Daily Points: Sapphire Reserve Changes; Deadly 737 Crash in Iran

Daily Points

There are several new changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve and DoorDash’s DashPass was added as a benefit to four Chase cards. A horrible crash in Ukraine on a Boeing 737 killed 167 people. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Changes Plus Door Dash for Several Chase Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

There are several changes coming to the Sapphire Reserve and several other Chase cards.

The Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee will be increasing from $450 to $550 per year. The annual fee change will go into effect for new applicants starting on January 12, 2020, and the annual fee for existing users starting April 2020 will increase to $550 at your card-member anniversary. 

The Reserve is rumored to get several new benefits to somewhat justify the higher annual fee:

  • Lyft Pink Membership– This typically costs $19.99 per month and gets you:
    • 15% off car rides
    • Priority airport pickups
    • 3 free cancellations within 15 minutes per month.
    • Waived lost and found fees
    • 3 free 30-minute bike or scooter rentals per month. 
  • DoorDash (food delivery) credit. Rumors are that it will be $60 per year, but more details should come out on January 12, 2020. 
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases until March 31, 2022. 
Chase is also adding DoorDash’s DashPass as a benefit for several cards, which typically costs $9.99 per month. DashPass offeres free delivery at many restaurants (about 50% of the restaurants) and lower service fees. I am existing DashPass subscriber and generally like the service, so saving $10 a month will be a nice perk of several Chase cards.
Free DashPass: The Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred will get two years of DashPass for free, while the Chase Freedom and Slate will get three months free and then nine months at 50% off. 
[HT: Doc]

Ukraine Airlines Boeing 737 Crashes Killing 176 People

A Ukraine Airlines 737-800 crashed on Wednesday shortly after takeoff in Tehran, Iran. The plane appeared to suffer an engine fire shortly after takeoff, and the plane crashed within a few minutes of takeoff.

There were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board. The victims include 82 passengers from Iran, 63 from Canada, 11 from Ukraine, 10 from Sweden, four from Afghanistan, three from Germany and Britain. 

The plane was manufactured in 2016 and delivered directly from the factory. The plane has most recently undergone scheduled maintenance two days before the crash. 

The crash is unrelated to the issues with the Boeing 737MAX, which is currently grounded around the world. However, the MAX issues are also bringing to light other issues with other 737 models. 

Alitalia Airlines Likely To Shutdown if No Buyer by Mid-2020.

Photo: Alitalia

The Italian government stated that Alitalia will receive no more bailout money. Alitalia received a €900 million bailout in 2017 and is currently receiving a €440 million bailout. 

Alitalia is expected to run out of cash by mid-2020 if a buyer cannot be found. Alitalia is currently losing €2.2 million per day, so a turnover on its own is unlikely.  Several buyers such as Lufthansa, Delta, EasyJet, and Ryanair have expressed interest, but almost all have dropped out at this point.

At this point, I would not advise flying on Alitalia or accruing any points in their frequent flyer program. 

Travel News

  • FAA issued emergency flight directives blocking flights from Iran and Iraq airspace.
    • Only U.S. flights to India are directly affected, but many other countries are flying around the airspace as well.
    • Many Qatar Airways flights to the U.S. and Europe will still have to pass through the airspace due to blockade by other Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia.
  • A U.K. woman was sentenced to six months in prison for going on a drunken rampage on an Etihad Airways flight after asking men to join her in the mile-high club.
  • Philippine Airlines is adding new flights starting in May 2020 from Manila to Seattle with an Airbus 350 and Cebu to Los Angeles with a Boeing 777. 
  • Singapore Airlines secures rights to operated a fifth freedom flight between New York and Tokyo. Singapore Airlines already operates fifth freedom flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo, and New York and Frankfurt. 
  • Eastern Airlines is returning with service from New York-JFK to Georgetown (Bahamas) and Guayaquil (Ecuador) using Boeing 767-300s.
  • Boeing is now recommending that pilots go through simulator training before they fly the 737Max. One of Boeing’s biggest selling points before the two deadly crashes was the pilots did not need to complete costly simulator training prior to flying. 
  • Avianca Airlines canceled 20 Airbus A320neos on their order of 108 planes and will be pushing back delivery of the plane until 2025. 
  • Carnival Cruises has plans to launch four new ships this year including the first cruise ship with a roller coaster.
  • Booking.com and the EU reached a deal in which Booking.com will commit to ending their “manipulative techniques” such as time-limits for booking offers and misrepresentation of discounts. [Reuters]
  • SkyScanner released its report on 2020 Travel Trends. SkyScanner found that travelers are focused on finding remote locales, frequent shorter trips, and traveling for local food. Asheville, North Carolina is also the top emerging destination. 

Deals and Points News

  • Bank Bonus: $350 or $400 checking bonus at Bank & Trust. Valid for CO, MN, WI, MT, CA, AZ, TX, NM & IA. You can find the links to all of the offers at Doctor of Credit under “Eligibility.” 

  • Home Depot is offering an 11% rebate for purchases between 1/5/2020 and 1/11/2020. You can find a list of eligible stores here. [DDG]
  • Alaska has a 1,000 mile bonus via their shopping portal for spending $300 or more.
  • New Chase Offer: 20% off a Kimpton Hotel stays when you spend $100 or more.

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