Delta Lowers MQM & Mileage Credit on Number of Unpublished Fares

Delta made a change to its SkyMiles program starting on September 1, 2012, that has largely gone unnoticed and is just starting to affect flyers.

delta-skymiles-consolidator-fares

Delta significantly lowered both the Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM’s) and redeemable miles (RDM’s) on most so called consolidator, package and student fares that were purchases on or after September 1, 2012.

delta-skymiles-consolidator-fares-table

You will most likely come across one of these fares if you are buying a package that includes both air and hotel and/or car component from an online travel agent like Expedia or Travelocity. Most of the airlines publish so called package/tour fares that can be sold in conjunction of hotel or car rental and are discounted. Now, these fares earn less on Delta.

Also, if you buy discounted air fare in conjunction with a cruise, you are most likely affected as well.  Cruise companies have negotiated air fares that are affected this change as well.

Students have long enjoyed lower air fares. These now have lower MQM and RDM earning too.

delta-skymiles-consolidator-fares-exclusions

Then there is one more fare type that is affected and these are something called consolidator fares. These are fares that are usually offered through specialized travel agencies that often has a certain ethnic clientele. These consolidator fares, however, are eligible for the usual MQM’s/RDM’s, if the ticket has been issued in Asia.

American Samoa, Australia, Belau, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Caroline Island, China, Christmas Island, Cook Islands, Cozcos (Keeling) Islands, East Timor, Ebeye, Fiji, French Polynesia, Futuna Islands, Gilbert Island, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kampuchea, Kiribati, Laos, Macau, Majuro, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Island, Pacific Island Trust, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn, Rota, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Wallis.

Conclusion

Delta is slowly chipping away benefits of its SkyMiles program. This change is slowly starting to affect flyers, whose tickets were issued after September 1, 2012.  There is no way of knowing for sure, if the package fare offered by online travel agent uses tour/package airfare or not. To be on the safe side, you should always expect that you won’t earn full MQM/RDM credit on these flights

Note that this change won’t affect regular fares that you buy using the normal air fare search on online travel agent like Expedia.

Using Starwood Starpoints for Hilton Stays

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Yesterday, I wrote about very expensive Starpoint awards that quite frankly don’t make any sense due to number of points required for a free night. There is, however, way to use Starpoints for Hilton awards just like Marriott points, which I wrote about earlier, by moving points via Virgin Atlantic.

spg-to-virgin-to-hilton-hhonors

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (VS) is Starwood Preferred Guest airline partner. You can transfer 20K Starpoints to 25K miles and you can then turn 25K VS miles to 50K Hilton HHonors points.

Why using Starpoints for Hilton awards can make sense?

1. High end Starwood awards are way overpriced

2. Hilton has very favorable rates for high end properties and you can get a VIP discount for staying multiple nights

3. Hilton Gold status is very easy to get that allows you to book these VIP awards

4. Even if you don’t have any Hilton status by getting Gold will get you executive lounge access and/or complimentary breakfast

Things to consider:

1. Award availability can change overnight

2. It takes time first to transfer the Starpoints to Virgin Atlantic and then to Hilton HHonors

3. You cannot book Hilton awards without having the points in the account

4. The 6 night VIP awards are Hilton HHonors sweet spot. Lower end hotel awards are overpriced at Hilton compared to Starwood.

5. You can transfer Starpoints to Virgin Atlantic online, but from Virgin Atlantic to Hilton HHonors requires a phone call.

Six nights at each of these properties would cost 225K Hilton HHonors points that is 90K Starpoints. Per night price is 37.5K Hilton HHonors or 15K SPG per night. Note that you need to transfer from SPG to Virgin in slots of 20K to be eligible for the 5K transfer bonus. I have prorated the per night HH prices in Starpoints.

Here are some ideas what Starpoints transferred to Hilton HHonors could get you:

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa – 15K SPG per Night

spg-hilton-bora-bora

You can find both Le Meridien (60K to 140K SPG per night) and St. Regis hotels (120K to 140K SPG per night) in Bora Bora as well. This Hilton used to be a Starwood property until 2009 when it was reflagged.

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa – 15K SPG per Night

spg-hilton-moorea

This Hilton property used to be part of Starwood that no longer has presence on the Moorea island. I actually stayed at this property in September for a night when I was on the island.

