Unlike October, November was fairly quiet in the points & miles world. Still, we saw some amazing airfare deals, new credit cards from Banco Popular, and more…
November was notable for the appearance of $400-ish round trip flights to Europe (posted here and here, for example). These weren’t limited to discount airlines such as Norwegian Air or Wow Air. AA, Delta, United, and many other carriers joined in the fare war fun. This trend towards bargain international flights has effectively reduced the value of airline miles compared to cash or pay-with-points programs. That’s partly why I think it is so significant that Chase and Amex have stepped up their options for pay-with-points: the Sapphire Reserve offers up to 1.5 cents per point value, and the Amex Business Platinum offers up to 2 cents per point value.
Credit Card News
Avianca rolled out two new credit cards: Avianca Vida Visa and Avianca Vuela Visa. The first offers 20,000 LifeMiles after first purchase, and the latter offers 60,000 LifeMiles after first purchase as long as you apply promo code AVSPWE when applying. LifeMiles can be used to book award flights on any Star Alliance airline (United, Lufthansa, Singapore, etc.) with no fuel surcharges. Unfortunately, their award booking website is poor, and I’ve heard horror stories from those who’ve tried to book or change awards over the phone. Still, these offers are worth considering given that they have no minimum spend requirements, and they’re issued by Banco Popular (which may be a good thing for those who have already signed up for all of the popular cards from Chase, Amex, and Citi). Banco Popular is based in Puerto Rico. They offer some interesting credit cards (found here), such as the AAdvantage Visa Infinite card which offers 1.5 miles per dollar and Priority Pass airline lounge membership for $195 per year. Unfortunately, most of their cards are available only to Puerto Rico residents. It will be interesting to see if their new Avianca cards, which are available nationwide, will open up other Banco Popular cards to a larger US audience.
Bank of America increased the signup bonus on their no-fee Merrill+ Visa Signature card to 50,000 points after $3K spend. Flights up to $500 can be purchased with 25,000 points, so this bonus is worth up to $1,000 in flights! I can’t remember ever seeing a no-fee card with this big of a bonus before. I’m definitely considering this card plus a few other BOA cards for my next App-No-Rama.
Loyalty Program News
Following up on last month’s announcement of Hyatt’s new World of Hyatt program to be introduced in March 2017, I wrote up “5 things I love about the World of Hyatt,” and “5 things I hate about World of Hyatt.”
Alaska Airlines changed their rules for first class upgrades. Basically, they now allow upgrades on award tickets, and they now include the fare class (ticket price) in determining your upgrade priority. Travel Codex has the full scoop here.
Best of Frequent Miler
Don’t miss these Frequent Miler posts from November 2016!
- Your Platinum Card arrived. Here’s what to do next… – What to do when your Platinum card arrives to ensure you are taking full advantage of its benefits.
- Your Sapphire Reserve Card arrived. Here’s what to do next… – How to maximize and activate the benefits of Chase’s new premium travel rewards card.
Manufacture Spend / Meet Minimum Spend Requirements
- Increase credit card spend (and get most of it back). What still works November 2016? – Which methods of increasing spend still exist and which ones have gone away.
Miles, Points, and Travel
- A guide to credit card point earning. Should you focus on a single program? – A detailed overview of earning rewards with credit cards including how simple or complicated your strategy should be.
- You now have Marriott elite status. Here’s what to do next… – Thanks to the new Marriott SPG merger, many people suddenly have Marriott elite status. Here is how to maximize it.
- Pushing the envelope on earning Delta elite status through spend – Can you really earn top tier status through spend? Can you take it ever further?
- Is Necker Island really worth 1.2 million miles? – This is the final full review of my week on Necker Island. How great was it?
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Cracking the Bulk Fare Code! How to Tell When a Flight is a Bulk Fare – Bulk fares change upgrade and mileage earning rules so it pays to know what type of fare your bank points are getting you.
- The Fine Print: The Successful Fight Against A Citi Shutdown – Fighting Citi to win back points and collect damages for accounts which were shut down without notice.
- Free gifts instead of free travel – Taking advantage of the Amex Membership Rewards transfer bonus to Plenti by saving big on gifts and other purchases at Macy’s.
With many loyalty programs, points expire after some period of account inactivity (typically anywhere from 18 months to 3 years). In most of these situations, you can reset the clock simply by earning or redeeming points. Shopping through an airline portal in order to earn 1 mile for an iTunes song purchase, for example, is one way to reset the clock. Or, redeem miles for something small: donate some points to charity, buy a magazine subscription, or redeem points for a $5 gift card. Find more details here: How to Keep Points from Expiring.
Best current credit card offers
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: 100K after $4K spend
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: 80K after $5K spend ($95 annual fee waived if you sign up in branch)
- Amex Business Platinum: 100K: 50K after $5K spend + 50K after additional $10K spend in 3 months.
- Merrill+: 50K after $3K spend
All of the above offers and many more can be found on our Best Offers Page.
More Deals worth checking out
- Earn 2X Rewards for Shopping Small with Amex – No reason not to enroll!
Huge shopping savings:
- Macy’s Amex Offer: $15 off $100+
- Sears.com Amex Offer: $10 off $50+
- 10% Off Target Gift Cards for 1 Day Only (December 4th) + Other Holiday Savings Announced
- 50% Transfer Bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to Plenti
- 4 Months of Free oneworld Ruby Status (Works with AA) from AirBerlin
- National Car Rental: One Free Day After 2 Qualifying Rentals & More Ways to Earn (through January 31)
- IHG Point Breaks List Released: Hotels for 5K Points Per Night Through January 31, 2017
- Ebates Refer-A-Friend: Earn $75 For Only 3 Referrals!
- Buy miles, get a date (76 miles per dollar) – Earn 76 miles per dollar when signing up for Match.com
About Month In Review
Once per month we publish a round up of miles and points related news, highlights of our best posts of the month, and a list of the best ongoing deals. For those who subscribe to our monthly newsletter, this is it. Those who subscribe weekly will find this post listed in the Week in Review section. Those who subscribe to the daily or instant newsletter will receive this post directly, just like any other.
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