Emirates Offering Double Miles for Business & First Class Travel in May

Emirates has been very competitive on the promotional side lately. In early January they run a fantastic fare sale that almost broke my bank. Booked couple of first class tickets for March travel. Also, the airline is offering very large mileage accelerator bonuses for certain new routes. You may want to consider crediting Emirates flights to their latest partner Alaska. I wrote about a possible strategy of crediting some Emirates flights to Alaska’s program. They are also offering double miles on all Emirates flights from March 1st to May 31st.

emirates-double-miles

The following offer came in an February email update from Emirates. Now, they are running a new promotion for double miles in May for business and first class travel if ticketed between February 16th and February 29th. You need to register for this RCSFJ14FEB12 promotion here. Also, it is worth checking the small print that is rather long to make sure that you satisfy all the requirements.

It is easy to see exactly how many miles you would earn for you travel. Just log into your Skyward account and sign up for this promo. Then search for the flights. If you choose to see the mileage breakdown, it will show all the bonuses that you are eligible for.

Here is an example of flying from Milan to Bangkok on Emirates business class in May

ek-mxp-bkk-non-flex

Note that you can choose between a business class saver and flex fare. The flex fare earns higher number of base and tier miles, but also costs close to 400 euros more.

ek-mxp-bkk-flex

If you haven’t tried Emirates yet, you probably should during one of their fare sales and/or promotions. Their business class is often very competitively priced as the example above illustrates. Try to pick up flights with the A380 so that you can experience the business class bar.

BMI Diamond Club Award Ticket APW-AKL-PVG-BKK-CMB in Business on Air New Zealand & Thai Airways

My favorite program for complicated one way travel award in business or first class has always been the BMI’s Diamond Club. The program is somewhat difficult to understand, and the economy awards using BMI miles rarely make any sense at all. Lufthansa is in the process of selling BMI to British Airways’ parent IAG. Diamond Club wont be around for too long.

I am right now in Suva on my Continental Airlines issued award ticket that I wrote about two weeks ago. I am flying to Apia (APW) tomorrow on Air Pacific, and was going to issue an award ticket to take me all the way to Colombo, where my next Emirates tickets start, from Apia.

great-circle-award-success

As always, I do my homework in advance. Experflyer is very useful for checking the award availability on Air New Zealand. Getting out of Apia (APW) is borderline impossible using awards on any other day than Thursdays when Air New Zealand flies one of their 767’s there. Getting out of Auckland is somewhat tricky at times too. There are only Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways that are the only Star Alliance carriers serving the country.

My preference was not to have a stopover in Auckland but rather in Bangkok. There were no other redemptions flights available in business class out of Auckland on 23rd than to Narita and Shanghai on NZ.

My first attempt was to ticket APW-AKL-PVG-BKK on Air New Zealand and Thai and then ten days later continue to my final destination BKK-SIN-CMB on Singapore Airlines. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it ticketed at the mileage level I wanted as the Diamond Club was claiming that this wasn’t an allowable Star Alliance routing. I then moved my plan to get to the CMB couple of days earlier on a direct flight from Bangkok, but this still wasn’t an allowable routing according to the Diamond Desk.

At this time I have a longer conversation to see what is the system or tool they use to validate routings. It appeared to be Star Alliance’s website. And it appeared to check the routings to a stopover point.

At this point it was already like 2AM here in Suva and decided to give them a call few hours later when they have another shift working.

bmi-dc-apw-akl-pvg-bkk-cmb

In the morning, I made four alternate award plans that I would try to get ticketed. To my surprise just by changing the stopover point from Bangkok to Shanghai somehow made the same routing that I had tried to ticket the night before permissible.

The final routing was APW-AKL-PVG on Air New Zealand in business class and then after a ten day stopover PVG-BKK-CMB on Thai’s business class.

This is one of the better Diamond Club redemptions at 18750 miles + £127.50 (cash portion of the cash + miles) + £101.30 (actual taxes/YQ’s). Very good value if you ask me.

Starwood SPG Hotel Category Changes 2012 – Properties Moving Up & Down

4 Comments

It is the time of the year again when Starwood adjusts its hotel award categories. The list of properties moving up and down was just announced earlier today. 13% are moving down and 17% are  moving up.

spg-requirement-per-category

Note that the award category only reflects the ADR (average daily rate) of the hotel and is not indicative of its quality. There are great category 1 properties that are far better and nicer than some category 5 or 6 ones.

