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Starwood Preferred Guest is about to launch their first multiple choice summer promotion SPG Nice Choice. The registration will officially open on May 1st, 2012.I can now confirm that the details that were first leaked on FlyerTalk, and what I posted here three days ago, are in fact correct. I have a copy of internal Starwood announcement about this promotion.

Normally promotions are funded by the properties, and that is the reason why there is sometimes a rather long list of non-participating properties. If business is good, why pay additional four to five percent of your revenue? Properties simply opt out.

I will have an in-depth analysis of various options of this promotion tomorrow.

Choose your own earning period (You can only choose one)

May- July
June- August
July- September

Choose whatever you want to earn during (You can only choose one)

Starpoints
Awards (Free Nights & Redemption discounts)
Merchandise discounts
Elite Credit

*There is no switching of registration codes or earning periods after registration. No exceptions.
* Registration from May 1- June 30, 2012

Here is a summary of the offers:

Starpoints Offers

Double Points beginning with 2nd stay. No limits.
Every 6 nights, get 3k Starpoints (max of 9k)
Earn 500 bonus Starpoints per night at Sheratons worldwide (no limits). Online-bookings ONLY
Stay 15 nights, get Triple Starpoints on all stays retroactively. No limits.

Awards Offers

10 nights, get 1 Free Weekend Night (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards. Weekends are Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun.
Stay 20 nights, get 1 25% percent off redemption Award (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards

Merchandise Awards

Stay 4 nights; get US$50 SPG Award Cert (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights; get $50 or EUR50 Westin @ home discount code (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights, get $50 or EUR50 Sheraton @ home discount code (max of 3)

Elite status

Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus night toward elite status (max of 3 elite qualifying nights).
Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus nights toward elite status (max of 6 nights).

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There was a post on earlier today on FlyerTalk by a member LovetoTravel83, who claimed to have received more detailed information about this forthcoming Starwood Summer promotion from his Starwood Ambassador.

There is no way to authenticate this info, but it does sound plausible. Starwood has run two stellar summer promotions on the past two years and this would personally be a letdown for me. It all boils down if you were able to take advantage of the promotional free night offers. In 2010 the free nights were valid only during the weekends Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. During the summer promotion in 2011 they were valid 7 days a week, but only at resort properties.

Choose your own earning period (You can only choose one)

May- July
June- August
July- September

Choose whatever you want to earn during (You can only choose one)

Starpoints
Awards (Free Nights & Redemption discounts)
Merchandise discounts
Elite Credit

*There is no switching of registration codes or earning periods after registration. No exceptions.
* Registration from May 1- June 30, 2012

Here is a summary of the offers:

Starpoints Offers

Double Points beginning with 2nd stay. No limits.
Every 6 nights, get 3k Starpoints (max of 9k)
Earn 500 bonus Starpoints per night at Sheratons worldwide (no limits). Online-bookings ONLY
Stay 15 nights, get Triple Starpoints on all stays retroactively. No limits.

Awards Offers

10 nights, get 1 Free Weekend Night (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards. Weekends are Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun.
Stay 20 nights, get 1 25% percent off redemption Award (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards

Merchandise Awards

Stay 4 nights; get US$50 SPG Award Cert (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights; get $50 or EUR50 Westin @ home discount code (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights, get $50 or EUR50 Sheraton @ home discount code (max of 3)

Elite status

Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus night toward elite status (max of 3 elite qualifying nights).
Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus nights toward elite status (max of 6 nights).

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British Airways is offering a 25% conversion bonus for transfers from hotel programs to BA’s Avios. This offer is valid from transfer made from 20th of April to June 20th, 2012. You can stack this offer with possible transfer bonuses from hotel programs i.e. 20K SPG transferred to BA would become 25K BA + additional 25% conversion bonus from BA.

ba-avios-25-conversion-bonus

Please note that you need to be logged in to your Executive Club account in order to see the offer details.

This transfer bonus applies for conversions from Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group, Carlson, Starwood, Shangri-La, Hyatt, and Accor programs.

