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May and June saw two airlines based in the Middle East/Gulf joining the SkyTeam. Saudia joined on May 29th and Middle East Airlines (MEA) on June 28th, 2012. MEA is a relatively small airline operating a fleet of 17 aircraft and is based in Beirut, Lebanon.

mea-singing

As the airline is now a full SkyTeam member, earning miles on other SkyTeam frequent flier programs on MEA flights as well as using miles for MEA flights should be possible. Not sure, how long it is going to take Delta to update their website, as they still seem not to be aware of the fact that Saudia joined the SkyTeam more than a month ago.

skyteam-mea

The number of destinations the airline currently serves in Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Gulf is around 30. The airline operates two routes to Iraq that should make Baghdad and Irbil easier to reach using SkyTeam.

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mea-gulf

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Beirut is a wonderful summer destination to visit. I have been there twice, and have flown in once on MEA from Istanbul. When I was there last time three years ago, there were still some signs in the downtown area about the brutal civil war that the country went through. The new downtown area that was being built looked very nice, however.

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There are number of very good hotel promotions going on at the moment. Club Carlson has better than free night promotions in each of their four different brands. Marriott Rewards has their summer Mega Bonus for extra points or free night certificates. Best Western is offering a free night certificate after three stays.

Le Club Accorhotels

There are no current promotion for Accor. Sign up for our email alerts to be notified when they launch a new global promo.

Best Western Rewards

Best Western Rewards is offering a free night certificate after three stays. This promotion started on June 17th and ends on August 19th. You can only earn ONE free night certificate.

Best Western Rewards Summer Bonus Offer SUM12 – Free Night Voucher After Three Stays

best-western-aeroplan-offer

The alternate promo is 2000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles per stay for up to three stays. The bonus is 1750 miles per stay.

Best Western Rewards Aeroplan Bonus Offer – 2000 Miles Per Stay for up to 3 Stays

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

Carlson has come up with the most exciting summer promotion this year. You can register for four different promotions and earn enough points for a free night and then some from each one of them. You only need to register and try out each of their different brands once.

You can get 50000 bonus Club Carlson points by registering for their Big Night Giveaway and have a stay at any Radisson or Radisson Blu property worldwide

radisson-big-night-giveaway

Radisson Big Night Giveaway Promotion Is Now Live

Then there is the Country Inns & Suites version of this promotion. You can get 44000 bonus Club Carlson points by registering for their Stay 1 Get 1-promotion and staying a night at any of their Country Inns & Suites.

club-carlson-country-inn-suites

Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Stay 1 Get 1 Promotion – 44000 Club Carlson Bonus Points

And Club Carlson’s third promotion is for the Park Inn-brand. You will get 44000 bonus points after registering for their Stay One Get One-promotion and staying at any of the Park Inn locations by July 22nd.

club-carlson-park-inn-stay-1-get-1-sign-up

Club Carlson Park Inn by Radisson Promotion Get 44K Bonus Points for a Stay

The newest of the four is the promotion for the Park Plaza-brand. You can get 50000 bonus points after a paid stay. You need to register and watch the video first.

club-carlson-park-plaza

Club Carlson Park Plaza Ultimate Night Giveaway – Earn 50K Bonus Points

If you are new to the Club Carlson, you can read about the various status levels with the program and the status match opportunities:

Club Carlson Red, Silver, Gold, & Concierge Status Levels Explained

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson Status Match

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

Choice is offering 8000 Choice Privileges points for every two stays that you can redeem for $50 gift cards with number of retailers. Note that the definition of a stay is TWO nights at select Choice properties.

choice-summer-promo

Choice Hotels Summer Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn $50 Gift Card

Hilton HHonors

Hilton’s 3rd quarter promotion is for double points for weekday stays and triple points for weekend ones. Please note that the number of properties that have opted out of this promo is rather long.

hilton-hhonors-3q-2012

Hilton HHonors 3rd Quarter “Triple Your Trip” 2012 Double or Triple Points Promotion

You can also get 2000 bonus Hilton HHonors points for your first Home2 Suites stay.

You can read about getting a status match with Hilton HHonors:

Hilton HHonors Gold & Diamond Status Match & Challenge & Fast Track Offer

Hilton HHonors Gold VIP Fast Track Offer Through MVP Program. Gold Status After Four Stays or Nine Nights During 90 period

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders

Hyatt Gold Passport

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.

Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

Hyatt also offers status matches/trials. You can read more about them here:

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status Match – Hyatt Diamond Trial Challenge As Of 2012

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

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

Last week, I wrote about eight Priority Club bonuses that one should sign up for. These were offers that were emailed to a number of Priority Club members and are supposedly “targeted”. With Priority Club these targeted offers are open for anybody, however.

Quarter 3 Stay bonuses

These started on July 1st and end on September 30th, 2012. You should sign up for an offer that you know that you can achieve

Priority Club Summer Promotion 1000 Bonus Points Per Night

You can get 1000 bonus Priority Club points per night (capped at 20K) for stays until September 3rd.

15K Bonus Points + Gold Status for 6 InterContinental Nights

This is a nice bonus points promotion for InterContinental stays in the Americas.  You need to get the stays in by the end of July, 2012.

5000 Bonus Air Canada Aeroplan Miles for a Stay

This is a nice bonus for a stay in Canada. You need to have the stays by December 30th, 2012 to be eligible for the bonus miles.

Summer Bonus of up to 20K Priority Club Bonus Points

You will get 1000 bonus Priority Club bonus points per nights + 250 points per stay for booking online. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

Priority Club Vacation Pay Offer

You can get a $75 prepaid MasterCard after a rebate for a two night weekend stay. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

5K/10K/15K Bonus Points for 3/5/6 InterContinental Nights

This promotion cannot be combined with the 15K Bonus + Gold after 6 stays. This offer is valid until the end of July, 2012.

$50 Travel MasterCard for Two Night Weekday Stay

This is similar to the weekend offer, but is valid for weekday stays. This offer is valid until August 2nd, 2012.

2000 Bonus Points for Priority Club Surveys

You can get couple of thousand bonus points for completing bunch of short quizzes.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott summer promotion started on June 1st and is valid until August 31st. You needed to register by June 30th. There are number of variations of the offer.

Marriott Summer Promotion of Free Night Certificates or Bonus Marriott Rewards Points

Marriott also has a MegaMiles promotion from July 1st to October 31st, 2012 for triple airline miles with selected airlines. Note that you need to change your earning from points to miles before you can sign up for this.

marriott-megamiles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Triple Airline Miles

Marriott also offers status matches or taste of Platinum/Gold. You can read more about the procedures of getting one here:

Marriott Rewards Gold & Platinum Status Match – Taste of Platinum & Gold Challenge

If you haven’t been targeted to any of the promotions or you would like to change to another one, you can follow the instructions to get the promotion fixed for you.

Changing Targeted Marriott Promotions

Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Ritz-Carlton has exciting Extraordinary Returns promotion starting on July 15th and ends on October 15th, 2012. You can get 30000 bonus points for a stay of 4 days or longer.

ritz-carlton-extraordinary-returns_0

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Extraordinary Returns – 30000 Bonus Points for a Four Night Stay

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood launched their much anticipated SPG Nice Choice promotion on May 1st that hasn’t gone down too well. You can read about the initial leakmy ability to confirm that the leaked information was real, and the strategy that you should take. Essentially, this is a double or triple Starpoints promotion that is very weak compared to free night promotions that SPG was running during 2010 and 2011. Note that you needed to choose what you would like to earn and when by June 30th, 2012.

You can get 1000 Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for booking a special (expensive) rate plan.

1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for Sheraton Club Bookings

Starwood doesn’t offer straight status matches, but they can offer you a challenge:

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Status Match – Platinum Challenge

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. Both of these promotions are ending on July 8th, 2012.

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

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

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I am going to post a quite a few hotel reviews in the forthcoming month. Most of them are positive, but there are going to be some negative ones as well. Unlike most travel sites that post reviews, I don’t get paid by the hotels in money or by giving free stays to write puff pieces about them.

I have already uploaded the videos to youtube.com/loyaltylobby, but haven’t had time to go through the photos and write the reviews yet.

Couple of people have  posted feedback comments about my hotel reviews that I would like to address here as well. BTW I don’t remove comments that criticize my reviews. As long as the comments are respectful and don’t contain profanity, I don’t have problems with them.

