Malaysia Airlines Is (Finally) Refreshing Their Airport Lounges

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In addition to cutting costs through layoffs, retiring planes, and greatly scaling back their route network, Malaysia Airlines is also trying to refresh their product so that they can actually be competitive.

Last November Malaysia Airlines announced that they’d introduce a new fully flat business class product on their A330s, which is now available on select routes.

That’s good news if they want to improve premium yields, since their old angled product just doesn’t cut it when the competition is mostly offering fully flat beds with direct aisle access.

Fortunately it looks like Malaysia Airlines will be upgrading their premium ground experience as well, as they’re refreshing their lounges at Kuala Lumpur Airport and London Heathrow Airport.

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For Real This Time: Last Chance To Buy Starpoints For 25% Off

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As I first wrote about in early March, Starwood has been offering up to a 25% discount on the purchase of Starpoints.

The promotion was supposed to last until April 15, so the night of April 13 I drafted a post about it being your last chance to purchase Starpoints for 25% off. Well, the morning of the 15th they extended the promotion by a couple of weeks, through April 30, 2016.

Tomorrow is April 30, meaning this is your last chance to purchase Starpoints for a 25% discount (assuming the promo isn’t extended again, which I doubt it will be).

Through this promotion the discounts are tiered, as follows:

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Qantas’ New Pilot Uniforms: Stylish Or Ridiculous?

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Qantas is known for generally being a pretty stylish airline, at least in recent years. The airline just shared their new pilot uniforms on their Facebook page, and they’re… different. Here are a couple of the pictures:

Now, the first thing I noticed is that the people don’t look like most of the pilots I have, especially the twins up front. I know airlines sometimes use models for promotional purposes, but that seems a bit odd for showcasing new pilot uniforms.

I know these are what really old school pilot uniforms looked like, but nowadays they’re more like sailor uniforms.

So, what do you guys think of Qantas’ new pilot uniforms — are they stylish, ridiculous, or a bit of both?

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25% Off Business Class Awards Between Boston And Europe

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One of the best uses of Air France/KLM FlyingBlue miles is booking their Promo Awards. FlyingBlue publishes these every month, and they offer 20-50% off select award tickets on Air France and KLM metal. Back in the day Promo Awards would consistently be for 50% off and would have a good number of options in business class, though unfortunately they’ve devalued the promotion somewhat since then, and the discounts now vary.

However, there are still some great deals to be had. FlyingBlue just published their latest Promo Awards. These are valid for bookings made between May 1 and May 31, 2016 (so they’re valid as of Sunday), and for travel between July 1 and August 31, 2016.

This is obviously a peak summer travel period, and generally over those periods there aren’t as many good Promo Awards available. However, there’s one which looks especially good — you can book a business class award between Boston and Europe on Air France for 25% off. The normal one-way redemption cost is 62,500 miles, while through this promotion you’d pay just 46,875 miles one-way.

For that cost you can include flights which include connections to other points in Europe from Paris, though you can’t include domestic segments on Delta to position to Boston. There are also ~$200 in fuel surcharges each way.

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Video: A Pakistani Villager Flies For The First Time

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It’s so easy to take flying for granted, not just in terms of getting from point A to point B easily, but also in terms of the actual miracle of flight. We might laugh when we see a safety video talk about how to put on your seatbelt, but the reality is that there are billions of people who have never flown before.

Al Jazeera did a documentary about a Pakistani villager who goes to Dubai at the urging of the elders in his village, so that they can help lift them out of poverty. The video explores there being more to life than money:

“In the remote Pakistan village of Hakimwala, farmers battle a deadly pest that is ruining their cotton crops. Many find it difficult to afford the pesticide and face mounting debts.

The elders of the village encourage the young men to travel abroad to earn better pay and help lift the village out of poverty.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sharif has lived in Hakimwala all his life. He is an only son and drives the only car in the village. He is responsible for driving the sick to the city hospital three hours away.”

