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This is the first on series that will go through the pros and cons of the major hotel programs based on my personal experience. Over the past ten years, I have had somewhere between 250 to 300 nights at Hilton properties worldwide and have obviously learned quite a bit of the program along the way.

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Overall, I think that Hilton has a solid program, but it takes a long time to get your points up to a level that makes it sense to redeem.

What do you think that are strengths and weaknesses of the Hilton’s program? Leave your opinions below.

Pros

– Quick email turnaround time

– Stays rarely post incorrectly

– Number of properties in the United States

– Nice mix of brands

– Reasonably priced awards at high end properties when staying for 6 nights or longer and AXON awards

– Double Dipping with airlines

– The number of partner airlines

– Breakfast

– Never ending promotions

– Hilton Guest Assistance

– Many discount programs i.e. MVP, Corporate Benefits Employee Offer, Little League, Europe Government

– Best mid-level elite status Hilton Gold

– Diamond treatment at properties in Asia

– Nice mix of properties: Hampton Inn/HGI vs DoubleTree/Hilton vs Conrad/WA

– Promotions to get Gold status

– Benefits usually honored on third party bookings & opaque stays (Priceline/Hotwire)

– Awards types

– Stay/night credit for award stays

– Points & Money Awards

– Awards at Aspirational locations such as French Polynesia & Maldives

Cons

– Diamond desk can be less than helpful at times

– Overpriced awards in the lower end properties

– Somewhat confusing brands Hilton vs DoubleTree. What makes Waldorf-Astoria?

– Inconsistency within a brand i.e. Hilton

– Diamond benefit inconsistency

– Somewhat lacking international presence i.e. China

– Quite a few dated properties

– Missing a hip brand

– No cash back for hotel bookings

– Missing on some markets – international presence not that great

– Budget brand missing

– Dull properties

– Very few benefits of being Diamond over Gold

– Lack of lifetime status

– No real social media representatives

Positives of Hilton HHonors

Quick email turnaround time

I have found out that Hilton is one of the better companies at replying to emails that I have sent them. The reply usually comes within few hours of sending it. They also don’t force you to use a web form but you can just use a regular email address i.e. gold@hilton.com or diamond@hilton.com.

Stays rarely post incorrectly

Hilton has been very good for posting stays and points correctly. I rarely have to remind them about a missing stay or points that have not been posted. Even then, I don’t have to fax/email them a folio, but they can see the revenue amount on their system.

Number of properties in the United States

Hilton has a very good coverage within the United States. It has a properties in most of the smaller markets as well. You can almost always find a brand within a Hilton portfolio like Hampton Inn that is geared towards the smaller markets.

Nice mix of brands: Hampton Inn/HGI vs DoubleTree/Hilton vs Conrad/WA

Hilton has a nice mix of brands from luxury to lower end.

Hilton has Conrad and Waldorf Astoria on the high end.

Hilton, DoubleTree, and Embassy Suites on the middle.

Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites on the lower end.

Reasonably priced awards at high end properties when staying for 6 nights or longer and AXON awards

The awards at the very high end properties when staying for multiple nights are very competitively priced. There are properties like Conrad Maldives, properties in Seychelles or French Polynesia that are very good deal using Hilton points.

Double Dipping with airlines

Hilton is the only program that you can always earn both points and airline miles on the same stay – ALWAYS.

This double dipping is somewhat difficult to understand, however, and the default option by Hilton HHonors is points + points. It doesn’t help that if you choose miles you then need to choose between fixed or variable miles and that not all the airlines participate to both.

The number of partner airlines

The number of partner airlines for double dipping is extensive. The only one that is missing is the Southwest.

Breakfast

Breakfast is one the strengths of Hilton HHonors program. You will have continental breakfast from Gold upwards. There are only very few limitations mainly at Waldorf Astoria properties.

Never ending promotions

Hilton has always number of rate and airline related promotions going. It is sometimes difficult to keep track on them.

