Month: January 2020

$260 Round-Trip Flights to Hawaii!

NowBoarding, your daily travel news in 7 minutes or less:


Don’t forget to check out the Miles To Go Podcast where we bring you the latest travel news, tips and tricks each week to help you save money and travel better.

Full Transcript

NowBoarding, your daily travel news in 7 minutes or less. This is your host, Ed Pizza, bringing you the latest travel news and deals you need to know Monday through Friday. Tune in daily so you don’t miss any of the best deals!

Look for links to all of today’s stories in the show notes on whatever podcast platform you’re listening. And, please share the show with a friend!

First up is a great deal to Hawaii starting at around $250 round-trip. This one is for West Coast folks departing from cities like San Francisco, LAX, Portland and Las Vegas. Some of these fares are Basic Economy, which could be painful on a long flight to Hawaii if you get stuck in a middle seat, and you might end up paying for a bag, etc. However, Southwest is participating in the sale from many of these cities to a number of destinations in Hawaii.

This fare is live now, so I’d jump on it if you’re thinking about it. There are apparently dates available through all 12 months of 2020. Remember that if you book a flight that originates or lands in the US you have 24 hours to cancel the booking after you purchase. So, if you’re on the fence grab one of these now and spend the rest of your 24 hours trying to figure out how to coordinate hotels. Fares like this are why I’m a big fan of flexible loyalty currency like Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you take advantage of cheap flights like this, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to hotel chains like Hyatt or Marriott to make a trip to Hawaii super cheap. Check out the link in the show notes for more information on this deal.

Next up, Alaska Airlines has a new shopping portal bonus where you can earn up to 1,000 Mileage Plan miles. I don’t normally see shopping portal bonuses this close after the Christmas shopping season, so this is a pleasant surprise. If you have $150 or $300 you were already planning to spend in January, make sure to check out the Alaska Airlines shopping portal and score a few extra miles.

Sticking with Alaska Airlines, they’re currently offering up to 50% off Fiji Airways awards using your Alaska Airlines miles. This is for economy and business class travel over the next couple of months. A business class ticket that would normally cost 55,000 Mileage Plan miles is 40,000 miles during this sale. Economy tickets that are normally 40,000 miles one-way are 20,000. Smart travelers can set up these awards to give yourself a stopover in Fiji and also fold in someplace like Australia or New Zealand all on one ticket. That’s a crazy price for two awesome destinations. Economy class availability looks great, where business class availability is more scarce. As always, links in the show notes.

Hyatt appears to be getting a new luxury property in the Maldives. The Maldives are one of the most beautiful places in the world, which I still haven’t gotten to visit. Part of that is it’s a long trip, one that can take over 24 hours of combined flying and boats to get to your hotel room. Hyatt acquired a hotel brand called Alila recently. Alila has started construction on a new property in Maldives that should be open by the end of 2020.

Finally, Frequent Miler has details on a new benefit for many Chase cardholders. Chase is teaming up with DoorDash, the popular food delivery service. DoorDash charges a fee to the customer in many cases to deliver your meal. As part of this new partnership, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cardholders will get up to 2 years of free DashPass membership. Freedom and Slate cardholders will get 3 months of free membership.

DashPass waives the delivery fee for many, but not all restaurants on the DoorDash platform. For existing DoorDash customers, this is a great way to justify part or all of your annual fee for Chase credit card. It’s important to note that there are some rumors floating around about increases in the annual fees of some Chase credit cards, so you might need some extra savings to justify a higher fee in 2020. I’m sure we’ll have more news on that soon. And, as always, you can find out about it here on NowBoarding.

That’s a full wrap on today’s travel news. If you’ve got a piece of travel news that you think I should feature on NowBoarding, you can e-mail me at ed@pizzainmotion.com, or find me on social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And, you can find me blogging daily at pizzainmotion.com.

Lastly, I need your help, for just a minute. Reviews and ratings are a huge part of what helps us reach a larger audience. So take a minute and help us out, leaving us a review and a rating wherever you get your podcasts. And, please tell a friend. That’s your travel news in 7 minutes or less. I hope you’ll join us again on a future flight!

500 Bonus Points Per Night at Hyatt And United Status Match

NowBoarding, your daily travel news in 7 minutes or less:


Don’t forget to check out the Miles To Go Podcast where we bring you the latest travel news, tips and tricks each week to help you save money and travel better.

 

Final Transcript

NowBoarding, your daily travel news in 7 minutes or less. This is your host, Ed Pizza, bringing you the latest travel deals and travel news you need to know Monday through Friday. Tune in daily so you don’t miss any of the best deals!

Look for links to all of today’s stories in the show notes on whatever podcast platform you’re listening. And, please share the show with a friend!

