Search Results

The S. Regis Maldives May Be The Best SPG Redemption Of All Time!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016, 12:19 pm

Update, 8/9: The price for the overwater villa is now 90K points per night and the price for the beach villa is now 120K points per night.


American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
-Earn 2,500 Bonus Starpoints For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Starwood Consumer Card
Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints, 2016 Edition
Starwood’s 35th Transfer Partner Increases The Value Of Your Starpoints; Fly Roundtrip JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Or JFK-Europe For Less Than 20K SPG!


The S. Regis Maldives is a Starwood category 7 that opens on November 1st. Their photo gallery can be found here:

IMG_3613b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overwater villas cost more than $2,000 each at the property and all rooms have plunge pools. They’re not walled in like the completely private pool we had at the Le Meridien Khao Lak in 2010 as people can swim or snorkel by your villa in the Maldives, but I did enjoy the plunge pool at the W Maldives. I just wish it was kid-free and had glass bottom floors like the W 🙂

Note that it typically takes more than 24 hours to fly from the USA until you reach a resort in Maldives as you need to connect somewhere to reach Male (MLE) and then you’ll need to wait for a seaplane to bring you from the Male airport to your resort. That seaplane will also set you back some $700 with tax per person on top of your tickets to Male. You’re also limited to just 50 pounds per person including carry-on and checkin items and will pay a whopping $5/pound for excess baggage. It’s an exhausting and expensive trip, but the water is truly stunning there and the isolation and relaxation is impossible to describe.

Airlines serving Male include Aeroflot (3 days/week from SVO), Austrian (2 days/week seasonally from VIE), British Airways (3 days/week seasonably from LGW), Cathay Pacific (4 days/week from HKG), Emirates (daily from DXB), Etihad (daily from AUH), Qatar (daily from DOH), Singapore (daily from SIN), and Turkish (daily from Istanbul).

DDF member beastieb points out that using points at the S. Regis Maldives are quite a bargain.

I chatted with SPG, confirmed their point rate structure, and booked a stay:
Garden villa: 31.5K/night or 25.2K/night on a 5 night stay.
Overwater villa: 32.5K/night or 26K/night on a 5 night stay.
Beach villa: 60K/night or 48K/night on a 5 night stay.
Sunset overwater villa: 75K/night or 60K/night on a 5 night stay.
Overwater St Regis Suite: 90K/night or 72K/night on a 5 night stay.
2BR Family villa: 120K/night or 96K/night on a 5 night stay.

That can easily be a value of over 9 cents per Starpoint depending on your dates!

This hotel must be booked over the phone or via SPG chat.

Rooms at other Starwood category 7 properties are typically many times those rates as SPG allows hotels that only have suites to charge far more points than the standard award chart. According to SPG those hotels include the “St. Regis Resort Bora Bora, and Le Méridien Bora Bora, Bora Bora, French Polynesia; W Maldives, Maldives; Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort, Key West, Florida; Mystique, Santorini, Greece; Pine Cliff Residences, Albuferia, Portugal; and Cala Di Volpe, Hotel Pitrizza, and Hotel Romazzino, Porto Cervo, Italy.”

I’d imagine that the S. Regis Maldives will eventually be added to that list, but perhaps we’ll get lucky and it will stay a bargain.

Of course this could all be a mistake and they might cancel reservations, so don’t book non-refundable airfare quite yet…

Starwood’s 35th Transfer Partner Increases The Value Of Your Starpoints; Fly Roundtrip JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Or JFK-Europe For Less Than 20K SPG!

Sunday, April 17th, 2016, 1:46 pm

Bear with me as I’m still catching on the news from last week while I was flying with my son on an incredible trip on the upper deck of a 747.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Last week Starwood added its 35th airline transfer partner, Virgin America. Ironically both Starwood and Virgin America will cease to exist in a couple years from now having been snapped up by Marriott and Alaska, but there is value still to be had in the meantime.
It’s also great to see SPG still adding partners to its portfolio. Last December it added Aegean, which is excellent for awards to Israel.

Now it’s adding Virgin America as a partner at the standard 20K Starpoints=25K Virgin America points ratio. Click here to transfer Starpoints into airline miles.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

Virgin America has hybrid award redemption system. You can redeem for flights on Virgin America based on the cost of the flight.

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way Virgin flights (Prices were researched on 4/16 and will fluctuate). Note that Starpoint rates listed below 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):
1. Los Angeles-Las Vegas on 5/11 is $43.10 or 1,417 Virgin points (about 1,134 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.65 cents per Virgin point (43.10-5.60/1,417) and 3.31 cents per Starpoint.
2. LGA to Dallas on 5/11 is $78.10 or 3,126 Virgin points (about 2,500 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.32 cents per Virgin point and 2.9 cents per Starpoint.
3. JFK to Maui on 5/11 is $244.50 or 10,762 Virgin points (about 8,610 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.22 cents per Virgin point and 2.78 cents per Starpoint.
4. JFK to Los Angeles on 5/11 is $138.10 or 6,056 Virgin points (about 4,844 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.19 cents per Virgin point and 2.74 cents per Starpoint.
5. Los Angeles-Orlando on 5/11 is $93.10 or 3,859 Virgin points (about 3,087 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.27 cents per Virgin point and 2.84 cents per Starpoint.

The exact point requirements will vary based on the price of the Virgin flights, but those are some pretty sweet values!

You can also redeem points on partner airlines.
Those include Hawaiian, Singapore, and Virgin Australia with low or no fuel surcharges and Emirates or Virgin Atlantic with high fuel surcharges.

For example:
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Frankfurt on Singapore is just 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Honolulu on Hawaiian is 35K Virgin miles (about 28K SPG) in coach or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 15K Virgin miles+$475 (about 12K SPG) in coach, 25K Virgin miles+$790 (20K SPG) in premium economy, or 35K Virgin miles+$1,150 (about 28K SPG) in upper class, Virgin’s version of business class with an on-board bar with access to their highly-rated clubhouse lounges.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 25K Virgin miles+$475 (20K SPG) in coach, 30K Virgin miles+$790 (about 24K SPG) in premium economy, or 50K Virgin miles+$1,150 (40K SPG) in upper class.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco nonstop to any of the Hawaiian islands on Hawaiian is 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach or 50K Virgin miles (40K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Seoul on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Sydney on Virgin Australia is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach, 60K Virgin miles (about 48K SPG) in premium economy, or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business class.

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.

——————————————————————–

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.

——————————————————————

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

???????????????????????????????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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!

Small Business Saturday Will Coincide With This Site’s 12th Anniversary, But What Will Be This Year’s Offer?

Monday, August 8th, 2016, 11:13 am

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

AMEX has announced that Small Business Saturday will be back on 11/26/16.

If you signup as a “Neighborhood Champion” to rally local businesses to participate you can also receive AMEX branded merchandise.

That date coincides with the 12th anniversary of the day I started blogging here, back on 11/26/04 in Sao Paulo, on my 20th birthday. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine what the site and the next 12 years of my life would turn into…

For those keeping score at home, here is a history of when Small Business Saturday offers were announced and held:

2010, Launch year: $25 off $25 offer announced on 11/8. Registration form opened 11/8. Spending valid 11/27-12/31.
2011: $25 off $25 offer announced on 10/6. Registration form opened 11/1. Spending valid 11/26.
2012: $25 off $25 offer announced on 9/24. Registration form opened 11/17. Spending valid 11/24.
2013: $10 off $10 offer announced on 10/1. Registration form opened 11/24. Spending valid 11/30.
2014: $10 off $10 valid 3 times per card announced on 09/27. Registration form opened 11/16. Spending valid 11/29.
2015: On 9/30 it was announced that there would be no credit for Small Business Saturday. However on 11/1 people started finding that most primary personal cards were targeted for $10 off $10 in their AMEX Offers and most business primary and secondary cards were targeted for $20 off $100. Spending was valid anytime from 11/1-11/28.

I’ll be sure to update this post as soon as there is news about the 2016 offer.


Don’t want to miss out on SBS and AMEX Offers?

Consumer cards include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (25K Starpoints for spending $3K in 3 months, free Boingo worldwide hotspot access, free premium wifi in SPG hotels, 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Special offer: Earn 5% cash back on eligible travel purchases in the first 6 months, up to $200. Plus, earn $100 cash back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.  3% cash back on groceries, 2% cash back on gas and department stores, no annual fee.)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Special offer: Earn 5% cash back on eligible travel purchases in the first 6 months, up to $200. Plus, earn $150 cash back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. 6% cash back on groceries, 3% cash back on gas and department stores, $95 annual fee or $75 annual fee if you apply by 8/3/16.)

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express (10K AMEX MR points for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per month for an effective 2.4 points per dollar on groceries, 2.2 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. No annual fee.)

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express (15K AMEX MR points for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  50% point bonus for making 30 transactions per month for an effective 4.5 points per dollar on groceries, 3 points per dollar on gas, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.5 points per dollar elsewhere. $95 annual fee.)

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (25K AMEX MR points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on restaurants, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber. $100 annual airline fee credit. No foreign transaction fees. $195 annual fee waived for first year.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (30K Delta miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months. $50 cash back for making a purchase with Delta within 3 months. No foreign exchange fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express 50K points for spending $750 within 3 months. Earn 7 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. Silver elite status for as long as you are a cardmember that gets you the ability to get the 5th night free on Hilton award stays. If you spend $20K on the card you’ll also get Hilton Gold status. No annual fee)

Platinum Card® from American Express (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Free Starwood and Hilton gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 cash back in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee. 3 additional cardholders for a flat $175 fee ($58.33/year each) which includes full lounge access and free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.)

 

Business cards:

All business cards give automatic OPEN Savings rebates on top of points.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (25K Starpoints for spending $5K in 3 months, free Sheraton lounge access, free Boingo worldwide hotspot access, free premium wifi in SPG hotels, 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (25K AMEX MR points for spending $5,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar in your choice of one of the following categories and 2 points in the other categories: Airfare, advertising, gas stations, shipping, or hardware+software+cloud computing. 2 points per dollar on Uber. $175 annual fee waived for first year.)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. 10 free annual Gogo in-flight internet passes. Free Hilton and Starwood gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (30K Delta miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months. $50 cash back for making a purchase with Delta within 3 months. No foreign exchange fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

SimplyCash® Plus Business Card from American Express ($250 signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 6 months. 5% cash back at office supply stores and telecom. 3% cash back on your choice of Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, Computer hardware/software/cloud computing, gas stations, restaurants, advertising, or shipping. No annual fee.)

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (5K AMEX MR points for spending $1 in 3 months. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

Transfer 20K Starwood Starpoints Into 30K American AAdvantage Miles

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016, 11:37 am

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser. Earn Starpoints with the Starwood Consumer AMEX or the Starwood Business AMEX

Starwood-American Transfer Bonus Details Linky

Starwood Airline Miles Transfer Linky

From today through 9/14 you can get 30K AA miles (instead of the standard 25K miles) for every 20K Starpoints that you transfer.

Back in 2010 when these SPG-AA bonuses started you were able to rack up hundreds of thousands of Starpoints thanks to the US Mint, miles transferred to AA counted for million miler status, and AA had an awesome round-the-world award chart. I took advantage of all of those, but they no longer exist.

During last year’s bonus I cautioned that American’s award chart was “so much better than their competition’s award charts that you can’t help but wonder when the devaluation will come…”

The devaluation came and it made their award chart downright terrible. Then the other shoe fell when American made their saver awards far more difficult to find than on any other airline.

