I was busy traveling this last week, so here are a few quick hits that you might’ve missed.
Amex Mercedes Benz Card raises spend
The American Express Platinum Mercedes-Benz card has raised it’s minimum spend from $1,000 to $3,000 in 3 months. You still get 50,000 Membership Rewards points, but there’s the $475 annual fee you need to account for. If you travel often – I believe the $475 annual fee is easily justifiable since you get $200 in airline credits, lounge access, and many more perks.
If you want 50,000 Membership Rewards points without the annual fee there’s the LTO with the The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN.
House hold income on cc applications
This is a pretty significant break. The Card Act made it harder for stay at home spouses or partners to get approval for certain credit cards, because they couldn’t technically put the household income down on their applications. There were some work arounds, but now the Act is being revised. Stay at home spouses or partners will be able to put household income on their credit card applications now. That’s great and make sense, because household income would be used to pay off the credit card debt.
Once the revision is published it will be live, but banks will have 6 months to comply.
MegaDo adds membership tiers
MegaDo’s are a like a field trip in an airplane. They are events put on by the Milepoint/FTU founders and are great for hanging out with other aviation geeks and getting a behind the scenes look at airlines, airports, and hotels. I’ve yet to go on one, but it’s on my list. I was scheduled to go on the last MegaDo, but had to cancel because of a personal issue.
I received an email letting me know that you now must sign up for a private membership just to be able to book a ticket (which can be a hard ticket to buy). That’s because it’s now going to be a private charter, and the non-profit paper work has finally been processed.
There are three levels of membership: Basic for $10 a year, Gold for $500 a year (only 40 available), and Diamond membership for a $2,000 annual fee (20 available). Ouch. You do get some benefits with each tier. For the full details see below.
Here’s the full announcement.
British Airways Facebook Contest
Win up to 60,000 British Airways Avios points with their Facebook contest. All you have to do is “Like” the page and pull the digital lever. You can play once a day until May 13th.
There you go. Just a few notes that I’ve had in my que, but couldn’t get to until now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
— Noob MasterRead More
I don’t apologize for it – Jordan and I like to go on cruises. We actually like to go anywhere together. Crazy like that.
Anyway, we have a 4 night cruise to The Bahamas coming up, and it was practically free since there was a major wi-fi issue on the last cruise went on. Since I’m online a lot, this was a b i g deal, but one that Royal Caribbean handled with class.
This vacation really couldn’t come at a better time. Ever have one of those weeks where everyone in your family is the hospital, cars break down, work is swamped, and “pets’ heads are falling off” (that’s a movie quote, y’all)? Well, that’s the kind of week we’ve had. And that’s when a plethora of miles & points comes in handy.
So, here’s what we’re using to make this trip happen…
Jordan is dropping our precious dog off with her folks in Dallas and meeting me in Miami after I’m done with some weekend traveling. Her flight from DFW-Miami was 7,500 Avios and $2.50! That’s also what I paid for my flight from D.C. to Miami. I love Avios.
[Don't forget about the 35% transfer bonus with American Express Membership Rewards points. Plus, topping off a British Airways account is made even easier because Ultimate Rewards is a transfer partner and they have their own British Airways Visa Signature® Card.]
We will be staying Sunday night in Miami, so I looked for a Hyatt. Shocker, I know. But I only need one more stay to complete my Diamond Trial Status Match. Killin it. I went with the Hyatt Regency, since it’s fairly close to the cruise port.
I paid cash for the stay, which is pretty rare for me. But maintaining Diamond status for another year is well worth it. The room was $175 – steeper than I like, but it’s Miami.
We had a couple hiccups with our plans on the way back, but ended up deciding on utilizing our Southwest Companion Pass. Southwest is always my first place to look when traveling domestically. The issue was, Southwest flies out of Fort Lauderdale, which is a 45 minute ride from the Miami cruise port.
But, the longer taxi, bus, or shuttle (haven’t booked that yet) ride is worth it in this case because we’re getting a direct flight fro FLL-AUS! Rare, indeed. And the grand total for our tickets was 11,400 Southwest Rapid Rewards points for BOTH of us. Thank you, Companion Pass.
This is just another example of why I love miles and points. They enable me to travel more, and affordably. It’s no secret that I earn most of my miles & points through rewards credit cards’ sign-up bonuses and by using them for all my purchases. But there’s nothing special about me – other than that I pay off all my bills in full and monitor my credit to make sure it stays in great shape. Point being – anyone with good credit can travel like this. Ok, back to the trip.
The cost of this trip will be:
- 15,000 Avios points and $5 for the flights to Miami
- 11,400 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points and $5 for the flights back to Austin
- $200 for the cruise, since I upgraded us to a better room (imagine that). I had $800 in credits.
- $175 for the Hyatt Regency, my final stay for the Diamond Trial Status Match
- $50 for transportation to the FLL airport from the Miami port
Total= 26,400 points/miles and $425.
Of course, this doesn’t include any spending that we do. Overall, I feel like the value I’m getting is pretty solid. I don’t enjoy paying for hotels unless I’m using a suite upgrade, but this time it’s worth it. And I also plan on turning this trip into a profit by killing it at the blackjack tables.
— Noob MasterRead More
I told you there would be a bonus opportunity coming soon and, as usual, I was right.
You will receive a 35% bonus when you transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to British Airways. Score. No, it’s not the 50% bonus we saw last year, but 35% is still a very nice bonus. You have until June 7th to take advantage of this offer.
Transferring points is easy. Just sign into your American Express account —> click on “Use Points” —> find British Airways (above) —> click “Transfer Points” and then you will be able to set up your transfer.
You know I love my Avios
I’ve written numerous times about my love for Avios and how I particularly love using them for short-haul domestic trips on AA. I know it’s not Jennifer Lawrence sexy, but it’s still hot to get a great redemption.
Avios are also great for getting to Hawaii from the West Coast or South America. My favorite way to burn Avios is something I haven’t done yet, but I’m doing later next month- 25,000 Avios one-way Boston to Dublin in Business Class on Aer Lingus. That’s value, and helps me save a lot of $$$ by not flying directly to London. Instead, I’m hopping over to London from Dublin for 4,500 Avios and $22.
That reminds me: Avios can be great for international short hops as well. See my 3 part series below.
- Part 1: Intra-European: British Airways, Iberia, airberlin, Finnair
- Part 2: Intra-African: Comair
- Part 3: Intra-Australasian: Cathay Pacific and Qantas
Another reason I love British Airways Avios is that it’s a transfer partner of both Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program and American Express’ Membership Rewards program. Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program doesn’t have transfer bonuses, though, so I prefer to transfer American Express’ Membership Rewards points to British Airways in times like these.
Currently, there are a few great options to earn Membership Rewards points. The Business Gold Rewards Card(R) has a LTO offer of 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. Also, the Mercedes-Benz card has an offer of 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months, but the $475 annual fee isn’t waived.
So if you signed up for these cards and transfered the 50,000 Membership Rewards points to British Airways, you would get 67,500 Avios. That is, of course, if you met the minimum spending requirements in a timely manner. But that’s more bang than the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, which currently has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 in 3 months.
It’s nice to see a new Membership Rewards transfer bonus, but only transfer your points out if you have a specific trip in mind, or if Avios is all you ever wanted. I may jump on this before June 7th, but I’ll probably wait and see how my travel plans shake out.
— Noob MasterRead More