Friday Mishmash: Free Book, New Southwest & Capital One Bonus, LAN to Latin America, Atlantic City

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This is going to be a long post. Sorry about that. I’ve been criticized that I don’t post every day, but the reason for that is simple. It’s very hard for me to say something when I’ve got nothing to say. I know it doesn’t stop other bloggers who keep talking no matter what, but it just doesn’t work for me.

Then, there is a day like today when I just can’t shut up. Sorry about it and bear with me, OK?

First, my book Fly Me to Atlantis is free on Amazon again due to popular demand. Grab your copy today even if you’re not interested in going to the Bahamas, as the book explains how to get points for Choice Privilege program. Hint: it’s a great program, especially for Europe and Japan, and the avenues for getting Choice points are extremely limited.

 FlyMeToAtlantis2014

 

Chase Southwest 50,000-point Bonus is Back

Southwest

Second, the big news (although it isn’t news, really) is that the 50K Chase Southwest Airlines offer is back for both personal and business cards. It’s quite embarrassing to me if for no other reason that the offer has been valid for several days, all the while I had no idea!

What a shameful and painful experience. Ugh!

The landing page is here with the link for the business card application at the bottom. I suggest applying for both and applying now. Here is why.

Southwest carries a $99 annual fee, but it’s also home to the best Companion Pass ever! 110,000 Southwest points will get you a Companion Pass that you can use for a free ticket–even on award flights.

If you apply for both personal and business cards, you’ve already gotten 104,000 points (with spend requirement), so spend $6K more and you’re good to go. The Companion ticket is valid for two calendar years, so you can see how applying now would make a perfect sense. You will have a companion ticket valid till the end of 2015!

If you can also grab Chase Airtran card (might not be easy if you already have a lot of Chase cards) go ahead and do that too. Since the both programs have merged, the Airtran credits will be converted into Rapid Rewards anyway (the current 32-credit bonus offer is equivalent to two free flights, which is currently identical to 50,000 Rapid Rewards points offer).

When fully complete, the merger between Southwest and Airtran will add premium seats and several international routes to Southwest that is known–for now–as strictly a domestic low-cost carrier. Currently, Aitrtran is flying to the following international destinations:

Bahamas: Nassau

Mexico: San Jose del Cabo, Mexico City. Cancun

Jamaica: Montego Bay

Dominican Republic: Punta Cana

Aruba: Oranjestad

What if you don’t want to spend extra $6,000 in order to get to 110,000 points? Well, there is a trick. A transfer from a hotel program to your Southwest program will count toward the bonus, however, the hotel-to-airline transfer ratios are usually atrocious.

There is one exception; Hyatt points can be transferred almost at 2:1 which is relatively decent, because transfer rates from other hotel chains are even worse. So, if you need these 6,000 points but you don’t want to spend $6K, then 5,000 Hyatt points will get you 2,400 Rapid rewards points. In other words, see how many points you need and transfer accordingly. Since Hyatt points are very valuable, I would at least charge another $1,200 on Southwest credit card and transfer 10K Hyatt points to cover the shortage.

What if you don’t have Hyatt points? You probably do, just don’t know it yet. If you have Chase Ultimate rewards points and one of the following cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Cash, you’re covered. Transfer your UR points into Hyatt, and then from Hyatt to Southwest.

Can’t you transfer UR points directly to Southwest? You can, but they won’t count for the Companion Pass. I know, go figure!

New Capital One 50,000-point Bonus Offer

Oh, my! Hello old friend.

About three years ago, the Capital One 100K offer made a huge splash in our hobby. I got in on it for both personal and business accounts and gave those 200,000 points quite a beating. I canceled my personal account about a year ago, even though my business account is still open–they have always waived the annual fee on it. This is a good and simple card, and you can use the bonus points any which way you want–as long as you use them on travel. Two points for all spend is quite good too. Gotta pick it up, don’t know about you. Click the pic to get to the application page.

Capital One

 Great Weekend Hotel Deals for Altantic City and Chicago

Atlantic City

It’s not unusual for Atlantic City to have dirt-cheap (not even mentioning comped) rates, even for the boardwalk hotels, but the weekend rates are usually very high throughout the year. So if you want a quick and cheap weekend getaway, check the above rates; there are quite a few in the sub $100 range, and they are valid for Jan 10-Jan 13 weekend. If you have any Travelocity/Expedia coupons (and if not, may I refer you to this thread?), then your cheap AC weekend gets even cheaper.

If you have ever wanted to stay at Revel, the latest boardwalk addition in AC, now you can for $89 between Jan 13 and Jan 16. I’ve never seen it that cheap.

revel

Also check rates for Chicago. Next weekend shows a lot of great 4-star hotels near Magnificent Mile and the Loop, around $100-mark as well. 3.5-star hotels are even cheaper.

Chicago

 

Cheap LAN Fares to Latin America from Miami

LAN

If you live in or near Miami, you can fly to Latin America from $299 round-trip all included. You must book by Jan 6, and fly between Feb 1 and June 1. The prices are as follows:

To Bogota and Caracas: $299

To Medellin, Cali, Baranquilla, and Bucaramanga: $347-349

To Quito and Guayaquil: $399

LAN planes are great with comfortable seats, personal entertainment systems and decent meals even in economy. In terms of comfort, they blow US airlines out of the water. If you are not based in Miami, though, the fares from other cities in the US are not nearly as attractive.

That’s it for now folks. Have a nice weekend and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter on the left if you have not already.

Revel photo credit:
anjan58 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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