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Starwood To Offer Free In-Room Internet To All SPG Members; A Roundup Of Current Starwood Elite Status Benefits And How To Earn Status

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014, 10:52 am

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Effective 02/02/15 all SPG members will receive free WiFi in their Starwood hotel rooms.

Non-elite members will get standard level internet access for free, while SPG Gold and Platinum members will get premium level internet access for free.  Delta and Emirates elites will also get premium level internet access for free via Crossover rewards.

Only stays booked via SPG.com will qualify for free internet access.

Currently Fairmont and IHG give all members free in-room internet access and Marriott will as well as of 01/15/15.

So what are the benefits of each Starwood elite status level?

1. Starwood Preferred (base) members get free standard internet. Anyone can signup free on SPG.com

2. Starwood Preferred Plus status is an unpublished elite status level that is given for free to anyone with a Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. It’s also offered to AAA and AARP members.

Preferred Plus members get 4pm confirmed late checkout and room upgrades when available.

3. Starwood Gold status is given for free if you have Platinum Card® from American Express or if you spend $30,000 in a calendar year on the Starwood AMEX or if you spend 25 paid or award nights or have 10 stays in Starwood hotels in a calendar year. You can get lifetime gold status by accumulating 5 years of Starwood elite status and 250 nights in Starwood hotels.  Some people have been able to get free Gold status for a year by calling up and telling a rep that they want to start staying in more Starwood hotels, but YMMV on that one.

Gold members get free premium level internet access, a 250 Starpoint amenity on paid and award stays, 4pm confirmed late checkout, and room upgrades when available. They also get 3 Starpoints per dollar spent on paid stays and 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on Delta flights.

4. Starwood Platinum requires 50 paid or award nights or 25 stays in Starwood hotels in a calendar year. Having the Starwood credit card gives you 5 nights and 2 stays towards meeting that and having 2 Starwood credit cards gives you 10 nights and 4 stays towards meeting that. You can get lifetime Platinum status by accumulating 10 years of Starwood Platinum elite status and 500 nights in Starwood hotels.

Platinum members get free premium level internet access, a 500 Starpoint amenity on paid and award stays, 4pm confirmed late checkout, and suite upgrades when available. They also get 3 Starpoints per dollar spent on paid stays, 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on Delta flights, and Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades, and first checked bag free when flying Delta.

Platinums who stay 50 nights also get 10 confirmed suite upgrade awards. Platinums who stay 75 nights get 4 Starpoints per dollar spent on paid stays and the ability to stay for a full 24 hours in a hotel room regardless of when they checkin.

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

Update Your SPG.com Stay Preferences And Get 500 Free Starpoints

Sunday, November 30th, 2014, 2:02 pm

Update: Today is the final day to register for this promotion!  Once registered you’ll have until 12/15 to update your stay preferences.

I updated my preferences on 11/10 and the points posted for my birthday on 11/26.

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Originally posted on 11/10:

Register for Starwood’s latest promotion (double or triple points on paid stays) here and you’ll also be registered for 500 free Starpoints just for updating your stay preferences.

After registering, just click here to update any of your stay preferences.

Starwood points officially expire after 12 months of inactivity, though it’s actually only enforced after 18 months. So 500 points will extend the validity of your account for 18 months.  Though Starwood is one of the best about reactivating expired points when you ask nicely (British Airways is surprisingly nice as well).

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

Trip Notes Hodgepodge: United Upgrade Quirks, Infant Travel Drama, Farewell CLE D, Wrigley SPG Suite, And Chicago BBQ Competition

Sunday, June 8th, 2014, 6:38 pm

-Find dozens of trip notes like this one by clicking on the “Trip Notes” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

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I flew to Kansas City once and to Chicago twice in the past 3 weeks, here are some of my trip notes:

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More after the jump:

Click here to keep reading this post!

SPG Spin To Win Game

Friday, September 13th, 2013, 10:25 am

SPG Spin To Win Game

This has been around for a couple weeks but I never got around to posting it.

You can play daily through 10/10.

I’ve played many times and have yet to win a thing but DDF members have reported winning 500 Starpoints, 1,000 Starpoints, 5,000 Starpoints, and even a free night at any (excluding category 7) Starwood hotel. One DDF member notes that he has successfully employed the multiple browser method to get even more daily spins but that’s more effort than it’s worth considering my luck so far.

By playing you’ll also be entered to win 250K Starpoints (which can transferred into 312.5K airline miles) though that will come with a tax bill of course as it’s worth more than $600.

Post a comment if you get anything!

HT: Feivish, via DDF

Starwood Advertises Just How Bad A Deal SPG Flights Is

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012, 9:42 pm

Back in 2008 Starwood made a big deal about the introduction of SPG Flights.  I panned it as a poor value.

Apparently not everyone got the memo though.  SPG is bragging how someone spent a whopping 870,000 Starwood points to fly from Los Angeles to Rome in business class.

With that many Starpoints he could have transferred them into nearly 1.1 million airline miles on dozens of different airlines.  A business class ticket to Europe using Flying Blue starts at 50,000 miles, using USAirways miles starts at 60,000 miles, or using AAdvantage miles is 100,000 miles.  A first class ticket to Europe using AAdvantage miles is 125,000 miles.  Or a round-the-world first class award on American or any OneWorld partners that allows for 16 flights runs between 180K-330K miles. Heck you can fly to Dubai in an A380 suite on Emirates with your own shower onboard for 217,500 miles, so he could have booked 5 such tickets with 870K Starpoints.

Or you can get even better deals at Starwood hotels.  It’s very easy to get a value of 2.5 cents per Starpoint with hotel redemptions, in fact you can even get a value of 10 times that.

Instead someone burned it all on 2 business class tickets.  What a shame.

HT: Chaikel, via DDF

SPG Hot Shows: Use Your Starpoints For Premium Seats To Hot Concerts!

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009, 12:00 am

Update: Round 2 starts at 11am eastern today (07/08)! You must be a Starwood AMEX cardholder or a Starwood Platinum member to book tickets!

Originally posted on 06/29:

Related: Starwood AMEX Linky

www.spg.com/hotshows

Offer Details Linky

Redeem 5,000 or 10,000 Starpoints for a pair of premium concert seats.

The sale starts at noon 11am eastern.

Why do I get the feeling that ebay is going to see a whole bunch of new concert listings later today?

SPG You Choose Promo!

Thursday, September 18th, 2008, 1:14 am

Related: The Starwood AMEX easily gives the best reward value and bang for each buck of purchases made out of any credit card out there today. It also comes with tons of nice benefits and a sweet (and valuable) 10,000 Starpoint signup bonus for free for each card that you get. Between a myriad of incredible mileage transfer options and unbeatable blackout-free hotel redemption options you should have no problem getting over 5 cents value out of every Starpoint that you have!

Starwood Consumer AMEX
Starwood Business AMEX



www.spg.com/youchoose

-Starwood’s Q4 promo is now up and there are a lot of options to choose from,but you can only pick one!
-Registration is required by 11/15. Valid for stays in any Starwood hotel between 10/01/08-12/31/08
-Important: All rewards are retroactive except the double stays toward elite status. So you can wait until 11/15 to decide which reward suits you best before registering and being locked to your decision as long as you dont want to go for the elite status reward.

Available rewards:
-Double stay credits towards Starwood Elite status. (No limit)
-Double Starpoints on all stays. (No limit)
-Every 2 stays=2,000 bonus Starpoints. (Limit 10,000 bonus Starpoints)
-Every 2 stays=$25 Amazon GC. (Limit $125 in free Amazon GC’s)
-Every 4 nights=2,000 bonus Starpoints. (Limit 10,000 bonus Starpoints)
-Every 4 nights=$25 Amazon GC. (Limit $125 in free Amazon GC’s)
-Every 4 stays=free weekend night. (Limit 2 free weekend nights at up to a Category 5 hotel)
-Every 6 stays=9,000 bonus Starpoints. (Limit 36,000 bonus Starpoints)
-Every 8 nights=free weekend night. (Limit 2 free weekend nights at up to a Category 5 hotel)
-Every 10 stays=25,000 bonus Starpoints. (Limit 100,000 bonus Starpoints)
-Every 12 nights=9,000 bonus Starpoints. (Limit 36,000 bonus Starpoints)
-Every 20 nights=25,000 bonus Starpoints. (Limit 100,000 bonus Starpoints)

Curious to see what other people are picking? Just click on the question mark by each reward to find out what percentage of people picked that promo!

Get 250 Starpoints For Telling Starwood What You Think Of SPG Flights!

Thursday, September 4th, 2008, 12:37 am

Survey Linky

SPG Flights: Yawwwwn…

Thursday, September 4th, 2008, 12:23 am

www.spgflights.com

So the big news this week is that Starwood has added a 7th primary method of using Starpoints: SPG flights.

The problem is that Starpoints are already so valuable due to the other 6 methods that SPG flights is simply unattractive.

The premise of SPG flights is that you can search for any flight directly from spgflights.com and book it with Starpoints. Starwood then pays the airline for the flight and therefore you will earn miles for the flight.

Sample award prices:

Ticket Price Starpoints
up to $150 10,000
$150-$215 15,000
$215-$280 20,000
$280-$345 25,000
$345-$410 30,000
$410-$475 35,000
$475-$540 40,000
$540-$605 45,000
$605-$670 50,000
$670-$735 55,000
$735-$800 60,000
$800-$865 65,000
$865-$930 70,000
$930-$995 75,000
$995-$1060 80,000
Higher prices (examples)
$2,880-$3,140 235,000
$4,960-$5,220 395,000
$9,900-$10,160 775,000



Fatal flaw? SPG flights values starpoints between 1.2-1.5 cents.
Using the other primary Starpoint redemption methods (Unrestricted Hotel Stays, Restricted Cash And Points Hotel Stays, Hotel Room Upgrades, Nights and Flights, 5th Night Free, and of course transferring Starpoints into miles on dozens of airlines with a with an unbeatable 25%-250% bonus) you should be able to do far better than that.

Launching Friday: A Revamped SPG.com!

Thursday, July 19th, 2007, 1:37 am

Starwood is revamping their website, and if all goes well it will go live on Friday!

I have confirmed that the new website will integrate the new Cash & Points option!

Is It Worth Paying 1.87% To Pay Your Taxes Via Credit Card?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015, 6:36 pm

-Find more posts like this by clicking on the “Credit Card Posts” tab. View AMEX consumer card offers, AMEX business card offers, and other credit card offers in the tabs above of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site. American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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“Pinay” joined the DansDeals Forums to ask which credit card he should use to pay his taxes.

The IRS website lists several processors that charge 1.87% to process your tax payment via credit card.

If you are trying to reach a spend threshold that you won’t be able to reach it without some help, then it will almost always make sense to pay 1.87% to get the signup miles.

But what about if you don’t have any spend thresholds to meet?

-The United Club card earns 1.5 United miles per dollar spent.  If you owe $20,000 in taxes and pay for it on your United Club card you’ll pay $374 and you’ll get 30,561 miles.  That’s like buying miles for 1.22 cents each.

That $374 fee may be tax-deductible, you should speak to your tax preparer about that.

Is it worth it? It all depends on what you do with your miles.

A round-trip ticket from LaGuardia to Cleveland with a one-night stay to see LeBron try to bring a championship to a city that hasn’t seen one in 51 years would run you $1,100.  That same ticket would be 20,000 United miles round-trip, a value of 5.5 cents per mile.

