Here is a quick recap of what’s going on in the points & world.
1) Chase loses Korean Air as a Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner – On Friday night, news broke across several blogs and forums that Korean Air was no longer listed as a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. I believe for the majority of people, this isn’t huge news as I imagine the most common transfers from Chase go to United, Southwest, Hyatt and British Airways. However, the bigger problem with this news was there no advance notice. There has to be several people who were planning a trip using Korean Air miles and a trip that could have booked yesterday, can no longer be booked today. This stings as I’m sure no one saw this news coming.
In fact, this presents a problem for one of my clients who was working with me to plan a trip to Bora Bora. Since Korean Air only charges 60k miles roundtrip for LA to Tahiti (flown by Air France), our plan was to stockpile Chase UR points and transfer them over to Korean to book the Air France flight when my client was ready to book. Unfortunately, we need to scrap that plan and save those Chase UR points for something else. The beauty of flexible points is that you can hold them and transfer them out when needed as you assume airline and hotel transfer partners don’t suddenly change overnight. I am hopeful Chase works something out with Korean or at least allows a small window of time for all remaining transfers to be made.
2) A Bad Way to Use United Miles at Newark – United announced a major renovation at Newark (long overdue) and one of the new features is the ability to pay for food in the terminal with your United miles. With several nice eateries opening up in the renovated terminal, this sounds exciting and all until you realize it is a very poor use of miles. Will Run for Miles posted some screenshots of the prices of food with miles and it is not pretty. For example:
- $8.00 Mashed Potatoes = 1,150 United Miles
- $29.00 Duck Leg Confit = 4,150 United Miles
- $14.00 Cheese Plate = 2,000 United Miles
In these cases, you would only be getting 7/10th of a penny in value per mile. That is awful. Unless you have some orphan miles in your account (under 5,000), I would advise to pay for your meal and earn miles.
3) Reminder to Signup for American Express Small Business Saturday – Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, American Express runs a promotion encouraging customer to shop at small businesses by givine customers a statement credit for purchases at these small businesses. This year American Express is offering $30 in statement credits per American Express card. In order to achieve the full $30 credit, you must make 3 separate transaction of at least $10 at a qualifying small business (check to see what businesses qualifies here).
My plan is to buy gift cards to a bunch of local grocery and liquor stores that qualify as small businesses per Amex. I will have the gift cards rung up in $10 increments and swipe after every $10. I have 5 American Express cards + American Express Serve which qualifies. If I max out this promotion, that is $180 FREE (6 cards x $30 statement credit per card)! And that doesn’t include my wife’s American Express Card nor authorized users cards, which qualify as well. Make sure you register for American Express Small Business Saturday here – this can be a very lucrative promotion.