Relaxed Visa Rules for Beijing & Shanghai Starting January 1st – Up To 72 Hours Visa Free Transit

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There has been quite a bit of news lately about the relaxed transit visa rules for Beijing and Shanghai starting on January 1, 2013. Up until now, residents of certain 45 countries could have had 24 hours transit in Beijing and 48 hour transit in Shanghai without need to have a visa.

wsj-beijing

First, Beijing announced that visitors could stay in Beijing for up to 72 hours starting on January 1st when they are in transit to a third country.

cnn-shanghai

Then, Shanghai announced few days later that they are upping the transit time to 72 hours as well.

Thing to note here is that we are talking about TRANSIT. Neither Beijing or Shanghai should be your final destination. You must be en route to some other destinations and rather have a stopover of less than 72 hours at either of these two cities. You are not allowed to visit other Chinese cities during this visa free transit time.

The countries that are included in this 45 country list are:

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

You can always use the Star Alliance’s Timatic service to check the entry requirements. This is the same system that is used by airline employees to check the entry requirements. I wrote a piece about it earlier this year.

china-transit-visa-beijing

Make sure that you have a blank page on your passport for the visa free entry stamp. Here’s a stamp that I got in Beijing a week ago when I was just transiting.

Conclusion

This is a welcomed change for those that regularly visit China. You can spend up to 72 hours in either Shanghai or Beijing.  Requirement that you must be in transit to a third country is bit cumbersome, but can easily get around it.

US Airways Club Membership – 3000 Premier Qualifying Miles + 2 Extra Months for Signing Up or Renewing

US Airways has a new offer for getting Dividend Miles members to sign up for Club access. You will get 3000 PQM’s (Premier Qualifying Miles) + 2 extra months added to your membership +  no initiation fee, if you make the purchase by December 13 and use promotional code 2FREE. You can access this offer here.

us-airways-club-offer-december-2free

US Airways had a similar offer in November for 5K PQM’s but without the extra 2 months. Here’s the list of current prices of Club membership.

us-airways-club-prices-2012

Note that having a Club membership will give you an access not only to US Airways Clubs but for other Star Alliance member clubs as well when flying on Star Alliance member airlines. On international itineraries, the club access is a benefit of Star Alliance Gold status. Within the United States you have access to both United and US Clubs (and some other Star Alliance ones like the Lufthansa club in Washington Dulles).

Conclusion

If you are short of qualifying for status with US Airways and this would put you over, I think that it is a good offer. Not only you will receive the club access but also 3K PQM’s.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Offer is available for all new US Airways Club enrollees, former members with a membership that expired within the past 6 months, and current members within 90 days of their membership expiration. Offer valid from December 17, 2012 to December 20, 2012. Offer cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Promo code 2FREE must be mentioned when enrolling or renewing to receive 2 free months and 3,000 Preferred-qualifying miles. New member initiation fee will be waived with this offer. Purchase must be made online or by calling Club Services at 800-828-8522. Offer is valid for annual single memberships only. Customers wishing to purchase a spouse add-on may do so for an additional $225. Dividend Miles membership is required. Please allow 7 days for membership processing. All US Airways Club and Dividend Miles terms and conditions apply.

Update on Royal Ambassador Referral Certs – Gone or Not?

On Sunday, I wrote about the change in wording on the website for Royal Ambassador website that indicated and still does that the complimentary Royal Ambassador referral certificates would be gone and replaced by paid referrals.

ic-royal-ambassador-change-bigger

Today, an InterContinental Hotels Group employee (confirmed by the email address) left the following reply to the original blog post:

ic-royal-ambassador-referral-not-gone

It appears that the new wording on the recently launched website is incorrect and that the Royal Ambassador referrals are not going away.

Conclusion

All these programs should be very careful when it comes to wording used on their websites. The text that InterContinental still has on their Royal Ambassador site does indicate that referrals would be paid.

