Edit: Turns out you can’t use gift cards on the return fight as each segment must originate in the USA to use for gift cards.
Tomorrow will be the last month if the first half of the year which should be a wake up call for y’all to get on spending some of your points and gift cards that you have been hoarding. For me I have 24 American Airline Gift Cards from my 12 AmEx Platinum Cards which need to be spent at a max of 8 cards at a time. Since $100 card value is currently the maximum value to auto trigger the $200 annual airline reimbursement, because of the 8 Gift Card cap, I have an $800 cap per booking.
I wanted to send my family to Toronto and noted that both United and American Airlines have separate pricing when it comes to the ORD to YYZ routing depending on booking round trip or two one way segments:
United has followed suit:
According to Google, if you book two separate one-way segments then you would save $35 on American and $38 on United versus booking round trip. Thanks to Google Flights for pointing this out! I went right to the American Website and sure enough for three people it is cheaper to book two one way trips:
And the return:
There was no problem using gift cards for the outbound flight form ORD to YYZ…
However for the return the gift card option was gone:
Silly me! I read the terms here and it is quite clear:
Gift Cards are redeemable toward the purchase of air travel wholly on flights operated by American Airlines, American Eagle® and oneworld® carriers for itineraries sold and originating in the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
Three tickets are $630 each way which you can use 7 gift cards for with $70 in change on the last one. I still plan on using the gift cards for the outbound flight, and then my US Bank Altitude for the return flight for $325 off. Overall I would just be paying $629.16-$325= $304.16 for round trip for 3 to Toronto.
I didn’t book yet because a part of me knows that if I pay for the round trip all with gift cards (just booking one ticket at a time) I would spend zero real dollars. Which in the end I am spending more money, but it would all be gift card money.
Thoughts? Comment below! Moving on…
You got 7 months of 2018 left to spend your credit. I think my folly this year was to not diversify my gift card portfolio. Now that the United Gift Registry looks like it will not open in “Early 2018” as it claims on its site. This may be a sign of the times and we need to anticipate possible loophole shut down procedures happening to other airlines.
For 2019 I am thinking of splitting it up as such:
- My AmEx Platinum Business (Was Gold): American (Two $100 GC)
- My AmEx Platinum Business (Derp Report): Delta (Four $50 GC)
- WIfe’s AmEx Platinum Business: United (Club Membership or 12 Premium Bottles of Wine @ $16 each)
This would allow 35% points back over 3 airlines: Delta, American, and United.
- My Personal Platinum: American 2*$100
- Wife’s Personal Platinum: American
- My MB Platinum: Delta 4*$50
- Wife’s MB Platinum: Delta 4*$50
- My Personal Platinum (Was PRG): Southwest One $200 GC
- Wife’s Personal Platinum (Was PRG): Southwest One $200 GC
- My Schwab Plat: Southwest ($200)
- Wife Schwab Plat: Southwest ($200)
- My Morgan Stanley Plat: American
- Wife Morgan Stanley Plat: American
- My Green Upgraded to Plat: American
- My Ameriprise Plat: American
- My Hilton Aspire: $250 on one Southwest
Or in a grid form it would look like this:
|My Biz 2||$200|
|W MB Pt||$200|
|PRG Now Pt||$200|
|W PRG Now Pt||$200|
|Green now Pt||$200|
This should begin in October with my Green to Plat conversion, and then slowly in 01 January 2019 with the rest. This is because January is the month you can choose a new airline every year. Then I will always check flyer talk to make sure these reimbursements still work. What you want to avoid is getting trapped on United after January had passed like a lot of those suckers out there in 2018. Many people (myself included) didn’t see the United Gift registry shutting down!
Because I cant add to the registry, my only way out of this mess is to buy a United Club Membership or drink 12 bottles of premium wine to spend down $200 trapped on their card! I know I have to chose one Business Card to be United to get the 35% points back, so this is my current dilemma.
As for the rest of you with many Platinum Cards, think about selecting other airlines just to make sure your not completely shut down in the future like those that were 100% United.