Hilton Guest Assitance

Not all the stays are perfect and sometimes they might be even disastrous. One of the strengths is the Hilton’s Guest Assistance program. If the hotel screws up and don’t fix the post stay issue, the Guest Assistance will issue a Be my Guest certificate that you can then use to pay for any Hilton property and the offending property gets charged for it.

Many discount programs i.e. MVP, Corporate Benefits Employee Offer, Little League, Europe Government

You can use several discount plans to make the Hilton stays affordable. I have mainly used the Corporate Benefits Employee offer, but there are others available as well.

Best mid-level elite status Hilton Gold

The Hilton HHonors Gold status is very easy to get through numerous promotions and fast track offers that I have also written about here. The Gold status will get you a complimentary internet access and breakfast and/or Club lounge access.

Diamond treatment at properties in Asia

All the hotel chains tend to have their top tier treatment at a different level in Asia and the Hilton is no different. I have been very satisfied with the treatment of me as a Diamond member at Hilton family of hotels in Asia.

Promotions to get Gold status

Getting gold status is easy with Hilton. There are normally airline related bonus offers or open fast track offers for Gold only for handful of stays.

Benefits usually honored on third party bookings & opaque stays (Priceline/Hotwire)

You don’t (normally) get stay credit or points for a stay booked through a third party site or opaque channel like Priceline/Hotwire. You do, however, receive the benefits associated with the status.

Award types

Hilton has VIP awards, AXON, regular, premium room awards & points and money awards. Depending of the length of your stay and property, the best award can often differ. There has been times when the premium room rewards have been cheaper than regular ones. Also, the recently launched points & money awards are sometimes very good value.

Stay/night credit for award stays

Hilton doesn’t penalize you for staying using awards. You will get points for the incidental spend and you will receive a stay/night credit as well that counts for qualifying for status.

Points & Money Awards

Hilton introduced Points & Money awards in 2012 that allowed you to pay party in cash and party points for your award stay. These are sometimes very good value and stretches your points further.

Awards at Aspirational locations such as French Polynesia & Maldives

Hilton hasn’t started (yet) to charge extra for non-standard accommodation, so award stays in places like Maldives & French Polynesia are actually CHEAP compared to i.e. Starwood. The number of points that you need per night is around 50K but it comes down to 37500, when you do multiple night VIP award.

Negatives of Hilton HHonors

Diamond desk can be less than helpful at times

I have received sometimes very mixed service when calling Hilton’s Diamond line. As a matter of fact, I am no longer sure if they have one. Customer service agents that are less than helpful and that don’t often sound very professional.

Overpriced awards in the lower end properties

Hilton’s strength is NOT awards at your bed & butter Hilton locations over the weekend. You are far better off for paying for these and then redeeming for a grand vacation in Maldives instead.

Somewhat confusing brands i.e. Hilton vs DoubleTree? What makes Waldorf-Astoria?

All the hotel chains have this same problem. There are DoubleTree hotels that are better than Hilton’s, although they are supposed to be step below. Also, Hilton has somewhat misused the great Waldorf-Astoria brand and started to slap it to number of so so properties. i.e. Naples in Florida.

Inconsistency within a brand i.e. Hilton

What is a Hilton? There are likely Hilton’s that should be Hampton Inns. Most of the time you know what to expect when booking a Hilton hotel, but there are duds out there as well.

Diamond benefit inconsistency

This is greater problem in the North America and to some extend Europe probably because they get a greater share of Diamond guests. Some hotels go above and beyond what is required by the program while others do the absolute minimum required by the brand. It always makes me wonder why some hotels are keen to fly the flag but unable to deliver the benefits?

Somewhat lacking international presence i.e. China

Hilton’s main strength on the coverage wise is the North American market. The chain has quite limited presence in markets like Asia.

Quite a few dated properties

Hilton has the same problem as Marriott. Some of the brand line up is getting tired and need to be either fixed or dropped.

Missing a hip brand like W or Andaz

Hilton doesn’t have an exciting lifestyle hotel brand like Starwood’s  or Hyatt’s Andaz. As a matter of fact, Hilton recruited team from Starwood that had been working on the W concept but the court intervened.

