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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport Hotel, Narita, Japan – Review of My Not So Perfect Stay

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This was my first Hilton hotels stay for a while that wasn’t satisfactory. Part of the reason might be that I can get easily cranky when coming off from a long flight and things quite doesn’t work out.

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Problems that I encountered at the Narita Hilton:

1. When I book an airport hotel I expect that a hotel runs an airport shuttle more often than once an hour. During the day Hilton’s shuttle bus only runs very limited schedule that is borderline useless. Who wants to wait 50+ minutes for a hotel shuttle?

2. No Bellman working at the entrance for helping with the bags.

3. Front desk had a very limited understanding of the English language.

4. Apparently no upgrade, although upgradeable rooms were available at Hilton.com.

5. Front desk refused to reimburse the 2000 yean taxi costs from the airport that I requested due to borderline nonexistent bus schedule.

6. Requested to speak with the GM that didn’t happen.

7. Apparently was given a key to the wrong room first. The front desk staff was running after me when I got to the 10th floor. Then the key didn’t work on the room on the 11th floor.

8. No wireless internet at the rooms and had problems with the wired connection. Wired problem was solved when a new router was brought in.

And no, I don’t believe that the hotel really is this bad. What I have learned from my yearly 300+ hotel stays from 2004 is that when things starts going wrong everything just escalates. When the arrival experience is subpar it starts to define the entire stay unless hotel proactively “corrects” things, which Hilton Narita didn’t do.

The price that I got the hotel at the Hilton.com was an AAA rate of 8700 yens. I think that the price was fair. When I was trying to find the name of the hotel GM, I came across their Facebook promo. If you like the hotel on their Facebook page, you are eligible for a rate of 5000 yen and like 5 discount coupons. I made the second booking, while I was already checked in at the hotel, and just notated on the comment section that I would like to switch my AAA rate to this promotional rate. My rate had been changed before checking out to this promotion without any further interaction from my part. Also the hotel had slipped in under the door the discount coupons associated with this promotion.

The Room

The room I had fairly normal sized but was starting to look dated, although it had been maintained well. It took some time for me to figure out how to turn out all the lights. It wasn’t very intuitive. The room I had faced the Narita airport.

Fitness Center

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Fitness center was open 24 hours a day. During the night hours you could access it through alternate entry. When I went there 5:30AM there was already more than ten people. When I looked at the sign in sheet, everybody else was a crew member. Apparently this hotel is mainly used for airline crews that is not surprising considering the proximity to the airport.

Breakfast

The breakfast was served at their main buffet. The selection was fine, although not very extensive.

Conclusion

Overall, I wouldn’t mind staying there again, if the price is right, even considering the flaws I had during my stay. They must do some work with the hotel soon. It is starting to look somewhat dated.

Lifetime Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status Requirements

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Last week Starwood announced their lifetime Platinum status requirements that are 500 nights and 10 years as a Platinum member. Hyatt has had their lifetime Diamond program already for quite some time. You won’t find any information about it from the Gold Passport website but the qualification requirements aren’t secret.

Here’s what you need to get lifetime Hyatt Gold Passport Status:

1. You must have earned 1000000 BASE points that is $200000 in spending. Note that only stays that are credited to points will qualify.

2. You must have been a Gold Passport member for 10 years.

hyatt-gold-passport-lifetime-diamond

One thing to note that base points are not the same as the lifetime points you can see in your Gold Passport account. Lifetime points include all the Hyatt points that you have earned from number of sources i.e. bonus points, credit card points, transfer points etc. Hyatt Gold Passport base points are only the points that you have earned from your stays based on the revenue before any bonus points. There is no other way to find the number of base points that you have earned than to call the Hyatt Gold Passport customer service.

The huge negative for me is the fact that all the stays that I have credited towards airline miles don’t count towards lifetime status at all. Hyatt has run quite a few attractive airline related bonus offers with Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, American Airlines, and even with Southwest, when it hasn’t made any sense to credit the stay towards Hyatt points.

