Earn Hilton Honors Points With Lyft

I’ve had an email from Hilton and Lyft sitting in my inbox for a few days, but it’s been a busy weekend, so I finally got around to opening it today. It turned out to be a promotional link between the two, so I’m glad that I did. As you probably know, Lyft is one of the two major ride-sharing services. One of the ways that it is competing with Uber is by offering partnerships with other travel services to offer points. As the competition has built up, so have the potential earnings from partners. I’m hoping that we get to the point where I earn so many points that it becomes profitable for me to take a Lyft but, until that day, there are a few options. Note: These are stackable, which means that you can earn with all of them at the same time.

Earn Hilton Honors Points With Lyft

Conrad Hilton, Bali

The newest promotion is a partnership with Hilton. Terms are simple. You’ll earn three Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on most rides, with the exception of shared rides, which get you two points per dollar. It’s not a highly profitable promotion (I value Hilton points at about 0.4 cents each, so it’s no more than a 1.2% rebate.), but who cares? Just sign up through the link and you don’t have to do anything from there to earn points. Other than take Lyft, of course.

Earn Delta SkyMiles And JetBlue TrueBlue Points With Lyft, As Well

Now that you’re earning hotel points, you’ll also need miles to help you get to the property. Fear not, they’ve taken care of that, as well. First, you’ll earn one Delta SkyMile for every trip that you take on Lyft, with the exception of airport rides, which will get you two miles per dollar. That’s a slightly better deal than Hilton (not that you have to choose; You can use both.), since I value SkyMiles at about 1.5 cents each. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for the promo. Second, look to JetBlue. It’s rare that you can use the same partner to get miles with two different airlines simultaneously, but this is one of those occasions. JetBlue’s offer is the least valuable of the three, offering only 30 points to/from the airport (total!), which is worth about 45 cents. But hey, that’s 45 cents more than you had previously.

The Most Important Lesson Is This

You’re not going to get rich off of the three deals listed above. In cash terms, I value them at a total of just over a 4% rebate on what you pay (and that usually doesn’t include taxes and extras). But the most important lesson is, sign up! It’s free to do so and only takes a minute. Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Delta SkyMiles Summer Flash Sale

Do you like it hot? If you don’t, then skip to the next post. But if the summer heat of the southeast appeals to you, then I’ve got a cheap way to get you there.

Delta just announced a SkyMiles summer flash sale to destinations in the southeast. A flash sale is one that only lasts a few days. They’re common in the airline world, with this one lasting until 11:59 pm EST on Thursday, May 16. It’s good for fares between select cities from August 1 — September 30.

But you can’t get these deals for cash. Rather, the sale is only if you redeem Delta frequent flyer miles, called SkyMiles. Advertised deals depart from nine different cities, most of which are Delta hubs.

You Have Two Options for Booking

delta summer skymiles fare sale

The cheapest fares are in Delta’s traditional coach product. How cheap is cheap? I priced New York to Charleston, which, for most of the year, is a pretty heavy leisure market, costs as low as 13,000 round-trip during the promotion. Same with flights to New Orleans.* How about a trip from Los Angeles to Memphis for 23,000? Say hello to Elvis for me.

But the better play might only cost you a few more miles. On most of these fares, an additional 3,000 — 5,000 points will get you an upgrade to Comfort+, an upgraded experience. Some of the amenities include:

  • More legroom, up to four inches. You also get additional recline.
  • Better snacks and free beer, wine and cocktails.
  • Dedicated overhead bin space.
  • Pre-boarding, so you’ll actually get to your overhead bin space.

Comfort+ is not first class, but it is certainly an upgrade over coach.

The Heat is on!

Take a look at the deals, in case one of them strikes your fancy. But do it fast, because these deals end Thursday night.


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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Choice Hotels Promotion: $50 Gift Card For Two Stays

Choice Hotels? Trust me, you know them. The owner of brands such as Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn or Econolodge, Choice is one of the leaders in the budget and midscale segments.

