AirlinesAlaska AirlinesAMEX PlatinumUnited Airlines

Dumped by Alaska

It's been a while since my last ugly breakup, and I'm sorry to say the clock reset on August 29th. Yes, my partner of a year, who would often treat me to sweet surprises and gifts, who carried me between destinations, and who always responded to my tweets, dumped me; in an email no less! Don't worry, my wife and I are as happy as ever. Alaska Airlines discontinued their service between SFO and BNA effective November 1, 2019. As you may be aware, I fly around 40 of these segments annually so the news was horrific. Since this route represented a majority of my air travel, losing the route was devastating to both my elite status and upcoming itineraries. The Route Was Doomed Having flown 28 segments in or out of Nashville in the last year, I have been cognizant of the shortcoming...

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Benefits of MVP Gold

As you know, I visit my wife who is pursuing her career in Nashville twice a month. So when I myself chased a career opportunity out of state, I was faced with an overwhelming amount of useless pre-booked flights. Luckily, I was able to take advantage of my MVP Gold status with Alaska Airlines to solve that problem. Logistics Regardless of your Elite status, Alaska allows you to cancel and change flights online without speaking to a representative. However, some of my itineraries were complicated in nature (I had used companion fares and needed partial rather than full changes), so I opted to call the MVP Gold line for assistance. The team was great to work with, and in no time, my 16 flights were cancelled or changed accordingly with the refunds deposited as a credit to my Alaska ...

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Why Have the Alaska Card?

If you have taken a flight with Alaska Airlines recently, you have heard about the Alaska Airlines Signature Visa card from Bank of America. Flight attendants, who receive a commission if you apply on-board, will tell you about the exclusive and remarkable benefits available to cardholders, and their inflight entertainment systems even now include commercials advertising the card too. What is the Card? The card itself is one of the most basic on the market. The annual fee is $75.00/year, it earns 3x Alaska Miles on money spent with Alaska and one mile for everything else. Notably however, the card offers a Companion Fare benefit that permits you to add a second ticket to your Alaska reservation for just $121 (taxes and fees) once a year. Should I Use It Everywhere? No!! It ca...

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A Weekend in Vegas

Ever since I added the Hilton Aspire card to my wallet, I knew I'd be using it to go to Las Vegas. Vegas, and all that comes with it, is undoubtedly my favorite vacation spot. As ridiculous as that sounds, it is an adult playground and I will never get enough of it. To celebrate a milestone birthday later this year, I took advantage of some perks in my arsenal to develop a quick weekend with flair. Airfare Because I have MVP Gold status with Alaska Airlines, I have the ability to complete same day flight changes for free. I also am awarded some first-class advance-award tickets on select flights each year. For my departure, I found a great mile redemption of just 7,500 miles for the one-way ticket. I booked it, and even though the flight departs at an ungodly evening time (arriving ...

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Earning Elite Status

As you may be aware, I travel every two weeks while my wife and I maintain our lives in two states over the next few years. The journey officially began two months ago, and despite the abrupt halt to our "normal lives," the upcoming travel presented an interesting opportunity: Earning elite status with an airline. While it is very easy to "buy" status with hotels by having the right credit card in your wallet, the same is not true for airlines. The only way you can achieve elite status with an airline is to complete their flight-based requirements each year in order to earn and maintain the status. So naturally, I was very excited at the prospect of playing this through. Here is how I approached planning for this process: Be Intentional from Day 1 There's nothing worse than coming up a fe

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Finding Your Next Card

Commitment While I'm no loyalist, I do value commitment in all phases of my life including credit cards. That's because a percentage of your credit score is the average length of your accounts. If you have two cards, one you've had for ten years and the other brand new, your average length of your accounts is five years. If you cancel the card you've had for ten years, you now have a nonexistent average. On the flip side, if you retain the card(s) you've had longest (assuming they have no annual fees or you're still claiming the value from the fees), your score can afford to adopt some new plastic or metal friends into your wallet. Know Yourself and Spot the Fakes Where do you spend your money? For me, it's dining and travel. Nearly 100% of my discretionary income goes to one of those two

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Alaska Air’s Price Guarantee

Alaska Airlines discontinued this service in 2018. If you have MVP Gold status, you can still use this strategy since change/cancellation fees are waived. Alaska Airlines is my preferred airline for many reasons, and one reason I love booking with them is their Price Guarantee. Using Google Flights, which monitors airfare pricing and alerts you of changes within the parameters you set, I ensure that by the time I travel, I've paid the lowest fare available. Just like any good plan, you need a spreadsheet. So I have one that lists (one per row) all of the airfare I've purchased. After I purchase a ticket, I add a row to my workbook and round-up the total I paid. I then add the itinerary I booked, using the same parameters (i.e. Airline, nonstop/1-stop) into Google Flights so I'm essent

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8 Nights in Tokyo + Airfare for $237

Earlier this year, we enjoyed a trip to Tokyo, Japan for nine days and eight nights. My wife, mother and I flew round-trip with just one connection, and stayed in the heart of Tokyo's business district at a 4.5 star hotel in Shinjuku. We stayed on the executive floor and enjoyed access to the Executive Lounge offering breakfast, snacks and cocktails; and we did it all for less than $237/person. Breakdown Service Value Paid Hotel – 8 nights w/ Exec Lounge $4,861 $95 Round-trip Airfare for 3 $4,129 $615 Sum $8,990 $710 (92% off!) $236.67 / person The $710 paid was a result of taxes incurred, and annual fees associated with credit cards we acquired solely for this trip. Value It pays to use points for airfare and hotel expenses because not only are the exchange rates favorable, yo

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Enhancing a Trip with Plastic

Next week, we depart for a week-long stay in Cancun, Mexico! In late 2014, Alaska Airlines added nonstop flights to Cancun from Seattle; making it one of the more luxurious itineraries available. We also couldn't pass up the opportunity to stay at one of Hyatt's newer properties in the area which opened around the same time. This trip took some planning, but we were each able to secure our airfare for just the cost of the fees ($75.00) after redeeming 60,000 miles in exchange for roundtrip, nonstop, First Class tickets! These same pair of tickets would have cost us nearly $2,500 otherwise. As for the miles, they're easily attainable through Alaska's 25,000 mile bonus upon approval. For the bold: We had some luck explaining to the bank our desire to separate&n...

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One-Week Honeymoon in Maui for under $175.00

When my wife Brianna married me, she knew about my obsession with points and miles acquisition. My plan to fund the honeymoon trip to Maui became clear when she saw we only had $175 budgeted for the trip’s hotel and airfare. Despite her knowing about the wild world of points, she still asked: How will we stay 6 nights in Maui for only $175?? Generally speaking, I had this strategy: Brianna and I would each acquire two airline credit cards (each with a bonus equivalent to a one-way ticket); and 1-2 hotel cards incentivizing new cardholders with free nights. When deciding which cards to pursue, we considered which airlines best met our needs, and whether there were specific hotels in Maui that we particularly wished to stay at. For us, we were traveling from Seattle and it was important to ...

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