Our Dream Vacation Canceled …. (For Now)

As I was on hold with Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Center, to the tune of U2’s It’s a Beautiful Day, I just can’t help to think it was not a beautiful day, at all. Last Friday, we were forced to cancel our family trip to the Seychelles.  A dream trip I have planned for the past year.   My daughter woke up a day before our scheduled departure on American Airlines, with a fever, and of course alarm bells went off.  My wife was concerned, as we were transiting through Abu Dhabi, and if the body thermal scanners caught this, we would surely be pulled aside and given a free two week un-wanted lodging stay.  Either way, a serious trip interruption, that outweighed any benefits at the moment.

I didn’t purchase trip insurance for this trip, so I was banking on cancellations with full refunds.  The sucky part about this whole ordeal, like any award reservation trip, is it’s a puzzle made of different pieces. I had to work on each puzzle one by one…but, not impossible.

In my case, I had air, and hotels, but they were all from different programs.  Here’s the end results of my extensive long refund phone calls.

American Airlines AAdvantage:

We had booked 4 tickets using American Airlines AAdvantage miles to the tune of 75,000 miles per passenger in business class from Portland (PDX) to Mahe, Seychelles with a layover in Abu Dhabi (AUH).  Our routing was PDX-PHX-ORD-AUH-SEZ, and the return was a layover in Doha on Qatar Airways. That routing was SEZ-DOH-DFW-PDX, where we were destined to enjoy one of the best business class cabins out there right now – Q- Suites.  I guess that’s not going to happen.  We got lucky as the agent waived all the fees, and redeposited the miles back onto the account, without penalty.  That’s a savings of $150 per passenger for the redeposit fees. Total hold time for this call, 2.5 hrs.

Chase Ultimate Rewards:

For our long layover in Abu Dhabi, I had opted for a night stay at the Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Airport Hotel.  I used Ultimate Rewards to stay here, and after calling the Travel Center help desk, and being on hold for roughly 1 hour while they conversed back and forth with the hotel in Abu Dhabi, only to tell me they put in a ticket for a refund.  Not sure what that means, but I am assuming I will have to call back just to follow-up.  Total phone time spent on this one : 55 min.


Hilton Honors:

We booked a 7 night stay using our Diamond benefits at the Hilton LaBriz Seychelles Resort and Spa.  Our cut-off date to refund/cancel was past, so I had to contact the hotel directly and talk to their manager.  Having done so, the only option given to me was to reschedule at a later date without penalty, but I am unable to do that right now.  I figured why not call them in early in the morning on my way to work. I decided to call the Diamond desk line, which showed up on my Hilton app, and the nice lady there was able to assist me in forcefully canceling the reservation and giving me back my points, with one caveat ; I may be charged for one nights stay.  She did however contest that. and wrote a ticket to their reservations team, to see if they can waive that.  She said the process can take up to 72 hrs for a response.  Total phone time spent 45 min.

UPDATE: did NOT get charged for the one nights stay.


I used a ton of points acquired from my Barclays Arrrivals+ World MasterCards, to offset a travel expense for Expedia, in which I used to book The CoCo de Mer Hotel and Suites on Praslin Island, Seychelles.  This was to be my second hop on Seychelles, and we were going to rent a car and visit the various beaches such as Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette.  Initially I was offered only 50% of my total expense for the reservation, and that was A LOT still.  My wife contacted Expedia directly, and they worked it out with the hotel and refunded ALL my money back to my Arrivals+ card.  Whew! This one was a big one, and I’m glad it was resolved.  Would’ve been a huge Debbie Downer, if I didn’t get all my money back from this.  Total time on the phone ..3.5 hrs.

US Bank Flexperks:

We used about 45,000 Flexperks to book 4 intra-island flights from Mahe, to Praslin in the Seychelles on Air Seychelles.   I booked it through their travel center, and these guys so far have been the hardest to get refunded, as they keep giving me the run around.  These flights aren’t until the 20th, so I will wait a few more days to attempt calling them.  We were on hold with them for over 4 hours, to talk to someone, only for them to tell us to call or contact Air Seychelles.  I emailed Air Seychelles under their guidance, and they replied back with instructing me to ‘contact the travel agent who did the booking’, as they couldn’t refund it. I will of course follow up with this one, as soon as the stampedes are over in the coming days.

At The End of the Day….

