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As you have probably already noticed, getting upgrades at hotels and airlines, based on the status I have with them, is very important for me. Typically I always check the website in the morning if the hotel has already processed their upgrades, and what kind of upgrade they have assigned for me.

Here’s a trick that you can use to check if you have been upgraded in advance at any of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) hotels that include InterContinental Hotel, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suite, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Candlewood Suites.

Some hotels might process upgrades well in advance, but most hotels only do them the night before. There is a good explanation for this. The hotels can be quite sure about the inventory they have available for upgrades. [click to continue…]

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BMI Diamond ClubMy favorite program for booking somewhat convoluted oneway awards has been the British Midlands (BMI) Diamond Club (DC). The booking process is not always the easiest, as one needs to call special Diamond Club number in the UK, from where the call is further transferred to the redemption “specialists” sitting somewhere in India.

Normally, when you do your homework well in advance using various tools for finding what ward availability is out there, the actual booking process is manageable.

This time my goal was to redeem from Male to Seoul with a further connection somewhere I wanted to go at a later time. I had another ticket booked out of Seoul (ICN) to South America. [click to continue…]

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Marriott is actively courting travelers in the Asia-Pacific to join Marriott’s frequent guests program Marriott Rewards. Couple of weeks ago I wrote about Marriott’s decision to offer free internet access at their Asia-Pacific hotels for just signing up.

Marriott Rewards Sign Up Offer Stay Twice Stay FreeIn addition to free internet, Marriott is offering two different promotions for those residing/visiting, or at least having an address, at specific countries in the region. One is an instant Silver Elite status at the program and ability to earn bonus airline miles, and the other is a free one night stay certificate, which is capped at category 4 Marriot properties, just after two stays of which the first one must be in the Asia-Pacific. You need to sign up for the Marriott Rewards program at the hotel, if you want to participate to the latter promotion. [click to continue…]

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Passengers flying on Etihad (EY), the national airline of United Arab Emirates based in Abu Dhabi, have already been able to credit their flights to American Airlines AAdvantage program, with few exclusions, for some time.  Etihad flights booked on American Airlines flight numbers are also eligible for EQM’s and extra RDM’s. Flights booked entirely on Etihad flight numbers are not eligible for EQM’s.

American Airlines Etihad Earnings StructureNow, passengers are also able to redeem their American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier miles on Etihad and vice versa. [click to continue…]

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Delta Air Lines Award Redemption Promotion - Get Up To 25% Of The Miles Used Credited BackCouple of hours ago received an email from Delta offering discounts for award redemptions booked using SkyMiles on Delta metal. For economy redemptions the discount maxes at 15% while for business/first class tickets at 25%. For first redemption the discount is 5% less.

The thing to note here is the fact that the discount applies only for Delta and Delta Connection flights. It doesn’t apply for partner redemptions. The booking window is until the end of this month, and the travel must be completed by April 30th, 2012. [click to continue…]

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Very often one needs to stay overnight in Male on the way to the resorts. The Maldivian water taxi only operates during the daylight hours, and the Maldivian flies to outer islands on a rather limited schedule – few times a day.

Resorts normally always suggest that the guest should stay at the Hulhule Island hotel which is conveniently located on the same island as the airport. The hotel runs shuttles from the terminal to the hotel frequently. There is no need to stay at this hotel, however. Their room rates are quite high, and there is always something to do at the Male for few hours during the day time. Also, transferring from the airport to the capitol island is super convenient. You just need to take one of the frequent boats that shuttle people between Male and airport. [click to continue…]

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In the past few months, when I have been checking prices for various Hilton chain hotels, I have been offered variety of Premium Room rewards. Most of the times, sans few obvious mistakes, the prices in points have seemed rather high.

