Fidelity 50,000 Delta SkyMiles Offer Extended + Earn 50,000 American or United Miles with Fidelity

One way to earn miles that isn’t discussed too frequently is opening a Fidelity brokerage account and funding it with a set amount of money. Currently, you could earn miles in one of three programs – United, American and Delta. All of these programs have existed for several years now and while the Delta offer was set to expire on 12/31/14, it has recently been renewed until December 31, 2015 while the offers for American and United are valid until March 31, 2015 and April 30, 2015 respectively. Based on the amount you deposit, you could earn 15,000, 25,000 or 50,000 miles in those programs (the offers are the same for each program).

Fidelity

For those who aren’t aware of the history of these offers, it used to be very easy to hit the minimum deposit amount needed for the miles as you could cycle money in and out until you hit the $100,000 deposit figure for the maximum miles. I used to do this in $10k increments years ago but unfortunately Fidelity got smart and cracked down on that practice.

This program is now slightly less useful for some of you as you need a large amount of funds to move into Fidelity. If you have investments with other banks or investment firms, you could consider moving them to Fidelity to take advantage of the current offers. As always, evaluate the fees, the type of investments and all other trading related or investment related items Fidelity offers compared to your existing bank or investment firm before deciding about switching – those matter much more then 25,000 or 50,000 miles.

If you are interested in taking advantage of one of the three offers (I would choose the United or American offer before Delta personally), here is a good summary of what you need to know.

  • Must open a new non-retirement brokerage account OR fund an existing one with new money. Per the terms & conditions “Net new assets means external new money in minus money out, including distributions and transfers, during the qualification period.”
  • Account must be funded within 60 days of registering for this offer
  • You are allowed to take advantage of this offer once every 12 months
  • Funds must remain the account for at least 9 months
  • There is no language stating you actually have to make any sort of trades or transactions. You could just park the money here but instead you should buy an FDIC insured certificate of deposit (CD) for no fees to earn a little interest.
  • You can only register for one of these three offers at a time (no double or triple dipping)
  • I have never been issued a 1099 for the value of the miles

Links to Register:

Delta Airlines Offer

American Airlines Offer

United Airlines Offer

Due to the deposit requirements, these offers aren’t for everyone. But if you can meet the requirements are you taking advantage of these offers? If so, which one?

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Point & Center: 50,000 SkyMiles Offer on Delta Gold Amex, Free Gogo Internet for American Express Business Platinum Cardholders, New IHG “Set Your Sights” Promotion & IHG Buys Kimpton Hotels

It’s only Wednesday but it feels like a lot is going on in the points and miles world this week. Here is a quick summary of some items I haven’t blogged about yet.

1. 50,000 SkyMiles Offer on the Delta Gold American Express – With the new rules from American Express limiting a signup bonus to only once a lifetime for each personal card, it makes sense to only apply for a card now from American Express when the offer is at its peak. Currently, for one week only, the Delta Gold Amex (and the business card as well) is increased to a 50,000 mile offer if you spend $1,000 in 3 months.

DeltaGold50k

This is the highest offer I can remember is quite some time but here are they key details of the offer:

  • 50,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • $50 statement credit after first purchase with Delta in the first 3 months
  • Free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights
  • Annual Fee of $95 is waived for the first year
  • Offer expires December 21, 2014

If you are short on Delta miles or have a bunch of Delta flights upcoming in the next year and you want to avoid the checked bags fees, this card could make sense to get now when the offer is the highest. And with Delta introducing one ways awards starting 1/1, I’m hoping Delta miles get a bit easier to you though I’m not holding my breath on that.

Here is the link to the personal card.

Here is the link to the business card.

2. Free Gogo Internet for American Express Business Platinum Holders – Earlier this year, American Express added Boingo internet as a new benefit for personal Platinum cardholders and now they are following suit on the Business Platinum card by offering 10 Free Gogo internet passes annually. Gogo all day passes cost $16 so this benefit could be worth $160 annually if you fly enough. Just remember that Gogo is only on certain airlines including Air Canada, Alaska, American, Delta, United, US Airways & Virgin America (along with a few others).

3. New IHG Promotion “Set Your Sights” – IHG has been on a roll with unique, targeted promotions that have some real value to them if you are able to meet the stay requirements. They just announced their newest promotion, “Set Your Sights” in which each member has a list of requirements to meet to earn potentially 50,000+ points. My offer is below which I don’t think is all that great since it requires 5 nights minimum. I’ve seen offers where only 3 nights could meet all the criteria for the bonus points. Make sure to check out your offer and register for the promotion as it could be lucrative if it meets your travel plans.

