Where to park your transferrable points

12

Cancelling your card? Having your card cancelled for you? Where should you put your points? We get this question pretty often when people have a need to park the rest of their points for one reason or another. On this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air, Greg and I discuss the best programs with which to park your points (and the worst ones) and mull over the pros and cons of each, eventually picking favorites. While we would of course first recommend finding a way to preserve flexibility through a product change, combining with a partner, or opening the right no-annual-fee card, this episode was for those times when there isn’t a better option.

Elsewhere on the blog this week you can catch up on the latest in our #3Cards3Continents challenge (Stephen had a terrific Draft Day draw – can Greg or I beat him?), a nice addition comes out for Capital One cardholders, learn why you need to get on the horn for huge phone offers and more. Watch, listen, or read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler.


00:58 3 Cards, 3 Continents, 3 updates
17:31 Giant Mailbag: Comments from live stream draft audience 
21:32 What crazy thing . . . did the Curve credit card do this week?
26:05 Main Event: Where to park your transferable points
28:37 Air France / KLM Flying Blue
33:16 Emirates? No.
33:50 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
37:26 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
37:50 Virgin Atlantic
40:07 Avios (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Qatar)
43:05 Air Canada Aeroplan
48:03 Avianca LifeMiles 5
4:12
Qantas? (nope)
54:26 Our favorites
58:22 Question of the Week: What’s your favorite brand of luggage? How about your favorite piece of travel-related gear?

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This week at Frequent Miler

Brex-it: what to do with 100K Brex points?

With Brex recently closing the accounts of all small business owners, a number of people have asked us what to do with their Brex points. The same type of question gets posed pretty frequently about cards from other issuers as well — whether you close your account, someone else (i.e. the bank) closes it, or other circumstances necessitate closing it, you may find yourself in a situation to need to transfer points somewhere. Where to park your points is somewhat subjective, although some programs are clearly better options (and others worse). This post shares some of my thoughts on the best options, though this week’s podcast features a continuation of the discussion.

Drafting the Dream: The latest 3Cards3Continents posts

This week saw draft day determine the stable of cards that Greg, Stephen and I each have to work with in order to plan an epic trip to (at least) 3 different continents. The rules prevented any two people from getting the same card and the budget prevented any one of us from getting two ultra-premium cards, but I’d say that we each put together a powerhouse wallet nonetheless. Many people were surprised to see two American Airlines cards and so few Chase cards go in the draft. Would you have picked something we didn’t?

Reminiscing my 40K to Far Away (On Greg’s Mind)

I loved reading about Greg’s 40K to Far Away trip. For our 2019 challenge, we were each on a whirlwind trip on a shoestring budget. Because we were all traveling at the same time and constantly on the go between countries and time zones, it was nearly impossible for each of us to keep up with what the others were doing. I had caught bits and pieces of Greg’s story, but I had completely forgotten even the details I knew (like when the roof blew off of his bus! and how *that* was the better outcome than the alternative that day!). We essentially did that challenge on what amounted to a *single* credit card bonus (or even less than some of the best bonuses these days). If Greg could put together something this incredible with 40K points and $400, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with this time around.

(Update: Platinum 260K too) Amex Business Gold: 180K welcome offer by phone

Speaking of putting together something incredible with a single credit card, imagine what you could do with 180K or 260K Membership rewards points. Now imagine getting those points from a single credit card. I’m including this quick deal post in our week in review because the potential windfall here is too big to miss. These offers are worth a phone call to find out if you are targeted provided that you can meet the spending requirements.

Capital One adds access to over 100 Plaza Premium Lounges

A selection of deserts at the Plaza Premium lounge in Auckland, which is an excellent lounge.

This short post is just to highlight good news for the many Capital One Venture and Venture X cardholders out there: while Priority Pass has lost Plaza Premium lounges, Capital One has picked them up. Venture cardholders can use one or both of their 2 annual free lounge passes and Venture X cardholders get unlimited visits. Plaza Premium lounges tend to be a cut above most non-flagship airline lounges (in other words, they won’t compete with Qatar’s business and first class flagship lounges in Doha, but on average they are far nicer than an ordinary Priority Pass lounge). If you’ll be passing through an airport with a Plaza Premium lounge (like, say, on that #3Cards3Continents trip :-), this could be great news.

