About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Don’t Forget About This Great Cashback Card With A 50K Point Sign-Up Bonus

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Since last September, there has been a 50,000 point sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. This is the highest ever bonus we’ve seen on the card, and is 25% higher than the bonus was previously.

It’s my understanding that the bonus was originally only supposed to be around for a few months, though it looks like it has stuck around for a lot longer, as it’s still going strong six months later. So I figured I’d post a reminder about the bonus for anyone planning on applying for credit cards soon, since it has been months since I’ve written about it.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is one of the all around most compelling cashback cards out there. It’s offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. On top of that, the card’s $89 annual fee is waived the first year.

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How Long Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfers Take?

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If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spend, I always recommend doing what you can to accrue transferrable points currencies. That’s because these points are much more flexible than when you’re earning an individual airline or hotel points currency. You have the flexibility to transfer these points to all kinds of travel partners, and you’re safeguarded from a devaluation in a specific points currency.

With that in mind, I’m writing a series about the three major transferrable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou — talking about how long it takes to transfer points, along with the other basic details you need to know about transferring points. Yesterday I wrote about Amex Membership Rewards, so today I’m writing about Chase Ultimate Rewards.

How many airline and hotel partners does Chase Ultimate Rewards have?

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What’s The Logic Behind The In-Flight Electronics Ban?

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What a bizarre day…

Earlier I posted about how Royal Jordanian announced that in-cabin electronics would would be banned on flights to/from the U.S. starting tomorrow, March 21, 2017. With the exception of cell phones, all electronics would have to be checked through to the final destination.

As more information emerged, it became clear that Royal Jordanian wasn’t just misunderstanding some policy, but that they were in fact following some sort of directive, which is apparently impacting people traveling from 13 different countries to the U.S.

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This Must Be The Most Random Transatlantic Route Ever…

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In the past I’ve said that Providence, Rhode Island to Praia, Cape Verde, is one of the most seemingly random airline routes in the world. I know there’s a sizable Cape Verdean population in Providence, which explains the route, but I think a vast majority of people would have never guessed such a route exists.

However, I think I’ve found an even more “random” route. Earlier I wrote about how Alaska and Condor have a new partnership, which seems like a great way to earn Alaska miles for travel to Europe, given how attractive Condor’s fares are.

Condor is a leisure carrier, so they don’t serve the traditional transatlantic markets served by many other airlines. For example, they don’t fly to Boston, Chicago, or New York, but instead fly to Anchorage, Las Vegas, and San Diego.

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It Looks Like A Widespread In-Flight Electronics Ban Is About To Be Implemented…

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Oh my, this is about to get interesting…

A couple of hours ago, Royal Jordanian announced that they are banning electronics from the cabins of their flights to/from the U.S. With the exception of cell phones and medical devices, all other electronics need to be checked in the cargo hold.

At first I assumed they horribly misinterpreted some directive, or something. To me it seems highly illogical to want passengers to check electronics. If there’s some threat of terrorism or a safety concern, then I didn’t really understand how requiring passengers to check electronics would help.

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WTF: Royal Jordanian Bans Electronic Devices From Flights

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Okay, I can’t actually make any sense of this. However, Royal Jordanian has just announced that they’re banning electronic devices in their aircraft cabins as of tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. You can continue to take “cellular phones and medical devices needed during the flight,” but everything else, including laptops, tablets, cameras, etc., have to be checked to your final destination.

Here’s the announcement:

“Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited.”

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How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take?

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If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spend, I always recommend doing what you can to accrue transferrable points currencies. That’s because these points are much more flexible than when you’re earning an individual airline or hotel points currency. You have the flexibility to transfer these points to all kinds of travel partners, and you’re safeguarded from a devaluation in a specific points currency.

With that in mind, I figured I’d write a series of posts about the three major transferrable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou — talking about how long it takes to transfer points, along with the other basic details you need to know about transferring points.

How many airline and hotel partners does Amex Membership Rewards have?