British Airways revamped their program last year. Long haul redemptions became rather expensive using Avios, and you have to bear in mind that BA collects “fake” fuel surcharges on most of its awards. Expect to pay in excess of $1K in YQ’s for C/F redemptions between Europe and the United States or vice versa. B

A’s program does have some bright spots as well. Short haul redemptions in economy are quite good value especially between expensive markets.

Here’s how transferring Starpoints from SPG’s program would work: [click to continue…]

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Note that this promotion has been extended until March 31, 2014.

Just received an email from Delta about an offer from Starwood for 1000 extra miles for booking Sheraton Club accommodations in select Sheraton hotels in the United States and Canada. This offer is valid for US Airways Dividend Miles as well. In order to get the bonus miles, your Starwood Preferred Guest account must be set for airline direct deposit and you need to book the rate code SHMILES. This offer is valid from April 16th to December 31st, 2012. You can earn the bonus miles only once per stay. There is a separate offer of 1000 bonus Starpoints per stay until the end of May for Sheraton Club bookings.

delta-sheraton-email

I was borderline laughing when I was reading about the description of Sheraton Club from Delta’s email. According to Delta & Starwood the club offers:

Unlimited access to our private Club Lounge

Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast in the Club Lounge daily

Complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres in the Club Lounge daily

High speed internet access in your guestroom and in the Club Lounge

Complimentary, unlimited local phone calls

Enjoy bottled water, upgraded bath amenities, newspapers and plush bathrobes in our Club guestrooms

sheraton-club-1000-us-airways

Domestic Sheraton lounges in the United States and Canada are rarely worth my time. International ones outside of the North America are entirely different animal, however. Some of them are actually nice and offer food & beverage amenities to look for, but not the one at the Sheraton Heathrow.

sheraton-club-offering

Here’s an example from Sheraton Garden Grove last year. This was their evening hors d’oeuvres. The deluxe continental breakfast was about same quality. Would you actually pay more if they are offering crap like this?

Of course, I paid the lowest rate for the night, which was probably around $100, and got an upgrade as a SPG PLT member.

Out of curiosity I run the different rate codes for the Sheraton Garden Grove for the night of April 27.

The Advance Purchase rate is $101

sheraton-advance-purchase-rate

The AAA rate is $111

sheraton-aaa

The Prepaid rate is $119

sheraton-prepaid

The AAA Breakfast rate is $121

sheraton-aaa-breakfast

The Prepaid Club rate is $135 + 1000 bonus Starpoints

sheraton-club-prepaid

The Best Available rate is $139

sheraton-bar

The AAA Club rate is $143

sheraton-aaa-club

The Sheraton Club Airline offer rate is $179

sheraton-airline-offer

The Sheraton Club rate is $179 + 1000 bonus Starpoints

sheraton-club-room-lounge-rate

Conclusion

As is often the case with special rate plans that offer some extra points or miles, the rate is widely inflated. The only reason why hotels keep offering these rates are business travelers that can book inflated rates, and earn some extra points along the way.

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Earlier in the week I wrote about the teasers that Starwood was releasing about their forthcoming SPG: Nice Choice Promotion.

At the time the only hints that the SPG gave were:

ALL ABOUT YOU

CHOOSE WHEN, WHAT AND HOW YOU WANT TO EARN

Now we have learned that:

1. There are three different promotional periods that you can choose from May/June/July or June/July/August or July/August/September.

2. You can choose from free weekend nights, elite bonus nights towards SPG status, extra Starpoints, Starpoints redemptions awards, merchandise discounts etc.

It is still unclear at this point i.e. how many nights/stays you need for a free weekend night award. In the past two summers it has been three stays for a free night.

This promotional period would also indicate that the next global promotion won’t start before October this year. Considering that the previous promo has already ended and you need to choose three months over five month period, there is going to be three month period up to October when there aren’t any promotions.

