When you think about frequent flyer programs, you need to separate the two functions they serve. One part of the program is where you earn points by flying with the airline (or by having a co-brand credit card, transferring miles from a flexible currency partner, using a shopping or dining portal) which you can redeem for things like free flights (and other items like merchandise, upgrades and lounge memberships). Airlines have made earning points from flying more and more difficult while offering large bonuses for credit card sign-ups.
The other part of a frequent flyer program is the ability to earn status with your travels. The more you fly on an airline (or one of their alliance partners), the higher status you achieve. When you get status, you earn perks like free checked bags, upgrades, lounge access as well as a dedicated service line to speak with when you need assistance. The higher the level of status you have, the more points you’ll earn when you fly, tying the two parts of the program together.
While I feel that everyone should pay attention to the points earning side of frequent flyer programs, it just doesn’t make sense for most people to worry about getting status with an airline.
Continue reading “Airline Status Matters For Some People But Most Of Us Should Just Ignore It”
I know watching the news stories about the devastation in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian can make you feel helpless. After a while, you just feel numb and you want to do something, do anything, but don’t know how you can help.
Luckily, most of the airline and hotel programs are making it easy to contribute in any way you can. Even if you don’t have the cash to spare, you can donate those random points you have here and there to the recovery effort. Even better, you can donate points if you have more of them than you know what to do with. Face it, it’s better to donate them than redeem them for some magazines that you’ll never read, overpriced luggage or an Amazon InstaPot. Continue reading “How to Donate Your Miles and Points to Support Hurricane Dorian Victims”
CLEAR is the independent security program that provides a way to more quickly clear the ID check portion of the TSA checkpoint at US airports. You have to do a one-time registration where they collect your ID information and biometric data (fingerprints and iris scan). After that, when going to a flight, you head to the CLEAR kiosks instead of going to a regular line. You scan your boarding pass and your fingerprints (I’ve never had my iris scan used for ID). The clear representative then takes you to the TSA agent for whichever line you qualify for (PreCheck or the regular line).
A combination of CLEAR with TSA PreCheck is the quickest way for you to get through the checkpoints.
While some people swear by CLEAR and how it saves them so much time at the airport, we’ve just not seen the time savings because of our travel patterns. While it wasn’t hard for us to give it a try as we got a free trial through TripIt Pro, the decision to renew will be a bit tougher. Continue reading “United Just Gave Another Reason Never To Pay Full Price For CLEAR”
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)
The last puzzle piece was finally in place.
Continue reading “Our Vacation Is All Planned! And Now……We Wait”
Global Entry is a program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States. In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer decision for any frequent traveler to sign up for this program. The $100 non-refundable application fee is a small price to pay in order to blow past the long immigration lines when returning to the United States. Your Global Entry status is then good for five years. So that’s $20 a year. Where else can you buy VIP treatment for twenty bucks?
What makes this an even better deal is when you’re approved for Global Entry, you also get a Known Traveler Number (KTN), giving you access to TSA Pre✓® lanes at domestic airports. This program charges an $85 membership fee if you apply for it separately, so it only costs an extra $15 to get expedited entry when entering the U.S. on international flights (as well as some cruise ports and land crossings). You could just apply for TSA Pre-Check instead of Global Entry but the process is similar and if you’re getting reimbursed, why not go for the better deal?
Continue reading “The Credit Cards That Will Pay For Your Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck Application Fee (Updated July 2019)”