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Getting caught up after a couple of days and wanted to share what I think you need to know:

American Express Membership Rewards Loses El Al as Transfer Partner

After December 31st, Membership Rewards will no longer offer El Al as a transfer partner. El Al hadn’t been flying at all since coronavirus struck, but resumed flights on October 1st. Still, Qantas (Citi transfer partner) is the best way to use points to fly on El Al metal and, really, there is very little value in their Matmid program. File this under “good to know, wouldn’t have transferred anyway.”

If you are in a cash crunch, you should avoid travel rewards credit cards until you are caught up. Here are our favorite credit cards for Intro 0% APR offers and for balance transfer offers

Buying a Coin from the US Mint on Your American Express Card? It May Be a Cash Advance

Travel with Grant noticed some changes to the terms and conditions on his recent American Express statement. The new terms now specifically state that the purchase of “precious metals or bullion” may be treated as a cash advance. That means that the purchase would both not earn points but would also accrue interest instantly at the Cash Advance rate.

They may or may not specifically be referring to the US Mint and they may or may not enforce it (some conditions are added just in case they decide to enforce sometime in the future) but we’ll find out after January 15th, 2021 when this change goes into effect.

The US Mint coin deals are often used by resellers on popular coins where you can earn points on the purchase (especially useful to meet a signup bonus minimum spend) and the flip it to a dealer for cost plus a small profit for your time. A recent deal involved a $3,000 coin – good enough for most signup bonuses.

If I were to do such a deal next year, I’d use a card from another issuer.

Centurion Lounge at JFK to Open

One of the best reasons to hold an Amex Platinum or Amex Business Platinum card (or, of course, a Centurion card!) is the members-only airport lounges. Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders can gain entry for themselves and up to two guests. Delta Reserve and Delta Business Reserve cardmembers also have access if they have a same day Delta flight, but any guests will set them back $50 each.

centurion lounge jfk

In New York City, we’ve only had a Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia and, while nice, it is before security and not quite mind-blowing. Amex-toting New Yorkers and visitors alike have longed for a Centurion Lounge at JFK and, now, there is one.

It’s the largest Centurion Lounge in the system (which as been slowly re-opening) and will open “in the coming days.” More at CN Traveler.

Etihad Transfer Bonus

OMAAT spotted this transfer bonus for an “up to 30%” transfer bonus which is awarded on the Etihad side up to 10 days after the transfer. Capital One and Citi ThankYou are boosted by 30% and 20% respectively, making a Capital One mile transfer *almost* at a 1:1 ratio (0.975:1) and a Citi ThankYou point transfer 1:1.2.


Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.


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