Austria, Germany, China 2013: Part 4 – 9 Hours in Vienna

This is part 4 of a series on my trip to Austria, Germany and China.

I received 40,000 of the 100,000 miles I used for this award ticket by getting the Barclays US Airways card!  This is a great card and one I still carry.  These miles will eventually become American miles which are some of the most valuable.  Click here to apply now for one of your own!

Since you can have layovers of <24 hours for free we built in a 9 hour layover in Vienna and ended up meeting with a friend from Austria as a local tour guide!  We arrived in the Vienna airport and made our way to the train to the city center.  They had a neat flight status wall as you exited from immigration.20140417-123932.jpg

After we arrived at the city center our first stop was University of Vienna which was established in the 1500s!  It was a beautiful classically European campus.20140417-123951.jpg

Here we are with our host Nina who had come in from Salzburg where she lives to give us a tour.20140417-124359.jpg

The library reminded me of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter movies!20140417-124209.jpg

We did mainly a walking tour of Vienna checking out the beautiful architecture.20140417-124243.jpg 20140417-124425.jpg 20140417-124444.jpg

We ate a traditional Austrian lunch of schnitzel and some Austrian beers and then wandered around a bit more.20140417-124526.jpg 20140417-124505.jpg 20140417-124552.jpg

But then it was time to head back to the airport to catch our flight to Frankfurt. I think 9 hours was a bit tight and we were a bit rushed so a little longer layover next time would be preferred.  Now that I have spent a little time in Vienna, I do think I would like to go back for a more extended trip.  Since they are the hub for the very nice Austrian Airlines, it isn’t a bad spot to transit through either!  Next stop… Timewarp!

Share

Austria, Germany, China 2013: Part 3 – How I got paid to take a free trip

This is part 3 of a series on my trip to Austria, Germany and China.

I received 40,000 of the 100,000 miles I used for this award ticket by getting the Barclays US Airways card!  This is a great card and one I still carry.  These miles will eventually become American miles which are some of the most valuable.  Click here to apply now for one of your own!

My friend Andres and I missed our flight to Newark from Miami so had to take the next available flight.  This flight gave us a tight connection time to make the transfer from Newark to JFK airport via Penn Station in Manhattan.  This also meant we wouldn’t be able to have our lunch with friends in New York City which was unfortunate.  We ended up getting to JFK with only about an hour to spare and when we were checking in we got the bad news: Lufthansa was having a strike so they had put all of the JFK-Frankfurt passengers on our Austrian Airlines flight from JFK to Vienna.  This meant that our flight was oversold and since we had not assigned our seats ahead of time, we had been downgraded to economy class instead of business class! They said that there was one business class seat available but we both wouldn’t be able to sit there.  While we were deciding who would get the business class seat (flip a coin anyone?) we asked what the compensation package was for the economy seat.  They told us it was a whopping 750E (approximately $1,024)!  For that price, both of us would be willing to tough it out in economy class! The gave it to us in a prepaid Maestro card (which can be used at most ATMs or like a Mastercard) with PIN access so we could take out cash too.Maestro

Since I had only paid $184 our of pocket for my whole trip, this meant I was coming out $840 ahead.  Now it is true that I wasn’t getting back the additional miles that I used to book business class instead of coach, but the math works out like this.

I had 3 long haul business class flights.  A 9 hour flight from JFK to Vienna, another 9 hour flight from Vienna to Beijing, and then a 14 hour flight from Beijing to Houston.  Not taking into account the business class flights from my connecting cities which I was still able to use, this is a total of 32 hours of business class flights for 100,000 miles or 3125 Miles / Hour :).  This means the value of that 9 hour segment in miles is 3125 * 9 which is 28,125.  Getting paid $1024 for 28,125 miles is almost 3.6 cents per mile.  But you really need to compare the difference in milage between coach and business to have an accurate value for the miles.  The difference for this trip in coach vs business would have been 40,000 miles. *Math Nerd Alert* So $1024/((40,000/32)*9) = 9.1 cents a mile!  That is a great value!

The plane was packed as expected, but the coach seats on the Austrian Airlines 777 were better than I thought.  I even had some leg room!20140415-144154.jpg

The food wasn’t bad either.20140415-144217.jpg

I was able to get about 3 hours of sleep which ended up biting me later on in Austria when I got a little tired and grumpy but what can you do?

