Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.
Welcome to the Traveling For Miles weekly recap. This is a summary of the key posts that appeared on the blog this week with links to the full articles for anyone who’d like more information. With an amazing new credit card coming to market, a number of very useful flash sales, a new end of year hotel promotion, a fantastic targeted Hyatt offer and good news out of Hawaii, there was a lot of news around this week.
Click on the headlines to be taken to the full article
TAP Air Portugal has launched a flash sale which when combined with some of the excellent Business Class fares we’ve been seeing recently, could make traveling in comfort across the Atlantic remarkably good value. With Economy Class fares discounted too, there should be something for everyone in this sale (ENDS TOMORROW).
On Thursday evening/Friday morning, KLM updated its schedules for winter 2020/21 and when you compare the services the airline plans to offer to the services offered pre-Covid, it doesn’t make for pretty reading. Three US cities are set to lose service altogether, while even major partner hubs like Atlanta will be seeing reduced capacity.
It all started on Thursday when an over-eager British Airways employee put out a tweet (now deleted) that let the world know that British Airways would be offering a new First Class option in the not too distant future. Early on Friday, British Airways emailed staff to let them know that a “modified First seat experience” is on the way (this has been widely leaked already) but the reality behind the news is far less exciting than most had probably hoped.
As with all of the world’s airlines, EL AL has effectively been on hiatus for most of the year so far but unlike a lot of its competitors, EL AL is yet to resume passenger services on its international routes. From October, however, that’s set to change with the airline scheduling a return to New York JFK as well as to three other international destinations.
At the beginning of September, Virgin Atlantic announced that it would be launching three new routes to Pakistan from later this year as the airline looks to move away (at least temporarily) from its heavy reliance on transatlantic traffic. Now, less than two weeks after Virgin Atlantic’s announcement, British Airways has responded and it’s not good news for the smaller carrier.
Marriott has announced a new offering which it’s calling “Escape to Luxury” and in which guests can make the most of “singular experiences” at a variety of luxury properties in North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America which celebrate each unique destination, and which can be paid for (in part or in full) by up to $300 in credits that the properties are offering.
The Conrad London St James is arguably Hilton’s best property in London, but it’s a property I had never visited until recently as I usually prefer to make the most of the fantastic weekend deals that are often on offer at the London Marriott Canary Wharf. On this occasion, Joanna and I were looking for a change of scenery and with the Conrad selling award nights at a very reasonable price, it was easy to decide to see what the property has to offer.
IHG Rewards has now announced the promotion that it will be running for most of what remains of 2020 and registration is now open for anyone wishing to participate. How well this promotion suits you compared to the promotion that just ended will depend on how many stays you plan to make, but holders of an IHG Rewards Club credit card should do particularly well on their first stay.
Choice Hotels is currently running a promotion which, on the face of things, doesn’t look particularly interesting as it’s a promotion that appears to promise guests a $50 gift card after two stays. However, after a quick look a the terms it becomes apparent that there is more to this promotion than just a gift card so this is an offer that’s definitely worth a closer look.
Credit Card News
A couple of weeks ago Chase announced that it’s longstanding Chase Freedom credit card would be replaced by a new card with better earnings and better benefits too. That new card is the Chase Freedom Flex credit card and it’s now live and applications and product changes for this truly fantastic card are now being accepted.
As we move into the final few months of 2020 (this year really can’t end soon enough!), Chase has revealed the 4Q 2020 category spending bonuses for the legacy Chase Freedom credit card and the credit card that’s taking its place – the Chase Freedom Flex credit card.
To get the most out of a miles or points balance takes work and often quite a bit of effort. People with busy lives and families to look after generally don’t have the time or energy to deal with all of that and this a big reason why cash back credit cards are so incredibly popular and why the Blue Cash Preferred Card is a card that would work well in most wallets.
Hotels.com is a site that I frequently suggest most people should be using a lot more and in combination with Wells Fargo, it has just unveiled its first co-branded credit card – the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Card. With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and a useful first-year benefit this is a card that may have its uses.
American Express has updated the welcome bonuses on four of the Delta SkyMiles credit cards that it issues and has announced that the new offers are only going to be available through 28 October. Two personal and two business cards are seeing changes made to their welcome offers so now may be the time to consider one of these cards if Delta is your airline of choice.
Miles & Points News/Thoughts
Hilton has been running its current points sale since the end of July but TODAY is the last day to make the most of the deal on offer. Hilton Honors members are being given a 100% bonus on all purchases of 10,000 points or more which, as usual, values Hilton’s currency at 0.5 cents/point. With most of Hilton’s best properties around the world operating with super-low occupancy rates, award availability and pricing is excellent which means that this sale can be used to book some amazing stays.
Marriott Bonvoy has launched its first Points sale promotion since the middle of July and this time around it’s offering members bonuses of up to 50% when they buy points by 22 October. Moreover, and for the second time this year, Marriott has further increased the number of points a member can buy in a year.
There’s no doubt that some of the benefits that come with hotel loyalty programs can be very enticing. Free breakfasts, room upgrades, guaranteed late check-outs, bonus points, and easier access to suites are just some of the many benefits that hotel loyalty programs dangle to tempt us into directing our spending in their direction…but with which hotel loyalty program should most people be trying to earn status?
Alaska’s Mileage Plan program is running a new flash sale in which it’s offering members the chance to buy miles with a bonus of up to 50% thrown in. Although this isn’t the biggest bonus we’ve seen Alaska Airlines offer this year, the relatively low cost of miles in this sale means that there are still some fantastic deals to be had if you know where to look (ENDS TODAY).
The World of Hyatt is currently sending out emails to targeted members with an offer of three AAdvantage Miles per dollar on all Hyatt stays through the end of the year. Considering this offer will stack (very nicely) with the upcoming promotion in which WoH members can earn up to four times the usual number of base points, this is an incredibly generous offer to receive.
General Travel News
Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS are programs offered by the United States Customs & Border Protection Bureau (CBP) which offer expedited immigration procedures to travelers considered low-risk by the US authorities. The fees for these programs haven’t changed in years but a new filing by the CBP suggests that the bureau will be seeking to increase the fees charged by two of the three programs while the fee charged for the third will decrease slightly.
Hawaii Governor David Ige yesterday announced a measure that sure to be music to the ears of the Hawaii hospitality industry as well as to thousands of people who have been waiting for a sign that they can, once again, visit the Aloha State. From 15 October, visitors to the islands will be allowed to skip quarantine if they can produce a negative Covid test.