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Few months ago, I wrote about good deals that you could get at Hyatt hotels if you buy Hyatt Stay Certificates beforehand and use them to pay for your accommodation. All the Hyatt Gold Passport status benefits apply on stays booked using these, but you won’t get points for the room rate or stay credit.


Hyatt had a list of properties that would accept this Exclusive level stay certificates before they were even available for sale and I wrote about it last year. [click to continue…]

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Yesterday, I wrote about a good deal for exchanging Priority Club points to Amtrak Guest Rewards via Amtrak Guest Rewards had recently became a partner of and I thought that they were having a promotional offer for getting some exchanges done.

Alas, this was not the case. Someone at the had had a fat finger and loaded an incorrect trade value for these programs. Some had their point trades canceled while others that got their trade early in did not. [click to continue…]

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Marriott Rewards is one of the hotel chains that I used to frequent a lot. I have more than 500 qualified nights and probably close to 550 nights if award nights are counted as well. My patronage in the past few years have been on the low side, however.


I believe that Marriott Rewards can be a reasonable program if you can put in a lot of nights. Their MegaBonus promotions typically rewards customers that stay up to 25 nights during a three/four month period. [click to continue…]

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Priority Club and Amtrak Guest Rewards are transfer partners via Once you have signed up for account, you can then link number of your accounts and perform transfers between them, often at very unfavorable rates. But it is worthwhile sometimes to clean up old accounts or for meeting some promotional activity requirements.


Now, you can transfer Priority Club points to Amtrak Guest Rewards points at very favorable ratio, however. You 3 Priority Club points will turn to 4 Amtrak Guest Rewards points. The minimum number of points that you need to transfer from Priority Club is 10000 but there doesn’t appear to be upper limit and you can transfer any amount over 10K.


Amtrak Guest Rewards Points for Hyatt Gift Cards and SPG Cat 1 to 4 Hotels


Guest Rewards members can redeem 10K points for $100 Hyatt gift card that is valid in United States, Canada and the Caribbean. So, 7518 Priority Club points gets you a $100 Hyatt gift card. [click to continue…]

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This is one of the chains that I have had a love hate relationship over the years.  I didn’t have stays for couple of years (had lot of stays from 2006 to 2010) and then started to stay again late last year and had probably around 100 nights this year. I have already booked one Point Breaks hotel for a month starting early January.


Overall, the program is VERY rewarding IF you can work the promos of earning points and using them for Point Breaks hotels at 5K Priority Club points per night. If you are Royal Ambassador and have one night stays at InterContinental Hotels, the program is very good on both earning points and status recognition.

My main gripes are the lower end hotels like Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inns that are very inconsistent especially in North America. You never know if the Holiday Inn is a three or  four and a half star one before staying at. [click to continue…]

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On December 9th, I wrote about terms and conditions changes that Hyatt had quietly introduced and hadn’t informed the program members at all.


There were four major changes that may affect you:

1.  Walk in guests (no prior reservation) may not be eligible to earn Hyatt Gold Passport points regardless of the rate paid.

2. Guest must be a Hyatt Gold Passport member to earn miles on program partners.

3. Paying for dining & spa charges partially using points, the rest will become ineligible charge for point earnings purposes.

4. Platinum Extras Award have been discontinued [click to continue…]

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Hilton introduced Points & Money awards last year. These are similar to SPG’s Cash & Points. Hotels can decide whether they participate to this award type and the availability can fluctuate a lot. Obviously, hotels don’t offer this award type if they are close to capacity. You can consider it as an intelligent way of discounting.


Hilton used to have a list by categories the number of points and cash required for a free night. This was later removed, however, and the point and cash amount is no longer tied to the category. [click to continue…]

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Yesterday, I was researching hotel options for Sana’a. There is a newly built Mövenpick hotel and Mercure in the city in addition to a Sheraton hotel.  When I was trying to find out the price for the Sheraton, it appeared to be sold out for every foreseeable day.