One of the great things about travel is the unknown.  Sometimes unexpected things happen and you have to change your carefully made plans.  You have to be flexible in these situations and take things with a sense of adventure rather than dread when anything doesn’t work out exactly how you wanted.  Sure in this case I had to fly 9 hours in coach instead of business class (oh, the horror), but the $1000 I received for the inconvenience ended up paying for the whole trip. Plus we ended up doing some fun things in Frankfurt with that extra money that we wouldn’t have otherwise!

As we arrived in Austria we were excited to get a personalized tour by a friend who had taken the train in from Salzburg to meet us.

Share

The winner of our contest for a trip to Movement in Detroit is….

destroitWarehouse_TWMWe have picked the winner of our Detroit is so Techno contest in conjunction with mybeatfix.com and the Movement Festival!

And the winner is no other than David Matos of the Miami DJ collective Freak the Disco!  He and a guest won two plane and festival tickets to Movement in Detroit!  Congratulations David, I know you will have an amazing time!

For those of you who didn’t win, check out our article on 7 ways to get to Movement in Detroit for free.  You still have time to make it happen this year!

Share

Earn 1200+ free American AAdvantage Miles with their Facebook game!

This is another article in our No Credit, No Problem series that don’t require any special credit or credit card to earn miles!

American Airlines  is having a great promotion right now for US residents through May 23, 2014 where you can get 1200+ free AAdvantage miles by answering some trivia and doing some other social networking tasks.  It took me about 20 minutes to complete.  Here are the answers to some of the trivia questions for your easy access (hat tip to therewardboss.com for the answers to the questions).

AA Passport

Click here to get started. You must have a Facebook account although you can set one up just for contests like this if you want.

AA Trivia

Q. The new American is the world’s largest airline operating nearly 6,700 flights. How many locations and countries are served?
A. With nearly 6,700 daily flights to more than 330 destinations in more than 50 countries worldwide.
Q. The new American has more hubs and more flight options. What are our combined hubs?
A. DALLAS/FORT WORTH (DFW), LOS ANGELES (LAX), NEW YORK KENNEDY (JFK), MIAMI (MIA), CHICAGO O’HARE (ORD), CHARLOTTE DOUGLAS (CLT), PHILADELPHIA (PHL) AND PHOENIX (PHX)
Q. The regional partner carriers for American Airlines and US Airways will eventually fly with a single livery and one name. What will that name be?
A. American Eagle
Q. You just booked a flight operated by US Airways on AA.com. Where can you find information about your travel?
A. aa.com/findyourway
Q. You can earn AAdvantage miles when you fly on which of the following carriers?
A. All the above

US Airways Merger Trivia

Q1:  How does the merger benefit AAdvantage members?  Answer:  All of the above
Q2:  When can I begin earning AAdvantage miles for flying on flights operated by US Airways?  Answer:   Now
Q3:  Can I earn both AAdvantage miles and US Airways Dividend Miles for the same flight?  Answer: No
Q4:  When can I start buying seats for a US Airways flight on aa.com?  Answer: Now
Q5:  Admirals Club members receive reciprocal access to US Airways Clubs. How many clubs does US Airways have?  Answer: 18

New Domestic Route Trivia

Q1:  **Which of the following cities in California can you fly to because of the merger?  Answer: Burbank
Q2:  Which cities in the Northeast are new to the American network because of the merger?  Answer: Manchester, NH
Q3:  Traveling to the Southeast? The merger adds which of these cities to the American network?  Answer:  Hilton Head Island, Mrytle Beach
Q4:  Planning a trip to Florida? Which cities are new to American Airlines because of the merger?  Answer:  Melbourne, Daytona Beach, and Sarasota/Bradenton
Q5:  You can now earn AAdvantage miles for travel to two new cities in the Northwest. Which cities are new?  Answer: Boise and Spokane.

