Ask Lucky

Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
If you have questions about how to search for award space or how to redeem miles I’ve probably already answered it in a more detailed post, so check out the “Tips & Tutorials” page for some quick references.
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so feel free to jump in and share tips!


  1. Lucky,

    No. I’m saying that I didn’t even get a chance to fill out an application for the second Chase card. Clicking apply now led me to the status pending message; I assume it was for the first card.

    – Phil

  2. @ Phillip — Ah, typically Chase won’t approve you for multiple personal cards in a day, so I’d wait at least 30 days before applying for another card.

  3. Want is the best way you have learned to cope with flying in bad weather after your Royal Jordanian flight? I had a similar experience flying Hong Kong to Vancouver, which was 4-6 hours of hell. I still get nervous flying that route.

  4. Hey Lucky
    Escaping the uk this weekend for some sunshine- staying at the park hyatt Abu Dhabi. We are a gay couple- jut checking what your thoughts are as to whether we should ask for a twin or double room?? Don’t want to create any issues and our first time in this part of the world.
    Thanks very much


  5. @ Cory — To be honest for me it just took time. I just reminded myself how safe flying is, and over time it got better. Not much else that can be done.

  6. Amazing thanks for the feedback, and also thanks for your review of the hotel- swayed my decision. Will let you know how we go…. Any reccos on car service from DXB up to Abu Dhabi?? Flying into Dubai.
    Thanks again mate.

  7. Hey Ben,

    I have two questions.

    I got CSP in July 2013. Since 24 months is coming up this summer, can I cancel the CSP in June, then reapply in July and get the 40K bonus again? Is that possible? Would they approve?

    Also- I have the Ink Plus and the annual fee is coming up in May. Should I downgrade to Ink Cash, or cancel it then reapply to Ink Cash for the 20k Bonus? Would they approve?


  8. Hi Ben

    I noticed a unique way Uber is helping.

    Last night there were massive fires around Cape Town in South Africa. The blaze was massive and affected a very large area. This meant the normal firefighting service was quite overwhelmed.

    Uber created UberAssist where it seems people could order an Uber car to pick up supplies (think drinking water, blankets and other supplies) to be dropped off free of charge where needed.

    The below link featured a static message at the top (hope it is still there if you click)

  9. @ Justin — Personally I would apply for the Ink Cash, since otherwise you’d be giving up 20K points.

    As far as the Chase Sapphire Preferred goes, I’m not 100% sure. Last time I checked the application it said you can only get the bonus once every 24 months, in which case you might be fine. But can’t guarantee that’s still the case.

  10. @ Charlie — I’ve always had an airline chauffeur service, so am not sure. A taxi will certainly take you otherwise, though I might just Google for a car service and book through them. Sorry I don’t have a better recommendation.

  11. Lucky,

    I know that the Chase Sapphire Preferred discontinued the 7% points dividend last year. I thought that the 7% should still apply for 2014 (I got the card prior to the discontinuation of this benefit). Is that correct? When will the dividend post (I haven’t seen it post on my account)?


  12. Hi Lucky,

    I was scheduling a flight from Chicago to Bangkok, and I noticed that one of the segments on Delta was Minneapolis to Tokyo! The flight is operated on a Boeing 777, which I can’t seem how makes a profit since there can’t be such a large market in Minnesota. It surprises me more given how few 777s Delta has and how they usually operate the A330 on USA-Asia routes. Do you think the Minneapolis to Tokyo route is profitable for Delta?

  13. Question for you (and this may be applicable to a number of your readers) – now that the announcement has been made about Visa/Citi being Costco’s replacement card providers, what are your thoughts on which card a heavy spender should move to? Our family spends upwards of $1m/year on Costco for our small businesses, currently all on Amex Centurion, which has been a beneficial relationship given the free DL Platinum status and ease of use of MR to DL miles (historically, at least). Ideally we move to something that’s still rewarding for travel redemptions

    My question is: given that level of spend and the desire to have flexibility on travel awards, what ideal cards should we consider? My guess is you’ll recommend one of the Chase cards given the flexibility of UR, but United sucks and excluding that pretty much leaves us with nothing (don’t care for WN). Thoughts?

  14. Hi Lucky,
    I have 3 Alaska Airlines cards:
    Platinum plus visa, Signature Visa and bussiness visa.
    It’s time for Signature visa annual fee.
    Is it worth keeping?

  15. @ FM — Well what remains to be seen is if they’ll take all Visa cards, or just Citi Visa card. If they take all Visa cards I’d consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Alaska Airlines Visa, or American AAdvantage Visa for premium international redemptions.

  16. @ Kyle — Tough to say. My guess is that they have a lot of connecting traffic on the route. I agree it’s quite random.

