Our Vacation Is All Planned! And Now……We Wait

I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who feels that the planning of a vacation is almost, or sometimes more exciting than going on the trip itself. There’s so much more that’s involved with setting up the perfect trip. Even more so if you’re planning a trip using points and miles.

I’ve been planning our trip to Germany for close to a year and I’ve hit a milestone. All of our major travel plans are set. The last one happened earlier this week when the message I’d been hoping for showed up in my email at 11:42 PM (while I was asleep)

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The last puzzle piece was finally in place.

Now what?

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What Should I Do With My Citi ThankYou Points?

On September 1, 2019, Citi is going to change the fourth-night free benefit on the Citi Prestige to make reservations only bookable through the ThankYou portal or by calling a Thank You representative. Then on September 22, 2019, Citi will remove most of their travel insurance and shopping protections from almost all of their card portfolio.

These changes made me rethink our Citi card portfolio and one of the possibilities was canceling our Citi Prestige card. With Citi’s rules, if I cancel a card the points associated with that card expire in 60 days, even if you’ve transferred those points to another Citi ThankYou card which you are keeping open.

If I’m going to need to cash these points out, I better explore my options.

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This New Way To Search For Awards Found Me A Ticket For 8,000 Miles

A fact you learn when you get started with miles and points is that the earning part is relatively easy. You don’t have to learn a lot to get going and jumpstart those balances. This can cause problems down the line if you get too enthusiastic so here’s a list I made of what you should do if you’re rather new to the game.

Redeeming your miles and points for rewards can be a bit more difficult. For starters, there’s the availability problem. Unless you’re in a fixed value program like Southwest or JetBlue, not all flights have award tickets available.

Even if you find an available flight, if you have transferrable points there are numerous programs you have access to, and each of them might charge a different amount of miles and fees for the same award ticket.

If you can keep track of every award in every program, good for you. I know I can’t. But that’s not as much of a problem as it used to be…

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How To Combine Points From Two Banks To Book An Award

Since we started writing Your Mileage May Vary, several of our friends have started collecting points and miles. I feel a level of satisfaction when they’re able to go on that first award trip, partially because of our help. Just like any mentor, occasionally we’ll get a question about a topic where we don’t know the answer. While I could just say that I really don’t know about that, I like to use these situations to learn about things I hadn’t focused on before. Such was a question about how to combine points from two different bank programs.

While the answer may seem obvious if you’ve been collecting points and miles for a while, for someone just starting out this can be very confusing.

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How I Got Flying Blue To Open Up Phantom Award Space

I’ve been looking at flights from Germany to the U.S. for our trip this winter. I already booked our flights to Germany on Singapore business class from New York but I figured I’d book the return later. Problem is that I can’t figure out our itinerary for the trip until I know which city we’re flying home from. That was incentive enough to have me look into finding flights, preferably award flights in business class.

My flight preference would be the non-stop flight on Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Orlando but since award seats tend not to open up until last minute, that won’t work with our plans. We won’t fly on United so options including their planes is a non-starter.

I started looking into flights on KLM or Air France. Both of them use the Flying Blue loyalty program and even though they have variable pricing on award tickets, they still have reasonable rates for many of their flights.

Much to my surprise, besides finding several options flying through either Paris or Amsterdam, a flight from Frankfurt-Detroit-Orlando was showing up. This flight was on two Delta planes and had decent times for arrival and departure and reasonable connection time.

I decided to try and book it.

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