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TRAVEL: Points, Miles, Discounts, Tips, Advice & Questions


Spankytoes

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OK, I’ll bite. 

What’s a general timeframe to start looking for tickets to Europe? 

 

I know last minute and right when they go on sale is going to be a premium, but is 6 months out? 4 months out? Too early or late?

Looking to take a trip to Europe/UK in December, and right now tickets in July are running about 20% less ($3k) than December ($3.6k)

 

ETA: I picked up tickets for this summer in November, but must have hit a sale at the time. $2900 r/t in J.

Edited by thunderlounge
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Last year I did the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Hyatt Card.  Did each card once for myself and once for my wife. After using her bonus points, I closed her CSR card and added her as a user on my CSR card for simplicity. I'm kinda using that as the default card for our expenses.

Haven't done any new promos since about a year ago but I think I'm due to jump back in. Is the Chase Ink Business with the 80k sign-up bonus a good deal?

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This is what I've done over the last two years.

Chase United - 50,000 bouns

Chase SWA - 50.000

Citi AA - 50,000 

Chase Sapphire 100,000

Closed Citi.  Opened Barclay Aviator AA - 40,000

Closed Chase United and SWA

Opened Delta Amex 70,000

Opened AMEX Plat - 65,000

So currently carrying CSR, AMEX Plat, Delta Amex Plat, and Barclay Aviator

Will wait for 2/5 rule and reopen a SWA or United.  Also stalking a good hotel card.  And perhaps an Avianca Air card. 

 

 

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My wife and I each have a chase sapphire reserve. I will be spending many thousands of dollars this summer on a personal credit card that will be reimbursed by my firm. Are there any cards offering bonuses that are worth snagging, or better to just put all of these on my chase and get triple points? Hanging up and listening. 

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1 hour ago, Reynolds Woodcock said:

My wife and I each have a chase sapphire reserve. I will be spending many thousands of dollars this summer on a personal credit card that will be reimbursed by my firm. Are there any cards offering bonuses that are worth snagging, or better to just put all of these on my chase and get triple points? Hanging up and listening. 

 

Wouldn't it make the most sense to keep points in as few places as possible so you end up with the most possible? Maybe another chase card so you still get UR points?

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1 hour ago, Reynolds Woodcock said:

My wife and I each have a chase sapphire reserve. I will be spending many thousands of dollars this summer on a personal credit card that will be reimbursed by my firm. Are there any cards offering bonuses that are worth snagging, or better to just put all of these on my chase and get triple points? Hanging up and listening. 

Depends.   As I mentioned above check out the points guy website.  All the bounus card are listed.  I use his app which has location service and I have my four cards plugged in and 95% of the  time the CSR is the card to use to maximize points.  With anything airline I get 5x on my AMEX Plat so that's about the only time it suggests something other than CSR.   The problem with trying to get all Chase is that you could bump into the 2/5 and they might not extend you much credit.   If you can pick up some big bonuses it makes total sense to add some of the cads I did. 

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10 hours ago, thunderlounge said:

OK, I’ll bite. 

What’s a general timeframe to start looking for tickets to Europe? 

 

I know last minute and right when they go on sale is going to be a premium, but is 6 months out? 4 months out? Too early or late?

Looking to take a trip to Europe/UK in December, and right now tickets in July are running about 20% less ($3k) than December ($3.6k)

 

ETA: I picked up tickets for this summer in November, but must have hit a sale at the time. $2900 r/t in J.

There’s no clear cut answer for this one. Airlines post sales based on capacity needs all the time. Generally, the earlier you book, the better deal you’ll get. But that’s not always true. When one airline goes on sale, others tend to match prices for that route. However, December transatlantic flights are almost never on sale. Airlines know that they will make their money from Thanksgiving until the 2nd week of January. So I’d look to book earlier.

Also, it depends on your flexibility. Living on the East Coast has perks for last minute travel. I can literally buy a ticket from JFK-LHR right now for $229 departing Saturday, March 30. So you may want to consider searching flight from East Coast ports and then a cheap flight to connect.

if you’re not using it already, Google Flights is the best search engine to look up airfare purchases. I tend to go the mileage route, so I’m not much help on this. I only purchase domestic for limited routes.

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10 hours ago, thunderlounge said:

One more thought.

Doesn’t really matter where the in/out is. Internal flights are cheap. From what I’ve seen, in general LHR/UK is going to be higher from tax (excluding Belfast/Inverness to an extent), but not opposed to BRU/CDG, etc and taking an internal hop or train. 

England is always going to be the most expensive because the VAT is higher and the £:$ exchange rate factors in. Some airlines, such as BA, charge a fuel surcharge while others, such as AA, do not. You can save flying into other ports, but you’ll lose the savings getting back to London if that’s your end goal. It’s not worth the time involved, and depending on the airline, you may have to stop at LHR/LGW on that route anyway.

However, if you are doing multiple countries, look into BA Avios. Most popular places can be reached for 4500 or 7500 Avios + less than $30 in taxes. Or, you can do Avios + money to discount the flight. Also remember that London is a stopover port. So if you wanted to do Madrid, Paris and London, your routing would be:

US Port-MAD on Iberia

MAD-CDG on BA with a stopover in LHR in between.

That will save you miles and taxes on the MAD to CDG leg.

Edited by Spankytoes
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10 hours ago, midtown said:

Although Spanky is a master its also helpful to follow the points guy and or Brian Kelly.   Up to the minute travel deals and credit card offers.  

