Credit cards writer Jason Stauffer: My 10 favorite TPG posts of 2019
Looking back at 2019, it’s clear that the miles and points world has continued to evolve. And as some deals disappear, others come along to replace them. Here’s a look at the 10 articles I found to be the most important or interesting in 2019.
Before this year, the cheapest standard round-trip award price from the continental U.S. to Hawaii was 24,000 miles and required you to be traveling from the West Coast. Southwest finally launch its flights to Hawaii this year, which means that you can use Southwest points to book potentially cheaper award flights. On top of that, you can now also use Turkish Airlines miles (a Citi ThankYou transfer partner) to book United Airlines flights from anywhere in the U.S. to Hawaii for only 15,000 miles round-trip.
In January 2019, Citi launched the Citi Rewards+® Card, a no-annual-fee credit card with an interesting set of perks. My favorite benefit of the card is the 10% points rebate you’ll get on the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year. If you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige Card, you can combine your ThankYou card accounts and transfer the points you earn with the Citi Rewards+ card to Citi’s airline partners. Here’s a hidden benefit: the Citi Rewards+ Card’s 10% rebate will also apply to those points transfers. That means you could pair your Rewards+ Card with a premium Citi card, transfer 15,000 points to Turkish Airlines for that aforementioned flight to Hawaii and get 1,500 points back.
The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Because of Delta’s variable award pricing, I don’t rely on SkyMiles when I’m planning a trip in advance. But I do keep a stash of them around because there are often excellent SkyMiles award sales. In 2019, we actually saw a deal that wasn’t on my radar at all. For a few weeks, you were able to redeem your miles toward Delta vacations for two cents each, which is double the standard redemption rate.
The Avianca LifeMiles program is a solid option for booking Star Alliance partner awards, especially after some of the shakeups to the LifeMiles program that rolled out in May 2019. While variable award pricing is typically seen as a devaluation, these changes can actually help you find even cheaper award flights through the LifeMiles program. If you want to visit Europe, Star Alliance has tons of options and Avianca won’t pass on carrier-imposed surcharges (i.e. fuel surcharges), so it’s worth looking into LifeMiles.
I’ve taken advantage of my credit card’s trip delay insurance in the past, but Freebird takes it to the next level. For $19 one-way or $34 round-trip, you can get coverage for flight delays or cancellations. Instead of reimbursing you for expenses you incur from irregular operations, Freebird will book you on the next available flight to your destination, potentially even in first class. All you need to do is book the coverage at least two days before your departure and ensure the entire itinerary is within the U.S. or Puerto Rico.
Hyatt was the last hotel program with a static award chart, but it has just announced that in March 2020 it will add peak and off-peak award prices. Hyatt has long been the most lucrative hotel reward program, but this move takes a bit of the icing off of the cake. But you’ve still got time to book at the current prices. The peak and off-peak prices will be set when rooms become available for booking and won’t change after that.
As American Airlines continues the march toward dynamic pricing, AA Economy Web Specials are worth paying attention to. Last year, we saw awards to Australia and New Zealand from 10,000 miles round-trip. That deal only lasted a few hours, but it has me excited for what I might be able to use my American Airlines miles for in 2020.
TPG contributor Brian Biros highlighted four destinations to visit before they become too touristy. This article reminded me that the best places to visit aren’t necessarily always the most popular or easiest to get to.
The TPG UK Head of Video, Jean Arnas, made an excellent video review of the new Singapore Airlines suites. It really is incredible to think that it’s possible to book this type of experience with points. Singapore Airlines only has these suites on certain routes, so check out the complete guide to the new suites if it’s a goal you want to work toward.
The United Excursionist perk isn’t a new feature of United’s program, but it is easy to forget about. I took advantage of it on a trip to Europe this year and referenced this guide to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
Featured photo by Tama2u/Shutterstock.
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