Hyatt Regency Vancouver: Bottom Line Review

Tim recently visited the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. While there aren’t many Hyatt Regency hotels that are destinations unto themselves (Park Hyatt Hyatt Regency Hakone aside), this one seems like a terrific value. I’ve only ever been through the Vancouver airport, but if I get a chance to plan a trip there one day I’d be happy to spend not-so-many points to stay here.


That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep your eye on this week’s month-ending last chance deals as a number of deals will end on Thursday.

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john

Greg Love the Podcast but Please get rid of ‘Cutter”
Its Kaa-tarr for Qatar

John

Everyone can have an opinion but there’s one official pronunciation for Qatar
Please have Greg look it up
As a sophisticated miles guy I would hate for him to spen his life saying “Cutter”

John

We can agree to disagree but please Nick tell me you don’t say “Cutter”

joremero

not sure where my previous comment went. Once cook thing about qantas is that while more expensive than BA for short haul, it is still cheaper than AA and it does include a bag, at least for some flights. E.g. to/from US to Mexico. That can be a big saver.
A cheap fare is 12k points vs 15k for AA and 9k for BA.
I once transferred to qantas from Amex using a 30 or 40% bonus, it was a while ago

joremero

“Qantas? (nope)”
I once parked points in Qantas (using an amex 30 or 40% bonus) and don;t regret it at all.
One neat powerup that Qantas has is that it shows AA availability even when BA doesn’t (BA only shows when the cheapest flight is available, but qantas shows more availability, albeit a bit more points
But the great thing is that Qantas includes one bag for international itineraries when AA or BA do not. E.g. for AA flights from USA to Mexico, Qantas includes one bag checked, while the others do not

more details (though now that I read further, it says qantas operated services, but I had no trouble checking in bags in AA flight)

All Qantas fares include

checked baggage

More baggage information 

Checked Baggage Allowance
Free Baggage allowance included in your fare applies to adults, children and infants on Qantas operated services. A single piece of baggage cannot exceed 32kg (70lb). Except for flights travelling to and from the USA where a single piece of baggage may be up to 32kgs, baggage that is over 23kg (50lb) may incur a heavy charge
This will open a new tab or window in your browser.
 at the airport. Qantas Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members are entitled to their tiered allowances, for included and additional baggage, when logged in on qantas.com. For those Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members who are not logged in tier allowances may still apply. See checked baggage
This will open a new tab or window in your browser.
. for more details.

edit:
I think it’s covered here
“Baggage allowance on international flights to/from the Americas by cabin

Baggage allowance on international flights to/from Americas by cabinInternational to/from North or South AmericaComplimentary AllowanceEconomy1 piece (maximum 32 kg (70lb) per piece)”
https://www.qantas.com/us/en/travel-info/baggage/checked-baggage.html

Last edited 1 month ago by joremero
Mark

I’m surprised you guys didn’t talk more about Avios. 36 month expiration policy, basically all transferable currencies, frequent transfer bonuses, not to mention ability to transfer within Avios (BA, IB, QA, etc.). Maybe I’m wrong but in my case (Chicago based), I seem to find a lot more OneWorld availability than Star Alliance (Aeroplan). Am I missing anything?

I know you didn’t get into this too much but I think another huge factor is change policies, customer service, ease of use (booking online vs. calling in) etc.

Thanks guys, I really enjoyed this discussion (was thinking about potentially getting rid of a card or two as a “simplify my life” measure).

CericRushmore

What about cash? I feel like it can often make sense to just cash out depending on how many points one already has.

tassojunior

We need a comparison of Virgin vs Flying Blue. People are continually confronted with bonuses to transfer from Chase and AmEx to both and both are SkyTeam and Europe-heavy. It’s a hard choice with a lot of factors.

tassojunior

But it seems Virgin has better Off-Peak (most of the year) while Flying Blue has better award specials. I often use Virgin DC to London one way for 10K miles + $180 off peak. And Virgin seems to have lower off-peak on Flying Blue than Flying Blue. And I think Virgin is better rewards on Delta? But there’s the concern Branson and the UK could let Virgin just die. IDK, so complicated.