Talking Points with Thrifty Traveler: March 2nd

Talking Points With Thrifty Traveler

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Back in February, we introduced a new weekly segment in which we answer 3-4 reader questions for our new Talking Points series. The questions can be anything from credit card points & miles, travel recommendations, flight questions, or anything you want us to answer. Have a question for us? Email me at [email protected] to be featured in this new weekly segment.


Do Thrifty Traveler Flight Deals Feature Basic Economy Fares? – Andrea P. 

Over the past year, we’ve seen American, Delta, and United all shift to no-frills “Basic Economy” fares. You are now required to pay more for the benefits you previously got for free (seat assignment, checked bag). The problem is there is little uniformity from airline to airline as far as what is included in the new fare. However, seat assignment is not included across the board.

For domestic fares, we do not to post American and United fares as they don’t include free carry-on. Instead, we post the prices to upgrade out of basic economy to get a free carry-on and advanced seat assignment.

We do post Delta Basic Economy fares as they include a free carry-on bag. If you are booked on a Delta Basic Economy ticket, you will receive Zone 4 boarding. Because of this, it might be a challenge to find a spot for your carry-on bag once onboard the aircraft. You can beat the system a bit by having one of the Delta co-branded credit cards. All of these offer Zone 1 priority boarding which will apply to a basic economy ticket. Priority boarding should ensure you find a spot for your bag.

The Delta Gold & Platinum credit cards are also currently offering increased sign-up bonus offers now through April 11th. If you don’t yet have one of these cards, now is a great time to pick one up.


Does It Make Sense To Pay Your Tax Bill With A Credit Card? – Tim S.

Paying your tax bill isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but if you owe money to the IRS, it is a great opportunity to hit a minimum spending requirement on a new credit card account. Because of the processing fees associated with using a credit card to pay your tax bill, working towards minimum spend is the only time that I would recommend paying with a credit card. If you are using an account you already have open just to pick up additional points, the processing fees involved will generally not make it worth it. You can read more about this topic in our article on paying your taxes with a credit card.

If you have a big enough tax bill, it may even make sense to split your payments to the IRS between two different cards. This will ultimately depend on your personal financial situation, but it might be a great opportunity to pick up some additional points and miles.


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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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.


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