This week’s Frequent Miler on the Air broadcast finds Greg and I discuss the surprising StayCay to Far Away results (voting closes at 12pm on Saturday, May 23rd, so if you’re reading this in time head to this post and cast your vote), Iceland’s move to encourage tourists (including what we think about the prospect of traveling there this summer), our own itchy feet, a very promising tool for finding award seats, and more. Watch, listen, or read our Frequent Miler week in review. Note that this week’s video broadcast has been delayed. Check back later today to see us on Youtube or listen below.
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This week at Frequent Miler:
In domestic US travel
Greg has published a number of previous posts about the best places to look if you’re searching for domestic destinations as travel opens back up. This post specifically looked at availability during the peak of peak times — the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and a typical spring break week — at some of the best Hyatt options for winter and spring to give you the relative value and availability in a number of popular spots.
Many Americans will likely be looking to stay domestic for a while as states ease restrictions and we all hope for a slow return to normalcy post-pandemic. If you’re looking to stay within the US and Canada, there are quite a few different sweet spots that can help you save miles on domestic flights and those within North America. This post summarizes your best bets to save miles.
Of course, the sweetest of the US domestic sweet spots is probably using Turkish miles. We originally published this post last year in the time after uncovering the huge Turkish Miles & Smiles sweet spot for domestic Star Alliance travel. However, I realized this week that several parts were out of date and so I have updated the post with those things that have changed (including a number of improvements to the process) and additional information we’ve gleaned in the meantime.
In credit card rewards
During a time when you may not be signing up for many new credit card welcome bonuses, what else can you do to increase your mileage balances? In this post, Greg lays out many of the other options for earning miles while we’re not flying.
I agree with Greg that it’s really interesting to see how the relative value of one credit card or another changes due to tweaks made to other credit cards. Greg last wrote a similar post just about 6 months ago and already there had been significant shifts on a number of cards that were trending downward as the year began and are now trending strongly upward. See Greg’s take on a number of cards and how they have been affected by the pandemic and corresponding issuer responses.
If you’re looking for ways to meet minimum spending requirements or increase rewards without heading out of the house, this post Greg published a few months ago and then updated this week with new information may be relevant for you. While many issuers have extended the time frame to meet minimum spending requirements, you still may need some strategies to get you over the final hurdles and this post can help.
In foreign travel
While many readers are primarily interested in using miles for luxury travel, there are also always readers who ask about the best deals in economy class. Whether because they are trying to fly an entire family, are traveling during times or on routes where premium cabin space is hard to find, or they just want to stretch their mileage as far as possible, I know that some folks tend to redeem for economy class seats. This guide gives you the best deals in economy class travel to Europe — which, surprisingly, can sometimes cost fewer miles than a domestic US ticket.
If you’re considering international travel in the near-term, Iceland is offering a pretty interesting incentive: free COVID-19 tests on arrival for the first few weeks when travel opens up (after that, you’ll have to foot the bill for your arrival test). In Frequent Miler on the Air, Greg notes how this might make Icealand a safer travel destination than some parts of the US given that you’ll know everyone is getting tested. On the flip side, we both agree that travel during this time is unlikely to be pleasant. I wonder what will happen when someone from your flight tests positive: will they quarantine the whole flight? Just those passengers sitting near the infected traveler? There are just too many questions and is not enough upside for me to want to get out there traveling again yet.
The deal of the week
SeatSpy has the potential to be awesome. It already is pretty amazing for the things it can do, but current functionality is probably limited for many US-based readers. However, it looks like SeatSpy is actively working to expand the tool in ways that could be awesome for US-based travelers, too. Until May 26th, they are offering special “Founders Pricing” for their paid membership tiers with the ability to lock in lifetime pricing now. The mid-tier subscription comes with a free 3-month trial — meaning that you can lock in cheaper pricing now and use it for 3 months for free to see where they go with it. That seems like a pretty low-risk proposition that could turn out to be a win. Even the top-tier subscription, which can be locked in at the current equivalent of about $3.67 per month, could be worth a gamble for a while and in the post I note that I’d be inclined to go that route. Let me be clear: there are no guarantees here that this will work out to be as good as we hope, but if they are able to successfully expand I certainly wouldn’t regret locking in a membership for a couple dollars a month.
That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for this week in review around the web and our weekly last chance deals.