Richard Kerr: I'm a little nervous today, never been nervous before.
Ed Pizza: Why are you nervous?
Richard Kerr: I don't know. Maybe you're just looking good today, made me nervous. I don't know. The podcast is a very visual sport. In the other setting when you're getting straddled by a stranger the police are involved. On an airplane, people are like well, I just don't want to wake him up. This is so egregious.
Speaker 3: Climb aboard. This is the Miles to Go podcast, your source for the latest in travel news, reviews, and strategies you can't afford to miss. And now here's your host, travel expert and road warrior Ed Pizza.
Ed Pizza: Hey, guys. Welcome back to the Miles to Go podcast. Richard and I are both broken free from quarantine and testing negative on all the dipsticks that we shoved up our noses. It was pretty exciting stuff, right.
Richard Kerr: I test negative my whole life, Ed.
Ed Pizza: I can't even tell you how good it was to actually be home after quarantining in a hotel for almost 10 days. Got my negative tests and got to watch our daughter race at the state finals yesterday. Life is almost normal, man, almost normal other than the price I'm paying for airline tickets.
Richard Kerr: And hotels and gas. $117 yesterday to fill the truck up.
Ed Pizza: Nice. You want to know how much I spent to fill my truck up yesterday?
Richard Kerr: You don't have a truck anymore.
Ed Pizza: I know, isn't that great.
Richard Kerr: Too bad for you. I love my truck, man. But I did use Upside so we'll get 23 bucks back so we kept it under 100 bucks total.
Ed Pizza: Nice.
Richard Kerr: GetUpside is now called Upside by the way so if everybody's looking for that go check out upside.
Ed Pizza: Sounds like they bought a better domain. When you were absent from us a couple weeks ago, when you were waiting for the parking shuttle I said ... I told Julian and Summer that we had a review that came in that mentioned you and that I was going to save it for you when you were back on. And then I forgot to read it last week while we were both suffering with the COVID.
Richard Kerr: It's got to be Lone Star if it mentions me.
Ed Pizza: There you go. And real quick for folks that are listening would love it if you leave a rating or a review wherever you're listening, that's super helpful. Email us email@example.com. He is @KerrPoints on all social media. I am @pizzainmotion. And you can also leave us a voicemail. And in just a minute we are going to play a voicemail to set up Mr. Kerr for another exciting adventure. Anyway, you can leave a voicemail or text us 5712936659. Also, an orange button on the Miles to Go website can leave a voicemail there. So first, the five-star review that says nice things about Kerr from Man Mac 85. Titled dad jokes for miles. Nice pun there, by the way. Well played.
Richard Kerr: Also, I think we can say Man Mac is a he, right?
Ed Pizza: I think we can but again, this is a very non-gender specific world so I want to be careful. They said, "I subscribed for the points and miles talk but stayed for the dad jokes. Listening to both Ed and Kerr break down the hobby of miles of points while trading subtle insults and dad jokes is something of podcast gold and you can't get it anywhere else. These two do a fantastic job of making the hobby of points and miles relatable to any listener."
Richard Kerr: Sounds like I don't need to be so subtle with my jabs, need to be much more direct.
Ed Pizza: That may be one of the most enjoyable reviews I've read in five years of podcasting, that's pretty awesome.
Richard Kerr: Appreciate the-
Ed Pizza: Something of podcast gold.
Richard Kerr: Appreciate people taking the time to leave that. And the reviews do bump the show up and wherever people find it so go over there folks and leave us a six-star review. You've seen that? You see when hotels call themselves six-star hotels, places in the middle east. It's like really? What's the difference between six and five-star, I'm going to go find out, besides price tag.
Ed Pizza: Same between six and seven stars. All right, so we're going to try to cover all this today. We're going to try to cover new Marriott credit card sign-up bonus, the new St. Louis, the Frankfurt Lufthansa flight. We're going to talk a little bit about a listener question on COVID. If we get time we're going to talk about current advantage bonus for booking Marriott stays. Richard wants to complain about Delta and their regional operations.
Richard Kerr: I don't want to complain, I want to just set the scene, set the environment for everybody.
Ed Pizza: Right, right. He wants to set the scene, he wants to set the environment, and he is bound to use the word egregious.
Richard Kerr: Yes, for use. But before that, we got a quick voicemail from George who's a listener. Jeremiah, you can drop that audio in here for Mr. Kerr to respond to.
George: Hey, maybe I missed it but whatever happened to Richard's Singapore airlines points? I thought he needed to go to a Singapore airlines counter in New York City to try to get them refunded or extended because I know he didn't go to Singapore. Love the podcast, guys, thanks.
Ed Pizza: All right. So I don't even know, Richard, what happened. I have to assume you got your miles back. And by the way, just to set this up for folks. Richard booked a Singapore flight on Mother's Day weekend and complained that nobody told him it was Mother's Day weekend.
Richard Kerr: The flight was not on Mother's Day weekend, it was prior to. And during the checking of the family calendars and with the spousal unit to say, "Can I take this trip?" Everybody went "Great, no problem." And a couple weeks later it was recognized that this was Mother's Day weekend so I did the right thing and I attempted to cancel the trip.
Ed Pizza: I believe that this was a successful bear trap set by your wife.
Richard Kerr: We'll see what he does, see which way he goes here.
Ed Pizza: Exactly. All right. So I have to imagine you got your points back or I would've heard about it by now, but how bad was it?
