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More Starwood News, Easier Cuba Travel, New AA Award Rates & More

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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:

Earn points with the SPG Amex to use at W properties.
Earn points with the SPG Amex to use at W properties.

Why You Should Get the Starwood Amex Before the Merger

The latest Starwood news makes the potential acquisition or merger unclear as ever, but it’s not too late to take advantage of the current SPG program as it stands. Here are five reasons it could pay to get the SPG Amex Card, especially now that it’s offering the highest sign-up bonus ever.

JetBlue Mint is one of the best domestic services.
JetBlue Mint is one of the best domestic transcon services.

Review: JetBlue Mint — New York (JFK) to San Francisco

JetBlue Mint is one of the best premium products around for flying domestic routes. TPG recently had the chance to try it for a second time and is hoping that the airline expands this service beyond its current transcon operations and flights to the Caribbean.

Another company put in a bid on Starwood.
Anbang Insurance may acquire Starwood Hotels.

Starwood Accepts Anbang’s Bid for Acquisition

For months, we’ve expected Marriott to acquire Starwood later this year. This week, however, a group of Chinese companies put in a bid for the hotel brand, further fogging the future of Starwood and its beloved rewards program.

Not all redemptions are changing on March 22.
Not all redemptions are changing on March 22.

26 American Airlines Awards Going Down in Price March 22

With AA’s devaluation quickly approaching, many travelers are upset about the changes. It isn’t all bad news though — it turns out these 26 awards are actually going down in price.

Alaska's not changing to a revenue-based program.
Alaska Airlines will not be changing to a revenue-based program.

Alaska Mileage Plan Will Not Go Revenue-Based — For Now

Airlines are quickly switching to a revenue-based model for their frequent flyer programs, with Delta, United and now American Airlines all taking part. Alaska Airlines, however, has no plans to join its competitors — at least not yet.

In Other News…

Reduced travel restrictions make it easier for Americans to visit Cuba.
Reduced travel restrictions make it easier for Americans to visit Cuba.

Travel Restrictions to Cuba Continue to Ease for American Travelers

Rules for Americans traveling to Cuba continue to become more relaxed as the White House announced this week that US citizens can now visit the island for “people-to-people” cultural and educational trips on an individual basis rather than just being limited to guided people-to-people tours.

Some of Amazon's products will now give you useful info about your Capital One card.
Some of Amazon’s products will now give you useful info about your Capital One card.

Capital One and Amazon Team Up

Capital One and Amazon are joining forces to deliver useful information updates through Alexa-enabled devices, such as the Amazon Echo. Cardholders will now be be able to ask their Echos and other devices for things like credit card balances or recent transactions.

Earn a bonus when you enroll in AA's Business Extra program.
Earn a bonus when you enroll in AA’s Business Extra program.

Earn Bonus AAdvantage Miles and Business Extra Points when you Enroll in AA Business Extra

American sent out a targeted offer for select members to join AA’s business rewards program, Business Extra. If targeted for this offer, you could earn up to 5,000 AAdvantage miles for yourself and 2,000 Business Extra Points for your company when you enroll and fly AA.

Southwest is raising prices on its EarlyBird check-in option.
Southwest is raising prices on its EarlyBird check-in option.

Southwest Raises EarlyBird Check-In Prices

Southwest has bumped up the cost for its EarlyBird check-in service from $12.50 to $15. The service automatically checks you in and secures a better boarding number for Southwest’s open seating policy.

You can now get hot food at some SkyClubs.
You can now get hot food at some SkyClubs.

Delta Adds Hot Food Items in Some Sky Clubs

Delta recently added hot food options to some lounges like the F Delta Sky Club in Atlanta. Only select clubs reportedly have hot food, but it’s possible that Delta could roll it out to more Sky Clubs soon.

You'll be able to use Starpoints on redemptions at some Caesar's properties.
You’ll soon be able to use Starpoints on redemptions at some Caesars properties. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Get Up To 40% Off SPG Redemptions at Caesars

Starwood and Caesars have offered perks for SPG members since 2014, and while award rates haven’t been fantastic in the past, this new limited-time discount of up to 40% makes it more appealing to redeem points for stays.

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