InterContinental Hotels Group Friends & Family Program

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InterContinental Hotels Group (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Indigo, Candlewood Suites & Staybridge Suites) has their own rather public Friends Family program. I would only use this rate if I know someone working for the company, although there is public referral link available here.

intercontinental-hotels-group-friends-family

Here are few reasons why you shouldn’t be using this rate:

1. Doesn’t qualify for stay credit

2. The stay won’t earn points

3. Doesn’t qualify for other promotions i.e. prepaid gift cards

4. Shouldn’t earn cashback

5. Depending of the hotel is non-cancellable, non-changeable, and non-refundable

6. Priority or Ambassador benefits do not apply

7. The rate is not always very good

Due to the issues above, I would ONLY use this rate if the saving is really significant.

Now, we can have a look if there are savings to be had at number of properties using this offer:

Crowne Plaza Santiago de Chile

crowne-plaza-santiago-regular

crowne-plaza-santiago-ff

You could save $23.10 by using the Friends & Family rate compared to lowest available public rate.

InterContinental Dubai Festival City

intercontinental-dubai-festival-city-regular

intercontinental-dubai-festival-city-ff

The Friends & Family rate was not available for the lowest priced room but starts at the Club level rooms and then discounts suites as well. You could save 217 AED by using the F&F over the Advance Saver Rate.

InterContinental Singapore

intercontinental-singapore-regular

intercontinental-singapore-friends-family

You could save 45 SGD by taking advantage of the F&F offer.

Conclusion

In all these instances the Friends & Family discount yielded savings over publicly available rates, but the discounts weren’t big enough FOR me that I would forego all the benefits. I am sure that there are instances where the savings are more significant than on my three examples.

Make sure that you have signed up for our blog email updates and follow us on Twitter and like on Facebook. We will always make a post when there is an exciting Priority Club promotion or bonus point opportunity around.

Qatar Airways Global Sale September 4 to 6

Qatar just announced their latest global sale for economy and business class. The offers are valid for purchase from September 4 to September 6 and for travel until 31st of May 2013. Previously these sales have had more narrow travel period.

qatar-global-sale

  • Sales period: 4th – 6th September 2012
  • Outbound travel period: 10th September 2012 – 13th March 2013
  • Return travel period: 13th September 2012 – 13th March 2013 and 15th April 2013 – 31st May 2013
  • Blackout dates (travel not allowed):
    • 14th – 23rd December 2012 and 2nd – 20th January 2013
    • Additional blackout dates for itineraries originating from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen: Outbound travel from 17th – 29th October 2012 and return travel from 27th October to 5th November 2012
  • Valid on Qatar Airways operated flights, with the following exceptions
    • All itineraries originating from Brussels
    • Flights to and from Amritsar, Houston, Kozhikode, Manila, Montreal, Yangon
    • Flights between Denpasar/Bali and Singapore, Hanoi and Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires
    • All itineraries to Doha as a final destination (excluding transit in Doha), except itineraries originating from Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Itineraries requiring a transit in Doha are allowed.
  • Minimum stay: 3 days
  • Maximum stay: 1 month, except for itineraries originating from Australia where maximum stay is 3 months
  • Discount applies to instant purchases only
  • Discount applies to Economy and Business Class return tickets. For flights where Business Class is not operated, First Class is applicable
  • Seats are limited and are subject to availability of the relevant booking class
  • Fares include all applicable discounts, fees, taxes and airport charges. Service fees may apply for tickets purchased at Qatar Airways sales offices or through travel agents
  • Tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable and non-changeable. Cancellations are not permitted (except for itineraries originating from Brazil or Korea)
  • For itineraries originating from Brazil or Korea, tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable and non-changeable. Cancellations before departures are permitted for a fee of USD 300 (Brazil) or KRW 200,000 (Korea). Cancellations after departure are non-refundable
  • In case of no-show, ticket has no value for use on any other service, and it is non-refundable, non-changeable and non-bookable
  • Stopover is not permitted
  • Standard child/infant discount apply
  • Please note that on selected dates and destinations, lower market–specific promotion fares may be available. All available options, together with the applicable terms & conditions for each fare will be displayed at time of booking for you to make your selection.
  • Other terms & conditions apply. Please review at the time of booking

Conclusion

Some of the sales fares are really good. I have normally bought couple of tickets during Qatar’s sales and may do it again this time around.

AviancaTaca LifeMiles 100% Purchase Bonus Offer

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LifeMiles has been offering 100% bonus for purchased miles couple of times a year. What makes this offer exciting is the fact that the airline is now a full member of Star Alliance and you can use the purchased miles for awards on all Star Alliance carriers. LifeMiles just sent an email regarding their latest offer.

lifemiles-sale-email

You can buy up to 75000 miles for $2250 that is doubled to total of 150K miles. The price of a purchased mile is reasonable 1.5 cents. This offer is valid from September 3 to September 28, 2012. You can access this offer here.

aviancataca-lifemiles

You can use the purchased miles to do cash + miles awards even further extending the number of miles purchased.

lifemiles-purchase-price

Conclusion

AviancaTaca has very good frequent flier program for Star Alliance awards. Even if you are not planning to fly the airline in question it can make sense to buy the miles if you use them for international business and first class awards.