First up today is a new promotion from Hyatt that awards 500 bonus points per night when you stay at a new property. The definition of new is an interesting one, since properties like the new Grand Hyatt at SFO airport are on the list even though it’s been open a few months.

The great thing about this promotion is that it’s 500 points per night, not stay. And, it appears stackable with other Hyatt promotions, of which I’m hoping we’ll hear soon on a new systemwide promo. That could make for some interesting double stack opportunities.

I value Hyatt points at a higher rate than any other hotel chain’s points. 500 points is actually a meaningful bonus and can really add up on a longer stay. Consider that a category 1 redemption with Hyatt is only 5,000 points and you can earn a free night after just 10 nights at a new hotel. The award chart tops out at 40,000 points per night, which is a lot lower than the 100,000-ish you’ll find at Marriott and Hilton.

We’ll obviously update you here of any new promotions coming down the pike. That’s why it pays to give us a few minutes of your day.

Flying Blue is out with their monthly Promo Awards. These are for travel in March and April, key spring break season for family travelers. Unsurprisingly, that means the deals are not as good and there aren’t that many. However, if you live in Houston or Minneapolis, or can get to one of them cheaply, 50% off a premium economy award to Europe.

If you’re willing to pay cash instead of miles there’s a solid fare to Asia right now that also allows stopovers in great places like Tokyo. For under $2,000 a ticket you can fly in business class round-trip on Japan Airlines, who has a solid business class product. Depending on your routing, this fare can also earn you a ton of the elite-qualifying miles you need for status with American Airlines. I generally focus more on how I can use my miles to fly to faraway places. But, hitting a fare like this early in the year to get a head start on re-qualification of elite status plus getting to explore Asia on the cheap is awful tempting.

View From The Wing touches on a great deal for golfers and non-golfers alike, though it’s a much better deal for golfers. For $60 per month, you can get 2 free rounds of golf at any ClubCorp club nationwide as well as 2 free meals. I’ve known about ClubCorp for a while. Back when I was in the hotel industry I knew folks who worked there. They manage a couple hundred clubs across the country that any golfer would enjoy. If you travel, which is pretty likely if you’re listening to my podcast, this could be an incredible deal when you consider the price of greens fees at some clubs. As always, look for a link in the show notes for more info.

Lastly, we finish up with news that United Airlines has brought back their status match program for 2020. Even though elite status isn’t worth as much as it used to be, and costs a whole lot more, it’s still worth chasing for many business travelers. However, once you’re on the hamster wheel with one airline it’s hard to switch and start over, since you generally don’t have any perks with the new airline until you fly a whole bunch.

Status matches are a way to shortcut that process, since you generally get some benefits immediately and then have a set of requirements you need to hit within 90 days or so. United’s published version will allow you to match status up their Premier Platinum level. There are unpublished reports that they’ll match to their top-tier 1K status as well if you have Delta’s Diamond status or American Airlines’ Executive Platinum status.

If you’re matching to their Platinum status, they’ll even give you some PlusPoints when you finish off the 90-day qualification. PlusPoints is their new upgrade currency for elite members. You can use these points for short or long-haul flights, though 20 points won’t get you a ton, and you’re still reliant on United to open up upgrade space to use them.

Given the negative changes United has made, moving the goal posts even further away to achieve elite status, I’d be more likely to look for a status challenge somewhere else. But, the grass has a funny way of looking greener on those other airplanes.

That’s a full wrap on today’s travel news. If you’ve got a piece of travel news that you think I should feature on NowBoarding, you can e-mail me at ed@pizzainmotion.com, or find me on social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And, you can find me blogging daily at pizzainmotion.com.

Lastly, I need your help, for just a minute. Reviews and ratings are a huge part of what helps us reach a larger audience. So take a minute and help us out, leaving us a review and a rating wherever you get your podcasts. And, please tell a friend. That’s your travel news in 7 minutes or less. I hope you’ll join us again on a future flight!

Japan Airlines 50,000 Ticket Giveaway!

NowBoarding, your daily travel news in 7 minutes or less:

Don’t forget to check out the Miles To Go Podcast where we bring you the latest travel news, tips and tricks each week to help you save money and travel better.

Full Transcript

NowBoarding, your daily travel news in 7 minutes or less. This is your host, Ed Pizza, bringing you the latest travel deals and travel news you need to know Monday through Friday. Tune in daily so you don’t miss any of the best deals!

Look for links to all of today’s stories in the show notes on whatever podcast platform you’re listening. And, please share the show with a friend!

