Second time in a week I am stealing from someone else, but as every good student knows I am giving the citations as needed. One day hopefully I will be one of the pros at this and I will be the one people are stealing from and giving the citations for. Anyway, when I first began booking student travel I used an outfit in Canada called Travel Cuts, they are a student travel agency which offers student prices and also allows you to get an International Student Identification Card (ISIC), which is required for most of their services. Well to be fair, the ISIC is not required for the services, it is only required if you want the student discount, so essentially it is required if you want to make the experience worthwhile. Since Travel Cuts is owned by the Canadian Federation of Students, if you go to a university which is a member, you get the ISIC for free and there is usually a Travel Cuts office on your campus. When I started grad school in the United States I found STA Travel, which is essentially the exact same thing but the American version. The key differences being that STA is not owned by a student organisation, but rather is its own independent company. This means you need to pay for the ISIC and the horrible looking photographs you need to put in it (22 USD), “travelling” is spelled with only one “l”, the people in the offices are generally much nicer to you than the Travel Cuts office in Toronto and services are not offered in French. Unlike Canada though, STA is not the only travel office for students in the US, there is also a group called Student Universe. These guys seem to be a totally online version, they do not have offices to verify that you actually are a student but instead they verify you by your .edu email address (thus leading me to believe this is only for American students). Like everyone else they have a newsletter to sign up for as well. An interesting note about them however is that they also have coupon codes. One of the latest is with United Airlines. They are offering 40 USD off of any United flight within the US departing between now and 18 December. The promotion code is United40. To be fair and give proper credit, Lucky posted about the United code here.
Over at GoMiles.com they have added a new feature. Instead of just keeping track of the miles you have, their expiry dates and such, you can now search for flights with an experimental tool. In the flight search you can find both the price of a revenue ticket and see what your redemption options are for using miles for the ticket instead. It is still in the early stages and I have not actually tried it out yet for a flight I was actually planning, but this does look like a nifty little feature.
While I am definitely an amateur and a beginner when it comes to this miles and points game, one of the pros has made up a valuation of the miles and points of various programmes. Lucky over at One Mile at a Time does much more travelling than I do and has much more experience in both earning and using points from various sources. He has been kind enough to analyse the values of various programmes which he uses. I hope he does not mind me reposting his work here since I am giving him full credit for it. This write up is actually a continuation of a valuation he did back in June. The first part can be found here.
This has been around for a while but in case anyone does not know about it yet, Chase has a bank account offer where opening an account, signing up for the OnePass debit card and using it 5 times will earn you up to 25,000 miles. The miles are in two parts, 10,000 for the first qualifying purchase and 15,000 are after 5 purchases or setting up direct deposit. It is possible to sign up for an account which is free with $1,500 minimum balance or 5 debit card uses each month. The added benefit is that with the card you are able to check one bag for free when you fly Continental. I am quite amazed to see this as a debit card reward and not a credit card reward. This specific offer lasts until 31 December but the terms did say that they limit you to one bonus per calendar year. This invites the possibility of “churning” bank accounts. Before I start promoting this practice I am not sure if there is any adverse effect of this or if it is even allowed. Regardless, the link for the account promotion is below, be sure to refresh the coupon code so that you receive a unique one.
I know I have been missing for a while but I hope that people continue to read now that I will be updating much more than I was before.
First, I have been checking out these search toolbars for earning miles. They are not terribly efficient but they do seem to be a good way to prevent miles from expiring and they seem to be excellent for making sure miles are awarded for shopping online. I have been using the one for American Airlines (or AAdvantage E-Shopping Toolbar as it is officially called) since June or so. It has been good and I have earned a few miles with it. Unfortunately though, something has gone horribly wrong since early November and getting it to credit miles for searching is quite difficult. It is very inconsistent and I have been corresponding with the Vesdia people to get it fixed but no luck so far.
In addition to American, USAir has been getting in on this strategy as well, found here. It is done by exactly the same company and you can get 500 bonus dividend miles just for signing up. As I said before, it is not the most effective way to earn miles but it could be useful for getting an extra 100 or so. Hey it is free, it is hard to complain about that.