Hey gang, I’m going on deployment soon, so this will be my last post for a while (this is Andy btw). I wanted to go over how to get some free points on your Credit cards if you’re in a rut. With many bloggers declaring the end of manufactured spending, which it truly is, credit cards are still the best way to accumulate points and/or miles. Unfortunately the death of the golden age of MSing (RIP Vanilla Reloads, Serve, Amazon payments, Coopera, REDbird) means it’s incredibly difficult to hit the signup bonuses of 5 or 6 credit cards at once for most normal people. Why not try to utilize some of the credit cards we already have and save our hard pulls for huge signup offers instead?

This is where the reconsideration call for a credit card comes in – you call to say you’re thinking about cancelling your credit card, whether or not you actually are. Banks generally try really hard not to lose a customer, so sometimes they’ll try to “enhance” the cards rewards for a period of time. Not all banks do this (US Bank will cancel your card in the blink of an eye), but Citi is generally known to give the best offers. As long as you call and use the buzzword “cancel”, they’ll transfer you to a “specialist” who will usually give you some tempting offers. I’m waiting for my Transunion hard pulls to go down (I’m at 20 from 24 last Fall, yippee!), so I figured instead of applying for a new card, why not see what Citi can offer me?

I called and said straight up, “hello, I’d like to speak to the reconsideration dept, as I am considering cancelling one or more of my credit cards”. I find that honestly usually works best, and indeed, they transferred me right over. The specialist with whom I talked could not have been more considerate or accommodating, and he patiently offered deals on my 5 personal cards and 1 business card. They were as follows:

Citi Prestige

  • $200 statement credit with $4k spend in 6mo
  • 4TY points/dollar
  • 4/dollar at supermarkets/drug stores/gas up to 50k TY points
  • 1/dollar on all eligible purchases up to 50k
  • or 10k TY points for $3k in spend

I took the last one on that; I was planning a big trip to Vietnam (in an upcoming post) and was going to be spending some money.

Citi Premier

  • $1k/month for 3 months gets $95 statement credit and 1k TY points/month
  • or $1k/month gets $95 statement credit

obviously I took the first one.

Citi Hilton Reserve

  • $750/mo for 3 months gets 750 Hhonors points per month (blech!)
  • $1k/mo for 3 months gets 1k Hhonors points per month (nope!)
  • 3Hhonors points/dollar at restaurants

I took the last one, although I doubt I’ll use it; indeed I might be either downgrading this to the Citi Dividend or just outright cancelling it soon since I used the two free nights already at the Conrad Hong Kong (review upcoming).

Citi AA Exec

  • $1.5k/mo spend gets $50 dollar statement credit/mo for 7 mo max up to $350
  • $1k/mo gets additional 1k miles for the next 16 billing cycles
  • $1.5k spend in the next 3 mo gets 5k miles and $100 statement credit
  • $1.5k spend in the next 3 mo gets 15k miles

I decided to take the first one because I’m awash in AA miles and there’s poor overall availability. Doubt I’ll hit $1.5k per month, but we’ll see.

Citi AA Plat personal

  • 5 separate purchases of at least $20 earns $95 statement credit
  • $500 spend in 3 mo for 3k miles

I took the first one; simple and easy. 5 x $20 Amazon GCs.

Citibusiness AA Plat

  • $2.5k spend/mo gets additional 2.5k miles for up to 16 cycles
  • $1k spend/mo gets additional 1k miles for up to 16 cycles
  • $5k total spend in 6mo gets 10k additional miles
  • $95 total spending in the next month gets $95 statement credit

I took the last one; again, easy day, Amazon GC, and I don’t need AA miles at the moment.

Of note, I applied for and opened all these cards before I came onto active duty in August. I applied for and received SCRA benefits on all these cards, meaning I don’t pay any annual fees on them, even the big guns like the Exec and the Prestige! Here is how to get your annual fees waived if you’re going active duty. Of note, Citi is very strict about it – they will only waive your fees if you opened the card before going active duty; I haven’t heard of any exceptions.

When I get back sometime in about 2 months, I’ll post about the results from this, and also will detail my reconsideration call to American Express and to Chase!

Did anyone get any better deals than I did?

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We would only be in Maui for two and a half days so we didn’t really plan a lot.  Plus, we had done our really adventurous Maui adventure of circling the whole island (and taking the Road to Hana twice – don’t ask!) about four years ago with our daughter.  So we were much more in the “take it easy mode”, plus glad to get out of the East Coast winter for a few days.