Yes, there are other cards that earn 1.5 or 2 “miles” per dollar, but if they’re not airline miles they’re likely only worth 1 cent towards travel.  You would need 110,000 Capital One “miles” for that same LGA-CLE flight that costs 20,000 United miles.

The value is much greater if you fly business or first class internationally, but the value on a round-trip ticket from NYC to Fort Lauderdale will be much less.

There are much cheaper ways of manufacturing spend to buy miles for much less than 1.246 cents each, but considering that this takes zero effort, it’s not a bad deal.

Of course you need to have the United Club card which carries a steep $395 annual fee.  It has benefits besides for 1.5 miles per dollar spent, like club membership and waived expedite fees, but it’s still a pricey card.

-If you have the more affordable United Explorer card you get just 1 mile per dollar, but that card gives a 10K mile bonus for spending $25K in a year.  To signup for credit card offers like this you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for all other card offers.  After clicking on “Travel, Airline, and Hotel credit cards” just scroll through the pages until you find the card offer that you’re looking for.

Pay $25K to the IRS on the United Explorer card and you’ll get 35,468 miles for a $467.50 fee.  That’s like buying miles for 1.32 cents each.

Both United cards give access to expanded saver award availability, priority boarding, and keep your miles from expiring for as long as you’re a cardholder.

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card offers 1.5 points per dollar everywhere if you have 30 total transactions that billing period. It and the United Club card are the only cards that give 1.5 real airline miles per dollar spent everywhere without limits. With an annual fee that is $300 less than the United Club, it brings lots of mileage earning potential to the masses.

If you do pay your taxes on this card you’ll want to make sure that you have 30 transactions that month.  In this post I wrote about an easy way to get up to 30 transactions if you need some help in that department.  The card also offers up to 4.5 points per dollar in categories like groceries, gas, and Uber.

If you owe $20,000 in taxes and pay for it on your Everyday Preferred card you’ll pay $374 and you’ll get 30,561 miles.  That’s like buying miles for 1.222 cents each.

Those points can transfer to airlines like Air Canada, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue, and Singapore.

Earlier this year there was a 40% bonus transfer for British Airways.  With each dollar spent earning 1.5 points and multiplying that by 40% means that the effective earning was 2.1 points per dollar everywhere.  Assuming you transfer with a similar bonus, that’s like buying Avios for 0.87 cents each.

That same LaGuardia-Cleveland flight costs just 9,000 Avios round-trip, a value of 12.2 cents per Avios.  Your cost would have been $78 for the round-trip award.

A first class ticket on a United lie-flat bed one-way from Newark or Washington DC nonstop to Honolulu can be booked with 30K Singapore miles instead of 40K United miles. Either are an excellent value for your miles on a ticket that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars.

57.3K AMEX points transferred to Singapore is enough for a private suite on an A380 one-way from JFK to Frankfurt. Double the miles and fly together with someone special in a couple’s suite across the pond.

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card is the only no-annual fee card that can transfer points into airline miles.  It offers 1.2 miles per dollar spent. If you owe $20,000 in taxes and pay for it on your Everyday card you’ll pay $374 and you’ll get 24,449 miles.  That’s like buying miles for 1.53 cents each.

-The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX have the ability to transfer points into dozens of different airlines (Alaska and American are 2 unique SPG transfer partners) at a 20K:25K ratio, effectively 1.25 miles per dollar spent everywhere. If you owe $20,000 in taxes and pay for it on your Starwood card you’ll pay $374 and you’ll get 20,374 Starpoints which can be transferred into 25,374 miles.  That’s like buying miles for 1.47 cents each.

80K Starpoints transfers into 100K Alaska miles. 90K Alaska miles is enough to fly one-way to the Maldives on Emirates first class, where you’ll be able to rest in a suite and have a shower at 35K feet in the sky on an A380.  Or I suppose you could redeem 1.5 million Capital One points for the same experience if you’d like…

60K Starpoints transfers into 75K American miles. 67.5K AA miles is enough to fly one-way to Asia on Cathay Pacific’s award winning first class that would otherwise set you back $15,000.

-The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card is still offering a 15K bonus for spending $30K in 2015.  If you spend exactly $30K in 2015 than those numbers will look similar to the calculatios for the Everyday Preferred card with its 50% bonus.

-The Discover it Miles card gives 3 “miles” per dollar everywhere for the first year that you have the card.  They’re worth 1 cent each, so you’ll come out 1.13% ahead of the 1.87% tax processing fee. To signup for credit card offers like this you can click here or on the “other credit cards” tab on top of the DansDeals logo banner to view links for all other card offers.  After clicking on “Travel, Airline, and Hotel credit cards” just scroll through the pages until you find the card offer that you’re looking for.

If you have any mileage earning debit cards, those can also be great for tax payments.

Of course you don’t have to wait for April 15th to come around to pay your taxes, you can make quarterly estimates at any time. If you pay too much you can get a cash refund from the IRS, the refund doesn’t go back to your credit card.

Do you pay your taxes with a credit or debit card? Or is it too pricey of a method to buy miles? Sound off in the comments!

Register Your Kids For 2 Free Daily Games Of Bowling This Summer

Monday, March 23rd, 2015, 9:17 am

Register Your Kids For 2 Free Daily Games Of Bowling This Summer

Bowling Center Locator

When you register your kids via the link above they will receive 2 free games of bowling a day this summer in participating bowling centers.

You must check the individual bowling alley page for details of this promotion as terms vary by location.

HT: SPGDUDE, via DDF

$50 Off $100 At Advance Auto Parts

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015, 9:43 am

Advance Auto Parts Linky

Use code: WD512

Currently the code is still good for $50 off $100. After 2,000 uses it will drop to $40 off $100 for the next 1,000 uses before dropping to 30% off.

Shipping is free on $75+ orders after the coupon is applied. You can also choose in-store pickup to avoid shipping fees.

With this coupon you can get good prices on a new car battery.

Post what deals you find!

HT: SPGDUDE, via DDF

Try For A Free Ride In A Rolls Royce With Uber In Manhattan Or Los Angeles

Thursday, March 12th, 2015, 6:05 pm

Update: This will also available in Los Angeles starting at 6pm PDT for use anywhere between Hollywood and S. Monica, just use code: RoyalRideLA
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Step 1: Open up your Uber app
Step 2: Click on promotions and enter promo code: RoyalRideNYC
Step 3: Request ROYALS between 6pm and midnight on Thursday, March 12, Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14. On Sunday, March 15, royal rides will be available from 3pm to 9pm.

-Royal rides will only be available in Manhattan below 59th Street
-Trips are limited to 30 minutes and must begin and end below 59th Street in Manhattan
-Royal Rides can accommodate up to 4 passengers

There is no charge for rides in a Rolls Royce, but limited cars are available, so just keep on trying to nab one.
Post a comment with some pictures if you ride in one!

Screenshot_2015-03-12-18-00-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uber is a pretty awesome app. I’ve done day trips to cities like Chicago and NYC without having to rent a car thanks to UberX rides that are cheaper than a taxi and far more convenient. And while people wait for an hour in the taxi line I breeze right into a waiting car.

You can get a free $20 Uber ride via this referral link.

Uber is also fantastic for food delivery. Stuck in Miami airport during a delay or connection with no kosher food? Make an order with a restaurant on 41st st in Miami Beach and pay for it over the phone.  Just confirm with them that you’ll be using Uber and ask if they can bring it out to the Uber driver when you call them back.
When the food is ready just have Uber go to the restaurant address and text or call the Uber driver to let him know what you’re trying to do. When the driver is at the restaurant just call the restaurant and have them bring the food out to the driver.  Food delivered from Shemtovs, House of Dog, or Miami Beach Chocolates to the airport will run you just $15 (free for new Uber users). I’ve done that flawlessly in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and NYC.

You can link your Starwood account with your Uber account to earn Starpoints when you Uber.

These Starpoints come on top of bonus points you can earn with your credit card. All American Express Membership Rewards cards earn an additional point per dollar on Uber spending (hence the 3 points per dollar earned on Uber with Everyday Preferred). Sapphire Preferred also earns double points for Uber spending.  In fact you shouldn’t use a Starwood AMEX for Uber as other cards are more valuable and you can earn these bonus Starpoints no matter what card you use.

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

2 New Starwood Options Come To South Beach

Sunday, March 8th, 2015, 5:42 pm

Update: Starwood has changed The Royal Palm from a category 5 to a category 6.
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Currently the only Starwood hotel in South Beach is the category 7 W Hotel.

The Royal Palm Miami-South Beach joins Starwood tomorrow as part of the SPG Luxury Collection.

While the lowest paid rate for tomorrow night is $559+tax=$657, it is just a category 5 property, so you can redeem just 12,000 Starpoints for the room. On a 5 night stay it would be just 9.6K Starpoints per night.

It’s located on 15th and Collins, just half a block from the Hyatt Centric South Beach that will be opening within the next few months.

Unlike the Hyatt, the Royal Palm is located on the ocean side of Collins Avenue.

The Aloft South Beach is accepting reservations beginning June 11th.

It too will be a category 5 property, however it will not be on the ocean side of Collins.  On June 11th the lowest rate for a room there is $309+tax=$349.

Always good to have more points accepting hotels in Miami Beach!

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
Earn Starpoints on the Starwood Consumer American Express and on the Starwood Business American Express.  Each offers 10,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $1 and another 15,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 within 6 months for a total of 30,000 earned Starpoints with $5,000 of spending.

HT: harrym, via DDF and PMM

Starwood 2015 Annual Category Changes

Sunday, March 8th, 2015, 4:59 pm

Update: Categories will change at midnight on 03/10 local hotel time. Book now to lock in lower prices on hotels going up or rebook existing reservations on 03/10 to save on hotels that are going down!

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Originally posted on 03/08:

Read about previous category changes:
Starwood 2014 Annual Category Changes
Starwood 2013 Category Changes
Starwood 2012 Category Changes
2011 Starwood Category Adjustments
-2010 had no Starwood category changes
2009 Starwood Category Adjustments
2008 Starwood Category Adjustments
Starwood 2007 Changes: Launch Of Worldwide Cash+Points Awards (The good old days of Starwood in Israel)
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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Starwood 2015 Complete List Of Annual Category Changes

Earn Starpoints on the Starwood Consumer American Express and on the Starwood Business American Express.  Each offers 10,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $1 and another 15,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 within 6 months for a total of 30,000 earned Starpoints with $5,000 of spending.

Book stays before 03/10 local hotel time to lock in current rates for future stays at hotels that are going up.  Almost all hotel stays are cancellable for free until a certain amount of time before the stay (read the fine print).  If you have a reservation at a hotel that is going down then just cancel and rebook the stay on 03/10 when this year’s category changes go into effect.

Just over 10.5% of SPG hotels will become more expensive and 11.8% of SPG hotels will get less expensive when redeeming points.

Most hotels chains reorganize their categories yearly to keep them current with the average rates that they charge.  The beauty of hotel points is that there are no blackout dates or capacity controls, if there is a room you can use points for it.  So even if a major event is in town and rates are quadruple what they normally are you can still use the regular amount of points as long as the hotel is not sold out of standard rooms.

This list is subject to change and other hotels can still be added to it.

