Remember yesterday’s Alaska Airlines shopping portal bonus that I thought wasn’t worth doing? Well if you have an American Express Business Platinum card, it’s probably worth it now because Dell has a promo offer for 10% off of Xbox Gift cards with code XBOX10. To take advantage of it:

  • Ensure you’ve activated your Dell credit with your American Express Business Platinum
  • Check for any Dell cash back or 2x/3x spend American Express offers
  • Start at the Alaska portal for Dell Home, and click on SHOP NOW
  • Add a $100 Xbox Gift Card to your cart
  • Add a $25 Xbox Gift Card to your cart
  • Checkout, and enter promo XBOX10
  • Pay with your Business Platinum

The promo will only apply to one card, but it’ll pick the more expensive one. So, you’ll spend $115, but you’ll get:

  • $100 back from AmEx as a statement credit (or more if you have an offer attached to your card)
  • 615 Alaska miles
  • $92-95 in resale value for the Xbox cards
  • 115 Membership Rewards points (or more if you have an offer attached to your card)
  • Rid of the Dell credit that expires June 30 and can be hard to use

If you have multiple Business Platinums, create new Dell accounts with new email addresses to use the code again, and don’t ever let the Business Platinum cards co-mingle between accounts.

A prepared stir-fry of vegetables in a wok.
A stir-fry is just co-mingled ingredients.

1. I know that there’s mixed love and hatred out there for AirFrance, but in my opinion they’re an absolutely wonderful airline for Business Class or La Premiere. (Yes, I’m even including the older shrinking fleet with angled lie flat cabins, just make sure you sit in the middle section of Business Class for direct aisle access.) The food and wine is hard to beat, and the service for me has always been outstanding. AirFrance is also great for racking up Delta MQM and MQD on mistake or ultra-cheap business fares. To help with that, AirFrance has a new promo code: SPRINGAF21 for $70 off of your next flight to Europe or Africa, just book by May 14, 2021 for travel between May 1 and October 31.

The code is ok, but honestly I’m writing about this principally because Spring AF is about the funniest thing I’ve seen out of an airline in years. If it was any other code, I’m not sure I’d write about it. Well played AirFrance, though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t played on purpose.

2. Do this now: Register for bonus points at Hilton. It’s a snoozer at 2x or 3x points, but you never know when you might end up at a Hilton anyway and it may be too late to register or you may forget register. Don’t be in that boat!

3. Thanks to the AA 40th’s sweepstakes, you can get 20% off of standard rates at Hyatt properties booked by May 31 for stays through September 12, 2021. Use code AA40TH.

Hot AirFrance. Wait, that’s not what it means.

1. Capital One has added a few airline transfer partners and made a few others 1:1 transfer partners. I’m still not sold on the program as being uniquely different or valuable, but I know some of you like them. Here’s a nice, no-nonsense summary. I think Turkish, Avianca, and Asia Miles are the useful Capital One partners.

2. Alaska Airlines is offering 500 bonus miles for spending $100 with a store after clicking through their shopping portal. The bonus is too small and the fees are too high for me to do anything with GiftCards.com on this one, but if you’re going to buy something anyway… 🤷‍♀️

3. Meijer stores are offering $7.50 off of $50 in Happy Gift Cards. As usual, I’d buy the Happy Treats which functions as a Visa at GameStop, and buy Steam gift cards for resale. Do you have multiple Meijer MPerks accounts yet? I don’t, because I’m pretty sure the closest Meijer to me is at least 1,000 miles away.

A male tennis player holding up a thumb and two index fingers while screaming
A “tennis tuesday triple”, because today I like alliterations.

In case Friday’s 150,000 Membership Rewards offer wasn’t enough for you, there’s another offer for the American Express Business Gold out there: 90,000 Membership Rewards for $10,000 spend in three months. Between Friday’s offer and today’s, that’s 240,000 points — with the Schwab Platinum Card you could cash that out today for $3,000, and then invest it in Dogecoin for a 5,000% return. (Don’t buy Dogecoin please, I was kidding. I definitely would not do this.) Here’s how to get it:

If you don’t see the 90,000 points offer, try a different browser or a different search engine (baidu, duckduckgo, bing).