No cashback for hotel bookings

Some chains are offering cashback for bookings that you make by clicking through their affiliate links but Hilton is not participating to these.

Budget brand missing

Some can argue that the Hampton Inn brand that started as a budget one has increased to be quite expensive in some markets. Hilton is missing a true budget brand like Motel 6 (that Hilton’s parent recently bought) or Marriott’s Fairfield Inn.

Dull properties

You cannot say that any of Hilton’s current brands would be exciting or that you really could be proud of staying at them.

Very few benefits of being Diamond over Gold

Hilton has the best mid-level status and the benefits being Diamond over Gold are not that great. Diamond mainly helps potentially with better upgrades, problem resolution and on-property exceptions like early check ins/late check outs.

Lack of lifetime status

Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt all have published qualifications for lifetime status in each of their programs that is typically tied to number of years, number of stays, and/or amount of points earned/money spent.

No real social media representatives

Hilton doesn’t seem to have real social media team. They might have someone from marketing posting about promotions usually after every body knows about them.

Conclusion

I have had an overall good experience with Hilton HHonors.  Some years, I have quite a high number of stays and the following year can hardly qualify. Hilton had extremely good promotions year ago on the fourth quarter, but not so in 2012.

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United just sent out an email to remind people that they can use United miles to pay for select merchandise and, for limited time only, for gift cards as well. These are usually the worst way of redeeming miles/points from various programs as the monetary value associated with a mile tends to be really low.

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Amazon Kindle Fire 32 GB $264 or 47900 Miles (35200 for 1K)

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Amazon Android tablet for $264 at Amazon or for 47900 United miles. The value of a mile is about half of a cent at $0.0055. For 1K’s, the price is 35200 valuing the mile at three quarters of a cent $0.0075.

Brother Compact laser Printer $119 or 30600 Miles (22800 for 1K)

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united-brother-printer

Brother laser printer that Amazon sells for $119 can be had for 30600 miles ($0.0039 per mile) or for 1K’s at 22800 miles ($0.0052 per mile)

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United is now offering gift cards for miles for a limited time, at least per the email that I received. The value associated with the gift cards are somewhat better than with the merchandise rewards above.

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You can buy Amazon gift cards valuing the mile at $0.0071 and some others valuing miles at $0.008.

Does it make sense to use miles for buying gift cards and other merchandise?

For the most part, the answer is a definite no. If you fly hundreds of thousands of miles per year and have more United miles that you can ever dream of using in rest of your life, then you have my approval of using them for merchandise and gift cards.

If you, however, use United credit cards and then use your miles for the merchandise above, you are doing a disservice for yourself.

Conclusion

The fair value of a United mile is somewhere between 1.5 to 2 cents each, when you use them wisely. I would never redeem my miles at these values that are just plainly put horrible.

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This sign up mystery has now been solved. You can get instant Club Carlson Gold status by signing up for the program AND using an address in the Asia Pacific region. The new Gold status is reflected immediately and you will receive the membership materials in a few weeks’ time.

club-carlson-gold-asia-pacific

Club Carlson has made an offer for Jet’s Gold and Platinum members for instant Gold status just for enrolling to Gold Points program. This offer is likely open for all and you can access it here. This offer should be open until March 31, 2013, but it is likely to be withdrawn earlier.

club-carlson-instant-gold-jet

Club Carlson Gold benefits are:

  • Earn an additional 50% bonus Gold Points on every eligible stay
  • Receive 2,000 bonus points with our online booking bonus when you book at clubcarlson.com or any Carlson Rezidor hotel brand website
  • Complimentary room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • Early Check In and Late Check Out upon request (subject to availability)

You will also have access for special elite member offers Stay 2 pay for 1 and Stay 4 pay for 2.

If you already have a Club Carlson account that has points, you can just open a new one. Later just transfer the points from your old account to your newly opened one. You can do this just by phoning Club Carlson customer service.

