SPG Nice Choice Promotion Strategy

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Summary

Unless you know exactly how many nights you are going to stay during the promotional period that you choose, sign up for the double points. If you know FOR SURE that you are going to have at least 15 nights, sign up for the triple points. If your stays are ONLY at Sheraton hotels, sign up for the 500 extra Starpoints per night at Sheraton’s-offer.

There are other worthwhile options, but they only pay after certain number of stays and are capped.

Introduction

Last week, the details of the SPG Nice Choice summer promotion were leaked out on the internet. I think that it was inevitable that the different options of this promotion would come out before the official announcement on May 1st, 2012.

For me personally this promotion is a huge disappointment compared to what Starwood offered in 2010 and 2011. I was able to put the free weekend nights in 2010 and free resort nights in 2011 to good use. I do understand that some were dissatisfied with the number of properties that decided not to participate to these two promos, and these free weekend or resort nights awards were useless for those that weren’t willing or were unable to use them during the redemption period.

This new promotion is all about the choices, but the problem is that there are so many of them that it is borderline impossible to figure out the best one unless you already have hotels booked and can calculate the payout under various choices.

To get the most out of this forthcoming promotion you must decide:

1. Which of the earning periods would fit you best? You can only choose one of the options.

2. Then what you would like to earn; Starpoints, awards, merchandise discounts, or elite night credits. Each of these options contains multiple choices and you can only choose one.

Choose your own earning period (You can only choose one)

May- July
June- August
July- September

Choose one during which you have the highest number of nights with the Starwood. You won’t earn any bonuses outside of one of these three month periods during the five months they have this promotion running.

Choose whatever you want to earn during (You can only choose one)

Starpoints
Awards (Free Nights & Redemption discounts)
Merchandise discounts
Elite Credit

You need to choose what you would like to earn.

Starpoints Offers

Double Points beginning with 2nd stay. No limits.

This is probably the easiest choice. If you have more than one stay during the promotional period, you are guaranteed to get something out of this promotion. Note that the double points start from your SECOND stay. Probably the best idea to have a one night stay first to qualify for the double points for rest of your stays.

Every 6 nights, get 3k Starpoints (max of 9k)

You will get 500 extra Starpoints per night if you hit exactly 6, 12, or 18 nights during the promotional period. This is good option if your average nightly rates are LOW.

If your nightly rates are higher than $125 and you know that you will stay at least 15 nights, the triple Starpoints offer is better (extra 4 Starpoints per dollar spend).

The double points (extra 2 Starpoints per dollar spend) from your second stay is better too, if your nightly rates are higher than $250.

Earn 500 bonus Starpoints per night at Sheratons worldwide (no limits). Online-bookings ONLY

You will only earn bonus when staying at Sheraton hotels and booking online. Not sure if bookings made through corporate travel portals count as online ones. Probably not.

The triple points offer is better if you hit the 15 nights during the promotional period, your average rate (including all incidentals) is higher than $125, and the triple points offer is valid at ALL SPG hotels.

Stay 15 nights, get Triple Starpoints on all stays retroactively. No limits.

In my opinion this is the best offer, but it won’t pay out unless you have at least 15 nights during the promotion period. The 6/12/18 nights for 3K/3K/3K bonus Starpoints and the 500 bonus Starpoints for each Sheraton nights can be better, if your folio is less than $125 and you hit exactly the number of night requirement of the 6/12/18 night promotion .

Awards Offers

10 nights, get 1 Free Weekend Night (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards. Weekends are Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun.

In 2010 SPG run a promotion where you could get a Free Weekend Night award for every 3 stays and the number of awards earned was unlimited. In 2011 the promotion was for free resort nights at any day of the week. You could earn them at any SPG property. Three stays for one free weekend night. There were some properties that opted out from this promo and these awards were capped.

You will get a payout only if you hit exactly 10 nights and then again at 20 nights. There are no payouts in between.

The category 5 free night is “worth” 12000 Starpoints. By capping the use for only weekend nights when the hotel rates tend to be lower, the “dollar” payout is lower. Not sure about the expiry date of these free weekend night awards, but they probably expire within 4 to 6 months after earning.

This award option is inflexible. You can use Starpoints to redeem cash + points, transfer to airline miles, use to buy airline tickets etc.

Stay 20 nights, get 1 25% percent off redemption Award (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards

You already get a fifth night free when redeeming for category 3 and higher. I would assume that you can stack this discount with that as well. Five night redemption at category 5 hotel would normally cost 48000 Starpoints. The required number of Starpoints after the discount would be 36000 Starpoints.

Merchandise Awards

Stay 4 nights; get US$50 SPG Award Cert (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights; get $50 or EUR50 Westin @ home discount code (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights, get $50 or EUR50 Sheraton @ home discount code (max of 3)

Each of these three award options only pays at 4, 8, or 12 nights. The SPG $50 award certificate is not a bad option, but it will be mailed to you and you need to hand it in when checking out. It counts as a cash payment towards your folio.

If you value Starpoints at 2 cents, this option would give you 625 extra Starpoints per night in SPG hotel credit.

Elite status

Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus night toward elite status (max of 3 elite qualifying nights).
Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus nights toward elite status (max of 6 nights).