Doug Parker has gone from America West to ruin USAirways and now American. Even Jeff Smisek would blush at his actions.

Regardless, with a 50% bonus it might be worth looking into transferring if you have a specific need and if there is decent saver award availability on the route that you want. Just be sure to compare American’s requirements with other airlines.

In this post I compared how many miles are required to fly on every OneWorld route from JFK.

Just for example, I flew last night from JFK to Vancouver in Cathay Pacific First Class for 35K Alaska miles. That same flight would have cost 55K AA miles. Non-elites would also have paid American a $75 last-minute fee which Alaska doesn’t charge. Even with a 50% bonus to American you would still be much better off transferring Starpoints to Alaska with the standard 25% bonus, so be sure to do your research before you transfer.

There’s no minimum or maximum on this offer, but it’s always wise to transfer Starpoints in increments of 20K and the most you can transfer in one day to maximize that is 60K Starpoints, which would net 90K AA miles. You can make 1 transfer per day.

-The names on the Starwood account and the AA account must match or the transfer will be rejected. You are able to transfer Starpoints for free between people living at the same address, though if you are changing the address on one of the accounts you’ll have to wait 30 days before transferring Starpoints to someone else’s Starwood account.

-The 20% bonus miles fulfilled by American will be posted within 7 business days after the initial conversion activity has been posted by Starwood Preferred Guest. The initial transfer usually takes a couple of days.  You can hold an AA award for 5 days which is enough time for the transfer to process.

-You are able to do a Starwood Nights and Flights redemption for 60K Starpoints in exchange for 60K AA miles and 5 nights in a category 3 property (normally 40K+28K Starpoints), or 70K Starpoints in exchange for 60K AA miles and 5 nights in a category 4 property (normally 40K+40K Starpoints).

HT: Mikey

Roundup Of New Targeted And Non-Targeted AMEX Offers

Monday, August 1st, 2016, 8:20 am

This post has been updated with new offers such as electronic toll payments, Delta, Sheraton, Hilton, Ritz-Carlton, Sur La Table, EZ-Pass, Dropbox, Gap, Telecharge Broadway Tickets, and more.


AMEX has lots of great new AMEX offers available.

1. AMEX Twitter (non-targeted) offers:

Signup for Twitter and you can save money with AMEX.

All you have to do is sync your American Express card with your twitter account to save money at rotating stores.

Then tweet the codes listed below to enroll, so for example just write #AMEXGap and then click tweet. Then wait a minute and you should have a message in your notifications bar that you have successfully enrolled along with the offer terms.

In the image below you can see where to write the tweet and where to check for the confirmation.

wm

 

 

View all the offers after the jump:

(more…)

2,500 Bonus Starpoints For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Starwood Consumer Card

Monday, July 25th, 2016, 11:38 am

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints, 2016 Edition
Starwood’s 35th Transfer Partner Increases The Value Of Your Starpoints; Fly Roundtrip JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Or JFK-Europe For Less Than 20K SPG!


2,500 Bonus Starpoints For Adding An Additional User Onto Your Starwood Consumer Card

If you add a free additional user to your Starwood account via the link above by 9/19 you will get 2,500 bonus Starpoints. There is a limit of 1 bonus per primary Starwood account.

This deal was posted to the DansDeals Forums on Friday and members that added a card on that day are already reporting that the bonus points are in their account despite the terms saying that it will take 8-12 weeks!

Additional AMEX cards qualify for AMEX Offers and promotions like Small Business Saturday. You can have up to 99 additional users on a primary card account, but the bonus is only for adding 1 card.

Additional Card Members must be at least 15 years of age. You are able to add yourself, a family member, or a friend as an additional user.

A social security number is required for this offer. There is no hard credit pull for adding an additional user. However the account will show up on their credit report, which means that spending on the card can help or hurt their credit score depending on your credit utilization and payments.  An additional user card will also count against the user with banks like Chase, which limit approvals for many of their cards if you have had more than 5 new accounts in the past 24 months. It may be possible to appeal that decision based on it being an authorized user account, but others have been turned down because of that approval guideline. It is possible to have the additional user account removed from the credit report by requesting removal from all 3 credit bureaus.

You can read more about the SPG cards in this post.

HT: Baruch, via DDF

Starwood: Book 2 Nights In Europe, Africa, Or The Middle East With Mastercard And Get 1 Night Free; Valid At Sheraton Tel Aviv!

Thursday, July 21st, 2016, 6:32 pm

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Starwood: Book 2 Nights In Europe, Africa, Or The Middle East With Mastercard And Get 1 Free

If you book a paid stay at participating SPG hotels in Europe, Africa, or the Middle East for 2 nights, you’ll get the 3rd night free.

Offer valid through 12/31/16.

This is not valid for point stays, which require 4 award nights to get the 5th night free.

Sometimes these promotions require a higher base rate that actually makes them more expensive than finding a deal, but I checked at the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv and the prices were pretty good.

For example from July 24-27 the rate on SPG.com for a deluxe room is $335 per night. With the promo link above the cost of each night dropped to $223 after accounting for the free night. A deluxe suite fell from $635 to $470.

From August 28-31 the 3 for 2 rate comes out to just $210 per night and the suite is $430 per night.

The category 5 Sheraton charges 12K Starpoints per night in low season and 16K points per night in high season.If you book a 5 night stay the effective cost per night can drop to as low as 9,600 Starpoints per night.

If you have Starwood Business AMEX you’ll also have free access to the Sheraton club lounge, there’s no need to pay for the stay with your card for lounge access. Post a comment if you try switching the method of payment at the hotel from Mastercard to your Starwood AMEX to earn double Starpoints.

Post what other deals you find!

HT: coralsnake, via DDF

Fly Nonstop From Chicago, Newark, Los Angeles, Or San Francisco To Hong Kong For $487 Round-Trip

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016, 8:45 am

Update: Nonstop fares below have dropped to $487!

Connecting sale fares include:

Delta has San Francisco-Hong Kong (connecting in SEA) for $356. Sample date: 11/2-11/8

United has Seattle-Hong Kong (connecting in SFO) for $373. Sample date: 11/3-11/9.

Delta has Houston-Hong Kong (connecting in SEA) for $354. Sample date: 11/15-11/21.

Delta has Washington DC-Hong Kong (connecting in SEA) for $464. Sample date: 12/7-12/13.

United has Atlanta-Hong Kong (connecting in EWR or ORD) for $492. Sample date: 9/7-9/13

United has Boston-Hong Kong (connecting in EWR or ORD) for $544. Sample date: 9/7-9/13

Delta has Denver-Hong Kong (connecting in SEA) for $523. Sample date: 9/7-9/13

There are also sale fares from those cities to Taipei, Taiwan.
You can search for valid dates on Google Flights.


Originally posted on 7/18:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
Earn 3 points per dollar on airfare with the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card.

Bookable on Priceline. Tickets purchased from Priceline today are refundable until 11:29pm tomorrow. Please see this post for directions on how to cancel these tickets.

You can search for valid dates on Google Flights.

United: Sample $487 dates Newark-Hong Kong
September 7-13
September 14-19
November 1-7
November 9-15
November 16-23
November 22-30

United: Sample $487 dates Chicago-Hong Kong
September 7-13
September 14-19
September 21-27
October 26-31
November 1-7
November 9-15
November 15-21
November 23-29

United: Sample $532 dates San Francisco-Hong Kong
September 7-14
September 14-20
September 21-27
October 26-31
November 2-7
November 9-14
November 16-21
November 23-December 1
November 29-December 5

American: Sample $532 dates Los Angeles-Hong Kong
September 7-12
September 14-19
September 21-27
October 26-31
November 2-7
November 9-14
November 16-21
November 23-28
November 30-December 5
December 7-12

Hong Kong is a fascinating East meets West city with lots of fun activities and home to several great kosher restaurants and shuls. Mul Hayam restaurant, located next to the Kehilat Zion shul in the Kowloon section of Hong Kong, is excellent. The JCC located on Hong Kong Island has very good dairy and meat restaurants as well as an awesome Sunday night all you can eat buffet, just don’t forget to bring your passport to get in! Chabad of Lantau also offers meals with delivery options.

We spent a Shabbos with Chabad of Hong Kong Island where the food was excellent and the atmosphere is awesome. People have rave reviews about Shabbos at Kehilat Zion as well.

After Shabbos we moved the W in Kowloon, which is one of my favorite SPG hotels in the world. We got an amazing upgrade and there’s a very cool rooftop infinity pool and hot tub. Plus the bellhop picked up our bags from our room and checked them straight home to Cleveland without us ever having to touch them thanks to the airport express station located in the W’s basement.

There are lots of other great hotels where you can spend your points at as well.

Most hotels even give you a free cell phone to use while in Hong Kong.

Americans do not need a visa to travel to Hong Kong or to take the ferry from Hong Kong to nearby Macau.


Join the 73,100+ 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

Cubs/Mets/Rangers Fans: Use Your Starpoints For Some Incredible Experiences

Friday, July 8th, 2016, 11:58 am

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.


A few years ago I burned 25K United miles for 4 box seats to an Indians game. In middle of the game I got to run onto the field and literally steal 2nd base. As an die-hard Indians fan it was probably the coolest use of my miles ever. People around the stadium were shocked to see someone walking around with 2nd base. I got the base signed by several players, including the winning pitcher that night, and it hangs in my office today. It still has the Jacobs Field dirt on it.

That story inspired other DansDeals readers to use their miles for some amazing experiences as well.

Earlier this year I wrote about the ability to bid Starpoints to sing the National Anthem in Wrigley Field on 7/18 for the Mets Vs Cubs game. The crazy thing about that deal was that if you weren’t accepted to sing you got your points back and still got to go to the game in the SPG suite with kosher food available upon request.

SPG Moments allows you to use points for all kinds of neat experiences, and there are some awesome ones up for bid and instant redemption right now.

If you do go to Wrigley you can park near Milt’s for a delicious lunch (The Milt’s Burger, Rib Sandwich, and Brisket Chili are my favorite items) and then walk from there to the game. A DDF reader invited me along when he redeemed Starpoints for the entire SPG suite when the Yankees took on the Cubbies and we did that and even brought along the owner of Milt’s to our suite. The suite was catered with kosher food, but nobody ate any of it after feasting at Milt’s just beforehand!

Be sure to post a comment and a “trip report” if you win!

