Qatar Airways Introduces Easy Deals – Awards Up To 50% Off


Qatar Airways just launched a new Easy Deals initiative. Every month they will have number of destinations at up to 50% off of the usual number of miles required. You need to pay the usual taxes/fees and fuel surcharges.


It is somewhat weird that you need to register for this promotion at least 24 hours prior making the award booking. The booking window is open from 15 September to 22 of October for travel from October 1 to October 23, 2012.


Easy Deals is our new programme feature that offers you the opportunity to redeem award tickets online on Qatar Airways for up to 50% less Qmiles.

Every month, Easy Deals will showcase an array of Qatar Airways flights on select routes, where you can save Qmiles.

To avail our Easy Deals,  follow these simple steps:

  • Click on the below link(s) to view the available Easy Deals
  • Register for our Easy Deals at least 24 hours prior to booking an award ticket, by logging into your membership account, click on “Manage Qmiles” and select Easy Deals for the applicable month from the “Register for an offer” menu. Alternatively, you can register by calling our Member Service Centre at +974 4449 6449
  • Redeem your award ticket online by clicking on “Book & Upgrade” menu and take advantage of our Easy Deals. Should your trip contain any of the listed sectors, you will enjoy attractive mileage savings.

The wording on the confirmation page indicates that these awards are valid only on the exact one-way city pairs listed i.e. Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo wouldn’t include Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires. I would hope to be wrong, however.

Here’s the list of destinations:




Quite often the fuel surcharges spoil these sale deals. The YQ’s (fuel surcharges) are somewhat reasonable on Qatar Airways, however. Here is an example from Seoul to Doha that is on sale using miles. The YQ is 139K KRW that is around $123.



I really like award sales and glad that they are coming to Qatar Airways as well. The only drawback is the rather short booking and flying window. These are most useful for Doha based passengers as vast majority flights are either Doha originating or terminating.

There are few of gems like Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo for 6500 miles in business class. That is really a steal. I took that flight two weeks ago.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

  • Only applicable on Qatar Airways operated flights on select routes.
  • Award seats are limited and subject to availability
  • Easy Deals Award levels are applicable only for award tickets redeemed online at
  • Members need to register for the offer at least  24 hours prior to booking an award ticket.
  • Not valid in conjuction with any other offer.
  • Redemptions are valid for anyone the member chooses. Each redemption may include up to 9 passengers on the same transaction.
  • Qmiles plus Cash option and award upgrades are excluded from Easy Deals Awards.
  • Date changes not within the offer period or route changes not part of sectors on offer will be subject to the corresponding fees and additional Qmiles will be charged.
  • If some sectors of your trip are not within the offer period or part of the promotional sectors, those sectors will be charged at regular Qmiles.
  • Regular award tickets Terms and Conditions apply.

Priority Club Stay X Get Y Bonuses for 4rd Quarter – Up To 15K Bonus Points


We now have the information and the codes for the 4th quarter 2012 Priority Club Stay-bonuses. As usually there are three different thresholds for 5000, 10000, or 15000 bonus Priority Club points. These are for stays from October 1st to December 31st, 2012.


You should register for the 3, 7, or 15 night version of this promotion. Note that the bonuses are based on NIGHTS and not on STAYS. You can register at You need your Priority Club account number or the email address and the four digit promotion code below.

Please note that once you have registered for one of the variations of the promotion the selection cannot be changed. 

You can combine this promotion with other numerous promotions that the Priority Club has at the moment.

5502 = Stay 3 Nights – Get 5K Points

5503 = Stay 4 Nights – Get 5K Points

5504 = Stay 7 Nights – Get 10K Points

5505  = Stay 8 Nights- Get 10K Points

5506 = Stay 10 Nights – Get 10K Points

5507 = Stay 12 Nights – Get 10K Points

5508 = Stay 15 Nights – Get 15K Points

5509 = Stay 18 Nights – Get 15K Points


Priority Cub has these quarterly stay bonuses four times a year. Remember to sign up to the highest one that you are sure that you can achieve. You cannot change the selection after you have registered.