Richard Kerr: It was terrible. If you try and get in touch with Singapore like we mentioned a month ago on the show, it's almost impossible, which they used to be the premier airline in the world for both service, and quality, and product. You cannot get in touch with them. I tried for weeks and weeks and weeks almost gave up, and then I was actually in New York City the day of the flight, in the Bilt office, and called the entire morning and finally got an agent. I said, "The flight is tonight, I need to cancel this flight I cannot go." And finally got an agent for whatever reason. She came back and she was like "Okay, canceled." And I was like we couldn't do this three weeks ago with all the hours on the phone? I tried to look back at the Singapore number and see how many times on my phone I dialed it but it just ... I can't decipher. But it was painful.
Because if she hadn't done it I would've literally just gone and be like all right I'm taking the AirTrain out of JFK tonight and going to stand at the desk until they give me my miles back, and tell them I'm not getting on this flight. I don't know. I called, did the exact same thing I'd always done, and then finally when I said, "Hey, I'm supposed to travel tonight, I'm not." I just got the right agent I guess. That was that tale and cancellations by Kerr.
Ed Pizza: I think I'll probably be going to the airport to cancel mine. I'm supposed to fly with Julian in August and the chances of that actually happening are low.
Richard Kerr: You're not doing that. Just go ahead and start now, man, start trying to cancel.
Ed Pizza: Well, but if I wait a little bit longer there's a ... It does increase the chances I go if I actually have a ticket so just saying. And you mentioned in pre-show that there's a bit of an update on your Virgin Atlantic canceled flight.
Richard Kerr: Last week how I got the weird $36 credit, at least on paper, for the 8,500 miles per ticket, per person. The refund showed up a couple days ago on the credit card but they were just the taxes and fees that we had paid so 400 bucks, which is great again, but I neither have the points nor the $36 credit now. Back to the phones on Monday, we go to ask Virgin, "Hey, what's up with this?" Whatever they got going on here is weird so just watch your accounts folks and try and keep tab of all the dollars and cents and whatnot. I'm going to call them. I'm going to give it one call and be like "Hey, what's the deal? Can he get the points back or there's credit? What's going on?" I'm happy I got 400 bucks back. I could just chalk it up, man, COVID Kerr cancellations, it's what I do. I'm the best flight canceler or ever. Best trip canceler.
Ed Pizza: I would agree. I'd agree, you're very good at it. I'm very impressed. Very impressed. I'm very impressed with your skills. All right. Where to go first? Let's do the Marriott credit card thing because I'll be interested to hear your opinion. We talked a little bit about this last night via pre-show. There's an offer out right now, and it seems to be getting a bunch of play. I'll tee this up and then I'll get out of Kerr's way for a second and see if he runs through-
Richard Kerr: Takes the bait.
Ed Pizza: The China shop like a bull. So Marriott has an alliterative collection of credit cards that all have B's.
Richard Kerr: And they need to fix it, man. Do you know which card is which issued by who? Brilliant, Boundless, Bold.
Ed Pizza: Oh, no. No, no, no.
Richard Kerr: Just how terrible marketing.
Ed Pizza: So this is the Boundless card which I may or may not have. I canceled some of the cards that I had and I-
Richard Kerr: You don't even know the card you have because they're all named the same.
Ed Pizza: It has a B in the name of it so I got that going for me. So this is one of the lower annual fee cards, it's a $95 annual fee. And so the sign-up bonus is you have to spend $5,000 in three months and you get five free night certificates. And just for clarification, we talked about this on the show a handful of weeks ago. These are certificates good for up to 50,000 points a night each, and you can top these off now. And I did successfully top these off for the Disney trip where Kerr infected me. And so they-
Richard Kerr: Without context people are going to be like what?
Ed Pizza: No context is their issue, not mine. You should listen every week if you want context, if not go back and listen, I promise all the context is there. So you can top these off, which means technically you could round them up to 65,000 points a free night. This is a Chase-issued Marriott, lots of B's card. You're subject to Chase 5/24 to get approved meaning you can't have received five new credit cards or five new revolving lines of credit in the past 24 months. Richard, are you applying for this offer?
Richard Kerr: Absolutely not. And I tell you this is a little worrying. Let's dig in here. Five free night certificates up to a 250,000 point value. Now, if look at all the marketing, they got that up to a in nice little italics, and asterisks, and foot marks, and offer details. And then you got the little cross little thing, that means you got to go look at three different places. It's incredibly hard to maximize each one of these certificates for exactly 50,000 points. So you're either going to redeem it for under or when you go to redeem it's going to cost you more of your points that you have because you're going to have to top it up to 65,000 points. And all of the coverage I've seen in this says 250,000-point sign-up bonus. Wrong, that's not the case. You're not going to be able to redeem these for exactly 250,000 points.
And I'm telling you, the places I've been looking for summer ... My wife has two 50K certificates sitting in her account that expire in three weeks. There's nowhere in Georgia I can redeem these things. Atlanta hotels are more than 50,000 points. The Ritz-Carlton's here are 80, 90,000. Get out of here. So what Marriott is hoping for here is some breakage, man. They want people to not use these certs, to not be able to use these certs, to forget about they have five of them, to redeem them from under the point value under 50,000 points. This costs them a lot less money than trying to issue a 250,000-point sign-up bonus. I would say that this costs them 60%, maybe half of what it would cost to issue 250,000 points. And this is the second Chase co-branded card to issue certificates rather than sign-up bonuses but market it like it's a big number sign-up bonus, right.