Overall this requirement is quite difficult to achieve. Let’s say that you have 50 Hyatt nights per year and the room revenue is $150 per night. It would take you 27 seven years to qualify for lifetime Diamond status with Diamond.

I will most likely expire before hitting the lifetime Diamond requirement with Hyatt Gold Passport. Not so with Starwood and Marriott.

Withdrawing Money from the ATM’s at the London Heathrow Airport? Don’t Fall on the Travelex Currency Conversion Scam.

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In November, I wrote about Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) problems that I had with number of hotels in China. I continue seeing this practice with quite a few ATM machines as well where operators are trying to extract extra profits from travelers.

Here is an example from London Heathrow airport on Monday. I had a booking with an airport hotel and needed some cash for the cab or the bus. There are number of ATM’s all over the places that are praying for clueless tourists.

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Again, the ATM shows that there is NO-COMMISSION in very large font and the exchange rate from pounds to euros. On the lower right, however, on a very small font is the admission that they charge 5.5% margin in top of the wholesale rate. If this “margin” is not a commission, what is it then?

Quit a few card companies have stopped charging for currency conversions altogether. These foreign currency transactions are processed through MasterCard and Visa networks at competitive rates. Some card issuers do charge for a foreign transaction fee regardless in what currency the transaction is made. So, even if you withdraw the money in your local currency after the DCC, your bank might still charge their fees.

My advice has always been to decline these automatic currency conversions unless you want the ATM operators to make quite a few extra bucks out of you.

Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, UAE, -Review of My Stays

The Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort is conveniently located in the front of the Abu Dhabi corniche relatively close to the tourist club area and to the old downtown. I stayed there three or four times between October and December last year.

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They had a road construction going in front of the hotel during my stays, but I think that it must have been completed by now. It was bit difficult to get in a taxi because they had to make quite a few turns before finding the right driveway to the hotel’s entrance.

sheraton-abu-dhabi-hotel-resort-beach-view-of-the-hotel

There is a club lounge, but you need to check in at the front desk even if you are a club level or SPG Platinum member. In all occasions, I hadn’t been upgraded to a suite in advance. Few words with the front desk, and at least once a phone call or two, made the suite happen in all of my stays.

Accommodations

Video review of a suite 547

Video review of a suite 318

The suite that I had was different every time but the basic layout was about the same. Please note that the two videos are from different suites as are the photos that I took. You can get a very good idea and feel about the suites that Platinum members can expect to get there.

sheraton-abu-dhabi-hotel-resort-suite-sitting-area

All of the suites had a spacious living room, kitchenette with a full refrigerator, and a bedroom with a bathroom/shower. I did appreciate the fact that the furniture was in the Middle Eastern style.

sheraton-abu-dhabi-hotel-resort-suite-platinum-welcome-amenity

Club Lounge

Marriott Elite Buy Back Promotion – Buy Back Your 2011 Elite Status

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Marriott has run this promotion yearly, where you can buy back the elite status you had the previous year, but lost due to not enough stays. As always the promotion runs from February 1st to April 2nd.

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40000 Marriott Rewards points to buy back Platinum status

25000 Marriott Rewards points to buy back Gold status

7500 Marriott Rewards points to buy back Silver status

You can only buy back the elite status that you had the previous year. If you were Gold in 2011, you cannot buy back Platinum in 2012. You can buy Marriott Rewards points up to 50K per year in increments of 1000 points at $12.50 per 1000 points.

Does it make sense to buy back the status?

1. I would only buy back Platinum, if I had high number of planned stays at international properties where Platinum treatment is superior to that in the United States. Although suites are not officially part of the Platinum upgrades, you can get them regularly at international properties. Also the welcome amenity of bottle of wine and a cheese plate is quite common.

2. Buying back Gold status is easier choice. I would most likely do it because then you would be eligible for concierge floor upgrades and lounge access/breakfast.

