American AAdvantage Is Offering Bonus Miles For Flights To Asia


American has just announced a promotion offering bonus miles for travel to Asia, which is very similar to a promotion they offered last fall. It’s better than nothing, but also certainly not lucrative enough to switch any business to American.

Through this promotion you can earn up to 30,000 bonus miles after two roundtrip flights, depending on your fare class. Here are the basic details:

— Registration is required between March 30 and May 31, 2017, using promotion code ASM17
— Valid for flights booked and taken between March 30 and May 31, 2017
— Valid for nonstop travel to Beijing, Hong Kong, Osaka, Shanghai, Tokyo Haneda, and Tokyo Narita, on American marketed flights operated by either American or Japan Airlines

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Ranking Limited Time Hotel Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses


At the moment we’re seeing more increased hotel credit card sign-up bonuses than I recall seeing at any point in the past. Given that these offers are limited time, I wanted to use this post to rank the offers based on the sign-up bonuses alone. Which cards offer the biggest sign-up bonuses, based on my valuation of points, and taking into account the annual fees the first year?

Here they are ranked, based on my valuations:

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Richard Branson Wants Alaska Airlines To Pay Him Licensing Fees Until 2040


While Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America was finalized late last year, they only outlined the future of the brand last week. Alaska wanted to take time to decide whether or not they wanted to keep the Virgin America brand around.

While Virgin America has a loyal following, so does Alaska Airlines. From the beginning I thought they were going to dump the Virgin brand, as I’ve always viewed Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America as being about keeping them out of JetBlue’s hands, and establishing themselves as the truly dominant carrier on the West Coast.

So last week we learned that Alaska plans on retiring the Virgin America brand sometime in 2019. Shortly after this announcement Richard Branson wrote an open letter to Virgin America employees sharing his disappointment in this move, and also expressing how proud he is of what they’ve built. He stated his disappointment even more clearly recently, as quoted in the Puget Sound Business Journal:

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How To Request A Metal Amex Platinum Card


Update: Some readers aren’t seeing the option to request a metal card online. If that’s the case for you, you should still be able to request a metal card by phone or through online chat.

Earlier I wrote about how The Platinum Card® from American Express has been refreshed, including a new 60,000 point sign-up bonus upon completing minimum spend.

One of the changes happening to the Amex Platinum Card is that it now has a metal design. This is a new craze with premium credit cards, and it’s something I know many like. No, it won’t substantially change the value you’re getting out of the card, but it is a cool new gimmick.

If you’re an existing cardmember, there are two ways you can get the new metal card:

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Big New 60K Point Sign-Up Bonus On The Amex Platinum Card


The Platinum Card® from American Express is being relaunched today with several changes, and one of those is a big new sign-up bonus.

The Amex Platinum Card is now offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after making $5,000 in purchases within the first three months.

That bonus is 50% bigger than the previous bonus, which offered 40,000 points upon completing minimum spend. This is the new standard sign-up bonus, which is great to see.

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Audi Is Acquiring Silvercar, My Favorite Car Rental Company


I’ve written extensively about Silvercar, which is my favorite car rental company. While I’ve historically dreaded renting cars due to how dated the technology and the industry is, Silvercar is changing that up. They’ve done to the car rental industry what Uber has done to the taxi industry (well, minus all the scandals).

They have one type of car (an Audi A4), and they take a lot of the other hassle out of the car rental process as well – they’ll fill up the car at “fair” fuel prices when your return it, they have fair tolling, satellite radio, etc.

Audi has already owned a minority stake in Silvercar. Early last year Audi invested $28 million for a 20% stake in Silvercar. Well, Audi is now buying the remaining shares in Silvercar for an undisclosed amount, so Silvercar will be 100% owned by Audi.

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Delta Promo: 1,000 Bonus Miles For Each New Partner Activity


Delta has a fun promotion offering 1,000 bonus miles for each new SkyMiles partner you earn miles with between March 24 and June 30, 2017. Those dates are based on the reported activity date by the partner.

By “new partner” they don’t actually mean that you’ve never used that partner before, but rather that you didn’t have any activity with that specific partner between March 24, 2016, and March 23, 2017.

Registration is required, and all SkyMiles members outside the APAC region should be eligible for the offer. It can take up to 60 days from the transaction for eligible bonus miles to post.

