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You can save A LOT of time using Expertflyer
Expertflyer is a wonderful resource for a variety of different reasons, but using their flight alerts feature makes planning award travel a lot easier. Not only can you search for availability, but you can set an automated alert that will email when the award inventory you seek is ready to book. I’ve used this feature in the past, and recently received notice that a flight of mine in December released inventory. I’m flying from Chicago to London and wanted to see if I couldn’t upgrade to first forfor 20k Avios – it’s nice that it cleared more than a month in advance =) Here’s how you can do the same.
If you don’t have an ExpertFlyer membership – I’d recommend it if you fly very often.
Once you’ve logged in – enter your desired flight information. As an example, I’ve chosen British Airways from LAX to LHR
We can see the search results
On the far right, you can see an ! symbol. Click that symbol to set an alert.
Fill out the form as such.
When the space you’re looking for becomes available you’ll receive an email like this:
I was on the phone with BA and booking my 20k Avios upgrade into First Class within 5 minutes of receiving this email. BYAH!
Find Flight Availability, Flight Upgrades & Awards, Frequent Flyer Information and more with ExpertFlyer.com
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.