The thing to note here is that you are earning NIGHTS and not stays. You can qualify for SPG Platinum status by having 25 stays or 50 nights.

The payout in the first options is 1/2/3 cumulative elite qualifying nights after 5/10/15 nights. On the second one 3/6 cumulative nights after 10/20 nights.

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dabi, UAE – Review of my Perfect Stay

Back in March, I was spending a day in UAE. I was flying in/out on Emirates in First and the service provides a complimentary transportation both ways within the United Arab Emirates. I have been to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi many times before. As a matter of fact, when I am writing this, I am on my way to Dubai yet again.

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The ride from Dubai to Abu Dhabi takes about two hours. If you take a regular taxi, the fare is about 200 dirhams or so. There is some kind of bus service between the cities as well, but I have not personally used it.

In all fairness, I am not claiming to be a Fairmont expert. I had only stayed at one other Fairmont property before the Fairmont Peace hotel in Shanghai, where I had equally fantastic stay. I have, however, stayed at a number of properties in Abu Dhabi including Park Hyatt, Hyatt Capital Gate, Sheraton Abu Dhabi Resort, Westin Golf Resort, Le Meridien, Le Royal Meridien, Sheraton Khalidiya, InterContinental Abu Dhabi, and few others.

Location

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The location of this hotel is somewhat out of the city center. It is halfway between the center and the airport. Approximately 8 miles from the city center of the Abu Dhabi.

Check In

I was using my yearly free night certificate and a suite upgrade certificate in top of that. The free night and the upgrade were both confirmed about a day before my stay.

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The check in was fairly smooth. There was confusion about something. The President’s Club guest relations manager was going to escort me to my suite. I learned that he had previously worked for IHG’s Priority Club in Mania.

Suite 953

The suite was absolutely fantastic. It had a rather large living room and one of the best chocolate and fruit amenities that I have ever come across on my hotel stays.

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The suite had a view of the hotel’s beach and the mosque on the other side of the creek.

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The living room had a guest toilet, Nespresso machine that even I knew how to use, and rather large tv.

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There was a spacious walk in closet with a vanity area between the living room and the bedroom.

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The work desk was on the bedroom.

Beach & Pool

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There was a large private beach with plenty of sun chairs on the sand and around the pool area.

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The day, when I was there, the weather was actually so cold that I had to wear a jacket. One of the pools was warmed, however, and there were handful of people in there.

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The beach & pool area was probably the nicest that I have seen in Abu Dhabi.

Fitness Center

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This was not the highlight of the hotel. I am not sure if the fitness center setup was temporarily. It is on the far end of the building and you need to access it from outside. They do have lockers there, but not sure if they even had showers etc. Certainly they didn’t have any saunas or Jacuzzis etc. that are very common in the fitness centers in the area.

Food & Beverage Outlets

My stay at the hotel was relatively quick overnight, and I had a car picking me up early in the morning. I didn’t have time to check out any of the numerous outlets.

Conclusion

This was a fantastic hotel and wouldn’t hesitate to visit again. I will most certainly do at some point when I am back in Abu Dhabi.

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The only possibly negative thing could be the location depending what is the purpose of your visit in Abu Dhabi. On one hand it is good to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but at the same time the location is inconvenient to just pop into the city center especially if you don’t have a car. The taxes are very affordable in UAE though.

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The architecture of the hotel was very interesting and obviously a lot of money had been spent on it. The beach and pool area of the hotel is excellent, and I could see that someone could just go there for a short getaway.

The service overall was very good. I didn’t experience any problems during my stay.

Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

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Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.

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This promotion starts on May 1st and end of August 30th, 2012. You will receive the normal number of miles or points for the first stay, triple bonus for stays 2 and 3, and quadruple miles or points for the stays 4 to 11.

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Please note that this promotion is NOT based on nights but rather on stays. You will receive the same number of miles or points regardless how many nights you stay. The promotion is capped at 11 stays.

The cumulative maximum number of points that you would earn by having 11 stays on Air China’s and China Eastern’s programs would be 39200. By crediting 11 stays to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards would earn you 29400 points. In all other programs the cumulative number of points after 11 stays would be the grand total of 24500 miles/points.

This promotion quite frankly works for me. Most of my stays are for one night. Getting 2500 miles for a one night stay is a rather good deal. Maybe I will finally set my foot to Hyatt property this year.

Air China – Phoenix Miles

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Air France-KLM Flying Blue

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ANA Mileage Club

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American Airlines AAdvantage

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British Airways Executive Club

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China Eastern

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Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

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Etihad Guest

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Lufthansa Miles & More

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Qatar Airways – Privilege Club

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Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

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United Airlines – Mileage Plus

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Here are the promotional terms and conditions of the United offer, but they are basically identical for each of these airlines.

More stays means 5X more miles and even more rewards

ELIGIBILITY: To be eligible to participate in the Hyatt Summer Airline Promotion (“Promotion”), you must be a member of Hyatt Gold Passport and a member of United MileagePlus.