Starwood Aeroplan Offer: Up To 8000 Bonus Miles


Starwood has teamed up with Air Canada’s Aeroplan by offering up to 8000 bonus Aeroplan miles. All you need to do is to have an Aeroplan account and sign up for this promotion. You don’t have to change your earnings from Starpoints to miles to be eligible for this offer. You can combine this offer with Starwood Better by The Night promotion that offers double/triple points for stays and online booking bonuses.


Here’s the breakdown this promotion:

– You will receive 3000 bonus miles if you stay total of 3 nights during the promotional period

– If you stay total of 5 nights or longer, you will receive 5000 bonus miles. Note that the nights do not have to be consecutive.

– If you have at least 3 nights at Starwood properties in Canada, you will receive an additional 3000 bonus miles.

This promotion is valid from September 10 to December 9, 2012. Note that you need to register for this promotion prior to your stay.


If you are going to have any Starwood stays during this promotion period, there is absolutely no downside for registering for this promotion. These Aeroplan miles are in addition to the Starpoints you will earn from your stays as you don’t have to change your earning preferences.

Redeeming Aeroplan miles is rather expensive nowadays. They charge fuel surcharge on redemptions so redeeming for anything else than business or first class doesn’t make too much sense.

Here are the terms and conditions of this promotion:

  • Aeroplan Bonus Miles are offered to eligible Aeroplan members who stay a minimum of three to five nights paying an Eligible Rate at participating Starwood properties during the promotional period. Advance reservations are required and bookings are based on availability. Black out dates may apply . Offer not applicable to groups. Reservations must be made directly with Starwood (by phone,, or specific Starwood property website) or via a travel agent. Bookings via third-party online retailers and other wholesalers are not eligible for this bonus offer promotion. You must be a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest Program and have registered for this promotion. Membership in the SPG program is free. Please visit All Starwood Preferred Guest terms and conditions apply. Please allow six to eight weeks after the promotion ends for Aeroplan Miles to be posted to your Aeroplan account.
  • An Eligible Rate is any rate that is eligible to earn Starpoints in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. SPG-participating hotels and resorts and a description of Eligible Rates can be found at under program terms and conditions. See Section 1.4 for the complete definition of Eligible Rates, but note that certain prepaid rooms where the booking is made through a third party (including but not limited to, and are not Eligible Rates and do not earn Starpoints or qualify toward promotional earnings.
  • Qualifications and Starwood Terms: All promotions are subject to the Starwood Preferred Guest program terms and conditions, which are subject to change without notice and can be found at Offer is applicable to individual members only and not to groups. Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors. Starwood reserves the right to discontinue this offer at any time. To update your communication preferences or learn about our privacy practices, view our Privacy Statement on, or access our privacy information line by calling 1-877-782-0071 in the U.S. and Canada or +353-21-4930474 in all other countries. Starpoints, SPG, Preferred Guest, Sheraton, Four Points, W, Aloft, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, Element, Sheraton, St. Regis and their respective logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. Void where prohibited by law.

Use Star Alliance’s Visa & Health Section to Check Vaccination & Entry Requirements


Visa & health entry requirements vary depending of the country where you live, the transit countries on your journey, and vaccinations you have had. It is really difficult to keep track of them. The embassies websites are often full of outdated information.


I got caught about these the other week when I was denied boarding South African Airways flight from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg because I didn’t have my Yellow fever vaccination booklet with me. I wrote a piece about the ordeal and about my vaccinations in Bangkok.

There is a terrific tool that is constantly updated and then used by the airlines to check passenger’s eligibility to enter countries. This service is called Timatic and it is part of IATA.

Timatic features:

  • Passport requirements and recommendations
  • Visa requirements and recommendations
  • Health requirements and recommendations
  • Airport tax to be paid by the traveler at either departure or arrival airport
  • Customs regulations relating to import/export of goods and small pets by a passenger
  • Currency regulations relating to import and export by a passenger

Most of the airlines don’t have the whole version available on their websites. The health module is most of the time missing, although it is equally important as visas etc. If you don’t have i.e. yellow fever vaccination proof when entering South Africa from Brazil, your entry will be denies either by the airlines or by immigration.