Conclusion

This offer is valid only for addresses in the Asia Pacific region. It worked perfectly for my address in Bangkok. You can first use a friend’s address in the region and later change it to your more permanent one.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

This offer (“Offer”) is valid only for JetPrivilege members (“Members”) who are enrolling in Club CarlsonSM for the first time and do not have a current or past Club Carlson member account . The Offer is non-transferrable and may not be sold. To be eligible for this Offer, Members must enroll in Club Carlson online using the private JetPrivilege enrollment page from 15 October 2012 to 31 March 2013. By enrolling in Club Carlson and participating in this Offer, Members agree to the Club Carlson program terms & conditions. Club Carlson Gold Elite member benefits are subject to additional terms and conditions. The upgrade to Club Carlson Silver Elite status will be effective immediately and be valid through 28 February 2014. This Offer is limited to one Club Carlson member account per Member. Carlson Hotels, Inc. reserves the right to modify the terms and conditions of or discontinue this Offer without notice. Club Carlson is not responsible for any technical failures, internet accessibility problems, incomplete or inaccurate registration information, or other errors of any kind that may affect your enrollment or participation in this Offer. Void where prohibited by law. By participating in this Promotion, you agree and consent to these terms and conditions.

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Please refer to a new an updated post about this offer:

Complimentary Club Carlson Gold Status for Members in Asia Pacific

Yesterday, I wrote about the offer that Club Carlson had made for Jet Airways elites offering them instant Gold status. There was some confusion on the terms and conditions as they were referring to a Silver status at some point, but all the other text on the web page was for Gold.

club-carlson-instant-gold-jet

If you signed up using the link, the status most likely was RED. This is the base level status with Carlson’s program.

Here’s what you need to do:

Just reply to the welcome email and make sure that the address where you are emailing it back is goldpointsplus@carlson.com.

Include the link: http://www.clubcarlson.com/privatePage.do?privateCode=GOLDUPGRADE

Mention the promo code: JetAGD12

Then write a short note that for some reason the account is shown to be RED, although it should be Gold per the terms and conditions of this offer.

Note that I prefer not doing an email template that all could use. Just use your own words and include the information above.

club-carlson-jet-offer-initial-reply

You will then receive an acknowledgement that they have received the email and that it will be processed shortly.

club-carlson-jet-cs

It took about seven hours to receive the reply. They had processed the account upgrade to Gold.

Conclusion

This is an easy way for Club Carlson Gold status. It is likely that you need to send that email after registering, but that shouldn’t bee too difficult.

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Qatar Airways just launched their January 2013 easy deals. Every month Qatar Airways will have number of destinations at up to 50% off of the usual number of miles required both in economy and business class. You need to pay the usual taxes/fees and fuel surcharges. You can access the Qatar’s page for this offer here.

qatar-easy-deals-january-2013

You need to register for this promotion at least 24 hours prior making the award booking. The booking window is open from December 13 to January 31 for travel from January 1 to January 31, 2013.

Here’s the list of destinations:

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Quite often the fuel surcharges spoil these sale deals. The YQ’s (fuel surcharges) are somewhat reasonable on Qatar Airways, however. Here is an example from Luxor to Doha oneway. The taxes and fees are 804 EGP that is $130.22.

qatar-easy-deals-luxor-doha

Conclusion

These Easy Deals are very good for passengers either originating or terminating in Doha.  Qatar charges for point to point so you can save something on award trips that incorporate some of these flights on sale.

Remember that you need to register for this award promo at least 24 hours before making the booking.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

  • Only applicable on Qatar Airways operated flights on the above select routes

  • All types of Award seats (including Easy Deals) are limited and subject to availability

  • Easy Deals Award levels are applicable only for award tickets redeemed online at qmiles.com.

  • Booking Period: 13th December – 31st January 2013 by midnight Doha time (GMT +3). Travel Period: 1st – 31st January 2013.

