The JAL Promotion That Just Won’t Die

JAL Discount Mileage Promotion

I first came across a post about a JAL 5,000 mile discount on Angelina Travels back in April of 2015 and made a mental note that the next time I wanted to fly Bangkok Airways this was a pretty solid option. The fact that many of these awards were discounted by 50 – 66% caught my attention and while I had intended to do a post about it then, it got lost in my drafts pile.

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The Servepocalypse And How To Budget Your Miles

Serve card
Reminiscing about all the great times we had together

The Servepocalypse:

For those of us who eat, sleep and breathe the points game the news that American Express was killing the Serve card was a bit like hearing that they were going to have to amputate our right arm. In terms of easy avenues for manufacturing spend, the Serve card was indeed just as indispensable as our dominant hand. The ability to liquidate $5,000 per month in gift cards in a fairly easy way has long been the backbone for many people’s mileage earning strategy (myself included), especially when it enhances your usual spending to allow for higher rates of credit card churning.

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Paying Your Rent With A Credit Card

Despite the fact that we (you and me, baby!) are clearly awesome and that our tenancy invariably increases the property value of wherever we choose to live, many landlords still insist on charging rent. In light of this, we might as well transform the crappiness of paying rent into the awesomeness of traveling first class. We do this by signing up for credit cards that reward us with big bonuses for our mandatory rent payments.

For many sane people, one of the most nerve wracking parts of the travel hacking game is making the minimum spend when you sign up for a new credit card.  The fact that you won’t get the bonus miles unless you successfully meet the spending requirements means that you definitely need to pay attention to how you can “make the spend” when you get a new card.

Until recently there was a great service called WilliamPaid that allowed you to pay rent with your credit card for a 3% processing fee. Sadly, WilliamPaid was discontinued some months ago and so, it seemed, was the ability to easily pay rent with your credit. That is until today, when I came across a new service that will once again allow you to pay your rent with your credit card.

The service is called RadPad and it will allow you to use a credit card to pay your rent for a 2.99% processing fee.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click on the “Pay My Rent” tab.
  2. Put in the amount you would like to pay and enter your email address.
  3. Specify whether your landlord is a company or individual and then enter their info and where to mail the payment to.
  4. Enter in your name and billing address.
  5. Put in your credit card info and then click “I’m not a robot” to make sure you are indeed not a robot and then click “Confirm Your Account.”
  6. Enter in your details and phone number to create an account and then click “Wrap It Up.”
  7. Confirm that all the details are correct and then submit your payment!

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Showering at Thirty-Five Thousand Feet, Emirates Style

Showering at 35,000 feet is a sort of “holy grail” for many of us in the travel hacking game. First class travel is often incredibly luxurious to begin with, but being able to take a hot shower on a plane is equal parts awesome and absurd.

Where things get really crazy is that not only can you take a shower on a plane, but you can book that experience using your award miles! Only a couple of airlines, both based out of the middle east, have been thoughtful enough to offer their first class passengers showers on board. Thankfully, each of these airlines has one US based partner with which you can book awards.

First class shower onboard Etihad A380
First class shower room onboard Etihad A380

The two airlines that currently offer you the opportunity to join the “7-mile high shower club” are Emirates and Etihad. Both airlines offer a hot shower to their first class passengers aboard their A380 aircraft.

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Double Decker Planes and Powder Staches!

Have you ever gotten to fly “upstairs” on an airplane before?

Does “reverse coffin” sound like something you’d be into?

I have always wanted to ascend those magical stairs to the fancier cabin perched atop the squalor that is coach, but up until now I had never gotten the chance to do so. Thanks to some US Airways Dividend Miles that I had scored from the US Airways credit card signup bonus, plus a few more miles transferred over from my Starwood Preferred Guest account, I was making it a reality.

All Your Powder Is Belong To us!!!
“All your powder Is belong to us!!!”

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How to get a window seat in Cathay Pacific First Class

Reserving the best seats in Cathay Pacific first class.

By now many of you are probably stacking up fat ‘staches of miles and getting ready to book some exciting trips to far flung destinations.