Year End Hotel Elite Status Dilemma (Hilton, Hyatt, IHG/Priority Club, Marriott & Starwood)

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It is the time of the year when many of us are looking at the hotel account statements for stay & night counts. You may have enjoyed the benefits of the elite status such as Diamond or Platinum and are now few stays short on qualifying or, for the first time, you may be few stays short of qualifying for the higher tier.

Does it make sense to do few mattress runs (un-needed stays) to qualify or requalify for hotel elite status?

Overall, if you are, let’s say, 3 to 5 stays short, in most cases, it probably does make sense. You should consider your travel patterns in 2013. Do you expect to have about the same number of stays as this year or is your travel going to pick up?

You could always do bunch of stays in early 2013 before your status lapses and then requalify for all the way to early 2015.

How much do you realistically value the benefits that you have received in 2012 based on the elite status such as:

1. Upgrades

2. Club lounge access / breakfast

3. Welcome amenities

4. Extra points

5. Problem resolution

6. Complimentary internet access

When I say realistically value, I mean, how much you would have paid for those extra benefits. I don’t mean what is the “rack” rate i.e. between a room you booked and the suite you received.

If you have decided to requalify or qualify for the higher status and are few stays/points short, here are my tips for various chains:

Hilton

Hilton has offered fast tracks for qualifying Gold and Diamond status several times over the years. They have also not downgraded me on some years from Diamond to Gold, when I have been few stays short.

Hilton properties in non-resort locations are rather inexpensive around the holidays, when business travelers are gone. Hilton just announced excellent public Friends & Family sale that qualifies for stay credit and points. You can snag very good properties at exceptionally low rates. You can also try other discount rates such as Little League, UK Public Employee Offer, Corporate Benefits Employee offer and MVP. Note that Hilton’s awards also count for stay/night credit.

Hilton has a very good Gold level status program and it is probably not worth a lot trying to make a Diamond. Gold gives you access to VIP awards, free internet access and for breakfast and/or lounge access. The latter is not guaranteed.

You could always do a MVP Gold challenge early next year and qualify for Gold status until February 2015.

Hyatt

Hyatt’s Platinum status is fairly useless and gives you just complimentary internet access. Hyatt just announced that they are going away with Platinum Extras Awards that Platinum members used to get for every three stays.

So, I would only do a mattress run to get to the Diamond status. Hyatt doesn’t count award nights for status qualifying purposes, so you need to pay for a going rate that can get very expensive very fast if you are located outside of the United States.

You may be able to take advantage couple of discounts that around the holidays this year; “Home for the Holidays” and “Make the Moments Last”.

InterContinental Hotels Group/Priority Club

With Priority Club you can qualify based on the points that you have earned or the number of nights that you have stayed at their properties.  They are changing the qualification criteria next year to only count the base points that you have earned from the stays or the nights. Currently all earned points count towards the status.

If you haven’t signed up for any Priority Club promotions for a while and have at least Gold status, you can easily get in excess of 10K points out from a paid stay due to numerous one time bonus offers that I have written here.

Alternatively, you can stay in a hotel that offers extra Priority Club Points that will also count toward the stays.

The last option would be to just buy the number of points that you are short off. These counts as well.

Marriott

Marriott’s requirements for Gold Status (50 nights) and for Platinum (75 nights) are high compared to other chains.

You can always buy back the status that you have this year in 2013 IF you don’t qualify or they don’t extend your status based on your stay history.

Other options would be to do the Taste of Platinum or Gold match early next year.

Reward nights do not count toward status.

Marriott’s also awards 10 elite qualifying nights, if you arrange a meeting at their property. This “meeting” can require as little as renting a conference room for couple of hours at a Courtyard for hundred bucks or so.

Overall, the difference between the Gold and Platinum with Marriott are relatively insignificant especially if you are traveling in North America and mainly use limited service properties.

Starwood

Starwood introduced several new levels within the Platinum status this year; 50 nights gives you SNA’s (Suite Night Awards), 75 nights gives you fourth Starpoint and You24, and 100 nights personalized Ambassador.

Personally, I wouldn’t bother reaching for 50, 75, or 100 nights unless you are just couple of stays short. The benefits are not that significant. I haven’t used a single SNA, never tried using You24 (not confirmed but rather based on availability), and have used the Ambassador only handful of times.