First up is a really great opportunity for free airline travel within Japan. Japan Airlines is giving away 50,000 airline tickets for travel this summer, July through September. The giveaway starts in February. Since these tickets are totally free I expected demand to be very high. They’ll only be giving away a certain number of tickets per day. You need to be a resident of somewhere other than Japan and have a passport issued by another country. You’ll also need to sign-up for Japan Airlines’ loyalty program, JAL Mileage Bank.

Flights depart from Tokyo and Osaka. This makes it a total no-brainer to add on another city in Japan if Tokyo or Osaka were on your radar for summer travel. For families who need multiple tickets, the rules indicate you’ll be able to apply for multiple tickets at one times. This is an awesome promotion for families. Stay tuned for more details on the go-live date in late February of 2020.

Have you ever left something behind at a TSA checkpoint? I actually have. I stupidly left my suitcase behind one day and got a fair distance away from the checkpoint before realizing my mistake. Oddly, nobody had pulled my bag from the belt nor did anyone give me a second look when I came back into the secure area and grabbed it.

Anyway, TSA does have a lost and found. And, if you get on your flight and realize you left something behind, there is a way to get in touch with TSA lost and found to see if they have your lost item. You’ll be responsible for getting back to pick it up or paying for postage to ship it to you. A link to information on how to do socan be found in the show notes.

The New Year also signals new categories for earning 5% cash back on your Chase Freedom card. Pro tip here is that you can transfer your Chase Freedom points to a Chase Sapphire or Ink Business credit card to really maximize your travel. The Chase Freedom has no annual fee so it’s a great card to keep in your wallet for the 5% bonus categories, especially if you hold one of those other Chase card I mentioned.

5% categories are limited to $1,500 per quarter across all of the categories. The first quarter of 2020 features gas stations, internet, cable and phone services as well as select streaming services. You don’t need to do anything other than spend in these categories to earn 5X on your spending. For families and folks who don’t travel for a living, maxing out bonus categories like this on everyday spending is an absolute must.

While we’re discussing quarterly cash back categories, Discover’s 5% cash back categories are grocery stores as well as Walgreens and CVS. If you hold both the Chase Freedom and Discover, you’ve got 5% cash back on pretty much all your major categories in the first quarter of 2020.

Next up is news that authorities may have narrowed down the cause of a fatal Egyptair crash that occurred back in 2016. For a while, the stated reason for the crash was a bomb. The Middle East definitely has its share of conflicts, so the reasoning was plausible. However, new information points to maintenance lapses by the airline. Egypt Air doesn’t have the best safety record, so I can’t say this comes as a shock. It poses the question of whether I would book a flight on EgyptAir.

Air travel as an industry is incredibly safe. Fatalities for the most part continue to decrease industry-wide. However, there’s obviously increased risk flying an airline that has a reputation for not taking care of their planes. Your chances of a problem are obviously higher.

EgyptAir has a pretty robust hub in Cairo, serving plenty of destinations in Africa as well as Europe and a few destinations in the US. They’re a Star Alliance member as well. I’m curious how this affect your willingness to fly EgyptAir. With the recent article pointing to maintenance lapses, is that enough to keep you from flying the airline? Or, would it take proof that they’re shortcomings lead to the crash? Tweet me at Pizzainmotion to let me know your thoughts.

Our last story of the day is a new route announcement that’s right up my alley. LOT Polish Airlines has announced they’ll fly from Washington-Dulles to Warsaw nonstop starting this summer. The flight will be operated on a 787 3 times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. LOT is a member of the Star Alliance, which means folks with United miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards points will have another way to get to Europe.

Because of Poland’s geographic location, this is also a great way to get to Eastern Europe. They have plenty of destinations around Europe as well as flights to Moscow, Beijing and Tokyo. There are two big keys here. First, new routes are always a great way to look for award inventory before flights get popular. And, this opens up more opportunities to get to Europe if you’re willing to bounce around a bit.

When our family goes to Europe, it’s pretty typical for us to arrive in one city and depart in another. We flew into Rome on a recent trip to spend some time in Sicily and ultimately ended up flying home from Vienna. A big part of that was because that’s where award inventory was. We found ultra-cheap flights within Europe along with a train ride and managed to see Sicily, Salzburg and Vienna all in one trip.

That’s a full wrap on today’s travel news. If you’ve got a piece of travel news that you think I should feature on NowBoarding, you can e-mail me at ed@pizzainmotion.com, or find me on social media, Twitter, Facebookand Instagram. And, you can find me blogging daily at pizzainmotion.com.

Lastly, I need your help, for just a minute. Reviews and ratings are a huge part of what helps us reach a larger audience. So take a minute and help us out, leaving us a review and a rating wherever you get your podcasts. And, please tell a friend. That’s your travel news in 7 minutes or less. I hope you’ll join us again on a future flight!

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