The Aeroplan plane card had two 50,000 award certs. Those are a little bit more flexible because you could ... There's no limit to what you could top those off, right, you could redeem as many more points as you wanted but I don't want certificates I want points. So you can be completely free and flexible to use them how and when you want and not feel like you left value on the table or not feel like you got to go spend more points to do it. And I just found it interesting now that we have two co-brand partners with Chase who decided to go the certificate way.
And then as you mentioned, this has been getting a whole lot of coverage, and I just want everybody just to realize why it's getting so much coverage, right. It's a big number for creators that make a lot of money off credit card sign-ups. Just look at everything with an independent lens. But it's not a 250,000-point sign-up bonus. I don't like this. I'm not applying for it. And Marriott, please rebrand these cards so we know what the heck card is what with all the ridiculous B names. What do you think, man?
Ed Pizza: I'm probably a little bit more bullish than you on it. And maybe this isn't the best lens to look through, but I pick New York City, a place where it's traditionally hard to find cheap rooms, and it also happens to be my favorite city in the entire world, where I grew up. While I wouldn't say that the really good properties in New York City are available for less than 65,000 points a night. And the reason why I say 65 is, to your point, that you can top these off but you're using points from your account. If I could add 15,000 points I would consider that reasonable. And so I just scanned a random weekend in the summer, and no doubt, there are a number of properties that I like. W New York - Times Square is 66,000 points a night.
Richard Kerr: Oh, I wonder why that is, Ed?
Ed Pizza: I wonder why that is? Can't stay there. The Westin New York Grand Central is a property we've stayed at a handful times. Actually, for a number of years, it was SPGs anchor hotel for their US Open coverage. And I like the property. It's 54,000 points a night. There's a couple other courtyard residents and stuff like that so not the super, super nice properties but a couple of fun properties. The Algonquin Hotel Times Square which is an autograph collection property so there's some use to these things.
But to your point, I think it's important for folks to understand what they're getting. If you were thinking about getting a Marriott card, I think it's certainly worth considering this offer because I think you can get, to your point, a 60% ... Maybe you could get a little bit higher than 60% value. I think it's going to be very hard to get 250,000 point value out of the sign-up bonus. But more importantly, I think the underlying card is pretty weak unless you're going to use it for paid Marriott stays, which neither you and nor I are really a big fan of.
Can you get your money's worth out of it? Sure, you can because the card for 95,000 ... For a $95 annual fee, the card comes with a free night on your anniversary every year, and that night is 35,000 point night. So can you get a $95 value out of 35,000 points with Marriott? You can. I wouldn't say it's an outstanding value by any stretch of the imagination, but you can get $95 in value. But after that, I mean two points per dollar on normal bonus spend for Marriott points and what I value them at is not a worthwhile benefit for me. They have a three points per dollar category that covers grocery stores, gas stations, and dining. I have cards in my wallet that earn much more valuable currency and more than three points per dollar in each of those categories.
For folks who apply for cards and don't spend on them, which typically isn't my dealio but it's definitely ... Somebody like Julian, this card it's probably a solid sign-up bonus. It's not a card I would keep in my wallet. So for folks who listen to the show who carry a card or two, which I know is a lot of you, unless you're going to pay for these ... For paid Marriott stays with this card, this is a tough one to get and keep. So maybe you keep it for a year and turn it into something else, but it wouldn't be a card that I'd hold in my wallet for a long time.
Richard Kerr: It's an annoying sign-up bonus. These 250K certs in Emily's account that are still sitting here because every time you go it's like well, that hotel's only 35. This one's 70 I really want to stay at. Great, what do I do with this certificate times five?
Ed Pizza: Here's where I think things like this could have value. Our daughter has a friend, and we drove her home from the track meet this past weekend. She would talk about how every summer their family summer vacation is to Smith Mountain Lake which is a lake not far from us here in Virginia, which is very nice but that's what their parents have and we hear that a lot from folks. I'm not saying that's a money-driven decision, but I know there are a lot of families who don't have points and miles. And so if you're trying to figure out how to travel and plan a family vacation for next year, this could certainly be a reasonable jumping-off point to do so. I would just say after you redeem your free vacation and use your Swiss Army Knife to figure out how to redeem all five nights, I just wouldn't be putting a lot of spending on this card going forward.
Richard Kerr: No, definitely not. You shouldn't get any of your spend on it, there's better cards for every day spend than this. I'm just more concerned about the precedent being set here by people getting ... The cards programs finally realize, we can't afford to give these massive sign-up bonuses, we are losing our hind dinger on these things. How can we still throw out big numbers for marketing purposes but save ourselves a bunch of cash? Let's do certificates instead of points. Definitely, an intentional thing to do. Just everybody be aware. But when I flip through Instagram stories, it'll say 250,000 point sign-up bonus, 250,000 ... I'm like no, no, no stop saying that. Don't do it, it's not true.
Ed Pizza: I've struggled a little bit more with certificate redemptions when cancellations happen or changes and stuff like that. They're a little bit difficult to work with a phone agent and harder to cancel online. I've had them not come back into my account accurately a couple times. Folks have said that happens more effectively now, but I haven't had to cancel one in the last little bit. I think there's a little bit more hair on certificates just in general terms of their usability. The other thing to I think with Marriott ... I know Hyatt will allow you to redeem a certificate in someone else's name, I don't think Marriott allows that. I mean, as it is, they're making it hard and harder to redeem points in someone else's name. But typically with these certificates, it's ... That's I think a big difference in value between say a Marriott and Hyatt where Hyatt makes it super easy. You can use your certificates and redeem them for anybody you want.