The average decrease for all the of 141 properties that went down is 2900 Starpoints per night, and for the 180 properties that went up 3194 Starpoints. Please note that these were calculated using non-peak rewards and for a weeknight.

You can book using old rates until March 1st. If you have booked a property that is going down in category, just give SPG a call after the March 1st and they can adjust the redemption. For those desiring to book at old levels? Better get your reservations done rather sooner than later.

Here’s the breakdown of hotels moving down:

number-of-spg-properties-moving-down

There are total of 141 properties that have seen their award categories lowered. Categories 3 and 4 saw the largest number of properties going down. On the higher end only the Le Meridien Bora Bora, W Koh Samui, and St Regis Punta Mita saw their category drop from 7 to 6.

Probably due to the flooding in Thailand last year, there are number of very good redemption values currently in Thailand. Le Meridien Chiang Mai and Le Meridien Chiang Rai are now both category 1 hotels requiring only 3000 points during the week and 2000 points on Friday and Saturday. These are two fine hotels, although I prefer the one in Chiang Mai.

In Bangkok the Royal Orchid Sheraton drops to category 2 requiring 3000 points during the weekend and 4000 during the week. The newly opened Aloft is down to category 1 and justifiably so.

Here’s the breakdown of hotels moving up:

number-of-spg-properties-moving-up

There are 180 hotels moving up in award categories. Only three hotels move more than one category. Two goes from category 3 to 5 and one from 2 to 4.

More than half of the hotels that are going up are in the category 4. These will become award category 5 hotels. With category 5, 6, and 7 the point requirements are becoming ugly. Category 5 moving to category 6 will go up from 12-16K to 20K per night during the non-peak season.

Conclusion

It always pays carefully to check, whether paying using cash, points, cash + points, or staying entirely at a different chain/independent property makes sense.

Moving up from categories 1 to 3 by a notch up to category 4 is quite sensible point requirement wise. Personally, I don’t see a reason to redeem at category 6 or 7 where the point requirements per night are rather obscene.

You can download the PDF list of properties that are changing their categories at https://lacek.hs.llnwd.net/e1/starwood/2012categorychange/SPG_CategoryChanges2012.pdf.

Hilton Auckland Hotel, New Zealand – Review of My Stay

Auckland is often overlooked city. People tend to use it only for getting to other parts of New Zealand or to some of the pacific islands. I have visited Auckland few times on my travels. It is nice city to break your journey for couple of days. Previously, I have always stayed at the Hyatt property, but the property was recently reflagged as a Pullman part of the Accor chain.

I had never been to the Hilton hotel in Auckland besides having a drink at the bar. Decided to burn one of the free night certificates from the recent Hilton promo. The paid rates were rather high as they usually are for this property.

[nggallery id=30]

Getting to the hotel from the airport

The best way if you have plenty of luggage and more than one person is probably take a cab. It should cost around 90 NZD. As I was just traveling with my carry on and I had never tried the very frequent airport bus before, decided that now it was the time. Bought a ticket to the bus using a credit card for 16 NZD. The schedule is very frequent – every ten minutes or so. The last stop, which is the ferry building, is less than a ten minute walk from the hotel. Not difficult at all. There are only about five six stops altogether.

Check in

The check in wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t perfect either. I was told that I had been upgraded to a some sort of sea view room. I inquired if a suite upgrade would be possible as I was only staying for the night and would leave rather early the following morning. The clerk told that they have only one suite available and offered it to me as a upsell. I asked if he was aware of the changes to the Hilton HHonors Diamond program on January 18th that would bring the suites also to the pool of possible Diamond upgrades. He went away to the backroom and came back with the positive news. He probably had a word with a rooms controller or manager on duty.

The Relaxation Suite 705

This was a beautiful corner suite on the 7th floor with a wide open view of the Auckland harbor. There was couple of sun chairs on the balcony where you could have relaxed a bit. The only problem with this suite was that there was very little privacy unless you closed the curtains. Also, somebody staying in the next door could have easily “jumped” to your balcony. There was really nothing preventing it.

hilton-auckland-suite-705-living-room

I think that the style of this suite was “fresh”. I could say almost Scandinavian. The furniture wasn’t heavy. The only think I didn’t like was the rather generic looking bathroom. I also think that they should have higher quality bathroom amenities in their suites.

hilton-auckland-suite-705-balcony-chairs

Fitness center & Pool

The pool itself is very tiny and in an urban atmosphere. Not sure how long and when you get sunlight there. There is a sundeck as well with some chairs around. This is not a right hotel if you like to spend time by the pool, however.

hilton-auckland-pool

Fitness center was rather compact but could well work for a hotel of this size. I had a nice workout there in the evening.