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Wow: Qatar Airways Will Offer Loaner Laptops & Free Wifi On US-Bound Flights


The US electronics ban has been in place for several days now, and we’ve started to see how airlines are dealing with the ban. Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish have all shared what they’re doing to try and minimize the impact this ban has on passengers.

On Tuesday we learned that Etihad will be offering complimentary wifi and loaner iPads for business class passengers on US-bound flights, as a way of trying to minimize the disruption they face. Well, Qatar Airways is now taking that to the next level.

Qatar Airways will offer business class passengers loaner laptops on US-bound flights. This new feature will be available starting next week, and the laptops can be collected from the gate just before boarding. Customers can download their work onto a USB before boarding.

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Review: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu

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We spent three nights in Kathmandu prior to our visit to Bhutan, and for me the hotel choice was obvious. As a Hyatt and Starwood loyalist, there was only one hotel I really considered, which was the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu. I had heard good things about the hotel, and best of all, it’s a Category 1 Hyatt property.

That means a free night redemption costs just 5,000 points per night, or you can book a Points + Cash booking for 2,500 points plus $50 per night. On the surface an outright points redemption is actually a better value (since I don’t value Hyatt points at two cents each), but we made a Points + Cash reservation since those stays qualify as eligible elite nights, while outright free night redemptions don’t.

As a point of comparison, the paid rate at the Hyatt Regency was ~$200 per night including taxes and fees, so redeeming points was by far the best value.

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Amex Platinum Card Uber Credits Are Now Available


In early March we learned about major changes that American Express is making to The Platinum Card® from American Express as of March 30, 2017 (which is today).

While the card’s annual fee will be raised by $100, from $450 to $550, the card is also offering some new benefits. Perhaps most significantly, the Platinum Card now offers $200 in Uber credits annually.

Those with the Platinum Card will receive $15 in Uber credits each month, and $35 in Uber credits in December. Each credit is only valid for the month in which it’s issued and for rides in the U.S. There’s no need to actually pay for any Uber ride with the Platinum Card, but rather you’ll just have to link your accounts and then the code will automatically be added to your account.

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American Pilot Dies Inflight, Just Minutes Before Landing

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Well this is sad, and extremely rare. CNN is reporting that an American Airlines 737-800 first officer died earlier today just minutes before the flight he was at the controls of was scheduled to land.

This incident occurred on a flight from Dallas to Albuquerque, AA1353, at around 3:30PM. Two miles from landing the captain declared an emergency due to a “medical issue,” and it was later revealed that this was because the first officer passed away at the controls. Upon landing the plane taxied to the gate, and then CPR was apparently performed on the first officer for 35-40 minutes before he was pronounced dead.

The outbound flight from Albuquerque to Dallas ended up being delayed by several hours. I imagine the pilots were supposed to work that flight back, and American had to get a new crew.

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I’m Flying From San Francisco To Hong Kong And Back In 32 Hours… As One Does


Over the weekend I jumped on the opportunity to book a seat on United’s brand new 777-300ER between San Francisco and Hong Kong. There was saver level business class award availability on the flight, which seemed like a good opportunity to try the new product only days after it entered international service.

When I saw the availability I pulled the trigger immediately, without even considering how I’d get back to the US.

I was flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong on a Tuesday, arriving at around 7PM on a Wednesday. I have a commitment in the US Friday night, so figured I’d spend a night in Hong Kong and then fly back, or maybe even spend two nights in Asia before returning.

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Review: Korean Air Business Class 777 Seoul To Kathmandu

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We spent the night at the Grand Hyatt Incheon, and the next day headed to the airport at around 11:30AM for our 1:25PM flight to Kathmandu. Immigration and security were reasonably quick (they took about 20 minutes, while in the past I’ve sometimes had to wait over an hour), and we quickly found gate 21, where our flight would be departing from.

As we arrived our 777 was just getting catered, and a few minutes later the crew arrived.

Boarding was announced at 12:55PM, starting with business class.

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You Can Now Redeem Delta SkyMiles On WestJet


For a few years now, Delta and WestJet have had a partnership, allowing you to earn Delta SkyMiles for travel on WestJet.

WestJet is a “Group 4” SkyMiles partner, which means that you can’t earn Medallion Qualifying Miles or Medallion Qualifying Dollars for travel on WestJet, though you can earn redeemable miles, which is better than nothing.

Well, Delta and WestJet have expanded their partnership, as it’s now possible to redeem Delta SkyMiles for travel on WestJet. Per the SkyMiles News & Updates page:

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