3. Buying back Silver? Nah. Just get the Marriott Rewards credit card and you will get the Silver status automatically.

Another suggestion for keeping the 2011 status.

Marriott Rewards is known for not downgrading their elite members automatically even when you haven’t had enough stays. If you did get downgraded, it doesn’t hurt to give them a call or send an email and plead your case. You might be positively surprised.

Why Airlines Love Fuel Surcharges YQ’s/YR’s?

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The fuel surcharges have found their way into the fares in the past 10 years. Airlines are trying to justify this by the increase in jet fuel price, and for the ease of changing fares by adjusting fuel surcharges alone.

But in reality these fuel surcharges are nothing more than an eloquent “scam”, if I may use that rather strong word. Jet fuel is cost of doing business for the airlines as are the wages of employees and plane leases.

Here are five reasons why airlines love these fees:

1.  Airlines discount business and first class tickets heavily for corporate clients. The discount only applies to the base fare.

2. Airlines pay travel agent commissions based on the base fare without fuel surcharges.

3. Sometimes airlines can advertise cheaper fares hiding the fuel surcharges to taxes/fees component.

4. Most of the non-US airlines charge fuel surcharges on award tickets.

5. Possible tax advantage. Some countries tax airline ticket purchases. Taxes may not apply to fuel surcharges.

Fuel Surcharges on award tickets?

Most of the US based airlines don’t charge fuel surcharges on award tickets, Delta is the biggest exception and American Airlines when British Airways flights are involved. The situation is different elsewhere though. Travelers need to pony up significant amount of money to pay for fuel surcharges that make redeeming miles for economy travel very bad proposition.

The other day, I made rather complicated award using Continental miles that would have been expensive had they collected fuel surcharges as well.

Here is the breakdown how much the YQ’s/YQ’s would have been:

Lufthansa business class HEL-MUC 39 EUR = $51

Lufthansa business class MUC-LHR EUR = $51

Virgin Atlantic business class LHR-NRT 150 GBP = $236

ANA business class NRT-PVG 4800 YEN = $63

Thai Airways business class PVG-BKK 521 CNY = $83

Thai Airways business class BKK-AKL 5350 THB = $173

Air New Zealand business class AKL-NAN 6 NZD = $5

Carrier specific fuel surcharges would have been total of $662 for this routing. Because Continental doesn’t charge these, I only paid the REAL taxes of $120.10.

As you can see from the example above the fuel surcharges that Air New Zealand charges are very low compared to other airlines. If you are redeeming from a program that charges fuel surcharges, you can save significant amount of money by routing your trip on carriers like NZ that doesn’t participate to this dodgy practice.

Continental Award Ticket HEL-NAN Success On Lufthansa, Virgin, ANA, Thai & Air New Zealand

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Every now and then, I am going to write about award reservations that I have booked for myself, and that I consider being of good value. Most of my award trips are complicated and some might consider them unorthodox. I hope that my examples might give ideas how to best use the miles for international premium class tickets.

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I don’t normally book award trips months or sometimes even weeks in advance. For the past month I had been visiting family and friends in Finland, and decided that it was about the time for me to continue on my journey.

Last month Continental announced that they are ending the frequent flyer partnership with Virgin Atlantic. I haven’t tried Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class product so decided to piece something together as Continental allows one to mix their partner airlines and Star Alliance carriers on the same award tickets.

First, I was thinking of flying to Sydney. I have been to Sydney for couple of times before so it wouldn’t have been something new for me. The business class award from Europe to Australia/New Zealand is 65K CO miles. By throwing in another 10K I could make it all the way to Oceania. My award ticker to Colombo (CMB), Sri Lanka, where my next paid trip starts, would be using BMI miles that consider Australia/New Zealand/Oceania as the same zone.

air-new-zealand-pacific-route-map

I then decided to have a look at the Air New Zealand’s pacific coverage again. I have already visited Nuku Alofa (TBU) on my round the world United Airlines business class award ticket and Raratonga (RAR) on a “special” Al Italia business class fare.  Papeete (PPT) has always been on my radar, but I was thinking of going there later this year and then hop to South America via Easter Islands (IPC).