Richard Kerr: And there's been some interesting data points in the Facebook groups lately of people calling to add their spouse or something to a reservation and the front desk saying no for the first time and forever or ever as far as I'm concerned so that's a directive that's gone down as well. I don't know, man, I just-
Ed Pizza: And for those of you that want more Disney content on the podcast, just imagine Richard singing First Time in Forever like Frozen right there at the top of his lungs.
Richard Kerr: What?
Ed Pizza: First Time in Forever, man. Come on you've got a daughter.
Richard Kerr: No, I know the songs. You went out in left field there, man.
Ed Pizza: That's what I do. At least once every episode you tell people that's what I do.
Richard Kerr: You pulled Braves and went out there in left field and everybody's a little bit lost there.
Ed Pizza: All right. We got a listener question from Nate in Pittsburgh. He says, "Hey, Ed, topic suggestion even if it's just a five-minute refresher. Tips and strategies for testing for COVID to be able to fly home." And then he specifically asks, "Is the Binax video proctor test a good option? How far in advance would you order to schedule things like that?" He also asked about pharmacy chains to look for in Europe or the Caribbean. So let's take this apart piece by piece. For me at least, BinaxNOW through eMed is still my number one option for picking up tests before I go on a trip. Is that where you're still heading for ... Well, actually, you've never actually left the country. inaudible.
Richard Kerr: Thanks for the reminder.
Ed Pizza: Is eMed still your number one choice?
Richard Kerr: Yeah, that's the only choice I think.
Ed Pizza: There's one other one, I forget who they are, where you can order less than six. That's the only downside to eMed is I think they still have a ... It's essentially a one size fits all, you order six.
Richard Kerr: How long are the expiration dates on these things now? That was the problem we ran into this last week when we were sick, I started looking at the expiration dates of the home test we had in our cabinet and several had expired.
Ed Pizza: I don't know how accurate that is. It's a good question, whether it works or not. Also, too whether you would get stopped by a proctor from using an expired code or not. And I did just look up the eMed site. They do have a two-pack option now but the price goes from $25 to $35. The other thing I'd say too is, I would order more tests than you need. Even though it hasn't happened to me often, I've had a couple of randos where one didn't have the little vial or a little thing of reagent that you need to squeeze into the thing. Had one right when I started testing before I got COVID that didn't have a swab in it. If you're a family of four I wouldn't order four to get back in the country, I'd order six or eight or something of that nature.
I haven't heard of any problems getting a test at this point in terms of waiting time. There was a point with BinaxNOW and eMed where you could have a two, three, four-hour wait, haven't heard any of those reports lately. And when I've used them they've been super quick. We use eMed for work testing for my employees and have had zero complaints about people needing to wait to get a test or anything like that. QR codes always work, the whole bit. The way these work is, once you do the test you get a letter for countries that you need a physical letter to get in. Make sure you print a copy because there are some places ... My in-laws just ran into this. They tried to get on a cruise ship and they didn't have the physical copy of the letter and Bermuda's rules say you need a physical copy of the letter and so they got stuck.
For access back into the U.S., you can generally show the QR code that eMed has in their health app that you can download off the app store, it's called the NAVICA app. It times out after 72 hours. Very simple, very easy to use. Very high on my list. As far as other choices, I think Caribbean's probably the easiest because almost every resort that I've looked at in the Caribbean, everybody I know who's gone to the Caribbean, the resorts all offer some version of testing.
Richard Kerr: We still going to be talking about this in 2025 you think? I think we are.
Ed Pizza: 2025. Boy, that's a good over-under. You are setting a good book if you're saying the over-under at 2025. I would probably take the under just because I don't know that we'll necessarily ... We'll be talking about COVID. Will we be requiring testing? I don't think so. I mean, because at this point, I'm still not even sure ... If you tested positive right now outside of the U.S., I'm still not sure they can bar you as a U.S. citizen from coming back in the country with COVID. I mean, as it is we know you can fly to Canada and drive across the darn border. I don't think we're long for testing requirements for things like coming back into the U.S. if you're a U.S. citizen.
Richard Kerr: Oh, God, that needs to end so bad.
Ed Pizza: But I mean, we're expecting it when we go to Iceland this summer. Iceland, the last time I looked, had dropped all their requirements for getting in. You do run into some interesting dilemmas. You, obviously, need a positive ... A negative test to get back into the country. We're going to be gone for two weeks. But I mean, being stuck in Iceland for an extra two weeks if one of us tested positive leading up to leaving that would be-
Richard Kerr: Expensive.
Ed Pizza: It'd be expensive. It'd be very expensive. I mean, I think for folks that are out there, I think you should definitely contact your hotel if you're traveling outside of the U.S. before you leave to find out what options they have at the hotel, and also look for a second backup option behind that. But I think BinaxNOW for most folks is super easy and a lot of countries have dropped requirements for getting in with COVID. The U.S. is part of a shrinking list of countries that require some sort of COVID test to get back into.
Richard Kerr: Boop.