Deliver the Line-Up Card at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs vs. Texas Rangers game on Friday, 7/15 at 1:20pm: High bid: 16K Starpoints.
Deliver the Line-Up Card at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets game on Monday, 7/18 at 6:05pm: High bid: 5K Starpoints.
-1 opportunity for a 6 to 12-year-old child to deliver the line-up card.
-Field access for two (2) for a pregame photo
-2 Field Box Infield tickets


-Announce “Play Ball” at Wrigley Field before the Chicago Cubs take on the New York Mets on Monday, 7/18 at 6:05pm High bid: 8K Starpoints.
-Access for a 6 to 12-year-old child to announce the official “play ball” at Wrigley Field on Monday, 18 July 2016 in front of up to 40,000 cheering fans.
-Two 2 Field Box Infield seats to watch the Chicago Cubs play


Take the Field Alongside the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field Before They Take on the Texas Rangers on Sunday, 7/17 at 1:20pm: Instant redemption for 27.5K Starpoints, 4 packages available.
-2 seats for the Chicago Cubs game against the Texas Rangers on Sunday, 17 July 2016 at 1:20 pm
-1 opportunity for a 7 to 13-year-old to run onto the field with the Chicago Cubs before the first pitch
-1 group photo of your child with the other participating SPG members


Throw out a ceremonial pitch before at Wrigley Field before the New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs game on Monday, 7/18 at 6:05pm High bid: 60K Starpoints.
-Access for 1 to throw a ceremonial pitch at Wrigley Field on Monday, 18 July 2016
-Field access for 2 for a pregame photo
-2 Field Box Infield seats to watch the Chicago Cubs play the New York Mets


Members Only Softball Tournament on Wrigley Field – Build Your Own Team to play on Sunday, August 7 from 12pm-4pm High bid: 11K Starpoints, 2 packages available.
-12 tickets to play softball at Wrigley Field on Sunday, August 7th
-12 Customized MLB Chicago Cubs jerseys with the names of all 12 participants.
-Meet with a retired Cubs alumnus for 12
-Behind-the-scenes tour of Wrigley Field for 12
-Complimentary food and beverages for 12 (You can request kosher food).
-No participants under the age of 13

Will you be bidding on any of these once in a lifetime experiences?

Is There Still Time To Buy Starpoints To Join JetBlue’s Epic 75K Promotion?

Friday, July 1st, 2016, 11:07 am

Before reading the post below, please read these posts for background information:

Should You Buy Or Transfer Starpoints To Join The Most Lucrative JetBlue Promotion Of All Time?

-It’s Time To Mileage Run! Earn Up To 75K Bonus JetBlue Points After Just 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!


I’ve been flooded with questions from people asking me if there’s still time to participate in the JetBlue promotion if they haven’t started yet.

Now that we have confirmation that the promotion is being fully honored, we’re nearing the end of the road if you still want to get in on the fun. There is still time to buy Starpoints and transfer them to Virgin America by July 4th, but that window of opportunity is closing.

If you have 40,001 Starpoints you would need to transfer them to Virgin America by Sunday to receive them by Monday in order to email JetBlue to enroll in this promotion by the July 4th deadline.

You can transfer Starpoints into anyone’s Virgin America account. If you have enough points you can transfer points to your spouse and children to enroll all of them in this promotion.

If you have at least 10,001 Starpoints you’ll have until Sunday to buy enough Starpoints to transfer 40,0001 points to Virgin America so that it’s in the the account by Monday to be matched by JetBlue.

Once you buy Starpoints you can transfer Starpoints to Virgin America even if they don’t show as available in your SPG balance.

If you don’t have 10,001 Starpoints then you’ll need to buy Starpoints in 2 different Starwood accounts (as there is a 30K annual purchase limit per account) and make transfers from both of those Starwood accounts to Virgin America are at least 24 hours apart from each other. Those Starwood accounts can be in anyone’s name. In this scenario you’ll want to buy those points ASAP to start the first of those 2 transfers from Starwood to Virgin America now, as you’ll need to wait 24 hours before that Virgin America account can receive another Starpoint transfer.

You don’t need a JetBlue Plus card or a Starwood AMEX to participate in this promotion, but having a JetBlue card will make your 75K JetBlue bonus points more valuable as well as provide free checked bags among other benefits, and using a Starwood card to buy Starpoints will net 2 Starpoints per dollar spent.

Check To See If You Are Targeted For A Starwood Spend Bonus

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016, 12:36 pm

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints, 2016 Edition
Starwood’s 35th Transfer Partner Increases The Value Of Your Starpoints; Fly Roundtrip JFK-Los Angeles For Less Than 10K Or JFK-Europe For Less Than 20K SPG!


Several DDF members have posted that they were targeted for a spend bonus on their Starwood business card.

You can login to your AMEX account via this link to check if you are targeted.

If you are targeted and spend $5,000 on your SPG card you’ll get 10,000 total Starpoints. If you spend $10,000 on your SPG card you’ll get 20,000 total Starpoints. The spending must be completed by 10/15.

My cards aren’t targeted, are yours?

HT: Chapshnell, via DDF

It’s Time To Mileage Run! Earn Up To 75K Bonus JetBlue Points After Just 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016, 11:25 am

Update, 6/28:

I remember when JetBlue cried foul back when American attacked them in 2004 with $69 nonstops from JFK and Chicago to Long Beach and launched their AVBOS/AVNYC promotion, which offered a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world if you flew twice on American from Boston or JFK to Florida or California. I got 8 free systemwide tickets with that promotion and used 1 voucher to fly free from Sao Paulo to Tokyo with stopovers in Dallas, JFK, Los Angeles and Miami.
12 years later JetBlue has launched their most generous promotion in response to losing the bidding war for Virgin America.

-I sent in and got my match confirmation right away, but JetBlue got bogged down quickly and they are playing catch-up to respond to people. Keep checking your email for your registration confirmation and post a comment about when you registered and if you received confirmation yet.
-Multi-city itineraries (like JFK-Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach-JFK do count for this promotion.
-Officially, tickets booked before registration and 2 one-way tickets won’t count, though it’s possible that the system would credit the points anyway.
-The name on your SPG account does not need to match the name on the Virgin account and nearly all transfers have been completed in less than 24 hours. You can only make 1 transfer to a Virgin America account per 24 hour period.


Originally posted on 6/24:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Earn Up To 75K JetBlue Points After 1 Round-Trip If You Have Or If You Transfer Points To Virgin America!

JetBlue is offering bonus points for flying 1 round-trip flight if you have Virgin America Elevate points as follows:

b63

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You need to email JetBlue a screenshot of your Virgin America point balance, name, and member number (along with your JetBlue member number) by 7/4 to participate. You can transfer Starpoints to Virgin America in just 1 day, so even if you have no points currently, a transfer of 40,001 Starpoints would give you 50,001 Virgin America Elevate points to qualify for the highest offer.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

You can also buy Starpoints for 30% off currently. Normally they cost 3.5 cents each, but with this sale they are just 2.45 cents each. If you you have 20,001 Starpoints already you can buy another 20K for $490 with this sale and then transfer them into 50,001 Virgin America points as 20,000 Starpoints converts into 25,000 Virgin America points and 40,000 Starpoints converts into 50,000 Virgin America points.

You can have a friend buy Starpoints as well and transfer them to your Virgin America account to get to the full 50,001 Virgin America points.

Points also transfer from Citi or AMEX to Virgin America, but at a paltry 2:1 ratio rather than the 20K:25K ratio that Starwood offers.

After emailing JetBlue and getting confirmation you just need to book and fly on any paid roundtrip on JetBlue by 8/31 to earn 75K bonus JetBlue points as shown in the chart above!

The bonus points will post within 4-6 weeks after the flight. The bonus points are in addition to the regular points you’ll earn from the paid flight.

Don’t have anywhere to fly? It can definitely be worth taking a mileage run to earn 75K points.

For example you can fly in and out of Boston from JFK for $120 or from Newark for $116.

b64

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or you can fly from Newark to Boston for $102 round-trip if you spend the night:

b65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What are these points worth?

Virgin America points:

Virgin America points will never expire, as long as you earn or redeem a point every 18 months.

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way Virgin flights (Prices were researched on 6/24 and will fluctuate). Note that Starpoint rates listed below 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):
1. Los Angeles to Las Vegas on 7/12 is $38.10 or 1,173 Virgin points (about 938 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.78 cents per Virgin point (38.10-5.60/1,173) and 3.46 cents per Starpoint.
2. Newark to Los Angeles on 8/17 is $138.10 or 6,056 Virgin points (about 5,236 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.18 cents per Virgin point and 2.72 cents per Starpoint.
3. Chicago to Los Angeles on 8/23 is $128.10 or 5,568 Virgin points (about 4,454 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.2 cents per Virgin point and 2.75 cents per Starpoint.

The exact point requirements will vary based on the price of the Virgin flights, but those are some pretty sweet values!

You can also redeem points on partner airlines and you can view rates via this link.
Partners include Hawaiian, Singapore, and Virgin Australia with low or no fuel surcharges and Emirates or Virgin Atlantic with high fuel surcharges.

For example:
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Frankfurt on Singapore is just 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Honolulu on Hawaiian is 35K Virgin miles (about 28K SPG) in coach or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 15K Virgin miles+$475 (about 12K SPG) in coach, 25K Virgin miles+$790 (20K SPG) in premium economy, or 35K Virgin miles+$1,150 (about 28K SPG) in upper class, Virgin’s version of business class with an on-board bar with access to their highly-rated clubhouse lounges.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 25K Virgin miles+$475 (20K SPG) in coach, 30K Virgin miles+$790 (about 24K SPG) in premium economy, or 50K Virgin miles+$1,150 (40K SPG) in upper class.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco nonstop to any of the Hawaiian islands on Hawaiian is 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach or 50K Virgin miles (40K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Seoul on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Sydney on Virgin Australia is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach, 60K Virgin miles (about 48K SPG) in premium economy, or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business class.


JetBlue points:

-If you open a JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard you’ll get a 10% rebate whenever you use points, making the 75K points worth more than 82K points. Plus you’ll get 9-17 points per dollar on JetBlue, free checked luggage, 5,000 bonus points on every card anniversary, $100 cash back annually for spending $100+ on a JetBlue vacation, a 50% rebate for in-flight purchases, and no foreign transaction fees. If you spend $50K annually on the card you’ll also get Mosaic status which includes free changes and cancellations on JetBlue tickets for the Mosaic member and for everyone on their itinerary, 2 free checked bags, 15K bonus points for earning Mosaic status every year, free even more speed checkin and security access, early boarding, 3 additional points per dollar spent, free alcoholic beverages onboard, and a dedicated Mosaic 24/7 customer service line.

-JetBlue points never expire. JetBlue also allows families to pool their points together.

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way JetBlue flights (Prices were researched on 6/24 and will fluctuate).
1. Chicago to JFK on 7/26 is $78.10 or 4.8K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.51 cents per point (78.10-5.60/3,700). JetBlue Plus cardholders would effectively pay 4,320 points, a value of 1.68 cents per point.
2. JFK-Los Angeles on 8/22 is $138.10 or 9.2K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.44 cents per point. JetBlue Plus cardholders would effectively pay 8,220 points, a value of 1.61 cents per point.
3. Long Beach-Las Vegas on 7/4 is $43.10 or 2.2K points+$5.60. That’s a value of 1.7 cents per point. JetBlue Plus cardholders would effectively pay 1,980 points, a value of 1.89 cents per point.


In summary, you can expect a value of at least 2.2 cents per point from Virgin America points on their flights, so 20K Starpoints would earn at least $550 of Virgin America flight. Or you can redeem 20K Virgin America points for a round-trip flight to Europe!

That’s a very compelling use of Starpoints alone due to the 25% bonus for transferring points which will make your Starpoints worth at least 2.75 cents each. That’s more than Starpoints cost to buy with the current sale.

If you are also flying JetBlue by August, or if you want to take a mileage run for about $120, you can parlay those Virgin America points into another 75K JetBlue points that can be worth 1.5-1.7 cents each if you’re not a cardholder ($1,125-$1,275 of JetBlue flights) or 1.6-1.9 cents each if you are a cardholder ($1,200-$1,425 of JetBlue flights).

If you have no Virgin America points, then transferring 40,001 Starpoints would earn you 50,001 Virgin America points (At least $1,100 in Virgin America flights or 2.5 round-trips to Europe) and 75K bonus JetBlue points ($1,125-$1,425 in free JetBlue flights in addition to the points that you’ll earn from the JetBlue flight) after taking 1 paid round-trip JetBlue flight.

