Ask John

You have a question or a tip for me? Just leave a comment below or drop me an email at

  • ahmad alraddadi

    how do i get royal Ambassador my membership level now is platinum?

    • First of all you need to sign up for the Ambassador program. Then, during your Ambassador year, you need to have anywhere from 50 to 60 night at InterContinental Hotels Group hotels of which majority should be at InterContinental’s.

      Other ways is to be referred by a Royal Ambassador that gets one referral certificate at his/her renewal package.

      Third option is to buy the referral certificate off of eBay. Expect to pay $500 to $700 for it.

  • Brian

    Hello John,

    I am new to your sight. I love it!!!
    Do you know of any cheap way to get a day pass to the admirals club or any other airport lounge?


    • Some airlines allow free access for certain credit card holders. Also, you may get a discounted buy up offer during the booking process for access on certain airlines.

  • Tommy

    Hi John,
    I have sign up the email update, i want to ask you about the Accor A-Club / Le Club Accohotels Instant Platinum Status, how do i get a link for sign up to the promotion offer?

    Thanks before….

  • BigWhale

    I have one question: how do I donate…

  • Lazrguy

    Very “confused” about my promo offers and registering. I register for these promotions and get “invalid” codes and there have been several missed opportunities that i have upset to have lost. i am a platinum member and hope this gets resolved asap. I was Marriott Rewards platinum as well and switched to Holiday Inns. They have offered me a challenge to switch back and if I can’t get these things resolved, I will go back. I am now back to traveling a lot for work and need the extras for my family vacation. Any help is appreciated. thank you in advance

  • joonyoung lee

    Could you send me the link?
    thank’s again

  • ted

    already subscribe to blog. what’s next for platinum le club accor status?

    • If you have sent me an email, you can expect to receive the invitation within a day. I usually do them twice a day.

      • ted

        I still cannot find the mail. Could you please resend it?

  • Ahmad

    Dear John Can I transfer airline miles for Priority Club points

    • You can transfer Priority Club points to airlines miles, but not the other way around.

      Correction: There might be something available through, but the transfer rates are usually so horrendous that I am not suggesting that anyone should take that route.

  • RE: Instant Hilton HHonours Gold

    Hi John I live in Australia and have an American Advantage account. When I enter my AAdvantage # on the Hilton sign-up webpage it does not recognise it – any advice? Thanks

    • What promotion are you referring to?

    • Sorry, I didn’t see the top of your message first. This specific promotion was targeted to some American Airlines AAdvantage members and wasn’t open to all.

  • Todor

    Hi John, I’m trying to get the European free night deal from Marriott for new signups (as described in: )

    I tried to sign up using the link, but after I fill out and submit the form, I get an error message that the promotion code is invalid. Did the offer expire or am I doing something wrong? Or are they trying to match my email address with that of a Hertz membership?

    • Just tried and got the same message. They probably have misprogrammed something, but it is definitely a valid promotion. If you want to sign up using this promotion, you probably need to do it over the phone and refer them to this promo page on the web.

      Thanks for the message. I will edit the promo page here on LoayltyLobby to include the new info.

  • alfaromeo

    Hi John, Any recommendations on where should I use IHG unconditional free night (received by spending 10k on Black Visa card) in Europe? Will like to use this and some points towards a family holiday really. Thanks

    • I would spend it at an InterContinental in Amsterdam, Cannes, Paris etc. If you are looking for a family holiday then there is the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus that is really nice as well.

      • alfaromeo

        Thanks John – much appreciated..


    Hello John, I would like to get the letter to apply for the Accor Plat status.

    Would you be able to send me the email to

    It would be appreciated.

    Thank you!

  • sappy02

    In your opinion what is the best hotel loyalty program? The programs I am interested in are: SPG, Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton’s. There are pros/cons for each but hopefully folks can shed some light on their experiences with these loyalty programs. Some factors that I consider important in choosing the right program are as follows:

    – Racking up the highest number of points per $ spent (and it just so happens that the
    hotels in the area are not that expensive)
    – Most generous rewards relative to the points gained
    – Keeping the status for longer (not sure how long I will travel after I achieve elite
    – The breadth of hotel options across the world
    – Quality of the hotels in the network
    – Versatility of point redemption program
    – Perks of top tier status

    • I will do a piece about this in the next 7 days. I have received similar question quite a few times over the email as well.

  • Henry

    Does the USAIR Club Membership 5k PQM apply to the 90 day membership at $120?

  • MJ

    Hi John,

    I have seen your video review on YouTube of the suite room at the Grand Hyatt Macau.

    I’m currently deciding on which suite to book at the GH Macau and was wondering if you remembered the name of the suite you stayed in.. Was it the Grand Deluxe Suite or the Grand Executive Suite (in the Grand Club building)??


    • To be honest with you, I really cannot recall. The Grand Club wasn’t on this wing, however.

  • John, I love your site! I have a question, do you know how many IA Members are in the world? How may RA?

    • Unfortunately, I have no idea. There are probably quite a few Ambassador members.

      Considering the requirements to be a Royal Ambassador by referral or qualifying, there cannot be that many of them.

  • MJ

    Hi John,

    I have an upcoming stay at the Hyatt Macau and I am currently a Hyatt Platinum. I have booked an Executive Suite using the Advance Purchase Rate. What do you think the chances are of getting an upgrade to a better suite? The next better suite is a pretty big step up – like the Presedential Suite or similar. Or do they usually not upgrade you to ‘better’ suites with the Platinum benefit?



    • I don’t think that they need to upgrade you per the terms and conditions, but it never hurts to ask at check in and let them know if you are celebrating a special occasion.

  • Noel

    Regarding Hilton Honors Fast Track to Gold promo after 4 stays how will this hold with the new change in Gold/Diamond status?
    Thank you,

  • Ben H.

    Hi John,
    I have an upcoming stay at Intercontinental hotel for 6 nights outside the US, should I book each night so to get 2000 points for each night/stay ? As I understand if I book 6 nights it will count only as 1 stay and give me only 2000 points ?
    Ben H.

    • Sorry, somehow I missed your question. You will receive set number of points regardless of checking in/out.

  • Todor

    Hi John,

    Great site, as I’ve said before. I follow your tips with interest. I have 2 questions:

    1) I’m really close to qualifying for Premier Silver status with United – I’m only 1150 miles short for 2012. Do you know of any tricks or ideas on how to get those last miles before the end of the year? Obviously I could take a flight, but are there other tricks? It seems like a lot of the good deals on flights are in classes that don’t qualify for PQMs anyway… or are not at all available this month. I’m in Bulgaria by the way. I wouldn’t be opposed to taking a weekend trip to somewhere in Western Europe if I find a good deal.

    2) If I do get the Premier Silver status with United, will I be able to get free cabin upgrades within Europe on non-United-operated Star Alliance flights? I usually fly with Lufthansa or LOT. I know I will automatically get Star Alliance Silver status, but its benefits don’t seem to include anything related to upgrades.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Todor

      To answer my own question (in case other readers are in the same boat), it turns out there are 2 other options:

      1) Buy a (refundable) ticket directly from United and purchase additional award and “premier accelerator” miles on top of the ticket. Once the miles post to your account, cancel the ticket and get a refund. PQMs usually cost around 20 cents per mile and you can only get them in certain chunks – like one purchase of 2000 miles, 5000 miles, etc – i.e. you can’t just buy the exact number of miles you need. The size of the chunks varies depending on the length of the flight, so if you want smaller chunks, book a shorter flight. I’ve also heard that booking a flight that includes a partner airline may give you better cost per mile.

      2) Exchange 10,000 award miles for 1,000 premier-qualifying miles. See

      I think I’ll just end up taking a flight – I like traveling anyway.


  • Hi John,

    While I have many memberships of hotel status, I don’t have any in mileage programs. My United Account has Lifetime Flight Miles:29,561, what does that mean and how can I use this?

    • Those are just lifetime miles that are used to calculate your lifetime status with Mileage Plus program. You need 1 million lifetime miles to have lifetime Premier Gold status with United. You cannot use lifetime miles.

  • lino65

    Hi John! first of all i would like to thank you for this blog: extremely useful! I would like to tell you what happened to me one month ago in the holiday Inn Express in Dubai. I was ther for one night to catch my early morning flight to SEZ the day after. I am a Platinum member so I was expecting to be treated such an elite plus, but nothing! No upgrade (not available…) no care about me as a platinum member and very bad service: in the morning the reastaurant was opening 15 minutes late with a lot of people like me in a hurry to go the airport. I make an official claim to Priority Cluband the answer was the typical…thank you for your comments we will inform the property…Well I am extremely upset to be a platnum member and treated like that: what can I do more? is there any other way or person to contact in order them to understand they upset one of their best customers? thanks. Lino

  • Potjernik

    The room was booked 1 hour ago; 3 people are looking this hotel; this the last room – do they lie to us?

    So, you know how online booking sites for hotels now claim that the room was booked at certain time and that certain number of people is looking at this web page right now? I am convinced that they are lying. I just booked “the last” room, and the room is still there. Plus, it still says that it was booked last time few hours ago. Is it possible that they are pulling our leg?

    • They probably cache the information over number of websites i.e. Expedia has numerous country specific websites and they probably just combine this info how many has booked/how many has looked etc. I think that the overall goal is to make the person to make the booking by letting him/her know that there are other people looking at it as well.

      • Potjernik

        The “last room available” kept popping up for days, even after 3 of my colleagues booked another room each, all after I booked “the last room”. I am still convinced that they are cheating.

        • Could be that they are trying to “convince” that it is urgent for you to make the booking?

        • Industry Travel Asia

          As someone who works with the industry and inventories, you may see the last room appear on sites (even when it is the hotel site) when on another site the ‘room/seat’ is available.

          in many cases the last room for that allocation is true. example: 200 room hotel/Airplane seats, they are allocated to 4 providers (60,30,45,15 seats each) and the hotel keeps 50 for themselves. Provider B (30) sells 26 and now 4 left in inventory, they sell 4 more they are gone. The hotel says….wow Provider B is hot right now, allocate 10 more rooms from….provider D who now says they have only 5 left, but B (your provider) magically has more rooms. No Magic…just moving allocations to where the action is.

          Hint: If a hotel is full according to the hotel, check the discount sites… as the hotel staff at reservations have no idea of inventory allocated to providers. Likewise check with hotel and see if a room is available or ask for a waitlist room ( they will pull allocation from a provider to service you in many cases).

          If you have a good travel agent this is all seamless and they sort it out for you, getting you the best rate, points, and seemingly impossible seats/rooms.

  • Annie

    Hi John, Is the link still available for Accor Hotels Platinum status?

  • yumiko

    Hi john,
    I can not be a Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Gold.
    I was a Clear member today.but instant gold link do not work. so I send
    Starwood Preferred Guest.replay below ..
    As it is written in terms and conditions, this offer is only valid for existing Clear members who are not SPG members at the time of receiving the email offer.
    As we see that you’ve been a SPG member since 2010, unfortunately this offer is not applicable to your account.

    Must I give up a SPG gold MENBER?

  • Steven

    Does the Holiday Inn group have and type of Lifetime Status available?

  • Larry D

    For a Hyatt Diamond Challenge, do you know if it’s a “Once a Lifetime”, similar to many airlines, or “Once in a while”, similar to Marriott. I’m currently Hilton Diamond, and have a few Hyatt stays coming up which might get me to 8 nights. I don’t have any Hyatt stays planned after that until at least the fall. Therefore, the Hyatt Challenge will likely fail, but if I can enjoy the temporary status for the 8 nights, that would be great. However, if I would be nullified from any future Hyatt Diamond challenges forever, then I might not proceed. Any thoughts? (either way, I may try to get it to 12 nights with a couple inexpensive stays, but my real question is whether a Hyatt Diamond Challenge a once in a lifetime opportunity ?)


    • It could be “once in a lifetime” officially, but I am sure that they can make an exception in the future. There is likely a some sort of promotion starting next month that could make achieving the challenge more rewarding.

  • oneeyejack

    Two questions:

    1. Do you ever cite your sources on where you find your information??? I find it hard to believe that you find ALL this information on your own or through your “friends” all the time! Other bloggers have cited you when they have read it from your site. Give props to where it’s due. I see information posted on other sites all the time and then you post them right after.

    2. Why don’t you answer all the questions in here? You answer some buy not others??

    • I don’t follow or read any blogs. I have been an active participant on FlyerTalk for more than 10 years and continue to be.

      Can you give an example what/whom I should have cited and when?

  • Potjernik

    It would be interesting to see comparison between booking with Hotels, Agoda, Orbitz, Expedia…

  • Pam

    John, I can’t get the priority club offers to come up through the link you’ve posted. Can’t find them anywhere, in fact!

  • Terry

    Hi John I am currently Gold HH and will lose this tier 31 Jan. I signed up ‘Fast Track to
    Hilton HHonors Gold Status – Only Four Stays Required’. Promotion CFTE was
    added successfully to my account. Telephoned HH and they say this is only eligible
    for Blue tier customers – is this correct?

    • It is unlikely that you could sign up for it BEFORE you have been downgraded. Why wouldn’t you do the four stays after January 31sr?

  • SG

    Hello John, I am currently a silver elite member of Marriott brand and would like to take platinum challenge, but the customer rep told me I can’t take Platinum challenge but can register for Gold challenge,since I am only have silver status. I just to check if skipping a gold level is possible or not?

  • Brenda

    Hi John, today’s post, double priority pointd for a 2nd stay before end of April. the link is not working, could you repeat it please, http://c

    • That was unfortunate mistake on my part that I was able to rectify off the site fast. Couldn’t get it out from the mailing, however.

  • DG

    what if the weekend night benefit is not availed within the year of Ambassador membership…?? Can we get it extended by any chance…??

  • paul-pauli

    I would appreciate the link to Le Club Accorhotels Platinum status
    thank you

  • Tony

    Hi John – thanks for all the useful info! Any thoughts or research done on the pre-check (United) program? Getting concrete details on It seem hard to come by. I’ve applied for the program, but no one can confirm if I’ve been approved…

  • lino

    Hello John! I will never stop thanking you for the useful information you are providing people like me, travelling a lot! I am a diamond HHonors and
    platinum Priority Club. I was a Silver ClubCarlson so I contacted their customer service to have a status match and what I have got is a Gold stutus, not the Congierce one! I contacted them again showing that at least HHonors is giving the same benefits and privileges, but no answer. I am finding it quite strange: I mean the benefits are the same and I know about people who have got HHnors diamond being platinum Prority Club, that in my opinion is not the same! Do you have any suggestion? Somebody succeded to get the status match Congierce with Club Carlson?
    Thnak you and KR

    • Club Carlson usually only match to their Gold level, although the benefits at the Concierge one are better match to other programs’ higher tiers. My advise would be to give them a call.

  • lino

    Hello John! I am an HHonors diamond and Platinum Priority Club member. I tried to have the status match Congierce with Club Carlson, but they upgraded me only to Gold status. Frankly speaking at least HHonors diamond is really matching their status in term of benefits. Any suggestion? Did anybody succed to get the status match Congierce?
    Thaks and KR

    • Club Carlson doesn’t match to Concierge level under normal circumstances. You may have luck calling them and explaining your situation. Tell us then how it went.

  • Erik

    Have you been upgraded to executive floor in Crown Plaza for award stays? I am platinum priority club member

    • I don’t think that I have ever had an award stay at Crowne Plaza hotel.

    • lino

      Hello! I am a platinum as well, lat year I spent 2 rewards night in Crowne Plaza Dubai: I have got a room upgrade but no access to executive floor. The same happened in Madrid at Intercontinental.

      • Lounge access is not Priority Club Platinum benefit. If you stay at InterContinental hotels, you should buy Ambassador and get referred to Royal Ambassador status. Priority Club Platinum doesn’t mean anything at InterContinental hotels.

  • georghein

    what about Golden Lotus Vietnam Airlines

    • Vietnam Airlines frequent flier program. What would you like to know about it?

  • Lsed

    Just wondering where you’re based in ?

    • North America, Europe and Asia really. I haven’t had a home per se for the past ten years.

  • Greg

    How do I find your comparisons of reward programs. Do you have FAQ’s

  • lino

    Hello! Is there any possibility to get Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Match for an HHonors Diamond?

    • Hilton doesn’t officially do straight matched (there are exceptions) but rather will offer you a challenge. You can find my article about it by using the search box on right “Hilton Diamond Match”.

  • intermagix

    Hi John, which hotel do you normally stay at Yangon? Thanks.

    • I have stayed at three hotels. The Governors Residence was really good (paid $110/night last year – now $300+++). The Traders is very centrally located and I have camped out in their lobby few times typing away, but I have never stayed there. The Clover City hotel just behind the Traders is a decent “budget” alternative. Maybe around $100/night. I have videos of all of these at

      • intermagix

        Thank you.

  • Bjorn from Holland

    Hi John, I love your site, lots of useful info. I read in one of your articles that you stayed at the Crowne Plaza Dubai Deira. I will be staying here with my family end of april for 5 nights. Did you like the hotel? When necessary I can switch to the Crowne Plaza Dubai (Sheick Zayed road). Thanks!

  • Lynn

    John – what hotel would you recommend for the ‘average person’ who doesn’t travel for work? My family and I like to go for weekend trips places. Right now we always stay with marriott – we like the stay twice and get a free night certs and such. We’re silver members but hitting 50 nights seems astronomical if you don’t travel for work. Can you give advice to someone like me who just likes to stay somewhere nice on vacation and a a weekend here and there every few months?

    • You could do the Marriott Gold challenge later this spring. It would then give you Gold status until 2015. You need only 6 stays within the month you sign up + the following three months. You could time this to match the free night cert promo.

      Other option would be to forego hotel loyalty programs altogether and start booking the hotels using Priceline/Hotwire. The savings could be significant and this works very well in the North America. You can get 4* hotel in most cities at a very favorable price.

      • Lynn

        I was considering doing the gold Challenge during the next free night promo and get a few free nights on top of gold. The problem is with the challenges with the program it feels very devalued now and I’m not sure if being ‘Gold’ will give me a whole lot at the courtyard type hotels we normally frequent. The only issue I have with priceline is that I like to book far in advance and like to plan out where I’m going to be.

        • The benefits at the Courtyards are rather limited. You really need to stay at full service properties to get proper Gold/Platinum benefits.

          The cat 1 to 4 certs will continue to work for me just ok, but mainly because I will use them in Asia.

      • kris

        Looks like option with Marriott challenge does not work anymore.
        I asked for it at all three available email address+contact form, and didnt get any answer from them, not even “get lost dude” 😉

        • I haven’t heard anything that they would have discontinued this. Maybe they just have an email backlog? They don’t usually reply during the weekends and Monday was a public holiday as well in the United States. Have you tried calling them?

  • Andrew Fernandes

    John – in your opinion for a frequent flyer, (who uses multiple airlines) which is the best annual membership to buy so they can access any airport lounge .. AA charges like $400. I heard United charges about the same…

    • I think that you would need to calculate how many times and where you would use airline lounges. I have not covered credit cards here in LoyaltyLobby, may have to, but some Amex products offfers i.e. AA, DL, and US access.

      Do you have elite status with any airline(s)?

      • Andrew Fernandes

        Hi John – Yes ,Gold with AA (Million Miler) Silver with United. I know United has a card that offers points but only access lounge twice a year..

  • FTL

    Any easy way of getting one world lounge access – with BA however much short haul I fly I never quality! – Do they ever status match with *Alliance

    • You could get access for being Oneworld elite on some other alliance carrier? Status matching?

  • ASM

    I just want to ask how can I buy a Royal ambassador certificate???

    • Likely eBay is your friend IF you don’t have friends that may have some laying around.

  • What happens if I book the corporate rate and have no affiliation with that corporation? I have acorporation ID for Intercontinetal Hotel and I want to use it. They will ask about my Business card or ID in the from Desk before the Check in?

    • They may ask or they may not. If they ask and you are not able to present one, they may require you to pay the BAR (Best Available Rate) for the day.

  • loh

    any promotion flight for student from moscow back to kuala lumpur ( malaysia ) rounf trip

  • Harry

    Hey John, just wondering what kind of career would allow me to travel and rack up the massive amount of points like yourself?

    May I ask what you do for a living? Consultant for a global firm?

    • I would not just search for a job that would allow you to travel. You should get into a career/profession that YOU like. Obviously, management consultants travel a lot.

      Basically, I was running a small one person biz and decided to take long breaks during slow months. Worked well for me, but unlikely for most.

  • miss-miss

    Do you offer an award booking service?

    • I have received quite a few requests for personalized assistance, so I have decided to offer this kind of service shortly. Stay tuned.

      • miss-miss

        Thanks John,
        I have done some research but the ins and outs of the One World Explorer award are quite complex. I’ve jot a general idea of where I’m going, I just want to be sure I’m getting the best value for my award miles. Please let me know.

  • robyn

    I want to transfer some marriott points into my airline miles, from my recently deceased domestic partner. I have all the info. on his profile, as we always traveled together. Do any of the airlines give a fair exchange for hotel points? Thank you

  • ChrisP

    Hi Jone, this is a great place!

    I have been Platinum Premier with Marriott and Platinum Ambassador with Priority Club. Have been 1K with United about 10 years but trying to fly with a different airlines after the merger.(They devaluted benefits for 1K, I really think you need to be GS with United to get real VIP treatment).

    Anyway, I like to get some status different hotels for Aisa and EU stay.
    Like to be Gold or Platinum with Air France as well.
    Could you recommend me to get status with Hilton, Hayatt and Starwoods?

    Thanks again your hardwork for this website.

    • All the three hotel chains have their strength and weaknesses. I wrote about the pros and cons of all these chains at the end of last year. You can use the search function to locate them. Just search for “pros cons”.

      Personally my pecking order would be SPG, Hyatt and then Hilton.

  • Paul Frank

    Hi John.. Have u heard anything of staying in any priority club for free but just only one night ?

  • srvneed

    Hi John, Thank you for the promotional codes, it helps to save some money on tickets. I am looking to buy tickets for parents from India to USA and noticed that code FRACCOR is working , but it doesn’t have any eligibility/restrictions criteria so little hesitant to use this code. Will there be any questions or show any proofs at the time of travel if this code is used.

    • There are no guarantees, but I am not aware of anyone who would have run into any problems.

  • lionheart

    hi john, which search engine you would use to get the lowest price for hotels ??

    • With hotels there are so many different sites and the price can vary a lot. There really isn’t one stop solution for this.

      • lionheart

        perhaps you could share some short list of non popular website? so that i could compare different hotel in different place…

  • Industry Travel Asia

    Hi John, this should be clear….. but can’t find an answer. Perhaps you have ‘solid’ answer that can help.

    A passenger, a silver member in CX Marco Polo Club, wants to use Asia Miles points to upgrade on a CX flight to North America. 2 segments each way. Two of the four segments do not have premium economy, only business class.

    The upgrade rules seem vague…..if you go to the AM website and use the award redemption calculator they say the award is 45K for entire journey when upgrading from economy to PE. Does this mean on the 2 segments w/out PE they will be upgraded to Business?

    When we asked the local CX office they said no, the pax needs to buy BC upgrade @ 80K to get upgraded for the 2 segments or at the very least 60K to get business upgrade for sectors w/out PE. So now we have 3 answers….

    Does AM/CX upgrade to the next class when the class of service is not available on an aircraft? We are trying help this customer use the points and stay on CX, but looks like it might be better to move her to another carrier (MH?) for the upgrade as they are more straight forward.

    • This is tricky. I need to check this.

      • Industry Travel Asia

        An hour on the phone with CX marco polo and the operator agreed that: 1. it is confusing; 2. the site says 45k for upgrade; 3. it does state that no PE service means that the upgrade is possible to BC; 4. Would not put the upgrade through….. “I am no authorised to do that…No I will not transfer you to my supervisor as they will say same thing and back me up….”
        CX looking shakey for future business from this client…

        No one in the Philippine call center is authorised to make a decision that supports the web site/calculator.

        • This is very usual with outsourced call centers. They are not able to provide ANY customer resolution.

  • steve

    I have been checking the eprize page for months since the Priority Club sweepstakes last fall and there are still no results. Do you know how long it should take before the winners should be announced?

    • Interesting. Have you contacted Priority Club to see what they say about this?

  • Steven

    Hi John, do you negotiate about the rates with the hotels themselves? Would it help to ask for a better rate when you you are looking to stay in a hotel for a certain time(e.g. 50 nights+ in the next 2 months)?

    • You should speak with a revenue manager of the hotels that could likely offer you a deal. Probably works better in smaller than bigger hotels.

  • Andreas

    John, I wonder if you can do a post on how to work hotel loyalty programs/OTAs/BRG for the disloyal. I obtain status/points primarily through CCs; and want to get the most out of the programs. Your series on pros and cons was really great, I use all programs and try to use the best features (marriott and hilton probably won’t have any now). I don’t have a good procedure to follow while making a booking. I just check my email/your website for promotion info, check rates on and the hotel website. I’m looking to optimize hotel stays further.

    • I have one article on my to-do-list about these hotel loyalty programs. Do they make sense for infrequent guests. I am trying to get it done before the end of the month. It would likely address some of the issues that you are looking an answer for.

  • plongs3

    Hi John, can you reccomend a status match please , I am Gold Elite on ANZ, but have 3 long hauls on Koreanair coming up and lounge access would be nice, thxs Paul

    • I am going to do write a piece about possible SkyTeam status matches. The Air France-KLM Flying Blue status match (in Nordic countries but was open for all) would have worked well for you, but it was withdrawn early.

  • crechem

    Hi John,

    Just discovered your site, and I am really enjoying it. Here’s my dilemma. I am a HHonors Gold member, and this upcoming devaluation is going to kill me. I only stay around 20-25 nights/year, but using the HHonors credit cards and taking advantage of promotions has helped me maintain gold status. So I am trying to decide if it’s best to stay with Hilton (I have almost 600,000 points but I can’t book a big aspirational trip before the devaluation date) and keep earning, or just hold onto the points and jump to Hyatt, Marriott or Starwood. (I’ll get the appropriate credit card form whichever program i go with.) I have a 4 hotels in 5 nights trip coming in a few weeks so i have to decide where to book. I don’t stay enough to justify concentrating on more than 1 chain, so what would you recommend I do? Thanks!

    • There are properties in Asia that you can book up to 24 moths in advance. You should try to book couple of trips for those before the deadline. I wrote a piece about this trick last month that you can access using the Hilton HHonors tab on the right.

      Hyatt still offers good value, but they are likely on the line for drastic category changed next year, as there were hardly any changes in 2013.

  • ivan

    hi john!
    i am hhonours gold member having doubledip with virgin(i earn 1000 miles per paid stay)and would like to know that would any miles be earned on award stays at hilton/doubletree properties

    • You won’t earn miles but you earn regular points + Gold bonus for incidental spend.

  • Industry Travel Asia

    China Airlines. The Taiwan based carrier… do they have a status match system for their loyalty programme?

  • Carmi

    I’m new to this, love the info. I never heard that you can use choice priv. points for Preferred Hotels Group before… how do I do this?

  • Chris

    Dear John
    I note that there are alway offers from various companies and banks for joining their Credit Card – giving bonus points, frequent flyer points, and also 1 -2 years of NO annual fees.
    Does that mean I could join for that year or two, and then cancel once their offers of NO annual fees finish? Do they make it impossible to you to cancel and get out?
    I wonder if many people (including yourself) would take advantage of these bonuses to accrue bonus points in this manner.

    • Already replied to the email that you sent regarding this. You can cancel and keep the points as long as they are transferred to partners.

  • Kristen

    Hi John,
    What has your previous experience been with “best price guarantee” price matches by hotels? I’d obviously rather book directly with the hotels to get points/status but have been finding their rates more expensive than the aggregators and that they don’t seem to honor their best price guarentees. For example– I was recently denied price matches by both Starwood and Park Plaza in London even though the rates were lower on Orbitz/Expedia/, and neither company really provided explanations on why they were denying the claims. After many emails with Park Plaza I realized from the terms and conditions that I was being denied because the London hotel quotes in GBP and Expedia quotes in USD; no USD prices are allowed for the match even if they are lower converted to GBP (in this case it was 246 GBP vs $215 USD too). This seems like a pretty dumb policy and they lost 12 nights of my business that trip. In Starwood’s case, Orbitz was about 7 GBP cheaper but after a few emails I never received an explanation on why my claim was denied. What has your experience been–any tips, thanks.

    • Some require that the charges currency is same on the competing site as on the hotel. This is case with both IHG and Club Carlson. The currencies can b different with Starwood and Marriott. I have written pieces about Marriott’s Look No Further and IHG’s Best Rate Guarantees.

      I got denied for few SPG claims the other month because it took more than TWO days before they even got the check the claims that I had filed. I think that these are good IF you have lot of time in your hands to find/research lower rates and then file/follow up on the clams.

  • PS

    Thank you for the Hilton advice – very valuable! Question – using points, can you get the 5th nite free and if so, how?

    • The fifth night free will start on 28th when the new award levels are in place.

  • Marcel Schaefer

    Hi John, wondering what to do with my old accor-points (yes, it’s me again 😉 Will it be the best to configure the automatic point transfer to a partner program, then stay one night, collect ome points in the old accor account to “start” the point transfer and then switch to the “new” platinum account completly? Or is there another way to use the “old” miles (other than booking evouchers)? Thanks, kind regards, Marcel

    • Yes. That would be mu advise and I am about to do a piece about it. Has been on my list to write about already for a while.

  • Ahmad

    Mr. John I’d like you to you to answer this question I have a membership Platinum Ambasidor and I want to get at the level of the Royal and found referral offered for sale in the referral sites net does include a free night
    Will be packaged and mailed or through the website online and how much you need from time to activate the new membership Will expire at the end of the validity of Platinum or validity of the new calculated

    • You will get a free night certificate and 5000 bonus point code in the referral package that is mailed to you by Ambassador service center.

      Your RA is only valid until the remainder of your Ambassador year.

  • lino

    hi John! Do you have a list of the airlnes company regularly matching the gold status of other ferquent flyer program: I mean companies who are matching all over the year (no dedicated campaigns).
    Thanks and KR

    • I am doing write ups about these airline status matches one by one. Stay tuned.

  • Abraham

    Hello John.

