Well, here we are on Tuesday night and I am just beginning to write up my weekly Updates From the World of Miles and Points. I am starting to think that perhaps Sunday isn’t the best day for me to try to do this, but will give it a try for a few more weeks before I move it permanently. With my wife and two boys home from school for the weekend, we are often busy doing other things. This Sunday, Chrissy and I drove to Newark to go through our Global Entry interviews. I will do a detailed post about that in the next few days. The good news is that once again we have the opportunity for a few extra days of posts, so get ready for some good information.
For those that are new to the blog, I am trying to do these updates every Sunday to help catch you up with what is going on. There are often items that come up throughout the week that I don’t really think I should devote an entire post to, but still think you might want to know about. This is where I link to some of the other blogs that I read and respect so that you can get the whole story.
Credit Card March Madness is still going strong over at Extra Pack of Peanuts. We are on to round two and there have been some good match-ups. If you haven’t checked it out yet, get on over there and vote for your favorites. I managed to come in absolute last place in the MilePoint group for the real March Madness, but I am doing pretty well in the Credit Card version. Details HERE.
There was a good post this week on Hack My Trip that details the positives and negatives of using Google Flight Search. It looks like they are on the way to building a great search tool, but aren’t quite there yet. Depending on what you are looking for though, Google Flight Search could be very helpful. Details HERE.
View From the Wing had some similar themed posts this week, so I will give them to you in pairs. First, there were two posts about a variety of bonuses from Priority Club. Both posts referenced Priority Club Insider, who most of us know as an expert in the Priority Club program. Details HERE and HERE.
Gary also mentioned a couple of criminal acts this week that I thought I should pass along. The first involves a TSA employee selling heroin, and the second is about thefts from luggage at JFK. Needless to say that after reading this, I will not be putting anything of value in my checked bags for my trip to Paris next week that departs from JFK. Read about drugs HERE and theft HERE.
Finally, Gary has posted information the past two days about the rumor that Citi Thank You points will be transferrable to British Airways and Singapore Airlines starting in April. First it looked like it was true, then Citi said it wasn’t, but updated information makes it look like it might be true again. I guess we will just have to wait and see. I personally am really hoping that the rumor is true as it will significantly increase the value of the 100,000+ Thank You points that Chrissy and I have in our accounts. Details HERE and HERE.
The Frequent Miler has been working on a study to determine what the best website is for finding the shopping portal that will give you the highest rewards for an online purchase. I have mentioned using evreward in the past, but it looks like that is not the best option. He even went back and updated the post after testing some of the sites that people left in the comments. Details HERE.
The Loyalty Traveler has a good write-up of the Hilton Q2 Double Points or Double Miles promo. It looks like if you have the right credit cards, you can really rack up the points with stays at participating Hilton properties. There are a lot of hotels in the USA that are opting out of this promo and a few internationally, so make sure to check for participation before booking if you want to take advantage of the double offer. Details HERE.
Ric also tells us about the new site Tingo.com, which is promising automatic refunds if you book your hotel with them and the rate drops before your stay. This is similar to what AutoSlash does with car rentals. In concept, this sounds great, but Tingo is so new that we will have to wait and see how much people are really getting back. You also need to remember that you won’t earn points with most hotel programs if you book through a third-party site like Tingo. Details HERE.
The Points Guy gave us the heads up this week that Ritz Carlton Rewards is now a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. This is not a huge deal since Marriott was already a partner, but in my opinion, the more transfer partners, the better. If you want to get involved with Ultimate Rewards but aren’t sure what card to get first, take a look at my post comparing the different cards. Details from The Points Guy HERE.
Jared from Online Travel Review reported earlier today that people are seeing some $600 RT fares for travel from the US to Europe this summer. This is a great price since summer fares are almost always well over $1000. It looks like this is mostly for flights to Germany, but you can easily get a cheap flight from there to another country if you want. If you are thinking of traveling to Europe this summer and don’t have tickets yet, this might be your best chance to find them cheap. Details HERE.
You can always count on Jared to give you a sarcastic spin on whatever the big news is and he does it again this week regarding the potential decrease in the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus. Lots of other people wrote about the topic too, but his is my favorite. Details HERE.
Million Mile Secrets brought us some bad news about Venmo this week. They are now going to be charging a 3% fee on credit card transactions. It was only a matter of time until this happened, but it is still sad to see a good thing go away. If you still need to increase your credit card spend without really spending any money, Amazon Payments will work for up to $1000 a month, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that go away soon too. Details on Venmo HERE.
Mommy Points is going to be doing a series of posts called Keep It, Downgrade It, Dump it. Similar to what I did recently with my American Express Platinum, the posts will look at different credit cards and evaluate what should be done when the annual fee comes due. In fact, the Amex Platinum is the first card she plans to write about. I look forward to seeing her analysis on some of the cards I have in my wallet (or office file). Details HERE.
Thanks to a reminder from Mommy Points, you still have a bit of time to take advantage of the Hyatt 48 Hour Sale. It will end at midnight on 3/28, which is the day most of you will be reading this, so book quickly if you find a rate that works for you. Remember though that these are prepaid non-refundable reservations, so make sure you can actually use the reservation first. Details HERE.
Finally, we look to Ben from One Mile at a Time for our humor for the week. Take a look at his “Five Signs You’re on the Road Too Much” and let me know if any of those things have ever happened to you. Details HERE.
That’s all I have for you from this (extra long) week and I hope to give you your next Updates on Sunday, so they will most likely be much shorter. I’m not sure what I have on the schedule this weekend, but at least I can be sure that Katniss and Peeta will not be getting in the way. That’s right, everyone. This past weekend I was sucked into the world of The Hunger Games. I wasn’t allowed to go see the movie with my wife on Friday because I hadn’t read the books yet, so I started the first one on Saturday. Then I kind of left the real world for a few days and finally finished up the third book late Monday night. That might have a little bit to do with why these updates are late, but if you have read the books, you will understand why I couldn’t put them down. I am a little sad they went so quick though, as I was planning to read them on my flights next week. I guess I will have to find something else to read as my AA miles take my family and I to Paris.