Double transfer bonus bonanza

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✈️ Aeroplan introduced an advent calendar for December, offering surprise discounts and promos every day of the month. Simply log into your Aeroplan account every day to unlock your surprises!

Good morning and welcome back to Daily Drop, the taco al pastor of newsletters. You can enjoy it every single day and still never get sick of it.

Here’s what today’s taco is packed with:

  • 💳 Double transfer bonus bonanza (Virgin Atlantic and Singapore)

  • 🤔 You can now book Southwest flights through this portal… but should you?

  • 🌎 Travel Trivia Tuesday

💳 Double transfer bonus bonanza (Virgin Atlantic and Singapore)

Two new exciting transfer bonuses dropped this past weekend, so I’ll give you the lowdown on both of them right quick:

20% bonus from MR Points to Singapore KrisFlyer

Right now, there is a targeted transfer bonus from MR Points to Singapore Airlines through December 31st, 2023.

The keyword here is “targeted,” meaning not everyone will see this in their accounts…

This bank has been doing targeted bonuses like this more often, which is a little frustrating.

Still, an extra 20% bonus could be meaningful for booking flights on Singapore Airlines, especially if you take advantage of their Spontaneous Escapes (which we wrote about recently in this newsletter).

One other key point from the terms and conditions of this transfer bonus is that although it’s valid through December 31st, it’s also only valid “while supplies last.”

So theoretically, if enough people use this bonus, it could potentially disappear sooner… Not the most exciting bonus out there, but if you think you could benefit from it, I’d get on it ASAP.

30% bonus from MR Points to Virgin Atlantic

Now we’re talking. This is a REAL transfer bonus.

And to make it even more exciting, this bonus is available to everyone, and also valid through December 31st.

Transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic are always exciting because of their solid award redemption rates and their AMAZING hard product.

As I’ve told you many times in the past, you can fly across the Atlantic for as few as 10,000 Virgin miles one-way.

With this bonus, you only need to transfer 7,700 MR Points to fly to Europe.

It really doesn’t get better than that, folks.

However, I wouldn’t feel like you need to rush to transfer points if you don’t already have a trip in mind.

We see bonuses like this pop up ALL the time to Virgin Atlantic, so I suspect we’ll see another one in the new year if you don’t have a chance to use this one.

🤔 You can now book Southwest flights through this portal… but should you?

Southwest has a reputation for not letting ANY portals or third-party sites advertise their flights.

It’s the reason that you never see them show up on Google Flights, Expedia, etc.

Well… In a strange twist of events, Southwest flights are now bookable on this bank’s travel portal.

It’s interesting, but I’m still trying to decide if this is a good thing or not… Let me explain my thinking.

The bank in question allows you to redeem UR Points in their travel portal at various rates, depending on which card you have.

  • If you have the premium card, you can redeem your points in the travel portal for 1.5 cents each.

  • If you have the lower-tier card (like me), you can redeem them for 1.25 cents each.

But since you can also transfer UR Points to Southwest, is it worth using them in the portal at all?

Well… Let’s find out!

I looked up a random flight from New York to Denver next month and found this Southwest flight in the portal:

Since my card lets me redeem points for 1.25 cents each, I’d have to spend 10,712 UR Points.

However, when I look up the same flight on Southwest’s website, I see that it’s bookable for only 7,258 points.

Since I can just transfer points directly to Southwest, it seems like it wouldn’t make sense to book through the portal and spend more than 3,000 extra points.

But what if I had the premium card that lets you redeem points for 1.5 cents each?

In this case, you’d only need to shell out 8,933 UR Points.

And although this is technically still higher than going through Southwest directly, three factors make me think twice:

1. Taxes and fees

Domestic flights in the U.S. only incur a small cash fee of $5.60 when booking with points. It might not sound like a lot, but you do need to factor it into the equation since booking through the portal (and using points to pay) doesn’t incur ANY cash cost.

Plus, if you fly internationally, those cash fees could be much higher, especially if you’re flying round-trip and incur multiple tax and fee charges.

Example of high taxes and fees on Southwest international flights

2. Opportunity cost of Southwest points earned

When you book a Southwest flight through a portal, it’s treated like a cash booking, and you still earn Southwest points on it. In the case of the example above, you’d earn another 804 Southwest points when booking through the portal.

When you transfer points and book directly with Southwest, you don’t earn any points, and therefore, it’s “costing” you that amount more, in a way.

804 more points is actually a meaningful bump, considering the difference between points costs was only about 1,600 to begin with.

3. Southwest is devaluing its points in 2024

As I told you in a recent newsletter, Southwest will be devaluing their points starting in January 2024, meaning award prices through Southwest will increase.

This fact alone could potentially turn the tables and make it worth booking through this bank’s travel portal when the new year rolls around, given how close the price difference was already.

Overall, it’s nice to have another option for booking Southwest flights with points (and no taxes and fees), even if most people would be better off simply transferring their UR Points to Southwest to book directly with them.

Still, this is something to keep an eye on in 2024 if you hold that premium card, like flying Southwest, and want to avoid cash fees on your award bookings.

🌎 Travel Trivia Tuesday

It’s time for another piece of travel trivia, folks. But today, we’re going to try something new. I’ll present you with a trivia question, and you can select from a list of potential answers and see if you guessed correctly.

Warning: Spoilers begin after the trivia question, so don’t scroll too fast. 😉

Which of the following countries has the highest per-capita GDP?

Click a country to see if you're right!

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

A country’s per capita GDP is a measure of both wealth and quality of life.

Most people are surprised to learn about Gabon and just how wealthy of a country it is compared to its sub-Saharan African neighbors, mainly due to being rich in natural resources (a.k.a. crap loads of oil) and relatively small population.

But maybe you’ve never even heard of Gabon. So let me drop some quick facts on you:

  • 🌲 90% of Gabon is covered in rainforests, much of which is dedicated to national parks

  • 🏖️ Gabon has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world

  • 🌆 Gabon used to be a hub for the slave trade. The capital city of Libreville (which means “free town”) was founded by freed slaves

  • 🇬🇦 Voting is mandatory in Gabon. If you don’t vote, you can be fined

  • 🦍 80% of Africa’s gorillas and baboons live in Gabon

Gabon has been on my travel list for a while, and I hope maybe it is for some of you now, too. 🤗

Did you know that Daily Drop has a YouTube channel? Check out our latest video for some visual travel hacking tips 👇

In this week’s video, Kara and Nate fly from Tahiti to Los Angeles on Air France’s luxurious business class. They’ll rate every aspect of their experience, and finish off by telling you how to book it!

That’s all for today, folks! If any of you are in Mexico City for the next week or so, I’d love to meet up and hang out. Just reply to this email and let me know. 😊

Take care, have a great day, and I’ll see you mañana. ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

19.4326° N, 99.1332° W

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