Sheraton 75 Anniversary Deal: Free Nights & Discounted Stays

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Sheraton is turning 75 years and has launched a promotion to celebrate this milestone. They are giving some free nights daily for bookings made on Sheraton’s website, but the more interesting offer is the free nights for stays of 3, 4, or 6 nights. You can access the website for this offer here.

Sheraton 75 Anniversary
Sheraton 75 Anniversary

The deal is that you will pay for 3 nights but pay only for 2, stay for 4 nights but pay only for 3, and stay 6 but pay only for 4. Sometimes offers like these can be good, but sometimes they are not as they tend to use rather high base. All the participating hotels for this offer are in the Asia Pacific region.

Sheraton 75 Anniversary Participating Hotels
Sheraton 75 Anniversary Participating Hotels

There is a breakfast offer available as well, but I couldn’t find those rates to be competitive at all unlike the “free” night offer.

The 3 for 2, 4 for 3, and 6 for 4 did return some good rates:

Sheraton Lampung
Sheraton Lampung

Here’s the rate display at the Sheraton Lampung. You can easily switch between the three offers and see the available dates.

Sheraton Lampung Rate Comparison
Sheraton Lampung Rate Comparison

You can then pull up all the rates available for the dates in question. Make sure that you have selected other rates as well for easy comparison. The 75 anniversary returned a very good rate for the dates in question that is significantly cheaper than other rates.

Sheraton Pattaya 75 Year Deal
Sheraton Pattaya 75 Year Deal

This offer returned the lowest average nightly rate for Sheraton Pattaya as well.

Sheraton Full Moon 75 Anniversary
Sheraton Full Moon 75 Anniversary

There was no availability using this offer for any dates at the Sheraton Full Moon resort in Maldives. Why offer it if they don’t load any availability?

Sheraton Hanoi 75 Anniversary
Sheraton Hanoi 75 Anniversary

Sheraton Hanoi has some other lower rates for the dates that I was searching compared to the 75 anniversary one.

Conclusion

You can save quite a bit at hotels that don’t offer other discounted rates when using this anniversary offer. Just make sure that you choose to see all the available rates and not just the 75 anniversary ones.

Here are the terms and conditions of this promotion:

  • 75 Free Nights Promotion
    • Offer is valid for stays booked from 1 September 2012 to 14 November 2012 and completed between 1 September 2012 and 31 January 2013.
    • Stay restrictions vary by offer:
      • For stay 3 nights pay for 2 deal, three-night minimum length of stay required
      • For stay 4 nights pay for 3 deal, four-night minimum length of stay required
      • For stay 6 nights pay for 4 deal, six-night minimum length of stay required
    • Consecutive reservations for the Buy 3/4/6 nights pay for 2/3/4 nights deal will not be honored.
    • Other restrictions may apply. Please check the hotel’s Terms and Details when making your reservation.
  • Breakfast at 1937 Prices Promotion
    • Offer is valid for stays booked from 1 September 2012 to 14 November 2012 and completed between 1 September 2012 and 31 January 2013.
    • Package includes accommodation in your selected room category and daily breakfast for up to two people.
    • Minimum length of stay may be required. Please check the hotel’s Terms and Details when making your reservation.
  • Offers are valid for new bookings only.
  • Offers are valid at participating Sheraton Hotels & Resorts in Asia Pacific.
  • Offer is fully prepaid at time of booking and is non-refundable and non-changeable.
  • Rates are per room, per night, based on single/double occupancy and availability at time of reservation and do not include additional per room, per night charges that may be imposed or state/local taxes.
  • A limited number of rooms may be available at these rates.
  • Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
  • Offer not applicable to groups.
  • Not to be combined with other offers or promotions and subject to change.
  • Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
  • Starwood/Sheraton reserves the right to discontinue this offer at any time.
  • Starpoints, SPG, Starwood Preferred Guest, Sheraton, Four Points, W, Aloft, Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Element, Westin, St. Regis and their respective logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.

Free WiFi Access Coming to All Accor Branded Hotels in Asia Pacific By The End of 2012

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Complimentary wireless internet access is slowly spreading in Asia Pacific region. Last year Marriott announced that all Marriott Rewards members would have complimentary access in Asia Pacific. Now, complimentary wireless internet access is coming to all Accor branded hotels in the region by the end on 2012.

accor-logo

The internet access has been complimentary in Accor’s lower end brands like Ibis, but chargeable even for Le Club Accorhotel elite members at full service hotels like MGallery. This is welcome development and hopefully it will spread to other regions as well.

The only drawback is that some of the hotels are only offering the lowest speed intern for free and charge for higher speed that enables streaming. The free is good enough for everyday browsing and emails.

Conclusion

This is really welcomed development. I absolutely hate having to be paying for the internet access. I just hope that the hotels have made sure that they have enough bandwidth available. People like streaming tv’s and movies over the net.

