American Airlines Offering Multiple Bonuses for Flights to Asia

Last week American Airlines cancelled its daily Chicago to Delhi flight. Now they are offering mileage bonuses for flights to China and Japan. You can still book an award travel special on Japan Airlines from Vancouver to Tokyo (Narita) or from San Francisco to Tokyo (Haneda) for 30K in economy and 50K in business.

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Now, American is offering double miles in business and first class fares on direct American Airlines flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Chicaco and from Los Angeles to Shanghai. You will receive 50% mileage bonus if you are ticketed on higher economy class buckets. You need to register for this prior to travel using a promotion code USCHN.

AAdvantage® bonus mile offer is valid from January 23, 2012, through March 31, 2012, on American Airlines marketed and operated nonstop flights from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) or Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai, China (PVG); or from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Beijing, China (PEK). Offer is valid for travel on purchased, published fare tickets booked in First Class or Business Class (in F, A, J, R, D or I) or Economy Class (Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S or N). Bonus miles do not count toward elite status qualification. Double miles will be calculated at 100% of the base miles earned while 50% bonus miles will be calculated at 50% of base miles earned. Registration prior to travel is required.

Another offer is for double miles from Boston to Tokyo on Japan Airline’s new 787 service starting this spring. You will get double miles from April 22nd through June 30th for business class and selected economy class fares, regardless whether the flight is marketed by JAL or AA. The promotional code is BOSTY.

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Hilton HHonors Diamond/Gold Benefits Changing At Waldorf-Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, and DoubleTree Properties?

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Please note that this change is not yet officially announced by Hilton and there might be some changes, although this enhanced program is due to debut next month. Last week, I wrote about possible changes in the Starwood’s Preferred Guest program.

These new planned changes would only apply to Waldorf-Astoria, Conrad, Hilton and DoubleTree properties. The benefits would stay same as before at Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2, and Hilton Grand Vacations locations.

The planned new benefits would be:

– Space available upgrades would be available for Gold/Diamond members

– Diamond members would be eligible for suite upgrades

– Diamond members would receive the MyWay selections except at Waldorf-Astoria’s

Overall, I would welcome this change. These all three would be in addition to your selected MyWay preferences. At the moment one can choose between i.e. 1000 Hilton bonus points per stay in lieu for room upgrades/breakfast.

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With the Starwood you get your space available suite upgrades (platinum members) and lounge access, if there is a lounge, in addition to the 500 SPG Amenity points or local amenity. As I wrote last week, SPG is planning to offer breakfast for Platinum members in locations where there isn’t a lounge. This is not yet confirmed by Starwood, however.

Hyatt is already offering a breakfast for Diamond members at ALL locations and a lounge access. Confirmed suite upgrades are limited to four per year. Properties do not have to offer suites for Diamond members on a complimentary basis, but quite a few do.  Diamond members are eligible for amenity at all locations, and can choose 1000 bonus points instead amenity at North American Hyatt locations.

Marriott upgrades Platinum members to concierge floors and give the lounge access. At locations where the lounge is closed during the weekends or resorts, Platinum members are not eligible for breakfast.

Hyatt January 17th to 18th 48 Hour Sale Up To 30% Off – Offer Code C48JAN

Hyatt tends to run these 30% off sales every month/two months. Last time they had this in mid-December. I am always bit skeptical when hotels are running “sales” as often they don’t offer their lowest rates. This rate promotion only applies to 58 participating properties in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.

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A little rest and relaxation can go a long way, but the opportunity to save at Hyatt hotels and resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean is only valid through 11:59 PM Wednesday January 18th.  For a limited time, simply book a participating Hyatt hotel or resort using offer code C48JAN beginning Tuesday January 17th and save up to 30% on a family vacation, romantic getaway, or just a holiday for you.  Offers and stay dates vary by participating hotel.  Offer ends 11:59 PM Wednesday January 18th.  Give into the urge to get away, and take advantage of this exclusive 48 Hour Sale

Things to remember is that these sales rates are prepaid, non-cancellable, and non-refundable. One should only book then if the plans are firm. The sale is up to 30% off but the discount is lower if one has access to AARP, AAA, and Costco discount rates that are often cancellable and not prepaid. I personally would probably book one of the latter ones as my plans often change.

Here are some prices for a one night stay in March at Hyatt Waikiki.

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At least in the Waikiki Hyatt the 48 hour sale rate appears to be the lowest. It is very interesting that they are selling the Club rooms during the sale at the same price as the regular ones. As you can see the club rooms are normally priced at 50% premium. This is a good deal if you don’t have Hyatt Diamond status that would guarantee the lounge access regardless of the rate paid.

US Airways Sending Targeted Offers for Buying Dividend Miles at 25% to 50% off

US Airways has been very active at selling miles at various price points in the past few years. Normally they have doubled the number of miles that you have been buying. This time, however, they are giving discounts.

Some have reported of receiving emails from US Airways regarding this miles sale that is apparently targeted to those who bought some miles from US last year. I did buy miles once from US last year, but did not receive this email offer.