Of the blogs, TPG is the best. On principle I hate them because they spoon feed deals to the masses that closes loopholes for us hackers. But, they’re pretty current, albeit, they steal 90% of their content with a “HT” and put their own spin on it. It’s sort of the Yahoo News of the travel world.

Don’t take their CC recommendations too seriously though. They post what benefits them the most rather than the best offer for that particular card due to kickbacks. It’s been a while since they’ve updated that section and there have been a few decent offers the last few months.

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3 hours ago, Reynolds Woodcock said:

My wife and I each have a chase sapphire reserve. I will be spending many thousands of dollars this summer on a personal credit card that will be reimbursed by my firm. Are there any cards offering bonuses that are worth snagging, or better to just put all of these on my chase and get triple points? Hanging up and listening. 

It depends where said expenditures will go. For example, I buy large quantities of stamps at Staples because I get 5 points per $1 on my Chase Ink. But I use my Citi Thank You for Uber rides because I get 3 points. Or, you can look at getting a large point/mile bonus at your favorite airline or hotel to start off the trip planning.

There is nothing outstanding out there right now.

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59 minutes ago, Spankytoes said:

There’s no clear cut answer for this one. Airlines post sales based on capacity needs all the time. Generally, the earlier you book, the better deal you’ll get. But that’s not always true. When one airline goes on sale, others tend to match prices for that route. However, December transatlantic flights are almost never on sale. Airlines know that they will make their money from Thanksgiving until the 2nd week of January. So I’d look to book earlier.

Also, it depends on your flexibility. Living on the East Coast has perks for last minute travel. I can literally buy a ticket from JFK-LHR right now for $229 departing Saturday, March 30. So you may want to consider searching flight from East Coast ports and then a cheap flight to connect.

if you’re not using it already, Google Flights is the best search engine to look up airfare purchases. I tend to go the mileage route, so I’m not much help on this. I only purchase domestic for limited routes.

Thanks. I’ve been looking, using ita’s tool and supplementing with google flights. I’ve also checked out a AA and DL’s vacation options. Current target is r/t to BRU on DL, with hotel for 15 nights for about $1k less than just the air fare alone. Won’t need all those nights, as some (5 or 6) will be spent in the UK, but still a decent deal so far. AA had a similar deal for $600 more, but in AMS. Both interesting places, and accessible to others as well. Brussels has a direct eurostar, and from Amsterdam could either hit Paris or Brussels to catch it over to the UK. Flights from either into the UK were about the same as a eurostar ticket.

The time issuse doesn’t bother me too much. I was just really wondering if there was a general safe period for ticket prices. I get you can’t predict, but thought there might be some general experience to get within a general area. Either way, I’ll keep an eye out for the next few months and soon as I find something reasonable I’ll jump on it. 

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7 minutes ago, naija said:

Thinking about taking a vacation with the baby. I have looked around the googles, but any general tips and advice to take note of? Places you might have liked or disliked? Baby will be 4 months old at that time. 

Leave baby with Grandparents or family. Have a real vacation. 

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19 hours ago, Spankytoes said:

It depends where said expenditures will go. For example, I buy large quantities of stamps at Staples because I get 5 points per $1 on my Chase Ink. But I use my Citi Thank You for Uber rides because I get 3 points. Or, you can look at getting a large point/mile bonus at your favorite airline or hotel to start off the trip planning.

There is nothing outstanding out there right now.

Thanks. Expenditures will be almost exclusively bar tabs. Law firm recruiting at its finest. I'll take a look and see if there are any good hotel or airline offers, but I've really liked the flexibility of chase points. 

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Just now, thunderlounge said:

 

If this were serious, sure. 

The limit is 27000 for free transfers I've discovered. I am sending some to someone else later if I can figure it all out. You are more than welcome to some. I think the limit is 6 people I can give to.

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1 minute ago, G650 said:

The limit is 27000 for free transfers I've discovered. I am sending some to someone else later if I can figure it all out. You are more than welcome to some. I think the limit is 6 people I can give to.

 

Wow. That’s awful nice of you. Most of my miles are AA, with some DL sprinkled in. With a 6 person limit, it would probably be better for someone already on avios. Thanks though! 

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5 minutes ago, phdhorn said:

Looks like I might be in for a Singapore trip over the next year.  Any special +'s or -'s with Singapore AIrlines vs. the others?  Best IYHO?

 

Singapore is definitely highly rated, and rightfully so. If their schedule/price fits what you're after, take it without hesitation. Their J cabin is excellent, and certainly miles ahead of any US airline.

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58 minutes ago, phdhorn said:

They're actually coming in as the least expensive right now on a cursory search.  Wife going on business, she flies free, I could probably pony up the extra $ for business, which for 22 hours, is essential for me.

Thx.

 

Absolutely do this. Business on a long haul like that is definitely money well spent, provided you pick the right airline. It's such a better experience to be able to get some decent sleep, not all hunched over, and arrive in much better condition than if you were in coach.

On a 90 minute domestic flight? Meh, probably not worth a substantial premium. Long TPAC/TATL? Oh hell yes.

 

Like G650 said, Singapore and Cathay are the top of the game (along with Emirates, Ethiad, and a few others.) I've only had the opportunity to fly SQ once, but I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. I'm even keeping an eye on them out of Houston for a TATL trip later this year. (Would require positioning flight, but oh well.)

Just don't take United. "Polaris" is fake news, and a waste of money.

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2 hours ago, G650 said:

The limit is 27000 for free transfers I've discovered. I am sending some to someone else later if I can figure it all out. You are more than welcome to some. I think the limit is 6 people I can give to.

I will also take some if there are any left. You will be repaid with an emoticon of your choice on one post. 

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