SWAG Saturday: OPEN Saturday + One more Swiss backpack & Amazon cash up for grabs.

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This week, since I am having an all BAcon weekend of fun, I wanted to open up the SWAG day to something really fun as well. Up for grabs is my last Swiss Gear backpack and the monthly Amazon cash I have received.

swiss backpack

But first the picky stuff. Each week the rules are HERE and by commenting you are agreeing that you have looked at the rules and agree with them.

sept amazon e-gift money from blog

Then on to this week’s question. Well really a question for you to share with me. This week it is an open forum. Ask a question or say something fun or just say hello! Thinking about what credit cards to go for before year end? Anything you comment counts as your entry this week for a shot at this week’s swag via random.org!

Then this Monday I will pick some of the question ones and answer them on the blog! – René

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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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142 comments

  1. Random travel thought – when people are getting to board a plane, why do they insist on forming a mass in the middle of the terminal? 🙂

    I wish the airlines would come up with a system to fix this.

  2. Hey Rene, just wanted to say how great the blog is! Wonder if we’ll have any big bonuses before the year end like the citi 100k cards. Usually great deals come out a week after i do a round of apps!

  3. Rene, I am thinking about going for the Citi Prestige card – what do you think of that one? I am hitting a point on the calendar where I have to evaluate dropping some of the cards I picked up in the last – before annual fees hit (US Airways, British Airways, Platinum, Citi AAdvantage)

  4. When will Skyteam break apart? I feel that Delta is getting very combative with its Skyteam “partners”, and they will soon do the same.

  5. Hello! People always talk about their best travel experiences. What is one of your worst and WHY is it the worst to you? (The reason I ask is that I find that one can actually learn quite a lot from the bad travel mistakes so that hopefully, the same mistakes won’t be repeated again…)

  6. Just saw on Facebook an article of crazy things you see on a plane and they had a shirtless gut sleeping in their seat. Have you seen something like that before???

  7. How can I track the special bonuses that come with some of the credit cards. Such as spend $20,000 and get x. I can’t seem to keep up with the ever changing rules.

  8. Is there much of a benefit to go for DL Platinum instead of sticking with DL Gold? I’m a little shy of Platinum for this year and would have to do a mileage run to get there….not sure it’s worth it, with the exception of the Choice Benefit.

  9. On FT this week, I’ve seen a couple of posts by people who got generous targeted offers to attain certain medallion levels. It’s funny to see the usual Delta cheerleaders crying about how unfair it is because they work so hard for their status only to see “low value” flyers receive these offers, yada yada yada.

    I wonder if it’s b/c Delta has noticed people leaving due to the devaluation of their FF program. I know they’ve been posting record earnings lately, but I wonder how it will play out in the coming year.

  10. Just got back from a cool mileage run…Aruba to Honolulu…that I learned about from you…we had a great time and met another one of your readers…Charlie…doing the same run as us. We earned over 20,000 MQMs…thanks for the information!

  11. I’m still holding out hope for a great offer before year end. I just got into collecting award points for travel a couple of months ago. I’m disappointed that I just missed out on the SPG Amex 30k offer, hopefully that will come back around soon.

  12. I already have the Amex Delta Gold, so I wanted to get another airline card? I have some American and some United miles. Which airline card would you recommend? Thanks.

  13. Going to stick with my Club Carlson Visa card and Delta Amex. Will make gold this year and that is about it.

  14. My question is how do you get your wife onboard with the philosophy of points and miles? Mine kind of understands, but is often unwilling to take part because she thinks it’s too hard to keep track of what card to use and when.

  15. Reentered the miles game not too long ago. So many things are different, so much to learn. Glad blogs like these are around to help. Cheers!

  16. I am thinking of going for the Club Carlson card. I have never tried their brands of hotels and would like to try them out!

  17. After trying to book a flight to Europe, getting blanked out from Delta trying to use our points, and finding the plane half empty, we are pretty much done with Delta SkyMiles. We used up our miles going to Florida last summer and have not accrued any more since.

