Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights is Back, With Elite Fast Track Kicker

Posted on: September 28th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Registration is finally available.

From October 1 through January 31, 2010, Hyatt is offering your choice of 1 free night after every two stays (the traditional ‘faster free nights’ offer) or 3,000 bonus Hyatt every stay, starting with your second stay.

The free nights are generally more valuable, provided you can use them during the October 15 through March 31 redemption period. I’m sorely tempted to pick up several Dulles airport area Hyatt place stays in the $60 range (frequently pricing for weekends) in order to redeem at Park Hyatts in major cities around the world. But if you don’t have a good clear use for the redemptions, it’s nice that this time they’ve decided to offer a backup choice of banking points.

In addition to this bonus offer, Hyatt is offering double stay credits towards elite status during the promo period. Note that this is not double credit towards nights, just stays.

Hacking the Priority Club Website to See Your Full Points History

Posted on: September 28th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

The Priority Club website only gives you an option to see your account history back 6 months. But it turns out the data is all there, the website just doesn’t give you an option to query for it.

A Flyertalk member posted a link that will allow you to go back farther. I can see my redemption history back to 2004, and my earning activity back at least to 2008.

Here’s the link:

Note that you’ll be asked to sign into your account, of course.

30,000 British Airways Miles for Credit Card Signup

Posted on: September 28th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Chase has a new offer, which is the best one I’ve seen for a co-branded British Airways credit card: 20,000 bonus miles after first purchase and 10,000 more bonus miles after $750 in spend.

The card also offers $50 off British Airways ticket purchases, and it comes with a $75 annual fee (not waived – but still worth it for the 30,000 miles in my opinion).

Cheap Short-haul Award Tickets — As Low as 2400 Points Each Way!

Posted on: September 28th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Starwood points transfer 1:2 into LAN. Such generous transfer ratios used to be common, e.g. with Qantas (and the Qantas award chart used to be more generous to boot) so folks would transfer their Starwood points to Qantas and redeem for flights on the Concorde.

Starwood transfer ratios have eroded in these few exceptionally generous cases over the years, but the 1:2 ratio with LAN remains. And Starwood doubles their transfer bonus as well, so 20,000 Starwood points yields 50,000 points in LAN.

This used to be an exceptional value for constructing oneworld business class round the world awards. But then LAN introduced their new award chart, where they charge for each flight segment separately, and I wrote it off. It’s not longer good for connecting flights, to be sure, so no more oneworld round the world values. But writing off their award chart entirely was a mistake as this Dan’s Deals post underscores.

LAN actually offers a pretty decent award chart for non-stop short-haul redemptions on partner airlines. And coupled with Starwood’s still generous transfer ratio, the deals can be smokin’.

If you live in a oneworld or LAN partner hub or focus city, and would otherwise buy short-haul coach tickets, and you have some Starwood points, this is very useful for you.

Here is LAN’s oneworld award chart.

Reward table for legs flown in oneworld and affiliated airlines

ONLY ONE-WAY amounts
Combine the fare of each leg to complete your round trip ticket.

Travel distance in kms LANPASS kms required for the award
From To Tourist Executive First
1 500 6.000 12.000 15.000
501 750 8.000 16.000 20.000
751 1.000 9.000 18.000 22.000
1.001 1.300 10.000 20.000 25.000
1.301 1.500 12.000 24.000 30.000
1.501 2.000 14.000 28.000 35.000
2.001 5.000 27.000 54.000 67.000
5.001 10.000 50.000 100.000 125.000
10.001 15.000 70.000 140.000 175.000
15.000 100.000 100.000 200.000 250.000

Dan’s Deals took this chart and illustrated what this means in Starpoints and offered some example routes:

Most of the flights below on are for travel on AA, but some routes include flights from Alaska, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. 

