|by Jason Steele|
I have talked about this before, but there is something I call the cycle of the deal. In the case of a mistake fare, the deal can close within hours or even minutes. In other cases, the deal goes on for years before it closes. When they close, it can be abrubt, or it can be gradual and confused.
Some people think that the US Mint Deal is closed. The Frugal Travel Guy is reporting that at least one person claims that his purchases from the Mint are now listed as cash equivalents that accrue neither points nor interest. He is also reporting that he is unable to get nearly as many American Airlines CitiBank cards as he used to.
Over at The View From The Wing, the report is that the British Airways offer of 100,000 miles for a British Airways card is about to close. The word is that it could be gone tomorrow, so act now if this deal appeals to you. As he says, “two family accounts, two cards and $32k in spend, will get you 480,000 miles worth of travel. Nearly a half a million miles for using their card for a year, wow.
The implications of the US Airways Promotion are more staggering as you consider them. I had what seemed like a great idea, selling the TrackItBack stickers on Ebay to recoup some of your losses. Only today have I come across a better idea, both at FlyerTalk and through other bloggers. It is so painfully simple, I am embarrassed that I didn’t think of it earlier. If you order a few thousand dollars worth of TrackItBack stickers, the smart thing to do is donate them to charity. Multiply the percent of whatever tax bracket you are in times the amount you paid, and that is essentially how much you are getting back. For most people, this will bring the cost per mile from .7 cents to .5 cents or less! Lets think about this again. At .5 cents a mile, you could fly around the world, business class, for a mere $1,5000! Upgrade to first for $2,000! This is for an around the world ticket according to their newly released Star Alliance Award Chart for next year.
I do have to stress a few things about this deal
1. Read the terms carefully. Any transactions beyond 10 don’t count, so don’t go crazy before you TrackItBack.
2. Don’t use this if you want to book a trip soon. You won’t even see most of the miles until March 1st. As with any award travel, seats are extremely limited as you get closer to your travel time. You can find good seats 11 months in advance, but even 6 months out you will often find nothing on your given airline or travel date. If you are very flexible, that helps, but don’t a bunch of miles so you can join you can fly first class to your friends wedding this summer in Europe, it ain’t gonna happen. Do try this if you want to book your award to Europe this summer for travel in the summer of 2011.
3. If you are planning on taking the tax deduction this April, make sure you complete the gift by the year end, otherwise it will be on your 2011 taxes. I suspect any charity that has laptop computers, cell phones, or any other portable electronics would appreciate this gift. Be sure to get a receipt for your donation, keep all of your paperwork, and do the research in order to make sure the deduction is valid.
I am looking forward to seeing the movie Up In The Air this weekend. Not only does the plot revolve around the quest for reward travel, the movie actually got some good reviews. I will be sure to give you my take next week.