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First of all, the opinions of the hotel and the stay are based on my expectations of the brand and the hotel in question. If the hotel is top of the line Park Hyatt such as Shanghai or Sydney, my expectations for the stay are much higher compared to i.e. Holiday Inn Suva.

For a Park Hyatt hotel in Sydney or Shanghai, I expect the stay to be as flawless as one could think. Both of the hotels failed in this respect. Are they both good hotels? Absolutely.  Do I think that they are fantastic hotels? No, I don’t.

And here’s my biggest pet peeve when it comes to hotels and the program. You should never over promise and under deliver. It should always be the exact opposite. But with the hotels and their programs that is often not the case.

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This deal pops up every now and then on various websites like Groupon etc. Normally “mommy” bloggers are pushing it as a great way to save money to generate cash through their affiliate links. This is similar to the Groupon’s Airfastticket (not) deals in Europe.

wagjag-travelocity

You can buy $100 Travelocity Incentives gift card (note that this CANNOT be used at Travelocity) for $50 using one of the numerous daily deal sites. The current deal is that you need to book on www.travelocityincentives.com a hotel for two nights and the total needs to be $250.

  • Expires March 31, 2013
  • Limit 1 voucher per reservation, may buy up to 10 vouchers
  • Must be booked at www.travelocityincentives.com
  • Minimum pre-tax package purchase of $250 required
  • 2-night minimum reservation required
  • No additional charges. No cash value. No cash back

The key thing here is to realize that the prices that you can find on Travelocity Incentives website are not always competitive. Also, booking a prepaid stay on the website doesn’t earn you points or stay credits on most hotel programs. Some of them do, however, extend the elite benefits, regardless of the booking channel used, like Hyatt does.

I am going to be back in Bangkok early next week and was looking at the hotels there. I have always wanted to try the new Sofitel hotel in Sukhumvit.

travelocity-incentives-sofitel

The price that you can get on Travelocity Incentives is the same as on Sofitel’s own website. So, you could save $50 on a two night stay. Ok. Decent.

sofitel-bangkok

Here’s another example for Yangon for the 8th of July for two nights. The price on Travelocity Incentives is $392.

travelocity-incentives-yangon

And on Agoda $356 + 10% service charge. The prices are thus identical.

booking-com-yangon

Conclusion

I don’t believe that these “voucher” deals are real DEALS. The real deals are discounted flash sales that all the hotel chains are offering once in a while, or using a discount codes that you are eligible for to bring the price down.  These Travelocity Incentives vouchers offer at most 20% discount if the cost of your stay is exactly $250.

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You can now create your own InterContinental Hotels Group edirectory, but unfortunately it only includes hotels in Asia, Middle East, and Africa.

ihg-edirectory

You can search for individual hotels or certain brand etc. This can come very handy at times when you need more information about a specific hotel.

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Here’s the info about InterContinental hotel in Phnom Penh, where I am going to stay again later today.

ihg-edirectory-pipeline

If you have trouble with distinguishing between different IHG brands, the directory also has a brief introduction of each one of them.

ihg-edirectory-hi

It also lists the number of IHG properties by brand and then in the Asia, Middle East, and Africa region as of December 2011. Still more than two thirds of IHG hotels are Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express ones.

ihg-edirectory-pipeline

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Starting July 1st, 2012 Emirates Skywards members can starts earning miles on JetBlue flights and vice versa. Emirates and Alaska Airlines signed a similar agreement earlier in the year. There is no information, whether you can redeem JetBlue TrueBlue points on Emirates flights at some point, but apparently Skywards members can start redeeming their miles on JetBlue sometime in 2013.

jetblue-emirates-banner

Both airlines are offering double base miles for each other’s flights from July 1st to September 30th, 2012. Both airlines require you to register for this offer. Emirates Skywards members can register here and JetBlue TrueBlue members can register here.

JetBlue TrueBlue earnings on Emirates flights:

jetblue-emirate-chart

You will earn 1 TrueBlue points on first, business, and high economy class fares. There is 50% class of service bonus for first class and 25% bonus for business. The lower economy fares will earn only 1 point per two miles flown.

JetBlue’s TrueBlue earnings on their own metal flights are entire based on the fare and is not tied to the miles flown. JetBlue TrueBlue points are worth 1.4 cents when redeemed for jetBlue flights.

