Planning A Last-Minute Jaunt to Europe

Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz

I recently found myself with a couple weeks free to take a trip somewhere. I decided to go to Europe since it had been a while since I’d spent some time on the continent (not to mention the US Dollar is currently pretty strong compared to the Euro, so it seemed like a great time to go). That’s one thing I love about airline miles – even though I was planning a trip within a week of departure, I … [Read more...]

Booking First Class Awards with Avios Can Still Make Sense

avios

From the desk of the Devil's Advocate... I'm reporting to you LIVE from the devastating scene that is the British Airways Avios devaluation. We're almost two months into the carnage now and it's a ghastly landscape. Avios are sucked away by ba.com without mercy. People scream nonsensically at each other: "Is it peak? Is it off peak?! I don't know!" And the chart itself... so horrific that the only … [Read more...]

Save Miles with Short-Haul Awards on Four Major Airlines

Alaska intra-state awards

Yesterday I discussed the importance of utility: What can you do with your frequent flyer miles? In addition to flexible routing rules and one-way awards, another useful feature of some loyalty programs is discounted award prices for shorter routes. This isn't as obvious as it seems. Paid fares are always priced in response to supply and demand, not operating costs. There is no real reason why … [Read more...]

Award Maps for 13 Frequent Flyer Programs

United

Most airline frequent flyer program redemptions are region-based, so you pick your origin and destination and look at an award chart to determine how many miles the ticket should cost. But there are often times when this involves a lot of back and forth. Which program should you use? What region is Dushanbe in? What’s Asia 1 vs. Asia 2? Agents sometimes don’t have a good understanding of … [Read more...]

Should You Use Avios for Hotel Bookings?

Avios Hotel 2

I got this question a few weeks ago, and my sister has long used Avios for booking hotels. (I didn't say I approved, only that she does it. You try telling my sister what to do.) But in light of the recent Avios devaluation, Ann's question is more relevant: I read many of the blogs and wonder why no one ever talks about using airline miles to book hotels in Europe?  Specifically, I have BA … [Read more...]

Avios Devaluation Will Largely Affect Business and First Class

British Airways Avios new earning structure

Overnight, British Airways announced many changes to its Executive Club loyalty program -- what most people know better as Avios -- that will take effect on April 28. (HT to Head for Points, the best authority on British Airways.) The changes are largely irrelevant if you live in the United States and tend to redeem your points for domestic flights on BA's partners such as American Airlines, … [Read more...]

40% Bonus for Transferring Membership Rewards to Avios through January 31

Membership Rewards BA transfer bonus

Membership Rewards could be used like cash, with a value close to a penny per point if you use them to buy merchandise or pay at certain merchants. But I view this as one of the worst ways to redeem them. Instead, transferring points to another program can greatly increase their value. Because American Express has regular promotions, it's wise to wait until one appears. You can currently transfer … [Read more...]