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Old 07-26-2017, 07:33 AM
 
Location: NY/LA
3,356 posts, read 2,830,457 times
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If you usually travel with someone else, you might also want to check if there are companion benefits with the cards you're considering. For example, we actually have multiple Delta AMEX cards, since each card comes with an annual domestic companion ticket starting the second year. For us, those companion tickets alone are worth more than the annual fee.
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:20 AM
 
558 posts, read 413,953 times
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I've found that booking directly the Hotel is usually more expensive.

The hotel business is quite different from the airline business.
Hotels pre-sale all or most of their rooms to reservation centers, at a discounted price. These companies then market, package, and promote the rooms they have, though Kayak, Expedia and such.
If you go to the hotel website, you end up paying their 'rack' rate, which, by agreement to the reservation center, is never lower than what they got.

Airlines don't do that, since there are only a few on each route, they have more bargaining power. and no need of a middlemen. Kayak and Expedia only take a small percentage on the fare.

Exception: Resort hotels. They might offer you interesting packages, either with discounted rates, or with additional goodies (spa hours, tours, etc.)
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,101,231 times
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The big chains now offer best rate guarantees where you can get additional discounts or even a free night if you can prove the room was cheaper through third party sites (Expedia, etc.) compared to booking direct with the chain.

One thing I've noticed with the third party sites for some non-USA rate quotes is they sometimes list without VAT tax included, while the direct booking quotes includes VAT like it's supposed to. So you need to check and make sure you're comparing apples to apples.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:08 AM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,874,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
True. I was recently in Europe and few establishments accepted AMEX .... even tho they don't charge for foreign transactions ...

Are you saying I should get both United Mileage Plus and the American Airlines Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card, or you were suggesting to get one of each?

Whats a IRROPS? Thanks a lot
There's probably a dozen different credit cards that could be a great fit for your spending and interests. When it comes to travel rewards, the better the perks, the higher the fees. You'll want to analyze each particular card to determine what you should get. It probably won't make sense to get both of those cards unless you fly & spend enough to make use of the better rewards.

Examples:
The AAdvantage Platinum Select has a $95 annual fee. Assuming you pay your balance consistently & thus pay no interest or late fees, that is your annual cost for the card. The card's more unique benefits are 30,000 sign up miles for hitting the spend requirement, a free checked bag on AA flights, 1.1 points per mile for general spend & 2.2 points per mile for AA spend, plus reduced mileage costs for some AA flights. Look at the Award Charts:

AA - https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...ward-chart.jsp

Partners - https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...ward-chart.jsp

Subject to availability, the bonus gets you a one-way business class ticket within the US on a partner airline, or a one-way coach flight to Europe on AA. Cost varies, but I'd peg that value ~400-450.

If you spend & fly more with AA, the Executive World Elite Card is probably better. It will let you use the lounge, will pay for your global entry, offers 75,000 miles (i.e., 1000-1125 using my above valuation), and 10k qualifying miles if you use it to charge 40k in a year. Of course, it also costs $450 per year.

If you will not be loyal to an airline, then you are probably better off with a non-airline branded card. I think the best options are Chase Sapphire+ & Sapphire Reserve, and the Citi Prestige. What works best for you depends on your routine spending habits and what perks you would normally use.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:13 AM
bg7
 
7,697 posts, read 8,167,217 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
True. I was recently in Europe and few establishments accepted AMEX .... even tho they don't charge for foreign transactions ...

Are you saying I should get both United Mileage Plus and the American Airlines Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card, or you were suggesting to get one of each?

Whats a IRROPS? Thanks a lot
I always use Amex. Plenty of places in Europe do accept it - and even better Amex doesn't keep denying the card just because its used in Barcelona or Paris. They recognize you are travelling. Nearly every other card EVEN if you inform them when and where you are travelling still deny charges often.


I would take Amex and also either MC or Visa.


Also if you have a one-way flight to a city from the US/to the US, many airlines, especially US airlines, will charge you a penalty fee (its included in the cost - its not labeled as a "penalty") which means the one way is not much less than a return. If you are doing one way look for airlines that don't do this (eg Norwegian - which is a budget transatlantic - be prepared for an hour or so delay). Local airlines within Europe don't do this silly penalty either, so you can by a one way flight Munich to Madrid or whatever without overpaying for no good reason.