Will you participate in this promotion? Hit the comments!

HT: 12HRS, via DDF

Join Virgin America Elevate And Get 500 Points, Enroll In A Sweepstakes And Get 250 Points, Refer Friends And Get Up To 2,500 Points; Fly To Europe For 20K Round-Trip

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016, 4:35 pm

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

If you signup for a Virgin America Elevate account via this referral link you’ll get 500 points added to your account within 4-6 weeks. You can also get 500 points for friend that you refer to Virgin America, for up to 2,500 referral points. Referral points will also post within 4-6 weeks. Promotion ends 5/31.

Enroll in this Hawaiian sweepstakes to win a vacation to Hawaii and you’ll get 250 points.
Promotion ends 5/31 and the 250 points will post in July.

That’s a potential 3,250 points.

Need more Virgin America Elevate points?

Last month Starwood added Virgin America as its 35th airline transfer partner. You can transfer points at the standard 20K Starpoints=25K Virgin America points ratio. Click here to transfer Starpoints into airline miles.

Ironically both Starwood and Virgin America will cease to exist in a couple years from now having been snapped up by Marriott and Alaska, but there is value still to be had in the meantime. It’s also great to see SPG still adding partners to its portfolio. Last December it added Aegean, which is excellent for awards to Israel.

You can earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

Virgin America has hybrid award redemption system. You can redeem for flights on Virgin America with points that vary based on the cost of the flight. (Alternatively, you can redeem Virgin Atlantic miles to fly on Virgin America for a flat rate that doesn’t vary by the cost of the flight.)

Here’s a look at what your points will be worth for various one-way Virgin flights (Prices were researched on 5/18 and will fluctuate). Note that Starpoint rates listed below 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):
1. Los Angeles-Las Vegas on 6/7 is $43.10 or 1,417 Virgin points (about 1,134 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.65 cents per Virgin point (43.10-5.60/1,417) and 3.31 cents per Starpoint.
2. San Francisco to Maui on 8/28 is $179 or 8,187 Virgin points (about 6,550 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.21 cents per Virgin point and 2.65 cents per Starpoint.
3. JFK to Los Angeles on 5/29 is $148.10 or 6,545 Virgin points (about 5,236 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.18 cents per Virgin point and 2.72 cents per Starpoint.
4. Los Angeles-Fort Lauderdale on 6/1 is $134.10 or 5,861 Virgin points (about 4,689 SPG)+$5.60. That’s a value of 2.19 cents per Virgin point and 2.74 cents per Starpoint.

The exact point requirements will vary based on the price of the Virgin flights, but those are some pretty sweet values!

You can also redeem points on partner airlines and you can view rates via this link.
Partners include Hawaiian, Singapore, and Virgin Australia with low or no fuel surcharges and Emirates or Virgin Atlantic with high fuel surcharges.

For example:
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Frankfurt on Singapore is just 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to Honolulu on Hawaiian is 35K Virgin miles (about 28K SPG) in coach or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from JFK nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 15K Virgin miles+$475 (about 12K SPG) in coach, 25K Virgin miles+$790 (20K SPG) in premium economy, or 35K Virgin miles+$1,150 (about 28K SPG) in upper class, Virgin’s version of business class with an on-board bar with access to their highly-rated clubhouse lounges.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles nonstop to London on Virgin Atlantic is 25K Virgin miles+$475 (20K SPG) in coach, 30K Virgin miles+$790 (about 24K SPG) in premium economy, or 50K Virgin miles+$1,150 (40K SPG) in upper class.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco nonstop to any of the Hawaiian islands on Hawaiian is 20K Virgin miles (about 16K SPG) in coach or 50K Virgin miles (40K SPG) in business.
-A roundtrip from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Seoul on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Singapore is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach.
-A roundtrip from Los Angeles to Sydney on Virgin Australia is just 40K Virgin miles (about 32K SPG) in coach, 60K Virgin miles (about 48K SPG) in premium economy, or 80K Virgin miles (about 64K SPG) in business class.

HOT! AMEX Offers: $10 Off $20 Anywhere In The US When You Use Samsung Pay!

Friday, May 6th, 2016, 9:36 am

AMEX has a fantastic new offer for Samsung Pay. Just login to your account to enroll your cards for $10 off $20 at any store in the US when you use Samsung Pay. You can enroll each of the cards in your account by opening each card in a tab in your browser. You can also register additional user cards on your primary login or on their own login to enroll them as well.

Enrollment is limited, so signup your cards now and then use them in-store on a $20+ transaction with Samsung Pay by 8/4. Valid for one $10 credit per enrolled card.

You need a Samsung phone like the S6, S7, Note 5, or their edge variants to use Samsung Pay.

Almost all stores accept payment via Samsung Pay, where will you be making your $20 transaction?

Here are some other current AMEX offers that I have on my account. Others have also reported offers for Dell and Delta, so login and see what’s waiting for you!

-Save $25 off $100 on Staples.com through 6/19. Perfect for a nice rebate on a Visa gift card!

-Get 10% of online payments rebated back (up to $30 in rebates) for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular or Verizon through 6/30.

-$50 off $250 at Ashford.com through 5/12

-$15 off $30 at Google Express through 5/15

-$10 off $50 at AdvanceAutoParts.com through 5/31

-$10 off $50 at JellyBelly.com through 6/30

-$10 off $50 at Hertz.com through 6/30

-$15 off $75 on Telecharge.com through 6/30. Save on Broadway shows and more!

-$15 off $75 at eBags.com through 7/13.

-$15 off $50 at 1800Flowers.com through 7/17.

-2x Membership Rewards points at Amazon.com through 7/31.

-Get 5% of in-store $100+ Home Depot purchases rebated back (up to $100 in rebates) through 8/31

-$30 off $100 at Belle Tire through 10/1

-2x Membership Rewards points at BestBuy.com through 12/31

-2x Membership Rewards points at Target.com through 12/31

-2x Membership Rewards points at Gap.com through 12/31


American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Don’t want to miss out on AMEX Offers?

Consumer cards include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (25K Starpoints for spending $3K in 3 months, free Boingo worldwide hotspot access, free premium wifi in SPG hotels, 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express (10K AMEX MR points for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  20% point bonus for making 20 transactions per month for an effective 2.4 points per dollar on groceries, 2.2 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. No annual fee.)

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express (15K AMEX MR points for spending $1,000 in 3 months.  50% point bonus for making 30 transactions per month for an effective 4.5 points per dollar on groceries, 3 points per dollar on gas, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.5 points per dollar elsewhere. $95 annual fee.)

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (25K AMEX MR points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on restaurants, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber. $100 annual airline fee credit. No foreign transaction fees. $195 annual fee waived for first year.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (30K Delta miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months. $50 cash back for making a purchase with Delta within 3 months. No foreign exchange fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express 50K points for spending $750 within 3 months. Earn 7 points per dollar for spending at Hilton, 5 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar elsewhere. Silver elite status for as long as you are a cardmember that gets you the ability to get the 5th night free on Hilton award stays. If you spend $20K on the card you’ll also get Hilton Gold status. No annual fee)

Platinum Card® from American Express (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Free Starwood and Hilton gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 cash back in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee. 3 additional cardholders for a flat $175 fee ($58.33/year each) which includes full lounge access and free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express ($100 cash back for spending $1,000 in 3 months. 3% cash back on groceries, 2% cash back on gas and department stores, no annual fee.)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($150 cash back for spending $1,000 in 3 months. 6% cash back on groceries, 3% cash back on gas and department stores, $75 annual fee.)

Plenti Credit Card from Amex (5K points for spending $250 in 3 months, no annual fee.)

Business cards:

All business cards give automatic OPEN Savings rebates on top of points.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (25K Starpoints for spending $5K in 3 months, free Sheraton lounge access, free Boingo worldwide hotspot access, free premium wifi in SPG hotels, 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express (Limited time offer ending 7/29: 10K MR points for spending $1 and another 10K MR points for spending $5K in 6 months. 30% bonus on all points earned annually. You must have a Everyday, Green, Gold, or Platinum card to transfer these points to airlines or hotels. No annual fee.)

The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (25K AMEX MR points for spending $5,000 in 3 months. 3 points per dollar in your choice of one of the following categories and 2 points in the other categories: Airfare, advertising, gas stations, shipping, or hardware+software+cloud computing. 2 points per dollar on Uber. $175 annual fee waived for first year.)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN (40K AMEX MR points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. 10 free annual Gogo in-flight internet passes. Free Starwood gold elite status for discounted paid and award stays. Free Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access, Airspace lounge access, and Priority Club lounge access. $200 in airline fee refunds per calendar year ($400 in refunds during first cardmembership year). Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.  Free insurance for any items bought on credit card and lost within 90 days. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (30K Delta miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months. $50 cash back for making a purchase with Delta within 3 months. No foreign exchange fees. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

SimplyCash® Plus Business Card from American Express (Limited time offer ending 8/3: $250 signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 6 months. 5% cash back at office supply stores and telecom. 3% cash back on your choice of Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, Computer hardware/software/cloud computing, gas stations, restaurants, advertising, or shipping. No annual fee.)

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (5K AMEX MR points for spending $1 in 3 months. $95 annual fee waived for first year.)

HT: meezewho1122, via DDF

Air Canada/Cathay Pacific: NYC To Hong Kong For $360 Round-Trip!

Thursday, May 5th, 2016, 5:49 pm

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
Earn 3 points per dollar on airfare with the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card.

Bookable on Orbitz. Orbitz tickets are refundable until 11pm ET tomorrow.

Bookable on Priceline. Tickets purchased from Priceline today arerefundable until 11:29pm tomorrow. Please see this post for directions on how to cancel these tickets.


Flights connect in Toronto and/or Vancouver. Some flights have long connection, but both cities are well worth checking out.

Travel is available on most dates from September-December.

Sample itinerary on Orbitz:

o1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that this is a mixed airline itinerary and a $6.99 booking fee applies that typically won’t be refunded even if you cancel within 24 hours.

Hong Kong is a fascinating East meets West city and is home to several great kosher restaurants and shuls. Mul Hayam restaurant, located next to the Kehilat Zion shul in the Kowloon section of Hong Kong, is excellent. The JCC located on Hong Kong Island has very good dairy and meat restaurants as well as an awesome Sunday night all you can eat buffet, just don’t forget to bring your passport to get in! Chabad of Lantau also offers meals with delivery options.

We spent a Shabbos with Chabad of Hong Kong Island where the food was excellent and the atmosphere is awesome. People have rave reviews about Shabbos at Kehilat Zion as well.

After Shabbos we moved the W in Kowloon, which is one of my favorite SPG hotels in the world. We got an amazing upgrade and there’s a very cool rooftop infinity pool and hot tub. Plus the bellhop picked up our bags from our room and checked them straight home to Cleveland without us ever having to touch them thanks to the airport express station located in the W’s basement.

There are lots of other great hotels where you can spend your points at as well.

Most hotels even give you a free cell phone to use while in Hong Kong.

Americans do not need a visa to travel to Hong Kong or to take the ferry from Hong Kong to nearby Macau.

HT: chuchem and Deals Fan, via DDF


Join the 71,300+ 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.

