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Japan Airlines 50,000 Ticket Giveaway!

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 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, or find me on social media, Twitter, Facebookand Instagram. And, you can find me blogging daily at

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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