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Here’s a quick recap of the interesting points and miles news from the week.
Reminder: My 50,000 Marriott Points Giveaway Ends Tomorrow!
This is just a quick reminder that I’m giving away 50,000 Marriott Rewards points, but in order to get in on the contest, you have to play Marriott’s “What’s Your Travel Type” Facebook game where members can win one of six grand prizes tailored to their personal travel tastes and preferences and then leave a comment on my giveaway post. You have until Sunday August 19, 2012 at 6:00pm Eastern Time to enter and a winner will be picked at random and announced on Monday August 20th. Good luck!
Email Offer: Up to 48,000 Wyndham Rewards Points or 19,200 Airline Miles for Three Nights
Wyndham recently launched a new promotion for its Wyndham Rewards email subscribers to earn 16,000 bonus points for stays at one of 20 newly opened Hawthorn Suites (rates start at about $60) or Wyndham Hotels and Resorts (rates start at about $80) between August 6-October 6, 2012. You can earn the bonus up to three times for a total of 48,000 points.
To qualify for the bonus, your account must be active, you must click through the email you received (though if you didn’t receive it, you might be able to contact Wyndham and request it), and stay at any of the 20 participating properties (listed on the promo page) during the promotion period and complete your stays by October 9 – member stays with check-out dates after October 9 will not count, so be sure to vacate in time! Though you could use 16,000 Wyndham Rewards points for a free night at a Category 4 property, but remember, Wyndham Rewards has tons of airline partners, and points transfer at a 2.5:1 ratio, so 16,000 Wyndham points equals 6,400 miles on airlines like American, Delta and United, so three stays at about $60 each ($180 total) would net you 19,200 miles, the equivalent of buying them at 0.94 cents each – not a bad value. Especially considering Wyndham is the only major chain that will give you the points whether you check in in person or not (keep in mind, they’ll also charge you for the room), so you could score these bonuses with ghost reservations where you don’t actually stay, as long as you pay for the room.
Hat tip: Loyalty Traveler.
1,000 Free Avios For Signing Up For bmi Diamond Club
Though bmi’s loyalty program, Diamond Club, is coming to an end soon, but you can still sign up for it, and when new members join and use the voucher code 1JA1KD they are automatically awarded 1,000 “destination miles.” Then when you scroll down your account page to the box titled “Transfer Miles” and click on it then click “Transfer Now,” it will redirect you to British Airways’ Executive Club login where you must enter your username/number and password, then click “Manage My Account” and then “Combine Avios.” Where you’ll have the choice of combining them from Iberia or bmi. Select bmi, choose 1,000 as your amount, check the box saying you’ve read the terms and agree, and voila, you’ve scored an extra 1,000 bmi points. That’s the equivalent of having spent $800 on a British Airways Visa.
Hat tip: Head For Points.
September/October Flying Blue Promo Award Routes Announced
Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program of SkyTeam partners Air France and KLM, runs 50% off promo awards all year long, but changes the gateway city pairings every few months. That means you can fly roundtrip from certain North American cities to Europe and beyond for as low as 25,000 miles in coach and 50,000 miles in business class on Air France and KLM, each of which have different cities and cabins they discount. The program just announced its September-October cities, though you’ll have to wait until August 29 to start booking these fares.
Among the routes to/from North America will be New York JFK, Chicago and Toronto in economy on KLM to Europe Zones 1, 2 and 3 (which includes), and in Voyageur (economy) on Air France from Miami, Houston and Montreal. While I’m disappointed that the redemptions are all for economy class tickets and there don’t seem to be any business class redemptions on these routes, at least 25,000 miles roundtrip to Europe is something to think about. Just remember that taxes and surcharges on award tickets can be in the range of $200-500, so always be sure to check regular ticket prices before committing to an award booking. Flying Blue is also an instant 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, so this promo could be a good value for using those Amex points. However, in the case of this round of Flying Blue promo awards, I’d say keep your Amex points and wait until the next round is announced since there’s nothing too exciting this time.
New Priority Pass Lounges 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.
Priority Pass is a network of over 600 airport lounges worldwide that you can purchase membership in, or that you get for free with the American Express Platinum card (though guests will cost you $27 each). In addition to some independent lounges, Priority Pass also contracts with certain airline lounges, and its list of partner lounges is constantly growing – especially over this past summer. It made individual announcements in June, July and August about several new lounges that joined the network including the US Airways club at Washington Reagan-National Airport, the Air France VIP Lounge at Chicago O’Hare, and several others throughout Asia, Europe and South America for a total of over 20 new lounges. Las Vegas has some new choices as well since both locations of The Club at LAS have also been added. You can search Priority Pass’s entire directory here.
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.