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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:
I’m thrilled to announce our latest project, TPGtv. On a regular basis starting February 1, 2016, new episodes will be uploaded to our YouTube channel, allowing you to follow me along or some awesome adventures to Africa, Asia and beyond. Read the full post for more on the upcoming TPGtv.
TPG Contributors JT and Katie Genter shared their experience flying in Main Cabin Extra on American Airlines’ Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner from Shanghai (PVG) to Dallas (DFW). Highlights included the generous legroom and the IFE system featuring a wide selection of movies. For more details on the seats, food, service and more, click here.
Now that Star Alliance awards are now available on ExpertFlyer, TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen explains how to maximize the site to set alerts and search for the ideal award itinerary. For a detailed explanation on how to do this, read the full post.
Each year, Starwood releases annual earning and redemption stats, sharing the year’s record-breakers with its members. Among the highlights: a single member earned a whopping 30,328,030 in 2015, and SPG members opened 66,746 hotel rooms using their smartphones or watches thanks to SPG Keyless. Finally, SPG revealed that more Starpoints were redeemed at The Westin in Maui than at any other hotel. For more interesting stats from this year, click here.
TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig visited some of Germany’s legendary Christmas markets, including Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt. He shares seven reasons to make a trip yourself, including the quirky gifts and mulled wine. To read more, click here.
In Other News…
Silvercar Holiday Promotions for New and Existing Users
Silvercar is offering a holiday promotion where you can get a $75 discount (on rentals two days or more) if you’re a new renter, or 15% off if you’re an existing renter. Just enter either the promo code JOLLY75 or JOLLY15, respectively. The offers expire on January 10, 2016.
Young Teens Now Count As Unaccompanied Minors When Flying United
United has changed the age cutoff for its $150 unaccompanied minor charge. While the fee previously applied to kids ages 5-11 traveling alone, as of December 15, 2015, it’s charged for travelers up to age 15.
Miami Skytrain Shut Down After Train Derails
Earlier this week, the Skytrain at Miami Airport (MIA) went off the tracks during a maintenance run. Two of the four train cars involved were damaged, as well as the roof of Concourse D, leading to the train being shut down. Luckily, there were no serious injuries, and despite the incident the train should now be operating as normal.
American Main Cabin Extra Seats Coming to Some Legacy US Airways Planes
American Airlines is slowly but surely adding improved seats to US Airways Legacy planes. The carrier’s A319s are getting Main Cabin Extra seats and seat power, while its A330s will be updated with Main Cabin Extra seating after getting the necessary certifications. Some US Airways 757s will also add Main Cabin Extra, after which these aircraft will be used for routes to and from Hawaii.
$5 Off Lyft to Celebrate New Partnership with LAX
Lyft is now operating from the Los Angeles Airport, and to celebrate it’s offering $5 off two rides to/from LAX with the promo code FLY2015. The discount expires on January 1, 2106.
Use SkyMiles to Buy Top-Shelf Drinks at Delta Sky Clubs
You can now use your miles to purchase premium alcoholic beverages at Delta Sky Clubs (standard beers, wines and cocktails will still be offered free). This new payment method is currently available at the Sky Club in Terminal 1 at the San Francisco International Airport and will be rolled out to all 34 Sky Clubs that accept payment for top shelf drinks by April 2016. Each drink costs 100 miles per dollar; premium beers will be about 300 miles; and wines, cocktails and spirits should range from 600 to 800 miles.
American to Fly the A321T Between NYC and Boston
American’s A321T plane is typically used for transcontinental routes like JFK to SFO, it’s flying this aircraft on a significantly shorter router — New York-JFK to Boston — through January 4, 2016. The route is just 187 miles and about 30 minutes long; not much time to enjoy the business or first-class seats, but definitely a unique experience.
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.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards