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The Master Travel Redemptions Thread

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26 minutes ago, mec said:

 

I don't think any flexible points can be converted to AA miles.

 

Do you have specific dates or a range of dates for travel?

 

There are some Star Alliance flights with business class available in September. If you were to book them through Aeroplan, they would be 57.5k per seat for MIA-PRG and 55k for per seat for MUC-MIA... + ~$117 (US) in taxes and fees.

Planning to leave on the 14th and come back on the 25th. But the dates are flexible. 

I checked on Aeroplan and only found coach for the flight to PRG. I’d rather pay for the flight than fly coach internationally. I could use points for the return flight and pay for the flight there if I can’t find another option. 

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58 minutes ago, DPB said:

Planning to leave on the 14th and come back on the 25th. But the dates are flexible. 

I checked on Aeroplan and only found coach for the flight to PRG. I’d rather pay for the flight than fly coach internationally. I could use points for the return flight and pay for the flight there if I can’t find another option. 

I see the same.

 

I do see Business class from JFK to Prague if you could position up there.

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25 minutes ago, mec said:

I see the same.

 

I do see Business class from JFK to Prague if you could position up there.

I saw that. But if I leave on the 13th, there is a MIA-PRG flight. Basically the same as the JFK flight, 787-8 from the US to Warsaw, then a Dash 8 Q400 to PRG. I’m not sure how Aeroplan can call the Q400 business class, but it’s only an hour and a half flight. 

 

I was actually hoping to fly in and out of TPA, but that doesn’t seem to be an option if I want business class for the international flight. So I’m planning to drive down to Miami. I could even rent a car for that, which would probably be the same as going TPA-JFK.

 

I’ll probably go the Aeroplan route leaving on the 13th. It would have been nice if I could have used my original plan. Less MRs spent and AA’s planes are nicer, but free business class airfare is still great.

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14 hours ago, DPB said:

 

 

14 hours ago, DPB said:

...

 

I was actually hoping to fly in and out of TPA, ...

 

You could probably ad a 'manual' leg from TPA-EWR in United economy over the phone for a booking fee. (LOT has a business EWR - WAR - PRG available on the 14th) 

 

There also appear to be LX options out of JFK that need to be assembled with a phone agent, but that would involve an airport transfer. Either seems to involve a longish layover in New York, which may be preferable to the other alternatives.

 

 

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1 hour ago, mec said:

 

You could probably ad a 'manual' leg from TPA-EWR in United economy over the phone for a booking fee. (LOT has a business EWR - WAR - PRG available on the 14th) 

 

There also appear to be LX options out of JFK that need to be assembled with a phone agent, but that would involve an airport transfer. Either seems to involve a longish layover in New York, which may be preferable to the other alternatives.

 

 

So I’d call United or Aeroplan to add a TPA to either JFK or EWR? I’d be fine with a layover in JFK. I could just go to the Centurion lounge. Or if it’s a long enough layover, I could just go find something to do in the city. It’s been 20 years since I’ve been to NYC and I’ve been considering going. 

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Aeroplan. There is a fee to book over the phone. I think it's $30 CAD per ticket. Just get all of the flight numbers you want to make up the award flight before you call. I had heard that they sometimes wave the fee if you ask and mention that the route can't be booked online, but the did not wave it for me.

 

I had a particularly convoluted set of twelve flights to request and I had to find alternatives twice, once when I tried to open jaw between western and eastern Europe... I can't remember why the other routing got rejected. But I was eventually able to get much economy flights from and back to PIT included in the award. It's hard to find lie flat awards for the ocean crossing, but they are out there if you search enough and have some date flexibility.

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Posted (edited)
On 2/11/2019 at 7:12 PM, mec said:

 

...

...

layover Boston (1 night at the Residence Inn Downtown Seaport [1 35k cert related to $95 fee {$3.39 per fee dollar} ] )

...

...

 

Vienna (4 nights in Vienna at Le Meridian [140k marriott {0.007 ppd} ] )

...

 

 

 

I acquired 2 more (35k max per night) certs over the past 3 months and decided it would be wiser to rearrange these hotels to use them in a way I consider better.

 

I canceled the Residence Inn Stay and booked our night in Boston at the Airport Hilton. We arrive at BOS at ~23:17, so I really like the idea of walking across a few parking garages to the hotel there rather than trying to take a train or some other option.

