Chase Adds Flying Blue As A Partner – Good Options For Africa

I know every blogger and his brother has posted about Chase’s new rewards partner but I thought I would draw attention to the good deals to be found on Kenya Airways which is a Flying Blue member.  Flying Blue is one of my Top 8 programs for eco-travellers for a reason. Paying for flights within Africa can be very expensive.

For example Accra to Lusaka would cost $500-600 cash but only 15,000 Flying Blue miles plus surcharges of around $202 USD (most of which is airport tax, not YQ).

I have my eye on a Dubai-EBB (Entebbe/Kampala Uganda) for 20k Flying Blue per person for next year!

Best Uses Of Flexible Points (USA) For Eco-tourists

I’m a big fan of flexible points because they give so many options for flights to the more remote, exotic locations eco-tourists want to visit.  Here are a few of my favourite uses.

CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS

Flex Chase UR

Mostly I transfer points to United as the award chart is still pretty good to get to Asia and Africa.  They are also useful for routes within Central & South America on Avianca & Copa.  Singapore Krisflyer can be used for the same routes as United as they are also Star Alliance but beware of surcharges on routes between Australia & Asia & Africa.  I use British Airways for shorthaul economy within South Africa and on LAN flights in South America.

CITIBANK THANK YOU POINTS

Flex Citi Thankyou

I’ve been using Thank You points mostly on Flying Blue for an upcoming redemption on Kenya Airways within Africa.  They can also be used on Garuda to many birding hotspots in Indonesia.

AMEX MEMBERSHIP REWARDS (USA)

Flex Amex MR

I had a Premier Rewards Gold a few years ago and made good use of the points with a transfer to Flying Blue for Kenya Airways redemptions.  A few stray Amex MR also went to Singapore & British Airways.  You can only get any American Express card bonus once in a lifetime so I won’t be getting this card again.  I cancelled the one I had before the annual fee was due.  Considering that other cards also transfer to most of these partners and Amex isn’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard, this would be a last resort card to get.  The Australian version of the Membership Rewards cards is a better option (for my Australian readers) as there aren’t as many cards to compete with it.

SPG

Flex SPG

SPG points are extremely valuable as they have so many airline partners but unfortunately their credit card is issued by American Express and it’s another one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” cards.  I’ve highlighted the partners I use them on and they were extremely useful transferred to LAN to top up the miles from the LAN Visa so we could get free tickets to the Galapagos.  When Starwood is merged into Marriott, these options are likely to go away.

Amazon After Christmas Sales & Chase Freedom = Bonus Ultimate Rewards

Most people are familiar with the annual Chase Freedom category bonuses and that every quarter you get a 5% bonus in specific categories but you must activate the deal by 14 Dec.  What you may not know is that until 31 Dec, you will get 10% bonus (if you activated already) in the form of 10 Ultimate Rewards points per $ if you pay for your Amazon.com purchases with your Chase Freedom card!  If you use the link below to start your purchase I get a small commission for which I thank you.  There will be plenty of sales on so it’s a perfect chance to get what you didn’t get for Christmas!
MTTW Link

Amazon10pc

And you can start making plans to maximize the 2016 bonus categories!

Chase Freedom 2016

Airline Miles For Grocery Shopping – Chase Freedom (USA) Visa Card

People often wonder how I get so many frequent flyer miles when I rarely ever pay for an airline ticket.  This is one of my techniques.  Using the right credit card can get free miles for simply doing your normal grocery shopping!

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Maxing out your $1500 during 3 months is basically $500 a month and most families will easily spend that on groceries.  You can also buy gift cards for any other merchants (such as gas stations, restaurants, department stores) you do business with at most grocery stores.  You then end up with 7500 free Ultimate Rewards points that can be converted to airline miles if you also hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus card.  The best partners to transfer to are United Airlines and British Airways.

 

If you don’t already have a Chase Freedom, you can post here asking for a referral as I sometimes have them to give out.  My most recent referral just expired on 8 Dec but I still have referrals for the Chase Sapphire Preferred valid until 31 Jan 2015.  Or you can read this Flyertalk thread to see if there are any specials going on.  The most recent special has been this one, but please read the thread to see if it is still active when you wish to apply.

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Chase Sapphire & Freedom Cards

Although I don’t have an affiliate marketing relationship with Chase or any other banks, for a limited time they are allowing current card members to get a bonus by referring friends & family.  Anyone who is interested in eco-tourism and birds is a friend of mine!  This is what the offer you get by email looks like.

* Always check the Chase forum on FlyerTalk to see if any better offers are currently running.

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And here is the email from the Freedom card.

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This promo expires on 31 March so if you want to get the card in time so you can pass on your own referrals to your friends & family you should start pretty quick.  If you would like to help me and this blog by letting me refer you, please send your full name & email privately.

This is what the credit app looks like when it loads.