This month, the chain has brought back one of its most popular promotions. Stay twice and receive a $50 gift card. Well, enough points for a $50 gift card, anyway. After two stays during the promotion period of May 7 — August 9, Choice Hotels will give you up to 8,000 bonus points, enough for a $50 gift card at one of their promotional partners listed on the registration page. “Up to 8,000 points?” Your bonus will be based on the number of base points that you earn, although the company is not clear about how the two are correlated.

What Should I know?

I’m glad that you asked. There are a couple of things to know about the promotion before you get started.

  • You need to register for the promotion. Choice does not want you to qualify accidentally, of course. If you aren’t a member of their loyalty program, you can sign up there, as well.
  • Don’t want to use your bonus points for a gift card? That’s fine. You can use them for free nights, which range from 6,000 to 35,000 points.
  • You’re not limited to one bonus. You’ll get the points for every two stays that you have.
  • There are a few limits to the hotels that qualify. Be sure to read the terms and conditions. For example, rooms booked below $40 per night don’t count. Of course, at that price, you don’t need a bonus, anyway!

Overall…

It’s not a bad promotion. Choice properties tend to be pretty cheap, anyway, so an extra $50 per two stays is a great deal, particularly on a percentage basis. I’m not normally a Choice customer and probably wouldn’t switch for it, but it’s a good deal for those of you who are.

 Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

250 Free United Airlines Miles From MyPoints

I’ve talked about MyPoints before but, after having gotten a reminder that they are offering 250 miles to sign up, I thought that it is worth mentioning again.

Free United MileagePlus Miles from MyPoints

mypoints, united airlines, mileageplus

MyPoints is a site that gives you rewards for taking surveys, shopping online, etc. Rewards typically come in the form of a gift card, but for now, they’re currently 250 United MileagePlus miles just to sign up. Registration is free. It’s a great way to add a few points at no charge. If you don’t have a United MileagePlus account, you can create one here.

Why Is This Free?

So what’s the catch, since there always seems to be one? It’s actually quite small. MyPoints makes their money when you shop through them or take surveys, so they’re sweetening the deal by offering you an additional 1,500 United miles if you spend $50 through their shopping portal in the first 30 days. That’s not nearly as good a deal as the sign-up bonus, so I’d skip it.

Is There a Downside to Signing Up?

I haven’t found there to be any risks to signing up. You don’t have to give personal information or a credit card. You can ask them not to send you emails, but if you are worried about spam, set up a second email account just for these types of promotions. It doesn’t have to be the same as your United MileagePlus account.

Enjoy Your Free United Miles!

Congratulations, you just earned 250 miles for 30 seconds of your time. I wish it were always this easy.Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Delta Offers “Reclaim My Status” If Your Elite Level Tumbles

As we all know, life happens occasionally. And if your event results in diminished travel, it could have an impact on your elite status (not to mention numerous other consequences, which are best explored at a different blog). Until today, no network carrier had a plan in place to help. Delta has changed that and I hope that its competitors follow.

Reclaim My Status

Today, Delta announced its “Reclaim My Status” (RMS) promotion. The terms are simple. If you experience a life event that causes you to drop in status, they’ll allow you to apply for a 3-month exception, which restores your previous level. How do they define “life event?” Well, they don’t. Examples they give are job loss, birth of a child, return to school, etc., but it’s up to you to apply and up to them to approve you. They will ask you to provide documentation, but a quick read-through of the T&C makes me think that they will be generous.

RMS bears similarities to the Hilton Honors Diamond Extension. Hilton allows certain members to apply for a one-time waiver if their status lapses but, in most respects, is more restrictive than Delta. It’s good only for the top-tier Diamond members who have had at least three full years of Diamond status at any time in the past. Candidates must also have accrued 250 lifetime nights at Hilton or 500,000 base points.

RMS is User-Friendly…

Reclaiming your status is generally more user-friendly at Delta. Here are the nuts and bolts:

  • Any elite member can apply to have their status restored. That differs from Hilton, who will only extend Diamond members.
  • If your application is approved, they’ll notify you by email and your status will be updated automatically.
  • The status begins from the day of the approval. Use it wisely. It doesn’t make sense to apply for the renewal in March if you won’t travel until July.