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Canada Is Phasing Out Paper Immigration Forms

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If you travel internationally with any frequency, you’re probably used to filling out immigration cards all the time. They’re typically handed out before landing. Some forms take just a minute to fill out, while others can be quite lengthy.

One of the great things about having Global Entry is that you no longer have to fill out immigration forms when arriving in the U.S. Instead you just scan your passport at a Global Entry kiosk, answer a few questions, and you’re sent on your way.

Well, it looks like Canada is slowly adapting as well. Soon Canada will be eliminating immigration forms for passengers arriving by air. This coincides with Canada rolling out primary inspection kiosks, where you can instead answer basic questions on a kiosk upon arrival. Ottawa Airport is the first airport to get these kiosks as of today, while the kiosks will be rolled out at other airports over the coming months.

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The Alaska Companion Certificate Is Now Valid On Virgin America

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One of the best perks of The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card, and the reason I hold onto this card long term (I hold onto several of these cards long term, actually), is because of the annual companion certificate offered by the card. The card has a $75 annual fee, and every year you get a companion certificate on your cardmember anniversary. You can access the certificate by logging into your Mileage Plan account, and then clicking on the “Discount and companion fare codes” section on the left.

It’s advertised as a $121 companion certificate, though in reality the companion certificate has a $99 base fare, plus taxes and fees starting from $22.

What makes this companion certificate so valuable is that there are no “strings attached.” It’s valid for any economy ticket on Alaska, and the companion is even eligible to earn miles, upgrade, etc. Given that I fly on Alaska at least a couple of times a year with a companion on a ticket that would cost $200+, I come out ahead thanks to this benefit.

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Alaska & Condor Announce A New Partnership!

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Ah, well this makes me sort of nostalgic. Growing up I lived in Tampa while all our relatives lived in the Frankfurt area, so every summer we’d fly back to visit. At the time, German low cost carrier Condor flew nonstop from Tampa to Frankfurt, so we’d always fly with them.

This was back in the day when they still had a smoking section on the plane. My mom is a smoker, so she thought she was doing me a favor when we sat in the first row of the smoking section. She’d point to the smoke and say “see Benny, zhe smoke goes backwards.” What she also failed to account for was that just about every other German on the plane — including those in the non-smoking section — smoked, so after takeoff they’d stand in the aisle right at the first row of the smoking section to light up.

But hey, I got to fly, and that made me happy. Though perhaps this was also the motivating factor that got me into miles & points. 😉

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FINALLY: EL AL’s 787s Will Have A New Business Class Product!!!

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As far as international airlines go, EL AL must have some of the most underwhelming premium cabin products in the world. Just a few years ago EL AL introduced a new first class product… which doesn’t even feature direct aisle access from every seat. The product looks more like a subpar business class than a first class product, in my opinion.

Meanwhile EL AL’s new business class seats are still angled, though frankly it doesn’t look like there’s that much of a difference between their first and business class.

So I’ve been wanting to review EL AL first class for a while, though it pains me to redeem miles for such a bad product, given the high mileage redemption rates and the subpar product.

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Does The Freedom Or Freedom Unlimited Offer A Better Incremental Return?

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Reader Rohit asked a question in the Ask Lucky forum about whether he should apply for the Chase Freedom® Card or Chase Freedom® Unlimited.

The premise is that he has the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and wants to apply for one of those no annual fee cards, given that they’re great complements to the Sapphire Preferred. Which is worth more — 5x points in select categories on the Freedom Card, or 1.5x points across the board on the Freedom Unlimited Card?

Ultimately there’s no “one size fits all” answer, as it all depends on your spend pattern. So the best I can do is to provide a general outline by which you can decide.

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How To Track If You’re Maxing Out Amex EveryDay Bonus Categories

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Two of Amex’s best credit cards for maximizing everyday spend are The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. These cards are both extremely rewarding, both for non-bonused spend, and also for specific category bonuses.

For those of you not familiar with these cards, the Amex EveryDay Card:

— Offers 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 of spend per calendar year
— Offers a 20% points bonus when you make at least 20 transactions per billing cycle
— Has a $0 annual fee

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