Emirates Skywards earnings chart for JetBlue flights:

emirates-jetblue-chart

You will earn 1 mile for high economy, half mile for a mid-economy and quarter of a mile for deep discount economy mile flown.

Emirates and Alaska Airlines partnership

Emirates and Alaska frequent flier partnership is more interesting from the earnings point of view. You will earn elite qualifying miles and status bonuses on all Emirates flight to credited Alaska’s Mileage Plan. I wrote a piece once their partnership was formed about a strategy of crediting Emirates flights to Alaska instead of Skywards.

As a matter of fact this is just what I did after qualifying for Skywards Gold status. I first did a status match with Alaska that matched my United Premier 1K status to get the elite bonus on Emirates flights. It worked very well at the end. I can then use my Alaska miles on number of their partners like British Airways or Air France that are both bitter Emirates competitors.

Conclusion

It is always to have more partners to earn and burn miles. As JetBlue’s program is based on redeeming their points at 1.4 cents for current fares, there are no “deals” to be had. If you are looking for a program to credit Emirates flights besides their own, I would have a look at Alaska’s program first.

For Emirates fliers the ability to earn on jetBlue’s flights that are probably mostly just feeder flights for Emirates flights, is a welcomed development. The number of miles earned on lower fares is only a quarter of the miles flown.

emirates-jetblue-redeeming

It is interesting to see how redeeming Skywards miles for JetBlue flights is going to be implemented. On JetBlue’s program the number of TrueBlue points required per flight is tied at 1.4 cents per point. You do have to wait until February 2013 for this, however.

Here’s the terms and conditions of the JetBlue’s version of the double miles offer:

You must register here for this Double Points promotion and be a TrueBlue member. Offer valid with the purchase of flights marketed and operated by Emirates between 6/28/12 and 9/30/12 for travel between 7/1/12 (12:01 AM local time) and 9/30/12 (11:59 PM local time). TrueBlue points will be earned based on the number of miles flown and the class of service that is purchased. Double points will not be earned for Class of Service bonus points. See the Emirates partnership page for an overview of point accrual opportunities for TrueBlue members flying on eligible Emirates flights. If your itinerary includes flight segments operated by JetBlue, you will also receive Double TrueBlue points on the JetBlue segments. You must register prior to booking and completing eligible travel; travel must be booked between 6/28/12 and 9/30/12 and flown between 7/1/12 and 9/30/12. Offer will not apply to non-revenue travel (e.g., travel booked with a travel certificate, award flights, etc.). Please allow 4-6 weeks for TrueBlue points earned from this promotion to be credited to your TrueBlue account. In the event you cancel your reservation, you will not receive any TrueBlue points from that reservation, and any points already awarded will be debited from your TrueBlue account. Offer is not valid in connection with Getaways vacation packages, other partner, codeshare or interline flights or any other product or service. TrueBlue account must be in good standing. Offer may not be combined with other special offers; is not redeemable for cash; has no cash value; and is subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions apply. See TrueBlue Terms and Conditions for details.

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There is competition brewing over Frontier’s frequent fliers in Wisconsin. Frontier has drastically cut their flying activity from Milwaukee and as a result made an offer for EarlyReturn members to transfer their frequent flier miles to Delta’s SkyMiles program.

frontier-early-returns

This offer was launched on June 5th and EarlyReturns members that had their account address in Wisconsin on June 4th are eligible for the offer. This offer is valid until August 31st, 2012 and Delta is offering Frontier’s elite members a status challenge as well.

Things quite didn’t go as planned. Southwest launched a counter offer on June 20th, 2012 for Frontier’s frequent fliers. Southwest would match the number of miles that Frontier’s frequent fliers would donate to EarlyReturn charitable program participants. Southwest would also match EarlyReturn status on their program. Members were only required to email a copy of the statement that would show the number of miles donated to Southwest.

frontier-donation-suspension

Frontier probably didn’t see this coming, but they were able to suspend the mileage donation program in just couple hours.

frontier-southwest-new-offer

Then on June 26th Southwest extended another offer for EarlyReturn members. Southwest would match their mileage balance for up to 50K miles until August 31st, 2012. The status match campaign is valid until that date as well.

