7 Scamy Things I Hate About Airline Miles & Hotel Points

If I were to write a letter to an airline or hotel CEO, I’d likely want to bring up the ethics of some of the accepted scams that are out there.

A lot of my thoughts would be about transparency or about deceiving people. And for me that most often comes into play any time someone advertises one price and then charges another. It’s why it’s illegal in Europe to advertise a sale and then have a different “all in” price.

It’s not like they are adding the option of taxes, fuel, and resort fees… instead they just aren’t telling you about them until the end and sometimes in small print.

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An Introduction To Stopovers and Open-Jaws

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of “stopovers” we have a great InfoGraphic that you can check out: Airline Stopovers and Open-Jaws InfoGraphic. I also recently did a Complete List of Airline Stopover Rules, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had a more in-depth post on stopovers as an overview.

Here I’ll be starting with “what is a stopover?” and “what is an open-jaw”? and progressing to booking more extreme tickets online or over the phone. If you’re getting your feet wet in the stopover world, this will be a great overview for you.

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Most Aspirational Miles Award Ever – Necker Island

I’m browsing through the redemption section of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Blue Miles, because they have quite a few unique hotel redemption options. As you may know, Virgin is run by Richard Branson, who famously lives on an island (off the British Virgin Islands) called Necker Island.

Apparently after buying the island the government told him that he had to be a BVI citizen or own a hotel to own the island. So he dropped a few million and opened a hotel with only 10 rooms.

The island has become a playground for the ultrarich and celebrities. Private island, private chef (and staff of 100?), includes watersports, two infinity pools, etc… All this for a mere $30,000 for a week (for two people).

Imagine my surprise when I saw that you can spend miles to book Necker Island on Flying Club’s website.

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Analyzing Best Uses of the Daily Getaways Deals

I wrote about a couple of the deals earlier but the full list has been revealed and I decided to break down all the travel deals. Look at the terms and conditions, come up with some best uses and give it some real thought.

DailyGetaways is a 5 week long sale that launches everyday at 1pm Eastern Time every week day. Some of the deals are cheaper ways to buy miles, and some are really bad. I’ll give a quick comment on each deal then go into full details below.

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First Look at the Newly Renovated Radisson Hotel & Suites Downtown Austin

The Radisson in Austin is one of the best locations in Austin, but they’ve been getting killed on TripAdvisor for being an older hotel in need of renovation. Right now they are in the middle of a renovation of the rooms and they finished floor 12 – the highest floor. Lucky me, on my third reservation I got a newly renovated room.

I’ll talk about the location, the room, the rest of the property, service, and the benefits (or lack of) for Gold members. I personally paid 44,000 points for the hotel, although cash rates have been around $300+ for non-renovated rooms.

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Best East Coast Award Flights To Europe

There are a number of distance based programs out there for whom there are specific routes that make east coast flights to Europe super cheap. The distance across the Atlantic is sometimes barely much more than the distance from the west coast to the east in the US. This is a post to help those living on the east coast to take advantage of some of these deals.

The real value is actually from the north east to London or Paris. But in general, distance based programs from the east coast are a heck of a lot cheaper than the west coast.

But also, the distance based programs like ANA and JAL allow multiple stopovers. So if you do stretch it a little more, it could still be well worth the effort.

First I’ll go over the distance based programs and then go over a few other details, like Singapore Miles and Air Berlin’s Companion Pass.

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What is it like to live out of hotels?

I get this question a lot, but am never sure what to say.

“Uh… it’s cool.”

A lot of times when people find out that we’ve spent the majority of our marriage on the road, they say, “I could never do that”, or something to that effect. My mom the other day said, “I can’t understand why people say that, it’s not that hard!”, and I know she thinks what we’re doing is awesome. Maybe it’s what they say about apples falling from trees.

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40 Ways To Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Ultimate Rewards has 11 transfer partners to frequent flyer/rewards programs and each transfer 1:1. 1,000 Chase points would get you 1,000 points in any of the programs I’m about to mention.

There are 3 Chase cards that transfer to miles; the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold (which you can’t apply for any more). If you have any of these cards you can pool your Chase points together to transfer your balance to any airline, hotel, or rail partner.

I want to mention all the transfer partners, but i’ll mention the best posts I have on each program first.

I’ve got 4 complete guide posts:

I’ve also got 3 “Best Use” posts for you:

And here’s a few other good reads:

And the last forgettable partner is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

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Deals: Daily Getaways, $20 off Visa Gift Cards, Stockholm for $300, and

Daily Getaways is easily the most over hyped sale of the year, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to go after something. Just most people’s “something” is the Hyatt points. But there are a few other deals around the web I want to quick go over.

  • Daily Getaways: 5,000 IHG points for $28
  • Daily Getaways: Choice points for $.004 a point
  • Stockholm for $300 roundtrip
  • $10 off $200 gift cards at Office Max / Office Depot
  • Reminder that the Club Carlson promos, and IHG set your sights are ending

Also, I should mention that those who follow Travel is Free on Facebook and saw the $400 roundtrip to China in Business Class, congrats to those who got on it. It went real quick! OMAT had a good post about it here, including visa info. Last time I got a Chinese visa it was done in person in Houston, but this time I won’t be near an embassy. My first passport service?

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