Hotel Promotions Update (September 2012) Le Club Accorhotels, Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges, Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club, Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest & Wyndham Rewards

Here our monthly blog post about hotel loyalty promotions. You can now find an updated list just by clicking the “Hotel Promotions” tab. This will be updated when promotions expire and new ones are announced throughout the month.

loyaltylobby-hotel-promotions

Accor Hotels – Le Club

There are no currently bonus point promotions for Le Club Accorhotels. We do, however, have available instant Platinum status with the program. You can find more about this by following the link below.

le-club-accorhotels-sign-up-august-2012-benefits

Accor A-Club / Le Club Accorhotels Platinum Status for New Accounts

Best Western Rewards

Best Western’s fall promotion for double/triple points is starting on September 23rd and ends on November 18th, 2012. You can read more about this promo by following the link.

Best Western Rewards Fall 2012 Promotion Double or Triple Points

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

You can get triple points + 2000 bonus points by booking a breakfast package. This promotion is valid until December 31st, 2012 at selected Radisson & Radisson Blu locations.

radisson-breakfast-package

Book Breakfast Package Rate & Get Triple Gold Points at Select Radisson & Radisson Blu Hotels

You can get 100 free Club Carlson points per day by flipping through a photo book. This offer is valid until September 24, 2012.

club-carlson-global-giveaway-100-points

Get More Than 3000 Free Club Carlson Points – 100 Points Per Day

Club Carlson is celebrating 25 years of Country Inn & Suites by giving 25K bonus points for two night stays until October 14, 2012.

club-carlson-country-inn-suites-25-years-2

Club Carlson: Country Inn & Suites 25 Years – Get 25000 Bonus Points For 2 Nights Stay

Radisson & Radisson Blu has an offer for Europe, Middle East & Africa. You can get 3rd night free and 2000 bonus points when you book for three nights and pay using American Express. This offer is valid until September 30th, 2012.

club-carlson-3-for-2-amex-offer

Radisson & Radisson Blu 3rd Night Free + 2000 Bonus Club Carlson Points

Club Carlson is offering double points at number of their properties in Europe, Middle East & Africa. This offer is valid until September 30th, 2012.

cc-our-summer-specials

Club Carlson Double Points in Europe, Middle East & Africa at Participating Hotels

Club Carlson has a redemption discount offer of 50% at number of properties in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. You can use your points at half the usual rate. This offer is valid until September 30th, 2012.

club-carlson-50redeem

Club Carlson 50% Redemption Discount At Select Hotels in Europe, Middle East & Africa

Club Carlson has a promotion for the Asia Pacific region. You can get 10K bonus points for stays of two nights or longer. You can earn the bonus points unlimited time. The promotion ends on September 30th, 2012.

club-carlson-apac-offer-10k-for-2-nights

Club Carlson Asia Pacific Promotion “Two Nights. 10,000 Points” – 10K Bonus Points For Stays Of Two Nights Or Longer

Here are few other interesting posts about the Club Carlson program:

There is an elite offer for 2 for 1 and 4 for 2. You need to be a Gold or Concierge member to take advantage of these discounts that are valid in Europe, Middle East Africa.

Club Carlson Gold/Concierge Elite Member Offer – Stay 2 Pay 1

Club Carlson Gold/Concierge Elite Member Offer – Stay 4 Pay 2

You can get a Club Carlson Gold through a status match or being a shareholder:

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson Status Match

Club Carlson Gold Status for Rezidor Shareholders

If you have a friend or family member working for any Carlson hotel, you maybe eligible for the Friends & family discount:

Carlson Hotels Friends & Family Discount

Choice Privileges – Choice Hotels

Choice’s fall 2012 promotion is valid until November 14th, 2012. You will earn at the minimum 8000 points for every two stays.

choice-fall-2012-promotion

Choice Hotels Fall 2012 Promotion for Maximum of 8000 Bonus Points for Every Two Stays

Hilton HHonors

Hilton’s Triple Your Trip promotion for double points for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Stays, and triple for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday stays until September 30th, 2012.

hilton-hhonors-3q-2012

Hilton HHonors 3rd Quarter “Triple Your Trip” 2012 Double or Triple Points Promotion

Hilton HHonors and Delta has teamed up offering triple Delta SkyMiles at selected Hilton family of hotels until September 20th, 2012.

hilton-hhonors-delta-q3-2012-triple-miles

Triple Delta SkyMiles for Stays at Selected Hilton Family of Hotels

Hilton is offering instant Gold status until 2014 and bonus points/miles for American, Delta, JetBlu, United, US Airways, and Virgin American frequent fliers. This offer is targeted.

hilton-offer-american

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status Until March 2014 for American, Delta, JetBlue, United, US Airways, and Virgin America Frequent Fliers + Bonus Points & Miles (Targeted?)