Final hint: One bonus per lifetime language doesn’t always mean what it should with AmEx. I have three personal platinums and three business platinums that have earned sign up bonuses in the last year.

The AmEx double-take. (No, I don’t understand either.)

1. There’s an offer floating around for 150,000 Membership Rewards with the American Express Business Platinum card after $15,000 in spend in three months. This card also has the 5x Office Supplies, Advertising, Gas, Shipping, and Wireless credits already attached, so it works even if you’ve already saved those offers to other cards. I was able to get it by:

If that doesn’t work for you, try another browser, a different search engine (baidu, duckduckgo, bing), and definitely try a desktop browser and not a mobile browser. Each will give seemingly random offers between 100,000 and 150,000 Membership Rewards.

I applied and was approved instantly.

2. Check this link for a targeted offer of 1,000 AA miles for each Hyatt night through July 31, register by June 30. This deal is amazing and unfortunately I wasn’t targeted. You might be though! Update: Thanks to Vince for pointing out the correct promotion date.

3. Southwest devalued their points from 78 points per dollar to 83 points per dollar. Just for that, I’m going to drop a few links in true Robert Dwyer tit-for-tat spirit: You should have this auto-checkin script for Southwest flights in your tool belt, and also this Southwest price drop bot. Both will require a small bit of technical prowess, but if you can write an Excel formula you’ve probably got enough.

Three is the magic number.

Do this now: Open the Uber app, and link your Marriott #Bonvoyed account to your Uber account by going into Settings, then scroll down to “Marriott Bonvoy”.

Look, I don’t love Uber or Marriott, but you can now earn Bonvoy points for spending American Express Uber credits or regular Uber / Uber Eats stuff, as long as the total cost is over $25. Bonvoy points are still useful for converting into many different types of airline miles, and I guess they have a few hotels that you can stay in.

Let’s goose this deal though, because if you have a qualifying purchase by May 31, 2021 you’ll earn an additional 2,000 Bonvoy points:

  • Open Uber, then #Bonvoy them by linking your account
  • Open Uber Eats, then add the promo code 50OFFPICKUP to your account, that’ll earn you 50% off of a pickup order up to $10, but you have to use it by tomorrow night
  • Order a dinner for you and your family or friends that totals at least $35, or $25 after pickup — ideally you use your burner account which you use to store your AmEx Uber Credits
  • Earn $10 off of your pickup and 2,050 #Bonvoyed points

Food recommendation: Go for the local authentic Ethiopian joint if you’ve got one; Ethiopian food is top-notch and I’m guessing a lot of you haven’t had it though I’d love to be wrong. Be adventurous!

Not what I meant by adventurous food, reddit.

1. American Airlines has reduced mileage awards for AA credit card holders back on the table. These are actually a great deal and worth a look, especially because in most cases you can cancel and redeposit the miles with no fees if your trip doesn’t work out. Steps:

2. Southwest is having a nice fare sale with quite a few $50 fares out there. Remember that if the cash fare is cheap with Southwest, so is the mileage cost, and with mileage awards you can cancel and redeposit at any time for no fee. If you book something cheap in early June, you’ll almost certainly be able to change it to any other flight ±30 days in a week or two when the next free schedule change window opens. What a time to be alive!

Final note: The AA 40th contest is still going — lots of people are winning 4,000 mile awards recently. For best results, spin the globe as early as possible after 12:00 AM Eastern time. Since it’s a new week, you can get a bunch of new buttons by logging in and clicking all the blue buttons.

A woman in a riding outfit (flannel shirt, pants, tall socks, boots, and a black riding cap) on top of a cow jumping over a post.
Flying Southwest compared to flying other legacy carriers is a bit like riding a cow instead of riding a horse.