US Airways Shuttle Trivia

Q1:  Through our codeshare with US Airways, you can now earn miles on the US Airways Shuttle, which flies between which East Coast airports?  Answer: Boston Logan (BOS), Washington Reagan (DCA) and New York LaGuardia (LGA)
Q2:  **How often does the US Airways Shuttle depart from Boston Logan (BOS), Washington Reagan (DCA) and New York LaGuardia (LGA) each weekday?  Answer:  Every Hour
Q3:  Which of the following services and benefits are offered on the US Airways Shuttle? Answer:  All of the above
Q4:  In which US Airways Shuttle city can customers reserve Elite Limo service?  Answer: LaGuardia (LGA)
Q5:  Which US Airways Shuttle airport offers semi-private workstations in the gate area?  Answer: Boston

International Network Trivia

Q1:  Starting in 2014, to which city in Asia will American Airlines be flying directly from Dallas/Fort Worth?  Answer:  Hong Kong
Q2:  American Airlines will be flying to which city in Europe which hosted the first Olympic games?  Answer:  Athens
Q3:  Also, you can now travel on US Airways to this city, which is recognized as the Dutch capital by the Constitution of the Netherlands.  Answer:  Amsterdam
Q4:  To how many countries around the globe does American Airlines fly?  Answer: Over 50
Q5:  American’s new 777-300ER aircraft fly to many international destinations. What conveniences can all customers enjoy?  Answer:  All of the above.

OneWorld Alliance Trivia Answers:

Q1:  Answer:  Cathay Pacific / Dragonair
Q2:  Which airlines join the oneworld® alliance on March 31, 2014?  Answer:  TAM and US Airways
Q3:  The oneworld® global network reaches more than ____ countries worldwide.   Answer: 150
Q4:  Which major Gulf carrier is a member of the oneworld® alliance?  Answer: Qatar Airways
Q5:  How does the oneworld® alliance benefit AAdvantage members?    Answer:  All of the above

It is completely free miles, so why not get started now?

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Share

IHG Rewards Point Breaks list for March 24 – May 31 is out!

Reminder: Don’t forget to enter our contest ending April 6 for free plane and festival tickets to the Movement Festival in Detroit!

I have written about the IHG Point Break hotels in the past and what great deals they can be.  You can get hotels that usually require up to 50,000 IHG points for only 5,000 points! Depending on the hotel, this can be the best value in hotel points redemptions around.  In fact, I am going to be getting free rooms for most of my upcoming trip to Germany and  China from this list. If you remember, I got 132,000 IHG points during the Big Win last quarter, and am on my way towards another 78,000 this quarter! If you want an easy way to bump up your points, why not apply for the IHG Mastercard that gives you 80,000 points after you spend $1K in the first 3 months. This would give you enough points for 16 free Point Break nights at the hotels below!

IHG has announced the list of the hotels and that they will be bookable for just 5000 points a night starting tomorrow, Monday March 24, 2014.  Here are the hotels that I am looking at booking during my trip to China.

Holiday Inn ZhuhaiZhuhai Holiday Inn ZhengzhouZhengZhouCrowne Plaza ZhengzhouCrowneplazazhengzhouCrowne Plaza Beijing Zhongguancun crowneplazabeijing InterContinental Hangzhouintercontinental Hangzhou  Holiday Inn Jasmine Suzhousuzhou

There are some other Intercontinental Hotels on the list as well that would be great values such as:

InterContinental Marine Drive-MumbaiICMumbaiIntercontinental MedellinIntercontintal MedellinInterContinental Real Tegucigalpa in HondurasICHondurasAny of these amazing hotels for only 5000 IHG points a night!  The more desirable hotels go very quickly so I wanted to get this article out tonight so you have time to book in the morning when they go live between 9 AM and 12 PM EST.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Share

12 Amazing Places I want to see on my trip to China. The last one is terrifying!

This is part 2 of a series on my trip to Austria, Germany and China.

I received 40,000 of the 100,000 miles I used for this award ticket by getting the Barclays US Airways card!  This is a great card and one I still carry.  These miles will eventually become American miles which are some of the most valuable.  Click here to apply now for one of your own!

My trip to Germany and China for $187 is rapidly approaching and I need your help! I’ve never been to mainland China before and I want to see as many of the most incredible places I can. I have 3 free upgrades to Awardwallet Plus to give away to the top 3 places people come up with.  If you have followed my Getting Started Guide then you know how great Awardwallet is for tracking all of your frequent flyer accounts! The way this works is I want you to post a picture as a comment of an amazing spot in China and a quick caption saying where it is from.  A cool pic by itself doesn’t help if I don’t know where it is! The top 3 pics will get a free upgrade code for your Awardwallet account.

Here are the top 13 spots I want to see in China. The last one is going to be awesomely terrifying!