Here are some other important posts:

You can read about getting a status match with Hilton HHonors:

Hilton HHonors Gold & Diamond Status Match & Challenge & Fast Track Offer

Hilton HHonors Gold VIP Fast Track Offer Through MVP Program. Gold Status After Four Stays or Nine Nights During 90 period

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders

It can make sense to use Virgin Atlantic as Double Dip partner and then transfer the miles back to Hilton. You can read more about this here:

Hilton HHonors Double Dip Strategy with Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt’s fall 2012 promotion is valid from September 1st to November 30th, 2012. You will earn 5000 bonus points after 5 nights and 10000 bonus points for every additional five nights for maximum bonus of 65000 Hyatt Gold Passport points.

hyatt-imagine

Hyatt Gold Passport Autumn “Imagine the Possibilities” Promotion

Here are couple of other important posts:

Hyatt also offers status matches/trials. You can read more about them here:

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status Match – Hyatt Diamond Trial Challenge As Of 2012

Sometimes it makes sense to use Hyatt Stay Certificate instead of paying. You can read about more of them here:

Hyatt Stay Certificates – Way to Save Money On Hyatt Stays

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

The beauty of Priority Club is the onslaught of ongoing overlapping promotions that you can triple/quadruple dip.You can read about my average Priority Club point earnings when all the promotions are factored in here. I have also written about different type of Priority Club promotions here and what you can expect to earn for your first stay if you sign up for an account here.

Just a word of warning. Some of these promotions may require an address to be in a specific country/area like United States. I take absolutely no guarantees what will post to your Priority Club account. They may also conflict with a promotion that you have already signed up for and just return an error message.

There is an interesting “Roles To Rooms’ promotion for total of 15K bonus points for four stays. This promotion appears to be geographically targeted to Asia Pacific region.

priority-club-roles-to-rooms

Priority Club “Roles to Room” Promotion: 15000 Bonus Points for Four Stays

Quarter 3 Stay bonuses

These started on July 1st and will end on September 30th, 2012. You should sign up for an offer that you know you can achieve

5000 Bonus Air Canada Aeroplan Miles for a Stay

This is a nice bonus for a stay in Canada. You need to have the stays by December 30th, 2012 to be eligible for the bonus miles.

Priority Club “Sweetheart Deal” $100 Visa Prepaid Debit Card for Each 3 Night Stay within 90 Day of Wedding

Priority Club is offering a $100 rebate for every stay of 3 nights or longer within 90 days of your wedding, This promotion is valid until the end of 2012.

Priority Club $25 Gift Card Offer for Booking Directly Online

You can get up to five codes that you can redeem for various gift card by booking online or mobile on any of IHG branded websites.

Priority Club Meeting Rewards Offer of Triple Points

You can get triple Priority Club points for meetings by switching your account to Priority Club Meetings Reward member.

Priority Club Surveys for 2000 Points or More

There are number of surveys that you can do in number of different languages for a quick 2000 Priority Club points, if you haven’t done any of them earlier. This is a quick way to get some points. My points posted immediately.

Sign Up For Priority Club Shopping Emails & Get 500 Points

You can get 500 Priority Club points for just signing up for the shopping email.

Priority Club Welcome Survey for 1000 Bonus Points

Not sure what is going on with this promotion, but you can try to see if it works for you.

Install (Not Required) Priority Club Shopping Toolbar & Get 300 Points

You can get easy 300 points by installing a Priority Club shopping toolbar.

You can register for the following promotions at priorityclub.com/register. You need to have the email address associated with the Priority Club OR the Priority Club account number available AND the four digit code associated with the promotion.

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

Not sure exactly how this works, but here’s the info about this offer: 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!

Marriott Rewards

Marriott has their usual fall MegaBonus starting on September 15th and ends on January 15th 2013. You need, however, register for the promotion by October 31st, 2012.

marriott-rewards-fal-2012-megabonus

Marriott Rewards Fall 2012 MegaBonus

Update on Marriott Fall 2012 MegaBonus Choices

You can earn triple airline miles tarting on your second stay on Marriott’s MegaMiles promotion that ends on October 30th, 2012.

marriott-megamiles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Triple Airline Miles

Here are three other posts about Marriott Rewards:

You can get Southwest Rapid Rewards points for Marriott Gift card purchases.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Points for Marriott Gift Card Purchases

Marriott also offers status matches or taste of Platinum/Gold. You can read more about the procedures of getting one here:

Marriott Rewards Gold & Platinum Status Match – Taste of Platinum & Gold Challenge

If you haven’t been targeted to any of the promotions or you would like to change to another one, you can follow the instructions to get the promotion fixed for you.

Changing Targeted Marriott Promotions

Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Ritz-Carlton has an offer for 30K bonus points for a stay of four nights or longer. This offer is valid until October 15th, 2012.

ritz-carlton-extraordinary-returns_0

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Extraordinary Returns – 30000 Bonus Points for a Four Night Stay

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood launched their much anticipated SPG Nice Choice promotion on May 1st that hasn’t gone down too well. You can read about the initial leak, my ability to confirm that the leaked information was real, and the strategy that you should take. Essentially, this is a double or triple Starpoints promotion that is very weak compared to free night promotions that SPG was running during 2010 and 2011. Note that you needed to choose what you would like to earn and when by June 30th, 2012.

