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Here’s a round-up of the week’s points, miles and travel industry news you may have missed:
Alaska Introduces New Flight Experience “Alaska Beyond”
Alaska is amping up their in-flight service with the launch of Alaska Beyond. First off, the planes feature new leather seats with six-way adjustable headrests. My favorite new addition is personal power outlets at every seat (every single 737-800, 737 -900, and 737-900ER plane will have the new seats and power outlets by the end of December, 2014).
This new service also features updated in-flight entertainment options like movies, TV shows and more, which you can watch on your own devices. The entire catalog of content is free for customers flying through the end of January, beyond which there will be some free content as well as premium content available starting at $1.99. All 737 planes will be equipped with the new service by April, 2015. New food options include Tom Douglas signature entrees, a fruit & cheese platter, and new Chateau Ste. Michelle and Canoe Ridge wines, Sun Liquor hand-crafted liquors and local micro-brews (available on select flights only until further notice).
The Alaska product hasn’t been updated in a while and has lagged behind competitors. Still, Alaska is my latest airline crush, so I’m excited for the new updates.
Virgin Soon Launching First Hotel with Elevate Bonus Points for Stays
Virgin’s very first hotel is set to open in Chicago on January 15, 2015. Full details of a specific Virgin hotel loyalty program have not yet been revealed; we do know that all Virgin America Elevate members will get a 1,000 point bonus per stay at any Virgin Hotel (Virgin Nashville is slated for a 2016 opening, and Virgin New York in 2017).
Between January 15-March 31, 2015, Elevate members can also earn double bonus points (for a total of 2,000 points per stay) at the new Chicago property. Elevate Gold members will get complimentary breakfast and a room upgrade, based on availability. Silver members will also receive an upgrade if one is available. If the Virgin Hotel experience is as chic as their flights, then I’ll be excited to stay there. If you haven’t yet joined the Virgin Elevate program, you can do so here.
TAM Launches New Routes Between North and South America
TAM is focusing on connecting North America with Latin America with the launch of two new services that are already bookable: Toronto (YTZ)-Sao Paulo (GRU) via New York (JFK), and nonstop Orlando (MCO)-Brasilia (BSB). More flights on the Brasilia (BSB)-Miami (MIA) route will be available for booking soon. The YTZ-GRU (daily) service starts March 29, 2015, the MCO-BSB (daily) service starts June 12, 2015, and three new flights between BSB-MIA will begin on August 27, 2015.
TAM Airlines will operate all three routes using Boeing 767-300ER planes configured with 191 seats in Economy and 30 in Premium Business (these seats recline up to 180º degrees).
Earn 35 SkyMiles/Dollar Spent at FTD.com Plus Bonus
Delta is offering 35 Skymiles per dollar spent at FTD.com plus a 500 mile bonus for eligible purchases. Exclusions include “Gifts” under $24.99 or products under $19.99, and there are several others, so read the fine print. The bonus is only available for Delta SkyMiles Medallion members. You can order online or call 1-800-SEND-FTD (1-800-736-3383) and mention promo code 34809. There is currently no end date to this promotion, but shop soon to ensure you receive the miles.
Earn 30 AAdvantage Miles/Dollar Spent at FTD.com
American is also running a promotion through their shopping portal where you can earn 30 miles per dollar spent at FTD.com. This offer expires on December 31, 2014.
Earn 1000 Bonus Points for Booking with PointsHound
PointsHound, similar to RocketMiles, is a hotel booking website that allows you to earn points and miles for each booking you make, and bank them to your preferred loyalty program. PointsHound is currently offering a 1000 point bonus on your first booking. You must sign up and make the first booking by December 31, 2014, and the stay must be completed by the end of 2015. While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.