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Starwood is teasing on their Twitter and Facebook feeds about the new promotion that will be open for registration on May 1st.

spg-promotion-nice-choice

The only hints that the Starwood has given out so far are that the promotions is:

ALL ABOUT YOU

CHOOSE WHEN, WHAT AND HOW YOU WANT TO EARN

So, the basic assumption is that this is a choice based promotion. Starwood has run something similar in the past where you can choose your preferred reward out of few choices. I cannot remember Starwood ever having a promotion where I could decide when I would earn.

I am probably not the only one who is eagerly waiting to learn more about this promotion. We should know in the next week or so.

In the past two summers Starwood has been running a promotion for a free hotel night after certain number of stays (3). The number of complimentary nights that one could earn has been unlimited.

In 2010 those nights were valid for weekend stays (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) at most Starwood hotels. In 2011 the promotion was for free nights at properties classified as resorts. These nights were valid 7 days a week.

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Here’s the monthly hotel promotions wrap up.

Best Western Rewards

Best Western’s promotion for a $50 travel card won’t start before April 15th. You can also earn Air Canada AeroPlan bonus miles + bonus points for booking online and paying using Best Western MasterCard.

Best Western Rewards Spring Bonus Offer JUMP12 – $50 Travel Card for 3 Stays + Bonus Points & Miles

best-western-spring-promo

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

No promotions as of now.

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

You will earn 8000 Choice Privilege points for every two stays. Note that in lower quality Choice brand a stay is defined as two or more nights for this promotion. This promotion that started on March 8th runs until May 8th.

Choice Hotels Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn One Free Night

choise-hotels-march-promo

Hilton HHonors

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.

Register Your Visa and Get 1000 Hilton HHonors Points + 4000 Bonus for Spending $100

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders + 40K HHonors Points After Four Stays (For All?

Hilton’s second quarter promotion is for double points or miles. You need to choose one or the other, and you cannot change your selection.

Hilton HHnors 2nd Quarter 2012 Double Your Honors Promotion – Double Points or Miles

hilton-hhonors-double-points-2nd-q-2012

The following promotion expires at the end of this month. You can get a free night certificate after five night resort stay or two after ten. You can also do two give night resort stays.

 ‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt’s promo that expires at the end of April is for up to 44000 extra Hyatt Gold Passport points after 16 nights.

Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

hyatt-spring-promo-2012

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

As always, Priority Club has number of promotions that you should sign for.

Double points or miles end on April 30th.

Double Points or Miles – 2X More

intercontinental-hotels-group-1q-2012-promotion-double-points-or-miles

Priority Club 2nd Quarter Stay/Night Bonuses

This time Priority Club has two parallel promotions. One is based on nights and the other is based on stays. You can earn 5000, 10000, or 15000 depending how many nights/stays you have during the promotional period until June 30th, and to which promotion you sign up for.

Three Priority Club Points Promotions That You Should Sign Up For

One is for 1000 bonus points per stay for 90 days after registering (this is the most lucrative if you have number of paid stays), another one is for 3000 bonus points after a stay, and the third one is for 1500 welcome back bonus.

There is a forth one that I have yet written about. It is 1500 Priority Club points after a stay. The promotional code for that one is 5109. I tested it last week when I was staying at an IHG property. It posted without a problem.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott has two promotions running until the end of April. MegaMiles and MegaBonus.

Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer.

marriott-rewards-spring-2012-megabonus

MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles

Ritz-Carlton Rewards

You can get two free night certs after four stays. This promotion expires on April 15th.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards – Earn Free Night Certificate After Two Stays Promotion

ritz-carlton-rewards

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood promotion Better by the night is expiring on April 8th. We don’t have information about their next move.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1st Quarter 2012 “Better by the Night”–promotion

There is a promotion of 1000 extra Starpoints for booking a Club accommodation at Sheraton hotels and paying using an American Express card.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

spg-1000-bonus-points-sheraton-club

Some renovated Sheraton hotels are also offering 1000 bonus Starpoints.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Staying at a Newly Renovated Sheraton Hotels

spg-sheraton-1000-bonus

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham has two promotions. One is for North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) and the other one is for rest of the world. In my opinion the rest of the world is better.

