Advice

Does The Discover it Miles Card Make Sense For You?

Discover-Miles

A couple of weeks ago I first wrote about the Discover it Miles Card, which is a brand new no annual fee product from Discover.

The card offers unlimited 1.5x Miles for every net dollar you spend on purchases, with a few options for redemption.

— You can redeem for cash as an electronic deposit to your bank account or for a credit for travel purchases on your statement made within in last 180 days.
— Travel purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation.

What makes this card especially interesting is that you earn double miles for the first year. After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, Discover will double all the miles you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the next billing cycle

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Is It Worth Going Out Of Your Way To Earn Hotel Status?

Hotel-Des-Indes-Hague-27

Reader Bob asked the following question on the blog yesterday:

“Excluding simply personal preferences, in your opinion, which hotel brand offers the best rewards based on status? For example, is SPG Platinum truly worth the effort if it wouldn’t be achieved due to actual travel/stays?

We are partial to SPG and have lifetime Gold Status. We’re wondering whether it might be beneficial to chase another hotel brand’s status for 2015.”

I think the thought process of deciding which status to go for is an interesting one. And I think before you even think about that, it’s worth thinking about whether it even makes sense to go for hotel status at all.

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A Traveling CEO Chimes In With Top Tips For Avoiding Jetlag

Hyatt-Regency-Hong-Kong-27

Business Insider had an amusing story today about how to avoid jetlag. They get their tips from John Thompson, who has worked as an executive in the tech industry for eons.

I rarely spend more than a week on a single continent and so far this year have spent more time outside the US than in the US. So I’m always curious to see what jetlag tips others have.

How crazy is Thompson’s travel schedule?

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Use This Trick To Save Money On Hotel Stays

Hyatt-Olive-8-Seattle-12

One thing that most frustrates consumers about airlines is how complicated and irrational their pricing is. While hotel pricing isn’t quite as confusing, it does leave me scratching my head as well sometimes.

I’ve written in the past about how I almost always book refundable hotel rates so that I can potentially “reprice” my stays closer to the arrival date. It’s pretty common for hotels to drop prices closer to the arrival date if they have a lot of empty rooms, and at times that can lead to huge savings.

But here’s something that’s a bit trickier and more inconsistent than that — when booking hotels, check the cost of individual nights for your hotel, and not just for the duration of your stay.

Take an upcoming stay at the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle, for example.

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If Teleportation Were Invented, Would You Miss Flying?

View-from-above-

Reader Eric left an interesting question on the “Ask Lucky” page the other day, which I’ve been putting some thought into:

“I’m in Chennai for business, having flown BA in WT+ via LHR. I’m 46 now, and I finally came to realize, as I was suffering in what is essentially a glorified economy class, that I just want to get to my destination. Hours spent in an aircraft, while a miracle of technology and which has opened up the world, is just not enjoyable. Granted, I was thinking this in premium economy, with my 6’6″ frame stuffed into a small seat.

I was asking myself – if teleportation was invented tomorrow, would I miss flying? I’ve been lucky enough to take a lot of revenue and award travel internationally in business and first, and I wondered if I would miss flying if I only flew in the comfort of these cabins.

I weighed the pros and cons. The fatigue of traveling, of transiting airports, of waiting for flights, of delayed flights, of 10+ hours spent in high altitude, dry air of the cabins. I realized that at my age, I’d rather avoid that if I would be able to arrive in the snap of the fingers.”

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How Much Food Can You Order In First Class?

Lufthansa-First-Class

I’d like to think I eat a lot when I fly (I mean, I’d rather not think that, but I’m just being honest with myself). I’d rather not think how many hours I have to spend on a treadmill to burn off what I eat and drink on a longhaul flight on a premium airline in first class.

For that matter, I tend to think that airlines serve too much food in premium cabins, if anything. Like, look at a domestic American first class lunch, for example. You get hot nuts, salad, chicken or ravioli, and a hot cookie. It’s terrifying to think how many calories that has.

