Best in Miles, Points, Credit Cards, Travel and More: Around the Web Nov 28 — Dec 4, 2021

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Welcome to my weekly miles, points, credit cards plus other travel news from the blogosphere. Here are some topics:

  • New United service between New York (EWR) and Stockholm (ARN)
  • Miles valuations
  • How to find flight deals with Google Flights
  • Miraval Arizona review
  • AmEx 30% bonus to Virgin Atlantic
  • New Chase Aeroplan card
  • Omicron and new vaccine development
  • And more

To access publications hidden behind the paywall, I have three words for you: Firefox. Bypass. Paywalls. Seriously, no need for any kind of trickery (beyond that 🙂 ). 

Planes

This is actually great news for a route dominated by SAS (and only SAS) with only a seasonal service from Finnair. United Airlines Brings Back Nonstop Service Between Stockholm and New York, by Miles to Memories.

It’s rare for a European airline to run a proper Business Class cabin on intra-Europe routes. Iberia goes above and beyond by flying you in a lie-flat seat. Here is an LHR-MAD review by Upgrade Points.

Why The Points Guy Systematically Overstates The Value Of Miles, by View From the Wing.

This is an excellent guide to finding the fare of your dream on Google Flights: How to find incredible flight deals with Google Flights, by Frequent Miler.

Hotels

Here is a useful guide to booking Miami hotels on points, by Upgraded Miles. I don’t necessarily agree that all of them qualify for the “best” part, but that’s Miami for you.

Here is a Miraval Arizona review by MilesTalk. Never been to a Miraval — too rich for my blood, even on points. Besides, I’m not sure I’d enjoy the whole “wellness” experience. This review kind of confirms my prejudices (great grounds, bad food).

Credit cards

Capital One is ditching consumer overdraft fees, by CNBC. Well, about time, I think.

AmEx offers a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic again, by Doctor of Credit. I’ve written so much about the awesome things you can book with Virgin Atlantic points that I was prepared to write an update and I still might — however, I did a [cursory] award space check for the sweetest spots in my list, and, my goodness, it’s BEYOND ABYSMAL!

OK, so here is probably the biggest news: the new Chase Aeroplan card offering a 100,000-point welcome bonus with a twist. Every blogger out there has already covered it; here is a nice review by Thrifty Traveler. My own review is coming.

A timely reminder to use or lose annual credit card perks, by MilesTalk. Alas, I’m going to lose mine.

And here is my own plug: How “Unnecessarily” Complicated Are AmEx Platinum Benefits?

Covid-19

Over the last year, I’ve read a lot (and I mean a lot!) about the virtues of Moderna vs Pfizer vaccines, and finally a new Harvard study shows that Moderna has a slight edge, by The Hill.

Troubling Omicron developments 

Omicron is making everyone nervous, and probably for a good reason. Here is the news about how a party in Norway “turned into the biggest Omicron ‘super spreader event’ outside South Africa.” So troubling is Omicron that Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel believes the new Omicron-targeted vaccine is necessary, even though the development is going to take time.

Bancel said Moderna believes the omicron variant is highly infectious, but it will take at least two weeks to determine how much the mutations have impacted the efficacy of the vaccines currently on the market.

“Depending on how much it dropped, we might decide on the one hand to give a higher dose of the current vaccine around the world to protect people; maybe people at very high risk, the immunocompromised, and the elderly should need a fourth dose” he said.

In the meantime, “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah took a snipe on Bancel, stating, well, the obvious:

On the one hand, almost all the Omicron cases have been mild so far but, on the other hand, the guy who stands to gain millions of dollars from new vaccines says we need new vaccines, huh?

Trevor Noah is funny. Not as funny as Jon Stewart (no one is), but he’s a very talented comedian. And he might also be right about Omicron cases being predominantly mild, but remember that super spreader party in Norway? Here are some other details about Omicron, not so mild. Per Insider:

All attendees were fully vaccinated and had tested negative before the event, Reuters said.

Fifty people who attended the party had positive PCR tests for coronavirus, while another ten have tested positive on lateral flow tests, according to the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.

The party was attended by 120 people. Doesn’t that amount to a 50% infection rate among the vaccinated?

I agree with Noah Trevor that Bancel and Moderna stand to make an insane amount of money on the new vaccine, but that’s a good thing. I hope they’ve already started.

TBB

My favorites:

  • D.B. Cooper Still on the Run?
  • Mass Psychosis
  • How the FBI Discovered a Real-Life Indiana Jones in, of All Places, Rural Indiana
  • When Multilevel Marketing Met Gen Z

And now just for fun

If any of you consumed tons of science fiction back in the 70s or 80s like I did, you probably couldn’t have lived through the 90’s, 2000’s and 2010’s without asking yourselves at least once:

Where the f#@% are the flying cars already?

Well, maybe they’re coming finally? The price is about right…

NB: The clip above was supposed to be the final piece, but then I woke up this morning to find this in my email. Who can say no to a slice of great comedy!

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Christian

I love the flying car concept. I wonder just how bad it would would hurt if your engine suddenly seized up while flying. The Miami hotel list is interesting. With so many Marriott hotels listed, I can’t help but wonder how many people are out there that have hundreds of thousands of Bonvoy points to spend for a fairly short trip. Not me, but maybe I’m just cheap. The Virgin Atlantic Amex transfer sounds tempting but the big value from what I’ve read is ANA first class awards and at least when I’ve checked for extensive period lately, those have… Read more »

Allan

Who has (“5/24”) space left for another Chase card? Regrettably, I don’t.

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