A Milenomics Production-- News related to Points and Miles. Tips & Tricks on how to Earn More miles, Maximize Credit Card Rewards, and Travel more than ever before.
Episode 59: Citi Transfer Partner Changes, New Routes, and a $500 Tip of the Week
We discuss the addition of Wyndham/Vacasa as a Citi ThankYou Point transfer partner, ZIPAIR from LAX to Tokyo, Frontier leaving Newark, and a $500 brokerage bonus from "Tastyworks." Let's get right into it.
Citi TYP Shakeup: AA Out (for now?) Wyndham In
Wyndham 1:1 from Premier/Prestige, 5:4 from lower level cardsWyndham opens up Vacasa rentals--and really is a wonderful option for family travelEarlier this year I attempted to open a Wyndham Business card but was unsuccessfulNow, 3x on Fluz or 2x on WU purchases are really nice vehicles for Vacasa rentals Because of Cash out options, TYP transferred over should ideally have a 1cpp or higher value (1.25 for a DC or lower card) to even just break even Vacasa prices by the bedrooms (15k per)--which gives outsize value opportunities (2-3cpp)
ZIPAIR Announced LAX-Tokyo Route (link)
Very affordable, especially for kidsWhat’s this mean for flights to Japan for tourism?It’s amazing how investment continues to pour into the travel space despite trying timesDiscuss where this sort of thing fits in compared to using mileshttps://www.zipair.net/en3x weekly service6 and below fly for 13,000 YEN each way ($115)
Frontier Leaving EWR, 16 slots up for grabs (Link: WA)
Is this a loss for EWR? What would it take for us to fly Frontier? (nonstop, good times)JetBlue, Spirit United seen as winners?Fun Fact: Slots were to remain unused, saving 1.2 minutes per day of delays The added competition is seen to allow fares to drop $15-$36.
“Tastyworks” $500 Brokerage Bonus
Direct link$500 bonus for funding w/$10,000 and holding for 3 monthsDoesn’t seem that trading is a requirement?Make sure GIVE_ME_FIVE_2021 is applied as the referral codeBonus posted for us 24 hours after funding (is that a world record?)
We pushed a couple news items for the paid show this week. Join us at patreon.com/milenomics for further discussion on these and more, plus access to a thriving Slack community.
Episode 58: Loyalty Program Changes at Marriott, Hyatt, American Airlines and More
Three major loyalty programs updated their schemes this week. We discuss this and more in this week's No Annual Fee podcast...
Marriott Bonvoy Changes (Direct Link)
Doing away with award chart March 2022, points required will track cash priceFree Night Certificate Top Off limited to 15k, starts “early 2022”Certificates/status extended again (FM)
Hyatt Peak/Off-Peak Goes Live
Gave a cursory look at booking some things last minute but...didn’t find award availability on the dates and destinations I checkedSeems like they’re one step behind Marriott in going to a scheme where the number of points required is tied to cash rateOpinion: Overall the chart is still very favorable paired with UR 1:1 transfer
AA Makes Some Changes
Mostly affects how status is attained (can earn through cc spend now)Award charts, especially partner, are thankfully unaffected
Citi to Choice Hotels 1:2 for Preferred Hotels (FM)
Link to check which Preferred Hotels are potentially bookable as an awardSome very high value properties listed but…Awards can only be booked over the phone and it sounds downright painfulThe award availability shown online is said to be unreliable (shows open, but you discover it can’t be booked until after a lengthy call)Only standard double occupancy rooms can be booked (unclear whether families can finagle more spacious rooms)Other than that...great deal! ;)
Chase Freedom Flex “Top Spend” for Additional Q4 2021 5x (Direct Link)
Only on the Freedom Flex 5x card (not the old Freedom 5x card, not the Freedom Unlimited)Spend from the top amount among these (capped at $1,500) for the quarter gets +4xTravel (including Transit), Dining, Home Improvement Stores, Grocery Stores (not including Target and Walmart purchases), Drugstores, Gas Stations, Select Live Entertainment, Select Streaming Services, Fitness Clubs.The “normal” Q4 categories are WalMart and PayPalFreedom Flex earns 3x on dining and drugstores every daySo if you already spent $1,500 at PayPal you wouldn’t have triggered the top spend +4x unless the merchant was one of the top spend categories, so you could have more work to doBut if you haven’t started it would seem optimal to either try to find a PayPal + top spend bonus category -or- do the PayPal separately then do the top spend in a category like drugstores or dining for 3x + 4xMaybe I should be using Freedom Flex at drugstores more in general, for 3x URs uncapped. It’s about the same as Old Blue Cash if you value URs at 1.5 cpp and consider the $6,500 at 1% on that card to get to 5% cashback.Whew, what a mind boggler. A shame the cap is so low on Freedom.
