Pros: 16 airline partners 4 hotel partners Transfer bonuses – Delta, British Airways, Virgin America Transfers post instantaneously (mostly) Has added some partners like British Airways, Virgin America (bad ratio)Cons: Losing transfer partners – Continental, Southwest, Airtran, Priority Club 6/100 cents per point for transfers to US airlines Earning portal shut down
Star Alliance OneWorld• Aeroplan 1:1 • British Airways 1:1• All Nippon Airways 1:1 • Iberia 1:1• Singapore Airlines 1:1 • Asia Miles 1:1 Airline Transfer PartnersSkyteam Other• Aeromexico 1:1 • El Al 50:1 JetBlue 1.25:1• Alitalia Airlines 1:1 • Frontier 1:1 Virgin America 2:1• Delta 1:1 • Hawaiian 1:1 Virgin Atlantic 1:1• Air France/KLM 1:1
• Positives: Instant transfers, transfer bonuses, some great values from distance-based awards, no last-minute booking feesBritish • Negatives: High fuel surcharges,Airways segment pricing on awards, hard to search for some awards • Good awards: Expensive short- and mid-haul flights. Ex: New York to Toronto
• Positives: Star Alliance has 27 members, instant transfers, flexible routing • Negatives: Recently increased award requirements, expensive one-ways, fuel surcharges on Air Canada flights, Lufthansa,Aeroplan ANA, Adria, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, TAP and THAI. • Good awards: US to Western Europe 60/90/125, short-haul awards • *A Tips: ANA good for distance-based 63,000 NYC-London, Singapore for one-ways
• Positives: Instant transfers, flexible routing, miles don’t expire, no last- minute fees, upgrades on awards for Gold Medallion and higher, non- alliance partners • Negatives: Broken website, stealthily increased award requirements, noDelta one-ways, no last-minute changes, international origination charge, 3 award tiers, no international first class redemptions • Good Awards: US to Africa with a stopover in Europe for 120k in business, 150k in business to AustraliaFlying • Positives: 50% off promo awards, one-ways possible, instant transfers • Negatives: Huge fuel surcharges Blue • Good Awards: Most promo awards, Israel (included as Europe)
• Best Western 1:1 • Choice Privileges 1:1Hotel Transfer • Hilton HHonors 1:1.5 Partners • Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts 23:1 • Starpoints 3:1
Earn 1 point per dollar spent (Premier Rewards is 3x on airfareand 2x on gas & groceries, 4x per dollar with Amex Travel)Points go into pending status for a month after statement close(can be expedited)Cannot combine Membership Rewards pointsTransfer to anyone! - Link (not enroll!) their account to your account membershiprewards.com -> Points Summary -> Bottom right - Advance points for free, just earn them back - Up to 60,000 for Platinum - 15,000 for most other cards (not corporate) - Buy points at 2.5 cents each, up to 500,000 a year!
Pay With PointsEasy, but fixed value: 1 cent (1.25 for Platinum/Centurion) - A $5,000 business class ticket would require 500,000 points! - Could be an okay decision for cheap domestic ticketsEarns elite status just like a purchased ticket
My Top Amex Cards:Premier Rewards Gold: 3x on airfare, 2x at gas stations and grocery stores, 1xon other purchases, $175 annual fee waived 1st year. Current bonus 25,000 pointsafter $2,000 in 3 months, 15,000 points after $30,000 in one year.Platinum: Access to over 600 lounges, no foreign transaction fees, Global Entrydiscount, Fine Hotels & Resorts Program, $450 annual fee. Current bonus 25,000after $2,000 in 3 months.Others To Consider:Business Gold Rewards: 3x points on airfare, 2x points on advertising, gasoline, andshipping, 1x on other purchases, $175 annual fee waived 1st year. Current bonus 50,000 pointsafter $5,000 in 3 months.Mercedes-Benz Platinum: Delta SkyClub and US Airways Club access, $1,000 rewardcertificate towards purchase or lease of Mercedes-Benz, 5x on eligible Mercedes-Benzpurchases, $475 annual fee. Current bonus 50,000 points after $1,000 in 3 months.
Pros: Adding partners Most transfers instantaneous No transfer fees Transfer points to anyone else, combine points with anyone else Points post right after statement closes Good customer serviceCons: Limited number of partners No transfer bonuses yet
• British Airways 1:1 • Korean Air 1:1Airline • Southwest 1:1 • United 1:1 • Hyatt 1:1 • Priority Club 1:1Hotel • Marriott 1:1 • The Ritz Carlton 1:1Other • Amtrak 1:1
• Positives: One-way awards, low fees, lots of Star Alliance and non-alliance partners, good websiteUnited • Negatives: Close-in booking and change fees, post-merger glitches • Good awards: Business/First Class flights on partners like Lufthansa and Asiana
• Positives: Low points requirements for free nights, great elite perks • Negatives: Just over 400 properties worldwideHyatt • Good awards: Top-tier redemptions for 22,000 points like Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, only 6,000 points to upgrade paid stays for up to 4 nights
Maximizing Ultimate Rewards PointsSapphire Preferred: 2x points on travel and dining (airfare, hotel, rental car,taxi, parking, subway, etc.), no foreign transaction fees, $95 annual fee waived 1styear, 7% annual points bonus. Current offer 40,000 points sign up bonus.Ink Bold: 5x points on first $50,000 spent at office supply stores and on utilities,2x points on first $50,000 spent at gas stations and hotels, no foreign transactionfees, $95 annual fee waived 1st year. Current sign-up bonus 50,000 points. Alsoavailable on Ink Plus.Others To Consider:Freedom: Quarterly bonus categories, no annual fee. Current 5x bonuscategories: hotels, airlines, Kohl’s, Best Buy up to $1,500 per quarter. Current signup bonus $100 cash back after $500 in 3 months.Chase Checking + Chase Freedom = 10 points per transaction + 10% bonuson all purchases.*Old Ink Bold: Keep it open. 20% bonus on all spend and up to 47,500 pointsspend bonuses on spend up to 100,000. Basically 1.67 points per $1.