But if you are just few stays short of Platinum status, I would most definitely try to reach it. Paid, award and cash + points now all count toward the 25 stays or 50 nights requirement.

If you find a really good rate, you can make the booking for THREE rooms. You can book up to three rooms under one membership number and get a stay/night credits for all the rooms. Note that the SPG member must pay for them all.

Conclusion

It really is a last call when it comes to qualifying for 2013. I have given up on both Marriott and Hyatt this year.

I have been Hyatt Diamond since around 2004 and this is the first year that I am not qualifying. They just haven’t had enough good promotions and the lack of reasonably priced international locations have been both deterrents. I had had more than 30 nights as awards, but they don’t count with Hyatt.

With Marriott, I am going to do a challenge next year or use the elite buy back process that I was referring above. Not sure what I am going to do with the Hyatt,however. SPG Platinum, Hilton Diamond and Priority Club Platinum/InterContinental Royal Ambassador are all banked at this point.

Hyatt “Home for the Holidays” Discounted Rate Code HOLDY

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Hyatt is offering “Home for the Holidays” rate promotion at participating Hyatt hotels. The dates that the offer is valid varies by the property in question. Most of the dates, however, are around the holidays when the business travel is slower.

You can book this specific offer by requesting a rate code HOLDY when making the booking on Hyatt.com.

Here’s the rate display for Hyatt Lisle

hyatt-holdy-lisle

The “Home for the Holidays” returned a lowest rate of $69. The second lowest was the advance purchase rate of $92. The discounted holiday rate is cancellable for up to 24 hours before arrival and is not prepaid.

Conclusion

This is a good offer for Hyatt’s that has this rate loaded. Just make sure to check the AAA and other discounted rates as well. I went through couple of hotels and the extras included in the rate varied a bit. One hotel had breakfast and parking included as well.

Here are the terms and conditions of this rate code for Hyatt property in greater Chicago:

Offer valid between 8/30/12 and 1/5/13 on specific dates as listed: 16-25 Nov, 29 Nov-02 Dec, 6-9 Dec, 13-16 Dec, 20-30 Dec 2012 and 1 – 5 Jan 2013, only at Hyatt Lisle near Naperville. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Guest must request offer code HOLDY at time of reservation. Rate is per room, per night, excluding service charges, taxes and other incidental expenses. Rate is based on double occupancy and standard room accommodations. Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion.

Promotional blackout periods may apply due to seasonal periods or special events, and normal arrival/departure restrictions apply. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this program at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Global Hyatt Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt® and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. © 2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

Priority Club One Time Bonus Offers for December

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Most of the following Priority Club bonus offers are coming to an end on December 31, 2012. If you have InterContinental Hotels Group stays coming this month and you haven’t taken advantage of these bonus offers, you should. It is unclear at this point, if any of these offers that are soon expiring will be extended in 2013.

priority-club-my-offer-status-december-2012

You can register for these promotions at priorityclub.com/register. If you get an error message that the code is invalid, it only means that you have taken advantage of the offer previously and that your account is not eligible for it.

Note that Priority Club is changing status qualifying requirements in 2013. You can read more about the changes here. You can still qualify under the old terms in 2012, however.

Priority Club Canada Stay Offer of 1000 Points for a Stay

You can earn 1000 bonus points for a stay in Canada. This can post to more than one stay. You won’t see it in your offer details, but the promotional points posted to two of my stays in Canada in November.

Anniversary Bonus Offer – 6102 – 1000 Bonus Points

This is most lucrative of the offers. You will get additional 1000 Priority Club points per stay for 90 days after your sign up.  Just enroll just before your first stay to maximize the earning period.

1000 Bonus Points for 60 Days – 8108 – 1000 Bonus Points

You will receive 1000 bonus Priority Club points per stay for the next 60 days after registering for this promotion. Just enroll just before your first stay to maximize the earning period.

Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 5221 – 3000 Bonus Points

This works for sure if you are a Platinum member, but could work for Gold’s as well. Doesn’t hurt to sign up, right? You will get 3000 bonus Priority Club points for your next stay. You will need to have the stay within 90 days after signing up. You can only earn this once.

Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 7489 – 3000 Bonus Points NEW

This is another 3000 bonus points for an elite member. It posts for sure if you are Platinum but might work for a Gold account as well. You need to do the stay within 90 days of registering for this offer.

Welcome Back Bonus – 2120 – 1500 Bonus Points

You will get 1500 Priority Club bonus points for one stay after signing up. You need do stay within 90 days.

New Member Bonus – 3107 – 1500 Bonus Points

This is a new member bonus, but works for existing members as well. You will get onetime 1500 Priority Club bonus points after signing up. You need do stay within 90 days after registration.

Next Stay Bonus – 5109 – 1500 Bonus Points

This should be open for elite and non-elite members. You will get onetime bonus of 1500 Priority club points after a paid stay. The stay must be within 90 days after registration.

Weekend Stay Bonus – 3136 – 5000 Bonus Points

This should be open for all. You will get 5000 Priority Club bonus points for a two night weekend stay. Weekend is typically defined Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights. The stay must occur before the end of 2012. This promotion may require your Priority Club access to be in the United States. The promotion did post for me after a while. This promotion can be done several times.

Platinum 5000 Bonus – 3168 – 5000 Bonus Points

You need to be a Priority Club Gold or lower member and do the required number of stays to get the Platinum status + bonus points.

We’re pleased you have continued to stay with us and are now even closer to earning exclusive Platinum Elite benefits and 5,000 bonus points. All you need to do is register and stay with us 5 more nights before 30th November 2012. It would be our pleasure to reward your loyalty with exclusive Platinum Elite benefits. Keep staying with us and you’ll soon be there. We look forward to helping you make it to the top: Platinum Elite status!

Conclusion

It is interesting to see what is going to happen with number of Priority Club bonus offers in 2013. Most of the offers above are expiring shortly.

Changes to Hyatt Gold Passport Program: Platinum Extras Certificates Gone, No Points/Stay Credit for Walk-Ins, Eligibility to Earn Miles & Paying Partially Using Points = No Credit For Rest of the Spent

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Hyatt has tweaked the terms and conditions of their program and these never seem to be for the better. I have identified four major changes:

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

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

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

4. Platinum Extras Award have been discontinued

No guaranteed points & stay credit for walk-in guests

hyatt-no-guaranteed-points-for-walk-ins

This change makes very little sense. Why Hyatt deny points/stay credit from guests that don’t have prior reservation and pay an eligible rate? Sometimes plans may change at the very last minute and Hyatt’s website often is down.  If you are paying an eligible rate, you should receive points and stay credit.

Hyatt Gold Passport membership requirement to earn airline miles

hyatt-travel-programs-change

It didn’t come to my mind that Hyatt has been awarding partner program miles/points if the guest is not a member of the Hyatt’s program. There is no downside for joining and the guests may be able to take advantage occasional double dip opportunities for earning bonus Hyatt Gold Passport points while crediting the base points to airline miles.

Paying for spa or dining charges partially using points will make rest of the charge ineligible for points

hyatt-dining-spa

Redeeming Hyatt Gold Passport points for dining or spa credits is terrible value as I have written before. Now, if you partially settle your bill using points, the rest of the charge will become ineligible for Gold Passport points.

Platinum Extras Awards discontinued

hyatt-platinum-extras-awards

Platinum members have been awarded Platinum Extras award for every 3 stays. The option of the award was different for different stays but included club upgrades, food & beverage amenity, or extra points for dining at the property (no stay required). These were mailed out to the members address and had a generally short expiry period of 3 to 4 months.

Hyatt Platinum Extras Awards Jeff
Hyatt Platinum Extras Awards Jeff

Now, Hyatt has decided to discontinue these as well and the head of Gold Passport made an announcement of it on FlyerTalk.

