Sweet-Spots Come Home And Uncle Sam Stops By

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This week on Frequent Miler on the Air, Greg says, “This will be the ‘don’t listen to what Greg says’ episode where he says completely unsubstantiated nonsense”. Have no fear as I will call him out on his unsubstantiated nonsense, he roasts me over the open flame twice, we debate about whether we’ll start getting 1099’s for credit card rewards thanks to that Manufactured Spending court case, Greg manages to argue why some people at 50 nights might not want to mattress run the new Hyatt promotion and more. Watch or listen below or read on for more of this week at Frequent Miler.

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This week at Frequent Miler

My top 4 dream uses for 110K Brex points

The “old” Singapore suites in the A380.

This is the post that inspired our Main Event on the podcast this week as Greg realized that his dream awards mostly included using Airline X’s miles to actually fly on Airline X. While newcomers to the hobby would probably assume that makes sense, those of us who have been playing the game long enough will find that sounds counter-intuitive as we’ve long said that if you really want to fly on Airline X you should be earning miles from Airline Y thanks to some partner program sweet spot. This post led us to see that the game has changed in some ways and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing since those programs are common bank transfer partners. But back to Brex: how cool is it that signing up for a card that has no fee and requires no credit pull could give you enough miles for a luxury international first class flight on your choice of several of the world’s best airlines? In my roast of Greg, I noted the issues some of us are having with painfully slow approval timelines, but for those getting through with ease Brex is just a fantastic deal (and it’s likely ending soon).

Emirates Sweet Spot Awards: First class from 30K miles round trip

Do you want to shower in the sky and sip unlimited Dom Perignon? Believe it or not, Emirates makes it surprisingly reasonable to do now that they no longer levy high fuel surcharges. While you probably won’t be able to shower on the 30K round trip flights, they can be an awfully cheap taste of the high life — and it isn’t hard to put together enough miles to fly to Europe like a king. See this post for the Emirates Skywards sweet spots you’ve been missing.

Judge Rules Some Credit Card Rewards-Earning Activity Is Taxable

Some corners of the miles & points community were aghast this week with the news that a judge found some credit card rewards earned from manufactured spending may be taxable. Fortunately, based on my understanding as a layperson (I’m not a lawyer or account and this is not tax or legal advice), this decision wasn’t really all that bad for most people. In fact, the judge seems to have upheld that rewards earned for buying a product like a Visa Gift Card are un-taxable rebates. I do wonder what this decision could mean for rewards earned from bill payment services like Plastiq, but Greg thought it would be business as usual (see FM On the Air for more of our discussion on this)

Bet you didn’t know: Gift Hyatt free night certificates to someone else.

This is absolutely huge for those in a 2-player household and I’m not sure how we didn’t know it sooner: Hyatt allows a member to gift their free night certificates to someone else. The key here is it means that the recipient — rather than the original certificate holder — would receive elite credit, meaning that a 2-player team could combine forces to have all of their free night certificates earn elite night credit in a single account. Note that one reader says that it might not be possible to cancel a reservation made with a gifted certificate, and that rings a bell from my similar situation with points a few years ago, so just be sure to run this play when you know you’ll be traveling.

Card-Linked Programs & The Networks They Run On (AKA Which Programs Stack)

Card-linked program network

Did you know that sometimes you can link your credit card to two different programs and earn rewards for card-linked offers in both programs at once? Doctor of Credit used to have the go-to resource for figuring out which card-linked programs would stack, but Stephen discovered that a lot of information had changed and he took a very deep dive into a deep sea of card-linked programs to create the most comprehensive reference I’ve seen for these programs. Bookmark this page and use it to amplify your earnings.

Ending soon: Brex Bonus of 110K transferable points without a credit inquiry

The Brex Cash account will likely go down as one of the best deals of 2021 at the very least and I’ll boldly say that it will be difficult for anything to top it for the #1 spot on the list. Of course, I say that as someone who has been waiting weeks for my approval to be finalized and the funds I deposited to be unlocked for use. Brex has been swamped will applications and either you get approved instantly (as my wife did yesterday) or you get stuck in a kind-of-approved-but-not-finished-reviewing limbo that can drag on for 3 weeks or more (just my luck). Still, I expect my account will eventually be unlocked and when it is I’ll be thrilled for 110,000 easy and powerful points and a card that earns 4x transferable points at restaurants with no annual fee. We don’t know exactly when this offer will end, but word is that it ends soon. If you’re interested, now is the time to get on the horse.

Combining Marriott awards, certificates, and paid nights in a single booking

Thanks to a requirement in Marriott’s double elite night promotion that stipulates a stay must have at least one paid night to earn those double elite nights, more readers than ever are curious about how to combine paid nights with points and free night certificates. That’s actually quite easy to do at Marriott.com. In this post, see it spelled out or watch Greg’s quick and simpler video to find out how it’s done.

New World of Hyatt Promo: 2K points every 2 nights (2.5K for cardholders) with Q2 Bonus Journeys

Hyatt’s next promotion keeps the Bonus Journeys name but looks awful in comparison to the current (awesome) Bonus Journeys promo that ends this weekend. However, don’t be so quick to judge harshly: this new promo is actually pretty good and I argue that it’s worth a mattress run for those at 20, 40, or 50 nights with Hyatt.

Which award search tool is best?

A number of readers have asked for our take on which award search tool is the best between Expert Flyer, Juicy Miles and Seat Spy. The truth is that each one has its advantages/strengths and so the answer may be different depending on your needs. Personally, I’d love love love to see SeatSpy and Juicy Miles team up to create the ultimate award search tool that combines each of their strengths. I’d pretty much hand over my wallet for a tool combining the best of both, but in the absence of that I have to give the nod to Juicy Miles for most people since it not only shows you availability but also alerts you to miles you may have and not realize are a better deal.

In updated resources:

Transfer Partner Master List

The most promiscuous airline programs

The Tools We Use (for playing the points and miles game). 2021 Edition.

Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?

Amex Offer Cheat Sheet


Thar’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Don’t miss this week’s last chance deals.

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