Breakfast

I was still in a very different time zone and went to breakfast only 10 to 15 minutes later after the restaurant had opened. They were still setting up the displays.

hilton-auckland-breakfast-eggs-station

The breakfast spread was one of the better ones that I have come across in the Hilton chain sans few properties in Thailand. You had an egg stations, cold cuts, fruits, hot items etc.

The breakfast was complimentary and I didn’t have to sign anything. I did the waiter my suite number. They probably have a list of guests that have complimentary breakfast included with their rooms.

Conclusion

hilton-auckland-suite-705-balcony-sea-view

This is a fine Hilton hotel and I loved the view from the balcony. Depending what you are going to do in Auckland the location may or may not work for you. For my purpose of spending there 0 hours to relax between flights it did work perfectly. If you are Diamond member and have not been upgraded prior to your checking in, it might be worthwhile to ask what they have available.

Strategy of Crediting Emirates Flights to Alaska’s Mileage Plan Instead of Skywards

3 Comments

The Emirates and Alaska frequent flyer partnership will start on March 1st. As I have written couple of times earlier, I am not sure where I could credit my Emirates flights in F that I have coming up in next month.

There are no benefits for crediting flights where I am ticketed in the first class to Skywards besides mileage accelerator and getting the status bonus. Also, there are no EK Gold benefits for flying in business class so the only possible benefit is an upgrade to first class if business class cabin is oversold.

When flying in economy, however, it is very important to have a Skywards status. You can use business class check in desks, have higher luggage allowance, have lounge access, and most importantly have a good chance of getting an operational upgrade. Emirates often heavily oversell the economy cabin that then requires them to upgrade passengers. These upgrades are normally done in the order of Emirates Skywards status the passengers has

If someone flies a lot using Emirates, I would encourage crediting strategically to both Alaska’s Mileage Plan & Emirates’ Skywards.

Here’s my plan:

1. Credit enough flights to Skywards to qualify for the Gold status

2. Look for the mileage accelerator. Credit the flights where this makes a difference to EK’s Skywards

3. Even for the flights that you are planning to credit to Alaska’s Mileage Plan change the frequent flyer number only at the gate and then just for that specific segment. This way you ensure that if there are any op ups your EK status will come to play.

4. Try to credit to Alaska enough to make at least Mileage Plan MVP Gold status. At Gold level you will get 100% mileage bonus even for your Emirates flights. This would ensure that you would get 100% redeemable miles even when ticketed in the lowest coach fare buckets.

5. If you reach 90K EQM on Alaska from partner flights, you will receive 50000 bonus Mileage Plan redeemable miles.

Here’s an example from Johannesburg to Auckland via Dubai. The actual flown miles are 25588.

emirates-jnb-akl

Crediting to Emirates you would earn both 11000 elite and redeemable miles. Silver member would earn total of 13750 (25% bonus) and Gold members 16500 miles (50% bonus)

emirates-alaska

By crediting to Alaska at the base level this would yield 12794. Alaska is offering double miles on all Emirate routes from March 1st to May 31st. If your travel would be in that time frame, you would earn total of 25588 miles. As an Alaska Mileage Plan Gold you would earn the 100% bonus on the base miles.  You would  earn an additional 12794 miles for a total of 38372 miles for the roundtrip. At the Alaska Airlines MVP level you would earn 50% bonus in top of the flown miles.

Good news is that Alaska does status match. If you have status, let’s say with United, they can match you to a similar level with Alaska with all the status benefits. I am contemplating doing exactly this.

Alaska Airlines has number of partner airlines where one can earn both elite and redeemable miles across SkyTeam and Oneworld alliances. You can redeem your miles earned from Emirates flights on other partners like Air France. Also, getting an elite bonus on partner airlines is a huge positive. Some of these benefits vary by the partner so you should always check.

Emirates has a great network, but I am not a huge fan of the Skywards frequent flyer program, however. It is just not rewarding enough. Also the fact that you don’t get miles based on the actual flown miles but rather zones makes the program less rewarding. Alaska awards their frequent flyer miles based on the flown miles like most of the other airlines.