Conclusion

It always make sense to read the terms and conditions of these programs very carefully. Hyatt has now changed few things that may or may affect you, but you should be aware of them regardless. Not sure, why they have decided not to do a mass email about these changes to the Gold Passport members that will be affected about them. I don’t see any of these four changes to be a beneficial one for a consumer.

Hilton Friends & Family Offer for 50% Off Between December 14 to January 7 – Excellent rates

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Hilton has a public Friends and Family offer for travel between December 14 and January 7, 2013. The rate does qualify for points and stay credit. You can access this offer here.

hilton-hhonors-friends-family-sale-2012

The discount varies by the brand:

Save 50% at these participating hotels and resorts:
-Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites, and Hilton Grand Vacations

Save 30% at these participating hotels and resorts:
– Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites

This promotion returns exceptional rates at many properties:

Conrad Bangkok

conrad-bangkok-thank-you-rate

I have never seen a rate as low as 2900 THB per night for this Conrad hotel.

Conrad Singapore

conrad-singapore-thank-you-rate

The rate for the Conrad for the date I was looking at was 162 SGD.

Hilton Narita

hilton-narita-thank-you-sale

I sometimes stay at the Hilton Narita if I have an overnight transit in Tokyo or if I am arriving very late or have an early departure. The rate of 4000 yen is the lowest I have ever seen for this property as well.

Conrad New York

conrad-new-york-thank-you-offer

The rates in New York are really low using this rate as well. Conrad New York for $144?

Conclusion

This appears to be a genuine offer for 50% discount off of the BAR. It returns some exceptionally good rates. The offer is also eligible for stay credit and points per the terms and conditions of this offer.

Business travel is very slow at the both sides of Christmas and New Years. It makes sense for hotels to discount to keep the occupancy rates up.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Thank You Rate is valid at participating hotels worldwide for stays booked between December 5, 2012 and January 7, 2013, and completed between December 14, 2012 and January 7, 2013. Rates are subject to availability and are not available on December 31, 2012. Be sure to review the hotel’s cancellation/change policy at time of booking. This offer may not be combined with other select promotions, offer or discounts and is not valid for existing reservations or groups. All reservations for this rate must be made on the website

Complimentary InterContinental Royal Ambassador Referrals Gone?

8 Comments

One of the benefits of qualifying for InterContinental Royal Ambassador (you can read more about InterContinental Royal Ambassador status here) status has been a referral certificate that you can use to upgrade an associate, spouse, or a friend to Royal Ambassador as well. Sometimes these certificates have found their way to eBay as well where they have been going for $500 to $600.

IC Royal Ambassador Change
IC Royal Ambassador Change

Now, InterContinental has or is making this complimentary referral going away and introducing an option for Royal Ambassadors to purchase the membership for a third party. This came to light on a recent website update. There has been no official communication from InterContinental about this change.

ic-royal-ambassador-change-bigger

There have been few changes to Royal Ambassadors referrals over the years; these certificates didn’t used to have an expiry date & at some point they were sending them out for referred members as well that didn’t make too much sense.

Conclusion

We’ll have to wait and see how much these paid referrals are going to go for. InterContinental Hotels Group wasn’t probably too happy seeing these referrals going for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

Junk Fees Expanding to City Hotels: Case Le Parker Meridien New York

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I cannot stand resort fees that some hotels try to bury you with. I wrote a piece about “Resort fees and why you should hate them” back in August this year. Now, some hotels are trying to introduce resorts fees under disguised “facility/service charges” in some city hotels as well.

Here’s the list from my previous article that does apply for these same scam fees on city center hotels as well:

Here are eight reasons why hotels love “scamming” using resort charges:

1. Able to advertise a lower headline price and bury the extra charge to tax section.

2. Preferential display when searched using the price on hotel search engines.

3. Save on some taxes on municipalities that don’t collect taxes on “resort” charges.

4. Collect resort charge on award stays.

5. Collect resort charge on third party bookings i.e. Expedia, Hotwire, Booking.com, Priceline etc.

6. No need to pay for travel agent commission for amount of the resort fee.

7. No need to award points for the frequent guest program for the resort fee portion.

8. No need to pay franchise fees for the resort charge portion.

Le Parker Meridien New York

Le Parker Meridien has now introduced a mandatory “service charge” starting on January 1, 2013. This charge includes the following items:

  • Wired or Wireless High Speed Internet Access for multi-devices in guestrooms, the lobby, restaurants and the bar. *
  • Unlimited use of gravity fitness Center.
  • Unlimited use of the penthouse pool.
  • Unlimited toll free and local calls from your in room phone.

