...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Reasons to renew your passport now

Changes are coming (along with $110 fee)!

U.S. Passport Changes

If you were part of the group back in 2007 that jumped on the new passport rules then your time for renewal is coming quickly.  Unfortunately you can no longer just add pages to your existing passport, so be sure to include plenty of lead time before sending.

Take care if you have any relevant visas as well - your old book should still come back to you but I would double-check to make sure before you send.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

PHL "Re-Banking" Flights - Changes ahead...

If you read between the lines, it appears that PHL International Airport will be reducing options for travelers:

PHL Re-Banking Flights

Larger planes, check.  More seats, check.  Fewer flight banks?  Hm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chase to offer new Biz Class Credit Card

It's a competitive market right now for credit cards, and Chase continues to roll out new options.  The recent Sapphire Reserve card was the first; now it appears they will try to improve on their already existing business card offerings.  From Bloomberg:

Called Chase Ink Business Preferred, the card offers users an 80,000-point signing bonus when it rolls out later this year, according to Pam Codispoti, president of branded cards for the New York-based bank. Business owners earn 3 points a dollar for the first $150,000 spent on travel, telecommunications, shipping and advertising on social-media and search engines. Purchases after that limit or in other categories earn 1 point per dollar.

I'm excited to see more options coming available with new categories as well!

Monday, October 17, 2016

American ending PHL-EWR in Feb 2017

Another connection point via American Airlines has been pulled.  Per AirlineRoute:

American Airlines in February 2017 is ending service to 3 routes from Philadelphia, including Binghamton, Elmira and Newark. Binghamton and Elmira is served Piedmont Airlines Dash8 aircraft twice a day, while Newark is served by Air Wisconsin CRJ200 aircraft 3 times a day.

I liked this option as a connection feeder to Newark since it's a fast train ride from most points along NJ Transit.  Much harder to get to PHL directly by train.

As American pulls back from these type of flights, I find myself more resigned to 'free-agent' flying in 2017 that most likely will include JetBlue and United.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

New Sites to help you book that special trip

I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting sites that help with travel planning (especially using miles/points since there have been so many changes recently between American, Delta, and United).  Here are some of the newest and greatest (that are free)!

AwardAce: This site combs several programs to find the best options for your next reward.  Just pick your origin and destination for results. You can also "discover" based on how many miles you have currently.  Below is one sample search from Ohare to Zurich - notice the heat map for cheapest options:

RewardExpert: This site helps you find travel redemption choices though it discovers options based on your existing account balances (which requires an account and login).  Using automated research it also estimates your total 'spend' to predict how much you'll have in order to use for booking.  I like the goal-based idea for searches though I think using actual mileage/points balances give you the best results.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

United's new website update: challenging

Effective for tickets purchased on or after 10/6, United now has new award fees and stopover rules in place.  Others have already written at length about the changes though I thought it important to call out a few changes that might impact the more casual traveler.  Probably the biggest change is the new "Excursionist Perk" that replaces normal stopover rules from the past.  United describes it in this way:

The Excursionist Perk is a free one-way award within select multi-city itineraries. Members who book an itinerary with three or more one-way awards will be eligible to receive one of those one-way awards for free, if it meets all of these conditions:

  • The Excursionist Perk cannot be in the MileagePlus defined region where your travel originates. (For example, if your journey begins in North America, you will only receive the Excursionist Perk if travel is within a region outside of North America.)
  • Travel must end in the same MileagePlus defined region where travel originates.
  • The origin and destination of the Excursionist Perk is within a single MileagePlus defined region.
  • The cabin of service and award type of the free one-way award is the same or lower than the one-way award preceding it.
  • If two or more one-way awards qualify for this benefit, only the first occurrence will be free.
Lucky notes that the variability of the site search makes certain awards difficult to find (if not impossible) based on current rules.  One of the best ways to make sure that things price properly is to also search by one-way awards and comparing the roundtrip price.

Be diligent in your searches and always recheck your options!  You might find some mileage savings if you do.