The first thing to do was take a long walk along the beachside pathway that connects all the hotels along Wailea.  This is also a fun way to see the other hotels and condos.

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If you are interested in getting away from the resort, I recommend taking the road to Lahaina which is on West Maui and the site of the old whaling station.  You can see the world’s largest banyan tree there which now covers the entire old city plaza.  That’s West Maui (Maui to two volcanoes connected by a flat plains) rising out beyond the Wailea beach.

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Another more adventurous choice is to head out to Molokini Island which is an old carter half-submerged and a great spot for snorkeling and scuba.  The big island in the photo is Lanai, also known as Larry Ellison’s Island, and in front of it is Molokini.  You can see the white dots of diving boats within the Molokini crater.

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Here is a tip for what to do when you are though sightseeing or snorkeling.  Dining out is pretty expensive in Hawaii since most everything must be imported.  A trick to help with this is to scout out the Happy Hours around town.  We found a pretty good one at Gannon’s which is located at the Wailea Golf Course.  We had a great meal and drinks for about two-thirds of what it cost us the first night at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.  Plus, a great view!

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Finally, I will leave you with what I thought was a funny sign.  I really didn’t expect to see a deer crossing outside of the golf course!  Also, some great shots of sunset over Kaholawe Island taken from Lahaina.

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Sorry for the break in the story.  Work and shoveling snow got in the way.  Anyway, back to our tale of going D.C. to Maui for a long weekend mileage run on Alaska.  I got a deal on the Marriott at Wailea and I’ll explain how the hotel was and how I scored that deal.

For those of you who are not familiar with Maui, almost all the resort hotels are located along a single strip of coast in South Maui.  This makes it easy to compare hotels as they all offer pretty much the same view and access to beaches.  Once I had the airfare dates locked down, I started to see what bargains that I could find for the two nights we would have in Maui.  The average price that I was finding was around $400/night which is too much in my book.  I searched the major chains, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood for the best deal.  Admittedly, I did not spend time on boutique hotels as they are typically higher priced and I did not search for three stars no-name hotels as they simply don’t offer the experience we wanted even though they are cheaper.

Here is a tip for you when looking around.  If you find a hotel that has construction going on, book it.  We have done this several times and find that the inconvenience is very minor, but the rate saving is huge.  In this case, I was able to get a regular room for only $199/ night!

Changing subjects slightly here.  We would need a rental car to get around.  The rates were all in hundreds of dollars for three days.  I know it does not get a lot of coverage at BoardingArea.com, but those Hertz points that I have been collecting really came in handy.  I was able to cash some in so that we only had to pay for the taxes.  The normal quote from Hertz for a mid-sized car for three days was $400, I got it for only $19!

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Now, I admit that I often have trouble using Hertz Rewards points, but occasionally they come through for me and they saved me a bunch this time.  Remember: collect every point in every program as you never know when you might be able to use them.

So back to the hotel.  We got in about 1030 and headed straight to the hotel after collecting our bags.  Getting there about noon, we decided to go ahead and try to check in early.  The desk clerk welcomed me as a Marriott Platinum and said that they had reserved a special upgrade for me, but we would have to wait.  We were happy to enjoy the pleasant weather and had no problem spending the time getting a bite to eat in the shopping center next to the Marriott.   They called by 2 and showed us to our room and boy were they right that this was a special upgrade.  The room looked directly out over the infinity pool and then to the Honolua Bay beyond.  Check out these picture below and see what I mean about a great view.

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The room itself was nice enough with a great lanai to have breakfast on.   It came with a mini-fridge and coffee maker which are always important things to us.

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More on things to do and see tomorrow.

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OK, I’m not going to lie.  Knowing you are going to fly for the next 20 hours is a lot easier when you know ahead of time that you have been upgraded to First for the three legs awaiting you.  Another nice thing is that when you fly First Class on a long flight you know that you will get a three course meal and have plenty of time to watch movies and relax.  I’ll start with a surprise at BWI (a great place to find super airfare deals) and a new livery for our Alaska Airlines plane.

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After an on-time take off, we started meal service.

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You can see the salad next to my complimentary Digiplayer (watching The Intern) and the menu.  The salad had kale and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t much about other than it tasted pretty good.  The entrée was a choice of Herb Roasted Chicken Breast or Seared Trident Cod.

