Great Way to Contact Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Platinum Concierge – Use Chat!

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SPG Online ChatAs I am on the road close to 100% of the time, it makes contacting various entities in the United States bit difficult. Starwood has contact centers that deal with SPG issues in Ireland and Singapore as well, but I have found that the folks sitting in the United States are the most competent of them all.

Some countries block Skype and other VOIP access and calling using a landline or cellphone can be very expensive. You could probably send an email request but, if issue needs back and forth communication, it can take quite some time to resolve. My preferred channel of contacting SPG in a situation like this is the Platinum chat.

You can find the link to the chat on the upper right corner under the Customer Service-link. I then opens the actual chat-application window where you should have your name, email address, and the SPG Platinum account number. You can then enter your question to the space below. I always try to be as comprehensive and complete with my question/request, so that the Platinum concierge, dealing with the chat, can start working immediately with my issue without having to clarify several times.

Aloft Sukhumvit 11 Bangkok, Thailand-Review

Just stayed at the newly opened Aloft hotel at Sukhumvit 11 in Bangkok, Thailand. The opening of the hotel was delayed several times due to constructions issues, and later due to the flooding situation in Bangkok. The hotel finally opened its doors on December 1st, 2011. I have previously stayed at handful of Aloft properties, but all of them have been int he United States. Often, even limited service hotel concepts like Aloft, have more full service offering in the Asia due to competition and lower labor costs.

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Executive Summary

The hotel is done very nicely. One could use words modern chic, to describe it. I especially liked the way the ground floor and the second floor set up was done.

– As a SPG Platinum member it is very difficult for me to choose this property over other SPG options in Bangkok that all offer a breakfast and a happy hour for SPG Platinum members among other benefits.

– Without any Starwood status? Maybe as long as the price is in line with the competitors.

Get 20% Discount For Buying SPG Starpoints – Capped at 20K Starpoints per Calendar Year.

Normally Starwood sells Starpoints at 3.5 cents each, and the maximum number of points one is allowed to buy each calendar year is 20K. Now until December 31st Starwood is offering 20% discount for buying points. Instead of the usual 3.5 cents you can buy them at 2.8 cents. Sounds a bit high, doesn’t it?

SPG Starpoints 20 Discount

The reason why I quite like Starpoints is due to the fact that they are very flexible. You can use them for straight hotel awards, you can use cash + points awards, you can book flights using them, and most importantly you can convert 20K Starpoints to 25K miles with number of carriers.

Hilton Offering 30% Back In Points When You Book One of Their New Hotel Rewards.

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Hilton has been offering Premium Room Rewards and Points + Cash option since the second half of this year. These are not available at all the properties but are slowly being introduced.

Hilton HHonors Get Points Back Promotion

When I was looking at the Hilton Abu Dhabi back in October, I came to conclusion that the premium room awards at the property in question were valuing Hilton HHonors point at around $0.004. Another value that I have come across is $0.007 per HHonors point.

Whenever I have seen these premium room rewards at a reasonable level, the normal rates have been so low that it wouldn’t have made any sense to use points for the stay in the first place. There have been, however, few glitches here and there.

25% Off Code For Virgin America Flights.

TOMS Shoes, Virgin America, and Urban Daddy have teamed up and giving away 25% off code for Virgin America flights. You must ticket between December 15th and December 31st for flights from January 3rd   to February 15th, 2012.

Virgin America 25 Off

This appears to be a genuine offer in a sense that even the lowest economy fares qualify. The main cabin select and the business class fares are not part of this offer. When signing up, I would suggest that you unmark the box that authorizes all the companies in question start sending you emails, unless you don’t mind of course.  

Another 100% Bonus Transfer Offer from Delta Air Lines for Transferring Miles Between SkyMiles Accounts.

Three weeks ago I wrote about a similar transfer offer that appeared to be targeted. Now Delta has an offer that is available for everyone. Essentially you can “buy” miles for 1.1 cents per mile when you transfer them in the chunks of 30K at a time. The maximum number of miles one can transfer in a calendar year is 150K, and the number of miles that can received from any number of SkyMiles accounts is 300K. This offer is valid until December 16th, 2011.

Delta Air Lines Transfer Miles Promotion December 2011

Had United or American Airlines made an offer like this, I would say that anybody should buy/transfer the maximum number of miles allowed. In a case of Delta, however, it is not as clear cut. This can be a very good deal if used correctly.

Time to Buy Some BMI Miles? 50% Bonus for Purchases Made This Week Only.