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Episode 7: Checking In w/Robin from Luxe Recess on New England Resorts, Blackberry Farm, Luxury Disney and Orlando
Robert chats with Robin Hutson from Luxe Recess about trends she's seeing in the luxury travel market. They compare notes on recent travels with an eye towards planning for the coming year.
Last Chatted in January, 2021 (listen)
Vaccines were just becoming availableThings looked like they were getting better, then Delta variantWhat are you seeing in terms of travel hesitancy right now?And how are future bookings impacted? More short term trips planned opportunistically?
3:20 Spring/Summer Travels
Mansion at Ocean EdgeNewport rentalQ: If I liked both of these, what options should I consider in the Northeast? Especially interested in Maine personally but what other options should everyone consider?Some New England resorts to consider:The Inn at Hasting Park in Lexington, MACliff House in Cape Neddick, MEInn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, MEMigis Lodge in South Casco, MELiked Ventana Big Sur for its boutique outdoor rustic all-inclusive luxuryQ: What else might I like?A: Perhaps Blackberry Farm
22:00 Disney Dining
What are you hearing/experiencing at Disney World dining venues post-Covid?Some (though not all) seemed to be sputtering a bit on our Labor Day weekend trip (show notes from chat w/Joe Cheung)Roll into high expectations and how to identify places that are doing well these days to avoid disappointment? Especially when paying luxury prices. I feel like most pre-Covid reviews are out the window and I need to hear from someone that’s stayed there recently and has good discernment.Are you looking forward to Space 220? (menus)
37:20 Orlando Luxury Options
Four Seasons Orlando: Best of the best, close to Disney but quite expensiveRitz-Carlton Orlando: Kind of far from Disney, basic rooms, Club Level good - but is it open/still good since Covid?Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Want to talk about this from an excellent recent stay in Waldorf Corner Suite w/Disney View
Fantastic stay, totally bounced back after a lackluster first experience a few years ago in an entry-level roomJW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes in the conversation? New JW Marriott Orlando, Bonnet Creek?Swan Reserve coming soonConrad Orlando coming soon?
50:30 Luxury Disney
New Disney Wish Cruise ShipDisney Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser
Thanks to Robin for sharing her expertise! You can find her at Luxe Recess.com
Manifesto Episode 28: Bilt Rewards with Richard Kerr
Today's Podcast comes to you from Gideon The Freequent Flyer who has a companion piece to this podcast on his site.
Hello and welcome to The Manifesto with Gideon the Free-quent Flyer on the Milenomics Podcast Network. I am Gideon the Free-quent Flyer and I’m joined today by the Director of Travel Rewards at Bilt Rewards, Richard Kerr. Richard, welcome to the Manifesto.
Social: @KerrPoints everywhere
Bilt Rewards: https://www.biltrewards.com/
What was your path into the rewards industry? Did you start as a travel hacker, as a writer, or on the business side? What was your biggest score/favorite play, on the earnings or redemption side? What do you like most these days in terms of rewards programs?