You can read more about the Alaska’s different status levels here and more about there partners here.

Pay, Use Starpoints, or Cash & Points When Booking With Starwood?

Starwood offers number of options to pay for a room. You can book a revenue stay, use points, or use cash & points option. I rarely book anything else than full revenue stays. Points and cash & points stays are not qualifying stays for any promotions that Starwood might be running. They do qualify for stay and night credit, however.

The other day I was faced with a dilemma. I could book the Sheraton Fiji resort for 342 FJD (including the taxes of 20%), pay 7000 Starpoints, or use cash & points for 45 USD + 2800 Starpoints.

sheraton-fiji-cash-points

I chose the 342 FJD that ($195) and why I should have chosen the Cash & Points option:

– I value Starpoints around 2 cents each. The pure points option would have been $140

– Using the same 2 cents per Starpoint the cash & points option would have cost $101

– The paid stays earns me maybe 500 points based on the revenue which is $10 but it would be a stay credit for the Asia-Pacific promotion of Two Days of Happy for a free night certificate after five nights and/or two after nine nights.

The credit towards the Two Days of Happy wouldn’t have justified of paying the pure cash rate. I made a mistake here and left maybe $60 to $70 on the table if I value the partial credit towards the free night certificate at $20.

Hilton HHonors With British Airways Offering 1500 Bonus Avios Per Stay Until March 31st, 2012.

4 Comments

Hilton is running numerous airline related bonuses until the end of March. You can find the other airlines from my February hotel promotions master thread. Today British Airways included the following offer with their Executive Club February update. You can also combine this offer with other Hilton points based promotions.

hilton-hhonors-avios-campaign

To participate, you must register at http://www.hiltonhhonors.com/aviosba. Offer is valid for eligible stays completed after registration, at participating hotels between January 1 2012 and March 31 2012. HHonors members choosing Fixed miles award will earn 750 Avios per stay, plus 1,500 bonus Avios per stay. HHonors members choosing Variable Miles award, will earn one Avios per one USD spent, plus two bonus Avios per one USD spent. Customers must be an HHonors member to earn bonus miles. For Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites under fixed miles award, 200 bonus Avios will be offered per stay. For Home2 Suites under variable miles award, up to 100 Avios will be offered per stay. Hilton HHonors members must have their earning preference set to ‘Points & Miles’ and must have British Airways as the preferred airline partner. Avios accrued and awards issued are subject to BA Exec Club Terms and Conditions. Hilton HHonors membership, earning of Points & Miles, and redemption of points are subject to HHonors Terms and Conditions. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.

Not sure if Hilton has made a typo here. They are claiming to offer 750 Avios based points for fixed miles earners, but if you look at the earnings chart it is actually only 500 Avios points. I have requested clarification from Hilton for this. It seems to be clear, however, based on the Terms and conditions that the bonus amount is 1500 Avios points.

hilton-brand-fixed

hilton-brand-fixed-ba

Please note that for Hampton, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites the earnings structure is lower. The bonus is only 200 Avios per stay.

hilton-triple-aviosThis offer is valid for variable miles/points collectors as well. Hilton will triple the number of Avios earned for all other brands than the Home2 Suites. You need to register for this offer prior to your stay and choose the British Airways as your fixed/variable miles partner.

It might make more sense to credit stays longer than two days and/or lower earnings Hilton brands to BMI. You could get 1000 BMI Diamond Club miles per night up to three nights. British Airways is in the process of buying BMI, and Diamond Club will most likely merge with British Airways’ Executive Club turning BMI miles into Avios.

Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, UK – Review of My Worst Sheraton Stay.

5 Comments

Starwood has used a lot of money in the past few years trying to bring the Sheraton hotels up to the brand standards or force them to leave the chain. Still the Sheraton brand is probably the most inconsistent of them all. You have Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in Bangkok that is a wonderful Luxury Collection property, but yet Sheraton branded. Then you have this Sheraton hotel in Heathrow that should be Four Points.

[nggallery id=29]

Getting to the hotel from the airport

Getting from the airport to the hotel you have really two choices; either use the Hotel Hoppa bus that cost 4.5 GBP per person and goes every 20 minutes or to take a taxi, which I took, that costs around 13 GBP.