But There are Some Restrictions

  • Unlike Hilton, who gives a full year of status, Delta only gives you three months. Fortunately, there is a way to extend it. More on that later.
  • If you have Platinum or Diamond status, you’ll keep your flight benefits but won’t get a choice benefit. Sorry, they’re not going to give you the high value goodies if you may not be around long. It’s standard for Delta not to give Choice benefits with complimentary* status.
  • You can apply for RMS once every three year.

You Can Extend Your Status

delta, elite status, sky miles reclaim my status

The requirements for the challenge are 1/4 the full year requirements.

While you don’t get an automatic 12-month extension, you can participate in a challenge that will give you status for the rest of the current year as well as the following one. Here’s how it works:

  • Your three-month extension begins the day that you get approved. Remember, don’t request your extension until you are ready to go.
  • You can restore your status by completing the above challenges. The challenges correspond to 1/4 of the annual requirements for the given status. That makes sense for a three-month promotion.
  • You cannot earn a higher status than the previous one you had. Delta does say that there are case-by-case exceptions, based on where you’ve been in the past.

Overall, it’s a Generous Offer

Airlines don’t offer promotions out of the goodness of their hearts. Well, except Southwest. But that’s only because they operate out of Love Field in Dallas.

But the promotion makes perfect sense and is the rare “win-win” for both the company and the passengers. Customers have the opportunity to miss the occasional year but still maintain their status. For Delta, it means that they don’t have to worry about passengers becoming free agents because their status expired. Delta can reward long-term loyalty with short-term benefits.

 


A man walks into a bar. The bar is empty, so he finds a seat and waits for the bartender.

After a few minutes, he hears a voice say, “Nice shoes!” He looks around but doesn’t see anyone, so he continues waiting.

A few minutes later, he hears a voice say, “Nice tie!” Again, he doesn’t see anyone, but is starting to get a bit nervous.

It isn’t long before he hears, “Nice suit!” By now, he’s completely freaked out, and he starts to leave when the bartender returns.

“What’s wrong?” said the bartender.

The man responds, “Well, I was just sitting here and I heard this voice. It said ‘Nice shoes,’ ‘Nice tie’ and ‘Nice suit!”

“Oh, don’t worry,” says the bartender. “That’s just the peanuts.”

“The peanuts?” asked the man.

“Of course,” said the bartender. “They’re complimentary!”Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

IHG Relaunches its Accelerate Promotion

I love the term “loyalty program.” Kind of makes you seem like the merchant is giving you something for having done lots of business with them. It isn’t. But really, would you participate if they called it a “promotion to influence future travel decisions?”

IHG Accelerate

ihg, accelerate

I can knock out all of the requirements with just five night.

Here’s where it gets interesting: The less loyal you are, the easier the promotion. The company knows that, if you rarely stay at one of their properties, you’re either highly loyal to somebody else’s program or rarely stay in hotels at all. Either way, they know that you’re not going to be staying 20 or 30 nights with them over the next few months.

But they still want to get some incremental revenue from you, so they split the difference. For people like me, who only stay at their brands a few nights per year, they give a promotion that’s easy enough to complete without making too many changes to my normal pattern. I can earn up to 54,900 points, and do so by staying only five nights over the next four months.

True, there are several different requirements, but they “stack,” meaning that a Saturday night stay will count toward both the “Saturday Stays Bonus and the “Stay More, Earn More” requirements. If I book the special bonus points rate, it will also count toward “Earn More, Faster.” And, of course, it will be one of the two brands that you need for “Discover Our Brands.” so one night will count in each of the five categories.

It’s a simple promotion, but it gets at least five nights worth of spend out of me at the cost of a free night at a mid-tier property (IHG rewards cost anywhere from 10,000 to 70,000 points.).

On the other hand, if you are already staying 100 nights per year at their brands, they know that there probably isn’t much incremental spending left. So why should they offer you a generous promotion? They probably won’t. Promotions to their most frequent customers offer more points, but they’re far more difficult to complete. The requirements may include multi-night stays, new brands or even international stays.

