Updates From the World of Miles and Points – 5/22

Well, it has been just over a week, my list of posts to include is now long enough, and I have some time to write. I guess that means it’s time for another installment of Updates From the World of Miles and Points.

For those that are new to the blog, I am trying to do one of these posts once every week to week and a half to help catch you up with what is going on in the world of miles and points. 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.

Of course, if something is time sensitive or huge news, you will see me do a specific post about it. In addition, I often tweet or update Facebook with new information far before it makes it to an Updates post. If you want to get all of the information as soon as it’s available, make sure that you subscribe via email or RSS and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Then you will always be the first to know when I have something new to share.

For now, let’s get started with some Updates From the World of Miles and Points. This week didn’t disappoint with exciting news and solid advice, so take a few minutes to read these suggestions and see if something catches your interest.

Hotels seem like a good place to start this week, and when I think of hotels, my first thought goes to Loyalty Traveler. Ric has a new list out that compiles and details all of the current hotel promotions for all of the major hotel chains worldwide. What I like about these posts are that he doesn’t just stop with the 4 or 5 biggest players in the hotel market, but he also discusses promotions at lots of the smaller chains as well. Details HERE.

Ric also does a very detailed analysis of the Priority Club Points & Cash Award cost increase. Without any warning, the cash portion for these awards has gone from $60 to $70 a night and Ric tells us what that means to the loyalty program member. It really is much more detailed than I would ever get with an analysis of this type and quite an interesting read. Details HERE.

It was announced this week that Club Carlson would be making some changes to their hotel category assignments. I have to admit that when I first read this headline, I was a mix of scared, sad, and angry. Like many of you, I am in the midst of earning a huge amount of Club Carlson points with their current promotions, and I didn’t want to see those points hugely devalued. Luckily, when you really look at the category reassignments, it doesn’t look to bad. In many cases, the new hotel categories are actually better. Details HERE.

Almost everyone can agree that churning credit cards for their large sign-up bonuses is one of the quickest ways to build up your loyalty account balances. Unfortunately, some of the offers available have rather large minimum required spends and not all of us have unlimited abilities to run up the charges on our credit cards. For those on a modest budget, Hack My Trip has some tips and tricks that will help you to get into the credit card game without taking on more than you can handle. Details HERE.

Frequent Miler is well known for being the master of maximizing the potential benefits of gift cards and online shopping portals. He is constantly conducting experiments and trials to find the most lucrative and easiest ways to earn miles and points, and he compiles all of his experiments in the Frequent Miler Laboratory. This week, the Lab got an update that makes it easier to use and much more simple to find the information you are looking for. If you are thinking of buying a gift card to get points, you should probably stop by here first to see if there is a way for you to earn even more. Details HERE.

Also this week, Frequent Miler shows us how we can get an IHG stay for only a few dollars, if not free altogether. The details of his example might be pretty difficult to replicate, but if you use the techniques he outlines, you will certainly be able to save some money on upcoming IHG hotel stays, even if they aren’t quite free. Details HERE.

In just 9 days, the opportunity to transfer American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios and get a 50% bonus comes to an end. If you are like me and still trying to decide how many, if any, MR points you want to transfer, Extra Pack of Peanuts does a good job of explaining why you would or wouldn’t want to take advantage of this transfer bonus. I am pretty sure that I am going to transfer some MR points, but I just can’t decide how many. Details HERE.

View From the Wing tells us about Delta overcharging Skymiles members on revenue tickets purchased on their website for the past few months. Whether you bought a ticket or not, this is quite upsetting. Most people would assume that being a loyalty program member would get you a better deal, if anything, but you certainly shouldn’t have to pay more than non-members. Delta claims it was a mistake, but with today’s legal climate, I would expect to see them have to explain that in the courts before long. Details HERE.

Gary also gives us a few tips on how to save on your rental cars when on a trip. He uses a New York Times article as a base, but comments and expands on most of the points. If you need to rent for an upcoming trip, check out this post to make sure you get the best deal. Details HERE.

Mommy Points gives us another reminder about Grand Slam prep for this year. We still don’t know for sure that the US Airways Grand Slam promotion will return again, but they have done it the past few years, and everyone is hoping for the best. Details HERE.

Many people have recently applied for the Chase Ink Bold Business Card. It is one of the coveted Ultimate Rewards cards whose points can be transferred to a variety of airline and other partners. With the category bonuses and online shopping portal available with this card, you can really earn a lot of points, and Mommy Points gives us an overview of how her earnings went during her first month with the card. Details HERE.

Scott Mayerowitz wrote a story for the Associated Press about the difficulties that families will have finding seats together when traveling by air this summer. This popular piece made its way to several newspaper front pages, and Mommy Points takes a moment to comment on the article. In addition, she gives her advice regarding what you should do if your family wants to sit together when you fly. Details HERE.

Million Mile Secrets outlines a way that you might be able to get the first year fee waived on the new United Club Credit Card from Chase. This would be a great card to have, even if just for the United Club access that comes with it, but the $395 annual fee is more than most people want to pay. If this technique works for you, you can have your lounge access for free for the first year. Be careful though, you might just find yourself addicted after a few visits to the lounge, and as far as I know, there isn’t a way to have the second year fee waived. Details HERE.

An article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, and the study that it was based on, created quite a buzz in the frequent flyer community. Overall, most people think that the conclusions drawn from the study are about as useful as the study itself, not very useful at all. The Points Guy goes over the findings, explains a few of the holes in the study, and tells us why the conclusions are far from an accurate picture of the current state of airline loyalty programs. Details HERE.

The Points Guy also gives us his Top 10 Mistakes People Make With Their Airline Miles. If you are new to earning and redeeming, this points out a few things that are really good to know. If you have been doing this for a while, there are also a few reminders for tricks you may have forgotten. Details HERE.

Citi announced some new benefits for their CitiBusiness AAdvantage World Mastercard this week and One Mile at a Time gave us all the details. The benefits seem to be similar to what they added on to the personal AAdvantage cards earlier this year, but not quite as good in some cases. I am sad to see that the benefits won’t be extended to current CitiBusiness AAdvantage Visa cardholders as I was hoping would be the case. It has been reported that you can call Citi to have these benefits added to your current card, but if you do that, they will just switch you over to a new Mastercard. Details HERE.

One Mile at a Time has also done a great job this week of outlining the different programs that can add a few additional benefits on to your hotel stays. He started out with Virtuoso and American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, then continued with the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, and finally added the newly announced American Express Gold Hotel Collection. If not the same, rates through these programs are usually pretty close to what you can get directly through the hotels, and the added benefits can be quite nice. Details HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Finally, for our amusing story of the week, read about what Lucky experienced on a recent  flight he took in coach. The post is super short, but almost guaranteed to make you chuckle. Is this the new best way to get an aisle seat on a flight? Details HERE.

Well, that just about does it for this week’s Updates From the World of Miles and Points. Hopefully you learned something new, were reminded of something old, or at least got a few good laughs. Until next time, Happy Travels to all of you.

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