Interestingly I’m still often asked if it’s possible to order more food. I don’t think I’ve ever been hungry in international first class. I’ve maybe a couple of times ordered seconds of caviar, etc., and then skipped another course. But I’ve never gone beyond that.

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Are Your Miles Getting More Valuable Over Time?

Delta-Awards

During the week Quartz ran a story with a rather curious headline — “The simple reason why your airline points always get more valuable.”

Now, I don’t think there’s anyone that likes miles & points more than I do, but I have an “earn & burn” philosophy. Never think of miles as a long term investment. Instead earn them as quickly as you can and then redeem them as quickly as you can. Personally my approach is to never have more miles in an account than I can reasonably redeem within six months. That’s why I like to diversify my miles as much as possible.

Can points get more valuable over time? Short term, yes. For example, sometimes an airline announces a new partnership which opens up a great redemption opportunity. For example, when Alaska Mileage Plan miles became redeemable on Emirates, I’d say that increased the value of those miles short term (go figure they’re having issues now).

That being said, long term the value of a particular points currency almost invariably goes down (fortunately it also usually becomes easier to earn points over time, which sort of balances things out for the earner and burner).

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Are We All Sick Of Hearing About Emirates Yet?

Fujairah

Because I’m about to board an A380 flight from Dallas to Dubai.

I know, I know.

Between the luckiest irrops ever, the drunkest flight ever, the flight immediately following that one, flights with Papa Lucky, more flights with Papa Lucky, and flights with Mama Lucky, the Emirates first class experience is, shall we say, thoroughly covered here on One Mile At A Time.

Thoroughly.

And I don’t even particularly like Dubai. It’s basically a country-sized Ritz-Carlton. Which I don’t find particularly nice either, really.

So why am I going?

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Can You Ask For Extra Amenity Kits In Business Class?

ANA-Rimowa

Reader Dan asked the following question on the “Ask Lucky” page of the blog:

“Lucky, do you have any tips on getting an extra amenity kit (in business on an Asian airline)? I’m flying JAL from SFO next month and want to keep a couple extra for some friends.”

As an amenity kit collector of sorts, this is an area that I feel I have a bit of experience in. ;)

There are a few ways to go about this, in general:

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“It Can’t Hurt To Ask” When Traveling — True Or False?

W-Guangzhou-Hotel

Obviously everyone approaches life differently, and there’s no place that’s more apparent than in the travel industry.

Perhaps contrary to how I sometimes come off on the blog, I’m generally pretty quiet and try to be cognizant of my surroundings. Many might say I take it to an extreme. I hate talking in elevators, because I don’t want to disrupt others, and I won’t even talk on my phone in an Uber without asking the driver. I realize I’m an extreme case, but stay with me here…

From observing how others travel, there’s one area where I’ve noticed an especially stark contrast.

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Let’s Be Reasonable About Yesterday’s First Class Mistake Fare…

Lufthansa-First-Class-Meal-Service

Yesterday many people were able to book a United mistake fare, whereby for ~$50 you could book business or first class from the UK to just about anywhere in the world. You could fly United, Lufthansa, Swiss, or several other partners. I didn’t bother posting about it at the time because I figured it was a given that this fare wouldn’t be honored (and I was also away from my computer when it was first announced).

The fare could be booked by going to the Danish version of united.com. United had filed the fares correctly, and it seemed to come down to a currency conversion error with their third party software provider.

United has said that they won’t be honoring these tickets, and has issued the following statement to USA Today:

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Rite Aid Fabuary Free Flight Promo Going South?

A fabulous view you won't be seeing for free

A few days ago I wrote about Rite Aid’s Fab-uary promotion whereby you can earn a free domestic flight for $250 in spend on participating products. This February promotion follows on the heels of January’s Happy You Year promotion which offered a 2-night Hyatt stay. Theoretically, you can now get a free flight to go with your free hotel stays.

Both of these promotions are being run by TRCo Marketing, sister company to TLC Marketing which was the fulfillment company for the ill-fated Dockers / JC Penney promotion back in 2008. That one also offered a free flight or free hotel stay. It generally did not go well and ended in a class action law suit.

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