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2014 List Of Miles & Points Credit Cards – USA Edition

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ARE YOU NEW TO MILES & POINTS CREDIT CARDS?  READ MY NEWBIE GUIDE TO LEARN HOW TO USE THEM TO FULL ADVANTAGE!

  • This is simply a list of which travel credit cards (airlines, hotels, travel points) cards are in existence and where you can look for more information.

  • This is not a list of current best deals on offer.

  • Do not apply for any of these cards until you have checked all resources to make sure you are getting the best deal.

  • You should also check on the airline or hotel’s website and FlyerTalk to see if there are any better offers going.

  • Cash back cards are not included in this list.
  • The links are to the bank’s page and are not affiliate links.
  • I’m not going to list cruise cards as they are such a bad deal, you are better off with a cash back card.
  • The figures may have changed by the time you read this.
  • Cards will be listed by bank issuing them in alphabetical order.
  • Although some cards may be “churnable”, meaning you can get the same card more than once, it is best to assume they are one-time only bonuses and keep you eye on FlyerTalk to see if others are currently churning a card.

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I am only listing the name of the card, sign up bonus, minimum spend and annual fee (waived or not) for each card.  Some cards will have extra benefits such as category bonuses, free checked bags, priority boarding, elite benefits, lounge passes.  To see these, click on the card’s link.  Some cards also have business versions, please click on the respective links for details.

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AMERICAN EXPRESS (MEMBERSHIP REWARDS & CO-BRANDED TRAVEL CARDS)

THESE CARDS EARN MEMBERSHIP REWARDS

Amex Platinum Card – 25,000 sign up – $2000 minimum spend – Annual fee $450, not waived

Amex PRG (Premier Rewards Gold) – $25,000 sign up – $2000 minimum spend – Annual fee $175, waived first year

Mercedes Benz – 10,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $95, not waived

Most people wouldn’t sign up for the next two but downgrade an existing card to avoid the annual fee and keep collecting Membership Rewards.

Amex Gold Card – No sign up bonus/minimum spend – Annual fee $125, waived first year.

Amex Green Card – No sign up bonus/minimum spend – Annual fee $125, waived first year.

CO-BRANDED CARDS: POINTS POST DIRECTLY TO PARTNER’S PROGRAM

Gold Delta SkyMiles – 30,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $95, waived first year.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles – 35,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $150, not waived.

Delta Reserve – 10,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $450, not waived.

Jet Blue – 20,000 sign up – $2000 minimum spend – Annual fee $40, waived first year.

Hilton HHonors – 40,000 sign up – $750 minimum spend – No Annual fee.

Hilton HHonors Surpass – 60,000 sign up – $3000 minimum spend – Annual fee $75, not waived.

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) – 25,000 sign up – $5000 minimum spend – Annual fee $65, waived first year.

BUSINESS CARDS AVAILABLE:  PLATINUM, GOLD, DELTA, SPG

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 BANK OF AMERICA

Alaska Airlines – 25,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $35-75, not waived.

Asiana Airlines – 10,000 sign up – First purchase         – Annual fee $99, not waived

Spirit Airlines – 15,000 sign up – First purchase             – Annual fee $19-59, not waived.

Virgin Atlantic – 20,000 sign up – First purchase            – Annual fee $90, not waived

BankAmericard Travel Rewards – 10,000 sign up – $500 minimum spend – No annual fee.  Points can be used to pay any travel expense on your statement, not transferable to airlines.

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BARCLAYS

Be careful with this bank.  They will deny you if you have what they deem to be “too many recent inquiries” or “sufficient credit with them”.  They have a lot of partners (see link above), most of which don’t represent a good deal.  I wouldn’t waste an inquiry on Aer Lingus, Best Western, Choice, China Airlines, Iceland Air, Wyndham unless they come out with a major sign up promo.  They do have a couple good partners such as US Airways but this card will likely disappear once the merger is final.  Barclays is also fond of bait & switch.  You apply for a signature card and get a gold card for example.  They also advertise what looks like good sign up bonuses, then in the fine print, you need to do a balance transfer to get a lot of it.

Balance transfer points are not included below.  Check on FlyerTalk before applying as this Bank is constantly changing bonuses and terms.

Frontier– 40,000 sign up – $500 minimum spend            – Annual fee $69, not waived. No fee card available with lesser bonus.

Hawaiian Airlines (new) –

Lufthansa Miles & More – 20,000 sign up – First purchase            – Annual fee $79, not waived unless elite with LH.

US Airways – 30,000 sign up – First purchase         – Annual fee $89, not waived.

BarclayCard Arrival – 40,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend, $89, waived first year.  Points can be used to pay any travel expense on your statement, not transferable to airlines.

BUSINESS CARDS AVAILABLE: FRONTIER & US AIRWAYS

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CITIBANK

These cards can be churned, usually by waiting until Citibank thinks you are a “new” customer again.  This can take anywhere from 15-24 months.  Best advice is in the FlyerTalk thread, where you can usually find much better offers as well.  I haven’t listed the “Thank You” series of Citicards as they are more cash back than travel orientated.