    What would be your advice for someone who is going to Amsterdam and will have to stay for two months. I am thinking for an extended stay or long term contract with a 4-5 star hotel, if I get good price, so what would be your advice in this case.

    • You are likely far better off by renting a fully furnished apartment for such a long stay. There are companies that provide such accommodation or you can try renting from individuals using services such as

      Hotel may cut you a deal as well. Really depends what your requirements are.

  • waleburg

    Hello John!
    Is there a way to gain access to aurport lounges through a hotel program like Accor Le Club Platinum? That would be great. But probably not available.
    Maybe you know some backdoor?

    • It only would be possible IF an airline would match a status that you have with a hotel program. Sometimes hotels match the status that you have with an airline i.e. Club Carlson matches SAS Eurobonus Gold members to their Gold level.

  • satish

    is hilton offering 4000 virgin atlantic miles per stay ?

  • Vic

    Hi John!

    I just found your blog today – its amazing! I really want to book a athens to sydney return flight – are there any working coupons for singapore, virgin, etihad or emirates airlines? thank you!

    • I have listed the Emirates discount codes that I am aware on that one post last year. Some of them might require password now, however.

  • Flo

    HI John, Just found your blog and it is really helpful.
    I have a question…can I use my AAdvantage miles for tickets for members of my immediate family (my sister in this case). thanks

  • Susan

    Hi John, I like your blog a lot. I have a question and I think you may be able to help. I will be travelling in the next 6 months with Delta but it’s a short distance flight, that means 500 miles one way. Is there a way I can get the gold status faster? I know I will fly a lot with them so I want to get the upgrade and bonus miles every week. I have a delta credit card. Shall I upgrade it to platinum? Is there anything such as gold challenge like the hotel chain provide? Thanks a lot!

    • Delta offers Gold/Platinum challenges. I will do a write up about them early next week.

  • lino

    Hi John!
    I am a diamond member HHonors, I spent 5 day at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and ….no breakfast for free!!!! I am still not believing it happened…but that’ true!
    I don’t know what HHonors is doing to cut costs (I read your article about the new awards) but treating like that Diamond members… words.
    I hope you can start writing about such situations: maybe making the customers aware it will scare them to come back to a “reasonable” customer service.

    • The Diamond benefits are different at Waldorf-Astoria branded Hilton family of hotels.

  • Jan

    Have bought tickets Emirates for 2 from New Zealand to Barcelona returning Emirates Venice to Auckland and also Qantas Wellington to Bangkok return. Economy fares. Do we get Marriott points rewards fro these fares?

    • You can earn Qantas or Emirates miles for all of these flights as the airlines are partners now. Alternatively, you can credit Emirates flights to Emirates partner programs and same for Qantas as well. Lot depends of the fare classes that you have purchased.

  • atexan

    In the AA miles program I am platinum for life. When the merger with USAir happens, is it your opinion that this status will remain? If I have USAir miles, will they be merged with AA miles, in your opinion? Thank you.

  • Caroline

    was wondering if you know of any promo code for BA exec club new member sign up. It asks for a promo code when joining.

  • Natasha

    John, I signed up for the Priority Club Stay 5 get 10,000 + 5000 for each additional 5 nights. I see they have extended it until August. I got the 10,000 easy enough, but they are not posting the 5000 increments to my account. Should i contact them, or are these additional points expected to post when the promotion ends? My reward offer summary states that I have fulfilled the promotion in full with 5 out of 5 nights. It doesn’t reference the 5000 per 5 night increments…

    • I have no idea about that extended the promo besides what I have seen in my account online. Would like to hear from IHG about this.

      These bonuses after the first hurdle have been posting way after the stays. You will get them but it can apparently take weeks.

  • Anonymous


    Need some advice as to how best I can gain an advantage here.

    I regularly travel to norway, so have an SAS loyalty card. I also have a Scandic Hotels loyalty card as well.

    I also travel within the UK as well, so therefore have an IHG priority club card for stays at Holiday Inn’s etc.

    I’m now travelling to London on a regular basis and have a BA executive club card as well as a Accor Hotels platinum loyalty card.

    So my question is, how best can I tie these up to gain an advantage. I’ve had several loyalty cards in the past ,and, through various circumstances, my role has changed etc. my travels have been curtailed.

    Any advice mucho appreciated.

    • It is unclear where you are located and if there are preferred travel providers that you use or have to use based on the corporate policy or how many hotel nights/stays you have per year.


    The Milepoint premium upgrade for $59 does not come up in the link you have.

  • presboss

    Hi: As a United 1K, you get 6 system wide upgrades. This was a great benefit, but their inflight service on long distance flights to Asia is terrible compared to Cathay. My question is
    – does Cathay have any such offers for Diamond?
    – it is better to accumulate miles on Cathay or American, and where do you get faster status

    • Cathay doesn’t offer anything similar but you are likely get operation upgrades once in a while.

      I would say that American miles are more valuable than Cathay ones due to no fuel surcharges other than on BA/IB.

  • jarusoba

    Just to let you know, MH is Malaysia Airlines, not Malaysian Airlines as you have been referring to. 😉

    • You are right and I have had it both ways in my text. Need to fix that category thing.

  • Lou

    I am wanting to book emirates flights with the UKMEDIA code which is working for me, but do they ever require ID or proof that you are media? 10% is a good saving so long as they wouldn’t then demand a full on the day fare because we lied!?!

    • Swanny

      Well then you shouldn’t use the code if you are not eligible!

  • Alison Brown


    My husband and I are about to
    head off on holidays, flying with Emirates on Saturday the 27th
    April to Germany and returning on 23rd May..

    We are members of Emirates
    Skyways are we eligible to become members of the Regus Businessworld Gold
    Membership .. Free ??

    If so can you tell me how to
    do it and what you are entitled to if you do join… are there any hidden
    catches ?



    • I had article about the free Regus Businessworld Gold offers and some didn’t require any affiliation at all.

  • Laura

    Hi, have subscribed to your blog. Liked on Facebook and tweeted you. Please send to me the private link for accor sign up. Can PM me at @watercreast or on Facebook. Thanks.

  • Brian

    Do you have any insight into what Starwood’s new criteria are for the VIP level in the SPG program?
    I was invited into the VIP level in1998, then inexplicably demoted (they said “soft landed.” Um, yeah.) to Lifetime Gold in January 2013 after the program was rebooted. My business volume did not change over the years.
    What company does that to its longest-tenured, top-tier customers?
    I’m sure there are others like me out there who where blindsided by Starwood’s move.
    I want to hear from them. You should, too.


    • They have the Starwood Ambassador program for those that stay 100 or more nights per year at Starwood hotels. I have written about this program several times and was part of it last year, as I stayed 100+ nights with the SPG in 2011.

      I am sure that they have separate program for REAL VIP’s, however.

      How may years have you been a Platinum member and how many total nights with the Starwood do you have?

  • eric

    on the AA instant gold (which i received.. ) does that mean i can spend 6000 points on my AA advatage card and still quailify or do points mean 6000 miles flown?

    • No. You need to fly 6000 miles or earn 6000 elite qualifying points on AA or on the list of partner airlines that were included on the list such as BA and Iberia.

  • sandy

    Do you know what the best way to book a flight during end of year period? I searched emirates for MEL-SIN, yesterday was 900 and today it jumps to 1500. I searched as early as in feb but it was still high, yesterday was as normal days, but today as high as during peak season.

    • The availability and price can all change dynamically. Use to search for airfares.

  • tiddlesmango

    HI John…You are completely fabulous, love your newsletters and being able to pick your brain. My question of today is….
    I have been an emerald one world FF for the past 3 years courtesy of being a Qantas Platinum FF. I now want to ‘switch’ my allegiance to American Airlines, but only of they agree to match my status. I have tried ringing AA and enquiring about this but the people I talk to are very unhelpful and dismissive (or don’t have a clue what I am talking about, maybe it is the Aussie accent?!). Do you have any tips for me as far as who i should contact to try to achieve this, any tips for how I should ‘pitch’ my request to status match, or how I should go about it in general.
    meny thanks in anticiaption!

    • You should contact American Airlines through their website. Did you call the US number?

      They only match to AA Platinum through a paid challenge, but also offer EXP matches for Delta Diamonds and United 1K’s.

      • Tiddlesmango

        Yep, I did. Also, I did a search on the paid challenge, but I don’t really ‘get it’…can you suggest a good link that I could go to which might explain it more clearly?
        Thanks for your help 🙂

        • I will do an article about this next week. Stay tuned,

          • Tiddlesmango


  • Sykkelthor

    So I was surfing around the web contemplating on what the easiest and cheapes way to reach Star Alliance Gold, and then I got a somewhat intreaguing idea. Could it work if one were to sign up for the Trial Preferred program at US Airways, and then try to match that 90 days gold status with TK Miles and Smiles? Or would the nice people at Miles and Smiles be just a little bit smarter than that?

    • It could work, but obviously no guarantees. They may require a copy of your account statement as well.

  • zach

    I can’t open your american airlines link to register for matching status. Advice?

  • sheik mohanad hilal

    how can i renew my ambassador membership

  • Felix

    I have about 110,000 Delta Skymiles that I am not using. Is there a good way to convert these miles to Marriott or IHG points?

    • You can usually convert hotel points to airline miles, but not the other way around.

      Have you had trouble using SkyMiles?

  • David2Brown

    Hello John,

    Where can I find information on status matching for air and hotel programs?

    Thanks for LoyaltyLobby, I appreciate the tips.

    Best regards,


    • I have written about all the hotel status matches here on LoyaltyLobby. I need to make them better visible. You can currently find them by using search term “status match” on the Google Custom Search bar on the right column.

  • Anders


    I have a question.

    My statement on IC looks like this.

    Have I received the Royal level?

    Date Posted|Activity Type|Description|Total Activity Earning

    May 3, 2013|Earn|Qualifying Stay

    |3,000 pts.May 2, 2013|Earn|Qualifying Stay

    |3,000 pts.Apr 25, 2013|Earn|Qualifying Stay

    |3,000 pts.Apr 22, 2013|Other|Royal Ambassador Renewal

    Page of 1102030View 1 – 5 of 5

    • Difficult to tell. What does it show as your status online?

      For some reason, they are using Ambassador Renewal or Royal Ambassador Renewal lines and you can never be sure what it is for.

  • shaf

    Hey John,
    any offers or promo codes for Atlantis Dubai?

  • Roderick R.

    Any word for getting Aadvantage Customer service to target an old EXE and lifetime Platinum? I would be most grateful I called, but the lady said (after talking to about 10 different ones) that you need to have the code for the registration BUT also the code for that they only have for targeting people.

    • It won’t work unless this specific offer was targeted to your account.

      They still, however, match United 1K’s and Delta Diamond’s even if you have been EXP with AA before. That’s what I did last year.

      Do you have any chance getting 1K or Delta Diamond?

  • helena

    club carlson has not resolved my complaints. what is their correct email id for calson gold elite guests?

    • What is the problem that you are having and how you have tried to resolve it with them?

      • helena

        had some issues during my stay as i was not provided what was promised. can i have thier email adress

        • I don’t have any special email address beyond the usual Club Carlson one.

          You could always open a complaint with BBB.

  • muhammad ubaid

    how to get discount promo code of emirates

    • I have the list up here but some of them now require a password that I don’t have.

  • Tara

    Hi. I love your site and the information you provide. I am however very confused as to what are the “cash value” of miles or points. Is there an easy index or graph to determine easier?
    Also, I have 111,000 points on my BOA card and want cash for them. How do I get cash? Sell, trade, exchange? I’m so confused and don’t have a clue about all these points and miles things.
    Thanks for your help.

    • If you read the terms and conditions of these programs, the cash value of miles/points is usually considered zero. But they of course are worth something.

      Some credit card programs let you cash the points that you have for a check or account deposit. I am not sure what BOA product you have.

      • I have World Points. Was hoping to get a better deal than what they are offering, but thanks for the reply 🙂

  • Ann

    I have a Hyatt question. I’ve managed to book two free nights (using my Hyatt Visa), four nights using 22,000 points each, and am planning to purchase the “inspire certificates” for three nights for a stay in Aruba next Spring. I’ve yet to try and get air mileage and am told no one posts this far in advance. First, is there anyway to get better than a standard room, which they say is all I’m entitled to? And second, with the inspire certificates, it seems this is the top of the line for what they offer at a discount, and those also only get you a standard room. How can I upgrade to club level? I don’t have any poins lleft, as I still have to book air– and am trying to use my American points for that. Need a trick or two.

    • You can upgrade with cash and you need to contact the hotel to find out how much this would cost.

      Alternate option is to book the point award nights for the club level at the premium. Have you considered this?

  • David

    Hi there
    I am top status with IHG but am now staying regularly at the Hilton in Berlin
    What is the best way to get my status up with Hilton….with Radisson last year I emailed then following a tip here and they status matched IHG
    With IHG I have a credit card that ensure permanent platinum…maybe there is something similar
    I am in UK

  • Ishina

    Hi John,
    I was looking for a stay in Hilton and Club carlson hotels in the near future and the award booking was giving me a gud value
    Could u let me knoe where can i buy the Hilton Hhonor points and club carlson gold points from,for a good cheap deal.

    • Both are selling their points on their respective websites. It is rarely a good deal to buy the points and use them for “free” nights.

  • Qin

    Hi John,

    You’ve stayed in quite a few shanghai hotels. In your opinion, which did you like the best in terms of location, service, views, and comfortability?

    I’m flying there on vacation for three weeks and can’t decide from all the options.


    • It really depends, where you would like to be in Shanghai. I was not very impressed about the Park Hyatt, but many people like that hotel. I liked the Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont Peace and the Le Royal Meridien hotels a lot.

  • wade

    hi john

    i am planning on having my mother buy aa bonus miles to go PER – LHR in sept for her and her husband. with this they can fly QF or CX business class for 60000 miles. not a bad wicket for $1300us a piece…

    the issue is how do i get them back with the same sort of money?

    my plan was to get them business class tickets on CX DXB – PER rtn for $3000aus.

    are there other airline with bonus miles atm that we could look into?

    thanks for you help.

  • jan


    My boss is telling me that we will fly more with Turkish Airlines. That is why I want to match my platinum card von KLM with my new card von Turkish airlines. TK 453886841. I will opload my platinum card.
    Hope that it will be ok.
    Greetz Jan

    • You need to follow the instructions that I posted on the Turkish Airlines status match post. You need to send this info to Miles&Smiles.

  • Lorraine

    While on a recent vacation, I picked up a paper that had “Stay 1 Get 1 SO GO!” Now that I am home I find that has expired. Is this true? We stayed at Country Inns on April 26th and May 1st. They were great hotels.

    • That is something from last year. It is not unusual for properties to have outdated marketing material on display.

  • Cade

    I have been a Marriott Platinum for a couple of years now. Honestly, my wife loves Ritz Carlton’s (who doesn’t?), but the rest of the brands are not consistent enough. I have been entertaining making the switch to HHonors due to what we perceive to be more consistency in the Hilton brands. Most of my “travel buddies” tell me the two programs are virtually indistinguishable to the untrained eye. Would I make a huge mistake if I switched?

    • If you think that Marriott’s brands are inconsistent, I don’t think that Hilton is the answer. Your travel buddies are correct.

  • Hi John,

    I joined the program.

    But it was not platinum.

    I can upgrade to the Platinum?

    I will need a tier in an Accor hotel.

    I’m begging you.

  • Ronee

    Hi John,

    I am trying to use my AAdvantage miles to go to London or Paris, but the fees are almost $700! Anyway around these fees

    • You have to make sure that you do not use British Airways or Iberia over the pond. You need to use either American or Finnair or any other partner.

  • Ghafoor

    Hi John

    I noticed that SPG have the following offer on club rooms.

    Where by you can earn triple points or 3000 starpoints on select hotels. One such hotel is Sheraton Stockholm where i am booking.

    I am a platinum member with > 75 nights so i get the Quadruple points offer per dollar.

    Does this triple award stack with my existing x4 multiplier?

    If i use my corporate rate to book a club room, or i upgrade myself when i’m there informally will i still avail of this offer?

    Any info you could provide would be highly appreciated man!

    Best Regards,

    • This offer triples the number of base points you earn from 2 to 6. Your PLT extra points and fourth Starpoints are extra. So, without any other promotions, you would earn 2 + 4 + 1 +1 = 8 Starpoints per USD.

      You need to book a special rate plan and corporate rates are not eligible for this bonus.

  • I booked Royal Caribbean Cruise on Orbitz and later realized Orbitz does not award points for Cruises. Any suggestions?

    • Don’t think that there is lot you can do besides canceling it and booking through some other TA IF your agreement allows it.

    • sorry, after posted realized you may not deal with cruises.

  • Gautier

    Hi John, I still have a United Airlines Electronic Travel Certificate of $150, to redeem in 4 months, for which I don’t seem to have much use. I live in Europe, fly rarely to North America, and from what I noticed, that voucher can only be redeemed with UA. Any ideas what I could do with it?

    Thanks, and thanks for a great website! Gautier

    • You could try to barter (sell) it to someone in the North America. This is against the terms and conditions of the vouchers, but very unlikely that anything would happen. You could get maybe $100 for it.

      I have friends who fly on United, so drop me an email if you would like to get some cash for it.

  • Kyushuman

    Hi John, thanks so much for posting the Hilton Fast Track to Gold offer a few months ago. I see that the one I signed up for (VIP) might be closed now. One positive thing about how Hilton now handles its Fast Tracks: Once you’re signed up, and make a stay, your HHonors account will show “3 more stays until Gold” after the first stay, and drop one by one. A few years ago when I did one of these, it worked out but there was no confirmation that I was signed up, etc, until I received the HHonors Gold Card in the mail a few weeks after my 4th stay.

    Thanks again!

    • Kyushuman

      Oops I meant Hilton MVP is where I signed up for this current Fast Track (same place as 2 years ago!)

    • Thanks for the update. I wasn’t aware that they have this “programmed” on their website display as well.

  • Biff

    Would’ve taken a look at your site BUT you hit me with 3 popups in 30 seconds OVER the text I was trying to read on your site. Life is too short. Won’t be back again.

    • If your browser uses cookies and you have properly enabled them, you don’t see the lightbox more often than once in 60 days.

  • Petitpok

    Hi John,
    I booked a room in Novotel through Expedia and since I am a “fresh” ACCOR LOYALTY PLATINUM member I wrote directly to the hotel (novotel toronto center) to ask them to take into consideration my membership status (points+late check out+upgrade) they replied to me that in order to get the perks I should have ordered the room through their website, not a third party…did you know about that?

    • Normally, the benefits apply on bookings that are made directly with the chain. I would just ask them to associate your reservation with your Le Club Accorhotels number and then try to negotiate at check in if they haven’t upgraded you.

  • Wilson

    Hi John, Now also can register Accorhotels Platinum? Is out of date already? Is there any new promotion Code.Thanks,Have a nice day!,

  • Ian

    Hi John,
    Quick question, which is the better value in your opinion. Continuing to collect IHG/Priority Club points, or converting to Avios points. I guess which one is the better option.

    • General answer would be that hotel points are best use for hotel awards, but this really depends of your individual circumstances.

  • Ian

    Executive club….anybody any ideas whether they status match to other airlines/hotels.
    As an example, through your ‘endeavours’ I will have IHG Platinum, Le Club Platinum, Best Western Platinum Elite and Club Carlson Gold.
    However, being honest, I tend to fly more often than stay in hotels, so I’m trying to maximize my Executive Club and SAS Bonus Points to the maximum I can.
    Do you know if BA will status match based upon what I can achieve with my platinum cards?

    • BA is very stingy with status matches. There was one from SAS last year that I took advantage. I will write about them whenever they come by.

  • David

    Hey John

    I have Platinum status with IHG and I believe that is guaranteed as long as I have the IHG Visa card. I also have a Hilton Honors Visa card and they have status matched me recently to Gold but with a promise that if I do 15 nights in 90 days I will get Diamond.

    Next Easter I have used Avios to fly club BA to Far East with family and so need to get as many points as possible to use for hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Vietnam
    My question is this – should I go all out now to get Diamond with Hilton and then stay mainly at IHG as they have broader footprint of hotels or should I just stay on Gold with Hilton and focus all my stays on IHG. I don’t want to spread my love between the two if focusing on one makes most sense…..and if it is one then IHG I believe is stronger in Asia
    Thanks for the help and BTW great site I have learnt so much form it

    • IMHO, here is no clear cut answer. The foot print of the IHG is far greater in Asia compared to Hilton. Hilton HHonors Diamond treatment is better compared to IHG Rewards Club Platinum.

      I don’t think that hotels in Vietnam are worth using points because the rates tend to be on the low side unless there are good Point Breaks when you happen to be there. IC’s in Vietnam have all appeared occasionally on the Point Breaks list.

      Hilton property in Hong Kong is now very expensive using points.

      Shanghai has both reasonably prices and rather expensive hotels.

  • Rick

    Hi John,

    I’m traveling in July to the bustling metropolis of Ely, NV where I’m limited to only a LaQuinta. Any idea if LaQuinta will do a status match from IHG Platinum, Hilton Gold, or BW Diamond?

    Are there any LaQuinta promos that you know of? I found a 500 point Amtrak Rewards offer until 8/31, but that was it.

    Also – thanks for all the recent IHG postings. I have a bunch of CP stays in July, so that will help greatly!

    • I haven’t really covered the La Quinta’s program because it is so US centric and I am already “struggling” to get all the info out about the programs that I follow and write about here on LoyaltyLobby. I remember that they recently had some promo with United.

      • Rick

        If you are interested, I found 3 “promos” for LQ. #1, “PROPE20” will give a 20% discount for stays until August 31st. #2, you can get 500 Amtrak reward points until August 31st. #3, LQ will do a status match if you contact their Returns support. Thanks.

  • Gregg

    Hello John

    I’m seeing this message in my recent account activity of Priority Club and was wondering what is means. Any idea?

    Jun 5, 2013|Other|IHG Rewards Club – PLTG – 2014
    |0 pts.”

    • Rick

      I was going to post that same question. On my account, I have “PLTN – 2014”. My wife’s account has “PLTN – 2013”. Didn’t know if you knew what the differences were?

    • How many BASE points have you earned so far in 2013 and how may different IHG brands have you visited?

      • Gregg

        Not impressive so far this year. Only 6K base points so far and only 2 brands actually.

  • Alex

    Hi John congrat for the site !!

    the Q is there is any statust match working now ? star or OneW



    • There is the Turkish Star Alliance Gold match for SkyTeam, Star Alliance or Oneworld alliance frequent flier members.

      • Alex

        Thanks for the info I have sent all the docs to TK i will post if success

  • Mark

    Do you know which, if any, loyalty points can be awarded for bar and restaurant spending, if you are NOT actually staying at the hotel but just visit for a meal or drinks? A night out with friends can easily clock up more expense than a hotel night stay! Priority Club points are not awarded by IHG apparently…

    And a related question: if you are staying in a hotel under a group booking (i.e: not booked in your own name), which chains do / do not allow you to collect points for your bar / food spend?

    Regards, Mark

    • You can get points for F&B at both Hyatt and Starwood properties even when you are not staying at them.

      This does not work with Hilton, Marriott or InterContinental Hotels Group.

  • yeonhee ryu

    Hi, John!

    this summer vacation accommodation Accor is planning.
    If possible, a temporary flat Accor would like to experience the benefits of the Platinum tier.
    I’ll wait the good news

    • You can follow the instructions that I have posted for getting the private invite for Le Club Accorhotels Platinum status.


    Hello John
    I am planning a trip this summer haeteo Manila.
    Staying at Sofitel Accor A Platinum tier, if I want to think we need.
    Flat link and tell me you think so grateful.

  • ian smith

    Hi John Just a quick question. Why does Starwood, at some hotels, only offer award nights if you book more than one night? I am also finding that when you try and book one night the amount of points required goes up. This does seem a bit unfair especially when you spend your hard earned cash earning those miles in the first place. I used to like Starwood PG, but I am now drifting away due to some unfair practices. Keep up the good work John, i really find your site useful and informative.

    • Some hotels may block i.e. Saturday arrivals and have minimum stay requirement like W South Beach. They know that they can always sell out the Saturday but they would rather reserve those for guests that stay longer.

      SPG has fifth night free on awards. So, if you book five nights, you only pay for four using points.


    Good afternoon, John.

    I would like to qualify for the Accor Platinum.

    I reserved July 15-16, for the Pullman Hotel, Changwon, Republic of Korea .

    So, I would like to enjoy special benefits for Accor.


  • Brian

    John: Anything on this?

    • On what?

      • Brian

        I posted the email below to you in May. You responded that you’d get back to me….

        Do you have any insight into what Starwood’s new criteria are for the VIP level in the SPG program? I was invited into the VIP level in1998, then inexplicably demoted (they said “soft landed.” Um, yeah.) to Lifetime Gold in January 2013 after the program was rebooted. My business volume did not change over the years. What company does that to its longest-tenured, top-tier customers?
        I’m sure there are others like me out there who where blindsided by Starwood’s move. I want to hear from them. You should, too.


  • alex

    Hi John,

    is the le club accorhotel platinum status match / enrollment still active.

    Thanks and best regards

  • kris

    my question dissappeared so once again:
    John did you try switching at hotel loyalty program(Marriott,Hilton,Carlson) to switch method of earning – from points to miles?
    I am interested what is going on with points/certificates earned before switching? Do they erase/burn them or not?

  • Hanlim Lee


  • Nick

    Today (as programs change substantially quite often …) what is the program that provides the quickest way to have access to Club/Executive Floor (perhaps part of a room upgrade benefit ?)

    • The only programs that guarantee the club access (but not that the club is actually open) are Marriott Gold/Platinum, Hilton Diamond, SPG PLT, Hyatt & Diamond. Club access is not part of guaranteed benefits of IHG PLT or even IC RA status, although some hotels grant status. Also, Hilton HHonors Gold members are LIKELY to get access, but again not guaranteed.

      You were asking the easiest way? By doing the Taste of Gold with Marriott that requires 6 stays within the month + 3 following months of signing up.

  • Alex

    Hi John just to say that Status match on Turkish IS WORKING just received today….

    Referring to your e-mail message dated 10.06.2013 , Elite
    card status match has been provided and your membership has been updated as ”
    Elite Card ” level.

    We would like to be honoured to see you as an Elite
    member for your future flights by Turkish Airlines.

    Your full kit has been sent

    Kind Regards,



  • TravelerJJeswel

    Hi John, any suggestions on who to credit Royal Brunei airlines flights to? I fly US carriers- usally United, where I have gold. I also have gold on American, and silver on Dellta. Also, if I have status with Star Alliance and One World, and I’m flying really small international carrier affiliates, how do I contact the airlines ahead of time to give them my ff # in hopes for an upgrade? The multi leg ticket is on United Ticket stock, and all booked as one itinerary. Thanks for your help!

    • Seems Royal Brunei doesn’t have any partner airlines. So, you can only credit to their own program.

      If you book the flights using any of the online travel agents such as Expedia, you can input you frequent flier details during the booking process for various airlines. Getting upgrades based on Oneworld or Star Alliance status is rare, but can occasionally happen.I would just ensure that your boarding pass reflects the frequent flier plan and number, where you want the miles to go.

  • yolanda

    Dear John
    With my Marriott gold status which other hotel will status match?

    • Hilton, Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club, Club Carlson, Starwood etc. Some of these offer straight matches while others offer challenges. I have written about them all here on LoyaltyLobby.

  • Ajay Kumar G. Mulani

    Dear John,
    Thanks for the link for the le accor platinuma status sign up.
    Before signing up for platinum, i already have an accor advantage plus Silver card and have some upcoming bookings using the accor advantage silver card. I called the customer service to ask them to merge my membership so that i have only one with the platinum status so i can platinum status advantages during my stay.
    They are asking me to mail them the link on how i got the platinum status, and the Bank whick facilitated this fasttrack platinum status.
    What do u suggest i do?
    If my booking is thru silver status and during check in I just inform them my platinum status, will they provide me the benefits, u think?
    Awaiting your suggestions. Thank You;
    Ajay Mulani – Jakarta

    • If you have already prepaid the hotel, call them and ask them to update the Le Club Accorhotels number on file. Otherwise, just provide it at the time of checking in.

  • McCaron

    do you know if i could earn the promo points if i book my stay with a special employee rate ?

    • I believe that this is for the InterContinental Hotels Group properties. The answer is in 99% of the time no. The stay is not booked under qualifying rate for points or stay/night credit.

  • kris

    are there any working corporate/discount codes for HH? tried public sector and others but always got feedback from site:
    “Unfortunately, we are having technical difficulties and are unable to complete your request.”
    if they`re top secret – send me on email pls:)

    • Likely a problem with the Hilton’s website. Try again later.

      • kris

        looks like permanent problem-whenever I try always get this feedback:(

        Could you please answer below pointshound post? I need bill settled up by hotel not by some broker.
        Is pointshound working invisibly like MrRebate or Ebates?

        • If you buy any of the double dip hotels, the charge should come from the hotel and not from the PointsHound. These are also eligible for the hotel points and stay/night credits.

          I have not had using the Hilton codes that I have published here on LoyaltyLobby. You must be doing something wrong.

  • avstar

    hi… have you seen anything about a bonus in Melia Rewards? I registered and got the 2k free but on Monday they added an extra 4k??

  • TravelingJewel

    Can I buy an upgrade on Malaysia Airlines (Y fare class ticket) using British Airway miles? They’re both One World. I’ve had no luck buying upgrades on American using British miles, but would love to be able to use them like this, since British is so crazy hard to book award flights on.

    • Not possible, but you can use Avios for award flights on Malaysia in economy, business and first.

  • Jannette

    Hi John, Am I reading the fine print correctly that I cannot use an Accor Advantage Plus membership for discount meals if I have booked accommodation through a travel agents package? I m aware my Le Club Accor’s platinum membership will not get any points if I book through travel agent but might I still get upgrade / welcome gift type privileges?

    • You may get upgrades/welcome gift, but they are not required to provide them. I would contact the hotel in advance and request them that they attach your Le Club Accorhotels Platinum number with the reservation (to get the possible upgrades/gifts but don’t say this).

  • McCaron

    Hi John

    i’m about to book a stay at Tryp Quebec for the end of July but is way cheaper than tryp’s website
    what are my chances to get BRG apply ?
    would taking screencaps of both websites help me ?

    • Are the currencies on both websites the same?

