For our most recent trip to London, I booked us on Virgin Atlantic Premium from New York JFK with 55,000 Delta SkyMiles. As we were getting closer to the trip, the missing link of our transportation plans was getting to JFK airport for our flight. Living in Orlando, there’s no shortage of airlines non-stop to JFK, since I can choose from American, Delta and JetBlue to get us there.
In the end, I decided to book us on a Delta flight, even though it was slightly more expensive, since I would be able to check our bags all the way to London when we checked in because of Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s interline agreement. Since we’d be able to check our bags all the way to London from Orlando, there was a chance we’d not have to re-clear security at JFK. That is, if we could get from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4 past security.
Continue reading “All About The JFK Jitney: The Post-Security Link Between Terminals 2 & 4”
All of the larger airlines in the U.S. offer co-brand credit cards. These cards, which provide extra benefits to cardholders, range from ones with no annual fee to premium cards costing up to $450 per year. While you’d think that using a co-branded card would be the best choice for earning points with your flight purchase, that’s usually not the case. For most airlines, you don’t earn any extra points for airfare purchases for having a more expensive card either.
In most cases, instead of using a co-brand card, it’s better to use a card that earns flexible points like Membership Rewards, Thank You Points or Ultimate Rewards. These cards provide the opportunity to earn more points as well as the flexibility to use points on multiple airlines. You’re able to transfer points from these programs into your airline mileage account when you need them.
Here are the earnings multiples on airfare for the main flexible points cards from each bank:
American Express (Membership Rewards)
- Platinum card ($550 annual fee) – 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
- Gold card ($250 annual fee) – 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
Chase (Ultimate Rewards)
- Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee) – 3x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)
- Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) – 2x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)
Citi (Thank You Points)
- Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee) – 5x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies
- Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) – 3x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies
The AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige both offer 5x on airfare but the AMEX card only counts purchases direct from the airline or their website. When I had both cards, I used the Citi Prestige because I valued the additional travel insurance coverage but I know people would rather earn Membership Rewards than Thank You points. Of the $95 cards, the Citi Premier earns the most points on airline purchases at 3x.
So how many miles will you earn by using an airline co-brand card to purchase airfare and when does it make sense to do so? I’ve indicated which airlines are partners of one (or all) of the flexible currency cards so you can compare earnings potential between cards.
Continue reading “When You Should(n’t) Use Airline Co-Brand Credit Cards To Pay For Airfare”
Once you earn enough points and miles to book an award trip, you may quickly find out that booking a ticket from your home town to the decided destination on your preferred dates with the miles you have is near impossible. However, if you do find that trip, book it immediately and then run to the store to get a lottery ticket because it’s obviously a lucky day for you.
Rest assured, there’s going to be a time where you’ll need to fly from your home airport to the departure city for your award ticket. In award travel lingo, that’s called a positioning flight.
Choosing which airline to take for your positioning flight may make the difference between an almost seamless connection or a sense of déjà vu where you’ll need to do the entire airport check-in process all over again. That means you’d need to land, go to baggage claim to collect luggage, head back up to the departures lane, recheck your bags and go back through security. If your international flight is leaving from a large airport like JFK, LAX or O’Hare, you’ll also need to take a train between terminals with all of your luggage (except you can’t do that from O’Hare right now).
That is, unless the two airlines you’re flying have an interline baggage agreement. These agreements go into airlines’ booking tickets on the other airlines and accommodating delayed passengers as well, but what we’re interested in is the baggage rules.
NOTE: You’ll see the term PNR thrown around in these descriptions, which stands for Passenger Name Record. That’s the six character number assigned to your airline reservation. You can save several flights under the same PNR, even from different airlines. The issue we are discussing involves having two flights on different airlines with different PNR’s
Bold type is for emphasis on rules for two separate tickets.
Continue reading “What Are Interline Baggage Agreements And Why Do They Matter?”
A bunch of airlines have some sales this week and to add to that mix, we’ve heard of a hotel chain that’s offering some 20% off their rates, as well. Take a look:
Continue reading “Sales On Flights AND Hotels Rates – It’s A Good Week!”
I’m a big fan of National Car Rental’s Emerald Aisle program. I’ve been a member for 20 years now (Ugh, Really? 20 years?) (Note from Sharon – when did I marry such an old man? LOLOL!). For all that time and for all those rentals, I’ve never earned a single rental credit with National. I’ve earned frequent flyer miles for my rentals instead. For my travels, I just don’t rent cars often enough so it would take me forever to earn a free rental day.
National gives you 1 rental credit for each rental and if you rent a car for more than a week, you can earn extra credits. Here’s a breakdown of the earning for longer rentals since this information isn’t easily found on National’s website. It took some digging and I’m not surprised they want to keep it a secret: Continue reading “Should You Earn Rental Credits Or Frequent Flyer Miles For National Car Rentals?”