AAdvantage Citi Gold – 25,000 sign up – $750 minimum spend, $50, waived first year.

AAdvantage Platinum – 30,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend, $95, waived first year.

CitiBusiness AAdvantage World Mastercard – 30,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend, $95, waived first year.

Hilton HHonors Reserve – 2 weekend nights, $2500 minimum spend – Annual fee $95, not waived.

Hilton HHonors Visa Signature – 40,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend, No annual fee.

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 CHASE

Chase is probably the miles & points collectors’ favourite bank.  They have a wide variety of Ultimate Rewards cards and Co-branded cards.  Ultimate Rewards can transfer to various airlines & hotels or be used to pay for travel or statement credits.  You need a card with an annual fee to be able to transfer Ultimate Rewards points out.  Co-branded cards directly sweep to the partner’s program after each statement.  Using a combination of United Airlines cards and Ultimate Rewards cards it is pretty easy to get enough from a sign up bonus for even long-haul business class awards or several shorter flights.

ULTIMATE REWARDS CARDS

Chase Freedom – 10,000 sign up – $500 minimum spend, No annual fee.

Chase Sapphire – 10,000 sign up – $500 minimum spend, No annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred – 40,000 sign up – $3000 minimum spend, $95, waived first year.

Ink Cash – 20,000 sign up – $3000 minimum spend, No annual fee.

Ink Classic – 20,000 sign up – $3000 minimum spend, No annual fee.

Ink Bold – 50,000 sign up – $5000 minimum spend, $95, waived first year.

Ink Plus – 50,000 sign up – $5000 minimum spend, $95, waived first year.

CO-BRANDED CARDS

British Airways Visa – 50,000 sign up – $2000 minimum spend         – Annual fee $95, not waived.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier – 25,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend         – Annual fee $99, not waived.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus – 25,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend         – Annual fee $69, not waived.

United Mileage Plus Explorer – 30,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $95, waived first year.

United Mileage Plus Club Card – $100 Statement credit after first purchase, United Club membership – Annual fee $395, not waived.

Fairmont Visa – 2 free nights, $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $95, waived first year.

Hyatt Credit Card – 2 free nights, $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $75, waived first year.

IHG Rewards Club – 60,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $49, waived first year.

Marriott Rewards Signature Visa – 30,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $45, waived first year.

Marriott Rewards Premier Signature Visa – 50,000 sign up – $1000 minimum spend – Annual fee $85, waived first year.

Ritz-Carlton Visa – 70,000 sign up – $2000 minimum spend         – Annual fee $395, not waived.

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US BANK

Although their cards are with foreign airlines, two of them are very useful to eco-tourists:  Avianca Lifemiles & LANPass.  They also have one of the best hotel cards on the market, the Club Carlson Visa.  Most of their cards have anniversary bonuses built in, see card’s web page for details.

U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa – 20,000 sign up – $3500 minimum spend         – Annual fee $49, not waived.  Award travel starts at just 20,000 FlexPoints (up to a $400 ticket value) on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates or redemption fees.2 List of available airlines.

AeroMexico Visa Card – 15,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $45, waived first year.

AeroMexico Visa Signature Card – 20,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $80, waived first year.

LANPASS Visa – 15,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $45, waived first year.

LANPASS Signature Visa – 20,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $75, waived first year.

Lifemiles Visa – 15,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $45, waived first year.

Lifemiles Signature Visa – 20,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $75, waived first year.

Skypass (Korean Airlines) Visa Classic – 5,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $50, not waived.

SkyBlue Skypass – 5,000 sign up – No minimum spend – No annual fee.

Skypass Visa SIgnature – 15,000 sign up – No minimum spend – Annual fee $80, not waived.

Club Carlson Visa Signature – 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase plus 10,000 points once you spend $1,500 on your card within the first 90 days – Annual fee $50, not waived.

Club Carlson Premier Visa Signature – 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days.  Annual fee $75, not waived.

ALL CLUB CARLSON CARDS -Bonus Award Nights – When you redeem Gold Points for 2 or more consecutive Award Nights, your last night is free.  Exclusively for cardmembers!

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In future posts, I will be referring back to this list in showing you how to strategize best use of these credit card sign ups to get the points you need for YOUR trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Get United Miles From Booking Some Eco-Lodges

Since PointsHound has unfortunately discontinued their relationship with United Airlines you will need an alternate method if you really need United miles and aren’t happy with any of PointsHound’s other partners.

For people living in the USA, the best current option is Ultimate Rewards.  Hotels.com offers a bonus 3 points per $ when you click through their link.  Ultimate Rewards transfer to United and other partners at 1:1.  For example if you book a lodge that costs $150 a night, you will get 450 bonus Ultimate Rewards points on top of whatever credit card multipliers such as 2x for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  (Sorry folks, don’t have an affiliate link).