ANA is increasing is baggage allowance on international flights in economy back to 2 bags that can each weight up to 23 kilos.
This change is effective for tickets issues on or after January 8, 2015. [click to continue…]
ANA is increasing is baggage allowance on international flights in economy back to 2 bags that can each weight up to 23 kilos.
This change is effective for tickets issues on or after January 8, 2015. [click to continue…]
Hyatt Gold Passport has a summer promotion for triple ANA Mileage Club miles for stays between May 1 and August 31, 2014.
You can start earning 1,000 bonus miles starting from your second stay during the promotional period and you can earn the bonus maximum of 14 times. [click to continue…]
Hilton HHonors has double miles offer for ANA Mileage Club member stays between May 1 and July 31, 2014.
Member (must have ANA & Hilton account address set to Japan) who earns most base miles from Hilton stays during the offer period will win 4 night stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and 300,000 ANA Sky Coins. [click to continue…]
ANA is launching a new route from Dusseldorf to Narita and has launched a Platinum drive for all members residing in Europe and who register for this promotion.
You need 15,000 “Premium Points” from ANA flights between March 30 and June 30, 2014, to receive ANA Platinum Service “Trial Version” for 7 month period from September to the end of March. [click to continue…]
Hyatt Gold Passport has a new promotion for ANA Mileage Club members for double miles (500 base +500 bonus) for stays between December 1, 2013, and February 28, 2014.
There is no need to register for this promotion, but you need to use offer code AN660 at the time of making the reservation. [click to continue…]
Star Alliance had launched a Gold Game that testes your knowledge of the alliance by asking five questions. You can win one of the 36 prizes of Star Alliance Gold status in one of the participating programs.
This offer is valid for all other current Star Alliance members except TAM that leaves the alliance in March and US Airways that is trying to merge with American Airlines and exits the alliance upon merger completion. [click to continue…]
Hilton HHonors has a new promotion for ANA Mileage Club members for stays between October 1 and December 31, 2013.
You can access and register for this promotion on Hilton’s website here.
You will earn double miles for stays outside of Asia-Pacific and triple miles for stays within the Asia-Pacific. [click to continue…]
You have already been able to fly on Peach, partially owned by ANA too, and now ANA is renaming the former AirAsia Japan as Vanilla Air. AirAsia Japan was a joint venture between ANA and AirAsia that didn’t work out.
According to news sources, the airline had more than 200 names to choose from and settled on Vanilla because, as the CEO of ANA puts it, everyone loves it. You can read more about this venture on Bloomberg article here. [click to continue…]
LoyaltyLobby reader was set to fly on ANA flight from Yangon to Tokyo and then to United States. ANA canceled the RGN-NRT flight and neither Expedia who issued the ticket nor ANA informed the passenger about this.
The passenger had to book oneway RGN-NRT on another carrier, as ANA had no employees at the airport who could have rebooked him or resolved the issue. [click to continue…]
It has not been possible to escape the news about the troubles that airlines have had in the past couple of weeks with Boeing 787 aircraft.
Marriott Travel Packages are the best way to use Marriott Rewards points IF you need some airlines miles as well. These packages consists of 7 nights stay at a chosen category or tier (Ritz-Carlton & Marriott Vacation Club) hotel and set number of miles at various airline programs. You will also get a 25% coupon for Hertz rental that I have never been able to use as rates that are not discount eligible have always been a better deal.
The reason why these are such a good deal is that you will get a nice chunk of airline miles in the process. You can collect airline miles on your Marriott stays but it is far better just continue crediting towards Marriott points and take advantage of MegaBonuses. Then, when you have enough points in your account to redeem for a Marriott Travel Package, you just issue one.
You can essentially “transfer” Marriott Rewards points at 1 to 1 level for airlines like United, US Airways, and British Airways.
Here’s an example of redeeming for cat 1 to 5 travel package + 120K airline miles
If we assume that you would use the 7 nights at category 5 property, it would cost you 25K per night but you would get the 4th night free. The number of points required would be 150K.
The travel package at category 1 to 5 costs you 270K Marriott Rewards points. If we deduct the point value of the room part (150k), you “transfer” the 120K Marriott Rewards points to 120K airline miles.
Choosing the number of airline miles level
Each of the travel packages has four level for number of airline miles you would earn by redeeming a travel package. I would suggest that you go for the highest level if possible.
Upgrading the hotel category part of the travel package
If you redeem for a category 1 to 5 package and would later want to stay at the category 6 property, you can do this by paying the difference in points that is 30K. You need to call Marriott Rewards customer service and they can do it instantly.
Downgrading the hotel category part of the travel package
I always suggest that you should issue the travel package at the lowest category first if you are not sure how you are going to use it. You can always upgrade it.