It’s been a mess all around for everyone and I’m glad we didn’t end up going because, honestly it would’ve been a headache worrying about everything that’s going on.  Half the fun of traveling on points is enjoying the journey to the destination, and that pretty much has fizzled out with this virus fiasco.  Im just very happy the programs all were flexible with refunds and coming through for their customers. I will wait until the smoke clears and reschedule our family trip for a later date. I’ve done all the research for the destination, so that will make things even easier when I do schedule it again.  Heck, my buddy Ivan Acosta, even hooked me up with some Seychellian Rupees to help me out upon arrival there. For now, the bag stays put, the passports back in the drawer, and the camera turns off….. Did any of you cancel your plans? What are your future travel plans now?



60,000 American Airlines Offer Expiring Soon – ACT FAST!

One of the best American Airlines offer is soon to expire. The offer has been around for some time, but is due to expire on Halloween. This offer below however waives the annual fee the first year. It’s not the standard offer, they usually offer. I know, a scary notion no doubt.  However, if you are on the fence about getting this American Airlines 60,000 miles offer, I would jump off the fence and get it before its gone.  No telling when it will return.  The Barclays Aviator AAdvantage MasterCard is offering a whopping 60,000 miles after your 1st purchase. There is NO minimum spend requirement AND the annual fee is waived for the first year. That’s enough miles for a couple round trip coast to coast flights, or premium cabin redemptions, for domestic travel. I personally save these miles for premium cabin international travel, which can used on their partners, such as Qatar or  Etihad, or any OneWorld partners.

The card has some nice perks, which include priority boarding on American Airlines flights (not code-share partners). First bag free, for up to 4 people, and some new perks such as a $25 credit on inflight WiFi purchases, and an anniversary companion certificate for 1 guest at $99 + taxes. Its also a MasterCard, which gives you $10 monthy credit to use at Lyft.

Application Link Annual fee Waived First Year

Application Link – Standard Offer with $99 annual fee

I had this card last year, so I wont be reapplying for it this time around.  I will however, get this for my wife, who has not had this card. As a family of 4, we need 2-player mode to accrue lots of miles for premium cabins.  Are you going to get this card? If so, what are your travel goals for the miles?  Happy Travels!


The Lufthansa 50,000 Miles&More offer is back!! (Expired)

Some time ago, Barclaycards released the Lufthansa Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard®. Well, great news! It’s back for another session. You can now get up to 50,000 miles 35,000 miles for spending a mere $5,000 within the first 3 months. This card has a lot of value in my opinion, because you can redeem them for TWO Round Trip tickets on United Airlines domestically.  However, you can also use the miles to fly to Europe on Lufthansa, or any Star Alliance carriers for a mere 50,000 miles ROUND-TRIP! Just look at the map below and you can get an idea of how much it costs to go where with these miles. If you do not have a Miles&More account, open one up for FREE .

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Cardholders receive a companion ticket after first use of the account and annually after each account anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance member airlines and other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee.

There’s some hidden beauty in this deal because I get a lot of questions from friends on how to get free airfare to Hawaii. Well, this could very well give you airfare to Hawaii for $79 (annual fee charge). I think that’s pretty darn good.

Secondly, Miles&More members get better availability for award seats on Lufthansa, than it’s partners like United. You can easily redeem your miles for an award ticket to Europe without the headaches of trying to redeem United miles to fly Lufthansa or Austrian Airlines to Europe.

Sometimes, they offer Mileage Bargain redemptions, which reduces the cost of award travel to 30,000 miles for coach travel to Europe and 55,000 miles in business class, round-trip to Europe. I think that’s another great feature of having the card.


The Lufthansa Miles&More Mastercard is great travel rewards card to get, if you want two free domestic tickets.  The value in redeeming 50,000 miles covers the cost of the annual-fee no problem.  There are great reward options to be had, such as round trip to Europe for 50,000 miles. The miles can be easily redeemed for flights on Lufthansa and other Star Alliance carriers.



TWO ways to get to Hawaii for FREE

There are a couple of great credit card offers out there that you will want to consider.  The first is the US BANK Avianca Airlines LifeMiles Signature VISA Card.  This nets you 40,000 LifeMiles, after spending $3,000 within the first 4 months.  If you are not familiar with Avianca, it is a Colombian based airline, which is part of StarAlliance. This means, the miles can be used to book flights on United Airlines, and the many other StarAlliance carriers.  So what does 40,000 miles on Avianca get you? If you your origin is North America, then you can score

  • Hawaii  (40,000 miles)
  • Mexico  (35,000 miles)
  • Caribbean  (35,000 miles)
  • Domestic U.S. (25,000 miles)

These mileage rates are based on a round-trip award ticket.  The sucky part of LifeMiles, is they charge you $25.00 to book the award ticket, whether you call them, or do it online. They also charge $150 to change an award ticket, so be sure you are set on your dates and plans.  The cool thing about Avianca is they do NOT have fuel surcharges on partners, meaning if you fly United, you won’t get dinged with fuel surcharges on the award ticket  Another plus is the website is pretty easy to navigate, and find flights.  Below is the link for the US Bank application page. No annual fee the first year, $75 thereafter. Be aware, this offer ends April 28th, so apply soon!!