      Have you read the T&C’s of Wyndham’s Best Rate Guarantee? As long as you could book a cancelable rate on Wyndham’s/Tryp’s website, I cannot see problem trying to claim it.

      • McCaron

        oh it’s a non-cancelable on both sites (Tryp and others), would it work ?

        • of course there are risks involved with non-cancelable rate. If they don’t agree, you are left with the booking made with the higher rate. I have no personal experiences with Wyndham’s BRG, so cannot comment the customer friendliness of this program.

  • intermagix

    Hi John, I have a few stays coming up in August with Accor hotels. If all my hotel stays cost about US$1000 does that mean I will earn the 25,000 points to get the platinum status with Le Club? Many thanks.

    • You could get the Platinum status with Le Club Accorhotels just by requesting the private sign up link.

      You would need 60 nights or 25000 earned points to become one. The number of points that you earn is dependent of your Le Club Accorhotels status and the Accor hotel brand that you are staying at.

      • intermagix

        Thanks. I guess I was just confused about how the 25,000 points work.

  • Anna

    Hi John,

    How easy do you think it would be to obtain a taste of platinum challenge as a new member of marriott rewards? I have forward bookings at several marriott places but have only recently joined.

    I have platinum status at le club accor but only received it through the instant upgrade link and don’t have much activity on that account. Think I’ll have any luck?

    • You need to call to the Marriott Rewards customer service in the US and request that they sign you up. It may take more than one call, but should be successful. They don’t require proof of status from other chain.

      • Anna

        So only US customer services? Because I’m in Australia at the moment.

        Do you think I should try email at all? I’m just afraid that my account may get notated?


        • Use Skype and call the toll free number in the states. I would not deal with Asian customer contact center with an issue like this.

      • Anna

        What I mean is that, you’d suggest calling rather than emailing?

        • Sometimes it is easier that you call. I have found out that they are more likely to say no on email than on the phone.

  • Monika

    Dear John, do you know can I make IHG respond to my e-mails? I have managed to get only one of my claims resolved this year and I am fed up with Auto Replies and ‘Your request could not be submitted due to…). Points are missing, promotions are not added, link to Ambassador Voucher never worked (after waiting 5 months for response, it got invalid). Phone number to European customer service doesn’t function, e-mails are not answered. Nice to be Platinum and Ambassador…. What’s going on with them?

  • jettyboy

    Dear John,

    Thanks for maintaining the blog – it has great info. I am looking to book a one-way ticket on Etihad in J from AUH-DEL. I am traveling with my wife using AA miles from the US, but this particular leg seems to have just one J seat available. Do you know of any consolidators or agents that could help me get a good deal on the J fare? Or am I just better off booking online?


    • Is this one award that only has transit in AUH? Book the AUH-DEL first in Y and monitor the business class award availability. When it opens up, just call in to have the ticket reissued.

  • Finnair Plus or Minus ?

    Hi John,

    last Friday night I flew with Finnair non-stop service from Helsinki, Finland, to Xi’an, China, and then back to Helsinki today on Wednesday, a very plain vanilla type of itinerary! However, there was a major problem and that was that my checked-in luggage never left the Helsinki airport! The luggage (one regular suitcase) was normally and properly checked-in and tagged (at the Finnair check-in counter in Helsinki) in due time (a couple of hours) prior to the departure.

    When I arrived at the Xi’an Airport they told me that my checked-in luggage would follow me the next day (i.e. on Sunday) and that I can spend 135 euros/day to buy necessary things, such as clothing, toiletry etc. while I was having only my carry-on briefcase with me, and that I should call them at the Xi’an airport the following day to fix the delivery of the luggage. As you know, Finnair has an extensive flight network from Helsinki to China with several daily flights, but Xi’an is served only three times a week (on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday nights from Helsinki and the following mornings back). However, it should not have been very difficult to deliver the luggage via Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing or Hong Kong.

    The following morning I checked the situation with the Xi’an Airport luggage service again and they told me that the luggage hadn’t arrived yet but I was again told that it will arrive the next day (i.e. on Monday morning with a Finnair non-stop flight from Helsinki), and that I should call them then again. And the exactly same story repeated on Monday and Tuesday, i.e. the luggage hadn’t arrived and should be arriving the following day, etc.

    I was finally checking-in for my return flight from Xi’an to Helsinki this Wednesday morning when I was told that my luggage has been at the Helsinki airport all the time and I should pick it up there. And this was the first time they were right because the luggage was, indeed, eventually found at the Helsinki Airport.

    As a result I had to make a 5-day China trip without any luggage, had to find and buy locally everything from toothbrush, razor and sun tan to underwear, shirts and other clothing, spend considerable time and effort to try to locate my luggage every day, and had to skip some things that I had intended to do in Xi’an because of the considerable time spent on the above.

    To my big surprise, at the Finnair in-coming luggage service in Helsinki they told me now that Finnair doesn’t assume liability for any of this, such as the costs for buying the necessities and clothing locally, etc. This is really strange because it is not the first time that checked-in luggage gets delayed or lost and normally airlines compensate for the additional costs incurred without any problem.

    So what do you say about this, what should be my recommended course of action and how much should an airline compensate per day for the costs incurred to the traveler because of the missing luggage? And ultimately, what is the airline’s liability in this type of situation when they checked the luggage in but never delivered it anywhere?

    Sorry for the long story above, I would appreciate you sharing your views and expertise on this type of matter!

    Thanks already in advance, you are running a terrific site here! 🙂

    • You have all the receipts for the things that you needed to purchase due to Finnair’s inability to get the luggage on flight? Where do you live? You need to write (register letter) to Finnair’s office in your country and attache the baggage file number and the receipts (take copies of them first). They are liable for paying out the incurred expenses.

      The airline staff often lie. This would be also a good case for my Compensation Clinic Sunday series. Keep me updated what is happening with this.

  • vivek

    hi john !

    r there any bonus double dip offers with hilton on western airlines( eg united or virgin)?

    they offered 3 times bonus with asian carriers

    • They run promotions with number of airlines throughout the year. There is nothing going on with the US airlines or Virgin at the moment. I am sure that there is likely something with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia sometime soon.

  • LoHoATX

    Hi John! I am in desperate need of 70K AAdvantage miles right away. Though I travel frequently, am a Gold status, and have a fair number of miles now, I need more to deal with some family issues. I’d like to trade miles based on a “gentleman’s agreement” (don’t laugh!), for someone’s unused/uneeded miles now for my future travel later. (I’d even add a clause that for remuneration if I didn’t earn enough miles fast enough). Any suggestions on where to go? I haven’t yet found any sites for people to engage in these kinds of transactions.

    • There is a promo now that you could purchase the miles directly from AA for close to 2.3 cents each, If you would buy then from a third party, you would likely need to pay 1.8 to 2 cents each.

  • Ben

    Hi John,

    I am looking for quick and easy/cheap way to earn Emirates(Skyward) miles for my upcoming trip in December/January. Do you have any info for getting more miles.

    2) May be dumb Q but if Qatar is joining oneworld alliance, which airline would give better chance on getting cheap ticket for travel from DFW to AMD?


  • Andrew

    Hi John
    Just wondering – do you know if IHG provide any sort of bonuses if you achieve 1 million points with them?

  • Pam

    Hi John
    Just returned from a stay at a hotel which offers Carlson club point. How do I join and can I claim points for a recent stay.


  • Anna

    Hi John! Thanks for all the Marriott advice, was amazing and am enjoying perks such as suite upgrades. I was wondering, in relation to the unexpected bonus – I’m going to be in Europe in the later half of this year and want to spend free nights – which do you think will be worth more in Europe? 2 free category 1-5 hotel awards or 3 free category 1-4 hotel stays?

    • It really depends, where in Europe you are going to be. Check the award categories of the Marriott hotels in the cities that you are likely to visit to see if they have cat 4 and 5 properties.

  • Rick

    I’d like to get Accor le club platinum membership…is there a link that works for this?

    • There is one by request available right now.

      • A.Levent Kilic

        Where do we request it John? The link seems like does not work.

        • A.Levent Kilic

          Sorry just seen the instructions

  • Fred

    I fly southwest weekly and will have earned a companion pass. I stay 30-40 nights a year at a few different hotel chains. I also typically rent from national on a weekly basis. I’d like to maximize my hotel reward and am willing to focus on 1 chain if that makes the most sense. I just recently signed up for the Hilton Honors promotion that requires 4 stays, and will contact Hyatt for the match when I have Hilton Gold status. Marriott would not let me challenge because I had a challenge a few years ago.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • They should allow the Taste of Gold or Platinum if it is more than 12 months from when your previous challenge ended.

  • Michelle

    John, do you know of any hotel loyalty programs that are compatible with other chains? ie: Marriott and IHG have compatibility with their programs. Thanks so much for any info on this you may have.

    • What do you mean about compatibility? There is Marriott Rewards and IHG Rewards Club, but they are competing ones.

  • lummzy

    Just stayed 40 days at a hotel. IHG says I am not able to receive points because I received a deeply discounted corporate rate. Have you heard of this before? And what should I do?

    • Matt

      I negotiate a lot of corporate travel contracts for my company (and have done for previous companies I worked for as well) and I know that there have been a few occassions where the hotel has wanted to include such terms so it does happen.

      • lummzy

        I just asked around and others from my company have received points for there stay at the same hotel. I don’t know why they denied me.

        • Matt

          Then I would go contact the hotel again and tell them there is nothing in the terms excluding you from receiving points. Best would be if you can get it confirmed from the travel manager (or whoever made the deal with the hotel) that it is also the case as it can be that they made a mistake giving others points.

        • TravelingJewel

          This happens to me a lot as well, usually at Hiltons. As much as I try to get the points- via phone and via email- I’m always denied. Seems to totally be a crapshoot who gets them and who doesn’t, even for the exact same hotel/dates as the others in the company.

      • That could be reason as well. The hotel pays for the points that are awarded for the quest. In the case of SPG this is 5% of the room revenue, when SPG points are awarded.

    • Here’s the part of terms and conditions that apply for your instance:

      Eligible Charges Worldwide include the following Qualifying Room Rates
      paid for hotel room nights: including the hotel’s Advanced Purchase
      Rate, Best Flexible Rate, worldwide sales negotiated rate,
      national/regional/local government rate and specified leisure rates as
      confirmed by IHG’s HOLIDEX® Plus reservation systems. Points
      will be awarded for Qualifying Room Rates booked through IHG central
      reservation offices, IHG web sites, travel agents or directly at the
      hotel. In addition, in North, South and Central America and the
      Caribbean, points may be collected on locally negotiated rates if these
      rates are discounted less than 30%. At Asia Pacific hotels, Qualifying
      Room Rates also include all locally negotiated rates.

      Where was your stay?

      • lummzy

        Staybridge Suites San Antonio, TX

        • I have had this few time previously. Do you think that the rate that you paid was discounted by more than 30%?

  • TravelingJewel

    I’m wondering if Delta is doing a status match or challenge right now. Their website shows that the challenge ended June 30. I called yesterday, and the agent directed me to I told her their website was outdated and it still showed June 30. She said there is no challenge or match at this time. Think that’s right? For their website to be over a month out of date makes me wonder. I’m flying the first of a four segment trip tomorrow, and I really wanted to start a challenge.

    • Seems that I missed this question earlier. The status match page has been now updated. The status is valid until 2015 if you complete it now.

  • Cheri

    I have acquired 11,000+ miles on Korean AIr Skypass that I would like to move over to my Delta Skymiles account. Is it possible to move the points between those frequent flyer plans? They do a lot of code sharing and are partners in redemption. On my upcoming Korean Air flight I provided my Delta number but wish I could get the prior flight’s mileage shifted over to Delta. Is that possible? Thanks!

    • You cannot transfer miles between these programs. Note that you don’t earn any MQM’s and very little redeemable SkyMiles for Korean flights.

  • OOI GT

    Hai John, i got Enrich Gold in Malaysia Airline , and Silver in Marcopolo in Cathay pacific, both from one world, from the above, am i able get any status match for the skyteam members airline. ? Thanks, OOI GT gheethuen@gmail,com

    • Delta might do a match + challenge. You would need to fly bit with them, however.

  • AN

    Hi John,

    Enjoy your updates…Accor has a tieup with HSBC Premier for Platinum upgrades, and news on that???



    • I still have the Le Club Accorhotels Platinum sign up available by request.

      • AN

        Thanks John,

        Could you send me the same…


  • auntROENT

    hi john great website. i read the article regarding the american airlines instant advantage option and only those who get an email are allowed to sign up. do i have any options to sign up for this eventhough i did not get an email. how does one go about and receive an invitation?

    • You can sign up for any AA promotion even if you didn’t get the invitation, but nothing will happen at the end.

  • intermagix

    Hi John, what is the best option to earn the most points if I am staying at Hilton from Wednesday to Sunday this month – points and points or points and fixed miles? Thank you!

    • It really depends of the folio amount and the HH brand you are staying at.

  • Guest

    Hi John, is it better to choose points and points or points & fixed miles if I have an upcoming stay at Hilton this month on Wed to Sun? Thank you!

  • TravelingJewel

    Any guesses on whether I an upgrade an American Airlines flight (on a Y class ticket) using British Avios miles? The BA website says you can, but AA and BA agents on the phone say you can’t.

    From BA website:
    You can use Avios to upgrade to the next cabin when you make a cash booking with British Airways, Iberia or American Airlines, although the next cabin varies by airline and route. Upgrades are dependent on the type of booking you have and there must be availability in the class you want to upgrade to.

    • This is a good article topic that I will write at some time about. There are certainly fare classes that you can upgrade on AA using BA Avios and BA needs to do this. Nothing to do with AA. The ticket must have been purchased from BA.

  • Steve

    John, If you purchase marriott gift cards using the southwest rapid rewards promotion, do you still earn marriott points when you pay for your stay using these gift cards?

    • Absolutely. This payment method doesn’t disqualify you from earning points or stay/night credits. If you have Chase Marriott CC, you will earn points for Marriott spend for buying these too.

  • McCaron

    just did my first Accor booking using Ebates, i can see the cashback on my prepaid amount, but the confirmation says that price paid doesn’t include a 5.5% tax to be billed by the hotel at checkout
    do you think i can send the folio after checkout so that Ebates could adjust the cashback ?

    • The cashback amount is usually if not always based on the tax exclusive rate.

  • Bart

    I have 2.800.000 Club Carlson points left and after devaluation of airline transfer points I was wondering is there is some kind of trading place where I could trade these point to somebody for airline miles. I know the rate was bad, But I rather not stay at carlson properties on my spare time and use the miles for flights rather then hotels, eventhough it’s not that good value

    • There are some nice Radisson Blu hotels in Europe that would be best use for the points. But if that is not an option, your best bet would be to find a friend that would issue you an award using their miles (airline miles usually cannot be transferred between accounts) and you could in return move the point to his/her account.

  • Mark

    Is the old priority club “refer a friend” promotion now dead? The former links now default to a general page, so I guess it must be…

  • TravelingJewel

    Any guesses on whether an Alaska Airlines gold card will get me into any lounges (I’m not flying Alaskan)? I’ve been poring over the internet an can’t figure it out.

    • It won’t get you lounge access. The US frequent flier programs usually only grant lounge access for their elites on international flights outside of the North America.

  • Cheri

    Did you mention an American Airlines promotion on FaceBook offering 500 points for several likes and a survey on their facebook page? I can’t find it and wonder how to access it. thanks.

  • Julian

    What would be the best way to take advantage of ab, 45K points accumulated on AMEX? Can I covet them into air miles like AVIOS at a decent rate, etc?

    • It depends where you are located. Amex transfer partners vary between markets.

  • steve

    can you use delta skymiles on virgin australia operated flights to LAX to upgrade? does it matter if you book with virgin or delta to try and get upgraded to premium economy? i am a delta diamond member. thanks!!!

    • You can use miles for award seats on Virgin Astralia but not for upgrades. I would ask how much the paid upgrade would be at the check in.

  • Don

    On 10/6/13 I made a cash withdrawal of 200 GBP from a Baker St London ATM from my Travel Money Card which had a balance in UK pounds. The exchange rate on my receipt was 1.763 Aus dollar to UK Pound. When my statement arrived I had been charged 221.06 pounds plus a cash withdrawal fee of 2 pounds. My bank is not really interested in following up and cannot give me any explanation as to why the huge difference. Can you offer any explanation.

    • See. They have done the currency conversion now twice first to GBP to AUD at the ATM and then from AUD to GBP.

      You should have refused the GBP to AUD conversion at the ATM in London regardless whether your Travel Money Card was AUD or GBP denominated.

  • Leone

    Hi John. As a Gold SPG member through a time share ownership in Maui we were allotted a large number if starwood points. How long are these active? Thank you


      “Starpoints issued or earned through Starwood Vacation Ownership,
      including, without limitation, tour incentives, purchase incentives, SPG
      Conversion, sweepstakes and other giveaway prizes, will expire six years
      following the date they are deposited into an SPG Member’s account, regardless of SPG Member activity. All such Starpoints or any portion thereof, which have not been redeemed by their six-year expiration time, will be forfeited without notice.”

  • Andrew

    Hi John – a little curious like a few others who use this site I’m sure! How often do you actually stay in hotels each year, how long have you actually been travelling for and what type of job do you do that requires so much travel?!
    Really enjoy reading the site but it would be great to learn a little bit more about your background!

    • I do get these questions quite often and maybe I will write a piece next month when LoyaltyLobby turns two. I have purposely kept LoyaltyLobby free about me.

      • Andrew

        Hi John – thanks for answering my question! I understand that you’ve kept it ‘non-personal’, but I really think it would be interesting to learn a little bit more about your travels! Would definitely be interested in reading a piece next month!

  • Rick

    Hi John. I’m looking for some recommendations for the best Hilton coastal properties in Europe – preferably not on an island though. I basically have free Icelandair tickets into Europe, so I ideally wanted to do a coastal resort location without having to do any additional flying from the major International airports that Icelandair flies into (I’m OK taking a train though – even if a train takes a full day). I have significant Hilton points, so I was hoping to get a free hotel stay out of the deal as well. I was hoping that with all your travels, you may have some recommendations as to the best properties. Thanks.

    • The airline tickets in Europe are not expensive, so I wouldn’t limit my choice to only Icelandair destinations. Also, the train network in Europe is good.

      For a coastal resort, I would fly to Madrid and then find my way to Conrad Algarve in Portugal. I have not been to this property but I have been to Lisbon.

      One other option would be to fly to Barcelona (Icelandair flies there) and stay at the Hilton property in the city. I have been to this hotel once. There is lot to do in Barcelona and nearby cities.

  • Michelle

    Hi John,
    Are there advertising opportunities on this site? Thanks!

  • Nick

    I have just achieved Gold on IHG and I have the “free” Platinum LeClub. I’m also hoping for Plat on GHA (either through nights or link offer), and have SPG.
    With the two elite statuses I have, which are the other programs out there who would accept those to get matched status ? (I travel 90% in S.E.Asia)
    My interest is mainly in free breakfast/club access and free nights.

    • You could get Club Carlson Gold but that status won’t give you club access and/or breakfast. I think that you should look into Marriott’s program and do the Taste of Gold or Platinum challenge and collect the free night certificates along the way.

  • Gee


    I have my two free Hyatt nights ready to expire in November. Do you think they can extend it through Jan if requested? Also what properties do you recommend me using them in South East Asia? The only one’s I can think of are GH Hong Kong or PH Siem Reap.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily choose destination based on where you would get best bang for the buck but rather where you would prefer going.

      I had planned to go and check the reflagged property in Siem Reap this week but something else came up. The Grand Hyatt Erawan is good in Bangkok and the Singapore property is nice as well and usually quite expensive.

  • McCaron

    Hi John,
    do you know if it is possible to link 2 Amex memberships in 2 different countries to the same account ?
    i’m in Europe and have an Amex, but let’s say that i’m moving to another country or region for work and i get another Amex
    will have I have 2 amex Membership Rewards accounts ?

    • That is a good question and I am not sure about it. I know that Amex has something called Global Transfer. They will open you an account in another country even without credit history due to being their customer.

      • McCaron

        thanks, good to know

  • Thank you

    Just saw someone ask if there were advertising opportunities on your site. I personally only read this site because it does not have conspicuous eye assaulting advertising. Your site is the only ONE I see that appears genuine and altruistic. I hope you will always be able to continue to afford this much appreciated public service to fellow travelers without paid advertising. Thank you!

  • Aaron

    Will Marriott announce when a points/mileage bonus is available for the Travel Packages? Also, I joined your site a couple weeks ago and it is great!! I have told many of my colleagues. Thank you!

    • Marriott don’t usually have any bonuses available for Travel Packages. You will get 10% bonus if you have United as the miles partner due to the new partnership between Marriott and United.

      There are sometimes bonus offers from airlines for transfers from hotel programs. These sometimes also apply for miles part of the travel packages.

  • Ryan

    Is the Hilton Honors thing and Virgin Atlantic still working, or have they fixed that?

  • Eve Nichols

    There is conflicting information on this website and the promotion I was sent in the mail. Please contact me so that I can ask question about theis WelcomeBack promotion.

    • The promotion that you received from Marriott could be different than what others were offered. Forward me the email that you received (must be from Marriott?) to

  • Eric

    Do you have a posting about various match programs for hotels and airlines? I got silver on United thanks to a recent post you did. Looking for more matching options or tips on fast tracking to the top level.
    Great site.

    • Pretty much all the info is already here. Just use the Google custom search box on the right column.

      There is going to be some redesign soon to bring content such as this more visible.

  • McCaron

    Hi John

    i have a friend moving to the UK soon and we were discussing about credit cards

    he currently has an Amex linked to Air France Flying Blue

    he was hesitating between:
    – Starwood Amex (good conversion ratio to almost all airlines)
    – British Airways Amex Premium (earning BA avios only)
    – Preferred Rewards Gold (converting MMR points to hotels/flights)

    each has different advantages, cons and pros

    Starwood and Preferred Rewards Gold would be more flexible than BA…

    all have travel insurances, bonus sign-up and cost annually almost the same price

    any advice?


    • McCaron

      by the Amex says sign-up bonus can only be earned once

      how can people request 2 different cards and get the 2 bonuses ? should one wait a few months between 2 requests ?

  • Evan

    Do you know where I can get a referral for IHG Royal Ambassador. I am going to Las Vegas (The Palazzo) in April and this would be an amazing place to have the benefits. I don’t stay enough to earn it, so I was hoping someone had an extra referral certificate they were willing to part with. Thanks for any info.

    • Your best bet is either eBay for cash or to have Royal Ambassador friend that has a voucher to part with.

  • Michael Tang

    Hi John, I have request for the link of signing up the Accor Le Club Platinum in twitter in 19 hours before but you still didn’t reply me. Sorry for my worry, I am in an urgent case because I am going to stay in Accor’s hotel in the coming Friday, August 23 and I want to sign up ASAP. Can you please reply me ASAP? Thank you very very much!!!

    • I am replying to all these as soon as I can.

      • Michael Tang

        Okay thank you so much!!

  • JP

    I just started flying a lot of short hops, usually discounted, in US and Canada east of the Mississippi, to first and second tier cities. I’m based in NYC (LGA most convenient) and what I most value is upgrades, priority and other amenities to make the travel itself more pleasant (rather than award flights). Any advice on which airline would be best on that front — ie rewards actual frequent flying rather than giving everybody top status for their credit card and chiseling on the upgrade availability?

    • You basically have three choices; AA, DL and US. I would say DL IF award flights don’t count.

      • JP

        Thanks! I’m a little bummed to hear DL is the best of these, as it seems everyone is priority with them (therefore no-one). Perhaps the addition of those MQDs will cull the herd a bit.

        • Ryan

          I think it will cause a lot of drops in Diamond and Platinum…Gold is going to be a massive pool of people I think,

        • It really depends of the routes and if you are willing to connect etc.

  • Helen

    Helen Roberts I left a message on the contact section and didn’t realise that it was a public page, can you take it of the page and send to the correct department.

  • Orange

    from previous article
    pros of spg is
    Good value lower category awards
    lower category = ? category 1-4 ?

    • The upper SPG award categories are way too expensive, but cat 1/2/3 are usually reasonable.

  • Rick

    Hi John. I am Gold with Hilton based on stays and Platinum with IHG based on stays. I was hoping to do a Marriott Status Match. I have no past history with Marriott, but do have 2 upcoming stays booked (for a total of 8-nights). I read a post of yours from Sept 2012 regarding getting a 3-months status match. Is that still in effect? Or is there a better way to attempt a status match now? Which status would hold more weight – Hilton Gold or IHG Platinum? In the past I have found Hilton to hold more weight than IHG for matches, but if IHG Platinum would equate to Marriott Platinum, that would be great! Thanks.

    • It is called Taste of Gold/Taste of Platinum and requires 6/9 stays on the month + following three months that you sign up. They don’t actually require any proof if you do it over the phone.

  • lino

    Hello. I am going to book a week stay at intercontinental in madrid: am I wrong that, as priority club member, I will get 2000 IHG points only and not 10 points per 1 USD?

    • You get 2000 base points + any possible bonuses. The 10 points per USD only applies for IC stays in the Americas (North/Central/South) excluding InterContinental Alliance Resorts.

  • Afshan Anis

    hello, I am going Bangkok (1st time) and with Bangkok Airways and also i join their Frequent Flyer Program for extra priority but my question is, i’m married and do i need a another account of Frequent Flyer in Bangkok Airways for my wife or One account which is mine and that’s enough for both of us to recieve their rewards… and others airlines also. So Do I Sign Up for another Account?

    • You need to have separate account. Sign up your wife as well.

      • Afshan Anis

        thanks, is it for every Frequent Flyer Program do i signUp to her?

        • Outside of some Middle Eastern programs, airlines and hotels won’t allow mutual accounts. You need to open accounts for her as well to collect the airline miles.

  • Valz

    Please can you send the link for Accor Platinum status

  • McCaron

    Hi John, went to KLM lounge yesterday in AMS, almost food (unless one considers mini sausages and cheese cubes as a decent meal), no magazine at all !!
    definitely not worth the money
    should i complain ?

    • Not sure if airline lounges are supposed to provide more than a snack. You can always leave feedback to KLM on their website.

  • ivan

    can a hilton honours member who is registered with an airline as a double dip partner also be eligible to earn airline miles if they use money plus points option to pay?

  • John

    I got the Hilton gold upgrade via the visa infinite link months ago. My account says “Based on stays earned this year, your 2014 tier would be Blue.” However, the Gold Hilton card they sent me shows the expiry date 03/2015. Have you encountered this before? Which should I trust?

    • Is your account still listed as HH Gold? Hilton has apparently downgraded some accounts that were not eligible for the Gold offer.

      If all is ok, I would just disregard the banner with 2014 expiry.

      • John

        Yes John, it is still listed as Gold on the account. I have stayed Hilton a couple of times after the upgrade and was recognized as Gold.

        Right now, I’m not sure now if I should clock more stays to maintain Gold or not.

        Currently Hilton honors online account states that In 2014 I would be downgraded to Blue tier.

        However the Hilton physical card they sent me shows the Gold expiry in 2015 instead?

        Which information would you disregard? Thanks.

  • Krystan

    Hi I would like to get the club platinum membership, may I have the link please? I am going to Bangkok soon. Thanks a lot!~

  • Pszczolka

    Hi John, do you think it makes sense to exchange Heathrow Rewards points for Avios (250 reward points for 250 avios) or better to exchange for vouchers (500 reward points = £5 voucher)? Maybe this is a personal preference question but I was curious on your thoughts…

    • I would say that these are roughly of equal value. Whatever suit you better.

  • Mazin

    Do consecutive nights at Starwood booked separately count as single stay or multiple? I had the impression that it count as one stay hence people go for mattress run hopping between properties. However, my last 6-night stay at the Westin Gallaria in Houston booked as separate 6 nights yielded 6 stays! I was surprised and wondering if it would work in St. Regis Singapore. I’m heading there next week for 5-nights and made five bookings back to back and plan to check in/out every morning.

    I’m a life time Gold with SPG and aiming to attain Platinum and I would only be able to do it this way (currently short 15 stays and don’t think I can make it by year end).


    • Individual back to back reservations should absolutely NOT count and you will be in trouble if someone at the SPG has a look at your account when you call. The “Program Services” has been known to fix incorrectly posted stays as this. To be on the safe side you should book separate hotels.

  • dip

    John I have requested a link for Platinum membership can you send it please Thanks

  • nm

    Hi, I’d like to get Accor le club platinum membership…is has expired but I am requesting as you asked.
    Thank you

    • You need to follow the instructions on that web page. Leaving a message here does no good.

  • Andrey

    Hi, I’d like to get Accor le club platinum membership…is has expired but I am requesting as you asked.
    Thank you,with best wishes

  • Keith

    Hi John, now BMI is no longer a member of Star Alliance can I transfer my unused airmiles to Thai Airways who is a member of Star Alliance.

    • Most folks have had those old BMI miles expire IF they didn’t transfer them to British Airways Avios. Are you sure that yours are still alive?

    • Jon

      You should be able to transfer them to Avios. You need to log in at and follow the instructions

  • Mary R. Wheeler

    I stayed at Comfort Inn- Lubbock, Tx on the night of 8-20-13 and at Quality Inn, Raton, NM on 8-21-13 in order to qualify for the $50 gift certificate.

  • Tom Minkiewicz

    I would like to know if there are any hotels I can use in the Wildwood NJ area

  • Cara

    Do you know if there is a program in the US that is similar to Starwoods/Starchoice?

  • SirD

    Hey John I did email to ask if you could send me the link to accor platinum match… Maybe it got buried.

    Also asked if you knew of a way to match AC aeroplan to United Mileage plus or Singapore Krisflyer….

    Please and thanks.

    • I reply to emails regarding Le Club PLT every few days.

      You cannot do a straight match from Aeroplan to United or KrisFlyer.

  • AC

    I’m planning a stay at a Park Plaza Club Carlson Hotel in the UK. I’ve opted to receive miles instead of points. Will they convert the GB Pounds I paid for each night into US Dollars and then into miles?

    • You earn set number of airline miles for each stay if you elect to earn airline miles. The other option would be to collect points and then convert them to miles every once in a while.