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I went for the chicken (on the right) while my wife had the cod.  Both were excellent.  So much for “typical airline food”!  No pictures of the dessert, I must have eaten it too fast, but it was a delicious crème brulee.

Got into SEA a little early which gave us enough time to visit the Alaska Boardroom Lounge.  The off to SAN.  The flight was delayed for about an hour and the Captain came out of the cabin to entertain us and personally advise us of the delay.  We all groaned when he said that the plane was not going to be fixed, but then personally led us to a new plane and we were on our way!  He offered a free drink to everyone on the plane to compensate.  How often do you see something like that?!

Getting in about an hour late to SAN, we didn’t particularly care as we were going to sit in the airport until our flight to Maui (OGG) which left at 0730.  I had done some scouting and found the airport did not have a lounge, but looked like it had a great USO.  Unfortunately, it was closed from 0000-0600 so I only got to see it briefly before having to board our next flight but have to say I was very impressed.  It is located in a new building across from the modern Terminal 2 and you have to reach it by a bridge on the 2nd floor then go down to the first floor.

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The inside was huge and this is easily the nicest USO that I have ever been in.  Lots of room and plenty if amenities!

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Then off to our next flight where I slept most of the way to Maui!


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So what could be better than planning a mileage run to somewhere warm over the MLK weekend?  The first quarter of the year is always the best time for low airfare and hotels.  I also find that going for status on an airline is a lot easier if you get a bunch of miles early in the year, rather than try to cram in a bunch at the end of the year.

Always on the lookout for a great airfare deal, and inspired daily by TheFlightDeal folks, I found a good way to get out of D.C. and rack up a bunch of miles early in the year.  A truism in airline pricing is that the price is not in proportion to the distance traveled.  For example, I could fly to Seattle for $400RT, but I could also fly to Hawaii (twice the distance) for only $600.  The choice was obvious.  The only choice was whether to go to Honolulu or Maui!  I found a flight on Alaska for $607 RT, so double that for the wife and I both to go.  Note that I could have used one of our companion passes from the Alaska Air BoA VISA card to drive the total cost down to ~$750, but we’re saving those for later when we take $1,000+ flights together.

The next step in the process is to start to look for free stops that you can make along the way to add miles for no additional money.  Connecting flights are usually cheaper than direct flights.  For this trip I was able to arrange a side trip to San Diego for the same cost which added about 1,000 miles.  The only hitch was that we would get into SAN at midnight and leave at 0730 to Maui.  I didn’t want to waste money on a hotel, but thought that I could get a rental car and we could camp out in there to get a few hours of sleep.  My wife was a good sport and said we could just tough it out in the airport and I was good with that.  The end result was a flight that would earn 10,318 EQM.  I am an AS MVP Gold (100% bonus on RDM) and my wife is an AS MVP Gold75K (125% bonus) so we would earn a total of 43,851 RDM.  If you value AS miles at 2 cents each (which most do) then the miles earned are equal to $877.  This really takes the edge off the cost.  Additionally, as AS Golds, we can change tickets for free and using TripIt Pro, I get alerted any time the price of my flight drops.  Thus, a month ago I was able to reduce our cost by $20 each.  That subscription to TripIt Pro just paid for itself!

OGG Trip

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Also as you can see from our pre-departure itinerary above, we had already been upgraded for four of the five legs.  The last leg finally got upgraded just as we got on the flight, so we wen five for five and flew first class the whole way!  It’s one thing to love flying, but it is something altogether when you love flying in first class and no airline is better for that than Alaska.


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I lived in Alaska for seven years and never saw anything like this!  Hope you caught my post on the storm earlier this morning.  The snow just doesn’t stop.  They are saying it will keep going to 10pm and another 3.3″ for the Arlington area.  Here are some more photos to show the incredible snowfall.

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The view from the front door of my townhome.  Yes, that is somebody’s car underneath all that snow!

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I have a BBQ somewhere under that pile.

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The wife already shoveled out the first 20 inches and you can see it is still piling up.

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The news says that this is technically not a blizzard because the winds are only 32mph and need to be 35mph to count as a blizzard, but I think that most people would not care about that distinction!

I can’t imagine anyone even being able to get to the airport even if the planes were flying.