The Avianca LifeMiles Visa Signature Card®





The second great credit offer on the block is the new Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard from Barclays.  This is nice, because many people who had the previous card, offered from Bank of America , can also get this one, since this is a completely different card.  This card does have an annual fee of $89, but you get some pretty good perks with the card. There are no foreign transactions fees, and if you use the card to buy your tickets on Hawaiian Airlines, your first bag is checked free. Pretty standard these days, but nonetheless, a nice touch.  You also get a 50% coach companion ticket, but not sure if that applies for all fares or just the flex full coach fares.  So what does 35,000 miles get you on Hawaiian Airlines?

  • Hawaii (20,000 – 30,000 miles) or 40,000 miles for first class
  • You can redeem the miles on partner airlines (see list here)

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®



(expired) Lufthansa 50,000 miles offer is back!!!!

Barclays is once again offering the Lufthansa Miles&More Mastercard® with a 50,000 miles sign-up bonus! They had this offer earlier in the year, and it was very popular, as the normal offer is only 20,000 miles.  However, with 50,000 Lufthansa miles, you can fly on United or US Airways to anywhere in the U.S. Of course if you have Lufthansa miles, this will only help you get closer to that first class seat with them, as currently, they only offer those to their members of their own program.  You can also use those miles to fly round trip to Europe, on Lufthansa, or any of it’s Star Alliance partners.  The card itself is a great card with excellent benefits (see below).  Remember, you can redeem these miles on United Airlines and US Airways for domestic travel. Click on the link below for more info and to apply.

















US Airways Leaving Star Alliance ; Joining OneWorld

Since US Airways and American Airlines have merged, it made sense for US Airways to join OneWorld, as no way would American Airlines leave OneWorld and join Star Alliance.  I’m not sure if this is good or bad right now, but in terms of miles, it could be a positive situation for us. The plan is that US Airways will have officially joined OneWorld by the start of 2014, which is not too far from now.

When United and Continental became one last year, we saw both mileage accounts merge eventually, and If history serves me right, we will see our US Airways Dividend Miles merge with any American Airlines AAdvantage miles we may have, thus creating a super pot of miles (if you have a lot in both of them), which could be redeemed for some superior trips in first or business class in any of the OneWorld carriers.  I recommend getting the US Airways MasterCard while you can, since they will end their relationship with Barclays.  Eventually, I am sure we will see a new card under the new merged airline.  The sucky part is they are leaving Star Alliance, which includes Thai Airways and Lufthansa, which have a great business class product on their A380 fleet. The cool part is, they are joining OneWorld, which has Malaysia Airlines, and they have a pretty cool First class product on their A380’s.  My favorite destination is Kuala Lumpur, so I am welcoming this move.  I also have racked up over 180,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles, and I have over 250,000 US Airways Dividend Miles, which brings my total to a whopping 400,000+ miles.  I even have time to accrue more, as I will apply for another Citibank AAdvantage MasterCard in my next upcoming churn. Hopefully, I will have enough miles to fly a family of 4 in business class to KL, so my daughters can swim with the fishes in Pulau Redang.

So now your asking: What should I do Oz? Well, the plan is simple ; rack up as many US Airways and American Airlines miles as you possibly can between now and the end of the year. Like most of my readers, you have no status, and you are an infrequent flier, so getting miles with credit card sign-ups is your best option.

So there you have it – some lucrative ways to rack up some major miles before the merger and even after the merger!! More than enough for a ticket to anywhere in the world- for FREE!


(EXPIRED) Lufthansa Miles & More 50,000 bonus miles!!

Lufthansa has finally joined the band wagon of offering 50,000 bonus award miles on their Miles & More World Mastercard by Barclays.  This is actually a great offer and let me tell you why.

First, this equals two round trip tickets on United Airlines and US Airways, which the miles can be redeemed for.  United Airlines & USAIR are Star Alliance members, and Lufthansa is in the brotherhood.  Secondly, there are NO FUEL surcharges when redeeming for domestic tickets. Third, this card is offered by Barclays bank, which pulls from Trans-Union, and if you have little inquiries from them, this will help you get approved.  I do recommend a high credit score though, to receive this, however, you can still get the full 50,000 miles even if you are approved for the lesser platinum card, instead of the World MasterCard. In the past, Barclays use to screw you over by giving you the lesser card AND the lesser bonus, but not this time!