One of my favorite uses of Aadvantage miles (and also Alaska miles) is for flying first class on Cathay Pacific. I typically book awards for Emily and I from New York City to Bangkok and the 16.5 hour flight from New York to Hong Kong is definitely one that you want to be able to sleep on. There is nothing that promotes a good night’s rest quite like Cathay’s spacious First class lie flat beds (and some Ambien).

Cheers babies!!!
Champagne for two!

The only point of consternation (besides the taxi ride to JFK) is that, even though American Airlines has award access to 1/3 of all the seats in the 1st class cabin, the agents at AA can only book the middle seats, 1D and 2D. While the middle seats are still quite comfortable, I strongly prefer a window seat from which to watch the world zip by.

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Is My US Airways Companion Pass Worth The Paper It’s Printed On?

Babies! First of all, let me congratulate all of you who were able to get the US Airways Mastercard while that sexy 50,000 mile bonus was still strutting around the internet. We can all congratulate each other once again when we are flying first class and drinking champagne with those sweet miles!  But there is more to this card than just miles…

There is also the companion pass! Which is not as glamorous as your award redemptions will be, but is a useful little slip of paper. What the companion certificate does is allow you to book up to 2 additional passengers on a paid US Airways ticket for $99 per person.

So let’s say you are planning to go to Hawaii to investigate Donald Trump’s claim that he was born on planet Earth. Then you are out of luck, as the certificate is only good for travel to the 48 contiguous states and Canada (plus there’s no way he is from Earth). If, however, you wanted to go with your two bestest buddies to Los Angeles to eat some tacos and get a medical marijuana prescription, then this little certificate is great!

They better be some damn good tacos for that kind of money!
They better be some damn good tacos for that kind of money!

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When Buying Miles Makes Sense

Do you have few miles or points but would still like to fly business class?

Do you have some money to spend on upcoming travel but not enough to buy those hilariously priced business class tickets?

I feel your pain!  Flying coach on long-haul trips sucks and I spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that I avoid ever having to do it again.  Mostly, my strategies revolve around using credit card sign up bonuses to build up large balances of frequent flyer miles that I can redeem for business and first class travel.  But it takes time to build up these balances.

For those with travel plans that are happening in the very near future they might benefit from another way to avoid coach that doesn’t involve taking out a second mortgage on their cat.

When Buying Miles Makes Sense

It makes sense to buy miles when A) you might otherwise have paid for the business class ticket or B) you really don’t want to fly coach and are willing to pay a little extra to avoid it.

Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book business class on Cathay and Emirates
Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book business class on Cathay and Emirates

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Do Eat the Caviar in First Class (Part Dos of Dos)

3 windows and an aisle? yes, please!
3 windows and an aisle? yes, please!

This is the second part in a three part series that begins here:

And now onto the flight!

Initial impressions of the seat and the cabin:

Cathay Pacific First Class Cabin
Cathay Pacific First Class Cabin

The cabin is lovely and spacious.  There are no overhead bins, as each passenger gets their own little closet, and that makes it feel like you have tons of vertical space.  The seats are huge, comfortable and have a full range of adjustments, including lumbar support.  The decor is tasteful for an airplane.  There are little vases built into the cabin where they put a live orchid, which is a very nice touch.

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Do Eat the Caviar in First Class (Part Uno of Dos)

Caviar in Cathay First Class
Caviar in Cathay First Class

The time had come for our next adventure and it was starting, as all good adventures do, with a flight in Cathay Pacific first class, booked with my AAdvantage miles.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that flying Cathay First is an experience that will change everything you thought you knew about flying.  It is so unlike everything that I have previously associated with the trans-Pacific flight experience, and in all the most delightful ways.  Some people like flying, some people don’t mind it, but I have generally hated it for most of my life.  This has not stopped me from flying a great deal, but all I had known of flying before my foray into travel hacking was suffering.  And Cathay first removes the suffering and replaces it with caviar.

Continue reading Do Eat the Caviar in First Class (Part Uno of Dos)