Rome Cavalieri (Waldorf Astoria Hotel) – 15K SPG per Night

spg-hilton-cavalieri

Rome has three fantastic Starwood properties, but Cavalieri is an iconic hotel as well. Stayed there for couple of nights during the spring time.

Conrad Maldives – 15K SPG per Night

spg-conrad-maldives

Starwood has two properties in Maldives; the W Hotel and Sheraton Full Moon Resort that is very close to the airport. Staying at the Sheraton won’t give the “Maldives” experience as it is rather busy resort.

The W Maldives is very expensive point wise and requires 90K to 140K Starpoints per night. In comparison the Conrad Maldives at 15K SPG per night is truly a bargain. I stayed at this property few years ago when it was under the Hilton brand.

Conrad Koh Samui – 15K SPG per Night

spg-hilton-conrad-koh-samui

Starwood currently has two properties in Koh Samui island; W Hotel, where I have only had drinks, and Le Meridien, where I have also stayed at.

The Conrad is truly an amazing hotel and Hilton HHonors VIP awards are an amazing bargain.

Hilton Bentley South Beach – 15K SPG per Night

spg-hilton-bentley-south-beach

If you are tired of the W brand (30K SPG per night) and prefer a proper South beach location (W is one block away from South Beach proper), Hilton Bentley could be a good choice. I have stayed there for a night two years ago.

Conclusion

As I have laid out above, there is away to escape from outrageous Starwood point prices at higher end properties by moving Starpoints to Hilton HHonors via Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. This doesn’t really work for lower category properties, where using Starpoints instead of Hilton HHonors is favorable.

Air Berlin’s Oneworld Membership in Question?

Etihad and Air France-KLM announced a wide ranging codeshare partnership earlier this month and Etihad also brought Air Berlin into the partnership. Now, Air France has publicly announced that it would like Air Berlin to join SkyTeam.

reuters-air-berlin-air-france

Air Berlin just joined the oneworld alliance on March 20th this year. The carrier has gone through some financial difficulties as of late. Etihad Airways owns 29% of the airline and has loaned some money to it as well. Etihad has not aligned itself with any of the alliances and its rival Qatar Airways became an oneworld candidate earlier this month.

Air Berlin is bit of an alliance outlier based in Berlin the capital of Germany. Most of the oneworld member airlines serve the financial capital of the country that is Frankfurt. There is not a lot of connectivity at the Berlin and the situation with the opening of the now delayed airport is not helping either.

Conclusion

It is very interesting to see how this is going to play out. Although I am SkyTeam Elite+ member via Delta’s program, I prefer Star Alliance or oneworld alliance. Air Berlin and S7 are the only oneworld alliance members that I have yet to fly.

Singapore Airlines Drops Singapore to Los Angeles and Newark Non-stop Flights

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Singapore Airlines made an announcement yesterday about buying more A380 and A350’s from Airbus and that their Scoot subsidiary will take delivery of 19 Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes. Singapore Airlines will return its current A340-500 planes back to Airbus as part of this deal.

singapore-airlines-sin-lax-ewr-gone

The returning of those A340-500 planes that are business class configured will lead to cancellations of Singapore Airlines Singapore to Los Angeles and Singapore to Newark non-stop routes. The latter one has been the longest operating commercial flight.

singapore-sin-lax-ewr

This is and is not news at the same time. It has not been a secret that these ultra long-haul flights are not profitable at the current price of the jet fuel. Thai Airways discontinued their non-stop Bangkok to Los Angeles flight earlier this year for this same reason.

Conclusion

Sad to see reduction on these flights, but these ultra long-haul routes haven’t really panned out as planned for any of the airlines. Carrying more jet fuel just to carry more fuel gets very expensive very fast.

Worst Value Starpoint Awards: Category 7 Non-Standard Room Properties

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Starwood has a solid Starwood Preferred Guest program with wide array of benefits for Gold and Platinum members. Over the years, however, there has been quite an inflation on number of points required for free night awards. I am going to write about good value of SPG awards shortly, but these Category 7 specialty awards are completely out of whack points vs. cash wise.

spg-category-7

Starwood must be so embarrassed about the point requirements for these properties that they are not even listed on their website. The SPG member must call the customer service to find out the exact number of point required per night. It is not surprising why. These awards are just terrible value, although the properties must be stunning.