  17. @ Jay — Correct, it should have still applied for last year, and I believe that it usually posts in one of the first few statements of the year. So hopefully it posts with the next statement for you.

  18. Booked an AA award ticket on EY and it’s on hold for a couple of days. From your experience, how long does it take before it’s actually ticketed? Would calling in help at all, or is it all automated?

  19. @ Patrick — It’s on hold? If so, you’d need to first call for the process of ticketing to start. It usually tickets within 4-24 hours at that point.

  20. Hi Ben, not sure if this is in the queue yet, but I got a notice yesterday about my US Airways Card being converted into a AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red MasterCard®. They’re doing a promo with bonus miles for dining, utilities, and groceries. I’m curious to know your thoughts on whether it makes sense to direct spend on those items to that card, especially given that the bonus miles won’t post until the end of the promo (June 30). Thanks!

  21. At $475, the Mercedes-Benz version of the AMEX Platinum is just $25 more than the regular AMEX Platinum, with some valuable Mercedes related benefits. I’m wondering, are there any downsides/negatives to getting the Mercedes version of the Platinum card (other than the extra $25 fee) or might there be benefits/perks or credits it does not offer that the regular version does?

  22. @ Charlie–Uber is pretty popular in the UAE. When we landed in AUH last month, I was able to easily hop on the airport wifi and arrange for a car to meet us and take us into Dubai. As a bonus I was also able to pay for the ride with a credit card. The trip cost ~ 210 AED (dirhams). On the return we took a local taxi, about 187 dirhams. Hope this helps.

  23. @ Nat–Not sure if Ben currently holds the card or has seen the email. Unless you have a very specific promo, most people have been getting a promo for 50% bonus miles up to a max of 10,000 miles on all spend ($20,000). On the promo email, they use those categories as examples but the promo is for all spend.

  24. Lucky, i’ve been looking every day routinely for flights to the Maldives from JFK for my honeymoon next Jan/Feb for 1st class Etihad. I know JFK – AUH will be one of the next routes for the A380. Everyday until this morning i have been seeing the routes published on other planes. Today is the first day that i see flight EY 102 on an A380 plane for Friday Jan 15th 2016. Could this be the new route?? If so, when do you think guest first class availability might be released?

  25. Hi Lucky,

    This summer I will be flying on my first Virgin Alantic flight from New York to London. I would love to do a little of everything like sleep,eat and relax. I would like to do everything and manage my time better. So can you help me?
    Thank you.

  26. Hi Lucky,
    I have Ink Bold, Ink Cash, CSP and Freedom for UR points.
    It’s time for ink bold annual fee, so called for canceling.
    Rep offered 10K bonus points for 5K spend, is it worth taking or should I cancel and apply for the card next year(It will be 24 months since I got the initial bonus next year in jan)?

    Also, do you know if alaska signature visa is churnable? I canceled it yesterday and was owndering when I can get the new card with new bonus again.

  27. Etihad got only two B787-9 so far. Right now, they are flying to Düsseldorf, Germany.
    As per etihad and other websites, they will be flying Washington DC and Mumbai from March 15th. Is it possible to service the 3 destinations from March 15th with just 2 frames?
    I booked my ticket on 15th from DC, fingers crossed.

  28. @ Skudu — I don’t think it is. They could probably do Washington AND Dusseldorf or Mumbai, but not sure how they could do all three. Good luck!

  29. @ Abhi — You can typically earn the bonus on the Alaska Card multiple times.

    Regarding the Ink, that’s like earning three Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent, which is quite good. That being said, if it means having to pay the annual fee, it’s probably not worth it as much, given that you can earn multiple points per dollar spent on other cards as well.

  30. @ William — That’s a really short flight, so I’d definitely skip breakfast. Two options are:
    — Eat in the lounge and fall asleep after takeoff
    — Eat onboard and then sleep until landing

    If you do want to “enjoy” the experience I’d probably do the latter.

    Enjoy the trip!

  31. @ Jason — Nope, no downsides other than the slightly higher annual fee. I’ve never valued the Mercedes benefits, but if you do I’d definitely pick up that card.

  32. Hi Lucky,
    The 10K bonus for $5K spend as retention bonus on chase ink plus, is that the usual bonus they offer? Have you heard of or gotten better retention bonus for that card?

  33. @Lucky You are right, just checked the Düsseldorf schedule, they are changing it to A340 on 15th. So it will be Mumbai and IAD from March 15. I didnt think they would alter/change their 1st 787 destination so fast.

  34. Lucky,

    I graduate from college in May. I was wondering what the best card to start earning points towards redeeming an awesome trip one day. I spend on you know what a 22 year old spends on food, beer, and more food. Currently using a CC tied to my parents account so I’m looking into what to get under my name so I can keep the points!

