Category Archives: Point Redemption

First Quarter American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards

There Citicard American Airlines credit card comes with a nice benefit.  Every quarter, Citicard puts out a list of destinations you can travel to using only 17,500 miles for a round-trip flight.  To get one of these 17,500 mile trips, you need to:

  • Have a Citicard American Airlines credit card in the same name as the frequent flyer account you are redeeming miles from
  • A MileSAAver award(s) must be available for the route you want to take

Here is a link to the destinations for this quarter by credit card.  Here’s a the full list if you don’t want to click on each region individually.

First quarter awards are valid for round trip travel originating in the 48 contiguous United States. Booking is valid December, 2011 – March 31, 2012 for travel from January 1, 2012 through March 31, 2012. All travel must be completed by March 31, 2012. To claim your award, or for more information, call American Airlines AAdvantage® Reservations at 1-800-882-8880.

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Alaska Airlines Award Availability on American’s Web Site

Million Mile Secrets has a great post today about Alaska Airlines award ticket availability on  I find award tickets to Alaska to be some of the hardest to get the lowest award redemption on, so this should make it a lot easier to find some.

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Chase Ultimate Rewards – Southwest New Partner

According to The Points Guy, on January 5, 2012, Chase Ultimate Rewards will be adding Southwest to its list of transfer partners.  The points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio.  And these points can be used on any Southwest flight.  The number of points you will need to redeem for a flight will depend on the fare class that book.  You will get:

  • 1.67 cents per mile if you’re redeeming for a Wanna Get Away fare
  • 1 cent per mile if you’re redeeming for an Anytime fare
  • .83 cents per mile if you’re redeeming for a Business Select fare

These points will not count towards the Companion Pass.  If you want to read more about this, check out The Points Guy’s post about it.

I am becoming a huge fan of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.  We’ve had a card with this program for many years now.  I didn’t understand the value of these points until recently (we used to redeem for cash back ).  As Chase expands the number of partner airlines, these points become more and  more valuable.  As much as I hate that Chase seems to be cornering the market on co-branded airline credit card, it may actually help them expand the number of partner airlines in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Another great feature of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is that you can transfer your points to anyone!  Most programs will allow you to only transfer to cardholder accounts.  The fact that you can transfer to non-cardholder accounts is a huge benefit.  This means that you could top off accounts for family and friends.

If you don’t have a Chase credit card with Ultimate Rewards, you might want to look into it.  I would suggest looking into both the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire card.  I talked about how you can transfer between the accounts in another post

Why would you want both cards?  The Chase Freedom card does not have an annual fee.  However, it does not allow you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airlines.  But it does have special bonus categories every quarter where you can earn 5 points for every dollar spent up to $1,500 spent.  The categories change every quarter.  The Chase Sapphire card has a $95 annual fee.  The current offer waives that for the first year.  The Chase Sapphire allows you to transfer points to partner airlines.  So you can earn points using your Chase Freedom card and then transfer them to our Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards account and then on to partner airlines.

The best current offer that I know of for Chase Freedom card is $300 cash back after you spend $500 on the card in the first 3 months.  The best current offer that I know of for the Chase Sapphire card is 50,000 point bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. 

You can also get the Chase Ink Bold card if you have a business (it also participates in the Ultimate Rewards program).  The best offer that I know of for that is a 50,000 point bonus after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

The above is my personal opinion.  I do not receive kickbacks of any kind from any company.  You need to decide what is best for you and your credit.

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New Best Use of British Airways Miles

It’s a whole new ball game now that British Airways has switched to Avios.  Many blogger are poo-pooing the changes.  And I totally get it for the type of travel they were used to using British Airways miles.  Many of them travel business or first class overseas.  I don’t fall into that camp.  I used British Airways miles on American Airlines domestically.  As I mentioned this morning, I’m actually pleased with some of the changes.  I believe the best use for British Airways miles is to use them for short-haul domestic flights.

The number of Avios needed for an award ticket is now based on the distance of the trip.  Below is a chart that shows how many Avios you’ll need based on the distance traveled (chart courtesy of; not for flights on British Airways or Iberia).  If you have more than one segment to your trip, you have to calculate each segment and then add up the number of Avios needed for each segment to get your total.  For example, let’s say you want to fly from Boston to Chicago, but you couldn’t find a direct flight.  Let’s say, your flight had a connection in New York.  You have to calculate the distance from Boston to New York – 160 miles.  You would need 4500 Avios for that segment.  Then you have to calculate the distance from New York to Chicago – 637 miles.  You would need another 4500 miles for that segment.  So all in for one-way, you would need 9,000 Avios.  And if you took the same route back, the entire trip would be 18,000 Avios.


Courtesy of

You can quickly see that living near an American Airlines hub is going to help you out tremendously.  I live driving distance from the New York airports.  It would make sense for me to fly out of my home airport because it would likely tack on an extra 9,000 Avios required per round-trip.

I did dream of taking a business class trip to the South Pacific.  The old British Airways program would have been great for that (especially because of stopovers).  So I am sad that those trips are no longer as good of a deal using British Airways miles.  However, it means we need to find new ways to use the miles.

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Is the British Airways Sky Falling?

There has been a ton of speculation and angst in cyberspace about British Airways’ switch to Avios.  A lot is still unknown about the changes.  If you go to the British Airways site, they don’t have the award charts posted.  They have a calculator to help you determine how many miles you’ll need for a trip.  However, it’s unclear how they are calculating the number of miles needed.  It appears that they are looking at redeeming on British Airways metal first.  If it can’t find availability on BA metal, it appears to look for direct flights on one partner airline.  If it can’t find that, it suggests that you break up your search.

As with most changes, there are winners and losers.  One of the most popular ways to use British Airways miles before the switch was on business or first class tickets on Cathay Pacific to the Far East.  These awards, on first inspection, seem to have increased by as much as 100%.  British Airways used to allow unlimited stopovers and that is in question now too.

However, for those who want to redeem their British Airways miles for US domestic travel on American Airlines, you may like the changes for short haul flights.  I did a quick search on flights between New York and Raleigh, NC.  With the new award program, it will only cost 9,000 miles and $5!  This trip would cost you 25,000 miles if you redeemed it using American Airlines miles!  I am quite happy with that change since I have a lot of family in North Carolina.

If you had the direct links to the previous award charts, they still seem to work for the One Partner only and BA plus one partner.  The wording on the pages has been changed to reference Avios so I’m hopeful that they are good.  And if they are, some of our fears may be exaggerated if you redeem entirely on one partner airline (but I’m not holding my breath).

Many of the suggestions I had for Best Use of British Airways miles will now change.  Over the coming weeks, I’ll create a new post for suggestions on how you can best use your British Airways miles under the new Avios system.  Don’t call Chicken Little just yet.

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