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Register Now For Hilton’s Double Points Promotion

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Yesterday I first shared the details of Hilton’s newest promotion, for stays between May 1 and August 31, 2016. The promotion offers double base points on all Hilton stays. It’s worth noting that you can now register for the promotion on the official promo page.

Through this promotion you’re earning an additional 10 HHonors points per dollar spent. All properties are participating in the promotion, and once you register you’re good for the entire promotion period.

This promotion is essentially an extension of the promotion which Hilton has been running between January 1 and April 30, 2016, also offering double base points. I think Hilton deserves credit for running eight months of nonstop promotions, as they don’t have a gap between promotions like other programs do.

I value Hilton points at ~0.4 cents each, so to me this is like an additional return of ~4% on my hotel spend. That’s not a reason to switch a stay to Hilton (at least for someone who’s crunching the numbers), but at the same time it’s probably enough to keep people from switching stays to other hotel groups.

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The Most Popular Daily Getaways Packages Are For Sale Today… Good Luck!

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Daily Getaways is back this year, which is a five week promotion intended to support US tourism. It offers opportunities to purchase discounted hotel points and travel packages.

I’ve shared my initial thoughts on the packages for sale, including the offers for weeks one and two, and then separately the offers for weeks three, four, and five. Daily Getaways packages go on sale at 1PM ET every weekday, and the more popular packages sell out very quickly, so you’ll want to be fast, if interested.

Today is the Daily Getaways package people tend to be most excited about — at 1PM ET they’ll be selling discounted Hyatt points.

Let me first emphasize just how popular these packages are. They tend to sell out in no time, so this is more of a lottery than anything, even if you’re there at 1PM ET sharp.

There are four types of packages available, as follows:

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Which Is Better: Amex EveryDay Preferred Or Chase Freedom Unlimited?

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While mileage earning opportunities for actually flying have greatly decreased over the past several years as many programs go revenue based and make other tweaks, maximizing points otherwise has become easier than ever before. Nowadays you can easily earn 3-5x points for many daily purchases, from groceries to gas to Amazon to travel.

Even spend which doesn’t fall into specific bonus categories is more lucrative than ever before, as we’re no longer earning a single mile or point per dollar spent. Now it’s possible to earn 1.5 points in the transferrable currencies of both American Express and Chase, which is fantastic. But which card is better?

This is the card I use most for everyday spend, as it offers the following bonus categories:

— 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
— 2x points at US gas stations
— 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle, meaning you can earn up to 4.5x points at supermarkets, 3x points at gas stations, and 1.5x points on everyday spend

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Less Than One Week Left For Biggest Ever Hilton Amex Sign-Up Bonuses

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As I first wrote about at the beginning of April, American Express is offering increased sign-up bonuses on their two co-branded Hilton credit cards. These increased offers are available through next Wednesday, May 4, 2016. So if you’re interested in either offer (or both!), you have less than a week to take advantage of the deal.

The details of these offers are as follows:

— Hilton HHonorsTM Card from American Express — 75,000 HHonors bonus points after you spend $1,000 within three months; no annual fee
— Hilton HHonorsTM Surpass® Card from American Express — 100,000 HHonors bonus points after you spend $3,000 within three months; $75 annual fee

These are both good offers — the one on the Hilton HHonors Card is great because it’s a no annual fee credit card with a very nice sign-up bonus, while the one on the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card offers an even bigger bonus. While it has a $75 annual fee, it also comes with a better return on everyday spend, and also Gold status for as long as you have the card, plus Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a year.

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Air Canada Announces New Vancouver To Delhi Flight

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India is a market in which North American carriers have traditionally struggled. For example, of US carriers, only United flies directly to India, out of their hub in Newark. Meanwhile both American and Delta have canceled their flights there over the past several years, instead focusing on one-stop codesharing opportunities between the two countries; Delta even recently strengthened their partnership with Jet Airways.

