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Advantages of Having a No Annual Fee Credit Card

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Improved Credit Scores

Choosing a credit card can be a difficult task, as you will have to do much research to find the one that is best for you. Many of us believe that all the credit cards are made equal and do not know much about the things that need to be considered whole making a choice of credit card. However, there are many things to consider when selecting a credit card.

The first thing that you need to decide is whether you need a credit card for which you need to pay an annual fee. Some of the main benefits of choosing a credit card without an annual fee are as follows.

Better Rewards

Most of the credit cards without any annual fee also offer great rewards. You can make use of these rewards and points to save more money or sell points for cash. You will be able to find many website that allow you to sell points for cash. As there are many providers offering credit cards without any annual fee, they compete to get customers and offer the best reward programs.

You can also use credit card rewards for things like booking travel and shopping that offers the most reward points. It is a good idea to compare the reward programs to find the most rewarding ones.

Improved Credit Scores

Spending responsibly can help you improve your credit score and without an annual fee on your credit card, it will be easy for you to pay off the bills, which can help improve your credit score. In addition, chances are low that you will switch the no fee card for some other cards. This can also influence your credit score in a positive way.

Having a good credit score can be advantageous to you while trying to get a home loan or a personal loan. Besides, who wouldn’t want to pay bills at time and stay away from the unwanted added fees?

Easy to Get

Experts claim that it is easy to get a no annual fee credit card when compared to the ones with annual fees. As credit cards are one of the main ways in which we spend our money, it will be a good idea to do a little research to understand the conditions and requirements of the card.

Even though most of the no annual free credit cards are easy to get, it will be beneficial for you to compare the reward programs offered by the card before signing up to reap the best benefits.

What you Need to Know about the Recent Changes in United Airlines Award Flights

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United Airlines Award Flights

United Airlines have made changes to their award flights from ‘Standard Awards’ to ‘Everyday Awards’ recently. This has set off a debate among the frequent flyers of the airline and especially the trade analysts who are mulling over the changes. One of the main concerns the change has raised is whether flyers would be able to advance book award flights using air miles in their United MileagePlus account. In response to that, the representatives of United Airlines have called the change as an upgrade to improve the customers’ ability to redeem miles.

The primary difference is ‘Everyday Awards’ pricing mechanism is not fixed quite unlike ‘Standard Awards’ system. The change caters to this primarily, notwithstanding the changes differing from flight to flight, in order to show up in the particular flight’s ticket cost in actual. In fact, the airline company published an ‘Everyday Awards’ chart also, showing the top-most prices which loyal patrons can anticipate for a United Airlines flight.

You need not redeem above 32,500 miles for a one-way, economy-class award ticket when flying in and around the Contiguous United States. When it comes to ‘Saver Awards’ though, it is somewhat costly in first class and business class, but affordable when flying in economy flights for short distances like, say, in between European countries.

The rise in the ‘Saver Awards’ prices for both first class and business class would also get carried over to the ‘Everyday Awards’ prices, especially when leaving the US. In addition, the international routes, which flyers can anticipate not to change in terms of price includes the United Airlines flights to Mexico, Central America, Northern South America, North Asia, and the Caribbean Islands.

Some of the main price variances during the recent change that are applicable to award flights appear on the flight routes, where the upgrade is made to the business class and first class. Some of the routes like Hawaii, LAX, and so on may potentially rise by 10,000 miles if you want to book tickets. In fact, United Airlines says that such routes give flyers quality service hence the increase in ‘Everyday Awards’.

Furthermore, the loyal flyers may also anticipate the flights becoming expensive especially in peak travel times, which may make the award flights at par with standard ticket costs. However, to get the best deals during peak travel times, you can sell your miles for cash and advance book flights in United Airlines as if you are buying, and not redeeming points.

Why Become an Elite Member of SkyMiles Loyalty Program

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SkyMiles Loyalty Program

A SkyMiles member can accrue 5 miles for each dollar spent on a Delta Airline, Delta Shuttle, or Delta Connection flights. Delta Airlines is a part of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance loyalty program. Besides the free basic membership to SkyMiles, Delta Airlines gives up to four-tier elite membership status to its loyal patrons.

