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Hello from Canada! 

Travel Freely With Caroline is the all-new monthly newsletter giving you the most important points and miles news from the past month AND offering some serious travel inspiration from Caroline – both in terms of how to get somewhere with miles and a few tips on things to do. 

The Big News

Last month was a rough month with multiple devaluations, so overall this month is looking a bit better with just one devaluation from Hertz. But, it was a rough one. Hertz cut the value of their points by up to 70% overnight, and without prior notice. Luckily, there’s still some value in the program, so if you find yourself with a stash of Hertz points, here are some ideas of how you can still use them.

Just yesterday, Chase and Southwest announced a brand new business credit card called the Southwest Airlines Performance Business Card. The biggest news is the 80,000 mile sign-up bonus, which is the highest bonus Southwest has offered this year. This can certainly help anyone who got a personal card this year to earn a companion pass for 2019 and 2020! Read more on Companion Pass. Check out the new card and through our link here: Chase Southwest Airlines Performance Business Card.

Southwest fans will love this news, but I would not forget about the Chase Ink Business Preferred (Chase points transfer 1:1 to Southwest) because it has an 80,000 point bonus for the same spending requirement but half the annual fee. If you ended up with both of these business cards, that’s an easy 160,000 Southwest miles!

While not as bad as a full-blown miles devaluation, American Express has also changed some of the terms of their Priority Pass lounge access membership. No longer will American Express cardholders be able to get a $28 credit at Priority Pass airport restaurants beginning on August 1. This change does not affect Priority Pass members who have their membership through a Chase Card (like the Sapphire Reserve), Citi Card (like the Citi Prestige), or directly through Priority Pass.

And finally, there are a few great credit card offers we want to highlight this month. New Delta Credit Card offers have sign-up bonuses as high as 80,000 Delta miles and the Citi Premier Card welcome offer has been raised to 60,000 ThankYou points. Check out the rest of the best offers for June

The Little Bites

American Express has added Qantas as a 1:1 transfer partner of Membership Rewards. Overall, this is a great addition and it’s always good to see programs adding value. Qantas does have an interesting program with some sweet spots, but it’s relatively complicated.

Capital One miles can now be transferred to Air France/KLM Flying Blue. The normal transfer ratio is 2,000 Cap One miles to 1,500 Flying Blue miles, which is as high as Capital One transfer ratios get. Through June 30, 2019, there’s also a 20% bonus.

In-flight purchase and lounge access discounts with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card. Cardholders will now receive 20% back on Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases and 50% off lounge day passes. This could be a great option for people that regularly fly Alaska Airlines. 

Capital One Spark Miles now offers a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Fee Credit. If you don’t want to shell out the big bucks for a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that offers a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit as one of many benefits, the Capital One Spark Miles is a good low-annual-fee option that offers decent rewards and a fee credit. 

Travel With Caroline

As I mentioned at the top of this article, I’m in Canada now! Every summer I come to a small cabin on Lake Huron in Ontario with my boyfriend’s family for a week and just read, [attempt to] catch up on work, and play cards! When the weather is good we take the boat onto the lake and swim, but this year it is quite chilly. So, we’ve been hanging out inside by the fireplace instead. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful and a good week to decompress a bit! 

The sunsets up here are pretty amazing!

Since we are from Michigan, it’s just a quick four-hour drive up here, but if you wanted to visit your best bet would be to fly into Toronto and take the airport bus to Kincardine. It’s pretty convenient! A bit further away there’s also Tobermory which is supposed to be a beautiful place to visit. I’ve never been but I’m going scuba diving at some shipwrecks there later this week! And yes, it is going to be freezing! 

Last month I was in Mexico City, but I had only just arrived when the newsletter went out so I wanted to give you some extra details on the most exciting part of my trip. Two friends and I went outside of Mexico City for the weekend to climb Volcan de Iztaccihuatl. We slept the first night at a refuge near the trailhead at about 13,500 ft. The first day of hiking was also our summit attempt day—we ultimately didn’t quite make it but it was beautiful anyway. We made it to about 16,800 ft before we turned around because we were running out of time to be finished before dark and then we slept at the higher mountain hut at about 15,000 ft. And when I say slept, I mean between the altitude and the rats it was just about the worst night of sleep I’ve ever gotten! The third day we headed down and back to Mexico City where I learned some Spanish and ate a bunch of tacos over the following two weeks. Overall, it was a great trip! 

If you want to check out more of my adventures, follow me on Instagram (@caroline.lupini).

Kincardine Lighthouse in Ontario, Canada!

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