  • Jamo

    Do you know how long it should take for points to appear on the actual IHG Win Big page itself? I recently started the promotion with a stay. The points have been awarded to my main account, but not to the Win Big progress mini-site?

    • Takes likely some time. Note that you won’t see the actual points before sometime in February anyway.

  • Julia

    hi john, i would like to ask if there is a link for me to find out how many subscriber there is in per/ one loyalty program and would it also provide me details in which country they are coming from. hope you can help me with this for my study.
    thanks in advance.

  • azjayhawk

    i am trying to contact AA customer service about getting an evoucher and cannot find a phone number. only email or snail mail??? any suggestions. also would like to know if there is a way to get back expired miles, besides the “challenge” round trip. I am so disappointed in this company. I live in az and AA doesn’t fly to many places I go to.

    Thanks for your help and response. Enjoy your day.

  • azjayhawk

    need a valid AA discount code please??

  • okra

    Checking into USAir in PHY last night, the monitor shows my flight as ‘On Time’. Yet, the kiosk immediately tells me my flight is ‘Cancelled’. For the next 90 minutes, airport monitors continue to show my ‘Cancelled’ flight as ‘On Time’. How can USAir communicate with the kiosks and not to the monitors in the airport?

    • Are the monitors getting the feed from the same place as the kiosks? Seems that they are not.

      • okra

        My point being, if I had know the flight was cancelled, I could have made better decisions on how to spend the next 4 hours. But I guess USAir would prefer the monitors read ‘On Time’, regardless of the actual status of each flight. 🙁

        • You probably should have asked them to reroute you when the kiosk indicated that the flight was cancelled.

  • Ryan

    Do you see Sandals or any other all inclusive company ever teaming up with any rewards group?

    • Hyatt will have all inclusive resorts under its two brands starting with the Z’s.

  • Robert

    Hello John, I’m following your very useful page from Hungary. As I check
    your e-mail updates daily I’m more or less informed about the status
    match campaigns. However I’d have a specific question on Accor status
    match. I’m a Platinum member in IHG program (already earned for 2014 as
    well). Discovering some new hotels in the areas I’m travelling often,
    I’m thinking to organize my trips to a Mercure one. The problem is that
    in Accor I’m only on basic status (one stay in the last years). As I saw
    your articles it’s enough to not to have Accor card (being a brand new
    member) to have the possibility to match the status (I know there are
    other ways, but wouldn’t like to give a new e-mail, new address,
    etc…). Is it worth to contact Accor and ask them sg like if they
    updgrade my card to Platinum, I’d change to their chain, blablabla or
    it’s not the way that could work? Hope my question was clear enough and
    thanks in advance for your feedback. Best regards, Robert

  • Augustine

    Hi John, I gotten the gold ambassador portfolio, then I requested for a status match to platinum ambassador, but there was no 2nd platinum portfolio given, I email IHG, they mentioned that status matched to platinum will have no portfolio given. Is that the case?

    • Either the person answering the phone did’t know what she/he was doing or the IHG has discontinued sending these out.

      Officially, you are not guaranteed one, so doesn’t make too much sense trying to track one down if it doesn’t show up.

  • ivan

    i have purchaded us divident miles in oct 2012. when do they expire?

    • “To keep your membership active, you must use or earn miles within a consecutive 18-month period, or your miles may be forfeited.”

      You should just have some activity in your account. Buy something using the US Airways online shopping mall.

  • K-Cool

    Hi John,

    If I have a booking that crosses into the new year e.g. 29 Dec 2013 to 3 Jan 2014, how do the hotel loyalty programs e.g. IHG rewards/Hilton Honors calculate and deposit your qualifying points towards membership tier qualification? Do they count towards the year just past or the new year just arrived? Thanks!

    • Would it affect your qualification? I need to look into this.

      • K-Cool

        I will be okay, for Hilton, but working it out for final quarter for IHG rewards, so it would be helpful to know re: stays/nights/points – will it count towards 2013 or 2014? Thanks for your excellent work!

        • With promos the stays that have overlapped them, they have qualified for both.

          You could always do a status match etc. if something goes wrong.

  • Andrew Fernandes

    Hi John – so the AA Platinum offer does not have a promotion code ?

    • There is a likely code that is included on the piece I wrote. Look at the comments.

  • Marcia

    I have had no luck with getting awarded the free nights when staying at choice privileges motels. I’m currently a platinum choice privileges member, and when I register for the promotion – which I was told was a requirement – I get the message, “you have already for this promotion”. When I asked the customer service rep, they said it was a computer glitch, and to “paste & copy” the message as proof. Do you have a better suggestion? Thank you.

    • File a complaint with the and/or with the Attorney General of the state where you are living. You can do both online.

  • Robert V. Binder

    I’ve just had a very aggravating experience trying to get American Aadvantage tickets (for wife and self, round trip Chicago/Helsinki, around xmas.) The flights offered (even trying several variations) were subpar. Then, after compromising and getting it all lined up, the AA web site told me that I would have to pay an additional $1200 to get the award. I’ve redeemed many miles before and never been subjected to this kind of stick-up. Is this the new normal? Or am I missing a trick?

    • Your flights were likely on BA or IB? American Airlines charges YQ’s (fuel surcharges) for BA/IB flights and those can be HIGH.

      • Robert V. Binder

        Some of the flights were BA, some not.

        • For the least fees you need to avoid both Finnair and Iberia. Try to find availability on American and Finnair.

  • Kat

    Just want to say THANK YOU for your dedication to the best travel blog 🙂

  • Jan

    Hi John
    I’m having trouble with IHG posting points to my account. For example, I had a stay on Sept 12th and received the Win Big points but not the book direct, 2000 points for 60 days, elite member next stay, 5,000 platinum bonus offer, nor the weekend stay. I thought these were all combinable, any suggestions?

    • How you could have signed up for the 2000 points for 60 days two weeks ago when it was not published before last week?

      The Book Direct 2013 is (IHG claims) only for IHG Rewards Club accounts in APAC, although there is no such a requirement on the web page or on the flier that I picked up.

      I am not sure what the requirements for the PLT promo are exactly.

      You shouldn’t worry too much. Just sign up for all the promos and most will work. There are some that won’t.

  • meesha

    Hi. When you purchase points with IHG, do those added points help get you to the next level or just to use if your short points for stays? Thank you. I am new to hotel loyalty programs.

  • Michael Jacobson

    I’ve taken about 5 flights on Virgin America and am about to embark on a trip to London on Virgin Atlantic. I’m an Elevate member and trying to decide if I should join Flying Club or take the points on Elevate?

    • You can credit Virgin Atlantic to number of other partners as well such as Delta.

      I would only open Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account if you will have number of flights coming up with them in the next 12 months and you could get some status. Otherwise, I would credit to Virgin America’s Elevate.

  • Craig

    Hi John – Great forum, thanks for the updates. Great to be able to keep a handle on everything that’s going on. Just tried to book Emirates flights using the Promo code for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (I am in Melbourne and an MSO customer). Doesn’t seem to be working – do you know of any promo codes or links that might still be live or working ?

    • The promo codes that I listed here didn’t originally require passwords. They instituted those later and I don’t have them.

  • RayJHart

    Sorry, your message system dosn’t seem to be working.
    I couldn’t click on the http or copy it to my browser.
    Raymond Hart.

  • Paul

    Hi John. Great work, thanks as always. I have a question about receiving points for multiple rooms with IHG. I recently had a 4 night stay in Mexico and did not receive credit for the second room booked under my reservation. My points summary states “overlapping stay – 0 points”. I feel that I haven’t had this problem on prior multiple room stays in the US. Is it a Mexico thing? I would like to write to IHG for clarification, but I’m not sure if I should be concerned about bringing attention to all the bonus points, it was a 23,000 point stay with all the recent codes you’ve provided (and thanks again!). What do you think?

    • You can only receive points for up to 10 rooms in United States & Canada. You should have credited the second room to family member’s account:

      “At U.S. and Canadian hotels (except InterContinental Alliance Resorts), you can collect points or miles on all Eligible Charges for multiple hotel rooms (less than 10) provided those rooms are used in conjunction with the member’s stay at the same hotel, and that their IHG® Rewards Club member number is recorded on each reservation, or the charges from those multiple room reservations are referred to on the hotel room bill associated with the member’s reservation.”

  • claude et louise blais

    how many points in my compte.claude and louise compte is 930-793-320
    my emaid is

  • Shaun

    Hi, John. I may wonder if you have a instagram account or twitter?

  • Ant

    Hi John, you do a wonderful job with loyaltylobby. I’ve been an Accor Advantage Plus member for past 13 years as a silver status Le Club member. I love being with AAP for the free nights and discounts etc. Half way through year became platinum status via your link(thank you), do you think AAP would take on my new number? AAP membership numbers match the Le Club membership numbers. I’m due for renewal in December and was going to ask then or maybe do it leading up to renewal. Not too worried about my few thousand points that I have with my old Le Club account(unless you convince me otherwise) but also didn’t want to lose my 13year record. Originally AAP and Le Club were two separate numbers and cards, then later on merged into the one card and number, so I’m hoping AAP can adjust to my new Platinum number.
    Thanks in advance.

    • They may or may not do it. Just make sure that you have cleared all the points from your account first. Of course the try to be more accommodating as they are getting you to pay for the membership.

  • Andy

    Hi John – will Hilton Honors be continuing its double points promotion into QTR4 13 please?

  • David

    hey John! Keep up the good work here! Question: CHASE’s new Sapphire card claims to transfer its points as equal to Star Alliance miles and other programmes . Can this be true? Is the card worth the $95/annual?


    • I have not covered CC’s here on LoyaltyLobby but may sometime in the future. They are not Star Alliance miles and there is not such a thing as a Star Alliance miles in the first place.

      There are Star Alliance airlines that you can earn miles with and then use for award flights on number of airlines.

      Chase allows you to convert points to number of airlines including some Star Alliance ones.

  • A.Levent Kilic

    Hi John, I am Turkish Airlines Elite and Star alliance gold and moved to US do I need to worry about getting into any US carrier programs or should I keep getting miles under my Star alliance card since it gives me access to gold lounges here in Star alliance airlines? Also I am mostly using US, American, United for my flights will I be able to use my star alliance miles to get tickets and how?

    • American is in the Oneworld alliance, so you should sign up for their AAdvantage program.It really depends on the amount of flying you are doing with US and UA. US and AA are trying to merge but Justice Department is trying to block it. It is unsure if it is going to go through at this time.

      You can sign up for UA or US program and continue enjoying the TK*G benefits while crediting to UA or US.

      • A.Levent Kilic

        Thanks for the quick reply John. I will do as you suggested. How do you think I can use my existing TK miles (230K) with US and UA flights? I couldn’t find a way in the web to do that.

        • I am sure that there is an award chart on TK’s website. You can check UA/US availability on United’s website and then call TK to book them using their miles.

          • A.Levent Kilic

            Thank you for all the info sir.

  • Ryan

    Thanks for all the good stuff on your website

    Im currently United Platinum and fast approaching 1K; I wanted to take advantage of match program but I’m on the fence with two skyteam airlines (also I’m waiting to get 1k prior to applying for status match – hopefully that’s a good idea)

    Should I take up deltas or AirFrances status match?

    Currently I’m flying to France/USA a fair amount but unsure of future transatlantic travel needs (I’m based in. USA)

    In review of their programs, upon attaining highest status Delta offers 6 upgrades whereas it appears AirFrance does not offer any. Additionally if this time next year I’m flying mostly USA domestic, I’m afraid Delta would not provide all the same benefits if I’m an airfrance platinum (‘vs delta diamond)

    Curious if you think its wiser to go after Delta or AirFrance..

    Thank for your time!

    Best regards,

    • Those Delta upgrades only work from very expensive fares unlike AA’s and to some extend UA’s. If you would be flying Delta domestic a lot next year, I would go for Delta match for better upgrades.

  • Chris

    Need you help!
    On 20-9-2013 I redeemed 6000 Melia Rewards points into 3000 Miles and More (Lufthansa) miles, which posted to my M&M account some 3, 4 days later. But, now, on 31-9-2013 those miles have vanished from my M&M account, and there are also no original 6000 Melia Rewards points on my Melia account… even worse, my friend bought 8000 Melia points on 6-8-2013, and redeemed them for 4000 miles, which posted some days later… now, more than 2 months later, also those miles have vanished from his account… what the hell is happening?

  • Tam

    For the MileagePlus dining sign-up, do you have to use a MileagePlus credit card, or will any card, esp one you are trying to meet a spend on, do (e.g., SPG AMEX)?

  • A.Levent Kilic

    I took care of the Accor Platinum request challenge but did not get an answer yet John. IS there a problem, should I redo everything.

    • No need to spam Ask John.I will reply to all those in due course.

      • A.Levent Kilic

        Sorry about that

  • Suzanne Schuelke

    Hi, John. Love getting the email every morning. I would really like your opinion about an issue with Marriott Rewards. It may be resolved but it has really turned me off to the chain and I’d like to know if this is common.

    Marriott is not my main hotel chain, but I do have nine nights with them this year and I was silver with them last year. At least half of my stays (US properties)
    have required a missing points report. But today took the cake. On my
    birthday in early October (about 2 weeks ago) I received an email saying that “We have a gift for you.” When I clicked the link, it said that I would receive a credit of one night toward elite status. Since I am one night away
    from silver for next year I was delighted.

    When it didn’t post I called and was originally told that I was not entitled because I got it last year (it is possible I did, although I can find no record at all, but the email is from this year and says it is a gift for this year). Since it isn’t even points, just a day’s credit, it seemed odd to make such a big deal. When I asked for the
    supervisor, I didn’t get one, but the young lady disappeared and came back and
    said she had discussed the situation and I should have registered by October 2
    (for a gift that they told me about??) but they were having a problem and it
    should post in the next 10 days or so.

    I have no idea if it will post or not, but I’m losing all interest in Marriott. I don’t have to fight with Hilton or IHG for my points; this seems to be unique to Marriott. Would love to know if Marriott is really that much worse or if I’ve just had terrible luck with them.

    • I am not really fond of Marriott Rewards customer service either. Let’s start with the fact that they are only open from Monday to Friday during business hours and entirely closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

      The stays not posting is epidemic for international properties, where the properties are supposed to manually type in the Marriott Reward members stays/points. You would think that there would be a better system in place to ensure proper crediting of points/stays?

      There was no excuse for the bad service that you received from Marriott Rewards due to the email they sent you.

      • Suzanne Schuelke

        Thanks. I’ll post when (if) I get an answer. Also wanted to add a big, big thanks to you for posting of IHG status match. I got it (using my Hilton DIamond) just before two weeks in Kuwait at a Holiday Inn. It made a huge differece in my stay.

  • TravelingJewel

    I’m gold with Marriott. Just checked into a Marriott in Italy. Waited several hours for my room (no early check in). No room upgrade. Hotel doesn’t have a lounge, and breakfast was already included in my room rate. Front desk said I can have a bottle of wine using a coupon in my room (no coupon was in the room). Do I have a case, or is Marriott’s rewards policy so losely written that it’s totally at the discretion of the individual property whether to give any type of rewards? To add insult to injury, because my booking is part of a group reservation, I probably won’t get points for it either.

    • No lounge so you cannot have access & the breakfast is included in the rate. Marriott program doesn’t have Gold amenity.

      • TravelingJewel

        Thanks for the response! I was surprised b/c other silver and gold members I traveled with all got upgraded to executive floor. I haven’t stayed with Marriott in a few years. Thanks for the info!

        • There is no chain that would have a club/executive lounge at all of their full service properties. I would say that Marriott Gold benefits are inline with competitor offerings.

  • ian smith

    Hi John
    Your web page has not changed since Oct 14, hence I have not received any updated information that I know you normally send on a daily basis. I am neverthelwss still getting the updated information via my e-mail, Is there a problem?

    • frischky

      Website working fine for me. Seeing fresh stuff every day… you might want to try another browser and/or clearing your cache. If you are in a corporate network, it could be your proxy is holding onto an old version of the page.

      • We did a server switch last Sunday. There were earlier problems that some were served mobile versions of the page on desktop browser. That should no longer happen.

    • I have checked with “clean” browsers and from different locations and I am not able to replicate this problem. The frischky’s reply is correct. Try different browser and/or flash your cache.

  • san

    it would be very nice to have computer and printer in all the rooms because sometime i don’t want go to the buss center

    • You rarely, if ever, see computers in rooms, but there are hotels that have printers installed in some of the suites.

  • san

    and why some property are charging for the use of the buss center that’s just crazy

  • Rik

    Hi John,

    You should you receive an email with the subject “Contribute”. Could you please respond to that.


  • Alpaca2209

    Due to a long period of illness during 2012/13 I have just found out that I should have transferred my British Midland miles to British Airways last year. I have been a BA Executive member for a number of years, ditto British Midland

    Is there anything I can do about this please?

    Thank you

    • Did you have significant amount of BMI miles? I would draft a letter to BA;s HQ and request them to make an exception due to your personal circumstances. Let me know how it goes.

      You didn’t receive any notice from BMI about this>

  • Marc

    I just signed up for the le club accorhotels platinum… Yeah. Thank you for that. I mostly stay at Sofitel Hotels… Would it be better for me to habe a sofitel platinum as well? os is the accorhotel one almost the same? Thanks

    • Ak

      Marc – they are the same.

    • Le Club Accorhotels is Sofitel’s program also.

  • ak

    John – after scrolling through your website, I now note that booking through a OTA ( does not give me the right to gain hotel loyalty points (which sucks – I should have booked directly with the hotel’s website, provided that they truly stick to their “Best Price Guarantee” promise, would they?).

    Anyway – I wanted to ask, do we still get the privileges of being a gold/platinum member during our stay (eg free welcome drinks / access to rooms / free upgrades)?

    • Best Rate Guarantee with the hotel’s BRG may or may not work. Some are more of a marketing than real promise.

      Some programs/properties extend the elite benefits to 3rd party party bookings and some not.

      • ak

        Ok – I have been previously using Starwood hotels for my work travels and recently signed onto the Le Club Accor Platinum (for the obvious quick bump in status). Keen to see if Le Club extends the benefits to 3rd party or not.

        Looks like a world of pain trying to squeeze the most out of every single booking! Still, I am keen to get the most out of my work trips for the benefit of my personal holiday!

  • Daniel

    Hey John, I just got SPG Gold status and was given 2 options for a free gift. I can choose either double starpoints for a month or 25% off redemption at up to Cat 6 hotel. I know the best choice will ultimately depend on the expenditure of the hotel vs. the cost of the hotel I might redeem for but was wondering if you have any other insights that might be of use here?

    • It really depends on your individual circumstances, but likely the award discount is better bang for the buck IF you can use it.

  • David Wickizer

    Every couple of months, you amaze me by having the IHG Point Breaks list available for perusal before it even gets posted. Any chance you’ll have this for us, soon? Thank you!

    • Nothing yet for the PB’s. The Last Minute Reward nights for November should be, however, out in few hours time.

  • Shaun

    HI JOHN, I found two codes of IHG which seems excluded from your previous post. 4777 – 5000 points for next stay for PLATINUM member;1023 – 3000 points for every stay in the following 90 days.

  • Morgan

    I have Delta Gold Status but was not issued/ lost my actual card. I will be spending the next several months in Germany and will be traveling (flying) extensively throughout the country. I have tried to status match with airberlin, but they will not accept a digital card and screenshots of my statement, but said that if I could produce a legible copy of my card then they would. I am leaving soon for Germany and am not sure I have time for Delta to reissue a card- is there another approach you might recommend that I might try with them? Thanks

    • Printing out the card on paper and taking then a shot of it using a phone?

  • Ryan

    Hi John
    Are there any hotels and airlines that do a straight up status match anymore? I am currently Gold with Delta and Hilton.


  • dale

    Hi John, I would love to see some loyalty info and perks listed here for cruiselines. Any chance you can add this?

    • I don’t have personal experience about cruise line programs, so difficult to cover the same way I do airline and hotel ones.

  • Santiago

    Hey John, I am looking to get the AMEX Platinum Card in the next month or so but I am waiting for a richer offer than 25K or 50K bonus points, do you recall typically when they launch promotions that are richer for that card… Ideally I would get the Business Card but the Personal Card would be fine as well…Thank you! Santiago

    • I have not covered CC’s here on LoyaltyLobby at all, but may in the future.

  • Cindy

    Hi John, thanks for the great posts. I am a Hilton Hhonors Gold member, till 03/2014. It is saying, I need 18 more stays in 2013, otherwise I will be blue in 2014. Is there a way to keep my Gold status without staying 18 times ? As far as I know,
    – since I am already Gold, I cannot use the Fast Track ??
    – even if I open a new account and use Fast Track, I cannot use my Gold benefits for these stays ??
    – is there a Fast Track for Gold members ??
    Please show me a way, so that I can keep my Gold status… Thanks

    • You could do a fast track next year, when your status drops. Alternative solution is to open a new account this year (against program rules) and do the four stays as Silver and later merge the accounts.

  • FlorianA

    Hey John!
    I just signed up for your newsletter. I have Lufthansa Star Alliance Gold. Which way is the easiest to match the status to an American based Airline? Who accepts matching with Lufthansa?

    • None of the airlines does a straight match. AA and US will offer you a paid challenge. Delta and UA one without having to pay. Turkish will comp you their Star Alliance Gold straight away.

  • amanda

    hi john
    do you know discount / promo codes for virgin or air America flying out this Christmas and hope to make some savings

    • There has been occasional flash sales, but I doubt that they would cover the year end holiday season.

  • Curious

    Hi John, why is it the hotel points can be converted to airline miles but not the other way around?

    • The airline programs used to be around before the hotel ones and were more dominant. That is the likely reason.

  • McCaron

    Flying Blue seems to be offering miles when shopping with online retailers.
    The process is: logging on FB website, having cookies activated in the browser, then clicking of the merchant to open a new window and shop.
    I have strictly followed the process and spent over €1,000 which are supposed to be worth >1,500 miles.
    5 days after my transactions, Flying Blue pretends that i have not shopped using their website, just to refuse my claim for miles.
    What should i do.
    If only i knew they were so dishonest, I would have shopped thru cashback websites instead of FB

    • You need to complaint. It may take quite some time for the purchases to track through via the airline shopping malls and the miles credited to your account. There is nothing unusual about that.

      • McCaron

        ok thanks
        i hate chasing this kind of stuff
        i also hate the copy-and-paste answers they sent me

  • Jason

    I just got a letter from Barclays stating that Virgin America had ended their relationship with them and that my Virgin America Visa was being replaced with a new Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. As of January 1, 2014 the Elevate program will end. The new card will earn 2x miles on any travel, 1x miles on all other purchases and will provide a 10% miles back when you redeem points for travel. Redemptions start at 2,500 miles. The First year comes with a free Tripit Pro subscription. I wonder which creditor Virgin America is going use now? There is no information on their website as of now.

    • The Virgin America Elevate program is not ending just the partnership between Barclays and VX.

  • vivek

    i have issues with hilton and they do not reply at
    what are the other email options for hilton elites?

    • That email address should work if you are Gold-member. Did you include all the relevant info on your email?

      • vivek

        inspite of including all my relevant info gold@hilton,com is not responding. what next?

    • Jon

      I suggest tweeting.. it normally gets action when I’ve had problems

  • Marc Fischer

    Hi John. I have Ambassador Platinum Level. To keep the Platinum I think I have to stay in 4 IHG brands and have 40 nights in one year. This year I already stayed at Interconti, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. My Account says though just 2 brands. Do they treat the Holiday Inn brands as just one brand or is it worth to call IHG Rewards?

    • Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express are considered different brands. Give them a call.

  • simon

    Hi John – Round The World Tickets, Business or First . Any good specials around ? depart from Australia (Melbourne) late May 2014 ..thanks Simon

    • You need to contact a travel agent inn Australia that specializes in RTW’s. These tend to cost a lot if originating from Australia.

  • Brea

    I’m currently Krisflyer Gold. Will Aegean match my gold status when I apply for Miles&Bonus? If yes, should I apply for Miles&Bonus membership before sending in the request to Aegean?

    • They don’t match, but TK Miles&SMiles would. It is relatively easy to get the A3 status card, however.

  • Rich

    Hi there. I’m booked I to Sofitel for the next 3 weeks. are there still free Platinum upgrades available? ??


    • Rich

      I tried emailing as per instructions and don’t have twitter or Facebook?


  • Lino

    some weeks ago we were telling that it is possible to merge HHonors account: indeed I was targeted for an offer to be come gold HHonors + 25000 flying blue miles and I signed in with a different address and e mail (I am already HHonors member), but how to merge the 2 accounts later? a friend told me they will refuse….

    • You can merge accounts by simply logging to your account online. If that doesn’t work, just call the customer service. I did this once by myself years ago.

      • Lino

        Indeed I checked online and there is teh possibility to transfer points from account…..but by paying 25 $ x 10.000 points transferred!!!
        Well, I willwait till I will get the 25000 miles and than I will call them by phone…hoping they will not cancel one of the 2 HHonors account…
        John…what do you think?

        • That is incorrect choice. There is a box to merge duplicate accounts. You won’t have to pay anything to merge the points.

          • lino

            That’s absolutely true: I found it.
            Thanks a lot!

  • hyunjin so

    Plz give me the link to get Accor le club platinum membership !!!

    • You have to request via Facebook private message or by signing up for the email newsletter.

  • Spenbro

    Hi there! As of now, I have 945,000 lifetime miles on American and 200,000 lifetime miles on US Air. After the merger, and after Dividend Miles is merged into AAdvantage, will this automatically qualify me to be part of the Million Miler lifetime status?

    • That is a good question. We have not learned anything, how they will handle the lifetime program.

      • Spenbro

        Hello! Any updates to this question?

    • Spenbro
    • Nothing from AA yet how they are going to handle the merging of the accounts.

      • Spenbro

        Thanks for the update. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds!

  • Vkloof

    I saw a post before, how can I get the ihg platinum elite status ? Cheers

  • Catherine

    John, do you cover any news of discount airline?
    Sometimes there are limited seats for discount airline or last minute sell. Not sure if you have this kind of information?

  • Donald

    Hi John, I already sent you a email regaring Accor Platinum sign up offer. Would you be so kind and forward me the link that works? THX

  • ancrisco

    Has anyone had any experience canceling an IHG reservation made using reward nights? Does the same day of deadline apply and if so, will my points be credited back to my account? The terms and conditions mention a processing fee and I was wondering if anyone has experienced this and what that fee consists of. Thanks!

    • There is no “processing” fee for canceling an award night. Did you check the cancellation policy when you made the reservation(s)?

      The points are immediately back to your account, when you cancel an award reservation.

  • Patrice Tully Traina

    Hi John,
    I,m trying to use American airlines miles for a trip to Spain and I’m getting fees of $1700 for a round trip for two. Not sure why…..I’ve done London and Ireland in that past and only paid under $20. Do you have any advice on how to avoid these fees?

    • AA charges fuel surcharges on award flights that are on BA and to some extend on IB’s metal. This is not very well disclosed on the website. You really need to look at using other airlines than BA.

  • Bill

    Hi John,
    Regarding the UA mileage plus lifetime 1K status, will one continue to recieve 6 systemwide upgrades every year even if one does not earn the normal 100K miles every year?

    If not, I do not see a great benefit over the lifetime platinum award.

    Appreciate your insight here.

    Thank you

    • That is a really good question and I am not sure about it. United changed the promised benefits at the 1P level and there is now a class action lawsuit going on as a result.

  • McCaron

    Hi John,
    just spent a weekend in Rome and the hotel was a nightmare: no soundproofing, i slept in a room facing the road like if the windows didn’t exist and above all, i had a major issue with my neighbor who had no manners and kept me up all night with music, tv, loud phone calls, guests in his room. i had to call reception 4 times until 3AM, he was quieter but had a shower at 4AM. complained to the GM, the duty manager got the email and gave me 2000 points while i reported that i totally lost a night of sleep. I requested a partial refund of my stay or a full refund of the concerned night, one of the receptionist told me that as i had a prepaid rate (booked on accorhotels), they couldn’t do a refund. what kind of lame excuse is that…
    GM was off duty this weekend and as the duty manager handled this matter, i guess that she will never answer my email. Now waiting for Accor to respond following my complain using their form on the website….
    can i really expect something in return ? thanks

    • It could be that those advance purchase rates are charged directly by Accor and later reimbursed to the hotel.You could always ask for enough points to cover the price of the night in question. That’s what I would do.

      • McCaron

        thanks for the advice

        the GM just sent me an email asking if i was happy with 2,000 points and a free drink

        i just answered that i was happy with the breakfast, so that she removed the value of the breakfast from the price paid, if she had offered 4k instead of 2k, it would have been better

        let’s see if she agrees

        • McCaron

          the GM just answered me that 2k points was the best she was able to do, i guess that i have to wait for Accor’s response now

          • Likely goes to the same GM’s table.

          • McCaron

            No response from Accor Customer Service, so i decide to forward my complain to the Country Operations Manager

          • I am opening one case about an Accor hotel as well.

          • McCaron

            please note that the VP Operations Manager and his assistant answered my emails last week and today

            i’m awaiting for a gesture to be confirmed

            but so far, i’ve never heard of any follow-up from Accor Customer Service after my complain

          • Just email me all the correspondence that you have had with the property/Accor and I could have this as a compensation clinic piece before the end of the year.

          • McCaron

            please let me know if you need some info / material for your article if you decide to publish the story

  • lino

    John, I flew BRU HOU via Amsterdam and the way back HOU AMS via New York, flying with KLM. Business ticket so lounge access granted (anyhow I am flying platinum….).
    I am hardly flying via New York: KLM flights have been handled by Delta and the lounge as well………….and I was astonished:
    the nice was very nice but …..apart some carrots, bevarage (not alcohol) and buiscuit from Alabama….the rest was chargable!!!!
    Well………I am not asking for a service like the ones I an receiving Flying on Emirates, Singapore Airlines etc…. but at least something decent as you can find in Frankfurt or Munich with LH or Paris/AMS with KLM/Air France.
    In the last 2 years I flew a lot with Air Canada and the lounge in Toronto was very good (showers for free and not chargable like at JFK).
    I am going to complain to KLM: if people are not starting complaining nothing will happen.
    I don’t know if US people are complaining about that….if not they should!

