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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:
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 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.
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.
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. 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…
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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