Starwood’s standard award chart will not change:
If you stay 5 nights with points at category 3-7 hotels the 5th night will be free.
Category 1 = 2,000 (weekend), 3,000 (weekday).
Category 2 = 3,000 (weekend), 4,000 (weekday).
Category 3 = 7,000
Category 4 = 10,000
Category 5 = 12,000 (Low Season), 16,000 (High Season).
Category 6 = 20,000 (Low Season), 25,000 (High Season).
Category 7 = 30,000 (Low Season), 35,000 (High Season).

The capacity controlled cash and points chart doesn’t change either:

 

Point transfers to airlines with a 25% bonus for 20K transfers remains unchanged as well.

Overall changes are pretty good this year. Some favorites, like the Westin Lagunamar Cancun, jump from 4 to 5.
However lots of other popular hotels get more affordable, including all of the SPG properties in Maui.

Sample hotels going more expensive:
-W Retreat Koh Samui, Thailand, was 6, now 7.
-Le Parker Méridien Palm Springs, was 5, now 6.
-The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Scottsdale, was 5, now 6.
-W Boston, was 5, now 6.
-The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun, was 4, now 5.
-W San Diego, was 4, now 5.
-Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino, was 3, now 4.
-Sheraton Gateway LAX, was 3, now 4.
-The Westin Cleveland Downtown, was 3, now 4.
-The Westin O’Hare, was 3, now 4.

Sample hotels getting cheaper:
-W Paris, was 7, now 6.
-S. Regis Rome, was 7, now 6
-Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini, Greece, was 7, now 6.
-Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas Maui, was 7, now 6.
-Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas, Colorado, was 7, now 6.
-Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali, was 6, now 5.
-Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, was 6, now 5.
-Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas, Beaver Creek Mountain, was 6, now 5.
-Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens, was 6, now 5.
-Le Méridien Taipei, Taiwan, was 6, now 5.
-Hotel Excelsior, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Naples, Italy, was 5, now 4.
-Le Méridien Vienna, Austria, was 5, now 4.
-Sheraton Towers Singapore, was 5, now 4.
-Le Westin Montreal, was 5, now 4.
-Westin Los Angeles Airport, was 4, now 3.
-Sheraton Mahwah Hotel, was 4, now 3.
-Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort, Malaysia, was 4, now 3.
-Sheraton Rome, was 3, now 2.
-Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel, was 3, now 2.
-Aloft Montreal Airport, was 3, now 2.
-Element Vaughan, Toronto, was 3, now 2.
-Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, was 3, now 2.
-Aloft Panama, was 3, now 2.
-Aloft BWI Airport, was 3, now 2.
-Four Points by Sheraton Detroit Airport, was 2, now 1.
-Aloft San Jose Hotel, Costa Rica, was 2, now 1.

HT: Deal Guy, via DDF

Ride Uber, Earn Starpoints!

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015, 10:50 am

Uber is a pretty awesome app. I’ve done day trips to cities like Chicago and NYC without having to rent a car thanks to UberX rides that are cheaper than a taxi and far more convenient. And while people wait for an hour in the taxi line I breeze right into a waiting car.

You can get a free $20 Uber ride via this referral link.

Uber is also fantastic for food delivery. Stuck in Miami airport during a delay or connection with no kosher food? Make an order with a restaurant on 41st st in Miami Beach and pay for it over the phone.  Just confirm with them that you’ll be using Uber and ask if they can bring it out to the Uber driver when you call them back.
When the food is ready just have Uber go to the restaurant address and text or call the Uber driver to let him know what you’re trying to do. When the driver is at the restaurant just call the restaurant and have them bring the food out to the driver.  Food delivered from Shemtovs, House of Dog, or Miami Beach Chocolates to the airport will run you just $15 (free for new Uber users). I’ve done that flawlessly in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and NYC.

My grandparents just flew in from Florida for my youngest brother’s bar mitzvah this past weekend.  They got a ride in a UberX Cadillac XTS from Cleveland airport to their snowy Cleveland home for $30, half the price of local car services.  From Fort Lauderdale to their home in Boynton Beach they got a ride in a Lincoln MKS. It was rush hour and the 36 mile ride took an hour and 12 minutes, but the ride cost just $45, also a fraction of the price of a taxi or local car services.

It gets sweeter. Now you can link your Starwood account with your Uber account to earn Starpoints when you Uber.

Your email address on your Starwood account must match the email address on your Uber account. Mine didn’t match but after changing my Uber email address I was able to link the accounts together.

You need to have had 1 paid stay in a Starwood property in 2015 to start earning points. Once you’ve had a single stay you’ll earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent with Uber all year long, up to $10,000 in Uber spending per year. (If you have only had award stays or credit card stay credits and still earn points with Uber please post a comment!)

If you use Uber during a stay at a Starwood property then non-elites will earn 2 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber, Gold and Platinum Starwood elite members will earn 3 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber, and 75 night Platinum elites will earn 4 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber.  Points will post to your Starwood account 2-4 weeks after the ride.

For 2016 you’ll be able to earn points in January as long as you had a stay during 2015. From February 2016 until the end of the year you’ll need to have had a 2016 stay at a Starwood hotel to earn Starpoints for Uber rides.

These Starpoints come on top of bonus points you can earn with your credit card. All American Express Membership Rewards cards earn an additional point per dollar on Uber spending (hence the 3 points per dollar earned on Uber with Everyday Preferred). Sapphire Preferred also earns double points for Uber spending.  In fact you shouldn’t use a Starwood AMEX for Uber as other cards are more valuable and you can earn these bonus Starpoints no matter what card you use.

This Saturday in Dubai, London, Mexico City, New York, and San Francisco between 2pm-7pm there will be the option to select an SPG vehicle. Many will request it, but few will actually get it. If you are able to land a ride from an SPG vehicle you’ll get 15,000 Starpoints and other freebies!

According to Chabad.org, shabbos ends at 6:26pm in NYC this week.  Post a comment if you’re actually able to land an SPG ride!

Read more about that promo in this link.

HT: raphy781, via DDF

Winter Break 2015 Trip Notes Part 1: Miami

Sunday, February 8th, 2015, 12:27 pm

Related:
Trip Notes: Miami. A Trip Of Firsts (2011)
Trip Notes: Miami 2012.
Trip Notes: Miami 2014.

-Find dozens of trip notes like this one by clicking on the “Trip Notes” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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A few weeks ago we took a trip to South Florida and Cancun.

Here are some notes from that trip.

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Read more about the trip after the jump:

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23 Deals Expire Today, Take Advantage Of Them While You Still Can!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014, 9:50 am

12/31 housekeeping in no particular order. Did you remember to:

1. Spend your airline fee credit (and targeted bonus 2014 American/USAir credit) on your AMEX Platinum card?

2. Finish your Chase Freedom card spending for Q4? 5-5.5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 of spending from Amazon and department stores. You can buy an Amazon.com email gift card or you can buy a physical Amazon.com gift card. Once you have the gift card code you can save it to your Amazon account via this link where it will never expire.

Or buy a gift card for other stores from Amazon like American Eagle, Express, Forever 21, Hollister, Nordstrom, Southwest, Starbucks, or Whole Foods.

3. Buy 20K Starpoints at 25% off? If you need to top off a mileage account with the 25% transfer bonus or if you need stays at some hotels it can be a deal.  For example if you need 25K more miles for an award ticket it may be worthwhile. Or if you want to stay at a hotel like the Four Points Midtown NYC tonight the paid rate is $1,151 with tax but you can use just 12,000 points for that same room!

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4. Book any of the discounted United awards that need to be ticketed by today?

5. Signup for a BJs 60 day trial ending today?

6.Book a Flying Blue December Promo Award?

7. Claim 500 free Virgin America points?

8. Finish up Visa Savings Edge savings at Staples? Stock up on those gift cards!

9.Get $1 back for every $1 Serve swipe via Softcard?

10. Fund your Serve, Bluebird, or REDCard this month? Gotta love free miles!

11. Use your $30 in Canon e-Cash expiring today?

12.Book a Delta stopover award that will be discontinued after today? One last shot for a business class trip to both Bora Bora and Australia for 160K Skypesos…

13.Use your United Club or Presidential Plus card to get 1 last year of elite status at Avis? You need to enroll today.

14.Make a purchase on your USAirways card for a $25 statement credit?

15.Take advantage of targeted AMEX Offers? Lots of offers end today including Newegg, Uber, Toys R Us, Zappos, Staples, Saks, and more.

16. Use your Amazon $1 no-rush book credits? Credits for physical books end today!

17.Save $10 off $100 at Costco.com?

18. Get 10% off (plus a bonus 5% off with AMEX business cards) Hyatt gift cards?

19. Save $15 off $15 at Amazon for targeted customers?

20. Finish threshold spending like 15K points for $30K spend on AMEX PRG, 10K points for $25K spend on Chase United Explorer, or a companion pass for $30K spend on Chase British Airways?  Or finish $25K in spend to waive elite status spend requirements on Delta or United?  Or finish 110K in earning from Southwest for a companion pass (you can still transfer increments of 50K Chase points into 50K Hyatt points and 50K Hyatt points into 30K Southwest points that count for companion pass.)

21. Swipe to take advantage of Softcard promotions for Amazon gift cards and United miles?

22. Pickup a free slurpee?

23. Open a Chase checking account in order to get 10% bonus points on top of all of your 2014 Chase Freedom spending? The bonus points will post in February 2015 for 2014 spending and in February 2016 for 2015 spending.

What else is ending today? Hit the comments!

Hyatt Will Offer Free In-Room Internet To All Guests Effective February 2015, Roundup Of Policies At Other Hotel Chains

Monday, December 22nd, 2014, 11:16 am

Hyatt has announced that all guests will get free in-room internet effective 02/01/15.

This applies for bookings across all channels and doesn’t require that you belong to their loyalty program.  That means even a priceline customer who doesn’t belong to Hyatt Gold Passport will get free internet.

Hyatt elites will get free premium internet where available.

-Last week Starwood announced free in-room internet effective 02/01/15, but that only applies to loyalty members who book their stays on SPG.com.

-In October Marriott announced free in-room internet effective 01/15/15, that only applies to loyalty members who book their stays on Marriott.com, over the phone with Marriott, or directly with the hotel.

IHG and Fairmont already give free internet to all loyalty members, regardless of booking method.

Hilton only offers free in-room internet to gold or diamond elites, though I’d have to imagine that will change in the coming days.

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

American Express PRG And Delta Downgrades; A Possible Delta Workaround?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014, 1:45 pm

Update: Delta has wisely decided that they will not implement a limit on points transfers from any program into Delta miles.

There’s no longer going to be a need to resort to the various workarounds described in this post 😀

Now if only they would do an about-face on their decision to no longer award miles for the distance of flights flown next year…

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Originally posted on 10/01:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

1. Effective 01/01/15 the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card will no longer give a 15K point bonus for spending $30,000 in a year.  It will still give 3 points per dollar spent on airfare and 2 points per dollar spent on gas and groceries.

Annual spend threshold bonuses seem to be a dying breed.  One of the few remaining cards that have an annual spend threshold bonus is the Chase United Explorer card which gives a 10K point bonus for spending $25K in a year.

2. Effective 01/01/15 you will only be able to receive 250K Delta Skymiles per Delta account from Membership Rewards per calendar year.

Additionally you will only be able to spend out 250K points per Membership Rewards account to any number of Delta accounts.

This is a Delta imposed limitation.