Members having the Medallion status may come under Silver, Platinum, Gold, and Diamond tiers. Note that frequent flyers can reach the Medallion status not with standard redeemable miles, but by earning Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). The MQMs can be accrued as per the distance and the class flew, and the yearly spending on alliance flights using the SkyMiles membership. If you are a member to SkyMiles, you can also transfer the miles to SPG points, which would let you sell Starwoods points through the respective account.

When frequent flyers reach Medallion status, they can accrue redeemable miles by taking dining programs in partnering hotels. Once you earn 25,000 MQMs by flying beside spending $3000 Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs), you can earn the Silver Medallion status of SkyMiles. The members having the Silver Medallion status can get free checked bags, priority board flights, and get cabin upgrades as well. They can accrue 7 miles per 1 USD spent on the Delta flights.

Double up the prerequisite for Silver Medallion and you can gain a Gold Medallion status of SkyMiles. The requirement is 50,000 MQMs, besides spending $6000 MQDs or more for getting the Gold Medallion status. In addition to the perks of earning the Silver Medallion, you can get expedited security clearance and private lounge access and same day standby flight of Delta Airlines given a Gold Medallion status. You can earn up to 8 miles per 1 USD spent on the Delta flights also.

As for Platinum Medallion status, the prerequisite is earning 75,000 MQMs and spending up to $9000 MQDs or more. In addition to Gold status, a Platinum Elite Member of SkyMiles can get a welcome gift that can be bonus miles or a chance to give Silver Medallion status to someone else. The Diamond Medallion status members, on the other hand, can get a complimentary membership to Delta Sky Club and 2 welcome gifts. They can accrue 11 miles per USD spent on Delta flights.

While the MQMs won’t expire, members having any of the elite status should keep meeting the minimum MQDs yearly spending prerequisites to keep their respective elite status active. Moreover, besides the benefits on normal Delta flights, flyers having 2.5 million SkyMiles can sell the miles for cash and board Delta Private Jets given a Delta Private Jets Card with $25000.

Starwoods and Uber End Their Partnership

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Starwoods -Uber Partnership

The ridesharing giant of the country, Uber is planning to wind down their partnership with Starwood Preferred Guest program, which allows hotel guests to bag loyalty points for booking Uber rides. Uber announced this via an email sent to users, and Marriot followed up with their statement. However, they did not comment on the party that terminated the deals.

The statement says, “We evaluate our partnerships for the long term. After careful review, we will not be renewing the Uber partnership for 2018. It will officially end on December 17, 2017. Starpoints earned through Uber will not be affected. Registered SPG members who have stays posted with their SPG member accounts through the end of this year can continue to earn Starpoints for Uber rides until 11:59 pm on December 17.”

Uber recently launched their own branded credit card. It is possible that the two developments, the end of the much popular Starwood partnership, and the release of the new credit card, are signaling that Uber wishes to have more control over their loyalty program.

The partnership between Uber and Starwood was launched in 2015. It allowed guests to earn hotel points as a function of Uber rides at the rate of 0.5 points per dollar spent on the ride. Riders were allowed to take advantage of various promotions to multiply the accumulated points, later in the relation.

The partnership between Starwood and Uber was groundbreaking for the travel industry when it was released, as it was the first time that the industry saw a partnership between a hotel and a ridesharing company. In addition to being a strong loyalty program that is great for booking a wide range of hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest is much popular among the business travelers owing to its wide spectrum of airline partners, which include Delta, United, and American airlines. Business travelers were much fond of the Starwood and Uber relation, as Uber was their default ridesharing tool and Starwood was much liked by them.

Starwood and Uber plan to end their partnership on December 17, and it is not yet clear if Uber has any other partners in their list. In addition, it is also uncertain how the other travel partnerships of Uber will evolve.

Uber also works with American Express to offer the platinum cardholders an annual credit of two hundred dollars together with a boost in the Membership Rewards points that can be converted to airline miles. With the plan to end the partnership between Uber and Starwood, American Express users might try to convert their Membership Rewards points to airline miles and sell miles to get cash for miles.

