A slightly crazy idea of how to get back from Vietnam after your Cathay Error Fare jackpot win.

So it happened – the deal of a lifetime became a reality. I expect many people booked as quickly as possible without a whole lot of research into how the are going to get to Vietnam for the outward leg and home from Vietnam on the return. As I mentioned I didn’t participate in this one but it could have played nicely into one of my goals for this year which is the take the Singapore Airlines longest flight for no other reason than I’m an avgeek.

Here’s an idea for you which may just work if you’re US based and mad enough and want to spend a few days jetting around the world eating and drinking in first and business class cabins and great lounges.

This idea works on the second leg. So make sure to credit the miles to Alaska if you are in first class on the outbound, you will receive enough miles for a JAL award later in the year as you can see in the chart above.

One of the great Alaska redemptions is the ability to travel from South East Asia to India via Tokyo in JAL Dreamliner business class for just 25k, an absolute steal. In this scenario we want to get to India to pick up a great Singapore Airlines fare back to New York.

Randomly enough Singapore offers great cash fares from Ahmedabad in India via Singapore to Newark on the highly publicized worlds longest flight. Fares between Delhi and Ahmedabad are very cheap and will position you to start the trip back to NYC.

Singapore Airlines have various dates available throughout the schedule currently from $1499, these have dropped as low $1200 and tend to fluctuate a bit. For the length of the flight it’s good value in business class and allows you travel on the worlds longest flight. It involves an A330 to Singapore and a pretty long layover, but so be it, it’s all part of the mission.

Before you know it you’re back in Newark after some serious hours in the air but why not consider it?? Three days ago you could only dream about traveling Cathay First why not tie in the worlds longest flight.

Amusingly you can credit Singapore to Alaska too. So between your Cathay accrual back to Vietnam and the Singapore accrual to New York, you’ll have enough Alaska miles for a rewards ticket back to Vietnam on Cathay Pacific……

Get ready to book!!! The Holiday Sales start now.

Travel planning is different for everybody some plan months if not years ahead, others are notorious for booking last minute often at higher prices and then you have the impulse buyers who can’t ignore a good fare and like a bit of adventure. Regardless of where you fall in those wildly different categorizations you need to pay attention to airfares over the next couple of months.

As the two main holidays of the year approach people tend to concentrate on both of them and allocate their travel funds accordingly. This is exactly why the airlines offer their best fares at the same time. Outside of Thanksgiving and Christmas/New year the lowest fares of the year are available all the way to May and even into the summer of 2019.

So if you are planning a trip to Europe or Asia next year now is the time to both look and book. If you follow sites such as Secret Flying you will see their findings coming in all day every day. If you have a destination in mind use Google Flights searches and see what days are cheap, you will be surprised. Another useful tool is the price tracker on Google Flights, this will give you email alerts when prices change on routes you like regardless of airline.

In the last week Frontier, Southwest and Alaska have been aggressively dropping fares in the US, while Virgin Atlantic and TAP are starting the show in Europe. We’ll likely see some sort of promotion from everybody in the run up to Christmas.

The morale of the story is whether you like booking way out or up close set your bucket list now and give the gift of travel this holiday season.

St. Patrick’s Day 2018 in NYC – earn Miles with every Guinness.

Love it or hate it, St. Patrick’s day is world famous and can be a lot of fun. The parade and parties in NYC are on a scale matched nowhere else. The parade runs along fifth avenue and there are literally hundreds of Irish bars in the city to enjoy before, during and after. Many of which allow you earn points through the Dining plans which many of the airlines are signed up to.

In Midtown, the heart of the action, you can find 12+ bars which will serve you cold Guinness and allow earn up to five miles a dollar. If you don’t already have a favorite hangout you may aswell try some of them and get your miles.

Follow the link below for the United scheme. But a quick google search will allow you collect Alaska, Delta, American and several more. Lots of which have decent sign on bonuses. Only one card can be used per scheme at a time. But on a day like St. Patrick’s you can pick up a few bonuses but attaching different cards to different airline accounts.

https://m.dining.mileageplus.com

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An added bonus this year is St. Patrick’s is on a Saturday and Ireland will be playing England for a rugby grand-slam in the morning. They have only ever won two before so this is a very big deal for a lot of rugby fans and celebrations are likely to get out of hand if the result goes the right way. The Pig n’ Whistle (#9) is a great spot to catch that action from 10.45 Est.

Below are the bars that will allow you earn those valuable miles. Enjoy and Happy St. Patrick’s day!!! Maybe use the miles to visit Dublin next year.

