual points dividend. The travel credit card marketplace is an ever-shifting landscape. Offers come, offers go. Bonuses rise, bonuses fall. It pays (literally) to stay on top of the latest news to make sure you get in on the […]

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Rental Cars For Family Travel

July 18, 2014

Today, TPG Contributor Jason Steele looks at strategies for renting cars that can fit the whole family without breaking the budget. When I travel by myself, I have a simple formula for choosing which size rental car to reserve: I pick the smallest and least expensive car available. Rental car agencies rarely stock sub-compact cars, […]

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Online Travel Agency Loyalty Programs – the Basics

July 17, 2014

Lately, there have been quite a few changes in the world of online travel agencies (OTAs), including the launch of Expedia + Rewards, a new credit card from Orbitz, and the end of Chase Ultimate Rewards’ online shopping portal bonuses at a number of sites like Travelocity and Priceline. With all that in mind, I thought […]

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Hotels.com and Sapphire Preferred UR Portal = Power Combo

July 15, 2014

Update:  As of July 20, 2014, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card no longer offers the 7% annual points dividend. View the current sign up offer here. In my opinion, hotel loyalty programs have lost some luster over the past couple of years, with promotions getting weaker and most programs devaluing- sometimes significantly (ah, hem Hilton). […]

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Maximizing Points and Miles on Summer Road Trips

July 14, 2014

Summer is in full swing, and that means Americans are on the move. According to surveys by both Orbitz and Trip Advisor, nearly 90% of Americans plan to take a summer vacation this year, hardly surprising given the Arctic conditions that had a death grip on much of the country this winter. Over 40% traveled […]

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Strategies for Minimizing the TSA Fee Hike

July 14, 2014

Today, TPG contributor Jason Steele looks at ways to mitigate the increased TSA security fees set to begin next week. As TPG reported recently, the TSA will soon be raising its fees, making airfare more expensive. The current fee is $2.50 per leg, with a cap of $5 per one-way trip or $10 per round trip. Beginning […]

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What’s the Best Way to Redeem Ultimate Rewards for Travel?

July 13, 2014

This past week, TPG reader Hareesh tweeted me to ask: “@thepointsguy Is it better to redeem Ultimate Rewards directly through the Chase portal, or should you transfer points to a partner and then redeem?” When you redeem Ultimate Rewards (earned from Chase credit cards like the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold Ink Plus, Chase Freedom, and Sapphire) through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, your points […]

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Which Credit Card is Best for Large Business Expenditures?

July 13, 2014

TPG reader Mark sent me a question on Facebook: “I’m a business owner and charge between $100,000-$200,000 per month. I’ve been using the Citi AAdvantage & Executive Mastercard, but they don’t have high enough limits. Any suggestions?” As a business owner, it’s awesome to be able to put all of your business expenses on a points earning credit […]

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Should I Use the Delta Amex to Get Silver Elite Status?

July 13, 2014

TPG reader Joe emailed me to ask: “My new husband and I have both the Platinum Delta Amex and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (both in my name with him as an authorized user). We currently don’t have status with any airline, but primarily fly Delta from Kansas City, and have been working towards our $50,000 spend […]

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Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall Drops Travelocity and More

July 10, 2014

Online shopping portals are a no-brainer. Never, ever shop online by directly going to a retailer (whether that be Neiman Marcus or American Airlines). Always go through a portal so you get extra miles or cash back. American Express shut their earning portal down last year, but luckily Chase has a pretty generous portal (Ultimaterewards.com […]

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Expedia Launches Expedia+ Rewards

July 10, 2014

Expedia has had a rewards program for a few years now, where members can earn up to 2 points per dollar on flights, hotels, activities and vacation packages. These points can then be redeemed for travel with no blackout dates, or can be used to bid on special redemption offers. This week Expedia announced that they […]

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Best Mileage Transfer Partners For Awards To Japan

July 7, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele writes today about how to maximize your award redemptions to get to one of our favorite Asian countries- Japan.  Japan is a popular tourist destination, and award travel there can be a great use of frequent flier miles. Flights to Japan from North America travel much farther than most flights to Europe, […]

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Which Credit Cards Are Best for Free Hotel Stays in Europe?

July 6, 2014

I love Europe (I was in London last weekend, and I’m actually filming this week’s reader questions in beautiful Madrid, Spain), and I thought it was topical that TPG reader Anthony tweeted me to ask: “What are your thoughts on the best credit cards for free hotel stays in Europe?” Hotels can be expensive in […]

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Chase Sapphire Preferred First Friday + Dining Program Bonus

July 4, 2014

For those of you who are opting out of the 4th of July BBQ, a reminder that this is the first Friday of the month, which means you can earn 3x points on dining purchases with the Chase Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred cards. And thanks to the annual 7% points dividend on the Sapphire Preferred, earning 3x points really means earning 3.21x points per […]

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Maximizing Hyatt Gold Passport for Family Travel

July 2, 2014

TPG Contributor Jason Steele continues his series on family travel options in major hotel loyalty programs. Up this week: Hyatt Gold Passport. Previously, we looked at family friendly hotel options within the Starwood brands, and readers commented that they wanted to compare that perspective to other brands. For starters, we’ll look at the Hyatt Gold Passport program […]

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Southwest Begins Operating International Flights Today

July 1, 2014

I used to fly Southwest a lot in college between Pittsburgh (where I went to school) and Philadelphia (home). It was pretty awesome – every 8 roundtrips gave me a free flight, which meant affordable visits to Las Vegas or wherever my alma mater (The University of Pittsburgh) was competing in a (admittedly lame) bowl game. […]

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Best Chase and Amex Transfer Partners for Travel to Israel

June 30, 2014

Recently, we took an exhaustive look at the best Starwood Ultimate Rewards airline mileage transfer partners for award trips to Israel. Today I want to look at the best options for using American Express Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points. American Express Membership Rewards This program offers a number of airline transfer partners […]

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Can You Transfer Chase Freedom Points to Marriott?

June 29, 2014

This week TPG reader Carli tweeted: “@thepointsguy is there any way to transfer chase freedom points to Marriott Rewards without having a chase premium card?” Unfortunately the answer to Carli’s question is no. In order to transfer points earned from the Chase Freedom Visa, you need to also have a premium Chase card like the Sapphired Preferred, Ink Bold […]

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Do I Have to Cancel a Card Before Applying a Second Time?

June 29, 2014

TPG Reader Christopher emailed me to ask: “if I apply for the same card multiple times (like you did with the Citi AA) do I have to cancel the existing card first?” The short answer is “maybe”. Some card issuers are more lenient than others and it even depends which specific product you’re trying to get. The Citi Executive AAdvantage […]

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