In AMEX’s words,

“Beginning January 1, 2015, the maximum number of Membership Rewards® points you will be able to transfer out of a single Membership Rewards account to one or more SkyMiles accounts will be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year. Additionally, the maximum number of Membership Rewards points you will be able to transfer into a single SkyMiles account will also be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year.

You are able to transfer Membership Rewards points to a SkyMiles account without any annual limitations through December 31, 2014″
Workaround?  You are able to request that different American Express cards accumulate points in their own Membership Rewards account. It seems like that should function as a workaround to transferring out more points to Delta as AMEX clearly states that the 250K limit is just from a single Membership Rewards account.
You can also freely transfer points between each of your Membership Rewards accounts so that each of your Membership Rewards eligible cards can transfer 250K points to Delta annually.

While your personal Delta account would only be able to receive 250K points per year, you can add a spouse or child as an additional user for example and transfer points to their Delta accounts. From there you can book award travel for anyone.

Delta is the only major US airline in the Membership Rewards program, so this is definitely a downgrade.  It’s worth noting that Delta will allow one-way awards starting 01/01/15, so that will help things a bit.

Either way Delta is one of the weaker partners in the Membership Rewards program and their miles are far less valuable than American or United miles.  Plus Membership Rewards charges a fee to transfer points to domestic programs like Delta.

Other international Membership Rewards partners offer a better value. For example:

Air France can book one-way travel on Delta today and their rates are often less.  A round-trip to Israel is just 50K Air France miles and if you find Delta saver availability there are no fuel surcharges.

-A round-trip to Israel using Alitalia miles is just 80K in business class and fuel surcharges are relatively mild at about $300.

British Airways Avios offers free travel starting at just 4,500 Avios.  Flights to Europe or Hawaii start at just 12.5K Avios each way with no fuel surcharges on select airlines.

Air Canada has several award sweet spots. You need just 45K miles to fly to Europe each way in business class and many airlines have no fuel surcharges.

El Al will soon be the only good way to book travel on El Al starting 11/01.

ANA offers 38K round-trip tickets from NYC to London and 60K round-trip tickets to Israel with no fuel surcharges on United.  Or fly from NYC to the Caribbean or Central America for just 22K miles with no fuel surcharges.

Singapore offers a private suite from JFK to Europe for just 57K miles. They also offer good rates to other destinations that United flies to with no fuel surcharges.

So there are plenty of other good options.  Frankly the move is a bit surprising.  AMEX pays cold hard cash for mileage transfers to Delta. A couple of years ago when AMEX points used to transfer to Continental, Delta ran significant point transfer bonuses to get people to send their points to Delta over Continental.

However this isn’t the first chink in the AMEX-Delta relationship.  Earlier this year Delta stopped allowing people who have the Platinum Card® from American Express to bring guests into their lounges. AMEX is responding to harsher airline lounge rules by opening their own network of premium airport Centurion lounges with free access for Platinum cardholders and their family/guests. Those currently can be found domestically in Dallas, Las Vegas, and NYC/LaGuardia. International locations include Buenes Aires, Delhi, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Sao Paulo.  Centurion lounges in Miami, San Francisco, and other domestic airports will open soon. Plus you can bring in your family/guests for free into Airspace lounges which can be found in Baltimore, Cleveland, NYC/JFK, and San Diego. The card also gives a Priorty Club lounge membership, a $200 annual airline fee credit, and SPG Gold status.

Of course you can still earn unlimited amounts of Delta miles on a card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. which is what Delta wants you to do (though I’m not sure why you would want to). However you would earn 25% more miles by spending on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and transferring points to Delta.  Unless a limit on Starwood transfers is in the cards as well?

Cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express offer the ability to earn 20% or 50% more miles everywhere in addition to up to 450% more miles in selected categories. And they can also each be assigned their own Membership Rewards account number, which should work to transfer more points out to Delta.  Note that the Everyday cards are credit cards and AMEX limits you to 4 credit cards per person.  Card like the Gold and Platinum are charge cards which don’t count towards that limit.

HT: miles, via DDF and Gary.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

LAN: Los Angeles, Miami, Or NYC To Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil From $423 Round-Trip

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, 4:05 pm

Update 2: This is alive again from JFK and Miami between January and March. It is not available from Los Angeles this time:

Sample valid $480 dates from JFK-IGU:
01/17-01/25, 01/21-01/25, 01/24-01/29, 02/01-02/08, 02/04-02/08, 02/25-03/08, 03/04-03/08, 03/18-03/22, 03/25-03/29

Sample valid dates from Miami-IGU:
$480 dates: 03/08-03/12, 03/08-03/15, 03/22-03/29. $580 dates: 01/28-02/05, 02/03-02/08.

Use Google’s ITA Matrix to find other dates.  See this post for a demonstration.

Originally posted on 12/02:

Update: DEAD!
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-Bookable on Orbitz. Orbitz tickets are refundable until 10pm CT the day after purchase. Earn 2.14 points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.

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Iguaçu Falls (also spelled Iguazú or Iguassu Falls) is one of the most stunning places in the world. My own amateur pictures can’t possible capture even a fraction of its grandeur, it’s truly awe-inspiring to experience in person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eleanor Roosevelt had it right when she said “Poor Niagara” upon seeing it. Instead of being in middle of a concrete jungle it’s in middle of beautiful rainforest with wonderfully fresh air. It’s much bigger and far grander than Niagara Falls.

You can see it up close and personal from the Argentine side and you can view the majesty of it from the Brazilian side. Both sides have their own airport, IGU on the Brazilian and IGR on the Argentine side.  Unfortunately both Argentina and Brazil charge a $160 reciprocity fee for Americans to visit, though the visas do last for a decade.

A ticket to either airport from the US is typically well over $1,000 but can be had now for under $500.  Miles can be credited to OneWorld airlines like American and British Airways.

You’ll need a day on each side just to see the sights and more than that to get into the myriad of adventures available. There is an SPG category 5 Sheraton in the Argentine side in the national park with a view of the falls.

Search for flights into IGU on the Brazilian side for this deal.

You can use 7,500 Avios to fly from IGR to Buenos Aires/AEP on LAN, a haven for kosher food. 4,500 Avios is enough to fly on TAM from IGU to the largest city in the western Hemisphere, Sao Paulo. 7,500 Avios is enough to fly on TAM from IGU to stunning Rio de Janeiro.  Flights to AEP will need to be booked over the phone with British Airways. No fuel surcharges apply.

You can also use 25,000 Delta miles for 2 flights within Brazil or Argentina on partners Gol or Aerolineas Argentinas.  Or 12,500 United miles is enough for an intra-Brazil flight on Azul, an airline founded by David Neeleman of JetBlue fame who obviously has a favorite color.

Flights are available from JFK in January-March, from Miami in January-May, or from Los Angeles from January-July.

Sample valid dates:
-Los Angeles-IGU from 01/22-01/26 for $423
-JFK-IGU from 01/21-01/25 for $480
-Miami-IGU from 01/18-01/25 for $480

You can use Orbitz +/-3 day flex search option to help find valid dates.

You can also view lots of other valid departure dates on DDF.

HT: Ya’alili, via DDF

Trip Notes Brazil Part 1: 10 Years Of Travel And Deal Blogging And A Return To Where It All Began

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014, 7:27 pm

Related:
-Find dozens of trip notes like this one by clicking on the “Trip Notes” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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I started blogging on pretty much a daily basis on November 26, 2004 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Hard to believe that it’s been 10 years. Hard to believe I’m turning 30 in a few days,

DansDeals is a bit of an eclectic blog, but it consists of things I like and am passionate about. As a kid I collected baseball cards and sold the good ones at shows like the National Sports Collectors Convention. As a 12 year old, I was flipping $5 beanie babies on eBay for $300 the week after buying them, once they were “retired.” In 2002, I was studying in yeshiva in LA and negotiated the price of a large group flight down from $350 to $180 round-trip, and got to put all the charges on my credit card for the miles plus I got a free ticket for every 40 tickets I sold. I opened an 18 line corporate Sprint account and rented out the lines to my fellow students at rates far below the regular rate for a single line.

Later that year, I manufactured a million Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for free through the now defunct eBay Anything Points program.

I became a hopeless mileage addict, opening up hundreds of credit cards and racking up tens of millions of miles via every method I could.  I rarely spent them, I looked at them as a way to fund travel once I would have a family of my own.  Sure the devaluations sting, but thanks to the years of savings we can fly anywhere today in first class without batting an eyelash.

More reminiscing on 10 years of fun after the jump:

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Redeem Starpoints For Courtside Suite Tickets At Madison Square Garden

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014, 11:15 am

Update: Games through February 2015 can now be purchased for Starpoints.

Originally posted on 09/15:

Related:
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express: 10,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $1 plus 15,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 which will leave you with 30,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000!
-Using Miles For Sports Experiences
-Starwood auctions
-United auctions
-Delta auctions

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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Redeem Starpoints For Courtside Suite Tickets At Madison Square Garden

FAQ Page

Starwood has an event level courtside suite at Madison Square Gardens and you can experience it as a VIP with your Starpoints!

Tickets just became available for events from now through 11/30.  I’ll update this post when tickets become available past that date, just follow @DansDeals on Twitter and you’ll be the first to know.

You will get 2 seats in the Event Level Suite seating section tickets with access to the SPG Luxury Suite at Madison Square Garden.
In the suite you will get complimentary food and beverages.
You can request kosher food as well! Just include that in the “Other notes” section when redeeming for tickets.  Kosher food is available catered from Abigael’s or from the Carlos and Gabby’s stands.

2 tickets to Knicks or Rangers preseason games can be had for 20,000 Starpoints 2 tickets for regular season games can be had for 45,000 Starpoints.  That includes 2 excellent event level seats and kosher meals in the SPG suite!

There are also college games and other events available from 5,000 Starpoints for 2 tickets.

These are “buy-it-now” rates, not auction rates and they’re first come, first served.

Did you attend a game last season? Share your experience in the comments!

Delta Clarifies New Partner Transfer Limits, Workarounds Exist For Starwood And Membership Rewards Transfers

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 1:47 pm

Earlier today I covered a couple of American Express downgrades. 

Here are some clarifications from Delta:

1. The change is being made by Delta. “We are increasing the value of miles and reducing the demand for Award Tickets. This in turn will increase the number of lower-priced Awards available to Delta SkyMiles members, especially for our most loyal members who earn the majority of their miles through the SkyMiles program.”

2. The change will apply to all Delta transfer partners. That includes the big 2, Starwood and AMEX Membership Rewards. For Starwood the limit will actually be 200K Starpoints as 200K Starpoints converts into 250K Skymiles.

3. You will be able to receive up to 250K per calendar year from each Delta partner.

4. The 250K limit goes into effect 01/01/15 for all partners. While the original transfer date is used, don’t wait until 12/31 to make a transfer in case they get counted in 2015.

5. The partner loyalty account can only transfer 250K miles per year to Delta, period. It doesn’t matter whether you transfer to one or multiple Delta accounts, the 250K total limit applies.

6. Limits don’t apply to Delta AMEX cards.

As I said in the last post, I still see several workarounds here.

-For Starwood you can transfer Starpoints to other Starwood accounts located in your household. They don’t need a Starwood credit card, anyone can open a free account on SPG.com. While your personal Delta account would only be able to receive 250K points per year, you can transfer Starpoints from your account to a household member’s account and from there to their Delta account. From their Delta account you can book award travel for anyone.