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I thought everyone might like to see the snow levels at our townhouse in Arlington, VA.  Snow started about 2pm yesterday and is still coming down.  Winds about 40 mph.  Supposed to stop earlier than planned at 10am this morning.  We were supposed to get 20-30″, I am guessing it was about 24″.

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The last one is my wife out shoveling the walk this morning.  Why am I not doing it?  Because long ago, she determined that I do not know how to shovel snow “right”.  She insists on doing all the snow shoveling here and at our house in Alaska.

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As I posted a few months ago, the ILPP is designed to have DTS show you all hotel choices including Government lodging and private hotels.  This has always been a downfall of DTS as there was lodging on-post, but it would never display so most resorted to following instructions and booking off-post for lodging even though there were better choices.

With the new mandate that lodging will only be booked through DTS, except for a few areas such as Europe, they had to come up with something.  I can’t tell you the number of times where DTS comes up with no FEMA approved hotels or gives me hotels that are an hour away.  Anyone else have those issues?

The new list of pilot locations includes another half dozen posts:

  • Charleston, SC – Joint Base Charleston
  • Dayton, OH – Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • Fort Lee/Petersburg, VA – Fort Lee (effective: January 1, 2016)
  • Hampton, VA – Langley Air Force Base (effective: January 1, 2016)
  • Newport News, VA – Fort Eustis (effective: January 1, 2016)
  • Norfolk, VA – select area U.S. installations
  • Quad City, IL – Rock Island Arsenal (effective: January 1, 2016)
  • Saratoga Springs, NY –  Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs
  • Seattle-Tacoma Airport area, WA
  • Suffolk, VA
  • Tampa, FL – MacDill Air Force Base
  • Twentynine Palms, CA – Marine Air/Ground Combat Center
  • York/Williamsburg, VA – Yorktown Facility (effective: January 1, 2016)

Interestingly, the system is currently mandated for Service Members but not civilians per the note below.

Not all of these locations currently have DoD lodging facilities available in DTS.  DoD civilians are not required to use DoD lodging facilities when TDY to U.S. military installations until DoD lodging facilities at that location is available in DTS.  Service members must check DoD lodging facilities availability. To determine if DoD lodging facilities is available at a pilot site, see the DoD Lodging Available in DTS listing.

Travelers with access to DTS are required to make lodging arrangements through the reservation module in DTS and should only contact their Commercial Travel Office to arrange commercial lodging when DTS is not available. Travelers should not contact their Commercial Travel Office for assistance booking DoD lodging facilities. If DTS is not available, travelers should book through www.dodlodging.net or contact the government lodging facility or reservation center directly.

Hopefully these notes clear up confusion, but it is obvious this is still a work in progress.  I still remember when DTS had a lot of bugs in it too, but they have pretty much been worked out.  I am sure that in a few years this will all be running smoothly.  In the meantime, let us know how the system works.  I have yet to stay TDY at any of the pilot locations, but will be interested to try it.

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I had the opportunity to travel to Tokyo for 3 days for funded Temporary Duty, to complete my Emergency Medicine Board Exam. It’s always been on my travel bucket list to stay in the Park Hyatt Tokyo, so I wanted to check and see if I could. It is the number 4 out of 747 hotels in Tokyo according to Tripadvisor. I knew that the per diem, $349 all-in, at that time wouldn’t cover the total cost of a room, which for a gov’t rate for 2 adults and 1 child was $609. (of note, my family’s travel wasn’t funded, but I flew them up OKA – HND using British Airways Avios, transferred in from my Amex Membership rewards, and booked them on Japan Airlines, which along with BA is part of Oneworld).


I did have a bunch of Hyatt Gold Passport points, from my previous paid stays in both the Hyatt Regency Bethesda and the Hyatt Regency Naha Okinawa (both reviews are in upcoming posts). Also, I had Chase Ultimate Rewards, which can be transferred 1:1 into Hyatt. I looked at the amount of points needed per night, and saw it was 30k Hyatt points per night, as it’s a category 7 hotel, their highest tier. I didn’t want to go out of my own pocket totally, as it was paid travel, so I checked out to see if they had any nights available with cash + points, and indeed, all three nights were available. For a category 7 Hyatt, it’s cash + points rate is 15k points + $300 per night, so 45k points and $900 for three nights…not cheap, but to me totally worth it.


I had made Hyatt Diamond status, it’s highest level, from a status match challenge earlier in the year, which gave me 4 suite upgrades on paid stays, including cash + points stays, during a year. I still had 3 left at the time, so decided to see if they had availability. I called 1-800-228-3360 and sure enough, they had suite upgrades available on those dates!