HOW TO REGISTER: Between April 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (“Promotion Period”), you can register for Promotion via hyatt.com/UNITEDSUM12A or by calling 1-800-228-3360 and requesting enrollment code UA12S. You must register in advance for stays to qualify. Stays completed before registration are not eligible. You only need to register once.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: After registering for the Promotion, complete two (2) or more stays at any participating Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Place® , Hyatt House™ or Hyatt Residence Club™ hotel and resort worldwide between May 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (“Stay Period”) and request United MileagePlus miles for each Eligible Stay. You must provide your United MileagePlus member number at check-in for each Eligible Stay. For each Eligible Stay during the Stay Period, you will earn the award miles as summarized in the chart below. A Eligible Stay is a stay at a participating hotel during the Stay Period with at least one (1) Eligible Night during the stay and request United MileagePlus miles for each stay. For the purpose of this Promotion, an “Eligible Night” is defined as one (1) night at any participating hotel or resort at an Eligible Rate when choosing United MileagePlus miles as the method of loyalty reward upon check-in at a participating Hyatt property and paying an Eligible Rate (as defined below). Award nights do not constitute an Eligible Night. Hyatt Gold Passport members will only receive eligible night credit for the room they physically occupy, regardless of the number of paid rooms. Only stays that occur after registration for Promotion will be counted as Eligible Stays.

American Airlines Offering Status Matches to United’s Frequent Fliers

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American Airlines has started directly to match United’s frequent fliers to a similar level on AA’s program. This is an unheard development from AA that has previously required fliers to do challenges and only up to a Platinum level.

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This time, however, American Airlines is matching from Gold all the way up to the Concierge Key status. This development was first reported on FlyerTalk.

United Status = Equivalent AA status

Premier Silver to AAdvantage Gold

Premier Gold to AAdvantage Platinum

Premier Platinum to AAdvantage Platinum

Premier 1K to AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Global Services to Concierge Key

Here’s what you need to do

You need to call AA at 1-800-882-8880 and request a status match from United’s program. American will shortly send you an email outlying the process.

American Airlines requires a copy of your current United Mileage Plus card and/or copy of your online statement that shows the current status.

You can either send these by email to aadvantage_customer_svc@wwwmail.aa.com or by fax (817) 963-7882. American requests that the subject line of the email or the fax would be “Requesting AAdvantage Elite Status”.

If American Airlines accepts your documents, the new status will reflect in about 10 days and is valid until the February 28th, 2013.

Why American is doing this?

United and Continental are going through the integration process of the two airlines, and it hasn’t been a smooth process. American is going through equally messy bankruptcy proceedings and US Airways is trying to buy the airline.

Should I try AA?

Personally, I have had 1K status with United longer than the Executive Platinum with AA. Last year, I qualified for the 1K, but didn’t for the Executive Platinum status as I moved out from the United States.

I have found that the Star Alliance as an alliance fits my travel needs better than Oneworld due to greater number of carriers and network coverage.

If you care about unlimited domestic upgrades, the AA’s program is the way to go at the Executive Platinum level. Lower level elites do not get unlimited upgrades on AA, but need to use sticker upgrades that are awarded based on the number of miles flown, or they can simply buy them in bundles.

Executive Platinum members are also awarded 8 evips per year that can be used to upgrade domestic or international flights from even the lowest economy fares to business or from business to first. These upgrades typically clear, although sometimes only at the gate.

This year American has been offering number of double elite qualifying promotions, so requalifying this year is not impossible even if the third of the year has already passed.

Conclusion

It is a no brainer to apply for this match even if you wouldn’t be currently planning to fly on American Airlines. If you have an Premier 1K status or Global Services with United and can get AA to match you Executive Platinum or Concierge Key, it is really a no lose situation to try AA out. You might be positively surprised or at least fly on AA until the United has managed to sort out its merger related problems.

There has been few status matches around recently. SAS is matching to their EuroBonus Silver or Gold if you have a status with competing airline and an address in Hong Kong or in China. EuroBonus Gold gives you all the Star Alliance Gold benefits. Etihad was running a status match campaign for Etihad Guest Gold status that just expired. Alaska Airlines is continuing doing matches to their MVP status.

Hyatt Gold Passport 90 Day Platinum Trial for Visa Signature Cardholders

The time is running out on the Hyatt’s 90 day Platinum trial for Visa signature cardholders. The last day to register for this offer is May 11th, 2012.

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If you complete 8 nights during the 90 day period, the Hyatt will grant you the Platinum status beyond the 90 day period. It doesn’t hurt to sign up even if you do not have plans to stay at Hyatt. You never know when you might end up staying at Hyatt.

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There are some valuable benefits that come with the Platinum status like free internet access worldwide and 2PM check out. You will also receive 15% bonus on points and preferred room. Maybe you end up liking Hyatt a lot and will go for the Diamond status?

Here are the frequently asked questions by Hyatt:

What are the promotional dates?
March 29, 2011 through May 11, 2012

Can anyone participate in this promotion?
Y
es, as long as they are a Gold Passport member, have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature consumer card, and register for the promotion at www.visasignature.hyatt.com

What if I am not a Gold Passport member and I want to participate?
Individuals may join the Hyatt Gold Passport program by visiting www.GoldPassport.com or by calling 1-800-228-3360, and then they may register for the promotion at www.visasignature.hyatt.com. You must be a Gold Passport member and have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature card to participate.

