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Speaker 1: You're listening to the Miles To Go podcast, the go-to source for travel tips, news, and reviews you can't afford to miss. Now, here's your host, travel expert, Ed Pizza.
Ed Pizza: Hey, guys, welcome back back to the Miles To Go podcast. I am flying solo this week after a week on the road for work, which completely wiped me out like a complete rookie. That followed the two-week RV trip from hell that you guys heard about, if you've been listening to the show. The family is actually relaxing for a few days in Deep Creek, Maryland. We're looking forward to a few days of reduced temperatures and some relaxation. I got a few travel news items that caught my eye, and we've got a listener question to answer as well. It's also safe to say that that after some road warrior travel, COVID continues to cloud the judgment of airlines and hotels.
In the past week, I had a couple of interesting things. Delta announced on a red-eye flight I was on, in a very serious and stern manner, that we were in a COVID situation, and because of that COVID situation, they wouldn't be handing out blankets or pillows for our safety on the flight. I'm not quite sure how a new blanket or a pillow has a high risk of COVID. In the hotel world, as I alluded to on the show last week, I stayed at a hotel on a $300 nightly rate, and the front desk told me that housekeeping was by special request on a daily basis. So I just needed to let the front desk know on a daily basis whether I needed my room cleaned. Free breakfast at limited service hotels definitely still remains elusive. As my co-pilot, Mr. Kerr, said so eloquently, you need to call hotels before you go to inquire about essential services if there are things that are important to you.
As a quick side note, if you guys have questions, you can email us email@example.com, and you can also text us at 571-293-6659. Our question this week is actually from one of our listeners who texted in via the new number. Lastly, you can always hit us up on social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all at Pizzainmotion. And love it if you could click on the link in the show notes and leave us a five-star rating and a review. That's huge for us in terms of helping grow the show and, as well, tell a friend about Miles To Go.
So in travel news, American Airlines and Hyatt are teaming up for a status acceleration offer. If you've been thinking about chasing status in either program, these are better opportunities than what's been available so far this year. I do think that elite status in Hyatt is extremely valuable, my number one hotel program, as well as American Airlines. I think right now the American Airlines are better than the Hyatt options with this most recent challenge. Well, I think the shortcut is better with AA, not necessarily what you can achieve, where Hyatt already lowered the requirements for top tier globalist status to 30 nights from 60 nights. But with this newest promotion, you can earn globalist status if you have 20 nights in a 90-day period, which certainly, less than 30. But if you're going to get to 20, chances are you're going to get to 30 as well. Since we're in the second half of the year, your status should be good until the end of 2022.
Now the American Airlines, half of the status challenge varies based on your status level. So I logged in to check out my offer. I'm already a Lifetime Platinum member with the airline, and AA offered me a challenge to the next tier up, which is Platinum Pro. The status bump would be good until January of 2023, and I would need to spend $2,300 and earn either 18,000 Elite qualifying miles or 21 Elite qualifying segments. If I had any plans to fly American consistently for the rest of this year and or next year, I would absolutely find a way to book a few flights. The spending requirement wouldn't be hard to hit with ticket prices where they are right now. The 18,000 EQM is a bit of a stretch, but it's not horrible.
Unfortunately, with Dulles being my home airport and no flights from Dulles to Chicago to be able to get to the center of the country for my Midwest travel, it's tough for me to fly consistently on AA. So I'll be bypassing this one, but you should definitely log in and see what your offer is because there are some really, really good ones out there.
Richard Kerr, he currently has Executive Platinum status with AA, and he was offered a sweetheart challenge to retain it through 2023. We'll ask him when he's back on the show to confirm, but if I remember correctly, he needs to spend $15,000 on one of his AAdvantage credit cards. I actually don't recall which one, whether it's the Barclay's card or the Citi card, or if either of the cards works. But at any rate, there are great offers out there and being able to retain Executive Platinum status for spending on a credit card, I mean, that's pretty awesome in my book. I don't quite think we've seen the end of good offers. I do think there will come a point in the status year where airlines and hotel chains may decide they can no longer use Elite status bumps to drive short-term bookings this year. But I mean, it's a truly weird year, so I don't really know what would surprise me right now.
The big news of the week is Citibank adding American Airlines as a temporary transfer partner. And before you get too excited, I did say temporary. Citibank has issued an American Airlines AAdvantage credit card for as long as I can recall. I've had one version or another of Citi's AA credit cards dating back to the nineties, for the most part, in my wallet. However, as first, American Express Membership Rewards and then Chase Ultimate Rewards made flexible currency popular, Citi never really broke through with their flexible currency to have that marquis US domestic carrier partnership that Amex and Chase had; Delta and United, respectively, in case you guys were wondering.