  • To avail Easy Deals, members need to register at least 24 hours prior to booking your award ticket

  • Not valid in conjunction with any other offer.

  • Redemptions are valid for anyone the member chooses. Each redemption may include up to 9 passengers on the same transaction.

  • Qmiles plus Cash option and award upgrades are excluded from Easy Deals Awards.

  • Date changes not within the offer period or route changes not part of sectors on offer will be subject to the corresponding fees and additional Qmiles will be charged.

  • If some sectors of your trip are not within the offer period or part of the promotional sectors, those sectors will be charged at regular Qmiles.

  • Regular award tickets Terms and Conditions apply.

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Wyndham has now made it easier to use smaller amount of points that may be expiring by redeeming them for magazine subscriptions. Wyndham’s points expire 4 years after earning them and there is no way to bypass this.

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The magazine selection is about the same as with other Magazines for Miles that you can purchase.

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This offer is only available for addresses in the United States.

Conclusion

If you have small amount of Wyndham points about to expire, you can use them for magazine subscription or donating them to charity.

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4 Comments

Please refer to a new an updated post about this offer:

Complimentary Club Carlson Gold Status for Members in Asia Pacific

Club Carlson has made an offer for Jet’s Gold and Platinum members for instant Gold status just for enrolling to Gold Points program. This offer is likely open for all and you can access it here. This offer should be open until March 31, 2013, but it is likely to be withdrawn earlier.

club-carlson-instant-gold-jet

Club Carlson Gold benefits are:

  • Earn an additional 50% bonus Gold Points on every eligible stay
  • Receive 2,000 bonus points with our online booking bonus when you book at clubcarlson.com or any Carlson Rezidor hotel brand website
  • Complimentary room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • Early Check In and Late Check Out upon request (subject to availability)

You will also have access for special elite member offers like Stay 2 pay for 1 and Stay 4 pay for 2.

If you already have a Club Carlson account that has points, you can just open a new one. Later just transfer the points from your old account to your newly opened one. You can do this just by phoning Club Carlson customer service.

Alternatively, you can email Club Carlson customer service at goldpointsplus@carlson.com and request that they apply promotional code JetAGD12 to your account that should give an instant Gold upgrade.

EDIT: This promotions is definitely for Gold status, although Silver is mentioned in the terms and conditions as well. I just did a sign up for my family member and the result was RED (base member) status. I am not 100% sure if the account upgrade, when signing up, is instantaneous.

Anyway, I really don’t see any harm signing up using this link. The worst case scenario is that you have spent 2 minutes of your time by filling out the form.

Conclusion

Club Carlson has recently had very good promotions and having a Gold status with them is definitely worthwhile. I have been able to get some good upgrades even for suites for being just a Gold member. This offer was first posted on FT.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

This offer (“Offer”) is valid only for JetPrivilege members (“Members”) who are enrolling in Club CarlsonSM for the first time and do not have a current or past Club Carlson member account . The Offer is non-transferrable and may not be sold. To be eligible for this Offer, Members must enroll in Club Carlson online using the private JetPrivilege enrollment page from 15 October 2012 to 31 March 2013. By enrolling in Club Carlson and participating in this Offer, Members agree to the Club Carlson program terms & conditions. Club Carlson Gold Elite member benefits are subject to additional terms and conditions. The upgrade to Club Carlson Silver Elite status will be effective immediately and be valid through 28 February 2014. This Offer is limited to one Club Carlson member account per Member. Carlson Hotels, Inc. reserves the right to modify the terms and conditions of or discontinue this Offer without notice. Club Carlson is not responsible for any technical failures, internet accessibility problems, incomplete or inaccurate registration information, or other errors of any kind that may affect your enrollment or participation in this Offer. Void where prohibited by law. By participating in this Promotion, you agree and consent to these terms and conditions.

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Hyatt is offering double miles for Etihad, Jet or Qatar frequent flier members between December 1 and February 28, 2013, at 20 Hyatt properties in Southwest Asia. You need to use offer code SWADBL when making the booking.