We arrived by taxi and immediately got a taste of their legendary customer service. They greeted me by name and refused to let us take our own bags; they insisted on their bellboy taking it up. Their hotel is on the 41st – 49th floors, and the check-in lounge is through their world-renowned foyer, the Peak Lounge, which was famously featured in the movie “Lost in Translation”.

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The views are absolutely amazing…especially looking West at sunset and seeing Mount Fuji!

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We were confirmed to have a Park Suite on the corner facing NorthEast, and were handed a metal key on a metal keychain for the door, which honestly I was worried about losing…I think I would’ve rather had a cheap plastic card!


We walked in, and all three of us simultaneously just said “WOW!”. The space was huge, with a large sitting room with a table and 4 chairs, couches, large TV, a Nespresso Machine (YES!), a ton of bottled water, and furnished with all these cool Japanese art books, which my wife loved.

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They also provided a handwritten note, which I think is really touching.

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The bedroom had two full beds and a large TV as well. We always request two beds when we can because I like it really cool when sleeping and my wife prefers it really warm.

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The bathroom was huge, with separate shower and bath, a Toto washlet, and furnished with Aesop products, which people way more sophisticated than me rate very highly!

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I think we spent the first several hours just checking out the suite and gawking at the views until Happy Hour started at the lobby bar, which ran from 5-9, and was complimentary for Diamond members. There was beer, wine, spirits, and finger foods, which were really quite good.

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Also complimentary for Diamond guests is breakfast, which is a huge breakfast buffet spread in their restaurant Girandole, and is one of the better hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had (the best, incidentally, was at the Shangri-La Abu Dhabi).

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Other highlights of the stay were the large and well-appointed gym, which is on the top floor and overlooks everything, and my personal favorite, and steam, sauna, and hot tub rooms, which was freaking phenomenal (obviously I couldn’t take pictures, as it’s filled with naked people…the steam room, not the gym haha).


This was definitely one of my and my families favorite hotel stays ever. Huge compliments to the staff, who were overwhelmingly accommodating. For instance, we were taking a self-guided walking tour around Tokyo, and wanted a stroller in case our son became lazy and didn’t want to walk; they totally hooked us up, and gave us an umbrella just in case! I would love to stay here again if I get the chance. Definitely check it out if you can!


Also, for eating, I highly recommend Cedros and Kaikaya, both in Shibuya and easy to get to either by train or bus. Here are some pics from Kaikaya.

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Posted by glenn | 6 Comments

The 2nd Hotel my family and I stayed in during our first two weeks on Okinawa was the Hilton Okinawa Chatan Resort, located in the central part of of the island, near both American Village and Camp Foster. (See my first stay in Okinawa here) Although I wasn’t too keen on staying near American village (not exactly an authentic Japanese experience), it was uber-convenient for our check in process, getting our Japanese driver’s licenses, etc.


At the time I booked our three night stay there, I was Hhonors Gold (now Hhonors Diamond through a status match using my Hyatt Diamond, which itself was obtained through a status match and challenge in August, and is good through Feb 2017!), which guaranteed both Club access and free breakfasts, and an upgrade to a room with a balcony!
They didn’t have a king bed available with the balcony, only with out a balcony. So we chose the one with balcony and two full-size beds. My son is 5 and can sleep anywhere, so we put a bunch of pillows and comforters on the floor, and he slept like a king!



The room was spacious and well-appointed, with chargers over both nightstands, and blackout curtains, both of which are, to me, essential to a good hotel room. Free water bottles were provided every day, and the beds and pillows were super comfy.

The bathroom was really nice, with a Japanese style bath/shower room, and of course a Japanese style washlet toilet, which I love. The amenities were Peter Thomas Roth, which are what I would say is mid-level (not like Aesop at Hyatts).




The balcony was huge, and very secluded, surrounded by hedges, but with just enough room to check out the westward view. Unfortunately there aren’t really any nice beaches in this part of Okinawa; you have to go further North for those. The area is ok, with lots of restaurants and stores nearby, if that’s what you like.




Check out this sunset!