I absolutely despise how this charge is buried and basically hidden when searching for Starwood hotels in New York on SPG.com.

spg-le-parker-meridien

You are just presented the prices of rooms.

le-parker-meridien-price-display

When you click the total price that includes all the taxes and fees this “service charge” is not displayed at all.

le-parker-meridien-price-search

You can only find it by clicking the “special conditions” link on the web page. How many click the special conditions link for a hotel that you are looking or booking at? At least, I never do that.

le-parker-meridien-special-conditions

Some of these “benefits” make sense like the complimentary internet access and the use of fitness center. The problem that I have, however, is the fact that wireless/wired internet access is a Platinum benefit in the first place. If you have hotel or sometimes managed fitness center, I have never needed to pay for the access.

How many uses hotel phone to make local or toll free phone calls? I doubt that anyone does. We all carry phones nowadays and use them instead of relying to hotel phones. I cannot remember the last time I had used a hotel phone for anything else than calling the front desk.

Conclusion

If a hotel has a mandatory charge, they should simply include it to their baseline price and be done with it. Having separate mandatory fees is simply put highly misleading especially how these are not properly disclosed.

Airlines have already mandated to display all inclusive pricing in the European Union and in the United States. If hotels are continuing trying to mislead consumers, I am sure that we will see some litigation.

Malaysia Airlines Year End 50% Off Award Sale

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Malaysia Airlines is having a year end award sale on all of its routes. You can redeem for economy, business, and first class tickets at half the usual number of miles required when you make the booking by December 31 for travel between February 1 and June 30, 2013.

malaysia-airlines-50-off-award-sale

This award sale only applies to flights operated by Malaysia Airlines and is not applicable to partner airlines. Malaysia is set to join the oneworld alliance sometime in February.

malaysia-airlines-award-sale-kul-lhr

I was trying to check, how the pricing for these 50% off awards work. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough miles on my Enrich account to check the amount of fuel surcharges and actual taxes that the airline charges. The award availability on the routes that I checked was very good, however.

Conclusion

If you are Malaysia Airlines Enrich member and thinking of doing some award trips between February 1 and June 30, you should take advantage of this award sale offer.

Here are the terms and conditions of this award sale offer:

1. Subject to availability and Malaysia Airlines’ final approval, it will be valid for one way/return
flights from/to Kuala Lumpur to/from all destinations worldwide. Applicable on mixed
class/turnaround open jaws on same zone for return trip only.

2. Redemption offer is valid from 1 Nov to 31 Dec 2012 and travelling period as below:
A. All other destinations except India routes:
Booking period : 1 Nov to 31 Dec 2012
Travelling period : 1 Feb to 30 Jun 2013
B. For India destinations:
Booking period : 1 Nov to 31 Dec 2012
Travelling period 1 Feb to 30 Apr 2013

3. The entire journey must be completed before the end of the travel period specified. Further
extensions are not allowed. Validity of redemption tickets will be as follows:
A. All other destinations : Ticket not valid after 30 Jun 2013
B. India destinations : Ticket not valid after 30 Apr 2013

4. Change of date is allowed within ticket and promotion validity with a USD20 re-issuance fee. For
unutilized redemption ticket change of date/sector in the same zone is allowed within ticket and
promotion validity with a USD20 re-issuance fee.

5. Once redemption ticket is issued, it is considered used if not utilised for the flight reserved and
Enrich Miles will be forfeited. However airport taxes/surcharges may be refunded.

6. Tickets are non-endorsable, non-transferable and non-refundable. Malaysia Airlines shall invalidate
such tickets if it finds any such breach.

