Category Free Miles

Trip Report: Flying Jat Airways/Air Serbia- Dubrovnik to Belgrade to Pula: Oy

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Flying Jat Airways/Air Serbia- Dubrovnik to Belgrade to Pula: Oy

Jat Airways Flt. 721  Dep. Dubrovnik (DBV) 10:10AM Arr. Belgrade (BEG) 11:15AM
ATR72, Economy
Jat Airways Flt. 740 Dep. Belgrade (BEG) 12:50PM Arr. Pula (PUY) 2:20PM
ATR72, Economy

In planning my Croatia trip, I wanted to go from Dubrovnik, in the south on the coast, to Rovinj, a town due east of Venice on the Istrian peninsula in the north.  Alas, there were not a ton of sensible options for transit, and I thought about skipping Istria.  Aside from flying, one could take an overnight ferry or a loooong overnight bus ride.  Croatia Airlines does not do much flying directly between  Croatian cities other than Zagreb.  To get from Dubrovnik to Pula, the airport closest to Rovinj, on Croatia, would have been a nine hour journey, flying from Dubrovnik to Zagreb, and then on to Pula with a stop in Rijeka.  I found an intriguing option, on Jat Airways – which has as of last week become Air Serbia – connecting in Belgrade with a total travel time of about 4.5 hours for about $180.  So while it seems a bit out of the way to fly from Croatia to Serbia to Croatia (it is), it was the most efficient in this case. And despite my concerns about Jat, and the lack of mileage earning, it was really the only thing that worked for my travel, so I went for it.

Jat Airways is/was an interesting carrier, with a history as the flag carrier of Yugoslavia.  Its website was a joke; forget about online check-in or seat selection. Although Jat used to have a relationship with  Lufthansa’s Miles & More program, no more, and the only miles available were in Jat’s own (now defunct) program.  A few weeks before my flight, Etihad announced it was going to be buying an equity share of a new corporation, Air Serbia, that would purchase Jat’s assets.  There was conflicting information about when the change would be taking place, with some reports suggesting it would be before my flight.  But, alas, Air Serbia did not take flight until late October, complete with some new planes.  This is an interesting move by Etihad, particularly in light of its recent purchase of a large stake of Air Berlin.  Etihad already flies a nonstop from Abu Dhabi to Belgrade, and there are also direct flights from Dubai on flydubai and Doha on Qatar Airways, in addition to multiple flights to Turkey and Tunisia.  The new airline has announced service to Cairo, Beirut, and Monastir in Tunisia, starting next year, making Belgrade a potential major connecting hub for the Middle East and North Africa.

My flight from Dubrovnik to Belgrade was at around 10am, so I figured I’d take the airport shuttle bus around 8 from Old Town. The schedule for the shuttle is only released one day in advance, but there was a bus scheduled to depart at 7:55. Alas, due to one way streets, the pickup location is not as close to the Hilton as the dropoff location. I asked the front desk at the Hilton how long a walk it would be, and they said 10-15 minutes, so I left the hotel with plenty of time.  The walk was shorter than they suggested—only about 7 minutes – but straight uphill.  Thankfully it was early morning so I was only slightly drenched with sweat by the end of the walk. The bus ended up being very crowded, standing room only, but I managed to get a seat.

Dubrovnik Airport

Dubrovnik Airport

Check-in at DBV

Check-in at DBV

The Dubrovnik airport is pretty small.  All airlines except Aeroflot shared check-in counters, staffed by airport employees.  My bag was checked all the way through to Pula, but I’d have to pick up my boarding pass for the next flight in Belgrade.  Not a big deal, as I didn’t have a super-tight connection.

Even though there were...

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Free Points! 200 Accor Le Club Points / 1000 Avios Miles

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It’s been awhile since there’s been free points out there, no?

Check out this promo from Accor hotels.  Identify the city for each picture (multiple choice and pretty easy) and get 200 points.  If you mess up, you can try again.  There is a chance this won’t be honored for residents of non-Scandinavian countries, but who knows.

Accor points are pretty useful if you convert them to airline points.  My personal favorite is Iberia Avios points. 2 Le Club Points = 5 Iberia Avios miles.  This is particularly odd, because 2 Le Club points = 1 British Airways Avios miles.  If you have Iberia and British Airways Avios accounts, though, you can swap the miles between the two.

