Ask me

Any question, any time, anything, I will try to get to it as soon as possible

75 thoughts on “Ask me

  1. Hi, do you still have the code for free united MP club credit card?

    Which one is better for booking an international trip – club card or sapphire preferred?

  2. Srikanth,
    I have no code left at the moment however I will look around and let you know if I find any

    Regarding the Club Card and Sapphire Preferred: if you can’t get the Club Card the first year free, I would go with Sapphire Preferred for the Bonus Miles and 2 points on travel expenses.I really think the two can supplement each other, not replacing

    Have fun

    **************************************************
    Club Card gives you:

    TRAVEL
    – A full year free of United Club membership ($475 value) with access to more than 50 United Club and Star Alliance Affiliated Lounges
    – First and Second checked bags free (up to 2 people ), purchase of tickets with Card is required
    – No Foreign transaction fees

    REWARDS
    – Earn 1.5 award miles per dollar spent. 2 miles per dollar on United tickets
    – No close-in booking fees on award tickets
    – Your miles don’t expire when you have the card

    ******************************************************

    Sapphire Preferred gives you

    REWARDS
    – Earn two points on travel expenses (Airfare, hotel, taxis, rental car)
    – 7% dividend per year
    – First year free
    – Sign-up bonus
    – No Foreign transaction fees
    – 1:1 point transfer to participating frequent travel programs such as Hyatt, United

  3. hey ther! Love that your site is helping people be smart and travel for cheap or close to nothing as it should be! I am all about it and do a lot of the credit card deals. Last year i did 2 and this year i definitely want to do the British Airways one. However my girlfriend says its going to hurt my credit score. Have you experienced this? and what would it take to truly affect your credit score. we dont own a house so she wants to make sure our credit scores are high for that.

    • Hi Raj,
      Your question is excellent and I know a lot of people worry about credit card application affecting their scores as well
      Here is a quick answer:
      The fact is that your score will lower 2-3 points temporarily per credit card application. However, having more credit cards in medium turn will lower your utilization rate (money you owed/total credit limit), which in turn increase your scores.

      The more detailed answer is here: http://ucanflyfree2.com/2012/04/29/how-to-improve-your-credit-score/

  4. Hey, I’m sure you’re aware of Venmo’s new change to not allow the $500 monthly via credit cards. The new Terms states that if you’re registered before June 22nd, 2012 and used a credit card to pay then you’re allowed a lifetime of $500 but if that’s used up that’s it. I only signed up last month and already used the $500 and this month I used it to send another $500 but they’re charging me 3% for it.

    Has it always been like this or were you able to charge $500 every month because that’s what I assume. In light of this change, are there any alternatives other than Amazon Payments to send money via credit cards to meet spending requirements?

    • TV, you are right, Venmo has changed their policy recently to limit $500 credit card for a lifetime.
      And thank you for a great question about an alternative to Amazon Payment. There is actually a site called “Serve” operated by American Express. Serve is waiving credit card and debit card load fees until March 15, 2013

      How much money can you add, send, or request each month?
      You can add up to $1,000 per day via an ACH transfer from your bank and up to $200 per day via debit card, and up to $100 per day via credit card or debit card (there is a monthly debit card load limit of $1,000 and a monthly credit card load limit of $250). You may add up to $2,500 to your Serve account per month, depending on your account limits. You can add money from your linked U.S. bank account, U.S. credit card, or U.S. debit card up to thirty times in a calendar month.

      From Serve’s term, you can add $250 credit card per month and send that money to another serve account. The receiver can transfer your money to his/her linked checking account.

      I haven’t tried it and I think Serve is a good tool to meet spending requirement

      • That totally blows that Venmo decided to change their terms. I just got approved for the 2 AAdvantage cards in your blog and now I have to spend $6000 within 4 months and without Venmo $500 a month, I don’t know if I can make the requirements.

        I don’t really spend much personally so this is gonna be tough even if I sign up with Serve. That would still leave $1000 to spend somewhere.