Major Benefits of Opting for a Hotel-Branded Credit Card

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Hotel-Branded Credit Card

Hotel-branded credit cards are becoming increasingly popular among all travelers nowadays. They allow you to enjoy free stays, earn discounts while traveling, upgrades to the rooms, as well as benefit from the hotel loyalty member rewards. Hotel-branded credit cards have many other rewards too, and they allow a customer to earn by spending on hotel stays and travel. As most of the hotel-branded credit cards are offered in collaboration with many airlines, it will allow you enjoy VIP status, free nights, and additional points on flight bookings.

There are mainly two types of hotel-branded credit cards – co-branded and general travel. For frequent travels that use one hotel chain throughout, a co-branded hotel card would be the best option. A general travel card, on the other hand, is best suited for those who travel occasionally. By signing up for a hotel-branded credit card, you could avail several benefits during your travel, besides earning free miles and reward points. Below are some of the major benefits of opting for a hotel-branded credit card.

Huge Bonuses

Signing up for a hotel-branded credit card earns you huge bonuses than that offered by airline credit cards. You can use these points when you sell miles or redeem them for many other purposes such as for having a privileged status in a hotel chain or getting loyalty memberships.

Many of the hotel chains now offer branded credit cards with huge bonuses like the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business and Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express. They offer about 100,000 points to cover the initial spending that you can use to spend a night at their major hotels.

Increased Earnings and Rebates

Using a hotel-branded credit card offers more than the usual one-mile-per-dollar-spent policy. Cards such as the IHG Rewards Club Select allow you to earn double the points for spending on dining, gas, and groceries. Similarly, you can earn about two dollars for each dollar spent on restaurants, airlines, and car rental on Marriott Rewards Premier and Hyatt Visa cards.

Besides, using these cards also gives many bonuses and rebates. Hotel-branded credit cards such as the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa gives you ten percent points earned on the purchases made in a year.

Elite Status

Besides the bonuses and earnings, using a hotel-branded credit card has the other advantage of granting you elite status in hotels. It will entitle you to become a member of the elite guest category in a hotel that will confer you with a luxurious stay and access to numerous facilities.

For example, owning a Hilton HHonors Citi Reserve or American Express Surpass card allows you to become a gold guest. It provides you with bonus points for hotel stays, complimentary breakfast, late checkout, and free Wi-Fi.

Can I Transfer Flyer Miles from a Deceased Family Member’s Account

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Transfer Flyer Miles

If any of your family members have passed away, leaving behind a large sum of airline or flyer miles, then you might probably wonder whether you will be able to make use of these miles or not. Even though it might seem a little bit morbid to think about, you will need to consider the fact that your deceased loved ones spent their valuable money and time to earn these air miles. So, you should not waste them. However, if you wish to make use of the miles of your deceased family members, then the most important thing you should note is that it is not a simple process.

Transferring miles from deceased family members takes time, effort, and patience, and the procedures may vary from one airline to another. In most cases, you will need to fill a special form and sent it to the airline along with the death certificate of the deceased one to transfer the miles. Yet sometimes, airlines allow you to submit the forms online and separately send the death certificate.

It is significant to note that no airline will do this automatically for you, which means that you will need to spend a quality amount of your time on research to know about the procedure. Below are some of the policies of top airline companies that will help you to get started.

American Airlines

Customers will not be able to American Airlines transfer AAdvantage mileage credit, as the airline doesn’t support such a practice. Even though American Airlines does makes a few exceptions in certain cases, it requires quite a bit of work and some extra fees.

United Airlines

Accrued certificate and mileage cannot be transferred from a deceased family member to another member in the most cases. Nevertheless, just like American Airlines, this airline also makes exceptions to some customers who have a valid certificate, but they will also have to pay a fee of $75.

Southwest

Transferring points or miles from a deceased family member to your account is not possible. The points of the deceased member will automatically disappear within 2 years of the last active date of the customer. Still, give it shot and ask your airline service whether anyone has access to these points or not.

