Reminder Of End Of The Year Travel Deadlines

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I figured I’d post a quick reminder of the travel deals/opportunites that are coming to an end on or before December 31, 2013, which is this coming Tuesday:

20% transfer bonus from AmEx Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios through December 31, 2013

Since October, American Express Membership Rewards has been offering a 20% bonus for transfers to British Airways Executive Club. This is hardly the biggest bonus we’ve seen — this year alone we’ve seen a 30% transfer bonus and a 35% transfer bonus, and last year we even saw a 50% transfer bonus.

While I suspect we’ll see another transfer bonus soon, there’s usually a gap between when these bonuses are offered, so if you’re short on Avios it could make sense to make a speculative transfer. Like I’ve always said, British Airways Avios aren’t the most aspirational points currency, but they’re extremely practical. I redeem more of them than any other currency, as they’re great for short distance awards given the distance based award chart they have. The opposite is true for most other airlines, which have region based award charts.

British-Airways-Transfer-Bonus

Avianca 100% bonus on the purchase of Lifemiles through December 30, 2013

You only have a few more days to purchase Lifemiles for just 1.5 cents each. Through this promotion you can purchase a maximum of 75,000 Lifemiles before the 100% bonus (for a total of 150,000 miles), and you’re capped at 150,000 miles per calendar year. So it could make sense to pick up some miles now, since the annual limit is about to reset.

Lifemiles are simultaneously my favorite and least favorite points currency. The things I love about Lifemiles include:

  • They allow one-way awards at half the cost of a roundtrip
  • They don’t impose fuel surcharges on award redemptions
  • They have competitive redemption rates (you can find their Star Alliance award chart here)
  • They don’t block any partner award space, unlike US Airways
  • As long as you have 40% of the miles needed for a redemption, you can purchase the remaining miles at the time you issue your ticket for as little as 1.56 cents per mile

And then there are things I hate with a passion about Lifemiles:

  • Their call center is HORRIBLE, so if your redemption requires servicing over the phone, you might as well forget about it
  • They don’t allow mixed cabin awards, meaning if you book a business class award all segments have to be in business class
  • They have a history of devaluing their program without notice, as I posted about here and here, so I’d only recommend buying miles with a short term use in mind

AviancaTaca-Lifemiles-Promotion

Use your American Express Platinum $200 airline fee credit before December 31, 2013

If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express you get a $200 annual airline fee credit per calendar year. If you haven’t yet redeemed your airline fee credit, you’ll want to do so ASAP. What’s awesome about these airline fee credits is that in most cases they can be used to purchase airline gift cards, which to me are good as cash. The American Express forum on FlyerTalk has individual threads dedicated to reimbursement reports for each airline, including Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, and United. As you can see, these credits can be used for a wide variety of things, from lounge memberships, to cancellation fees, to status challenge fees, to (in many cases) gift cards.

AmEx-Airline-Fee-Credit

Air France first class at the old award rates through December 31, 2013

I recently flew Air France first class and was really impressed by their product, between the amazing service and food aboard the A380 from Los Angeles to Paris, to their incredible first class lounge in Paris.

Air France devalued their FlyingBlue award chart back in June, whereby the cost of first class one-way between the US and Europe went from 125,000 miles to 162,500 miles (and a lot of other award prices went up as well). However, they offered to honor the old award rates through December 31, 2013, when booking through their call center. So you have a few more days to lock in awards at their old rates, if you’re so inclined. As a reminder, FlyingBlue is transfer partners with both American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

Air-France-A380-First-Class-05

10% discount on purchase of Hyatt gift cards through December 31, 2013

Hyatt is offering a 10% discount on the purchase of up to $2,000 worth of Hyatt gift cards/checks when using promotion code GPGIFT at checkout. This is separate from the 10% discount you can get on the purchase of gift cards through a Milepoint Premium membership, which can be purchased for $49.95 and doesn’t expire at the end of the year.

Hyatt-Gift-Card-Discount

There ya have it, those are the top deals I can think of that are expiring soon!

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Comments

  1. Lucky,

    Can you use Hyatt gift cards to pay for a reservation online? Or at check out only? Or can you only use for incidentals? I read somewhere too that you can combine with Amex Open for a combined ~15% discount…

    Stacey

  2. If you plan to transfer MR to FB to book an AF F award, a decent transfer bonus could make up for the price increase, so there isn’t necessarily a need to hurry and complete a booking by December 31.

  3. What Del mentions is much more urgent than the AF change!

    Another good one — be sure to use any expiring AA Business Extra or Delta SkyBonus points.

  4. Hi Lucky,
    I just want to tell you right off that I am really enjoying reading about the Air France La Premiere lounge. It’s so amazing. You did a really good job writing about it. The quotes from the people who you encountered really took me there.
    So my question is that I haven’t gone on a trip for a long time. These life miles sound like a good deal! So, do you think it would be a really good idea to buy the 75,000 worth. That would be like two trips for $1,125? Am I right? $1,125 would equal 150,000 life miles?
    What do you think? I don’t know about how easy it would be to book? I could go economy (I know, very un one mile at time, but whatever!) haha to Europe and New Zealand.

  5. @ John McIntosh — Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it! As far as Lifemiles go, with the bonus you’re purchasing miles at 1.5 cents each. So the amount you list would get you a total of 75,000 miles, which can still be a great deal. If you’re going to fly economy then it’s probably not worth it since there won’t be substantial savings over a revenue ticket, but for first and business class it makes a lot of sense.

  6. Thanks for writing me back! I thought you get double miles, so if I buy 75,000 Lifemiles, they double them to get me 150,000? If this is true, maybe I will just buy 40,000 and try it out.

  7. @ John — Yes, you do get double miles, though the cost of purchasing 75,000 miles would be $2,250, and that would be doubled to 150,000 miles then.

  8. One more year end thing…

    I managed to rack uP enough LH miles before the end of the year. Now I’m trying to squeeze in a F booking on LX before the 12/31 deadline and it looks as though miles and more website is already blocking F redemptions on LX metal…wish me luck on trying to get this done before the new year!

    Anyone else out there notice this?

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