    • TravelingJewel

      Most of the domestic US lounges on US carriers are pretty bad, in my experience. If I can go to another terminal without going back through security, and I have extra time, I’ll go hang out in the foreign carrier’s lounge. For instance, I’ll go to Lufthansa instead of United when I’m in the United States. The offerings in the lounges in the US are abysmal.
      But, I have to say that Lufthansa in Frankfurt sometimes is pretty bad- pretzels and hot dogs all day long.

    • TravelingJewel who replied earlier than me is right. The lounges in the US are not great and if they have any foreign partner airline lounge in the same terminal, you should go and use them.

      There is practically no complimentary food and all “premium” (not really premium by any means) alcohol is not complimentary.

  • Paul

    John, I am going to Las Vegas in May (from the uk)
    Looking to stay at the Venetian, I am an ambassador. Is there a IHG website in the USA with discounted rates on the same line as that I use for discounted rate in Europe.

    • You may want to check the rates on Venetian’s website directly as well.

      There are no such a discount scheme in the US, as the Greenroom rates that you refer to in the UK/Europe.

  • William

    Regarding UA mileage plus……

    What is the key benefit of 1K for life when compared to the platinum for life? Will they give you the six systemwide updates every year? Any others?

    Also how about the global services for life when compared to 1K for life? What are the key differences?

    • How far are you from reaching these? United can change the million miler program at any time they wish and they did that already by watering down the promised benefits.

      • William

        For the 1K level, about 200K miles. Perhaps will reach it within 2 years.

        Wondering if it will be worth to go for the global services lifetime level.

        • If you are so close to lifetime 1K, I would certainly go for it and then make the decision, whether you should try to pursue lifetime GS status.

          • William

            Thanks. Will pursue the lifetime 1K for now.

            Also, have found your newsletter most informative and helpfull!

          • Thanks for the feedback on the newsletter!

  • TravelingJewel

    Hi John- I am 7,000 miles short on United for 1k status this coming year. Does United sell miles that would count toward status? I’ve searched their website and come up empty. Your blog is the greatest!!

    • You can use the Premier Accelerator for any itinerary that you have ticketed on Even partner awards are eligible for this.

  • Mr.Lion

    Hi John,
    IHG Christmas offer shows interesting rates. Are these stays counted for “Big Win”?

    • The rates don’t officially qualify for stay credits/points and thus would not be qualifying under the Big Win either. Some of the MAY (but you cannot count) post as qualifying, however.

  • BBK

    Hi John!

    Some time ago when I was upgraded (UA Premier Silver) for the first time with Copa I noticed the “C” class in the boarding pass (added after the flight number, I originally bought M class). I wrote MileagePlus customer service asking if because of the upgrade to C class I will earn the bonus mileage that corresponds to that class, they answered that the earning structure will be that of the original paid class of service, unless I paid for the upgrade. I Clearly understood.

    Now I was flying a long route MAD-FRA (LH)Then FRA-ORD-IAH-CCS with UA, all segments in paid Business. The FRA flight arrived just a little late at ORD (about 30minutes) and the connecting time for the IAH flight was a little tight (2 hours exactly original itinerary, now 1:30).. The passport control lane was too long and when I was dropping my bags I was told that I was already reassigned to the next flight, but the agent apologized he could only get me an economy seat.. My original ticket was D class (base mile earning bonus 175%) but In my mileage activity this leg shows Y class (same PQM and PQS earning structure, but 150% base miles bonus). I also forgot at that moment that domestic flights in the US don’t serve any meal (complimentary) in economy and I wasn’t aware that meal vouchers exist.

    So I really appreciate to know if I’m entitled to the earning structure of my original paid ticked for that leg (D class), and for future knowledge, could I have received any compensation? (meal voucher?).

    Thank you!

    • You could have done few things on that misconnected flight:

      1. You should have asked to be wait listed for the first class seat at the highest priority. You would have trumped all the upgrades etc.
      2. You could have requested to be accommodated on some other airline on the booked/paid class.

      IMHO, you should write to MileagePlus and request miles per the original booking and some extra miles/voucher for the inconvenience of having being downgraded on the domestic segment.

  • LK

    I am looking for united miles to by at a percentage off sale,
    do you know how they or when they determine united will have a sale to purchase miles necessary for future trips?

    • They have them periodically and I always cover them here. Just sign up for our blog email newsletter.

  • Alex

    SingaporeAir – I’m short of S$12,000 for PPS re-qualification, should I just fly F suites return for this shortfall, is it worth it to keep this PPS status?

    • That is quite a bit of money and I don’t believe that PPS is worth it. What do you think?

  • Shane

    Hi John – love the site, I learn a lot especially about IHG. Quick question, I received a targeted bday offer from IHG where I can earn bonus points for a weekend stay. T&C’s say I must register and that stay must be completed within 90 days. But 90 days from when… from when I register or when they sent the email? If possible, I’d like to ‘push’ the date when I register since I don’t intent to have a weekend stay at IHG for at least 3 weeks.

    • It is 90 days from the registration. Note that I cannot predict that for how long the registration will stay open.

  • Monika

    Hi John, nice to see you on TV 🙂 I have got the similar suite at IC Hanoi. Unbelievable…. On my way to IC R Shanghai, let’s see what they offer, later holidays at IC Danang.
    I have few questions:
    Do you maybe know how can I get status match from oneworld (Finnair or BA) having LH Senator?
    Can I transfer my Aeroflot points to the KLM/Air France account?
    Status match of IHG or Accor Platinum to Sheraton and Hilton?
    Thank you for the great website!

    • I have had four different suites at the IC Hanoi! Have not been to the IC that you mention in Shanghai. You got it from the PB’s? I have had a good friend staying at the Danang one.

      You can get a match to TK*G if you are after Star Alliance Gold status.

      You cannot transfer Aeroflot points out.

      Both Hilton and SPG can offer you a challenge. You can get Hilton Gold For $50 or SPG Gold for one stay in APAC.

      • Monika

        Shanghai Ruijin was really interesting – like a temple in the middle of busy town. I strongly recommend if you go to Shanghai and you are after IC. Separate building for Ambassador rooms and a very good Club Lounge FOC for Platinum Ambassador.
        Was Danang good? I can still cancel…
        I am actually after Oneworld Gold, because I have Star Alliance Gold already. Any tips? I can’t make too many flights with Finnair, because their business class tickets cost fortune if departing from Finland. Maybe BA?

  • Marc Fischer

    Royal Ambassador Referral.
    Hi John
    My friend just got the Royal Ambassador status. Is it still possible to refer the status to a friend with standard Ambassador? I would be first on his list 🙂

    • Marc Fischer

      And in addition if the referral is still given. How long will the Royal level be valid to? For one year or just until the referred persons Ambassador expires?

      • If your friend qualified for the status on his/her own (not referred), the RA kit that he/she receives will include the RA referral form.

        The referred RA status is valid until the referred persons Ambassador expires.

        • Marc Fischer

          Thanks John. Is there a way to optimize the validity of the referral? My Ambassador expires in June – of course I will renew after that.

          • You should get referred at the start of your Ambassador year to get the full 12 months.

  • Dr Dave

    Have you noticed that the Reward Points required for IHG properties has jumped by close to 50% recently–seems that the point rate is 100/ $7 US rather than the 100/ $9 to $10 US that I had seen in the past…have you noticed this? This certainly has implications for the points purchase price,and a type of inflation…have seen this with Delta, but not with hotel points….Comments?

    Dr. Dave

    • I am not quite following you here. The required number of points for a free night is usually set once a year.

      You can use the Points + Cash and you can substitute 10K points for $70.

  • Alex

    Hi John, is there a status match for RitzCarlton or Marriott Rewards?

    • There used to be a very easy fast track for Marriott Gold and Platinum. Currently, they only have targeted offers.

  • Larry

    Hello John! Thanks for starring in the “Freerider” documentary. I really enjoyed watching it and discovering the amazing world of professional loyalty travel. As you travel a lot, I’m curious about your luggage – do you only have cabin bags, or do you also check bigger luggage? What kind of stuff do you keep in your bags, and do you pack both winter and summer clothing all the time? Also, any and all beginner’s tips to get going with loyalty programs – for a Finnish guy travelling mostly for fun and some business all around the world about 40-60 hotel nights a year – would be very much appreciated… Many thanks, and happy travels!

    • Well. I don’t quite agree with the Finnish title of the doc and some “travel hacks” that HS was referring to.

      I am traveling on a Black 22 that I can take to the cabin. It is obviously bit heavier than cabin bag should be, but airlines rarely weight these.

      Normally, I am in warmer temperatures, but do have winter’ish cardigan that I can use in cooler countries (but not when it is -30).

      • Larry

        Thank you John! Yes, the documentary did feel a bit naive when coming to some hacks. Obviously, getting where you are requires a great deal of knowledge, effort and persistence. Can I ask you one more question? Do you generally advise to concentrate flights to a certain Alliance (to earn higher statuses faster)? Seems like I have the basic loyalty cards from KLM (SkyTeam), United (Star Alliance), and Finnair (Oneworld). Just not that many miles yet 😉

        • I have lifetime status with both Star Alliance (Gold) and Oneworld (Sapphire). It helps a lot, as I don’t have to hit number of flights/miles to keep those.

          You could look into Aegean’s Star Alliance offers and, quite frankly, AA’s current program is better for mile earnings than Finnair’s.

          • Lisa

            Hi John,

            Just out of curiosity how did you get life status with star alliance ?

  • rdrago43

    Well, United Airlines did it (require specific minimum spend annually along with real miles flown to qualify for the different Silver, Gold, Platinum, 1k levels):


  • M

    I have HHonors Gold card. My understanding is that If I have no stays for 12 months then HHonors may cancel all of my points. I am just not sure whether by stays it is meant when I stay and gather the points or a reward stay is enough to extend the validity of my points for the next 12 months. Any idea? much appreciated, thanks

    • You could purchase some points or donate them.

      ” Members who do not have eligible activity as defined in a. –
      d. below in any 12 consecutive month period may be removed from the
      Program and are subject to forfeiture of all accumulated points. At the
      discretion of Hilton HHonors Worldwide, such Members may be permitted to
      remain in the Program and removed after five years of inactivity. To keep accumulated HHonors Points, the Member must take one of the following actions within a 12 consecutive month period:
      a. stay at a hotel within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio pursuant to the terms herein;
      b. earn
      HHonors Points through any third party source of HHonors Point
      accumulation, including a Hilton co-branded credit card, pursuant to its
      c. purchase HHonors Points; or,
      d. donate points through The Hilton HHonors Giving Back Program.”

      • M

        And this is exactly something what is not clear to me. Does the point a. mean a reward stay as well? Or as a must it can be only a paid stay? I have been reading it a few times before I decided to double check with you. Does the reward stay extends the validity of my points?

        • Reward stay is a “qualifying” stay per the T&C’s. My best guess would be yes.

  • Chadontheroad

    Hi John, first I want to say thanks for all the info. I am typing in from a lovely club upgrade in the IC Kunming at half price and will get two more night for china dream before the year is out! I really appreciate your focus on APAC, being a Canadian living in China. And your tips to status match myself to IC Plat have been helping have a great second choice when Fairmont great rates are not available. I would like to ask this, after following your advice and turning 13 short haul discounted economy tix on Air China into A3*G (thanks again!), which airline should I be banking my future CA flights with? (their points program is awful)

    • Previously, I would have said without hesitation UA’s MileagePlus, but you may as well try Avianca’s LifeMiles instead.

      They have good award chart and you can substitute miles for cash. Just make sure that those CA flights are in eligible fare classes.

      • Chadontheroad

        Thanks John. I will look into LifeMiles. I know what you mean about CA eligibility, that’s the reason I stopped buying tix on 3rd party sites and only directly from CA website, so I could see the seat class BEFORE I paid for the ticket, and could compare it against the other airline’s earning schedule.

  • Wang

    Hi John,

    For IHG China Dream Promo, can I book a hotel and name my family member to check in(as second person)? (Thinking to give my parents a stay as a part of my anniversary gift)


    • There is nothing in the T&C’s stating that awards nights wouldn’t be transferable. Always easier if you have the same last name.

  • David

    Need to go to Brazil on a business trip (on TAM) this January, before the One World re-entry. Have there been delays or denials by United Airlines to accept miles from a departing member?

    • You will be fine. As long as you are ticketed on a qualifying fare class, you will get your United miles.

  • James

    Hi John, how do you find the RA treatment at the IC bangkok? I’m thinking of having a run at making RA this year, mainly to stay at that hotel.

    • As an RA you can choose between a suite or club access. The minibar at this hotel is good (four/five 2 deciliter bottles of alcohol) and they used to bring one red wine bottle as RA gift too. Not sure if they still do.

      • James

        Many thanks, happy new year and hope you keep up the great work with this site.

  • lino

    Hello John!I would like to wish you and all the readers happy new year….and thank you for your blog: in the 2013 I have increased about 25 – 30% my points on hotels loyalty programs thanks to your blog.

    • Great! Happy New Year 2014 and may it be even more points rich than 2013!

  • Sangbum

    Hi John, I’m trying to book an award travel from NYC to IST round trip business class using my UA miles before the devaluation kicks in. My requirements are

    – For trans-Atlantic flight, it should be flat bed seat
    – In either of outbound or inbound route, I’d like to take advantage of stopover at any of European locations
    – 2 weeks duration in late Sep or early Oct

    So far I’m only using United Website Award search but I can only find TK or EI trans-Atlantic where there’s no flat bed seat. I heard LH flights from JFK to MUC are flat beds so tried to route via MUC but no luck. Any tips for me? Happy new year!

    • You should check Air Canada’s gateway cities to Europe as well, but I would choose something as direct as possible and maybe forgo some comfort.

      • Sangbum

        Hi John. I took your advice and created following routings.

        09/25 UA EWR>YYZ
        09/27 AC/TK YYZ>LHR>IST
        10/03 TK IST>DUS
        10/12 AC BRU>YUL>LGA

        Yes I’m staying in Toronto for 2 days because I don’t want to make more than 1 stop from EWR to IST.

        When I called UA, the agent says it’s not possible because there are 2 stopovers (YYZ & IST) and 1 open jaw (DUS>BRU) so the only way to make this work is to separate IST>DUS so that it will make 1 stopover(YYZ) and 1 open jaw (DUS>BRU). To me, IST is not a stopover because it’s the final destination so I don’t understand this.

        Can you explain how this works? How can I make the entire routing without violating roundtrip award rules? I just need to spend time in IST and somewhere in Europe (DUS or BRU) but no 2 stop flight. That’s it. Hope you can help. Thanks.

        • The open jaws can be at either origin or destination. You can have the open jaw at DUS/BRU but then that is your destination and IST is the stopover.

    • cindy

      Hi, TK has direct flights from NYC to IST, 3 times per day. All business seats are flat bed. They even had a flying cook, in my last LAX to IST direct flight.

      • Sangbum

        Cindy – TK direct flight is just not available in the UA award seating. That’s the problem.

        • Cindy

          OK, just wanted to say, in all TK trans-atlantic and long haul direct flights, there are flat beds in business.

          • Sangbum

            TK 82 (BOS>IST) is available but according to Seatguru it’s angle lie seat. Is it incorrect?

          • Seems that TK has scheduled the BOS-IST on A340 that according to Seatguru has angled seats.

          • Cindy

            Hi Sangbum, I have talked with TK, yes as you said, it has angled seats. But maybe you choose from JFK>IST, 3 flights/day or Wash.DC>IST, they all have flat beds in business. I hope this helps.

  • wa

    I’m close to gold medallion status on delta. I can buy the remaining MQMs for 495.00
    is it a good deal?

    • That would give you SkyTeam Elite + status. It really depends how much planned travel do you have for 2014?

  • Kyle

    John, will Southwest Airlines devalue the Rapid Rewards points on bookings after 3/31/14 or on traveling after 3/31/14?

    Thanks in advance

  • Luis


    I didn’t receive your auto daily mail updates. Am I missing something?
    Tried to subscribe again but confirmation email didn’t come through – not even spam.


    • Just double checked and it seems to be working you, right? The email address that you use for Disqus has been opening the last few blog email updates as well.

      • Luis

        Yes. Not sure why but seems to work now. Thanks,

  • Masha

    Dear John! any ideas to get chic and cheap Paris hotel deals in May?

    • Chic and cheap? That’s difficult. Maybe you could use Hotwire or Priceline and try to find a deal using their opaque options.

  • Vince

    Hi John,

    I recently registered for Iberia’s Xmas 3000 avios bonus promotion for booking on and using my Iberia account.

    If I then change and add my British Airways number, will I still be credited with this bonus?

    The T&C just states one has to purchase on Iberia using corresponding account.


    • I am almost certain that the promo won’t kick in unless you use Iberia FF number at the time of flying. You can always link your IB and BA accounts and transfer points in between them.

  • riddledmermaid

    What is the best/fastest way to get miles with American Airlines. I am trying to get and upgrade as I have several really long flights ahead of me.

    • Flying? You could try to find someone with Evips and/or miles and do some kind of a deal.

  • Susan

    Greetings John – Glad to have found your most helpful website!

    I read that we need to request the info to obtain the Accor Platinum sign up offer.

    Can you share that info? If its no ;onger available, do you think I should wait until it becomes available again? Thanks for your time & expertise! S

  • Ryan F

    Question about Hilton and their points and money program…. I have not been able to find any worthwhile properties that off it (shocker). Does anyone out there happen to have a list of the nice (tropical resort type) properties that offer it? Or do category 8-10 not do it?

    • Some do and some don’t. It is up to the hotels to decide if they want to offer thus award type. I would imagine that it is offered when the business is slow.

  • Mark

    Hi! I was
    supposed to book a Business class ticket at LifeMiles from Stockolm to NY with
    SWISS (I wanted that way). By mistake I issued from CPH instead. I realized
    that 10 days latter and called and canceled the ticket. Now the leg from Zurich
    to NYC is not available anymore! Even tough I already have my miles back and
    the ticket it’s canceled.

    The flight
    is in August. Do you know why it isn’t showing it anymore? Do you think swiss
    will realease some availability till then?

    • The award availability is dynamic. When you cancel an award, it doesn’t mean that the seat goes back to the same fare bucket (business class award on most Star Alliance carriers is I).

      They may make more available or they may not. It all depends on revenue management.

  • Adam

    Great work! I find your blog to be one of the most helpful of all of the ones in the points/travel space. Quick question. I have an accor stay I think I want to make at the La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc – MGallery Collection. I am going from Feb 20th-24th. I don’t think any of the current promos apply. What is my best way to get the lowest rate at this property? If you have any other hotel reco’s for phu quoc let me know I am open to suggestions. Thanks

    • You should check the rates using the current Private Sale and have a look a the Le Club Accorhotels promotions that I just wrote about few days ago.

  • Miciz

    Is there any good sign up bonuses for loyalty programs? I’m just newbie in this business and I’m travelling basically in Finland and Europe.

  • hw

    IHG messing up *76 qualifying nights on 2014??*

    2014 Year-to-date Summary

    Total Points Earned:


    Elite Qualifying Points Earned:


    Elite Qualifying Nights:


    Elite Qualifying Brands:


    • Those are the rollover nights from 2013. How many qualifying nights did you have at the end of 2013?

  • guillaume

    hi john, do you know any discount promotional code for airfrance or etihad ? thanks for all !!!

  • Ian smith

    Hi john

    I don’t know if you had any similar experiences with your credit card being overcharged even before your arrival. Latest one is a future stay at an Ibis Darling Harbour where my card has been overcharged by 60 AUD. After a few E-Mails they have agreed I was overcharged. However I will lose out due to my credit card company charging a fee to transfer AUD back into Euros. I also wonder if the hotel customer has any protection from an unauthorised amount being taken from their card without their consent?

    • Was this a advance purchase rate? What was the total and how much did they charge? Did they give any reasons why they would have overcharged you?

      • Ian smith

        Hi John. Thank you for your reply. Yes it is an Advance Purchase Rate. The price for two nights is 324.00 AUD, invoice to prove amount, price charged on credit card 384.00 AUD. Cannot get a reason why the extra amount was added, even had to provide my figures due to them trying to claim their price was right.

        • You could always file a complaint with consumer protection agency in Australia (I am sure that they have one). This is absolutely ridiculous from the hotels part and could imagine that they getaway with it often.

  • Nobby

    Hi John, Ststus matching for Qantas Platinum (Emerald oneworld) do you have any
    suggestions for status matching for either hotels or other airlines.

    • You could get status match with TK for Star Alliance Gold and for SkyTeam Elite+ with Aerolineas Argentinas. Maybe match to EY Gold too (if you have good relationship with a travel agent).

  • intermagix

    Hi John, I emailed and called IHG to fix the 2 missing links in my Big Win offers to try to figure out what are those 2 offers. However, the links are still faulty. Is there any contact number or email that you can give me to contact IHG? Thanks.

    • I only have contacts at the communications department. You have not heard back from them yet?

  • Weili

    Many discussion and posts about IHG points. Any thought and recommendation for choosing miles from IHG program instead on points? Pros or cons?

    • I would say that considering the number of points promotions that IHG has and the way you can use the for hotel nights, it is better to collect points versus airline miles.

  • Jason A.

    Hey John… I completed The Big Win with IHG for Fall of 2013 without any issues. I even used state govt. rates for most of my stays and one AAA rate and all was well.

    The Spring 2014 Big Win seems to not be posting to the Big Win Status page as fast this time around. Here are my two concerns:

    1). I took the 100 point survey for the Spring 2014 Big Win in December when I first registered. On the Big Win status page for 2014, it says I have 100/89800 points. I took that survey three weeks ago and while the 100 points have posted to the promotion’s status page, the 100 points have not posted to the My Account section (they seemed to have posted faster last time).

    2). I had qualify stays (using govt rate like last Fall) on January 7th and January 9th. Neither stay has posted to the Big Win 2014 status page (but they have posted to the My Account where your normal points show up). Don’t you think they should have been added to the promotion status page by now? They definitely appeared they much sooner last time. Just wondering if you have any thoughts.

    Thanks so much for your awesome blog. 🙂

    • Even in the fall the tracking on the Big Win website was not real time. As long as the stays have posted correctly to your account, they will count towards the spring promo.

  • Alex

    Hi John, if i book on IHG website rate +2000 bonus points, do these 2000 Bonus points count for my elite qualifying points status?

    • Bonus Points Package rate should qualify. Just make sure that they add that to your base qualifying points.

  • stewart

    How do I change my Password???

  • Mark

    Re: IHG’s “Senior Discount” rate. (New thread?)

    In the past I never found this to give the ‘best’ rate – others like 35% off were always better, so I rarely looked. But now things seems to have changed? I recently looked at IC London Westminster, and found the Senior rate was much better than the next best (Advance Saver), and refundable too!

    Plus, unless I misunderstood before, it is now available for ALL over-62’s with proof of age, not just members of certain USA clubs. (The wording is “….available to guests who are 62 years of age or older OR with valid membership ID….” though that page only mentions USA & Canada).

    I’ve seen nothing on here, but am I right – has this improved? And if so, what are the most likely brands / locations to give worthwhile Senior Discounts?

    • Thanks! I need to look into this. You can become an associate member of AARP at any age.

  • Mark

    Hey John..can you delve into the SPG price guarantee. They say LMTClub (Last Minute Travel) does not qualify for a “third party” website since it is a member only site. They would not honor my 2k point incentive request. The SPG best price guarantee is a far cry from the IHG version…but 2k points is 2k points!!!

    • LMTC doesn’t qualify because you have to become a member before having access to the lower prices.

  • BBK

    Hello John! Just dropped you an interesting email (bcc’d you in my exchange with IHG service desk) on how far a HIE is going to not honor a silly 1,000 bonus from the rate I reserved/payed/stayed. Can’t believe I’m writing four times to them for that case.

  • Herman

    Hey John, I already know my starwood travel for the year and would like to purchase some cheap nights now while some starwoods have good promos. I can certainly pre-pay online, the issue is that I will Not be able to check in… Do you know if I get the SPG credit for a night stayed if I just Pay for the Room (via online prepay), but I do not check in???

    • Won’t work that way. You have to check in physically to get the stay credit (don’t have to spend the night if you don’t want to, however).

  • TravelingJewel

    Hi John, I have 11k Qantas miles set to expire in a few days. Any suggestions on how to extend them? I’ve looked at buying something on their store, but toy would suck up all the miles. Is there any way to transfer them to a hotel or other airline?

    • 9.2.1 Except as otherwise provided in these Terms
      and Conditions, Points will not expire as long as the Member remains an
      Active Member.

      Install the toolbar and do few searches:

    • Victor

      If you’re based in Australia, you could obtain a Woolworths Everyday Reward card for free, link it to your Qantas FF, shop at Woolworths supermarkets, and scan the card at the checkout, and you get one FF mile per dollar over $30, which counts as activity to re-activate your account.

  • Dj Herny

    I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m travelling to New York for the first time in my life on March.
    As for us residents is practically impossible to buy dollars here, because the government prevents us for doing it, could someone tell me if I can travel with pesos and then exchange them for dollars there?
    Thanks so much for your answers!

    • I think that it is better if you could get it done in Buenos Aires if with some that are coming there and would like to exchange Euros or Dollar to Argentinean pesos.

  • Robert

    I just got TK Elite, which I built up from 0 miles within a one year period. How could I maximize the potential of it? (Can I do a status match?) Also, what is the fastest way of earning extra 40,000 for Elite+ on TK? I am very grateful for your input 🙂

  • Kari Sjöblom
  • Eric Magazu

    Wyndham announced a Gold tier. I believe they didn’t have tiers before. Is there any information on this? For example, are they offering status matches or other promos?

  • A San

    Question: I registered for some IHG rewards bonus promotions using the 4-digit codes that circulate around. I was Platinum then, and some of the promos applied to Plats only. Now i’m back to club. Will those Platinum-specific promos continue to be valid to earn bonus points?

    • I just wrote a piece about some status downgrades that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. You may want to have a look at it.

      Some promotions that say that you need to be an elite member for them to post do work on Club Accounts as well.

  • lino

    Hello! I am a diamond member HHonors, but last year I did not reach points even for being gold in 2014. Anyhow on my online statement is written that based on my actual points in 2015 I will be a Blue Member…..and what about 2014? I am not calling them becaus….well you can imagine.
    What do you think?

    • They will likely downgrade you to Blue come April 1. You could always inquiry if they have a fast track offer for you to get back to Diamond status late March or early April. Otherwise, just do the fast track promo for Gold status that just requires four stays.

  • Anna Macleod

    Hi, could you please give me the Accor platinum status link please? Thanks

  • vivek

    is the 5000 points (plus 2000 points) for 2 night hilton promotion valid for award stays ?

    • These have usually posted for award stays as well, although not guaranteed.

  • Susie

    HI John, Is there any special airfare or package for traveling Europe in Jun-Jul from US for family?

  • Greg

    Would like some advice – I’ve got a trip coming up in April. Booked through American’s website operated by Cathay so even if it is class L it’s code share American and I’ll get the qualifying points. Based on this I’ll have Gold by the end of the summer. Is it worth signing up for the challenge before this trip to get platinum? That way for my next trip I’ll have the elite status benefits.

    • Greg

      To make it more worthwhile – if I get Platinum after the first leg of the trip, does this kick in automatically and give me Saphire status? Meaning, on the way home would I be able to get upgrades to premium economy on Cathay?


      • Status with American Airlines won’t get you any upgrades on Cathay beyond rare op ups. The benefits of having Sapphire status for your trip: 100% RDM bonus and lounge access. I would do it.

        • Greg

          Thanks for the help!

  • soretooth

    I just bit into a metal ball bearing in my room service in a certain nameless big chain of hotels. They know me and I stay here often. First offer was equivalent of 1 free night in their medium/good category of hotels – which I said was a good start. What do you think a fair number is?

    • I would ask for points equivalent of a free night at the same category hotel.

  • NM

    John, I have just booked an Accor hotel using my points. I am a Platinum member, will I still benefit from all the extra such as free upgrades etc?
    Also – my stay was 14,000 points plus around $30 to pay at the hotel. Will I be able to use a 40 euro reward voucher to pay for the remaining element of my stay or it is just for extra such as bar & restaurant?

    • You should get the same elite level benefits even on voucher stay. You can use the 40 euro voucher towards the $30 and other expenses incurred during your stay,

  • I have a question. I was looking into a One World rtw ticket. While playing around with the routing, I was trying to go from Santiago, Chile to Tahiti (and is a One World member). I know that Lan flies this route but every time, I place it into the itinerary, it states that I have to do an independent surface sector since there is no direct route. Do you know what the problem could be?

    • No idea, Have you tried a travel agent? I have flown on LAN’s business from Santiago to IPC and continued to PPT.

  • Ted

    I emailed you a few days ago, but I haven’t got a reply from you yet.
    I just wanted to know whether you got my email or not.

  • TravelingJewel

    Hello, I just stayed in a Kempinski Hotel. I’m Platinum (via status match) with the company. I stayed with a group (so group rate booked by person who organized stay). I inquired at check in whether I had lounge access, and was told no, but I could purchase it for $150USD/Day. I declined that. I found out at checkout that two members of my group booked in exactly the same rooms at the same rate who don’t have status were given lounge access. I wasn’t offered anything at all, or even thanked for being a platinum member. I feel like I have no case b/c it was a group booking and also b/c I hold status through a match, not through nights stayed. What do you think?

    • Not familiar with the Kempinski’s program (aren’t some part of GHA too?). What are the PLT level benefits?

      • TravelingJewel

        This was a GHA property. GHA PLT is upgrade (when available) and local experience. THe local experience posted to my account AFTER I stayed there, so have to use it the next round. No room upgrade was offered, though in reading reviews of this property online, it looks like there is little difference amont rooms. But, I would have liked a room classified at a higher level to give me lounge access, especailly since those (who hold no status) in my group were automatically given access to the lounge. I think the issue is with the front desk- they didn’t seem to have any knowledge about GHA.

        • You probably should have escalated and have the MOD intervene. If I come across an uninformed front desk agent (happens once in a while), I just smile and ask them to page the MOD.

  • Eric Magazu

    Dr. Ollila, I believe I read in your biography that you are in the top tier of every Loyalty program. However, many hotel chains require a certain number of stays per year to keep you remaining at that status, and they’re aren’t enough days in the year to achieve the top tier every year at every chain. I’m wondering how you never fall below the minimum threshold?

