Now Hyatt Gold Passport is Selling Points With 30% Bonus

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It appears, if all the major airlines and hotels are suddenly in the points selling business, based on the number of offers in the past few weeks. Now, it is Hyatt’s turn to offer 30% bonus for buying Gold Passport points.

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Offer available for purchases made between January 18 and March 15, 2012 inclusive. Bonus points will be awarded upon completion of individual transactions. Offer only available when points are purchased for the purchaser’s account. Offer not valid for transactions gifting points. Offer may be withdrawn or changed without notice. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Only purchases made online are eligible for the promotion.

You can buy maximum 40000 points per year not including the 30% transfer bonus in this case. The points purchase is handled by Points.com, but it really doesn’t make a difference. You would receive 52000 points for $960. The price of a point would be 1.85 cents.

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park-hyatt-sydney-pointsNow, does it make sense to buy these points? In most cases, I would say no. If you don’t have enough Gold Passport points and planning to stay at the soon to be opened Park Hyatt Sydney, quite likely the answer is yes.  The Park Hyatt Sydney doesn’t yet participate to Hyatt Stay Certificates, and the daily rates are rather high to say the least, but only 22000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night.

Two nights for 855 AUD each comes to $1779. You buy the points for $960 and will have 8000 points to spare after the stay. Of course, you have to bear in mind that the paid stay would earn you more than 10000 points, if you are a Diamond member + all other promotional points that Hyatt might be offering during your stay.

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List of InterContinental Hotels that Moved Up or Down in Award Categories in 2012

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced on January 3rd that on January 18th 25% of the hotels are going up and 20% of the hotels are going down in the number or Priority Club points needed for a free night. Unlike other hotel companies, IHG refused to provide a comprehensive list of properties, which will change, stating that not releasing a list is a competitive advantage. In my opinion it is just being foolish. Anyone could combine a list of category changes, as I have done for InterContinental hotels.

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IHG also stated that all the hotels would be bookable at old levels over the phone until March 18th. It is somewhat confusing, how someone would know whether the hotel has moved up or down, if a list of hotels is not provided. Also, the customers that have made award reservations before hotel going down in number of points needed are required to call to get the difference in points credited back to their account.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have time to go through all the 4500 hotels of the IHG. I have today, however, gone through all the 187 InterContinental Hotels that are listed on www.intercontinental.com website. Please note that not all of these hotels are operational at the moment. Some will be opened later this year or next year.

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Twenty InterContinental hotels are going down in number of points (10000) required for an award night (from 40K to 30K). 26 are going up 10K points per night, and one property, Perth IC, is going up from 30K to 50K Priority Club points per night. Nine went from 30K to 40K per night and 17 from 40K to 50K per night.

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When I was going through these at www.priorityclub.com, I also noted what would be the nightly rate for May 15th, 2012. This is the figure that is immediate to the right of the arrow. The bolded number of most right is the value of Priority Club point in dollars for that night. It is rarely more than a cent.

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Ritz-Carlton Rewards – Earn Free Night Certificate After Two Stays Promotion

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Ritz-Carlton Rewards program is intertwined with the Marriott Rewards. Marriott tries to keep them separate i.e. you are not supposed to be a member of both. You can switch between your Marriott Rewards, and the elite level, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards and vice versa by just phoning the rewards customer service. You can do this as many times during the calendar year as you wish.

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Last month, I wrote about the Marriott’s promotions for this coming spring (MegaMiles and MegaBonus). Now Ritz-Carlton has also revealed their promotion for the first part of this year. Ritz-Carlton’s offer is a free night certificate (category 1-3) for every two stays and up to two certificates. This promotion starts February 1st and ends on April 15th. There are few properties that do not participate to Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and you cannot earn or burn certificates at them. You can register for this promotion at www.RitzCarltonRewards.com/Twice. Certificates are valid for 12 months after issuance.

Terms and Conditions: Registration is required. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® members who register for this promotion by March 1, 2012 will earn one certificate for a complimentary night at a Tier 1-3 hotel after the completion of two paid stays between February 1 and April 15, 2012, up to a maximum of two complimentary night certificates. An earned complimentary night award will be added to the member’s account within 3-5 business days after the second qualifying stay. Awards are not transferable and may not be given as a gift. Certificates will expire one year from date of issuance and other restrictions apply. A stay is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity. Only one room per hotel per stay is counted toward earning for this promotion. Promotion excludes The Ritz-Carlton Millennia, Singapore, The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal, Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club®, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, and Partner Hotels. Members of The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program as of January 13, 2012 and new members who were not previously members of the Marriott Rewards® program are eligible to receive this offer. Offer is non-transferable, subject to availability, does not apply to groups, and cannot be combined with any other offer. All Ritz-Carlton Reward

This promotion is very interesting. You can maximize it by having just short one night stays. Especially, if you can pick and choose the least expensive Ritz-Carlton’s and use the rewards at the most expensive category 3 properties.

Continental Airlines & Virgin Atlantic Frequent Flyer/Codeshare Agreement Ending on February 13th

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Now it is time to get the last Virgin Atlantic redemptions in using Continental miles. If you have United miles, you can link your accounts and transfer them to Continental. Virgin Atlantic hasn’t been United partner.

Effective February 13, 2012 we will discontinue our OnePass and codeshare partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Mileage accrual benefits are valid for travel through February 13, 2012. Please refer to the Mileage Credit Request Form for information regarding obtaining missing mileage credit. OnePass reward reservations for travel on Virgin Atlantic must be confirmed and ticketed by February 13, 2012, and they are valid one year from the date ticketed.

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This info is already available on Continental’s website, but nothing on Virgin’s website as of today. The last day to earn miles on Virgin flights is February 13th. That is also the last day to ticket any award bookings on Virgin. Most likely any changes to award flights involving Virgin i.e. date changes are not possible after that date.  You only option at that point would be to cancel the ticket and have Continental to refund the miles and taxes/fees.

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Complimentary Booze is Back on International Economy Class on Select American Airlines Flights

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American Airlines is bringing back complimentary booze, although beer and wine only, on American Airlines flights to Asia, Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. This is an interesting development. With the US airlines, it has been recently like how we can unbundle more services that we can sell. Of course the booze used to be free on all flights, but that was gradually withdrawn.

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Not sure what made American to take this move. The booze, and not just beer and wine, has been on the complimentary basis with most European and Asian carriers. Anyway, on your next international flight on American, if you happen to be seated on coach, make sure to request your complimentary beer or wine.

Complimentary Beer and Wine Service is available in international main cabins onboard international flights between the U.S. and Europe, the U.S. and Asia and select flights between the U.S. and Latin America, including: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil (CNF); Brasilia, Distrito Federal, Brazil (BSB); Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE); Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (GIG); Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU); Santiago, Chile (SCL); Montevideo, Uruguay (MVD); Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (SSA); and Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil (REC). Beer and wine offerings will vary by flight.

American Airlines Offering Multiple Bonuses for Flights to Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The planned new benefits would be:

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

– Diamond members would be eligible for suite upgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Airlines Introduces Mileage Plus Gift Registry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does it make sense to buy back the status?

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

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

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

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

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

In order for you to take advantage of this offer:

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

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

Starting February 15th there will be a partial change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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