Quite a few of the islands no longer have business class service at all. Apparently Air New Zealand has gone the LCC route and eliminated the premium cabin from many of the routes. When I flew to the Rarotonga on NZ they still had business class even on the narrow body planes.

As I was going to the islands, I decided that it would be ok to visit two islands and just pay for a one-way revenue ticket in between them. I nailed down Fiji (NAN) and Apia (APW). Award tickets in business class were widely available to/from Apia on the weekly 763 service, but the award availability back from Fiji to Auckland was non-existent.

expertflyer

So using Expterflyer, paid service that has access to Air New Zealand award inventory, I could search week at a time for I (business class redemption bucket) class award availability to/from Fiji and Apia. You can also use Continental’s website for searching for NZ’s award availability. After I located the date for my AKL-APW flight, I had to start building the itinerary for other flights. For some dates Continental was even able to find award availability from Helsinki to Apia, but it wasn’t the routing that I was after.

Virgin Atlantic had quite good upper class award availability on their Asian routes. After I had found all the flights that I could live with; HEL-MUC-LHR on Lufthansa, LHR-NRT on Virgin, NRT-BKK-AKL on Thai, and the last leg AKL-APW on Air New Zealand, I placed a call with the Continental’s Platinum line. The agent was able to see and book all the flights. The taxes for this itinerary were $92.49. I tried to book the less complicated version of this at the Continental.com but never got past through the dreaded error messages.

Soon I realized that I had made a mistake. There was no way of me getting back from Fiji to Auckland using an award as there was absolutely no availability. I decided that it would be better for me to fly to Fiji and then buy one-way from Fiji to Apia, and have another redemption ticket starting from there.

The only problem was that I would need to partially build my itinerary again because the flight from Auckland to Fiji would be on 11th of February instead of 9th of February to Apia.

united-award-ticket

The solution for problems like this is to build long transfers (less than 24 hours) that are not considered stopovers somewhere along the itinerary.  Star Alliance is so well presented in Asia that “forcing” an unnecessary connection or two is rarely a problem. From Narita to Bangkok you could have natural connections point in cities like Manila, Taipei, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Hanoi just to name a few. I decided to settle for Shanghai as I had one fee Fairmont suite night about to expire later this month and the Fairmont in Shanghai is supposed to be a good one.

So my final itinerary was:

HEL-MUC-LHR using Lufthansa on 5th – overnight in London on 5th

LHR-NRT on using Virgin Atlantic on 6th – overnight in Narita on 7th

NRT-PVG on ANA on 8th – overnight in Shanghai on 8th

PVG-BKK-AKL on Thai on 9th – overnight in Auckland on 10th

AKL-NAN on Air New Zealand on 11th

Continental didn’t have any problems amending the original itinerary and reissuing the electronic ticket. The taxes went up only by $27.61. The total number of miles was still the same 85K and the total taxes came to $120.10. The whole thing was booked bit more than 24 hours before the first flight.

I do understand that complicated itineraries like the one above are not for everyone. I don’t mind the overnight stays in London, Narita, Shanghai, and Auckland at all before reaching my destination in Fiji.

My tips:

1. It is an absolute myth that there is no award availability on short notice – quite the contrary. Often airlines dump unsold business and first class inventory to award buckets few days before of the scheduled flight.

2. Start with the bottleneck segment first. In my case it would be the Auckland to NAN/APW. Then work backwards.

3. Sometimes you need to build long transfers (less than 24 hours) to get awards work. Consider these as mini stopovers.

4. Have access to the right tools. Over the years I have found both KVS and ExpertFlyer to be invaluable. You can use airline websites like Air Canada’s Aeroplan, Continental.com, and ANA’s SkyWeb to search for Star Alliance award inventory.

