My Week in Points: AA Platinum and Feeling Red

A packed week on the road for business tumbled in Frequent Traveler University Advanced in San Diego (review by Travel With Grant). I am trying in one evening to catch up on two weeks in the miles and points world, no easy feat with some blogs stacking up 150+ in that fortnight.

My travel was covered in prior columns, to recap:

  • AA targeted me for Platinum status, to keep this year for reaching 12,000 elite qualifying miles or points by mid-May. That was taken care of on Iberia and British Airways to/from Barcelona for Mobile World Congress.
  • Swings through Grand Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira on the way to Barcelona. A cash ticket on Binter (see my Avios travails on that) and a United Award on TAP Portugal filled in the dots. Since my trip changed several times to the last minute, the ease of the United website and my change fee waivers was great.
  • My first-ever flights on US Airways, from San Deigo back to NYC after FTU. Thanks to Gary Leff for saving me the research time in telling me all I needed to know was to check in at the 24-hour mark and select first class seats for free. Easiest transcon upgrade I have had in years.
  • My trips to my only nearby red logo store are either going to get more frequent or stop all together. While imperfectly implemented, many cashiers have been told that only customer service can do loads and those are customer service are (mostly) only allowing one $1,000 swipe per person. One of the many costs of my spousal-induced exile in the Tri-State area. Harlan at Out & Out already packed it in. Before I had the thought, Miles to Memories reports that returning to Serve is no longer a worthwhile option as non-Amex credit card loads will soon end and Amex loads do not earn rewards.

Airlines:

Rental cars:

  • Classic Mr Pickles, a massive National Rental Car corporate codes list with the header, “Remember only use codes that you are qualified to use.” Make sure to fully understand your insurance situation with any rental.
  • FrequentMiler compares National to Hertz. I learned at FTU that National free rental day certificates can be used for one-way rentals. Hertz allow one-ways on awards at a roughly 50% points premium.

Hotels:

Credit Cards:

  • The Free-quent Flyer picks apart airline companion tickets. I have several Delta going unused and the legacy Citi Prestige one that I haven’t begun to think about how to use.
  • The Chase Amtrak card seems to be dead or close to it, according to FrequentMiler. Another on the list I meant to learn the value and never got to it.
  • Efficient Asian Man is another convert to the Citi Prestige card. Best premium card to keep.
  • I also love the Chase IHG card which is why I don’t churn it: in case they change the card I may not get the same benefits again. Doctor of Credit posts a survey that we out to some Chase customers on possible different versions of the card.
  • As Disney park tickets now are $100+, every little bit helps, FrequentMiler’s Bet You Didn’t Know Series has 3 Ways to Earn the Most Points at Disney.

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  • Shannon

    but why could you have First Class for free from San Diego?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Shannon – the US Airways upgrade process is if you are elite, you can select those seats for free when the check-in window opens. So I go online to check-in, click open first class seats, and then I am in first class. Interesting process which I understand to be going away in the merger.

  • ES

    Helpful roundup; thanks! Especially appreciated Efficient Asian Man’s writeup of the Prestige card which I would have missed otherwise. Too bad I don’t live near any Citibanks but will watch for them when traveling.

  • Eric

    Continuing to enjoy these weekly wrap-ups. . . nicely done