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September 2016 - ATX Fun - Austin-San Antonio Fun, Travel & Educational Opportunities

Getting to Europe Using the Fewest Frequent-Flyer Miles

It’s not widely known that different airline programs charge different amounts of frequent-flyer miles for the same routes. For example, to fly Business Class from USA and Europe can cost 70,000 Delta SkyMiles, or just 37,500 British Air Avios. And, there are some smart ways to earn BA Avios even if you fly other airlines (like American).

The Best Points & Miles for Travel to Europe

This blog post lists several ways to obtain and use the frequent-flyer-miles programs of unexpected airlines for travel from the United States to Europe.

Fly Free Using Frequent-Flyer Miles
Fly Free Using Frequent-Flyer Miles

Error Fare: Premium Economy USA to London for Just $647 r/t

Virgin Atlantic is mis-pricing travel from New York and Washington, D.C. to London in Premium Economy. The error fare is just $647 for travel as late as March, or perhaps later.

Awesome Deal: Cheap Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Tickets To London

As with all super deals and error fares, this will not last long.

Low Fares to London
Low Fares to London

Oakland to Stockholm Only $268 r/t

Norwegian is a low-cost airline with flights between North America and Europe. The carrier currently offers a round-trip fare of just $268 between Oakland, California, and Stockholm, Sweden.

This ultra-low fare is valid some dates between November and March. If Stockholm seems too chilly, you can take another low cost flight down to Lisbon or Barcelona.

Computer Keyboard, by  john_a_ward / Flickr

Purchase online using the special instructions in the Secret Flying post in order to get the low fare.


The Best Use of U.S. Bank FlexPerks Points

A year ago Million Mile Secrets posted a creative way to use FlexPerks, a strange type of reward points. I’ve been sitting on slightly over 20,000 points and had no immediate use for them. My family flies Southwest Airlines a lot. So I turned to the MMS trick…and it still works!

Trick for Big Travel on Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

As I’ve noted in the comments section of MMS, I successfully converted the 20K of FlexPerks into $395+ “cash” in my Southwest Airlines account, funds that can be used for future air travel.

Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines

If you have FlexPerks and fly Southwest, this is a great technique to get the maximum possible benefit.

British Air Discounts for AARP Members

One unexpected benefit of AARP membership is a substantial discount on trans-Atlantic British Air flights. The discount ranges from $65 up to $400 per person. Best of all, anyone of any age can join AARP for just $16.

$400 AARP Discount On British Airways Business Class Tickets Extended

The Eiffel Tower, Photo by Miles
The Eiffel Tower, Photo by Miles

The discount applies not only to flights to London, but also to other trans-Atlantic flights as well.

Rund-The-World for Less than $1400

SecretFlying has put together an around-the-world itinerary with 13 stops for just $1385! It hits many of the high places for tourism…Iceland, London, Istanbul, Singapore, Melbourne, Auckland, Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York.

This is a real marvel of piecing together various discounted routes into one do-able itinerary!

List of Credit Cards That Charge Foreign Transaction Fee

Some credit cards are fine for use internationally, but others charge a fee (often 3%) for purchases made overseas. This is a wholly-unjustified charge whose purpose it to enrich the banks.

This is a handy list of some cards that do charge a fee:

Careful Which Card You Use Abroad: These Credit Cards Charge a Foreign Transaction Fee

Obviously, if you own several credit cards and are traveling (or making online purchases from a foreign company), you will want to use the cards with no fee.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones / Earbuds Make Flying Less Tiring

Flying is made more tiring and stressful by the unavoidable background noise. Noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds reduce the droning sound level so you arrive in a better state of mind.

In general the noise seems to be worse the farther back in the plane you are sitting. Regional jets seem to be much noisier than larger aircraft.

I have used headphones with active noise cancellation for several years, with very good results. They have a switch on the side, and when you click it the noise level drops significantly…that’s how you know they use active sound cancellation. However, they take up room in my carry-on, so I’ve just ordered some “noise cancelling” Bluetooth earbuds from Amazon.

I’m hoping these will be less un-comfortable when I lean my head against the aircraft while trying to sleep in a window seat. I plan to report back here shortly after they arrive.

If you have a larger budget and are interested in headphones, this blog post has good information:

Wireless Headphones