Here are the instructions from Southwest to take advantage of their offer:

To take advantage of this one-time offer, Wisconsin EarlyReturns members should take the following steps:

  • If they haven’t done so already, enroll in the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program.
  • Submit a copy of their Frontier EarlyReturns statement that denotes their current account balance along with their name, Rapid Rewards account number, and phone number to RapidRewards@wnco.com.

To take advantage of this status-matching offer, EarlyReturns Ascent and Summit members should take the following steps:

If you have a Frontier frequent flier account, you should absolutely take advantage of the Southwest offer. There is absolutely no downside.

Here are the terms and conditions of the Southwest offer:

Offer only valid for Wisconsin residents who are Frontier EarlyReturns members.  EarlyReturns member must be a Member in the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program and to participate in the Tier Status match, a member in the AirTran Airways A+ Rewards program.  The date reflected on the Frontier EarlyReturns Account Balance must be between June 20, 2012, and Aug. 31, 2012.  Name on EarlyReturns account must match the name on the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards account and A+ Rewards account.  EarlyReturns member must submit Rapid Rewards account number, and phone number to RapidRewards@wnco.com between June 20, 2012, and Aug. 31, 2012, to be eligible for Rapid Rewards Point match.  Any incomplete submission may delay and/or eliminate qualification for promotion.   All submissions will be verified before “match” processing occurs.  For every qualifying EarlyReturns mile in member’s account, Member will receive one matching Rapid Rewards Point up to 50,000 points.  EarlyReturns Ascent or Summit members must submit proof of current, valid tier card or statement, name, Rapid Rewards account number, A+ Rewards account number, and phone number to RapidRewards@wnco.com between June 20, 2012, and Aug. 31, 2012, to be eligible for Elite Status match.  EarlyReturns Ascent or Summit members who are granted Rapid Rewards A-List status will receive Tier status and benefits with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2012.  EarlyReturns Ascent or Summit members who are granted A+ Rewards Elite Status will receive Elite status and benefits with an expiration date of 365 days from processing.  This promotion is a limited, one-time offer; therefore, EarlyReturns member may only request point and Elite Status match once.  Rapid Rewards and A+ Rewards may terminate the promotion at anytime. Rapid Rewards may revert back to the rules of the June 21, 2012, promotion at any time. “Matching” Rapid Rewards Points will not count towards A-List, A-List Preferred, or Companion Pass qualification.   Please allow four to six weeks from the date of submission for matching Rapid Rewards Points and Tier Status to post to your account.   Rapid Rewards matching promotion may not be reversed once EarlyReturns member has submitted request to RapidRewards@wnco.com.  Promotion may not be combined with any other offer or promotion.  Members who were successful in donating their EarlyReturns mileage in accordance to the original June 21, 2012, Donation Match offer and submitted his or her request between June 20, 2012, and June 25, 2012, will only be eligible for the Donation Match offer and be subject to the Terms and Conditions set by that promotion. All Rapid Rewards rules and regulations apply.  All A+ Rewards Rules and Regulations apply.

Frontier, Frontier Express, and EarlyReturns are among trademarks and/or service marks owned by Frontier Airlines, Inc.  Frontier Airlines, Inc. is in no way affiliated with Southwest Airlines or this program and does not endorse this program or any other Southwest Airlines product or service.

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Now that the BMI Diamond Clubs is coming to an end, I will start again using Virgin Atlantic as my Hilton HHonors fixed miles double dip partner. I have several times referred that one should always double dip with either BMI or Virgin Atlantic.

hilton-double-dip-brands

hilton-double-dip-brands-virgin-atlantic

When you choose Virgin Atlantic (not Virgin America or Virgin Australia) you will receive fixed 1000 miles per stay at all Hilton brands excluding Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites brands.

With Hilton HHonors you can choose variable miles, fixed miles, or additional Hilton HHonors points for double dipping. The default option is Hilton HHonors points. Please note that you will receive the base points and all elite level bonuses regardless, whether you have miles as your double dip option or not.

hilton-double-dip-earning-options

Here’s the reason why it makes sense to choose Virgin Atlantic:

Let’s say that your one night stay is around $200. You would earn additional 1000 Hilton HHonors points by choosing Points + Points as your double dip selection. By selecting the Virgin Atlantic you would earn 1000 Flying Club Miles.

