For those with the day off, I hope you’re enjoying it. For those reading from abroad, Labor Day is a national holiday celebrating the labor movement’s economic and social impact – and you’d be challenged to find many folks that knew that without looking it up (me included). Forget Ferragosto and the two weeks that follow it, we in the U.S. celebrate with a single day off. We lag the industrialized world in paid time off so don’t forget to support the Vacation Equality Project, which despite its tourism industry ties, would be a step in the right direction.
It happens to be raining here in Southern Maine this morning, and I’m left thinking about a few travel and miles-related things –
Other than getting paid commissions for promoting it, I really don’t understand the blogger push for the Citi Double Cash card!
Matt has done better analysis on it, but it essentially pays you back 1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay, provided that the purchase has already been added to the “purchase meter” or whatever Citi is calling it. It’s not even worth digging any deeper when the Fidelity American Express card gives you 2% back without worrying about how you time your payments. Matt’s sarcasm puts mine to shame, but his writeup is factually accurate, and the tone seems driven off of frustration that other – presumably compensated – sites are making a case for this Citi card to be “better” than other 2% products.
OK, I get it, it’s an Amex and the global acceptance rate is going to be lower than a Visa or Mastercard. And you need a Fidelity account to sweep back the 2%. The former never seems to matter when the push is on for cards like the Amex Everyday products, and given that those cards require a minimum number of transactions per month for their bonus to apply, they are likely going to be used for non-bonus category spend – same as the common wisdom for a 2% card. In the case of the latter, a Fidelity account gets you fee free cash management and rebates on your ATM fees – there might be better places to bank, but if that’s all that stands in your way, then fine – I recommend you get a Fidelity account AND the Fidelity 2% Amex.
Holiday Travel on Miles and Points
My grand holiday traditions start around this time of year. I’m not buying gifts yet or anything like that. I’m looking for my flights. With family on the east and west coast, it’s often challenging to see everyone over the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, especially if you care about the fare prices. Every once in a while I manage to score an award ticket for a portion of our travel. So far this year, fares remain high and coach award space is thin, but my tip for the time being is to consider domestic first class awards for holiday travel if your points budget allows it.
I’m seeing a lot of saver-level domestic first class space on busy days like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday before through Christmas Eve. You’ll generally pay 25k miles each way, compared to the mid- and high- tier awards currently pricing for coach space, which start at 30k and go way up from there. I’m not seeing a whole lot for the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but traveling the day before will help you beat the crowds. If you have non-stop options on a Oneworld carrier, especially short haul, it’s hard to beat British Airways’ pricing – even though they charge 3x coach for a domestic first redemption on US Airways, a shorthaul under 600 miles will still only be 13,500 Avios, or a little more than half the traditional 25k mile each way pricing.