It’s worth checking out the Accelerate page and seeing what they are offering you. It may be enough to get you to visit one of their properties over the next few months.Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

Follow me on Twitter @FFMiles101 or share with the Facebook button below.

And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Hilton Summer Promotion: One Step Up, One Back

Hilton has announced its summer promotion, called Get More. It’s similar to Hilton’s normal double points offers, but throws in a couple of twists. One is good, the other, not so much. The promotion runs from May 6 – September 8. Only base points are doubled. Any bonus points from elite status will, sadly, remain singular. Here are the details.

The Get More Promotion from Hilton

get more, hilton

The Get More promotion from Hilton

Hilton’s summer offer looks similar to past ones. It lasts about four months, requires registration and has few limits on the hotels that you can use. But they also throw a few conditions in for this one.

Getting More Bonus Points

Hilton traditionally offers double points bonuses, but they’ve added some extras this time around. They’re offering bonuses based on your total number of stays during the promo period, with extra increments at 10, 15 and 20 stays. The points are cumulative, so 20 stays will get you 45,000 bonus points, not just 20,000.

Note that they’re using “stays,” not “nights,” as the basis for the bonus. As a reminder, a “stay” is one check-in and check-out, regardless of how many nights you were there. So checking in on Monday and out on Thursday would be one stay of three nights.

One exception: If you have a multi-night stay at a property, but check in and out after each night, it’s still only counted as one stay.

Getting Fewer Bonus Points

Sadly, Hilton has introduced my personal pet peeve into this promotion. You don’t get a bonus until your second stay. This has been a condition that Hilton’s competitors (*cough, cough,* Marriott) have added in the past but that Hilton has avoided. Sadly, that avoidance is no longer.

Should You Register?

Of course you should. It costs nothing to do so and can only benefit you. But I’m not thrilled about the new “second stay” trend at Hilton. If they don’t see any negative consequences, they may continue to stick it in their promos.Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Southwest Credit Cards Put Companion Pass Back Into Play

Two credit cards. $168. A year of free flights. How tough can it be? Southwest Airlines has increased its credit card sign-up bonuses,* and they’re back up to a level where you’ll want to look at them.

The Southwest Companion Pass

southwest

Your friend can be here for free.

Southwest Airlines offers the most valuable perk in the airline business: The Companion Pass (CP). The companion pass allows you to bring a friend with you for free every time you fly. It’s not stand-by, either. You can book your friend’s free flight at the same time that you book your paid one.

Despite how valuable it is, the CP is simple enough to earn. You can get it by flying 100 one-way flights in a year, but the easier way to do it is to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points, the Southwest version of frequent flyer miles. For Southwest flights, you earn anywhere from 6 to 12 points per dollar spent, so 110,000 points could cost you almost $20,000. Ouch.

This Trick Gets You the CP for a Lot Less

But Rapid Rewards has a unique feature that makes the Pass much more obtainable: It counts all points that you earn, not just the ones from flying. Earn points from shopping? They count. From dining out? They count, also. From your Southwest credit card? Yup. They even count the signup bonuses.

Thats right, when you sign up for a Southwest credit card and spend the required amount, you’ll get a large bonus. Those points will count toward the minimum that you need.

Here’s Why it Matters Now

Southwest’s standard credit card sign-up bonus ranges from 30,000 — 40,000 points, but they offer frequent promotions. And now, they’re offering 60,000 points for signing up for a new card and spending $2,000 in your first three months. That’s more than half the minimum that you need.

But it gets better. They also offer a business card, which means that you can earn 120,000 Rapid Rewards points by getting both cards, paying the annual fees ($69 and $99, respectively) and spending a total of $4,000 over the first three months.

Oh, one other thing: A Rapid Rewards point is worth about 1.7 cents. Got 120,000 of them? Perfect, because that’s almost $2,000 in value on Southwest Airlines. And that’s before the companion pass.

