W Bangkok – Review of My Stay Over New Years

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W Bangkok has now been open for less than a month. The grand opening is currently scheduled for March, 2013. The hotel only has part of the final room inventory available right now i.e. suites are scheduled to be available starting from February 1, 2013. You can read more about my booking dilemma of this hotel here.

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I always advise my friends to stay away from newly opened hotels for at least 6 months. Typically, it takes a while for the employees to get up to the SPG program standards and also get to know the property. I was actually surprised how smoothly everything went during my brief stay. Quite frankly, I was expecting the absolute worst.

Buy or Gift American Airlines AAdvantage Miles & Get Max 15K Bonus January 2013

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American Airlines has just started a new promotion for buying or gifting AAdvantage miles. You or the receiver can earn maximum of 15K bonus miles for buying/being gifted 40K miles. The price of a mile is 2.2 cents under this offer that is valid until January 31, 2013.

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You can only buy or gifted total of 60000 AAdvantage miles per calendar year. If you need to purchase more miles, I would suggest opening an account for an immediate family member. For ticketing purposes, it would be better if you share the same last name.

Lifetime Marriott Silver, Gold, and Platinum Requirements in 2013

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Marriott has now finally published the official new lifetime Silver, Gold and Platinum requirements that I wrote about two weeks ago.

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Achieve a status milestone over the course of your membership and you’ll enjoy Elite status for a lifetime. You’ll still be able to reach a higher status – but you’ll never go below your Lifetime level. You’ll have the Elite Experience, always.

We’ll track your nights and points and once you achieve a Lifetime status we will automatically send you your Lifetime membership card.

Qualifications:

Priority Club Platinum Status Match

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Priority Club Platinum status was previously very easy to get by just having maybe seven stays per year, when all the points deposited counted towards the status. This changed, however, on January 1, 2013.

Base points earned from Qualifying Rates paid for hotel stays, points collected from partner transactions, PCR Bonus Points Packages and Meeting Rewards are considered Elite Qualifying Points and counted towards membership elite status.

Priority Club still continues to match status from competing programs. I requested a list of programs that they match, but didn’t get one. Apparently, they are really matching most similar programs such as Best Western, Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, Le Club Accorhotels, Marriott, Starwood etc.

Edit (July 8, 2013): There has been a change on programs they match and Club Carlson/Accor both have been dropped from the list of programs that they match. I will write an updated piece about IHG Rewards Club status match within the next week. 

Which program did you match and how long it took Priority Club to upgrade your status? Leave a message below.

Priority Club Base Gold Platinum Comparison
Priority Club Base Gold Platinum Comparison

Here’s how to request the status match:

Lufthansa First Class No Longer Available Using US Airways Miles

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US Airways has just updated the footnotes on their Dividend Miles partner award chart. The line that Lufthansa awards in First class are no longer available starting January 1, 2013, is a new one.

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It has not been possible to ticket Lufthansa first class segments using US Airways miles already for a while. I have included this warning, when I have written about US Airways’ continuous mileage sales.

United Premier Accelerator on Sale?

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United has been very eager for selling award and premier qualifying miles (PQM’s) for any itinerary that you access on United.com. It doesn’t matter, whether it is a paid or an award ticket. I just wrote about these last month and you can access the article here.

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Now, that we are in 2013, United is selling PQM’s at much lower price than at the end of 2012. The award miles are still priced at 2.1 cents, but the PQM’s are sold for 8.5 cents instead of 15 cents in December.

Why I Love Using United Miles for Intra-Asia Trips?

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Although there is greater number discount airlines in Asia, some of the mid-haul routes are still rather pricey. Especially, if you are buying the ticket in short notice. I really like using my United miles for these flights that allow me to essentially to have double open jaw with a stopover ticket for a price of a simple return.

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My schedule was somewhat open after the new year, but I was trying to make my way down to Jakarta from Bangkok by Friday. My favorite way of getting to Jakarta is to buy a cheap one-way or return ticket on KLM that still operates one of the few fifth freedoms they have left in Asia on KUL-CGK route that is always very competitively priced.

Pros and Cons of Starwood Preferred Guest

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For some reason, it took me a while before I started to stay at Starwood properties. I warmed up for other hotel programs first. I have managed to accrue somewhere between 500 to 600 nights (paid & award) during the past five years and have met the lifetime SPG Gold requirements.

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I like to stay at Starwood properties when they have reasonable promotion(s). Outside of the promotional periods? Not so.

Here’s my take what I like about SPG and what I don’t. What is your opinion? Just leave your comment below.

Marriott Rewards 1000 Bonus Delta or US Airways Miles per Stay

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Marriott Rewards has an offer for US Airways and Delta Air Lines frequent fliers for 1000 bonus miles per stay between November 15 and February 15, 2013, for stays that are booked by January 15, 2013.

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You need to register for airline specific promotion, choose airline miles instead of Marriott rewards points as your earning preference and stay at participating property in order to receive the bonus miles that are capped at 10K (10 stays).

Hyatt Stay Certificates Changes: New Ultimate Level & Prices Tweaked

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Hyatt has introduced new Ultimate level stay certificate and tweaked some certificate prices. You can read my article about saving money on Hyatt stays by using stay certificates here. Also, last week I wrote about the Exclusive level stay certificates.

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The new Ultimate level stay certificate is priced at $461.11 and is the only stay certificate level that is accepted at the following nine properties:

Priority Club Last Minute Reward Nights Out For January

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Priority Club just released a list of last minute rewards nights for this coming weekend. You need to book them on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights this coming weekend. You can access the full list of hotels by following this link.

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These last minute rewards nights are offered at 50% discount of the usual number of points needed. This time they have 56 hotels on the list of which five are InterContinental ones.

The Tale of Three InterContinental Ambassador Packages: Gold, Platinum & Royal Ambassador

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If you are singing up for InterContinental Ambassador membership, you can also maximize the number of Ambassador membership packages that you get. They always come with the Ambassador free weekend night voucher and code for some Priority Club points that you can deposit to your account.

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I just opened Gold, Platinum, and Royal Ambassador packages and noticed that:

Review of My Worst Hotel Stay of 2012 – M.G.M. Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar

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Right now Yangon and Myanmar are going through very fast growth period once few countries such as United States eased or completely withdraw the trade embargo after successful open election earlier this year. Foreign companies are trying to establish themselves to the country and the hotel availability haven’t kept up. And this shows on the prices.

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There are only two or three Western quality hotels in Yangon; Governor’s Residence (where I stayed earlier this year), Traders and Strand. All these three were very expensive for the date in early December I was looking at. The Governor’s Residence had their daily rate exceeding $600.

Marriott Rewards Elite Benefits Guarantees

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One good thing about Marriott are their guarantees in case of something goes wrong; you are being walked, hotel fails to honor your bed type, or they fail to provide you with the Platinum Amenity. I as able to invoke the guarantee first time after 500 or so Marriott stays two weeks ago. But more of that later.

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Marriott Ultimate Reservation Guarantee

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