  18. With your permission, I have a comment and a question. My comment concerns the growing propensity it seems for people to leave the window shades down if they are that way when they board. Obviously if its 85F and the sun is pouring in on one side of the plane, those shades should remain closed until the aircraft moves. But if not, please open the shades. The worst example of this that I have experienced was a few days ago on a red eye from SEA to MSP. Every shade in the 767 first-class cabin was closed notwithstanding the facts that SEA daytime temps barely reached 70F and it was substantially cooler than that for our 12:50am departure. No one raised the shades during taxi and not even for the takeoff run. I felt like spam in a can. The feelings of claustrophobia were compounded by mild disorientation from the takeoff run and climb out without any external visual references. At least a pilot in IFR has instruments to rely on. I don’t understand how people would not want to enjoy the view. My question is much shorter. Is there any organization, public or private, that represents the interests of ffs? If there was some way of jointly expressing our frustrations with the incessant “enhancements” or taking some type of concerted action, we might be able to affect the outcome in a small way or at least not feel so helpless.

  19. Getting ready for my next churn. Going to do USAirways (4th time), Citi AA Business Card, Wells Fargo Card with $500 cashback.

  20. Finally grabbed a super not-quite-a-mistake airfare a few weeks back – CVG to LAS for $29.98 (0.89 cpm)! It was the new service special on Frontier – yes, I know. Anyway, that has now spoiled me. The $205 from August now doesn’t seem too hot. FWP.

  21. How can I know if a flight will have first class seats available if I’m using a regional upgrade certificate?

  22. How do I get my husband to quit using his miles for spur of the moment travel when I’m trying to plan a surprise trip to Germany and want the miles for that? Seriously, thank you for always answering all of our questions. Easiest blog of all to understand, too!

  23. What percentage of time are you able to find Delta saver availability on domestic routes, would you say?

  24. Got DM first time this year. I always fly low fare flights, what are my chances of actually using the global upgrade certs I’ll get next year? Thanks for a great blog!

  25. Wondering what to do about cards next since I’ve pretty much exhausted the opportunities with Amex.

  26. René, I am in Prague now,and I love the blog, especially when I am traveling abroad. The blog keeps me informed and connected about this hobby and, in particular, all things Delta. I have just spent a month in Prague, Helsinki and the Baltic countries. Fantastic places! Plus…..Delta SkyMiles got me here (IAH-ATL-JFK-PRG) and did a good job. I still like service on Delta….. just don’t like the direction the Delta SkyMiles Program has taken. Keep up the great work with the blog!

  27. Do you find ita matrix the best way to search for flights or do you use any others to check routings (kayak, etc)? Nice blog.

  28. With travel bloggers flying so much are you concerned about deep vein thrombosis. Do you wear the socks to help prevent that?

  29. How do you always manage to score bumps? Every time they ask for volunteers I offer up my seat only to be eventually told they don’t need it.

  30. How do you always manage to score bumps? Every time they ask for volunteers I offer up my seat only to be eventually told they don’t need me.

  31. A hard lesson I just learned: With Alaska, If you don’t fly an outbound on a RT ticket, they cancel your return. With Delta, I know they’ll do that if you miss a segment, but usually I’ve had them deal with outbound and return separately… so only missing part of the return would cancel subsequent segments, but missing the outbound would have no impact. Different airlines, different policies… or maybe I’ve just been lucky with Delta?

  32. I will be home one day in the month of October on my MQM free for all. A few flights in the USA and then on to Asia for what seems like a flight every 3 days. Here is hoping I can get some good upgrades along the way. Thanks for all the tips that might just help this happen.

  33. I’m thinking of what extra mileage run I can do this year to make sure I get Platinum. Thanks for the great site!

  34. Hi Rene. I have a question about sharing Delta miles with other accounts. I have some older relatives who I help fly occasionally…and they all have Skymiles accounts because I signed them up for them. Nobody has enough miles on their own to do anything…but from what I see there is a fee for merging miles. Wondering if there are any tips for minimizing cost to merge miles to make them more useful?

    Thanks!

  35. How do you move from one card to another? Do you cancel all your cards when you move or do you just keep stacking them on themselves ? Like the Delta Gold?

  36. If I’m interested in getting a Discover card, should I wait for a sign-up bonus to come around?

  37. I’m going to upgrade my Hilton AMEX to the Surpass for 50000 bonus points. According to some people on Flyertalk, this doesn’t result in a hard pull, so I’m in.

  38. When there is a delay on a Delta flight and your options open up, I choose to select alternative flights. Often times I get an error on the app. Do you know if it is better to use a browser or an airport kiosk to get the desired alternative flight?

