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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 recently flew in The Residence on Etihad’s inaugural A380 flight from New York JFK to Abu Dhabi. The whole experience was incredible, from an included chauffeur to the airport and a relaxing time in the Etihad Lounge at JFK to the amazing Residence itself, which consisted of a private living room, bedroom and bathroom with shower. I also had my very own butler Eren, and a chef who prepared me a delicious Thanksgiving meal! To find out more about this unforgettable flight, read the full post here.
It’s no secret the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of my favorite credit cards. It’s better than ever now that it has a permanently increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. In this post, TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen explains how a year of average household spending on the card could get you some incredible rewards, like a few round-trip plane tickets to Hawaii or three nights at a top-tier Hyatt hotel. For more info on what types of rewards you can earn, click here.
This month Etihad brought its A380 to the US — including the plane’s famed Residence and Apartment suites. A one-way trip from JFK to Abu Dhabi in The Residence will set you back more than $30,000, but you can book the Apartment for a much more reasonable 90,000 American miles each way — at least, before the upcoming devaluation. Other new routes include Virgin America’s flight from SFO to Honolulu (HNL) and Air Canada’s nonstop service between Toronto and Dubai on the airline’s three-cabin Dreamliner. For more new routes, read this post.
Starwood just launched another points promotion for guests: SPG members can earn 2,015 Starpoints for simply registering online before their next stay. The promotion is valid until the end of the year. Remember to also register for SPG’s Fall 2015 promo to earn double Starpoints on your stays through December 20. For more promotion details, click here.
Now available in 67 countries around the world, Uber is one of the most useful transportation options for travelers. The app has a mutual rating system that helps drivers decide whether or not to pick you up. While they were once secretive and hard to find, passenger ratings are now easily accessible on the Uber app. To find out how to access yours, read the full post here.
In Other News…
American Extends 60% Bonus on Purchased Miles Through 2016
American Airlines has extended its offer to earn up to 75,000 bonus miles when you buy, gift or share miles. Previously, the offer expired in November, but it will now be available through January 4, 2016. The regular price of buying miles from American is 3.17 cents per mile ($29.50 per 1,000 miles plus a 7.5% Federal Excise Tax) — before a $30 Processing Charge per purchase — but with the maximum 60% bonus offer, it’ll actually drop your price down to roughly 2 cents per mile!
Delta Discontinues Baggage and Ticketing with Emirates
As of November 28, Delta has ended its interline ticketing and baggage agreement with Emirates. This means that the airlines will no longer be able to sell tickets that include any segments on the other carrier. Additionally, if travelers have an itinerary that includes both airlines, they will now have to pick up and re-check their baggage when switching carriers. All reservations made with tickets issued prior to the agreement discontinuation date will be honored as issued.
Amex Membership Rewards Transfer to Iberia 1:1 Through December 2015
Recently, Amex Membership Rewards lowered the transfer rate of MR points to British Airways and Iberia Avios — from 1:1 to 2.5:2. However, through December 31, 2015, you can transfer to Iberia Plus at a 1:1 ratio, thanks to a 25% bonus offer. You can also transfer points between Iberia and British Airways for free. For tips on redeeming flights using Iberia Avios, see this post.
Delta One Passengers from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Sydney To Get Pajamas
Anyone seated in Delta One business class from LAX to Shanghai or Sydney will receive pajamas to wear during the flight. This pajama service will begin on December 15, 2015. Rumor has it that this service could be rolled out to other routes in 2016 if deemed successful.
New Concepts for Singapore Airlines First and Business Class
British firm DCA Design International recently released concept images for new business and first-class seats on the Singapore Airlines A380 and ultra-long range Airbus A350 aircrafts (coming in 2017-18). The first-class concept includes a split-seat design, geared toward couples traveling together. The ottoman could then be used for another one or two passengers during meal time, allowing the first-class suite to accommodate up to four people. We’ll have to wait and see if Singapore decides to go for these concept designs. The Points Guy Assessment: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.