If the actual one-way flight distance in kms. is between: Then the one-way flight in coach will cost the following LAN kms. Which is equivalent to the following amount of Starpoints at a 2:5 ratio. Sample Routes (actual distance in kms.) on OneWorld and partner carriers such as AA, Alaska, British Airways, Cathay Pacific,  Qantas, and others.
1-500 6,000 2,400 London-Manchester (242)
LGA-Boston (297)
London-Paris (348)
LAX-Las Vegas (380)
501-750 8,000 3,200 LGA-Montreal (522)
LGA-Toronto (574)
LGA-Cleveland (674)
Chicago-Toronto (702)
Sydney-Melbourne (706)
751-1000 9,000 3,600 Miami-Atlanta (957)
1001-1300 10,000 4,000 LGA-Chicago (1,180)
Hong Kong-Shanghai (1,254)
SFO-Vancouver (1,288)
1301-1500 12,000 4,800 LAX-Portland (1,341)
Chicago-New Orleans (1,347)
1501-2000 14,000 5,600 LGA-Miami (1,765)
LAX-Dallas (1,987)
2001-5000 27,000 10,800 SFO-Honolulu (3,860)
LAX-Maui (4,000)
Tel Aviv-London (3,593)
Seattle-Kauai (4,346)
5001-10000 50,000 20,000 London-Johannesburg (9,046)
10001-15000 70,000 28,000 Chicago-Delhi (12,044)
JFK-Hong Kong (12,990)
15001+ 100,000 40,000 Does not seem to exist???














Here in DC I have great options for cheap awards to Chicago, Raleigh, New York-JFK, and Boston. It would be even better if I lived in Chicago or Dallas or Los Angeles. Or if I were based in Seattle and looking to fly short-haul on Alaska, not to mention London for British Airways.

LAN doesn’t charge last minute ticketing fees or fuel surcharges, so these tickets really do come out cheap.

Do note, though, that LAN kilometers do expire. Points transferred into LAN are only “valid for a period of three calendar years, and expire December 31 of the third year after they were earned.” That means if you transfer the points in today, the points will expire December 31, 2011. So I may wait until January to do this, so the points will expire December 31, 2012. Although you can actually fly LAN to reset the expiration date on your miles, from here on the US East Coast I could take their JFK-Toronto flight…

(Hat tip to Rick.)

100 Free Priority Club Points

Posted on: September 27th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Go to this link and enter any one of the following five codes:


You’ll also need to enter your Priority Club number and PIN. 100 free points are yours easily.

(Straight from Frugal Travel Guy.)

New Links for American Airlines Credit Card 30,000 Miles Signup Bonuses

Posted on: September 27th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Old links are dead, but new links are available.

The offer is no fee the first year and 30,000 mile bonus after $750 in spend.

(Thanks to this Flyertalk thread.)

Of course these cards are churnable.

Different folks have different experiences with how many cards you can get at one time, and how often you can get the cards. It varies more or less from one card every 60 days to some folks simultaneously applying for several and getting perhaps four at a time. (Frugal Travel Guy says to open up multiple applications in different browser windows at the same time, and hit submit pretty much simultaneously on each.)

Grab the card, meet the minimum spend (Presidential coins, anyone?), watch your bonus post. After six months or so call to cancel the card, certainly before the year is out, and then decide whether they make you an offer which causes keeping the card to be worthwhile — nothing that you can probably only have 7 or 8 Citicards at any one time.

Marriott New Member Signup Bonus — Stay Twice By November 15 and Earn a Free Night

Posted on: September 27th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Marriott isn’t quite as generous as some of their competitors, Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights makes a similar offer to everyone, but they’re currently offering new members the opportunity to earn a free night for staying twice by November 15 and this is on top of the usual points accrual of course.

(Via Loyalty Traveler Blog.)

If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care

Posted on: September 26th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

An excellent, amusing Jonathan Rauch article from National Journal.

The goal of the piece was to illustrate the crazy inefficiencies of health care delivery. For me, it just managed to make air travel seem sane.

(HT: Marginal Revolution)

Friday Open Thread

Posted on: September 25th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

What’s on your mind?

Please hit the comments!

Extra Surcharges for 3 Days of Upcoming Holiday Travel

Posted on: September 25th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Rick Seaney reprots that American and United have added $10 fuel surcharges for travel on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and January 2 and 3.

