As most of you are aware, I have been away for the last several days due to the death of my grandfather. During this time I have gotten a lot of emails from readers offering condolences, thoughts, & prayers which have meant a lot to me, so thank you all.
It is amazing how missing just a few days can make me feel like I am so far behind. Hopefully over the next few days I can get all caught up and things will be back to normal.
Anyway, there has been plenty going on in the travel world so I thought I would try to hit a few of those points here.
1. US Airways/American Airlines Merger Closed This Morning
- US Airways to join Oneworld alliance on March 31st, 2014
- Ability to earn and redeem miles between airlines starts in January 2014 (earn US Airways Dividend miles on AA flights and vice versa)
- Reciprocal lounge access starting in January
The two airlines will continue to operate seperately however we will now start to see things quickly coming together starting with reciprocity in mileage earning/redeeming coming in January. Once US Airways joins Oneworld in March we can expect the two airlines to start coming together more quickly.
Now is the time to be stocking up on US Airways Dividend miles before the two programs combine into the AAdvatage program. The US Airways Premier World MasterCard® is offering 30,000 miles after 1st purchase on the card and comes with an $89 annual fee. There were offers for 35k and 40k after 1st purchase but they all appear to no longer be available. This card is rumored to be converted to the Arrival™ World MasterCard® after the programs combine.
2. 50,000 Lufthansa Miles Offer Ends Sunday
The normal sign up bonus for The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard® is 20,000 bonus miles. However, for the past month or so Barclay’s has upped the offer to 50,000 miles but that is coming to an end on December 15th, 2013.
Domestic coach flights can be had for 25,000 round-trip/12,000 one-way and 1st class domestic flights can be had for 35,000 miles. For 55,000 miles Lufthansa runs promotions for a round-trip flight to Europe in business class!
While this isn’t the 1st time the bonus has been increased to 50k, there is no telling if and when it will be back if ever. If you had been planning on getting this card, now is the time to apply.
The offer does have a large spending requirement of $5,000 in order to receive the last 30,000 miles so be sure you can meet the spending threshold before you apply.
3. American Express Refer-A-Friend Program is Back!
American Express has brought back a great program that has been gone for too long. Refer-a-Friend will allow existing cardholders to earn bonus points for each successful referral they make to friends or family! In order to refer someone you must have the card you want to refer.
- 7,500 Membership Rewards points for Platinum card referrals
- 5,000 Membership Rewards points for Premier Rewards Gold Card referrals
- 5,000 Starpoints for SPG card referrals
The Refer-A-Friend program is also available on select business cards as well including the SPG business card.
The total points you can earn per year from referrals is 55,000 points. The offer your friend receives appears to be the standard offers that are currently out. But you should always make sure your friends are applying for the best offer even if it isn’t the one that gets you credit.
4. Earn Up to 3,000 Bonus AAdvantage Miles via AAdvantage Eshopping
A week after I bought my new big screen TV the AAdvantage shopping mall has increased the bonus payout from a max of 2,500 miles in their previous promo to 3,000 bonus miles. Grrr… Oh well, I guess I’ll have to be happy with 2,500 instead of 3,000. But if you still have shopping left to do then you may be able to take advantage of the best shopping portal bonus miles offer yet this season.
- Spend $75, get 1,000 miles
- Spend $150, get 2,000 miles
- Spend $250, get 3,000 miles
This offer is good for purchases made through the AAdvantage Eshopping portal from 12/8/13 through 12/22/13 at 11:59 PM EST. Remember that it doesn’t have to all be in one purchase but rather just needs to be the cumulative total spent going through the portal during the promo time frame.
5. American Express Gift Cards Earn 2% Cash Back on Ebates and 2.25% on TopCashBack
For a limited time, Ebates and TopCashBack have increased the payout for American Express gift cards to 2% and 2.25% respectively. The increase on Ebates is valid until 12/14/13 and the TopCashBack offer stands until 12/15/13.
This is an awesome way to offset the cost of manufacturing spending on your credit cards or to meet the minimum spending requirements for sign up bonuses on new cards. Heck, if you do it right, you can actually make a small profit on your manufactured spending.
Although Amex gift cards do not have PIN’s and cannot be liquidated via Bluebird nor money orders, you can use them to purchase Visa gift cards and then liquidate those easily.