Credit cards writer Jason Stauffer: My 10 favorite TPG posts of 2019

Jan 2, 2020

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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

Fly to Hawaii for much less

Disney Aulani (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Fly to Hawaii on points and book a stay at the Disney Aulani resort. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

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.

The Citi Rewards®+ card’s 10% points rebate applies to other Citi cards

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.

Book Delta vacations for two cents per mile

A 757-200 taking off in Atlanta in 2014 (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)
(Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)

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.

LifeMiles variable pricing

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.

Freebird flight insurance

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 peak and off-peak

The Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile has rooms and suites with Eiffel Tower views. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt.)
The Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile has rooms and suites with Eiffel Tower views. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt.)

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.

5,000 AA miles to Australia and New Zealand

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.

Places to see before they become touristy

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.

Singapore Airlines’ new suites – video review

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

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.

United Excursionist Perk

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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.