But if you issued the package at the higher level that is required for your stay, you can always call the Marriott Rewards customer service and request them to downgrade it and get the difference in points deposited to your account.
Extending the hotel certificate
The hotel certificate that is deposited to your Marriott Rewards account is valid for 12 months after issuance. I have personally, however, been able to extend these more than twice. You need to contact the Marriott Rewards customer service to achieve this. I cannot guarantee that it will work for you, but it has for me.
Unable to use the hotel award
Try extending the award certificate. I have managed to do this few times. If they are not willing to do it, consider giving it away as the number of points you get back is not a lot. If you issued it higher than the lowest category level, downgrade it to the lowest level and get some points back to your account.
If you are not able to use it or give it away, you will get some points back for unused certificate and it is dependent and what mileage level you originally issued it.
Here are some values that you can expect to get back IF you need to redeposit unused hotel certificate from the travel package
Travel package with highest number of miles redeemed:
Cat. 1-5 : 10K points
Cat. 6 : 25K points
Cat. 7 : 40K points
Travel package with lowest number of miles redeemed:
Cat. 1-5 : 40K points
Cat. 6 : 55K points
Cat. 7 : 75K points
When to redeem
Some airlines like US Airways and American Airlines, which used to be a Marriott partner, tend to run promotions once in a while for transfer from hotel programs. They might give you a 35% to 50% bonus for miles transferred in. This is the time to redeem. I redeemed 3 or 4 travel packages when the partnership with American Airlines was ending and AA was offering bonus for points transfers. I made my first Million Miles status with AA with the help of Marriott.
Few of other tips
– You can use the ward certificate for less than 7 nights but you won’t receive any points back. Just do a reservation online for 7 nights and leave early. Otherwise, you can contact the Marriott Rewards and have them to make the reservation for you
– If there is a day in between that is not available for points, you can pay for it in cash. You need to arrange this with the Marriott Rewards customer service i.e. you stay at the hotel for 10 nights and use travel package for nights 1 to 3 and 7 to 10. You can pay for nights 4 to 6.
Marriott Travel Package: Hotel + Air Package 1
Note that you will receive 50K, 70K, 100K or 120K miles in any of the participating airlines: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways or Virgin Atlantic
Marriott Travel Package: Hotel + Air Package 2
Note that you will receive 35K, 50K, 70K or 85K miles in any of the participating airlines:
Aeroflot, airberlin, Air China, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Avianca-TACA LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, LAN, Lufthansa Miles & More, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines or TAP Air Portugal
Marriott Travel Package: Hotel + Air Package 3
This package is reserved entire for Southwest. You will receive 50K, 70K, 100K, or 120K Rapid Reward points that are COMPASSION PASS QUALIFYING. If you redeem the highest package and deposit the points to Southwest, you receive a Southwest Companion Pass for a year.
Marriott Travel Package: Hotel + Air Package 4
This package is for JetBlue TruBlue and Virgin America Elevate members. You will receive 25K, 35K, 50K, or 60K points.
IMHO this IS really the best way to use Marriott points IF you prefer getting a lot airline miles along the way. There are some drawbacks to this as well that I listed above and workarounds like extending the certificate for a year.
Here are the short terms and conditions of this award:
To redeem for a Hotel, Air & Car Package reward:
Contact the airline you will use as your carrier. (You must be a member of their frequent flyer program.) Inquire about the number of miles needed to travel from departure location to your destination and remember to take into account the number of people traveling in your party.
Once you know the number of miles needed, call
1-800-MARRIOTT to make your hotel reservation. Make sure to inform the reservation agent that you are using a Travel Package Reward.
After your reservation is confirmed, you can complete the reward order over the phone or order online.
Reward Delivery Information
- Hotel certificate will be issued electronically and will be available at the hotel upon check-in.
- Airline miles will automatically be sent to your frequent flyer account.Please allow approximately 6 weeks for your miles to be posted to your frequent flyer account or contact your local Marriott Rewards office to inquire about express service (may include a fee).
Miles will automatically transfer into the frequent flyer mileage account that matches the name on your Marriott Rewards account. Once processed, airline miles cannot be transferred back to your Marriott Rewards account.
- You will receive a paper certificate for your Hertz rental.Please allow 10 business days for US delivery, 4 weeks for delivery outside the US, or contact your local
Marriott Rewards office to inquire about express service (may include a fee).
Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.
This promotion starts on May 1st and end of August 30th, 2012. You will receive the normal number of miles or points for the first stay, triple bonus for stays 2 and 3, and quadruple miles or points for the stays 4 to 11.
Please note that this promotion is NOT based on nights but rather on stays. You will receive the same number of miles or points regardless how many nights you stay. The promotion is capped at 11 stays.
