News you might’ve missed: Emirates lower economy award pricing, poor FoundersCard promo & more

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The Frequent Miler team has been busy the last week or so with the Flying By The Seat Of Our Points challenge. With Greg, Nick and Tim jet-setting around the world, we haven’t had as much time to share news and promotions from the miles and points world as we would’ve liked.

There’s been a lot that’s happened over the last week, so here are some deals, opportunities and news that you might’ve missed.

Finnair Avios on sale

Finnair Avios are on sale for 1.26 Euro cents per point (~1.35cpp in USD). See Loyalty Lobby’s post for more.

Ink referral bonuses dropping

For several months, if you had any Chase Ink cards you could refer other people to Ink cards and earn 40,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points – a superb incentive. Doctor of Credit reported the bonus awarded to the referred is due to drop to 20,000 points. Thankfully that’s not due to come into effect until September 3, 2024, so you still have almost three months to pick up referrals at the higher rate.

Marriott no longer transferring to Korean SkyPass

It’s been more than five years since you were last able to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to the Korean SkyPass program. Marriott Bonvoy still allowed you to transfer to Korean, but that opportunity is being snatched away as of June 17, 2024.

CLEAR offering free FoundersCard membership

CLEAR frequently runs promotions giving bonus miles, gift cards, etc. when signing up. Their latest promo gives you a free FoundersCard membership, but it’s probably worth passing up on that so-called opportunity as it looks like it’s the abysmal version that JetBlue offers to Mosaic members.

Update: Mary commented below as she signed up for this FoundersCard promotion through CLEAR. Based on the list I’d seen previously of what was included, I was under the impression that this version of the membership didn’t have any worthwhile benefits. However, it looks like despite hotel statuses and discounts not being available, there are benefits like airline discounts and retail discounts available. See her comment here, as well as her additional reply referencing Virgin Voyages.

Barclays targeted spending offers

Barclays sent out some targeted spending offers last week. Nick got one on his American Airlines credit card offering 2,000 bonus miles when spending $3,600 every month from June to August. That’s a whopping 0.185 bonus miles per dollar spent which kinda sums up Nick’s luck during the challenge. Hopefully you got something better on your Barclays card(s).

Emirates lowering economy award pricing

In super-surprising news, Emirates has lowered award pricing for economy flights both on its own metal and when booking with partners.

Costco offering 40% off inKind gift cards

If you’ve enjoyed taking advantage of inKind Amex Offers and Citi Offers over the past year or two, you might be interested to know that Costco has $100 inKind gift cards on sale. They normally sell these for $69.99, but through June 16, 2024 you can buy them for $59.99.

Preferred Hotels now much more expensive when booked with Choice points

Ouch! It used to be possible to get excellent value from your Choice Privileges (and by extension Citi ThankYou) points by booking stays with Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Unfortunately there was a significant devaluation last week and many awards are now much more pricey, topping out at 87,000 points per night.

Thanks to Seth in the Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group who first gave us a heads up about this; Travel With Grant also posted about it the same day and it’s not pretty.

15% off award nights at new IHG properties

Hyatt has an ongoing feature giving 500 bonus points per night when staying at their new properties. IHG has a similar type of promotion right now, only they’re giving a 15% discount on award nights at their new hotels which may or may not be better than Hyatt’s offer depending on how much a 15% discount will save you.

You can find the offer page here; there’s an initial list of nine featured properties, but scroll down further and click the dropdowns for each region to see a more comprehensive list of the almost 100 participating properties.

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Mary

Actually signed up for the free CLEAR Founders Club membership a week or so ago, and just got around to looking more closely at what it includes. It’s much better than the free version from JetBlue, as described in your post.

Looks like it mainly excludes the status upgrades, none of which I care about since I already have all of them from Amex Platinum, Wyndham, etc. Also most hotel discounts are blocked, except W and Oberoi.

What I actually might use are the various airline discounts. 5% on Alaska is very handy for this Seattle dweller, and there are nice discounts on Singapore, Qatar, Etihad, etc. Only the United 16% discount is excluded, but I wouldn’t use it anyway.

Also might use the small (2-10%) Apple discounts, which beat a poke in the eye, since Apple discounts are hard to find.

15% off at Fortnum & Mason has my name all over it, though it’s managed strangely: you submit a request for the items you want through Founders Card and the F&M Concierge contacts you.