IHGSetYourSights

4. IHG Buys Kimpton Hotels – In a potentially exciting move for IHG members, IHG has announced it has purchased the Kimpton boutique brand of hotels for $430 million dollars and will incorporate them under the IHG company. This is exciting because IHG members will eventually have the option to redeem points or the annual free night from the IHG credit card on Kimpton properties. Kimpton has 62 hotels, all in the US, but they are known for the uniqueness and willingness to provide great customer service. They have some great locations with exciting hotels including NYC, Aspen, and San Francisco.

I stayed in one in Phoenix for the #westcoastDO and had a nice stay while I was treated great as a top-tier Inner Circle member. My hope is the match top tier Inner Circle member to Ambassador status with IHG but it is too soon to tell how that will shake out.

Point & Center: Save 10,000 Miles on Delta Awards, Annual Fee Waiver on Chase British Airways Visa & Free Wifi at Marriott Hotels!

Lots going on in the points and miles world. Let’s get to it:

1) Save 10,000 Delta SkyMiles on Award Redemptions – In a rare, positive moment for Delta SkyMiles, Delta has announced a special promotion that through November 2nd, you can save 4,000 to 10,000 miles on a roundtrip award with Delta. Here is the chart showing the discounted prices:

DeltaPromo

 

It is important to note that all travel must be between December 3rd, 2014 and February 18th, 2015 and as stated earlier, these flights must be booked by November 2nd. Additionally, the discount only applies to economy travel and obviously not on all awards (such as Europe or Asia) as you can see in the chart above. Lastly, flights to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile require a 7-day minimum stay.

This isn’t the most exciting promotion but if you were looking to book one of these awards (and can find saver space for it…good luck) then I obviously recommending book them before November 2nd. Just remember all travel has to be roundtrip!

2) Chase British Airways Visa Annual Fee Waiver – I saw this on several blogs yesterday but the Chase British Airways Visa is now available with the $95 annual fee waived for the first year. The signup bonus is still the standard 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 in 3 months which is a good offer.

That said, I’m not as enthusiastic about this new offer as others. Sure its nice the annual fee is waived for the first year but I would much rather prefer a higher signup bonus in the terms of Avios. There used to be a 100,000 Avios offer from Chase annually though one for 2014 doesn’t seem likely now. I would even settle for a bonus of 75,000 Avios if it meant paying the $95 annual fee upfront. I personally plan to skip this offer &  wait and see if the Avios signup bonus increases. As I said on Twitter, I’m still holding out hope for a 100k offer at some point in 2015.

3) Free Wifi at Marriott Hotels & Resorts – Marriott announced today they will provide free internet to Marriott Rewards members who book their stay at a Marriott or Ritz Carlton hotel solely through a Marriott website or reservation center. This is an effort by Marriott to avoid having guests book through the Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline’s of the world and avoid paying them a commission. You must be enrolled as a Marriott Rewards member and have your rewards number attached to the reservation.

From a consumer standpoint, this is an awesome benefit and I will definitely be incentivized to book my stays through Marriott directly. In the event you do see a much cheaper rate on a site like Expedia, you could always file a Best Rate Guarantee with Marriott to get the lower rate + another 25% off. In order to file a Best Rate Guarantee though, you must book the room through Marriott so make sure it is refundable just in case for any reason the claim is not approved. However, this way you will still be entitled to the free internet since you booked through Marriott so this could be a win-win if you get another 25% off the room + free internet.

Delta Awards on Sale for Elites & Delta Credit Card Members…With Tons of Restrictions

Delta announced a quick promotion in which Delta elite members or those who hold a Delta credit card can enjoy a discount on certain award redemptions. However, there are a ton of restrictions with the biggest being all awards must be booked by tonight (11:59 EST). The discount is applicable on roundtrip saver awards and the discount ranges from 4,000 miles off to 10,000 miles off based on the award (see the chart below).

DeltaAwards

The downside to this promotion is there are a TON of restrictions so this promotion might not be very useful for some. Click here for a description of all restrictions but the major ones are:

  • Must be Elite Member or Delta Credit Card Holder
  • Travel Between October 22nd and February 28 but there are a ton of blackout dates around the holidays
  • Economy class awards only
  • Flights must solely be on Delta, not their partners
  • International flights must be booked 30 days in advance AND you must stay at least 7 days (this is big bummer)

If you can deal with these restricitons, then you should be able to book these awards online at Delta.com and the website should reflect the lower price.