–          4.)  Long Room

–          5.) Foxy Johns

–          6.) Carraghers

–          7.) Stout grand Central

–          8.) Blaggards Pub

–          9.) Pig n Whistle

–          10.) John Sullivans

–          11.) jack Doyles

–          12.) Long Hall

– 13.) The Triple Crown

Earn American miles with Groupon


Just in time for the Christmas season Groupon and American have joined forces to allow you earn AA miles on everything you buy. New customers can earn 1,000 bonus miles with a first purchase and then 5 per dollar spent.

This is slightly better than the current deal in place with Alaska which offers 4 miles per dollar with the same bonus offer for new customers.

Use these extra miles towards your Dreamliner trip between Dallas and Chicago.

Get a free Alaska Airlines companion ticket for watching the San Francisco Giants this Sunday 


If you are in San Francisco next weekend there is a great way to earn a free flight by going to the baseball on Sunday afternoon. The Giants are playing the Diamondbacks at 4.05pm. Taking over from the Virgin America promotion of years gone by Alaska Airlines will offer a 2-1 voucher to the first 40,000 fans in the stadium.


Much like their companion pass that is offered with the Alaska credit card, this voucher will allow you book a second seat for a partner for just the cost of the taxes and fees once you have made a normal booking on one of their services.

The vouchers are valid until the end of February and exclude busy periods such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. You would need to book by September 20th to avail of the offer but if you plan to travel anywhere on their network this could be a great way to reduce costs.


To make things even better Alaska have a sale on right now with fares between San Francisco and New York as low as $129 each way. With reductions on many other routes too.

Using the above example of a round trip between SFO and EWR in October the cash fare is just $256 on some midweek flights. The taxes and fees on this flight are $44.31, so if you apply the voucher you would get two round trip transcon tickets for $300. This is pretty unbeatable and flying with Virgin America is a much nicer experience than some of their competitors.


Tickets to the game are currently pricing at $20 on StubHub with over 6,000 available. These will likely drop the closer it gets to the game. The Friday night tickets are now starting at $6.

I think this is a pretty sweet deal and the Giants ballpark is one of the cooler ones I’ve visited. Just be careful not to spend the flight savings on food and drinks while you are there!!

Cheap flights, Wine and Hundreds off your Phone bill with Virgin Mobile 


One thing that always seems to get more expensive year on year is the cost of using a mobile phone. Sure technology means we need more data and more expensive phones but the bills every month seem to just keep on growing. However there is a new entrant to the US market who’s opening offer is almost too good to be true.

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Virgin mobile have linked up with Apple to offer an outstanding introductory offer and with a pretty good deal once it runs out too. Once you buy an IPhone through their webpage or at an Apple Store and link your current number, you get a years service including unlimited calls, texts and data for a single US dollar. (Aka $1) This rises to $50 a month after the first year runs out. So far so good. 


Along with the excellent rates you get access to the Virgin Inner Circle which gives you special discounts within the Virgin group. The opening offers include 20% off Virgin America/Alaska flights in the US, a companion pass for a Virgin Atlantic ticket to the UK, a third night free in a Virgin hotel and a reduced sign up to Virgin wines. 

They are offering iPhones from the SE to the 7 ranging from $279 to $800 which needs to be paid up front. Presumably part of this is to move stock before the 8 comes out later in the year and at that point who knows what will happen the sign up offers. 

Either way if you are near the end of a contract and fancy something new this really is a great deal. For me I see savings of about $900 in the first year, before taking  the flights and the wine into account. 

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Final Call for Virgin Elevate partner offers


By the end of the year the Virgin Elevate program will be no more. While it’s sad to see it go, the new partnership with Alaska MileagePlan is exciting as there are some great mileage redemptions to be had in that program.


Virgin will close down its current partnerships at the end of September meaning there are just six weeks to collect those last few bonus miles. These will be worth 1.3 Alaska miles when converted and just 20,000 of those will get you to Europe. http://bit.ly/2i53i7j Below are some of the offers worth considering before they disappear. 

Virgin Wines


Virgin wines is a bit more expensive than it’s competitors up front but they offer 12 wines for $79.99 (rather than the usual 6) with a bonus of 2,000 miles for new members. Quality of the wine will vary but at under $7 a bottle it’s worth a shot with the last few weeks of the BBQ season still to come.

Peek


Peek offer activities all over the country ranging from walking tours to helicopter rides and everything in between. I visited the Noble Project Rum distillery in Brooklyn for $10 to collect this bonus of 500 points. Have a look there will definitely be something of interest. 