-For Membership Rewards you can have multiple eligible credit cards and you can request that different American Express cards accumulate points in their own Membership Rewards account. You can also freely transfer points between each of your Membership Rewards accounts so that each of your Membership Rewards eligible cards can transfer 250K points to Delta annually. While your personal Delta account would only be able to receive 250K points per year, you can add a spouse or child as an additional user on your credit card account and transfer points to their Delta accounts. From their Delta account you can book award travel for anyone.

The Dollars And Cents Behind A Hotel Award Stay

Sunday, September 21st, 2014, 9:43 pm

The hotel points business works a lot differently than the airline mileage business.

Airlines offer distressed inventory at rock-bottom pricing.  When they see that they won’t sell a seat, they offer it for saver mileage rates.  Mileage junkies can get an amazing deal (especially on a last minute, one-way, or premium class award) and the airline gets to recognize revenue against a seat that would have otherwise made them nothing.  The airlines get paid cold hard cash from credit card companies for their miles and many airlines wouldn’t be profitable if not for their mileage sales.  In fact without the mileage programs some airlines like United may have never made it out of bankruptcy last decade.

When you redeem United miles for a seat on a partner airline in business or first class you have to use more miles than when you fly on a United plane.  Which makes sense because United has to pay out of pocket to book you a ticket on another airline. Though United is paying just pennies on the dollar for that distressed inventory.

That’s how British Airways can afford to put someone on a $600 last minute flight for just 4,500 Avios.  They are paying American literally just pennies on the dollar for that seat that would otherwise fly empty.  That’s the reason it’s sustainable.

Now hotels are a very different story. Most hotels are not corporate owned, so the corporate run hotel programs need to compensate the individual hotel for guests using points.

It used to be that hotel awards were capacity controlled, just as awards are in the airline industry.  Starwood introduced hotel award nights without capacity controls for standard rooms and most other hotel programs matched that.

Of course there’s a real cost to that. Hotels with capacity controls can ensure that they only give away rooms that would otherwise have gone unsold.  However that meant that during special events or high season rooms were impossible to find.

Without capacity controls hotel points became far more lucrative.  When rates are high, the amount of points required doesn’t skyrocket to correspond to the price increase.

Most hotels have 2 types of awards, free nights, which are not capacity controlled.  And cash and points which are capacity controlled.

Hotels are divided into categories based roughly on what their average daily rate.  When a hotel is nearly full the corporate hotel point program will reimburse a hotel at the average daily rate for paid rooms.  But when a hotel is not full they get far less, as the cost of servicing that room doesn’t come at a real cost of a lost paying guest.  However that only applies for regular free nights.  As hotels control the cash and points nights they don’t get full reimbursement for those even if they are full.

Le Parker Meridien has hotels in NYC and Palm Springs and a whistle-blower told SPG that they were falsifying records to make it look like they were full so that they would get reimbursed for award nights at their average daily rate rate instead of a far lower rate.  From that lawsuit we learned that the magic number is 95% occupancy.  If an SPG hotel is 95% full then they get full reimbursement for points using guests.  Otherwise they only get a smaller reimbursement based on their hotel category.

Once in a while hotels goof and write what the reimbursement is on your folio.

-Mimi and I stayed in a Holiday Inn Tiberias Israel in 2009 using a 5,000 point PointBreaks award and on the folio it showed that IHG was going to pay them $30 for the night.  The hotel still gave us a great room, 2 bottles of kosher l’mehadrin wine, cookies, and bottles water.

-In 2010 we stayed in the Le Meridien Khao Lak Thailand using 2,800 Starpoints plus $45 per night.  The hotel offers upgrade to a totally private walled in villa without an outdoor shower and pool for 12,000 Starpoints or $300 per night.  I opted for the Starpoints upgrade and noticed on a folio that Starwood would only reimburse the hotel $162.50 for the points.   That’s just 1.35 cents per Starpoint, far less than what they’re really worth.

For reasons I didn’t understand the hotel wouldn’t allow me to pay $162.50 instead of the 12,000 Starpoints though in the end the upgrade points were all refunded as the hotel had issues with hot water and ants while we were there.

-Last month we had 2 rooms at the Park Hyatt Toronto. 1 room was paid for with Hyatt Points+Cash.  Points+Cash is a great award value and it can only be booked over the phone.  Hyatt considers points+cash awards like paid nights, so we got back points and stay credit and we were able to use a suite upgrade and got bumped all the way up to a luxury one bedroom suite.  The awards aren’t a great value for category 1 and 7 properties, but it’s a great value for category 2-6 hotels.

The Park Hyatt Toronto is a category 4 property, so it costs 7,500 points plus $100 per night.  On my folio was the amount that Hyatt corporate paid the hotel for the points, just $51.72 plus tax per night.  That’s under 0.7 cents per point, so in that case the Hyatt Gold Passport program pays a fraction of what their points are worth. Direct bill is the amount the hotel is billing Hyatt Gold Passport:

hyattyyz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our 2nd room was occupied by 2 of my brothers and was paid for using credit card anniversary nights.  Those nights are not capacity controlled and function just like regular award nights, which in a category 4 property would run 15,000 points per night.

The hotel was sold out the first night of our stay, so it’s not surprising that Hyatt Gold Passport paid the hotel $224.77 plus tax. That’s likely right about the hotel’s average daily rate. It also comes out to about 1.5 cents per point for the same night, which is right about in line for the minimum value you should strive for when using Hyatt points:

hyattyyz2

 

 

 

The last 2 nights were not sold out, though the charge to Hyatt corporate didn’t show up for those nights.  If I had to take a guess though it would probably come in around 0.7 cents per point, so Hyatt Gold Passport would likely cough up $105 per night to the hotel for those nights.

Ever find the corporate reimbursement level stated on one of your hotel folios? Hit the comments!

Lenovo 15.6″ Core i7 Laptop For $589 Shipped

Friday, August 22nd, 2014, 8:43 am

Lenovo 15.6″ Laptop For $589 Shipped

Use the following code in your cart for an additional $40 off (Exp: 300 uses): USPG5790821

Specs:
Windows 8.1 64
4th Generation Intel Core i7-4510U Processor + Intel® HD Graphics 4400
15.6″ HD LED Glossy with integrated camera
8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1600 MHz
Hybrid 500GB 5400 RPM+8GB SSHD Hard Drive
DVD Recordable (Dual Layer)
Lenovo BGN Wireless
One year warranty

Save 35% On Select Starwood Resort Award Redemptions!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014, 9:09 am

Update: Just 1 week left to take advantage of this promotion.
While you have to book by next Tuesday, you can stay through the end of scheduling.  The all-suite W Koh Samui property is hit with a double whammy after next week.  It already charges double the normal SPG category rate due to the all-suite designation.  It will climb from 26K/night to 60K/night due to this promotion ending and it will climb from a category 6 to a category 7 property.

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Originally posted on 07/16/14:

Starwood is running a promotion that is discounting select resorts by 35%.

You can book these rates all the way until 03/03/15 and you can stay anytime.

Eligible SPG resorts:
-W Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand. Normally 40K/night. Now 26K/night or 20,800/night if you stay for 5 nights.
-Vana Belle, Koh Samui, Thailand. Normally 40K/night. Now 26K/night or 20,800/night if you stay for 5 nights.
Pine Cliffs Residence, Albufeira, Portugal. Normally 40K/night. Now 26K/night or 20,800/night if you stay for 5 nights.
-Al Maha, Dubai, UAE. Normally 60K/night. Now 39K/night or 31,200/night if you stay for 5 nights.
Le Meridien Bora Bora. Normally 60K/night. Now 39K/night or 31,200/night if you stay for 5 nights.
W Retreat and Spa Maldives. Normally 90K/night. Now 58,500/night or 46,800/night if you stay for 5 nights.

It’s difficult to book these resorts online, so you’ll need to call SPG or use their click to chat option when logged in on SPG.com to book them.

You can read more about the overwater bungalow at the absolutely incredible W Retreat Maldives in my trip report here.

Bear in mind that the discounted rates are for the base room only, you’ll have to call/email the hotel directly if you want to arrange a confirmed upgrade to an overwater bungalow in places like Bora Bora or the Maldives.

When I last checked the prices for a confirmed upgrade to an overwater bungalow with a private plunge pool the W Maldives wanted $180/night.

The Le Meridien Bora Bora wanted $220/night when I last checked the price of a confirmed upgrade to an overwater bungalow. However they also said via email that as a Platinum member if there were any overwater bungalows for sale on the day of checkin they would refund the entire confirmed upgrade fee!

HT: maayanky, via DDF

20,000 Starpoints Transfers Into 30,000 USAirways Miles This Month; Where Should You Transfer?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014, 9:24 am

-USAirways Offer Linky
-SPG-US Transfer Linky

Yesterday I wrote about the promotion for transferring Starpoints into American miles.  Turns out there’s also a promotion for turning Starpoints into USAirways miles through July 31st with the same rules I wrote about yesterday for the American promo.

Sure, in 2015 the American and USAirways programs will be combined. But in the meantime there are several differences:

1. You can transfer Starpoints into anyone’s USAirways account, the names don’t have to match (though this can change at any time). Transfers into American require matching names.

2. USAirways requires round-trip award travel while American sells one-way award travel.

3. USAirways allows for a free stopover while American doesn’t (with the exception of when 2 awards price out lower than 1 award like US-Europe-Israel off-peak)

4. American allows free date changes on award tickets. USAirways charges $150 for that.  American charges $150 to cancel a ticket but just $25 to cancel additional awards at the same time. USAirways charges a flat $150 per ticket. American charges a phone fee for tickets that can’t be booked online while USAirways waives the phone fee, however USAirways charges a $25-$50 award processing fee which applies even for tickets made online.

5. American has very strict routing rules. You can’t fly to Australia via Asia for example. USAirways has much more lenient routing rules.  American also requires a “paid published routing” on awards, USAirways does not.  American’s system prices awards correctly. USAirways has booked several 40K awards to Israel and South Africa for DD readers like this one among several other “bugs” I’ve heard of.

6. American can book travel on El Al, USAirways can’t.

7. USAirways charges 50,000 miles for domestic first awards on 3 class planes, such as JFK-Los Angeles, JFK-S. Francisco, and Miami-Los Angeles on American as well as JFK-Vancouver on Cathay Pacific.  That rate goes up to 65,000 if you book after July 31st which is the same rate American charges.

8. USAirways charges just 120,000 miles to fly first class to Asia on Cathay Pacific, the biggest bargain in the entire mileage game. People have even been able to book the 110K business class ticket to Asia with a stopover in Israel along the way.

9. If you have a Barclays US Airways Premier World MasterCard you can get a 5,000 mile discount on USAirways awards (besides for free checked bags and pre-boarding). That means round-trip domestic awards are just 20,000 miles, off-peak coach awards to the Caribbean for cardholders are just 20,000 miles round-trip, and off-peak awards to Europe or South America are just 30,000 miles round-trip if you fly on USAirways. Off peak First Class/Envoy awards to the Carribean are just 45,000 miles and to South America are just 55,000 miles round-trip if you fly on USAirways.

10. Round-trip coach to Israel is 80K, business to Israel is 120K, and first class to Israel is 180K. With the card USAirways flights to Israel are 75K in coach and 115K in business.  On American round-trip coach nonstop to Israel is 90K coach, 135K business, 180K first.

