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Long Haul Business Class for under $2K (Long Post)


Little Evil

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Quick update on the evoucher - got an email from AA Customer Service extending the expiration reinstating it for the full amount.....$10.88!  555  Not a big amount but credit to AA for taking care of it.

My condo purchase closed June 15 and the 70,000 AA miles are already in my account. I thought it would take 6-8 weeks, but it took less than 2.

AA also has an offer to let members retain their status for 2022 by spending $15,000 on AA co-branded cards between July 15 and November 15 (can't use it to get higher status and not available to anyone who has temporary status through a match). The start date sucks because I have my moving expense coming mere days before.

It's MUCH smarter to open new accounts and put the spend on them, but I am all but obsessed with retaining my Platinum status. I was looking at spending $500 for 5,000 EQMs, so this would save me that expense. Even with the 5,000 EQMs from that purchase, I was looking shaky at best to get the 40,000 EQMs required to retain Platinum status. Factoring in my two upcoming trips and credit card bonus EQMs and the 5,000 from that purchase, I'm still 15,00+ EQMs short.

Safe to say I now know the card on which I will be putting my furniture purchase(s), mortgage payments and insurance premiums, among other things!

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It appears there's some clarity on the Amex Platinum's insane $700 annual fee (expected this week). Short version: this would (surprisingly) be a very good time to apply under the lower annual fee, but isn't necessarily a miserable deal long-term. 

The credits: 

1. $200 Uber or Uber Eats, which has to be used monthly. 

2. $100 Saks credit, broken into two $50 credits, one available Jan - June, and one available July - August. Basically, buy two nice colognes every year. 

3. $200 Prepaid hotel credit. 

4. $179 CLEAR credit. 

5. $240 Entertainment credit, paid at $20/month. 

The airline fee, which I was going to be terrible about using anyway, is going away, but if you value that and apply now you'd still have a year to use it. I value the prepaid hotel credit much more, since there are a lot of places (Colombia, Brazil) where I'm not likely to want to stay at a Marriott or Hilton property. I wouldn't have paid for CLEAR, but will get it since it's free. There's also an Equinox credit that is, well, worthless unless you're already paying for their app. I would expect Amex offers to continue to improve; most people seem to save another $50-$100 with those.

Without CLEAR, this is $740 in value for a $700 annual fee plus the best lounge program in the business. $940 in value for a $550 annual fee if you apply in the next couple of days before this goes into effect. 

I'd initially written this off as a "definitely cancel next year" situation when I heard about the annual fee, but the benefits for me do seem to slightly come out in favor of keeping the card. Still not a 100% for me, since my Marriott card also provides priority pass access, and 90% of the lounges I'm likely to use the Amex card for the coming year or two will be priority pass lounges. A newly opening Centurion lounge (combined with the restricted Centurion access so it's less crowded) at one of my home airports in the next year or two might change this equation slightly.

But overall, the card isn't as bad a value as I'd initially thought. The current 100k points + 10x off groceries and gas is a stellar signup offer, and well worth getting.  

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I'm not going back to AMEX Platinum any time soon, as the "perks" just don't do much for me.
 - I rarely use Uber, so I ended up having to order UberEats each month to get that credit. Effectively, I was spending money I wouldn't otherwise spend (since cancelling my Platinum, I rarely order UberEats)
 - the Saks credit was okay -- I always scanned their clearance racks! 555  Still, not necessarily saving me money, as opposed to forcing me to spend money I wouldn't otherwise spend
 - the $179 CLEAR credit is overstated - Delta SkyMiles members (free to join) get CLEAR for $99 or $119 (not sure the current price). I got a $100 CLEAR on my AMEX Green, which has a much lower annual fee (I think $175; I got it to keep my MR alive)
 - the entertainment credit would pay off moving forward, as I expect to get the Disney+ bundle shortly, but it currently wouldn't benefit me
 - I'm sure I would use the hotel credit

Biggest downside is that, having gotten a prior sign-up bonus on an ANMEX Platinum personal card, I think I am ineligible for another sign-up bonus on it.

That said, with a Centurion lounge that should be more accessible to me in Las Vegas, I'm not completely writing off getting a Platinum Biz card at some point.

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10 hours ago, Luv2Phuket said:

Biggest downside is that, having gotten a prior sign-up bonus on an ANMEX Platinum personal card, I think I am ineligible for another sign-up bonus on it.

There are also the Merrill and Schwab versions of the Platinum which count as separate cards; I'd base it on whichever one has the best signup at the time you're considering it, or whether you've got a one-time (new condo furniture) situation where you'd qualify for a much larger spending requirement.

Is the Centurion a massive upgrade from the Priority Pass lounges in Vegas? If yes, what "value" do you place on that upgrade, and how often do you fly? I'm having a hard time putting a value on this since my travel patterns were completely disrupted (in both good and bad ways) by the pandemic, so it's difficult for me to estimate how often I'd use it. I've been spoiled by lounges in Asia and the M. East in general, so lounges here were a bit of a letdown even before the apocalypse. 