Trip Notes Brazil Part 4: Rio de Janeiro

Sunday, May 1st, 2016, 11:32 am

-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.
-Follow my travels on Instagram @DansDeals
———————————————————————

-Continued from
-Trip Notes Brazil Part 1: 10 Years Of Travel And Deal Blogging And A Return To Where It All Began (Published 11/23/14)

-Trip Notes Brazil Part 2: Flying “Private” To Sao Paulo With Miles (Published 2/7/16)
-Trip Notes Brazil Part 3: Iguaçu Falls (Published 4/17/16)

-This trip occurred in October 2014, better late than never, right? I posted that Brazil was waiving their $160 Visa fee for Americans that arrive between June 1-September 18, so that was the impetus to continue writing these trip notes. Argentina is now also waiving their $160 reciprocity fee for US citizens, making this an amazing time to visit both countries thanks to $320 in reciprocity savings and hassles! Read the CDC travel notice about Zika here before booking travel to Latin America. 

I explored Rio in 2005 at the end of a year of teaching in Brazil, and was stunned by the beauty of the city.

Landing in Rio, circa my 2005 trip:

picture228 099a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it was in Rio as a 20 year old that I took an exhilarating leap of faith on a hang-glider…

picture228 010a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and ran off of this ramp, full speed ahead:

picture228 006a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It felt totally surreal, but it was a truly unforgettable experience.

9 years later on a Tuesday evening I flew with my wife and 2 kids on an uneventful GOL flight nonstop from Foz do Iguaçu to Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão airport. The flight from Sao Paulo to Iguaçu and Iguaçu to Rio was pricing out at $720, so I happily paid 25K Delta miles for the flights. The kids both flew free due to a promotion that GOL was running on their Portuguese language site only. It often has specials not found on their English language site.

View from Rio’s Pão de Açúcar/Sugarloaf Mountain:

DSC01597b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about the Cidade Maravilhosa after the jump:

(more…)

Chase Freedom Unlimited Now Available Online, Is It The Best Card For Everyday Spending?

Thursday, April 7th, 2016, 4:26 pm

Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa

The new Chase Freedom Unlimited advertises a $150 signup bonus for spending $500 in 3 months, but in reality that comes in the form of 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You’ll get an additional 2,500 points for adding a free additional user which will leave you with a total of 18,250 points after spending $500.

It has no annual fee.

The real kicker is that although it advertises 1.5% cash back, that too comes in the form of 1.5 points per dollar. When used properly those points are worth far more than 1% each.

The beauty of miles is that the sky is the limit (see the end of this post for more on that or see this post for ideas for your miles). I’ve had redemptions where my miles have been worth 50 cents each. If you’re good at the game, it’s not difficult to get a value of at least 2 cents from your miles, which would mean this card would be worth 3% cash back everywhere for you. That’s tough to beat.

If you value Chase points at 1.7 cents each then earning 1.5 points per dollar everywhere is like earning 2.55% cash back. It shouldn’t be hard to attain a value like that between Hyatt and airlines like British Airways, Iberia, Korean, Singapore, Southwest, and United.
If you value them at 1.6 cents each you would be earning 2.4% cash back. Even if you value them at just 1.5 cents each it would still be like getting 2.25% cash back and still beats a 2% cash back card.

You can pay your federal taxes for a 1.87% fee, so it can make sense to use this card to pay your taxes as long as you value Chase points at a paltry 1.2 cents each.

The only catch is that you, your spouse, or an authorized user on your account must have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card in order to transfer these points into miles.

The good news is that you can convert this card into a Sapphire Preferred card and then convert it back. You can also convert your Freedom or Sapphire Preferred card into a Freedom Unlimited card, though you don’t get signup bonuses for card conversions. If you do convert your Freedom card into a Freedom Unlimited card, be sure to first finish the $1,500 in Q2 bonus spending.

It can be tough to get cards like Freedom or Sapphire if you have received 5 or more cards in the past 24 months, but exceptions have been made and bankers have been able to help some people with Chase checking accounts appeal a denial.

There are lots of cards that offer bonuses for spending in specific categories:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-I always max out the $1,500 of 5x quarterly spending on the Chase Freedom Visa. That’s an easy way to pickup 30K miles per year. Last year it even offered up to 11 points per dollar in December as a special “5th quarter” promotion. It has no annual fee.

-The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express offers 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on dining, US gas stations, US supermarkets, and Uber. It is free for a year and is $195 afterward, but if comes with a $100 airline fee credit that helps offset that fee.

-The Ink Plus card offers 5 points per dollar on office supplies (including hundreds of gift cards sold by office supply stores), cell phone, internet, and telecom bills, and 2 points per dollar on gas and hotels. It has a $95 annual fee.

-The Sapphire Preferred offers 2 points per dollar on airfare, car rentals, hotels, and dining, plus it comes with travel insurance and free primary car rental insurance. It’s free for the first year and then has a $95 annual fee.

-The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card is one of the best hybrid card offerings because it offers a great value for everyday spending and spending in select categories. If you have 30 transactions per month it offers 4.5 miles per dollar at US supermarkets, 3 points per dollar at US gas stations, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, and 1.5 points per dollar everywhere else. That’s an excellent all-around card, but it requires discipline to make sure that you reach 30 transactions per month. It has a $95 annual fee.

-The Amex EveryDay Credit Card has no annual fee and if you make 20 transactions per month earns 2.4 points per dollar at US supermarkets and Uber, and 1.2 points per dollar elsewhere. It’s the only no-fee card that allows you to transfer points into miles.

-For everyday spending without needing 20 or 30 transactions per month the long-time gold standard has been the Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX. The built-in 25% bonus when transferring points into miles means that you effectively earn 1.25 miles per dollar and Starwood has an awesome array of airlines. Alas transfers from Starwood take a few days and while SPG is safe for now, it won’t be around for more than a couple of years due to Marriott taking it over. And the Starwood card’s only bonus category is for spending money at Starwood hotels.

-For my everyday spending I’ve been using a United Club card as that earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent. That card normally has a whopping $450 annual fee, though I only pay $40/year for it as a lifetime club member and a United 1K. It’s a great card, but the miles are locked into United.

So the Freedom Unlimited offers a unique value proposition. It has no annual fee. It doesn’t require that you make a certain number of transactions per month. And it offers 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. Its’ only Achilles heel is that it requires that you, a spouse, or an authorized user on your account has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus in order to transfer its points into hotel points or airline miles. As Chase allows you to upgrade to Sapphire Preferred and downgrade back to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited that’s a not a big deal though. It even has a huge advantage over the $450/year United Club card in that the points can be transferred to Chase’s other excellent airline and hotel partners and aren’t locked into United miles.

Will you switch your everyday spending to Freedom Unlimited?

A Comparison Of How Many Miles Are Needed For Award Flights On 116 OneWorld Direct Routes From NYC

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016, 8:00 pm

Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

Ever wonder how many miles you need for an award flight and if you are getting the best deal?

In the chart below you can find the rates for every direct OneWorld flight from NYC when using American (AA) miles, Alaska (AS) miles, British Airways (BA) Avios, Cathay Pacific (CX) Asia Miles, Iberia (IB) Avios, or LAN (LA) kilometers.

See the full comparison for miles required with these 6 carriers on 116 routes from NYC after the jump:

(more…)

Breaking: Anbang Punts On Starwood Buyout

Thursday, March 31st, 2016, 4:20 pm

Word is just hitting the street that Anbang will not be buying SPG in the end.

This comes on the heels of Anbang making a higher offer than Marriott over the weekend and amid questions about who exactly controls Anbang and where their backing comes from.

And now all we can do is wait and see what Marriott does to our beloved SPG program…

HT: damaxer91

Fly From Delta Or United Hubs To Hong Kong From Just $444 Round-Trip!

Thursday, March 31st, 2016, 10:55 am

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
Earn 3 points per dollar on airfare with the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card.

Bookable on Priceline. Tickets purchased from Priceline today arerefundable until 11:29pm tomorrow. Please see this post for directions on how to cancel these tickets.

—————————————————————————————————-

-United has fares from Delta’s hubs, including Altanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Seattle to Hong Kong from $444.

-Delta has fares from United’s hubs, including Chicago, Denver, Houston, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington DC to Hong Kong from $481.

You can use Google Flights to help find valid dates. Most routes are valid on select dates in April, May, August, September, October, November, and December.

Sample valid United dates to Hong Kong:
-Atlanta-HKG, 9/7-9/14, $444, 2 hour connection in Chicago or Newark.

-Detroit-HKG 11/8-11/15, $444, 2 hour connection in Chicago.

-Minneapolis-HKG, 11/23-11/30, $444, 1-2 hour connection in Chicago.

-Seattle-HKG, 5/4-5/16, $452, 1-5 hour connection in San Francisco.

Sample valid Delta dates to Hong Kong:

-Chicago-HKG, 5/4-5/10, $482, 3-6 hour connection in Seattle.

-Denver-HKG, 5/11-5/17, $482, 2 hour connection in Seattle.

-Houston-HKG, 5/10-5/17, $466, 1-7 hour connection in Seattle.

-Newark-HKG 5/2-5/9, $482, 6 hour connection in Seattle.
-Newark-HKG 5/11-5/18, $482, 6 hour connection in Seattle.
-Newark-HKG 5/18-5/25, $482, 6 hour connection in Seattle.
-Newark-HKG 8/31-9/7, $482, 5-6 hour connection in Seattle.
-Newark-HKG 9/6-9/13, $482, 5-6 hour connection in Seattle.
-Newark-HKG 9/14-9/21, $482, 5-6 hour connection in Seattle.

-San Francisco-HKG 5/11-5/18, $482, 2 hour connection in Seattle.

-Washington DC-HKG 5/10-5/17, $482, 4-5 hour connection in Seattle.

American also has $386 fares from HKG to Newark, but you must originate in Hong Kong. Sample date: 4/6-4/13.

Hong Kong is home to several great kosher restaurants and shuls. Mul Hayam restaurant, located next to the Kehilat Zion shul in the Kowloon section of Hong Kong, is excellent. The JCC located on Hong Kong Island has very good dairy and meat restaurants as well as an awesome Sunday night all you can eat buffet, just don’t forget to bring your passport to get in! Chabad of Lantau also offers meals with delivery options.

We spent a Shabbos with Chabad of Hong Kong Island where the food was excellent and the atmosphere is awesome. People have rave reviews about Shabbos at Kehilat Zion as well.

After Shabbos we moved the W in Kowloon, which is one of my favorite SPG hotels in the world. We got an amazing upgrade and there’s a very cool rooftop infinity pool and hot tub. Plus the bellhop picked up our bags from our room and checked them straight home to Cleveland without us ever having to touch them thanks to the airport express station located in the W’s basement.

There are lots of other great hotels where you can spend your points at as well.

Most hotels even give you a free cell phone to use while in Hong Kong.

Americans do not need a visa to travel to Seoul, Hong Kong, or to take the ferry from Hong Kong to nearby Macau.

HT: CRONY and FT

Highest Public Offer Ever: Earn 35,000 Starpoints Signup Bonus On Both The Starwood Consumer And Business AMEX Cards!

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016, 1:00 pm

Update: Offer Expired!
—————————————————————————–

Originally posted on 3/3/16:

Related posts:
The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints, 2016 Edition
Starwood Adds A 34th Airline Transfer Partner And It’s Excellent For Awards To Israel!
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
——————————————————————————————-
Consumer 35K Limited Time Offer:
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Business 35K Limited Time Offer:
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

This is a limited time offer scheduled to run until 03/30.  It offers 40% more points than the standard offer and there has never been a better public offer for this card.

