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Monday, August 3, 2009

Frequent Flyer Folio: Part II

For those of you who watched me on WUSA-TV this week, here is the follow-up information I promised you. And for those of you who didn't watch, tsk, tsk. The good news, however, is that the appearance will be posted in a few days....and in the meantime, you are welcome to the information below as well.

Earlier this week, I blogged about frequent flyer deals on American, United and Delta. Here are some more.

American Airlines AAdvantage members who live in the New York City area can get double miles through the end of the year. Pre-registration is required at www.aa.com/nydbl.

Being a New Yorker, or someone who travels frequently to the Big Apple, is also paying off for Southwest passengers. Rapid Rewards members can get double credits on all flights in and out of New York City through the end of October. Registration at the Southwest website prior to travel is required.

JetBlue is offering its True Blue members one-way flight awards for as little as 5,000 points. They’ve also made it easier to redeem points, with all flights eligible and no blackout dates. Members also get additional points for booking flights directly on the JetBlue website, and by paying with a JetBlue American Express card.

Speaking of credit cards, airline frequent flyer program affinity cards are a great way to rack up points fast.

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard with Dividend Select is offered by Barclaycard. For $79, cardholders get 25,000 bonus miles once they make a purchase; day passes to US Airways Clubs; and fee waivers on award processing. There‘s also one of those MasterCard priceless benefits--cardholders get to board right after the folks in first class, no matter how cheap their seat. That means no battles for space in the overhead compartment. Priceless, indeed.

Chase continues its partnership with United’s frequent flyer program by offering three new Mileage Plus Visa Cards. Two are quite pricey, with annual fees of $375 and $275. However, the third card--the United Mileage Plus Select Visa--costs just $130 annually. Cardholders receive triple miles on all United purchases; double miles on Star Alliance, gas, home improvement, grocery and dining purchases; and 5,000 bonus anniversary miles every year.

Now, remember, I’m a travel expert and not an economist. Even so, my notes about these cards come with some financial caveats. The annual fees for affinity cards are often higher than the norm. But if you can take advantage of the travel benefits, the extra cost may end up being a good investment. However, for those of you who carry monthly balances, beware. Many affinity cards carry with them high interest rates. On the other hand, if you are a pay-it-in-full-every-month gal or guy like I am, these credit cards can be a great asset.

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