It is always good to have the possibility to transfer miles and points between programs. If you happen to need some (or even a lot) Hilton HHonors points, you can currently transfer in from number of programs including American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. Most of the programs have transfer ratio of 5000 points/miles into 10000 Hilton HHonors points. The only two programs where this 1 mile/points to 2 HHonors doesn’t apply are American Airlines and CSA. With American, CSA, and Icelandair the transfer can be completed online. Others must be called in.
This is a good rate promotion that I have taken advantage of numerous times over the years. It is valid at limited number of properties in United Kingdom and Europe, and is typically available closer to the arrival date than further out. You pay the best available rate for the first night and the second night is free. You need to use rate code IDEX1 to book this special rate, or use the link that you can find below.
This rate is eligible for Priority Club stay credit and points. Sometimes this rate, however, posts as a non-qualifying one, but a quick email (or two) to the Priority Club service center normally straightens things out.
Now it is time to book some year end Hyatt stays. Hyatt is again having their 48 hour sale. You can save anywhere from 20% to 30% off of the Best available rate. Compared to AAA rates these sale rates are about 10% lower. These rates should show when doing a regular search. Alternatively, you can input C48HH11 code into the SPECIAL OFFER CODE-field.
This offer is valid for stays booked today and tomorrow for arrivals between November 29, 2011 and January 27, 2012. The only drawback is that these reservations are prepaid and non-refundable. Only use this offer if you have your plans set in stone.
Last week Aeroplan briefly introduced fuel surcharges for number of carriers before backpedalling and charging them only for flights on Lufthansa operated flights.
Today they tweeted about the upcoming changes in couple of weeks’ time. Now they are starting to collect fuel surcharges for quite a few different airlines. Surprisingly, even the Japan Airlines made the list even when they are Oneworld carrier.
Last week Club Carlson launched their offer for 50000 bonus points for one night stay at Radisson or Radisson Blue Properties in the United States, Canada, or Caribbean. Now they also have a 15000 bonus points offer for a stay at a Park Inn By Radisson properties in the United States or Canada.
What is 15000 bonus points worth? Free night at category 1 requires 9000 points or 15000 points at category 2. Highest category hotel redemption requires 50000 points. Club Carlson also offers Points + Cash redemption where part of the redemption is paid by cash in addition to the points.
Delta Air Lines has always been very active selling and gifting SkyMiles in exchange for cash. They just sent an email blast and I was one of the recipients. According to the Terms and conditions the offer is targeted, but with Delta you can really never tell.
You can essentially buy SkyMiles for 1.1 cents per mile, when buying in the chunks of 30000 miles at a time. The fee per transaction is $30 and maximum number of miles transferred at a time 30000. Delta will give you back the number of miles you gift up to 150000 SkyMiles. Whether buying miles makes sense, is entirely dependent how you are using them.The best use of miles is for international business class tickets. This transfer offer probably doesn’t really benefit you if you are using miles mainly for domestic flights.
StarAlliance is my personal favorite of the three major airline alliances that we have today. Sometimes, however, it is bit difficult to navigate through all the different benefits that one gets depending whether flying economy, business, or first class and what if any benefits the passenger might get for having StarAlliance Silver or Gold status.
This is pretty much the guide that contains everything that passengers should know as well. Couple of times I have had some problems with lounge access but the issue has been resolved when I have requested the lounge attendant to refer to their supervisor or to this guide.
Most of the people wouldn’t give a second thought for flying on SriLankan Airlines (UL) based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I had visited Colombo few times, and flown in/out on Singapore Airlines. The airline has pretty good coverage within the Gulf region, India, and four Chinese cities via Bangkok. The fares, both in economy and business, are competitive.
The only drawback is the fact that UL doesn’t belong to any alliance. They used to be very close partner of Emirates, but the partnership soured rather suddenly two years ago. You can credit the UL flights, in addition to their own program, to Etihad or Malaysian. Overall UL’s FlySmiles doesn’t look worth accruing unless you are flying heavily on their metal.
Until the end of last year Expedia was using Citibank’s Thank You-program to reward bookings made on Expedia. Citibank was, in turn, using Expedia to book flight awards issued using Thank You-points. Once the partnership ended Expedia launched their homegrown Expedia Rewards-program March this year.
I have used Expedia extensively to book my airtravel, when I haven’t had an airline specific voucher or discount coupon, that is only redeemable on airline’s own website, on hand. The only downside for not booking on airline’s own website is that possibly all the changes before the travel has begun must be done through the original booking channel. Sometimes booking outside of airline site can have benefits as well. For example, some airlines require you to show the credit card that was used to pay for the ticket at check in if the purchase was done on their own website. No such a requirement if travel agent like Expedia is used to issue the ticket.
Due to the ongoing promotion of a free night certificate for every four stays, I have found myself staying at Hilton properties more regularly than usually.
Hilton has had the Nor1 upgrade options for cash already for few years. These Nor1 upgrades are space available and confirmed at the time of checking in. Now, they are also promoting points based and guaranteed upgrades at the time of reservation, and when you are accessing your reservation online.
I now have five examples when it comes to these space available and guaranteed upgrades using points, and what I have actually received at hotels without applying them at all based on my Hilton HHonors Diamond status.
Couple of days ago I wrote about the new Starwood Promotion that would be launching today. It was already known that it would require you to book a special rate plan in order to be eligible for the extra points and amenities. It was not known, however, whether these rates would be competitive or not.
I just chose seven different properties around the United States that participate. Of those seven properties only one had this promotional rate as the lowest. These rates are for one night stay on 18th of this month, checked as of this morning.
Over the past couple of days there has been chatter on frequent flyer message boards like FlyerTalk.com that Aeroplan had started unannounced to charge fuel surcharges on number of Star Alliance carriers. Aeroplan or actually Aimia, as the parent is now called, is a separate publicly listed company in Canada. Aeroplan had already for years collected so called fuel surcharges (YQ) on Air Canada metal flights.
The issue with fuel surcharges and “free” award tickets is a toxic one. Airlines love fuel surcharges as it makes them easier to change the fares, corporate discounts do not apply to these charges, they don’t have to pay travel agent commission on these charges, and most importantly they try to charge them on award tickets as well.
InterContinental Hotels Group Bright Lights – Bright Cities Promotion 7500 Priority Club Points For Two Nights Stay.
I really have to confess that I am always bit skeptical when hotels are running bonus points promotions and all the rates are not eligible. In this case you have to book a special 7500 Priority Club bonus points rate. Comparing rates have been complicate as well when choosing this promotion. You can only check the Best Available Rate without opening another browser.
For demonstration purposes I chose one hotel in each of the five promoted cities and chose a two night stay from 18th to 20th this month. I wrote down the special 7500 Priority Club bonus points rate, the best available rate, advance purchase rate if available, and the AAA rate. In all cases the bonus points rate was the highest.
My conclusion? I rather take the savings and book either the advance purchase rate or AAA rate if available. These bonus points are rather expensive and not worth it.
Starwood has a teaser up on “>http://www.starwoodpromos.com/eleven/ for a promo that runs for 11 days starting on November 11th, 2011. By paying extra $11 the guest can get one of the following:
Daily breakfast for two
A room upgrade
Starwood Preferred Guests member will also be eligible for:
Special bonus for SPG® Members:
Receive 1,111 bonus Starpoints® per stay with this offer.
Right now it is not clear if this apply only for “Best Available Rates” or whether corporate and other discount rates would also qualify, although I doubt that. These extra 1111 Starpoints can be “expensive” if you need to book a special rate plan. Stay tuned for more.