    • Eric Magazu

      It occurred to me that due to your high level of influence in the loyalty industry, that perhaps you are comped the top tier by all chains. Alternatively perhaps you have lifetime status with them all due to your intense loyalty to all chains (seems like an oxymoron) throughout all your years of travel!

      • There are 365 days in a year and I spent most of them at hotels. You can easily get top status with most of the major chains that I cover here. No comped statuses.

  • MisterChk

    are there loyalty programs that will award elite status as a “lure” to individuals holding top status with other programs?

    • Fewer and fewer programs grant the status upfront. Most programs are now offering challenges.

  • Cpallo

    So this seems bizarre to me….online chat with IHG to try and get the rate honored through them….see how it goes below. Basically they will not match the rate. but they will refund you the price of one night as well as matching the rate AFTER you book through them and prove the lower night was the same room on another site. IS this really as asinine as I think?

    CHRISTINEP: 10:37Wanting to make a reservation, seeing it at $10 less per night on expedia. will you match or beat?
    Marissa has joined the session 10:39Marissa: 10:41Hello Christine!Marissa: 10:42The rooms available on our website are the actual inventory of the hotel and we can only book the available rates on our database. Third party websites have rooms available which they reserved or set with the hotel ahead of time. You may book with them though. We cannot answer to their rates and cancellation policy.
    CHRISTINEP: 10:43Thanks for the info…can I ask what the Low Price Guaranetee on your website is all about?
    Marissa: 10:44We do have the Best Price Guarantee program where in if you find a lower room price(room rate) with a lower total room cost (including all taxes and fees) on a publicly available competing web site for the same hotel, type of accommodations and rate restrictions on the same dates, IHG will honor the lower rate plus give you the first night’s room price free which is subject to the Best Price Guarantee Terms and Conditions. n nTo determine if you have a valid claim, you will need to contact the Best Price Guarantee Desk and the only way to do that is by submitting an online claim form through this link: n n

    • Yep. You have to book first on IHG’s website before you can apply for the BRG that may or may not be successful.

  • kody
  • Ruben

    How can I get status match or higher status in GHA?

  • Samantha Van Eldik

    I have over 50,000 points still needing to be credited to my Etihad Guest program from Pointshound. I have contacted PH in late January and again mid-February and only received the customary email acknowledging the email and saying they are trying to fix the problem. Including the travel completed in February I am now owed nearly 66,000 points. Are other people experiencing the same problem with PH? My bookings completed in late December and January and prior to October, 2013 were credited without any problems and done quite quickly.

    • Are these from reservations/stays done when (January/February)? Wonder if they have financial issues?

      • Samantha Van Eldik

        The stays were from October last year. Stays done in late December and some in early January were posted and quite quickly. Emails from PH were sent to say all points were acknowledged and should be posted within 7 days. I received emails from the February stays today to say they should be posted within a week. Waiting to see what happens because I am away next week and the week after plus looking at booking a big US trip for July which could be a huge points bonus but considering changing to RocketMiles (not as many hotel options) if I don’t get the points credited. Have other people been having problems with missing points? 66,000 is a huge amount to be missing.

        • Samantha Van Eldik

          I have been contacted today via email by PH who have assured me that my issue is being dealt with by a representative who is high up in their department and that the chief operating officer has been cc’d into the emails. Let’s hope this brings about a speedy result to this problem.

          • Keep me updated on this.

          • Samantha Van Eldik

            All of the missing points have now been awarded. I was also contacted by the chief operating officer who apologised for the inconvenience and assured me that the awarding of points with Etihad would be more efficient in the future.

          • Great that they were able to sort it out for you!

  • What is the best hotel loyalty program for travel in Japan. I’ve been told IHG, but the link to the website is in Japanese.

  • Ian

    John, have you ever put together a list of all frequent flyer/stay programs detailing when miles/points will expire after inactivity eg Marriott Rewards expire after 24months of account inactivity.
    Thanks, Ian

    • That is a good topic to write about. Will put it to my list of things to do.

      • Aaron

        Isn’t it easier to just open an Awardwallet account?

  • tiddlesmango

    HI John, I have a question for you. I am travelling from Moscow-Auckland, New Zealand, with a dtop over for a few days in London. What I would like to know is, am I able to use my AA advantage number on the moscow-london sector and then change to me Qantas FF number for the London-NZ sector?? (it is all on the same ticket). thanks

    • Absolutely. I would not enter any FF to the reservation and just add it to the segment at the gate and request that they reprint your BP.

  • Tomi

    Hi John. I’m a platinum member of the Marriott Rewards and now staying at the Residence Inn in Bellevue. I checked in yesterday and today asked to change to a room that is not facing the highway. The clerk said that this would be a room upgrade and would cost more. I asked about the complimentary room upgrade that platinum members should have and he said that it is not applicable because I used the company rate when I booked the room.
    I know I’m a day late in asking for the complimentary upgrade, but should it still be granted even with the company rate? Thanks!

    • Using company rate and getting a Platinum upgrade are not exclusive. I would open a case with Marriott Customer service and report both of these issues with the name of he clerk. Ask 20,000 points for the inconvenience.

      • Tomi

        I managed to deal with another clerk, she upgraded the room without any extra costs because they “value my loyalty”. However, they still said that because of the company rate, I am not normally entitled to the upgrade. I will mention this in the feedback form after the stay. Thanks.

  • Antti

    Hi John. Do you know if Hilton counts “day use rate” as a stay for HH elite program? Did not find answer from T&Cs after quick search. Have safe travels!

    • It should. Report back how it posts.

    • Antti

      Got confirmation from HHonors that ‘day use rate’ belongs to discounted category and it does not count as a stay

  • Ana

    Hi John
    Can I stay at the same property for two nights and get the third night free, during that same visit?

  • laurent

    I tried to get a free Hilton gold status but with no result. Ciuld anyone help me on this matter. John ? my email adress is

    • There are fast track offers around but none that would give you instant status.

  • Igor

    Hi John, I don’t recall if you have made an attempt to review various in-flight meals across airlines and specifically their special meal options? About some 10 years ago I used to always order special meals that were markedly better than standard ones. I remember my choice at that time was Seafood (it no longer exists as an option at most airlines I use). Seafood always was a better choice over standard.

    I am flying Business to Asia with Swiss next month and am tempted to try their Special meals – low fat or low sodium, but not sure whether I will be robbing myself off quality or not.

    What is your experience?

    • I would say that in business class the regular meals are better than special ones unless they have “book the cook” type of option.

  • jiny

    Dear John, please link Platinum Accor wants to be.
    My email address is

  • Tom

    Hi John, my wife and myself have booked a returnflight with Iberia from Oviedo-Asturias to Brussels via Madrid. We booked on the website of Tripair. Last week, I got an email that our connectionflight in Madrid was rescheduled. We now have to wait 6 hours in stead off 2 hours in Madrid. Tripair does not want to contact Iberia to reschedule the first flight and Iberia says that we can only ask to reschedule our flights by Tripair. What do you advice?

  • vivek

    do award stays count as an eligible stay/night towards the hilton fast track offer?

  • Craig

    Hi john. Just a question about ambassador free night certificate. I rang Ic Adelaide
    The Ambassador rep told me that any room above club floor gave you club access, do you know if this is correct? Thanks for all your great blogs

    • It really depends of the hotel. Some hotels sell the club entirely separate for all the rooms.

  • Ricardo

    Hi John,

    I really like the blog.

    What do you think would be fair compensation in the following scenario:

    In December 2013, I booked 3 nights at the future Hilton Cabana Miami Beach for mid-May 2014 (~USD 1K for the 3 nights, flexible booking). Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Hilton saying that they regret that the hotel will not be ready in
    time, and offering for re-accommodation at the Hilton Bentley South Beach
    (which honestly does not interest me this time because of location).

    I had no backup booking, and now I see that North Miami resorts have had their prices increased since December (when I made my booking). I am probably going to book a room at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, which would not be my first option but still has reasonable rates.

    What do you think I should ask as compensation? I’m HH Gold.



  • Dario

    Hi John,
    few days agos I was trying to combine my avios (i.e. transfer my IB avios to BA avios). It was difficult to find the link to stat combining (i.e. that link is very hidden) and when I found it, I could NOT transfer my IB avios to BA avios, but only viceversa.
    Is it something you arleady knew?

    • I have not tried to move between BA/IB Avios. I did clean up my BMI account to BA Avios at a time.

  • Michael Tang

    Hi:) Can I have the link for signing up the Club Carlson please;D?

  • Filippo

    Hi John, just wanted to ask you an info regarding Starwood Preferred Guest program. My wife is platinum member and I was wondering if I can also use her card for my business trips and cumulate the points of my staying on hers. Thank you in advance! Best, F

    • The official answer is no and you may run into problems if you do it continuously. It is certainly against the program terms and conditions.

  • TravelingJewel

    Hi John,
    I just rented a Hertz car in the Caribbean, and when I gave them my Hertz number, they said they were unable to accept it because they were a franchise, and the number would do me no good. I’ve never run into that before- is that normal for non-USA rentals? Thanks!

    • That is a good question. You cannot use Hetrz points at many countries, but I have no clue about earning. Will look into this.

  • Souren

    I thought it’s a pretty good deal considering it’s Marriott. Better than ebreaks IMO:

  • helena

    i am doing a hyatt diamond challange. i have to do 12 nights. can i do 6 paid and balance 6 nights on points ( not points plus cash)

  • clu168

    Hi John,

    I would appreciate your insight on a general hotel rewards question.

    I noticed most hotels give you 10X or 5X points when you stay. I also noticed hotel credit card gives some similar (but not always same) points when you stay at its issuing hotel.

    For example, Hyatt web says you can get 5x points for stay, and its Visa card says you get 5x for stay. Does this mean if I use my Hyatt Visa to stay, I can get 5+5 points?

    Carlson has 20X for hotel and 10X for Visa, I am curious how these things work together if any?


    • The points that you earn from using the branded card are in addition to the points that you earn for being the hotel loyalty program member.

  • Jon

    Got a lot of hotel stays coming up. Any idea when the summer promotions will be released. Will there be a summer ihg 2014 big win now that we are only a few days left on the spring version?

    • Hilton and SPG are already out. Marriott is likely another version of their Megabonus. IHG will have something for sure, but no idea what. No word from Hyatt yet.

  • Jon

    Hi John

    Any idea when ihg will give out details of its summer promotions? I have lots of stays coming up but am holding off booking since I might need multiple brands etc. will the big win return for a third time?


    Hi John, have you ever had problems with miles posting with mistake fares? I am having an issue with AA with a mistake fare booked on USAirways.

    • Shouldn’t make a difference. Probably just a posting delay.


        They rejected my mileage request, saying that I bought the ticket on an opaque site. It was a normal purchase. Should I escalate with a supervisor?


    hello John?
    my accor plat die …
    please send new accor plat link…
    thank you

  • Arch

    Is the Palazzo Las Vegas still part of IHG in 2015? I can’t find
    any rooms on the IHG website in 2015.

  • Blufin

    John, you offered new subscribers a link to Hyatt plat if we signed up by 6 Sunday night. I did so and no link or response to the three emails I sent you?. Hope you will send me a link soon?
    Thx John

  • Blufin

    Promised Hyatt plat link??

  • Blufin

    john, have sent several emails about link to hyatt plat. you promised to send that by sunday after 6pm. you have not answered any of my emails and you delete my posts. you promised that all who subscribed by sunday at 6pm would get a live link. whats the story?

    • I have already replied to your question in the proper thread. Blame Microsoft.

  • AG

    Hey John I just planned a trip to stay at a Gran Hyatt using my Gold Passport points (this May). I signed up for the recent 5000 points offer from the Hyatt. I’m curious if you know of any other deals that I can to get more points for my money, be it through the Hyatt (to become Diamond member) or arilines (I’m an Aeroplan member) or credit cards (Ultimate Rewards Act).

    • You can buy points, stay more at Hyatt hotels or move/convert points from Chase.

  • Aitchie

    Hi John
    How are you? hope you are well.
    I was wondering if anybody has any codes for Emirates Airlines.. I used one of there a while back and it worked perfectly.

    Look forward to an update.

    • Some of the codes on that list still work. I don’t have updated ones, however.

  • ringingup

    Hi John, I sent you a few emails re compensation clinic but haven’t heard from you!

  • Mopani

    Are there no reward nights at the IC Amsterdam?

    • Aaron

      Yes, they are available for 40k points, but you have to book well in advance because it’s a hotel that is very popular for reward nights.

      • IC AMS is 50K per night. They must make 5% of the rooms available as awards. I believe that Amstel only has around 80 rooms so they must make at least 4 rooms available as awards every night.

        • Aaron

          Where are you seeing the 50k per night? I’m checkin in October and it’s showing 40k needed… Maybe this changes per season?

  • Zach


    Any suggestions for hotel chains that are located in the south of Italy (south of Naples)?

    • Accor has few properties in Italy. Sorry, but don’t know this area too well.

  • Aaron

    Hey John, I have a question about the Hilton Fast Track offer:
    If I register for the Fast Track offer after I have booked a stay but before I have done the stay, would that count towards my 4 nights?
    Also, if I book 2 rooms on one night, will it count as two stays?

    • There is no need to book the stay after you have registered for the offer. Stays booked prior registration will work just fine. I don’t believe that booking two rooms under one account would qualify as two separate stays.

  • Alex

    Ouch.. I just got an email from Hyatt concerning that instant Platinum status Microsoft offer. They told me I was ineligible for the offer and my account was downgraded back to Gold lol. No biggie really

    Recently you attempted to register for an exclusive Hyatt Gold Passport promotion for Microsoft employees. Unfortunately you’re ineligible to participate in this promotion, including receiving tier status (please see the terms and conditions of this promotion). We do hope you choose Hyatt for your future stays and enjoy the benefits of Hyatt Gold Passport membership.

  • helena

    Hi John !
    the 6000 points promotion of virgin atlantic ended on 30 april.

    one could get 6 K miles by doing 3 stays at hilton.

    are there any more such promotion as i have some hilton stays comming.


    • There is no such a promo going on right now. Just make sure that you have signed up for the blog email updates so that you don’t miss when the promo is back next time.

  • vivek

    hi john! i have a 11 day trip and will require 2 rooms every day. i plan to stay at hilton. if i sign for the diamond challenge which requires 21 days in 90 days. will this ( 2 rooms for 11 nights) qualify me ?

    • I have no experience with Hilton if multiple rooms qualify for the Diamond fast track offer. They do for SPG PLT one.

  • Rob Kaplan

    hey Josh; am trying to upgrade to Hllton Gold to get free wifi for upcoming stay; know any promotions? thx

    • I have covered Hilton HHonors Gold fast tracks on numerous posts and jst wrote about an upgrade that you can purchase from eBay.

  • Mark

    Are there any easy ways to stop Air France Flying Blue points expiring after 20 months? Excluding flights (I have none planned), and available in the UK.
    For example, get some from shopping online, or car hire, or? I looked at a few blogs and all said ‘no’, but they were all some years odl and I wondered if anything had changed now.

    • This is a good question and will do a write up about it in the new few days.

  • D J

    I stayed in radisson blu hotels on vacation in Ireland thru a CIE tour
    group organized by an agency and am wondering if I am able to get any points for it?

    • It depends what kind of rate the agency used and whether you paid directly or not. If an agency books and eligible rate and you settle it directly with a property, you should get the points. If you, however, booked a prepaid discounted rate and paid it to the agency, the likelyhoood of getting points is close to zero.

  • lino

    Hello John! I booked one night at a Holiday Inn in Switzerland via the website: but when I arrived at the hotel they told me since 2 days the hotel left the IHG chain and changed the name!!!! So they told me no benefits as a platinum IHG and …no points….
    Well I think IHG should take care about that, at least about the points: what do you think?

    • You could contact the IHG customer care and they may give you some points for the inconvenience. They didn’t notify you at all for the hotel exiting the IHG system?

  • jon_o

    John….do you know if there is a summer 2014 version of the BIG WIN @ IHG?

    • jon_o

      btw….absolutely love the site!

      • Seems that IHG is not having a summer promo this year that is unheard of.

  • Test


  • Samantha Van Eldik

    Hi, I have just booked economy flights with American Airlines and want to pre purchase check-in baggage for each passenger. I am having trouble in finding any link for this. I know I have to pay $25 per bag and couldn’t see this when I booked the tickets. Please help and thanks for your advice.

    • You can certainly buy this at the time of checking in that I would do. Maybe your group don’t need one bag for each at the end?

  • Martin Martinez

    Hey John, what constitutes a room upgrade for ihg ambassador (gold)? Is a “superior” and a “deluxe” room the same thing at InterContinental hotels? Does being given a room on a higher floor count as an upgrade? Of which I don’t agree, but no one I’ve emailed at particular hotels I’m going to stay at give me direct answers. Thank you for your time.

    • I would look at the prices that the hotel charges for different room types on Usually same room type on a higher floor is not considered an upgrade.

  • LivelyFL

    Hi John,
    I have a newbie question. I registered for the SPG “Earn Away” Promotion. I’ve read SPG counts an Award Stay as a “stay.” We are staying on an 5 day award stay at the Sheraton Kona Resort. Our room is free, but we will probably have a big bill due to eating, spa, etc. Do you think we will get double or triple points in the “Earn Away” Promotion? Thanks and love your blog.

    • It is certainly a qualifying stay for elite night/stay credit and you will get points for the incidentals. I am not sure, however, if it qualifies under the Earn Away promotion for the additional bonus points. Let me know how it posts after your stay.

  • Greg cochran

    Any one notice that Detroit Metro has raised their parking rates?

  • Kez

    Hi John thanks for all of your fantastic blogs, sorry if you’ve answered this question
    before. Thanks to you a did a status match to Ihg in February and received platinum status, only joined in December . Just noticed all stays since then have only had base points posted and 50%bonus points posting as non qualifying . Concerned about contacting them, as I have registered for codes, They might close another account. Thanks

    • Is your account showing PLT status? The point posting is automatic and I have never seen situation where the status related bonus points wouldn’t have posted correctly with IHG.

      • Kez

        Thanks John. Yes showing Platinum Ambassador on account. Double checked all stays, none have the 50% bonus points added
        To base points. Thanks for your feedback

        • Kez

          Me again. Checked account for when I was a gold ambassador the 10% bonus points posted as non
          qualifying also. Very strange

  • Rob Kaplan

    I don’t see the link for the hilton gold upgrade?

    • You can click the Hotel Promotions > Hilton HHonors where I have links for HH Gold fast track offers.

  • AVIOS…I have British Airways and Iberia. I am trying to move Iberia Avios to my BA account but cannot find a way. I did not transfer from BA just to be clear. Thanks

    • Have you tried logging to your Executive Club account? There is a tab somewhere that allows you to move Avios between accounts.

  • selam

    hey john, is there any airline without an alliance and that have a good loyalty program? Thank you!

  • selam

    Hello Jhon, is there any airline without alliance or group but having is own loyalty program?

    • Most of the airlines are running their own frequent flier programs but are part of an alliance. I

  • Johan

    Hi everyone, is there a community here somewhere to meet at airport lounges? Like flyertalk has with lounge connect?

  • Hank

    Is there a community here to meet at airport lounges or to get introduced as guest to one?n Like lounge connect on flyertalk? thanks

  • James

    Hey! So I have been traveling more and using points and have racked up some nights at a few different brands. I want to get a hotel CC for everyday purchases so I can get some more free nights fast. I spend probably 2-4k on my card each month, so not a huge spender. What would you recommend for someone who doesn’t spend too much a month but wants nights fast? I usually stay in the US and I am looking to go back to the UK/Ireland in the fall. I don’t mind an annual fee as long as the yearly bonus exceeds its cost. Do any offer low or 0 percent rates? My purchases are not hotel/travel orientated so I would want a card that awards good for just basic purchases. THANKS IN ADVANCE! you have no idea how helpful your site is to me.

    • I would say that in your circumstances it would be difficult to beat the Club Carlson credit card that offer 2-4-1 award nights (stay for 2 but need only points for 1).

  • dan

    Hi John, I stayed at different Novotel, but it was really difficult to check if they have executive lounge facilities. As a platinum member, I really want to enjoy this benefit. Do you know where I can get this information?


    • I don’t think that there is a list of Accor properties that have a lounge. You can probably check if they offer paid rates with lounge access.

  • stj2006

    I have status with US Airways and have just recently completed a long trip to Africa. Upon return I learned that since I flew the majority of my trip on Turkish airlines I cannot accrue points toward preferred status on US/American. Any suggestions on another airline I could accrue the miles under to get me closer to status with Star Alliance? The merger has not meant good things for Charlotte based customers as we have lost most options under the agreement – United, Air Canada, etc. as partners. Any suggestions?

    • US Airways excited Star Alliance and joined Oneworld earlier this year. Your best bet would be to get a status match with Turkish (I have written their status match) or start accruing with Aegean’s program.

  • Ian smith

    Hi John, I noticed in Dubai IHG have added a 50 AED charge on the second adult staying in a room. I know you can buy a room currently under the IHG Members Rate that includes breakfast that excludes this charge, however why should IHG members be subjected to this extra charge on the Best Flexible Rate without breakfast? I also cannot see how they can justify this extra charge, because other than extra water what other costs are involved. I had a similar situation in Lisbon recently when the Lisbon Continental also added additional costs for a second adult.

    • Just checked CP Deira and it had some weird rates loaded as you noted. Breakfast inclusive for 2 but AED 60 extra charge for second person. Doesn’t make too much sense. What was the property you were looking at?

  • Techtonic

    John, I think you mentioned you were at Le Meridien Jakarta this week or something? They’re doing a promotion called SPG Awareness Day and if you wear something with purple on it and have a photo of yourself taken at their front desk / club reception you get 500 points. Upload a photo of yourself with the purple clothing and you get a bonus 2500 points. Pretty sweet, but ending in a couple of hours 🙁

    • Oh. I wasn’t aware of it. Back to the hotel on Friday actually. I did see some SPG stuff at the hotel when I was there last weekend.

    • Going to check in there tomorrow. The weekend rates are really low. I did see some SPG material all over the place at the hotel when I stayed there last weekend.

      Went to their FB page and the information about the promo is below. Seems that the 2,500 bonus Starpoints is not for all but maybe for a few?

  • Techtonic

    Also, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur now offers dining using Golden Circle points. 10 points = 1USD. Pretty useful since Golden Circle points expire so quickly!

    • I received an email that some property in China is doing it. Maybe it has been extended chainwide?

  • keith

    Can anyone make sense of the identity points at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and how to figure out your status.

  • DanteIV

    John, sorry to ask here. But do you have a link for Marriott status
    match? Not the “Gold/Plat taste” one. I got IHG and SPG plat to compete.
    Much appreciated.

  • Debit

    Good Morning John. I am having issues with getting the points for a purchase I made from Sears while using the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping portal, run by Cartera.

    I made a $200 purchase during Memorial Day weekend. At the time of the purchase, there was a 9x points offer for Sears purchases. My purchase was on May 24.

    The points never got credited to my RR account; so using the contact form on the SW RR portal, I filed a missing points report.

    I was contacted by a csr via email asking for details of purchase. I provided emails of purchase being completed and the other information they wanted and asked for my 9x points.

    I eventually heard from them and was informed that the offer was 4x points, so that was what they were giving me. I replied that that was not the offer, so they replied that I had to show them proof of the original deal. Since the purchase email never shows points, I was hard pressed to find proof 8 weeks after the deal.

    I was able to find a few online posts on blogs about the points. One said it was a one day only sale, May 23. Others indicated that the offer was still alive as of May 25th. I mistakenly sent the one indicating that it was a one day sale.

    I get a reply back that they were giving me 800 points. I resent the 2 other links both of which clearly stated that the deal was alive on May 25th. I also asked why it was my job to provide proof and why didn’t Cartera know what the offers were and why did I have to do their job? I again asked for the full 1800 points. I still haven’t heard back from them. This is beyond frustrating!

    This is the second time I have had an issue with SW RR shopping portal, also with a Sears purchase. That one was eventually settled, with them giving me my 9x points on a $400 purchase. Ironically, the same csr/agent signed the emails last time. I doubt it is the same person, just some name that is assigned to these “canned/scripted” replies.

    If I ever buy from them again, I will be sure to take a screen shot of any point bonus offers. I guess I should have posted this yesterday for Whine Wednesday.

    • Sounds very time consuming. I have heard that some others have had issues with Cartera as well. The best way to deal with companies such as this is file a complaint with the Attrnorney General of the state where you or Cartera is based. They usually resolve the issues promptly after getting a friendly nudge.

      • Debit

        It did take time, but it was more a matter of principle towards the end. Happy to report I got full 1800 points today!

  • Shane

    Who has the best club lounges, I stay a lot in hotels, and want to get platinum status in the best one. I have been using Priceline, but that does not get me any points.

    • I would say that in general the Club lounges are better outside of the North America where they are mostly disappointing. SPG Platinum, Marriott Gold or Platinum, Hilton HHonors Diamond (often Gold as well) and Hyatt Diamond get you access for sure.

  • angie4life14

    I was wondering if you knew the following two offers of rebate were cumulative:

    + $250 deal for Intercontinetnal Ambassador which includes 15,000 points and 10% rebate
    + IHG Rewards Credit Card deal which include Platinum status and 10% rebate


  • DanteIV

    Hey John, do you know if used IHG reward night in IC would be counting towards RA qualification? (saying for those 3 different brands IC and 20+ IC nights)

    • At least they did in my case previously. We’ll see this year. My renewal is up in September.

  • Ernie Escobedo

    I normally enjoy reading through most of your daily material that you are able to put together but I sure get confused with this terrible habit of you and/or your team to post material that is not up-to-date or some times up to a year old!
    For what purpose is that done for, if you would please tell your audience. I’m sure I am not the only single person wondering why you wish to confuse us. I mean, if we do not read very very carefully that the article is ancient material, we naturally think it is for now, today, July 28, 2014 and not July 28, 2013, etc. Does that make any sense to you?
    I saw your article on IGH today (as you can see below), and called IGH right away to make my reservations, but was told that it would take 20K points not Point Break’s 5K. I tried to explain to the he agent that it must be a glitch on their computers but then it came out that the list I go from you was actually for a year ago!
    Boy that was not a groovy scene, so I hung up.
    Please avoid or warn and tell us why you are even investing time and space to tell us the great offers of yesterday — they are little annoying articles.
    ———————————————————————————————————-IHG Rewards Club released their Point Breaks for November 1 to January 31, 2014-period earlier today (read more here) and it took sometime for the online booking tool to reflect the discounted pricing.

    • You must be referring to the “Related Posts”? These are chosen entirely by a computer program based on the content on the posts. The program cannot distinguish between live and expired offers.

      There are only two options. Have this enabled and have occasional expired offer showing up or not to have “Related Posts” at all.

      • Ernie Escobedo


        May I suggest that as things get better in the finances area of your business, that you consider hiring a Software Geek? I mean your material is great, but the reason you just gave me, well I’m sorry but I have friends in areas of technology/software that tell me that this little challenge of yours is about a 2-hour job and you would be running your show as smooth as a 747 in good weather over the ocean, (and you know how that feels in First Class for sure).

        Cheers old buddy

      • AB3

        Do you have the ability to edit the titles of older posts? If so, perhaps adding {expired deal} to the beginning of these titles would solve this problem.


    I have today learnt that from account managers at IHG that they no longer accept Virgin Atlantic points in exchange for IHG Reward points. However Virgin Atlantic still confirm that the agreement between them and IHG is intact. However IHG deny this and say we will only transfer points to the airline only and not the reverse. Could anyone confirm what the status is.

    • I am not aware of any changed. Have you contacted Virgin Atlantic Flying Club because they have to do the conversion of VS miles to IHG Rewards Club points. There is no point of contacting IHG IF you want to convert from VS to IHG.

  • vivek

    if i enroll for a hyatt diamond challange and do only 6 nights do i get plattinum status?

    • I would really try to get the last few nights in for the Diamond one. You can always ask Hyatt what their opinion is.

  • TravelingJewel

    Hi John, I have a twofold question.
    #1- does Emirates Airlines earn miles on any major U.S. association (StarAlliance, OneWorld, etc?)
    #2- I don’t have any status on them, and I’m trying to figure out lounge access or upgrades for a brutal itinerary. Any suggestions (I can’t swing business class tickets). Thank you!

    • Emirates is only partner with Alaska/JetBlue/Virgin America, but you won’t get any lounge access. They may offer you cash upgrades when you check your itinerary online.

      • TravelingJewel

        When I checked in online, I tried to add my Alaska Airlines number to the Emirates checkin page. The webpage wasn’t working, after multiple tries. When I checked in at the airport, I gave the Emirates desk my Alaska number and asked them to credit the flight to Alaskan. They said because I’d already checked in for the flight, it was too late to credit the flight to another airline. Several weeks later, and I have no points on any airline for that (halfway around the world) flight. Any advice on how to claim points with an airline that isn’t very responsive?

  • digo

    Dear Jhon, i need to send u a screenshot about IHG points

  • digo

    How can i upload a picture

  • Paul

    Hi John,
    Quick question. I used points certificates for a free stay at a Marriott Autograph collection property. While there I put about $150 in food and drink charges on the room. I didn’t see any points post yet for those charges. Is this on miss on the Marriott side or is it not possible to earn points for those charges during a “free” stay? Thanks

    • That is a good question and I need to do some research on this.

      • Paul

        It looks like I was a little premature. After a bit of a delay they did end up posting the points for the meal and drink charges. Thanks,

  • Tommy

    I’m currently a Marriott Platinum Elite member with 75 stays. Is there a level above this that is worth pursuing? If so, is there a Fast Track method to reach this level?

    • There is something called Platinum Premier that requires 125 to 150 nights per year. No fast track available. I am not sure if rollover nights would count toward that status as well.

  • Paul

    Hi John,
    If I book and pay for three rooms at a residence inn in Canada for a two night stay, will this just post as one stay?… or is possible for the multiple rooms to record as multiple stays even though it’s concurrent and on the same reservation? Or am I better off booking as separate reservations. Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • You can book up to three rooms under your Marriott Rewards number. There is no advantage of booking them night at a time.

  • Mark

    I am curious to know what you think should be an airline incentive (or is there a standard) when their audio / video system does not function and the flight is over six hours? I recently experienced this on American Airlines and they only offered 5k miles (after I sent them a concern email…see below) I requested 15k miles… Thanks..