St. Regis Resort Bora Bora 120K to 140K Starpoints per Night

spg-st-regis-bora-bora

The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is a Category Seven hotel. They have a limited participation with the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

A standard room will run you at 120,000 Starpoints per night in Low Season and 140,000 Starpoints per night in High season.

The award books into a Deluxe or Premium over water bungalow. When I was searching for paid rates, they had rates starting at $1100 (100K XPF) per night for March, 2013. Hotel did not have SPG50 rate available for the March date I was looking at.

High seasons dates for St. Regis Bora Bora are as follows:

12/25/2013 – 12/31/2013
06/01/2013 – 08/31/2013
12/25/2012 – 12/31/2012

Le Méridien Bora Bora 60K to 140K Starpoints per Night

le-meridien-bora-bora

Le Méridien Bora Bora is a Category Seven Hotel. They have limited participation in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The Starpoints redemption process is as follows;

SPG7SU – 60,000 Starpoints per night in Low season and 70,000 Starpoints in High season. Bungalow, Lagoon View, Air Conditioning/ Ceiling Fan, Private Deck with a King bed.

This beach bungalow sells for 49500 XPF ($538) or 33750 XPF ($367) using SPG50 for March 13, 2013.

SPG7SU2 – 75,000 Starpoints per night in Low season and 87,000 Starpoints in High season.

Beach Bungalow, Newly Renovated, Bungalow Non-smoking, Air Conditioning/ Ceiling Fan, Spacious Terrace W/tables & Chairs and a King bed. Ideally Located On The Beach Side Along The Beautiful Inner Lagoon, 540sqft.

The price for this is 67000 XPF ($728) for March 13, 2013.

SPG7SU3 – 90,000 Starpoints per night in Low season and 105,000 Starpoints
Signature Overwater Bungalow, entirely Renovated In 2010 Unique Experience Of A Breathtaking Glass Floor, 540 Sqft.

The price of this one is 77500 XPF ($843) for March 13, 2013.

SPG7SU4 – 120,000 Starpoints per night in Low season and 140,000 Starpoints
Premium Overwater Bungalow, Newly Renovated, Glassfloor, Direct Lagoon Access, Mount Otemanu View and 700 Sqft.

This overwater bungalow is selling for 88000 XPF ($957) on March 13, 2013.

High Season is as follows;
07/01/2013 – 10/21/2013
07/01/2012 – 10/21/2012

W Maldives 90K to 140K Starpoints per night

w-maldives

W Retreat & Spa – Maldives is a Category Seven hotel. They have a limited participation in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The Starpoints redemption is as follows.

SPG7SU3 – 90,000 Starpoints per night in low season and 105,000 Starpoints per night in high season.

188 sqm. Bi-level Beachfront Villa. Two Daybeds. Barbeque Station.outdoor Shower And Bathtub. Espresso Machine & Wine Fridge”

You can get this at for $1188 when searching for March 13, 2013.

SPG7SU4 – 120,000 Starpoints per night in low season and 140,000 Starpoints per night high season

Ocean Oasis room with a King – 146sqm. Outdoor Sundeck & Daybed. Barbecue Station. Glass Floorspot. Espresso Machine & Wine Fridge. Overwater Lagoon

The price for this one is $1512 on March 13, 2012.

High seasons are as follows:
12/06/2013 – 02/28/2014
03/01/2013 – 03/28/2013
12/13/2012 – 02/28/2013

Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort, Key West 120K Starpoints per Night

sunset-key

The Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort is a Category Seven hotel. They have a limited participation in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The Starpoints redemption is as follows;

SPG7SU4 – 120,000 Starpoints per night .

The price of this Key West property is $1250 for March 13, 2013.

Yes this is their basic cottage as it is listed as garden view. They also offer ocean view and ocean front however they are not bookable using Starpoints.

Mystique, Santorini, Greece 60K to 70K Starpoints per Night

mystique

Mystique, Santorini is a Category Seven hotel. They have a limited participation in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The Starpoints redemption is as follows;

SPG7SU – 60,000 Starpoints in low season and 70,000 Starpoints in high season.

Junior Suite with a queen bed, volcano view with a private balcony.