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11 hours ago, jmukh said:


Is the Centurion a massive upgrade from the Priority Pass lounges in Vegas? If yes, what "value" do you place on that upgrade, and how often do you fly? I'm having a hard time putting a value on this since my travel patterns were completely disrupted (in both good and bad ways) by the pandemic, so it's difficult for me to estimate how often I'd use it. I've been spoiled by lounges in Asia and the M. East in general, so lounges here were a bit of a letdown even before the apocalypse. 
 

Centurion lounge is a MASSIVE upgrade over typical US lounges (with the exception of Star Alliance or oneworld lounges at LAX Bradley Terminal). My memory could be off, but I think the Priority Pass lounge in Las Vegas is like a typical Admirals' Club type of lounge -- free wifi and it gets you away from the crowds, but that's about it.

The rubber meets the road in your question - what is the "value" of it? With my travel patterns completely derailed due to COVID, it's even harder to put a dollar figure on it. For me, it's REALLY nice to have, but not essential. I'll get by witht eh Priority Pass lounge for a while. 

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On 30/06/2021 at 06:46, jmukh said:

It appears there's some clarity on the Amex Platinum's insane $700 annual fee (expected this week). Short version: this would (surprisingly) be a very good time to apply under the lower annual fee, but isn't necessarily a miserable deal long-term. 

The credits: 

1. $200 Uber or Uber Eats, which has to be used monthly. 

2. $100 Saks credit, broken into two $50 credits, one available Jan - June, and one available July - August. Basically, buy two nice colognes every year. 

3. $200 Prepaid hotel credit. 

4. $179 CLEAR credit. 

5. $240 Entertainment credit, paid at $20/month. 

The airline fee, which I was going to be terrible about using anyway, is going away, but if you value that and apply now you'd still have a year to use it. I value the prepaid hotel credit much more, since there are a lot of places (Colombia, Brazil) where I'm not likely to want to stay at a Marriott or Hilton property. I wouldn't have paid for CLEAR, but will get it since it's free. There's also an Equinox credit that is, well, worthless unless you're already paying for their app. I would expect Amex offers to continue to improve; most people seem to save another $50-$100 with those.

Without CLEAR, this is $740 in value for a $700 annual fee plus the best lounge program in the business. $940 in value for a $550 annual fee if you apply in the next couple of days before this goes into effect. 

I'd initially written this off as a "definitely cancel next year" situation when I heard about the annual fee, but the benefits for me do seem to slightly come out in favor of keeping the card. Still not a 100% for me, since my Marriott card also provides priority pass access, and 90% of the lounges I'm likely to use the Amex card for the coming year or two will be priority pass lounges. A newly opening Centurion lounge (combined with the restricted Centurion access so it's less crowded) at one of my home airports in the next year or two might change this equation slightly.

But overall, the card isn't as bad a value as I'd initially thought. The current 100k points + 10x off groceries and gas is a stellar signup offer, and well worth getting.  

Blog on AMEX cvhanges points out some fine print that may impact how you view these credits - 
https://onemileatatime.com/news/amex-platinum-changes/

First, the $200 hotel credit is only for prepaid reservations at "Fine hotels & Resorts or The hotel Collection properties made through American Express travel"....I have checked Fine hotels & Resorts in the past due to AMEX credits or free nights after booking a couple of paid night, and I have never booked them, as they are priced WAY too high for me. The hotels in Bangkok were like $300+ per night, IIRC.

Also, the $240 Entertainment credit is NOT for Netflix, HBO Max, etc. - according to this blog, it is limited to purchases or subscriptions with Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. I do an annual Sirius subscription, but I guess I could change to monthly to get value out of this (but I would have to offset how much more it is for monthly vs annual subscription). The others? No thanks. I have a free subscription to Peacock now and never use it. NYT does not - and has never - appealed to me.

He also admits that the CLEAR credit is really only worth $119, as that's what CLEAR costs for Delta SkyMiles general members.

Although this blogger hypes the changes as "worth" the extra $145 fee increase, I just don't see it.

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  • 2 months later...

Thread’s been kind of quiet lately. I just got my first credit card in 21 months. I usually get two per year, but didn’t bother in 2020 with all that was going on. Lots of solid sign-up bonuses at the moment. I went with Chase Sapphire Preferred and its 100K bonus. It’s been a little over four and a half years since I got the Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus, so I qualified. This will be the third time I’ve had the Preferred card. It now comes with 3X on dining and a $50 annual hotel credit for hotels booked thru the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. I have no experience with their travel portal, so I don’t know if their rates are the same as booking directly with the hotel. Have any of you ever booked rooms through it? I’ll probably grab another card/sign-up bonus early next year.

