About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Logging Into My Hyatt Globalist Account For The First Time…

Hyatt-Globalist-Account

RIP Hyatt Gold Passport, and welcome World of Hyatt. Overnight Hyatt has changed a lot of aspects of their loyalty program, which we first found out about a few months ago.

I tried to log into my World of Hyatt account first thing this morning, though they were having “technical difficulties” (I assume related to the transition). Now I’ve finally been able to log into my World of Hyatt account, where I can see my Globalist status reflected.

The most exciting part of checking my account was the “My Awards” section:

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Singapore KrisFlyer Announces Award Chart Devaluation As Of March 23, 2017

Singapore-Business-Class

I love the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program, given that it’s just about the only way to redeem miles for Singapore Airlines longhaul premium cabin flights. They only make most award space available to their own KrisFlyer members, and not to members of partner frequent flyer programs.

On top of that, KrisFlyer is transfer partners with all four major transferable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest — so the points are quite easy to come by.

Well, Singapore KrisFlyer has just announced an award chart devaluation for bookings as of March 23, 2017. The good news is that the devaluation is fairly mild, and even sort of fair. This isn’t some insane devaluation where some award costs are increasing by 100%, as we’ve seen from other airlines over the years.

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Enter Here To Win Hyatt’s New Globalist Status!

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Today is March 1, which means that it’s the day that Hyatt is formally eliminating their Gold Passport loyalty program, and introducing World of Hyatt in its place. We’ve covered these changes in great detail here on the blog, as they’re both positive and negative.

But for now, I’m excited to be able to give away World of Hyatt Globalist status to one lucky reader.

To celebrate the new program, World of Hyatt is giving away Globalist status to a lucky OMAAT reader. That’s right, one of you can win Globalist status through February 2019 from Hyatt (that’s nearly two years of Globalist status).

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Video: Uber CEO Gets In Argument With Driver, Gets 1-Star Rating

Uber

Uber has been in a lot of hot water lately, between the company’s CEO being on Trump’s business advisory council, allegations of sexism at Uber’s headquarters, and much more. In the past several weeks the #DeleteUber hashtag has been the top trending topic on many social platforms. Well, I imagine the video that just emerged of Uber’s CEO getting into an argument with a driver during a Superbowl Sunday ride won’t make the situation any better.

A video has been released of Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, taking a ride with two girls, and then getting in an argument with the driver towards the end. You can see the video below, though I’d recommend just watching the last two minutes.

In the first several minutes you just hear Travis talking to the girls. Per Bloomberg:

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Club Carlson’s 2017 Hotel Category Changes

Radisson-Blu

It’s pretty normal for the major global hotel chains to adjust hotel categories annually. We’re not talking about them actually adjusting the number of points required for a stay at a particular category of hotel, but rather adjusting which hotels are in which categories.

So far this year we’ve seen Marriott, Starwood, and IHG announce category changes. Now it’s Club Carlson’s turn.

Club Carlson has announced some category changes which kick in for bookings as of March 1, 2017. First of all, it’s extremely disappointing how little notice Club Carlson is giving of these changes. The changes kick in as of tomorrow, which I wouldn’t consider to be sufficient notice.

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I Just Bought 264,000 LifeMiles

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Through today, Avianca’s LifeMiles program is offering a special bonus on purchased miles. For readers of OMAAT, that bonus is up to 140%, which is an opportunity to acquire LifeMiles for as little as 1.375 cents each. The real out of pocket is even lower than that, given that buying LifeMiles typically qualifies as an airfare purchase, and therefore you can earn 3-5x points on some credit cards for your purchase.

The LifeMiles program isn’t perfect. There are certainly some downsides to the program, but I still find it to be one of the most practical programs for booking last minute premium cabin awards.

For example, last year I redeemed a few hundred thousand LifeMiles, including for travel in ANA first class, Lufthansa first class, etc. At a cost of 1.375 cents per mile, it’s tough to go wrong.

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Marriott’s New SVP Of Loyalty Is From Starwood (And Shares His Roadmap)

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As much as I’m not thrilled about Marriott’s takeover of Starwood (or perhaps more accurately, I don’t like competition being eliminated), there’s no denying that the leadership at the company has been doing a fantastic job with the integration.

