My Week in Points: June 30-July 14 – Q3 housekeeping

Yeah, this is more than a week, but just getting started with this.

The concept here is a window in to the triumphs and bumbles of an avid traveler trying to learn the miles and points racket. The mistakes and tedium may be instructive, may be humorous, or may be just dull.

New blog: lapping up every word of Points Unseen, and not just because he is a fellow Minnesotan. Great stuff.

Delta: Believe it or not, I found a case where they don’t want you to transfer through Atlanta. Booking three award tickets for Labor Day New York – Quad Cities (MLI), of all three NYC-area airports, the only routing back on Labor Day is MLI-ATL-EWR, both segments at the low level, yet it prices out at 50,000??? Half an hour on the Diamond line, great agent, she agrees with me that it makes no sense, connecting through ATL to LGA and JFK is fine, connecting through ATL to EWR on a revenue ticket is fine, but the rate desk is insisting to her that now only DTW and CVG are valid for EWR an award tickets. To the agent’s great credit she promises to work them over and half an hour later she calls back that they can make a one-time exception. Still makes no sense, but I have my tickets. SkyMiles can occasionally be useful, but really only if you are a Diamond or Platinum, and then it is touch and go. Within my family we have all 4 levels and even golds get the shaft on award availability. And since post-merger Delta rarely has useful promotions, the miles don’t quite fall from the sky like they used to.

Booked the $387+ NYC-Dublin roundtrip, paid $465 to get the Friday-Monday dates that I needed. That availability hung around for a while, guess not everyone fancies Ireland in November.

United: Checking daily for miles to post from missing mileage requests from Star Alliance partner flights in mid-June. For Swiss, everything seemed to be entered correctly, South African is my fault, left off one digit on the self check-in kiosk. Best to let others do such things for me at 5 am. Why am I wasting time over 4 sub-500 mile segments?

Thought about a post-July 1 status match since EWR is now more convenient for me, but not matching Delta Diamond to 1k is a dealbreaker.

Watched that Singapore Airlines first class booking frenzy. Didn’t care much. A flight is a flight to me and do not want to spend 140k on one, even if they freshen my chamber pot hourly.

Starwood: Why did I bother trying to figure out the 21 options of the Q3 promotion, even with Loyalty Traveler as my guide. I might not even have two SPG stays.

Hilton/bmi: Got in on this pearl from View from the Wing way too late, but my wife’s Hilton stay netted 6,000 bmi miles…if they ever post. Two weeks and counting. Need to explain to her why she now has a bmi account.

Marriott: Finally going to use two expiring category 1-4 certificates over Labor Day. Certs are great to have and easy to forget, especially with Marriott where there does not seem to be any way to see them in account management, only turning up when booking an award reservation.

Club Carlson: My parents, my wife and I completed Radisson and Country Inn stays and the 50k/44k bonuses posted. Mine I got, plus Park Inn, on business trips. Needed to creatively explain to colleagues why I was driving 30 miles at 11 pm to stay in a Country Inn over the Marriott across the street from our meeting. Checking TopCashBack to make sure the cash back posts (my referral link if you haven’t signed up). Park Plaza only has one location in the US – good excuse to visit my home state, Minnesota. I don’t have any international travel to their other markets before August 28.

Wallaby: Read about Wallaby for a minute on The Points Guy and decided to not spend more time. People will probably find a way to turn it into a bonanza and I may regret missing out early, but I am letting this one pass.

Credit cards:

  • Funny to read how all it takes is an annual fee for the the Sapphire Preferred card to no longer be touted far and wide as the second coming. That was a timely post as I am trying to decide on whether or not to keep the SPG AmEx. The transfer partners thing is part of the SPG program, don’t need the card for that except to earn miles. The card itself benefits-wise does not stack up well against the new generation of hotel cards with their annual free nights and elite status.
  • Finally got around to setting up a Chase checking account, will direct more of my banking to them as my collection is up to 4 personal cards and growing. Want to be positioned for the trifecta whenever I get around to the Freedom and Sapphire Preferred/Ink Bold. Got the public $150 cash bonus offer for the checking, spent a few hours testing codes for $200 before wondering why I was fruitlessly wasting time.
  • The Alaska Airlines card is gutting benefits August 1 (here and here), another golden age thing I missed out on.
  • Lots of research for a quarterly churn next Monday, had been keeping things quiet on that front for a while. American Express is really losing ground to Chase, not much I want to keep, not much I want to get.

Disclaimer: as many links as possible in this post pay me a commission. Shame on Quad City International Airport and others for not paying commission. Seriously, though, your support is appreciated.

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Pingbacks

  • Greek2me

    Fun post, I enjoyed it.

  • LarryInNYC

    Ben Schlappig has a post up on using the Sapphire / Bold cards through the Ultimate Rewards mall to book up to 4.28 miles per dollar spent on travel (using the two-extra-points-per-dollar at Travelocity. Just booked KUL-DPS and will see if I net the 2,500 points or so.
    .
    If that works, it beats the standard AMEX 3 points per dollar.
    .
    Looks like I will have to fight for my Club Carlson bonus points through Park Inn Milan. But should be able to pick up a couple of Park Plazas in Bangkok next month.

  • Frieda

    $387+ NYC – DUB RT. Mind sharing the date? I was not able to find anything under $400 from EWR nor JFK
    Thanks

  • FYI, I can easily see my Marriott cert. in AwardWallet. Makes it simple to keep track of.

  • @Frieda – I had to pay $465 for the dates and connections I wanted, 11/30-12/3. The $387 fares were typically Tue/Wed/Thu departure, Tue/Wed return, which didn’t work for me, often with double connections. Most weekends had plenty of options sub-$450 but those may be gone now.

  • @New Girl in the Air – great tip, I have an Award Wallet account but obviously not explored it enough, shame on me!

  • Pingback: Weekend Wrapup « Points Unseen()

  • Enjoyable post! I just spent 40 mins tying various rental car combinations which saved me only $30.