5. Write down the flight numbers/times and feed them to the airline agent one by one.

6. Have patience. Some airlines are very strict when it comes to allowable routings i.e. AA when some others i.e. US Airways and Continental are more relaxed. Know the rules.

7. Be nice to the agent who tries to book your flights. Sometimes their systems might have limitations and not always the award inventory is the same across the alliance. It could be carrier or even the point of sale dependent.

8. Enjoy your trip!

Hilton HHonors Is Now Sending Emails Regarding The Enhanced Diamond Benefits

It took some time for Hilton to start sending emails about the new Diamond member benefits that started on January 18th. Emails are just going out so no need to worry if you haven’t received yours. You can visit the Hilton’s page devoted to these changes following this link.

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Here is the recap of the changes for Diamond members:

1. There are no changes for Diamond members staying at Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn’s, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, and Hilton Grand Vacation Locations.

2. Previously Diamond member had to choose between the MyWay 1000 extra bonus points in lieu for breakfast/upgrade. This is no longer the case. You will automatically receive the upgrade + breakfast + 1000 bonus points at Waldorf Astoria (no breakfast benefit), Conrad, DoubleTree, and Hilton hotels.

3. Now the upgrade pool also includes SUITES that before were excluded. This applies for Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, DoubleTree and Hilton properties. At the same time the upgraded rooms are no longer just executive rooms but view and other lower category rooms as well.

4. Executive Lounge access is no a guaranteed benefit of Diamond status.

We’ll need to see how these changes work through all the hotels. Personally I am most excited about the possible suite upgrades. At least it is now explicitly stated that suites are fair game for Diamond members.

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Diamond benefits by the Hilton hotel brand:

Bloomberg Businessweek Article About United & Continental Merger

When I first saw the cover all I could say was wow! For sure it won’t let anybody cold. But, the actual article about the everyday things that these two merging airlines need to get right from the size of the coffee packet to combined flight management system is actually rather well written.

bloomberg-businessweek-united-continental

If you can get the cover out of your mind, I would suggest spending five to ten minutes of your time to read it online. The full article “Let’s Get It On” is available at http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/united-continental-making-the-worlds-largest-airline-fly-02022012.html.

Air Berlin To Join Oneworld Alliance On March 20th & Kingfisher Implementation Put On Hold

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It hasn’t been a great week for Oneworld alliance. Friday the Hungarian carrier Malev ceased operations when planes where held at various airports for unpaid debts. And now Kingfisher’s joining to Oneworld is put on hold.

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Kingfisher was set to join the alliance on February 10th, but now the implementation has been put on hold as the carrier tries to resolve its financial difficulties. Earlier in the week Kingfisher failed to pay its dues to IATA’s Geneva based ICH clearing house, which airlines use to settle payments with each other, and its clearing house membership was then suspended.

It remains to be seen, whether Kingfisher is able to resolve the financial difficulties. The airline would need a significant capital boos/debt reduction in order to survive. Air India was set to join competing Star Alliance, but its pending membership was suspended August last year. There are currently no Indian carriers in any of the three global alliances.

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One the positive side for the Oneworld alliance is the confirmed joining date of March 20th for Air Berlin. From that date onwards you can earn both elite qualifying status miles as well as redeemable miles on flights operated by Air Berlin but credited to Oneworld Alliance partners.

Be sure to check whether the ticketed fare class qualifies for a credit as it often varies between the alliance carriers. On American Airlines’ AAdvantage program the cheaper fares only earn 25%. Not sure if American Airlines will implement a new earnings chat from March 20th onwards.

I haven’t flown Air Berlin yet, but they have come across on fare searches quire frequently. It is just difficult to book on a non-alliance carrier when you will miss all the benefits associated with the status i.e. lounge access and higher luggage allowance.