Since the day the merger has closed, Marriott has allowed members to match status between programs, and transfer points at a fair ratio. Marriott has also announced some improvements to their program that nicely match what Starwood offers.

Marriott is planning on eventually integrating all three loyalty programs (Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest) into a unified loyalty program, though that’s happening in 2018 at the earliest.

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Last Day For Two Great Citi American Card Sign-Up Bonuses

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Since early December, Citi has officially increased the sign-up bonuses on the American AAdvantage co-brand credit cards. I’m told that the increased offers will be pulled tomorrow, so if you’re interested you’ll want to apply within the next 24 hours. As a reminder, here’s what you need to know about these offers:

Between these two cards you can earn up to 100,000 AAdvantage bonus miles, which is pretty great. The details are as follows:

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Air France FlyingBlue’s March 2017 Promo Awards

Air-France-777

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 are now pretty consistently for 25% off. That’s still good, just not as good.

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Alitalia Is Expected To Run Out Of Cash Within A Month

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Well, unfortunately it looks like Etihad’s investment in Alitalia isn’t working out quite as either party had hoped. A few years back Etihad bought a 49% stake in Alitalia, and there’s no doubt they improved their onboard product, in terms of business class seats, wifi, crew uniforms, dining, etc.

All of that is nice, but it doesn’t make an airline profitable. Since Etihad purchased a stake in Alitalia, the goal has been for Alitalia to break even by 2017. Instead Alitalia is expecting to make more than €600 million in operating losses this year. That’s average losss of €68,500 per hour. Ouch.

These losses aren’t sustainable, and in this case it looks like cash will be running out sooner rather than later. ItalyEurope24 is reporting that Alitalia is expected to run out of cash by the end of March, and will no longer be able to afford fuel or lease payments for their planes, pay their 12,000 employees, cover airport fees, etc.

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Thank You, Hyatt Gold Passport!

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Tomorrow is March 1, which is the official launch of the World of Hyatt program. This is replacing Hyatt Gold Passport as Hyatt’s loyalty program. The program is no doubt a mixed bag, and how you feel about it probably depends on how much you stay with Hyatt. For those who stay 60 or more nights per year with Hyatt, the new program could be good news. For others, not so much.

So while we’ve written about the new World of Hyatt program quite a bit on OMAAT, I wanted to take a second to acknowledge and reflect on what an incredible loyalty program Gold Passport has been. Hyatt Gold Passport was the program that got me hooked on hotel loyalty programs, but they delivered more than that.

This post isn’t intended to be a comparison of the old and new program, but rather just intended to focus on the positive and say thanks to Jeff Zidell and his team for their innovation and for a heck of a run. Let’s take a short trip down memory lane…

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Great Promotion For New JetBlue TrueBlue Members

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JetBlue’s TrueBlue program has a nice promotion at the moment for new members. Those who aren’t yet members of the TrueBlue program can earn 5,000 bonus points if they register, book, and fly by April 16, 2017.

Enrollment and registration is required prior to booking, and either a one-way or roundtrip flight will qualify for this promotion. Bonus points should be posted to your account within 4-6 weeks of the end of the promotion.

Personally I value TrueBlue points at ~1.4 cents each, which means I value those 5,000 points at ~$70. In many cases that’s more than the cost of a one-way ticket, meaning the value of the points you earn can exceed the cost of the ticket. TrueBlue is a revenue based program, meaning the number of points required for a ticket is directly correlated to how much it would cost in cash.

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Review: Novotel Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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We had a fairly short overnight in Taipei before our connecting flight. We were arriving from Los Angeles at around 5PM, and departing the following day to Singapore at 9AM. As much as I love Taipei as a city, Taoyuan Airport is quite a ways from town.

As a result, I figured it made the most sense to stay at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan Airport, given that the hotel is just a short (free) shuttle ride from the airport.

We booked only a few days before our stay, so by the time we booked they only had executive rooms left for sale, which retailed for ~$200. That’s not cheap for an airport hotel, but still seemed better than any of the alternatives.

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