    Thanks !!

  35. @ Nick — Have you ever applied for a card in your own name, or you’ve just used cards tied to your parents’ accounts until now?

  36. Applied and approved for BA visa through your link this morning :)

    Quick question: helpful reference post on award change and cancel fees, but do the original ticketing fees get refunded? That is, if I cancel and redeposit an SQ Suites ticket, I pay the $30 redeposit fee, but do I get back the original $150 or whatever it was I paid when I made the ticket for taxes and fuel surcharges? Thanks Lucky

  37. Lucky,

    For credit cards I have only used attached to my parents name. However, I have a credit of 736 (as of February) by paying the rent on my house, making my payments for student loans, electric and other utilities, and other various bills in my name that have boosted my credit.



  38. @ Nick — In that case I might consider charging with an American Express charge card. Anecdotally I find they’re pretty easy to get approved for, since you have to pay your balance in full every month, so it’s lower risk for the banks. The Premier Rewards Gold Card is a card that I’ve anecdotally found quite easy to be approved for, for example. If you don’t have luck it might make sense to start with a college credit card instead, use it for a while, and then switch to more lucrative cards.

  39. Hey Lucky,

    If I were to choose JFK, FRA, or SIN to cater my SQ F Book the Cook meal, which should it be? Or in other words, which station has the “worst” regular on-board catering and does it make sense to Book the Cook for a higher quality meal. Obviously this can vary day of, and I won’t hold you to it; but on average, what has been your experience?


  40. Hi,
    I’ve been looking at the Asiamiles site to get an idea of availability. I checked one route that I was specifically looking at, which CX operates, and some flights showed as full and some as not available. Do you know what the difference is?

  41. @ SG — Full probably means there isn’t award space, while not available probably means the product doesn’t operate for that route. At least that’s my guess.

  42. @ Phil — Sadly it’s not quite that simple. JFK catering is okay, and BTC out of there is okay. Singapore catering is fantastic, and BTC out of there is fantastic. For example, the lobster thermidor out of Singapore can’t be missed, while out of JFK it’s pretty bad.

  43. Hi Lucky,
    What are the best uses of the Alaska companion pass?
    I mean to maximize the value of the pass.

  44. Thanks for your recent tip regarding using JAL miles for EK award travel. I can’t find the answer to one question – can you mix EK segments and other OW segments on the same award? Specifically, I would like to do ORF-JFK (AA)-DXB-DEL (EK) RT. Is that allowed?

  45. @ Mike — Nope, for their non-oneworld partners you can’t mix airlines, as far as I know.

  46. Hi Ben,
    Will be in UAE for first time this Fall on way back from Australia trip as a result of booking Ethihad’s first class apt. I’ll have 4 days there and thinking of spending 2 days in DXB and 2 days in AUH. Looking for hotel advice. I am SPG platinum and Hyatt diamond. Was thinking of booking St Regis Saadiyat Island for AUH before points increase but wondering if too far outside city or easy cab ride away. No ideas for DBX. Looking forward to your recs for both cities.

  47. @ Abhi — If you’re simply looking for the most expensive ticket (and therefore the most “savings”) then I’d say a ticket from the east coast to Hawaii, or from the east coast to Alaska.

  48. @ puckjeff — Personally I prefer the Park Hyatt to the St. Regis on Saadiyat Island, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay in that area. It’s nice because it’s a bit secluded from the city, but only a 15 minute taxi ride away. So you get the best of both worlds. In Dubai it all depends how much you want to spend. The Grosvenor House is popular, but I don’t like the area it’s in (it’s in Dubai Marina, which is like the Financial District). Personally prefer Le Meridien, or might even go for the Park Hyatt or Grand Hyatt, as I prefer their locations.

  49. Can the alaska air companion pass only be used on flights operated by alaska?
    I am in kentucky and the nearest airport they operate out of is Chicago. If I book a route on to hawaii the connecting flight to ORD is on AA, and it seems it doesn’t apply my companion pass when I try to book it.
    Or am I doing something wrong?

  50. @Abhi – your question is addressed in the terms and conditions for the pass. Per the Alaska Air website which states, in pertinent part – “Your Companion Fare Discount Code can be applied to a new reservation made at for Alaska Airlines flights only.”

    This suggests that you’re going to need to get to ORD on a separate fare to book ORD-HNL using the companion pass.

  51. No i’m afraid thats not the case. There were all CX operated using the same aircraft, and the cabin was definitely offerred on every flight. Thanks anyway

  52. I have roughly 50k Amex MR points from my AMEX Platinum. I am wondering if there is a good way to use these points to book a room in paris for 2 nights (June 19th-June21st) or if there is any other way I can stay at a nice hotel for free (with points)?

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