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Hilton has a triple miles offer for Jet Airways and Kingfisher. I am not sure why they have even bothered to include Kingfisher as the airline has suspended all the operations indefinitely.

hilton-triple-jet-miles

You can earn triple Jet Airways JetPrivilege miles at Hilton properties worldwide between October 1 and November 30, 2012. You need to register for this promotion and have Jet Airways chosen as your preferred Double Dip partner. You can read more about Hilton’s Double Dip options here.

You need to choose between Points & Variable Miles and Points & Fixed Miles. Which one of these two options you should choose is dependent of the hotel brand and the eligible folio amount.

If your hotel folio amount is less than $500, you should choose the fixed miles (500) instead of the variable miles (1 mile per eligible dollar. If your stay is at Hampton Inn or Homewood Suites locations, the variable miles offer is better, when your folios is more than $100. The fixed number of miles earned at these two brands is capped at 100. At Home2 Suites locations you should always choose fixed miles as both the fixed and the variable options are capped at 100 miles.

hilton-triple-kingfisher-miles

You should not even consider crediting to Kingfisher King Club as the airline has been now grounded for more than a month. I think that it is highly unlikely that Kingfisher will ever take it off again. You can access this offer on Hilton’s website.

Conclusion

Don’t even consider the Kingfisher offer. Triple JetPrivilege miles for Hilton stays is a decent offer.

Here are the terms and conditions of the triple miles offer for Jet Airways:

Offer valid for eligible stays completed between October 1 and November 30, 2012 (“Promotion Period”) at any participating hotel in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. Hilton HHonors™ members must first register at HHonors.com/JetAirwaysTripleMiles prior to check-out of your stay within the Promotion Period. Registered HHonors members will only receive bonus miles for nights completed during the Promotion Period, regardless of a check-in date before the Promotion Period begins or a check-out date after the Promotion Period ends. To be eligible for this offer, you must (1) be both a member of Hilton HHonors™ and Jet Privilege; (2) select Jet Airways as your Double Dip earnings partner in your HHonors Profile, and (4) you must be a HHonors member to earn Points & Miles for hotel stays. Ensure that you select Points and Variable Miles or Points and Fixed Miles as your Double Dip™ Earning Style within your HHonors profile. A preferred airline must be selected in your HHonors profile.

Please allow six to eight weeks from completion of your stay for miles to appear in your Jet Privilege account. Offer is not transferable, is not valid for groups and cannot be combined with other select offers. Hilton HHonors™ membership, earning of Points & Miles™ and redemption of Points are subject to HHonors Terms and Conditions.

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Kingfisher stopped all of its flight the other week after airline’s employees went to strike due to unpaid wages since March. Now, the airline’s operational license has been suspended by the Indian government.

kingfisher-planes-grounded

The statement on Kingfisher’s website sounds very hopeful.

kingfisher-gone

If you have flights on Kingfisher airlines that are ticketed by other airlines’ stock, you need to contact the issuing airline or travel agent to have you rebooked on airlines that are still flying. For tickets issued on Kingfisher airlines, it is probably best to just dispute the charge with the credit card company.

Conclusion

It is quite remarkable that the airline was still joining the oneworld alliance this time last year. The death spiral with Kingfisher has been painful.  It probably should have ended the flights long time ago when it was first suspended from the IATA’s clearing house and planes was being repoed by the finance companies at overseas ports.

kingfisher-beer

I guess that we should all have a refreshing bottle or two of Kingfisher beer that has allowed this craziness with the airline to continue this long.

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There was lot of news about the Kingfisher Airlines earlier this year when they had some of the planes repoed at foreign airports, airline was suspended from IATA’s clearing house, the joining of Oneworld was cancelled, and most of the route network was scrapped. There really hasn’t been any good Kingfisher Airlines related news this year.

kingfisher-flights-grounded

The airline has been back in the news in the past week when airline employees started a strike for non-payment of wages since March of this year that resulted the grounding of its fleet until the October 3rd first and then extended to 12th of this month. We’ll see if the airline is going to take off ever again.

