My Week in Points September 30-October 6: hitting the AmEx wall

Delta: New York JKF or Atlanta to Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PAP) is wide-open at the low 35,000 SkyMiles level in coach. Admittedly not a destination for everyone. I just got back a few hours ago and had a great time, far exceeding my expectations.

Choice Privileges: last week I noted that my stays in Australia had not posted. I could have read the notice on the account activity page to allow 20 days from checkout for non-US stays to post. First stay posted and not yet 20 days for the second.

Star Alliance: I came across the Points to Point B blog and reading through the coverage of the Aegean Airlines quick route to Star Alliance Gold, now with double the normal account sign-up bonus, see here, here, and here.

Hotel awards: I booked my first ever hotel award for the outrageously expensive hotels in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. I never seem to feel the prices are good value and end up using Priceline. Frequent Flyer University points to a new site, Award Spy, that searches awards from several of the major hotel chains. I tried a test spin just now and kept getting “Application Error,” I know that it is early days and am looking forward to using the service.

Credit Cards:

  • Online Travel Review found a MileagePlus credit card offer hiding in plain sight, 5,000 bonus miles for $1,000 spend cumulatively in Aug-Oct. The offer appears to apply retroactively. I have the MileagePlus Explorer card, not a good card other than car rental primary CDW or perhaps for occasional United flyers, so I signed up and need to figure out that spend.
  • Annual fees were coming due so I dropped my AmEx Premier Rewards Gold and Starwood, no reason for me to keep either. Also, Amex told me they have a hard limit for me of 5 cards (total of personal and business) and my most recent application was denied without even a credit pull. The agent told me to cancel a card,  which I did, and then the application was approved. Miles Abound has reported he hits the wall at 4, others more, but it seems consistent that once Amex has a limit of cards for you, they are not flexible in increasing it. By cancelling two, I have one spot open in case a great offer for something new appears. This does not seem tied to credit limit and one agent told me to move credit from one of my (closing) accounts to another, they would do a new credit pull, which I declined. Didn’t want to give up the credit, but didn’t need it either.
  • Travel by Points has the best card review of the year.

Contests: Very Good Points has 1 million points in giveaways in October and Lufthansa Flyer has a tie-in giveaway, you’ll need to put some thought into your entries.

Payment systems: a Russian traffic cop was recorded to be on the leading edge of technology in collecting prices.

Rapid Travel Chai newsletter ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ Instagram

  • ClearedCustoms

    Perhaps what I’ve read about Papua New Guinea is out of date, but it sounds pretty horrible (i.e. dangerous). Good bird watching though. What are you planning to do there?

  • @ClearedCustoms – I am there and back, it was a personal add-on to my Australia business trip. The safety issues are hard in a brief visit to separate fact from fiction, but since virtually every hotel in Port Moresby provides free airport shuttles and lock-down security, and restaurants call taxis for guests, those are some indications. I also went out to Rabaul in East New Britain and it felt much safer, I walked around the small town in the evening and did not feel unsafe. I plan to get my trip posts out this week or next, I had a pretty good time, though the costs made it rather poor value for me.

  • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mr. RTC :D!

  • AK

    ^ Likewise! 🙂