A tool for evaluating the best values, getting an in-branch bonus online, value from AA miles, and more

Frequent Miler’s week in review around the web recaps some good reads from around the ‘net. Read on for what looks to be an interesting tool for evaluating the value of various purchase options, how to extract good value from AA miles, getting to South America on miles and more.

How to Make the Best Purchase Considering Quality AND Price

Let me start by saying that I immediately didn’t like the fact that Brian McAdam requires you to sign up via email to get this tool and that I didn’t actually sign up and get the spreadsheet. However, I found this post explaining how the spreadsheet works to be a brilliant way to compare many products. I’d add the caveat that you might want to vet the reviews a bit (I use fakespot.com). I’d also add a column or two to calculate portal rewards and category bonuses, but I think Brian is on to something with this sheet that could be useful both from a personal standpoint as well as a resale standpoint.

5 reasons American Airlines AAdvantage miles are underrated

American Airlines Planes

American Airlines miles are nearly worthless for domestic travel. Now that we have out the way, I’ll say that I agree with this post from Miles Talk about the fact that AA miles are underrated — it’s a matter of using them for the sweet spots. And there are a number of decent opportunities with AA miles for travel on partner airlines, as Dave demonstrates. And don’t forget the value of being able to change your dates and routing — that’s one of the things I think is most underrated about AAdvantage tickets.

How to Book LATAM flights with Alaska Airlines miles

I had the good fortune of attending Ben and Jon’s presentation on Alaska Mileage Plan this morning at FTU Seattle, where they discussed some of the many strength’s of Alaska’s loyalty program. One area I’m definitely not well versed in is award travel to South America. See this post for the quick key to figuring out which flights you can book with Alaska miles and how to do it.

How to Use a Chase In-Branch Checking Bonus Online

While credit card signup bonuses can be extremely valuable, we’ve continuously seen lucrative banking account bonuses for years as well. One of the best bonus offers comes around through Chase, though my problem with it is that it usually requires you to open the account in-brand (and I don’t live anywhere near a branch). Doctor of Credit covers how you might be able to do that bonus online – YMMV.

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

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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I was interested in reading Dave’s AA tips, but they’re all just about good ways to spend an enormous number of AA miles — and then you have to find the seats. Assuming you’re not going alone, we’re talking trips that require 300,000+ AA miles. How many people have so many miles that they routinely are redeeming at this level? At least Dave’s not pitching the idea of “taking the family” on these trips. 🙂

It would be helpful to pepper these mega-expensive award trips with less expensive award ideas. Like there’s a nice loophole in the AA program to several cities in northern and central South America for 35,000 miles roundtrip. But it doesn’t seem like many bloggers ever fly coach.

These days, if you keep up with the discount fare blogs (like secretflying) you can routinely find deals to almost anywhere in the world for $400 including taxes (you’ll still pay those taxes after forking over your 150,000 miles for award tickets). And these are revenue tickets that will even earn you some miles and help you qualify for elite status — and you can often pay for them with credit card miles. So while it’s rarely fun to sit in the back, it’s usually astonishingly cheaper, and you get there at the exact same time (usually faster, because you can get a better routing). Are there no “practical” folks out there who collect and write about miles?