HT: Freddie, via DDF

20,000 Starpoints Transfers Into 30,000 American AAdvantage Miles This Month

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014, 7:55 pm

-AA Offer Linky
SPG-AA Transfer Linky

From now through July 31st you’ll earn 30,000 AA miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred. Normally you would earn 25,000 miles for a 20,000 Starpoint transfer.

You can transfer up to 60K Starpoints per day to maximize the bonus (which would earn 90K AA miles per day).

No, this isn’t like 2010 when 20K Starpoints became 33,750 AA miles and those miles counted towards lifetime AA elite status. And AA still allowed free stopovers and had a killer OneWorld round-the-world award chart.  No, those days are long gone and are never coming back.  But take what you can get.

Note that AA is notorious in zealously shutting people’s account down if there’s even a suspicion that miles in it were sold or bartered.  They also shut down people’s account without warning or appeal for manufacturing signup bonus threshold spend on their credit cards by dabbling in refundable tickets like some unscrupulous brokers are known to do to unsuspecting prey.

American’s award chart is by far the most generous out there, and it will be hit with a major devaluation in early 2015 when their program is merged with USAirways.

In the meantime there are some great values to be had, like 55K in business or 67.5K in first on Cathay Pacific one-way to/from Hong Kong.
-You can fly nonstop on El Al to Israel for 45K coach or 67.5K business.
-Between 10/15-05/15 you can fly to Israel with a free stopover in Europe for 40K in coach.
-Between 10/15-05/15 you can fly to Europe for just 20K in coach each way.
-Between 03/01-05/31 and 08/16-11/30 you can fly to South America for just 20K in coach.
-Between 01/12-03/08 and 08/22-12/15 you can fly to Hawaii for just 17.5K in coach.
-Between 10/01-04/30 you can fly to Japan or Korea for just 25K in coach.
-A flight between Tel Aviv and the Maldives is just 17.5K coach, 25K business, 35K first.
-A flight between Tel Aviv and Thailand or Hong Kong is just 22.5K coach, 30K business, 40K first.
-A flight between Tel Aviv and Australia is just 30K coach, 45K business, 60K first.

There are only major fuel surcharges for flying on British Airways, but there are plenty of other partners to choose from to avoid them.

HT: AJK, via DDF

It’s Back: 30,000 Starpoints Signup Bonus On Both The Starwood Consumer And Business AMEX Cards

Saturday, May 31st, 2014, 11:48 pm

Update: DEAD!

-Starwood AMEX Consumer Linky
New AMEX Consumer Terms: “This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”

-Starwood AMEX Business Linky
AMEX Business Terms: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product within the last 12 months.”

This offer expires 06/30.

With this offer you will get 10,000 bonus points for spending $1 and 20,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 within 6 months. So spend $5,000 within 6 months and you’ll have 35,000 Starwood points.
The $65 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Key benefits:
-The card doesn’t have bonus spending categories except in SPG hotels, but you get a 25% bonus when you transfer points into miles. Note that SPG point transfers can take from 2 days to 2 weeks to complete.
-Starwood has gutted the cash and points program, but the regular hotel redemption rate can still be a bargain in some hotels. Starwood charges insane amounts of points at their high end hotels though. While the Park Hyatt Maldives is 25,000 Hyatt/Chase points or 12,500 points+$150 per night, the W Maldives would run at least 90,000 Starpoints per night. Room rates at either resort are more than $1,000 per night.
-AMEX benefits like return protection, warranty protection, etc.
-Promotions like Twitter savings and Small Business Saturday that work on primary and secondary cards.
-The business card gets open savings cash rebates.
-Just by having a Starwood card you earn Preferred Plus status. This status earns you the right to checkout at 4pm at Starwood hotels.
-If you spend $30,000 in a year on either Starwood card you earn SPG Gold status.
-Cardholders get 2 elite qualifying stays and 5 elite qualifying nights towards earning Gold or Platinum status.

LAN: Los Angeles, Miami, Or NYC To Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil For $449 Round-Trip

Saturday, May 31st, 2014, 11:28 pm

 -Bookable on Orbitz. Orbitz tickets are refundable until 10pm CT the day after purchase. Priceline gives until 11:30pm ET the day after purchase. Earn 2.14 points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.

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Iguaçu Falls (also spelled Iguazú or Iguassu Falls) is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been. I’ll let Google Images do the talking even though it’s so much more awe-inspiring in person than a picture can possibly do.

Eleanor Roosevelt had it right when she said “Poor Niagara” upon seeing it. Instead of being in middle of a concrete jungle it’s in middle of beautiful rainforest with wonderfully fresh air. It’s much bigger and grander than Niagara Falls.

You can see it up close and personal from the Argentine side and you can view the majesty of it from the Brazilian side. Both sides have their own airport, IGU on the Brazilian and IGR on the Argentine side.  Unfortunately both Argentina and Brazil charge a $160 reciprocity fee for Americans to visit, though the visas do last for a decade.

A ticket to either airport from the US is typically well over $1,000 but can be had now for just $500.  Miles can be credited to OneWorld airlines like American and British Airways.

It takes at least a full day on each side to explore. There is an SPG category 5 Sheraton in the Argentine side in the national park.

You can use 7,500 Avios to fly from IGR to Buenos Aires/AEP on LAN, 4,500 Avios to fly from IGU to Sao Paulo on TAM, or 7,500 Avios to fly from IGU to Rio de Janeiro on TAM.  Those tickets will likely need to be booked over the phone with British Airways. No fuel surcharges apply.

This fare is valid on select dates between September and December. This fare can’t be found on ITA.
Sample valid dates for JFK-IGU:
$449: 10/21-10/27
$514: 10/12-10/19, 10/19-10/26, 11/02-11/09, 11/09-11/16, 11/16-11/23.

You can use Orbitz +/-3 day flex search option to help find valid dates.

HT: jmansour, via TFD

Join Me In The Windy City

Thursday, May 29th, 2014, 10:47 pm

Last week a DDF member invited me (and several other guys) to join him in an SPG suite at the Yankees/Cubs game in Wrigley Field that he won in a Starpoints auction.

I’m way behind in writing trip reports, but I’ll give the gist of this one quickly. I burned some miles (gotta love short-haul Avios awards!) and took a day trip to Chicago for my first visit to The Friendly Confines.  Had breakfast with my grandparents in Northbrook and then it was off to meetup with several other mileage fanatics that had flown in for the day from Miami, NYC, and Toronto.

Milt’s is less than a mile from Wrigley Field and we got to dine with Jeff Aeder, Chicagoan of the year, and owner of Milt’s.  Great guy and he’s got his hand in a million different projects at once, but still has time to enjoy an afternoon Cubbies game. Love that!

At that point I’m already involved in 3 of my passions, travel, kosher food, and baseball.  Jeff is involved with a project  called Milt’s Night Out where people can donate tickets to sports games, shows, or concerts, get a tax-deductible receipt, and a family going through any kind of hardship gets a free meal as well as the tickets.

In fact all of the profits from Milt’s are donated to charity, the only kosher restaurant in the world that operates like that as far as I know.

Anyway we got into discussing kosher food (of course) and we talked about Mendel Segal, who (makes a killer BBQ sauce that I hope to be sold on Amazon shortly,) runs the Kansas City Vaad and the annual KC Kosher BBQ competition there that I’ve judged in 2012 and in 2013.

Long story short, Milt’s is hosting the 1st annual Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival (with advisory help from Mendel) and I’ll be one of the judges.

It will be from 11:30am-4pm this Sunday at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago. If the KC BBQ contests are any indication, this one will be lots of fun for all as well.

My taste buds can’t wait.  If you see a bearded 29 year old fellow looking like a stuffed turkey from having judged dozens of plates of smoked chicken, ribs, and brisket come and say hello 😉

And ask me about my flight yesterday from Kansas City to Cleveland where I made a complete fool of myself. You’d think after having flown on 70 some flights with my kids over the past couple years that I’d know every airline regulation down pat.  But a little humility is always a good thing as I learned a new brand new one on that flight.

Guess I’ll just have to write up a trip report triple-header once I get back from Chicago next week.

Prepaid Starwood Hotel Deals From Just $10/Night…For November 2015

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, 1:51 am

Lots of great prepaid rates available in November 2015 bookable on SPG.com.
Earn double points with a Starwood Consumer AMEX or Starwood Business AMEX

In some properties you can also get really great deals on suites as well.

Here are some sample deals:
-The Westin Waltham Boston, 11/02/15-11/03/15: $10 ($10 rates available for most of November 2015).
-Sheraton Suites Galleria-Atlanta, 11/13/15-11/15/15: $30/night
-Sheraton Universal, CA, 11/11/15-11/13/15: $10/night

-S. Regis Washington DC, 11/02/15-11/03/15: $20 ($30 rates available for most of November 2015). DEAD!
-Westin Diplomat Hollywood, FL, 11/11/15-11/13/15: $10/night DEAD!
-W Hollywood, CA, 11/12/15-11/13/15: $40 DEAD!
-Westin Chicago Northwest, 11/11/15-11/13/15: $10/night DEAD!
-Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 11/09/15-11/10/15: $10/night DEAD!
-The Westin Tysons Corner, VA, 11/11/15-11/13/15: $30/night DEAD!

Find other deals? Post a comment!

HT: lucky and dealvr via DDF

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Join the 36,300+ people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted.

HURRY! Redeem Just 500 Starpoints For 2 WNBA Suite Tickets At Madison Square Garden, Kosher Food And Beverages Included; Cubs Suite Redemptions Also Come With Kosher Food!

Saturday, April 12th, 2014, 11:08 pm

Update: The WNBA deal is now sold out!

Join the 34,600+ people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted.

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Related:
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express: 10,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $1 plus 15,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 which will leave you with 30,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000!
-Using Miles For Sports Experiences
-Starwood auctions
-United auctions
-Delta auctions

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Generally speaking airline miles are great for flights and hotel points are great for hotel stays.  Rarely is it smart to use them for other redemptions where the value you get isn’t nearly the same.

However last May I burned miles for non-travel for the first time for an experience I’ll never forget. I got to run out onto the field in middle of an Indians game and literally walk off with 2nd base, which is sitting in my office today.  That inspired someone else to burn miles to buy a Bar Mitzvah present for their son that he’ll never forget-throwing out the first pitch at a Dodger’s game.

At any rate, Starwood has some incredible deals now for WNBA games.  You get 2 seats with access to the SPG suite at Madison Square Garden for just 500 Starpoints! (Each package comes with 2 seats)

Food and beverages are included and you can request kosher food, which will be catered from Abigael’s, free of charge!

Even if you don’t care to watch a WNBA game, kosher dinner for 250 points each is a steal 😀  If you value your Starpoints at 2 cents each that’s just $5!

Available dates that are not on Shabbos or Yom Tov include:
-07/06 (12 seats remain)
-07/16 (12 seats remain)
-07/29 (10 seats remain, this is during the 9 days, so I imagine Abigael’s will cater this with fish)
-08/10 (8 seats remain)
-08/17 (12 seats remain)

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Cubbies fan? Starwood has some incredible deals for you as well.
Redeem points for club box seats, the SPG luxury suite, or for your kid to run onto the field during player introductions.

If you redeem for the luxury suite you can have it catered with kosher food as well!

Coming soon SPG will also offer Cubs fans the chance to bid in an auction using their Starpoints for some once-in-a-lifetime experiences including:

-Throw Out the Ceremonial First Pitch Before a Cubs Game
-Announce “Play Ball” before the game from the public address booth
-Kid’s Honorary Cubs Manager Role at Wrigley Field
-Enjoy Your Own Private Luxury Suite at Wrigley Field (Just last week a DansDeals Forum member won an entire suite with 16 seats for the Yankees at Cubs all catered with kosher food and beverages for 90,000 Starpoints!)

