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Update: The 50,000 point sign up offer for the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card is no longer available through the Card Match Tool.
Here’s a recap of the interesting points and miles news from this week:
Amazing Deal – 50,000 Membership Rewards Points for the Amex Premier Rewards Gold: Earlier this week, American Express released a great offer on several of their cards including 50,000 points for the Premier Rewards Gold when you spend $1,000 within 3 months, and 45,000 Delta SkyMiles for the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex when you spend $5,000 in the first six months. To get these offers and more, Go to the Creditcards.com Card Match Tool and enter your information and you’ll be redirected to a page with credit card offers specifically tailored to you, including these two for which you can apply directly from there. There is also limited time offer for the American Express Business Platinum Card where you get 25,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership. If you apply for a business and personal American Express card in the same day you can receive both sign up bonuses although you will usually get 2 hits on your credit.
Major Hilton HHonors Devaluation Announced: As a recap from earlier this week, Hilton announced some changes effective March 28, 2013, which include new tiers (read: more expensive redemptions) and seasonal pricing (read: more expensive redemptions), but also a 5th night free benefit for elite members, which could be a good option for those who can’t leverage their AXON and GLON award redemptions. Hilton will be adding new reward categories and will now have ten categories requiring 5,000 to 95,000 points per night. They are also adding seasonal pricing where the amount of points needed for a standard reward will vary during certain times of the year. Lastly, Silver, Gold and Diamond members will receive a free night when they book a standard reward stay of five or more consecutive nights. Overall, I’m hugely disappointed with these changes and I foresee a quick end to my initial love affair with Hilton after getting Diamond status for hitting $40,000 in spend on my Citi Hilton Reserve card.
Delta Enhancing Transcontinental Flight Services: Delta announced that it will be adding new services and amenities to their transcontinental flights between JFK-LAX/SFO/SEA. As a recap, Delta will be adding the following:
- Sparkling wine in BusinessElite
- Copies of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today for BusinessElite customers, beginning later this spring
- BusinessElite express meals beginning this fall
- Complimentary headsets for all customers seated in Economy Comfort and Economy
- Complimentary beer, wine, spirits and premium snacks in Economy Comfort in April
- Complimentary movies and on-demand TV shows in Economy, plus free HBO selections and new release movies for customers seated in Economy Comfort starting this summer
- 375 ml bottles of Hess Select Chardonnay and Meiomi by Belle Glos Pinot Noir available for purchase in Economy Class beginning in March
- Starbucks coffee for all transcon customers, beginning this summer
- Expanded movie and on-demand TV library, with up to 100 movies to choose from
- Upgraded food for purchase menu including more kid-friendly and healthy options beginning this fall
- All transcon flights out of New York’s JFK will depart from T4, Delta’s new international terminal, opening in May
The transcontinental market is a very competitive route especially JFK-LAX, so the airlines need to do everything they can to differentiate themselves, so I’m glad to see Delta really focusing on these routes. This is in addition to the previous announcement Delta made about adding fully lie-flat beds in the BusinessElite cabin for all their transcontinental flights between JFK-LAX/SFO/SEA starting in March 2013.
Earn 1,000 Bonus Starpoints On Sheraton Club Stays: Now through May 31, 2013, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members can earn 1,000 bonus Starpoints on every eligible Sheraton Club stay. Sheraton Club lounges are now open seven days a week and offer complimentary breakfast, all-day snacks, beverages and evening hors d’oeuvres. Starwood has recently invested over $120 million to upgrade 120 club lounges worldwide including those at the Sheraton Waikiki, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Sheraton Hong Kong, Sheraton Boston, and Sheraton Edinburgh to name a few. To be eligible for this offer, you must book using rate code DAILYFS or SICLUB online and for phone bookings mention rate code CL1. Complimentary upgrades to the club floor, such as those given to SPG Platinum members, will not qualify for the bonus points.
Wyndham Rewards Updates Their Award Chart: Wyndham announced some changes to their award chart starting March 14, 2013. Their lowest tier will be decreasing from 6,000 to 5,500 points. They will adding a new tier for 8,000 points per night since currently there is no tier level between 5,500 and 10,000 points. Lastly, their highest tier will require 30,000 points, since their 35,000 and 45,000 point tier levels will be eliminated. However, properties within the current point level may moving up to higher levels. Most point redemptions required 16,000 or less points in the past, but now these will cost up to 30,000 points. They haven’t announced the new chart yet which will show which hotels require how many points so we will have to wait and see what the new chart looks like before it can fully be evaluated. Hat Tip: View from the Wing
American Allows First and Business Class Passengers to Pre-Reserve Meals: American is allowing first and business class passengers the opportunity to pre-reserve their meal selections before their flight. They have been testing this option out for a while, but it has now officially launched. Passengers may reserve an entrée on American Airlines marketed and operated flights within the continental U.S., and to/from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Requests may be made 30 days prior to travel and all orders must be completed at least 24 hours before departure.
United Has Removed 787 From Flight Schedule Through June 5: United has removed all Boeing 787 planned flights from their flight schedule for an additional two months, bringing the proposed recommencement date to June 5, 2013. Christen David, a United spokesperson said the one exception would be to use the 787 on a new route between Denver and Tokyo if the jet is cleared to resume flights by May 12. This is all due to a battery fire risk, which caused an emergency landing on an ANA jet after smoke alarms went off back in January and another that spontaneously caught fire on a JAL jet at a gate at Boston Logan. I was able to fly on one of United’s 787 Dreamliners during the Star Megado in November, and enjoyed the plane’s sleek, airy interior, quiet flight operation and overall comfort factor, so hopefully they can be cleared to fly again soon.
British Airways to Start Selling “Hand Baggage Only” Fares: British Airways plans to begin selling “hand baggage only” fares on some of their short-haul flights from London-Gatwick. The new type of fare, is being introduced on a trial basis, will be available on London-Gatwick short-haul flights to five destinations: Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin. The fares will start at £39 ($59.50) one-way for travel beginning February 26, 2013. All British Airways’ short-haul customers will continue to receive free seat assignments 24 hours of departure, complimentary food and snacks, and will continue to earn Avios and tier points. The airline plans to extend the trial to the rest of the Gatwick short-haul network if these initial routes are a hit. Though the Business Gold Rewards card doesn’t have the benefits package of the more premium Business Platinum Card, it also doesn’t have that card’s $450 annual fee. In fact, the $175 annual fee on this one is waived the first year, so getting it is like a risk-free trial of its benefits plus it comes with appealing bonus spending categories like 3x on the category of choice and a range of 2x spending categories as well.
Though the Business Gold Rewards card doesn’t have the benefits package of the more premium Business Platinum Card, it also doesn’t have that card’s $450 annual fee. In fact, the $175 annual fee on this one is waived the first year, so getting it is like a risk-free trial of its benefits plus it comes with appealing bonus spending categories like 3x on the category of choice and a range of 2x spending categories as well.