Although BMI is disappearing or at least is going to have a new parent sometime next year, it can make sense to buy some Diamond Club miles if you have planned use for them in the next six months or so.

BMI Diamond Club - Buy Miles

If you have not bought any miles this year, you can buy up to 16K miles that after 50% bonus will become the maximum 24K that can be bought during a calendar year. Of course you can have other family members to buy miles as well…. The price of 24K miles is 207 GBP.

Transportation Options from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport to the City Center.

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There are myriad of transportation options from the Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport (BKK) to the city center. As I travel around the Asia extensively, I often decide to have either along transfer (less than 24 hours) or stop over for a few days in Bangkok. I probably do this 10 to 15 times a year.

My personal choice is the public taxi from the departures level. I used to take the taxi at the arrivals level, but there really is no reason to do that. The SkyTrain is nice to do once, but even then I was questioning myself why I just didn’t take a cab. The AOT ladies are annoyingly trying to push their car service that costs about triple, if not more, compared to the public taxi.

Hotels.com Welcome Rewards – Free Stay for Every Ten Nights.

Hotels.com, part of Expedia, uses their own homegrown rewards program for hotel bookings made on their site, and I just did my first ever redemption using it.

Hotels.com Welcome Rewards

The deal is that you get a free night for every ten nights you book using Hotels.com and your Welcome Rewards account. The free night can be worth up to the average daily rate you paid for the ten nights. You can choose a more expensive hotel and pay only the difference + taxes/fees. Before the change in March, the free night could be up to $400 in value regardless of the value of the ten nights stayed.

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

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The first quarter 2012 promotions are slowly starting to be announced. Marriott just introduced theirs MegaMiles that runs from January 1st until April 30th. You can earn an additional 2000 miles per stay starting from your second stay. This promotion is based on stays and not on nights. Regardless how many nights your stay is, you will only earn the 2000 bonus miles.

Marriott Rewards Megamiles

There are 23 participating airlines. The miles for kilometers conversion will be 1 miles to 1.6 kilometers for those programs that use kilometers instead of miles. The airline partners are:

Buy American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flier Miles and Get 25% Bonus.

Now American Airlines is offering a 25% bonus for buying miles until December 31st. The number of miles that one can buy each year is normally capped at 40K. American Airlines has temporarily lifted this to 60K miles.

American Airlines Buy AA Miles Email

So, the question then becomes, whether buying AA miles at 2.0625 cents each is a good deal or not? Overall, the AAdvantage program is one of the easiest ones to use miles at reasonable cost and without fuel surcharges, which only apply to British Airways metal flights.

Hilton Launches Their ‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights.

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Hilton just launched their latest ‘Resort Escapes’ promotion. You can get a free night certificate after five night contiguous stay at any of the more than 100 participating properties or two certificates after ten night stay. Alternatively you can complete two five night resort stays. This promotion is valid from December 1st, 2011 to April 30th, 2012. The free night certificate(s) are valid for 6 months after earning them.

Hilton 'Escape to a Resort' Promotion

This promotion is nice because you don’t have to hotel hop. The current free night certificate promotion is for a free night after every four stays or ten nights. It encourages people to switch hotels every night if they wish to maximize the number of free night certificates earned.

Ethiopian Airlines Joining Star Alliance on December 13th – Lots of New Routes in Africa.

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Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is finally joining Star Alliance on 13th of December, 2011. The airline was accepted to be a member of Star already more than a year ago.  The airline is based in Addis Ababa and operates to more than 60 international destinations from there. Ethiopian serves more African destinations than any other airline.

Ethiopian Routes

Ethiopian has already had a partnership with Lufthansa for quite some time. It is still unclear at this point, however, how much flight on various Ethiopian fare classes will earn miles on other Star Alliance carriers after the joining date. If the current Lufthansa chart gives any indication, it will be quite reasonable. Most of the fare classes will earn miles.    

New Offer from US Airways for Buying Dividend Miles at 1.75 Cents per Mile – Capped at 80K.

US Airways already mistakenly leaked the web page couple of weeks ago about this promotion that started today. At the time they took the web page down.

US Airways Buy Miles December 2011

This time around you can buy up to 40K Dividend miles at 3.5 cents per mile, and they double the amount up to 40K miles. Essentially, you are paying 1.75 cents per mile. Last time when they offered this buy miles promotion the price of the mile bough was less than 1.5 cents per mile. This promotion is valid until the end of the month.

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