Checking in

The hotel outside doesn’t look inviting at all. It looks like any generic, non-branded, and 2 to 3 star property. There were renovations going on in the lobby area. Couldn’t find a SPG Platinum/Gold member check in desk. There were some irregular operations in Heathrow that day and there was quite a few air crews checking out to make their flights. I asked one lady where their Platinum check in desk was (apparently they don’t have any) and she promised to help me next which she for sure did.

There is only one suite at this property. To my understanding all the other rooms are basically the same. I was put on the 3rd floor quite close to the club. There was something wrong with the fire doors as they were extremely heavy. It was difficult trying to carry your stuff and open these doors. Apparently they have some problems with the magnets (?).

Room 3351

Where should I start? It was fairly functional and ok for a night sleep. That’s about it. It was definitely in need of some sort of renovations. In the bathroom the shower head was coming off from the wall and the temperature panel was very loose as well. My TV suddenly turned itself on in the middle of the night. There was no wireless internet access but luckily the cable was just about long enough that I could use the internet from the bed.

Club Lounge

sheraton-heathrow-club-lounge-hot-items

Visited the lounge only during the evening cocktail hour. They had some white and red wine available. Didn’t see any beers but there might have been some in the fridge. They had couple of hot items and stuff that you could dip – not a very good spread.

Departure Experience

I had the same lady to check me out in the morning who had checked me in the night before. She was great. I told her about the problems I had and apparently she had forwarded my concerns as someone from the property emailed me the day after my stay.

The hotel is offering a private taxi to the airport for a flat free off 10 GBP that is cheaper than a taxi. I chose it over the hotel hoppa bus.

Conclusion

sheraton-heathrow-room-3351-bathroom-shower-head-coming-off

It is an adequate hotel for an overnight stay. It should not, however, be branded as Sheraton on its current condition. It is more like a Four Points, if even that.

American Airlines FA Gailen David’s “Aluminum Lady” Parody Might Get Him Fired

5 Comments

American Airlines has always been very sensitive about its employee’s participation in social media and frequent traveler websites. Now Gailen David, the American Airlines purser behind these videos, is being disciplined and possibly fired.

The management and employee relationship has never been too good at American Airlines. Now that the airline is going through the chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and dumping is defined benefits pension plan to government run pension benefit guaranty corporation, better known just as PBGC, the relationship is becoming even more tense. The employees are going to have to accept a haircut of the future benefits as the maximum benefits under the PBGC are capped.

But I found these videos to be quite entertaining to say the least:

You can read about the issue and the letter that was sent to Gailen David by American Airlines at WeWantOurMoneyBack-website.  The Gailen David’s own blog can be found at Dear Sky Steward-website.

Getting Secondary Immigration Inspection?

2 Comments

If you travel a lot, you will eventually get a secondary or even a tertiary immigration inspection. This has happened to me three times over the years. I have had hundreds of international border crossings so the chance of getting one is low.

Normally some of the passengers are automatically flagged for a secondary due to information received from the airlines regarding the routings etc.

airport-picture

1. Getting a secondary & tertiary when entering Israel at Tel Aviv

Few years ago, I was entering Tel Aviv when Israel and the Hamas of Lebanon were exchanging some small missiles. All went good until the guy at the passport control saw that I have previously visited Lebanon using the same passport. I was referred to a secondary immigration.

They were very interested to know why I would be visiting Israel during the “war”. I just replied that I hadn’t seen any missiles hitting Tel Aviv on CNN. Questions like this went for a while and then another person joined the interrogation. They were interested who my father’s father is and what was his profession. I had no idea as he had died sometime in the 50’s. Nonsense questions like this went for a while.

Quite frankly I was really getting annoyed at that point. I really had no other reason to visit Tel Aviv than to see the city and had some fun time. Finally they deemed that I was no danger to Israel and was ok to admit. I requested them NOT to stamp my passport as I was going to visit some Arab countries later that you cannot enter using a passport that has a stamp from Israel. They stamped it nevertheless.

2. Secondary in Canada after entering the county third time in two weeks’ time

This was actually quite funny. I entered Canada three times in two weeks. Once from Havana on a direct Air Canada flight and twice from Cote D’Ivoire via Dubai on Emirates. I probably shouldn’t have commented the border agent that she was processing me a week ago as well.

The secondary was the fastest ever. Took my passport, asked couple of questions and off I went.

3. Secondary in Auckland due to very complicated itinerary

In this case I had been flagged due to complicated routing. They couldn’t understand why someone with a Finnish passport would travel from Colombo to Rarotonga via New Zealand and then to the US via Europe. The reason of course was a very good business class fare.