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year on both cards.

For the consumer card you will get 35,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $3,000 within 3 months. The terms state that if you have had the consumer card before you will not get the bonus for the consumer card again.

For the business card you will get 35,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 within 3 months. The brand new business card terms state that if you have had the business card before you will not get the bonus for the business card again.

If you have only had a consumer card you can get the points for business card and if you have only had the business card you can get the points for the consumer card.

———————————————————————————————————
Spending on the Starwood card and comparison to Freedom Unlimited.

The Starwood card remains a very good card for general spending.

While there are other cards with better bonus categories, the Starwood card is strong for general spending as Starpoints continue to be the most valuable mileage currency thanks to valuable hotel usage and the 25% bonus for transfers into dozens of airlines.

The upcoming Freedom Unlimited card will give the Starwood card a run for its money for everyday spending, but Starwood offers no foreign transaction fees compared to 3% for the Freedom Unlimited card. Starwood also offers far more airline transfer options, though it effectively earns 1.25 airline miles per dollar compared to 1.5 on Freedom Unlimited. On the other hand Freedom Unlimited will require that you either upgrade your card or have a premium card like Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus to transfer points into miles, while the Starwood card doesn’t have a requirement like that.

Starwood also allows members at the same address to transfer points between their accounts for free.

There are thousands of uses for Starpoints, some of which have been over 50 cents each for me at hotels, but I aim for a minimum value of about 2.2 cents per point and am happy when I’m able to exceed that level. It’s not hard to reach a value of that level at hotels and you can transfer 20K miles into 25K valuable miles from airlines like Aegean, Alaska, American, and dozens of other programs. If you are able to obtain a value of 1.75 cents from those airlines then that imputes a 2.2 cent value for Starpoints as well. The miles won’t sell on the grey market for that price, but miles are always more valuable when you use them yourself for travel.

The Starwood card earns 2 Starpoints per dollar at Starwood hotels, or a 4.4% rebate at a value of 2.2 cents per Starpoint. It earns 1 Starpoint per dollar everywhere else, or a 2.2% rebate at a value of 2.2 cents per Starpoint.

———————————————————————————————————

Marriott merger:

Starwood is in the process of merging with Marriott, but it will be a while until the programs are merged. Marriott’s CEO has promised multiple times not to mess with SPG’s value proposition, but we’ll see what that means when the full details come out. At this point nothing is known and there are lots of possibilities. The programs could be run separately or either loyalty program could win out. Ideally they’d realize the passion that SPG members have for Starpoints and simply convert Marriott points into an SPG type of loyalty program with something like a 50% haircut in points for Marriott members. But ideally doesn’t always happen.

Will the SPG AMEX or the Chase Marriott card survive? Might both survive? Those are all questions we might not know answers to until next year.

Chase is also currently offering a limited time 87.5K signup bonus on the Marriott card. Of course Starpoints are worth far more than Marriott points and it remains to be seen how exactly and at what ratio they’ll be combined.

But in the meantime you can pickup the signup bonus on both limited time offers.

———————————————————————————————————

American Express Benefits and the annual fee:

The card also carries American Express’ awesome top-notch protections that are light-years better than any other banks. Most other banks always look for a way to get out, but that’s not the case with American Express.
-If you need to return an item up to $300 they will gladly refund you. Most of the time you’ll be able to keep the item, but if you do need to send it back the return shipping will be free.
-You get an additional year of warranty coverage and if you have any issue in the extended warranty year they’ll pay to have it fixed or refund your entire purchase price without a hassle.
-If you need to dispute a charge there’s nobody who makes it easier or as pain-free as American Express does. It’s the best in the industry by leaps and bounds and you can do it all online.
-If your item is stolen or broken within 90 days you’ll be covered.

See this post to see just how amazing AMEX benefits can be.

There’s no fee on the Starwood card for the first year and $95 thereafter though you can often get bonus points or account credits for keeping it open for additional years. If you cancel a card within 60 days of being charged the fee on your statement you will receive a full refund of the fee. If you cancel after 60 days you get a pro-rated refund based on how many months you had the card.

———————————————————————————————————
Spending $3K or $5K in 3 months:

You can pay your federal taxes for a 1.87% fee. The Starpoints are worth more than 1.87 cents each, so that’s a no-brainer if you’re trying to meet a spend threshold. If you overpay you can request a cash refund or apply it to your next year’s taxes.

My local gas company allows me to prepay up to $1,000 on a credit card for a $1.65 flat fee. That’s a great way to earn miles and help meet a spend threshold. My electricity supplier allows me to pay with a credit card for free as long as I am enrolled in autopay. I used to prepay 5 months of rent on a my credit card (it’s easier in Cleveland where that’s just $800/month) for a $19 flat fee. You’d be surprised to see what you can charge to your credit card!

———————————————————————————————————

Sheraton Club Lounge Access:

The Starwood business card now gives free club lounge access when staying at Sheraton hotels.

There have been rave reviews of the Sheraton Club lounge in Tel Aviv for example.  If you have a Starwood business card you’ll get free access to it and its free food, beverages, and sweeping view of the Mediterranean Sea. A free night at the Sheraton Tel Aviv is 12K points, 6K points+$110, or 9.6K points per night on a 5 night stay.

———————————————————————————————————

Premium Internet Access:

With either Starwood card you now get free premium in-room internet at Starwood hotels. All SPG guests get free internet, but cardholders will now get the faster version for free.

———————————————————————————————————

Unlimited worldwide Boingo WiFi:

With either Starwood card you now get free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide, perfect for avoiding confiscatory rates at airports when traveling.  Search from over 1 million hot-spots here.

Enroll for free Boingo access here.

———————————————————————————————————

Elite Status and Crossover benefits with Delta and Uber:

Just by having a Starwood card you earn Preferred Plus status.  This status earns you the right to checkout at 4pm at Starwood hotels and get upgraded to preferred rooms.

If you spend $30,000 in a year on either Starwood card you earn Gold status.  Gold status gets you more points per dollar spent at SPG hotels and a 250 point amenity on stays, even when redeeming points.  You can also get gold status for free with no spending requirement by opening The Platinum Card® from American Express or the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

When you have the Starwood card you also get 5 elite qualifying nights and 2 stays for each Starwood card that you have that count towards earning Gold or Platinum status!

Starwood Gold and Platinum elites can also register here to earn Starpoints on Delta flights on top of the regular Delta miles in addition to other benefits while Delta elites can get benefits at SPG hotels.

And all members can earn bonus Starpoints for Uber rides as well after making a single SPG stay.

———————————————————————————————————
Using Starpoints:

Points are deposited directly into your Starwood account, so you do not lose your points if you cancel your card like you would with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, or Citibank ThankYou points.  You do need to maintain some activity in your Starwood account every 18 months to keep it active, though Starwood is very good about reactivating accounts that have been closed due to inactivity.

Award nights count towards elite status. Gold members receive 250 points back and Platinum members receive 500 points back per stay.

How can you use your points?

1. Hotel award nights with no blackouts or capacity controls. If a standard room is for sale you can use points to book it:

spg2

2. If you book 5 consecutive hotel award nights at category 3-7 hotels then the 5th night will be free:

spg3

For example:
-5 nights at the category 7 blinged out S. Regis Bal Harbour is 120,000 points, still that’s not a bad value when you consider that the cheapest rooms during peak season go for more than $1,000 per night.
-At the category 6 ultra-modern W Hong Kong with a 76th floor rooftop infinity pool or at the breathtaking Le Meridien Bora Bora or Westin Venice would cost 80,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 5 Sheraton Kauai or the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv will be 48,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 4 Sheraton Big Island of Hawaii, Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach, Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort will be 40,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 3 Le Meridien Chiang Mai Thailand over an awesome Shabbos at the nearby Chabad House. would set you back 28,000 points. Same goes for the popular Sheraton Suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek or the Sheraton Mahwah near Monsey.
-The category 2 Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview is just 3K points on weekends or 4K points on weekdays. Same goes for the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel near Lakewood, NJ.
-A night at the category 1 Aloft S. Jose Costa Rica or Le Méridien N’Fis, Morocco starts at just 2,000 points.

Click on the category links to explore other hotels that can be obtained for those rates.

3. Cash and points allows you stretch your points when reserving a standard room, upgraded room, or suite:

spg4

Starwood’s cash and points chart make expensive hotel stays cheap. Take the Sheraton at my hometown Cleveland airport for example. The rate there for tonight is $219+tax=$260. Using Starpoints you can either pay 4,000 points for a value of 6.5 cents per Starpoint. With cash and points a category 2 hotel would be 2,000 points and $35 cash for a value of 11.3 cents per Starpoint! A weekend night is just 3,000 points.

4. Nights and Flights allow you to combine a 5 night hotel stay and get 50,000 miles for less than the cost of booking a 5 night stay and transferring points separately:

spg5

In other words you can stay 5 nights at a category 4 hotel like the Sheraton Big Island of Hawaii or Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and get 50,000 miles transferred into the airline of your choice for just 70,000 Starpoints.

When done separately that 5 night stay would cost 40,000 Starpoints and the airline transfer would cost 40,000 Starpoints.

5. SPG Moments allows you to  purchase or bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences with Starpoints.

Throw out the first pitch at a ballgame, watch the game from a suite, etc. Starwood will even cater their suite with kosher food upon request with no additional charge! People have done that at the US Open, Cubs, Knicks, Rangers, and more games.

6. Keep your eyes peeled for promotions like this 50% off promotion where I spent 5 nights in the S. Regis Bal Harbour for just 48,000 points.

You can currently save 35% off at select resorts.

7. Of course you can transfer your Starpoints into miles with dozens of airlines at great ratios. 20,000 Starpoints becomes 25,000 miles on dozens of airlines thanks to the 25% bonus.

Airlines also often incentivize transfers, like American did last year by offering a 50% bonus for transfersAir Canada and United also offered promotions last year.

Curious about the 34 Starwood transfer options and ratios? Here they are!

With so may different airlines to transfer to it’s just a matter of figuring out which one has the lowest rates to where you want to go. I’ve separated them by alliance so you can know which airlines are partners and will therefore let you book award travel on partner airlines. Of course airlines also have lots of non-alliance partners, but by definition they are partners with all airlines in the same alliance.

In parenthesis you can see if American Express Membership Rewards (MR), Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR), or Citibank Thank You (TY) points transfers to the airline as well.

OneWorld Alliance:
Air Berlin: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
American: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
British Airways Avios: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, UR)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY)
JAL: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
LAN: 20,000 Starpoints=37,500 kms (No other transfers)
Qatar: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)

Skyteam Alliance:
AeroMexico: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY)
Alitalia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
China Eastern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
China Southern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Delta: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Korean: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (UR)
Saudia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Star Alliance:
ANA: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Aegean: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Air Canada/Aeroplan: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Air China: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Air New Zealand: 20,000 Starpoints=385 points (No other transfers)
Asiana: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Lufthansa Miles & More: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Singapore: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
Thai: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
United: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles (UR)

Unaligned:
Alaska (Partners with several airlines from different alliances): 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Emirates: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Etihad: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
Gol/Varig Smiles: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles (No other transfers)
Hainan: 20,000 Starpoints==25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Hawaiian: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Jet Airways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Virgin Atlantic: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
Virgin Australia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Points can also transfer to Amtrak at a 1:1 ratio.

