US Airways Bumps Bonus to 50,000!

The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® has always been one of our favorites for people to get started and it just got even better!  They have just bumped the US Airways 50Kbonus from 40,000 miles with your first purchase to 50,000 with your first purchase.  This means you can get this card, spend $1 on gas and then earn enough for two round trip flights anywhere in the US!  You do have to pay the $89 annual fee with this offer, but I would trade $89 for two round trip flights every day of the week.

This is really as easy as it comes for bonus miles.  Apply for the card, spend $1, get 50,000 miles!

Some other ways you could use these miles are for a ticket to Hawaii (40K miles), Off Peak to Europe in the winter (30K miles) or you could save up the miles and add some to it and get Business Class to Asia via Europe for 110K miles like I did when I went to Germany and China!

How you spend the miles is up to you, but the important thing is getting them while you can!  As you may know US Airways and American Airlines have partially merged and this card will probably be going away once the merger is completed (or at least rebranded to an AA card).

Some other benefits of this card are first checked bag free on US Airways operated flights, priority boarding, and one companion certificate per year.  If this sounds like something you are interested in (and it should) then click here to apply now.

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

Awesome Deal Alert! 2000 AA Miles plus up to 9 Miles/$ with AA Shopping!

American Airlines Shopping is having two different promotions that when stacked add up to a massive points payday! If you are not familiar with how to make miles via online shopping read our Online Shopping for Miles primer first.

The first offer is good until October 16, 2014 and is a bonus offer when you spend certain amounts on any of the AA Shopping merchants:  AA Shopping 2K Continue reading

Grab an easy 1000 American miles by pigging out!

If you have read our Make Miles for Meals article, you know just how easy it is to earn miles by just dining out.  Well if you haven’t signed up for the American AAdvantage Dining program then you can get 2000 miles for dining out from a list of selected restaurants and spending $30.  And if you are an existing customer like me then you can get 1000 more miles by spending $40 at a restaurant that you haven’t eaten at before.AAdvantage Dining 1KRead the miles for meals article for full details, but it is really simple:

  1. Sign up for the free program
  2. Register your debit or credit card
  3. Eat and spend the minimum amount and pay for it with your registered miles
  4. Collect Miles!

The bonus requirements will vary but in this case for the 1000 mile existing customer bonus, you have to spend $40 at restaurants you have never tried before with this program.  It is a great way to try someplace new and get miles at the same time!  And in addition to the bonus you will also get 3-5 miles for every dollar that you spend!  What a deal!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

Make an easy 1000 AA Miles by Shopping Online

This is another of our No Credit, No Problem series of articles which you can take advantage of with no special credit or debit card.

If you aren’t familiar with online shopping portals and how they work then stop everything and check out our article on How to use Shopping Portals to make Mega Miles. We have literally made hundreds of thousands of miles with them in the past, so if you don’t know, you are missing out!

From August 17-25, 2014, American Airlines Shopping Mall is having a promotion where if you spend $200 at any of the 1000+ stores listed on their site, then they will give you a bonus 1000 AA miles on top of whatever you get from the merchant (typically 1-25 miles per dollar).aadvantageshopping1K

Continue reading

TWM, Take Me Away to the World Cup 2014 for free!

This is another in our Take Me Away series of articles.  We first showed you how to get to Bali for free and then tackled Costa Rica.  I took my own advice and ended up flying to Costa Rica last month for only $45!  If you don’t have miles yet, take 30-45 minutes and complete our free Getting Started page so you will be ready next time 

World Cup 2014World Cup madness is upon us and I wanted to see what last minute trips were available with miles to get you to Brazil.  Since the matches are scattered around Brazil over a large timeframe, this was a perfect opportunity to come up with some creative frequent flyer tickets!  Here are some of the options I found using my article on How to Search OneWorld availability using Quantas.com.  Once I found available flights I priced them out following the article on How to book OneWorld flights with British Airways Miles.  

British Airways is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards.  You can transfer miles earned from the 40,000 point bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, or the 60,000 point bonus of the Chase Ink Bold, or the book directly with 50,000 Avios bonus of the Chase British Airways card.

Option 1:  Sao Paulo

SAO World CupThere is TONS of availability for this city.  You could use this as a jumping off point for many of the other cities.  To keep things simple (and the milage costs down), I am only going to focus on the non stop available awards.  For just 50,000 Avios + $88 you could fly down from Miami and see three world cup matches!MIA-GRU

For those of you not in Miami, British Airways may not be the cheapest option (but it probably still will be), so check out the American flights for 60,000 AA or US Airways Miles and $118 from anywhere in the continental US.  The Citibank AA Mastercard currently has a 50K sign up bonus and the US Airways Card has a 40K bonus after spending $1.  You would just need to find connecting flights from your city to Miami where there are award seats using the tools we linked to above.MIA-GRU AA

Option 2: Recife

RecifeFor the non stop there is only availability after the USA match but you could see the first match of the Round of 16. You could spend the rest of the time on the beautiful beaches of Recife! For only 40,000 Avios (the same amount as the sign on bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred) + $88 you could see this historic match!MIA-REC BAYou could do the same thing from anywhere in the US for the higher price of 60,000 AA miles + $118.