 

Good To Know: How to Take Advantage of a Schedule Change on your Flight

If you are like most people, you probably book your flights 3+ months out for any type of big trip or vacation. If you are using miles, you might even book earlier, as in my experience the more time I give myself to find a flight using miles, the more likely I’m able to get the flights I want for free. However, the downside (or upside to some) of booking early is there is a greater chance of a schedule change for your flight.

In some cases, the schedule change might actually benefit you. If you’re in no rush to get to your destination, an extra hour to sleep in and avoid that 6am flight sounds lovely. Unfortunately, I’ve had more bad schedules changes than good ones but here are two key takeaways to remember when dealing with a schedule change, especially ones not in your favor.

board

1) The Ability to Switch to a Better Flight 

When you purchase a flight, your overall objective might be to secure the cheapest flight so you agree to take a flight that maybe gets in later in the day after dinnertime even though you’d really prefer to get there mid-afternoon so you can enjoy a little time on the beach. Sp you booked the cheaper flight that gets in later about 5 months ago but guess what – you just got an email from the airline that now you will arrive about an hour later. It’s time to make this schedule change go from a negative to a positive by asking the airline to schedule you on the best flight for you to your destination.

I actually had this exact issue happen to me for our flight to Alaska last month. We were initially booked on a 12pm flight (using miles) on United leaving JFK that connected in San Francisco to a flight to Anchorage that would get us in around 7pm.  I got a notification that the San Francisco to Anchorage leg changed to two hours later, now causing a 3.5 hour layover and an arrival in Anchorage after 9pm. We were meeting friends for dinner so this was not going to work.

I wanted to get to Anchorage even earlier and I saw a flight from LGA that connected  in Chicago that would get us in to Anchorage at 1:22pm but there was no award availability. Some people would stop here and not bother calling but I’m here to tell you it didn’t matter there was no award availability. I simply called United and explained the new flight times from San Francisco to Anchorage didn’t work for us as I had a meeting “I needed to be at” by 8pm so I needed to get to Anchorage by 7pm to make this “meeting”.

Instead of letting the representative suggest a replacement flight for me, I told him I researched other flights and I would like the LGA-ORD-ANC flight and he had no issues putting us on it as he was manually able to open award availability for it. When we first booked our flights, that specific flight was not available on miles but the San Francisco option was so we chose that even though our goal was to get to Anchorage as early as possible. The schedule change by United actually allowed us to switch to a better flight for us (though due to a bunch of other issues we actually didn’t fly this route…that’s the next blog post).

2) The Ability to Cancel Your Flight for Free

Sometimes the schedule change is so great it doesn’t make sense to take the trip anymore, especially if its a short trip. Since the airline didn’t hold up its end of the bargain with the scheduled flight times you booked, you can request a free refund for your flight, even if its on a non-refundable ticket. For example, your return flight was moved up two hours but now you can’t make a “scheduled lunch with a client” so you can explain that to the agent and tell them you need to cancel the flight as a result. They should waive the $150 or $200 cancellation fee and put the money right back on your credit card.

You can also take this approach to cancel a flight that you booked that you don’t want to take anymore. This actually happened to me as I booked Andrea and myself a weekend getaway last December to Miami when I saw a cheap fare under $200 but as the trip was drawing closer, we both didn’t want to go anymore. She was working a lot and we wanted to enjoy the Christmas season at home together. Looking for a way out of this flight, I looked at the reservation and noticed the return flight changed to arrive 25 minutes later than scheduled. 

I had my ticket (no pun intended) to cancel this flight for free. I simply called up Delta and explained arriving any later than initially scheduled would jeopardize an onward connection I had on another separate ticket so I needed to cancel this flight. They offered to put me on an earlier flight but I told them I had changed to an earlier flight myself separately, so they proceeded to cancel our flights for free! I might have stretched the truth about an onward connection that I would miss but it allowed me to get out of a non-refundable ticket for free.

One BIG PIECE of Advice – H.U.C.A

For a small time change in the flight of say under 20 minutes, it might be tough to convince an agent that you need to be switched to the earlier/later flight. Even if its a legitimate change of several hours some agents might refuse to change it still. Don’t let that discourage you. Follow the mantra of H.U.C.A. (hang up, call again) and you might get an agent who is more sympathetic about you being late to that all important “business meeting”. I’ve found saying you will miss something business related, family related or missing another flight that you booked on a separate ticket are the easiest ways to convince an agent why the schedule change doesn’t work for you and you need to cancel/change flights.

Leave me any questions in the comments!