1. Tianzi Mountains

Tianzi Mountain 1 Tianzi Mountain 2

2. Red beach, Panjin, ChinaRed beach

3. Giant Buddha, Leshan, ChinaGiant Buddha

4. Heaven’s GateHeaven's Gate

5. Bridge in the Mist, Leshan, ChinaBridge in the mist

6. Terraces in Gualin ChinaTerraces in Gualin China

7. Great Wall of ChinaGreat Wall China

8. BeijingBeijing City

9. ShanghaiShanghai

10. The Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City

11. The Terracotta Warriors in XianTerracotta Warriors

12. The Skywalk on Tianmen MountainSkywalk Tianmen Mountain

Those are the spots I have come up with so far, but I know I am missing some so get to it!  The 3 best answers who respond with a photo comment and caption get a free awardwallet plus upgrade code.  If you want to start getting miles to get a trip like this, then you may want to check out why you should apply for the US Airways Card before March 31.

Share

How I made 43,000 UR points last week without spending a dime!

My statement just cycled for my Ink Bold account and I was in for a treat! Over 43K Ultimate Rewards points in one month (although basically all of them was in one week)!Chase UR SummaryHow did I do it?

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how to make $9 and 3000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points via a gift card promotion they had at OfficeMax.  When I run into a good deal, I like to go big so that is exactly what I did in this case! :) IMG_7751  By running around to multiple Officemax locations and getting creative by bringing my Dad and nephew into the store (so I had 3 customers and I could get the special deal 3 times), I was able to make 15 transactions over 4 days.Chase Transactions

Most of the transactions were for $600 in gift cards for $590.85 and a few were $500 in gift cards for $499.75 (used when the store didn’t have the $200 gift cards in stock).  So I ended up spending  $8680 for $8800 in gift cards.  I then used those gift cards to fund my Bluebird account and then did an online bill pay to pay the card off.  Since I used my Chase Ink Bold which gives me 5 Ultimate Rewards Points for every dollar, I scored over 43,000 points and ended up making $120 while doing it!

What could I use 43,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for?

  • 4 Round Trip tickets from Miami to Cancun using BA Miles on American.

MIA-CUN

  • 4 Round trip tickets from Miami To Detroit on Southwest.

MIA-DTW

  • 2 tickets to San Jose, Costa Rica using BA Miles on American.

MIA-SJO

Conclusion

I hope some of you also took advantage of this great deal.  If you weren’t ready then start getting the things now that you need so you will be ready for next time.  For this great deal, all you needed was an Ink Bold charge card, and a free Bluebird card.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Share

New Hawaiian Airlines card with 35,000 Mile bonus.

HawaiianReminder: Don’t forget to enter our contest ending April 6 for free plane and festival tickets to the Movement Festival in Detroit!

We just received word about a new Hawaiian Airlines card issued by Barclaycard that has a 35,000 Mile sign up bonus.  We have also added it to our Top Credit Cards page.  Here are the details.

  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Enjoy a complimentary 1st checked bag for the primary cardmember when you use your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines
  • Receive a one-time 50% off a companion discount on roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines
  • Earn 2X miles on direct purchases from Hawaiian Airlines and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Get $100 off a companion ticket for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines at each account anniversary
  • Earn 5,000 annual bonus miles after $10,000 in annual spend

Looking at their award chart, it looks like if you plan ahead, you can fly from NYC, LAX or LAS to Hawaii including Maui for 40K round trip.  Hawaii AwardIf you get the card and spend the required 1K then you will be at 36K miles after the bonus is applied.  Kick in 4K more by Spending Money without Spending Money and you can have a free round trip to Hawaii!

We will do a full analysis of this card in a future article but we wanted to tell you about it right away if you were planning on a Hawaii vacation.  Even though it is coach at the 40K round trip rate, Hawaiian’s coach is one of the best experiences compared to other domestic carriers.

Hawaiian Card GraphicClick here to apply!

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Share

Movement Festival in Detroit 2014 Giveaway!

IMG_6105You may have entered our previous BPM Plane Ticket Giveaway where we gave two round trip plane tickets to a lucky winner to Cancun, Mexico.  You may also have read our article on 7 ways to fly to the Movement Festival in Detroit for Free. There were some pretty easy options there, but what about a straight giveaway of not only two plane tickets to Detroit but also two festival tickets? We have now partnered with myBeatFix.com to do exactly that with our Detroit is so Techno Giveaway!

destroitWarehouse_TWMHere is how you can enter.

