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Showing posts from February, 2016

Just what I needed to hear: British Airways plane infested with bedbugs.

Seriously someone shoot me now. If you get to know a long-time New Yorker well, they'll eventually tell you their bedbug story. And yes, everyone has one. And yes I have an irrational fear of them. Now that Telegraph is reporting that they're infesting planes, I have a whole other reason to quarantine all of my luggage upon arriving home until I can wash and dry everything. (Seriously I'm so paranoid right now I do that). If you scroll down on this link they have some quarantine tips for your luggage.

Churning credit card bonuses just got a lot harder

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The best way to earn miles and status is flying on someone else's dime. Probably the second best is by signing up for credit cards that have a big signup bonus – a single signup can earn you up to 100,000 miles without ever setting foot in an airport. There are whole tutorials online for how to sign up for various cards, meet their minimum spending requirements (google "manufactured spend" sometime...), cancel the card, and do it all over again. As I've said before, the harder you play the mileage game the more it starts to be about having more time than money... so I've only just sorta dabbled in this pastime (called "churning"). In the past 10 years I've probably churned 15 cards between my and my husband's accounts.
When the economy was down, the airlines and the credit card issuers were generous with bonuses, fares, and awards. But now that the economy has picked up, all we've seen for the past 4 years is increasing stinginess. (Sidenot…

Uber and Lyft officially banned from Newark Airport and Train Station

UPDATE (Jan '17): the ban has been lifted and the lawsuit challenging the lifting of the ban has failed. 

As a Manhattanite, I hate Newark Airport (EWR). If I take a car I have to crawl through Soho to the tunnel, which can literally take hours if you're flying anywhere near rush hour. Or I schlep my bags to the F train, walk two avenues over to Penn Station (hope it's not raining, snowing, or sweltering hot out!) get on the line for a ticket machine, wait up to 30 minutes for a Newark Airport-bound train, then switch to that verkachte Monorail thing that has a top speed of 7 miles per hour while praying that my terminal isn't at its last stop because it's literally 25 minutes between the first stop and the last stop.

And getting back to Manhattan is no picnic, either. Taxi lines are long, there's always some kind of brouhaha between the taxi line manager and several of the cabs, and to top it all off the only way you can pay with a credit card is to pre-pay at t…

Aeromexico adding peak dates

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Aeromexico is (apparently?) taking a cue from British Airways and adding Peak/Off-Peak dates to their reward calendar. The one bright spot is the co-pays for rewards are dropping a bit.
My Aeromexico 787 trip report is here and my review of the AirFrance JFK lounge they use is here. My most recent points booking saga with them is here. Aeromexico periodically has transfer bonuses from American Express. They also have an interesting process for bidding on an upgrade to First Class via a site called Optiontown – several of my friends have used it and about half of them have scored super cheap FC seats.

A couple of other useful Mexico links:  My "getting to Puerto Vallarta" tips,  and my guide to the town itself.

Let's earn some bonus points together!

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If you don't have a Chase Sapphire yet, please consider using my affiliate link to sign up for one. You get 50,000 bonus points after you meet the minimum spend, and I get a 10,000 mile referral bonus! 

I've had one for several years now and in addition to the normal bells-and-whistles, it has two great features that make it my go-to card: double miles on dining and travel, and the fact that it can transfer points to a bunch of places that my Amex can'tUnited Airlines, Korean Air, Southwest and Amtrak. Our 2015 First Class trip to Asia happened because of this card. I also use their shopping portal to rack up lots of bonus points on toiletries and household cleaning on Drugstore.com. 






When weather messes up your flight...

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Winter storm Jonas just blew through the Northeast, dumping record amounts of snow on the region and canceling thousands of flights. We had paid First Class seats on Delta's direct service from JFK to Puerto Vallarta on Saturday, departing right about the time the storm was due to hit. As we didn't have refundable seats (yes, even First Class charges a ridiculous premium for that) my first call to their call center on Wednesday ended with the rep wanting $1200 per person in change fees PLUS we'd be flying on Friday in Economy. No thanks. The rep then told us we should wait for a weather travel waiver and try again. Several hours later Delta issued a travel waiver and we were able to leave a day early for no fees, but we did have to downgrade to Premium Economy for the JFK-LAX leg.
if for some crazy reason you have a fully-refundable fare, call before the weather advisory goes into effect! You'll be able to snag exactly the seat you want before the teeming masses start c…