    We are very sorry to hear that the entertainment system was not functioning properly on your recent flight. We know this entertainment is a welcome diversion and regret it could not be repaired in flight.
    Although we have to respectfully decline your request, as a gesture of goodwill, we’ve credited your AAdvantage® account with 5000 bonus miles.
    we hope to welcome you aboard again soon.”

    • Well. I would say that 10K would be fair. Do you have any status with AA?

  • Dave Fenton

    Hi John

    At my current rate of travel I will finish the year about 20,000 miles short of Diamond status on Delta. I have the Delta platinum Amex card and will spend 25 there so will get a 10,000 point bonus. I stay at marriott and use a Marriott credit card. I went to a site to see if there were any special credit card offers targeted to me and there was nothing interesting
    Do you have any suggestions as to how to get more mqm? I would love to be in first class more than I am currently
    Thank you

    • You would have 25K roll over then waiting next year. I would just bite the bullet and do some extra trip to Asia or maybe Africa via Europe and earn the missing MQM’s.

  • Rick


    So what is your opinion on Hilton Select ( Today was the first reservation I have made where they prompted me to sign up after. I’m not sure how new the program actually is.

    Thanks, Rick

    • I need to write about this program. I will have something up about it next week.

  • Mark

    John…what do you think is an appropriate compensation when 6+ hours flight does not have functioning video / audio??

  • Mark

    John…what is a fair mileage compensation when your audio/visual unit does not work on a 6+ hour flight?

    • Well. It depends if you have any status with the airline that was having this problem. I would say that you could perhaps get 10K to 20K miles.

  • Mark

    Hello John…what do you think is a fair mileage compensation when your audio / visual unit does not work properly or at all on a 6+ hour flight??? Thanks

  • Scot-Tex

    I am FB Platinum for life and wondered if there are any status match program’s with other airlines. I do over 50 flights a year with over half being intercontinental.

    • There are airlines that would give you a challenge such as maybe United. Turkish would match your status to their Star Gold up front.

  • Glenn Martin

    Amazing sale for Malaysia Airlines at the moment. Fly SIN – KL – BNE return for $218 AUD including tax. booked for Dec – no black out dates, sale ends 03 September

    • There has been very good fares out from SIN since this past Friday. The problem is that only the SIN-KUL sector books into fare class that is eligible for miles.

  • Kevin James

    Hey John! Quick word of advice? If I registered for an IHG Weekend 5000 Bonus promotion, got the email stating I was registered, and have it in my offer status area on my rewards site, but honestly not sure if I was targeted, and fulfilled the requirement a month ago, would you contact IHG Rewards if you were me? With all the closing of accounts and stuff, I’m gun shy about contacting them about anything. It’s 5000 points, but I don’t want to send up any redflags about being audited either. Thanks for any seasoned advice.

    • This offer did post for me last year. I would not contact IHG unless you received the offer from them.

      • Kevin James

        Thanks! And thanks for all your hard work keeping us posted on everything.

  • James Pierce

    Hey John, I don’t know if its LL blogworthy but MH is price matching AirAsia on many routes ex KUL. With the ‘free’ food & baggage they are a good 20 to 30% cheaper in real terms! Might make a nice revenue generating story?

    • I have not been writing about airline sales, but this has been on my to do-list already for a while.

      • James Pierce

        Looking forward to read it. I was looking at the Air Asia Big Loyalty program which was perplexing to say the least, if you could make head or tail of it and post up a review it would be REALLY useful (and NO other blogs seem to have a comprehensive Air Asia frequent flyer guide, so it may draw in some new readers, even the venerable FlyerTalk has some oddly out dated info on it… Big is now free) It looks like they are very opaque about how the program operates which is normal, but very frustrating when there is very little straight talking blog to set things out clearly like you always do with your Hilton/Starwood round ups 🙂

  • James Pierce

    Hi John, dont know why the last comment was deleted, unless your enjoying flying MH on your own too much, to share the plane at the moment 🙂 How about posting a few blog entries about your favourite hotel/airline… Favourite Friday! I have only just been blown away by the Ovolo hotel, quite remarkable customer service that refunded me for a NON REFUNDABLE booking made through a THIRD PARTY WEBSITE when I had to cut my stay short by a day. I was REALLY impressed, not only with the hotels free minibars, extended free checkout but the AMAZING customer service offered by all the staff. All of them.

    • I have not deleted any other than few spam posts over the years. If other readers mark your comment as spam, it will temporarily disappear until I have had a look at it.

      The Favorite Friday is a good idea! I already have quite a few pieces that I could write under it.

  • Ian Smith

    Hi John, Just booked The Crowne Plaza in London and got a reduced standby upgrade message offer that is in the same Hilton format. Is this a new addition to for IHG or been going for some time?

    • It is probably done by the same company called Nor1. I have been planning to write an updated piece with examples. I would not do Nor1 as an elite member. It can make sense if you don’t have any status, however. As an elite, I’ll always take my luck with the front desk.

  • sinatrya annafiq

    Dear John..
    If you come back to indonesia,i have hot list hotel that you should try
    -St. Regis Bali (Must Try!!)
    -Novotel Lombok
    -Sheraton Lombok (well its still cat 1)
    -Keraton at the plaza (Right next to Grand hyatt)
    -Hotel Indonesia Kempinski
    -Doubletree By Hilton Jakarta
    -Pullman Central Park
    -Ritz Carlton Pacific Place
    -Shangri La Jakarta
    -shangri la surabaya
    -Sheraton surabaya

    And you should avoid these hotel
    -sheraton airport, jakarta

    • I have actually stayed at the St. Regis Bali and loved their breakfast. The best hotel breakfast that I have ever experienced. Hoten Indonesia Kempinski was very good at all. I have also stayed at the new Doubletree hotel. Will eventually make it to the other hotels in your list as well.

  • Richard Kahn

    Hi John. Have you been getting reports on AA’s new revamping of Business Class meals? It’s unbelievable. Micro sandwiches and pretzels on international and 5 hour transcontinental flights. It’s like paying a a goog price to check into the Hyatt Regency and going down stairs and experiencing Motel 6 for breakfast. An unethical and insulting redefinition of “Premium Cabin Service” and you can imagine the conversations elite passengers are having to each other like: “guess it’s time to give United another try”. The explanation AA gives is amazing too: “we are aligning service in the process of the merger”. I, as many,did not choose US Air because it was a different market for me. Their service level was devised by America West before their earlier merger and “aligned” them to the service of a low cost commodity carrier – and I am not that kind of customer. After all the money spent over the years by AA on branding and positioning to capture business elites with their quality cabin, why would US Air waste the investment they inherited and perform such a foolish downgrade of AA? As other passengers are advising, unless the new AA comes to their senses its time to shop.

  • Richard Kahn

    Hi John. Have you been getting reports on AA’s new revamping of Business Class meals? It’s unbelievable. Micro sandwiches and pretzels on international and 5 hour transcontinental flights. It’s like paying a a goog price to check into the Hyatt Regency and going down stairs and experiencing Motel 6 for breakfast. An unethical and insulting redefinition of “Premium Cabin Service” and you can imagine the conversations elite passengers are having to each other like: “guess it’s time to give United another try”. The explanation AA gives is amazing too: “we are aligning service in the process of the merger”. I, as many,did not choose US Air because it was a different market for me. Their service level was devised by America West before their earlier merger and “aligned” them to the service of a low cost commodity carrier – and I am not that kind of customer. After all the money spent over the years by AA on branding and positioning to capture business elites with their quality cabin, why would US Air waste the investment they inherited and perform such a foolish downgrade of AA? As other passengers are advising, it’s time to shop other airlines.

    • Let’s hope that this is not an indication of things to come. But, as you pointed out, it is still the America West that is running the show at the combined US/AA.

  • Richard Kahn

    AA defines the Business Class meal!

  • sudhirgoel

    I need help with a decision on my hotel stay. I had enrolled in the Diamond Challenge with Hyatt. I have completed 9 nights of stay during the 60 day period from Aug 10 to Oct 9, 2014. I had also had 5 nights of stay on Jul 17 and then on Aug 6. The request for the Diamond challenge was sent on Jul 17 but due to some back and forth requests from the Hyatt team the enrolment was only completed on Aug 10.

    I have one last stay coming up next week. The choice is to stay at the Hyatt and seal the Diamond or stay at a SPG hotel and get upgraded to Gold due to the World Mastercard promotion that I have enrolled for which is applicable for any hotel in the Asia Pacific only. SPG gold might come in handy since I am due to be in Europe for 2 weeks where there are no Hyatt hotels in the cities I am visiting and I will be mainly staying in SPG hotels for a total of 11 nights.

    I asked the Hyatt Gold passport to consider my case but they said I still have time to my last date of the challenge and hence I should try hard to stay at the Hyatt. They can only consider the special request once the due date has expired or close to expire. So should I trust that this will work and risk the Diamond to get SPG gold or should I seal the Diamond?


    • I would do the Hyatt and get Diamond status. If you really need/want the SPG Gold, you could always check in to the Starwood hotel, pay and leave.

  • rick

    Hi John
    I am going on work to London and will be staying at the Browns hotel.
    Do they belong to any loyalty program?

    Best Regards

  • James

    John, I asked you about credit cards awhile back which was very helpful when you responded. Could you point me in the right direction of a good Airline credit card. I do not spend a lot. Maybe 2,000-4,000 a month. I am looking to go to either UK or somewhere in the US. Is there any card that gets you a good bang for you buck? I have good credit, just do not spend too much. I am a complete newbie with airline miles. Just started working the hotel point game.

    • I have not been covering cc’s here on LoyaltyLobby and have been thinking if I should.

  • QuackPack

    Last year IHG ran a point match sale 2 times. The last one was held in August of last year. Basically to purchase 1000 points it costs 13.50. During the point match sale they match what you buy so you end up getting 2000 points for 13.50 instead.

    I have not seen this offered since last August. Do you know anything about this sale or what is going on with it?

    Incidentally if you purchase points with that sale , at those rates and then use them to stay at point break hotels it comes out to be about 28.75 per night since when you use points there is no city or state tax either. That is pretty tough to beat.

  • L

    Hello John ! you know how earn poits in ? please help me because i dont know !! and thanks

    • You have to sign up for the frequent flier programs and then credit flights and/or other activities there.

  • Gautier

    Hello John. I have a bunch of Accor points coming up for expiration (they expire after a year). A while ago, it wasn’t that difficult to extend the validity. Accor had some Facebook or other competitions that allowed you to top up your balance, thus automatically extending the validity of the account. They haven’t done that for a while anymore though. Would you know of any easy method to extend the points and/or top up the balance? Thanks.

    • You have several choices depending on the number of points you have:

      1. Order award certificates if you have more than 2,000 points.
      2. Enable auto conversion of points to miles and convert your balance to airline miles (works best if just few points).
      3. Have a cheap Accor stays.

  • Sanjay Shah Heralal

    Hello sir

  • Damita

    is there a promo code for the 3000 points for signing up with southwest online?

  • James

    So I was going to use up a couple of my cat 1-5 certs I have with Marriott this weekend in Montreal. He has a reckless driving offense and I am really concerned about being let into the country. I live in Maine and would like to drive to a good sized city and use my certs too. It was perfect because the Courtyard I booked was right downtown. Any advice on traveling into Canada? Any other recommendations for using my certs?

    • It is unclear who has this reckless driving offense. if that is a serious one, you/he can apply for Canadian visa or forgiveness (not sure what was the right word). BTW I was in Montreal past weekend. Was really warm and almost like summer.

      • James

        I am sorry. My brother who is traveling with me got the charge. I called border patrol and they said it all depends on the patrol officer. I unfortunately canceled my reservation and booked my hotel in providence instead. I have cat 1-5 certs and I need to use one by end of this month and I have the weekend off so I am not missing out on getting out of state (Maine). If you know of any hotels or suggestions I should check out within a 8 hour radius instead of providence let me know. I also have 22 k points with ihg and 18k with wydham so if I could get into a cool city for the second night, that would be ideal.

  • Danny

    Hey John. Do you know if anyone has had their Into The Nights stays post yet? I’ve done several, all booked through the ItN website, and while I’ve gotten IHG points (several weeks ago) the promo is still showing nothing. IHG has been as (un)helpful as usual when contacting them and I’d love to know if it’s just me before I send more stays in the abyss of that promo.

    • I have some hurdles that have not posted such as a resort stay and there is no way to open the link that would show the eligible resorts. I would give it couple of weeks. As long as you have followed the requirements, you will eventually get the points. If they don’t post automatically, IHG Rewards Club can manually post them.

      • Danny

        Thanks for the reply, John! I’m a bit skeptical that they will credit me for the two that involve booking through the app given all of the problems that people had last time proving that they booked through the app (when the app itself failed to notate that on the stay). But I’m also not going to sink another two stays into getting their IT to do its job, so I guess I’ll wait a few more weeks and then send them a letter.

  • David

    Hey John,
    I have 43,000 Chase reward points which I can 1:1 transfer to British Airways, United, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, or Korean Air reward clubs/mileage programs. I’m trying to get from NYC to Paris in November using as few as possible. I’ve browsed the offers available from the principle partners and none seem particularly good. Perhaps buying United miles at 1.9 cent per + using my 43,000 gets me there for roughly $200. Virgin makes it in 32,000, but the fees are hefty–like $450. I’ve noticed Singapore KrisFlyer miles can be transferred to Star Alliance partners. Seems promising, but I’m overwhelmed by the number of options. Any advice on which route to take?

    Thanks a bunch,

    • Have you checked the paid fares for your dates? The flights to Europe tends to be cheapest October/November. You can forget British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Singapore Airlines due to YQ’s (fuel surcharges) that they charge. I would go with UA.

      • David

        Paid fares as in what’s available for purchase through the airlines? I have. Points will get me roughly 3/5th of the way there for a direct flight, and I pay between $300-400 to make up the difference.

  • Jakuk

    Hi , just wondering if you have any idea if Qatar will be having their companion offer this year, ?

    • They have had quite a few sales, but haven’t seen a companion offer yet.

  • Pedro

    Hello John,

    I currently travel 30 nights a year for business plus another 20 for pleasure. Mostly USA and Latin America for work, and USA and Europe for pleasure. Do you know which loyalty will suit me best? Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold or SPG Platinum? I want to be able to get upgrades on my rooms and to get points for awards.


  • David Mieras

    John … Could you please do an update on the IHG “Into The Night promo”. In the last couple days, my offer and my Wife’s offer changed. She completed her offer three + weeks ago and the only offer that didn’t show complete was “download the app and book a stay.” Now the offer is “download the app and book 3 stays” Classic bait and switch! Mine went from “downlaod the app and book a stay” to “download the app and book 12 stays”. WTF?

    • Thanks! I got quite a few emails regarding this issue and did an update. IHG did fix this one.

  • Doug

    Changes to the Air Canada Altitude program for 2015 were announced today. The program continues to be slowly but surely hollowed out – higher qualification requirements and less benefits

  • Erik

    Hello John, Do you know anything about a Le Club Accor promotion, which credits 6000 Bonus points to youre Account? I recived the Bonus twice labled as “Winter fall Bonus” the first time i recived it was in Australia in September, the Second time last week in Germany. Both stays where booked using the iPhone App, both stays lastet only One night

  • Annie K Burch

    John how do I get my membership number to claim points?

  • Annie K Burch

    John how do I get my membership number since I do not have my card for the Hotel>

  • JJ

    Hi John,

    I got an email from Aegean they are introducing new miles and bonus program. I was just wondering what would happen to lifetime gold status which I currently have ?

  • Danny

    I love that Hilton gave us a chance to vote on the 4th quarter promo and then went completely radio silent. It’s cool, it’s not like it was supposed to start in four days or anything (and we still have no clue which one “won”).

  • dotted

    I just received a post card notice of a free night at category 5 or less hotel , which would be available on my anniversary of being a Marriott reward member.
    How can I find out that anniversary date ?

  • Tory P

    Hey John, If I have Diamond Membership with Hilton and want upper tier status with other hotel chains , which chains will duplicate or give similar status based on my current status

    • Sebastian

      Some do, some don’t. SPG and Hyatt offer you a ‘Challenge’ (Stay a certain number of nights in 90 days for example). No outright matching and keep it for free.

  • Олег Сырбу

    Hi John. Just got status match from Hilton gold to Hyatt diamond (valid as a challenge till December 31). So I’ve booked a stay on December 31 at Hyatt Regency Bishkek and used one of my diamond suite upgrades. The official working hours of their Club lounge is ‘until midnight’, but I hope they will not close it in the eve of New Year. question is if you ever experienced a stay on New year night in a lounge? Is it free, does it worth to stay there. What is your experience? Readers experience and comments are welcomed. Thanks.

    • Sebastian

      Remember that a (Hyatt) hotel can always close a lounge without notice and is only required to give you 2500 Points as a Diamond as well as breakfast at the restaurant. Even if they do not do that, most lounges get locked after closing time and especially NYE I would not expect them holding extra staff for the lounge. If the lounge were open it would likely be VERY boring because 99% of hotel guests likely rather go to the bar, a public or private event than hanging out in an empty lounge with no beverages and alcohol on New Years Eve. I personally spent 2-3 NYE on the plane where in First Class they serve nice champagne and it’s quiet fun but a hotel lounge… not really.

      • Олег Сырбу

        Thanks. Its clear now

  • SaminKaz

    Dear John,
    I am holding out for Etihad to bring out a discount to using miles for a reward flight. Generally when do airlines introduce these kinds of promotions and should I just organise my trip now before it is too late?
    Thanks, Sam

    • They tend to offer such a discounts when the demand is soften. Difficult to know really. You could see when they were offering such a promotions on previous years.

  • Leon

    Would you have a screenshot of Aeroplan website on 29 or 30 October?
    Would you have a contact email at Accor on executive level? They have not even provided the 10k bonus they promised for reservations made before 27 October.
    Thank you for providing a very interesting web site.

  • dickeycarlo

    i recently completed the AA Goid Challenge and working my way to Platinum could I do this if I am still within the first three months and pay the additional fee?

  • AJ

    Hello, Have you heard anything about the suspended Buy Up program with USAir? It was supposed to be modified and reopened with further changes in October but it still is not available. So sorry to have missed the last opportunity to get the best bang in March. Are you aware of them offering a grandfather opportunity? Also, there are so many targeted email offers. Have you heard of any chains offering them to non-targeted guests? I know you know don’t bother with IHG, but any idea about the other big chains?

  • Daemon

    Hello John, I have a BA silver card expiring in Feb 2015 – could you pls advisve if I can request its status match to any other airline at the moment? Thank you so much and cheers!

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  • Bo

    Anxiously awaiting the next IHG PointBreaks teaser list. I have places to go and vacations to plan. 🙂 Thanks for all you do, John!

  • Yongyut Laosiritaworn

    (This Q was also posted in discussion)
    Hi John, can you give me a suggestion if it is worth to apply for the “Ibis Business” for an upgrade to “Le Club” Gold status?

    Since we are stabbed by the Aeroplan promotion, where are left is with M&M and Avios. However, paying 2 stays (without really staying) would be almost the same price as buying the Ibis Business, but we do not have to get into some wars with the customer support in the case there is something wrong (e.g. promotional points are not credited)

    Any suggestions are very welcome.

  • v

    Hi john why the tracking in to the night promotion for ihg reward club never update more than one month already i try to contact to them also just answer should to wait 3-4day s now wait more than 30days and call to ask more than 7 time same answer

  • Darren

    Hi John.

    Love your site! It’s been a huge help. Quick question… I currently have Elite Silver Status on United, and am taking a trip to Taiwan this coming week. I am booked in economy plus right now, but there are a number of Business and First class seats open on the SFO-TPE flight. Any advice as to how I can upgrade to one of those short of spending an arm and a leg?


    • There is no other way that paying for the upgrade in cash or miles + copay.

  • Kevin James

    Hey John, In regards to the IHG Into the Nights promotion tracker – mine seems to be working again, but is still a bit (or way) off. It’s now opened up the bonus offer section on mine. Just an FYI.

  • Nongsom

    John please write your blog about “earn point or stay credit for multiple room” in each chain have different detail/limitation or trick (Accor,IHG,Hilton,Marriott,SPG, etc…)

  • Guilherme Furtado

    Hey John,

    Congratulations and thank you for the awesome and very usefull blog. I have a question regarding day use hotel rates.

    On the accor website, to book a room for a long layover during a given day, I have to book it as it was a regular night, with a check in and a check out date, even tough the room is avaliable from 9am to 6pm. So if I want to stay on July 13th, should I book the room for 12th to 13th or 13th to 14th? Thanks

    • You should call and ask if they have day rates available. Otherwise, I would book it for the day of arrival (not from the night before – most likely just coded as no show) and just tell that you are checking out in few hours.

  • moon

    Hi, John! Thanks to your advice, I succeeded in BA promotion. Thank you so much! And I have something to ask you. According to BA rules(?), they only took 4000 points and left 1000 points to my account. So one more stay later, I will get 2000 points. Can I use these points to book a hotel?

    • You can. They only move in the chunks of 4K Le Club to 2K BA Avios unless you have activated the full sweep after each and every stay. You can use rest of the points the way you want.

      • moon

        Awesome! Thank you so much John. Cheers!

  • Rick Grant

    I wanted to let you know my Marriott targeted mega bonus offer. 20 nights = 25k, then 2k a night for 10 nights for a total of 35k…. 20k less then my last mega bonus offering (35k for 20 nights, then 2k a night up to 55k)… Kind of sucks. I max these out twice year.. now it looks like I’ll be doing it for 40k less points this year.

  • Andrew

    John, your recent about your recent Expedia brg. Were the cancellation conditions identical? I have had numerous brg claims denied for a one minute difference in cancellation times. At my usual destination Expedia has perhaps a hundred hotels, but the only sites that have identical cancellation times are Expedia owned sites like and Expedia network like travelocity, which tend to have identical prices.

    Also, Expedia owes me numerous approved and stayed brg claims , but does not respond to my emails. Is there a next step for me? Do I need to get a lawyer (I am not litigious and do not know any lawyers so this would really be a last resort)? Registered letter? Complaint to my state (California ) attorney general?



    • I have not had a problem with matching Expedia to Orbitz, but I tend to do them at the very last minute (day of arrival) when both are already non-cancelable. So, the cancellation deadline doesn’t really matter.

      I would send a complaint via the Attorney General of California and request that they look into Expedia’s deceptive trade practices.

  • Jim

    Merry Christmas to you first of all. With 2015 upon us and devaluations all over the place, which of the big 6 looks to have the best 1st quarter 2015 promotion for purely earning overnight stays quickest: IHG, Hilton, Marriott, SPG, Hyatt or Choice?

    • It really depends what offer you may have received from Hyatt, IHG and Hilton. They have all done personalized offers this year.

  • LA2Boston

    Hello John, Happy Holidays! I currently have an Amex from Hilton and want to switch to SPG card but I still have one more reward stay booked at Hilton. Do you think they will pull my Diamond status when I cancel the card, since I earned it solely with credit card spend?

    • James Pierce


  • Dan

    Hi is it possible to transfer points from BA to Finnair somehow?

  • youragobshite

    why are you such a freeloading wanker

    • James Pierce


  • Monsieur

    Hilton PR13CB “Corporate Benefit Partner Rate” 32% To 43% Off Discount Code
    Doesn’t seem to work. Any idea on how to get a cheap rate?

  • Indy Gordon

    Hi John. Firstly, love your blog. Thank you so much for it!

    I have a question I was hoping you could help with. I recently booked a US Airways Dividend Miles award that combines flights on Cathay, US Air, Qatar and Air Berlin. Some of the middle segments of the trip go from Dusseldorf (AB) to Cancun, stopover for 3 weeks, then Cancun to Charlotte and New York (US) then back to Asia.

    When I was making the booking the agent asked me for my middle names to put on the booking (never done this before but I obliged). When the ticket was sent out I noticed that both my middle names ran together with my first name like so: Firstnamemiddlenamemiddlename Lastname. US assured me that this was normal. When I looked on the partner websites to select my seats my name appears like this as well (ok I suppose I can live with that?). The date of birth is correct on all bookings.

    The bigger problem came to the AB website with multiple errors. First the gender is listed incorrectly (I’m listed as a MRS not a MR), second the name appears like so: FIRSTNAMEMIDDLENAMEMIDDLENAME MIDDLENAMEMIDDLENAME LAST NAME (my middle names appearing twice, once running with the first name and once on their own but run together). Because the AB flight goes from DUS to CUN and travels through United States airspace I have to fill out the APIS and Secure Flight data. The final problems with this is that the AB website wont let me list a Mexico destination address (only a US one) and it wont let me reformat my name.

    I understand that the reasons for this are probably that the US and AB reservation systems don’t talk to each other very well. I’ve called US and they said everything looks fine on their end and they can’t help; I’ve called AB and they say they can’t do anything because it’s not their ticket. AB just advised that “as long as the APIS data is correct you can check in and we can fix the other details up at check in”.

    Should I be concerned? Is there anything that I can do to make sure it will all be OK at check in.

    I carry an Australian passport (resident outside the US) and had an ESTA a few years ago. I think this included my middle names but my booking on my Qantas flight into the US didn’t carry my middle names.

    Your advice is much appreciated. Happy travels for 2015!

    • I wouldn’t be correct. The info that AB has is likely correct and the display on AB’s website is just plain wrong.

  • Jurgen

    Just wondering which hotel programs would do status matching? I am both gold on marriot and platinum on ihg

    • Club Carlson and Best Western would do a straight match. Hilton Gold is easy via the MVP, Hyatt doesn’t have an open match right now and SPG one requires quite a few nights.

      • LRazzon

        One more question on the issue, if you know the answer: When Carlson and Best Western do a straight match, do they match it until the expiry of my Platinum card with Accor, or do they do a one year match from date of application?

  • M

    Hello i have collected a lot of avois points with British airways can i transfer them to any hotel partner program?Any suggestions Many thanks

    • You cannot convert BA Avios to hotel points, but there is an option to book hotels using Avios on BA’s website.

  • James

    Do any hotel lines give you points for buying their gift cards?

    • Buying them online or at the property? Marriott used to have bonus points promotions for buying their gift cards, but those didn’t return at the end of last year. You may be able to buy some hotel gift cards when staying at the hotels and generating points. Better if you do this while staying.

  • Chelle

    Does anybody no the password for the promo code ukmedia ?

  • kathleen

    My husband and I would like to go to italy in June using miles. We have 382,000 Amex rewards and each of us have 200,000 Aadvantage miles. Ideally we would like to go business but don’t want to waste the points either. We are looking for MIA-Rome or naples and back. What is the smartest way to get this done? Thanks for your help.

    • If you are using AAdvantage miles, you should try to stay away from transatlantic BA flights, as they trigger very high fuel surcharges. Finnair and Iberia would be good options using AA miles IF you can find availability. Finnair would be bit of a detour. Airberlin also flies from Florida to Germany and can be booked using AA miles.

  • lloydyboy

    Hi John

    My name is John Lloyd I am a Hilton Diamond member, British but living in France. I was intrigued by your letter regarding getting the cheapest Hilton room without losing points etc.

    I attempted to use the ‘ gold medal ‘ code on the booking page only to find that it was just the corporate box that would accept the 10 digit number and then the quoted corporate price was more than the public price. This was for a trial booking at the London Gatwick Hilton.

    What was I doing wrong ?

    Love your newsletters

    Best regards John Lloyd

  • Yang

    Hi John,

    My wife and I flew Qantas first class from Melbourne to London then to Zurich via British airways using AA miles. Our QF flight arrived in London 3.5 hours behind the schedule, which results in missing our connection flight back to Zurich. We ended up getting back to Zurich 4 hour late. I am wondering if EU261/2004 would apply to my case for compensation.



    • That is quite interesting question. Qantas flight itself doesn’t grant you any compensation coming to EU, as the airline is not a community carrier. You did, however, have a intra-Europe feeder. You could file a claim with BA and see what the say. Keep me updated.

  • Christina

    Hi John! Do you know if Six Senses have any partnership with any company that allows you to earn award stay? Thanks!!!

    • Can you book them via any of the OTA’s such as Expedia, Orbitz, etc that have homegrown award programs?

  • Doug

    A question re IHG’s Set Your Sights program. I know that Rewards Nights now count as Elite Qualifying nights. Do they also count towards meeting your Set Your Sights offers. eg. Saturday Stays??

  • lakers

    I have just been downgraded by ICH from Platinum Elite to Gold (Not enough stays 2014)
    Are there any ways of retaining my status ?

    • IHG affiliated credit card in many markets comes with the Platinum status. One other option would be to purchase “Dining Rewards” package for $300 or so that comes with a status bump, free night cert and other extras.

  • Foro

    anyone tried to qualify for *A Gold via Ethiopian – Sheba Miles. They require only 40 flights segments and there are no requirements to achieve minimum segment or miles with Ethiopian Airlines mentioned on their website. any ideas or experience?

    • Interesting. I have not looked into this. Generally, Aegean, Turkish or Asiana are considered to be the “easiest” ones.

  • Arthur

    Hi John! I have received this e-mail from BPG IHG.

    Please accept our apologies as we were unable to adjust your reservation to reflect your free night on …… 2015 at the InterContinental Dubai – Festival City. In order to fulfill the Best Price Guarantee promise of providing the first night free for reservation xxxxxxxx, we will reimburse the amount paid through a funds transfer; please only send the requested information below after you check-out from the hotel.

    In my opinion a free night is not a night that I have to pay for. In addition it costs about 800$ and it tooks about 6 weeks to receive payment. Is there a way to make it a real free night? I have not found anything about this in BPG rules,

    • The hotel has decided not to “honor” the BPG or haven’t reply to IHG’s BPG team to adjust the stay to zero.

      There is no other way to go forward than to pay for the and wait few weeks for IHG to wire you the money (or mail a check). The plus side is that you will get points for your stay.

      • Arthur

        Thank’s a lot! If I will receive points for this stay anyway, I don’t mind getting check few weeks later 🙂

  • Kevin James

    Hello John! If Hilton was going to have another promotion starting 2/1, would they have announced it before now? I know the double points promo ends 1/31, and I’ve been waiting to see what the next one is. I’m on a fast track to diamond and want to get as many promotional points I can before my deadline of 2/13. The Hilton call center said they usually see a promo before now in their system, and it’s not there. Thanks for any advice or information you may have!

