Best in Miles, Points, Credit Cards, Travel and More: News Digest Aug 8 — Aug 14 2021

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It was a slow week, but here are the best miles, points, credit cards, and travel posts I’ve found. Enjoy.

Planes  

There are two Avianca-related developments I find interesting.

First, Avianca is adding a few new routes to the U.S

I find it encouraging in terms of their bankruptcy / reorganization efforts. I believe airlines who’re about to liquidate don’t normally expand their networks, so that might mean our Avianca miles not only present new opportunities but are also reasonably safe. Here are the most interesting routes IMHO.

From Colombia: 

  • Medellin — Orlando

From Ecuador (both Guayaquil and Quito are gateways to the Galapagos):

  • Guayaquil — Miami
  • Guayaquil — New York
  • Quito — Miami
  • Quito — New York

From Costa Rica:

  • San Jose — Los Angeles
  • San Jose — New York

He also discovered a hilarious map of those expansions. Seriously, you gotta see it to believe it. 🙂

Avianca Expands Internationally With New US Routes by OMAT

A couple days ago I posted about the new Avianca 25% transfer bonus from Citi

Right Now You Can Transfer Citi Points to American or Avianca (With the 25% Bonus). Should You?

I don’t really care about redeeming Avianca miles on United domestic tickets (I did once, but had to cancel), but for those who do, this comprehensive DansDeals post provides the latest update on how much you should expect to pay (as a reminder, LifeMiles doesn’t publish its chart anymore).

Transfer Citi Points To Avianca Lifemiles And Get A 25% Bonus, Redeem United Award Flights From 5.2K Points!

Hotels

Here is another interesting post from OMAT:

How Do You Spot A Fake TripAdvisor Review?

Fake reviews are a huge headache for anyone who’s trying to find reliable information about a product or service. What we must keep in mind is that fake reviews serve not only to embellish a lousy hotel — they can also serve to destroy competitors. If you want to make sense of anything, there are a few rules I personally follow.

  • Read. Quite often you can get an idea whether it’s a fake or not by how the review is worded. I always skip overly enthusiastic reviews, as well as very short ones; while they might not always be fake, they’re useless.
  • Check the credentials of the reviewer. Is it their first, second, or 38th review?
  • I tend to dismiss most 5-star and 1-star reviews. You might disagree with this method, but I believe it works.
  • Skip reviews that praise certain employees by name. They’re not fake, but they’re more often than not solicited by the employees and don’t carry any useful intel.

Points or cash?

Miles to Memories is asking the existential question — to be or not to be “to redeem points or pay cash.”

The Travel Hacking Question That Haunts Us All: Should I Redeem Points or Pay Cash?

I agree with many of his valuations and lines of reasoning, but there are two more questions I would add to the list.

  • How fast can I replenish the points I’m about to spend?
  • How often do I actually travel?

If the answers are respectively: reasonably fast and not very often, then I would be content to spend my points more liberally and with more disregard for the valuations.

COVID-19

What do you know: Norwegian can demand jabs after all!

Per Skift: “A U.S. judge has allowed Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. to demand that passengers show written proof of coronavirus vaccination before they board a ship, dealing a major blow to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s effort to ban ‘vaccine passports’.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Gets Court Approval to Request Vaccine Proof for Florida Departures

Nice to see that stupid can lose sometimes.

Canada is going to require vaccination for travelers

Here is another article from Skift.

Canada Sets Out Vaccine Requirement For Federal Workers and Air Travelers

Despite the title of the article, Canada, in fact, will also require vaccination for train and cruise passengers.

God Save The Points is asking an excellent question

Why Aren’t Highly Vaccinated Countries Open Yet?

And comes to an inevitable conclusion.

Speaking to politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, an unfortunate trend emerged as to “why” borders haven’t reopened more widely: polling. Polls suggest most people like tough border policies, due in part to fear and stigmas created around the virus, such as naming variants after regions.

Because politics is all about votes and control, and not necessarily being correct or doing the right thing, plans to reopen international travel have stalled. The findings of virologists, transport experts and celebrated epidemiologists are being widely ignored in favor of the emotions of the masses displayed in polling data.

TBB

Here are my favorites (the first article is a very difficult read).

Forgiving Jaskirat Sidhu

And this Twitter thread will blow your mind, guaranteed,

Very educational Twitter thread

Shareholders perks? Whaaaaat? Now, that’s gaming a system! 

Other tidbits

Speaking of fake reviews, AKA a major scourge of the Internet, they are apparently not enough anymore. Now sellers are trying to bribe folks who leave negative review. Here is a new WSJ article.

When Amazon Customers Leave Negative Reviews, Some Sellers Hunt Them Down

Ever wonder how cheap, no-name products on Amazon can amass hundreds, sometimes thousands, of nearly perfect star ratings, with just a handful of negative reviews?

Here’s one way: Some sellers are reaching out to unhappy buyers to revise or delete their negative reviews, in exchange for refunds or gift cards. With fewer disgruntled shoppers, the overall average star rating rises.

This is just wonderful, isn’t it?

If you’re a single guy or gal who prefers traveling in groups, this Reddit thread can be very helpful.

Hi guys! I’m very interested in doing a guided group tour sort of thing

And now just for fun

It’s not that this video has sexually explicit language. That alone wouldn’t earn its place here if it didn’t happen to be hilarious.

Porta dos Fundos (literally Back Door from the Portuguese) is the most popular Brazilian comedy YouTube channel producing short parodies. Not all of them are of a sexual nature, but most of them are funny. And some are super funny, like this one. Oh, and the acting is impeccable, too. 🙂

Seriously, don’t watch it if you’re easily offended by these things. You’ve been warned.

Oh, and you might need to turn on the subtitles.

Enjoy!

Oh, and for those of us who love this un-American (LOL) sport called soccer, Barcelona beat Real 4-2 today in its first game without Messi, and it was a beautiful game. Here are the goals.

Featured Photo by: Luca Bravo on Unsplash

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