You can view the expiration policies for each transfer program here. Remember that points can only transfer from Starwood to an airline, they can never transfer from an airline to Starwood.

I don’t recommend using the SPG Flights or the SPG Merchandise/Gift Card programs as the value per point is way too low.

How do you normally redeem your Starpoints? Hit the comments!

Round 4: Anbang Outbids Marriott For Control Of Starwood; Are You On #TeamMarriott or #TeamAnbang ?

Monday, March 28th, 2016, 10:10 am

In November Marriott agreed to buy Starwood.

Starwood has some of the most loyal members in the industry and cried so much that Marriott came out and said to calm down as they weren’t going to kill that loyalty by devaluing the program.

But they were still going to convert the SPG loyalty program into Marriott, a far less generous elite stay program and points program.

On March 14th China based Anbang proposed a better offer and on March 18th Starwood accepted their deal. That would leave $400MM in Marriott’s pocket if they walked away.

They didn’t and on March 21st Marriott made a better offer. Starwood accepted that offer and agreed to pay Marriott $468MM if the offer fell through.

Today Anbang has once again outbid Marriott. We’ll know soon if Starwood accepts their new offer, but they likely will. Will Marriott take the breakup fee of $468MM and walk away this time?

It’s not often that I root for a Chinese based company to take over a US company, but I’m definitely rooting for that to happen this time. Some on DDF are taking a contrarian opinion. They’re afraid that similar to NYC based Blackstone’s raiding of the Hilton loyalty program that Anbang will devalue SPG.

That’s a possibility of course, though chains like Hilton, IHG, and Marriott have traditionally been far less generous than Starwood and Hyatt as they have a significantly larger hotel footprint. People need to stay in their hotels anyway, so there’s less reason to incentivize loyalty. SPG and Hyatt have fewer hotels and provide greater elite benefits to go out of the way to stay at their hotels. They have valuable point currencies and some of the most loyal customers in the industry. Would Anbang risk their massive investment in SPGs loyalty program by angering those loyal to it?

I’m betting they won’t, but even if there’s a 33% chance that they would, I believe that it’s lower than the chances that Marriott will devalue Starpoints when they get swallowed into the Marriott universe.

Additionally with the Anbang offer we would continue to have both the Starwood AMEX and the Chase Marriott cards. One of those cards will likely be axed in the case of a merger and both cards have unprecedented limited time offers as they try to build their book of business before a potential merger.

And as the airlines have shown, more consolidations just makes things worse for the consumer. Their loyalty programs could never have become as stingy and devalued as they are today without the massive consolidation that has happened in that industry.

I’m sitting on several million Starpoints, so I’m personally invested in the outcome of this battle. The great thing about Starwood is that it has built-in devaluation protection. If the points for hotel use isn’t worthwhile, there are dozens of airlines to transfer points to at favorable ratios. I’d rather keep them as flexible points, but I won’t hesitate to jump ship and convert them into miles if anything seems amiss.

What are your thoughts? Are you on #TeamMarriott or #TeamAnbang ?

Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints, 2016 Edition

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016, 4:44 pm

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-Earn Starpoints on the Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEXYou can also use your Starpoints to stay free at the the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv and later this year at the W Tel Aviv – Jaffa which is scheduled to open on November 1st. With a Starwood business card you’ll even get free lounge access and meals at the Sheraton Tel Aviv! 
———————————————————————–
Related post: The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart (2015)
———————————————————————–
The Starwood card is an excellent card for general spending. You can use just a couple thousand points for free hotel nights or transfer points into the mileage programs of 34 different airlines with a 25% transfer bonus. 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 plus a 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 an SPG.com account. Click here to transfer Starpoints into airline miles. Note that transfers can take a few days to complete.

The rates in this post are for flights from NYC to Tel Aviv unless otherwise noted.

Read more about using Starpoints to fly to Israel after the jump: (more…)

Starwood Agrees To Be Sold To The Chinese, Marriott Has 5 Days To Respond

Monday, March 21st, 2016, 9:45 am

 

Update: Marriott has outbid Anbang for control of Starwood once again. Additionally Starwood has agreed to pay Marriott $468MM as a breakup fee if they accept a bid from another company in this ongoing bidding war.

————————————————————————————

Originally posted on 3/18:

In a fantastic development for mileage junkies, Starwood has reversed course and has agreed to be sold to China’s Anbang consortium.

Marriott runs a far less generous loyalty program than Starwood and while they have promised to elevate their combined program to Starwood’s standards, there’s obviously reason for concern.

The Starwood AMEX and Chase Marriott cards are both running unprecedented signup bonuses as they look to expand their book of business before the merger, when one of the cards would likely go away. Frankly I’m surprised that AMEX didn’t make their own play to buy out Starwood just to stop the bleeding after losing Costco and JetBlue last year.

Of course this is all a play to get Marriott to cough up more cash for SPG. I’m rooting that they’ll take the $400MM breakup fee payment and walk away, though that’s probably unlikely at this point in the bidding war.

HT: damaxer91

An Hour Left To Bid On The Coolest Use Of Starpoints Ever?

Monday, March 21st, 2016, 9:44 am

A few years ago I burned 25K United miles for 4 box seats to an Indians game. In middle of the game I got to run onto the field and literally steal 2nd base. As an die-hard Indians fan it was probably the coolest use of my miles ever. People around the stadium were shocked to see someone walking around with 2nd base. I got the base signed by several players, including the winning pitcher that night, and it hangs in my office today. It still has the Jacobs Field dirt on it.

That story inspired other DansDeals readers to use their miles for some amazing experiences as well.

Starwood has their Moments program where they auction off very neat experiences as well.

Until 11am ET today you can use your Starpoints to bid on 2 seats in the SPG luxury suite when the Mets play the Cubs in Wrigley Field on Monday, July 18 in Chicago. Food and drinks and included and they’ll even cater the suite with kosher food upon request. The current high bid is 75K Starpoints.

OK, that’s not the cool part. I’ve done that before.

The 3 highest bidders will audition for the right to sing the National Anthem before the game! I wish I had a good enough voice to pull that off, but what an awesome once-in-a-lifetime experience that would be for someone who does.

Only the person who’s audition is accepted will be charged the Starpoints. The other 2 highest bidders who are not accepted will actually receive a full refund of their Starpoints and they’ll be able to still receive 2 seats in the SPG luxury suite to the Cubbies game of their choice in the 2nd half of the season.

Will you be a bidder? Hit the comments!

Marriott To Buy Starwood

Monday, March 14th, 2016, 10:15 am

Update 2: I’m still traveling for another few days and haven’t slept in more than that thanks to polar bear and Aurora Borealis hunting, but I’d be remiss not to mention that there is a competing offer from a Chinese consortium now on the table for Starwood. Might this save Starwood as we know it from being swallowed up by Marriott?

Time will tell.

Now, do the Chinese also want to save Fairmont while they’re at it?

———————————————————————————

Update 1: In somewhat promising news, Marriott claims they will preserve the best aspects of both programs and that a big factor to buy Starwood was for their loyalty program. Then again, Continental and United said before they would keep the best of both airlines and that we would like the changes that were coming, before devastating loyal members of both programs.

File this in the “time will tell” category. Mergers rarely work out well for consumers, so I’m not holding my breath. But I am hoping.

—————————————————————————————-

Originally posted on 11/16/15:

In potentially devastating news for point junkies, Marriott has agreed to buy Starwood for $12.2 billion.

Apparently they beat out potential offers from suitors like Hyatt, IHG, and the Chinese government.

Pending government approval, the deal will close mid-2016.

With Marriott being the acquirer and the far larger program, it seems very likely that Marriott Rewards will be the surviving loyalty program

Starwood points are between 2-3 times as valuable as Marriott points and also transfer into airline miles at far higher ratios.

Starwood top-tier elite status is far more valuable than Marriott elite status and is much easier to attain.

I suppose that it’s possible that Marriott keeps the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program as a separate entity from Marriott Rewards, but it seems unlikely. The benefits of that would be not decimating the value in the SPG program and possibly being able to keep revenue streams from both AMEX and Chase. I’d be overjoyed, but I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

The likely route is that Marriott swallows Starwood and stops offering the Starwood AMEX. So this may be terrible news for AMEX as well. I’m almost surprised AMEX doesn’t jump into the fray and make an offer for Starwood just not to lose the huge co-brand Starwood business 😀

If Marriott announces plans to forcibly convert Starpoints into Marriott points at an equal ratio, that’s the day I cash in my chips and transfer out several million Starpoints into airline miles. There’s no way I’ll just sit back and be devalued while hoping there will be new value added to the Marriott program unless they explicitly say there will be.

I mean it’s possible that Marriott offers 2 points for every Starpoint, but I wouldn’t bet on that either.

Overall I see this as very ominous news. The only silver lining is that at least both Hyatt and Starwood’s programs won’t be destroyed like what was possible in a worst-case scenario when they were rumored to be merging.

HT: chuchem, via DDF

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

Sunday, March 6th, 2016, 12:31 pm

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

Starwood Increases Point Purchase Limits+25% Off Starpoint Purchases; Save Up To 60% Off The Cost Of Starwood Hotels In Miami Beach By Purchasing Starpoints!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016, 2:43 pm

Related: Earn 35,000 Starpoints Signup Bonus On Both The Starwood Consumer And Business AMEX Cards!
———————————————————————————-

Starwood used to only allow a member to purchase 20K Starpoints per year. You can now purchase up to 30K Starpoints per year and you can receive 30K Starpoints per year as a gift purchase from another member.

Of course you can also buy more points for anyone living at your address and then transfer those points so that they’re all in the same account.

Starwood is offering 25% off purchases and gifts of 20K-30K Starpoints through 4/30.

20K Starpoints is on sale for $525 instead of $700.

30K Starpoints is on sale for $787.50 instead of $1,050.

In other words you would be buying Starpoints at a cost of 2.625 cents per Starpoint.

There’s no reason to buy them speculatively at those rates. But it can make sense if you have a specific redemption in mind.

 

Say you want to stay at the category 7 S. Regis Bal Harbour from March 16-18. It’s just a few minute walk to The Shul and tons of kosher eateries in Surfside.

spg1

 

 

-The prepaid non-refundable SPG member exclusive rate comes out to $2,305.87 after tax or $1,152.94 per night.

-The refundable preferred rate comes out to $2,506.38 after tax or $1,253.19 per night.

-The refundable Starpoint rate is 60K for 2 nights. If you buy 60K Starpoints at 2.625 cents each that means you’ll have paid $1,575 or $787.50 per night.

-If you stay 5 nights the cost per night drops to 24K. If you buy 120K Starpoints for $3,150 that means you’ll have paid $630 per night.

-The refundable SPG Cash & Points rate is 30K plus $610.50 after tax or 15K plus $305.25 per night. If you buy 30K Starpoints at 2.625 cents each that means you’ll have paid $787.50 for the points plus $610.50 in cash+tax for a total of $1,398 for 2 nights or $699 per night.

-Starpoints can be an even better deal for upgraded rooms. At the S. Regis Bal Harbour you can redeem 31.5K points (or 15,750 points+$290) for a Grand luxe oceanfront roo. You can use 32.5K points (or 16,250 points+$315) for a Grand luxe oceanfront junior suite or Astor oceanfront junior suite. An Astor oceanfront junior suite goes for $1,561 after tax, so using 32.5K Starpoints is a great deal!