  • Yog

    Hi John, Great page, Why is that all Hilton promotions and Credit cards are aimed at US customers … As a UK Hilton gold member I find it hard to to keep my status … Thanks Y

    • Most of the bonus points and miles promotions are valid for worldwide audience. Credit cards, however, are market specific.

  • PayItForward

    Hi John, the PR13CB code now states it may required corporate IDs. Have you tried booking at that rate since?

    • I will have a look at it and will have a write up on reader questions this week.

  • does my marriotts rewards status (gold platinum silver) resest at the beginning of every year

    • The status is valid through the end of February. The reset happens at the end of February.

  • Kim Chang min

    Hello John! I know some bad news about Accor Hotels.
    Do you know that Partner (stayed with Platinum member) failed to use the lounge anymore ?
    Only Platinum member can access lounge.
    I heard the news from the Grand Ambassador Hotel Staff.

    • I have never heard anything like that. Usually, it should be available for the guests registered for the room. Sometimes hotels may have limit of 2.

  • Jenny Lye

    My new secretary forgot to purchase points to maintain my Platinum Elite status .
    I have tried appealing but to no avail . It’s very sad for me as I have been a Platinum Elite Member for more than 10 years . Is there any way I can get back the status .? Besides the 75 nights stay I mean …

    • You can buy 50K Marriott now (I assume that this is Marriott status based on the nights requirement). When did your status drop? If it is due to drop this month, there is still time to do it.

      Otherwise, I would call and ask Platinum Challenge of some sort.

      • Jenny Lye

        Thanks John . I tried to buy but they said I have lost my status last year ( I was for some still getting upgrades so hence did not realise my secretary did not upgrade for me . She maintains my frequent flyer.

        How do I write to get in to the Platinum Challenge if they will not allow me to buy Marriot points to upgrade ?

        Thanks .Really appreciate the assistance.

        Warm Reg

  • Conradfun

    The Hilton London Paddington has added a new set of rooms adjacent to the property. These are intended to be a select set of rooms and also come with an executive lounge. There are now tw lounges at the hotel but as a Diamond I only be access to the original lounge.
    The Hilton terms state ”
    If you are an HHonors guest with Diamond status, you and up to one additional registered guest in the same room will always enjoy complimentary access to the Executive Floor Lounge, even if you do not receive a room upgrade to the Executive Floor.”
    So far have not been upgraded to those rooms and have not had access to this lounge.
    Is this a Hilton ploy to devalue elite status? (I also noticed they took away alcoholic spirits from the original lounge recently in the same hotel)

    • I have not had this issue with Hilton but something similar with
      SPG. Hotel may have two lounges and they designate one as a club
      lounge (where Platinum members have access to) and a separate one
      that is designated as a Towers lounge (no access for Platinum

      There is similar issue with the Rome Cavalieri. They have some
      very basic lounge for Gold and Diamond members while keeping their
      true lounge (somehow I got access there on my one visit to this
      property) off the limits.

      Not offering alcoholic beverages during evening happy hours is
      just cheap. I would leave a nasty note on TripAdvisor and/or after
      the stay survey that you may received from Hilton. Some hotels are
      really cutting corners regardless of the rates they charge.

  • PayItForward

    Hi John, It seems that the Gold Medal rate is no longer available. Yet another promo code has bitten the dust.

  • Alex

    John, do you have an idea when the next IHG PointsBreaks list will come out? Did you get any preview of the list for March 2015?

  • kathleen

    I bought two business class tickets on Iberia using Avios. Can I get Aadvantage miles from the trip?

    • You may get lucky if there are any disruptions during your travel
      and the operating carrier needs to rebook you. Then there is a chance
      that the flight would post as qualifying to AA, as long as the
      operating airline is AA’s partner.

  • Rob

    Hi John,

    I just wondered if you or anyone else had consumed one of their free nights as part of the ‘Into the nights’ promotion for IHG. If so, has (and should) this post as a reward night (and count for elite status) or just be called something else. I stayed at the beginning of February and there is no record in my account of the stay having taken place. I would have expected at least a line on my statement stating there had been activity but there is nothing.

    • They should have posted as a regular consumed award stay. Weird
      that there is nothing on your account. I would contact IHG Rewards
      Club customer service and ask them to post it for you.

  • Roger

    Re: Marriott Buy Back Status
    John … I’m very fortunate that Marriott again extended my Platinum status for another year, without me staying anywhere close to the number of nights needed (probably because of lifetime nights); however, this good fortune won’t go on forever.
    Is it possible to buy back status for less?? That is, I’m currently a Platinum but next year (if I’m not renewed again), I would prefer to buy back Gold; as you’ve often noted, the differences between Gold and Platinum are minimal.
    Will Marriott allow me to spend 25K to ‘downgrade’ to Gold status or must I spend the 40K to retain Platinum?? It would seem logical that they would allow you to ‘drop down a rung’ from Platinum to Gold if you so choose, but maybe not?? Thanks …

  • tortellini

    Hello John, I just had a very *bad* experience with AA.. expected compensation but they don’t care. I booked a seat from LAX-LHR in the maincabin (it should have been their new one so pretty happy to have decent leg room and entertainment).

    Before boarding the gate agent called me and told me that they had to change the aircraft, that she assigns me a new seat wich is is still in the main cabin thefefore same quality as the booked one. Happy with that.

    Surprise surprise! Once I was inside the aircraft it was a plain, old eco seat. I asked the flight attendants what I should do, I even offered to PAY for a business class seat… but zero.

    So the gateagent just gave me a wrong info (on purpose in order to have a quick boarding?) and I had a horrbile flight on a ancient Eco seat. I’ve sent them a mail and they offered me the money I had payed for the upgrade… and.. quote: “While you are no doubt disappointed with us, compensation is not applicable. We appreciated your patience as a refund is processed for the Main Cabin Extra seats that you did not receive.”

    What do you suggest me to do? I fly about 100,000-150,000 miles a year, and since they do like this I’m really considering to go on booking competitors. I’m AA Gold should it be relevant

    • It is unfortunate that airlines NEVER really guarantee anything else beyond transportation from A to B. You paid for the Economy Extra? They really should compensate as well. You could always file a complaint with the DOT.

  • lloydyboy

    I have a Barclays Hilton credit card which gives you automatic silver status, is it possible to gain Diamond status for another 40 nights stays instead of 60 nights needed for earing diamond from the lowest status level

    • You could try to do the Diamond challenge that I have written about. Sign up for the Gold MVP match first (requires only 4 stays within 9 days). The Gold benefits are almost as good as Diamond ones.

      • lloydyboy

        Hi John
        I will have two more stays before the end of May that will take me to Gold level so I will try the Diamond challenge. Remind me John due I have to request the challenge or is it targeted.
        Cheers John

  • tatiana

    Is there a way or promotion to upgrade membership to carlson club and novotel? Thank you.

    • I have written about Club Carlson status match. You can find the article by using the search box on the upper right hand corner. Novotel is part of Accor and their loyalty program is Le Club Accorhotels.

  • Ry Wong
  • Andre

    Hi John, sorry for the long/personal post. I made a points reservation at a Homewood Suites for 4th of July weekend, and the opening of that hotel has been delayed until August 15th. When I noticed the new opening date at the top of my reservation online (still haven’t been contacted by the hotel), I called Hilton HHonors (I have Gold status) and was surprised to learn that there was no corporate policy in place to deal with this type of occurrence. They offered to simply cancel my reservation (redeposit my points) and rebook me anew. The representative even said they couldn’t override the system to give me a similar room at another hotel for the same number of points (balcony and riverview) nor was there any mention of compensation. I was told that Hilton Worldwide bore no responsibility and there was nothing they could do (I find this disingenuous). Anyway, what typically happens in these cases? Does it matter that I actually had a reservation at one of their hotels to begin with? And, is there someone you would recommend reaching out to? All in all, pretty frustrated with this experience.

    • They can obviously book you to other Hilton HHonors property and give the difference in points back. I would speak with the Guest Assistance.

  • ddddddt

    Hi John,Is there any updates on Four Season Loyalty Program?

  • Nick

    Hi John,

    I am about to join for the Marriott Rewards loyalty scheme and I was wondering if could get advantage of both the free night certificates after 2 stays offer as well as any referral points if a friend invites me.


    • These offers are exclusive. You must choose either bonus points or the free night cert.

  • TravelingJewel

    Hi John,
    I’m an IHG Ambassador, and am currently staying at an Intercontinental Hotel. When I checked in, I was told my room was upgraded (no way to confirm that, as the rooms are very similar) but I was given breakfast and lounge access. I wasn’t given the welcome gift, or fruit or water in the room. When I asked for a late checkout (IHG allows late checkout until 4pm) I was told the latest the hotel could do was 2pm. I pressed the issue and told the front desk clerk that Ambassadors are allowed checkouts until 4pm. Do I have a case to be annoyed, or just let it go? Oh, and my room was unserviced yesterday- I had to call to request towels because I was out of clean one. Am I just being high mainteannce?

    • If you didn’t book a club room and they give you club access, that would be considered an upgrade. The fruit and the water are in the T&C’s. The welcome gift was removed (fi I can recall right). All Ambassador members are guaranteed 4PM check out. This is not based on availability.

      What InterContinental was this? This was a paid stay?

      • TravelingJewel

        Thanks John! It was the Intercon Panama City, Panama. It was a paid stay, but at a discounted rate (govt).

        • I had some issues there as well that I might have had as one of the Compensation Clinic cases. They gave me points for the inconvenience.

          • TravelingJewel

            I didn’t complain or email, because I was given lounge access, but it was really frustrating that I knew way more than the employees did about what Ambassadors are meant to receive.

  • Donald

    Hi John, hope all is well, I am just wondering if Hyatt really dis-continued the Diamond Trial Offer? I have read that they have changed the offer to somewhat Platinum and fast track to Diamond? Any detailed information on that – and moreover, any reported experience if it works? Thanks a lot, Donald

  • lloydyboy

    Hilton diamond challenge

  • Larry K

    Hello John
    I just want to share something with your readers. BE CAREFUL if you want to use POINTS booking at a hotel. Tell them IMMEDIATELY with loads of lead time… I booked a reservation and then 3 weeks later when I confirmed that same reservation and opted to use my points they announced” sorry sold out to use points, you should have told us back when you made the original reservation.” This was the Crowne Plaza in Hollywood Florida. Very disappointed as I am a Silver member with over 75,000 points all useless AT THIS TIME SO I WENT TO MARRIOTT and they accepted my Marriott points!
    Just want to share that

    Larry K

  • Bosi

    I am an IHG Platinum Ambassador. Should I get at all Intercontinental Hotels complimentary access to the IHG Club Room?

    • Even Royal Ambassador members are not guaranteed Club access, although many hotels do grant that.

  • Scott

    Currently staying at the HGI in Charlotte/Arsley. A fairly new property with wonderful staff, and good food. The channel selection on the TV is from Direct TV and is awesome. BUT…. the internet is for crap. As a Diamond member and having stayed at most every Hilton brand over the past 10+ years, I have never had internet as slow as on this property. And when i mean slow, I mean you cannot play a video unless you pay the Premium price of $4.95. Here it is the principle of the thing. I know Hilton was the last major brand to offer free internet to everyone, so now there is no differentiation between their most loyal guests and regular guests. I feel I have been downgraded in service.
    Now I have encountered this before at several other HGI’s and when I called down to the front desk they offered me the codes for the Premium service, no questions asked, no comments made, just a rectification of what they might have seen as good customer service. This hotel made no such offer and I did not ask. I just asked if there were not a waiver for Diamond guests. He said no and I did not press the issue. I could tell he would not budge and he was probably just doing his job.
    The point being, as a Diamond with Hyatt, a Platinum with SPG and Gold with Marriott, I have dozens if not hundreds of choices in any metropolitan area where I stay and even in the outer areas, there are choices, most offering free internet to everyone and premium to the highest tiered loyalty member. So I guess Hilton, or HGI just has not gotten to 2015 yet where higher speeds are needed and if not offered to your most frequent guests who NEED it, we will take our business elsewhere. I know I will remember this property for it’s poor internet speeds and not stay here again, unless the policy is changed.

  • tamtamm

    wanted to say so far I am not impressed with your rewards club…haven’t been able to use points for a free night at the holiday inn we stay at in San Francisco as they are always sold out but we can get a room pay and cannot access the gift catalog as the page will not open. Oh well

  • Beths

    I’m a Hyatt platnium member-going to Paris for a special anniversary and would love to get an upgrade from a standard room-suggestions?

    • Well. Even Diamond members are supposed to use their Suite upgrade certs to get upgraded. You could always use points for an upgrade. Note that you need to pay bit higher rate to do this.

  • Garry

    Hi there , I am a big fan of your site. I have been a super elite for Air Canada Aeroplan for the last 10 years or so and I almost achieved their life-time Elite status (=Star alliance gold status). However because Air Canada’s customer service and Aeroplan are so bad, I have decided to switch to another Star Alliance or even OneWorld from scratch. My question to you is which Star Alliance frequent flyer program is the best that you would recommend? How about those program that only requires requalification for every 2 years instead of every year. Which one would you recommend?
    appreciate your reply. Regards, Garry

    • If you are close to lifetime Gold status with Air Canada/Aeroplan,
      I would try to stick with the program until you have achieved it. I
      have lifetime status with both United and American to cover Star
      Alliance and Oneworld.

      What program is the best really depends to where and in which
      cabins you tend to fly. If majority if your flights are on Air
      Canada, I would probably stick with their program.

      If you are after the fastest way to qualify or get matched to Star
      Alliance Gold status, I would look into Aegean or Turkish Airlines.

      American Airlines AAdvantage would be the logical choice if you
      are based in North America. You need 50,000 miles or 50 EQP (elite
      qualifying points) for Oneworld Sapphire status that is comparable to
      Star Alliance Gold.

      Delta and United have both moved to award miles based on the
      spend. American Airlines hasn’t made any announcement yet what their
      plans for 2016 are going to be.

  • Mike

    Hi John,
    First of all I would like to thanks you for allowing me to enjoy Hilton Gold Membership for the third consecutive year (mainly through fast-track offers), in addition to Gold Membership at Accor Hotels.

    I signed-up for GE fast track and completed the fourth stay 20 March 2015, but since then Status Progress have updated it as “Based on stays earned this year, your 2016 tier would be Silver.”

    It is quite weird as till the third stay, I can see the progress as “you need 1 more stay to maintain Gold Status in 2016”.

    Need your guidance in this regard.

    • Do you still have the Gold status with Hilton HHonors?

      The status bar seems to have functioned properly. It reset once
      you had fulfilled the requirement for the GE fast track. The status
      should be valid until 2017, however. I don’t think that the status
      bar has been properly programmed to show this.

      • Mike

        Thanks for your response.
        I was having Gold Status valid till March 2016 (due to Accenture Fast Track), when I registered for GE Fast Track. And, I did completed four stays (incl. 1 reward stay) within 90 days.
        I was expecting to get my Gold Status extended till March 2017. But, Elite Status Progress is clearly displaying it as “Based on stays earned this year, your 2016 tier would be Silver.”

        Please advise the best possible approach, as they generally find excuse to deny such request from people like us who have limited information. But, do entertain experts like you who even know respective clauses for that matter.

  • LRazzon

    Hi John,
    When Carlson and Best Western do a straight status match, would they match it until the expiry of my Platinum card with Accor, or do they do a one year match from date of application?

    • They don’t care about the expiry date of your Le Club Accorhotels status. The match will be minimum for a year.

  • Michael P.

    I have Bronze status in BA Executive Club. What do you think do I have chance to get better status in Lufthansa Miles & More if I ask it on some where? I haven’t used Lufthansa that much yet. If I remember right you said something like that on that document, I’m not sure? Or am I on too low status?

    • Lufthansa is very stingy with status matches (not really). Aegean and Turkish are easy with their Star Alliance Gold matches but you would need higher Executive Club status.

  • andy

    hi john, need your advice. i stayed 3 nights a week for 3 weeks in march at radisson crystal city (reagon airport) in VA in March 2015 for the promotion of 3 nights earning 30K points. i booked the double points biz rate and chose to upgrade for 4 free beakfast coupon per day. the hotel staff refused to give me 4 breakfast coupon and gave me one coupon per day only for all my 9 nights. the last week on tuesday eveing when i returned to my room, all my personal belongings are gone (thrown away by cleaning ladies, i guess). toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, haircomber, socks, paper, documents, ties, snacks, sausages, so on and so forth, all were gone. club carlson reward program said, they can not compensate my loss at the hotel. the hotel manager was not sincere to call me for any compensation. please advise what i can do? is there a goivernment regulation agency that i can file a complaint? thanks, andy

  • Vandav

    John, thanks for making this site! I want to ask you some question :
    1. What kind of “unaccepted service flaws” from a hotel that need compensation?
    2. What is a “normal or usual” compensation ? points? upgrade? free stay? or combination? I know its depend on personal basis and hotel policy and level of “flaw” But i just want to know in general, what the appropriate compensations are. I have red the compensation clinic chapte,. I am not the kind of person that look for a mistake or trying to make a big thing out of a small thing. For instance : its okay for me if No bottled water in the room, TV not working, Coffee machine not working, Key card not functioning etc.. I just can ask the hotel to replace but if they do not rectify ASAP then it become a different case!. I will be very disappointed if the room smell bad, AC stop working in the middle of the night, Dirty bathroom or Bed. Cockroach or rat playing in the room Rude staff (high voice, inappropriate word etc…), flooding in the bathroom (clogged drain), Toilet not properly function.
    3. Can you give me advise on what is the best Hotel loyalty program for a person that live in Asia (exclude China) and travel mainly in Asian country (exclude China). Some of the loyalty program that considered as a good may not be for an Asian live in asia and do most of the traveling in asia. For instance Marriot have a very limited presence in Asia, Hilton only have two hotel outside bali, Double tree in Jakarta, and Hilton in Bandung. IHG only have 2 InterCon hotel in Indonesia, one in Jakarta and a resort in Bali. Club Carlsson not even heard in Indonesia, Accor have a plenty of hotel across asia but mainly Ibis, Mercure and Novotel class.

    • That’s three questions!

      I believe that whether one should request or not compensation
      really depends on multiple factors. I have had stays where I have had
      number of issues. Each by itself would not be worth requesting
      compensation but when there are five/six of them…

      Hotels often try to offer you an upgrade on a future stay or free
      dinner. These really don’t cost them anything. I prefer asking
      compensation in form of points and usually look at how many points
      would be needed for a free night at the same category property. If
      the issue is serious enough (rat – never seen one in hotel – many
      times cockroaches), I would ask enough points for a free night.

      You are asking about a best hotel loyalty program for Asia, but
      then all the hotels that you mention are in Indonesia.

      If you prefer upscale properties, I would go with Hilton, Hyatt,
      Marriott and/or Starwood. Accor and IHG both have number of lower end
      properties in Asia (Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express and
      ibis/Mercure/Novotel). I don’t believe that there is single best
      program. It really depends what is important for you. Do you care
      about possible elite treatment at hotels or are you mainly after free
      night awards.

  • piotr

    I have Diamond status at Best Western Rewards program. Can I match it to other loyality programs? Where?

    • Club Carlson gives you a straight match.

      • piotr

        ClubCarlson doesn’t accept Best Western Rewards for matching. Anything else?

  • matthew

    Hi I am looking for some booking sites that charge in gbp to use for ihg brg claims. Can you point me to some of those sites?

  • Susan

    Hi John – I signed up for the Hilton MVP Gold fast track. For the 4 stay requirement, do the stays have to be paid stays, or could I used points?

  • M

    Hi John – I used to have the USD starwood amex credit card when I was in the US and that used to give me the best starwood point accrual rates. i have now moved to singapore and am looking for the best SGD credit card that is linked with starwood and also has good accrual rates. any suggestions? the only one i found so far was the SGD amex platinum credit card but the accrual rates are quite weak. let me know if you have any thoughts. thanks!

    • I am not familiar with the credit cards offered in the Singapore. You have to bear in mind, however, that Amex cards tend to have rather high forex fees for charges outside of the issued currency.

  • E

    Hi John,

    Are those instant sign up days (like Accor used to have, for instance) are totally gone or is it still available from time to time?

    Thank You very much.

  • Milah

    ***This my second post; uncertain whether the first post successfully submitted…
    Hello John. Yesterday, my husband reserved a room with a local Marriott Residence Inn for our daughter’s surprise birthday sleepover scheduled for tonight(last minute alternative to home). Although we’ve been with Marriott previously through friends, this was our first time reserving a stay directly as we normally use IHG facilities. Last evening, I called the hotel directly to have specific questions answered as to properly host tonight’s event. The first time I called, a voice answered, “Thank you for calling Residence Inn. This is Kierra, how may I help you?” Three seconds into my response the line would disconnect. This happened a second time and third time. Initially, I thought we had a poor connection. It wasn’t until call number 4 or 5 when I realized this person had been deliberately hanging up(I have a call log). This continued even through my attempts to ask for a manager for 20 minutes. At this point I was blue in the face and considered driving directly to the hotel through thunderstorms. There is only one contact number listed for this particular location. The GM and Assistant GM share the same number. I, then, called the Marriott toll free number to describe the situation. Richard immediately apologized, answered all of my concerns and gave an email address to the Hotel GM. Today is check-in and the swelling of my face has subsided a little. What is the best approach from here?

    • Why would the employee had deliberately hang up on you? Could be that they were having some sort of communication issue. You can discuss this with the GM.

  • Neal

    Finnair currently is running a fantastic deal from the UK to
    Chongqing, China. GBP870 return from MAN or LHR to CKG in business class. If credit
    to BAEC these would yield 440 tier points and 13,000ish Avios.

  • notme

    I have a flight from Bali to BKK, on Thai, on May31 and a flight from BKK to Macau, on Air Asia, on June 3. Should I be worried and book backup flights?

    • I would’t worry too much. The issue is with the Thai regulator that is not up to their job.

  • Dario

    Hi John,
    do you know a method to convert Accor Le Club points to air miles without minimum transfer?
    I remember that two years ago you published a method to do such thing, but it doesn’t seem still valid.
    Or any method to postpone the expiration? (I have 1385 points that expire on 29th April).

    • There used to be generic link for autoconversions that would work with all the programs, but not they are all program specific. I will try to have an updated piece about them this coming week.

      • Dario

        Ok thanks.
        I am subscribed to many airline programs like ba ib az lh etc.
        I hope to get few links soon 🙂

  • TravelingJewel

    Hi John, Sorry to bother you with this silly question, but I can’t figure it out. I’m flying JetBlue (ugh), and am wondering if I can credit the flight miles to another airline, preferably British Airways. I rarely fly JetBlue, and I’ll never accumulate enough miles with them on TrueBlue to make it worth crediting the miles to their program. Thanks!

    • Your choices are Emirates, Hawaiian and South African. I would probably credit to Emirates.

  • Simon

    BA Tier points: What’s the cheapest way to get 40 Tier points before the 28th to avoid the cut off and get Silver. I was going to upgrade to Business on an upcoming trip, but its 3 times the price of Economy.

    • You should book a short haul biz return from LGW/LHR. Just choose the cheapest destination.

  • looking to stay for cheap

    Hi John, I am trying to book New York Hilton with IBM corporate code which gives me 10% discount of Best Rate. I wanted to ask whether they would check that I work for IBM? And whats the risk if they find out that i don’t work for IBM

    • I would certainly check first if MVP, Gold Medal or AAA rates would be available. These usually offer 10% discount or more when available.

      Some hotels check your credentials while some others may not. If
      they decide to check and you are not able to provide adequate
      credentials, the hotel may charge the current Best Available Rate for
      the day.

  • notme

    Your emails have a link that does not go to your website. My anti-virus software is blocking the links. The address shown is : This is pretty serious and has been on going for about a week.

    • Those links resolve to We use them to track who opens/clicks emails that we sent out. We do this so that we can purge email addresses from the list that haven’t opened/clicked sent emails for a while.

  • Luo

    Does anyone know if the 10 elite nights earned from a Marriott meeting count towards lifetime elite status?

  • PayItForward

    My (special – SelectMemberExclusive5) SPG promotion (May 1st – July 31st) is for maximum 6,000 points with 2,000 points on the 2nd, 4th and 6th stays.

  • Cathy Ng

    Hi John,

    I got confused by IHG eliagble stay again, I’ve stayed for a weekend, book through the official website for the rate name as “IHG® Rewards Club Member Exclusive with Breakfast”, and turn out it’s a non qualifying stay. And they claimed that is because it’s a deeply discount, but that price is even more that the regular price.

    • The response that you received from IHG is utter nonsense.
      Sometimes it pays to call and escalate to the supervisor. I had one
      issue and called the IHG last week. I had to escalate to the
      supervisor that made an “exception”. Didn’t want to argue with
      her, as I got the stay fixed. There was no need for “exception”,

      So, my advise is that you call IHG and ask them to fix the stay.
      Don’t hesitate to escalate the issue to the supervisor if required.

  • talal hashem

    dear john i have IHG ambassador weekend voucher exp may 2015 did still work or finnish?

    • The Ambassador free weekend night certificate is valid until the
      end of the month printed on the cert.

  • Double A da Traveling Fool

    I’m looking to book a 1 night stay at a Hilton Property around Anaheim, CA this Saturday using Hilton Honors Points. Very few properties offer free parking, and since I am using points, I’d hate to pay upwards of $25 for parking. Notice most properties offer free parking in some of their special “pay” packages. If I call in my HHonors Points reservation to say either Hilton or Property itself, think I can get parking comped? Can a Hilton Property book a HHonors Point stay directly?

    • Unfortunately, you cannot use points towards a rate that includes
      parking. Some other programs such as SPG and Hyatt allow you to
      redeem points (at very bad value) for in property expenses. Note that
      parking is often leased to an outside company.

  • Hi John, my gf and I will be travelling to Africa in September, and this trip will include a 3 night stay in Botswana for safari along the Chobe River, likely near Kasane.
    Are any of the major hotel rewards programs useful for staying at any of the lodges/chalets in this area? I’m doubtful, but wanted to check.

  • Havane

    Qatar business class promo 2-for-1: was it a repeat of last year’s similar promo? will they repeat regularly?

    • Qatar tends to have promotions once a month. Sometimes it is 2-4-1 and other times straight discount.

  • Siwusa

    Hello John,

    I guess the IHG BestPriceGurantee changed, regarding matching the cancellation terms when only the best flexible rate is available.

    Responses I am getting:

    We have verified the competing site and we were able to find out that the lower rate is listed and available. However, please note that you have booked a flexible rate where it is possible to cancel the reservation without penalty before 4:00 PM (local hotel time) on Friday, 5 June, 2015 will result in no charge, while the third-party site levies a Restricted Rate which states that FREE Cancellation before 31/05/2015. Please be advised that this would make the lower rate being claimed more restrictive than the reservation you have booked and as such we are unable to compare the two rates for the purpose of the Guarantee.

    • The agent is incorrect. If the only rate available on is the Best Flexible one, it can be compared to prepaid rate on 3rd party site. See more here:

      • Siwusa

        True, that’s the way I am used to. But there are besides my experience a lot of reports on and, that the agents change the way of how to accept claims.

        I tried now different claims with different dates, hotels and names – always the same answer.

        Have you claimed recently?

        • I have not done IHG claims recently. May be I should and have an update. There has been no changes to the T&C’s, however. I would escalate and reference the T&C’s.

          • Siwusa

            I did argue with them and they just pointed on the T&C part that says:

            “Changes to these Terms and the Guarantee. IHG reserves the right to modify, restrict availability, or discontinue the Best Price Guarantee and to make changes to these Terms and Conditions, at any time, for any or no reason, and without prior notice or liability to you. The IHG Best Price Guarantee Terms and Conditions that are in effect at the time of your booking will determine your eligibility under the Best Price Guarantee.”

          • Then they should modify the terms again BUT they must obey the current ones as long as they are posted on their website. Open a case with Attorney General or BBB.

  • Pieter Hoek

    Hi John,
    Does IHG Rewards club still has a matching programme?
    I am SPG Platinum

    • Other option would be to purchase Ambassador status that comes
      with the IHG Rewards Club Gold status and then sign up for the Dining
      program that elevate your status by one level. You would then be IHG
      Rewards Club Platinum member.

  • Tom

    Hi John!

    First of all, I must say a huge Thank You for sharing all the helpful info on your site, as well as interesting stories.
    I’ve also got a question. I have a reservation for the UK Breadsall Priory Marriott for September. My current rate is £125 per night. I can also book an advance purchase rate of £110 per night. I was doing some research and found a corporate rate GDY for General Dynamics employees, but the conditions don’t say I must present any document at checkin. When I put the codes MMP/MMF, for Marriott family and friends, there was a clear statement about the needed documents. So, do you think it’s “safe” to book this rate?

    Also, I’ve got bookings for Hilton hotels, some with MVP rates and some with US Olympics rates. From what I understand, both from your site and from terms shown on Hilton’s site, I don’t need to be associated with a certain sport team, is that right?

    Thanks a million,

    • The Hilton MVP and Olympic rates are available for the public.
      There is no limitation of using them for personal stays.

      I am not advocating using corporate rates that one is not eligible
      for. You may be asked to provide a business card and/or corporate ID.
      Failing to do so may result you having to pay the going rate for the
      night at the time of checking in.

      • Tom

        Hi John!

        Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my question!

        I forgot to add, that the GDY rate is only £89, non advance purchase and includes breakfast (though I’ve got the Gold tier at Marriott’s), so that’s the reason I was so tempted… But I guess there’s more chance to lose than to gain.
        I wish Marriott had a fixed discount for Golds, like 5-10% off any rate.

        Thanks again,

  • Member

    Checking into Holiday Inn Coventry. Reception made a mistake and thought I was staying 5 nights, when I told him it was just for 1 he said, “oh, I must have been having a blonde moment”
    I have long blonde hair.
    Rude, patronising, I could go on…..


  • Jen

    Hello John, have you heard anything on the Marriott’s summer 2015 promotion? It’s June 11 now and I haven’t received anything. Thank you for any insights!!

    • Marriott must feel that their business is so strong currently that
      no promotions are needed. I would encourage you to stay at Hilton,
      Hyatt, IHG or Starwood that all have promotions going on at the