Luckily, the Star Alliance has made this tool available on their website. You need to plug in your nationality, permanent residence, transit points, and the destination, and the system will split out the requirements for each and every step.

Here’s a typical display:




It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that they fulfill the entry requirements to any country in their journey. Alternatively, it is likely that the airline will catch this and will deny boarding as happened in my case. Denying boarding is better than immigration denying entry and putting you back to the country where you are coming from.

The tool that you can find on Star Alliance’s website is truly terrific. You should check the entry requirements to countries that you visit. Sometimes there are unexpected changes and vaccination requirements may depend of the transit countries in your journey even if you don’t leave the airport.

Last Call for Awards on Qatar Airways Using United Mileage Plus

United partners are dropping like flies. First Emirates was gone, then was Virgin Atlantic’s turn earlier this year, and now it is a final couple of days to redeem awards on Qatar Airways. United gave heads up of this change on June 1st.

United Qatar Announcement
United Qatar Announcement

You can still continue booking awards that have Qatar legs until and on 14th of this month. Theoretically you should be able to do this over the phone as well, but you may encounter uninformed agents that tell you that the partnership has already ended when, in fact, it has not.

United Qatar BCN PER via DOH
United Qatar BCN PER via DOH

I have flown quite a bit on Qatar this year and have come to like their business class product and often empty cabins. Most often than not I have the entire two seat sections just for myself. I am not a huge fan, however, of the Qatar transit experience and the premium terminal that is at capacity often during the flight banks.

Qatar Plenty of Space
Qatar Plenty of Space


If you are contemplating using United miles on award tickets on Qatar, this is the last choice. The Qatar’s business class product is fantastic compared to United.

SPG Better By The Night Promotion Registration Now Open

SPG Better By The Night promotions registration has now opened. I wrote about this new SPG promotion on August 22nd and the online booking bonuses on August 23rd.


You can now register for this promotion at


You can read my take on this double/triple points promotion here and about the online booking bonuses here.

SPG Bonus Beginnings: 3K Bonus Starpoints or Free Night Award


Overall, Starwood’s promotions so far this year have been lackluster compared to 2011 and the upcoming promotion is hardly any better.

Starwood has been, however, sending very good offers for new members that have not been staying at Starwood properties at all or have only had a stay or two last year. This promotion “Bonus Beginnings” is targeted and won’t work for you unless you have received the email invitation.


There are two options to choose from:

1. 3000 Bonus Starpoints

2. Free night award for category 1 to 5

The free night at category 5 SPG property would cost you 12K to 15K points depending of the season and is better option that the 3K bonus Starpoints. The free night award is valid until Ocotber 31st, 2013 so you have plenty of time to use it.


Now that you’ve joined SPG®, you know that every stay gets you closer to Free Night Awards and other amazing benefits.

We’d like to see you again soon. Here’s a great offer to keep things going: Register by October 31, 2012, then complete a stay between September 1, 2012, and October 31, 2012, and you’ll receive your choice of 3,000 bonus Starpoints or a Free Night Award at a Category 1–5 hotel or resort.

Check out, and then check in to, any of our more than 1,100 hotels and resorts across nine brands — including W®, Le Méridien®, Westin® and Sheraton®. Clear your calendar and start packing. We can’t wait to have you back.

Is it time to sign up family members for SPG?

SPG has now sent similar offers couple of times in the past year for members that have not been active in the program. I think that it is probably worthwhile to sign up family members to SPG membership to take advantage of these “Bonus Beginnings” offers in the future.


It is interesting that the best SPG offers this year are going to members that haven’t stays at Starwood properties at all. It is good way, however, to get people (and family members) activated in the program.

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 SPG promotion or bonus point opportunity around.

Here are the terms and conditions of this promotion:

3,000 bonus Starpoints: Registered member can choose to earn 3,000 bonus Starpoints after one (1) eligible stay. Stay must be at an SPG participating property from September 1, 2012, through October 31, 2012. Nonparticipating properties can be found at under program terms and conditions. Bonus Starpoints will be credited to the member’s account within 2–3 weeks of the stay posting to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest® account.