Although I’ve been one of the more conservative posters in my estimates for returning to Thailand in the ‘realistic planning’ threads, I’m starting to see some light at the end of tunnel. I won’t do quarantine/sandbox nor go if there’s a chance of being forced to isolate due to a test result after arrival from either me or someone I sat near on a plane. I don’t mind a test requirement before travel. I’m hoping this is possible at some point in 2022.

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1 hour ago, bgtp said:

Thread’s been kind of quiet lately. I just got my first credit card in 21 months. I usually get two per year, but didn’t bother in 2020 with all that was going on. Lots of solid sign-up bonuses at the moment. I went with Chase Sapphire Preferred and its 100K bonus. It’s been a little over four and a half years since I got the Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus, so I qualified. This will be the third time I’ve had the Preferred card. It now comes with 3X on dining and a $50 annual hotel credit for hotels booked thru the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. I have no experience with their travel portal, so I don’t know if their rates are the same as booking directly with the hotel. Have any of you ever booked rooms through it? I’ll probably grab another card/sign-up bonus early next year.

Although I’ve been one of the more conservative posters in my estimates for returning to Thailand in the ‘realistic planning’ threads, I’m starting to see some light at the end of tunnel. I won’t do quarantine/sandbox nor go if there’s a chance of being forced to isolate due to a test result after arrival from either me or someone I sat near on a plane. I don’t mind a test requirement before travel. I’m hoping this is possible at some point in 2022.

The CSP 100K bonus is a great sign up.   The only downside is you cannot hold both the CSR and CSP.  my CSR is my goto card so I'm not ready to give it up.

was giving up your CSR easy for you?

The chase portal is ran by Expedia.  I usually don't book hotels on the portal as u don't get loyalty points using portals.    but used the chase portal for flights and they were same as airline website.  

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I finally got a couple of trips in last month, but just some domestic stuff (flights to Tulsa and Philly).

I SHOULD have gotten new cards and loaded up on bonuses for the massive expenses with my condo purchase, but instead have put everything on my Barclay's Aviator card in order to keep my Platinum status with AA next year. The ability to book MCE for free is a big perk for me, and I was upgraded on the Philly-Las Vegas return.

I've locked in the required $15k spend in the first 2 months (started July 15 and charges today just pushed me over it), but that would have netted me a wide variety of bonus points/miles if I had shopped around for new cards.

Without EQMs and EQDs hanging over my head, I was able to fly Southwest to Tulsa, but scored a seat on a private jet on the way back....not as "elegant" as it sounds, as I had to piss for over 2 hours, so I didn't have anything to eat or drink. There was a bathroom, but God only knows how my big ass was going to get TO it and IN it! 555

The inability to travel to Thailand has REALLY soured me on the points and miles game. I used to religiously read the blogs daily; now I check them maybe every other week.

On the plus side, my total points/mile are back above 2 million again. 5555

Hopefully things will open up (still have my fingers crossed for November trip), and I'll be interested enough to start looking into which cards (and bonuses!) I need to get next. I have or have had so many cards that it is getting more and more difficult to find good opportunities.

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18 minutes ago, HimBadMan said:

The CSP 100K bonus is a great sign up.   The only downside is you cannot hold both the CSR and CSP.  my CSR is my goto card so I'm not ready to give it up.

was giving up your CSR easy for you?

The chase portal is ran by Expedia.  I usually don't book hotels on the portal as u don't get loyalty points using portals.    but used the chase portal for flights and they were same as airline website.  

I held CSR from 10/16 to 10/19. It wasn't hard for me to give up. I didn't do as much travel as most of you here, although that's about to change. I was doing one big Asia trip a year in biz or first, so that came with lounge access, and two domestic trips a year. On the domestic trips I took, I'd say there was a Priority Pass lounge in the terminal I needed to be in about 25% of the time. I did get my Global Entry with CSR right after getting the card, although I now have another card with that benefit and just recently renewed. The 3X on travel and dining was nice, but I now get 5.25% cash back on dining and 3.5% cash back on travel. I can switch it to 5.25% travel on 3.5% dining and back again as I see fit, but only one change per month.

I don't think I rack up as much on credit card spend as others here either. Most of my points come from the sign-up bonuses. For that to work, I have to cancel cards at some point in order to churn them.

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1 hour ago, HimBadMan said:

The CSP 100K bonus is a great sign up.   The only downside is you cannot hold both the CSR and CSP.  my CSR is my goto card so I'm not ready to give it up.

was giving up your CSR easy for you?
 

 

57 minutes ago, bgtp said:


I held CSR from 10/16 to 10/19. It wasn't hard for me to give up.
 


I was fucked when the CSR first came out and they had the 100,000 bonus UR offer, as I had just gotten rid of my CSP.