BBC reported that the airline had only been operating with seven aircraft as of late and, according to the CNBC, the airline had more 1.4 billion dollars in debt.

The Indian government has eased the foreign ownership rule of the airline sector. Now, a foreign entity can own up to 49% of an Indian airline. There have been rumors that one of the Middle Eastern airlines would invest money in to kingfisher.

Conclusion

The situation with Kingfisher Airline has gone from bad to worse. Unless something drastic happens, I doubt that the airline would resume operations. Why would any foreign carrier invest in to this bankrupt airline?

According to Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic, “The easiest way to become a millionaire is to start off a billionaire and go into the airline business”. It is unfortunate that the founder of Kingfisher airlines and beer tycoon, Vijay Mallya, had to learn it the hard way.

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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.

marriott-travel-packages

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.

Marriott Travel Packages Levels
Marriott Travel Packages Levels

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.

marriott-travel-packages-airline-miles-levels

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

marriott-travel-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

marriott-travel-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

marriott-travel-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

marriott-travel-package-4

This package is for JetBlue TruBlue and Virgin America Elevate members. You will receive 25K, 35K, 50K, or 60K points.

Conclusion

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

  1. Hotel certificate will be issued electronically and will be available at the hotel upon check-in.
  2. 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.

  3. 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).

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The latest member of SkyTeam Saudia should be a SkyMiles partner at the moment, but is entirely missing on Delta.com. The future member of SkyTeam Aerolineas Argentinas, however, is a SkyMiles partner already. The two Indian airlines that are SkyMiles partners; Kingfisher and Jet Airways are both going away as partners on this coming October.

Saudia

Saudia joined the SkyTeam on May 29th, 2012. Delta SkyMiles SkyTeam wide status benefits, when it comes to priority check in and lounge access, should now apply for flights taken on Saudia. Also, earning and burning of SkyMiles should be possible, but Delta’s website doesn’t have any mentions of Saudia on its partner page.

delta-airlines-skyteam-partners-saudia-missing

Saudia has a very good coverage in the Middle East and on the Indian Subcontinent. There are quite a few restrictions on transfers and whether you need a visa or not. This makes Saudia more complicated partner for transfer purposes. Always check Timatic first.

skyteam-saudia-route-map

Aerolineas Argentinas

Aerolineas Argentinas became Delta’s partner for earning and redeeming SkyMiles in May. Aerolineas Argentinas is also set to join the SkyTeam alliance later in the year, when all the benefits associated with the SkyTeam status would apply for Aerolineas Argentinas flights.

delta-aerolineas-air-plane

There is a list of eligible fare classes for mileage accrual on AR that is divided between Domestic, Regional, and International. Lower fare classes earn very little on domestic and regional flights, but you might have better luck on international flights.

delta-aerolineas-eligible-fare-classes-inernational

Aerolineas Argentinas was renationalized back in 2008 and is till bleeding money. According to an Associated Press article the airline received $200 million in subsidies in the first quarter of 2012 alone.

delta-aerolineas-route-map

The airline flies to Miami and Mexico City in the North America, and Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome in Europe. This will help with using SkyMiles for travel to/from South America. The only drawback is that you need to call to make an award reservation if it involves AR.

Kingfisher & Jet Airways

Delta is terminating its partnership with Kingfisher on October 1st and with Jet Airways on October 15th. Normally you can make redemptions until the partnership ends as far in the future as the schedule is open.

delta-kingfisher

It is really not a surprise that Delta is ending the partnership with the Kingfisher. The airline has been in huge financial turmoil this year and has ceased all the international operations. They had few planes repoed at airports. Not nice. Right now they only operate in domestically in India using less than 20 airplanes.

delta-jet-airways

It is sad, however, to see that the partnership with Jet Airways is ending. It is one of the better Indian airlines and, although it is going through some financial difficulties, they are nowhere as bad as Kingfisher’s.

