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Showing posts from January, 2015
Per this link, Emirates is offering a fantastic deal on their direct JFK-Milan service.
$799 for two people in economy, $4999 for two people in business, and $7999 for two people in First Fly before May 10th. Also, it's a 777 so no onbaord shower for you if you spring for first :)

Trip report: Cathay Pacific New York JFK to Vancouver YVR

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Jan 2015, seat 20A and 11A. My notes on how I booked are here. Both flights leave around 10pm local time. 
Pros:Internationally-configured plane on a "domestic" transcon. Lots of premium seat availability on points. Amex Transfer partner. Great deals when booking via partner rewards on British Airways' website. Vastly superior service to UA/AA/DL's premium transcons.  Cons:No Wifi. No air vents. Hot. Redeye 
The business class cabin is split in two: a big section behind the galley and a very small part in front of the galley, adjoining first class. I sat in the big section on the way there and in the small one on the way back... I thought there'd be a big difference between the two but there wasn't, really. The small cabin's potential "intimacy" is sorta disturbed by the galley being so close and the staff having to run back and forth between First and the galley. 
The seats are really nice – nearly identical to the ones BA puts into their interna…

Can't buy Amex points nor Chase UR points anymore

I was on the phone with American Express today and I confirmed with two agents and a supervisor that you can't buy American Express Premier Reward points anymore. I've not seen this pointed out anywhere (in fact, here's a posting where TPG describes how to do it), so I thought I'd mention it.

UPDATE Feb '15: I just checked with Chase and they've stopped allowing members to purchase Ultimate Reward points. I was like 400 points short of a redemption and mentioned to the phone rep how nice the "buy" option was for these kinds of situations and she just gave me the points I needed for free! YMMV...


20 Things I learned about being an AirBnB host: Tax time conclusions!

I made twopostings (1, 2) about being an AirBnB host a while back and I wanted to post an update on the "Things I learned" now that we're doing the taxes for our final 6 months as hosts. 
(As a reminder, we were trapped in a bad lease when we moved down the street into a place we'd purchased. Our landlord didn't want to rent the place out after our lease ended so it was next-to-impossible to find someone to take it for such an odd term, trust me, we tried!)
Gross Earnings (Guest Fees + Cleaning Fees minus AirBnB hosting fees) $21,847 
Our Costs $28,200 rent ($4700 x 6)  $349.76 facebook ads (worth every penny, IMHO) $663.07 utilities  $960 cable + internet $600 cleaning person for monthly deep cleaning $? for cleaning supplies (laundry, dish soap, swiffer pads, tilex, fabric softener, etc) $? for extra bedding, plates, and supplies we had to buy = $30,772.83 conservative estimate of uncompensated hours we spent working on it = 60
assuming our labor is free, we lost $8925.83

ANA and JAL lowering their fuel surcharges

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Airlines buy long-term fuel contracts to prevent the pain that can happen when prices temporarily spike. But fuel prices have been trending down for quite some time and people are starting to get crabby about the charges still being so high.

British Airways is being sued by its frequent flier members over it. Some good news, though: both ANA and JAL are lowering theirs. Since most reward tickets require you to pay the fuel surcharge in cash, it's a huge deal to people who fly like I do. BA's fuel charges are so high, you're basically paying for an Economy class ticket's worth of "fuel" when you redeem miles, so redeeming for Economy is absolutely pointless.


Heading to Vancouver...

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I often use this blog as a place to store bits of my research for a particular ticket I'm trying to get – it's helpful for me (keeps me from doing the same work twice) and I feel like it also shows my thought process, so hopefully that means it's helping other people too.

I'm sure it's just coincidence, but less than a week after I posted my Tokyo in Spring, another travel blog did a near-identical breakdown of how to use British Airways Avios points to book Japan Airlines flights between the USA and Tokyo. It's not a big deal, but they have a zillion more followers than I do and the last thing I want is a bunch of people competing for the same seats I'm trying to get! So, coincidence or not, I'm going to leave these types of posts in "Draft" mode while I work on them and only publish after I have my own ticket in hand! (Trip report is here)

With that out of the way... I need to go to Vancouver (YVR) for work in January. There are only two dir…

BA Visa spending bonus (targeted?)

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Just got this flyer in the mail — spend $9,000 on my BA Visa card before March 31st and earn 9000 bonus miles, no registration required. I'm guessing the offer is targeted at certain cardholders but I might be wrong. One way or the other, I'm saving this flyer for future reference. They've run a similar promotion before and my bonus miles never showed up. I eventually had to call and convince them with a lot of screenshots that I'd qualified and that they did, in fact, owe me the miles.

If you think about it, they're basically offering you 2.25 miles per dollar spent (1.25 base plus one bonus mile) for the first $9,000 of spending you do in Q1 2015. If you have a lot of spending to do that's not in any of the bonus categories on your other cards it might be worth it. Like for example I wouldn't go charging airfare to it when I could be getting 4 points for dollar on that with my Amex.

UPDATE: BA is currently waiving the $95 annual fee on this card until the…

One bit of good news in 2015...

2014 was full of mostly bad news for point hounds like me. Devaluations, new fees on elite members, rising elite tiers... but one good change is that Delta is now allowing one-way mileage rewards. Given that Delta is often the best option on domestic First Class runs, I usually end up with a small amount of Delta miles every year and this should help me spend them :)

More on Lucky's site.