Pay With Points:1.25 cents per point in travelTransfer to anyone: ultimaterewards.com -> ManageUltimate Rewards -> Combine Points -> Transfer To Other-> Enter credit card number and last nameChase Experiences
Pros: Over 1,100 properties Cash & Points Reward stays count toward elite status 30 airline partners 5,000 point bonus on transfers of 20,000 pointsCons: Member can only transfer to own accounts No other transfer bonuses Posting times vary greatly No shopping portal
Airline Transfer Partners OtherAeroplan 1:1 British Airways 1:1 LAN 1:2 Amtrak 1:1Air Berlin 1:1 China Eastern 1:1 Mexicana Frecuenta 1:1Air China 1:1 China Southern 1:1 Miles and More 1:1Air New Zealand 65:1 Delta 1:1 Qatar Airways 1:1Alaska Airlines 1:1 Emirates 1:1 Saudi Arabian 1:1Alitalia 1:1 Etihad Airways 1:1 Singapore Airlines 1:1ANA 1:1 Flying Blue 1:1 Thai Airways 1:1American Airlines 1:1 Hawaiian 1:1 US Airways 1:1Asia Miles 1:1 Japan Airlines 1:1 United Mileage Plus 2:1Asiana Airlines 1:1 King Club 1:1 VARIG Smiles 2:1 Virgin Atlantic 1:1
Airline Transfer Time In DaysDelta 1Aeroplan 3Air Berlin 4ANA 4Virgin Atlantic 6American Airlines 8US Airways 8Alaska Airlines 8British Airways 9LAN 9United 11Asia Miles 15Asiana N/AFlying Blue N/A
• Positives: Low fees, one-way awards, free stopovers in your destination • Negatives: Ticketing fees, no international stopovers • Good awards: 40,000 Off Peak awards toAmerican Europe October 15-April 15; Cathay Pacific First Class North America-Asia for 67,500 • Alaska: 115,000 SPG Points = Cathay Pacific First roundtrip to Asia for 140,000 miles roundtrip. Other partners: Icelandair, Emirates (soon)
• Positives: Star Alliance partners, flexible routing, ability to buy miles cheaply through Miles Multiplier, Share and Buy Miles Promos US • Negatives: No one-ways, terrible website, ticketing feesAirways • Good awards: 90,000 Business Class to North Asia; 110,000 Business Class to Australia, 50,000 for 3-class United First Transcontinental; 60,000 Off Peak award to Europe in Envoy
• Transfers at a 1 : 2 ratio, so 20,000 SPG = 50,000 LAN kms • Distance-based award chart. • Ex: Lima-Cusco 16,000 kms roundtrip • Ex: North America-Northern South AmericaLAN 48,000/100,000 coach/business • Ex: North America-Deep South America, 70,000/150,000 coach/ business • So 28,000 Starpoints for coach to Deep South America, 60,000 for business class roundtrip
Membership levels: Preferred, Gold, and Platinum (50, 75 and100 night)Free Night Awards: On standard rooms, no blackout datesCash and Points: Ability to book rooms with a combination of cashand points5th Night Free: Redeem 5 nights and the 5th night is free atcategory 3 – 7 hotelsSPG Moments: Bid Starpoints on experiences
Credit Cards:SPG Personal: 2x points per $1 at Starwood. Use points for hotelawards, transfer to airline partners, $65 annual fee waived 1st year.Current bonus 25,000 points after $5,000 in 6 months.SPG Business: 2x points per $1 at Starwood. 1 Starpoint for everydollar of eligible purchases, no blackout dates, $65 annual fee waived 1styear. Current bonus 25,000 points after $5,000 in 6 months.
Goal: Earn more than one pointCOMPANION TICKETSBritish Airways Visa: Travel Together Ticket after $30,000 spent in 1 year,smart chip technology, no foreign transaction fees, $95 annual fee. 50,000 Aviosafter $1,000 in 3 months.Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa: Southwest Companion Pass when you fly100 one-way flights within a calendar year or accrue 110,000 points in a calendaryear. Hotel transfers count, Chase Ultimate Rewards don’t. 2x points onSouthwest Airlines purchases, Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partners,3,000 points every anniversary.Delta Reserve Card: Bring companion on a roundtrip first/business oreconomy ticket with the purchase of an adult roundtrip fare on domestic routings.Tickets must be purchased with the Delta Reserve CardOther Cards: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, US Airways Premier World MasterCard
Delta: Delta Platinum get 5,000 MQM’s at sign-up, spend $25,000, getanother 10,000 MQM’s. Spend $50,000 and get 10,000 more MQM’s.Delta Reserve get 10,000 MQM’s at sign up, 15,000 MQM’s when youspend $30,000, and another 15,000 MQM’s at $60,000.Citi Executive AAdvantage: 10,000 EQM’s after $40,000 in acalendar year.Barclay’s US Airways Premier World MasterCard: Offers up to10,000 Preferred miles with $25,000 in a year.