 

1 Night - Hilton Boston Logan Airport 60,000 pts ~ 0.00575 ppn 

 

I then re-booked the Le Meridien Vienna as 2 bookings,

 

3 Nights using the 3 certs Cash value  ~ 315.00 usd (fees) / 697.76 usd = 0.45 dollars in fees per (Marriott direct) room booking dollar. (Amex SPG Business fee went up to 125.00)

 

1 Night at 35k pts 250.88 usd (Marriott direct) room booking ~ 0 .007168 ppd

 

 

This returns 105,000 (non expiring) points to my 'Bonvoy' account.

 

 

Edited by mec

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Last Friday I booked 2 one-way AA Anytime award tickets from MUD-DCA in Economy for the following day.

 

There were plenty of choices at the Saver level for connecting itineraries at 12,500 miles + $5.60, but we wanted to go non-stop, so I used 20,000 + $5.60 per ticket in lieu of $257.00 each.

 

The $75 close-in booking fee was waived with my EP status.

 

The upgrades went through almost immediately, so we flew in First (short flight on a regional jet) for:

 

((2 * 25700) + (2 * 5.60)) / (2 * 20000) = 1.3 cpp

 

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3 hours ago, cv91915 said:

Last Friday I booked 2 one-way AA Anytime award tickets from MUD-DCA in Economy for the following day.

 

There were plenty of choices at the Saver level for connecting itineraries at 12,500 miles + $5.60, but we wanted to go non-stop, so I used 20,000 + $5.60 per ticket in lieu of $257.00 each.

 

The $75 close-in booking fee was waived with my EP status.

 

The upgrades went through almost immediately, so we flew in First (short flight on a regional jet) for:

 

((2 * 25700) + (2 * 5.60)) / (2 * 20000) = 1.3 cpp

 

Seeing as your sitting a tons of AA miles, probably a good redemption at any rate.

 

By the way, I think your formula is wrong.  Since you paid $5.60 per ticket in fees, and the $257 fare was an all in amount, it should be ($257-5.6)*2/(20,000*2)= $.0126/pp vs. $0.0131  :)

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1 hour ago, CTSoxFan said:

Seeing as your sitting a tons of AA miles, probably a good redemption at any rate.

 

By the way, I think your formula is wrong.  Since you paid $5.60 per ticket in fees, and the $257 fare was an all in amount, it should be ($257-5.6)*2/(20,000*2)= $.0126/pp vs. $0.0131  :)

That's what I meant.  :D 

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Booked Delta first class TPA-SFO (LX in LAX) round trip in September. 

I wanted to transfer AMEX points to Virgin Atlantic to take advantage of the 30% bonus and better award charts, but none of the flights that worked with my schedule lined up with award seats available to VA. 

There were other options, but I’m going with friends and it was getting complicated trying to line up award flights with all of our schedules. 

So I booked through AMEX travel. Cost 109,801 points before the 35% back. So 71,370 MR points in all. 

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Posted (edited)

I just booked MUD-FSD-SAN-MUD for the end of the month so I can visit my grandparents on the way to San Diego.

 

Cash price was in the $900s (damn you, summer travelers) so I booked the portion in blue using miles.  

 

AA is screwing around with something called "Web Specials," which aren't very special at all.  There was no Saver option available and an Anytime award was pricing at 50,000 miles ONE-WAY.  

 

So I booked the "Web Special" for 19,000 miles + $5.60 in lieu of $267 in cash.  Ridiculous for two pretty short hops on regional jets.

 

(26700-560) / 19000 = 1.4 cpm

 

The remaining segments priced out at $669.  I used ~$220 of the AA gift cards I have on hand from various credit card benefits, and paid for the balance with my US Bank Altitude Reserve for 4.5% back.

Edited by cv91915

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Posted (edited)

If it summer, there’s a pretty good chance a cruise is in our plans ... this year it’s two ... with almost the entire bill paid for by others ...

 

Just sailed into Seattle this am from a one-week Alaska cruise.  This week brought some of the best weather imaginable in the NW, with tons of sun and daily temps ranging from the 60’s to the low 80’s.   (Sitting outdoors in a park just now while Bev is shopping the pier terminal and other shops!)

 

Cruise was courtesy of Caesars casino play (my elite tier annual benefit).  Scored $430 pp air on AA from Atlanta, so it was a natural Chase Sapphire UR redemption of just $290 pp in pts.  Thrilled that we scored upgrades on all segments, incl our red-eye tonight SEA-CLT!!