What if I do not have a Visa Signature card and I want to participate?
Individuals may apply for a Visa Signature card at www.visa.com/visasignature. You must have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature card and be a Gold Passport member to participate.

Who is eligible to participate in this promotion?
This offer is open to all Visa Signature consumer cardholders with a U.S.-issued card who are enrolled in Hyatt Gold Passport and register for the promotion.

Do I have a Visa Signature card?
Visa Signature cards has the words “Visa Signature” on the front of the card. If a your are not sure if you have a Visa Signature card, they may enter your 16-digit card number at visasignature.hyatt.com and attempt to register for the promotion. Numbers that are not Visa Signature cards will display an error message.

Are there any other methods to register for this promotion?
No, your Visa Signature card and Gold Passport account information must be verified through the website www.visasignature.hyatt.com.

Are all hotels participating in this promotion?
Yes, all hotels and resorts in the Hyatt Worldwide portfolio will be participating in the promotion. There are no non-participating properties.

Is this promotion only for our U.S. Gold Passport members?
This promotion is open only to Visa Signature consumer cardholders with a U.S. issued card. The Platinum status, however, applies to any worldwide Hyatt property.

If my stay begins before the promotion start date but includes nights within the 90 day promotional period, will I still receive this offer? (i.e. check in March 25 and check out March 31)
Unfortunately, this offer does not apply for any stays that began prior to signing up for the promotion. You will receive Platinum status benefits beginning with your first stay after you have registered for the promotion.

If my stay begins before the promotion end date but includes nights after the 90 day promotional period, will I still receive this offer? (i.e. register on April 2nd, check in June 29th and check out July 2nd)
Yes, as long as you register prior to checking out, your stay will count towards the offer. A “stay” is defined as the total number of consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, whether or not a guest checks out and checks back in again.

If I check into the hotel prior to registering for the promotion, can I still receive my Platinum benefits?
A Gold Passport member must register for the promotion prior to checking in for their hotel stay in order to receive the on-property Platinum benefits. However, if you register during your stay and check-out using your Visa Signature card, then you will receive benefits that would apply after check-out from the property, i.e. the 15% bonus points.

If I made reservations prior to the promotion start date, but the reservation dates are within the promotional period, can I register and participate in the offer?
Yes, as long as you register prior to checking in and use your Visa Signature card upon checking out your stay will qualify for the offer.

How secure is the landing page since I am entering my full 16-digit credit card?
The page is very secure. The 16-digit verification process transmits your information securely with highly effective industry standard level of encryption (SSL).The card number entry is encrypted and only the last four digits of the cardholder’s account number are displayed. The cardholder is also instructed to enter the two words displayed on the screen (varies) as an added layer of security.

When can I expect my Gold Passport Platinum Membership materials?
If you are 1) new to the Gold Passport program and 2) have never stayed at Hyatt prior to signing up for the promotion, and 3) don’t stay at a Hyatt property during the trial Platinum period, you will not receive any materials until your first eligible stay after the promo period ends, in which you will receive your Gold Passport Kit. If you are 1) new to the Gold Passport program at the time in which you sign up for the promotion and 2) you stay at a Hyatt property after signing up for the promotion, but not enough to earn on-going Platinum status, at the end of the trial Platinum period you will receive a letter thanking you for your participation in the promotion and a Gold Passport Kit. If you achieve on-going Platinum status during the trial Platinum period, you will receive a Platinum Welcome Kit as soon as you achieve the on-going Platinum status. Please allow 4-6 weeks to receive the kit in the mail.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

You must be an active Hyatt Gold Passport member in order to participate in this offer. Hyatt Gold Passport Members must register by May 11, 2012 with their valid U.S.-issued Visa Signature card at www.Hyatt.com/visasignature. Registration through any other source will not qualify for this offer. Once registered, Visa Signature cardholders will receive Platinum status for 90 days beginning with the day of registration. To maintain Platinum membership through February 2013, member must complete eight (8) eligible nights at any Hyatt worldwide within 90 days of enrollment. Platinum 15% point bonus will be awarded for all eligible stays during 90-day trial membership period when member chooses points for their stay.  If you qualify to retain Platinum status through February 2013, you will receive a new membership card, valid through February 2013, within 3-4 weeks of qualifying. Membership benefits will be available to you when you present your membership card at check-in. Limit one trial tier offer per member. Hyatt Gold Passport will track all eligible nights for which a Hyatt Gold Passport account number is provided. An eligible night is defined as a single night at any Hyatt in which an eligible rate is paid. For the purposes of this promotion, an “Eligible Rate” shall be defined as any hotel published room rate, including, but not limited to rates found on Hyatt.com, the Hyatt Daily Rate, Volume Account Rates, AAA and Senior Citizen rates. “Ineligible Rates” are discounted rates, including, but not limited to, any free night stays, Third Party Internet Rates (examples include priceline.com, hotels.com, Expedia, and Travelocity), traditional wholesale rates (examples include GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, etc.), airline crew rates, airline employee rates, travel agency employee rates, Club at the Hyatt discount certificate stays, Hyatt employee or employee family discount rates, airline interrupted-trip vouchers or contracted rooms (a contract is a room that has been reserved pursuant to a written and executed agreement between a hotel and a corporation, government agency or individual for a negotiated room rate in exchange for an agreed upon number of rooms to be rented for an extended period of time). Back-to-back stays at a single Hyatt are considered one stay.

