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UPDATE 10/23/13: The offer is still valid for now. Sign up quickly of you want this.
UPDATE 10/22/13: That was a quick one, after 5 days, this popular offer has been pulled (it was valid 10/17/13 to 10/22/13).
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There is a great new offer – Its the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard®. You will get 20,000 miles after your first purchase, and another 30,000 miles after spending $5,000 in 3 months. Until recently this card was not worth looking at due to its low bonus. Since you get 1 mile per $1 spent, you will have a total of 55,000 miles after you spend the $5,000. There is a $79 annual fee and its not waived but keep reading to see why its really worth it. This offer expires December 15, 2013“.
**update 10/18/13 – I just realized they also give you 0% on purchases for the first 12 months! A nice additional benefit.
What can you do with the miles? (The best bang for your buck?)
My favorite part – I can book 3 one way First Class or BusinessFirst Class tickets!
- US domestic round trip tickets are 25,000 miles, just as it is on United and many other airlines.
- The real bonus here is that US domestic First Class or BusinessFirst Class tickets only 35,000 miles round trip or 17,500 miles one way. (United and many others charge 50,000 miles round trip or 25,000 one way)!
- Check out United’s 180 degree lie flat seats here
- After keeping the card for 1 year, you get a free companion ticket (of course, after you pay the annual fee) (link for details)
So, you can get 3 one way business tickets or 4 one way coach tickets — the better use of miles is, of course, 3 x one way business class tickets.
What are the most expensive domestic flights I can think of?
I used my favorite search engine, ITA Software (it can only search, you can’t buy anything), to find these using dates in May 2014. Hawaii doesnt count because that’s not really domestic (and United charges 40,000 miles round trip).
- NYC – San Francisco (SFO) – BusinessFirst Lie Flat seats – $1,400 one way
- NYC – Los Angeles (LAX) – BusinessFirst (Lie Flat) or First Class (not lie flat) – $1,400 one way
- NYC – Seattle (SEA) – First Class (not lie flat) – only $700 one way (so not the best use)
- NYC – San Diego (SAN) – First Class (not lie flat) – $1,000 one way
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you can fly First Class NYC to San Francisco for 35,000 miles round trip, and another one way somewhere else (or back to San Franisco) for 17,500 miles. That’s a total of 52,500 miles spent, and you will still have 2,500 miles left towards your next trip. $1,400 x 3 one ways = $4,200. Booking these flights on United, would cost 25,000 miles each x 3 = 75,000 but you are only spending 52,500 miles.
- This card has no foreign transaction fees! I hate getting nailed with foreign transaction fees when I’m in another country — (up to 3% fees), so you don’t need to worry about that with this card.
- Lufthansa charges lots of fuel charges and fees if you are looking at flying in Europe, like British Airways does. But not if you book domestic US tickets!
- Is the $5,000 too much to spend in 3 months? Start by putting as many of your monthly expenses on the one card. If you are planning any large purchases or renovations, you can meet the minimum spend very quickly. There are other free and cheap ways to meet the remainder of the minimum spend but I dont suggest abusing those methods.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask by posting a comment below. Let me know if you plan to sign up and where you plan to go with your free tickets.
Here is where you can be sitting (the orange seats in the front of the plane in First Class!)
[Disclosure: I receive commission if you use some of the links above. I research and post the best deals I can find, regardless of whether there is a commission available. You don't have to use my links but I really appreciate if you do. Thank you for your support.]