Ed Pizza: All right. So let's see how much Richard complains about the temperature on Lufthansa when we talk a little bit about St. Louis, Frankfurt, a new route that Lufthansa launched. I don't know if this is a one-off or not but what I thought was interesting about this is that back in the olden days of points and miles, one of the best ways to find award availability was to jump all over a new route when it got announced. Typically, the seats hadn't sold out and there would be award inventory available. And so Lufthansa's announced this St. Louis to Frankfurt flight. It's for the first time I think in 20 years that they've had premium cabin to Europe. Back in the days at TWA and all that, St. Louis was a massive hub. At any rate.
The reason why this struck a chord for me is I was like oh, I wonder if there's award inventory. This could be a good thing to recommend for folks that are booking European trips. And I literally couldn't find a single seat on United's website on this flight. Plenty of other Lufthansa seats but no non-stops from St. Louis to Frankfurt. You had mentioned to me as I was searching to check KLOSIN because you'd heard KLOSIN was available. I searched every day for two weeks heading out from our data podcasting, and then I searched probably a dozen to 20 random dates in July, August, September, October, November so three or four days a month, and not a single seat on the non-stop as a brand new flight. Not a single seat in coach, not a single seat in business class. I wasn't necessarily expecting to see business class inventory but surprised that there's not even any coach inventory.
Richard Kerr: I'm pulling it up now. I see tons of it almost every day they fly.
Ed Pizza: On United's website?
Richard Kerr: Yep. 33,000 for economy non-stop. It looks like they fly Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I'm looking at August. It looks like July is terrible. When does it start flying?
Ed Pizza: It flew this week.
Richard Kerr: Okay. July, not a single day.
Ed Pizza: Not in June neither.
Richard Kerr: June, July nothing but once you get into the end of July and August, Sunday, Wednesday, Fridays have economy availability on the non-stop. When I click business first it just says view options so let's see what that means. 33,000 non-stop St. Louis to Frankfurt. I mean, you're in very warm, hot Lufthansa-
Ed Pizza: See, I knew you were going to go there.
Richard Kerr: Boeing should just ... And Airborne should just leave the air nozzles on every plane. Leave them on, people can turn them off. You can't turn them off if they're not there but you can turn them off if they're there so I don't understand why? Just leave the air nozzles on there. I have to travel with the USB fan now that plugs into the place where you charge your phone. It's a little mini fan or else I'd die. I will sweat through those pajamas real fast.
Ed Pizza: You having hot flashes?
Richard Kerr: I'm going through menopause actually it's a ... Male menopause is real people. Don't-
Ed Pizza: You're a little young for that.
Richard Kerr: Well, I'm an old soul, an old spirit.
Ed Pizza: Yes, yes you are. And I did look. You did manage to find those three dates and I found three dates in August. And it's a little bit of a telling thing because most of the other non-stop option ... Or, it's not non-stop options. The other United options are 30,000. So 33,000 seems like a little bit of a giveaway. Now that I click around a bit, some of those 33K options aren't the non-stop. So far I've only clicked on two dates where I've found that 33,000 and everything else is blocked out. Premium economy, business class. Well, they probably don't. The 833300, they're older planes and they probably don't have a true premium economy product on them.
Richard Kerr: No, they don't. They're the old ones that I was talking about fly to Atlanta every day that I won't fly. There's only two dates I can find, the non-stop and business. It is September 12th and September 16th for 77,000 miles each way per person.
Ed Pizza: I'd pay that. I mean, I know you hate Lufthansa.
Richard Kerr: inaudible that's not true. You got a position it well.
Ed Pizza: And even if you had to position there that's not bad because I mean, you can find cheap flights to St. Louis pretty much eight days a week. And I mean, look, Frankfurt, obviously, it's not most people's desired destination in Europe but it's such an easy jumping-off point. I mean, Lufthansa has a massive network there. But I am disappointed that the availability is as small as it is for a brand new flight. I can't imagine they're selling this thing out, especially not as you get into the fall. I mean, I understand maybe they'll fill it up in the summer because you can feel just about anything up in the summer right now. I mean, things are crazy. I'm clicking around right now. Again, in September, October, November and I'm not seeing anything,
Richard Kerr: You're not? I'm seeing every day the flight operates. Are you on the advanced search calendar?
Ed Pizza: I am. I just found one day. What day is this? This is October.
Richard Kerr: I'm about to screen share this with you, man, see what we're-
Ed Pizza: October 7th.
Richard Kerr: I want to see-
Ed Pizza: October 7th there's 33,000 seat availability. I found October 1st. Let's see, is there four-seat availability?
Richard Kerr: I'm seeing every day the flight operates on this. So for everybody, the United website has made it a little bit more difficult to find this nice calendar. If you do a first or search from the homepage, and then if you get those results you look in the top right it says ab advanced search option, it bring you back to the old engine that's very helpful since we're-
Ed Pizza: You can actually pick up the flexible search from the front screening of United though. You can choose flexible search.
Richard Kerr: All right, man, we're going to have to do a screen share and walk through United because when I do that it gives me the new flexible search, which is garbage, rather than the old.
Ed Pizza: Oh, sure. I mean, yes, you can still get flexible search. It's the new search, not the old one.
Richard Kerr: I want to know what we're looking at? Why do I see every day and you see none? That's what I want to know.
Ed Pizza: I found a couple of Fridays but I'm not finding others. I'm finding plenty of connecting but I'm ... I found two Fridays in October that's all, I'm not seeing any Wednesdays.
Richard Kerr: All right, folks, go out there and search it and see whose results you see, mine or his.