Free Night Award: Registered member can choose to earn one (1) Free Night Award in a standard room at any Category 1–5 hotel after one (1) eligible stay. Eligible stay must be at an SPG participating property anytime from September 1, 2012, through October 31, 2012. Non-participating properties can be found at under program terms and conditions. Free Night Award(s) must be used by October 31, 2013, and can be redeemed by calling your local SPG Customer Contact Center and mentioning Award ID D1NFN. Free Night Award is not transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. Unused Awards are forfeited. See “All Offers” below for additional terms and conditions.

All Offers: All above-listed offers are nontransferable and void for Starwood employees. Register online at by October 31, 2012. Once a member chooses his or her offer, it cannot be changed at any time. An eligible stay is defined as one or more consecutive nights paying a qualifying rate in the same hotel regardless of the number of check-ins or checkouts that occur and posts to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account. Eligible stays/nights will be tracked by the date the member checks in and not the date the member checks out. A qualifying rate is any rate that is eligible to earn Starpoints in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. A description of a non-qualifying rate can be found at Multiple rooms charged to the same member during the same stay will only count as one stay. All promotions are subject to the Starwood Preferred Guest program terms and conditions, which are subject to change without notice and can be found at Offer is applicable to single members only and not to groups. Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors. Starwood reserves the right to discontinue this offer at any time. To update your communication preferences or learn about our privacy practices, view our Privacy Statement on, or access our privacy information line by calling 1-877-782-0071 in the U.S. and Canada or +353-21-4930474 in all other countries. Starpoints, SPG, Preferred Guest, Sheraton, Four Points, W, Aloft, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, Element, Westin, St. Regis and their respective logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. Void where prohibited by law. All rights reserved.

Qantas Involuntarily Downgrade Compensation F to C Johannesburg to Sydney


Yesterday, I got a call from Qantas UK to my phone number in the United States. It is actually a Google Voice one so I get a transcript of the message (not understandable) and also the actual voice mail as an email attachment. It was only a message to call back the Qantas in the UK.


I checked the ExpertFlyer and realized that he Qantas has downgraded the flight. Instead of sending three class equipment that has economy, business, and first class, they sent a two class plane that doesn’t have first class at all. I called Qantas back and enquired about switching to Emirates via Dubai to preserve a first class, but was told to contact the issuing airline that in this instance was American Airlines. Made a quick call to AA that told me that it is Qantas’ responsibility to rebook me due to an equipment change.

Made a second call to Qantas here in South Africa and it got transferred to Qantas’ call center in the Melbourne. I got a cockiest lady answering the call who was pretending that it wasn’t their problem at all that they had switched the aircraft and that I would need get back to the issuing airline, this case AA, and just request a fare difference back.

Qantas Fare Refund Table Invol Downgrade
Qantas Fare Refund Table Invol Downgrade

Had the ticket been issued in Australia, Qantas actually has a compensation table on their website for various kinds of downgrades. This downgrade from paid first class to business would yield a refund of 1200 AUD. It is not a lot, but the fare difference between a full F and J is only $643.


It is inevitable that there are equipment changes at time, but it is how the airline deals with the issue that matters. I was downgraded couple of times this year with Emirates, but they have procedures in place to correctly address the issue. You will get an options voucher that allows you to travel a return trip in the originally booked class in a case of a downgrade. Also, they throw some miles at you for the inconvenience.

It is understandable that in a case of equipment substitution they send these two class planes to a market that doesn’t have strong consumer protection. Had they tried to downgrade passengers that are originating from the European Union, Qantas would have been required to refund 75% of the entire ticket cost per the EU regulations.

I was really surprised about the cockiness of the Qantas in this instance. If you downgrade the flight due to equipment substitution and just brush off the passengers that are inconvenienced, it is a very short sighted way of doing business. It might work if you run a business in a monopolistic market but not in a competitive environment.

