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

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

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Starwood Preferred Plus status is an unpublished elite status level that is given for free to anyone with a Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

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

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

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

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

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Originally posted on 11/10:

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

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

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

HT: Marco Polo, via DDF

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

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

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

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

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More after the jump:

Click here to keep reading this post!

SPG Spin To Win Game

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

SPG Spin To Win Game

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

You can play daily through 10/10.

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

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

Post a comment if you get anything!

HT: Feivish, via DDF

Starwood Advertises Just How Bad A Deal SPG Flights Is

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: Chaikel, via DDF

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

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

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

Originally posted on 06/29:

Related: Starwood AMEX Linky

www.spg.com/hotshows

Offer Details Linky

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

The sale starts at noon 11am eastern.

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

SPG You Choose Promo!

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

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!

Can’t View Your FICO Score From AMEX? Try These 2 Simple Tricks…

Monday, August 24th, 2015, 3:29 pm

-Related posts (Read this first!): -Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered
-My FICO Scores From All 3 Credit Bureaus, Obtained Monthly Free Of Charge Thanks To Credit Cards

-Find more posts like this by clicking on the “Credit Card Posts” tab. View AMEX consumer card offers, AMEX business card offers in the tabs above of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

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Most services that advertise free credit scores are only providing you with a FAKO score. That’s not something of much use as lenders don’t ever see those scores. A FAKO score can be significantly different than your FICO score, discrepancies of more than 100 points aren’t uncommon.

I’ve been tracking my Transunion FICO 8 score for free from Barclays and Discover. I had been getting my Experian FICO 8 score from AMEX. That stopped recently when my AMEX profile changed from the newer version to the older version.

I was kind of happy with that as it also took me back to the old AMEX Offers format, which is far easier to use than the new one.

However it also wiped out the option to view my FICO score.

Old version:

spgamex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DDFB user Ari R. pointed out a few days ago that if you delete the additional user’s off of your login then it will switch back to the new format and give you the FICO option back and that you can toggle back and forth as needed.

And of course, I realized that adding AU cards for AMEX Express Checkout was the culprit.

So I clicked on Account options>Remove cards from online access and deleted the AUs:

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Once all the AUs were gone the FICO option returned:

 

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And the score is looking as healthy as ever, despite the games I play:

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Several DDF’ers reported that this method worked for them, but it didn’t for a few others.

What worked for some DDF’ers was to remove a primary card from their main login and give the primary card its own login.

DDF hat tip leader and poweruser Marco Polo reported that deleting AUs and making his business platinum card its own dedicated login didn’t work, but when he made a dedicated login for his consumer blue card he finally got the FICO option.

Can you view your FICO score from AMEX? Did either of these tricks work for you? What’s your FICO score? Hit the comments!

Roundup Of Limited Time Increased Credit Card Signup Bonuses From AMEX, Capital One, Chase, And Citibank

Monday, August 24th, 2015, 1:02 pm

Update: The AMEX Plum offer ends at 2:59pm today and 2 Chase offers are set to expire next Monday.

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Related: Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered
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American Express Limited Time Offers:
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

 

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Consumer Credit Card from American Express offers a 30,000 Starpoint signup bonus for spending $3,000 in 3 months if you apply by 09/14.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers a 30,000 Starpoint signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 3 months if you apply by 09/14.

Both cards earn Starpoints which can transfer to 33 airlines, most of which have a 20K:25K favorable transfer ratio.

Both cards have no foreign transaction fees.

Both cards offer preferred plus status with 4pm late checkout and free premium in-room WiFi at Starwood hotels.

Both cards offer free unlimited Boingo WiFi from over 1 million hotspots around the world, including many airport locations.

Both cards offer up to 99 free additional user cards, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday, AMEX Offers/Twitter offers, and AMEX Express Checkout.

The business card offers free Sheraton club access when staying at Sheraton hotels and Open Savings.  You can earn the signup bonus again on the business card as long as you haven’t had in in the past 12 months.

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

Read more in this post.

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-The SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express offers a $250 statement credit for spending $5,000 in 6 months if you apply by 09/21. It also offers 5% cash back at office supply stores and wireless phone bills. You also get 3% cash back on your choice of: Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, gas stations, restaurants, advertising, or shipping. There is no annual fee.

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 Expired!

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN offers up to 3.5% back on your first $30,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months if you apply by 08/24. When you pay early you get 1.5% back with no cap. Plus, get an additional $200 statement credit for every $10,000 you spend on the Card, up to $600 back. That can be an extra 2%.  The card normally gives 1.5% cash back, $250 annual fee waived for first year.