Delta’s CEO has blamed this on the Gulf carriers, saying that they forced the US carriers to exit the market. If that were true, I don’t think United would still have flights to both Delhi and Mumbai. There’s no doubt that Gulf carriers are providing much of the lift for passengers between the US and India, but I think Richard Anderson is wrong about the cause and effect relationship there.

The reality is that India is just a very tough market. It’s a long ways from North America, and it’s a fairly low yielding market. Economy class passengers are extremely price sensitive, and a lot of travel is still booked through consolidators. While there’s some premium demand, it’s also largely low yielding, and historically hasn’t been enough to make these routes profitable.

However, there are two considerations which have seriously changed, which put India back on the map:

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Watch Out Kim And Kanye, There’s A New Airline Baby In Town!

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As anyone with terrible taste in entertainment news knows, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their baby North West. As an aviation geek I assume they were naming their baby after a once decent airline… right?!?

Regardless, move over North West, because there’s a new airline baby in town. A baby was born on an April 22 Jetstar flight from Singapore to Yangon. The best part? The mother’s family name was Star, so to thank the airline for the great job they did, she named her baby Jet Star.

Here’s what Jetstar (the airline, not the baby) had to say on their Facebook page (though with the speed at which kids are embracing technology nowadays, maybe Jet Star already has his own Facebook page as well):

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Here Are The Details Of Hilton’s Summer Promotion

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Over the past few weeks many of the major hotel chains have announced the details of their summer promotions, including Hyatt, Starwood, IHG, Wyndham, and Club Carlson.

Hilton has just shared the details of their upcoming promotion, which isn’t yet open for registration. Through Hilton’s Unlimited Bonus Promotion, members will earn double base points for all stays between May 1 and August 31, 2016. Here’s what a Hilton representative said about the promotion on FlyerTalk:

I can finally share the good news about our next promotion – the HHonors Unlimited Bonus Promotion! Here’s the deal: registered members receive Double Points for ALL stays from May 1 – August 31, 2016. There are no minimum stays required to start earning, no minimum number of nights in your stay, no restrictions by nights, cities or brands, and no limit on how many Points you can earn. On top of all of that – ALL hotels are participating. In addition to unlimited Bonus Points, we are also excited to continue our ongoing efforts to send members targeted, personalized offers in parallel with this offer.

Details are listed below:

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Today Only: Discounted Fairmont Stays In Hawaii & Scottsdale

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Daily Getaways is back this year, which is a five week promotion intended to support US tourism. It offers opportunities to purchase discounted hotel points and travel packages.

I’ve shared my initial thoughts on the packages for sale, including the offers for weeks one and two, and then separately the offers for weeks three, four, and five. Daily Getaways packages go on sale at 1PM ET every weekday, and the more popular packages sell out very quickly, so you’ll want to be fast, if interested.

Today at 1PM ET Daily Getaways will be selling discounted Fairmont vacation packages for stays in Hawaii and Scottsdale. Here are the details of the two types of packages:

Through this offer you’ll receive six Ovation Rewards certificates, each redeemable for a one night stay and breakfast for two at your choice of two Fairmont Hawaii properties (The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui or the The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii). The certificates don’t expire, and can be split up, meaning you don’t have to stay six nights at once. You can make six one night stays, two three night stays, etc.

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Carlson Hotels Being Sold To Chinese Tourism Group

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Consolidation is rampant in the hotel industry at the moment. IHG is buying Kimpton, Marriott is buying Starwood, and Accor is buying Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel.

Now we have news of the next merger — Carlson hotels are being taken over by HNA Tourism Group, a Chinese company, which also owns a big stake in Hainan Airlines.

This is different than the Chinese insurance company Anbang, which was bidding for Starwood recently. Carlson hotels include Radisson, Park Plaza, Country Inn & Suites, and more.

They’re a brand which has historically done well in the limited service sector, but has struggled to expand beyond that. While Radisson Blu is an upscale brand, it hasn’t been expanding at an especially rapid pace.

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