You like ’em, I like ’em, we all like ’em: Big balances of points that we can leverage to get us where we want to go – however we want to get there. This week at Frequent Miler, we gave you some ways to build up those balances and added a little inspiration about how to spend ’em if you’ve got ’em. Read on for the recap of this week at Frequent Miler.
In recent weeks, we’ve discussed some of the great enhancements that have been made to American Express Membership Rewards. There is a singular reason why Amex has had to step up its game with those enhancements: Chase Ultimate Rewards. Chase has everything you could want in a transferable currency: 1) A plethora of useful airline transfer partners; 2) Both high-quality and wide-footprint hotel partners in Hyatt, Marriott, and IHG; 3) The ability to redeem your points for good value towards travel and a wide range of experiences. You could literally get an entire vacation on Ultimate Rewards points: flight, rental car, hotel, ghost tour — the whole shebang. But you need points to do that. In this post, we lay out how you can amass a wealth of UR points so that you can take an even better vacation than you deserve. And I think you deserve a pretty nice vacation, don’t you?
Have you already stockpiled your points? Are they burning a hole in your pocket? There’s only one thing I like more than earning a lot of points: spending them. One of my favorite things about transferable points is that they open up destinations and hotels that we may not have considered otherwise. I sometimes find myself just looking at a map or award chart or hotel category to see where my points can take me. Here, I share tidbits of a couple of trips/uses I’ve enjoyed with Ultimate Rewards. What are some of your favorite Ultimate Rewards memories?
Sometimes, we just don’t have the points balance to get where we want to go. Every year, the US Travel Association gives us a chance to buy our way in at a discount. Greg gives you the quick lowdown on the first two weeks of this year’s US Travel Association Daily Getaways. Not every deal here is an amazing value — but some of them can save you some money depending on your intended use. For example, a couple of years ago I bought a bunch of IHG points for friends planning a bachelorette party. It was an easy way to grab a couple hundred thousand points that bought multiple rooms for a weekend in New York City. If only I had thought to buy some Wyndham points last year!
No question that it’s been a rough couple of weeks to be an airline. Delta had a massive meltdown last week, causing havoc for many travelers. Greg has written in the past about how the best miles strategy might be to hoard points. And in situations like this, you can’t argue with the brilliance of that strategy. Greg tells us how he was able to help a friend get to where she needed to be….even if it was on The Airline Who Should Not Be Named. Hey, this happened before that — go easy on him.
With Amex applying pressure and so many great ways to amass Ultimate Rewards, I know exactly what question has been burning in the back of your mind: Where is US Bank in all this? Oh, wait…that question wasn’t on your mind? That must be because they have no army of transfer partners, no arsenal of cards earning points in a single ecosystem, and a penchant for pulling from oddball CRAs. No matter: they’ve hired a hit man and set their sights high. Can the US Bank Altitude rise to take out the king of of the miles and points kingdom? Read this to see if this card has what it takes to be the Sapphire Reserve Slayer. I shared my opinion. What’s yours?
Do you have high school memories of wasting inordinate amounts of time memorizing complex math formulas because your teacher thought you might need to know them by heart someday? Welcome to the 21st century: you don’t need to memorize that which you can easily look up for reference. The good news? That means you don’t even have to try to remember the various Membership Rewards transfer partners because we’ve created a resource page listing them – along with the transfer ratios. In fact, we’ve even included some unexpected indirect transfers that you might not have previously considered. Check out our charts.
Inspired by our new resource page, we take a look at a couple of interesting redemptions with just one of the many great Membership Rewards transfer partners from our charts: Etihad Guest. Etihad has a lot of interesting partners of their own — this is not a complete look at their program, but rather an hors d’oeuvre to whet your appetite.
Move over, Matlock (link for the millennials), we don’t need any representation here. Attorney Alex Bachuwa runs down the basics of filing a small claims court case, the common questions you may have, and what you need to know about the tools you can use to simplify the process.
You know those Ultimate Rewards that we talked about amassing and spending? The big bummer in that realm has been the inability to get more sign-up bonuses on those cards if you’ve opened up 5 or more new accounts in the past 24 months. I don’t know exactly how many new accounts Greg has opened, but the man went to Necker Island — he might be over 5/24 in Virgin Atlantic cards alone. What could he possibly be thinking in applying for an Ultimate Rewards card? And what is he talking about with 100K — I thought those bonuses ended?!? Read on to find out how, why, and what you need to know to do the same.
That’s it for our key posts this week at Frequent Miler — but keep your eyes peeled for this week’s news you can use around the web and your weekly last chance deals.