The cumulative maximum number of points that you would earn by having 11 stays on Air China’s and China Eastern’s programs would be 39200. By crediting 11 stays to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards would earn you 29400 points. In all other programs the cumulative number of points after 11 stays would be the grand total of 24500 miles/points.
This promotion quite frankly works for me. Most of my stays are for one night. Getting 2500 miles for a one night stay is a rather good deal. Maybe I will finally set my foot to Hyatt property this year.
Here are the promotional terms and conditions of the United offer, but they are basically identical for each of these airlines.
More stays means 5X more miles and even more rewards
ELIGIBILITY: To be eligible to participate in the Hyatt Summer Airline Promotion (“Promotion”), you must be a member of Hyatt Gold Passport and a member of United MileagePlus.
HOW TO REGISTER: Between April 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (“Promotion Period”), you can register for Promotion via hyatt.com/UNITEDSUM12A or by calling 1-800-228-3360 and requesting enrollment code UA12S. You must register in advance for stays to qualify. Stays completed before registration are not eligible. You only need to register once.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE: After registering for the Promotion, complete two (2) or more stays at any participating Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Place® , Hyatt House™ or Hyatt Residence Club™ hotel and resort worldwide between May 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (“Stay Period”) and request United MileagePlus miles for each Eligible Stay. You must provide your United MileagePlus member number at check-in for each Eligible Stay. For each Eligible Stay during the Stay Period, you will earn the award miles as summarized in the chart below. A Eligible Stay is a stay at a participating hotel during the Stay Period with at least one (1) Eligible Night during the stay and request United MileagePlus miles for each stay. For the purpose of this Promotion, an “Eligible Night” is defined as one (1) night at any participating hotel or resort at an Eligible Rate when choosing United MileagePlus miles as the method of loyalty reward upon check-in at a participating Hyatt property and paying an Eligible Rate (as defined below). Award nights do not constitute an Eligible Night. Hyatt Gold Passport members will only receive eligible night credit for the room they physically occupy, regardless of the number of paid rooms. Only stays that occur after registration for Promotion will be counted as Eligible Stays.
Every now and then, I am going to write about award reservations that I have booked for myself, and that I consider being of good value. Most of my award trips are complicated and some might consider them unorthodox. I hope that my examples might give ideas how to best use the miles for international premium class tickets.
I don’t normally book award trips months or sometimes even weeks in advance. For the past month I had been visiting family and friends in Finland, and decided that it was about the time for me to continue on my journey.
Last month Continental announced that they are ending the frequent flyer partnership with Virgin Atlantic. I haven’t tried Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class product so decided to piece something together as Continental allows one to mix their partner airlines and Star Alliance carriers on the same award tickets.
First, I was thinking of flying to Sydney. I have been to Sydney for couple of times before so it wouldn’t have been something new for me. The business class award from Europe to Australia/New Zealand is 65K CO miles. By throwing in another 10K I could make it all the way to Oceania. My award ticker to Colombo (CMB), Sri Lanka, where my next paid trip starts, would be using BMI miles that consider Australia/New Zealand/Oceania as the same zone.
I then decided to have a look at the Air New Zealand’s pacific coverage again. I have already visited Nuku Alofa (TBU) on my round the world United Airlines business class award ticket and Raratonga (RAR) on a “special” Al Italia business class fare. Papeete (PPT) has always been on my radar, but I was thinking of going there later this year and then hop to South America via Easter Islands (IPC).
Quite a few of the islands no longer have business class service at all. Apparently Air New Zealand has gone the LCC route and eliminated the premium cabin from many of the routes. When I flew to the Rarotonga on NZ they still had business class even on the narrow body planes.
As I was going to the islands, I decided that it would be ok to visit two islands and just pay for a one-way revenue ticket in between them. I nailed down Fiji (NAN) and Apia (APW). Award tickets in business class were widely available to/from Apia on the weekly 763 service, but the award availability back from Fiji to Auckland was non-existent.
So using Expterflyer, paid service that has access to Air New Zealand award inventory, I could search week at a time for I (business class redemption bucket) class award availability to/from Fiji and Apia. You can also use Continental’s website for searching for NZ’s award availability. After I located the date for my AKL-APW flight, I had to start building the itinerary for other flights. For some dates Continental was even able to find award availability from Helsinki to Apia, but it wasn’t the routing that I was after.
Virgin Atlantic had quite good upper class award availability on their Asian routes. After I had found all the flights that I could live with; HEL-MUC-LHR on Lufthansa, LHR-NRT on Virgin, NRT-BKK-AKL on Thai, and the last leg AKL-APW on Air New Zealand, I placed a call with the Continental’s Platinum line. The agent was able to see and book all the flights. The taxes for this itinerary were $92.49. I tried to book the less complicated version of this at the Continental.com but never got past through the dreaded error messages.