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

wyndham-rewards-stay-2-get-2

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

wyndham-reward-spring-2012-non-north-america

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There were quite a few changes announced to the SPG program back in January. The ability to earn lifetime Gold or Platinum status, continental breakfast for Platinum members in lieu of the 500 point amenity, 10 suite night awards for PLT members with 50+ nights, and an extra Starpoint + flexible 24 check in/out for 75+ night Platinum members.

spg-plt-benefits

What was not “officially” announced or listed under various Starwood Platinum benefits, is the Starwood Ambassador for those with more than 100 nights with Starwood in 2011. I had 130+ nights in 2010 and around 110 in 2011. My nights actually went down, but I was assigned an Ambassador due to this new program wide initiative.

The Starwood’s Ambassador Program is not a new one. It was launched back in 2009 to serve better those high value guests that weren’t necessarily even members of the Preferred Guest program. Previously, there wasn’t any number of night requirement to become a Platinum member that is Ambassador managed, but the qualification was rather based on the dollar amount spent.

You will have the same Platinum status as the guest staying 25 stays or 50 nights yearly. The only difference that the front desk or the hotel can see, if they dig around a bit, is the fact that you are an Ambassador managed Platinum guest.

The Starwood Ambassadors are there to ensure that the hotels are aware of the preferences of the member and treat them to the utmost respect. These Ambassadors are basically spiced up Platinum concierge that are assigned number of guests to deal with. As is the case with Platinum concierge, they are supposed to deal with all kind of travel related requests from the guest even when they are not Starwood related.  I am not entire sure, however, why people would use them for issues that you can easily Google and sort out yourself.

I do understand why Starwood launched this Ambassador program. They are trying to capture a greater share of the travelers’ hotel dollars by providing personalized service that other chains i.e. Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, & Marriott cannot match.  Once you have used to program to fulfill requests to the level that the Ambassador program does, it is very difficult to switch chains.

bloomberg-businessweek-ambassador

There was recently a puff piece about the Starwood Ambassador program on Bloomberg Businessweek. You should not expect to receive the level of service described on this article from the run of the mill Ambassadors. Based on my own experience, I have needed to coach the Ambassador about the promotions that the program is running. Also, I don’t need the level of service described on this article. I can live without having my favorite champagne chilled and waiting for me in my suite when I arrive, or to have guacamole and chips sitting on the table.

All what I need from the Ambassador, is to sort out things when I am not able to accomplish them by myself i.e. the website is acting up. I have been to about 70 countries and have spent more than 300 nights yearly at hotels every year since 2004. I don’t think that there is a lot value added the Ambassador can bring to table by sitting on Starwood’s call center and contacting the hotels/using Google to fulfill requests. I rather handle my travel by myself. I don’t use Starwood exclusively. The chain gets about third of my hotel nights.

I have to say, however, that couple of friends of mine that have been part of the program longer, are huge advocate for it. It appears to help with upgrades in more popular Starwood hotels that have high number of Platinum members checking in.

Conclusion

Would I go out of my way to hit 100 nights with Starwood to get an Ambassador? I would absolutely not. I have and will always prefer having a top status with number of chains. Although Starwood has quite good global coverage, it is not present everywhere. Having a number of hotel statuses helps with promotions too. I like to participate to a number of exciting free and bonus points promotions over the year. Starwood doesn’t always have the best promotions every quarter. Besides, it would become boring after a while to stay same hotels over and over.

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Starwood Preferred Guest members have been eligible for earning Starpoints when drinking and dining at SPG properties, even when not staying, for years. You only need to present your SPG member card at the time of settling the bill. The property is supposed to fill out a credit card style slip and the points would show up (or maybe not) in your account few days later.

spg-restaurants-bars

Now, Starwood has launched dining discounts at number of SPG hotels for Preferred Guest program members. There are more than 500 participating restaurants & bars. The discount varies from 10% to 30% depending of the venue. Individual properties have often offered dining discounts for in house guests.

spg-restaurants-bars-abu-dhabi

The website interface for locating bars and restaurants, where these offers are valid, appears to be working well. I was able to locate 21 establishments in Abu Dhabi offering discounts. It clearly shows the discount offered by various restaurants.

