Advice

Why The Hottest Credit Card Bonus Might Not Be Right For You

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There’s a crazy amount of buzz right now about the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and has been for months. The 100,000 point bonus is changing soon, so people seem even more enthused about it than before.

And there’s no doubt — it’s a great offer, and a very good card. The card benefits outweigh the high annual fee, and if you’re able to use the points towards premium cabin awards you can really get a tremendous value.

In some cases, however, it really might not be the best option for you. This is on my mind due to an exchange with reader @LelaRenee3 on Twitter, who is planning a trip for her son and his classmates to Japan next year.

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Can Kids Fly In First Class?

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When it comes to traveling with kids, there are three things that matter — space, space, and more space. That’s true on the plane, in the hotel, and in the rental car. I don’t much care about the service or the food (assuming there is some!), I just want more space. That lets the kids sprawl out, lie down, and be kids.

Reader Rhebon recently asked a question in the Ask Lucky forum about traveling with kids.

“I have a very simple question and I think you never talked about that subject?!? What airline is best for travelling with kids on a longhaul flight? Is it OK to fly first class with younger kids (2&5)?”

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How Everyone Can Visit Canadian National Parks For Free

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I recently posted about how American seniors can purchase a lifetime pass to the national parks for only $10. This is an incredible bargain considering that a single visit to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, or other major national parks can be $30 or more. The cost of the senior pass is going up to $80 at some point this year, so I highly advise anyone who is eligible for the pass to lock in this great deal now.

Well, it turns out there’s another awesome deal for enjoying the great outdoors and this one is open to anyone, not just those 62 and over.

Canada is celebrating their 150th birthday in 2017 and to commemorate the milestone they are giving free admission to all Canadian national parks. For the entire year. To everyone.

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Seniors: Get Your US National Parks Lifetime Pass Now Or Pay More Later

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Imagine that you could buy a lifetime pass to the the airline club of your choice for less than the cost of a single visit. And that it not only covered your own entrance fee, but also everyone in your party.

You’d jump on it, right?

Well, that is essentially the deal that the United States government offers senior citizens for entry into our national parks. For as long as I can remember, seniors have been able to purchase a lifetime pass to our national lands for $10. Not only does it get them into the park, it also includes entry for everyone in their vehicle. Most of the big parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Yosemite charge $30 for a 7-day pass, so this is obviously an incredible bargain.

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Here’s Why You Don’t (And Shouldn’t) Have “Freedom Of Speech” On A Plane

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This seems to be the month where passengers just can’t for the life of them behave on planes. Yesterday we saw someone removed from a Delta flight between London and New York, and today a passenger was removed from a JetBlue flight that Ivanka Trump and her family were on.

Here’s what happened, per TMZ:

“Ivanka was on a JetBlue flight leaving JFK Thursday morning with her family when a passenger started screaming, ‘Your father is ruining the country.’ The guy went on, ‘Why is she on our flight. She should be flying private.’ The guy had his kid in his arms as he went on the tirade.”

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Top Gifts For Travelers

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Have you scoped out our Holiday Gift Guide yet? This year our list is chock-full of travel-inspired treasures and items we can’t live without on the road.

Most of these items are still available for delivery before Christmas, so even if you’re just now starting your gift hunt there’s still time for that perfect present.

From road warriors to aviation geeks to luxury-aficionados there’s hopefully something for everyone on your list!

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6 Reasons NOT To Be Loyal To An Airline In 2017

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I’ve long been an advocate for the value of airline frequent flyer programs. Historically if you put in some effort to be loyal to an airline, they reward you handsomely, with upgrades, lounge access, bonus miles, etc.

In the past I often didn’t even crunch numbers that much with my airline loyalty, since being loyal to an airline just felt right. Well, unfortunately times have changed. In some ways I don’t blame airlines for cutting loyalty program benefits a bit, though at the same time they’ve made the programs so transactional that I’m finding myself crunching numbers and wondering whether airline loyalty is even worth it anymore. In many cases, it’s not.

Here are six reasons why 2017 might finally be the year to dump elite status with your preferred airline:

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Should You Get The Amex Business Platinum Or Gold Card?

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Amex has several limited time increased sign-up bonuses on their business cards at the moment, two of the most compelling of which are on The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. In this post I figured I’d look at the difference in offers on the two cards, and who should be considering which card.

Given that both cards have different strong points, I figured I’d compare the sign-up bonuses, annual fees, return on spend, benefits, and approval odds:

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When An Airline Phone Agent Can’t Help, Try Twitter

Brussels Airport is usually great for connecting.