      • TV,
        Can you buy $250 of Grocery or Gasoline gift cards every month? then you will meet the $1,000 within four months.

      • I can probably do that or figure some other way.

        One other question though, have you personally used Serve for credit card transactions? According to the terms, “Please note that your credit card company may charge you a cash advance fee for loading money from your credit card. Please check with your credit card issuer for details.”

      • TV,
        I used Serve once for my Chase Sapphire Preferred to send $10 to my friend. I wasn’t charged any fees for that transaction.
        I never try with Citi Bank and I heard that Citi might be stricter than other banks in terms of credit card money transfer. I suggest to start with a small amount such as $5 first to see how the bank treats that transaction
        BTW, you can use Square to meet spending requirement as well. Square charges 2.75% per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and AmEx. Remember don’t use your Square to charge your own credit card, Use someone’s else Square is fine though.

      • Just so we’re clear, you’re talking about Squareup right? I just signed up but it seems I need an Iphone or Android phone, which I don’t have neither. Besides I would need to swipe my card with my brother, who I need to send my money to, and he resides in Hawaii while I live in WA. Would then the only way for me to do that would be for him to sign up, but have his reader sent to me, use/buy an Iphone/Android phone, download the app, then charge my credit card with his reader?

      • Yes, I meant Squareup: https://squareup.com/
        If your friends and family can let you pay their bills or some large expenses with your credit card, then you can solve the spending requirement as well

  5. Hi Duc, just found your site today from MMS. I saw that you visited Seattle, Seoul, and VietNam in one trip. May I ask if United, can we have a free stop over at Seoul from SFO for a few days before continuing to SGN? Thanks.

    • Nguyen,
      With a round-trip United award ticket, you are allowed a free stop-over or 2 free open-jaws. In other words, Yes you can do that either via United online booking engine or via their travel agents.
      Korea also allows transit customers who travel to or from the US to stay in Korea for 30 days without a visa.
      Enjoy your trip!!!

  6. just found your blog and love it because i am also based in austin. i have not yet booked my park inn stay. what was the outcome of your albequerque stay where they bonused you before your stay? Did you get bonused twice, or did they take it back? Do you know if anyone else was able to replicate it?

    • Austin,
      I didn’t end up staying at Albequerque Park Inn but the Gold points still stay in my account.
      It was a glitch in their system to assume that I stayed there already therefore I suspect that I couldn’t get the bonus twice. At this moment, I am not aware of anything attempting to replicate it. Since you can always cancel for free 48 hours before the actual stay date, I guess it won’t hurt to try

  7. Hi Duc, love your interview with MMS! Traveling to Asia with low redemption rate is great! Did you book your award on-line? How easy was it to find flight at the low rate? Did you fly on aDelta partner? I would like to fly to Japan and Taiwan from Salt Lake City sometime in the future, any suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Sandy,
      United and American Airline have a lot of availability and I can always score tickets at the low redemption rate. Their online booking engines are pretty good and reliable as well
      For Delta, I don’t even bother trying their online search tool, it is so bad
      I normally call Skymile agent (800-323-2323) and ask them to put together a trip for me
      A few good rules when you call them
      – If an agent says no availability, hang up and call again (agents don’t know everything)
      – If today doesn’t work, call tomorrow
      – Airlines even open spaces a few days before the travel date so don’t get discouraged
      – Be flexible with your travel date (+/- 1 day)
      – Think about what partners can you fly and where they fly from in the US. In your case, it is probably Delta and Korean Airline. Suggest the agents to search for Korean Airline’s routes such as LAX, SFO, Seattle and so on. One time I flew Hanoi-Narita-Minneapolis-Austin. I would never think of Minneapolis but it is possible

  8. Hi Duc,
    is there any promotion now for registration for frequent traveler programs of United, Delta or American Airline?

  9. Can you write a post on how to book a trip from LAX to SGN with a free stopover in HK, BKK, or NRT, and then back from SGN to LAX? I have 35000 AA miles and 150,000 miles. I’ve read different blogs about free stopovers but can’t seem to get the right boxes selected. Thanks!

