Currencies gaining value: from expanded availability to new partners


This week brought great news on the award currency front — whether expanded award availability with an Amex transfer partner, Citi’s addition of a valuable new partner, or some juicy gossip about the future of Starroitt-Marlton Rewards, the state of miles and points looks a bit brighter as of late.

ANA offering better award availability to their own members

I love earning transferable currencies for the variety of partners to whom you can transfer. Foreign programs sometimes offer great sweet spots on their award charts. Furthermore, sometimes foreign carriers release a lot more availability to their on members than they do to partner airlines. I sometimes find that to offer great value as you’re often competing with fewer people for the same awards since many people won’t be familiar with these quirks. On Monday, Greg brought some info on one such foreign program — ANA — and how you can earn and transfer in miles and find & book that expanded award capacity.

Citi ThankYou gets more valuable and adds a way out

Speaking of those foreign programs, Citi recently upped the ante by adding a great new transfer partner. I’m excited about this one as it means there are some really excellent values to be had for award tickets between smaller markets in some pretty large regions. I anticipate more domestic travel over the next two years (taking advantage of a free lap infant within the US); while I usually fly Southwest domestically, this might be a good way to hit up some destinations that aren’t served by Southwest.

Paypal bought the Tio bill pay service and shut them down

Tio is a service similar to Plastiq. Paypal has shut them down for now, leaving some people in limbo who had processing payments. We don’t yet know whether this shut down will be permanent; see the post for more on why and when.

Rumor about new Marriott/SPG cards: 3 tiers and really good initial offer

Starroitt Reserve? MPG? Ritz-Marwood Rewards? What will we call the program that emerges — and more importantly, what is going to happen with the cards? Greg caught wind of a great rumor that I think many will wish to be true. I think it certainly sounds plausible. Does plausible equal likely? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

The Fine Print: No Class-Actions Against Banks? So What

Have you ever been part of a class action lawsuit? Did the relief of the outcome match the harm of the cause, or did you feel like you lost more than you regained? If the latter is true for you, the recent change disallowing class-actions against banks might not be so bad for you — perhaps arbitration is the answer. Alex Bachuwa makes the arguments for and against the arbitration system, and I think he has me swayed that arbitration can be as effective as class-action if done in volume and can certainly provide greater remedy to the individual if successful. Wherever you sit in this debate, it’s hard to argue with the numbers: class action disproportionately benefits the legal team.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for week in review around the web and this week’s last chance deals.

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