It’s been a fun ride so far, Hang in there.

I think we may be on the downhill side of the golden age of mile hacking or whatever you like to call it. The credit cards are getting tougher on sign up bonuses. The airlines and hotels are devaluing the awards and making them more restrictive. There seem to be less and less free miles out there. You know those “follow us on twitter” and get 500 miles, etc. #repeatandchurn.

My favorite deal in the past was the US Airways Grand Slam events. It’s how I got started in “the game”. I miss it soooooo much. Sure earning the miles was the goal but it was like a worldwide scavenger hunt to figure out how to rent a car for 5 minutes for like $15 to get a hit or how to buy that $2 cat collar on skymall when you don’t own a cat. It was just fun. I really thanks Mommypoints for turning me on to that fun time.

I think the miles and points world is changing. It had to. Technology is catching up to the error fare deals, OTA’s and app-o-rama’s. The bright spot left is maybe just doing old fashion mileage runs. Not because they are a good deal for the miles you earn but because they help you earn status and miles and go places you want to go. We’ve become addicted to the travel in nice seats. Now it’s about how to keep traveling. Sure we’ll get a few drive-by deals and I pity the poorly organized promo’s that we will be sure to exploit. But it’s like a rolling or flying party. We have our own rock stars (Gary, Seth, Summer and many others)¬†and we all seem to want to fly to exotic locations in big front seats.

I’ve earned and burned over 1,000,000 AA miles in the past few years but only 100k or so are EQM’s and sitting on a lowly Gold status. Maybe I’m going about it the wrong way…Stay tuned.

(Flying in First on AA 77W DFW-HKG (for free)).

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Trip Review: Business trip to New York City

OK here is the recap of what I did and learned on my recent trip to NYC for business. I had business on Monday in Baltimore so I flew into Washington Reagan DCA and stayed in Baltimore Sunday night. Took care of business in Maryland on Monday.

Monday afternoon: I drove into NYC and got to Avis at LGA at about 9pm. I experienced terrible service there. Took the shuttle over to the D terminal and called HyattPlace Flushing to pick me up. They arrived in about 15 minutes. Very cold about 4 degrees out so it was nice to wait inside the terminal while waiting.
Cost and lesson so far: A one way rental with Avis from DCA $200 plus gas and NJ turpike and bridge tolls. It would have been much cheaper to drop and stay out in Newark I’m thinking. The shuttle tickets from DCA, BWI, etc. much too expensive during this period.

Arrived at the HyattPlace Flushing at about 10pm only to find out that Pointshound screwed up my reservation. Luckily the best front desk person in the world (Kristine ? I think) at the Hyatt got a hold of Pointshound and got them to rebook me at the nearby ParcHotel as the HyattPlace was sold out. The ParcHotel was very nice and only about 2 blocks of 4 degree and ice covered walking. The Hyatt offered to shuttle me over even. ParcHotel was actually about $25 a night cheaper so Pointshound in theory will refund me the difference.

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Lesson and note to self: Maybe not use Pointshound in the future? If I stay at ParcHotel Flushing make sure to ask for a North facing room so I can again view the LGA airfield and flights (NICE).

Tuesday: Was able to travel to the Bronx via the Main Street Flushing subway station. Cost about $2.75. Took care of business there and took the subway to The Bronx, another $2.75. Took care of business there and headed back to Flushing, another $2.75. Not bad.

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Lesson: Don’t swipe your Metro subway card in two different turnstiles. If it doesn’t take the first time stay on that one so you don’t lose $2.75 (My bad). Oh and don’t do a walking tour of NYC when it’s 4 degrees out. It effects the train schedule, crowding and your body.

Able to find good Chinese food and even visit the Mall next to the ParcHotel which was a very nice location.

Lesson: Start learning Cantonese or Mandarin or something since everywhere you go lately there are Chinese tourist :)

Wednesday: Used local car service to LGA at 5am. Flat rate $22 plus tip of course. US Airways flight out of Terminal C. Enjoyed the AA club there and met a super nice guy that claimed to be an 18 year Chairman member due to his frequent travel along the East coast. He knew everyone in the airport. He knew that you can get a Wall Street Journal at the Delta Shuttle area and better coffee. AA only has NY Times and USA Today.

Lesson: AA club at LGA Terminal C is required to have CNN on 5 TV’s and ESPN on two TV’s however you can request they change it. Once you leave or after so long they have to change it back.

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Now you can link your AA American Advantage account to your US Airways Dividend Miles account.

Another step toward combining the loyalty frequent flyer situation at the new American Airlines. You can now link your US and AA accounts. The miles won’t combine yet but should in the 2nd quarter 2015. It might not hurt to go ahead and do this.

When you log into your AA or US accounts you will get a pop up like this one (AA):

My Account   Flight Information

Or this one (US):

us air combine acct on acct page

Once you enter your other account number you should either get a confirmation popup:

aadvantage combine acct confirm popup

Or if they couldn’t match them you will get:

aadvantage didnt match popup

If you had trouble and they didn’t match log into each account and check that all your names, phone number and date of birth, etc. all match. My wife’s account failed because she had only her middle initial on US Air but had her whole middle name on American. Once I fixed it it went through fine.

If you click past the popup or want to do it later you will find a link in your account page. Here is the AA example:

aadvantage combine option on myaccount page

What does all this mean right now? Not much yet but I still think it’s too your advantage (pardon the pun) to go ahead and link them. I think this may hold more true for elites in either program but that is just guessing on my part. As they go through the IT process of combining the programs it will eventually combine your miles and accounts together at some point in the 2nd quarter. Speculation is that it will happen early 2nd quarter but we will see.