Introduction

I’ve avoided writing about the United Quest credit card for a while because honestly the card annoys me (see below), and United really annoys me (also see below). That said, it can be a decent deal for the first year if you’re going to redeem for United flights, and there’s now a mostly public offer for 100,000 miles after $10,000 in spend. You can also use a referral link or get a referral from a Chase United card holder. (I’d chose TravelBloggerBuzz’s link, but you could get a link from another blogger you trust too, just not me. I don’t personally push referral links, that’s not why I’m in this.)

Why Quest Sucks

Rather than going over the positives of the card like everyone else, let me address the negatives, especially as compared to the mid-tier American Express Personal Gold card:

  • Quest’s spend bonus categories are weak for a card with a mid-tier annual fee ($250). I get bigger and better bonuses and bonus categories at the same price point with the American Express Personal Gold (e.g. 4x vs 2x at restaurants, 4x vs 1x at grocery, 3x on all airlines vs 3x on only United)
  • Quest’s annual “credits” are 5,000 miles after you take an award flight on United, twice a year. The Personal Gold gives $120 in Uber/Uber Eats credits and $120 in GrubHub/ShakeShack credits a year whether or not you redeem miles
  • Quest doesn’t give you two United Club passes, unlike its cheaper sibling, the MileagePlus Explorer card
  • Quest opens up “XN” fare bucket award availability, but so does the $95 annual fee MileagePlus Explorer card, as does the no annual-fee MileagePlus Gateway card
  • A modified double dip is a much better deal than the Quest if you’re under 5/24, and you can still turn those miles into United MileagePlus miles — you’ll also get 3x on all travel with a Sapphire, not just on United like with the Quest card. The American Express Personal Gold doesn’t care about 5/24 at all and also gives 3x
  • For a whopping $72,000 in annual spend, Quest will give you 3,000 PQP — uh, ok. For those of you fortunately not sucked into United Elite speak, a PQP is part of obtaining elite status, and 3,000 PQP is what you earn by spending approximately $3,300 on airfare. Trust me, your $72,000 in spend in the right places can earn you $3,000 in actual cash. Wouldn’t you rather have that than stupid PQP? I would
  • Quest gives you exactly one currency, MileagePlus miles. The Personal Gold gives you membership rewards, which you can transfer to less sucky airlines or cash out at a decent rate

Why United Sucks

Look, I get that some of you like United, and that’s ok, it’s definitely not all bad. United will usually get you where you’re trying to go, you might get a stroopwaffle, and they do offer many loopholes to those in the know (example: I once used same day changes every day to extend a trip by a week). I also get that some of you live in Houston or Newark and you’re a hub captive, and that’s also ok. But United:

  • Flies more cramped regional jets with gate checked bags than any other major domestic carrier, though this may have changed due to COVID (if you’re lucky enough to get the CRJ550, the cramped part doesn’t apply)
  • Often flies regional jets routinely between large cities with 3+ hours of blocked time, that’s a long, long time on a regional jet between two major business hubs like Atlanta and Denver
  • Often flies worn-out 737s or A319s on non RJ segments, and believe me when I say worn-out — some of these planes haven’t seen any love with respect to passenger comfort in a decade
  • Has Scott Kirby running the show, and Scott is famous for pinching every penny possible to ensure that you’re not getting any more than absolutely necessary
  • Offers dynamic pricing for award tickets, and many times charges more just because they can, though to be fair so do the other major domestic US airlines at this point
  • Often overbooks landing slots at crowded airports, leading to massive system delays
  • Still flies business class seats without direct aisle access

So, do you really want to get 100,000 miles and subject yourself to all of that with no other option? Honestly, I don’t unless it’s a last resort. But maybe if you’ve got a use for those 100,000 miles and don’t want to do the Modified Double Dip for some reason, this is still ok.

A pie chart with 29% filled with "CRJ-200" and 82% filled with "CRJ-700". Yes, that's over 100%.
My empirical measurements of United’s domestic fleet.