Here’s What You Need to Know

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are applying for your cards:

  • Southwest offers three different types of personal credit cards. Normally, I advocate getting the one that gives you the best total value, but if you’re doing this just for the CP, just get the cheapest one.
  • Chase has what’s known as the 5/24 policy. If you’ve received five personal credit cards from any bank over the past 24 months, they will almost always deny you if you apply for a Chase card. That rule does not, however, apply to business cards.
  • If you’ve had a Southwest Airlines card in the past 24 months, you won’t get the sign-up bonus for this one.

Your Bottom Line is the Bottom Line

$2,000 in airfare and a companion pass. If you fly Southwest, you’ll want to take advantage of this offer.

 


*I don’t offer Chase cards. This link will take you right to Southwest’s page.

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Paying For Luxury Versus Nickel And Diming

So two pieces of news caught my eye this week. One reflects the ultimate in luxury, while the other is just penny-pinching annoying.

Four Seasons And The New Jet

four seasons

Photo from Bloomberg

Because sometimes, a Four Seasons hotel room isn’t luxurious enough. And let’s face it, the old jet was looking a bit outdated.

If you weren’t impressed by a $119,000 ticket, check out the new Four Seasons private plane. At only $147,000 per ticket on the new 48-seat plane. Itineraries are bespoke, and they have a private chef onboard, which means that you’ll likely have more option than chicken or fish. Naturally, the seats are lie-flat and the bathrooms are described as “larger and more elegant.” Does that mean that they’ll have a guy there to give you a towel, and do you have to tip him?

Princess Annoys with Added Gratuities

princess, cruise

Another dollar in the tip jar

And then there are just the nickel and diming that annoys me. There’s a reason that you don’t have to pay $119,000 for a cabin on the ship. Princess just sent out a notice that it is raising the gratuities by a dollar per person per day.

I’ve always just wished that cruise lines gave you a price up front, and that that was it, but that would make a cruise look more expensive. Of course, the total that you pay wouldn’t be any different. It just seems like less when they don’t hit you with everything at once.

What’s most annoying is that the new fee is applicable to any cruise departing on or after May 21, regardless of when you bought it. In other words, you’re not locked in for previously purchased trips.

 Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

Best Western Rewards And Credit Card

On the weekends, I try to do something a bit different than what I did during the week. It may be something about the industry, or interesting events from the previous few days.

For hotel points, I generally talk about the major plans. So today, I’m going to talk about a smaller hotel program: Best Western Rewards.

Best Western

best western

Some of the Best Western brands

You’ve certainly heard of Best Western, even if you’ve never stayed in one. Outside of the eponymous brand, there are several others, ranging from the economy side to the upscale Signature and Premier Collection. Truthfully, I had never considered the range of their hotels before today. It’s an easy enough system, with guests earning 10 points per dollar spent.

Rewards Are Inexpensive

Reward nights range from 8,000 points on the low end to 36,000 points at the most expensive properties. A point is worth approximately 0.5 – 0.6 cents, so earning ten points per dollar gets you a return of 5-6%. Used strategically, a point can be worth a lot more.

Elite Status Is Basic; No Big Rewards for Top Tier

best western elite status

Elite levels aren’t differentiated

Elite status doesn’t  have the same oomph as the big hotel chains. It’s rather basic and compares to its larger competitors’ lower levels. There’s also minimal differentiation between the bottom and top tiers. Hotels may treat guests differently, but you’d never know it from the website.

There’s A Decent Credit Card

There are two credit cards, but the better one is the one with the modest annual fee, which is waived the first year. It offers 32,000 points as a sign-up bonus and gives you a 10 point per dollar bonus when you spend at Best Western Hotels. It also offers Platinum elite status, although that doesn’t seem to get you a heck of a lot. On the plus side, the $55 fee is waived the first year.

Overall, A Decent Program

Best Western Rewards is a relatively generous program, particularly given its emphasis on midscale and economy brands. The elite levels could use some enhancements, but they’re in decent shape, otherwise.

 

 

 Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!

Follow me on Twitter @FFMiles101 or share with the Facebook button below.

And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!