United Removes Flight Bucket and Upgrade Inventory Availability from & Gone From Experflyer As Well

United made an announcement late on Friday about discontinuance of award, upgrade space, and fare bucket availability from Later in the day this information was no longer available using ExpertFlyer either. This information was useful when one was searching for flights based on GPU (Global Premier Upgrade) or RPU availability (Regional Premier Upgrade).

United Announcement About Removal of Availability Display
United Announcement About Removal of Availability Display

Later United clarified their position:

United Announcement Clarification
United Announcement Clarification

This information used to be available using ExpertFlyer as well but as of today the information is no longer available:


You still have access to the regular fare bucket availability using ExpertFlyer:


American Airlines still continues to publish this information via GDS that ExpertFlyer can access:



Unlike American Airlines, United requires you to buy a W fare or higher in order to use their upgrade GPU instrument on long haul international flights. W fare costs hundreds of dollars more than discounted coach and it is wise only to book flights that one can confirm to business or first class at the time of ticketing, if one wishes to use upgrade instrument. Now, this information has been withdrawn from

The United spokesperson was referring for confusion that displaying this information has lead. I really would like to believe their spokesperson, but she just doesn’t make any sense. How booking a flight that has upgrade space available and then using one of the upgrade instruments can lead to confusion?

Marriott Status Match Silver, Gold & Platinum – Taste of Silver, Gold or Platinum


Marriott recently changed their status match requirements. The old one was based on number of NIGHTS stayed during the match period. Now, the requirement is based on STAYS. Note that one stay can consist of multiple nights and would only count as one stay. This new requirement is easier to those that can switch between Marriott branded hotels and have one night stays.


You can get a temporarily match to Silver, Gold or Platinum status with Marriott rewards, and then you have at minimum three months to complete the requirements of  the challenge you requested/were targeted for.

The normal Silver status requirements is 10 nights, Gold status requirement is 50 nights and Platinum status 75 nights within a calendar year.

Hyatt, Hilton, and Club Carlson have similar programs available. You can read about Starwood options here, Hyatt’s procedures here, Hilton options here, and finally Club Carlson one here.

The new Marriott taste of Silver/Gold/Platinum requirements are:

1. Silver 3 stays during three month period + the month when you sign up

2. Gold 6 stays during three month period + the month when you sign up

3. Platinum 9 during three month period + the month when you sign up

Marriott uses somewhat interchangeably words Taste of Silver/Gold/Platinum, status match, and challenge when it comes to accelerating the status with the program.

The key is to start the challenge after the 1st of the month. If you start the taste of challenge on September 1st, you have only September, October, and November to complete it. By starting September 5th you would have not only September, October, and November, but also December to complete it.

Marriott will give you an instant Silver, Gold or Platinum status for the duration of the taste of period and will extend it upon completion of the required number of nights.

If you fail to successfully complete the challenge, you can do it again after 12 months from the ending of the challenge period.

The best time to apply for a challenge would be right at the beginning of the month. Then you would have the temporarily Silver, Gold or Platinum status close to 4 months and, if you successfully completed the challenge, the status would be valid until February 2014.

Then in 2014 you can probably do another Taste of Silver/Gold/Platinum or simply buy back the Gold/Platinum status for additional year. Marriott Rewards has offered every year a chance to buy back the previous status, if you have been downgraded. You can read more about the process on a recent piece that I wrote.

How to request?

You can call your local Marriott Rewards customer service number. I would, however, rather request the challenge by email. This way you have everything in writing and there is no chance of miscommunication or misunderstanding the requirements. Marriott tends to be quite fast at replying to emails.  Email addresses that you can use for requesting challenge are,, or

What if I am denied the challenge that I requested?

There are few reasons that Marriott tend to give when they are denying the challenge.

1. Account not eligible

2. Not enough commitment to have Marriott stays

3. No forward bookings

All these are rather easy to argue. If you are switching from another chain, it is rather obvious that you don’t have prior stay history with Marriott or have future Marriott bookings. You can always reiterate the number of stays that you have had with competing chains and that it would be difficult to switch to Marriott, if you don’t get the elite status benefits during the “transitioning” period.