Option 3: Rio de Janeiro

Rio World CupHow does this sound for the ultimate long weekend?  Fly into Rio on Thursday night, July 3, arrive at 5 in the morning on July 4, attend the quarter finals that day at the famous Estádio Maracanã, then celebrate through the weekend in Rio then fly back out on Sunday July 6.  For only 50,000 Avios (the exact amount of the sign up bonus on the Chase British Airways Visa) or 60,000 American Miles, you can do it!  And there are two seats available so you can take a friend with you!MIA-RIO World Cup

Option 4: Brasilia

Brasilia World CupYou can’t make the Colombia match unfortunately for the cheapest miles price, but you can make it for 3 matches including the Quarter-finals in the amazing city of Brasilia for only 40,000 Avios (which you could get from the sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred) and $91!MIA-BSB World CupLike the other options you could travel from anywhere else in the US using 60,000 American miles once you find your connecting flights to Miami.

Option 5: Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte World CupFor just 40,000 Avios and $88 you can leave in two days and see Argentina, Costa Rica, and England play, and also catch the first round of 16 match in Belo Horizonte, one of the most beautiful cities in all of Brazil!MIA-CNF BAAs with the others, 60K AA miles is also an option if you aren’t located in Miami.

Bonus Option 6 for my Colombian Friends

I have so many Colombian Friends I had to include an option to see your match vs Japan in CuiabáBrazil on June 24.  Since Cuiabá is such a small airport, I couldn’t find frequent flyer seats there so you would need to buy a ticket from Sao Paulo to there for $78.MIA-GRU One WayGRU-CGBYou could then buy another $65 ticket from Cuiabá to Brasilia to catch your frequent flyer ticket back from there.CGB-BSB BSB-MIA Colombia

This gives you a total cost of 45,000 Avios and $234.  Which still isn’t too bad to see your country play in the world cup!  A better option might be to predict where they will play in the Round of 16 and go there since I am sure they will be making it through!

Summary

You would still need hotels and tickets to the games but there are a ton of options available to you when you get the flights there for cheap.  Using the tools I have provided above you can look for the flights and cities that match up with your favorite teams.  That Rio option is looking awfully tempting to me.  I think those two seats are going to go quickly once this article is published!

Feel free to comment on what other good options you found and tell me which matches you think would be the best to watch! As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!

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!

When to use American AAdvantage Miles vs British Airways Avios

If you have read our ABC’s of Airline Alliances article, you know that you can use any airline in an alliance to book an award seat.  For example, if you wanted to book an American Airlines seat you could use American AAdvantage miles, British Airways Avios, Iberia Avios, or any other of the members of the OneWorld Alliance.  I end up with American miles from cards like the Citibank AA Platinum Personal MC and I can easily get British Airways miles by transferring them from my Chase Sapphire Preferred card or my American Express ® Premier Rewards Gold Card.

Why does is matter which I use?

Because it can save you a ton of miles!  The reason there is a big difference is that American uses a zone based system and British Airways a distance based system.  The American Awards use a flat rate based on what zone you are leaving from and flying to. Click here to see the American Award Chart or click here to see the American Partner Award chart which is slightly different.  You would use the first if you wanted to fly on American flights and the second if you wanted to fly on a partner such as Iberia or British Airways.  Under the standard American Award chart for domestic economy class travel, it is the same 25K miles to fly from Miami to Orlando as it is to fly from Miami to Seattle.MIA-MCO-SEABritish Airways uses a distance based chart where the number of miles is tied to the distance that you fly.Avios Award ChartThis means that the flight from Miami to Orlando costs only 9,000 Avios round trip since it is such a short distance.  The flight from Miami to Seattle costs 25,000 Avios round trip. So if you use British Airways instead of American Miles for the Orlando trip, you save 16,000 miles!  The Seattle is an example of one where the award redemption rates are the same.

Another example would be Miami to Cancun, Mexico which I used this year to attend the BPM Festival for only $70. This flight using American Miles from the North American zone to Mexico would cost 35K miles round trip.  With British Airways since it is only 531 miles to Mexico, it is just 9,000 Avios round trip!  That is a savings of 24,000 Miles for the exact same flights!

