AMAZING Chase Freedom Unlimited Bonus — Up To 3x Points On All Purchases

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I’ve written in the past about the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which is one of the cards I use most for everyday spend. The card earns 1.5x points per dollar spent, and each point can be redeemed for a penny, so it essentially offers a return of 1.5%. If that’s how you’re using the card then there are better options, like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back on every purchase, plus an additional 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases.

So this isn’t a card I really recommend using independently, as there are other cards that will get you a better return.

But there’s a way to unlock more value from the Chase Freedom Unlimited. If you have the card in conjunction with a card that accrues Ultimate Rewards points — specifically, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card — then you can convert the points earned on the Freedom Unlimited into Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. This can easily be done online for free, and it’s an instant process.

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Austrian Airlines Introduces A New Livery

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In early February Lufthansa revealed their new brand design, which is their first major redesign in about 30 years. With this brand design, dark blue becomes the leading brand color, and yellow accentuates, while previously Lufthansa had a lot more yellow in their branding. As part of this redesign they introduced a new livery, which wasn’t very popular with most. Actually, after introducing the livery they realized it didn’t look quite the way they were expecting, and they’ve made the decision to modify it.

Lufthansa Group is the parent company not just of Lufthansa, but also of Austrian and Swiss. It looks like another one of those airlines is getting a makeover. Austrian Airlines announced a rebranding today, which they say offers “adaptions to fulfill demands of the digital world.” 

While this is part of a larger rebranding, perhaps the most visible change will be to the livery. The first aircraft featuring the new livery, a new Boeing 777 with registration OE-LPF, will be in service as of May 2018. Austrian says it will take about seven years until all Austrian planes have the new livery, which is quite a while. 

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“Filthadelphia” — American Is Unhappy With The Cleanliness Of Their PHL Hub

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Well there’s a headline!

I haven’t travelled through Philadelphia myself yet, and this week’s news means I won’t plan to anytime soon. American Airlines operates a fortress hub at PHL airport in Pennsylvania, which they inherited from US Airways. They operate around 75% of the flights to and from this airport.

PHL has consistently ranked as one of the worst airports in the US, scoring a dismal 3/10 on airlinequality.com.

Given they are by far the airport’s biggest tenant, it’s fair that American should have a say in how the airport is maintained.

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Hilton Is Offering A 100% Bonus On Purchased Points

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Hilton Honors has just announced their latest bonus on purchased points, which is valid through June 7, 2018. While you need to log into your account to see the offer, it appears as if all members are targeted for the same offer, for a 100% bonus when you buy at least 5,000 points in one transaction.

The cost to purchase points with Hilton is ordinarily one cent per point (including tax), meaning that through this promotion you’d pay just 0.5 cents per point.

You can purchase a maximum of 80,000 Honors points before any bonuses per account per calendar year, meaning you can max out the promotion by buying a total of 160,000 points (including the bonus) for $800.

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Weekly Review: April 21, 2018

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Hello from the Seychelles! Ford and I have been here for almost a week, and have had an incredible, relaxing time. I’ll have more on our stay here soon, but it has exceeded my expectations in so many ways.

On the points and travel front, this has been a huge week, as we finally learned the details of Marriott’s new loyalty program, coming in August. On top of that we’ve seen all kinds of opportunities to purchase hotel points at a discount, learned about Icelandair’s interest in acquiring Azores Airlines, Air Canada revealed their new Signature Service in business class, and much more.

With that out of the way, here’s a recap of this week on the blog:

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Putting Things Into Perspective: My Visit To A Turkish Police Station

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I recently wrote about my unfortunate stopover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Many of you commented about the part where my phone was taken from me, and where I fortunately got it straight back. Reader Michael commented that this experience must have soured the entire country for me:

“Its sad that some may persive your comment as negative review and miss out on unique experience. Hope you will visit Ethiopia properly and give your comment.”

But that made me think of a time when my mobile phone was actually stolen while travelling, and I didn’t get it back. It was an interesting story that led me to actually like a city more, not less.

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Why Marriott’s New Loyalty Program May Make Me Less Loyal

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At the beginning of the week we learned the details of Marriott’s new loyalty program, which will be introduced this summer. The new program is getting a mixed response. Personally I feared the worst prior to the news, so I’m pleasantly surprised by the program. Am I happy that Marriott is taking over “my” Starwood? Nope. But at the same time, I think the new program could have been significantly worse, so I’m happier than I was expecting to be, I guess.

I’ve spent the past few days pondering the impact this new program will have on me, and figured I’d share where I’m at on things.

SPG is my favorite hotel loyalty program, and I’ve been a loyal Platinum member for eight years. For the past three years I’ve had an SPG Ambassador, meaning that I’ve earned 100+ elite qualifying nights per year (I earn 10 elite qualifying nights per year by having both the personal and business SPG Amex, so that translates to at least 90 “actual” nights per year).

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35% Off SPG Points (Or American Miles For 1.46¢ Each)

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Similar to the promotion we saw last month, Starwood is offering a 35% discount on purchased Starpoints when you buy at least 5,000 points in one transaction through May 31, 2018.

Starwood ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased Starpoint. If you max out this promotion you can buy up to 30,000 Starpoints (which is the maximum number of points you can buy per calendar year) at a cost of $682.50, which is a rate of 2.275 cents per Starpoint.

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Korean Air Heiresses Accused Of Illegally Smuggling Goods Into Korea

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Two Korean Air heiresses who have been in the news the past few years for their bad tempers are now being investigated for something else.

Most of you probably remember the viral 2014 incident in which Heather Cho went berserk after a flight attendant served her nuts in a bag rather than in a ramekin. She was flying first class from New York to Seoul Incheon, and demanded that the flight attendants get on their knees to apologize, that the plane be turned around, and that the flight attendant who served her incorrectly be offloaded.

She ended up being sentenced to one year in jail for obstructing aviation safety, though she was released after three months. As you’d expect, she was fired from the airline, though her sister took on many of her former roles, and promised to avenge her. Now Heather Cho is making a return to her dad’s company, though she’ll be managing the company’s portfolio of hotels, rather than the airline.

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Chase Ink Cash: Is It Better Than The Ink Preferred?

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When you’re just getting into to miles and points, one of the first things you check when looking at a new card is the sign-up bonus. I mean, who wouldn’t? If you’re going to give a new card a try, a little (or big) incentive can go a long way.

When deciding on a business card that can help earn Ultimate Rewards points, we can either get the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. The latter is has been extremely popular thanks to a sign-up that has been sitting at 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points for quite some time.

Let’s be honest, I would have jumped at the opportunity to get it if weren’t for the pesky Chase 5/24 rule. That being said, I have often wondered whether the Chase Ink Cash might be a better card for those who already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

When we consider the earning ability of the Ink Cash, I think many of you will find it provides a better return on our spend.

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