  39. I’ve been going light on Skymiles accumulation, given the huge unknowns for next year. With next year getting closer, it’d be nice to know what’s coming.

  40. Not happy with the changes that are incoming, but trying to look for the silver lining (Skymiles). Looking at switching to US Air/American, but here’s to hoping Delta has some good surprises before the year is up!

  41. Rene, you have taught us a lot and we are grateful. Really wondering what “enhancements” the airline industry has in store for us in 2015?

  42. Debating on which of the diamond benefits to go for as second choice after global certs. I am afraid of skymiles 2015 to devalue the 25k miles. So thinking of the $200 for delta. Could potentially get more than $200 from the skymiles, but the $200 would help pay for a MQM earning trip next year. Thanks for the blog!

  43. René,

    Great blog and I love your giveaways! I need your expert advice once again…which combination out of the ones listed below should I use to get the most advantage when redeeming for one HNL-LHR-HNL ticket for Nov 22, 2014 – Dec 7, 2014:

    7000 United Miles;

    $500 United Electronic Travel Certificate;

    70979 Chase UR Points;

    35,881 Starpoints;

    9125 Delta SkyMiles;

    38052 Korean Air Skypass Miles: Out of which 14049 Korean Air Skypass Miles are in my own account and another 13629 and 10374 are under my Korean Air Family Plan and are available to me for mileage family pooling.

    Thanks!

  44. How do you choose your Choice Benefit? I am about to hit Platinum and can’t make up my mind what to choose.

  45. Rene,
    Are people finding the new upgrade certificates easy to use? Do you get the upgrade at the time of booking or are you just higher on the upgrade list? Thanks.

  46. I’m wondering what’s the best plan to try to take my family of four away someplace warm between Christmas and New Year’s given that I failed to plan in advance….

  47. Trying to decide between either the Amex Hilton card (basic one) vs the Visa Hilton card, any ideas or preferences? I don’t travel/stay much, most points will be from spending.

  48. Cant wait to see what the defections from Delta after SM2015 starts will prompt the other legacy carriers to do in regards to elite status matches

  49. Rene: Has anyone else commented on this?
    The Alitalia (Delta Sky Club) Lounge is an embarrassment for Delta to be associated with. Having to spend over five hours in it is totally unacceptable. Has Delta management spent any time in this hole? The roof was leaking and all over showed water stains. Furniture is worn. Food and beverages were not in stock. Not even plain bottled water? My wife went outside to the terminal to get us water and sodas and sandwiches. And did I mention that we were stuck in here for over five hours? If nothing else, ask the FCO station manager to visit it and report back.

  50. How get around some sites when checking on award availability and site will not show any data due to not having enought miles to cover the award

  51. I’m really hoping to get the US Airways Card for the 40,000 mile bonus and also the Citibank Aadvantage Card for the 40,000 bonus.. That plus the Citi Executive Mastercard I received earlier this year should really help for a planned trip to Australia. Thanks for the great tips about all of these cards. Especially about the business versions of the various cards. Between the Delta Reserve AMEX Personal and Business and the Delta Platinum Skymiles Personal and Business I’ve gotten much of the MQM qualifications for 2015. Thanks again!

  52. I’ll be taking a flight from MSP to LHR in a few weeks – any tips on surviving the long flight in coach Thanks for your blog – learning new things all the time.

  53. Hi Rene, thanks for all the cool info. I recently was told that a RT fare I bought online for MIL-PDX-IST was not changeable since it originated in Europe. I had to cancel the day before flying as I had gotten a nasty stomach flu. I canceled through @DeltaAssist and they had confirmed a residual value after the change fee. When I went to use the e-certificate for a new trip the value was in Euros and in did not convert right on the website. So I called the Elite desk as I am Platinum. The agent told me My ticket was not changeable and that was common for Europe originated flights. She got approved for a waiver and was able to finish booking the flights I wanted. So wanted to either verify that others knew of this rule or share the knowledge. I was surprised because they had posted an e-certificate with a value for my original price minus a change fee. BTW I was in the middle of an award business-class RTW trip and just wanted a quick trip home.

  54. Just wanted to say thank you for all of the great information. Because of this blog I will make Diamond for the first time ever in approximately 1 week from now. Yay Delta Reserve cards and business travel.