You can get this property for 408 euros on May 8, 2013

High seasons are as follows:
07/22/2013 – 08/19/2013

Pine Cliff Residences, Albuferia 40K to 50K Starpoints per Night

pine-cliffs-residences

The Pine Cliff Residence, Albufeira is a Category Six hotel. They have a limited participation in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The Starpoints redemption is as follows;

SPG6SU – 40,000 Starpoints in low season and 50,000 Starpoints in high season.

Two-bedroom Residence Suite, Separate Living Room, Kitchenette, and pine views

They have prices starting at 174 euros per night on March 13, 2013

Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda 140K Starpoints per Night

spg-cala-di-volpe

This property had the most ridiculous Starpoints rate compared to a paid rate of 205 euros per night for May 22, 2013.

Hotel Pitrizza 140K Starpoints per Night

hotel-pitrizza

Hotel Pitrizza, Costa Smeralda is a Category seven hotel. They have a limited participation in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. This hotel requires you to pay for full room and board.

SPG7SU – 140,000 Starpoints per night in high season.

Their price on May 8, 2013 is 530 euros per night

Classic room with a King that is Garden view
06/24/2013 – 09/08/2013

Conclusion

One always should consider all the options i.e. points vs. pay when considering hotel options. These category 7 (and some others too) specialty properties don’t make any sense booking using Starpoints compared to paying cash.

I just couldn’t believe this one property that is going on for less than 300 euros per night but requires 140K Starpoints.

Etihad’s Refer a Friend First Flight Bonus

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Etihad is offering bonus miles for referring friends to their Etihad Guest frequent flier program. The referrer gets 5000 miles and the referred double/triple first flight bonus miles for business/first class flight. This promotion is valid until December 31, 2012.

etihad-refer-a-friend-bonus

You can access this offer here. You can ask your friend to refer your or you can email me your name, email address and country of residence to john@loyaltylobby.com. I will have the sign up offer sent to you.

Conclusion

This offer is only good for  those that have business or first class Etihad flights booked and they haven’t yet signed up for the Etihad Quest program. It appears that this bonus only applies to the first flight and not ticket/trip.

Le Club Accorhotels Discovery Tour Game 2nd Week & Problems

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Last week, Le Club Accorhotels launched their Discovery Tour game that gives you 500 points per week for matching hotels and their locations. This game goes on for four weeks so you can get 2000 points out of this. Please note that you do not need to be a Facebook member or like Le Club Accorhotels to be eligible to participate to this offer.

le-club-discover-game-50-points

Now, Accor has a new line up hotels and a world map for you to match them. I just went through the hotels and matched the locations – very easy 500 points. You can find below the hotels and correctly matched cities for the second week. I have stayed at one of the hotels on this week’s list – Pullman Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

le-club-discovery-week-2-map

There was a problem with this map earlier, when there was a mistake done with two of the locations that resulted some to get only 400 points instead of 500. Accor has promised to credit the full 500 points to those that were affected by the glitch.

le-club-discovery-week-2-500-points

Then there is a problem with signing up for the promotion. Trying to sign up on my own account only results “wrong email address” error message and you cannot continue past that. The account number and email address are both correct. There are others that have been affected by this glitch too.

le-club-discovery-problem

Conclusion

Le Club Accorhotels Discovery Tour game is a great way to collect couple of thousand points. Unfortunately, there system is periodically down and there are other glitches as well. If you can, you probably should try to get the points during the week, but not on Monday.

EU Court of Justice Ruling on Passenger Rights in Case of Strikes & Missed Connections

European Union has well defined “Air Passenger Rights”, where airlines are required to compensate passengers for delays, cancellations, denied boarding, long delays etc. Commission even has a smartphone app that you can download and check your rights on the spot.

eu-passenger-rights-page

Airlines have for years claimed that they are not required to pay for compensation under this legislation if it caused by a strike or delayed flight that has led to a misconnect and arriving to the final destination late.

eu-passenger-rights

European Union’s highest court, the EU Court of Justice, ruled on October 4th that these are not adequate reason for an airline to deny compensation under the law.

There is a piece about this on Bloomberg’s website that is worth reading.

Conclusion

Airlines have continued to deny air passengers flying on EU member states (+ Switzerland) airlines and on other airlines that are departing from the EU member states, the rights for compensation granted under this legislation.

Airlines are required to inform passengers about their rights that rarely happens and then process the claims promptly. Disserviced passengers are entitled to cash compensation.