Soon I realized that I had made a mistake. There was no way of me getting back from Fiji to Auckland using an award as there was absolutely no availability. I decided that it would be better for me to fly to Fiji and then buy one-way from Fiji to Apia, and have another redemption ticket starting from there.
The only problem was that I would need to partially build my itinerary again because the flight from Auckland to Fiji would be on 11th of February instead of 9th of February to Apia.
The solution for problems like this is to build long transfers (less than 24 hours) that are not considered stopovers somewhere along the itinerary. Star Alliance is so well presented in Asia that “forcing” an unnecessary connection or two is rarely a problem. From Narita to Bangkok you could have natural connections point in cities like Manila, Taipei, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Hanoi just to name a few. I decided to settle for Shanghai as I had one fee Fairmont suite night about to expire later this month and the Fairmont in Shanghai is supposed to be a good one.
So my final itinerary was:
HEL-MUC-LHR using Lufthansa on 5th – overnight in London on 5th
LHR-NRT on using Virgin Atlantic on 6th – overnight in Narita on 7th
NRT-PVG on ANA on 8th – overnight in Shanghai on 8th
PVG-BKK-AKL on Thai on 9th – overnight in Auckland on 10th
AKL-NAN on Air New Zealand on 11th
Continental didn’t have any problems amending the original itinerary and reissuing the electronic ticket. The taxes went up only by $27.61. The total number of miles was still the same 85K and the total taxes came to $120.10. The whole thing was booked bit more than 24 hours before the first flight.
I do understand that complicated itineraries like the one above are not for everyone. I don’t mind the overnight stays in London, Narita, Shanghai, and Auckland at all before reaching my destination in Fiji.
1. It is an absolute myth that there is no award availability on short notice – quite the contrary. Often airlines dump unsold business and first class inventory to award buckets few days before of the scheduled flight.
2. Start with the bottleneck segment first. In my case it would be the Auckland to NAN/APW. Then work backwards.
3. Sometimes you need to build long transfers (less than 24 hours) to get awards work. Consider these as mini stopovers.
4. Have access to the right tools. Over the years I have found both KVS and ExpertFlyer to be invaluable. You can use airline websites like Air Canada’s Aeroplan, Continental.com, and ANA’s SkyWeb to search for Star Alliance award inventory.
5. Write down the flight numbers/times and feed them to the airline agent one by one.
6. Have patience. Some airlines are very strict when it comes to allowable routings i.e. AA when some others i.e. US Airways and Continental are more relaxed. Know the rules.
7. Be nice to the agent who tries to book your flights. Sometimes their systems might have limitations and not always the award inventory is the same across the alliance. It could be carrier or even the point of sale dependent.
8. Enjoy your trip!
It is time for February hotel promotion update. All the hotels have their promotions up and running again and some like Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group have several concurrent promotions that you can take advantage of.
Club Carlson is offering triple points for all stays. Note that you will receive 2000 bonus points for online bookings.
Hilton has the most promotions running that you can combine together. You should sign up for the two promos below. Even if you are Diamond with Hilton, you can still get 40K HH for four Hilton stays.
You can choose one of these airline promotions as your double dip earnings partner. My personal favorite still is BMI that would earn 1k per night and up to three nights regardless of the Hilton brand.
These are the two main promotions for the time. More Points promotion for extra points for each nights and more for weekend stays, and free night certificates for longer resort stays.
Last month Hyatt didn’t have any promotions running besides the AA one that ended in the middle of the month. Hyatt’s latest promotion just started today. You can earn up to 44K extra points for 16 stays during the promotional period. That is extra 2750 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night.
The first promotion for double points starting from your second stay and the 5/7/15 stays for 5K/10K/15K bonus points are combinable. The first one runs until the end of April and the second until the end of March. Note that you need to choose the bonus after 5, 7, or 15 stays. If you don’t meet the threshold, you won’t get the associate bonus.
There is Anniversary bonus that you can combine with these two promotion. It is extra 1000 Priority Club points for every stay for 90 days after you register. Do not register before the date of your first stay to maximize the promotional period. The promotion code is 6102 and you need to register at http://www.priorityclub.com/register. Please note that I cannot guarantee if this specific promotion will work for your Priority Club account. It never hurts to try, right?
Remember that you can have only Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Rewards account. You cannot have both. You can, however, switch between accounts as often as you wish just by calling the rewards customer service.
Note that you can only register for the MegaBonus or MegaMiles promotion. There are number of different MegaBonus thresholds. Pick up the ones that fits you best, and call the Marriott Rewards customer service if you need to switch your targeted promotion to something else.
Starwood has two different promotions that are both exclusive. The Better By the Night is valid in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The list of non-participating properties is rather long. Note that this is NOT valid in the Asia-Pacific region that has their own promotion.
The following promotion is valid in the Asia-Pacific region for two free night certificates after 9 stays. Must use MasterCard to pay.