My Week in Points: Chase Branch Offers and PointsHound Tempest

Two pieces of news reminded me that I don’t have the bandwidth to learn every program.

AviancaTaca LifeMiles has been the hot program since last fall with an award chart ripe for taking advantage and bonus-laden buy miles opportunities. I doubt anyone felt it would last long-term so it favored those who could jump on it by either having the flexibility to travel immediately, or the predictability to plan far in ahead. My life seems to have neither, so I decided to just let it all slide by without investing the time to learn. Now comes the devaluation (LoyaltyLobby), some will have made out like bandits, some will be stuck with high balances.

Alitalia is another program that I have heard has value, yet reports like this on the difficulty of redeeming on their partners (Upgrd Matthew) puts it on the shelf with Korean Air of programs I will not unleash on myself.

Delta:

  • Delta Starwood Crossover Rewards points have been posting to my account, I haven’t done a strict audit, has anyone had issues? Interesting how Delta works the margins to incentive and de-incenvtive customer behavior. I just flew Shanghai-Beijing and took Air China over China Eastern at the same price and schedule because that fare earns 100% on United rather than 75% on Delta. I am curious about the economics of partner earning levels and costs.
  • Delta kicked up a kvetching storm by ‘enhancing’ its Sky Club drinks. Why do US companies insist on spinning everything? I just miss self-service soft drinks when I have to wait several minutes just to get someone to give me some Apple juice.
  • Seasonal JFK to Copenhagen and Stockholm service have resumed, these less-noticed flights might have less competition for award space, whether there are any low awards is a different matter.
  • Points to Be Made shows how delta.com is useful for something: avoiding KLM booking fees.

Credit Cards:

  • The Miles Professor reports that visits to Chase bank branches can yield attractive sign-up bonuses for Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase United Explorer card. Reminds me that my Explorer annual fee is coming up and I have not found a reason to keep it, even if I move my flying business to United. Time to emerge into the sunshine and visit a branch.
  • Noob Traveler discusses The quirkiness of Barclays. I have explored Barclays a fair amount and the only rule is inconsistency.

Teapot Tempests:

  • View from the Wing attracted some controversy over a ‘win-win’ sign-up bonus for hotel booking site PointsHound. I have been meaning to looking into PointsHound in detail. The argument over the bonus interests me. Gary seems to strive to be transparent yet that attracts just as much criticism, perhaps more, than certain highly financially successful miles and points blogs that have minimal transparency with their link carpet bombing.

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  • john

    pointshound, depending on destination, seems a similar scam to other major hotels booking sites that charge a bit more for the free points or rewards. Prices steadily above what you would find on booking.com for example. This matters purely from the cash is king point of view… not saying the points may not be worth something to some people.

  • @john – thanks for that, I am always cautious on paying for points propositions, I will proceed with caution.