  55. What do you think about AX raising the annual fee on Delta Skymiles Platinum card to $195/yr and disallowing fees paid for your green Amex card to credit towards the Skymiles card fee? I am sure not happy, since it means that my total fees go from $150 to $250 per year. I will be dropping both and going with the fee free Everyday card.

  56. Last year I did several mileage runs to make Diamond. They were 1st/BE to overseas. What do you consider to be a good cost per mile when purchasing 1st/BE?

  57. I just got the Delta AMEX platinum and I am frantically trying to spend 25K on it before 12/31. I am off to Japan in a few weeks. I see that the card does not charge Foreign transaction fees. But I have heard that cards that don’t charge these fees just make it up by giving you a poor exchange rate. Anyone have any insight ?

  58. Hi Rene,

    I have decided that 2015 will be the last year I strive for PM status with DL. With all the reductions in benefits and privileges to platinum status (read: enhancements) it is no longer worth maintaining allegiance to one airline. Instead I will likely split my air travel between DL & AA since the latter will still have a decent mileage program. Delta has been too greedy the last couple years. Thanks for the memories.

  59. Att Barb Thompson RE:LHR
    If you are PM or better, you have access to the AMESOME Virgin Atlantic lounge. An airport lounge the way they should be, complimentary fine dining table service. There are not just showers, but also a Jacuzzi. I had no problem bringing a guest at no additional charge. I was travel on Delta in econ. I understand there is another somewhat less awesome lounge for SM/GM also.

    I was told by an airline consultant that there is also a Virgin Atlantic ARRIVAL lounge at LHR, right after you clear customs with the same great enmities. Has anyone, here used it?

  60. 113,778 MQM’s and $1,967 MQD’s this year….still working my way to Silver Medallion. Got 7 more trips booked…should make $2,647 MQD’s by year end.
    Got to love Delta!

  61. Rene, Keep up the great work, I used your advice to get Delta Platinum for the wife and I added the Platinum Business to get 10k MQM’s.

  62. I just got the Ritz & Hyatt offers, so I’m done for credit cards this year. I’m now at six Chase cards, which is unfortunate b/c I want the IHG card. How many Chase cards do you have Rene?

  63. If you could advise Mr. Anderson on three things that would make Skymiles a better program, what would they be?
    thks

  64. Was wondering why to get multiple CCs if you can just have Delta ones and just get a mile per dollar instead of transferring the points between programs?
    Thank you

  65. With Delta’s opportunity to ‘name your price’ to be bumped on full flights at their check in kiosks, are you still able to negotiate the final compensation (i.e. have Delta match the final highest offer) at the gate? I have bid on being bumped a few times over the last couple of months and have trended toward the higher end of the range but am wondering if it is better to go in low and negotiate with the GA.
    FWIW,I always check in online to get my HOOU cert and improve upgrade chances but usually hit the kiosk when the flight looks full for said opportunities.
    Love the blog.
    Thx

  66. Keeping my AmEx Reserve, and may go for a Barclay’s Arrival (haven’t decided on the flavor yet). Love the blog, and the MR page is a great help! Keep it up!

  67. I’m not sure I will go for any more credit cards this year. I guess it depends if I am targeted for a bonus.

  68. Going to end up 2500 miles short of gold this year (no business flying this year), but spent $25k on DL Amex. Worth a trip for gold, or rollover the miles for next year and at least maintain silver? Love the blog!

  69. Rene – What is the difference between “First Class” and “Business Class”? They seem to occupy the same seating area (front) and get the same food and perks.

  70. Just wanted to say thanks for all the great blog posts and SWAG Saturdays! I always look forward to reading!

  71. Thanks for the blog and personal responses over the years! How can one maximize mileage runs from non-hub airports?

  72. Hey René, glad you are having fun and accumulating all those free MQM’s. My run from ATL-BOS-DTW-SEA-ANC-MSP-ATL-BOS-ATL next weekend is looking like child’s play compared to the one you just did!

  73. I had my wife apply for the Delta Gold AMEX (thru your link btw)two weeks ago for the 50,000 Mile Bonus and the $50 Statement Credit. On the same day, had her apply for the Marriott Visa with the 70K Bonus. Instant approval on both. I had her get extra cards for each and I basically take care of the spend for the family.

  74. do you have any suggestions for a nice cheap mileage run from vps? need about 4k to make silver. thanks

  75. Despite all of our complaints, Delta is still the best alternative when compared to other airlines.

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