Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Suntrust Sunsets Unlimited Earning on the Delta Debit Card

As I've written about before, my Suntrust Delta Debit card has been a fantastic source of miles over the past few years, netting Mrs. Pointsninja and I close to well over half a million miles.  However, it has recently been reported on Flyertalk and elsewhere that Suntrust is altering the deal:

Well, I got the dreaded letter today.  As of July 25, 2015, Suntrust is hamstringing the card, limiting monthly mileage earning to 2,000 miles.  To add insult to injury, the earn rate is dropping from 1 Skymile per $1 spent to 1 Skymile per $2 spent.  PLUS, the annual fee is going up to $95.

This means that in a best case manufactured spend scenario, the card could earn 24,000 miles in a year at a cost of $128.12.  That's .5CPM, a good (Ed.: But not great!) price for Skymiles.  So I may not cancel the card, but the thrill is gone.  Sigh.

P.S.:  The one conceivable upside is that this handicapping could possibly result in the Suntrust Delta Debit Card becoming available to new cardholders sometime after July 25.  Even at the reduced rates, there are people for whom this product could be useful.  Particularly if Suntrust offered a sign-up bonus as a sweetener.  The only evidence I have to support this pie-in-the-sky scenario is that Suntrust didn't kill the card entirely, which I have long expected them to do.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

REVIEW: American Express Centurion Lounge, Dallas-Fort Worth Int'l (DFW)

The unquestionable highlight of making an extended connection at DFW was the opportunity to visit American Express' Centurion Lounge:

Access to the Centurion Lounge is complimentary for Amex Centurion and Platinum cardmembers (who may bring along two guests).  Other Amex cardmembers may purchase entry for $50.  However, there are some reports that paid entry isn't offered at peak demand times or when the lounge is near capacity.

The Lounge is located on the second level of Terminal D at the top of an escalator

At the far end of the lounge there is a open bar and seating area.  They have a number of specialty cocktails.  I can recommend the George and Ginger.

They also have a limited beer selection with some very good local microbrews.  Or you can get Lionel Hutz' favorite beverage... bourbon.

The lounge also features a buffet with some pretty good eats.  I was especially fond of the goat cheese and kale salad.

If you're coming off of a longhaul flight, you may appreciate the fact that the lounge features private shower rooms with L'Occitane toiletries.  These are located down the hall from the front desk and can be reserved when you check in.

The Exhale Spa is also located down the hall behind the entry desk.  Complimentary 15 minute treatments can be scheduled at check in.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Delta's New Economy Seating Chart - Satire

The Cooper Review has a great article on Delta's seating chart (with a handy diagram!)

Stick with me and you can avoid the "Satan's Den Economy" section.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Je Suis Charlie.

This is a travel blog, not a politics blog, but some issues of the day transcend categories.  The attack on Charlie Hebdo and the murder of its employees was an attack on the West and the values of a free society.  Here's hoping the French bring swift justice to its perpetrators.


Friday, January 2, 2015

REVIEW- British Airways Contract Lounge, Dallas (DFW)

Mrs. Pointsninja and I recently returned from a Christmas Markets cruise with Avalon Waterways.  We took my parents along and had a lovely time in Europe.  I, of course, was especially happy at getting to try out some new travel experiences: 1) river cruising and 2) BA First.

Ordinarily, we are captive to the Delta ATL hub for our transatlantic travel, but American also operates a few flights from MGM-DFW so I was able to put together MGM-DFW-LHR-FRA in AA coach, BA F, and BA Club World using US Airways miles.  Happily I did so during the brief window when US wasn't passing along BA's exorbitant fuel surcharges.

This was my first time traveling through DFW, so I was anxious to try out the Centurion Lounge (which I'll review later), but once we arrived at DFW I discovered that a contract lounge for British Airways travelers had recently opened.  Because we were in BA F, we had access.  The DFW contract lounges are located next to gate D22:
Entering and going up one floor you find a reception desk with lounge information, including a sign indicated that Priority Pass members would have access to these lounges:
Since several airlines have individual "mini lounges" in this shared space, the attendant will direct you down to the appropriate room.  In our case we went down the hall (past the available shower rooms) to Club 5:

Just inside the entrance was another reception desk where our boarding passes were scanned and we were welcomed in to the lounge.  To the right of the entry door was a large (and entirely empty) seating area:
 As my lovely assistant was kind enough to indicate, the comfortable seating features tray tables and power ports:
Past the reception desk you come to the main lounge area with views over the tarmac:
The lounge is fairly small, but it features a surprisingly good (by US standards) selection of complimentary beverages.  There was a coffee machine that I didn't try:
Wine was available:

There was a well-stocked self-serve drinks cabinet with some surprisingly good beer:

And finally a list of hard alcohol that was available on request:

Food was also available, including soup and finger sandwiches:

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this lounge.  It doesn't compare to the Centurion Lounge, so if you have an Amex Platinum, I wouldn't recommend it for your next DFW layover.  But if you don't have access to the Centurion Lounge, this would be a decent substitute.  It was, in my opinion, superior to the (much larger, granted) American AAdmiral's Club lounge.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This way Christmas...

Shortly, I'll begin posting trip reports from my pre-Christmas trip to visit Christmas markets in Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Basel, and Zurich.  Along the way, I'll review the BA contract lounge in DFW, The Amex Centurion Lounge DFW, BA First DFW-LHR, The Avalon Vista cruise ship, the Frankfurt Intercontinental, and the Radisson Blu Zurich.  But I likely won't get to it until after the new year.  For now, in the words Humphrey Bogart in my favorite Christmas movie:

This way Christmas...

Here's hoping you all had a very Merry Christmas and that you will have a happy New Year!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Get Ready for Christmas Shopping!

Just a reminder to everyone that will be doing online shopping this year: If you don't get miles or cashback on your order, you're leaving money on the table.  Finding the best deal is particularly easy with the rise of cashback/miles comparison websites, a favorite example being

When you get ready to make a purchase, enter the store into the "Search Store" field and the site will show you what cashback or miles deals are available.  I picked Target:

Target Miles/Points offers
Target Cashback
Once you search for your store, click on the link in the results field and you'll be taken to the cashback portal.  From there you'll simply click through (after creating an account if you don't already have one) and shop as usual.  Not every store offers miles or cashback, but nearly all do.