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The participating properties for this offer are:

Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Resort & Villas, Hyatt Regency Chennai, Park Hyatt Chennai, Hyatt Regency Delhi, Grand Hyatt Doha, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Hyatt Regency Dubai, Park Hyatt Dubai, Grand Hyatt Goa, Park Hyatt Goa, Park Hyatt Hyderabad, Park Hyatt Jeddah Marina, Club and Spa, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, Hyatt Regency Kolkata, Park Hyatt Maldives, Hyatt Regency Mumbai, Grand Hyatt Mumbai, Grand Hyatt Muscat and Hyatt Regency Pune.

qatar-hyatt-1000-bonus

The Qatar’s web page refers to a 1000 bonus Qmiles that I believe is incorrect. This offer is for double miles that would be total of 1000 Qmiles per stay. The bonus amount is 500 Qmiles per stay and not 1000. If you are planning to collect Qmiles, make sure that you take a screenshot of the Qatar’s web page.

Conclusion

This offer may make sense if you have a one night inexpensive stay at any of the participating properties. Otherwise, I would just collection Hyatt Gold Passport points.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Double miles offer valid December 1, 2012-February 28, 2013 with Etihad Airways, Jet Airways and Qatar Airways at participating Hyatt hotels worldwide. All hotel reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Offer is not valid with groups/conventions and may not be combined with other promotional offers. Guest must request offer code SWADBL at time of reservation and check-in to receive bonus miles. Guest must choose miles for their stay. Guest must present a valid airline membership card at check-in and pay an eligible rate. An “Eligible Rate” is any hotel published room rate, including, but not limited to rates found on hyatt.com or any Hyatt Gold Passport, the Hyatt Daily Rate, Volume Rate, AAA and Senior Citizen rates, etc. “Ineligible Rates” are discounted rates, including, but not limited to, any free night stays, Internet wholesale rates (such as priceline.com, hotels.com, etc.), traditional wholesale rates (such as GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, etc.), airline crew rates, airline employee rates, travel agency employee rates, Club at the Hyatt discount certificate stays, Hyatt Vacation Club stays, Hyatt employee or employee family discount rates, airline interrupted-trip vouchers or contracted rooms (a contract room is a room that has been reserved pursuant to a written and executed agreement between a hotel and a corporation, government agency or individual for a negotiated room rate in exchange for an agreed upon number of rooms to be rented for an extended period of time). One bonus per member, per room, per stay. Eligibility for miles is subject to the terms and conditions of participating airlines programme. Allow 6-8 weeks after your stay for your bonus miles to be posted to your airline account. This promotion is subject to the Terms and Conditions of the Hyatt Gold Passport program. One bonus per member, per room, per stay. Offer is subject to terms and conditions of the Etihad Guest Miles program.

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British Airways is offering 25% bonus for converting hotel points to Avios. This offer is valid until January 13. There is no need to register for this offer and you can read more about it here.

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You can convert points from Starwood, Club Carlson, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Priority Club, and Shangri-La’s programs into Avios.

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Conclusion

Airlines tend to intermittently run promotions for hotel point conversion to their miles. These offers tend to vary. Would I convert any of my hotel points to Avios due to getting 25% conversion bonus? I absolutely would not, but it doesn’t mean that this promotion could not work for you.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

  • This promotion is only open to Eligible Participants. An eligible participant is a person aged 18 or over and is a British Airways Executive Club Member (“BAEC”) (membership terms and conditions apply) and is enrolled and registered with one of the hotel partner loyalty programmes. By taking part in this promotion, Eligible Participants confirm that they accept the Terms and Conditions below.

  • Eligible Participants can earn up to 25% Bonus Avios between 13 December 2012 and 13 January 2013 for any qualifying hotel loyalty points converted into Avios. BAEC members must enrol via the hotel property links provided on http://www.britishairways.com/travel/points-to-avios/public/

  • To convert your points, please contact the hotel whose points you wish to convert to Avios.

  • Taxes, fees and charges remain payable by the BAEC member.