Ed Pizza: I'm using the new engine to search so I wonder if that has something to do with it.
Richard Kerr: I'm on the old engine filtered to non-stop, and every day the flight operates, it gives me a seat. What are you doing in United?
Ed Pizza: No. I mean, there's actually months where I can search where there's not even a radio button for non-stop. When he's talking about the searching non-stops, if you're on the United site and looking for this flight, the best way to tell if there's availability is, there's a button above the flexible calendar that says sort and filter and you can sort by best match blah, blah, blah. But right below it, you can search by non-stop, one plus stops, mixed cabins. And if you even try to search non-stop in the summer it's not even an option. But then if you get into September, October, I do see some popping up but these weren't popping up last night. It's bizarre.
Richard Kerr: I'll tell you the new frustrating thing ... Well, it's not new it's a few months old at least is when you're searching on the week-long view where it tells you the minimum points required for each day, and then you click on it and that amount is not in the search results.
Ed Pizza: That's never been accurate.
Richard Kerr: God, it drives me absolutely insane. It's completely inaudible.
Ed Pizza: That's been broken on United for as long as I can recall. And that's where it's like people like oh, I looked to search, and I looked for the calendar, and there's no business class award availability. I'm like did you click on every day? Well, no, I looked at the calendar.
Richard Kerr: You can't do that.
Ed Pizza: And I did actually find as I'm going back through now using the new interface, I'm finding a couple of days where there are four seats of economy award availability. That being said, man, talk about a rough timing for an economy flight to Europe, 3:45 PM departure out of St. Louis, and that's what probably what eight hours of block time. See, man-
Richard Kerr: I prefer the earlier departures. By the time it's 10:00 and my flight for Europe hasn't left yet, I want ... The day's over. I would much rather have a six, 7:00 departure than 10:00, 11:00 PM.
Ed Pizza: But do you actually sleep-
Richard Kerr: No.
Ed Pizza: On the plane?
Richard Kerr: I don't ever sleep on a plane.
Ed Pizza: Oh. I always sleep on a plane but I covet sleep.
Richard Kerr: I'm too hot to sleep on the plane.
Ed Pizza: Yes. Yes, you are, Richard. The story of your life, you are too hot. You heard it here first, folks on the Miles to Go podcast. He is too hot. He is too sexy for Lufthansa 8300.
Richard Kerr: No, no. Well, that's true as well but temperature.
Ed Pizza: Do you want to use egregious to describe the product one more time before we close out?
Richard Kerr: Nope. All I'm saying is I don't want to hop over anybody if I'm in business class, and I don't want anybody to hop over me because that's a big hop they'd have to make to not wake me. If I do happen to be sleeping and somebody's got to hop over me, they're be like oh, crap this thing is in my way.
Ed Pizza: Back in my day when we used to have to walk up-
Richard Kerr: I have been straddled. Have you ever been straddled? I have been straddled by the stranger next to me a few times.
Ed Pizza: Oh, yeah, I think we've all been there if we fly Lufthansa. You make it sound so horrible. It's like go back to-
Richard Kerr: Any other setting, when you're getting straddled by a stranger the police are involved, but on an airplane people are like well, I just don't want to wake them up. But you wake up and some stranger's straddling you to get out their window seat. You're like "Hey, you can just ask me to move it's fine I don't mind."
Ed Pizza: Actually, you can vault over the person in the aisle seat so just take the window seat and just vault over them. You just got to stand on the armrest.
Richard Kerr: Oh my God. I mean, the stuff we see people do that's hilarious.
Ed Pizza: All right. So one last throw-in. This might be irrelevant by the time we launch. I'll have to ask Jeremiah to cut it if this changes. There's a post from the FrequentMiler that we will link to. This has been floating around a little bit the last couple days. It's a bonus for booking Marriott stays through the various airline shopping portals. At one point in the past 48 hours or 72 hours, United was offering six miles per dollar on Marriott bookings through the United MileagePlus Shopping portal. American was offering four. Now United is back down to two and American's down to three. But man, I mean, if you're trying to get executive platinum status on American, three bonus points per ... Three loyalty points per dollar on a Marriott stay. Because these would qualify as loyalty points, right, because they're not bonus from the portal they're just an increased earning?
Richard Kerr: Correct.
Ed Pizza: So if you have some paid Marriott stays coming up and you've applied for the credit card that neither Richard and I love, what a great way to double-dip and earn yourself some executive platinum status with this promo.
Richard Kerr: Hey, man, I got to go to New York next week and hotel rates are just absolutely absurd. If you want to stay at the SpringHill Suites in Manhattan it's 400 bucks a night. Four nights 1600 bucks and whatever it is, 3X points, that's 4,800 loyalty points. It's not enough to make me stay in a Marriott but it sure is close. It's a lot of loyalty points.
Ed Pizza: Well, once you get all the bonus points for having your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card.
Richard Kerr: What's the calculation that they do? 17X points on paid Marriott stays?
Ed Pizza: It's out of control in terms of what you can earn on paid stays. I think it is 17X, yes.
Richard Kerr: Maybe more. I think that's only silver status. I don't know. Oh, we have to talk about Delta Regional Upgrade Certificates real quick. So maybe some people-
Ed Pizza: Richard wants to complain again. Hold on.
Richard Kerr: I'm new.
Ed Pizza: Have you used egregious yet in the episode?