Offer available only to qualifying U.S.-issued Visa Signature cardholders and is not transferable. For more details of Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Membership and to join, click here. Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Membership benefits are subject to availability and may vary at each hotel. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this offer at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised, or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Hyatt Gold Passport membership, earning of points and redemption of points are subject to Hyatt Gold Passport Terms and Conditions available at Goldpassport.com. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Gold Passport®, and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

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

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Hilton has been offering fast tracks or instant status to Hilton HHonors Gold status via MVP program, which requires 4 stays during a 90 day period, and through a credit card affiliation in the Asia Pacific regions that requires no stays but rather a Visa card (you can get this work in other regions as well). If getting a gold status is important, I would take advantage of one of these two offers.

Sign up for our daily blog updates by email and follow us on TwitterFacebook for not to miss on valuable program information and promotions that Hilton HHonors offers.

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But, if you prefer having an instant or fast track offer to Gold or Diamond status via status match from a competing program, that is possible as well, although Hilton doesn’t make it as easy as Starwood, Hyatt, or Marriott. You can read more about Starwood Platinum challenge, Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond trial/challenge and Marriott Rewards Gold/Platinum Match/Taste of Gold/Platinum.

Hilton HHonors offers a fast track to Diamond and here is what you need to do:

– You need to gather your 2011 year end activity that shows the number of stays and nights at the competing chains.

– Hilton considers year end summaries from the following chains: Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), Fairmont Presidents Club, Choice, and Accor

– You need to mail or fax the competing year end summary or summaries to:

HHonors Service Center
ATTN: DOCUMENT SERVICES
PO Box 9003
Addison, TX 75001
Fax: 972-788-1818

Alternatively you can try emailing them to hhonors@hilton.com.

– If they consider you to a fast track offer, you will most likely get a match to Silver or Gold status instantaneously, and then a fast track to Diamond offer that usually requires 21 nights during a 90 day period.

– Although Hilton says that they do not match to Diamond status, they have done it previously. Maybe, if you are able to show a very high number of nights at competing chains in 2011, they might offer you one.

Given the benefits associated with the Diamond membership level as well as the commitment we uphold for those who achieve Diamond, we currently do not provide tier matching or complimentary status.

What is your experience with Hilton HHonors when it comes to status matches? Were you offered a fast track offer or instant Gold/Diamond status? Please leave a comment below.

Priority Club Rewards On the Go – 1000 Bonus Points for Signing up + 5000 Bonus Points After a Stay

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Priority Club is offering 1000 bonus points for registering an eligible Visa card to their On the Go-program by May 31st, 2012. Visa and Hilton have a similar program going on too. You need to give consent to IHG to send you tailored offers by SMS (max 3 per week) based on the transaction history with the registered Visa card.

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Then, if you complete a stay at any IHG group of hotel by July 31, and pay using the Visa card that you have registered to this program, you will receive additional 5000 bonus Priority Club points.

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I think that this is a good offer especially if you have a paid InterContinental Hotels Group stay coming up before end of July. You can combine this promotion with other current Priority Club bonus point opportunities that I always write about

Here are the Terms and conditions of this offer:

Priority Club Shopping Bonus – Receive 1000 Priority Club Points for Signup Up & Registering Your Credit Card + 500 Points Dining Bonus + 500 Points Sailing Bonus

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Now you can get 2000 Priority Club points for signing up three different Priority Club programs online. You don’t need to spend a penny to get these points. All you need to do is to sign up for these offers, and register your credit or debit card with shopping and dining programs

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Priority Club Shopping is offering 500 Priority Club points just for creating an online profile, and an additional 500 points for registering a credit or debit card with the program.

Also, Priority Club is offering additional 500 Priority Club points for singing up Priority Club Dining program. You will also receive 1000 bonus points for spending $30 or more on a single receipt at a participating restaurant within 45 days of registration.

Priority Club Cruises is offering 500 bonus points for signing up for receiving offers from number of top cruise lines.

Here are the terms and conditions of these offers:

Members will receive 500 points for opting in to receive special offer emails through Priority Club® Shopping, Priority Club® Dining and Priority Club® Cruises. Members who perform one or all of the qualifying actions from April 1-May 31, 2012 will be awarded 500 points per program. 500 additional points will be awarded for registering a credit or debit card to earn in-store through Priority Club Shopping. The maximum number of bonus points that can be earned through this promotion is 2,000 per Priority Club account.

Your Priority Club Shopping, Priority Club Dining and Priority Club Cruises account must be set to receive special offer emails at the time of the awarding of Priority Club bonus points in order to receive the bonus points. You must also have at least one active credit or debit card registered to your Priority Club Shopping account at the time of the awarding in order to receive the additional 500 bonus points.

