There are quite a few changes and updates from around the miles/points world over the last few weeks that I didn’t write dedicated posts for, so I’m going to summarize them in this post.
ANA Has A New Award Chart Starting April 2015
I’m kind of excited about this one. ANA currently has one of the few distance-based award charts. There are definitely some sweet spots on the current chart, but for many it hasn’t been particularly useful because of heavy fuel surcharges/taxes on most airlines.
Unfortunately the fuel surcharges/taxes aren’t going anywhere with the new chart, so you’ll still be paying several hundred dollars to fly on many international carriers. The good news, however, is that the chart is moving to a region-based award chart that has extremely favorable redemption rates.
- US to Europe for 72K in Business Class…round trip.
- US to the Middle East/Africa for 90K in Business class…round trip.
- LOT’S more…especially for Economy travelers.
There are two downsides: 1) Fuel surcharges as I mentioned earlier. They apply to most airlines unfortunately, but there are ways to avoid them. 2) No one-ways are allowed (this is a current restriction and the expectation is that it will remain in place for the new chart).
That means you’ll generally be making a tradeoff to spend fewer points and more cash or vice versa if using other award charts. I will do a full analysis and post on the new award chart in the future.
Amex $150 off $150 AT&T Bill
Check your American Express accounts under the “Amex Offers for You” tab to find this deal. I believe this is only available for Amex Business Card holders. Unfortunately that also means some people don’t receive the offer at all. If you do have the offer, activate it immediately. You never know when it will be removed from your account!
I’m not an AT&T customer anymore but have plenty of friends that are. I’ll pay their bill and we’ll split the free $150, so everyone wins.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Restrictions
In the past it was possible to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to pretty much anyone’s frequent flyer or hotel rewards account. There was a period a couple of years back where they had a mini-crackdown, which scared quite a few people into not even attempting it. After that period, however, it went back to you being able to transfer it to whomever you choose. Now it looks like Chase has put restrictions in place to prevent that from happening.
The new restriction is done in two parts: 1) You must add a frequent flyer number to your account; 2) You must specify whether the account is your or a spouse/domestic partner. This is still more generous the the Amex restrictions, but not nearly as useful as it had been in the past. I suspect that this will not even matter for most readers of this blog.
United Airlines Makes it Harder to Get Elite Status (Surprise!)
You can see both the old (meaning 2015, with qualifying activity in 2014) and new (2016, with qualifying activity in 2015) requirements directly on the United Airlines website. The increase is in the revenue requirement only, and not the miles flown, and represents a 20% increase across all elite status levels. Here are the new requirements:
- 25K miles / 30 segments and $3,000 for Silver
- 50K miles / 60 segments and $6,000 for Gold
- 75K miles / 90 segments and $9,000 for Platinum
- 100K miles / 120 segments and $12,000 for 1K
As a reminder, these apply only to people with addresses in the United States. If you chase elite status and these numbers seem out of reach, I recommend becoming friends with someone abroad that will let you use their mailbox.
I’ll be announcing my participation in a travel conference soon, so stay tuned for that!