There are separate regional Starwood Privilege programs that offer even greater dining discounts usually around 50%, but these are restricted for residents of these counties and packages are not sold for visitors.

Around the World in 5 Meals

spg-around-the-world-in-five-meals-1

This is a competition to promote the SPG Restaurants & Bars program. You need to choose five participating restaurants on the map and fill out your SPG number and email address. If you dine at any participating restaurant before the sweepstakes end, you will get an additional entry.

spg-around-the-world-in-five-meals-restaurants

Good luck!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS [click to continue…]

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Starwood used to do straight status matches from number of programs like Marriott or Hilton. This was all changed in early 2011. From April 1st, 2011 Starwood initiated a Platinum challenge where spending 15 nights during 90 day period would earn you a Platinum status. This was further changed to 18 nights during three calendar month period back in November 2012.

Sign up for our daily blog updates by email and follow us on TwitterFacebook for not to miss any valuable information and promotions that Starwood Preferred Guest offers.

Here are the current requirements for SPG Platinum challenge

1. No previous Platinum status with Starwood Preferred Guest

2. 18 nights during three calendar month period (need to be paid nights – award/cash & points nights do not count)

You can choose any consecutive three months. If you have already had number of Starwood stays in February and March, you can sign up, and now choose February to April to be your three consecutive months. You can also change the three month period after you have chosen it. If you fail the challenge, you can do another one.

By completing the challenge after March 1st, 2012 you will receive the Platinum status all the way until February 2014.

There is no need to have status with competing program to start the challenge.

You can start the challenge and receive further information about this program by emailing SPG at platinum.liaison@starwoodhotels.com.

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Nothing is better than getting some extra points. Starwood is offering 1000 bonus Starpoints per stay at the 25 newly renovated Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. This is valid for stays from March 20th, to June 30th, 2012. You need to register for this promotion to get the extra points.

spg-sheraton-1000-bonus

What I really like about this promotion is that all the paid rates are qualifying.  You don’t have to book a special rate code, which is often inflated, to get the points. Note that you won’t get the bonus points for award for cash & points bookings.

Here is the list of the participating properties: [click to continue…]

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If you have never tried Starwood’s latest hotel brand Element, now it is a good time to do so. Starwood has teamed up with Travelzoo and offering $89 rates at number of Element properties including the one in New York. This offer is valid from April 1st to September 15th, 2012.

element-89

I have stayed at the Element in Las Vegas /Summerlin and it was quite a good experience. Element hotels are aimed at travelers that tend to stay longer than a night. All the rooms have full sized refrigerators and hot plates. Note that the SPG Platinum suite upgrades are not available at Element hotels per terms and conditions of the program.

element-flexible

This rate is eligible for the Starpoints and stay credit because the offer is booked through Starwood’s own website. You can use the flexible search to find out the dates when the offer is available at any of the Element hotels.

These rates are prepaid, non-refundable, and non-changeable.

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UPDATE: If you signed up for the challenge after May 31st and successfully complete it, your Hyatt Gold Passport status will be valid until the end of February 2014.

Hyatt has a nice little program, and I have been a Diamond member since 2004. The program has grown significantly since 2004 mainly by Hyatt acquiring both Amerisuites, which were later converted to Hyatt Places, and Summerfield Suites, that became Hyatt Houses. Both of these acquisitions were a way for Hyatt to enter the limited service market i.e. Hilton’s Hampton Inn.

Sign up for our daily blog updates by email and follow us on TwitterFacebook for not to miss any valuable program information and promotions that Hyatt Gold Passport offers.

How to get matched to Hyatt Diamond status?

Hyatt ended doing direct status matched back in 2010. Since then Hyatt has started to do challenges called Hyatt Diamond Trial. You can probably still get a direct match, but you need to do it through a hotels sales department, and it is probably quite a hassle.

 Do you have any of the following statuses?