I usually do Airbnb or a local hotel - a chain hotel is often in the wrong location (ie the tourist-designated zone of town) or you end up feeling like you're staying in a half-American place. No real feel for the locale. IN addition, if you book the hotel directly you speak to the people at the front desk usually and you can get reservations on specific rooms sometimes (look on trip advisor to see the best actual rooms in a class).
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,068 posts, read 19,008,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
Its new to me that anyone can join AARP , So If I don't have to wait until I am considered a senior I will join. Is it really worth it tho? And how about AAA? Whats the deferents in rewards? I know Id have to pay an annual fee thats ok Is it really worth to join both AAA and AARP?
No. One or the other. The road service benefit offered by AAA is not offered by AARP. In fact, it's the main reason AAA exists. The rest of the stuff, like hotel discounts, is just icing on the cake.

BTW, you or your spouse must be 50 or over to join AARP.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,101,231 times
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If you are going the travel credit card route, note that the sign up bonus can vary over the course of the year. Example- AmEx is currently advertising the Delta Gold sign up bonus as 30K miles after meeting spending requirement. But they had a general promotion in June where the bonus was 60K miles after meeting spend, and I've seen it go as high as 70K for the Gold card in targeted offers. (Got one of those after a paid domestic first class ticket)

While past bonus patterns aren't a 100% guarantee of future bonus offers, do check at FlyerTalk, Award Wallet, etc. to see if the card you're interested has tended to have better and worse bonus offers at different times of the year.
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Old 07-26-2017, 12:20 PM
 
9,368 posts, read 6,257,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
Hello,

Starting next month I am going to start traveling heavily to Europe and South America A LOT! As far as domestic Miami, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, DC.

I would like some advise from you the experts frequent travelers to see If i am getting the best deals?

This is the way I do things:

- I dont have hotel preference honestly i just book through kayak or hoteltonight sometimes hotels dot com etc for the discounted rooms but not sure if thats the best route

- The way I book my tickets (once again not sure If I am doing this correctly). I check Kayak for prices and schedules, stops etc once I find an specific ticket I like, say Delta for the price and time. I go to the Delta website and buy the ticket.

Thanks!
I travelled for almost 30 years

Pick 1-2 hotel chains and 1-2 airlines so that you can accrue hotel points and frequent flyer miles

Hotels, I used Hilton and Marriott properties because they cover all price points.

Book online at the hotel and airline sites.

These miles and points are serving us very well in my retirement. It is like paying yourself for years ( I retired with well over a million air miles and hotel points. That translates into a buttload of money that we can save fro our portfolio)
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:33 PM
 
64 posts, read 34,204 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1003 View Post
I travelled for almost 30 years

Pick 1-2 hotel chains and 1-2 airlines so that you can accrue hotel points and frequent flyer miles

Hotels, I used Hilton and Marriott properties because they cover all price points.

Book online at the hotel and airline sites.

These miles and points are serving us very well in my retirement. It is like paying yourself for years ( I retired with well over a million air miles and hotel points. That translates into a buttload of money that we can save fro our portfolio)
But Miles have expiration date. I always get it in the mail that If I don't use my miles they'll expire...
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:39 PM
 
64 posts, read 34,204 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
The down sides of using hidden city ticketing sites like Skiplagged including finding yourself rerouted to a final destination you didn't want to go to during IRROPS and the risk of getting a frequent flyer account shut down for 'irregularities' if you have a pattern of too many hidden city tickets.

One thing I really like about Expedia is their rental car search. It gives me a decent baseline for pricing for my needed dates, and then I can mess around with coupon codes every so often after making an initial reservation- never prepay rental cars- and seeing if I can get it lower than that.

AAA has some reciprocal agreements that AARP does not. I've actually gotten modest (the usual 5-10% off normal Best Rate) auto club discounts in places like Germany and Austria by showing my card there. AAA is also useful if you're a vehicle owner and do make use of their roadside assistance. Have gotten a new car battery from one of their affiliated mobile service techs.
I am sorry but why would airlines shut down your frequent flier account just for using Skiplagged, isn't that website same as Kayak and Expedia? I always book through Kayak and never had a problem with my loyalty program.
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