June 12, 2014
Distance based mileage earnings live on
The big news this week was United’s announcement that mile-earnings from flying will change from a distance-based to a revenue-based scheme as of March 1 2015. The details are virtually identical to Delta’s changes that will take place as of January 1 2015 (see “Am I the only one happy about Delta’s announced program changes?”). Basically, instead of earning miles based on how far you fly, you will earn miles based on how much you spend. While many customers are unhappy with these changes, I think it makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. It seems likely that American Airlines will also switch to revenue based earnings once they take care of this little merger thing they’re doing with US Airways.
If you can’t stand the thought of giving up on earning miles based on how far you fly, read this post from Mommy Points: How to Still Earn Miles Based on Distance Flown for Your United Flights: Other Star Alliance Partner Options. Or, consider getting a Citi Prestige card. I believe it to be the one and only credit card that offers distance based rewards. When you buy airline tickets with the card, you earn Citi Flight Points based on the distance flown. Of course, to use those flight points, they have to be matched 1 to 1 to ThankYou points earned for base spend, so it is really a hybrid distance and spend based program. Still, I find it fascinating that a credit card is one of the last US based programs to offer points based on distance flown!
Wells Fargo 5%
Wells Fargo has an ongoing credit card promotion in which new cardholders earn 5% cash back (or 5X points, depending on the card) at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores for the first six months of card membership. Some people, though, are finding that they are not getting 5X for these purchases. Apparently, if you have another open Wells Fargo card or even a closed card that still has a balance when you apply for the 5X offer, you will get the card, but without the 5X offer attached. The Miles Professor has details here: Wells Fargo 5% Cash Back Card: Who Should NOT Get It.
For more about 5X earning opportunities, please see: “Playing 5X everywhere Whack a Mole”.
Wacky Southwest point expiration policy
According to Frugal Travel Lawyer, Southwest Airlines points can not be used to book a flight that takes place after the points expire (even if you try to book the flight before the points expire). Frugal Travel lawyer explains the details and an easy workaround here.
Gift card woes
While there are many ways to earn points and cash back by buying and liquidating gift cards, things can and do go wrong. Here are a couple of examples:
- Milenomics reports: Frauded! US Bank Mastercard Gift Cards Hacked and Drained
- The Miles Professor reports: Walmart Lesson: Always Check Your Visa Debit Cards After The Fact
Safeway Triple Dip
If you’re still interested in gift cards despite the above posts, consider heading over to Safeway to triple dip with: 1) the Amex grocery Sync offer (if you’re one of the lucky ones to get targeted); 2) the Safeway $10 off dads & grads gift card offer; and 3) Safeway’s Gas Reward 4X promo. Points & Pixie Dust has the details here.