Are Selfies Changing Why We Travel?

China-2

Skift published an interesting article yesterday, entitled “Selfies Are Changing The Fundamental Reasons Why We Travel.”

The conclusion is basically that many travelers care just as much about how they can utilize a trip for social media as they care about the trip itself.

I don’t think the article comes to any surprising conclusions, though it does concisely some up a major trend in travel, and something travel providers should be catering towards:

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New Terms With The $400 British Airways AARP Discount?

British-Airways-Club-World

I’ve written in the past about two opportunities to get discounts on paid British Airways tickets.

— If you’re an AARP member (anyone can join AARP for $16 per year, regardless of age — I’m a member) you can save $400 on roundtrip business class tickets booked with British Airways
— On top of that, British Airways offers a 10% discount if you have the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, using promo code CARDOFFERU

Historically both the AARP $400 discount and 10% off discounts can be stacked, which sometimes makes for incredible deals when oneworld publishes discounted premium cabin fares.

For example, early last week I wrote about the $1,500-1,700 oneworld business class fares between New York and Paris, which could be brought down to ~$1,000 per person roundtrip in conjunction with the above promo codes. That was a hell of a deal, and the fare stayed around for a while.

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Weekly Review: April 25, 2015

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Hello from Las Vegas, the city that makes me feel more like a novice traveller than anywhere in the world!

Goodness gracious, it has been an exciting week in miles and points. There are several great promotions running, and many opportunities that expire in the next few days, so make sure you’re taking full advantage.

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Up To 50% Bonus On Purchased JetBlue Points — Is It A Good Deal?

JetBlue-Points

This offer has actually been around for a couple of weeks, though I only caught wind of it now.

JetBlue is offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased TrueBlue points through April 30, 2015.

The bonus is tiered, meaning you earn a higher percentage bonus the more points you buy, as follows:

— 5,000-9,500 points: 20% bonus
— 10,000-19,500 points: 30% bonus
— 20,000-29,500 points: 40% bonus
— 30,000 points: 50% bonus

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List Of IHG Rewards Club Hotels Changing Category May 1, 2015

IHG-2015-Point-Changes-31

Early last week I wrote about IHG Rewards Club’s sneaky announcement about some hotel category changes they’re making, which kick in for bookings as of May 1, 2015.

They buried these changes in the bottom of the frequently asked questions about some changes they’re making to their elite program.

As they explained the changes:

“Are the point requirements for Reward Nights changing?

Our point requirements are changing slightly for 2015, effective 1 May 2015. We’ll be raising less than 300 hotels by 5,000 or 10,000 points and we’re lowering about 150 hotels by 5,000 points. The overall point requirement of 10,000 to 50,000 points for all Reward Nights is not changing.”

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Avoiding The BankDirect Monthly Account Service Fee

BankDirect

Last month I analyzed the BankDirect Mileage Checking account and how it can be a lucrative way to earn American Advantage miles. To recap, you earn 100 American Advantage miles for every $1000 you keep in the account each month, up to $50,000. Then above $50,000, you earn 25 miles per $100. It also pays a neglible interest rate (0.01%). As long as you don’t mind being paid in miles, this is one of the higher yielding opportunities for a completely liquid FDIC-insured account.

The downside of the BankDirect Mileage Checking account is that it has a $12 monthly fee regardless of how much you keep in the account. This is particularly annoying because the $12 fee is almost certainly more than you’ll make in interest each month. For example, if you have $50,000 in the account, you’ll earn about $0.42 of interest each month — no joke, it really is negligible!

That means that you are paying $12 per month in service fees and earning only $0.42 for a net loss of $11.58. Yes, that’s right — your account balance actually goes down over time! Sure, your American account will go up, but it still stinks to see your hard earned cash dwindle away.

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Amazing Qatar Airways Business Class Fares Out Of South Africa

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I don’t think there’s an airline which more consistently has unbelievable business class fares than Qatar Airways. They seem to have a “global 2-for-1″ business class sale at least once a month, and some of the fares are unbelievable.

For example, in early March I wrote about the ~$1,300 roundtrip business class fare between Cairo and Philadelphia, which was about the same price as economy. That’s a great rate at which to rack up American AAdvantage miles, given that both airlines are part of oneworld.

Anyway, Qatar Airways has just published their latest global sale, which is valid for bookings made through April 29, 2015, and for travel between June 1 and December 10, 2015. Per the fare rules, there seems to be a minimum stay of seven days, and a maximum stay of three months.

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The Most Hypocritical Complaint About Airline Subsidies… EVER

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As most of you probably know by now, there’s a battle going on between the “big three” US airlines and the “big three” Middle Eastern carriers. I’ve shared my thoughts about why the US carriers can’t compete with the Gulf carriers under the current system. And I think the US carriers are right for expressing their grievances, regardless of whether anything comes of it or not.

That being said, unfortunately the political action committees the US carriers are using to make their case are so beyond juvenile that this is just getting laughable. So far:

— Delta’s CEO linked the “big three” Gulf carriers to terrorism
— When Emirates announced their new Dubai to Orlando route, “Americans For Fair Skies” put out a statement which read like a middle school smear campaign
— “Americans For Fair Skies” put out a press release attacking the US Travel Association for “supporting” the Middle Eastern carriers, yet somehow they give American Airlines a pass, despite the fact that they partner with both Etihad and Qatar

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Las Vegas Makes Me Feel Stupid

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And not for the obvious reasons.

Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas. Actually, I mostly just hate it, but there’s a little part of me that likes it.

What do I like about Las Vegas? It has great food, cocktail lounges, entertainment, and people watching (the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly). Give Las Vegas to me in moderation — we’re talking like once or twice a year, tops — and I’m a happy camper.

But there’s one aspect of going to Las Vegas which drives me nuts. And that’s the fact that it makes me feel really stupid. I’m going this weekend, and as I prepare for my trip I’m reminded of just how stupid the city makes me feel. Let me explain.

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How To Redeem Miles For Oman Air Business Class

Oman-Air-Business-Class

As I’ve explained in the past, there’s probably not a business class product in the world I’m more anxious to try than Oman Air’s.

On their original Airbus A330 aircraft, business class is in a 1-2-1 configuration with fully forward facing seats, so it looks a lot more like first class seats from a decade ago than business class. Admittedly as business class products have improved it’s not quite as cutting edge as it used to be, but it’s still a pretty awesome product.

Last December I explained how Oman Air was introducing a new business class product on their high density A330s, which is actually a worse and much less unique product. While it still looks very good, it’s definitely not as unique as their original product.

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A Decade Later, I’m Turning Down “Free” Miles

TPADCA

I’ve been involved in this “hobby” for more than a decade now. And I feel just as passionately about it today as I did the day I get started, despite the fact that my approach to it has changed a lot.

I’m just booking some travel today, and as I do so I can’t help but smirk — because I know 15 year old me would’ve punched me in the face right now if he saw what I was doing.

Back in the day I was a hardcore mileage runner. I spent my weekends flying around the country aimlessly to earn miles.

For example, say I had the choice between the following two routings for the same price:

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