  • Bonus Avios can take 4-6 weeks to show on your account from the date of conversion. Once they have been credited, you can start redeeming them for flights, hotels and Avis car hire.· Bonus Avios is non-redeemable for cash and non-reversible.

  • Bonus Avios is issued subject to the BAEC Terms and Conditions http://www.britishairways.com/travel/termcn/public/en_gb and all passengers and baggage are subject to the general terms and conditions of carriage.

  • Reward flights are subject to availability and capacity control and availability may be limited at peak times.

  • Hotel loyalty scheme membership, and earning and redemption of points are subject to the Terms and Conditions of each specific hotel’s loyalty scheme in addition to British Airways Terms and Conditions, as applicable.

  • This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other British Airways offers or promotion.

  • Promoter reserves the right to withdraw the promotion or amend these terms and conditions without prior notice at any time, for whatever reason, and without any liability to customers for doing so.

  • This promotion shall be governed by the laws of England & Wales and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.

  • This promotion is provided by British Airways Plc Waterside, PO Box 365, Harmondsworth, UB7 0GB. Registered No. 1777777 England

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American Airlines just posted on their Facebook page about “Mile for your thoughts” offer of 500 free American Airlines miles for completing a short survey after liking both American Airlines and AAdvantage Facebook pages. You can access this offer here.

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As is often the case with these Facebook apps, you need to give them permission to access some of your info.

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The questions are super easy. You just need to identify your top two airline programs, what status you have, and what counted the most for making the selection. Then you can also leave a note about your other favorite programs outside the airlines.

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You then just need to submit the short survey and the miles will be deposited in your account in 6 to 8 weeks.

american-airlines-aadvantage-miles-for-your-thoughts-500

After you have completed the app, you can disallow the app to access your data and unlike both AA and AAdvantage, if you so prefer.

Conclusion

Very easy way of getting 500 free American Airlines miles and don’t take too much of your time.

This is also a good way to extend the validity of your miles by another 18 months if you don’t have too much AAdvantage activity.

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Once airlines unbundled most of the perks that used to come up with the flying like free checked bags, they have started to introduce various packages and options to reintroduce them as add-ons. You can read more about these options on AA’s website here.

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Now, American Airlines have introduced three different packages for economy fliers with various add-ons.

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American’s round-trip travel options now include:

  • Choice: The lowest fare available in the Main Cabin that gives customers the flexibility to purchase additional products a la carte.

  • Choice Essential: No change fee, one checked bag (or third checked bag for AAdvantage elite and oneworld®  elite members) and Group 1 Boarding for an additional $68 round-trip.

  • Choice Plus: No change fee, one checked bag (or third checked bag for AAdvantage elite and oneworld elite customers), Group 1 Boarding, 50 percent AAdvantage mileage bonus, Same-Day Flight Change, Same-Day Standby, and a premium beverage, such as an alcoholic beverage onboard for an additional $88 round-trip.

  • Fully Flexible: Refundable fare, two checked bags, Main Cabin Extra/Preferred Seats, PriorityAAccess, Same-Day Flight Change, Same-Day Standby, and 500-Mile Upgrade eligibility (upgrades available after AAdvantage elite status members have been confirmed).

  • Business/First: The lowest Business Class or First Class fare, including Instant Upgrade fares, is visible on the Lowest Fare tab.  Customers booking Business and First Class fares will receive all the benefits they have come to appreciate, including priority baggage handling, up to three checked bags and PriorityAAccess.

The new booking interface has been done an infrequent flyers point of view. As I have written before, I much prefer booking my air tickets on non-airline sites for greater price visibility and ability to compare air carriers. Of course, airlines don’t like this. Airlines would prefer that you book on their website so that they can “merchandise” their product using the word that American Airlines spoke person used.

AMERICAN AIRLINES NEW TRAVEL OPTIONS

 Here’s a price display for Ontario (ONT) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) for random date in January

aa-price-display

The price difference between Choice and Choice Essential is $34. If you are going to check a bag and would need to pay $25 for doing so, the price that you are paying for waiving the change fee is $9.