Even if you don’t have any plans to fly on Virgin Atlantic or any of their alliance partners, here’s what you can do with the miles:

You can transfer 1000 miles to 2000 Hilton HHonors points. The minimum number of miles you can transfer is 5000 that will become 10000 Hilton HHonors points once the transfer hits your account.

hilton-hhonots-virgin-double-dip-virgin-to-hilton

So, instead of 1000 Hilton HHonors points, you would earn 2000 points by having the miles credited to VS and then transferred back to Hilton. The difference is even greater if your rates are lower. This is not a good option for expensive longer stays, however.

hilton-hhonors-virgin-double-dip

Here’s one example from last year. Hilton had a promotion with Virgin for TRIPLE miles per stay. In essence, I was actually earning 6000 Hilton HHonors bonus points per stay, if/when I transfer them to Hilton HHonors from Virgin Atlantic.

Conclusion

I know that it may sound confusing to credit fixed miles to Virgin Atlantic, if you only want Hilton HHonors points, but it simply makes sense when you stay at full service hotels and the folio amount is low. I have used both Virgin Atlantic and BMI to greatly enhance my double dip earnings.

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Now Club Carlson has included their fourth brand Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts to their summer promo line up. You can earn 50K bonus Club Carlson bonus points for a stay by August 28th, 2012.

club-carlson-park-plaza

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:

  • Register for the Promotion by clicking on the “Register and book your stay today!” button below, you’ll need to be a Club CarlsonSM member to register. Not a member? No problem, it is free to join. Just follow the “Join Club Carlson” link after the video.
  • Watch a short video showcasing Club Carlson and complete the short online form.
  • Complete a qualifying stay at any Park Plaza hotel around the world between 28 June 2012 and 28 August 2012.
  • The 50,000 bonus Gold Points will be deposited into your Club Carlson account within 6 – 8 weeks of completing your qualifying stay. That’s enough points for a night at any Park Plaza hotel around the world.

You need to register for the promotion at www.parkplazaultimatenightgiveaway.com after watching a short promotional. You will receive an email confirmation after the registration.

club-carlson-park-plaza-locations

There are quite a few Park Plaza hotels in Europe and Asia. There is only one location in each of North America (Minneapolis), South America (Sao Paulo), and Middle East (Tel Aviv). There are none in Africa or Australia/Oceania. I am going to check out the two locations next week in Bangkok. You can search for closest Park Plaza location for you at www.parkplaza.com/destinations/.

There are three other Club Carlson promotions going on at the moment; Radisson Hotels & Resorts Bight Night Giveaway for 50K bonus points, Country Inns & Suites Stay One – Get One for 44K bonus points, and Park Inn by Radisson Stay One – Get One for 44K bonus points. These are absolutely the best hotel promotions for the summer of 2012.

Club Carlson redemptions start at 9K points per night, although the properties you actually want to stay at are more expensive.  You also have option of using Points & Cash option to pay for stays that is considered a qualifying stay for promotional purposes also.

I wrote a piece about different status levels that Club Carlson has and also how the status match program works. You can also read about my experience and points earnings from a Radisson stay for the Radisson version of this promo.  Radisson Blu is the highest brand of the group and I stayed at their property Radisson Blu Denarau Fidi back in February this year.

Here are the terms and conditions of this promotion:

The Park Plaza® Ultimate Night Giveaway Promotion (“Promotion”) is available only to Club CarlsonSM members. To be eligible for the Promotion, members must register online for the Promotion at www.parkplazaultimatenightgiveaway.com (“Promotion Registration”), provide their Club Carlson member number at the time of reservation or check-in of the Qualifying Stay, and then complete one Qualifying Stay at any Park Plaza hotel worldwide (“Participating Hotels”). Guest must check in for the Qualifying Stay on or after June 28, 2012 and check out must be completed no later than August 28, 2012 (“Promotion Period”). A “Qualifying Stay” is defined as a stay of one or more consecutive nights in the same room at a Participating Hotel regardless of the number of check-ins or check-outs on a rate for which Gold Points are awarded in accordance with the Club Carlson Program Terms and Conditions. Guest must be present at the Participating Hotel at both the time of check-in and check-out, enrolled in Club Carlson at or before the time of check-in, and registered in the Promotion no later than the time of check-out (to enroll in Club Carlson, visit www.clubcarlson.com). The first 20,000 guests who complete the Promotion Registration will receive 50,000 Bonus Gold Points after the completion of their Qualifying Stay. After the first 20,000 Promotion Registrations, every guest who completes the Promotion Registration will receive 15,000 Bonus Gold Points after the completion of his/her Qualifying Stay. These Bonus Gold Points are in addition to the standard Gold Points awarded for a stay. Only one Club Carlson account per Qualifying Stay will be credited with the Bonus Gold Points. Maximum of one Bonus Gold Point award will be credited to a member with a Qualifying Stay under the Promotion regardless of the number of Qualifying Stays completed by the member during the Promotion Period. Allow 6-8 weeks for the Bonus Gold Points to post to the member’s account. The Promotion and Gold Points are subject to all Club Carlson Program Terms and Conditions. Rates for each night of a Qualifying Stay may vary and Promotion is subject to availability. Promotion void where prohibited by law. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Park Plaza reserves the right to add, modify or discontinue these terms and conditions or the Promotion at any time with or without notice. Park Plaza is not responsible for: interrupted or unavailable network, server or other connections, miscommunications, computer hardware or software or technical failures, Internet Service Provider/network/website accessibility or availability, garbled or jumbled transmissions or other errors of any kind, whether human, mechanical or electronic; including without limitation the incomplete, incorrect or inaccurate capture of Promotion Registration information and any late, lost inaccurate or misdirected Promotion Registration information.. By participating in this Promotion, you agree and consent to these terms and conditions.

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There was an interesting news piece that I came across yesterday. Starwood Capital (not Starwood Hotels as some news sources were referring the seller) was selling four hotels to Katara Hospitality, a Qatari hospitality company, and these hotels are supposedly going to be managed by Hyatt per the unnamed sources.

reuters-katara

The hotels in question are Martinez on the Cote d’Azur, Concorde Lafayette, l’Hotel du Louvre in Paris, and Le Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice, according to a French newspaper Le Figaro.

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This is a very interesting development that would bring nice properties under the  Hyatt umbrella. You would likely to be able to earn and burn Hyatt Gold Passport points eventually too.

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Last week, I was in Kuala Lumpur and needed to get to Jakarta for the weekend. KLM has some tag on flights here in Asia like KUL-CGK, SIN-DPS, and TPE-MNL.  I have also taken the now discontinued BKK-TPE flight in the past with KLM.

klm-plane

These fifth freedom tag flights tend to be very competitively priced as was case with my Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta return. I sometimes buy these in business class, but this time I decided to pay only for the economy because the flight time is around 90 minutes or so.

Due to the short flight time and for the fact that the KLM provides a full service on these flights, it often makes sense to order a special meal. These are often delivered first and offer more variety than the food that they provide.

I sometimes order a MOML (Moslem meal), KSML (Kosher Meal), or any of the numerous other special meals the airlines offer. As my flight was from Jakarta on the return, I decided to check out how is the KSML option out from predominantly Muslim country, Indonesia.

The choosing of special meal on KLM’s website is very straightforward. I wish that all the airlines would have this process implemented as seamlessly as KLM. There were plenty of options and I chose KSML for both the KUL-CGK and CGK-KUL sectors.

klm-check-in-cgk

The check in was chaotic even at the business class counter that I can use as a SkyTeam Elite member. I was offered an upgrade by the check in agent for 700K that is around $70. I made a counter offer of 500K IDR and we agreed to 600K IDR. Here starts the interesting part. They were not able to accept a credit card for the payment. Cash would have been the only option. I am truly wondering had KLM seen a penny of this upgrade for cash or if it had been just distributed by the outsourced employees working for KLM.

klm-kosher-box

Anyway, I was then told that I am NOT eligible for the upgrade for pay because I had ordered a special meal.  BTW this is really often the case. If you have ordered a special meal, you are then not eligible for the paid or complimentary upgrades, because they do not have available your special meal in an upgraded cabin, and apparently they are not able to serve your economy diner in business class.

klm-kosher-meal

Business class at this price for this short haul would have been a decent deal; bottle of champagne, business class amenity kit, one of those Dutch houses that they distribute, and some edible food. But it wasn’t the end of the day that I didn’t qualify due to the special meal that I ordered. The actual flight time was 90 minutes and somehow I survived, although the Kosher meal was not the RIGHT choice.