 

We put back to sea Aug 3, when we sail the Western Mediterranean (Spain/Italy) for one week out of Barcelona.  Cruise again is a Caesars perk (Bev’s annual benefit).  Air is on AAdvantage Miles (210k), with business upgrade outbound, coach return.  (Heathrow stopover entails $670 air tax, unfortunately)

 

Nice way to ring in my 60th birthday this month!  :)

Edited by hdporter

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3 hours ago, hdporter said:

If it summer, there’s a pretty good chance a cruise is in our plans ... this year it’s two ... with almost the entire bill paid for by others ...

 

Just sailed into Seattle this am from a one-week Alaska cruise.  This week brought some of the best weather imaginable in the NW, with tons of sun and daily temps ranging from the 60’s to the low 80’s.   (Sitting outdoors in a park just now while Bev is shopping the pier terminal and other shops!)

 

Cruise was courtesy of Caesars casino play (my elite tier annual benefit).  Scored $430 pp air on AA from Atlanta, so it was a natural Chase Sapphire UR redemption of just $290 pp in pts.  Thrilled that we scored upgrades on all segments, incl our red-eye tonight SEA-CLT!!

 

We put back to sea Aug 3, when we sail the Western Mediterranean (Spain/Italy) for one week out of Barcelona.  Cruise again is a Caesars perk (Bev’s annual benefit).  Air is on AAdvantage Miles (210k), with business upgrade outbound, coach return.  (Heathrow stopover entails $670 air tax, unfortunately)

 

Nice way to ring in my 60th birthday this month!  :)

I have a feeling that you may have paid for some of that cruise with your casino play...

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, CTSoxFan said:

I have a feeling that you may have paid for some of that cruise with your casino play...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advantage_gambling

 

 Now the question is, to what extent do you buy onto the possibility that I have the wits to know what I’m doing, or am simply a little self-dillusioned (like the other 99% of gamblers).  Fwiw, I haven’t bought a lottery ticket in 30+ years — for me, a telling stat.

 

But even if I were to share casino win/loss statements with you (my MGM group statements show a particularly consistent record among 4 casinos played each year) it still comes down to basic credibility (and gamblers are among the bigger liars to be found ;)  )

 

ps — turning around upon arrival at ATL tomorrow am to head to MS for a week (... not to check out their cat 1 storm).

Edited by hdporter

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On 7/13/2019 at 8:17 PM, hdporter said:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advantage_gambling

 

 Now the question is, to what extent do you buy onto the possibility that I have the wits to know what I’m doing, or am simply a little self-dillusioned (like the other 99% of gamblers).  Fwiw, I haven’t bought a lottery ticket in 30+ years — for me, a telling stat.

 

But even if I were to share casino win/loss statements with you (my MGM group statements show a particularly consistent record among 4 casinos played each year) it still comes down to basic credibility (and gamblers are among the bigger liars to be found ;)  )

 

ps — turning around upon arrival at ATL tomorrow am to head to MS for a week (... not to check out their cat 1 storm).

I am not doubting your wits or honesty.  Even if you are playing video poker (making that assumption based on your avatar) with perfect strategy on a machine with a theoretical payback of >100%, it also involves having enough time/bankroll to play long enough to achieve that level of return, which is where the shortfall usually occurs.  Obviously you could catch a lucky portion of the random outcomes, or an unlucky one.

 

 

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On 7/16/2019 at 9:29 AM, CTSoxFan said:

I am not doubting your wits or honesty.  Even if you are playing video poker (making that assumption based on your avatar) with perfect strategy on a machine with a theoretical payback of >100%, it also involves having enough time/bankroll to play long enough to achieve that level of return, which is where the shortfall usually occurs.  Obviously you could catch a lucky portion of the random outcomes, or an unlucky one.

 

 

The time of play required to expect that you'll closely achieve the expected return of a given game (or all your gaming over time) is indeed a prospect that generally extends well over 10 million hands of video poker.  For a fast player such as myself (1000+ hph), that still entails over 10,000 hours of play.   Short of that, a player is at risk of deviation from expectation that can be bankroll threatening.

 

However, a related concept brings a huge amount of rationality into play and dramatically shortens the concept of the "long term" into something that's far more tangible for someone playing at an advantage in the casino.  The shorthand for the math concept is N(0) (and don't ask me to translate directly ;) ). 