If you are planning to pay for the Choice Essential, it would make more sense to go for the Choice Plus on this route. The price difference between the Essential and Choice Plus is only $10. The extra award miles alone (about 1160 miles) are worth more than the difference in fare.

Conclusion

These choice Essential and Choice Plus can make sense to those that need to check in a bag and would need otherwise pay for it, and to those that need more flexibility. The change fee that is typically $150 in addition to the fare difference is waived. Note that you still need to pay the fare difference, however.

Then there must be quite a few business travelers that will buy the new Choice Plus just to get the extra award miles….

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For the past week, I have been in the European Union that has far stricter privacy laws than most countries in Asia or North America. I have seen somewhat annoying messages to deny or allow cookies from number of companies/media whose websites I frequent.

starwood-cookie-consent-tool

When you click the Evidon tab that shows up on the SPG’s website, you are then presented with a Cookie Consent Tool.

starwood-cookie-consent-essentials

Starwood uses three cookies for storing essential log in information to their website.

starwood-cookie-consent-advertising

They do use, however, excess of 130 companies/cookies for ad servicing.

starwood-cookie-consent-analytics

For ad targeting, SPG uses 19 partners.

Conclusion,

SPG, for being a large multinational, works with a number of partners that is well represented by the number of cookies and services they use to serve advertising and personalize it.

If you ask how many cookies LoyaltyLobby stores in your computer, I quite frankly have no idea. The only thing that we use for visitor tracking is Google Analytics.

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3 Comments

United Premier members, not sure if limited to Premier1K’sonly, now have an additional benefit of Business Lounge access at more than 1200 Regus locations worldwide. The fee of joining to Regus Businessworld Gold is waived for United Premier members. I received an email from United yesterday about this.

united-regus

 

You can try singing up here and see if they accept your Mileage Plus number. I have previously been a member of Regus through an offer that they had extended to Delta’s SkyClub members.

united-regus-sign-up

You never know when an access to an office space where one can quickly do emails or have an access to a meeting place can come handy.

regus-packages

Conclusion

Regus has often been extending the base level Businessworld Gold access to tier members of number of airlines. You can utilize their business lounges and refreshments free of charge, but obviously charges apply if you need additional help like a conference room.

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Club Carlson has sent out an email for members in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Asia) with holiday offers such as 50% discount on awards, double Gold Points and a free breakfast. I have already written about the first two offers.

club-carlson-your-festive-offers

More interesting is the year end gift of few thousands Club Carlson points (may depend of your Club Carlson status).

club-carlson-gold-bonus-points-for-christmas

Please note that I cannot post the personalized link. But, if you received an email from Club Carlson in the past day with the Holiday subject, you should open it and collect the free points.

Conclusion

Club Carlson has had very good promotions this year and sending few thousands extra holiday points for members residing on EMEA is continuance of this.

Here are the terms and conditions of these offers:

Terms and Conditions for Year End Gift Campaign

  • This year end gift is available to Club CarlsonSM members only within Europe, Middle East and Africa.
  • The year end gift is personal and only invited Club Carlson members can register to select their year end gift.
  • The membership account number must be provided by the member at the time of registration for the year end gift, together with member’s name and full contact details.
  • Registration for year end gift is only valid until 27 December 2012.
  • Only one year end gift selection per Club Carlson member.
  • The year end gift is subject to availability.

Bonus Gold Points®:

  • Bonus Gold Points will be calculated and credited to the member’s account by 28 February 2013.
  • Only one Club Carlson member account will be credited (personalised gift and cannot be transferred to another member).
  • Bonus Gold Points are subject to all Club Carlson Program Terms and Conditions.

Club Carlson reserves the right to add, modify, or discontinue the year end gift campaign before the relevant gift is made use of, with or without notice. The year end gift campaign and/or the relevant gifts are void where prohibited by law. By participating in this year end gift campaign, you agree and consent to these terms and conditions.