[8:25] Bilt Rewards - overview
3 legged stool: partner rewards, landlords, credit cardLoyalty programs: 1:1 transfer to American Airlines AAdvantage, Air Canada’s Aeroplan, Emirates Skywards, FlyingBlue, Turkish Miles & Smiles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, HawaiianMiles, World of Hyatt, IHG RewardsCredit card: white label MasterCard issued by Evolve Bank & Trust, earns 2x on rent payments, 1x everywhere elseLandlords: “Bilt Rewards Alliance,” 24 large residential real estate holding companies, plus option to mail check to any landlord.
[12:10] Bilt Rewards - news
Annual cap of 50k rent points instead of monthly 4k cap0-1-2-3$0 annual fee1x on rent (up to 50k annually)1x on everyday spend2x on travel3x on diningUncapped earning on all non-rent spendIHG added 9/21
[18:07] Bilt Rewards - partner rewards
My understanding was that loyalty programs had pretty exclusive relationships, i.e. Chase will bail out United by buying a billion United miles, American Express will buy a billion Delta miles, Citi and Barclay a billion American miles, then they dribble them out to customers. As a young company, how do you come in and make them an offer that even gets their attention?How much do you pay for points? During promotions you can buy Hyatt points for 1.8 cents, maybe a little less using a shopping portal, is that the right order of magnitude for what Bilt is paying? Do you pay more for the first member of an alliance to set a ceiling, or have alliance members bid each other down to participate?What do you think your highest value transfer partner is? Hyatt seems the most obvious but do you have a favorite redemption buried in the other award charts?AA: business travel to Europe, South America, web specialsEmirates: JFK-Milan, 50k roundtrip in businessHawaiian: west coast to Hawaii / upgrade from economy to first for 25kAeroplan: stopoversFlying Blue: 11.5k domestic Delta (21+ days out)Turkish: 33,800 business class to Istanbul, 7,500/15,000 to Hawaii on United Virgin: Delta/ANA/upgrading paid Virgin ticketsHyatt: great value everywhereIHG: Holiday Inn ExpressDo you have any favorite non-travel redemptions, anything Bilt got a killer deal on that you can pass on to members?Bilt Rewards AppChampagne Sabre
[32:21] Bilt Rewards - landlords
What was the process like of selling large landlords on accepting Bilt payments? Did they see the advantages immediately, were they skeptical, did some landlords refuse outright? Some large landlords already take credit cards or use other payment services, how did you convince them it was worth signing on to another.What’s the end-to-end process of paying rent with Bilt. Are all credit cards keyed to a calendar month statement cycle? What day is the rent payment charged and what day is it delivered?“Fee Protect” to avoid swipe fees at front desk.“Bilt protect” debits rent from checking account instead of charging to credit cardI assume Bilt Rewards Alliance members get paid electronically, if you have to mail a check or a payment is misapplied, what kind of guarantee do you offer it will arrive in time/you’ll pay late fees?Is the check option a kind of “prospect acquisition,” bringing landlords to your attentio
Episode 5: September 2021 Disney World Trip Report w/Joe Cheung
Today we're releasing an episode of "Checking In with Robert Dwyer" that's normally reserved for subscribers of the Milenomics Podcast Network. Robert chats with Joe Cheung about what it's like to visit Disney Parks these days, and what's coming in the near future to Disney World.
0:22 What Joe has been up to since Saverocity Observation Deck
Producing Miles to Memories Podcast. Disney Deciphered Podcast. Disney Travel Agent.
1:30 What's Disney like now, what's it going to be in this "living with Covid" phase we seem to be in now.
Use my trip report to reflect of what you're hearing and experiencing with people you talk with. Planning changes (no Fastpass, but Genie+ coming). Dining reservation challenges, dining experience at this time. In-park experience.
No doubt: Masks in Orlando in 90F can be uncomfortable. But we managed. Current policy is masks indoors and on transportation. Outdoor option, but wore then when crowds were dense.No Fastpass seemed to make most wait-times shorter than posted, especially in the morning and evening.No Fastpass was also pretty relaxing.Flight of Passage was pretty great (rope dropped that w/family this time).Mickey & Minney’s Runaway Railway is surprisingly good too (seemed to debut at the worst possible time).