Benefits of Medallion Status for Delta SkyMiles Frequent Flyers

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Delta SkyMiles Medallion Status

One of the best airline miles and flyer programs currently available is the Delta SkyMiles. By using a Delta SkyMiles program, the members are allowed to earn and sell delta SkyMiles via different means. Enrolling in a free basic SkyMiles membership program will provide the customers a means to earn about five miles for each of the dollar spent on any Delta, Delta Connection, or Delta Shuttle airline. However, there are many other ways that a member could earn miles.

One such way is by using any of the partner airlines of Delta such as KLM, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and Aeromexico. Besides, the medallion status is another way that members can use to earn flyer miles. Customers having Delta SkyMiles credit card can earn about two miles for each dollar spent on Delta flights. The medallions program is one way to get elite status and comfort during flights.

Members enrolled in Medallion program are provided the option to exchange their SkyMiles to Starpoints. Currently, the Delta Air Lines provides about four tiers in its elite membership scheme known as the Medallion status. A separate category known as the Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) is used to attain the Medallion status and not using frequent flyers. A traveler can earn MQMs depending on the distance flown, class, and the annual Delta SkyMiles spending or Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs).

Diamond Medallion Status

The Diamond Medallion status is eligible for frequent flyers who have earned about 125,000 MQMs and spent $15,000 MQDs or more. The benefits are much larger in this program and include boarding and seating propriety, free checked bags, quick security checkups, free cabin upgrades, access to the lounge, waived standby, direct ticketing fees, two welcome gifts based on their choice, and a complimentary membership in the Delta Sky Club. Diamond Medallion members can also earn about eleven miles for each dollar spent.

Platinum Medallion Status

Frequent flyers can receive the Platinum Medallion status after they earn about 75,000 MQMs and by spending about $9000 MQDs or more. The advantages for the members include free checked bags, boarding and seating priority, fast security checkups, access to lunge, direct ticketing fees, waived standby, and a welcome gift depending on their choice. The members can earn about nine dollars for each of the dollars they spent on Delta flights.

Gold Medallion Status

Frequent flyers can earn the Gold Medallion status by earning about 50,000 MQMs alongside spending $6000 MQDs or more. The many benefits received by Gold Medallion members include free checked bags, priority in boarding and spending, access to the lounge, free upgrades to the cabin, and quick security checks. Members of the Gold Medallion status can earn about eight miles for each of the dollars spent on their Delta flights.

Silver Medallion Status

The Silver Medallion status is the basic of them all and eligible for frequent flyers that have earned about 25,000 MQMs alongside spending $3000 MQDs or more. The advantages for the members include free checked bags, boarding and seating priority, and free cabin upgrades. Members can earn about seven miles for each dollar used on Delta flights.

How to Book Cheaper Air Tickets

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Book Cheaper Air Tickets

Airfare can be the biggest expense of many trips. Many a times, expensive air tickets mean that you will have to choose destination that is more affordable or cut down the expenses at the vacation spots to stay within your budget. If you are wondering how to book cheap flights, you can follow the tips that are shared below.

Book Early

Airline experts say that plane tickets can jump in price in the final three weeks of departure. Booking the flight ticket as soon as possible is the best way to bag the ticket for the lowest possible price. It will be possible for you to get the best rates if you can book the ticket before three months to thirty days prior.

Set Price Alerts

If you are not ready to buy the ticket much early, you can set a price alert, which can notify you when the ticket prices rises or drops. Tickets prices can fluctuate and even a small drop in the price can help you have large savings, if you are planning to buy a ticket for every member of your family. Travel search engines such as Google Flights can even offer you the details of different flight trends in the form of a graph. You can make use of the graphical data to understand the price trends.

Book Connection Flight

If you are not in a rush to reach your destination, you can book a connection flight, as it can be cheaper option that boarding a non-stop flight. You can search with filters like non-stop, one stop, and two plus stops in the travel search engines. Experts say that it is also a good idea to fly in mixed carriers, as it might help you save some cash.

Use Multiple Travel Portals

Before directly booking the ticket from the carrier’s website, you need to compare the price with third party booking websites. You might be possible to find better deals in third party websites, at times. You can find many third party websites and comparing the price, and if you are lucky enough, these sites might help you bag a discount on the air ticket.

