- Planning the Trip
- Buenos Aires
When I began deciding to book this trip, I had absolutely no plan to go to Argentina. Or anywhere for that matter. I was simply browsing Flyertalk one day, and an opportunity came up for a cheap fare on a TAM ticket, booking through a service called OneTravel that I had never heard of. The flight left from San Francisco (nowhere near where I live in Arkansas), but it was $600 for a flight SFO-ORD-GRU-EZE and return.
Now this is a great fare, but the best part of it was that except the very last leg from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires, it was all on United metal and therefore earned us over 17,000 elite qualifying miles on United! Many of you are familiar with mileage running by now, and this is right up there as a pretty good mileage run at 4.2 cents per mile. That, and my fiancée studied in Argentina and is always looking for reasons to go back. So I checked wither her on schedules, and booked later that day. The fare (as many like this do) only lasted a couple of days, so it was important that I acted quickly! This is a great reason to keep an eye on the Mileage Run Deals section at Flyertalk, so you don’t miss these things!
We then had to get to SFO. This wasn’t too hard, just some simple bookings on United at pretty good fares, since it was far enough in advance. All in all our total cost for flights was less than $1000 per person, which is great since fares from Dallas to Argentina are generally $1200 on the low end, and go up from there! (Though there was recently a good fare on Delta from Dallas to S. America for $900 in business class, but these are the sort of deals you can’t take advantage of every time. And who wants SkyPesos anyway?)
Some people thought we were crazy for flying so much extra to get from point A to B, but I would just explain that we were going after the miles. They would usually still think we were crazy. But I was able to create for us a great trip, to a destination that we both very much wanted to visit, for much cheaper than we would have been able to otherwise.
The following posts in this series will cover our flights, a little bit about the city itself, and flying a couple different S. American carriers. Hope you enjoy!
— Ethan CarterRead More
I’m off traveling today, so Noob contributor, Ethan, lets us know about the hardly heard about AirTran card.
What are the perks of the AirTran Card?
The AirTran card is a Chase-issued Reward card that offers you pretty standard benefits for an airline rewards card. Some of the benefits include:
- 2 A+ Rewards Dollars per $1 spent on AirTran and Southwest purchases made directly with the airline and with A+ Rewards and Rapid Rewards Hotel & Car Rental Partners
- 1 A+ Rewards Dollar per $1 spent on all other purchases
- 2 A+ Rewards Credits per year on your cardmember anniversary
- 1 A+ Rewards Dollar for every $1 in balance transfers your first 90 days (subject to fee)
Now in AirTran’s program 1,200 rewards dollars earns you 1 reward credit. 16 rewards credits earns you a roundtrip flight. So you have to spend over $19,000 on the card to earn a roundtrip flight under normal spend, or $9,500 on AirTran/Southwest purchases.
Ok, that’s not that great, why should I get it?
I figure this is the question you’re asking yourself at this point. Well the thing is, AirTran got bought by a little airline called Southwest back in 2011. They’ve been taking things slow and steady with integration, but they’re slowly inching toward where they’re one airline. Recently AirTran connections became bookable on Southwest.com, and they’re pushing the integration more and more. With the elimination of the AirTran brand will come the elimination of the AirTran credit card.
In addition, Chase has on their website an Air Tran offer with a decent sign-up bonus of 16 A+ Credits, which gets you a roundtrip flight! You also get a couple of business class upgrades if you do fly on AirTran (no business class on Southwest). It might be better to hold off until the 32 (2 roundtrip flights) credit bonus comes back (which expired along with the 50,000 point Southwest bonuses), but there’s no way to be sure it will before this card vanishes. Some people have reported being able to find a 32 A+ offer in this Flyertalk thread.
So this could be a last opportunity to get some AirTran credits if you fly AirTran, or convert them to Rapid Rewards credits if you fly Southwest!
How would I convert to Southwest?
I won’t go into too much detail, because Southwest has made a great website explaining just that. Essentially, your AirTran credits can become Rapid Rewards credits, which will get you flights on Southwest! For the Southwest flier, this is an opportunity to earn more points with a product that isn’t one of the 4 Southwest-branded credit cards.
It seems unlikely that this card will stick around once the merger is complete (you might want to think about the US Airways card too…), so this might be your last chance to earn this particular sign-up bonus.
I can’t say I would recommend the AirTran over the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold®, Ink Bold, Southwest, or any of the other card you can find on the sickdeals page. But if you already have all of those cards then it could make sense.
It might not be the greatest in the world, but it might be worth a look! Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the “Chase” credit pull for my upcoming churn, but you might have some travel coming up that makes it worth a look!
— Ethan CarterRead More
If you like me and love Hyatt go check out my guest post on Hyatt’s Blog.
I was stoked about the opportunity, and hope you will enjoy the post.
— Noob MasterRead More