Travel

9 Reasons I’m Still A Happy AAdvantage Executive Platinum Member

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There’s no denying that over the past few years I’ve become significantly less loyal to American Airlines. I continue to requalify for Executive Platinum status with American, but I’m not a fanboy of the program in the same way as before. This came after American made all kinds of negative changes, from adding a revenue requirement for status, to awarding miles based on how much you spend, to reducing Executive Platinum benefits, to devaluing their award chart, to greatly decreasing award and upgrade availability. The amount of value they’ve taken out of the program is significant. In fairness, that’s the general industry trend, so American isn’t alone in that regard.

I used to think they had the best frequent flyer program out there, but now I think it’s mostly average, and I just happen to fly them. Last year I completed a Delta status challenge, and I currently have Platinum status with them. While I think Delta’s domestic flying experience is superior to American’s, flying on both airlines has once again made me like American’s frequent flyer program more.

Again, I don’t think American is a better airline, but when flying SkyTeam there are some areas where I say “boy, American AAdvantage really is better in that way.” These aren’t necessarily all specific benefits of the frequent flyer program, but rather things I appreciate in conjunction with the frequent flyer program.

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Is The End Finally Here For Baltia, America’s Oldest Imaginary Airline?

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Could America’s oldest “startup airline” finally be coming to an end? It looks like it.

For those of you not familiar with Baltia & USGlobal Airways, I’ve been writing about them for years. They’ve been taking money from investors for about 30 years, though they’ve never operated a commercial flight, despite the fact that they had a 747-200 for over 20 years (which they finally dumped in 2016, after hiring a consultant who told them it might not be the ideal plane with which to launch an airline).

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Is The Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card Worth It?

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The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is one of Amex’s more well rounded travel rewards credit cards. View from the Wing suggests that this is “the most underappreciated credit card in America,” that it’s in the top 15% of cards out there, and that it isn’t talked about a lot.

I agree it’s not talked about a lot, and I suspect it’s also in the top 15% of credit cards (probably even better than that, because there are a lot of really bad credit cards out there), but is the card really underappreciated? I have a slightly different take than Gary.

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8 Reasons To Get The British Airways Credit Card

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At the moment the $95 annual fee British Airways Visa Signature® Card is offering an increased welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios, which a lot of people should be eligible for. In this post I wanted to look at why it could make a lot of sense to apply for this card, assuming you don’t already have it:

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card is offering a welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Avios upon completing minimum spend, as follows:

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Is It Crazy To Bring Your Own Portable Fan On A Plane?

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While airlines go great lengths to try and differentiate their premium products, sometimes they miss the boat in very simple ways. For example, one of the things I always comment on, and which has a big impact on my comfort on a flight, is individual air nozzles. Being able to sleep at a comfortable temperature with proper airflow probably impacts my comfort on a flight more than good bedding.

Yet somehow a lot of airlines choose not to install these, which I find to be frustrating. It’s especially problematic on airlines that have a tendency to keep their cabins especially warm, as I frequently wake up on some airlines drenched in sweat.

This brings me to the concept of bringing a portable USB fan onto a flight. It’s something people have recommended to me before, but that I’ve never seriously looked at, for whatever reason. A Twitter user just mentioned this once again, and I figured it makes sense for me to finally test one of these out, and report back.

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Lufthansa Interested In Norwegian Takeover As Well

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In mid-April IAG (the parent company of British Airways) acquired a 4.61% ownership stake in Norwegian. This seemed to come out of left field, as there weren’t really rumors of this leading up to the announcement. IAG also expressed interest in the possibility of a full takeover of Norwegian.

Long term this move isn’t surprising — Norwegian is trying to grow but is losing money, while British Airways is profitable and views Norwegian as their biggest competitor. It’s only natural that they’d love to eliminate their biggest competitor. While British Airways has been claiming they don’t need Norwegian, they’ve made at least two takeover attempts, with more on the horizon.

At this point it seems like a given that Norwegian will be taken over, it’s just a question of how much it’ll cost. As it turns out, though, it looks like it’s not just British Airways that’s interested in Norwegian anymore.

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Best Ways To Use Amex Membership Rewards Points To Fly To Europe [2018]

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Next up in our series on the best ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points by region is Europe. Without a doubt, it’s one of the regions we’re asked about most frequently, and there are a ton of opportunities to use miles for these transatlantic flights.

If you have Membership Rewards points, your best options will often be with region-based programs (meaning you can fly from anywhere in North America, to anywhere in Europe, with connections allowed, for the same price) but there are a few times when a couple distance-based programs (where the price is determined by the actual miles flown) can really come in handy. We’ll be discussing both so you don’t miss a great opportunity to use your points.

We’ll also look at options to book with Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance partners as well as a couple programs with individual partnerships.

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The Clock Is Ticking On Increased Hilton Amex Offers

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Since mid-May, American Express has been offering increased welcome bonuses on their co-branded Hilton credit cards. We have just over a week remaining before these offers are pulled, so if you’re interested you’ll want to act soon. In this post I wanted to recap the basics of these offers, for anyone who is considering one (or multiple) of these cards.

The following cards are offering limited time increased welcome bonuses through June 27, 2018:

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Redeem Just 44,000 Miles For Transatlantic Business Class On Royal Air Maroc

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Earlier Spencer wrote a post about the best ways to redeem Amex Membership Rewards points for travel to Europe, which I think is a great resource. Obviously he covered as many things as he possibly could, though it’s impossible to share every possible redemption without being totally overwhelming. In the comments section of the post, reader Sam mentions one redemption option that it’s probably worth posting a refresher about.

Back in early 2015 I wrote about the great value of redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Royal Air Maroc. It has been over three years, and this redemption opportunity is still available. Given that other programs have devalued their award charts since then, I think it’s once again worth posting a reminder of how useful this can be.

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Etihad Posts $1.5 Billion Loss, Considers Cancelling 777X Orders

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Last week Ben wrote about the sad decline of Etihad Airways. This exact topic has been on my list of topics to write about since Day 1 of joining the team, but I couldn’t have said it better myself. When they released their A380 product and their new ‘Flying Reimagined’ marketing campaign, they were absolute game changers.

Now, I know they are still around but have no real desire to fly them again, especially when I can chase products like QSuites.

I would be amazed if Etihad does not eventually merge with Emirates.

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