Keep checking that link for the auction start dates and start racking up more Starpoints!

HAS Advantage Points No Longer Transfer To El Al

Friday, April 11th, 2014, 12:50 pm

I have never been a fan of the HAS Advantage card.

I’ve spoken at seminars and written why many times over the years.  I write exactly why whenever I post a code to join El Al’s Matmid program for free. The El Al program is just not a good place for your points.  Just yesterday I actually had an argument with a commenter who didn’t like me calling out the HAS card and favoring the SPG card.

Or as I wrote in this post,

The Starwood card is much better than other cards (Like HAS advantage) for going to Israel. With HAS you are stuck with just the availability on El Al. Plus El Al charges hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges on award tickets.
With Starwood you have thousands of routing possibilities for free flights to Israel for less points than with HAS. And even if you want to only go to Israel on El Al you can just transfer Starwood points to AA and they will book you on El Al without any fuel surcharges!


At any rate, here is the awful news from HAS,

HAS Advantage is unable to process point transfers to El Al. Unfortunately a business dispute has arisen between HAS and El Al. At this time we can’t provide additional information about this dispute and while we are trying to resolve it, we are not very hopeful it will be resolved.

If you planned on using your points to fly El Al we recommend that you make other travel arrangements. We are extremely sorry about this sudden development. As a HAS cardholder we truly appreciate your support and you deserve better.

If you have a pending transfer, the points will be placed back into your HAS account.


Unlike AMEX, Chase, and Starwood which each have lots of transfer options in case a dispute were ever to arise, HAS only had El Al.

This news has no effect on AMEX points, which continue to transfer El Al.

At this point you should wait and see if they can get it restored somehow, but it seems likely that the best option will be to just take the 1% cash back that they are offering (sure beats the Blue Fringe CD redemption value ;)). Which really, really stinks considering cards like the Barclay Arrival card give 2.22% cash back on everything.

There’s no longer any reason to keep using the card, that’s for sure.

Much better cards to get you to Israel include the:

-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (25% bonus for transferring blocks of 20K points into miles.)
More on lots of ways of using Starpoints to Israel (from 20K round-trip) in this post.

-Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard (40K signup points plus 2.22% cash back on everything to use towards any travel related charge.)

-Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature (40K signup points, 5K points for adding a free additional user, up to 3.21 points per dollar spent, points transfer to United for Air Canada or United flights for 85K miles with no fuel surcharges or to BA for Air Berlin or USAirways flights for 60K Avios round-trip with no fuel surcharges).

-Chase Ink Plus Business Card and Chase Ink Bold Business Card (50K signup points each, up to 5 points per dollar spent, points transfers to the same places as Sapphire Preferred including BA, Korean, United, Virgin Atlantic, etc.).

-American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25K bonus points, triple points on airfare, double points on gas and groceries, 15K bonus points every year you spend $30K, points transfer to Air Canada, Alitalia (80K miles in business class round-trip!), BA, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue (as low as 25K miles round-trip), Singapore (fly in a private suite) etc)

Chase Freedom Visa (No annual fee, 10K signup points plus 2.5K points for adding a free additional user, up to 5 points per dollar spent or 5.5 points per dollar spent if you also have a Chase checking account, point transfers require that you or your spouse have a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus card.)

-Chase British Airways Visa Signature (50K signup bonus, 1.25 points per dollar spent, Air Berlin or USAirways flights are 60K Avios with no fuel surcharges)

-Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card (30K signup bonus plus 5K points for adding an additional user, 10K bonus points every year that you spend $25K, 85K miles with no fuel surcharges to Israel)

20% Off $100+ Orders Of Select Clothes From Amazon

Thursday, April 10th, 2014, 12:57 pm

First-time subscribers to Amazon Fashion email can get a 20% off code for this and all other clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags, and watches.

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20% Off $100+ Orders Of Select Clothes From Amazon

Use code (Exp: 04/14): APR2OSPG

Like with the Ecco deal, odds are that you can stack both 20% off codes by chatting with Amazon.

Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints

Thursday, April 10th, 2014, 12:16 pm

Related: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express gives 10,000 points after your first purchase and a 15,000 point bonus for spending $5,000 within 6 months besides for the 5,000 points you’ll get from base spending.
You can also use your Starpoints to stay free at the the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv and next year at the W Tel Aviv – Jaffa
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As you probably know already, the Starwood card is one of the best cards out there for general spending. You can use just a couple thousand points for free hotel stays or transfer points into miles with dozens of airlines at favorable ratios. If you are transferring points you may also want to consider Starwood’s Nights & Flights option where you can save 8,000 points on a mileage transfer and any future 5 night stay in a category 3 or 4 hotel.

To make a mileage transfer just login to your Starwood account at SPG.com. If you have never made an account at SPG.com you may need to set one up. Locate your SPG number on the Starwood AMEX statement where it lists how many points you earned in the past month and for the year. Then you can setup for SPG.com account. Click here to transfer Starpoints into airline miles. Transfers don’t happen instantly. They can take between 1-20 days. On average figure on about 2-7 days though.

The rates in this chart are for flights from NYC to Tel Aviv. Rates from other North American cities should be similar, but may differ depending on the airline. Remember to try to do your own research online when searching for award flights. With enough time and effort you should be able to easily book something over the phone. Remember the phone agents just want to get you off the phone as quickly as possible and aren’t likely to want to try to find any creative routings to get you your free flight.
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Summary:

Rates listed in this post are for round-trip travel and are assuming that you maximize the 25% point bonus for transferring Starpoints in blocks of 20,000 points (which you may or may not be able to do depending on the number of passengers so you may have leftover miles)

Before you transfer try to find availability to see which transfer you should do!

Star Alliance:
-For United travel, transfer points (from 48K) to ANA (no fuel surcharges)
-For Star Alliance travel on airlines besides United, transfer points (from 48K) to ANA (fuel surcharges apply)
-For Star Alliance travel with lap children or on select carriers, transfer points (from 64K) to Air Canada (fuel surcharges on select carriers)
-For travel on Singapore, transfer points (from 60K) to Singapore (fuel surcharges apply)
-For travel on Lufthansa or Swiss, transfer points (from 48K) to Lufthansa (fuel surcharges apply)

OneWorld/El Al:
-For USAirways travel, transfer points (from 40K) to JAL (no fuel surcharges)
-For OneWorld travel, transfer points (from 40K) to JAL (fuel surcharges apply)
-For Air Berlin and USAirways travel, transfer points (from 48K) to BA (no fuel surcharges)
-For BA travel, transfer points (from 52K) to BA (fuel surcharges apply)
-For OneWorld or El Al travel besides for BA travel, transfer points (from 64K) to AA (no fuel surcharges)
-For OneWorld travel on airlines besides Air Berlin and USAirways, transfer points (from 64K) (no fuel surcharges)

Skyteam:
-For Delta travel transfer points (from 40K) to Flying Blue (no fuel surcharges)
-For Skyteam travel on airlines besides Delta transfer points (from 40K) to Flying Blue (fuel surcharges apply)
-For Skyteam travel on airlines besides Delta, transfer points (From 68K) to Delta (no fuel surcharges)
-For Air France/KLM travel during a promo period (Such as this one), transfer points (From 20K) to Flying Blue (fuel surcharges apply)
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Tips for finding saver award availability:

Award tickets to Israel are always tough, though that’s a function of it being an expensive route to fly compared to the distance of the flight.
1. Check availability at least daily as award seats can come and go quickly.
2. Be willing to connect in Europe for much better availability. Flights on low cost carriers from Europe to Israel can also be dirt cheap and it can make sense to use miles to get to Europe and then buy a flight to Israel from there.
3. If you are ready to fly on a whim airlines often open up saver awards the day of or the day before a flight. Otherwise a couple months in advance is a typical sweet spot.
4. Realize that not all partners will be displayed online and you need to do your own research on partner sites and/or call to find partner availability.
5. Airline search engines are only so powerful. Use free stopovers and open-jaws to your advantage. If you are flying from somewhere besides NYC just search from NYC-Tel Aviv instead of from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv. You can always piece together an award by searching for Los Angeles-NYC separately then NYC-Tel Aviv, especially if you are willing to have a long connection, change airports in NYC, or are willing to stay overnight in NYC.
6. The same goes for tickets from NYC. Search from other gateways like Toronto and Philadelphia and piece together the flights to get there afterward. Consider searching from NYC to European cities and piece together an award from Europe to Israel. You may find availability from NYC to London and then from Paris to Tel Aviv but a computer would never put that open jaw ticket together. Instead you can check out London and Paris on the way to Tel Aviv. Maybe you’ll even get to check out Venice and Rome on the way home. Sometimes you can even save miles by doing that!
7. Don’t forget to book a free domestic trailing flight anytime in the year after you arrive back to your destination. Delta, United, and USAirways will allow you to fly NYC-Tel Aviv-NYC and then stopover in NYC for up to a year before continuing on to say, Los Angeles, for no extra miles.
8. Find award availability before transferring miles. Once they’re transferred they can’t be reversed!
9. Need help? You can post your travel dates and which miles you have in this DDF thread and ask for help. Consider offering a monetary or mileage reward to the forum member that can come up with the best award ticket to meet your needs and you may find that suggestions will come flooding in!
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Airlines that fly nonstop from North America to Israel:
-Air Canada from Toronto (bookable via Star Alliance miles)
-United from Newark (bookable via Star Alliance miles)
-Delta from JFK (bookable via Skyteam miles)
-El Al from JFK, Los Angeles, Newark, and Toronto. (bookable via AA, connections to Eilat for the same mileage available)
-USAirways from Philadelphia (bookable via OneWorld miles)
None of these carriers offer First Class seating to Israel for miles on nonstop flights. (El Al does offer First Class, but you can only use AA miles to redeem for Coach or Business Class on El Al).

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Star Alliance:
Nonstop flights from North America include Air Canada from Toronto and United from Newark. These flights all have lie-flat business class seating and have no first class. In July the Air Canada flight will switch to a 787, offering what will likely be the best business class between North America and Israer.

Star Alliance offers the best availability for flights to Israel by leaps and bounds. Besides for the nonstop flights from North America there are many options via Europe in coach, business, and first class worth looking into including Swiss via Zurich, Lufthansa via Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich, Brussels via Brussels, Austrian via Vienna, Turkish via Istanbul, SAS via Copenhagen, Singapore via Frankfurt, Aegean via Athens, LOT via Warsaw, or a mix of carriers like United from Newark to one of dozens of European cities and a European carrier to Tel Aviv.
By utilizing free stopovers and open jaws the possibilities are endless if you take the time to research your options leg by leg.

You can search for Star Alliance award availability on sites like United.com and Aeroplan.com. ANA also offers a powerful Star Alliance search tool though you’ll need to have 100 miles in your account to use their Star Alliance search. Though if you perform an ANA-only search on a route they serve (like JFK-Tokyo) the site will then allow you to search Star Alliance airlines on different routes as well (just remember to click on connecting flights to expand the selection).

