My Week in Points: Binter and a Churn

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.

  1. Barclaycard US Airways, #3 (pending, assume will be denied)
  2. Barclaycard Arrival+ (pending, assume will be denied)
  3. BofA Alaska (approved)
  4. BofA Virgin (approved)
  5. FIA Fidelity (approved)
  6. US Bank FlexPerks Travel Amex (pending), then I lifted freeze on Experian
  7. Chase Ink Plus (denied, so far only one call)
  8. Chase Fairmont (approved, 2nd time held this card)
  9. Chase Marriott Premier (approved, 2nd time held this card)
  10. Citi AA Platinum MasterCard (approved, 18 months since prior AA Platinum Visa approval)
  11. (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).

Airlines:

  • 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.

Hotels:

  • 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).

Rental Cars:

Credit Cards:

Manufactured Spend:

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dave
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dave

@RapidTC – got it thanks. One more thing – I know inquiries drop off completely after 2 years – but in the 3 to 6 month time frame which seem to be the most relevant for new card apps ~how many inquiries would make you start to slow down on applying? I’ve seen mention a few times of people with 20+ inquiries accumulated on one bureau in a year not getting denials.

dave
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dave

Rapid TC – about how often do you do these mega card churns? Do you bump off your inquiries?

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[…] served by OneWorld’s Iberia and local regional airline Binter Canarias. I tried and tried, and failed, to redeem Iberia Avios for […]

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[…] was poking around last night and came across a mention on Rapid Travel Chai’s Week in Points about a new way to earn some extra points via manufactured spending from a service called […]

Art
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Art

What’s the reference to Hyatt/repeated card you reference?

I have generally heard (and in my limited experience) Chase will often let you have the bonus for a card you’ve had before, if you wait 2 years between canceling the old and reapplying. I was thinking of doing this for the Hyatt card (just need to time it right, picking the right 2 year period).

Do you have reason to believe this won’t work for the Hyatt card?

PedroNY
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PedroNY

Nice Churn! Some observations. From my experience Barclays only allows one card at a time (or every 30 days?). To be certain, I don’t churn them again until my application record goes away from their IT system. Simplest way is to check your application status via barclays website, if it still shows any previous application (90-180 days since you last applied), then I do not apply. However, if my record is completely clear, I take it as a “green light” and 99% get auto approve. Try it next time. Also, there are many reports that Chase only allows 2 applications… Read more »

John
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John

What do you mean “so far only one call” with respect to the Ink Plus? Are you saying that you can call back if they deny you a first time?

Were you aiming for a #3 Barclays US card at the same time?

Also, for the Amex Hilton Surpass, can you “upgrade” to that card more than once in a lifetime? I had it and downgraded it a few years back…am tempted to get it again even though HHonors points are worth less (as opposed to worthless)

TravelBloggerBuzz
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Regarding the Fairmont card:

How long since you canceled the first one?
Can you confirm you got the two free nights again?

Personal Observation: Love these more when you don’t link to blogs in one of my lists 🙂

guera
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guera

Starting to look forward to your weekly roundups. Thanks!