– Hilton Gold (you can get one easily using this or this) & Hilton Diamond

– SPG Platinum

– Marriott Gold & Platinum

– Priority Club Platinum

Hyatt may match others as well, but it could be worth printing your stay history that shows significant stay activity.

You will be awarded a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Trial, which is in fact a full-fledged Diamond status for 60 days. You will get all the Diamond level benefits during this 60 day period including the four Diamond Suite Awards that are valid up to 7 days each. You can use these to upgrade any paid stay (eligible rate) to a suite at a property that is not on the exclusion list, and has confirmable suite inventory available at the time of request. You need to do the request over the phone as the website is incapable of processing these.

Timing of the Diamond Trial

If you request your Diamond trial now and complete the required number of nights (12), your Hyatt Diamond status will be valid until February 2013. You need to complete the required 25 stays or 50 nights before end of this year to qualify for Diamond status all the way until 2014.

It might be better idea to start the Diamond challenge/trial in the second half of 2012. If nothing has changed, your status should then be valid until February 2014 after doing the required 12 nights in 60 days. Unfortunately I am not aware of the exact cut-off date for this.

Process of requesting the Diamond Challenge/Trial

Do you have a Hyatt Gold Passport account set up? If not it is probably best to set it up online first. Then you need to call (this would be my choice) or send an email request to the service center using the online web form.

You should then receive a following reply within 24 hours:

Thank you for contacting Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service. I
appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Regarding your inquiry, currently a Diamond Trial Offer is available.
You will receive trial Diamond membership for 60 days with proof of top
tier status with one of our competitors program.  However, you must
complete 12 nights in 60 days to maintain Diamond tier through February
of 2013.  You will also receive 1000 bonus points on your first six
eligible nights within 60 days, up to a maximum of 6000 bonus points.

Please note this offer can only be made one time and can not be extended
beyond the 60 day period.

Please note the list of competitors that Hyatt Gold Passport will match:

Hilton Gold VIP or Hilton Diamond VIP
Marriott Gold or Marriott Platinum
Starwood Platinum Preferred Guest
Priority Club Platinum

Please email or mail a statement of your account activity with a
competitor to us for processing at:

PO Box 27089
Omaha, NE 68127-0089

To find more details on our exclusive Diamond status please visit us
online at:
http://goldpassport.hyatt.com/gp/benefits/membership_diamond.jsp

I appreciate your support of Hyatt and the Gold Passport program. Please
let me know if I may assist you further.

Sincerely,

XX XX
Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service

You can mail the requested documents to the above mentioned address or email them to goldpassport@hyatt.com.

They should process the documents within 24 hours and you can then immediately see the updated status by logging in to your Hyatt Gold Passport account.

Note that theoretically this is only once in a lifetime (or program account). You should probably do it if you plan on staying with Hyatt to experience the Hyatt Diamond treatment. As a bonus you will also receive 1000 bonus Gold Passport points for first six of your eligible night during this period.

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US Airways has been very predictable of running continuous promotions for buying, gifting, transferring, or converting, money or points to Dividend miles. Their latest offer is 50% bonus for points conversions from number of hotel programs. US Airways run identical offer last year.

Please note that according to the Terms and conditions you can only earn the conversion bonus ONCE.

us-airways-conversion-offer

The beauty of Dividend miles program are the rather generous routing rules, competitive award chart, ability to earn and burn on all Star Alliance carriers and then some, and these continuous offers from Dividend miles.

Essentially, US Airways is selling miles at a reasonable rate that enables the travelers like you and me to experience international business and first class at a fraction of the cost.

But, as always when you are dealing with award space, you need to be flexible and often book either well in advance or at a very last minute. I tend to typically do the latter. When airlines realize that they have unsold business and first class inventory, they often dump it to the award inventory few days before.

There are some drawbacks with US Airways Dividend miles as well. You will end up paying some fees unless you are top tier on their program. There is a booking fee (up to $50) as these cannot be booked on the web, and a quick ticketing fee ($75) if you book less than 21 days in advance. There are no fuel surcharges, however. The US Airways may not be the most stable of the airlines, and there has been some chatter lately of some changes to come. I would do a transfer or buy miles without hesitation, if I know how I would spend them in the next 6 to 12 months.