A ‘busy holiday travel day surcharge’ to be sure. But why use the fuel surcharge mechanism, as opposed to raising fares for travel on those days or limiting availability in lower fare buckets?

I’ve written in the past (e.g. here) that fuel surcharges aren’t any different from price increases, but they do serve specific functions — usually as a means of bumping price on existing discount contracts or publicly signaling price intentions to competitors

Here I assume given the limited duration of these are in effect it was viewed as a quick and dirty way to accomplish the job, albeit with a fairly blunt instrument.

10% off American Airlines Flights

Posted on: September 24th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

They’ll e-mail you a 10% off code for use at for playing the AA Soccer Challenge game.

Once you register you’ll receive an e-mail (check your spam folder!) with the 10% off discount code valid on travel for domestic departing flights purchased by Oct. 31, 2009 and travel complete Nov. 27, 2009 excluding travel Nov. 20-25.

I recently noted a 1000 mile signup bonus for the American AAdvantage frequent flyer program. This soccer game offer also comes with a 1,000 mile enrollment bonus if you aren’t already a member of their program.

A Sincere Defense of the TSA

Posted on: September 22nd, 2009 by: Gary Leff

A commenter who is of course exaclty who they say they are offers up the following arguments:

  • The TSA doesn’t steal stuff.
  • If you criticize the TSA, you favor no security.
  • Since we don’t have hijackings, the TSA is doing a great job.

Hoisted from the Comments:

James, it’s hard to believe someone took your knife. TSA personnel are told there’s a zero tolerance to stealing at the checkpoint. In other words, you’ll be fired. Screeners have been fired for this very same thing. If you see someone stealing like this, as with your knife, go find a supervisor and let them know. Why didn’t you mail your knife back to yourself?

Things that are thrown away in the trash i.e. liquids. They are thrown out through the normal trash disposal. Again, TSA personnel will be fired if they go dumpster shopping. Zero tolerance is zero tolerance.

TSA has come a long ways and has bent over backwards on so many occasions to satisfy the passenger. They’re not there to work against you, but work with you any way they can.

The traveling public is still ignorant to so many things because someone said this or someone hears this i.e. as Granny been strip searched in public. We all know we can trust the media. Please, give me a break.

James, TSA could satisfy you and do away with security totally. Would you or want your family go fly? Sounds stupid doesn’t it? This is like saying, “I received an invalid speeding ticket so I don’t any use for the cops.” Well, at least ’til you need one.

Go to web site. There’s a wealth of information at this site. I travel with the same rules as everyone else. I find it’s not a problem to be safe or have my family fly safe.

TSA must be doing their job. When was the last time a U.S. aircraft was commandered?

9/11 less we forget. Never again!!!


Westin Charlotte Free Starwood Points Offer Dead But Will Be Honored

Posted on: September 21st, 2009 by: Gary Leff

On Friday I posted that the Westin Charlotte was offering 500 Starwood points to anyone who became of fan of theirs on Facebook.

Unsurprisingly they woke up Monday morning and pulled the offer. But they’re going to honor it. According to their current Facebook status:

Thank you for becoming a fan of the Westin Charlotte! Our “Join Facebook- receive 500 SPG points” promotion has ended (as of Sept. 21 at 9:30 am EST) – but please check back frequently for more offers and promotions in the near future! Due to an enormous response we ask for your patience in receiving your points for those who have fanned before today.

What was surprising to me is that only 1000 people took advantage of the offer (they only currently have about 1000 fans). So perhaps readers of Flyertalk, and of this blog, aren’t Facebook users and didn’t feel it was worth signing up for Facebook just for 500 Starwpoints.

Presumably the hotel figured they would get a few fans here or there from among guests who stayed at the property, since they only advertised the offer on-property. They didn’t figure that any of those guests would spread the offer online. Still, they also likely didn’t foresee any real use to those fans either. What exactly are they going to do with the 1000 fans they’ve paid for in Starpoints?

What Happens to the 13 Million Items the TSA Confiscates Each Year?

Posted on: September 21st, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Weapons would go to law enforcement, most items to government surplus agencies for auction. And liquids that don’t fit in your freedom baggie?