Hilton HHonors Premium Room Rewards Hilton Abu DhabiToday when I was checking rates for Hilton Abu Dhabi hotel, I decided to do a simple Excel spread sheet to find out the value that Hilton assesses to their points. [click to continue…]

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InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Fall 2011 1 2 3 4 Promo - Earn Up To 80000 Bonus PointsEarlier today I was searching for some exciting Priority Club promotions, as I have quite a few IHG stays lined up in the next couple of months.  Priority Club, Intercontinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) loyalty program has always been very active, and some would say very generous at times, on the promo front and this autumn is not an exception. When I was searching for promos this fall, I came across the following two.

IHG has always tried to get people to try their variety of brands. Personally, I have always been a fan of InterContinental hotels, but quite frankly haven’t really liked too much of their limited service brands where their majority of the properties are. [click to continue…]

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Starwood Preferred Guest Transfer Starpoints Between Member AccountsStarwood has always allowed members to transfer Starpoints between member accounts. Previously it was enough that the addresses of both Starwood accounts were the same at the time of transfer. Earlier in the year Starwood initiated a process where the address must be same at least for 30 days before the transfer is initiated.

Why anyone would want to transfer points between accounts, as you can always “gift” an award stay? By combining points from accounts it might be easier to hit certain transfer thresholds i.e. when transferring to airlines 20K Starpoints typically transfer to 25K miles.  One party may have 100K American Airlines AAdvantage miles on his account when the desired award would require 150K. You cannot transfer Starpoints to someone else’s AAdvantage account, but you can do to his Starpoints account from where the person can further transfer them to AA. [click to continue…]

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Hilton HHonors United Airlines Mileage Plus Promotion 1000 Bonus Miles Per Two Nights StayHilton HHonors is offering 1000 bonus United Airlines Mileage Plus miles per two nights stay at all Hilton properties between October 1st and December 11th. You can earn up to 5000 bonus Mileage Plus miles. These are in addition to the 500 miles that one would earn having United as fixed partner on most full service locations, or 2 miles per dollar spend if United is variable miles partner.

You need to register for this promo and have United Airlines Mileage Plus either you variable or fixed airline partner. Bonus miles will be posted to your account shortly after the stay, based on my personal experience with Hilton, although the Terms and conditions of this offer say that it can take up to 6 weeks. [click to continue…]

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Hyatt American Airlines Promotion 1500 Aadvantage Miles Per Stay Up To 10 StaysHyatt Gold Passport and American Airlines are offering triple miles for Hyatt stay until January 15th, 2012. You can earn up to 15000 American Airlines miles and thus this promotion is capped at ten stays.

Remember that you need to sign up for the promo and choose American Airline miles instead of points when checking in/out. Quite often these still post as Hyatt Gold Passport points, and either a message to Hyatt Gold Passport customer service through the web or call is required to switch them to miles. Hyatt American Airlines Promotion Registration Confirmation

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Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Please note that Park Hyatt Maldives no longer accepts Hyatt stay certificates. They did when I wrote this piece back in October. Right now the choice is either points or cash.

Hyatt took over the former Alila property in Maldives back in May this year, and the property is in the process of being rebranded as Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa. I visited this property in August and cannot wait to go back sometime next year.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Rate CardTheir regular rates start around $900 per night for the most basic villa. You can, however, stay there paying about a third of that.

 

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Over the past few years, since I became Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member, I have had in excess of 700 Hyatt stays ranging from limited service Hyatt Places to full service Grand and Park Hyatt’s.

Hyatt has several brands on their portfolio; Hyatt Place, Hyatt House (former Hyatt Summerfield Suites), Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz and few others. There are rarely any upgrade opportunities at the Hyatt Places as they are mostly non-suite properties. Also Hyatt House (Hyatt Summerfield Suites) are all suite properties where [click to continue…]

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Due to number of flights arriving very late or departing early, it is often necessary for travelers to stay overnight in Male. If you book your accommodation in Male through your hotel or travel agent, they will most likely boo you to Hulhule Island hotel that is conveniently located on the same island with the airport itself. This is the only hotel in the Male where one can buy and enjoy alcoholic beverages.

Hulhule Island Hotel MaldivesThere is no need to book this Hulhule Island hotel, however. I have booked Mookai hotel twice that is located in Male proper. I will write a short review of this hotel later. [click to continue…]