Starwood’s next promotion Better By The Night begins on October 1st and ends on December 20th, 2012. You will receive double Starpoints for stays of 1 to 2 nights and triple points for stays of 3 nights or longer.

spg-better-by-the-night

SPG Better By The Night Autumn 2012 Promotion for Double or Triple Starpoints

You can get 500 bonus points for booking made on the iPhone SPG app or 250 points for bookings made on spg.com.

spg-better-by-the-night-booking-bonuses

SPG Better By The Night Online & iPhone Booking Bonuses

Westin Kierland and Sheraton Wilde Horse Pass have exciting bonus points opportunity. Stay once at both properties and earn 10000 bonus Starpoints.

Stay at Westin Kierland & Sheraton Wild Horse Pass for 10000 Bonus Starpoints

You can get 1000 Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for booking a special (expensive) rate plan.

1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for Sheraton Club Bookings

Here’s a post about Starwood status match opportunity:

Starwood doesn’t offer straight status matches, but they can offer you a challenge:

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Status Match – Platinum Challenge

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham’s summer promotion is coming to an end on September 13th, 2012. You can earn quadruple points or miles.

wyndham-s12summer

Wyndham Rewards Summer 2012 Promotion for Quadruple Miles or Points

Book Breakfast Package Rate & Get Triple Gold Points at Select Radisson & Radisson Blu Hotels

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Radisson has a new promotion for triple points that it tied to booking a breakfast inclusive package. You will get triple Gold Points, 60 points per dollar spend, and 2000 bonus Gold points per stay. This offer is valid for stays from August 29th to December 31st, 2012 at selected Radisson & Radisson Blu hotels. You need to book using promotional code BREAKPKG or using the following link.

radisson-breakfast-package

As is always the case, I checked the rates using this promotion. Please note that I found out that it didn’t return rate in number of cities around the world like Bangkok, Helsinki and Dubai. It did work in the United States and the UK.

radisson-breakfast-1

radisson-breakfast-2

radisson-breakfast-3

In the greater LA are the rate is offered at 7 of the 8 eligible properties. The breakfast inclusive rate is anywhere from $20 to $50 more expensive than the lowest rates at the moment.

Conclusion

If you are a BIG breakfast person and you are traveling with someone, it might make sense to book this rate and collect the extra points. Alternatively, just book the least expensive rate and eat the breakfast elsewhere.

2000 United Airlines Mileage Plus Miles + 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points + GoGo Pass for $59 Is Back

On August 8th, I wrote about an offer from MilePoint, a Flyertalk clone but without the traffic. You can get 2000 United Mileage Plus miles and 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport points + number of other worthwhile offers for signing up MilePoint Platinum membership at $59 per year. Even if you have no interest about MilePoint, but are member of Hyatt & United, it makes sense to sign up.

milepoint-offer

Here’s a list of benefits. I have marked in RED the ones that I find useful. You can access this offer here once you have signed up for the MilePoint.

milepoint-offer-list

Conclusion

As was the case last month, I found this offer to be useful just for the Hyatt points and United miles alone.

InterContinental Royal Ambassador Renewal Requirement

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Edit: There might have been a glitch on the Priority Club website that shows the Ambassador downgrade as a Royal Ambassador Renewal. I will update this post when I have further info.

InterContinental Royal Ambassador is the status above the Ambassador. Joining the InterContinental Ambassador program costs $200. I know it is somewhat confusing that you collect Priority Club points on your InterContinental stays, but Priority Club Gold or Platinum benefits do not apply. I have written about buying the Ambassador status and if it makes sense to pay for it, and about the InterContinental Royal Ambassador status and kit.

intercontinental-royal-ambassador-renewal

InterContinental Royal Ambassador Requirement

The Ambassador Service center has never come clean about the exact requirements for the Royal Ambassador status. The line that they tend to give out is that you need to be within 1% of the all Ambassadors to be “elevated” to a Royal one and that the award stays and stays at non-InterContinental hotels of the IHG wouldn’t count.

After you buy your Ambassador status the Ambassador service center will monitor the number of stays that you have and, if you meet the qualification for the Royal Ambassador, you will just see a line in your account history about this. Couple of weeks later you will receive the kit on mail.

Those that earn the status will also receive a referral certificate that they can use to upgrade an Ambassador to Royal Ambassador status. These sometimes end up being sold on eBay for around $500.

InterContinental Royal Ambassador Renewal

You were upgraded to Royal Ambassador status, referred by a friend/colleague, or bought it off of eBay. Now, you would like to renew it on your own, but unsure about the qualification requirements. You are then in as dark as everybody else when it comes to renewing the Royal Ambassador status.

The requirement for renewal is the same vague “being in the 1% of the Ambassador members” as is getting the Royal Ambassador in the first place.

It was been widely speculated on FlyerTalk that the requirement would be around 60 paid InterContinental nights. This is not the case, however, based on me personal experience.