Anyone flying on European airlines or on flights departing from European Union members states should be aware of their rights under this legislation. Easiest thing is to download the app to your smartphone that you can access easily on the go.

Accor’s “Hidden” Private Sales for October 23 to 29

Accor has number of ongoing private sales that somehow managed to disappear from their website. These offers are valid for bookings made between October 23 and October 29, 2012. The stay by dates varies by the country/region specific offer.

Note that these “Private Sales” or “Flash Sales” don’t always offer the lowest available rates. Sometimes there are “Red Hot Deals” that offer even lower rates. So, you should always compare the rate. Also, bear in mind that these rates are prepaid, non-changeable, and non-refundable. Only book them if your plans are FIRM.

EDIT: Accor now has a link to these sales on their website as well. You can access the list here.

 Asia

accor-private-sale-october-asia

Get 40% off as you discover Asia! Offer valid for stays in Asia from 1 February 2013 to 30 April 2013 & from 25 October 2012 to 15 December 2012 in India.

Terms & conditions: The special discount of 40% is valid in participating hotels and resorts only. The special discounts are based on the best unrestricted rate.

Accor Advantage Plus members enjoy an additional 10% off discount, which is 50% off the best unrestricted rate.

This offer is bookable from 23 October 2012 – 29 October 2012 for *stays from 1 February 2013 – 30 April 2013, booked on accorhotels.com.

*With the exception of hotels and resorts in India. For hotels and resorts in India, the offer is bookable from 23 October 2012 – 29 October 2012 for stays from 25 October 2012 – 15 December 2012.

The payment of the stay is entirely deducted upon booking. No cancellations or changes are permitted.
Offer subject to availability of participating hotels. This promotion cannot be combined with any other offer(s).

Le Club Accorhotels members can cumulate points if they book this offer.

France

accor-private-sale-october-france

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping in Paris or catch the last rays of summer in Marseilles! A truly fantastic offer for stays between 26 October and 11 November 2012.

The 50% discount is only valid in participating hotels.
Offer valid subject to availability in participating hotels. This promotion cannot be combined with other offers.
Offer valid from 23rd October 2012 – 29th October, 2012 for stays from 26th October – 11th November 2012, booked on accorhotels.com only.
The 50% discount is based on the lowest unrestricted rate.
The total cost of the stay is debited upon booking.
The booking cannot be changed or cancelled.
All reservations must be guaranteed with a credit card that is valid on the first date of your stay.

UK

accor-private-sale-october-uk

Plan your escape to the United Kingdom and save 40% off for your hotel stay! Valid for stays from 26 October 2012 – 13 January 2013 at more than 160 hotels.

When booking one of these deals, the customer agrees to have read and accepted the conditions below:
– The 40% discount applies to public rates at the time of booking. Payment must be made online by credit card at the time of booking.
– Booking cannot be changed, cancelled or exchanged, and it cannot be combined with other discounts or special offers .
– Offer valid in participating Accor hotels and subject to availability for this promotion, excluding any black-out dates set by a participating hotel. There are a limited number of allocated rooms (determined by each participating hotel) and on some days there will be no allocation.
This offer is valid from 23rd – 29th October 2012 for stays from 26th October 2012 – 13th January 2013, booked on accorhotels.com.

Mediterranean

accor-private-sale-october-mediterranean

Sunny destinations at exceptional prices: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Greece, and Turkey! Up to 50% off your stay between 23 October 2012 and 28 February 2013.

The special discounts (from 30% to 50%) are only valid in participating hotels. This offer can be booked from 23rd October – 29th October 2012 on accorhotels.com. For staying dates, see below each country’s sales conditions. The special discounts are based on the best unrestricted rate. The payment of the stay is entirely deducted upon booking. No cancellations or changes are permitted Offer subject to availability in participating hotels. This promotion cannot be combined with any other offer(s). Le Club Accorhotels members can accumulate points with this booking.

Italy : 40% discount on all participating hotels for stays from 1st November – 28th December 2012

Turkey : 40% discount on Novotel participating hotels and 30% discount on ibis hotels. Available for stays from 1st December 2012 – 28th February 2013.

Morocco: 50% discount on all participating hotels. Available for stays from 23rd October 2012 – 20th January 2013.