  10. *I meant 150,000 united miles

  11. Hey Duc, I’m planning on applying for a few more cards. My average credit score is about 780. So far I have sent applications in the past month for:
    Citi AA advantage Visa (accepted)
    Citi AA advantage Amex (accepted)
    Citi AA advantage MC (denied)
    United Mileage Plus (accepted)
    British Airways Card (accepted)

    I’m looking to get a few more cards listed below:

    1. Delta Gold Amex
    2. Citi business AA advantage
    3. Chase Ink Bold (business)
    4. Chase Plus Ink (business)
    I
    ‘m planning on waiting to get the SPG card, because I’ll be traveling for awhile next year and I won’t be spending too much money with credit cards.

    What is your advice about these applying for these cards? Thanks for your help

    • Steve congratulations on getting accepted on many cards at once
      I probably need to know more information to give you accurate advice about credit card application
      1. How much bonus do you get from the Delta Gold Amex? If it is not significant, I would just skip this card
      2. Citi Business AAdvantage: I heard that Citi is pretty sensitive about the number of inquiries you have since you got the two Citi personal cards in the past month, I hope you can get this card as well. I am also planning to apply for this card pretty soon
      Card 3 and 4 have very high minimum spending requirement: 10k in the first 3 months each I believe. Therefore you will have to spend at least 20k in the first 3 months with these 2 cards. Additionally, you will also have to meet other spending requirements on British Airway Cards and 2 Citi Personal Cards.
      If I were you I would wait 90 days to make all of the spending on the first batch of cards, then apply for number 2, 3 and 4.
      good luck

  12. Hi Duc,

    So far I have 60 000 Alaska Airlines miles. How do I use those miles effectively from Yvr/Seattle to Hanoi?

    Thanks,
    Jenny

    • I have a solution that will work great for you
      Here is the Alaska Airline Partner Redemption Chart. You can use either Cathay Pacific or Delta to fly from Vancouver to Hanoi

      Cathay
      Request your Partner Award reservation by calling the Alaska Airlines Partner Desk at 1-800-307-6912, daily 5:00 a.m. to midnight (PT).
      Coach Between North America and Asia 60,000

      Delta
      Coach Between North America and Asia 60,000

      I don’t have first hand experiences with Alaska Airlines Partner Desk a 1-800-307-6912 but I heard a few good things about them. I would imagine, you will have a better chance with Cathay Pacific because they do fly to Hanoi.

      In order to check for Coach award ticket, you can sign up for Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific frequent flying program) and use it to search. I can’t seem to add Hanoi in the search. Try to call Alaska and let me know how it goes

      Some simple rules:

      1. When Alaska tickets a Cathay Pacific award from North America to Asia, the traveller may depart via any of Cathay’s North American destinations (LAX/SFO/YVR/ORD/JFK/YYZ). However, if you wish to add Alaska Airline’s segments to the beginning or end of the itinerary, the traveller may only depart via one of Cathay’s west coast destinations (LAX/SFO/YVR). Since many of Alaska’s customers are on the west coast, this is commonly referred to as the “can’t fly east to fly west” rule.

      2. You can also add a stop-over in Hong Kong to make the trip more fun

  13. Can Priority Points be used for anything other than hotel stays? do they transfer to airlines, etc.
    Thanks for your assistance

    • Hilde,
      You can redeem points for: https://secure.priorityclub.com/rewards/us/en/redeem/
      – Airlines: 10,000 Gold points for 2,000 Airline miles: AA, Us Airways, Delta, Alaska and many more (38 of them)
      – Gift Card: Sears, AMC, Amazon (not a very good value)
      – Merchandise
      – Charitable donation
      – Experiences: Spa, Golf, Sport package
      For me, point break redemption at 5,000 Gold points for a free night is the best value

  14. Hey
    I would love your help. The beginning of next year, I’ll be first traveling to Peru, then China, then maybe to Thailand and Vietnam.
    I’m looking to get all my flights paid with airline miles.