Last year, I applied and received one of the credit cards that US was pushing. They opened a new Dividend miles account for me even when I had indicated on the application that the miles should be credited to the existing one. I have yet to merge these accounts.

So, I decided just to try and see if the system would give me any discounts for buying miles. All you need to do is to fill out your info and indicate the number of miles you would like to purchase. Lo and behold, the account that had purchased miles from US last year was indeed eligible for the discount, although no emails regarding this sale had ever been received.

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Then I tried using the other Dividend miles account that hadn’t had any other activity than miles from the credit card. That account was not eligible for this offer.

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So, the question then is, whether I should buy these 50K US Dividend miles at around 1.9 cents per mile? I am not 100% sure. US miles are flexible and good use for complicated Star Alliance carrier itineraries in business or first class. They typically have these sales every few months, so I will probably going to pass it this time around as I don’t have use for these miles in the immediate future. But if you have some award travel coming up and don’t have the miles in place to issue them, this could well be a worthwhile offer to participate.

United Airlines Introduces Mileage Plus Gift Registry

Last week, I received an email from United regarding their latest Mileage Plus product – a gift registry. The idea is that you can celebrate your special event by getting people to either buy or donate miles to your Gift Registry/Mileage Plus account.

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In all schemes of things the price of the United mile at 3.5 cents per mile + tax is on the high side, and transferring miles costs 1.5 cents per mile, that is not really worth it either.

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American is still selling their AAdvantage miles at 2.2 cents per mile, and US Airways is periodically selling their miles, that you can use on Star Alliance, for about 2 cents per mile or lower. Delta, whose miles I don’t value as high as United’s or AA’s, was selling them at 1.1 cents per mile just before Christmas.

The only worthwhile thing here that I can think of is to transfer small number of miles from a friend, if you are few thousand miles short of an expensive international business or first class award on Star Alliance partner airline. But then, it might make sense to just buy them outright without having to bother anyone.

Didn’t Re-qualify for American Airlines AAdvantage Gold or Platinum Status in 2011? Now You Can Buy It Back.

Last week, I wrote about how you can “buy” back your Silver, Gold, or Platinum status with Marriott Rewards. American Airlines is running a similar program for buying back the elite status, but unlike with Marriott, where you can use points to do it, with American you need to use cash.

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Platinum members that flew less than 40K miles or who had fewer than 48 segments need to pay $769, and those who flew more, but not enough for Platinum, need to fork out $619.

They have similar for Gold status members as well. If you flew less than 20K miles or 24 segments, need to pay $559 to extend the status for another year, and those who flew more, but not enough for Gold, need to pay $409.

Does it make sense to buy back the status?

It really depends how much you are planning on flying on American and their Oneworld partner airlines this year. The main benefit for a Platinum are 100% bonus on miles earned, business check in regardless of the class booked, business class lounge access on international itinerariers even when flying in on coach, waived award fees if ticketed within 21 days of departure, ability to earn and confirm domestic upgrades, waived checked in bag charge and extra allowance on international flights, priority when there are irregular operations etc.

There are really quite a few benefits of being a Platinum member. Some of these apply for Gold members as well.

Hilton HHonors Offering Additional 2500 Bonus Points for “Any Weekend Anywhere”-Bookings

Hilton has been very active in the past month when it comes to promotions. There are currently several overlapping promotions that you can combine with this one; Resort Escapes for free night certificatesMore Points for extra points promotion, Visa Infinite promotion for instant Gold status and 40K HH after four stays, 2012 Bonus Delta Miles for two night stay, or double Lufthansa Miles & More miles.

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Now Hilton is offering an additional 2500 bonus points for those who “register” on Hilton’s Facebook page and make the reservation through Hilton HHonors page on January 17th to 18th. Apparently, these points are addition to the regular “Any Weekend Anywhere” 1000 Hilton HHonors bonus points for a weekend stay of two nights or longer.

In order for you to take advantage of this offer:

Priority Club Tweaking Point Earnings at InterContinental Hotels Starting February 15th

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There has been a subtle change in Terms and conditions when it comes to earning points at InterContinental Hotels. Until February 15th you will continue to earn flat 2000 Priority Club base points at all InterContinental hotels regardless of the length of the stay or money spend.

Starting February 15th there will be a partial change.

Effective 2012 February 15, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean plus all Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, and Holiday Inn Express hotel brands worldwide, you will receive ten (10) points for each USD dollar or local currency equivalent paid toward Eligible Charges on your individual hotel room bill, when you pay Qualifying Room Rates.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts outside of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean plus all InterContinental Alliance Resorts worldwide, you will receive 2,000 points per Qualifying Stay .

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I really thought that they couldn’t make this program any more confusing. They are already running two programs simultaneously that are partially overlapping; Ambassador/Royal Ambassador programs, which only apply to InterContinental Hotels, but earn you Priority Club points, and Priority Club that has Gold and Platinum levels which only apply to all other hotels of the InterContinentalHotel Group than InterContinentals themselves. What a mess, right?