My Royal Ambassador renewal was processed on August 31st and I had the following number of IHG, InterContinental Hotels Group, stays in the previous 12 months:

28 paid InterContinental Nights at 8 different hotels

13 paid non-IC Nights (Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Crowne Plaza)

= 41 PAID NIGHTS

15 award InterContinental Nights at 4 different hotels (13 on Point Breaks)

1 InterContinental night free on BRG (Best Rate Guarantee)

1 award non-IC Nights

= 17 AWARD NIGHTS

 TOTAL OF 58 NIGHTS

Conclusion

The Ambassador service center or Priority Club never have clearly communicated the exact requirement of getting or renewing the Royal Ambassador status.

Based on my experience, the award and non-InterContinental nights do count in as well. There is no other explanation why my account would have been renewed at just 28 paid InterContinental nights.

I believe that the requirement is about 60 nights that can be a combination of awards and non-InterContinental nights as well.

My Travel Problem of the Week: Yellow Fever Vaccination Proof

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Three years ago, when I was entering Côte d’Ivoire, I had the yellow fever shot at the Abidjan airport and got the usual yellow document to prove it. It wasn’t the most welcoming entry, but apparently there is some sort of epidemic in Western Africa.

yeallow-fever

It didn’t come to my mind, when I was about to fly from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg earlier this week, that I would have needed to have the proof of vaccination with me in order to board the South African flight.  Some parts of Brazil are considered high risk for yellow fever and quite a few countries require the proof of yellow fever vaccination for travel originating/transiting in Brazil.

Yes, I know, as a traveler I am required to be aware of the entry requirements for number of countries and I have used Delta’s version of IATA’s Timatic for this purpose. Unfortunately it doesn’t include the health information but only passport and visa requirements.

Changing the non-changeable ticket

Of course this was entirely my fault and not the airline’s. The problem I had was that the ticket was an award ticket and issued on BMI’s ticketing stock 236. BMI is no longer part of Star Alliance as the airline was bought by British Airways.

I had to go to the ticketing office in Sao Paulo airport to have the ticket fixed. The ladies, that were all completely pleasant, couldn’t help me at all. They were only willing to sell me a new ticket and claiming that they cannot change the ticket issued by BMI. I asked to speak with a station manager/supervisor.

The routing that I had was quite complicated due to award space availability and I was not going to fly the ticket as issued. I was going to drop couple of segments.

I suggested to the supervisor that we would change the departure from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg by couple of days so that it would only be a transfer and not a stopover. There is no need for yellow fever vaccination for transits. He kept saying that they cannot reissue a ticket issued by BMI and that I would need to work it out with the issuing carrier. I politely pointed out that merely changing the date of the flight wouldn’t require a reissuance of the ticket and that they should be able to do it.

Finally he agreed with my interpretation and decided that he could do the change. He disappeared to the backroom for couple of minutes and came out with a printout of the new itinerary.

Conclusion

You should always check not only the passport/visa requirement of the designation/interim country but the health requirements as well. There is a handy tool on Star Alliance’s website that is constantly updated by Timatic and that is used by all the airlines. I will use this version of the Timatic in the future.

Airlines can, most of the time, change non-changeable tickets but you just need to find a person that is willing to do it. In my case the South African Airways was not required to do any changes and it was entirely within their right to just refer me to the issuing carrier.

Luckily, I was able to solve the ticketing issue with the help of a supervisor by just moving the flight up by two days and foregoing a stopover in Johannesburg.

JetBlue Go Pack (10 One-way Flights) Deal or No Deal?

JetBlue has had interesting flight promotions in the previous years. For a flat free you have been able to take unlimited number of flights on the JetBlue network. This time JetBlue is trying a different kind of concept for fall travel period.

jetblue-go-pack

JetBlue now has 7 different 10 flight Go Packs on sale for travel between September 13 and December 12. Blackout dates are November 20 to November 26. You can read more about these Go Pack’s on JetBlue’s website.

What makes these passes interesting are:

1. Last seat availability

2. Can book up to 90 minutes before flight

3. You can book more than one passenger per flight

4. Fully transferable.

The prices of these coupons are not really that cheap. You can most likely do a lot better by buying a discounted fare in advance. If you do lot of last minute travel, however, you can probably save significantly by using these Go Pack codes.

Conclusion

If you use these passes smartly for last minute travel when the fares are typically high, you can save a lot. Do the math to see if you can save buying one of the packs.

Just keep in mind that you are prepaying for number of trips and, at least for me, the savings should be substantial enough to make me to commit.

Here’s the information about these packs from JetBlue:

Grab a Go Pack and take 10 nonstop, one-way flights to select destinations starting September 13 through December 19, 2012 (blackout dates: 11/20 – 11/26)*. Choose from seven different Go Packs that’ll offer you convenience, flexibility and great value guaranteed for fast travel between your most frequent destinations—for work or leisure.

On sale 8/28/12 through 9/6/12, or while supplies last. Book travel online starting 9/12/12 through 12/19/12 up to 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure.

