Mini Points: More AA Elite Perks, US Airways Fee Increase, Best Western Promo, and More

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  • Lucky from One Mile at a Time (and many other bloggers) highlight this year’s American Airlines Elite Rewards.  These are incentives for elite flyers to keep flying and crediting miles to American after they have crossed some of the traditional elite thresholds.  I think of them as presents from the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny….the benefits kick in at 40,000 elite qualifying miles and just keep getting better up to 150,000 elite qualifying miles.  The benefits give you options of redeemable miles, system-wide upgrades, discount coupons, AAdmiral’s Club Membership, and more.  For American elite flyers this is an exciting thing.  By virtue of where I live I’m not much of an American flyer myself, but for those that are be sure to read up on the details and register!

  • Best Western is offering a $50 Travel Card to travelers who stay with them three separate times in the US or Canada now through June 9th.  Obviously this is not earth shattering, but still worth doing if you have some Best Western stays in your future (as my parents often do).  You need to register for this promo and as always it has been added to the up-to-date promos page.  You can use the Travel Card like cash through Nov. 1, 2013 at any of the chain’s 4,000+ properties worldwide.
  • Word on the street is that US Airways is matching United’s recent change fee increase from $150 to $200 for many tickets.  This is hardly surprising, and I expect other carriers like American to quickly sing the same tune.  Very unfortunate for families that experience things like sick kids that require trips to be changed or cancelled.
  • Kimpton seems to be offering status matches that are valid until 2015.  I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Kimpton Hotels (like this stay at Donovan House in DC), so the fact that the status match is valid for so long makes it probably worth doing if you have a status to match with another chain like Starwood, Hyatt, etc.

Let me know if I have left out anything major in the miles and points world that has you either really excited or really bummed today!


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  1. All i can say is 2 words “TRAVEL INSURANCE” I’m a big advocate of getting it and using it. Well worth the $$ as i recently had to cancel 2 flights and 3 timeshares due to an injury. Got all my $$ back except for the price i paid for the insurance. And if you use points or milage they pay that $200 redeposit fee (check though as its up to $200 i believe)

    Good Luck With all that!!

  2. Elliot, travel insurance seems to be an issue where folks have very strong feelings on both sides. I have used it for a few vacations that I think had more inherent risk. I also love that my status with United allows me free redeposits on award tickets. That combined with hotels that have generous cancellation policies and I am covered on many trips…but I know that does not apply to everyone or every situation.

    • You are right if youre fortunate enough to have and maintain such status. I’m not sure of the reader base but myself i’m not the fortunate one any more or anytime soon. So people like myself rely on travel insurance to cover the high redeposit costs of those hard earned miles. It cost me $21 TOTAL to have 100K(2x50K)UA miles redeposited,so with that said it does come from both sides of the fence. As for Hotel cancelations there usually is never a problem as they can get better than point rate for the room in most locations.

      • No question status doesn’t apply to everyone, but it is one of reasons it is worth it for me to maintain. I do think insurance is worth considering for some trips. 😉

  3. I only go with travel insurance for big international trips where there are a lot of moving pieces and cancellation or disruption would set me back thousands of dollars. For trips to see grandma in Alabama where tickets are $300-$400 apiece, I self-insure. I figure that at some point I’ll have to cancel a ticket or two and will lose some money, but I’ll surely be out less than if I had bought travel insurance for the past 25 trips and never had occasion to use it.

  4. I use travel insurance in larger trips and as a medical EVAC safety net to odd places overseas where medical care is questionable.

  5. The sick kid example may not be a good one: United offers a medical waiver for illness of immediate family members, minus a $50 fee. In addition, if you purchase the ticket with the United Explorer or Club Card, it also has built-in trip interruption coverage for medical reasons as well, which will pay for the $50 fee.

  6. Travel insurance is commonly thought of as a vehicle to cover trip cancellation/interruption costs and costs of medical evacuation.

    Today though there is a big and growing customer base seeking travel insurance for its coverage of basic medial costs, principally outside the US. Many medical insurance plans provide limited or no coverage for med expenses incurred outside the US. Basic Medicare covers nothing. Many of us think “if I get sick, I’ll fly home so all I need is evacuation coverage”. But this approach overlooks situations where you are too ill to fly home, or not sick enough to warrant med evac.

  7. DaninSTL, good plan.
    ptahcha, I would love to get some firm details on that, but my understanding is that you’ve got to have a relatively serious situation with doctor documentation and such to get that. I wonder if the routine stuff that kids seem to constantly pick up from daycare would suffice.
    Sam, indeed.

  8. If you can get a doctor to write a note stating that travel is not recommended, you can submit that as part of the required documentation. When I had to do it, you pay the change fee first, and submit the documentation and request to get the fee refunded (minus the $50). The note we got was literally a note on the doctor’s Rx pad.

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