Air France-KLM Promo Awards (50% Discount) Are Out For January – February 2012

It is always good time to burn when airlines temporarily lower the number of required miles. Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue program does this every couple of months. They just released the list for destination that they have at 50% discount for January and February 2012.

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Thing to note is that you can book these one way and these are not only for originating from Europe. All the destinations are for both directions. The discounted awards within Europe are only from the listed cities. Other awards allow the origin/destination in Europe to be in zones 1, 2, and 3, basically meaning that these awards are valid from/to anywhere in Europe.

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American Airlines Buy AA Miles-Offer – Get Up To 15000 Bonus Miles

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Personally, I am not a huge fan of buying miles from the airlines. I don’t think that it makes sense most of the time. I have, however, bought US Airways Dividend miles when they have had a sale, and used miles + cash option when booking premium international awards using BMI miles that is essentially buying miles.

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American Airlines has recently been pushing miles sales more aggressively than in the past. It must be a good way to get cash in now in exchange for award travel on AA or partner metal some later date. Last December American run a similar miles sale. You can buy maximum 40000 AAdvantage miles per year per account. Bonus miles do not count toward this limit.

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Right now you can buy 55000 miles (40000 + 15000 bonus) for $1100 ($1212.50 after $30 transaction fee + taxes). This comes to 2.2 cents per mile.

When it makes sense to buy miles?

  1. Short on miles for premium international flight award on partner airlines
  2. Oneway travel in markets where OW fares are expensive
  3. Travel that requires flexibility as award tickets can be changed/canceled for a fee/without fee almost like flexible tickets

Complimentary Breakfast for SPG Platinum Members Coming to Starwood Properties March 1st?

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There has been some chatter lately that Starwood would introduce chain wide complimentary breakfast for Platinum members starting March 1st. Please note that this benefit is NOT yet confirmed by the Starwood. It wouldn’t be surprising, if this would in fact be true. It would bring the Platinum benefits breakfast wise more inline with their main competitors.

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Breakfast at St Regis Bali

Hilton HHonors members from Gold upwards have complimentary breakfast or some extra points. Only exclusion so far is the Conrad Maldives where breakfast is NOT complimentary even to Diamonds.

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Breakfast at Conrad Koh Samui

Hilton HHonors Airline Promotions for Air Canada Aeroplan, US Airways Dividend Miles, Lufthansa Miles & More and American Airlines AAdvantage

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Hilton HHonors severed the relationship they had had with the Southwest and discontinued the ability to earn Rapid Rewards points from Hilton stays at the end of last year. To counter this change Hilton is having several promotions going on for double or triple miles with five airline partners. I have already written about the promotion with Delta for 2012 bonus SkyMiles for stays or two days or longer. The beauty of this promotion with Delta is that all the Hilton family of hotels are participating.

There are three other ongoing promotions that you can combine with these. The other promotions are Resort Escapes for free night certificates, More Points for extra points, and Visa Infinite promotion for instant Gold status and 40K HH after four stays.

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You can earn triple miles with US Airways Dividend miles, and double miles with Air Canada’s Aeroplan and American’s AAdvantage.  You need to designate the airline as the double dip partner and choose the variable or fixed miles.  With these airlines you really need to check the participating properties. The list is rather short.

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Club Carlson “Triple Points – Faster Nights” Promotion – Triple Gold Points Worldwide.

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Club Carlson has just launched a triple Gold Points promotion “Triple Points –Faster Nights”. The promotion is valid for stays from January 10th to March 16th, 2012. You need to register for this promotion before your stay and you can do it at Clubcarlson.com/triplepoints.

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Here’s the number of Gold Points a $200 night would earn for a Gold member of this program:

Room revenue $200 = 4000 points

Elite bonus of 50% = 2000 points

Online booking bonus = 2000 points

Triple points = 8000 points

The number of points earned at the Gold elite level would 16000 Gold Points.  The number of points required for redeeming a free night varies from 9000 to 50000 points. After three $200 stays, you could redeem a free night at top of the line Club Carlson property. Very good promotion.

Here are the Terms and conditions of this promotion:

Holiday Inn Express Dubai Internet City, Dubai, UAE – Review of Hotel & Room 112.

As I was flying to Dubai and my destination was actually Abu Dhabi, where I needed to be the following day, I decided to spend a one night at this Holiday Inn Express (HIX) hotel. I am quite familiar with the brand as I have stayed at few newly built HIX hotels in the United States over the years. Normally it is value for money and without the glamor.

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Also, I had to get my fourth different InterContinental Hotels Group brand stay to qualify for the brand multiplier promotion that they were running last year. I was thinking at one point whether I really should stay at this hotel or just leave. Of course you don’t need to STAY if you want the stay credit. Checking in is enough.

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Location

This hotel is located close to the Dubai Marina but there really isn’t anything in the immediate area for touristic purposes.  To be fair this hotel is not geared for tourists but for business travelers visiting the nearby companies/educational institutions.

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