This was probably the most throughout inspection. Two guys went literary through everything that I had in my carry on and on the checked in bag while carrying a nice conversation. I was more amused what was happening on the nearby table where they had pulled some poor Chinese that gave all the wrong answers to the questions he was asked.

Conclusion

Only the secondary in Tel Aviv was uncomfortable due to the time it was taking and the questions asked that didn’t bear any meaning. The one in Canada and New Zealand were rather pleasant. If you get selected for one, just take it with a pride. It will be a nice story to tell, although might be bit unpleasant at first.

Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China – Review of My Stay

9 Comments

Earlier in the week I had twenty hour transfer in Shanghai. I had one award night with Fairmont that I could apply a suite upgrade as well. These were both about to expire later this month so it made sense to use them for a stay in Shanghai, and I am glad that I did.

[nggallery id=28]

Getting to the hotel from the airport

Maglev Train Shanghai

From the airport I took the Maglev train to the metro station closer to the hotel. In China you should always have the hotel name and address with some diving instructions IN CHINESE for the taxi drivers. There were plenty of taxis available at the station. I had a map that showed the approximate location of the hotel. Taxi found the correct address after I had asked for a help from the Peninsula’s bellman.

Checking in

fairmont-peace-hotel-shanghai-reception-desk

The Fairmont’s computer system was down but they had everything prepared  and ready. I was bit surprised that the person who took me to the suite wasn’t actually award if it was a suite or a regular room. I would have imaged that if you work for a hotel you would know them by heart.

Accommodations – Suite 318

The suite 318 was beautiful. I asked the lady who took me there, whether I would have access to the Fairmont’s Club Lounge, they call them Gold, as well. She wasn’t sure and called someone. The benefits of being a Platinum with Fairmont’s President Club doesn’t include lounge access. Oh well. My upgrade didn’t include the lounge access. I thought that made they would have included

fairmont-peace-hotel-shanghai-suite-318-living-room-work-area

The Suite 318 that I had was beautiful. It was a proper two room suite. I loved the small details like a magnifying glass on the work desk and a pink flamingo next to the flower arrangement on the bedroom. The hotel had been fully renovated recently and the suite was in a pristine condition. The only negative was a bit of a sewerage smell on the toilet. Not sure where it came from.

Fitness center

fairmont-peace-hotel-shanghai-fitness-center-machinery

The fitness center was open from 6AM onwards. I spoke with the front desk around 3:30AM that I would like to use for an hour starting 4:30AM. Hotels, that I have been to, have always been very accommodating for opening the facilities for use after hours. I was first told that they couldn’t do it as they don’t have anything else than the keys to open up the doors. After I was “couching” them for a while and asked the operator to have a word with the duty manager, they came to conclusion that I could use them from 4:30AM. The guy who opened the facilities for me didn’t know how to turn on the treadmill that I was going to use. Luckily, I knew.

In room dining

fairmont-peace-hotel-shanghai-suite-318-room-service-order

As I had $100 worth of dining certificates about to expire, I inquired if I could use them for room service. They said that I could, but not for the breakfast. This wasn’t a problem with me. I placed my order with the in room dining at 4:15AM for delivery at 5:45AM. They called me after I had placed my order to let me know that they couldn’t do the salmon plate that I had ordered. I switched to Serrano ham plate next but that too was not going to happen. They suggested a beef carpaccio that I happily accepted.

Conclusion

fairmont-peace-hotel-shanghai-suite-318-bedroom-sitting-area

The location of the hotel was perfect, and I liked the fact that it was an older hotel for Shanghai, although only 80 years old. The suite that I had was fabulous and the service was good. The minor problems I had with the internet, fitness center, and room service order delivered 10 minutes too early wouldn’t deter me staying at a property again when I am back in Shanghai later this spring.

Hyatt’s Dining & Spa (Earn & Redeem Gold Passport Points Even When Not Staying At) Participating Hotels

Last year Hyatt announced their latest Hyatt Gold Passport enhancements earning of points for dining and spa treatments even when not staying at the hotel, and the ability to burn points for the same services as well. Starwood has had both of these going on for years. As a matter of fact you can use your Starpoints, probably shouldn’t, for anything on your folio when checking out.

hyatt-dining-and-spa-redemption

hyatt-dining-and-spa-redemption-charthyatt-dining-and-spa-redemption-chart-valueThe value for Hyatt Gold Passport points is from a low of $0.005 to $0.0083 when redeemed for these services. These values are simply put terrible, and nobody should bother.

