IHG Rewards Club Bonus On Purchased Points


Through October 31, 2014, IHG Rewards Club is offering up to a 60% bonus on purchased points.

The cost to purchase points varies based on how many you purchase, as follows:

– 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
– 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
– 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points

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Earn Mobile Bonuses From Your Computer


Many travel related companies now offer incentives or promotions for booking travel using your smartphone.

– Through November 16, Club Carlson will give you 3000 bonus points for booking via their app.
– Ben reports that HotelUpgrade will get you special perks, including on corporate and AAA rates, but only if you book via their app.
– Hilton and SPG often offer bonus points during their promotions for booking via the app.
– National gives 75 bonus points towards their One Two Free promo
– etc.

The reason for this requirement is fairly simple – these companies want to change your behavior. They want you to think of them and launch their app when you are making last minute plans from the road. It is a very lucrative market and they want to be a fingertip away. And they are willing to buy their way into your thought process.

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AmEx Eliminates Threshold Bonus On Best Membership Rewards Card


American Express will be eliminating the 15,000 point bonus on the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card as of 2015.

What are the implications here, and why is this a big deal?


I’ve had the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card for years. It’s one of the first cards I ever applied for. Anecdotally it’s fairly easy to be approved for, given that it’s a charge card and not a credit card (meaning you have to pay off your balance in full each month, making it lower risk for the issuers than a credit card).

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US Airways Stops Selling Status


One of the things I do appreciate about the behind-the-scenes folks at US Airways is that many of their decision-makers are effectively bean-counters. Intelligent bean-counters, if there is such a thing.

Operationally, the management team at US Airways has done a good job, and that’s partly because they make decisions based on what they think makes the most financial sense.

So we’ve seen them sell miles at ridiculously cheap rates (because it was profitable), replace catering on short domestic routes with a snack basket (because it was profitable), and even outright sell you elite status (because it was profitable).

Apparently they’ve decided that last option no longer makes financial sense, as US Airways has eliminated the ability to purchase elite status through their Buy Up To Preferred program.

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Delta SkyMiles Limiting Membership Rewards Points Transfers


There’s no denying that Delta has been trailblazing the way for the US airline industry when it comes to frequent flyer programs. They were the first to introduce a revenue requirement for status, and are taking it a step further in 2015, by awarding redeemable miles based on how much you spend as opposed to how much you fly.

There are some positive changes to the program as well. For example, they’ll begin allowing one-way award tickets for half the cost of a roundtrip starting in January. As someone that doesn’t actually fly Delta but accrues their miles through other means, I’d actually say the new program may be a net positive.

American Express has just announced a change to the Membership Rewards program which I didn’t see coming, however:

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Review: Park Hyatt Chicago


This past week I had some meetings in Chicago prior to FTU Advanced, so decided to stay at the Park Hyatt Chicago.

I absolutely love Park Hyatt hotels, and was keen to check out what used to be their flagship property before they handed over that title to the Park Hyatt New York.

I stayed at the Park Hyatt for three nights, and the rate was $395 per night.

I booked through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, which came with the following benefits:

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JetBlue & El Al Announce Codeshare


Last week I wrote about the announcement that American and El Al will be discontinuing their partnership as of November 1, 2014. It wasn’t a huge partnership to begin with, so in a way I was surprised they discontinued it, since it was valuable to some AAdvantage members and seemed to have limited downside.

I’d speculate American decided to discontinue it, given their merger with US Airways, which flies nonstop between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv. Furthermore, there are rumors of American launching additional service to Tel Aviv soon, in which case it makes perfect sense that they wouldn’t want to provide more feed onto El Al flights without a joint venture.

It looks like El Al didn’t take very long to get over that relationship, as El Al and JetBlue have announced a codeshare agreement, less than a week later.

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Don’t Watch This Video


You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is quite possibly the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if I mean that in a good way or bad way. I’m still trying to decide. And that’s after playing this video on repeat nonstop for the past 24 hours (with Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” in the mix at least once an hour, just to maintain my sanity).

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Park Hyatt New York Points + Cash Suite Awards


Arguably the most anticipated hotel opening of the year has been the Park Hyatt New York, which I had the opportunity to stay at on their opening night. It’s an absolutely gorgeous property, and deserving of its place as the flagship Park Hyatt property.

Something that has made this hotel interesting is that for the most part they haven’t been selling standard rooms, and in turn haven’t been making any standard room award nights available. Hyatt has no blackout dates on award nights, so as long as a standard room is available you can redeem points for it. But when there are no standard rooms…

As the schedule has opened up a year out, some standard rooms have periodically become available, though we’re talking about as many award rooms as there are Qantas first class award seats.

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Who Is Eligible For Ink Plus Sign-Up Bonus?


Yesterday Chase came out with the biggest publicly available sign-up bonus we’ve ever seen on the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, offering 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months.

The card has a $95 annual fee, which isn’t waived for the first year. While the 50,000 point offer on the card usually has the annual fee waived the first year, it’s absolutely worth paying $95 for an additional 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

I initially posted about it yesterday evening when the offer first went public, and have received quite a few questions about the offer, which I figured I’d clarify below:

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LOT Polish Award Space Now On United.com


In a way there’s an inverse correlation between award availability and the ease of searching that space online. In other words, as much as I appreciate when airlines make it easy to book award tickets online, it also means there’s a lot more competition for those seats.

For example, American lets you book many of their partner airlines directly through their website, but not Cathay Pacific. As annoying as it is to have to call to book, I actually prefer it that way, because it means there’s less competition for those seats.

United has a fairly comprehensive website when it comes to displaying partner airline award space, though historically they haven’t displayed Brussels Airlines and LOT Polish award space. These two airlines also happen to have extremely good award space, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that’s at least partly due to the fact that it’s not bookable through United’s website.

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