Look at the conversion partners

The conversion partners this time are Best Western, Choice Privileges, Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, Starwood Preferred Guest, Wyndham Rewards, and La Quinta.

us-airways-conversion-offer-partners

I am only concentrating on Club Carlson, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest conversion possibilities. I don’t believe that the other options provide too much value unless you just need to top off your Dividend Miles account for small number of miles.

Club Carlson

club-carlson-us-airways

This is very straightforward offer. 100K Club Carlson points would transfer with the 50% conversion bonus to 27K Dividend Miles.

Hyatt Gold Passport

I don’t think that this is a good use of Hyatt Gold Passport points, but this is the last opportunity to transfer them to US Airways and earn the conversion bonus. You cannot earn Dividend Miles or transfer Gold Passport points to Dividend Miles after March 15th, 2012. Hyatt announced their discontinuance of this and some other airline partnerships on February 23rd.

hyatt-gold-passport-us-conversion

50K Hyatt Gold Passport points would become 37.5K Dividend Miles after Hyatt’s and US Airways’ conversion bonuses. It is actually not that shabby at all.

Marriott Rewards

I transferred close to a million Marriott Rewards points when AA was running somewhat similar conversion bonus before their partnership with Marriott Rewards ended. It was the major push to take me over 2 million lifetime miles in AA’s program and granting me a lifetime AA Platinum status.

us-airways-marriott-packages

The key here is to use Marriott Rewards points for travel packages that have a miles component as well. You can get a seven night award category 1 to 5 Marriott Rewards property and 120K (180K with conversion bonus) US Airways Dividend Miles for 270K Marriott Rewards points.  This is what I did few years ago with AA. The hotel part of this is valid for a year. I was, however, able to extend them by an additional year, but it is no longer possible. There aren’t that many interesting cat 1 to 5 in North America, but there are quite a few in Asia.

Starwood Preferred Guest

This is my favorite hotel program when it comes to transferring points to partners. Starwood has a nice list of partner airlines where you can dump points when needed.

us-airways-starwood-conversion

For every 20K Starpoints you transfer, you will receive a 5K miles bonus from Starwood. With the US conversion bonus 20K Starpoints becomes 37.5K Dividend Miles. Note that you can transfer only 60K Starpoints per day to US Airways if you want to maximize the bonuses. This would be 112.5K Dividend Miles.

Here are the Terms and Conditions of this offer that can also be found here.

Eligibility: Offer void where prohibited by law. No registration required. Only miles converted with an activity (‘eligible activity date’) date between March 11, 2012 and March 31, 2012 will earn a bonus. Earning bonus miles: Bonus miles are in addition to Dividend Miles awarded by hotel partners for points conversions. Only hotel points that are converted into Dividend Miles from March 11, 2012 – March 31, 2012 are eligible. Hotel bonus miles do not count towards Preferred status. Bonus miles will post 6-8 weeks from date of the eligible activity date. Dividend Miles members will earn only one bonus when they transfer hotel points into Dividend Miles during the promotion. Dividend Miles members will earn a 50% bonus. Eligible activity date: Eligible activity date is based on the date the qualifying partner records the mileage transaction, and not necessarily the date on which the transaction occurred. US Airways assumes no responsibility for how qualifying partners record activity dates. Check with the applicable partner to confirm policies and procedures for recording activity dates. The last date that activity from a qualifying partner can be received by US Airways for bonus miles consideration is April 10, 2012, regardless of the eligible activity date for such activity. General terms: All US Airways Dividend Miles terms and conditions apply. You may opt out of US Airways emails at any time. US Airways is not responsible for the quality or delivery of goods and/or services provided by Dividend Miles partners. All Dividend Miles partner terms and conditions apply. Partner offers are subject to change without notice. Hotel transfers (points to miles conversions) are subject to terms and conditions as stipulated in your agreement with your hotel program.