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Each Saturday, we round up news stories that you may have missed from the week before, including several that already appeared on The Points Guy, and some more that we haven’t covered yet. If you’re an avid TPG reader, scroll down for the new stuff. Here’s the top miles, points and travel news you may have missed this week:
Marriott has announced that it will be merging with Starwood in mid-2016. The combined chain will then manage a total of more than 5,500 properties with a grand total of 1,100,000 hotel rooms located in 100+ countries. There isn’t much information on how this will affect earning and using Starwood and Marriott points, but Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson sees value in both loyalty programs, stating, “We will take the best of both of these programs and make sure that those bests are preserved and that the program is enhanced.” For more details, read our full article here.
You can now earn a bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening when you apply and are approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This is worth $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, or much more when you transfer to airline and hotel partners. For more details and an overview of all the card benefits, click here.
American has confirmed that the AAdvantage program will move to a revenue-based earning system in mid-2016. The number of miles you’ll need to redeem for many types of awards will also increase early next year. You’ll have until March 22, 2016 to redeem at current levels, so act soon if you’d like to get a better value when redeeming your miles. For more details and information on all the coming changes, read our full post here.
TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen recently got to try out Singapore Airlines’ new premium economy on a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong. Though his ticket was on the pricier side, he enjoyed the service and extra leg room, along with benefits like priority baggage handling. For more details on other perks of Singapore Airlines premium economy and Eric’s full review, click here.
Starting December 31, 2015, you won’t be able to add pages to your US passport. After this date, if you don’t have any more open pages, you must renew your passport. All passports issued after December 31, 2015, will be issued with 52 pages. For more details on this change, how to apply for more pages and how you can earn points and miles on adding pages, read this post.
In Other News…
KLM to Charge For Long-Haul Seat Assignments
Starting on Dec. 1, 2015, KLM will phase in new reservation options for economy-class seats. The press release states that “frequent flyers with Flying Blue Platinum, Gold or Silver status, as well as passengers with a Full Flex Economy ticket, will have a wider range of options for directly reserving seats when booking.” What this actually means is that KLM will begin charging non-elite and non-full fare passengers 20 euros for seat assignments in advance on long-haul flights.
AA to Offer Improved Amenities on LAX-SYD Flights
American is launching service between Los Angeles and Sydney on December 17, 2015 with its new Boeing 777-300ER. While we already knew about this route, apparently the airline will also offer an improved economy-class service (whatever that means), and it will add pajamas for business class and enhance onboard coffee options.
Hyatt Offering Customer Service via Facebook Messenger
Hyatt now lets you contact customer service through Facebook Messenger. According to Dan Moriarty, director of digital strategy for Hyatt, offering service through this platform was a natural evolution for the brand, since it “adds accountability using the typing indicators, ‘read’ and ‘last seen’ notifications.”
Aer Lingus to Launch New Loyalty Program Aer Club
Now that Aer Lingus is part of IAG (which owns British Airways and Iberia), it will replace its Gold Circle with a frequent flyer program called Aer Club. The airline hasn’t shared many details, but it seems that the program will offer a points currency that can be used across multiple airlines.
Etihad Offering 25% Bonus on Citi Transfers
Through December 31, 2015, transfer your hotel, credit card or other loyalty points to Etihad and get a 25% bonus. This is a great option if you have some Citi ThankYou points stockpiled from bonuses and spending on the Citi Prestige or the Citi ThankYou Premier cards. For tips on using Etihad Guest miles for partner award flights, see this post. 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.
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.