Texture

 
Texture is a magazine app which has a vast choice of online magazines to read on your phone or ipad. Lots of popular magazines are on there and if you read a lot it might be of use to you. The bonus hits after your first payment after a months trial so essentially 1,500 miles will cost $15. I have seen other offers out there which are cheaper but do not offer the miles. The choice is yours.

MOGL 


MOGL is the one I will be really sad to see go. It is a restaurant app which allows you convert cash back to elevate miles. It can be doubled up with other dining programs in lots of places and can really help boost a miles balance. Hopefully Alaska might sign a deal? Read more on the MOGL here: http://bit.ly/2i6UI8q


These offers combined will net about 6,000 Alaska miles which is pretty close to a flight redemption. Certainly worth considering before they all cease to exist next month. 

Remember if you had an Elevate account last December you are due 10,000 Alaska miles just for signing up the mileageplan you can collect those here: 

https://www.alaskaair.com/ElevateMember/activate

Don’t leave miles behind – Earn with Amazon, Groupon and Airbnb


Nowadays you can earn airmiles on pretty much everything you buy. All the major airlines have shopping portals, dining programs etc. along with the traditional affiliated hotel and car rentals programs which have been around for years. 


However consumer habits are changing as more and more shopping moves online and certain companies have not needed to advertise themselves up until recently by offering bonus airmiles. The companies I have listed below are ones you have probably used at some point or potentially on a regular basis and you may not know that you could be earning valuable miles with each purpose. 

JetBlue – Amazon 


By making your Amazon purchases through JetBlue you can earn 3 miles a dollar. Amazon is the go to place nowadays for many people to buy pretty much anything and the vast majority are not boosting their JetBlue balance with every dollar spent. 

Delta – Airbnb

Portugal Packages


When a trip is booked the first stop for many people is Airbnb to look for accommodation. Personally I believe the gap is closing between hotel prices and Airbnb but finally the ability to earn airmiles thanks to Delta (who look to have taken over Virgins partnership) may make it worthwhile to book with them.

Alaska – Groupon


Groupon is another hugely popular program which offers discounts on all sorts of things. This is a pretty sweet deal from Alaska offering a 1,000 mile bonus and 4 miles a dollar on spend. 


These are just three hugely popular websites where you can earn some extra miles. If you are planning a purchase don’t leave the miles on the table. 

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Alaska Airlines – Dash for Miles Promotion


Alaska have launched a new promotion offering 3,000 miles for using 3 of their partners before the end of September.

https://www.alaskaair.com/www2/Promo/Registration/PromoEntry.aspx?&pid=AS1709

My making a qualifying purchase with the Alaska shopping portal, taking a survey on the Opinion Terminal and using the dining program the 3,000 miles are there for the taking. These points are in addition to any other bonuses you may earn if you have not already signed up the these services. 

The below survey took ten minutes or so to complete.

I then purchased a voucher from restaurants.com via the shopping portal for $2 which gives me $5 credit in a local restaurant


A happy hour beer after work will complete the trio. Which will net 3,000 miles for a spend of about $7. The same miles would cost $82.50 on the Alaska website at current rates as you can see below.


This is another promotion well worth taking advantage of. Alaska miles are very valuable and have some great transfer partners. Get some ideas of how to spend them in the below article.

https://dealtraveller.com/2017/06/26/use-your-miles-wisely-and-travel-the-world-with-alaska-airlines-partners/

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400 Easy Alaska Miles – Complete one Survey


There are numerous survey websites out there which will offer you miles for signing up and completing surveys on behalf of their clients.

The latest one is called the Opinion Terminal and they have linked up with Alaska to offer a sign up bonus of 400 miles to join. 


For once it was a pretty pain free experience and I qualified for the third survey they took my details for. A nice touch is they give you 5 miles for the ones you don’t qualify for. The survey itself took about 12 minutes to complete and wasn’t too frustrating. 

The best bit is the miles have already credited to my account in less than 24 hours. They have also sent a mail about a 150,000 mile giveaway in the month of August. 

Morale of the story is if you have 20 minutes it’s and easy way to pick up some miles. Alaska Miles are some of the most useful out there in my opinion as they have some great partners and redemption rates. 

For more on redeeming Alaska miles check out the below article from last month.

https://dealtraveller.com/2017/06/26/use-your-miles-wisely-and-travel-the-world-with-alaska-airlines-partners/