Episode 48: Booking Travel in 2021

We’re back today with a show we’ve talked about recording for some time now. The topic of booking travel in 2021 is a unique one because this is a very unique time in travel, miles and points. Spurred on by cancellations last year by both of us, large travel bank balances, and plenty of want for travel we talk about our best practices for booking in 2021. Feel free to comment below with your best practices, and thanks for listening.

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0:28 Amex Business Platinum 110,000 Available Through Referral

  • Long-time credit card enthusiasts have likely had this already but if you’re newer to the game this is a pretty terrific offer
  • $15,000 spend in 3 months
  • Contains lifetime language
  • Amex hinting at enhancements to the business cards still to come

4:00 Staples: Fee-Free $200 VGCs Sunday 1/17 – Saturday 1/23/2021 (HT GC Galore)

4:51 AA/JetBlue Partnership (Press Release)

  • “book a single itinerary on either website”
  • “American will upgauge aircraft and by the end of 2021 will operate all service out of New York with first class.”
  • “JetBlue plans to significantly expand its service at New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), as well as further expand in other NYC airports and in Boston.”
  • “Flights touching New York or Boston from either JetBlue, American or connecting combinations of both will be bookable on jetblue.com and aa.com in the coming weeks.”
  • Reciprocal loyalty benefits
    Later this year, customers of both JetBlue’s TrueBlue and American’s AAdvantage® programs will be able to enjoy reciprocal benefits, including the ability to earn and/or redeem points or miles on either carrier making both loyalty program even more valuable. The airlines are also exploring opportunities to recognize JetBlue Mosaic customers and American’s AAdvantage elite members across both airlines. More details will be announced to loyalty program members later this year.

8:56 Main Topic: Booking Flights in 2021

  • Seeing some really affordable airfare in 1H2021
  • Airlines always price empty planes lower as the date draws nearer, and with business travel still largely suspended routes are still being jockeyed around to cater to the only travel still occurring.
  • Airline pricing models seem to be stressed by this. You’ll see $19 one day, $900 the next for the same flight.
  • Tempting to book on the off chance it might be advisable to travel, but cancellation fatigue is setting in
  • That said, cancellation terms have never been more favorable
  • Avoid booking with difficult to cancel currencies
  • Be familiar with the restrictions of various airline travel banks, and be mindful of tying too much in a program with narrow utility to you
  • Prioritize currencies. Use ones prone to spoiling first. Then most specific utility to most flexible.
  • Travel bank/expiring certificates
  • Airline miles that expire even with activity
  • Bank points
  • Cash
  • Bottom line: It’s a unique time in the game. Look at this with fresh eyes. Don’t feel bad if you let what seems to be a tremendous deal pass by. There’s always another great deal around the corner.

About the author

- Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I'll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.

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