Hacking the system: Real-time rewards, Avios, and more


This week was all about hacking the system: from US Bank’s Real-time mobile rewards to the opportunities in Iberia’s Avios redemptions, we’ve discussed a number of sweet spots this week. Read on for the recap in this Frequent Miler Week in Review.

My bumbling experiments with US Bank’s Real-Time Mobile Rewards

US Bank’s Real-Time Mobile Rewards has the potential to be a total game-changer in cash-based points redemptions. Being able to book through channels other than the bank’s portal should mean a lot of advantages — coupons, loyalty points, portals, etc — all to be stacked with 1.5 cents per point. But it’s not necessarily as simple as it sounds — see this post for Greg’s experiments to find out whether or not it works as described and whether or not the stated rules really apply.

From 11K RT on American: A sweet spot for North American flight redemptions

Sometimes, good opportunities are hiding in plain sight. Iberia has a great chart for short itineraries on American Airlines — the best part of which is that “short” is defined by cumulative distance. It makes for some great short-to-medium length sweet spots, so long as you can stomach Iberia’s no-refunds policy for non-Iberia awards. This is mostly useful for last-minute trips, but there are some excellent values to be had for travel within the US and to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America depending on your departure point.

Searching for business class sweet-spots in Iberia’s OneWorld award chart

Iberia’s chart is hackable – especially if you’re willing to fly a segment in economy class. For those of us who live near an airport without direct connections to Europe, awards can actually be cheaper than if they were direct flights. With a little effort, this could make for a decent savings on transatlantic business class if you were planning to have to connect anyway. See the post for more details.

Getting the best rate guaranteed

A couple of years ago, with just a little bit of time and effort, it was often possible to pick up a free night with a Best Rate Guarantee claim. These days, you won’t make out quite that well, but every major chain still has some sort of guarantee in place. This post links through to a quick-reference guide we created to compare the guarantees at a glance, along with links to claim forms and full terms.

Hacking Avios

Rounding out our coverage of Iberia Avios this week, Greg put together a heck of a spreadsheet for hacking the Avios system. I enjoyed this post as much as the readers who commented for the thought exercise of it. As Greg notes, I think it would be quite challenging to find real-world examples to take advantage of the opportunities in his spreadsheet — though if you enjoy the thrill of the hunt and you’re pretty good at guestimating distances, you might be able to have some fun with it.

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

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