DEAL: Discounted CLEAR Membership from Delta

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Delta Air Lines has announced additional details, including pricing, for its new partnership with CLEAR, which was first revealed in April. Delta is partnering with CLEAR to offer expedited access to security screening and reduce the amount of time its SkyMiles members spend in line. Delta’s top-tier Diamond Medallion members will receive complimentary membership, while Delta’s Platinum, Gold, and Silver Medallion members can join CLEAR for $79 per year. General SkyMiles members can join for $99 per year. For comparison purposes, a typical annual membership with CLEAR costs $179. SkyMiles members should be on the lookout for an email from Delta with more details in the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can also visit delta.clearme.com for more details and…

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Fidelity Adds Apple Pay

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Earlier this week I received an email from Fidelity alerting me that the Cash Management Account with debit card that Mrs MJ and I have there is now eligible for Apple Pay. Fidelity offers a great alternative to a traditional checking account. While my personal checking is at Schwab, we have a joint account at Fidelity. Both are great for travelers because they reimburse ATM fees. Schwab has been on Apple Pay for a while, and it’s good to see Fidelity join. Hopefully, they will expand to other digital payment options like Android Pay and Samsung Pay soon. Combined with the new Fidelity Visa card, a Fidelity Cash Management Account can be an ideal solution for maximizing rewards if you want…

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Delta’s Bag Guarantee Works

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Delta Air Lines is known for running a reliable operation. I don’t check bags frequently, but when I do, I’m continually amazed at how rapidly my bags are usually delivered, especially in Atlanta. A while back, Delta instituted a 20 minute “bags on time” guarantee for checked bags. If your bags weren’t delivered in 20 minutes, Delta will credit you 2,500 SkyMiles. Earlier this week, I was forced to check my bag because I was bringing some extra work materials with me and my bag was just too large to carry on. Our flight went fine, and we landed roughly on time. I usually stop off at the Sky Club or somewhere along the way to the carousel, but this…

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My Fidelity Visa Arrived: Now What?

fidelity 2% cash back card

I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with one of the most popular cash back credit cards in the business, the Fidelity Amex card. I’ve had the card for years, but only used it in fits and starts. While I believe that it is one of, if not the best cash back card for many people, the card as it once was had its quirks. It was an American Express card issued by Bank of America’s FIA Card Services subsidiary, an outfit that had an odd little website (IMHO) and did not participate in digital wallets like Apple Pay (at least with the Fidelity card). Further, you could only take advantage of the cash back benefits if you had…

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Home Depot and Your Rewards Card?

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Not too long ago, I quoted a snippet from a Joe Brancatelli article here. As one bank executive told me recently, airline credit cards are at a tipping point because banks now pay upwards of two cents each to buy those miles. “That’s close to unprofitable for us and very close to the point where banks may walk away” from the frequent flier game. My piece was about the general direction of the airline loyalty space in 2016, and not about credit cards per se. But they are a key part of the loyalty pie being that more miles are earned from cards than actually flying on airplanes. So let’s talk about rewards credit cards for a second. Yes, they still…

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Loyalty Is Not Dead But it’s Forever Changed

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It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve “turned final” on loyalty. No, it’s not dead, we’re just coming in for a landing. What happened? An interesting series of events. Some will say it’s all about competition in the airline industry, and that’s certainly a factor. There are all kinds of loyalty programs, but the average BoardingArea reader is usually here to read about airline loyalty first, followed by hotels. A few of us want to talk about cruising, but we’ll get to that in another post. I’ll admit it, I gave up on being “loyal” in the classic mileage enthusiast sense of the word a while ago. Instead, I began to focus on the MJ Personal Happiness Fund. Price and…

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Buy AAdvantage Miles: Save 10 Percent

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Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like American has turned into one of the most prolific mileage sellers since the merger with US Airways. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise since US Airways was one of the industry’s most prolific sellers of miles. American is back with another mileage sale special. Buy or gift miles now through July 8th, save 10 percent, and earn up to 100,000 bonus miles. Should You Buy Advantage Miles? (Or Any Airline’s Miles) I have, on select few occasions (I can count them on one hand), purchased miles. Those “select few occasions” have one thing in common. I had a specific award in mind, and needed some miles to top up my account. I have…

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AAdvantage Makes Its Move

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American Airlines finally ripped the bandage off AAdvantage and it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. I really thought there was an outside chance that American might push the envelope with its AAdvantage changes and move just a bit further than Delta or United. Instead, what we got was essentially the same program its primary competitors offer with very few compelling differences. The Basics American’s latest changes have been covered ad nauseum around the interweb, but here is a quick review. Beginning August 1, 2016, miles will be awarded based on the price of your ticket and elite status. AAdvantage® member – 5 miles for every U.S. dollar Gold member – 7 miles for every U.S. dollar (40% bonus) Platinum member – 8 miles…

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Happy Dance: Delta Returns to ExpertFlyer

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ExpertFlyer can once again display availability for Delta Air Lines flights…..and I’m doing my happy dance! When Delta blocked ExpertFlyer over a year ago, I called that action disappointing. As I noted then, I use ExpertFlyer routinely to inform my travel decisions, and no, it’s not just about the upgrades. Let’s face it, I’m not getting any upgrades as a newly demoted Silver Medallion. It’s about making the best choices for flights and having information. My most routine use of ExpertFlyer, picking an earlier flight when the opportunity arises. That’s why I was happy to see this message on InsideFlyer, “We’re happy to announce that as of today the previously missing DL data has been restored to ExpertFlyer. The only…

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Let’s Raise a Glass to #DeltaAmexPerks

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Be sure to bring your Delta Amex with you for your next Sky Club visit. During the month of June, just show your Delta Amex card at THE BAR at Delta Sky Club® and you can receive up to two premium drinks for free. Delta and Amex offered a similar promotion late last year. The terms of the current offer indicate that “Select champagnes and Premium spirits are excluded.” I’ve asked for a list of the premium beverages that aren’t included, and when I receive that information, I’ll post it here. Last time around, the only drinks not included were Hennessy, Johnny Walker Blue Label, and the half bottle of Perrier-Joulet according to the bartender I spoke with then. That said,…

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