I’m back from my getaway to Vermont so let’s take a look at what’s going on in the travel world.
1) TSA 9/11 Security Fee Increased Yesterday – The TSA, effective yesterday, more than doubled the 9/11 security fee from $2.50 to $5.60 per flight. If you are paying for a flight, this is already imbedded in the price of the ticket but for non-stop award tickets from the US, you generally paid whatever the cost in miles + $2.50. Now the same flights will be the same mileage cost but +$5.60 instead. I’m glad the TSA is collecting more money so more people can stand around doing nothing they can protect our skies.
2) Chase Sapphire Preferred Loses its 7% Annual Dividend but Adds Two New Benefits – Rumors were swirling for weeks but Chase has officially discontinued the 7% annual points dividend for new cardholders on the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. If you are an existing cardholder, you are grandfathered in for the 2014 and 2015 calendar years but after that, the benefit disappears for good. If you spent $25,000 a year on this card and let’s for argument sake say you earned 35,000 points a year due to double points on travel & dining, the 7% dividend each year was 2,450 points. Not a huge number but still a nice bonus for doing nothing extra.
Chase replaced that benefit by making rental car insurance primary instead of secondary if you paid for the car rental with this card. By being primary insurance, it takes precedent over your own car insurance for damages to the rental car (but not other property, cars or liability). Chase also upped its trip cancellation coverage from $5,000 to $10,000. If you don’t typically spend much on this card, the changes are in your favor since the 7% bonus would be quite small but for others who use this card more frequently (myself included), I think I’d rather have the 7% bonus annually. I’m just glad Chase, instead of completing eliminating a benefit, is giving its customer something else to replace it.
3) 20% Rebate on JetBlue TrueBlue Point Redemptions – This week only JetBlue is offering a 20% rebate when you redeem TrueBlue points for free travel between 9/2 and 10/31. You must book the flights by Friday night (7/25).
The way this promotion works is you need the full amount of points for the flight and then 4-6 weeks after the end of the promotion, JetBlue will deposit the 20% rebate in your TrueBlue account. So using the example earlier in this post on the JFK-PHX flight for 11,000 points, you need the full 11,000 points to book the flight by Friday but around the end of the year, JetBlue would deposit 2,200 points into your account as your 20% rebate. If you have any future flights that fall within that travel period, I highly suggest booking them by Friday to get the most value out of those points. (h/t to The Wandering Aramean for this post)
4) Virgin America is offering 500 Free Miles for Joining its Loyalty Program – If you haven’t joined Virgin America’s frequent flyer program Elevate, they are offering 500 miles simply for signing up! Additionally, they are offering mileage bonuses if you are referred by an existing member and take a Virgin America flight between now & December 31, 2014.
Not a member of Elevate?
- 500 miles for joining
- Earn between 2,500 and 7,500 miles for flying by December 31, 2014.
Already a member of Elevate?
- Refer a friend and earn between 2,500 and 7,500 miles for each person who flies by December 31, 2014.
You can signup directly in the link above but if you’d like to be referred by an existing member, this is my referral link.
TSA fees up