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Today is my birthday and while I’ve already gotten myself a gift (a $260 roundtrip ticket to Madrid which I splurged and upgraded both directions, an Air Europa ticket to Barcelona, one night at Le Meridien Barcelona on points and two nights at the Westin Palace Madrid on cash and points), I thought I’d create a travel wish list. You know, just in case the loyalty programs needed any ideas on what to get me ;-). Since 13 is my lucky number, I figured I’d stop there, though I could probably go forever. Feel free to comment below with your wish list for loyalty program/travel improvements.
1) Hyatt announces a Faster Free Nights (one free night for every two stays) promotion that mirrors past promotions: no limit on the number of nights earned or category restriction on redemptions
2) SkyTeam becomes friendlier about first class redemptions. Currently Delta doesn’t allow first class redemptions on any SkyTeam partner and Air France only lets their elite passengers redeem for First (at insanely inflated prices). Come on – join the club and open up First class redemptions to all – it’s not like your product is superior to Oneworld or Star Alliance! Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
3) American Express adds new transfer partners to Membership Rewards: US Airways, American Airlines, Emirates, bmi, and Qantas.
4) All credit card companies waive foreign transaction fees. Why the hate for international travelers?!
5) The TSA gets rid of full-body scanners and instead invests in training its work force
6) Starwood offers a 50,000 point bonus on their co-branded Amex card
7) British Airways stops charging fuel surcharges on award tickets
8 ) Delta goes back to a two tier award chart and loads more “low” level awards to be competitive with the other US carriers
9) All airlines decide that angled and recliner business class seats aren’t acceptable and install fully lie-flat beds (specifically you, Air France and KLM!)
10) The ANA Award Search tool incorporated a calendar feature so you could search Star Alliance award availability by month (instead of the current day by day)
11) Continental hires more phone agents, especially for their international award booking desk which usually has 20+ minute hold times
12) All hotels follow Hilton’s lead and allow award nights to count towards elite status
13) All governments (especially the US Department of State) stop fleecing travelers with absurd passport and visa fees. Seriously – let’s encourage people to travel!
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.