Malev Ceases Operations as Planes Held Overseas

Malev, Oneworld alliance carrier, has ceased operations as of Friday morning. I wrote on Tuesday that the airline had filed for bankruptcy protection but planned to continue operating as they were searching for partners.

malev-oneword

This morning the decision was done to ground the airline when planes were held at overseas stations in Dublin and Tel Aviv due to unpaid debts.

Malev has the following announcement on their website

malev-announcement

Not sure how they are going to provide assistance to those that are already on their trips.

 The Call Centre informs the Airline’s passengers about the way how they can get to their destinations and the possibilities of compensation.

Malév Call Centre available at:

phone from Hungary: +36 40 21 21 21

phone from abroad: +36 1 802 11 11

e-mail: malev@malev.com

According to the government regulation which entered into force on 31st January 2012, assistance can be provided to those passengers who purchased their valid tickets before Malév cease and whose travel dates are on the suspension day or on the following three calendar days. In addition, to those who already travelled to their destination on the suspension day or before and posses valid return tickets on Malév flights on a date not later than 29th February 2012.

Do you have flights on Malev coming up? Do you have tickets issued on Malev’s 182 ticket stock?

If your Malev flights are issued on other airlines’ ticket stock, you need to contact the issuing airline or agent to find alternate options.

If your ticket is issued on Malev’s ticket stock and involves other carriers, contact the operating carrier to find out if they are going to honor the tickets.

Oneworld has issued the following statement:

Two other oneworld members serve its Hungary home, with British Airways and Finnair both operating to Budapest, from their London Heathrow and Helsinki hubs respectively, with airberlin launching flights to the Hungarian capital from its Berlin base from Monday (6 February).

Passengers booked before today on code-share flights carrying the BA, AY (Finnair), JL (Japan Airlines) or AB (member elect airberlin) codes but which were to be operated by Malév are being offered alternative travel arrangements, or refunds in line with their regular fare rules.

Passengers booked before today to fly on Malév code-share flights (ie, with an MA code) operated by British Airways, Finnair or airberlin to Budapest are being offered assistance for travel on British Airways, Finnair or airberlin, subject to availability.

British Airways is also offering Malév passengers stranded away from home by the airline’s suspension of services special repatriation fares.  airberlin is also offering Malév passengers special fares on its new Berlin-Budapest route.

For details, see ba.com, finnair.com and airberlin.com

Most oneworld member airlines are also offering to rebook customers with a connecting sector on Malév onto alternative carriers for that connecting sector, where possible.  For details, see each individual airline’s website or contact their reservations centres.

Starwood Preferred Guest Spices Up SPG Gold Member Benefits

Much of the discussion on the past few days have been about the SPG Platinum benefits update. Much less has been devoted to the new benefit of the SPG Gold status.

spg-more-power

Starting March 1st the Gold members will be eligible for Welcome Gift much like PLT members. Gold members can choose from:

•Bonus Starpoints. Get to the points. Receive 250 bonus Starpoints® per eligible stay at St. Regis®, Luxury Collection®, W®, Le Méridien®, Westin® and Sheraton® and 125 Starpoints per stay at AloftSM, ElementSM and Four Points® by Sheraton.
•In-Room Internet Access. Online. On us. Surf, stream and stay connected in the convenience of your guest room with free in-room Internet access for your entire stay.
•Complimentary Beverage. Cheers. Sit back and relax with your favorite cocktail in the hotel’s restaurant or bar.

Internet access is free for all guests at Aloft and Element hotels. There your choice is basically the bonus Starpoints or a complimentary cocktail. Some other hotels are offering free internet access to all hotels so you might want to check before choosing the amenity.

Still, my favorite golf member benefit is the guaranteed 4PM check out at non-conference and resort locations. You just need to let the front desk know that you require late checkout and it is yours.

Gold status normally requires 10 stays or 25 nights in a calendar year. There are often airline related campaigns where airline elite status holders are comped SPG Gold status.

