Iberia defeated me. Last week I was game to attempt to redeem Iberia Avios for a flight on Binter Canarias.
Binter is one of the many non-OneWorld partners of the greater Avios family of BA, Iberia and Avios.com. Some of these partners reportedly can only be booked by calling that airline instead of Iberia. Well, a bunch of calls to Iberia and even to Binter produced nothing in the way of a ticket. The best I could piece together is that, despite no mention on the redemption guidelines, it may only be possible to redeem for Binter flights that codeshare with Iberia. My Las Palmas, Gran Canaria – Praia, Cape Verde, which is operated by Air Nostrum, yet the Air Nostrum website does not even list the destination, is not a codeshare. Best Iberia could do is a recommend a 24 hour+ double connection via Madrid and Casablanca. I had an inkling going in that I should have bought a revenue ticket at the outset. Even that was not easy. Binter tacks on a $15 fee and most other sites do not list Binter flight. Priceline does, and I booked it, the next morning having a stack of voicemails from the Philippines that the ticket could not be issued and Pricline recommended I book another airline. Yep, same double connection via Madrid and Casablanca. I sucked it up and bought direct from Binter.
Next up is a few car rentals with after-hours pick-up or drop-off times where I expect to get dinged by more Euro-style fees as I rattle through the Canaries, Cape Verde, and Madeira.
Back state-side, the tally is not yet fully in from my credit card apps. 10 apps, no instant approvals.
- Barclaycard US Airways, #3 (pending, assume will be denied)
- Barclaycard Arrival+ (pending, assume will be denied)
- BofA Alaska (approved)
- BofA Virgin (approved)
- FIA Fidelity (approved)
- US Bank FlexPerks Travel Amex (pending), then I lifted freeze on Experian
- Chase Ink Plus (denied, so far only one call)
- Chase Fairmont (approved, 2nd time held this card)
- Chase Marriott Premier (approved, 2nd time held this card)
- Citi AA Platinum MasterCard (approved, 18 months since prior AA Platinum Visa approval)
- (upgrade) Amex Hilton to Amex Hilton Surpass (I hear this loop is running out so assume this to be my last for a while). Note: for new applicants there is an 80k Hilton Surpass offer (The Military Frequent Flyer).
Nothing from Amex interested me and I didn’t go for any obscure cards. Almost did a Virgin America to have a portrait orientation card instead of landscape. Not a big MS-er so don’t chase limited-time category bonus cards.
Speaking of MS, the noose is closing store-by-store at Target (Out and Out). Nervous what my local store will be like when I get back to the US mid-March. The moment REDbird came out I started counting down the days it would ruin a pretty good thing for the more hassle AFT cards.
I like checking things off the tracking list, so it was nice to see some bonuses come in:
- Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business 2015 10k bonus for $25k spend (I rushed it through before annual fee hits in March and as possible trade for Ink Plus. As hard as it is for me to get Chase business approvals, I may end up keeping this and canceling my personal Explorer instead.
- US Club Carlson personal + business annual 40k
- US Bank FlexPerks personal + business Nov-Dec 2014 2500 points for $2k spend
- Hertz President’s Circle status via my Delta elite status. Others are having issues (DeltaPoints).
- Delta will no longer mail cards or bag tags for Silver Medallions (Delta Points). You can print at home. I remember a MSP gate agent who once deflated a young woman who had just become silver and was enquiring of the benefits, “It’s more of a teaser.” For snobs, the tags always looked too close to the Diamond tags/ The serious point is that physical cards are still useful overseas. Just last month in Cairo checking in for Alitalia there was a bit of a debate because the system did not list Diamond Medallion status. Hadn’t had that problem for a while. Since Delta makes the SkyTeam ElitePlus logo incredibly small on the card, it took some convincing that this status existed.
- Can You Ask For Extra Amenity Kits In Business Class? (One Mile at a Time). Ok, I confess, on Korean Air I have sweeped up the mega-expensive Davi cosmetics my wife loves. If you do fly Korean and are not a Korean woman, be pushy to try to get the Jeju Water spray. Nice token gift to any woman who doesn’t know your travel habit get suspicious of small gifts. Not all flights are stocked.
- Marriott has fairly reasonable offers to buy back elite status (Magic of Miles). I have Gold again from the Ritz-Carlton card. I got a letter from Marriott saying I didn’t quite make it to Gold though they were granting me status anyway. Yes, because it is a benefit of the card. Maybe I was also targeted to retain status, though I only had a handful of 2014 stays.
- Hilton offered 1,000 points to get rid of PINs on accounts, then put it on hold to sort out the IT (Loyalty Lobby).
- When National is not running 1-2-Free, Emerland Club awards are slow to earn. Through June 14, National will give 1,000 AA miles for rentals of 2+ days when using AA’s contract ID 5031007, which may not be the greatest savings available (MJ on Travel).
- Do credit cards cover Silvercar or Relay Rides rental damage? (MileCards) Always be sure of your rental car insurance situation, especially with luxury or expensive cars.
- Amex is in decline, losing Costco, JetBlue and slipping on the high-end, will they up the goodies? (MSN Money)
- Doctor of Credit has the most thorough coverage of the new Discover It Miles card with 3x first-year earnings. Interesting idea to try to convert in year 2 to a regular Discover It with quarterly 5x categories. Check back in a year.
- More good news: Barclaycard Arrival+ no longer rounds up redemption amounts (The Free-quent Flyer).
- $3750 in Free Manufactured Spend with Flint (Miles Remaining). Might be worth a lark.
- Stop Acting So Entitled! … For All Of Our Sake (Travel Is Free). There are moments when I look at something I have done or how I have handled an interaction and not proud of myself. As Drew asks, “What I don’t understand is if the hobby attracts entitled pricks, or if it creates them.”