Plus, you’ll enjoy comfy leather seats, the most legroom in coach**, free DIRECTV*** at every seat, free brand name snacks and beverages, first checked bag free‡ and award-winning service.

Here’s how Go Pack works:

Purchasing a Go Pack

  • Choose from seven different Go Pack destination options, purchased online only at shop.jetblue.com.
  • Go Pack may be purchased between 8/28/12 and 9/6/12, or while supplies last. Must be over 18.
  • Confirmation of your Go Pack purchase will be sent within 24-hours of your purchase.
  • Go Pack cannot be exchanged and is non-refundable. NO REFUNDS OR EXCHANGES.

Go Pack options include:

  • BOS/NYC – L.A./S.F. ($2,499 + $7 taxes/fees per flight) to/from:
    • Boston, MA (BOS) to Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
    • Boston, MA (BOS) to San Francisco, CA (SFO)
    • New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO)
    • New York (JFK) to Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
  • Long Beach, CA (LGB) ($999 + $7 taxes/fees per flight) to/from:
    • San Francisco, CA (SFO)
    • Oakland, CA (OAK)
    • Sacramento, CA (SMF)
    • Seattle, WA (SEA)
    • Portland, OR (PDX)
    • Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
  • Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) ($899 + $7 taxes/fees per flight) to/from:
    • Boston, MA (BOS)
    • New York, NY (JFK)
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) ($699 + up to $69 taxes/fees per flight) to/from:
    • St. Maarten (SXM)
    • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ)
    • St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT)
    • St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (STX)/li>
  • Boston/New York City/Washington D.C. ($1,199 + $7 taxes/fees per flight) to/from:
    • New York (JFK) to Dulles, Washington D.C. (IAD)
    • New York (JFK) to Boston, MA (BOS)
    • Boston, MA (BOS) to Newark, NJ (EWR)
    • Boston, MA (BOS) to Dulles, Washington D.C. (IAD)
    • Boston, MA (BOS) to Baltimore, MD (BWI)
    • Boston, MA (BOS) to Reagan National, Washington D.C. (DCA)
  • New York, NY (JFK) ($1099 + $7 taxes/fees per flight) to/from:
    • Buffalo, NY (BUF)
    • Rochester, NY (ROC)
    • Burlington, VT (BTV)
    • Syracuse, NY (SYR)
    • Portland, ME (PWM)
    • Pittsburgh, PA (PIT)
  • Boston, MA (BOS) ($1099 + $7 taxes/fees per flight) to/from:
    • Raleigh/Durham, NC (RDU)
    • Pittsburgh, PA (PIT)
    • Buffalo, NY (BUF)
    • Chicago, IL (ORD)
    • Charlotte, NC (CLT)
    • Richmond, VA (RIC)
  • Go Pack may be purchased between 8/28/12 and 9/6/12, or while supplies last. Must be over 18.
  • Confirmation of your Go Pack purchase will be sent within 24-hours of your purchase.
  • Go Pack cannot be exchanged and is non-refundable. NO REFUNDS OR EXCHANGES.

What’s In a Go Pack

  • Each Go Pack includes 10 Go Pack codes, each valid for the base fare of a one-way nonstop flights for the select routes covered by that Go Pack. Government taxes and fees will apply to each one-way flight booked using a Go Pack and will vary depending on the particular route being flown. Please see available Go Packs at shop.jetblue.com for the price of each Go Pack, the routes included in each Go Pack, and the taxes and fees for each flight included in a particular Go Pack.
  • Applicable government taxes and fees must be paid at time of actual flight booking by the traveler using the Go Pack code. These taxes/fees are not included in your Go Pack price because you may elect not to take all 10 flights in your Go Pack or you may elect to share your Go Pack codes with others; taxes and fees will only be due for flights actually booked, and only the traveler using the Go Pack code will pay the taxes and fees for the particular flight being booked with that code.
  • Each Go Pack purchase is eligible for TrueBlue points; the amount of points depends on the particular Go Pack you choose. Travel booked using a Go Pack is not eligible to earn additional TrueBlue points.

Booking a Flight with Go Pack

  • Go Pack purchasers will receive an email containing 10 Go Pack code numbers on 9/12/12. Save this email or write down your Go Pack code numbers – you will need these codes to use your Go Pack.
  • Book eligible flights 9/12/12 through 12/19/12. You can book up to 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure, subject to flight availability. After 11:59 PM ET on 12/19/12, the Go Pack will expire.
  • You can use Go Pack to book flights only at jetblue.com/promo . Enter the code in the promo code field exactly as it appears (case-sensitive). You must select a flight in order for your Go Pack code to apply. Once selected, you will see the Go Pack code applied to your itinerary subtotal on the right side of the webpage.
  • Only one Go Pack code per reservation, one customer per reservation and one passenger per booking. (The Go Pack codes may be divided among multiple travelers, but each individual code is valid for only one customer per booking; if you and another traveler each want to use a Go Pack code on the same flight, you must complete two separate bookings using two separate codes.)
  • Go Pack can be used for new flight bookings only. You cannot use a Go Pack code for any previously booked flight or existing reservation.

