Getting more value from points & miles, losing value from IHG and more


This week at Frequent Miler, several posts were focused on getting more value than you’d expect. Whether getting more out of your Rapid Rewards than the conventional valuation or finding the sweet spots in Asia Miles, we had helpful analysis to help you maximize your awards. The Arrival Premier made a splash — though some would call it a belly flop, I nonetheless saw surprising value in its use for earning Japan Airlines miles. In the most disappointing news of the week, arguably the most valuable benefit on a card with an annual fee of less than $100 evaporated into the ether. All that and more in our Frequent Miler week in review.

The new true value of Southwest points, 2018 edition. How to get up to 1.9 cents per point value.

a screen shot of a screen

Valuing Southwest Rapid Rewards points isn’t as easy as it looks. With the recent devaluation, many blogs have asserted the value to be 1.28c, but that fails to consider the full picture. See this post for why the true value is higher — and variable depending on your destination.

New IHG cards available (but get the old one today)

a woman sitting on a palm tree on a beach

The new IHG cards are now available for applications and they represent fresh chances to pick up points via signup bonuses since these are new products. However, the old version of the card is still the best deal available as of the time of writing — however, the rationale in this post was that Chase Twitter support had stated that accounts opened 1/1/18-4/5/18 would receive an uncapped free night at first anniversary. It’s still very murky as to what will actually happen, but if you apply today, I believe your first anniversary night is likely to be capped at hotels that charge up to 40K points. It’s still a better deal to get that certificate for $49 than to pay $89 for the new card – unless you place a lot of value on its ancillary benefits.

Barclays Arrival Premier details: Not 1:1 transfers, but great for Japan Airlines miles

a close-up of a credit card

The new Barclays Arrival Premier has premiered — and it was not received well by many readers. While I definitely don’t think this card should replace other cards in anyone’s wallet, I maintain that heavy spenders (who could meet the thresholds on this card without sacrificing signup bonuses or forgoing other valuable currencies) could make out really well with the transfer ratio to Japan Airlines. If you were expecting Barclays to launch a brand new transferable currency overnight that instantly competes with Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards, you’ll be sorely disappointed with this card. If you attenuated expectations to account for the fact that Barclays is new to transferable points and mostly specializes in niche products, you might be surprised by the inclusion of such a valuable foreign program as JAL at a ratio that beats SPG. I’m equally surprised that none of the transfer partners have a co-brand relationship with Barclays, but that makes me hopeful for future expansion.

Toward hacking Asia Miles: the unified oneworld award chart

a table with numbers and a green background

Greg is at it again on Google Docs, this time creating a handy comparison tool to figure out the best distance-based value for Oneworld flights when comparing British Airways, Iberia, and Cathay Pacific. See also the links to other blogs within, especially if you’re the type who needs some visual examples to accompany the spreadsheet data. I had only recently discovered a couple of those posts when I started diving into some reading on Asia miles, and there are some very good values to be found.

A mixed bag with concierge services

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A lot of premium cards boast concierge services. Do these services provide measurable value? I share a few of my experiences using the Amex Platinum concierge, with mixed results. The moral of the story is that these services can be useful, but you should probably set expectations low.

BUMMER: IHG Free night capped for everyone (includes $49 card)

a close up of a credit card

In what has turned into an utter fail in terms of planning, implementation, and communication, Chase has gutted the key benefit of the IHG Rewards Club Select and simultaneously caused mass confusion through conflicting information via Twitter. If you are a long-term IHG credit card holder, you’ll surely be disappointed to know that the next free night certificate you receive after May 1, 2018 will only be valid at hotels that charge up to 40K IHG points. If you recently signed up for the card (between 1/1/18 and 4/5/18), take a screen shot of this tweet and hope for the best next year.

More about Arrival Premier transfer partners (from my source), and why the card might not be all that

an airplane bed with a white pillow

Back when the Arrival Premier was just a rumor, Greg shared information from a source and some of his own speculation, both of which turned out to hold some water. If you’re more interested in how it all shook out when the card was launched, see the post above about the launch of the Barclays Arrival Premier. Then check out this post to see how much of it was accurately reported in advance.

That’s it for this Frequent Miler week in review. Check back soon for our week in review around the web and this week’s last chance deals.

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