7. Redemption ticket must be issued before/on 31 Dec 2012 and failure to do so, member will not be
eligible for the promotion miles.

8. Redemption promotion is only applicable for Economy (L / V/ S / K / M / Y / B / H), Business (J /
C / D) and First Class (F / A) flights.

9. Seats are limited and are subject to availability of the relevant booking class.

10. Top-up with Enrich Express is permitted provided 70% of the Enrich Miles is available in
Member’s account for use on the redemption ticket.

11. Not valid on all MH9000 series, Firefly, MASwings, code share flights or on jointly operated
flights by other airlines.

12. Tickets issued prior to this promotion (before 1 Nov 2012) are not eligible for reissuance or refund
for the purpose of utilizing this promotion.

13. Extension of ticket after the promotion period is allowed but normal miles will apply with
respective penalties and extension fees as per current redemption terms and conditions. Extension
of ticket is allowed once and the validity of the final extension will be one year from the original
date of ticket issued.

14. Name changes are not permitted.

15. This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with other promotions.

16. Live the dream! promotion is also made available online and this will override the 15% normal
online rebate

17. Enrich reserves the right to cancel this promotion or amend these terms and conditions at any time
without notice.

18. Other standard reservations & ticketing such as but not limited to Malaysia Airlines’ General Terms
and Conditions and Enrich terms and conditions are applicable.

Terms and conditions
1. Subject to availability and Malaysia Airlines’ final approval, it will be valid for one way/return
flights from/to Kuala Lumpur to/from all destinations worldwide. Applicable on mixed
class/turnaround open jaws on same zone for return trip only.
2. Redemption offer is valid from 1 Nov to 31 Dec 2012 and travelling period as below:
A. All other destinations except India routes:
Booking period : 1 Nov to 31 Dec 2012
Travelling period : 1 Feb to 30 Jun 2013
B. For India destinations:
Booking period : 1 Nov to 31 Dec 2012
Travelling period 1 Feb to 30 Apr 2013
3. The entire journey must be completed before the end of the travel period specified. Further
extensions are not allowed. Validity of redemption tickets will be as follows:
A. All other destinations : Ticket not valid after 30 Jun 2013
B. India destinations : Ticket not valid after 30 Apr 2013
4. Change of date is allowed within ticket and promotion validity with a USD20 re-issuance fee. For
unutilized redemption ticket change of date/sector in the same zone is allowed within ticket and
promotion validity with a USD20 re-issuance fee.
5. Once redemption ticket is issued, it is considered used if not utilised for the flight reserved and
Enrich Miles will be forfeited. However airport taxes/surcharges may be refunded.
6. Tickets are non-endorsable, non-transferable and non-refundable. Malaysia Airlines shall invalidate
such tickets if it finds any such breach.
7. Redemption ticket must be issued before/on 31 Dec 2012 and failure to do so, member will not be
eligible for the promotion miles.
8. Redemption promotion is only applicable for Economy (L / V/ S / K / M / Y / B / H), Business (J /
C / D) and First Class (F / A) flights.
9. Seats are limited and are subject to availability of the relevant booking class.
10. Top-up with Enrich Express is permitted provided 70% of the Enrich Miles is available in
Member’s account for use on the redemption ticket.
11. Not valid on all MH9000 series, Firefly, MASwings, code share flights or on jointly operated
flights by other airlines.
12. Tickets issued prior to this promotion (before 1 Nov 2012) are not eligible for reissuance or refund
for the purpose of utilizing this promotion.
13. Extension of ticket after the promotion period is allowed but normal miles will apply with
respective penalties and extension fees as per current redemption terms and conditions. Extension
of ticket is allowed once and the validity of the final extension will be one year from the original
date of ticket issued.
14. Name changes are not permitted.
15. This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with other promotions.
16. Live the dream! promotion is also made available online and this will override the 15% normal
online rebate
17. Enrich reserves the right to cancel this promotion or amend these terms and conditions at any time
without notice.
18. Other standard reservations & ticketing such as but not limited to Malaysia Airlines’ General Terms
and Conditions and Enrich terms and conditions are applicable.