Here is a list of participating properties right now. During the year this will expand to cover all the properties.

Participating Hotel Restaurant Locations

Hyatt Dulles
Hyatt Regency Baltimore
Hyatt Regency Cambridge
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing
Hyatt Regency Phoenix
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch
Hyatt Place Albuquerque Airport
Hyatt Place Detroit/Utica
Hyatt Place Phoenix/Gilbert
Hyatt Place Phoenix/Mesa
Hyatt Place Richmond/Arboretum
Hyatt Place Sterling/Dulles Airport-North
Hyatt Place Tempe/Phoenix Airport
Hyatt Place Tucson Airport

Participating Hotel Spa Locations

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch

Hilton’s New Points and Money Rewards Can Make Sense at Times – Case Hilton Fiji

3 Comments

Couple of hours ago I was looking at various hotel options for tonight in Nadi (Fiji). I was still in Auckland, but had to make a decision where to stay for the first night.

fiji-hilton-3

I knew that I was going to stay at the Hilton for a night during my week-long stay on the island. The paid rates were in the $270 to $300 range including taxes (418 FJD ++). I still had six free night certificates left from a recent promo, but it would have been a waste to use at Hilton Fiji when their point rates starts just at 35K per night, that is low for a Hilton.

fiji-hilton-4

Normally these premium room & points and money rewards don’t make too much sense. I was surprised, however, that the rate for Hilton Fiji was 17500 HH + 110 FJD per night. I value HH maybe around half of a cent and 110 FJD is $63. My “cost” thus would be $150. Of course you would need to take into account the number of points and BD miles that I would have earned by paying the $300 rate. But, I consider this to be a fair deal.

I have a hunch what is happening here. When hotel chains calculate the category for a hotel it is normally based on the ADR (average daily rate). Hilton Fiji is probably dumping a lot of inventory through consolidators and package gravel agencies to bring the ADR far lower than the rate displayed on Hilton.com.

fiji-hilton

fiji-hilton-2

Targeted American Airlines HVCAA Promotion for Double Redeemable Miles & 25K EQM for Executive Platinum Status?

5 Comments

American Airlines is apparently trying to win more business by sending targeted offers for double redeemable miles and accelerated qualification for Platinum or Executive Platinum status. This is not surprising considering that the airline is going through the chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization process.

american-airlines-hvcaa

A FlyerTalk member kwysocki posted a copy of an email received from American Airlines regarding this:

At American Airlines, we value your business and want to see more
of you. That’s why we’re offering two exciting promotions, exclusively for you.

First, you can earn double American Airlines AAdvantage® miles on all purchased, published fares for travel on American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection® carrier between February 8, 2012 and
May 31, 2012.

Second, we’re offering you the opportunity to qualify for AAdvantage Platinum® or even AAdvantage Executive Platinum® status at an accelerated rate.

Between February 8, 2012 and May 31, 2012, simply fly the required number of base miles as outlined below on American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection carrier. Elite-status membership earned through this special promotion will be valid through February 28, 2013.

We know you’ll appreciate the unique privileges of AAdvantage Platinum or AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, including:

AAdvantage Platinum
• 72 hour upgrade window
• 100% mileage bonus on select elite-qualifying flights
• Priority Baggage Delivery
AAdvantage Executive Platinum
• Unlimited complimentary upgrades confirmed at 100 hours pior to departure (subject to availability)**
• Eight (8) one-way Systemwide Upgrades+
• Expanded MileSAAver® award availability for you and one companion
• Waived ticketing service charges and AAdvantage change and reinstatement charges
For complete details on all AAdvantage elite-status benefits, visit www.aa.com/elitebenefits

Simply click the button below to login and register for this promotion using the Promotion Code HVCAA prior to travel and by 11:59pm CT on February 29, 2012.

This is an exclusive offer only for members who receive this email from American Airlines and register online
to participate.

Although it is rather unlikely that you would get the double miles and the offer of getting EXP for 25K EQM during the promotional period, it never hurts to register and see what happens. Especially, if you already have flights coming during the period. You can sign up at http://www.aa.com/offers by using the HVCAA promotional code and you American Airlines AAdvantage number. The system will confirm your registration, but it doesn’t guarantee that you would get the benefits if you were not targeted.

Trending Posts