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Discounted Business Class Award Flights to New Zealand!

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

 

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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 deal on award tickets to New Zealand on American Airlines. Running With Miles tracked this one down, finding round-trip business class award flights as part of the AA web specials for 106,000 miles round-trip. That’s like half what I normally see these sorts of awards go for when you can find them. The key here is something we just discussed on NowBoarding, married segment logic.

You see, AA won’t make this available through LAX, their hub. Rather, it was found from Buffalo, connecting through Los Angeles. And, I was able to find 65,000 mile one-way flights to Auckland, New Zealand in January. Which, BTW is their summer season. No idea how long these will last, but jump on these if you’re thinking about it. Remember, AA still usually allows you to hold an award for up to 5 days. These are web specials, which means they carry more stringent rules for changing your itinerary.

I sure hope folks who always ask me about getting to Australia or New Zealand for cheap are listening today. Remember, if Australia is your desired destination, it’s just a couple hours flying from Auckland. We debated tacking on Auckland to our Australia trip this past summer when we went north to Port Douglas to see the Great Barrier Reef. Ultimately, we couldn’t find saver award inventory to make it happen. If I didn’t have conflicts around these dates, I’d have already booked a trip to Auckland.

It kinda kills me that articles like our next one need to be written, but next up is about how to search your Airbnb rental for hidden cameras. The same tips can apply for your hotel room. We reported on NowBoarding just a few weeks ago where a popular chain hotel discovered cameras in their hotel rooms. Maybe I’m biased, but I do think this is more likely to happen in an Airbnb. There’s just more time and control to do so in a private setting, but it’s definitely still possible in hotel rooms.

It’s a sad state that you need to consider ways to protect yourself from hidden cameras, but I consistently hear these stories. The majority are Airbnb or other such private rentals. Even if you don’t want to invest in gear to search your room, a simple flashlight test and some common sense can take 5 minutes and give you some peace of mind.

European carrier Germanwings has announced that they’re expecting a flight attendant strike over the New Years holiday. For now, it affects 30 planes, not all of parent Eurowings. But, it could spread and cause some real problems for holiday travels. If you have travel on Germanwings or Eurowings coming up, do yourself a favor and keep a close eye on the situation. Having a stash of points and miles toW handle last-minute emergencies is a solid plan for any traveler.

Based on a leaked memo, it looks like Amtrak is going to make some painful changes for value shoppers. Amtrak has some pretty decent sales from time to time, even though they eliminated a number of customer-friendly discount plans over the years.

The first of the two rumored changes seems the most painful to me. Saver fares are the cheapest fare bucket Amtrak sells. You may recall that the CEO of Amtrak is the old CEO of Delta, Richard Anderson. In this case, Richard is using a play from the airline playbook. If the leaked memo is true, Saver fares will no longer allow any refunds or changes. Currently, you can get a 75% credit if you need to cancel or change your trip. Allowing a similar 24 hours after booking to change, just like the airlines, after that if you need to cancel your travel your ticket will be worthless. That’s a pretty painful change.

Value fares, one step up from Saver fares, appear to inherit a 25% cancellation fee. Effectively, Value fares became what Saver fares used to be, costing customers more. I can understand the non-refundable aspect of these rumored changes. But, not even issuing a voucher for future travel seems pretty egregious here.

It’s true in many cases that a train ticket is less than an airline ticket. Still, I don’t think AMTRAK Is doing themselves any favors winning over customers.

I’m curious how people feel about this next story. Qatar Airways flew 4 new Boeing 787s empty on an almost 15,000 flight to Qatar and then back to the US to “deliver” these planes, even though they weren’t finished. They ended up back in the US for Qatar to have their own seats installed. However, because of paperwork, some combination of Qatar and Boeing decided it was better to take the long way.

There’s been some initial noise about the amount of fuel wasted. I wonder how long this will continue to raise people’s ire. Tweet me at pizzainmotionif you have an opinion about this one way or the other.

2 quick hits to close out today’s news. There’s an AMEX offer for $15 back if you spend $30 at Sam’s Club. If you’re a Sam’s Club member and have this offer in your AMEX account, this is an easy $15 in gift card cash, if nothing else. And, if you’ve had a Wyndham stay in the past couple of years, you might be entitled to $20 from a class action lawsuit. Check for links to both of these quick hits in the show notes.

And, as of this morning, it’s been pretty quiet on the miles and points front at the end of the year. I’m going to hang up the microphone for Tuesday and Wednesday unless something breaks. If everything stays quiet, I’ll see you folks again Thursday. Happy New Year!

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!

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