For decades telephone was the way to contact airlines, whether to book a ticket, change a reservation or voice complaints. However, most airlines now offer online features for everything, including feedback and compensation requests. Of the airlines I fly frequently, I’ve found that United and Norwegian are stars when its comes to online customer service. The six and two times respectively that I’ve submitted requests for compensation of some kind, my requests have all been honored without a word of objection.

This brings me to a recent situation I had with Brussels Airlines. It’s an airline I love and would gladly choose over its competitors. Unfortunately, my last trip with them this summer, a one-way ticket from Gothenburg to Prague via Brussels, didn’t go quite as smooth as usual.

Once I landed in Prague I realized my bags had not arrived. I’ve never had problems with connecting luggage in Brussels before, so I thought this was a little strange given my reasonable connection time.

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5 Great Credit Cards That Aren’t Subjected To The “5/24 Rule”

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As many of you may know, since earlier this year Chase has expanded what’s commonly referred to as “the 5/24 rule,” which means that they generally won’t approve you for a card if you’ve opened more than five new card accounts in the past 24 months. This is more a general guideline than a strict rule, though:

— Most non-Chase business cards, like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, don’t count towards this limit
— There are people who report not having any issues being approved for a card even though they surpassed the 5/24 rule, so it’s not consistently enforced
— There sometimes are ways to get exceptions, like if you’re a Chase Private Client
— This doesn’t apply to all Chase cards

With that in mind, there’s often some confusion about which cards the 5/24 rule generally applies to, and which cards it doesn’t generally apply to. So in this post I wanted to share five great Chase credit cards that the 5/24 rule doesn’t apply to, at least anecdotally:

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Want To Write Trip Reports? Here Are 9 Tips

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I’ve published over a thousand reviews here on OMAAT, which I’m very proud of. Hopefully my trip reports have improved significantly over the past nine years, or else I’m really in trouble. 😉

Of course I’m not the only one on the internet who enjoys writing trip reports, though I often get asked if I have any tips for those just starting out. I figured I’d share some tips based on my experiences, which some of you will hopefully find interesting or helpful. These apply whether you’re publishing them on a blog, forum, or wherever else:

Trip reports are a huge time investment. You first have to document your trip, then you have to select pictures, then you edit and resize the pictures, then you write the actual report, and then you have to format everything. Trip reports can look pretty effortless, but they’re the most time consuming things I write on the blog.

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Everything You Need To Know About Redeeming Ritz-Carlton Complimentary Nights

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The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card has a sign-up bonus of three complimentary nights at a Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property after completing minimum spend. That bonus is potentially worth the equivalent of 180,000 points, given that Tier 4 properties go for 60,000 points per night.

On top of that, the card has a lot of other great benefits, including a $300 annual travel credit, Ritz-Carlton Gold status (which is also valuable at Marriott properties), a $100 domestic companion airfare benefit, three Ritz-Carlton club upgrades per year, etc. Also keep in mind that this card isn’t subjected to Chase’s “5/24 rule,” so is generally easier to be approved for than many other Chase cards.

In this post I wanted to talk about the actual process of earning and redeeming the three complimentary nights offered with the card, in the form of an FAQ:

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Our Favorite Holiday Gifts

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For our Holiday Gift Guide this year, we’ve put together an assortment of gifts that are perfect for any type of traveler.

We’ve tried to curate a range of items and price points, including some of our favorite presents to give and receive. And, since OMAAT is all about maximizing value, we’ve hunted for the best prices, and included some notes on how to stack offers.

From road warriors to aviation geeks to luxury-aficionados there’s something for everyone on your list!

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Ranking The Lounges At LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal

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Over the past few years Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX has undergone a very nice renovation, and I’d argue it’s now possibly the nicest terminal in the US (though arguments could certainly be made for a few other terminals as well).

If you’re someone who typically flies in premium cabins or has elite status, you may also appreciate Tom Bradley International Terminal for the fact that it has some of the best airline lounges in the US. However, not all of these lounges are created equal, so I figured it would be fun to rank the lounges, from best to worst.

Up front let me add that the disclaimer that everyone is looking for different things when it comes to lounges, so there’s no objective, universal way to rank these from best to worst. Some lounges have great food, some have great cocktails, some are spacious, some are quiet, etc. I’ll try to mention those attributes below, though I’m not suggesting my ranking should work for everyone.

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