Sheraton Sana'a
Sheraton Sana’a

When I was Googling around, I came across the following article on the Washington Post. Apparently, the hotel had been taken over by US State Department already for more than a year and it is being reflagged on January 1st, 2013. Some diplomats, referenced on the Washington Post article, were not too happy about this recent development. [click to continue…]

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Club Carlson sent out their Season’s Greetings email to members in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) last week and I wrote a piece about at the time.


Part of the email was a link to a form for some bonus points depending of your status. Some members were offered 3000 points and some others 4500 points. I couldn’t embed the link at a time as I received if from a friend. [click to continue…]

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Hilton HHonors has now opened the registration for their first quarter 2013 Double Your HHonors promotion that I already wrote about couple of weeks ago. You can earn either double Hilton HHonors points or double airline miles during the promotion period. You can access Hilton’s web page for this promotion here.


Note that you have to choose between earning double Hilton HHonors points or double airline miles during the promotional period. You cannot change your selection once you have registered, so you should choose wisely. [click to continue…]

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Best Western has a promotion with Southwest Airlines. You can earn 600 bonus points in addition to the base points of 600 for a total of 1200 points for one Best Western stay between December 20 and January 31, 2013. You need to register for this promotion before your stay. You can access the Southwest’s page for this promotion here and Best Western’s here.


Southwest Airlines is referring to STAYS but the Best Western Terms and Conditions to one STAY and total bonus points of 600 during the promotional period. Most likely the Southwest person got the copy wrong on their web page and this promotion is only valid for one stay.

1200 Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth $20 when used for Wanna Getaway fares, $12 when used for Anytime fares, and $10 when used for Business select fares.


If you have one stay coming up during the promotional period and you collect Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points, this is a nice onetime bonus.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer.

Between December 20, 2012, and January 31, 2013  (“Promotion Period”), Best Western Rewards® Members who (a) register for the Promotion, (b) reside in the United States or Canada, (c) select Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points (“Rapid Rewards Points”) as their earning preference, and (d) complete one (1) qualified stay* at any Best Western branded hotel worldwide within the Promotion Period, will be awarded 600 bonus Rapid Rewards Points for the qualified stay.


*A “qualified stay” for the purpose of this Promotion is defined as one or more consecutive nights at the same Best Western branded hotel at a rate eligible for earning points or airline/partner rewards through Best Western Rewards.

A total of 1,200 Rapid Rewards Points will be awarded for the qualified stay based off of the standard earning structure of 600 Rapid Reward points earned per stay.  Limit 600 bonus Rapid Rewards points during the promotion period.  Earning preference must be set to Rapid Rewards Points to take advantage of this Promotion.  Qualified stays with a check-in or check-out date that overlaps the beginning or ending of the Promotion Period will be counted towards the Promotion.  Other restrictions may apply. Offer not valid with any other promotion or discount. Promotion is subject to cancellation or change without notice.  Allow 4-6 weeks from completed qualified stay for posting of Rapid Rewards Points. All Best Western Rewards Program rules apply. See for additional terms and conditions.  All Rapid Rewards rules and regulations apply. Visit for more info.

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Marriott just released the MegaBonus 2013 offers for stays between February 1 and April 30, 2013. As has been the case with these Marriott bonus promotions, they have number of targeted versions that are dependent of your activity in the past. The options are exactly the same as on the fall 2012 MegaBonus that is still going on (at the time of writing this). Note that the registration deadline for this promo is on March 15, 2013.


Here are the options for the Marriott Rewards 2013 MegaBonus:

1. Free night certificate category 1-4 for every two paid stays. Max 3 free night certificates.

2. Free night certificate category 1-5 for every two paid stays. Max 2 free night certificates.

3. 25000 bonus points after 15 paid nights + 15000 bonus after 20 nights. Maximum bonus 40000 points.