Triple Choice Privileges Points Between December 13 and February 20

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Choice Privileges is about to start their latest promotion for triple points starting from the second stay for stays between December 14 and February 20, 2013. You need to register for this promotion before your stay and you can do it here.

choice-triple-points-december-2013

  • Register before your first stay at ChoiceHotels.com to earn up to 50,000 Choice Privileges bonus points during the promotion
  • Book at ChoiceHotels.com or 800.4CHOICE and after your second stay with arrival between December 13, 2012 and February 20, 2013 you’ll earn triple Choice Privileges points with every qualifying stay; corporate travelers can book through a travel agent or corporate booking system
  • Elite Diamond and Elite Platinum members can book directly with a hotel, however if they book through ChoiceHotels.com these members will receive 100 additional Choice Privileges points with every qualifying stay

Note that this promotion is only valid for Choice Privileges members that have their accounts address in the United States or Canada.

Conclusion

This is a nice promotion from Choice for the winter months.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Members must first register at ChoiceHotels.com before arrival for stay to be eligible. Book at ChoiceHotels.com or 800.4CHOICE, at qualifying rates, to earn triple Choice Privileges points, up to 50,000 bonus points starting with the second stay, with arrival between 12/13/12 – 2/20/13 at any Comfort Inn®, Comfort Suites®, Quality®, Sleep Inn®, Clarion®, Cambria Suites®, Ascend Hotel Collection™,  MainStay Suites®, Suburban Extended Stay®, Econo Lodge® and Rodeway Inn® hotel in the Choice Privileges program. Members may also book through a travel agent or corporate online booking system. A valid Choice Privileges number must be provided upon check-in for stay to be eligible. After the 50,000 bonus points are reached during the promotion period, member will only earn base points on subsequent stays during the promotion period. Choice Privileges Diamond and Platinum members who register and book through ChoiceHotels.com will receive an additional 100 Choice Privileges bonus points with every qualified stay during the promotional period and these points earned do not count toward the 50,000 bonus points.. A stay is defined as one or more consecutive nights at one hotel regardless of check-ins or check-outs. You must maintain an address in the U.S. (including U.S. territories) or Canada to be eligible for this promotion. Allow 72 hours from check-out for points to post to your account.  For Choice Privileges program details, eligible rates, eligible countries and point redemption rules, visit choiceprivileges.com.

Another Round of SPG Bonus Beginnings: Bonus Starpoints or Free Night Award

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Starwood has been recently sending out very good offers for members that have not been staying at Starwood properties at all or have only had a stay or two last year. This promotion is targeted and won’t work for you unless you have received the email invitation. If you or your family has a dormant account, you can check your eligibility for this offer here.

spg-bonus-beginnings-dec-2012

There are two options to choose from:

1. Bonus Starpoints (number depends of your targeted offer)

2. Free weekend night award for category 1 to 6

The free night at category 6 SPG property can cost you up to 25K points depending of the season and is better option than the bonus Starpoints.

Is it time to sign up family members for SPG?

SPG has now sent similar offers several times in the past year for members that have not been active in the program. I think that it is probably worthwhile to sign up family members to SPG membership to take advantage of these “Bonus Beginnings” offers in the future.

Conclusion

It is interesting that the best SPG offers this year are going to members that haven’t stays at Starwood properties at all. It is good way, however, to get people (and family members) activated in the program.

Update on 1000 Free Miles for Singing up on BCKSTGR

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Two days ago, I wrote about a new service called BCKSTGR that was promising 1000 miles for signing up to their website and linking your Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare accounts. I had first some problems, but was able to sign up using an Internet Explorer. The service didn’t seem to work on Chrome or Firefox browsers on my laptop.

united-bckstgr-activity

The promised 1000 miles posted to my United account very fast. When I had a look at my account activity this morning, they were already there.

Conclusion

If you haven’t signed up for the BCKSTGR yet, you should. It is about the easiest 1000 free United miles that you can get and shouldn’t take more than five minutes.

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