Tomorrow, March 31, 2014, marks a big day of transitions for the travel industry and for point hoarders like me.
US Airways Joins Oneworld Alliance
As part of the US Airways-American Airlines merger, US Airways is slated to leave the Star Alliance network and join the oneworld Alliance on March 31, 2014. The American Airlines and US Airways Reward programs will not yet merge, but you will no longer be able to book award tickets through their Star Alliance partners, except for: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAP and Turkish Airlines (TAM will also be transitioning to OneWorld). So if you have US Airways points, your network will expand significantly and you will be able to book these 12 airlines in addition to the oneworld Alliance partners shown below.
“It will add 60 destinations to the oneworld map – most in its US home but also three in Canada and one in Mexico – along with its key hubs of Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington DC’s Reagan National, expanding oneworld’s presence across the USA, particularly throughout the East Coast and across the North Atlantic.” – American Airlines Press Release You can request credit for American Airlines flights you took on or after January 7, 2014 and all requests must be made within 6 months of the date you completed travel.
My favorite use of British Airways Avios points is to book short-haul flights for only 4,500 points each way on American Airlines. Now I can add US Airways to that list and expand my network exponentially. US Airways will now access Cathay’s amazing service and top-of-the link first class cabins. To jumpstart your US Airways Dividend Miles accrual, check out the US Airways Premier World MasterCard.
CVS to Stop Accepting Credit Cards for Vanilla Reload Purchases
There have been recent grumblings circulating around the fact that CVS stores are getting closer to only accepting cash for Vanilla Reloads and Visa gift cards that can be uploaded to Bluebird by way of manufactured spending. CVS stores were accepting credit card for Vanilla Reloads as well as gift cards up to a $5,000 daily limit of purchases. This meant that accruing points at a faster pace and reaching the necessary spending threshold in order to receive that lucrative bonus was just that much easier.
Starting March 31, 2014, however, a new storewide policy is being released and is circulating around the blogosphere that CVS will no longer accept credit cards for Vanilla Reloads and gift cards. We knew this day would come, and it’s not a total disaster as we still have Amazon Payments and stores like Staples and OfficeMax that accept credit cards for gift card purchases. Use your Chase Ink Plus or Bold card to receive 5x points when you make purchases at office supply stores like Staples and OfficeMax. We still don’t know if this news will affect all CVS stores or if it’s perhaps a regional thing, but we’ll find out soon enough.
Hopefully something new like Vanilla Reloads will come up for points enthusiasts, and when it does, you’ll be the first to know!