The journey for shampoo and other liquids in containers larger than 3 ounces, which were banned on board in 2006 when terrorists attempted to use liquid explosives, is a short one. They are usually immediately disposed of through private waste contractors.

After the TSA tosses them in a bin beside security, they throw them away via private garbage disposal. ‘Cause the liquids are dangerous.

The War on Water continues, unabated, and without any sense of irony.

US to South Africa $675 including tax

Posted on: September 20th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Iberia has a fare, with decent availability on Orbitz and their own website from October through March, of $675 all-in from New York to Johannesburg via Madrid.

From Los Angeles it prices out at $760. Should be available from Other Iberia destinations as well.

Take, for instance, JFK-JNB from November 18 to 23 — $675 Or January 19 to 25 — $675.

(Hat tip to Raffles longhaul.)

Priority Club 5000 Point New Member Referral Bonus

Posted on: September 19th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Priority Club is offering 5000 points after first stay for referring a new member, and that member will also receives 5000 bonus points once their stay posts.  The stay must be completed within 90 days of enrollment.

You have to be logged out of your account in order to see the offer on the Priority Club website.

Making International Cell Phone Calls from 8 Cents a Minute While Traveling

Posted on: September 19th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Using an unlocked GSM cell phone, a callback service, and a cheap SIM card, I make international calls from my cell phone from about 8 cents a minute while traveling abroad.

AT&T gave me the unlock code for my cell phone just for asking. There are plenty of SIM cards issued by European providers that offer free incoming calls throughout much of the world. And using a callback service, you convert outgoing calls into incoming calls. When I call the U.S. from Spain with my cell phone, I pay about 8 cents a minute.

Or at least I used to. My SIM card of choice was 09 Mobile from Iceland. But they became defunct. And I hadn’t been happy with the other SIM services out there. Yesterday I was offered the recommendation on Flyertalk for eKit Passport SIM (not their ‘global premium SIM’). It has free incoming calls in over 60 countries, and a ton of additional countries at between 9 and 49 cents a minute. That’ll work. It’s $20 plus $3 shipping, and comes with $10 talk credit.

Using that SIM in conjunction with a service like Call Back World, I’m set.

It works as follows:

  • Dial Callback World. Let it ring once. Hang up.
  • Callback World calls me, I answer, and dial the number I’m trying to reach.
  • I have an incoming call (from Callbackworld), no charge from the cell service/sim provider.
  • I pay only the long distance charges billed by Callback World, which are reasonable from most countries.

FTD: 30 United Miles per Dollar Plus 2000 Miles for Two Orders By October 31

Posted on: September 19th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

FTD is augmenting their standard United miles offer with 2000 additional bonus miles if you make two purchases by October 31. At least that’s the offer I got by email yesterday — 25 miles per dollar plus 2000 if you make two purchases by October 31.

So then I looked back in my archives and found a relatively recent 30 miles per dollar offer. And lo and behold it came up as 30 miles per dollar plus 2000 bonus miles for those two purchases by October 31.

Take two $50 orders — that would yield 5000 miles, or 50 miles per dollar, exclusive of tax and delivery charges.

2000 Starwood Points for Adding Cardholders to Your Starwood Amex

Posted on: September 19th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

American Express is offering 1000 bonus Starwood points for each additional cardmember you add to your account (up to 2).

The additional cardholder has to spend at least $150 within the first 90 days to earn the bonus.

Of course, you can add the cardholder, they mail the card to you, you spend the money yourself (perhaps shopping online, at gas stations, whatnot). And then cancel or stick the card in a drawer, you don’t have to give your friends and family true access to your credit line in order to earn 2000 Starpoints.

Of course, if you don’t already have a Starwood Amex, you probably should

(Via Lucky.)

Southwest Double Credits Through October 31

Posted on: September 19th, 2009 by: Gary Leff

Southwest is offering double credits through October 31 (registration required). Pair that with the current signup bonus and it should be possible to secure a free ticket after only four flight segments.

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View from the Wing is a project of Miles and Points Consulting, LLC. This site is for entertainment purpose only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

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