You've long been able to transfer Citi Thank You points to valuable airlines, such as Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Turkish, but I think most people keep the game pretty simple. And so they think about the airlines that they see on a daily basis in their home airports and that's American, Delta, Southwest, United, folks like that. And even though Citibank issues AAdvantage credit cards, they've never been a transfer partner, as far as I can recall.
In an interesting twist, if you listened to our episode a few weeks ago, where Richard Kerr talked about the new Bilt Rewards program, Bilt has American Airlines as a transfer partner, which was kind of big news. Now, Citibank has announced American as a temporary transfer partner until mid-November with no news about if it will be extended beyond there. It's going to be really interesting to see how this plays out. While I generally advise folks only to transfer flexible currencies to an airline if you have a specific reservation that you're booking, I think it could be the right decision for a number of folks to move some Thank You points over to American Airlines.
AAdvantage has some great partners for award flights, and it can be difficult to really max out your AAdvantage balance just from flying and from the AAdvantage credit cards. We'll stay tuned on this one and, quite frankly, and again, what's a truly weird travel year, I wouldn't be surprised if this gets extended and I wouldn't be surprised if it goes away and we never see it again, as with most things in the world of travel miles and point. If you're thinking about making the transfer, I would just do it. I wouldn't trust that this is going to be around past November as a permanent thing.
Anyway, that listener question, Molly, who's a regular listener of Miles To Go, she reached out recently with a question about what credit card to get her college-aged son. He'll be studying abroad in Europe next year, and she want to know what a good starter card would be for him. She'd already gone down the road of applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for him, which he did qualify for. I had to double check to make sure I was correct on one small detail before I answered Molly. Normally, I'd consider recommending something like the Chase Freedom Flex for someone who's just starting out with a first credit card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good, but not great card, but it comes to what you can earn with it and what some of the other cards have stepped up in terms of what their earning potential is over the past few years. It's not the Chase Sapphire Preferred is bad, but I think there are cards that have surpassed it at this point, depending on what you spend on. And Freedom Flex also has a benefit of no annual fee where Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, which is still not horrible. 5% back on grocery store purchases and the rotating quarterly categories can add up on Freedom Flex. And you can team that up with a premium card like Chase Sapphire Preferred to turn the cash back into Ultimate Rewards points.
In the back of my mind though, I was pretty sure that Freedom Flex had a foreign transaction fee where Sapphire Preferred doesn't. Since Molly's son will be overseas, that no foreign transaction fee is huge. And quite frankly, it's a non-starter here for any card that carries a foreign transaction fee because you're very rarely going to be able to earn more than those fees. They typically run about 3%, and we just don't see flexible currency or any mile and point that's consistently worth that sort of a return. There are some other travel protections which helped Molly make the decision as Chase Sapphire Preferred was the right card for her son. Now, seems like her biggest challenge is to earn enough points to make sure she can go visit her son in Europe while he's over there studying. Thanks for the question, Molly, and for being a fan of the show.
As a side note, Molly is apparently a regular listener because she was on the fence about RV travel with her husband. And she did say that after listening to Richard and I, she has determined that hotel stays are the right course of action for her. Molly, I can't say that I blame you.
That's a full wrap on this week's show. I'm hoping to take it a bit easy this week and get charged back up for some more travel news next week. There is no question I am not in game day shape for the road warrior life and can definitely use a little recharge on my batteries. But I didn't want to skip a week without talking to all of you and there were some interesting things for us to talk about. Who would've thought in the tail end of the pandemic, we'd be talking about something that I haven't seen for the 20-plus years I've been in this game, where you can now transfer Citi points to American Airlines. Crazy times.
Anyway, Mr. Kerr may be done gallivanting around Disney World in time to get back on the show with us again next week, so stay tuned for that. As I mentioned at the top of the show, if you guys have questions, we make it super easy. You can email us firstname.lastname@example.org or you can text us at 571-293-6659. We'll have that number in the show notes as well just in case you're driving or on an exercise machine somewhere and can't write it down. And just like Molly, you might hear your question on a future show. And lastly, you can always hit us up on social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all at Pizzainmotion.
As always, five star ratings and reviews are a big help for us and even bigger help at recruiting new listeners for us. Tell a friend about Miles To Go. I appreciate you guys listening again and look forward to talking more travel again with you next week. Until we upload again, we've got Miles To Go.
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