You may get different answer depending what email address you use and/or if you call Marriott. If the answer you received is not to your liking, it doesn’t hurt to contact Marriott using other contact channel i.e. phone.


It is normally rather easy to get a status match challenge from Marriott. The number of stays to get Platinum status extended is only 9 during the month you sign up + 3 full months. If you start the challenge at the beginning of the month, you have close to four months to complete it.

Trying to requalify the hard way is somewhat problematic though. Marriott requires 75 nights during a calendar year and only paid nights count. If you don’t requalify and would prefer maintaining the status, you can always use the Buy Back Your Status-offer from Marriott or to do another challenge

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 Marriott promotion or bonus point opportunity around.

Priority Club “Roles To Rooms” Promotion Update: 15K for 4 Stays


On August 30th, I wrote about a new Priority Club promotion for 15K points for 4 stays. You can access the post here.


The promotion is available to those that have their Priority Club account address in the Asia Pacific region. All others will receive a message about invalid promotion code. Also, the promotion doesn’t show up on “My Promotions” even when you have successfully registered.


I can now confirm that if you successfully signed for the promotion and even if it doesn’t show up in your “My Promotions”, you will receive the bonus points. I just had couple of stays and the first set of bonus points (2500) posted after the second stay.


This is an excellent Priority Club promotion that you should sign up for. If your account address is not in the Asia pacific region, it would be worthwhile to change it there temporarily. I am sure that we all have someone in out extended circle of friends that is living in the region. Just ask if you can use their address temporarily.

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.

Yellow Fever, Influenza & Hepatitis A Vaccinations in Bangkok


The other week, I got denied boarding when I was trying to enter flight to South Africa from Brazil due to not having my Yellow fever vaccination proof with me. When I was in Bangkok earlier this week, I decided to have this fixed and get my second Hepatitis A shot at the same time.


The Thai Red Cross building, where you can get all these done, is as also known as snake farm. I guess that they must have some sort of snake farm/exhibition in there as well. It is centrally located close to the Silom area.


So, here’s the deal. It is very inexpensive to have these vaccinations done in Bangkok. The fee is only 20 THB that covers the prescription. The Yellow Fever vaccination was 900 THB, the Hepatitis A 1400 THB, and the influence one 400 THB.


You first need to sign up.


Then nurse will measure your blood pressure.


Then you go to another room to wait for a doctor.


After getting the prescription there is a pharmacy where you pick up the meds.


Then back to the same room and a nurse will administer the injections.


All this took about an hour from arriving to leaving.


[nggallery id=56]

Bangkok is an excellent place to get visas or even some vaccinations as I just did. I had the yellow fever vaccination done previously, but the documentation was lost at some point. Just an hour of my time and less than 2800 THB ($90), I had not only the yellow fever but also influenza and hepatitis A taken care as well.

Qantas New Partnership with Emirates and Dropping JVA with BA, CX & AF Codeshares


During the past few years Emirates has grown significant on the Australian market by connecting number of cities to their global network. Emirates also operates several of so called trans-Tasman routes between Australia and New Zealand.


Qantas will drop its Singapore to Franfurt route and will start connecting its entire European network via Dubai. Qantas will continue to operate two flights per day to London Heathrow via Dubai from Sydney and Melbourne, but all the other destinations will be served using Qantas codeshares on Emirates metal.


Emirates will get access to Qantas’ domestic network for feeder flights to supports its Australian network.

Qantas will end its joint venture agreement with British Airways and codeshare agreements with both Cathay Pacific and Air France.

Both airlines will acknowledge the frequent flyer statuses of each others frequent fliers.

You can read more about this announcement on dedicated website at


This is really interesting development. Emirates is an alliance independent airline and Qantas is a member of Oneworld alliance. It doesn’t bode well for the alliance if Qantas is dropping its codeshare agreements with Cathay Pacific and ending the JVA (join venture agreement) with British Airways.

It has also been speculated that Qatar is likely to join an alliance and might be leaning towards Oneworld .

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