Amazing airfare deals and new rewards credit cards. November 2016 Month in Review

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…

Travel News

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.

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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.

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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!

Credit Cards

Manufacture Spend / Meet Minimum Spend Requirements

Miles, Points, and Travel

Miscellaneous Other

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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

All of the above offers and many more can be found on our Best Offers Page.

More Deals worth checking out

Bonus Points:

Huge shopping savings:

Travel deals:

Miscellaneous:

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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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. Greg, You say:

    “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.”

    However, many folks are not knowing that: “two American credit cards are accepted in Cuba: Stonegate Bank and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico.”

    Thus the Avianca cards going nationwide may very well be the perfect answer for someone wanting to be able to (barely) use a credit card when traveling to Cuba, especially Havana.

    Much more good info in this great, (and sometimes updating) Q & A Article from the Tampa Times: http://www.tbo.com/news/cuba/traveling-to-cuba-this-qa-has-info-on-visas-credit-cards-hotels-and-how-not-to-run-afoul-of-us-law-20161021/

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