Protect your frequent flyer accounts!

An CBS Chicago article describes some people’s experiences with their miles being taken.  While I’m not totally irresponsible with my mileage accounts, I don’t feel like I protect my information on them as closely as other things.  For one, using AwardWallet is a major weak point, because if someone can breach that account, then they have access to your entire collection.

My take is that if my miles/points were stolen, it would be upsetting, but not as bad as my bank account being emptied.  The miles have value, and I’ve definitely invested time and money into getting some miles, but for some reason I wouldn’t feel like it’s the end of the world if they were stolen (possibly because I collect way too much of them?).  I suspect it would still be quite upsetting if something like that happened to me though.

On the other hand, while having AwardWallet is a weak security point, it does also allow me to keep an eye on everything with little effort.  so if there was a breach on one of my accounts, I would probably find out sooner than if I didn’t use an aggregating service.

Space Shuttle Discovery

Following up on MJonTravel’s spache shuttle posts (here and here), on Thursday, I went out to see Space Shuttles Enterprise and Discovery nose-to-nose at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center.

Here are the photos I took of the shuttles (go here for the full gallery):

And also several videos of the actual moving of both shuttles (around 7:30, they have to back the shuttle out because the first attempt to line up the tail appears to be unsuccessful 🙂 :

Latest Credit Card Churn

Since I’m on the topic of credit cards, I figured I would share my last credit card churn (about 2 months late).  In the last round, I applied for the following cards:

Citi Hilton card – 40,000 Hilton points for spending $1,000 in 4 months

Chase Hyatt Visa card – 2 free nights after spending $1000 in 3 months (this spend requirement has since been dropped on this card)

Virgin Atlantic Card from Bank of America – 20,000 Virgin Atlantic points after first purchase, additional 25,000 for spending $2500 in 3 months

Barclay’s US Airways Business Card – 25,000 US Airways miles after first purchase

This churn was motivated mainly by the fact that I decided to take advantage of the Hyatt promotion this quarter, to get a ton of Hyatt points and get Hyatt Diamond status.  The Chase Hyatt card was required to get an extra 25% bonus miles under the promotion.

The others were honestly just fill-in cards from banks that I haven’t applied for many cards from.  You can actually earn up to 60,000 points or so on the Virgin Atlantic card if you’re willing to put $25,000 of spending on the card in a year, but I highly doubt I will be using the card to that extent (nor do I find the points worth it).  This churn could be a bit of a Hilton bonanza.  If I transfer the Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton, the 45,000 points would be come 90,000 Hilton points, which is somewhat tempting.

Anyway, on the whole, while thus churn has some gems, I think most people would agree that it’s the churn of someone who’s exhausted most of the good offers out there.  I already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold (with an application for another one out there), I have an AMEX Premier Rewards Gold and an AMEX Business Gold, as well as the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest card.  I’m probably gonna slow down a bit on the applying for new cards, and the only other one I’m really targeting this year is the AMEX SPG Business card.

Oh no! The Chase Ink Bold spend is increasing :(

Well, actually this has already happened on most public ads, but now it’s going to happen for all links (via One Mile at a Time.   But anyway, the card will require $10000 in spend over 3 months (fairly unreasonable for me), as opposed to the current $5000 in 3 month (pretty manageable).  This is sort of convenient, because I was going to apply for it tonight anyway, but now I can link to other posts instead 🙂  Frequent Miler has put together a great guide for applying for this card.  Here’s the application link.

I’m also planning to put in an application for the Alaska Airlines Visa, which just increased it’s signup bonus.

Happy Credit Card applying!

UPDATE: It appears the links for the Alaska Airlines card with the 35,000 bonus is already dead 🙁  so now i’m on the fence about that card…

Membership Rewards Priority Club transfers ending July 1

Sorry for the lack of posts…I’ve been busy with taxes and working on a website 🙂

Anyway, I got the following email this morning:

As a valued Priority Club® Rewards member we want to inform you of an important change to the program. Effective July 1, 2012, Priority Club will no longer participate in the Membership Rewards® program from American Express.

Get closer to your dream vacation by transferring
Membership Rewards points to Priority Club points now through June 30, 2012.

I doubt many people use this transfer option, so this can probably be filed under “don’t care”, but it hurts a bit to lose one transfer option.  (For example, as Mommy Points mentioned, PC points were at least good for a US Airways hit, and if you were rich on AMEX MR points, it’s not a terrible option to transfer some points for a hit).  Hopefully AMEX starts adding some valuable transfer partners soon, because it seems over the past year, they’ve just been losing partners, and not really adding partners that provide much value.

Chicago Seminars selling out faster than last year

Frugal Travel Guy has posted a Chicago Seminars update (among other things).  Part of the schedule was updated, as well as an update of tickets sold.  There’s just over 200 left.  Last year, I waited until much later to register, since tickets didn’t seem to be moving fast, but I think this event has picked up some momentum since last year.  This is a great place to meet other frequent flyers and bloggers, and to hear everyone’s stories about points, miles, and the adventures they take with them.  For more information, see this FTG post, and you can register through EventBrite at this link.

Potential Delta Skymiles changes…

Well this would be a big deal/problem if it happened.  Via The Points Guy, there’s rumors floating around of Delta switching to a revenue based model for their mileage program.  What this means is that you accrue “miles” based on how much you spend on a flight, and when you redeem miles, they essentially convert into a fixed value.  Typically this means you will get less value for your miles, and for a non-business traveler, there’s not much you can do to get a great value out of it.

I’m not really a Delta flyer though, but I do have a large stash of Delta miles earned through various transfers and promotions.  So if this is at all true, I maybe need to start looking into burning down some Delta miles.  Delta Skymiles are already considered a pretty poor value by most people, although there are some redemption options that are gems (Air France to Europe, V Australia).

Interesting tidbit about CCs

View from the Wing has posted a bit about his future plans on credit card posts.  I definitely agree that credit card signup bonuses are the easiest and most lucrative way to earn miles, and I find all the complaints about too many credit card posts quite frivolous (there’s really not that many, and they really are the fastest way to build up your mileage accounts, so I tend to believe a lot of the complaints are just hating one someone else who is making a buck off a simple referral).

Anyway, if you’re not already in the credit card game, I recommend reading the linked post and the links in it, because Gary has provided some solid advice for starting off your mileage adventure (well, at least taking you adventure on miles).  But in that post, I found it interesting that Chase is aiming to bring down AMEX Membership Rewards with their Ultimate Rewards program.  Though honestly, it doesn’t seem surprising, having looked at both programs so much, but I do think it’s great to have competition!  Hopefully the competition drives improvements in both programs.