    So far, I have:
    65,000 United Miles.
    65,000 American Airlines miles
    50,000 British Airways miles

    By using United mileage plus explorer, British airways visa, Aadvantage visa, Aadvantage amex.

    I’ll be gone for about 18 months, and I have 2-3 months before I go on this trip.

    What other cards would you recommend me getting before this trip?
    Also, what would be the best way to utilize the points to go from Peru to China to Thailand to Vietnam?

    Thanks for your help!

    Steve

    • Steve,
      Interesting routing and great plan I would say
      I would need a little bit more detail before I can have a good recommendation for you.
      First off, which one is your home airport? Are you planning to fly from Peru to China straight or do you think of staying in the US for a few days?
      How long will you stay in China before you go to Thailand or Vietnam?
      Are you planning to stay in hotels when you are travelling?
      Have a good time

      Just some quick recommendation:
      – You can take AA from Us-Peru
      – Use United to fly from Peru to Thailand with a stop-over in China
      – From Thailand to Vietnam, you can fly Vietnam Airlines, Thai AirAsia, Thai Airway, Qatar Airline for really cheap $50 one way I think

  15. Hey Duc,
    Thanks for your help. Here’s the plan:
    San francisco to Peru: 1 month
    Peru to China: 1 year
    China to Thailand: 1-3 months
    Thailand to Vietnam: 1 month
    Vietnam to San Francisco

    I’ll figure out the living situation on my own. I’m mainly using the points for flights.

    • Steve
      I think this will work out great for you
      Use British Airways to fly from SFO to LIM: round-trip will require 50,000 miles
      Use United miles to fly from SFO-China : 32,500 miles one way
      Remember that award-ticket calendar is only open until next Aug so you can’t book your award ticket from China to Thailand and Vietnam right now. I believe award tickets are open 360 days in advance.
      Use AA miles to fly China – Vietnam ( I am not sure what city you are trying to fly to) in general it will cost 15,000 miles one-way
      Buy a ticket from Vietnam-Thailand: should be $50 one-way
      Finally, use United miles to fly from Thailand-SFO

      Overall, you will use 50k British Airways, 65k United miles, and 15k AA miles

  16. Hey Duc,
    I think I might do this instead to make the flight back to U.S easier.

    China to Vietnam: 1 month
    Vietnam to Thailand: 1-3 months
    Thailand to San Francisco

    Also, have you been to Vietnam? What is the best way to get a visa since I’ll be overseas before I go there.

    • Yes, I still have Vietnamese passport therefore I don’t need to get a visa to Vietnam
      I am pretty sure that you can get a tourist visa at any Embassies/Consulates in China or you can use this kind of service to process a “Visa on Arrival”
      It should be easy as pie. If you need any information about where to go in Hanoi, I would be more than happy to tell you as well

  17. Hi Duc,

    I am planning for a trip to Yellowstone next year for five people. then in 2014, I am planing a trip for 2 people to Europe. So far I have 61000 thankyou point from citi. (take 36-38000 point- 1rt on delta or united) I can get 50000 delta point thru fidelity. I am waiting to get the Delta 70000 point credit card otherwise if I call them I can get at least 40000 point good or one rt trip.i will be getting 55000 united mileage and possibly 50000 more through fidelity by 2014. Do you think it is best that I use Delta points for trip to Yellow Stone and save united my for trip to Europe for 2? And oh I will be getting 100000 AA miles. Planning to get another 50000 miles AA. Do you think AA mile is good for China/VN trip? Thanks

  18. I was wondering if the deals for airfare to Asia still working?

    • Which deal do you refer to?
      Give me a date and your destination and let me know what types of miles you have. I can help you look for cheap tickets or ways to redeem miles

  19. AA airfare to Vietnam? Why does AAdvantage Mile Program doesn’t accept an address in Hawaii?

  20. I’m looking to leave to Saigon, Vietnam maybe in February 1, 2013. I currently don’t have any miles but my brother signed up and had great prices for his 2 tickets.

  21. I am interested in credit cards that will be very helpful for travels to Vietnam. Please let me know about them. Thanks.

