Here’s a recap of the interesting points and miles news from this week:
Maximizing Travel Credit Cards Calendar Year Spending Threshold Bonuses: As a recap from earlier this week, I took a look at all the credit cards that offer bonuses for crossing spending thresholds, so you can think about how to allocate your spending this year. Whether it’s thousands of extra points, elite-qualifying miles or credit for hotel stays or companion tickets, several cards can earn you a lot of perks. Some of my favorites are the Delta Reserve which can earn flyers up to 30,000 MQM’s per year, spending $30,000 on the British Airways Visa will earn you a Travel Together Ticket. The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve gives Hilton Diamond status after $40,000 in spending, and both the Hyatt Credit Card and Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card offer elite qualifying stays and nights toward elite status.
Earn 1,000 bonus SkyMiles when you stay with Marriott: Now through February 15, 2013 at select JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels & Resorts or Gaylord Hotels and you will receive 1,000 bonus miles with Delta Air Lines. You must book by January 15, 2013. A maximum of 1,000 bonus miles can be earned per stay and a maximum of 10,000 bonus miles can be earned with this promotion. Members electing to earn Marriott Rewards points are not eligible for this promotion. You can change your earning preference once you are logged into your Marriott Rewards account on their website. It can take six to eight weeks after promotion ends for bonus miles to be posted to your Delta SkyMiles account.
Aerolineas Argentinas now offering Status Matches: Aerolineas Argentinas is now offering status matches in their Aerolineas Plus program to Elite Gold or Elite Platinum levels, according to the level you have in the another airline’s frequent flyer program. The only domestic airline they are matching is American, so if you are American Platinum, you’d receive Air Plus Oro (Gold), while Executive Platinum members would receive Air Plus Platino (Platinum). To be considered an Aerolineas Plus Elite Member [email protected] with subject “Elite Status Match” and send a copy of your Aerolineas Plus membership number, full name, e-mail address and a copy of the account summary and the card that identifies you and your actual status of the other frequent flyer program. Once you have your new status, you’ll be able to check free bags on Delta since Air Plus Gold comes with SkyTeam Elite status and Air Plus Platinum means you’ll be SkyTeam Elite Plus. Unlike Star Alliance Gold, SkyTeam isn’t as generous with their international lounge access policy so you wouldn’t be able to use the Delta Sky Clubs while flying domestically using your Aerolineas Argentinas elite status. However, SkyTeam Elite offers priority check-in, priority boarding, and priority standby in addition to free checked luggage. SkyTeam Elite Plus comes with all that plus priority baggage handling and guaranteed reservations on sold out flights.
Hyatt Updates their Stay Certificates: Hyatt recently updated their stay certificate pricing and added two new levels. There are now seven certificates which include: Classic ($109.00), Choice ($152.22), Premier ($188.89), Elite ($260.00), Inspire ($325.55) and the two new ones Exclusive ($394.44) and Ultimate ($461.11). You can check which property falls under each category here. These can be a nice alternative for hotel redemptions if you do not have enough Hyatt Gold Passport points for an award and the normal rates are hefty. These certificates may not be redeemed for with points, so won’t help you if you are short a few points. While technically these must be booked online, you can see availability online by using the following rate codes: Classic — HSCLN1, Choice — HSCHN1, Premier — HSPRN1, Elite — HSELN1, Inspire — HSINN1, Exclusive — HSXLN1 and Ultimate — HSULN1. As a reminder, Hyatt Stay Certificates do not expire and the above prices include taxes. Check out all the frequently asked questions about Stay Certificates for more information. Hat Tip- One Mile at a Time
Earn up to 15,000 Bonus American AAdvantage Miles: Between now and January 31, 2013, when you buy AAdvantage miles you can now earn up to 15,000 bonus miles. This bonus is hard coded, so there is no need to register, and gifting miles will also yield you the bonus miles as well.If you buy 5,000-14,000 miles you will earn 1,000 bonus miles; 15,000-24,000 miles yields a 4,000 bonus; 25,000-39,000 miles nets a 8,000 miles bonus and for those purchasing 40,000+ miles, you will earn 15,000 bonus miles – a 37.5% bonus. Allow 3 days for the purchased miles to post to your account, and up to 5 days for the bonus miles to post. BuyAAmiles and giftAAmiles transactions are now allowed up to a combined maximum of 60,000 miles, per account, per calendar year. AAdvantage miles purchased or earned through this promotion do not count toward elite-status qualification or Million Miler.
2,000 Bonus Miles with MileagePlus Fitness: United has the MileagePlus Fitness program, which is offering members 2,000 bonus miles when they join a gym including Bally’s, 24 Hour Fitness, NYSC, Curves and more. They’re advertising over 10,000 gyms nationwide and you can search for one near you by using the Zip Code search box on the landing page. So if one of your new year’s resolutions was a kickstart at the gym, make it a dual resolution by making sure you earn some bonus miles or other perks with your membership. But as always – do the math and make sure that you aren’t paying an inflated price for your miles.
Cheap $1,500 Business Class Tickets to Europe on Finnair: Finnair is offering business class tickets for as low as $1,500 from the US to various European cities including Tallinn, Riga and Moscow this February-April. A quick search of ITA Software shows this fare is still available for tons of dates this winter. I only looked up a few sample fares from JFK, but found the $1,500 ones available to all three cities, and there are probably some more as well. The only conditions seem to be that the itinerary must be roundtrip, and you must be in the destination at least 5 days. If you have some time for a quick European trip this winter and want to earn some extra elite-qualifying miles for cheaper than usual, this could be a good way to do so. Hat tip: One Mile at a Time.
Hertz Launches Vehicle Upgrades Via Mobile Devices: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members may now select an upgraded or different rental vehicle via their smartphone which they can instantly rent in lieu of the vehicle they previously reserved. Hertz Carfirmations are an email that notifies customers prior to arrival about their rental, including specific vehicle information and car location. Clicking a link in the message provides customers renting at U.S. airport locations with the choice of switching to a different car at no additional cost or even upgrading to a nicer car while presenting the specific make, model and color of the available cars. To launch the new upgrades, Hertz piloted the service in both Los Angeles and Washington D.C. throughout December and has since introduced Mobile Gold Alert upgrades to the top 50 airport locations in the U.S. Be sure to check it out the next time you rent with Hertz.
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