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British Airways is back with what it dubs “the most generous enrollment offer of the year” : New cardholders who sign up for its Chase Visa by May 6 earn a whopping 100,000 miles – enough for two round-trip transatlantic coach tickets, one business class flight to the Far East, or an economy jaunt to Central Africa.
Even without the lavish signing bonus, the British Airways Visa claims plenty of travel perks: Foreign transaction fees don’t apply to card purchases abroad, each dollar spent earns 1.25 miles (compared to one mile in most other programs), and points only expire if your account has had zero activity for three years. Anyone who charges $30,000 on the card within a calendar year also gets a free companion ticket, eligible for use with a reward ticket.
Still skeptical? Here’s what you need to know before swiping that plastic:
As I made myself comfortable in a window seat of a LAN flight from Ecuador’s largest city of Guayaquil to Baltra Island in the Galapagos, I had two reasons to be excited. For one, I was finally visiting this island chain in the eastern Pacific that has been on my travel dream list for years. Two, I was on this route’s inaugural flight (September 16), happy to know this world’s wonder has finally become more accessible to U.S. travelers. For the next 90 minutes up in the air, there was much flashing of the cameras and plenty of champagne flowing, but I spent most of the midair time staring down at the immense blue of the ocean below. I was soon to land in the “living laboratory of evolution,” as Charles Darwin called these isolated and pristine islands.
For intrepid travelers intrigued by ancient history (and mystery!), the siren call of far-flung Easter Island – site of oddities like the massive moai (giant stone heads) and the world’s most remote airport (Mataveri International Airport, IPC) – has been heard loud and clear. The one caveat? Actually getting there. With Easter Island access long restricted to limited LAN Airlines’ routes via Santiago, Chile, flight times from U.S. cities like NY, Miami, and LA, required anywhere from about 15 to upwards of 20 hours of travel time, when factoring in the Santiago layover. Enter LAN Airlines’ new Lima–Easter Island routes, which are slated to shave off up to 3 hours of the direct voyage for American and European travelers when they debut in January. The new route also serves to make two-stop itineraries that combine taking in ancient sites of Peru (like Machu Picchu or the Nazca Lines) with a jaunt to Easter Island pleasantly conceivable. Read more
If you’re late to the Twitter party, it’s time to sign on for travel purposes alone. Hip airlines like JetBlue have long chirped online-only fare sales via the rapid fire microblogging site, but in just the last two weeks three more carriers have beefed up their Twitter outreach – including Delta, the largest airline in the world.
Chile’s LAN Airlines announced earlier this week that it promises to be one of the first in the world to fly the new, much buzzed-about 787-8 Dreamliner – Boeing’s answer to the Airbus A380. Boeing is set to deliver 10 of the aircraft to LAN starting in early 2011 – making the Latin American airline the first carrier in the western hemisphere to receive an order of the new high-tech jets, which many believe will revolutionize the industry.
The plane took its first test flight this past December, and, despite numerous cancelled orders in 2009 and recent delays in key FAA in-flight test programs, is slated to begin commercial operations later this year on Japan’s All Nippon Airways. LAN will likely fly the Dreamliner – which holds a total of 250 passengers and features numerous innovations (like larger windows and cleaner cabin air) – on its most popular long-haul routes.
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