Marriott Summer Promotion of Free Night Certificates or Bonus Marriott Rewards Points

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The details of the Marriott summer promotion have now merged. As usually there are various offers based on your Marriott stays history for bonus points or free night certificates. The promotion starts on June 1st and ends of August 31st, 2012. You need to register for the promotion by June 30th, 2012. If you are an active Marriott Rewards member, you can find out the promotion that you are signed up for by singing to your Marriott Rewards account and going to the Promotion Central.

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The default promotion for new Marriott Reward accounts is the free night certificate one.

Here are the different variations of the offer:

1. Max 3 free night certificates. One free night certificate up to category four for every two paid stays.

2. Maximum of 40000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after 25 paid nights. 20000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after 15 nights, an additional 10000 bonus points after 20 paid nights, and another 10000 bonus points after 25 nights.

3. Maximum of 15000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after staying at 4 different brands. 2500 Marriott Rewards bonus points after staying at 2 different Marriott brands, an additional 2500 bonus points after staying at 3 different Marriott brands, and additional 10000 bonus points after staying at 4 different Marriott brands.

4. Maximum of 15000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after 3 weekend stays. You will earn 5000 bonus Marriott Rewards bonus points after one weekend stay, an additional 5000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after your second weekend stay, and an additional 5000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after third weekend stay.

It is still unclear at the moment, if there is a separate promotion for those that collect airline miles. As always, you can switch the promotion that you are signed up for automatically by calling the Marriott Rewards customer service. They will manually notate your account and will issue the points or free night certificates at the end of the promotional period.

This is the first time that the free night certificates are valid for 12 months after their issuance. Previously they have been valid only for 6 months.

Which promotion to sign up for?

It depends of your goal. For my personal purposes, the stay 6 times get 3 free nights certificates for up to category 4 is the obvious choice. Just to note that the free night certificate promo is based on STAYS and not on nights.

If you do not have use for free night certificates that are only valid for category 4, then you need to choose one of the other three options.

For those that have 25 nights or more during the June 1st to August 31st time frame, the maximum of 40000 bonus Marriott Rewards bonus points is the obvious choice. You can use the points the anyway you like i.e. travel packages, and the points never expire.

If you don’t like the free night certificates but don’t quite have the minimum of 15 nights that would be required for the nights based promotion, your choice is then one of the other two promotions. One is based on the number of Marriott family of hotels brands you stay, and the other is based on number of weekend stays.

Maximum of 3 Free Nights terms and conditions

  • Registration is required.
  • Marriott Rewards® members who register for this promotion by June 30, 2012, will earn one (1) free night award at a category 1-4 hotel after every second paid stay made between June 1, 2012, and August 31, 2012, at a participating Marriott property.
  • Maximum three (3) free night awards earned with this promotion per member.
  • A ‘stay’ is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.
  • Only one room per hotel is counted toward a member’s nights or stay.
  • An earned free night award can be redeemed for a future stay at participating Marriott Rewards category 1-4 properties for one (1) free night. Free night award will expire one (1) year after the date of issuance.
  • An earned free night award is good for one (1) single or double occupancy standard room only and includes the cost of the hotel room and applicable room taxes only.
  • An earned free 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.
  • This offer is not transferable.
  • Nights spent while redeeming an award are not eligible for credit, and MVCI owner-occupied weeks are not eligible for credit.
  • Members electing to earn miles are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Offer valid at participating hotels within the following participating brands, including JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®.
  • Stays at our exclusive luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achieving your bonus.
  • All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply.
  • Visit MarriottRewardsBonus.com  or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) for complete details.

 Maximum of 40000 Marriott Rewards bonus points terms and conditions

  • Registration is required.
  • Marriott Rewards® members who register for this promotion by June 30, 2012, will earn 20,000 bonus points after 15 paid nights, an additional 10,000 bonus points after 20 paid nights, plus an additional 10,000 bonus points after 25 paid nights—up to a maximum of 40,000 bonus points—between June 1, 2012, and August 31, 2012, at a participating Marriott property.
  • Only one room per hotel is counted toward a member’s nights or stay.
  • This offer is not transferable.
  • Nights spent while redeeming an award are not eligible for credit, and MVCI owner-occupied weeks are not eligible for credit.
  • Members electing to earn miles are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Offer valid at participating hotels within the following participating brands, including JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®.
  • Stays at our exclusive luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achieving your bonus.
  • All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply.
  • Visit MarriottRewardsBonus.com or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) for complete details.

Maximum of 15000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after staying at 4 different Marriott brands

  • Registration is required.
  • Marriott Rewards® members who register for this promotion by June 30, 2012, will earn 2,500 bonus points after staying at two (2) different Marriott hotel brands, an additional 2,500 bonus points after staying at three (3) different brands, and an additional 10,000 bonus points after staying at four (4) different brands—up to a maximum of 15,000 bonus points—between June 1, 2012, and August 31, 2012, at participating Marriott properties.
  • Bonus points will be awarded in one lump sum 3-5 weeks after the conclusion of the promotion.
  • Only one room per hotel is counted toward a member’s nights or stay.
  • This offer is not transferable.
  • Nights spent while redeeming an award are not eligible for credit, and MVCI owner-occupied weeks are not eligible for credit.
  • Members electing to earn miles are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Offer valid at participating hotels within the following participating brands, including JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®.
  • Stays at our exclusive luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achieving your bonus.
  • All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply.
  • Visit MarriottRewardsBonus.com or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) for complete details.