Spain : 40% discount on Pullman participating hotels for stays from 16th November 2012 – 17th February 2013. 30% discount on Mercure participating hotels for stays from 1st November 2012 – 28th February 2013. 30% discount on ibis and Novotel participating hotels for stays from 1st November 2012 – 15th December 2012.

Portugal: 40% discount on Novotel and Mercure participating hotels and 30% discount on ibis participating hotels. Available for stays from 23rd October – 23rd December 2012.

Greece: 40% discount on Sofitel Athens and Novotel Athens for stays from 23rd October 2012 – 28th February 2013.

Canada

accor-private-sale-october-canada

Private Sales in beautiful Canadian cities: Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa up to 40% off!

This offer is valid from 23RD – 29TH October 2012 for stay dates from 1st November2012 to 30th April 2013 inclusive.
Save 40% off on a 4 night stay with Novotel Canada, minimum length of 4 night stay is required. Full deposit is not refundable even if the booking is cancelled or modified.
Full amount of stay is payable in advance by credit card at booking time.
Client must provide credit card details to qualify for this promotion.
No change or cancellation can be made after booking.
Taxes not included. Surcharges apply for 3rd & 4th adults.
Other hotel conditions may apply.

Berlin

accor-private-sale-october-berlin

Private Sale Berlin! Benefit from a 50% discount on your hotel stay!

GERMANY – BERLIN The offer Private Sale Berlin “50% discount on your hotel stay” is valid from 23rd October 2012 – 29th October 2012 for bookings of 2 up to 4 nights, bookable on all weekends and all bridge days/holidays until 7th April 2013, booked on accorhotels.com. Further, the following terms and condition apply: The full amount of stay is payable in advance by credit card at booking time. Full deposit is non refundable, even if the booking is cancelled or modified. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer(s). This promotion is subject to availability in the participating hotels.

Eastern Europe

accor-private-sale-october-eastern-europe

Benefit from our 50% discount in Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Slovakia & Romania. Find out more Offer valid for stays from 23rd November – 26th December, 2012.

The 50% discount is valid only in participating hotels.
Minimum stay – 2 nights.
This offer is valid from 23rd October – 29th October, 2012 for stays between 23rd November – 26th December, 2012, booked on accorhotels.com. The 50% discount is based on the best unrestricted rate, including breakfast.
The client’s credit card details are necessary to qualify for this promotion. No change or cancellation may be made after booking. Upon booking, the client accepts to be charged the full price of the stay. This amount is non refundable in the event of cancellation or changes to the dates of stay.
Offer valid subject to availability in participating hotels. This promotion cannot be combined with any other offer(s). Offer not applicable to groups.
Prices shown were correct at the time of online publication. The rates shown are subject to change.

Switzerland and Austria

accor-private-sale-october-switzerland-austria

Stay 2 weekend nights for the price of 1 in Switzerland and Austria! Find out more Offer valid for all weekend stays from 23rd October, 2012 – 7th April, 2013

Guests booking the “Stay 2 weekend nights for the price of 1 in Switzerland and Austria” accept the following conditions:

Offer valid for all bookings made between 23rd October – 29th October, 2012 at www.accorhotels.com for all stays of at least 2 consecutive nights (exclusively Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday) between 23rd October 2012 – 7th April 2013.

The discount is applied to the lowest rate, with no conditions for booking. Additional weeknights (Monday to Thursday) will be billed at the lowest rate, with no conditions for booking.

The full cost of the stay will be deducted from your credit card upon booking. Advance payments are non-refundable, and no changes or cancellations are allowed after booking. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.

Offer valid in participating MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure and Adagio hotels in Switzerland and Austria, subject to availability.

Benelux

accor-private-sale-october-benelux

Book now and get great discounts at more than 50 hotels in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg! Find out more Offer valid for stays from 1st November, 2012 – 28th February, 2013.

The special discount (50%) is only valid in participating hotels.
This offer is bookable from 23rd October, 2012 – 29th October, 2012 for stays booked on accorhotels.com from 1st November, 2012 – 28th February, 2013. The special discounts are based on the best unrestricted rate.
The payment of the stay is entirely deducted upon booking. Booking cannot be changed, cancelled or exchanged, and it cannot be combined with other discounts or special offer(s).
Offer subject to availability in participating hotels.
Le Club members are eligible to accumulate points with this booking.