Traveling with Go Pack

  • Go Packs can only be used for eligible travel between 9/13/12 and 12/19/12 (blackout dates: 11/20/12 – 11/26/12).

Changes/Cancellations/No-Shows

  • Changes to reservations using a Go Pack code must be made prior to scheduled departure by calling 1-800-JET-BLUE (538-2583) and are subject to a fifty-dollar ($50) change fee, but not any fare difference.
  • Name changes are not permitted after a ticket has been booked.
  • Customers wishing to cancel a Go Pack booking or who are ‘no shows’ for their flight will forfeit their Go Pack code; the code will not be returned. For cancellations, the applicable government taxes/fees will be refunded. However, flight reservations made 1 week or more prior to a flight’s scheduled departure may be canceled without penalty up to 24 hours after the reservation is made, in which case you will receive a replacement code and a refund of taxes/fees.

Priority Club “Roles to Rooms” Promotion: 15000 Bonus Points for Four Stays

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Priority Club has launched a new promotion “Roles to Rooms” that is valid from August 30th to November 30th, 2012. You will earn 2500 bonus points after 2nd stay, 5000 bonus points after third stay, and 7500 bonus points after fourth stay. Note that this promotion is based on STAYS and not on NIGHTS.  You need to register for this promotion. The promotion code is 1114.

Please note that I have an update about this promotion that you can fine here.

priority-club-roles-to-rooms

Note that this offer is apparently somewhat targeted. It didn’t work for a family account that had the address in the States but did allow registration for an account that is based in Asia. If you get an error message that the offer code is invalid, then this offer is not available in the country that your Priority Club account is based.

The promotion didn’t show up on “My Promotion”, but that is not always indicative whether the bonus points will post or not. I will have three IHG stays this coming weekend and will post an update if the bonus points posted or not.

Conclusion

This is a nice addition to the other current Priority Club point promotions that I wrote about earlier this week. You can access the other posts here and here.

This offer is at least geographically targeted i.e. if your account address in the States, the promotion won’t register for you. I was able to register an account that was based in Asia, but won’t know for sure, whether these bonuses posts or not, before my stays this coming weekend. I’ll keep you updated.

Make sure that you have signed up for our blog email updates and follow us on Twitter and like on Facebook. We will always make a post when there is an exciting Priority Club promotion or bonus point opportunity around.

Aerolineas Argentinas Joined SkyTeam on August 29th

Aerolineas Argentinas decided to join SkyTeam back in 2010. Normally the process of joining an alliance takes from 12 to 24 months. The process was completed today when the Argentinean flag carrier was officially welcomed to the alliance. You can read the press release about the joining here.

aerolineas-argentinas-skyteam-member

From today all SkyTeam member airline frequent fliers can redeem and earn miles on Aerolineas Argentinas flight.  The same benefit apply for Aerolineas Argentinas frequent flier members on all SkyTeam member airlines. You should always check that the ticketed fare class is eligible for mileage credit. This often varies from airline to airline.

Route Network

aerolineas-argentinas-domestic-route-map

Aerolineas Argentinas has extensive route network within Argentina.

aerolineas-argentinas-international-route-map

The airline also serves 19 international destinations in 14 countries. The most interesting is the one from Buenos Aires to Auckland and continuing to Sydney. The airline has fifth freedom rights to carry local traffic for the Auckland-Sydney segment.

Argentinian Financial Problems

Argentina is again going through some financial difficulties. The current president nationalized and raided some pension funds. The inflation rate published by the government is fantasy and they have enacted “laws” to punish those that disagree with the official figures. The official currency rate is also unrealistic. The rate is about 4 pesos to USD but you can get close to 7 pesos in the unofficial market.

Eventually this financial turmoil will lead to a significant devaluation of the peso.  Aerolineas Argentinas probably has a significant amount of their revenue in other currencies so it doesn’t necessarily affect them

SkyTrax 3 Stars

aerolineas-argentinas-skytrax-3-star

I don’t normally pay too much attention to the SkyTrax ratings, but they are not very favorable for the Aerolineas Argentinas. The Airline is listed as having an “official” 3 star rating.

Conclusion

It is good that Aerolineas Argentinas is now officially a full member of SkyTeam alliance. The only problem is the unstable financial and political situation in Argentina.

United’s Computer Problems on August 28th

United has had quite a few problems with its computer systems since integration to the ones Continental used on March this year.

I was checking my account earlier today at a time when there was a message that the online system is down but that the phone would be able to help. I happened to be at the Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo and few meters from the United’s ticketing desk.

united-flightstats

Apparently the airport systems were down as well but getting up at the time. At least for the domestic flights, United can just simply use “pen and paper” to check customers in. This doesn’t, however, work for international flights where United is required to transit the passenger manifest to US authorities certain number of minutes before the flight is scheduled to depart for clearance. This must have led to significant delays.

Now the fun part!

fake-united

There was the above conversation on Twitter between a fake Jeff Smisek and AA’s Twitter team that gave me a good laugh.

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