Monthly Archives: August 2014 - Page 2

The OTR Flow Chart to Guide You to the Best Everyday Credit Card for You

One of the questions I get most is about what credit card someone should get as their everyday spending card. This is a separate question from churning – if you churn, you’re going to need to put some spend on those cards to hit minimums. This is about what card you should use when you’re not hitting minimum spends (or if you’re not a churner).

It pains me when I see people using the Marriott credit card or the American Airlines credit card because there are better ways to maximize rewards (or cash) from your everyday spend.

Also, if you’re someone who likes to use 7 different cards to maximize your spend for every category, this is not for you – by all means, use those cards.

But for 85% of the world, this chart (which I’m excited about since I’ve been playing with a moderately fun flow chart program) should answer all your questions. I look forward to everyone telling me how wrong the chart is.

(Click the image to see more detail)

Choose Your Everyday Credit Card

Rats on a Plane….

This is an odd one:

A report came out of India saying that an Air India plane was grounded after it landed in Delhi following a flight from Kolkata. The reason? Dozens and dozens of rats were supposedly found on board.

(I was going to make a comment about Air India mistakenly joining Rats Alliance instead of Star Alliance because everything they do is ass backwards).

Supposedly they had to exterminate the plane because rats could chew through electrical wires. Also because flying around with 100 rats is revolting.

However, a spokesperson – whom I don’t believe for a single second – said only one rat was seen on the airplane (which is like infinity rats too many, if you ask me).

How to Book Award Tickets on GOL Airlines

I’m heading down to Sao Paulo next week, and for I’m-not-sure-what-reason I decided I wanted to spend a night in Asuncion, Paraguay, since I how often do I have the opportunity to go to Asuncion? (Answer: Once).

The most obvious way to accomplish this would have been to use 15,000 Avios miles and fly roundtrip on TAM, which has 2 flights a day between the cities. But the times of those flights didn’t work for me (I’m not sure a 3:50am flight from Asuncion works for anyone).

But GOL had mid-day flights that worked for the times I needed, so I went about looking to use miles for a seat instead of spending the actually-kinda-reasonable $270 for the flight.

GOL, a South American low fare (or “low fare”) airline, is a partner of both Delta and Air France, so I had a couple of options. Delta charges 25,000 miles roundtrip for flights within Southern South America, while Air France charges 30,000 miles for the same trip. Neither adds additional fuel surcharges, while (at least for the rest of 2014) Delta will only allow you to book a roundtrip award ticket, Air France will allow you to reserve a one-way award ticket, allowing me some flexibility if I wanted to take that 3:50am flight on TAM.

The easiest way to check award availability for GOL is to use the under-appreciated (and free!) Flightstats.com. Here’s how:

– You’ll need to create a free account with flightstats.com.

– Go to this page on flightstats.com and enter your cities and dates you’d like to fly.

– You’ll see results that look something like this:

gol2

– GOL books award space (they only offer Coach) into the X fare class. I’ve put an arrow next to where it says X/4, meaning there are at a minimum 4 X class seats available for award booking.

(Flightstats offers free award availability checking on a host of airlines, and View from the Wing has an older post outlining the award seat fare classes for lots of airlines here.)

Now you can just go and call Delta or Air France to book that space.

Unfortunately in my case, once I added in the $80 in taxes plus the $25 phone fee for Delta, it wasn’t worth 25,000 miles plus $105 to use miles (though one could argue what I’m going to do with my Delta miles, so why not just use them here?). I thought about using roughly 21,000 Ultimate Rewards points using their book with points option where you get 1.25 cents per point, but GOL does not show up in their airfare search (also it’s probably not a great use of those miles).

I did use my airfare credit I got with the Wells Fargo Amex Propel card. You can book on GOL through their booking portal, and I used 27,000 of the 40,000 bonus points I got with that card. I know that people have been saying they get roughly 1.5 cents per point when redeeming those points for airfare, but it showed me 1 cent per point when booking this flight.

Aer Lingus to Add DFW, Introduces New Business Class Product

Aer Lingus is likely to add Dallas to its growing North American route network next summer, following success in its new Toronto and San Francisco markets.

At the same time, they’ve announced that they’ll be outfitting their A330 aircraft with new business class cabins, featuring lie-flat beds, free wi-fi, and 16″ video screens. You can see the details here.

The new seats are similar to those that JetBlue has installed for its Mint service.

aerlingus

This will make Aer Lingus a decent option to Europe, as they’re pretty reasonably priced using Avios, and on the way home you can pre-clear customs in Ireland (though with Global Entry, that matters a lot less these days).

What the Hell? Eastern Air Lines Is Coming Back?

How did we miss this? Eastern Air Lines is coming back. Or at least some people have bought the rights to the name and for God knows what reason are looking to revive an airline that was, at least in its last years, reviled. What could go wrong?

Did you know they signed an order for 10 737-800s? I didn’t either. And 10 737 MAX aircraft. Who knew?

I noticed all of this today because they announced that the owner of the Florida Panthers has invested some of his hard-earned dollars in this.

They’ve announced nothing about the business, other than they’re based down in Florida and they sponsored Miami Fashion Week, which suggests that they’ll be based down there.

They’re hiring, so if you’re a pilot, HR specialist, or a manager of charter operations, they’d like to hear from you.

American Airlines Moves Some Sao Paulo Flights to Viracopos Airport

American Airlines said today that on December 2nd they’ll move 1 daily flight from Miami to Sao Paulo (GRU) to land, instead, at Viracopos Airport (VCP), about 60 miles outside the city. They’ll also move 3 weekly JFK flights to Viracopos.

VCP flights will be served with 767-300s with lie-flat seats up front, while all GRU flights will be on 777-300ERs outfitted with new cabins.

In October, AA will drop US Airways service to GRU from Charlotte in October and shift those passengers to fly to GRU via Miami.

(Got all that?)

VCP is useful for those connecting to secondary cities in Brazil on Azul, which has its main hub at Azul.