Latin America

accor-private-sale-october-latin-america

50% discount in more than 50 hotels in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Peru. Find out more Offer valid for stays from 5th November 2012 – 15th January 2013

Bookings must be made online between the 23rd – 29th of October 2012 at Accorhotels.com for stays from the 5th November 2012 – 15th January 2013.
Special offers are based on the lowest rate.
The stay must be paid in full upon booking.
The promotional rate is not eligible for changes or cancellation.
Offer subject to hotel availability.
Promotion cannot be combined with any other offers.
Le Club Accorhotels members are eligible to earn points with this booking.
No limit on the number of nights.
Breakfast not included.

Conclusion

Accor has these private sales every couple of months. Just make sure that the price that you book is competitive and your plans firm. These rates are prepaid, noncancelable, and nonrefundable.

Etihad and Garuda Indonesia Sign Codeshare Agreement

Etihad and Garuda reached an agreement last week regarding codesharing between the airlines. This was announced last week on 18th of last month and there was quite a bit of both paid and free publicity on the newspapers regarding this issue.

etihad-garuda-jakarta-post

Garuda will shift its Amsterdam flight to go via Abu Dhabi instead of Dubai and will codeshare on number of Etihad flights between Abu Dhabi and number of cities in the Europe/Middle East.

etihad-garuda-indonesia

There is a comprehensive list of destinations that the airlines are going to codeshare on Airlineroute.net website.

As part of the deal, the airline from 02DEC12 will shift 4 weekly Jakarta – Dubai – Amsterdam route will to Jakarta – Abu Dhabi – Amsterdam, with A330-200 aircraft.

GA’s new Schedule and codeshare routes with ETIHAD as follows:

GA088 CGK1940 – 0100+1AUH0230+1 – 0655+1AMS 332 x246
GA089 AMS0940 – 1915AUH2045 – 0755+1CGK 332 x357

From 28OCT12, Garuda Indonesia and ETIHAD to codeshare on following routes.
Garuda Indonesia operated by ETIHAD GA9000 – 9099 and GA9900 – 9999 Series
Abu Dhabi – Amman
Abu Dhabi – Athens

Garuda Indonesia became SkyTeam candidate in 2012 and was set to join the alliance on 2012. This is now delayed and the new joining date is expected to be sometime in 2014.

There has been a lot of going on with the three Middle Eastern airlines lately. Emirates and Qantas signed up an agreement regarding the European traffic. Qatar decided to join the oneworld. Last week, Etihad signed an agreement with Air France-KLM and Etihad + Air Berlin (that is partly owned by Etihad).

Conclusion

Garuda Indonesia is quite a turnaround story. They had quite a few problems (crashing planes) at some point in the 2000’s and were put on an European Union black list. This ban of flying to Europe has been lifted.

I have only flown on Garuda once from Bali to Jakarta couple of years ago. The flight was uneventful and the service was typical what you can expect in Asia.

140K Starpoints or 295 Euros per Night? The Worst Starwood Award Value Ever?

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I am just writing a piece about category 7 Starwood awards at specialty locations that don’t even have a published number of points required per night. The article should be ready later today. The only way of getting the number of required points per night for these locations, is to call Starwood Preferred Guest hotline.

In the process of doing this piece, I found what has to be the worst SPG award value ever.

Would you rather pay 295 euros per night compared to 140000 Starpoints?

Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda

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This lovely hotel on the Sardinian coast is only open from May 16 to September 26, 2013. When I was searching for prices, the hotel came up at 295 euros per night for May 22, 2013, but would require 140K SPG points for the same night. I confirmed the number of required points with the Platinum Concierge.

Conclusion

My personal opinion is that Starwood’s point requirement for anything above category 5 is inflated compared to number of base points that you earn (without any promotions) from hotel stays.

Of course this example is totally outrageous. Why even bother publishing 140000 Starpoint requirement per night? I cannot see anybody redeeming for this property.

SPG: Beat The Timer – Way to Save on Starwood Stays

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SPG has quite a few different discount options available and one of the less advertised ones is the Beat The Timer.

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There are number of hotels available on a rolling 72 hours period or until the inventory reserved for this discounted rate code has been exhausted. There is no rhyme what is offered and when. You probably should glance the available hotels every few days to see if any of the locations that you are planning to visit in the next three months is on the list.