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Kingfisher Airlines has had a tumultuous month. Its entry to Oneworld was put on hold and it was temporarily suspended from IATA clearinghouse membership. Also, there has been reduction in scheduled number of flights, and discussion also of unpaid wages for its employees.

kingfisher-king-club-conversion-offer

Now, Kingfishers King Club is offering bonuses for mileage transfers into its program. Whether this makes any sense it is really a gamble. If the airline somehow manages to stay afloat, this offer appears to be quite lucrative.

  • Convert your loyalty points equivalent to 1,000 to 4,999 King Miles in one shot & earn 20% bonus King Miles
  • Convert points equivalent to 5,000 to 9,999 King Miles in one shot and earn 25% bonus King Miles and 1 upgrade voucher
  • Convert points equivalent to 10,000 King Miles in one shot (and then onwards in multiples of 10K) and earn 30% bonus King Miles + 2 upgrade vouchers + 1 One-way Kingfisher Class/Red domestic ticket (base fare) free

There are number of partners that you can use to transfer miles in. The ones that caught my eye are Amex Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Marriott Rewards.

Starwood offers a bonus of 5000 miles for every 20000 Starpoints transferred. Transferring 40K Starwood points would yield 50000 King Club miles. And with the 30% King Club transfer bonus this would become total of 65000 King Club miles. You would also get 5 one-way Kingfisher domestic tickets + 10 upgrade vouchers.

There are terms and conditions attached to both of these “free” tickets and upgrade vouchers making them not entirely free. This offer is valid for transfers that are posted to the members Kings Club account by March 31st, 2012.

Terms and conditions of the transfer offer: [click to continue...]

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It hasn’t been a great week for Oneworld alliance. Friday the Hungarian carrier Malev ceased operations when planes where held at various airports for unpaid debts. And now Kingfisher’s joining to Oneworld is put on hold.

kingfisher-oneworld

Kingfisher was set to join the alliance on February 10th, but now the implementation has been put on hold as the carrier tries to resolve its financial difficulties. Earlier in the week Kingfisher failed to pay its dues to IATA’s Geneva based ICH clearing house, which airlines use to settle payments with each other, and its clearing house membership was then suspended.

It remains to be seen, whether Kingfisher is able to resolve the financial difficulties. The airline would need a significant capital boos/debt reduction in order to survive. Air India was set to join competing Star Alliance, but its pending membership was suspended August last year. There are currently no Indian carriers in any of the three global alliances.

airberlin-oneworld-ab

One the positive side for the Oneworld alliance is the confirmed joining date of March 20th for Air Berlin. From that date onwards you can earn both elite qualifying status miles as well as redeemable miles on flights operated by Air Berlin but credited to Oneworld Alliance partners.

Be sure to check whether the ticketed fare class qualifies for a credit as it often varies between the alliance carriers. On American Airlines’ AAdvantage program the cheaper fares only earn 25%. Not sure if American Airlines will implement a new earnings chat from March 20th onwards.

I haven’t flown Air Berlin yet, but they have come across on fare searches quire frequently. It is just difficult to book on a non-alliance carrier when you will miss all the benefits associated with the status i.e. lounge access and higher luggage allowance.

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kingfisher-airlinesKingfisher, which has been mentored by British Airways, is set to join Oneworld on February 10th, 2012. The airline was invited to join Oneworld back in June, 2010. Recently, Star Alliance turned down the Air India’s application to join alliance at the last minute.

Kingfisher has been in the financial turmoil lately as is the case with most Indian carriers. Some of their planes are apparently grounded due to inability to pay for the maintenance. Some routes have been cut and others have seen decrease in frequency.

Here’s the route map that shows the already canceled routes as well:

kingfisher-airlines-route-map
Overall, Kingfisher would be a good addition to the Oneworld family and would open up lots of destinations in India. They do, however, need to get their financial house in order first. [click to continue...]