How to choose?

In general, if it is a short flight, BA will often times save you miles, but when in doubt, check both!  It will only take a couple of extra seconds but the reward could be huge.  You can use the following links to quickly see the difference.

American Airlines chart (for flights strictly on American Planes)

American Airlines Partner chart (for flights on any Oneworld plane)

British Airways Award Calculator (input your departure and destination)

Ready to book?

Check out our article on How to Book OneWorld Flights with British Airways Avios or our article on How to Book an American Airlines AAdvantage Award Ticket on AA.com.

Conclusion

Earning miles is just one half of the Travel With Miles formula to seeing the world for free!  Being smart when you redeem your miles is another very important piece of the puzzle.  If you follow my advice and redeem the smart way then you will get more trips and more fun for your miles!

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

 

 

How to check OneWorld availability with Qantas.com

OneWorld is a great alliance and one that is important to me because I used a OneWorld Explorer award ticket to go on my 5 month 15 country trip around the world. Read this article I wrote about the ABC’s of Airline Alliances if you don’t know how the major alliances work(and why you should care).  I’ve written before about how to use AA.com to check out American Airlines award availability and I’ve written about how to use British Airways site to check OneWorld availability and book using BA Miles. If you want the best way to view all of the OneWorld partners in one spot, including the ones with really nice premium cabins such as Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, then using Qantas.com is the way to go.

Cathay Pacific First Class

Cathay Pacific First Class

It may seem at first strange that you would use Qantas’ web site if you want to check Cathay Pacific or LAN or British Airways award seats, but in my experience it is usually one of the best ways of finding the flights you need.  In addition, it offers a whole month view at a time so is better than British Airways one week view and not limited to just a few airlines like American’s site is.

What do I need?

If you have followed our Getting Started page, then you will already have a free Qantas frequent flyer account as well as an AwardWallet account which will make things really convenient because it will automatically log you into your Qantas account for you.

Searching on Qantas step by step

1. After you have logged in, click on the Frequent Flyer drop down then the Award Flights option under Using Points shown here in a blue circle.Qantas Award2. Click on the Quantas & Partner Classic Awards Book Now button.Qantas Award 23. Scroll down on the next screen and fill in the “From”, “To”, “Depart”, and “Return” boxes and make sure that “Flexible with Dates” is selected and then hit Search Flights. For this example, we will choose a trip from Miami to Bangkok.Qantas Award 34. On the next screen a full month of availability will be displayed, but the default is just coach.  Since it is a long flight, I want to see the business and first class availability too.  So check those boxes then hit Go..Qantas Award 45. The available award seats will now show up in all of the classes for a month at a time!  Once you have found dates that offer availability, select those dates on the calendar then click Continue to see the available flights and carriers. It is sometimes easier to search for each one way separately.Quantas Award 5It will show the available flights, airlines, and times.  Since Bangkok is too far to have a direct flight, the above shows two different options: One on a combination of American Airlines and British Airways through London in First Class. One on a combination of American Airlines and Cathay Pacific in Economy Class.

The best way to search if you want a certain airline is to look at the “Where We Fly” maps for that airline and figure out where their hub locations are and then piece together the individual flights from there.  If you wanted to fly Cathay Pacific for example you would look for the flight from New York JFK to Hong Kong first (because the long flights are usually the hardest to find award seats on), then from Miami to New York, then finally from Hong Kong to Bangkok.  You would have to have availability on all 3 flights in the class you wanted so it may take some experimenting.

Write down the flights when you find them and when you find an itinerary that works, then call your OneWorld carrier to book!  Give them the flights one by one and they should be able to see the same availability we just found.  If you run into troubles it is often best to just hang up and call back because a different rep probably can help.  Sometimes it is like putting a puzzle together but when you get an itinerary that works it feels great.

Conclusion

I hope this post shows you the best way to search for OneWorld availability using the Qantas web site and helps you get some award seats booked!

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

Why you should apply for the US Airways card before March 31st.

Updated April 30, 2014.  This card has improved its sign on bonus.  Click here for more details!

Some of your already have this card which is the first card in our Easy Quarter Million Program, but for those who don’t, read on.

As some of you may know, US Airways and American Airlines merged recently but they are still operating separately in their respective alliances until March 31st. You can read our article about how airline alliances work here. This all changes at the end of March when US Airways officially pulls out of Star Alliance and joins OneWorld.  And why is this important?  Well typically you can only get one sign up bonus for each type of card that an airline issues.  So, for example if you apply for the Chase British Airways card and get the 50,000 mile bonus that it has, you will never be able to get the bonus for that same card again. Right now, there are two different sets of cards, the US Airways one issued by Barclays that has a 30,000 mile bonus(10,000 more if you transfer a balance), and the American Airlines one issued by Citibank that has a 50,000 mile bonus.