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Using ANA miles, from 48,000 Starpoints.
-Miles required: 60K coach, 90K business, 140K first.
-Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 ANA miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 48,000 Starpoints in coach, 72,000 Starpoints in business, or 112,000 Starpoints in first.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: None on United awards.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Officially not allowed but there are “workarounds.”
-Stopovers: ANA allows for 4 stopovers, though each additional flight will add to the fuel surcharges.
-Changes/Cancellation: ANA allows free date changes, but other changes or cancellation results in a 3,000 mile penalty.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.

spgb

 

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Using Air Canada Aeroplan miles, from 64,000 Starpoints.
-Miles required: 80K coach, 165K business, 230K first.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 Aeroplan miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means the equivalent of 64,000 Starpoints in coach, 132,000 Starpoints in business, or 184,000 Starpoints in first.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: If you fly on these carriers you will pay a fuel surcharge: Adria, Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, and THAI.
If you fly on these carriers you will not pay a fuel surcharge: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca/TACA, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAM, Turkish, and United.
-Mileage expiration: Air Canada miles require activity every 12 months to keep them active.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Air Canada generously allows for 2 free stopovers, so you can check out 2 American or European cities in addition to Tel Aviv for the same amount of miles!
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $90 charge to change or cancel an award ticket and an effective $180 charge to cancel within 21 days of departure.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: Flat fee of just $50 in coach, $100 in business, and $125 in first.

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Using Singapore miles, from 60,000 Starpoints.

-Miles required: 75K coach, 115K business, 150K first.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 Porringer miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means the equivalent of 60,000 Starpoints in coach, 92,000 Starpoints in business, or 120,000 Starpoints in first.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: None on United.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: 1 free stopover
-Changes/Cancellation: $20 change fee, $30 cancellation fee.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
With Singapore miles you can fly on Singapore from NYC to Tel Aviv on Singapore to Frankfurt in business or first class and then to Tel Aviv on Lufthansa which you can’t do with other miles.

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-Miles & More Group (Adria, Austrian, Brussels, Croatia, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, and Swiss): For departures from the USA nonstop to Tel Aviv: 80K coach, 135K business. For departures from the USA to Tel Aviv via Europe: 100K coach, 185K business, 290K first. For departures from Israel to the USA nonstop or via Europe for Miles & More accounts with an Israeli address on file: 60K coach, 105K business, 170K first.
-Transfer partners: Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on all airlines except LOT.
-Mileage expiration: Miles expire 36 months after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: 2 free stopovers.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $60 charge to change or cancel an award ticket.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: None except for airport departure taxes.
-Children ages 2-11: Receive a 25% discount on the mileage requirement on Miles & More flights.
-Expanded award availability on Lufthansa and Swiss business and first class.

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OneWorld:
Oneworld finally has a nonstop option between North America and Israel thanks to USAirways flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv. Other flights to Israel include Air Berlin via Berlin and Dusseldorf, BA via London, Iberia via Madrid, and Royal Jordanian via Amman. BA availability is good, but has high fuel surcharges.

El Al is not part of OneWorld (and therefore can’t be booked with miles from other airlines like BA) but they are non-alliance partners with AA. It’s more advantageous to book El Al travel with AA miles than it is with El Al miles (the miles received from the HAS Advantage card, a terrible card for your spending) because El Al adds fuel surcharges onto their own tickets, but you do not pay any fuel surcharges for booking El Al tickets with AA miles. However you can only book coach or business on El Al when using AA miles, first class must be booked with El Al points. El Al has nonstop flights from JFK, Newark, Los Angeles, and Toronto to Tel Aviv.
You can check OneWorld availability on flawed sites such as AA.com, BA.com, and Qantas.com. (BA or Qantas frequent flyer account required) You can check El Al availability on elal.com (Matmid account required). You can also check availability by calling AA.

Using USAirways miles, from 64,000 Starpoints.
-Miles required: 80K coach, 120K business, 180K first.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 USAirways miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means the equivalent of 64,000 Starpoints in coach, 96,000 Starpoints in business, or 144,000 Starpoints in first.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply for flights on partners British Airways (very high) and Iberia (nominal). There is a $50 award ticketing fee.
-Mileage expiration: USAirways miles require activity every 18 months.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: USAirways allows for 1 free stopover OR 1 free Open jaw.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $150 charge to change or cancel an award ticket
USAirways is draconian in not allowing any changes to partner award tickets once travel has begun.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: $75 within 21 days
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-Partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.
-5,000 mile discount on USAirways flights with a USAirways credit card.

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Using American miles, from 64,000 Starpoints.
-Miles required: 80K coach off-peak (10/15-05/15 annually) via Europe, 90K coach on El Al flights from North America or peak via Europe, 135K business on El Al flights from North America or via Europe, 180K first via Europe.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 AA miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 64,000 or 72,000 Starpoints in coach, 108,000 Starpoints in business, or 144,000 Starpoints in first.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply for flights on partners British Airways (very high) and Iberia (nominal).
-Mileage expiration: AA miles require activity every 18 months.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Allowed at the North American gateway city.
-Changes/Cancellation: AA allows free date and routing changes, but changes to the origin or destination city or cancellation costs $150 for non-elites.  If you cancel more than 1 ticket at a time the fee is just $25 after the $150 fee for the first ticket.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: $75 within 21 days for non-elites.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-Some partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.
-USAirways flight has no fuel surcharges.  Otherwise the best shot at availability without paying fuel surcharges would be to take AA to London or anywhere else in Europe and then El Al from London or anywhere else in Europe to Tel Aviv. This routing would be 80,000 miles between October 15-May 15 or the same 90,000 miles as the nonstop El Al flight from the US during the summer.
You need to call American to book travel on El Al. You should do your research first by opening a Matmid account and searching for awards on elal.com. Remember to search for flights from all of El Al’s cities in North America and in Europe as you can use other American and partner flights to reach those El Al cities.

The image below shows a business class award found on El Al’s site which is the same as the availability that American can access. While El Al charges 3,000 points (150,000 AMEX MR) + $350 for fuel surcharges American would charge 135,000 miles (~108K Starwood) and no fuel surcharges for the same flight.

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Using BA Avios, from 48,000 Starpoints
-Avios required: 60K coach on Air Berlin and on USAirways, 65K coach on other carriers, 100K business on Air Berlin, 120K business on USAirways, 130K business on other carriers, 195K first.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio, Chase Ultimate Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 BA miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 48,000 Starpoints in coach, 80,000 Starpoints in business, or 156,000 Starpoints in first.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply for all Trans-Atlantic flights except on Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, and USAirways.
You can drastically reduce fuel surcharges for travel on Iberia via Madrid by transferring your BA Avios into Iberia Avios. You must have your Iberia account open for 3 months before you can do such a transfer.
-Mileage expiration: BA miles require activity every 36 months.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Each leg costs additional mileage, but you can stopover at any connection city for as long as you want.
-Changes/Cancellation: $40.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None
-Infant fees: Instead of cash, BA charges just 10% of the adult mileage required on international segments.
-Some partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.

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Using JAL miles, from 40,000 Starpoints
-Miles required: 50K coach, 80K business, 115K first.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 JAL miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 40,000 Starpoints in coach, 64,000 Starpoints in business, or 92,000 Starpoints in first.
-Fuel surcharges: Applies to most travel, none of USAirways.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: JAL allows for 2 stopovers, though each additional flight will add to the fuel surcharges.
-Changes/Cancellation: JAL allows free date changes, but other changes or cancellation results in a 3,000 mile penalty.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
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Skyteam:
Skyteam generally has the worst award availability. You can try searching some Skyteam availability on Delta.com and AirFrance.com. Options to Israel besides Delta’s nonstop JFK flight are on Czech via Prague, KLM via Amsterdam, Air France via Nice or Paris, Aeroflot via Moscow, and Alitalia via Rome.

Using Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) miles, from 20,000 Starpoints
-Miles Required: 25K coach during a promo period, 50K coach otherwise, 62.5K business during a promo period, 125K business otherwise.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 Flying Blue miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 20,000 Starpoints in coach or 50,000 Starpoints in business for a promo award. For regular tickets and partner ticket 40,000 Starpoints per ticket in coach or 100,000 Starpoints per ticket in business.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on all airlines except Delta.
-Mileage expiration: Flying Blue miles expire 20 months unless you credit a Skyteam flight to Flying Blue.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Flying Blue allows for 1 free stopover.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
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Using Delta miles, from 68,000 Starpoints.
-Miles Required: 85K-170K coach, 140K-350K business.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 Delta miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 68,000-136,000 Starpoints in coach or 112,000-280,000 Starpoints in business.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on select partners but generally won’t apply to/from Israel.
-Mileage expiration: None.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: Delta allows for 1 free stopover OR 1 free Open jaw.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $150 charge to change or cancel an award ticket. No changes or cancellations are allowed within 3 days of the flight.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-It can be brutal trying to find Delta low award availability and Delta’s terrible website only makes it more difficult. Plus Delta used to be a good option for booking Air France/KLM but now availability when booking those direct with Flying Blue is much better than when booking with Delta.

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Find a mistake or better method of getting to Israel with Starpoints? Hit the comments!

David Dead Sea Resort & Spa (Formerly Le Meridien Dead Sea) From Just $29.19 Per Night With Free Breakfast!

Thursday, March 27th, 2014, 12:18 pm

Update, 6:30pm: DEAD!

Missed the deal? Join the 33,800+ people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted.

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Bookable on Orbitz

Search for hotels at the Dead Sea and use the following promo code for 20% off: DISCOVER
The promo code is good for nights booked by 04/01 and completed by 12/31.

Most dates have free cancellation until 2 days prior to checkin.  Breakfast is included in these rates!

Deluxe Sea View: $29.19 with tax. Mesada Suite: $45.29 with tax.
Valid nights: 10/01-10/08. 10/08-10/15.

Deluxe Sea View: $34.77 with tax. Mesada Suite: $50.87 with tax.
Valid nights: 03/30-04/02, 04/05-04/07, 04/08-04/10, 04/12-04/14, 06/08-06/12, 06/18-06/25, 06/25-07/02, 07/02-07/09, 07/09-07/16, 07/16-07/23, 07/23-07/30, 07/30-08/06, 08/06-08/13, 08/13-08/20, 08/20-09/01, 12/01-12/08, 12/08-12/15, 12/15-12/22, 12/22-12/31.

Deluxe Sea View: $42.08 with tax. Mesada Suite: $58.17 with tax.
Valid nights: 04/22-04/28, 04/30-05/06, 05/08-05/15, 05/15-05/22, 05/22-06/01. 09/01-09/11, 09/14-09/21, 09/21-09/30, 10/17-10/24, 11/02-11/09, 11/09-11/16, 11/16-11/23, 11/23-11/30.

Most nights can be booked individually though some nights may require a 2 or 3 night minimum stay.

Remember when those rooms went for $500 on SPG.com 😀

Sheraton Brooklyn For Just $48.78 On May 11th

Monday, March 24th, 2014, 4:33 pm

Update 2: DEAD!

Update: You can also book a prepaid, fully refundable Club Room with lounge access and 1,000 bonus Starpoints for just $59.73 on SPG.com:

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Seemingly the only valid night for this deal is Sunday, May 11th.

You can book the Sheraton Brooklyn via Booking.com for $48.78 including all taxes. This rate allows for free cancellation.

You can also book it direct on SPG.com with SPG benefits for $59.73 including all taxes. The SPG.com rate is prepaid (and is therefore more likely to be honored).

HT: nbnuti via EHD

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