Richard Kerr: No, I haven't. You've used it. You've used it up. You've used our allocated amounts so I can't say it.
Ed Pizza: Well, I'm still sitting on my hind dinger so why don't you go ahead and talk about Delta Regional Upgrade Certificates.
Richard Kerr: So I have a Delta Regional Upgrade Certificate from when I was platinum in 2019 that they've extended through COVID. If you know anything about RUCs, as they're called, RUC, Regional Upgrade Certificate, they're good in basically the Caribbean and North America you can use to upgrade. The problem is, unlike American south or system-wide upgrades, you basically can never confirm these in advance. They tell you can but you can't. I've called for three years and never been able to find a flight that will let you clear one of these in advances. I'm flying to San Francisco on a 767 next Saturday, and right now first in the 767 is the most wide-open I've ever seen first on a domestic Delta flight since the peak of the pandemic.
It's an 8:30 AM Saturday flight so it makes sense. People flying business first class on these aren't flying Saturday morning at 8:30, which is why I picked this flight in the hopes that the Regional Upgrade Certificate would clear. I called, I said, "Hey, can we clear this?" No, of course not. I'm like first literally has, according to the seat map right now, five out of the 40 Delta One seat selected wide-open and they're not going to clear it. And right now they're asking $794.43 in order for people to upgrade. So, Ed, will this Regional Upgrade Certificate clear the flight for Saturday morning on the wide-open 767 first class?
Ed Pizza: This coming Saturday?
Richard Kerr: Yep. That's one week from when we're recording right now.
Ed Pizza: And when does your upgrade window open officially for the rock? When do Delta Diamonds get to upgrade on that flight? 100 hours out.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I'm only gold, right.
Ed Pizza: No, I know. I'm trying think of when stuff opens. I don't know that I knew the flight time prior to now. I think based on the fact that it's an 8:30 AM flight ... Unfortunately with Delta, we can't see exactly how many seats are for sale. If I look at United, either their expert mode on their website or go to ExpertFlyer, I can see how many seats are for sale. The seat map as you and I know isn't a perfect indicator of how many seats are for sale. It's probably a good indicator. I bet you're going to clear, and only because it's a morning flight. So I could see this being a feeder flight for European traffic if it were an afternoon flight, and so people coming over from Europe might buy a business class through ticket to San Francisco through Atlanta. I bet you clear. Well, sorry, let me rephrase. Is it just you traveling solo?
Richard Kerr: Nope, but I only have one certificate. We were going to get to that after I got your opinion.
Ed Pizza: Oh, okay, sorry. But you're still only trying to upgrade one person?
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: I think you'll clear.
Richard Kerr: You can select up to nine tickets on delta.com. They at least have nine first-class seats still for sale for this flight.
Ed Pizza: That doesn't surprise me.
Richard Kerr: At $1,354 a pop for the-
Ed Pizza: Why don't you just buy up?
Richard Kerr: Okay. Sure.
Ed Pizza: Here's here's one thing that I learned after I got Delta Diamond status that really disappoints me a bit. I can't give you a Regional Upgrade Certificate for this.
Richard Kerr: Nope, it's got to be you. No. I went Emily last night, it was 9:30, she's usually asleep, but we get crazy it's Friday night, Emily's still awake at 9:30. And I was like "I have something serious to talk to you about." She was like "What?" And I was like "I just don't want to upset you." She was like "Oh my God, what? Just tell me." And I was "I only have one Upgrade Certificate so you have to decide what you're going to do if my seat upgrades. Are you going to take it? Are you going to give it to me? Or do you want me to not upgrade at all? Or, do you want to pay $743 for the other person to upgrade?" And she was like "Will you just get out of here, I thought you were going to tell me something serious, something else."
Ed Pizza: I can't believe you had that conversation with her. Did you really even ask her that question?
Richard Kerr: Yeah. So this is a reason that I'm married to her. She could care less about airplanes and the actual flight experience. So she could care less.
Ed Pizza: I understand that she could care less, but did you not miss the bear trap that was set for you on your Mother's Day Singapore trip?
Richard Kerr: No, see, I think she didn't realize it was Mother's Day either.
Ed Pizza: I'm sure. Okay. We are the Miles to Go podcast, and at 39 minutes into the episode I think I'm going to offer my first marriage advice in over 200 episodes on this show. I understand that there are couples out there that do this, and I understand that for some folks this may sound chauvinistic. If you are a husband married to a spouse who doesn't necessarily travel as much as you do, they always get the upgrade.
Richard Kerr: No, they always get the choice and I'm happy with whatever choice they make. That's-
Ed Pizza: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You gave her three choices. There are not three choices. Honey, here are our choices. Either you can take the upgraded seat or we can sit together in coach. There is no third choice.
Richard Kerr: No, she likes choices. She wants to know the information.
Ed Pizza: There's no third choice. No third choice. Now we need Emily as a guest on the podcast. But there is no third choice. Either she gets the seat or you both sit in coach.
Richard Kerr: The good news is Regional Upgrade Certificates are worthless so nobody's getting the upgrade even though first class is completely empty on the 767.
Ed Pizza: Too bad that they aren't still paper certificates so I could post my first TikTok of me shredding my Delta Global Upgrade Certificates at the end of whatever year they expire.
Richard Kerr: That don't even get you from economy to Delta One anymore. You got to be in Comfort Plus or whatever they call it on ... Bring on the international routes.