SPG Gold status after one stay paid using a MasterCard in the Asia-Pacific region

Right now SPG and MasterCard are running a promotion for getting Gold status after one stay paid with a MasterCard in the Asia-Pacific regions. You can read more about the promotion on the Starwood’s website at www.spg.com/WorldMasterCardGoldUpgrade.

February Hotel Promotions Update: Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott/Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood

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It is time for February hotel promotion update. All the hotels have their promotions up and running again and some like Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group have several concurrent promotions that you can take advantage of.

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

Club Carlson is offering triple points for all stays. Note that you will receive 2000 bonus points for online bookings.

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Club Carlson “Triple Points – Faster Nights” Promotion – Triple Gold Points Worldwide

Hilton HHonors

Hilton has the most promotions running that you can combine together. You should sign up for the two promos below. Even if you are Diamond with Hilton, you can still get 40K HH for four Hilton stays.

Register Your Visa and Get 1000 Hilton HHonors Points + 4000 Bonus for Spending $100

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders + 40K HHonors Points After Four Stays (For All?

You can choose one of these airline promotions as your double dip earnings partner. My personal favorite still is BMI that would earn 1k per night and up to three nights regardless of the Hilton brand.

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Triple ANA and Double Emirates Miles for Hilton Stays Until March 31st

Airline Promotions for Air Canada Aeroplan, US Airways Dividend Miles, Lufthansa Miles & More and American Airlines AAdvantage

Earn 2012 Bonus Delta SkyMiles per Two Night Hilton Stay

These are the two main promotions for the time. More Points promotion for extra points for each nights and more for weekend stays, and free night certificates for longer resort stays.

Hilton HHonors 1st Quarter 2012 “More Points” Promotion

‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport

Last month Hyatt didn’t have any promotions running besides the AA one that ended in the middle of the month. Hyatt’s latest promotion just started today. You can earn up to 44K extra points for 16 stays during the promotional period. That is extra 2750 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night.

hyatt-spring-promo-2012

Hyatt Announced Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

The first promotion for double points starting from your second stay and the 5/7/15 stays for 5K/10K/15K bonus points are combinable. The first one runs until the end of April and the second until the end of March. Note that you need to choose the bonus after 5, 7, or 15 stays. If you don’t meet the threshold, you won’t get the associate bonus.

Priority Club 1st Quarter 2012 Promotion Announced – Double Points or Miles – 2X More

Priority Club Bonus Points Promo for 1st Quarter 2012

There is Anniversary bonus that you can combine with these two promotion. It is extra 1000 Priority Club points for every stay for 90 days after you register. Do not register before the date of your first stay to maximize the promotional period. The promotion code is 6102 and you need to register at http://www.priorityclub.com/register. Please note that I cannot guarantee if this specific promotion will work for your Priority Club account. It never hurts to try, right?

Marriott Rewards / Ritz-Carton Rewards

Remember that you can have only Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Rewards account. You cannot have both. You can, however, switch between accounts as often as you wish just by calling the rewards customer service.

ritz-carlton-rewards

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

Note that you can only register for the MegaBonus or MegaMiles promotion. There are number of different MegaBonus thresholds. Pick up the ones that fits you best, and call the Marriott Rewards customer service if you need to switch your targeted promotion to something else.

Marriott Rewards Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer

Earn Up To 50000 Virgin America Elevate Bonus Points During Marriott’s MegaMiles Promotion

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood has two different promotions that are both exclusive. The Better By the Night is valid in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The list of non-participating properties is rather long. Note that this is NOT valid in the Asia-Pacific region that has their own promotion.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1st Quarter 2012 “Better by the Night”–promotion

Starwood Preferred Guest Asia Pacific Promotion

The following promotion is valid in the Asia-Pacific region for two free night certificates after 9 stays. Must use MasterCard to pay.

‘Two Days of Happy’ – Stay 5 Nights Get One Free Night Certificate – Stay 9 Nights Get Two Free Night Certificates – 4MCFN

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