I heard a very interesting story yesterday on NPR that I thought you guys might be interested in. Back in the 1980s, American Airlines offered an passes for unlimited, first class travel for life. The tickets were pricey – starting at $250,000. However, American Airlines is saying that some people who bought those tickets are costing the company millions of dollars a year. They launched an investigation into the use of these tickets. Check out the story on NPR.
I apologize for my sabbatical. I didn’t realize how long it’s been. Honestly, I haven’t seen a whole lot in the travel hacking world to write about. Most of the credit card offers have been lackluster. There are a few things that I have thought were pretty good.
The first one I must thank my sister for pointing it out to me. The Points Guy posted about 2 weeks ago about how you can get $50 Mastercard gift card for every 2 days you stay at an IHG (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza, etc) until August 2 (for Monday – Thursday nights). The maximum you can receive is $200. You can find a full description of the program at the post that I linked to at the beginning of the paragraph.
The second item is the Virgin Atlantic credit card. It now has a 45,000 – 50,000 mile sign-up bonus. You get 20,000 miles after first purchase, another 25,000 after you spend $2,500 on the card in the first 90 days and another 5,000 if you add an authorized user to the card. The $90 annual fee is NOT waived the first year.
And the last item is the US Airways credit card. It has a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus after first purchase! The $89 annual fee is waived the first year. You can also get up to 2 $99 companion tickets each year.
Thanks for the prompting to post again. The last several weeks have been kind of crazy. We went to Disney World with the kids for Spring Break and I’m running our sons’ school’s Bingo Night this week. Plus there hasn’t been anything particularly exciting in the world of travel hacking. I will be posting again soon. It might not be until this weekend (after I get through Bingo Night). I hope everyone is doing well and having safe travels!
In a previous post, I talked about how my older son is going to spend a week visiting his cousins in North Carolina this summer. I was using the American Airlines voucher that we got when we volunteered to get bumped from a flight on the way back from Wyoming last summer (the amount we had left over after booking our trip to Disney).
To book the flights, I went onto aa.com and held the tickets that I wanted. I then called the reservation number and told them the confirmation number. They changed the status of the tickets to “purchased” and gave me the instructions on where to mail the voucher.
I mailed the voucher using delivery confirmation with the US Postal Service, like the time that I used the vouchers to purchase our tickets to Disney. Delivery confirmation does not require someone to sign for the mail, it just allows you to check the status of your mailing on-line. So I was very surprised when a few days after mailing the voucher, I checked the status and it said they tried unsuccessfully to deliver it. I figured I’d wait a few days to see if they would automatically redeliver it (or American Airlines would schedule a redelivery). Five days passed and the status was still the same. So I called American Airlines to ask them to schedule a redelivery. The agent I got wasn’t very helpful at first. She basically said, well those don’t come to where I work so I can’t check on it. I asked if she could call where they go to see if they could schedule a redelivery. She came back in about 5 minutes and said that they don’t schedule redeliveries. She said it was odd that they couldn’t deliver it because the location is open 24/7.
Now, if American Airlines doesn’t get the voucher in an envelope postmarked by a certain date, they will cancel your tickets. And ticket prices for those flights have gone up so I didn’t want that to happen. I knew if no one scheduled a redelivery (or the post office couldn’t deliver them), they would get sent back to me. However, that would mean I’d have to book new flights at a higher price and send the vouchers in again.
I didn’t know if the post office would automatically try to redeliver before the 15 day expiration (at which point they send your envelope back to you). So I decided to try to schedule a redelivery myself. Technically I don’t think I was supposed to do that because I was not the person receiving the package but desperate times call for desperate measures. I went to usps.com, looked up the status of my mailing – still unsuccessful delivery. On that page, there was a hyperlink to reschedule a delivery. I clicked on that and then on a button that said it was being delivered to a business. However, they still wanted me to fill in the First Name, Last Name and Phone Number fields. So I decided to put American in the First Name field, Airlines in the Last Name field and my phone number in the Phone Number field. I figured, hey if they can’t deliver it, at least I’ll get to talk to someone and could explain my situation.
Well, I’m happy to say that I went on aa.com yesterday to check the status of my tickets and the status was changed to ticketed!
The Chase Sapphire sign-up bonus is being decreased from 50,000 to 40,000 points on the Chase site. Referrals sites still link to a 50,000 point sign-up bonus. Whether those will be reduced as well is still unknown. However, if you were on the fence about getting this card, you should decide soon. This is one of my favorite cards because of the flexibility of reward redemption. I got one awhile ago. I liked it so much, my husband just got one as well. I’ve wrote about the card’s benefits on a previous post. And here is a link to the 50,000 point sign up bonus. I get no compensation whatsoever. These are just my personal thoughts. You need to decide for yourself if this card works for you.