Ed Pizza: But they've one a great job renaming the product Delta One so I feel even more special when I don't clear.
Richard Kerr: It should be BusinessElite elite recliner seats only.
Ed Pizza: So you're off to New York this week.
Richard Kerr: I am. Headed to New York on Sunday so we'll be flying home by the time well, this drops on Wednesday. So three nights in the big city, home for two days, and then San Francisco after that.
Ed Pizza: Speaking of San Francisco, I had a ticket booked for San Francisco for this Sunday, and my flight to Vegas at $907 one way from Dulles to Vegas was cheaper than the $954 coach fare from Dulles to San Francisco that I had originally booked.
Richard Kerr: Dude, it's so-
Ed Pizza: 907.
Richard Kerr: Economy or first?
Ed Pizza: Economy.
Richard Kerr: Oh my gosh, man, it's-
Ed Pizza: Finally squeezed myself an aisle seat. Pretty exciting stuff.
Richard Kerr: Now I paid 378 one way for Atlanta to LaGuardia tomorrow, I don't have the return flight yet because my schedule's still a little bit crazy but it's going to be expensive, and it's rough out there.
Ed Pizza: It's crazy.
Richard Kerr: I had to sit down with the accountants a few weeks ago at Bilt and say, "Hey, you guys understand how much we need to allocate for travel this summer because it"-
Ed Pizza: All the money.
Richard Kerr: "Nobody needs to be surprised when these travel claims start coming in, but it is rough out there." They're like "How rough?" I was like "Well, here's what it's costing this week." And they're like "Okay." I was like "Who's planning for it?"
Ed Pizza: I managed to book a one way, I think it was my Vegas-Dulles flight home and it was 380. And I was like wow, that's a great fare. And then I was sitting there thinking, that used to be what I paid round trip, right. Just before the pandemic, I was paying 400 bucks round trip, and now that seems like a cheap one-way fare.
Richard Kerr: How long until this is corrected? I think when we get to the fall, all the pent-up demand, people that held onto travels, those trips will be done. So hopefully it gets-
Ed Pizza: I hope so.
Richard Kerr: It eases, man.
Ed Pizza: All right. Well, safe travels out there today, man. We got a bunch more listener questions that we didn't get to this week. We need to get Julian and Summer back on when Richard's actually on so all four of us can record together and answer some questions.
Richard Kerr: Oh, this is a great tip. I found Park 'N Fly. P-A-R-K-N, just the letter, not in, but N Fly. It's 5X on the American portal right now. I've never seen airport parking on a shopping portal before. And what I like best, to prevent the situation I was in last time, is when you open their app all of their shuttles have geo locators and you can see in real-time where the shuttles are and how far away the closest one is which will alleviate-
Ed Pizza: Can you not park and walk to Atlanta airport?
Richard Kerr: For $35 a day you can.
Ed Pizza: God, you're so cheap. Oh my God.
Richard Kerr: At $35 a day for parking. It's not my money, it's Bill's money. I don't want anybody coming and asking questions like "Hey man, why did you"-
Ed Pizza: How much did you save?
Richard Kerr: It's nine bucks where I park every time.
Ed Pizza: All right, so how many days were you going?
Richard Kerr: Four.
Ed Pizza: Four. Okay. So you're saving $26 a day. You're saving $104. What's your hourly rate? What's your time worth? I need to talk to Ankur.
Richard Kerr: Being a good servant of the company's money is an important part of business. If I can take the little shuttle here, and now I'm earning 5X points America miles, nonetheless loyalty points, for airport parking and I get free days.
Ed Pizza: If you're not worth 100 bucks an hour in productivity, they should fire you. Just saying.
Richard Kerr: I definitely am. My hourly rate was significantly more.
Ed Pizza: Of course, it would be. And how much time did you waste getting to and from the parking shuttle?
Richard Kerr: Okay, but that's like saying, I'm going to eat at this restaurant that's a 10-minute closer walk but it's $300 instead of $100 for dinner but I'm worth it.
Ed Pizza: A lot of other choices. That is like trying to compare apples and Buicks. All right, we're going to get out of here. People are going to look at this and be like 45 minutes, what the hell did they talk about? Oh, they talked about nothing, absolutely nothing.
Richard Kerr: We're the Seinfeld of podcasts. This show's about nothing.
Ed Pizza: This is so egregious.
Richard Kerr: But you're really hooked on that though.
Ed Pizza: Oh, yeah, it's great. All right, guys, have lots more to come. Like I said, we're going to threaten to get Julian and Summer back on air. It's getting pretty close to summer so I'll have some summer travel recaps coming soon. Richard will continue to cancel trips like a madman.
Richard Kerr: You just said summer so many times in a row with different meanings. It gave me great agida the way you did that.
Ed Pizza: Agida. And by the way, I did have people reach out. And the more people than not said they hadn't heard of it which is disappointing to me.
Richard Kerr: I told you that.
Ed Pizza: But I have had few folks who reached out who have said they grew up with the phrase agida so it's not just me.
Richard Kerr: Because last night your sister sent you a message doesn't count, man. You can't have the last name Pizzarello and have it-
Ed Pizza: You haven't met my sister, she doesn't send me messages unless she needs airline miles, and that gives me agida. All right. Big thanks to Jeremiah for making us sound passable but definitely not look passable. Lots more to come, guys. Until we upload again, we've got miles to go.
Speaker 5: The Miles to Go podcast is produced in association with Crooked Path Productions.
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