 

Too rich for your blood? Let’s take a look at the category 4, Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach from March 18-20 for Shabbos. It’s a short walk from there to the kosher restaurants on 41st Street.

spg2

 

-The prepaid non-refundable SPG member exclusive rate comes out to $950.87 after tax or $475.34 per night.

-The refundable preferred rate comes out to $1,023.72 after tax or $511.86 per night.

-The refundable Starpoint rate is 20K for 2 nights. If you buy 20K Starpoints at 2.625 cents each that means you’ll have paid $525 or $262.50 per night.

-If you stay 5 nights the cost per night drops to 8K. If you buy 40K Starpoints for $1,050 that means you’ll have paid $210 per night.

-You can also redeem 11.5K points for a Junior suite or 20K points for an executive suite.

 

These same principles apply at Starwood hotels across the globe.

Will you buy Starpoints at this rate and where will you use them? Hit the comments!

Starwood 2016 Annual Category Changes

Monday, February 29th, 2016, 2:18 pm

Update: Category changes normally take effect at midnight local time. Most hotels have generous cancellation policies, so make some speculative bookings now!

Originally posted on 2/18:

Read about previous category changes:
Starwood 2015 Annual 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.

————————————————————————-

Starwood 2016 Complete List Of Annual Category Changes (Click all to view all hotel changes)

Earn Starpoints on the Starwood Consumer American Express and on the Starwood Business American Express.

Book stays before 03/01 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 03/01 when this year’s category changes go into effect.

12% of SPG hotels will become more expensive and 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.

Changes are pretty harsh this year:

-The Westin Lagunamar Cancun, a crowd favorite, jumps from 5 to 6 just a year after it went from 4 to 5.

-The Sheraton and Westin Maui went from 6 to 5 last year, but go back to 6 this year. That makes the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas the smarter redemption at category 6.

I loved the Le Meridien Chiang Mai Thailand and am sorry to see it go from a 2 to 3.

-LA hotels continue their climb. Not long ago the Four Points LAX was a category 1 and the Westin a category 2, now they come in at 4 and 5 respectively.

-The popular Sheraton Suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek climbs from 2 to 3.

-Central London hotels climb from 5 to 6.

 

In the good news department:

-The Four Points Miami Beach drops from 5 to 4, a welcome change in pricey Miami Beach.

-Niagara Falls and Toronto hotels drop as well.

-Le Méridien Bora Bora falls from out or reach 7 to more manageable 6.

-Sheraton Mahwah, near Monsey, drops from 4 to 3.

Sample hotels going more expensive:
-Four Points by Sheraton Penghu Taiwan, was 1, now 5

-Sheraton Suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek, FL, was 2, now 3
-Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort, Orlando, FL, was 2, now 3
-Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel, OH, was 2, now 3
-Le Méridien Chiang Mai, Thailand, was 2, now 3
-Le Méridien Ile Maurice, Mauritius, was 2, now 3

-Sheraton Agoura Hills, CA, was 3, now 4
-Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles Westside, CA, was 3, now 4
-Four Points by Sheraton LAX, CA, was 3, now 4
-Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, GA, was 3, now 4
-Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel, IL, was 3, now 4
-Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, MO, was 3, now 4
-Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel, NJ, was 3, now 4
-Aloft Cleveland Downtown, OH, was 3, now 4
-Le Méridien Bangkok, Thailand, was 3, now 4
-Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok, Thailand, was 3, now 4

-Westin LAX, CA, was 4, now 5
-Aloft San Francisco Airport, CA, was 4, now 5
-Westin San Diego, CA, was 4, now 5
-Westin Denver Downtown, CO, was 4, now 5
-Walt Disney World Swan, FL, was 4, now 5
-Aloft Chicago City Center, IL, was 4, now 5
-W Minneapolis – The Foshay, MN, was 4, now 5
-Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, TN, was 4, now 5
-The Westin Bund Center Shanghai, China, was 4, now 5
-The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Bali, Indonesia, was 4, now 5
-Le Méridien Vienna, Austria, was 4, now 5
-Sheraton Lake Como, Italy, was 4, now 5
-Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort, Los Cabos, Mexico, was 4, now 5

-Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, HI, was 5, now 6
-Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali, HI, was 5, now 6
-Le Méridien San Francisco, CA, was 5, now 6
-Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square, CA, was 5, now 6
-W Hollywood, CA, was 5, now 6
-Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain, CO, was 5, now 6
-W Washington D.C., was 5, now 6
-W New Orleans – French Quarter, MS, was 5, now 6
-Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA, was 5, now 6
-W Hoboken, NJ, was 5, now 6
-Westin New York Grand Central, NY, was 5, now 6
-Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas&Spa, Cancun, Mexico, was 5, now 6
-The Park Lane Hotel, London, UK, was 5, now 6
-Great Northern Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, London, UK, was 5, now 6
-Westin Grand Cayman, was 5, now 6
-S. Regis Macau, was 5, now 6
-Westin Tokyo, Japan, was 5, now 6
-Westin Singapore, was 5, now 6
-W Seoul, South Korea, was 5, now 6
-Hotel Grande Bretagne, Luxury Collection, Athens, Greece, was 5, now 6
-Westin Palace, Milan, Italy, was 5, now 6
-Le Méridien Barcelona, Spain, was 5, now 6
-Hacienda Uayamon, Luxury Collection, Uayamon, Mexico, was 5, now 6
-Westin St. John Villas, Virgin Islands, was 5, now 6
-W Mexico City, was 5, now 6

-W Retreat & Spa Bali, Indonesia, was 6, now 7
-Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto, Japan, was 6, now 7

Sample hotels getting cheaper:
-Le Méridien N’Fis, Morocco, was 2, now 1

-Sheraton Eatontown Hotel, NJ, was 3, now 2
-Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview, Canada, was 3, now 2
-Westin Bristol Place Toronto Airport, Canada, was 3, now 2
-Sheraton San Jose, Costa Rica, was 3, now 2

-Sheraton Mahwah Hotel, NJ, was 4, now 3
-Sheraton Baltimore Washington Airport Hotel – BWI, MD, was 4, now 3
-Westin Baltimore Washington Airport – BWI, MD, was 4, now 3
-Westin Prince, Toronto, Canada, was 4, now 3
-Sheraton Libertador Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina, was 4, now 3

-Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach, FL, was 5, now 4
-Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center, IL, was 5, now 4
-Westin St. Louis, MO, was 5, now 4
-Westin Houston, Memorial City, TX, was 5, now 4
-W Istanbul, Turkey was 5, now 4

-St. Regis Bangkok, was 6, now 5
-Le Méridien Fisherman’s Cove, Seychelles, was 6, now 5
-Westin Athens Astir Palace Beach Resort, was 6, now 5

-Le Méridien Bora Bora, was 7, now 6
-S. Regis Istanbul, Turkey, was 7, now 6

Which hotel change will affect you the most?
Where will you be booking before 03/01 and where will you be booking after 03/01?
Hit the comments!

HT: yochiek93, via DDF

Chase Marriott 87.5K Limited Time Signup Bonus; Starwood Implications And How Far Will It Go For Hotels In Israel?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016, 12:11 pm

Signup offer:

Chase is running a limited time offer on the Chase Marriott Visa for 80K bonus points for spending $3,000 in 3 months. Plus you’ll get another 7.5K points for adding a free additional user card, for a total of 87.5K points.

The normal signup bonus for this card is 50K.

You also get a free night at a category 1-5 hotel every year that you renew the card, which takes the sting out of the $85 annual fee. If only the Starwood card offered that!

There are no foreign transaction fees and you earn 2 points per dollar on airfare, car rentals, and restaurants and 5 points per dollar at Marriott hotels.

Marriott allows free point transfers between spouses, so if 2 spouses both get a Marriott card and spend $3,000 on each they would have at least 181K points.

The Marriott program is split into “categories” and “tiers.”

Marriott has 9 categories of hotels that range from 7,500 to 45,000 points per night or 6,000 to 40,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

Marriott also has 5 tiers of Ritz Carlton hotels that range from 30,000 to 70,000 points per night or 20,000 to 60,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.

When you stay 4 nights you get the 5th night free.  You can browse hotels in each of those categories and tiers via the find button on this page.

You can also transfer points into miles here. The ratios aren’t great, but if you need some Southwest points for Companion pass status that can be worthwhile. If you collect 110K Southwest points in a year you can bring a companion with your for free for the rest of the year and all of the following year on both paid and award tickets. The ratios to United are also better than most other airlines.

Marriott also offers excellent miles+nights packages.

SPG considerations:

Of course Starwood is in the process of merging with Marriott, but it will be a while until the programs are merged. Marriott’s CEO has promised multiple times not to mess with SPG’s value proposition, but we’ll see what that means when the full details come out. At this point nothing is known and there are lots of possibilities. The programs could be run separately or either loyalty program could win out. Ideally they’d realize the passion that SPG members have for Starpoints and simply convert Marriott points into an SPG type of loyalty program with something like a 50% haircut in points for Marriott members. But ideally doesn’t always happen.

Will the SPG AMEX or the Chase Marriott card survive? Might both survive? Those are all questions we might not know answers to until next year.

But in the meantime it can definitely make sense for both Marriott members and SPG members to take advantage of an offer like this as the points are very likely to be combinable in the future.

Marriott hotels in Israel:

Point hotels in Israel are hard to come by.

Not long ago Starwood had 13 properties that were all bargains with Starpoints. I stayed in many of them on a month-long trek across the holy land in August of 2007 spending just a couple thousand Starpoints per night to stay in Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, Tiberias, and the Dead Sea.  Now there’s just 1 left, the Sheraton Tel Aviv, and at 12K-16K points per night it’s not the bargain it once was. Though with the SPG business card you’ll get free access to their lounge starting next month.  The W Tel Aviv-Jaffa was slated to open fall 2015 but that has been pushed back to November 2016. By the time that Starwood merges with Marriott you will be able to use points at both of those hotels.

Hyatt had a Jerusalem hotel but now has nothing.

Hilton has had several hotels in Jerusalem over the years that have come and gone. The David Citadel opened as the Hilton Jerusalem in 1998 but left Hilton in 2001.  The Waldorf Astoria is an awesome addition to the scene, though it’s 64K-80K points per night. Citi gives 2 free nights there with the Citi Hilton Reserve card. The Reserve card even gives Gold status which earns you free breakfast, a real treat at the Waldorf.

 

Israel currently has 2 Marriott hotels:
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya is a new luxury hotel that has been getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor and on DDF, where they’ve nicknamed it the Ritzaliya. They even provide complimentary rides in the hotel’s Jaguar.

It is a Ritz-Carlton tier 3 hotel which means that it’s 50,000 points per night or 200,000 points for a 5 night stay (40,000 points per night).

A superior room on 04/21 is $660 or 50K points, a value of 1.32 cents per point.  Or you can use 200,000 points for 5 nights, a value of 1.65 cents per point.  The 87.5K signup bonus can be worth $1,443.75 for a redemption at that value per point.

If you need more points you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott, but in most cases there are better uses for Ultimate Rewards points.  After all you can buy increments of 1,000 points for $12.50 and Ultimate Rewards are worth more than that.

The Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel is a category 7 hotel that goes for 35,000 points per night or 140,000 points for a 5 night stay (28,000 points per night.)

A standard room on 06/19 is $300 or 35K points, a value of .86 cents per point.  Or you can use 140,000 points for 5 nights, a value of 1.07 cents per point.  The 87.5K signup bonus can be worth $936.25 for a redemption at that value per point.

What’s your favorite Marriott redemption?

Switch to our mobile site