A big change to United’s MileagePlus program: spending requirements

Just recently, United announced a significant change to their frequent-flier elite status program, United MileagePlus. Although these changes may not impact those who either accumulate miles by flying once in a while or those who have a co-branded United credit card from Chase, it does affect those who want to obtain elite status on United, potentially affecting your ability to secure First Class upgrades, earn significant amounts of bonus miles, and receive “special” treatment.

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Take 2,500 miles off your next American Airlines award flight

American Airlines is now running a promotion – register for the promo, and they’ll credit you 2,500 miles after you book an award flight between now and July 24 and then travel between September 4 and November 20, 2013.

2,500 miles may not seem like a lot, and it’s really not – but at 3 cents per mile, that’s worth about $75. Not bad! It’s too bad the bonus is only valid for one trip, but it’s better than nothing.

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“But I don’t want to pay an annual fee on my credit card!” – quashed

I’ve heard it time and time again from friends who want to master the art of flying first-class for next to nothing: “I don’t want to pay an annual fee”. And, to those friends, I understand completely. Some cards have an annual fee of upwards of $100 – or more. But before you settle on that thought, let’s break this down.

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Booking last-minute flights using American Express or Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Last week, Carpe Points reader Jeff asked about how to use points to book last-minute emergency travel to eastern Europe.

Dave, when it comes to points are you referring to amex points or specific airline points? I’m trying to figure out where you find the deals.

My wife may have to make an emergency trip to E.Europe. I’m sitting on 72K AMEX points.

One of the best things about programs like American Express Membership Rewards is that you can either transfer those miles into specific airlines’ programs, or you can use those points (at a much lower value) on American Express Travel. Other programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards have similar programs as well (and I’ll include them for the heck of it).

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Reader question: How can I actually use my British Airways Avios points?

From our Facebook page, one of our readers asked a question about using his British Airways Avios points for travel from San Diego to Istanbul:

I can NOT book BA round trip Club World from San Diego to Istanbul on the dates I want (or almost anytime it is not freezing) but even if I could, I would need to pay $1200+ in fees. Or I can just pay the same amount to United for an excellent one-stop round trip flight on the days I actually want, and earn United points (my airline of choice). What is going on out there? Why can’t I find any seats?

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Earn double-plus points when shopping at Amazon, and more

If you’re anything like me, you use Amazon for a good number of purchases each year. It’s convenient, and with Amazon Prime ($79/year), two-day shipping is free (one-day shipping is only $3.99). Wouldn’t it be nice to earn even more points for shopping there anyways than you do already?

For instance, today, I needed to make a purchase on Amazon for roughly $120. Normally, I would’ve earned 120 points on my American Express Gold card, but by purchasing a gift card at a grocery store, I was able to earn 240 points. Same thing would happen if I purchased the gift card at a gas station, since that card gets me two times the point there, as well.

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