I stubbornly waited for the CSR to offer an increased bonus, but it never came back (at least as far as I know). I bit the bullet and went back to the CSP a year ago, so no CSR for me for a while.

The card I gave up that most bloggers rave about was the AMEX Platinum. It had some good perks (Centurion lounge perhaps chief among them), but I just couldn't justify the high annual fee when there was no travel. If i ever decided to go back, pretty sure I can still qualify for the bonus for the Platinum Business card.

I am paying top dollar for my Citi Prestige (although I get a discounted rate since I signed up when I had a Citi checking account and they have never corrected it), which gets me 5X on travel and dining and for my AMEX Hilton Aspire, which nets me Hilton Diamond status, annual  airline credit and an annual free night.

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2 hours ago, Luv2Phuket said:

I was fucked when the CSR first came out and they had the 100,000 bonus UR offer, as I had just gotten rid of my CSP.

That wasn’t the reason. When CSR first came out, I had a CSP less than a year old and still qualified for the card and bonus. It wasn’t until later that they changed the eligibility RULES. I just did a quick search of this thread. You said you were fucked because you were 9/24 at the time 555 (link).

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4 minutes ago, bgtp said:

That wasn’t the reason. When CSR first came out, I had a CSP less than a year old and still qualified for the card and bonus. It wasn’t until later that they changed the eligibility RULES. I just did a quick search of this thread. You said you were fucked because you were 9/24 at the time 555 (link).

I knew I was fucked somehow!  55555

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am making a trip to the US in a few days. I used the last of my AA awards points to book a Business Class ticket on JAL thru HND to ORD.

After I conclude my business matters in the Chicago area, I will be looking for a one way Business Class tickt back to Thailand. I am hoping to be back for Loy Krathong, but will not know until early October. 

I have started to look at pricing for one way Business Class tickets to both BKK and HYT, depending on evolving Sandbox RULES. I am not at all locked into One World. I found some interesting results (all USD):

Using Orbitz:

  • Turkish Airlines and EVA were both about 3500. Turkish is interesting as they can fly you via IST to HYT, but there is a 9 hour layover in IST. Despite the long layover, the total flight time still comes in under 30 hours. More on Eva later.
  • There were a bunch of Middle East combos a little cheaper, but I avoid combos as they are difficult to change if stuff happens. I am also not fond of travel thru the Middle East.
  • Qatar, depite being in the Middle East has a good reputation, but cost 5000.

Looking at the airline's websites:

  • The price for the EVA one way was 7000. Just for grins, I looked at their round trip price and it was 6000. Probable program error on the EVA one way, but I am not stepping into the middle of it.
  • The other airlines showed very similar prices to Orbitz.

Google Air:

  • A friend of mine suggested that I take a look at Google Flights.
  • The EVA flight is 4000 here. Oh, cmon already. I love their flight schedule out of ORD, but this is ridiculous.
  • The other airlines were about the same.
  • However, a Finnair route to BKK showed up for 2100. The schedule was great at 25 hours. I checked with a few flyer friends and they said this is a pretty decent airline. I checked the Finnair site and the price was the same. I am puzzled that this option showed on neither Orbitz or AA. In the later case they are a One World partner as I understand things.

Anyway these are all mind games on my part until I know my return date and the Sandbox RULES relevant to that date.

 

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Do you have any "transferrable" points (Chase UR, AMEX MR, Citi TY)?

If so, award availability on Singapore is wide open - SFO-SIN-HKT - and all of them transfer to SQ. 95,000 for OW biz class.

I'm a big fan of Kayak. Ran a search for November 4 (randomly chosen date) and Etihad came up as 2525 (ORD to BKK); Turkish was $2800 (same route).

Problem with the low fare on FinAir (as far as I could see) is that it involves an extra stop (JFK). With cancellations and delays ruining rampant these days, 2 stops would scare me a little.

Running the same date (Nov. 4) on Kayak for ORD-HKT, Turkish had a $2800 option that looked pretty good.

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Although I just got back after 5 months in thailand..  I got two weeks off during Xmas time ..  Dec 17th to Jan 2nd.   since I already made AA Executive Plat this year, I want to burn some miles for an award trip.    have 400K AA Miles..  55K Alaska miles and 150K United.       also have about 400K Chase points and 600K marriot points but not touching them right now.   (have bigger plans in future). also trying to decide what credit card to get now.. hmmm

I checked for biz awards for my dates.   of course nothing yet for AA partners. Alaska and United partners as well.

even if the bars are not open.  I'll still probably go for 2 weeks since I have the vacation time.

I did book a trip back to rio next month to help fill the void..

PS. flew qatar qsuites back to US last week. still an amazing experience..   except lounge in Doha was so busy there was about a 45 min wait for dining.    the aiport was insanely busy ..  I got spoiled the last 18 months with empty planes and airports 

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