Okay, here are the details to get this 50,000 bonus miles.  You need to spend $5,000 within 3 months (very much possible and I can show you how).  You earn 20,000 miles after your FIRST purchase (can be anything….even a Twix bar at Fred Meyer or something)……….and you get the remaining 30,000 miles after spending $5,000 total in 3 months.  There is a $79 annual- fee but you are getting basically TWO FREE round-trip flights, so this really pays for itself and then some.  50,000 miles on Lufthansa will get you a head start in redeeming for those hard to get first class seats on Lufthansa and Swiss Air, which are not available to partner airlines anymore.  However, there are fuel surcharges when redeeming for international flights, so keep that in mind if that is your goal. Budget your trip(s) accordingly.  If you have questions, please comment or email me and I will be glad to help you out!!  I am personally getting this, as I do see value in it.  It gives me greater flexibility for redeeming flights on United Airlines, as I have already gotten the United Mileage PLUS VISA card, which gave me 50,0000 miles.  Holiday travel is expensive, and these miles will come in handy!!  You may use the link below, or click on the image above.


  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase
  • Earn up to an additional 15,000 award miles when you when you complete an initial balance transfer
  • Cardholders receive a companion ticket annually
  • Enjoy 2 award miles per $1 on Miles & More integrated airline ticket purchases and 1 award mile per $1 spent everywhere else
  • No mileage expiration with monthly qualifying purchases
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months after account opening, after that a variable APR currently 15.99% to 24.99% depending upon your creditworthiness
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard®


Barclaycard Arrival+ World Elite Mastercard 40,000 points / $89 Annual Fee waived for 1st Year / 2x Miles on all purchases / No Foreign Txn fee / 0% Apr for 12months

Barclays has come out with a new offer for their World Mastercard. It is a great offer and I urge you to jump on it, as its basically a $400 airline ticket, hotel, or cruise fare, and it’s good anytime. Annual Fee Waived the first year!!!


  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • Book the travel you want – airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers

Barclays NFL Card $400 Cash Back after $2500 Spend (EXPIRED)

UPDATE: This deal has EXPIRED!!!

Barclay’s is back with another NFL Signature VISA card offer.  When it first surfaced, it was 40,000 points after a mere $1000 spend.  This time, the bonus is 40,000 points after spending $2500 within 90 days of activation.  I actually got this card last year when they were running the promo after the super bowl. However, the bonus was only 20,000 points after spending $1000.  This was basically a $200 statement credit. I just canceled it, but I will re-apply if the offer is available in 30 days.  I just completed a quarterly churn in December, so I need to wait. I purchased something at Amazon for $200, and charged it to my card, and when the purchase posted, I used the bonus points to pay for it = FREE.  In this new offer, you get $400!!  One reader suggested purchasing a $400 e-certificate for United Airlines, or $400 to put in your Alaska Airlines E-wallet, for future purchases on airline tickets. You can use this for almost anything though, and doesn’t have to be travel related. If your credit is good to excellent, you will be approved almost instantly, as most readers are reporting. If you are due for a churn, or looking to add a Barclays card to your portfolio, I think this should be it. For Oregon, they pull out of TransUnion credit bureau. Basically, this is FREE MONEY!! How ya gonna beat that? Questions? Email me or post a comment.  Good Luck!

  • 40,000 points after spending $2500 in 3 mths
  • No Annual Fee
  • $400 statement credit can be used for any purchases

LINK: http://www.nflextrapoints.com/nfl-credit-card/


The Black Card – Only for the Privileged?

One of the most fascinating credit cards I have seen is this infamous Black Card VISA issued by Barclays Bank.  This is supposed to be an exclusive card, given to a ‘select’ group of people, who qualify. I’m not sure what the qualifications are, but with a $495 annual fee, there better be some Ritz crackers with brie with the offer.  I have seen different offers for this card throughout the years, but today’s offer seemed interesting.  If you spend $1,500 within 90 days, you get 25,000 points.  Hardly a carrot to dangle over credit card churners, but apparently it is enough for a $500 airline ticket, according to them.  One of the other exclusive perks is luxury gifts.  Although not knowing what kind of gifts you get for card membership, I doubt it’s going to be a Rolex watch or something. The only perk worthwhile that I see is unlimited VIP Airport lounge visits.  Other cards also offer this such as the American Express Platinum card, or the Delta Reserve American Express, but this one is a VISA card, which has more acceptance worldwide.  Will I be getting this card anytime soon? Probably not.  When I stop clipping coupons for paper towels, and buying my shoes at regular prices at Nordstroms, then I will consider getting this card…..but for now, I thought I share this mysterious credit card with y’all, which has sort of a James Bond appeal to it…….Have any of you considered getting this card? Do share your thoughts……