Use Airline Reward Points

If you are a frequent flyer, or prefer traveling with a specific airline only, join the airline membership plan to get reward points each time you travel. This way, you could have enough airline points one day that you could buy a flight ticket for free. However, if you wanted to make the most of air miles, you would need to keep an eye on the expiry dates.

How Travelers can Breakdown the Ideal Travel Rewards Card

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Ideal Travel Rewards Card

Each and every airline loyalty program offers co-branded credit cards to the loyal travelers as a travel rewards card, and so do the banks. The three types of travel rewards cards offered to the travelers of an airline carrier are as explained below.

The Airline Rewards Cards

If you sign up for the travel reward card offered by an airline, you can make purchases on participant hotels and that will earn you air miles. You can use the air miles toward booking advance flights, upgrade flight tickets to economy class, or even priority board if the airline welcomes your loyalty. Needless to say, the airline-specific travel rewards card will show the combined reward points on the airline mileage account. Such types of cards are ideally suited if you fly frequently or dine in a participant hotel.

The Fixed-Value Cards

The fix-value cards will also let you evade the hassles of blackout dates in travel rewards system, as there are banks that offer travelers fixed-value cards with no blackout dates. They are fixed because they won’t let you transfer reward points to air mileage accounts of partnering airlines or hotels participating in the same loyalty program. Fixed-value cards have a fixed redemption rate set by the bank and they are ideally suited for travelers who earn reward points by purchasing than flying.

The Convertible Point Cards

The reward points earned can be converted to airline mileage account of partnering airlines or hotel brands participating in the same loyalty program as the card issuer. That is why the convertible point cardholders have the convenience of spending and transferring the reward points to air miles. Some examples of convertible point cards are the Starwood Preferred Guest card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, etc.

How Travelers can Breakdown the Ideal Travel Rewards Card

People tend to choose one travel reward card from the above categories in the US. Some get cash for miles by choosing the right travel reward cards and sell miles as per the spending style and travel plans. Just like fixed-value cards, the convertible points cards let travelers redeem the reward points with participant hotels or flights at a pegged redemption rate. This rate is usually 1 cent per reward point in most of the credit card companies, but there are brokers who offer more.

The Best Frequent Flyer Programs for Elite Flyers

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United Airlines and Alaska Airlines offer the best benefits to their frequent flyer program elite members. This is as per the findings of a new study that was released recently. Frequent flyer programs of six largest US airlines, namely American, Alaska, JetBlue, Delta, United, and Southwest airlines were analyzed in the study.

In the study, the program benefits for flyers that travel 25,000 miles and spend three thousand dollars; 50,000 miles and spend six thousand dollars; 75,000 miles and spend nine thousand dollars; and 125,000 miles and fifteen thousand dollars per year were taken into consideration.

The elite policies of Alaska Airlines were rated first, largely because the airline “still rewards its flyers with miles based on distance flown rather than dollars spent,” says an analyst Nick Ewen. “For an elite member, this can result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of extra miles that can then be redeemed on various partners like Air France, Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines.”

The analyst also congratulates Alaska Airlines for their issuance of certificates to upgrade seats. All those frequent flyers who accumulate 50,000 miles and spend six thousand dollars per year will qualify to get an MVP Gold status. The MVP Gold status can offer four Gold Guest Upgrade certificates, which can be used either by the member or transferred to a family member or a friend.

“No other carrier offers this type of flexible perk to mid-tier elites (those who fly 50,000 miles and spend $6,000 per year),” Ewen says. “Finally, Alaska waives all change and cancellation fees for members of MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K (those who fly 75,000 miles and spend $9,000), providing these elite flyers with incredible flexibility on their tickets.”

Even though the elite policies of Alaska Airlines ranked number one, overall, the carrier dropped to the fourth position. United Airlines was ranked first for the elite flyers that fly 125,000 miles and spend fifteen thousand dollars per year. Ewen says that the primary reason for the top billing of United Airlines is the upgrade certificates that they offer.

The Premier 1K program of United Airlines that frequent flyers qualify by flying a minimum of 100,000 miles and spending twelve thousand dollars a year offers six Regional Upgrade certificates that are valid on short-haul international and domestic flights. Moreover, these flyers earn additional upgrade for every 25,000 miles flown.

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