4. 35000 bonus points after 20 paid nights + 15000 bonus after 25 nights. Maximum bonus 50000 points.

You can access the Marriott’s page for this promotion at, but you will need to be most likely logged in to your account before you can see it. Alternatively, you should find your targeted promotion by logging in to your Marriott Rewards and going to Promotion Central. The base version of this promotion that is open to all is the option number 1 above.

I was targeted for the free night certificate version of this promotion and it does work for me. If the targeted promotion doesn’t work for you, I have written a piece about how to get it changed. Marriott unofficially allows targeted promotions to be changed. I have done it by myself in the past.


Marriott has been very predictable with its MegaBonus promotions for years. I love the fact that they are announced always very early so that you can plan accordingly.

My personal choice for the past few years has always been the free night certificates. They don’t work well in the Americas or Europe due to category 1 to 4 limitation, but there are plenty of properties in the Middle East and Asia where you can use them.

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Marriott is ending cashback on purchases of gift cards effective on December 31, 2012. Early November, I wrote a piece about maximizing Marriott bonuses for buying gift cards and getting some cashback in the process. You can access the article here. Apparently, this opportunity to save some more is coming to an end on December 31, 2012.


You still have more than a week to make gift card purchases that count for cashback. There are few offers for miles, Marriott Rewards points, or premium loaded to the card for buying them.


It seems that all good will come to an end at some point. I have purchased Marriott gift cards and received come cashback in the process. I know that 5% can seem inconsequential, but after you stack up all the different promotions, the savings can be significant.

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Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue program releases a list of promotional destinations every couple of months that are redeemable for half the usual number of miles. They just announced the latest list of destinations that are bookable from December 30, 2012 (earlier for Flying Blue elites) that you can access here.

Thing to note is that you can book these also as one way.  These are not only for originating from Europe as all the destinations are valid for both directions.  Awards allow the origin/destination in Europe to be in zones 1, 2, and 3, basically meaning that these awards are valid from/to anywhere in Europe.















Note that zone 3 includes countries in North Africa + Israel:

Europe 1
Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg

Europe 2
Austria, Balearic Islands ,Finland, Denmark, Italy, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain , Sweden

Europe 3
Albania, Algeria, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Canary Islands, Croatia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Libya, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, Poland, Romania, West Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine.

Thing to remember is that Flying Blue charges rather hefty taxes and fees for award tickets. The fees are mainly fuel surcharges (YQ) that they collect. As a result, it rarely makes sense to redeem for an economy class ticket. Also, there are no changes or cancelations of any kind allowed on promo tickets. You either use it or lose it.

You can sign up for the Flying Blue account and have a look at the availability. I would suggest first trying to find availability for the long haul flights and work the connecting fights, if needed, separately.


These promo awards can make lot of sense if you have Flying Blue miles in your account and are looking for one way or business class award. The fuel surcharges are rather high on the long-haul awards.

Here are the terms and conditions of these promo awards:

  • Reservations must be made exclusively on or (except for bookings for children, infants and minors, who are not authorised to book an award on the website).

  • In the event that a technical problem occurs when reserving the promotional fare or if the reservation cannot be finalised, the Flying Blue member must log on to the site and repeat the procedure.

  • This award ticket may be used on connecting flights within Europe and on connecting flights from Europe to long-haul flights and vice-versa.

  • These promotional Promo Award@ may not be modified, cancelled or refunded.

  • Promo Award@ are available for one-way tickets and round trips.

  • Discounts (SkyTeam scale applicable) apply to the award ticket price only (SkyTeam scale is valid). Applicable taxes and fees are paid by the Flying Blue member.

  • Flex Award are not included in the Promo Award@ offer.

  • Business Elite and Economy Elite bookings are available exclusively to Flying Blue Elite members (Platinum, Gold and Silver). These Elite travel classes provide extra award seats on routes to the United States, the Carribean and Indian Ocean, Africa and Asia.