Focus was on the return of the noodles, but the real killer is the absence of skewers. The quality of the proteins they dished out there for $55 pp is insulting. Went from being one of our favorites to “Avoid until further notice.”Skipper Canteen
Best place in Magic Kingdom for lunch in my book. Cold AC, but again - menu items missing. No salads? They can improvise steak on a house salad but the meat was again really terrible. Chewy. Almost inedible. I mean - who goes to these restaurants and eats everything except for the steak? No shame in their game.Via Napoli
Restaurant closing early at 7p I think (hard to get reservations) and hardly any of the employees are Italian at the moment. Thankfully the pizza is still really good.Whispering Canyon Cafe
First time there: It was fun. Some gags, but seemed toned down a bit. Just right I’d say. Good food. Menu touts “all you care to enjoy” milkshakes but...the machine was broken and they couldn't get repair parts...due to Covid.California Grill
Other than them initially trying to seat us in an “annex” sort of room initially this was a fantastic return to form. Still my favorite Disney restaurant.See also: Ratings of Disney World restaurants prior to Covid
54:10 Coming Soon
Ratatouille Attraction primed to open Oct 1Space 220 Restaurant in EpcotDisney Galactic Starcruiser Immersive Hotel Experience
email@example.com@asthejoefies on TwitterDisney Deciphered PodcastMiles to Memories Podcast
Disney Not Your Thing?
Podcast subscribers also have a new episode today: An anniversary trip report to Mallorca, the Amalfi Coast, and Rome. Garth Grawburg chats about how he secured Business Class flights to Europe with points & miles and enjoyed boutique hotels is southern Europe.
Subscribers also gain access an active private Slack group, and in-person meetups. We'll look forward to continuing the conversation. Thanks for listening, and thanks for your support.
Episode 57: Heightened Offers from Bank of America
Four great credit card welcome bonuses to consider from Bank of America. Let’s discuss them, how we’d prioritize them, and also navigating the complicated and ever-changing approval standards over at Bank of America.
0:54 BofA Amtrak 50,000 + $100 Statement Credit (DoC)
Do a dummy booking to see offer$79 AF not waived$2,500 min spend in 90 daysAmtrak points are worth 2.9 cpp towards non-Acela, 2.56 cpp towards AcelaSo this welcome bonus is worth $1,450 + $100 - $79 = $1,471 for non-AcelaOr $1,250 + $100 - $79 = $1,271 towards AcelaThat’s crazy value for people who want to ride AmtrakSee also: How to redeem bank points for up to 1.64 cpp towards Amtrak
03:55 BofA Alaska Business 60,000 (HT Commenter Matt on DoC)
Direct Link$3,000 min spend$75 AF not waived65,000 for the Personal Alaska card still availableNot subject to BofA personal churning restrictionsDon’t forget BofA Business Cash Rewards $750 (Direct Link)
06:19 Getting Approved
BofA 2/3/4: 2 BofA cards per rolling 2 months, 3 per rolling 12, 4 per rolling 24BofA is said to not approve new BofA card if you have more than 2 new credit cards on your credit report (across all banks) in the past 12 months -or- 6 in the past 12 if you’ve got a checking account with BofAHT DoCOverall exposure with BofA to consider too (lower CL before closing BofA cards)Limits to the number of active credit cards BofA will let you hold?
08:47 Discuss: Is it a mistake to ignore BofA at this point?
Robert: “Thanks for joining us for this week. For a more in-depth discussion about points miles visit us at patreon.com/milenomics There you’ll get a special link to listen to additional content, right in your mobile podcast app or on your computer, where we speak more freely about topics like these.
Sam: You can reach us on Twitter @Milenomics and @RobertDwyer - we’d love to hear from you. Until then we’ll see you on the site...”
Sam and Robert are fantastic podcasters. The best miles and points podcast out there. Always leave me wanting more.
Good show for fast/thorough info
Sam and Robert are smart, witty, and entertaining.
Great, easily digestible content. If you don’t like it, I’ll give you your money back. - TFB