Maximum of 15000 bonus Marriott Rewards bonus points after 3 weekend stays

  • Registration is required.
  • Marriott Rewards® members who register for this promotion by June 30, 2012, will earn 5,000 bonus points after one (1) weekend stay, an additional 5,000 bonus points after two (2) weekend stays, and an additional 5,000 bonus points after three (3) weekend stays—up to a maximum of 15,000 bonus points—between June 1, 2012, and August 31, 2012, at a participating Marriott property.
  • A ‘stay’ is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.
  • A ‘weekend’ is defined as any stay including a Friday and/or Saturday night.
  • Only one room per hotel is counted toward a member’s nights or stay.
  • This offer is not transferable.
  • Nights spent while redeeming an award are not eligible for credit, and MVCI owner-occupied weeks are not eligible for credit.
  • Members electing to earn miles are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Offer valid at participating hotels within the following participating brands, including JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®.
  • Stays at our exclusive luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achieving your bonus.
  • All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply.
  • Visit MarriottRewardsBonus.com or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) for complete details.

Update on My Troubles Booking an Intra-Europe One-way Award on Star Alliance Using United Miles

Last week, I wrote about a problem I had with United Airlines and their 1K desk. I am here in Rome and need to get to Stockholm on Friday to catch my Ethiopian flight to Dubai via Addis Ababa. I do, however, need briefly visit Finland as well and routing from Rome to Stockholm should be a valid one.

When I was trying to get this booked last week, the United.com wasn’t co-operating and was pricing this as two one ways, and the 1K desk agents, when I called, were even less helpful. As a stopgap measure, I have been holding an award space on Finnair flights from Rome to Stockholm via Helsinki using miles from my American Airlines AAdvantage account. The only problem with the Finnair flights was that they wouldn’t give me an overnight in Helsinki. Just a long transfer on Thursday.

united-fco-muc-hel-arn-price

To my surprise, when I was pricing this exactly the same itinerary today that United.com wanted 25K miles last week, it came back with the correct number of miles (12.5K) this time around.

united-fco-muc-hel

When building the Rome – Munich – Helsinki overnight Stockholm, the number of miles required for this one Helsinki to Stockholm flight is shown as 6250 on the pricing screen, when all the others are at 12.5K. If I chose any of the other flights, the United.com was again pricing this complete itinerary incorrectly at 25K, but this one flight suited me the best anyway.

united-hel-arn

Now, I am only concerned that I booked this in economy, although the business class within Europe is the economy seat with a middle blocked and better catering.

I am happy that I got the flights that I wanted at the end, but dealing with United shouldn’t be this difficult. Have you had troubles booking award flights using United miles? Leave a comment below.

Discover America Daily Getaways Announced for the 5th Week May 7 – 11

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The last week of Daily Getaways are finally out as well. Just a note. The better offers seem to sell out almost instantaneously, and it might be difficult to get into the deals. On this final week the Hyatt’s offer is really good, but the number of packages that they have available for sale is very low. I think that it is going to be borderline impossible to buy even one of them.

daily-getaways-fifth-week

You can get additional 10% discount off these prices, if you pay using an American Express branded card.

 

Best Western Rewards Monday, May 7th

Package available

10000 Best Western Rewards points for $67 835 packages

You can buy 5 sets of this offer.

 

Hyatt Gold Passport Wednesday, May 9th

Packages available:

24000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $260 100 packages

30000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $330 35 packages

36000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $415 15 packages

69000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $775 14 packages

Hyatt Gold Passport points at these prices is an excellent deal. You are only paying about a cent for a point. You can use 22K Hyatt Gold Passport points for a night i.e. at the Park Hyatt in Sydney or Maldives that are going for $500 to $800 per night.

You can buy one each of the Hyatt’s four offers, but I don’t think that it is possible due to the extremely low number of packages being sold.

 

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson Thursday, May 10th

Packages available

50000 Club Carlson points for $194 142 packages

100000 Club Carlson points for $387 71 packages

You can buy two sets of each of these two offers for maximum number of four packages. Last year, Club Carlson was running an excellent promo for 50K Club Carlson points for a one stay. If you were able to find a property at a low price, you could have gotten 50K points for far less than $100.

There are some Radisson Blu properties that are very expensive, and buying points and then paying using points can make sense.

United Airlines Mileage Plus Buy Miles at 40% Discount Offer

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United Airlines is now offering miles at up to 40% discount off of the regular rates. There has been quite a few buy miles offers lately from both American Airlines and US Airways, and apparently United is now trying get in to the game as well.

united-mileage-plus-buy-miles

What is good about the United’s offer, is the fact that you can buy up to 100K miles, which is a nice chunk. The price of a mile through this offer is 2.26 cents each. US Airways has tend to offer miles that you can use for Star Alliance carriers at a lower price, but booking awards online using United.com is easier than to deal with phone agents with US Airways. United does appear to limit the number of miles you can buy or gift per calendar year to 100K. It could be perhaps possible to get someone else to gift you 100K miles, if you happen to need more. The terms are somewhat unclear about this.