Overall, Hilton does a really nice job taking care of you, and they definitely took care of us. There was a breakfast available in either their downstairs buffet restaurant Suriyun, or in their Club room on the 9th floor which didn’t have quite a big selection, but was far less crowded. The club lounge also offered free happy hour for gold and diamonds from 5-9, and a decent food selection. I was very pleased with our stay here and can’t say enough about their customer service; everyone there is so pleasant and helpful.  


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Happy New Year to everyone!  Hope you all had a great holiday period and some well-deserved time off.  Most frequent flyers know New Years as the depressing time when all of their mileage and points counters reset to zero.  A few programs, such as Delta and Marriott, allow you to carry over excess EQM and points, but for most it is zero day.  So now is the time to evaluate what you want  to achieve in 2016.  Planning properly now will lead to a lot less heartache trying to achieve your goal by scrambling at the end of the year.  Here are a few tips:

  1.  Rather than haphazardly accumulating miles and points as you get them, figure out a realistic status level you want to achieve and get out a spreadsheet to see how you can make that goal.  It doesn’t have to be 100% right now, stuff happens, but it should get you roughly to the level you want to be by the end of 2016.  We usually know some things and others will come up during the year.  For example, you know your friend Jeff is getting married this summer and they will probably do it in Miami.  Go ahead and figure the miles you will get from your home to Miami, it doesn’t really matter that you don’t know exactly when.  You need to separate these out to whichever program you are applying them to and also figuring in known factors.  Say you want to get to EXP in American this year.  You know you are going to Jeff’s wedding and you can commit to doing that on AA, but you also know that you are flying TDY to Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage.  Likely that will be on Alaska which will then credit to AA for status.  However, AA’s new rules are that AS flight only give 50% EQM.  So add only half those miles to your total.
  2. After analyzing your goals (and it is OK to have stretch goals) figure out what gaps you must cover.  The obvious way to cover these gaps is through mileage runs.  Now the classic mileage run doesn’t have you leaving the airport, so I prefer to make them mini-vacations.  Go across country for a long weekend and get those miles you need to get status so you get the upgrades next time or simply have enough status to get free bags.  Why is this important to plan now?  Because the first quarter of the year is when the best travel bargains are out there.  After the holidays, no one wants to travel.  From about 5 Jan. to whenever spring break starts, there are some great airfares to be found.  For example, Alaska is offering BWI-LAX for less than $100 each way.  My wife and I are planning to fly from D.C., enjoy ten hours in L.A. and then fly back.  That’s 4644 EQM for $196 or 4.2 CPM (cents per mile).  Anything at 4 CPM or less is the gold standard and even up to 6 CPM is a good deal these days.
  3. Searching for bargains.  I do play around with airline websites to look for destinations and see if there are good fares.  That’s how I booked a $607 fare on AS BWI-OGG (Maui) for the MLK weekend.  If you know you can have certain days off, go to your favorite airline’s site and just start plugging in destinations and see what comes up.  The other thing that I do is subscribe to www.theflightdeal.com.  This daily email will list a bunch of fares that are under 6 CPM going to destinations all over the world.  99% f the time you will not find something you can use, but that 1% will save you a ton of money.  I also find that they give me some great ideas for destinations that I would not have thought of otherwise.  Lastly, check out the Mileage Run threads on Flyertalk.  They have one thread for deals and another for discussion (strategies or problems).
  4. Here is another often overlooked tip.  Consider flying premium fares.  I know we usually think that these fares are double or more the cost of economy, but that is not always true.  My wife and I are going down to visit one of my old friends in Panama over Presidents’ Day Weekend.  I found the UA fare was $322 OW for economy EWR-PTY, but $422 for business class for the same day and route.  While we a both Golds on United’s Mileage Plus and have a chance of getting upgraded, I am happy to pay the extra $100 and get it for sure.  More importantly, UA’s new rules give 200% EQM for business class now.  That means getting to my goal twice as fast for only a small amount more.  Most people never even think of checking these fares, but give them a shot and see if you can’t find some bargains like I did.
  5. Try for promotions, but don’t obsess over them.  You might get some nice bonuses for a little extra effort, but look at these as opportunities rather than something to really go out of your way to get.  I find this particularly true for hotel promotions.  Sometimes an extra night will get you a bunch of points or certificate, but spending a bunch more doesn’t get you return on investment for it to make sense.  Always sign up for promotions, as you never know when your circumstances could change and suddenly you are traveling more than you planned.

There are my tips to get the new year off to a good start.  If you have any tips of your own, post them as we would love to hear them too.

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