It looks like we made it to the first Sunday in March. Continental and United have successfully (sort of) merged and we now have one less US based airline to build up a miles balance with. Sure, there will be problems as they fully integrate the two systems, but eventually they will get everything working correctly (I hope). In other news, there are lots of items to go over in this week’s Updates From the World of Miles and Points. For those that are new to the blog, I am trying to do these updates every Sunday to help catch you up with what is going on. There are often items that come up throughout the week that I don’t really think I should devote an entire post to, but still think you might want to know about. This is where I link to some of the other blogs that I read and respect so that you can get the whole story.
Like we have seen recently with other hotel loyalty programs, Marriott Rewards will be updating the category levels for several of their properties. The new category assignments will go into effect on March 15th and Loyalty Traveler will tell you all about it. Details HERE. In two subsequent posts, he then details the hotels dropping a category and the hotels rising a category, both listed by geographic location. Details HERE and HERE.
Ric also does a great job this week summarizing a Cornell University study on Flash Sales Sites. There is some interesting, yet somewhat technical, information in the study and you might find it gives some good ideas about where to find the best deals. Details HERE.
American Express Membership Rewards is running a 50% transfer bonus promotion for Starwood Preferred Guest through the end of March. Due to the normal transfer ratio of 3:1 being so bad, this is probably still not a great deal, but could be useful in topping off accounts for an award. Details HERE.
American Airlines announced their new Main Cabin Extra concept this week for increasing room in some parts of coach. This is similar to other Economy Plus type programs and will be available for free to some people and for a charge to others. Below is the infographic from AA and if you want the details of the announcement, you can head over to Online Travel Review. Details HERE.
Expert Flyer has added the ability to search for business class award availability on Iberia and Icelandair. For those who don’t know, Expert Flyer is a paid service that can be very helpful when searching for flights and especially award space. The information they provide is great and their seat alerts can make the annual fee well worth the money when you manage to get that hard to find award seat. Details from One Mile at a Time HERE. Expert Flyer HERE.
Ben also writes about a short survey that you can take to get 250 free Priority Club points. The survey was taking forever and was apparently quite a painful process when the news first came out about this, but I waited a day and it went quick and easy for me. Details HERE.
The Ultimate Rewards Mall is offering 10x points for online purchases at Home Depot. To have access to the Ultimate Rewards Mall, you need to have one of the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, but you do not need to actually use that card to make your purchases. You can read my recent post on the different options available for Ultimate Rewards cards HERE. Details on this promo can be found from The Frequent Miler HERE.
Many of us who have several American Express cards live in fear of the dreaded Amex Financial Review. Mommy Points posted an update this week of how the process went for her mother, who by the way had only one Amex card. Details HERE.
Mommy Points is also doing a giveaway of some swag she picked up on the OneWorld Mego DO earlier this year. If you have kids, you will want to check this out and enter to win. You can enter on her blog and on twitter for some cool kids swag. Details HERE.
Million Mile Secrets passes along some information about how you can get 12 lounge passes, among other things, for less than $35. Although I haven’t done this yet, I think I will probably give it a try. For $35, there isn’t much to lose and there is a whole lot to gain. Details HERE.
Daraius also gives us a reader tip about potential retention bonuses for the American Express Platinum card. I struck out when I tried to get one, but you may have better luck. You will be able to find details about my experience and how I value the Platinum Card benefits in an upcoming post sometime in the next few days. For now, you can get the details of the potential bonuses from Million Mile Secrets HERE.
View From the Wing does a quick analysis of the new promo from US Airways that will give you a 50% bonus on shared miles. I agree with his conclusion that this isn’t that great of a deal, but may be helpful to top off an account for an award. Details HERE.
Finally, as I like to end on a lighter note, Gary also has a fun story about Starwood promoting an Escort Service on twitter. Twitter is such a wonderful place to make a mistake and have it spread like wildfire. Details HERE.
I think that about does it for this week. Be sure to keep coming back throughout the week to read about the major events, and of course we’ll be here again next Sunday for another Update From the World of Miles and Points.