Frequent fliers have a lot to watch for this month. Some promotions offer nice perks while other program changes make air travel less exciting. Here’s the latest you need to know.
United announces Basic Economy fares. The news that United is following Delta’s implementation of a basic economy-class fare was not surprising. Let’s face it, low-fare airlines have eaten into legacy carrier profits. But, it’s important to understand what the fare means for travelers when it comes to miles. If you’re working toward Premier status for the coming year, you will have to buy a slightly higher fare, as basic-economy tickets do not count toward Premier status. Luckily, you can still earn MileagePlus miles on them, but they will be awarded based upon the price of the ticket (minus taxes and fees). Base-level members will still earn 5 miles per dollar spent; Premier Silvers earn 7 miles per dollar; Premier Golds earn 8 miles per dollar; Premier Platinums earn 9 miles per dollar; and Premier 1Ks earn 11 miles per dollar. Beware the basic economy fare if you want to earn and enjoy elite status.
Earn bonus Aeroplan miles by using hotel points. Hotel loyalty program points don’t expire at the same frequency as frequent-flier accounts. But, if you have some “orphan points” in a hotel account, you can now put them to good use by transferring points to Aeroplan between now and Dec. 12 for a bonus. The promotion awards the bonus on a sliding scale depending upon the number of transferred points from hotel programs like Hilton and Marriott. Earn as much as a 30% bonus with Aeroplan, which can be redeemed across any Star Alliance airline.
American AAdvantage announces partial EQD waiver. Unlike programs with Delta and United that offer waivers for achieving higher levels of status through minimum spend with credit card partners, American is taking a different route. Starting next year, you can qualify for a shortcut (not a complete waiver) to elite status spend requirements by using the American co-branded credit card from Barclaycard (co-branded Citi cards are not eligible). Spend more than $25,000 on the AAdvantage Aviator Red, Aviator Blue and Aviator Business MasterCard cards to receive a $3,000 elite qualifying dollar (EQD) credit. Those with the AAdvantage Aviator Silver MasterCard have the chance to earn a $6,000 EQDs credit by spending $50,000 on qualifying charges each year. The co-branded Barclaycard options will be open for signups beginning next year.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus continues top offer. If you prefer to earn a more flexible loyalty program currency, consider signing up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card that is offering 50,000 bonus miles between now and the end of the year for spending $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. It offers double miles on all purchases, not just specific spending, and provides miles that can be redeemed on any airline or for various travel purchases through the credit cards travel portal. Plus, the card gives a 5% refund on miles when redeeming for travel.
JetBlue and Lyft offer bonuses to new users. The TrueBlue program from JetBlue is now a partner with Lyft, giving users points by hitching a lift with the ridesharing company when traveling to or from a JetBlue-served airport. The car service will be integrated into the JetBlue app, providing new users a $15 credit or 750 TrueBlue points for signing up.
Delta and Airbnb join together. If you prefer booking an Airbnb stay over a traditional stay, there are some rewards from Delta coming your way. Link your Airbnb profile and Delta SkyMiles number to earn 1 mile for every dollar spent. If it’s your first time using Airbnb, you can also score 1,000 bonus miles and a discount on the next stay through this new partnership.
Move American Express points to Iberia for a 50% bonus. Iberia operates its own version of the Avios frequent-flier program, and is running a promotion with American Express Membership Rewards. Transfer points from Amex to Iberia and receive a 50% bonus between now and Dec. 15. To take advantage, log into Membership Rewards to transfer points, but keep in mind that only people that have had an Iberia account open for at least three months are eligible. www.usatoday.com