  22. Hello,

    I am trying to find discounted rates on a flight to Cabo San Lucas (SJD) in June 2013. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks

  23. Just wondering if you have an updated list of AA codes for the 5% and 10% discounts? The list I am seeing is for 2012. You have great suggestions! Thanks so much for doing this.

  24. Thanks soooo much!

  25. I was able to book 2 tickets ORD-TXL and returning FRA-ORD. However, could only find flights leaving one day later and returning 1 day sooner than I wanted. United offered to put me on a waiting list; said they would email me when, if, my dates became avail. for award travel. Have you heard whether this ever works or should I be callling them? If I should call, is there a “direct” number for United Award booking so I don’t have to explain for several minutes on the automated system where I want to go?

  26. Hilde,
    I don’t have experiences with waiting list however I use Experflyer to alert me when a seat on a certain flight open up. I would recommend doing the same. Do you have a reference number/case number from them? Not sure if there is a quick way but you can call them and use the touch-tone menu in this link: http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/Contact/mileageplus/contact.aspx

  27. I am thinking of buying a “new” used car. The dealer will only take up to $3,000.00 in credit card payment. I am thinking of buying gift cards at an office supply store using my Chase Ink card. Does the merchant, ie car dealer get charged when I use a gift card?

    • Visa/Master/Amex gift cards are treated as credit card by banks so the merchant would be charged like a credit card. However the Visa gift cards have “Debit card” logo on it which would be good for you to tell the merchants that they are debit

  28. which hotel program lets you stay 5 nights for the price of 4

  29. Starwood…pretty soon (after March 28, 2013) Hilton will be.

  30. Hi, in 2012, there was a spreadsheet for AA codes. I cant find the same for 2013 despite looking in multiple places. Is there one? Do you know what happened to it?

    • There used to be a list on flyertalk however AA was forcing them to take it down a month ago. I don’t think it exists anywhere online at the moment. I would try to private message people to ask for it

  31. If I cancel my Southwest business and personal cards, then reapply and get approved, will I get the reward points again? How long should I wait after closing my accounts?

    • I think you will have to wait at least 12 months to be considered for bonus points again however I see reports of people getting awarded earlier than that

  32. I recently traveled on Megabus from Eagle Pass, Tx to Houston, But is there no Megabus service from Houston to Eagle Pass Tx? And also where would I purchase the ticket? On the way from EP we stopped in Del Rio, Tx and San Antonio, Tx arrived in Houston, Tx

  33. Love the blog…question regarding mileage cards. My fiance and I love to travel. I currently have the Capitol One No Hassle Rewards which is 2 points $1 and I accumilated 190,000 points however that only translated to 1,900 in travel dollars. To think that i spent about $100,000 to obtain that doesnt seem like a good deal. I am now currently looking at what the best mileage/points card on the market. I am thinking of the Chase Sapphire Preferred because of the ability to transfer points to other companies. What are your thoughts. We like to shop for deals and travel. We were able to take $1900 off of our honeymoon but have to shell out for the balance. Your thoughts?

  34. Hello, would you still be able to help out with the Google Wallet app? I saw your tweet, couldn’t DM you. Let me know, thanks!

  35. Hi Duc ,

    Can you help me. I wanted to know how many award seat available for sjc to honolulu on 3/28 and coming back on 4/5 using british avios. Called but the guy has no clue said he can’t tell me the seating. I told him only want to know how many available as I was able to find out last year. But to no avail. Please help.Thank you.

  36. Thanks Duc, I had already book the hotel and all. Only got those day I can go guess have to change plan for another year.

  37. Btw, you said Hwaiian airlines but I can’t use Avios for that right?

  38. Thanks, I have aa too.

  39. Hi duc, I was check on AA site for sfo to sgn and nothing came up. I look up award chart and it did not show award to VN. Do you know if I just don’t know how to search or they just don’t have it anymore. Tell me it isn’t so. Thanks.

  40. Hi, im in NY and looking for ticket to go to Viet Nam this decemcer, I want to go as soon as possible. Do u have anything at this time ?

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