 

The short of it is to not look at how much play is required before you're assured of closely achieving play expected return/profit.  Instead, the target is how much play is required before you have a very strong probability of showing at least a marginal profit.  (In other words, strong confidence that you won't have bet the farm ...)

 

The point is that over 2 or 3 million hands, it's quite likely for results to deviate substantially from the expected profit of play.  However, it turns out that provided that you play with respectable promotions and stick largely to "lower variance" games (translate as less return tied up in infrequent "mini-jackpot" payouts, and more return anchored into frequent modest wins). 2 million hands is more than a sufficient run for a 67% win likelihood (i.e. twice as likely that you'll win rather than lose over that time).

 

I stress lower variance games in my play options and average an advantage of approx 0.7%.  When I last ran the numbers, my "long term" was a little under 1 million hands (about 1000 hours).  fwiw, I play about 400-500 hours/yr.   With 20 years of play under my belt (admittedly, only about 14 "avid" years), I'm well into the "long term".

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Posted (edited)

We are squeezing in one more mini vacation before the end of the year, starting with a visit with my parents at their summer home in Minnesota. 

 

I booked the 9 day / 8 night trip with all air, lodging and car rental for a total of $230.93 OOP (nearly all of which was the car rental).

 

My flight to MSP:  $0 OOP

 

I'll be at a company function in Arizona immediately prior to the trip, so instead of booking a flight home at the end I booked one to MSP instead, and I will expense this segment.

 

TAD's flight to MSP: $0 OOP

 

Paid with 18,400 MRs used as cash for a one-way flight on Delta.  I could have transferred the MRs to Delta for an award redemption, but the award flight was pricing at 18,000 miles and I didn't want to deal with hassle to save 400 MRs.

 

Lodging: Night 1: $0 OOP

 

TAD is arriving one day later that I am, so I booked one night at the JW Marriott / Mall of America.  I used the annual "free night" certificate from the $95 AF Amex Vonboy card, in lieu of ~$261 in cash.

 

Lodging: Nights 2-4: $0 OOP. 

 

We are staying with my parents at their summer home.  OOP cost includes resort fee.

 

Lodging, Nights 5-6:  $53.99 OOP, total for both nights

 

Not sure why TAD thinks we won't have enough lake time (my parents' house is lakefront) but he wants to spend some time exploring the area near Ely, MN.

 

I used two free nights from his hotels.com account (earned from his business travel). 

 

The only hotels.com property in Ely that had a flexible cancellation policy AND accepted free nights from hotels.com was the Comfort Plus.  

 

I could have booked other room types for free, but I threw caution to the wind and booked the suite and paid ~$27 a night out-of-pocket (the value of each hotels.com reward night is the average of the 10 paid nights that earned the free night). 

 

TAD stays up all night, and I get up a couple of hours before dawn, so having two separate rooms with door to close in between will be a godsend.

 

1queen-suite-with-futonsofa-kitchenette.

 

We will visit Soudan Underground Mine on the way to Ely.

 

Lodging, Nights 7-8.  $0 OOP

 

I booked two nights at the Park Point Marina Inn, "Duluth's #1 Award Winning Waterfront Hotel!" for 34,040 Citi Thank You points in lieu of $425.50 in cash.  I reserved a King Bed with Sofa - Harbor View room.

 

I could have used Hilton or Marriott points at nearby properties instead, but the AF on the Citi TY Premier is approaching and we're not likely to renew it.... plus the Hilton/Marriott redemptions were very expensive compared to the cash value of the rooms.

 

No idea what we're going to do in the Duluth area for two nights, but we'll figure it out.

 

Return flights, MSP-MUD:  $0 OOP

 

I booked connecting flights on AA for both of us for 35,680 in TY points in lieu of $446.00 in cash. 

 

TAD would have preferred to go nonstop on Delta, but I didn't ask.  😛 

 

I'm still working on Platinum Pro status on AA for 2020, so that nudged me in this direction.

 

Weekly car rental:  $176.94 OOP

 

Full size car from Budget, booked on Priceline, with the rate found by Autoslash. 

 

Since I'm staying at the JW for one night before we embark, I booked this off-airport and saved ~$75 in nonsense airport taxes and fees on the rental.  

 

It looks like it'll be about a $10 Uber ride from the JW to the local Budget location.

 

 

Edited by cv91915

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