Hello from Argentina!
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
Marriott’s peak and off-peak pricing went into effect on September 14. For full details on the changes that went into effect, please see Frequent Miler’s post. And, if you have Marriott reservations that are booked on points coming up, make sure to check for decreases in price.
The Citi DoubleCash Card now earns valuable Citi ThankYou points. If you have this card, you’ll want to stop redeeming your points for cash and convert to ThankYou points instead. And if you don’t have this card, the ability to earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar spent on purchases with no annual fee makes a great reason to add it to your wallet! In order to actually be able to transfer the ThankYou points to an airline partner, you’ll need to also have a Citi Prestige Card or a Citi Premier Card.
Cathay Pacific award flights are now bookable directly on AA.com. Historically, it’s always been necessary to call in to American Airlines to book Cathay Pacific award flights, so this is a seemingly welcome change. However, it could mean that there’s less award availability going forward, so if there’s a flight you’ve been thinking about booking and there’s award space available now, I recommend booking it.
Are you a frequent traveler or on the go for business travel? It makes sense to think through strategy for particular airlines and hotels because of earning status and extra benefits. I wrote an article specifically on this topic: Business Traveler Guide.
The Little Bites
If you have the United Club Card, there’s a new in-flight savings benefit. Cardholders will now get 25% back in the form of a statement credit for inflight purchases including WiFi, snacks, and beverages.
There’s an increased sign-up bonus at for the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited Cards — both great no annual fee options from Chase. Currently, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points from either card after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months. (Note: Travel Freely still has the 3% offer for Chase Freedom Unlimited)
Through December 31, if you’re between 18 and 22 (or have kids in that range), you can get 10% off United flights. Reservations must be in economy and made through the app and are only valid for travel within the US, Canada, and Mexico. Some additional international destinations are included.
Travel With Caroline
I’ve been traveling around South America, as planned, for the last month. I spent most of the last month in Peru and my mom joined me for a week and a half for our annual mother-daughter trip. We spent a few days in Cusco, a few in the Sacred Valley (of course with a visit to Machu Picchu), and wrapped everything up with two days in Lima.
Cash flight prices were pretty good, so my mom decided to save her miles for a future trip with my dad. But we were able to make use of some hotel certificates to stay at the JW Marriott Cusco for three nights for free. It’s a beautiful hotel that I couldn’t recommend more!
Since I have Platinum Status with Marriott, we had daily breakfast included and we were upgraded to a gorgeous suite.
Since we were in the Sacred Valley, we toured a bunch of Inca sites, including Machu Picchu. But my favorite was Moray — read up on it, the reason why the Incas built it is fascinating!
Peru is also very well known for it’s amazing food. But my mom and I both decided that we had the same favorite activity: white water rafting! I wanted to take her on an activity that she probably wouldn’t have done on her own, and that’s what I surprised her with. She had a great time and wants to go again 🙂
If you want to check out more of my adventures, follow me on Instagram (@caroline.lupini).