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Le Club Accorhotels has teamed up with Planet 21 and is offering 210 bonus points for weekend stays between June 22nd and July 15th, 2012 at any of the 628 certified sustainable Accorhotels that are booked by June 30th, 2012.

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It might have made sense to Accor to send emails about this promotion BEFORE it started. The booking window to get bonus points is short as is the stay period too. Oh well. It never hurts to get some bonus points for the stays.

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Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

1. General Le Club Accorhotels terms and conditions apply to the “Planet 21” offer.

2. This offer is valid for every stay with an arrival date between 06/22/12 and 07/15/12 for stays booked between 06/05/12 and 06/30/12), with at least one weekend night, that is, at least one Friday, Saturday or Sunday night.

3. This offer entitles Le Club Accorhotels Loyalty, la carte ibis, Accor Favorite Guest Business and A|Club Favorite Guest program members, regardless of their status, to benefit from earning 210 points per stay at hotels participating in this offer.

4. Bonus of 210 points is offered according to the points earned by the member based on “Classic” status, without point acceleration.

5. You must book your stay ahead of time on-line (on accorhotels.com or websites of participating brands) or via call centers to benefit from this offer.

6. You must provide your loyalty card number or member number when making your reservation, and present your card at the reception desk of your hotel when you check-in for your stay.

7. Reservations that include several rooms covered by the same member during his or her stay are only counted as one stay.

8. This offer may not be combined with other current offers or advantages and does not apply to groups.

9. This offer is subject to availability. General sales terms and conditions apply for reserved public rates specific to each hotel.

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Last week, I wrote about eight Priority Club bonuses that one should sign up for. These were offers that were emailed to a number of Priority Club members and are supposedly “targeted”. With Priority Club these targeted offers are open for anybody, however.

Besides these eight there are number of ongoing public promotions that one should take advantage of:

Quarter 2 Stay bonuses

These will come to an end on June 30th, 2012. There are still few days left

Quarter 3 Stay bonuses

These will start on July 1st and end on September 30th, 2012. You should sign up for an offer that you know that you can achieve

15K Bonus Points + Gold Status for 6 InterContinental Nights

This is a nice bonus points promotion for InterContinental stays in the Americas.  You need to get the stays in by the end of July, 2012.

5000 Bonus Air Canada Aeroplan Miles for a Stay

This is a nice bonus for a stay in Canada. You need to have the stays by December 30th, 2012 to be eligible for the bonus miles.

Summer Bonus of up to 20K Priority Club Bonus Points

You will get 1000 bonus Priority Club bonus points per nights + 250 points per stay for booking online. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

Priority Club Vacation Pay Offer

You can get a $75 prepaid MasterCard after a rebate for a two night weekend stay. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

5K/10K/15K Bonus Points for 3/5/6 InterContinental Nights

This promotion cannot be combined with the 15K Bonus + Gold after 6 stays. This offer is valid until the end of July, 2012.

$50 Travel MasterCard for Two Night Weekday Stay

This is similar to the weekend offer, but is valid for weekday stays. This offer is valid until August 2nd, 2012.

2000 Bonus Points for Priority Club Surveys

You can get couple of thousand bonus points for completing bunch of short quizzes.

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Part of the InterContinental Ambassador program are the gifts that both Ambassador and Royal Ambassador members are supposed to receive. This is actually written on the terms and conditions of the program. You do receive them most of the time, but I rarely found them good enough to take with me, however.

On LoyaltyLobby: InterContinental Royal Ambassador program.

Here are two good ones from the past month. One of them is better thought than the other though.

InterContinental Manila – Really nice USB charger with number of different plugs

intercontinental-manila-ambassador-amenity

I think that this is probably the best Ambassador amenity I have ever received, and it really cannot cost the hotel more than a buck or two when they buy them in large quantity. Who wouldn’t have a use for charging cable that has built in number of tips for various cell phones and devices? It is also small enough and includes a pouch as well that reminds you about the property every time use it.

InterContinental Singapore – Swiss Army Branded Knife

intercontinental-singapore-ambassador-amenity

This is nice, but not convenient for a traveler that doesn’t check bags. You are not supposed to have even a small knife like this in your carry on.

These were the two gifts that were memorable from the past couple of months. Both were good actually. The latter one is not suitable for business traveler, however.