Note that these discounted rates are prepaid, non-refundable and non-cancellable.

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You can also use the map option to see the countries where the current offers are available.

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When you choose the hotel and the dates, you are then presented the dates when the discounted rate is available during three month period.

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After you choose the dates, you are then connected to the brand specific website. The interface auto populates the SET code 387696 that is used to bring up the rates.

Conclusion

This is one of the SPG’s rate promotions that you should check frequently. The other one is Starpicks that is usually available on every Tuesday morning (USA time). Hotels use both of these rate plans to discount their near term inventory. Just to reminder that these rates are prepaid and non-refundable. Only book them IF your plans are firm.

Hilton’s “Request Upon Arrival” Option

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Hilton has implemented quite a few options for hotels to upsell after the reservation is done. I have already written about the Nor1 and eUpgrade options that tend to pop up on confirmation emails and when you check your reservations online. I have not, however, written about this “Request Upon Arrival” option.

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You can see this option on your reservation list. I just made three bookings for Kuala Lumpur this week and the option is shown on both Hilton reservations but not on the DoubleTree one.

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When you click the link, you are then presented with the options that the hotel has chosen. In this case, the list is rather long.

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Conclusion

I think that Hilton should think this upsell approach very carefully. Now, they have Nor1, eUpgrade, and Request Upon Arrival-options.

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Why Hilton has so many different options and do travelers really want to be nickel and dimed?

Priority Club Promotions for October

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Priority Club always has number of ongoing promotions that you can sign up for. If you don’t, you are really not maximizing the number of points you can earn with the program. I will have an update post on the onetime bonuses on Wednesday morning.

You can read about my average Priority Club point earnings when all the promotions are factored in here. I have also written about different type of Priority Club promotions here. By combining all the promotions you can get Platinum status + 60K points in just seven stays.

Just a word of warning. Some of these promotions may require an address to be in a specific country/area like United States or Asia Pacific. I take absolutely no guarantees what will post to your Priority Club account.  They may also conflict with a promotion that you have already signed up for and just return an error message.

There is an interesting “Roles To Rooms’ promotion for total of 15K bonus points for four stays. This promotion appears to be geographically targeted to members whose account is based in Asia Pacific region. It may also required the stays to be in the same region.

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Priority Club “Roles to Rooms” Promotion: 15000 Bonus Points for Four Stays

Here’s an update about the “Roles to Room” promotion:

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

Complimentary Intercontinental Ambassador Status After Three InterContinental Nights

You can get complimentary InterContinental Ambassador status that normally costs $200 for staying 3 nights at InterContinental properties by the end of November. Note that this promotion is not based on stays but on nights. It probably only works if you have not been an Ambassador member previously,

Triple Priority Club Points in Spain & Portugal – Need to Book IKTB2 Rate

Triple points for stays at select properties in the Iberian peninsula. Valid until the end of December.

Quarter 4 Stay Bonuses

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These are valid from October 1st to December 31st, 2012. You should sign up for 5K, 10K or 15K variation of this offer depending how many IHG nights you are planning to have on the 4th quarter.

Priority Club “50 Meetings” Meeting Planner Bonus of 50K Bonus Points for San Francisco, Houston, Chicago and New York

Priority Club has a bonus offer for Meeting Planners that book a qualified meeting by February 28, 2013 for January 1 to March 31, 2013.

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Priority Club “Sweetheart Deal” $100 Visa Prepaid Debit Card for Each 3 Night Stay within 90 Day of Wedding

Priority Club is offering a $100 rebate for every stay of 3 nights or longer within 90 days of your wedding, This promotion is valid until the end of 2012.

Priority Club $25 Gift Card Offer for Booking Directly Online

You can get up to five codes that you can redeem for various gift card by booking online or mobile on any of IHG branded websites. This offer is most likely targeted and won’t work for all.

Priority Club Meeting Rewards Offer of Triple Points

You can get triple Priority Club points for meetings by switching your account to Priority Club Meetings Reward member.

Conclusion

Make sure that you have signed up for all the promotions.

Word of caution! Even if Priority Club accepts the registration for the bonus offer, it doesn’t always trigger actual point posting. There is no point, pun intended, to call Priority Club about a promotion that you weren’t originally targeted for.

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