Talking Points with Thrifty Traveler: April 27th

Talking Points With Thrifty Traveler

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Our weekly series, Talking Points with Thrifty Traveler, is designed to help readers answer any questions they might have for the Thrifty Traveler team. The questions can be anything from credit card points & miles, travel recommendations, flight questions, or anything you want us to answer. Have a question? Email me at [email protected] to be featured in our Friday Talking Points segment.


Am I able to book an award flight with my frequent flyer miles for somebody else? – Jordan M.

The person who holds the frequent flyer miles in their airline account is able to book award tickets for any passenger with the miles. The account holder does not need to be on the itinerary for this to work. Additionally, there are no fees to do this.


I accidentally booked a basic economy fare through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and didn’t realize it at the time. Can I pay to upgrade out of this? – Dan S. 

Basic economy is an unfortunate trend we have seen in the airline industry over the last few years. All of the US legacy carriers (Delta, American & United) have implemented some form of a basic economy fare and earlier this week, we learned that Alaska airlines will be adding them soon.

The airline typically gives you many warnings before the checkout process to alert you that you are booking a basic economy fare. Unfortunately, the only way out of basic economy after you book is to cancel the ticket within 24 hours after purchase. Outside of the 24-hour cancellation window, basic economy is completely nonrefundable and unchangeable. No changes whatsoever are permitted.

The good news is that at the end of March, Chase rolled out new functionality in the Ultimate Rewards portal that will make it more clear to whether or not you are booking a basic economy fare. This should help you avoid this situation in the future. See our post on this here.


I’m planning a trip abroad and it’ll be my first time out of the country. I am worried about the language barriers. Do you have any tips or tricks you can give me? – Jane M. 

In the past 5 to 10 years, smartphones have changed the game as far as international travel is concerned. Depending on where you are going internationally, you may be surprised at how many people can communicate in English (however you should never expect this). For the situations where this isn’t an option make sure you download the Google Translate app on your phone.

The Google Translate app has over 100 language translations available. The app will help you ask for directions, read local signs, and eat at an authentic restaurant. A local can record audio in their native language and the app will translate it for you in real-time. The app even allows you to take photos of text and it will translate it for you. One of the best parts is you can download a language for offline use, so you don’t need to have cell service in order to use it.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times google translate has helped me out. For a full list of our favorite travel apps you need for your next trip abroad, see our post here.


Bottom Line

Have a question you want answered? Send them to [email protected] to be featured in our weekly segment, Talking Points with Thrifty Traveler.


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