Is it a good deal to buy Unites miles at 2.26 cents each? It really depends how you would be using them. If you use them for international premium class tickets, this offer could be well worth it. United doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on award tickets for any of its partners like American does for British Airways and Iberia.

Sometimes United miles can be very worthwhile on short notice on economy class tickets as well. I just issued an intra-Europe ticket for 12.5K United Miles + about $50 in fees for travel in 36 hours. The exact same itinerary would have cost more than $900, and cheapest working, albeit not as convenient ones, in excess of $400.

united-mileage-plus-buy-miles-form

I am quite surprised that United is handling these miles sales by themselves. Most of the other airlines and hotels are using Points.com for this purpose. Note that this offer is not limited just to North America, but is valid worldwide.

You need to react fast as this offer expired on April 25th at 11:59PM CDT. You can access this sale by clicking www.ualmiles.com/april40.

Here are the details of the offer from United:

  • Offer expires April 25 at 11:59pm CDT
  • Buy Personal Miles or Give Miles for $21 per 1,000 miles plus a 7.5% excise tax
  • Purchase up to 100,000 MileagePlus Personal miles or Give Miles per account per calendar year
  • Credit card will be billed immediately for purchase
  • Mileage rates and other applicable fees are subject to change
  • Miles are available in increments of 1,000
  • Minimum purchase 2,000 miles
  • Allow 48 hours for miles to post to MileagePlus account
  • Personal Miles and GiveMiles are non-refundable
  • Purchased miles do not count toward elite qualification

SPG Nice Choice Promotion (CONFIRMED)

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Starwood Preferred Guest is about to launch their first multiple choice summer promotion SPG Nice Choice. The registration will officially open on May 1st, 2012.I can now confirm that the details that were first leaked on FlyerTalk, and what I posted here three days ago, are in fact correct. I have a copy of internal Starwood announcement about this promotion.

Normally promotions are funded by the properties, and that is the reason why there is sometimes a rather long list of non-participating properties. If business is good, why pay additional four to five percent of your revenue? Properties simply opt out.

I will have an in-depth analysis of various options of this promotion tomorrow.

Choose your own earning period (You can only choose one)

May- July
June- August
July- September

Choose whatever you want to earn during (You can only choose one)

Starpoints
Awards (Free Nights & Redemption discounts)
Merchandise discounts
Elite Credit

*There is no switching of registration codes or earning periods after registration. No exceptions.
* Registration from May 1- June 30, 2012

Here is a summary of the offers:

Starpoints Offers

Double Points beginning with 2nd stay. No limits.
Every 6 nights, get 3k Starpoints (max of 9k)
Earn 500 bonus Starpoints per night at Sheratons worldwide (no limits). Online-bookings ONLY
Stay 15 nights, get Triple Starpoints on all stays retroactively. No limits.

Awards Offers

10 nights, get 1 Free Weekend Night (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards. Weekends are Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun.
Stay 20 nights, get 1 25% percent off redemption Award (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards

Merchandise Awards

Stay 4 nights; get US$50 SPG Award Cert (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights; get $50 or EUR50 Westin @ home discount code (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights, get $50 or EUR50 Sheraton @ home discount code (max of 3)

Elite status

Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus night toward elite status (max of 3 elite qualifying nights).
Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus nights toward elite status (max of 6 nights).

It Pays to Check Hilton Award Availability Often – Case Rome Cavalieri – Waldorf Astoria Collection Hotel

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I am right now here in Shanghai and on my way to Rome for couple of nights. I participated to the wonderful promotion from Hilton last year, where you would get a free night certificate for every four stays. These certificates are valid at pretty much any Hilton family hotel worldwide. I moved quite a few of my stays to Hilton and was able to get seven or eight of these free night certs.

I have to confess that I have not been to the Hilton’s flag ship hotel Rome Cavalieri before. This was rebranded under the Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria collection flag in 2008.

rome-diamond-reply

So, I really wanted to try out this hotel and burn couple of these certificates at this hotel. The only problem was that, for weeks, the hotel was only showing premium room award availability for the dates that I was looking at. I even penned an email to the Hilton’s Diamond desk for them to contact the hotel to see if they could open up award availability for me. No luck with the Diamond desk with my request.

This wouldn’t have mattered a year ago when Diamond member could have just used the so called Diamond Force to open up award availability. This was changed last year when Hilton introduced Premium Room Rewards that are 99% off the time waste of points. Every room/suite is available using points as well, but the number of points required per night can be up to hundreds of thousands.

Anyway, I have always had luck with the awards very close to the arrival date. This was the case with the Cavalieri as well. There are often cancellations close to the arrival date, hotels might start overselling the basic rooms and bumping guests to higher category ones & suites etc.

rome-cavalieri-availability

On Sunday morning United States time, however, every day became available this week again, including the Tuesday and Wednesday nights that I was looking at. Call to Hilton Diamond desk on Sunday morning got the two nights reserved and the certificates attached to the reservation.

rome-cavalieri-price

Unfortunately, if you have free night certificates, you cannot do the booking online. You need to call Hilton and do it over the phone. Bit annoying, but well worth saving the 330 euros per night that this hotel would have been charging for my dates.

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