Would I pay $$ for this membership? Doubtful, but I will happily take the freebie.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mary
Mary

Oh, and one interesting and included benefit is an offer for Virgin Voyages at $100 per person per day (plus taxes/fees) for most sailings through the end of the year. For that price you get a “Lock It In” (aka guarantee) Sea Terrace (aka balcony cabin). That’s quite a good deal for some sailings, if you’re not picky about your cabin location and willing to take what they assign.

Mary

Yeah, the chart of benefits I see is not the same as the one you posted for the JetBlue version. The CLEAR version seems to include at least some of the benefits of full membership in every category except status upgrades. I can certainly understand why you would have assumed they’d be the same, though.

Churner

Greg I hope you don’t censor this, I know this is your blog and I respect that but FoundersCard decision to offer it to Clear members is a good move, it is a year trial, not 3 days trial. So, I don’t think this is “poor” FoundersCard promo, it is absolutely amazing. I don’t fly JetBlue so it doesn’t affect me. My question is did you subscribe to FoundersCard directly and paying that exorbitant fees? And now are you jealous that Clear members get to try it for 1 years free so you discourage others? Oh I know, are you working with FoundersCard competitors? Let me ask you, are you getting paid by Amex? Thank you

actualmichael

One of the reasons that I continue to read FM is the Greg and his team don’t pull their punches when being critical of any and all products. FM also frequently directs people to offers that not only don’t make them money but take away potential profit from their affiliate links.

In the many, many years I’ve been reading numerous points and miles blogs, I can confidently say that FM has constantly been the fairest and most transparent site in the space, and from what I’ve seen so far, it puts its readers before profit every time. If you think that Greg is taking some kind of bribe to bad mouth Founders Card specifically, you have no idea what you’re talking about and clearly haven’t been here long enough to understand that FM has never been favorable to any product for financial gain. If anything, their integrity is too valuable for that. I constantly see people in various travel blogs refer to FM as one of the gold standards for honest reporting in the travel blog space.

The fact of the matter is the Founders Card is a low-level scam that takes numerous, already-existing, preferred-pricing benefits on business products, services, and travel that anyone with a registered business could get without involving Founders at all, and Founders packages them all up, pretending that the only way that you could get these benefits is through a paid Founders membership. 98% of the Founders Card “benefits” have nothing to do with any sort of deal that Founders has worked out, and are simply existing preferred pricing offers for businesses. Sure, there are a few interesting benefits to the higher, paid version of the product, but you would have to work very hard and be a very specific type of business to get more benefit out of the membership than what you paid in. For everyone else, they can get the same “deals” that Founders card pretends are their exclusives without paying a useless annual fee. Oh, and the free tier that comes as a “benefit” of these other programs is useless trash meant to con people into the Founders ecosystem. I actually respect Jet Blue and Clear less knowing they got into bed with the crooks at Founders.

If anyone sounds like they’re getting paid to be a fan of a product, it’s you and your Founders apologist attitude.

Last edited 1 month ago by actualmichael
Lee

Greg, sorry to break the news but the Clear > Founders Card offer excludes current and former members. 🙂

Greg The Frequent Miler

LOL. I’m heartbroken

Don Johnson

Was browsing some Preferred Hotels to use with my new Citi card and thought those prices seemed high. Ouch!

Greg The Frequent Miler

Tip: In at least one case (a Boston hotel), even though the first screen said 81K or whatever, when clicking through the booking calendar still shows 55K. This is definitely not true of all of them but worth checking !

TravelGeek

Did you forget to include the blurb about the Delta/Starbucks changes? 😉

TravelGeek

Well, the post title mentions it, but the post doesn’t. Seemed… weird.

Michael

I did join the “Founders Card Free Membership” through Clear. We are planning a trip to Cape Town and the Belmond Hotel there is discounted from over $1k to $330 – which is a savings I was unable to find anywhere else (perhaps others have found something better). As for the upgrade to the elite tier, there *could* be some value there. We just haven’t figured out what to make it worth the extra $$$. The lack of a table showing what is available at the low membership tier is frustrating.

Lee

I had been a Founders Card member for a few years. Some *might* find value in the various business discounts. I didn’t. Some *might* find value in certain niche travel discounts. I didn’t. Given this, Founders Card seemed like a tier status card for those who might not earn tier status organically (or otherwise receive it gratis). And, that wasn’t the case for me so I dropped it.

WhereTo2Next

I am most interested in the 50K worth of free credit card processing.
That is a savings of about 1300 in my case. Are you familiar with that?