  1. LIKE mybeatFix and TravelWithMiles on Facebook!
  2. SHARE this contest photo PUBLICLY onto your Facebook page!
  3. ENTER your name and e-mail address in the form on this page.

That’s it!  The winner will get two general admission festival tickets to the Movement Electronic Music Festival as well as two plane tickets to Detroit over the festival dates from anywhere in the continental US (Alaska and Hawaii excluded, sorry!)

It doesn’t get any better or easier than this!  What are you waiting for?  Enter now! Check out this lineup!

Movement Lineup

Share

TWM, Take Me Away to Costa Rica for free!

Costa RicaThis is the second in our Take Me Away series of articles.  Last time we showed you how to get to Bali for free and today we are going to tackle Costa Rica.  We picked Costa Rica because some friends have an amazing trip planned for May but the plane tickets had gone up substantially so it seemed like a good time.

Airfare

I priced out the plane tickets for MIA to San Jose over May 19-May 25 on Kayak.com and once I took out Spirit’s fare of $211 (which would end up being much higher after you pay for your bags, seats, and who knows what else) the cheapest fare was on $426 for 1 stop service on AeroMexico or $434 on the nonstop on American.  Let’s see how we can save by Traveling with Miles!

1. Use 15,000 British Airways Avios to book American Flights

I love using British Airways miles because it often saves a ton of miles vs booking the same seat using AA miles. If I booked directly using American AAdvantage Miles, it would cost 30K miles, double the amount! There is plenty of availability from Miami to San Jose Costa Rica during the that week for 15,000 Avios + $45!BA MIA SJOThere are several ways you could get these miles by credit card signups.  My top choice would be getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred with it’s 40,000 point sign up bonus.  The ultra flexible Ultimate Rewards points it has can be transferred to multiple airlines such as British Airways, Southwest, or United depending on your needs. Another option would be the Chase British Airways card with it’s 50,000 point sign up bonus.

2. Use 30,000 American AAdvantage Miles to book American Flights

This is clearly an inferior option compared to using British Airways miles, but if you happen to have a bunch of American Miles burning a hole in your pocket this is an option to consider.AA MIA SJOYou could get this many AA miles by applying for the 50,000 AA Mile Mastercard or the 50,000 AA Mile Business Platinum Mastercard.

3. Use 35,000 United Miles to fly on Star Alliance flights.

This clearly isn’t as good of an option as using BA miles (or even AA miles) but if you had a lot of United miles and nothing else, you could do it. The flight routing also isn’t as good requiring a connection in both directions. There is plenty of availability though.United MIA SJOTo get these miles, my top choice again would be getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred with it’s 40,000 point sign up bonus.  You could then transfer 35K to United to book the flights.  Another option would be the United Explorer Card with it’s 50,000 mile bonus.

4. Use 35,000 Delta Miles to book on Delta flights.

Delta’s awards are notoriously hard to use, but I was able to find availability over the dates using 35,000 Delta Skymiles and $50.  This was a one connection flight through Atlanta.Delta MIA SJOThere aren’t really any Delta credit offers I would recommend right now, but if you already have Delta miles this option might make sense.  If you have read our article on how to make mega miles with shopping portals, you know that online shopping could be another way to get the miles you need.

Lodging

1. AirBNB

I started going through the hotel options using miles, but looking on sites like AirBNB.com there are private options that are really tempting.  Like this house with an incredible view for only $125 a night.Costa Rica2. Marriott

Marriott also had an interesting choice for 180,000 points for the week at the Autograph collection Hotel Punta Islita.Marriott Costa Rica3. Hyatt

For 175,000 Hyatt Points you can stay at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo for a week which doesn’t look too shabby. Andaz Costa RicaAt a first glance, I would say AirBNB might be a great choice for this destination since the properties that look interesting are high in points cost compared to what you could get by paying cash.  If you got the Barclays Arrival Card, you could use the 40,000 miles to pay for $400 of your AirBNB charges and end up only paying a little bit for a great private house!  Plus you would have room for a bunch of friends to join you.

Conclusion

It looks like using British Airways Avios for your flights and then AirBNB for your lodging would be the smartest way to plan a Costa Rica vacation without spending a bundle.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Share