HT: Loyalty Lobby (who has the answers up if you want to do it that way)

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Free Points! Amtrak and JetBlue

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As a preliminary matter, I was going to post this yesterday, but I thought that free points pale in importance to respecting the lives of those lost in Newtown yesterday, by a man who should never had legal access to multiple firearms and had no conceivable legitimate reason to have so many.  People with guns and poor mental health care kill people.    I think its tacky (even tackier than usual) that other bloggers used yesterday to shill their credit card affiliate links to make more money.

Now, onto your regularly scheduled programming.

YWW is in the holiday spirit (mostly because he is traveling for work and therefore not stuck at Rockefeller Center with 5 million tourists searching for the Rockettes and the Tree).  But travel companies are too!

First up, JetBlue is offering a mini...

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Free Miles- American and United

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For those who may not follow other blogs, both American and United have offers for free miles:

500 free American miles for giving your thoughts on Facebook

up to 1,000 United Miles for linking your Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare account to new website Bckstgr.com.  As a warning Bckstgr is loading SUPER slowly right now, probably because so many blogs have posted this!

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Get those Amexes ready for free money! Small Business Saturday Signup Tomorrow

Category: Free MilesTips and Tools Comments: No comments

This year, as in the past several, American Express is running a promo on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — Small Business Saturday.  The terms are pretty simple.  Register your Amex in advance (any Amex but a prepaid or corporate card will do), make an in-store purchase of $25 or more at a small business, get a $25 credit on your Amex statement.

Signup is limited, and starts November 18 at midnight here.  The list of qualifying small businesses is confusing, as it includes both those on the promo website and those on the Square directory.  Remember, your purchase must equal or exceed $25 to get the credit!

Unfortunately, my ability to benefit from this will be limited as I’ll be in Dublin on Small Business Saturday, and there are no qualifying businesses there...

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Free Club Carlson (Radisson, etc.) Points

Category: Free MilesHotels Comments: No comments

It’s been awhile since a good free points offer came along, and here it is, courtesy of Club Carlson — appropriate given my last hotel stay was at the Radisson Blu.  The current promo is pretty simple.

1) If you haven’t yet, join Club Carlson.

2) Go to https://www.clubcarlsonglobalgiveaway.com/  and register for the promo, then “flip through” the vacation lookbook.  Earn 100 points.

3) Repeat step 2 every day through September 24 for a maximum total of 4200 points.

4200 points won’t get you a ton- as its less than halfway to a free night at one of the chain’s cheapest properties, and less than 10% of what’s required for a stay at say the Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago, but good to top off an account or to have on hand for a future airline transfer.

HT: New Girl in the Air

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100 Free Starwood Preferred Guest Points

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Pretty easy.  Just go to this Facebook page and “like” SPG if you don’t already, and fill out the form.    You’ll get 100 points automatically, and be entered to win 100,000!

 

HT: Lucky

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Free Priority Club Points Abound!

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Again i find myself apologizing for 2+ weeks sans posting.  To be fair, I haven’t travelled or booked a ticket in that period, and I broke a finger in the intervening time.

So, slightly delayed, I give you a few different ways Priority Club has been giving out points like crazy of late.  A few things to note about Priority Club, which is the frequent guest program of the Intercontinental Hotels Group (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Staybridge, Candlewood):

1)  Status is very easy to get, as any points earned qualify, including those from giveaways like those listed below.  This is a plus and a minus, as you will get status easily, but so will everyone else in the world.

2) Status doesn’t count for anything at their flagship Intercontinental Hotels, which hav...

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Free Le Club Accor Points

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Accor Hotels (Sofitel, Novotel, M Gallery, Ibis, Pullman, Mercure, et al.) recently changed the name of its loyalty program from A-Club to Le Club Accor, to make sure you know they are French.   The chain isn’t the most amazing for points gatherers, but can provide some very affordable options, particularly in Europe.  I had a decent stay at an Accor property in Amsterdam in January, and last year had a great stay at the Sofitel in Lisbon.

They’re running a promo on Facebook where you simply enter your Le Club number to see if you’ve won up to 1,000,000 points.  Of course, only one person wins 1,000,000 points. But 10 people win 25,000 points, and the first 25,000 people win 500 points.  I got 500.  Hey, it’s good for free!

HT: Loyalty Lobby

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Free 100 American AAdvantage Miles

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Only 100 miles and its unclear what AAdvantage miles will be worth a year from now, but why not?  Sign up here.  Register your credit card for 100 miles, use your credit card for $75+ aggregate purchases at participating (storefront) retailers between 3/21 and 4/23 and get an additional 400 miles.

HT: Gary

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