AAUSAirAA has a deep business relationship with Citibank and will end up being the survivor of the merger (even though US Airways is technically acquiring American).  This means that the Barclays US Airways card will be disappearing, never to be seen from again.  They haven’t announced that this will happen on March 31, but it is my best guess since that is when they exit Star Alliance. If you don’t get the card now, it might be your last chance to get this one time bonus before it is gone.

The cool part is that at some point, they will completely merge their two frequent flyer programs and you will be able to combine your miles across the two programs (Dividend Miles and AAdvantage).  So if you don’t have enough miles in your American account for the 60,000 Milesaver award ticket to Paris then maybe you will when they combine your accounts.

Eiffel TowerThe best thing about this card is the spend requirement! You get the full 40,000 miles with your first purchase! So buy $1 worth of gas, get 40,000 miles!  Bing! Bam! Boom!  It has a number of other good benefits such as:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee*
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights
  • One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights
  • Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
  • Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways and American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • New! Receive a 25% savings on eligible US Airways and American Airlines in-flight purchases
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

That last point can be important to many of you who carry a balance leftover from holiday spending.  0% for 12 months can save you a lot if you are paying interest now.  They do charge a 4% balance transfer fee, but they give you 1 bonus mile for every $1 in balance transferred up to 10,000 bonus miles.  If you have a balance you are paying interest on (especially if it is a high APR) it is a no brainer to do a transfer to 0% even with the fee.

But as I mentioned in the beginning, the best reason to apply is that you may not be able to get this bonus after March 31!  And if you don’t use it, you will lose it! So what are you waiting for?  Apply now!

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

5 things you can do NOW to go to the BPM Festival for free.

BPM ParadiseUpdate October 27, 2014:  None of this has changed since I published this article in January so I am reposting it again for anyone who might want to go.

By the time you read this, I will be on my way to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for the BPM Festival.  This 10 day music festival brings all the best DJs from around the world into a beachfront community about an hour South of Cancun for day and night parties.  I’ll start out with the Diynamic party with Solomun, then the Circo Loco party on Friday daytime, the Innervisions party on Friday night, All Day I Dream with Lee Burridge during the day, Music On during the night, then the closing parties on Sunday.

Now that I have made you interested here are 5 things you can do now to get to BPM Festival for Free like I am this year:

  1. Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and transfer 9,000 of the 40,000 Ultimate Reward sign up bonus to British Airways Avios and just pay the international taxes of $72.  This is exactly how I got here this year and is truly the best use of your points if you are traveling from Miami. BA Summary 2Check out our Full Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card here and find out why it is our #1 travel card for people who want to get started with already established credit.
  2. Get the Chase British Airways card and use 9,000 of the 50,000 Avios sign on bonus for the same ticket we listed above.  If you play your cards right, you could even take 5 of your friends with you to BPM with this bonus!BA BannerRead this article about how to book American flights with British Airways points which is exactly what I did.
  3. Apply for the Barclaycard Arrival card and use the 40,000 Mile sign on bonus (worth $400 in travel expenses) to pay for a ticket.  This has the benefit of earning you miles for the flight as well since you are in essence paying for the ticket using the miles. ArrivalBanner The better use of this bonus would be for the hotel portion of your trip.  Some friends and I are staying at the Fusion Hotel which is right in the middle of everything for 3 nights for around $400 total.  This could be fully paid for with this sign up bonus!
  4. Get the Citibank American Airlines Platinum Personal Mastercard and use 35,000 of the 50,000 sign up bonus to book an American Award seat from anywhere in the US to Mexico.  Citibank BonusThis option obviously pales in comparison to numbers 2 and 3 since you have to use 35,000 miles for the exact same award seat that you could get for 9,000 Avios, but it might make sense for people who aren’t in Miami.  For example, British Airways if you fly from Seattle to Cancun via Phoenix costs 35,000 miles.  This is exactly the same amount as if you booked with American Airlines miles.  So if you are a long way from Cancun, then this option might be equal to the Avios option.
  5. Shop online with the British Airways online mall.  If you have read our article about How to Make Mega Miles with Shopping Portals, then you know how just by shopping online you can earn miles.  You just need to earn 9000 Avios to have enough for a round trip ticket from Miami. Here is a chart of some of the merchants they work with (but there are a bunch more!)BA Shopping$1125 at Shoes.com, $1125 at 1-800-Petmeds or $750 in flowers or Rosetta Stone can get you enough Avios to go to BPM!

Conclusion

There you go, 5 things you can do now to go to BPM next year.BPM CrewNext year, this could be you!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!