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Capital One Limited Time Offers:

Note that Capital One does a credit pull from all 3 credit bureaus when applying for cards, though some have had success getting a card with 1 pull by freezing the reports by 2 of the 3 credit bureaus. More info on freezing from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

-Capital One Spark Cash for Business offers $500 cash back for spending $4,500 in 3 months for a limited time only.  This card offers 2% cash back everywhere and there are no foreign transaction fees.  $59 annual fee is waived for the first year.

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-Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 21.5% cash back on all Uber rides until 04/30/16 and $100 cash back for spending $500 in 3 months. This card offers 1.5% cash back everywhere and there are no foreign transaction fees. No annual fee. More info in this post.

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Chase Limited Time Offers:

 

-Chase Marriott is offering 80K points for spending $3K in 3 months if you apply by 08/31. There is an $85 annual fee. You’ll also get a free night at a category 1-5 hotel every anniversary.

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. While there you can look at the additional free night you receive at signup besides for the bonus points at category 1-4 hotels.

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.

Marriott also offers miles+nights packages.

Read more about using Marriott points in Israel in this post.

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-Chase British Airways offers 50K Avios for spending $2K in 3 months and normally has a $95 annual fee. If you apply by 08/31 the annual fee is waived for the first year.  Awards start from 4.5K Avios each way and can be cancelled for just $5.60. When used for flights it’s not difficult to get a value of 1.5 cents per point when using, making the signup bonus worth $750, though it can be lower or much higher depending on how you use the miles. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Everything you want to know about British Airways Avios in this post.

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Citi Limited Time Offers:

 

-The Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard is offering 75K AA miles for spending $7,500 in 3 months for a limited time only.

There’s a $450 annual fee. After meeting the spend requirement you’ll have at least 82.5K miles which is more than enough for 2 round-trip awards to Europe or a round-trip award to Israel.

You’ll get a full Admirals Club membership that you can use regardless of what airline you’re flying for free access for you and your spouse and kids or 2 guests. Membership alone is normally $500/year and this is the only card that gives a full Admirals Club membership that works for access even when you’re not flying on American (The Citi Prestige card doesn’t give access if you’re not flying American).

American has an excellent award chart with awesome one-way values from the US48/Canada like:
-12.5K to Alaska (versus 17.5K on United)
-12.5K to the Caribbean and Mexico during off-peak times (17.5K on United)
-17.5K to Hawaii during off-peak times (22.5K on United)
-20K to South America during off-peak times (30K on United)
-20K to Europe between October-May (30K on United)
-25K to Japan/Korea during off-peak times (35K on United)
-55K business class to Hong Kong (70K-80K on United)
-67.5K first class to China (80K-120K on United)

-A business class flight on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver or on AA from JFK to LAX or SFO is 25K (versus 37.5K BA Avios)
-A first class flight on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver or on AA from JFK to LAX or SFO is just 32.5K (versus 50K BA Avios)

-A first class flight on Etihad from JFK to the Maldives in your own first class apartment with a shower onboard is 90K miles.

While a flight from the US to Israel via Philadelphia is 45K miles each way you can fly to Israel via Europe for just 40K miles each way between October-May and you can stopover in Europe for as long as you want.

From Israel there are many bargains as well, a few examples include:
-25K to the Maldives in business (35K on United)
-30K to Thailand in business (60K on United)
-45K to Australia in business (60K on United)

Fuel surcharges only apply for flights on British Airways. It’s worth noting that many AAdvantage partner awards (such as on like Air Tahiti Nui, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, JAL, LAN, and TAM) can only be booked by calling American to hold or book them.

 

Yes, the card carries a whopping $450 annual fee, though it’s refundable if you close it within 37 days of that being billed.  Sometimes the fee is billed on the first statement, sometimes on the second statement.   Sometimes the first statement comes right away, sometimes it takes a month. YMMV.

There are no foreign transaction fees with the card. You ad 8 companions get a free bag when flying on American or USAirways as well as priority checkin, security, and boarding. You’ll also get 25% off in-flight food, beverages, and headsets.

If you spend $40K on the card in a calendar year you’ll get 10,000 bonus elite qualifying miles.

The card also offers free Global Entry or Pre-Check membership.

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-The Citi Hilton HHonors card normally offers 50K, but is offering 75K Hilton points for spending $2K in 3 months for a limited time only.  There’s no annual fee. You’ll also get Silver elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder. If you spend $20K/year you’ll get Gold status.

There’s no limited time offer for the Citi Hilton Reserve card, but it’s a great card as it which gives 2 free nights at any Hilton in the world (including the excellent Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem). It also gives Gold elite status for as long as you’re a cardholder, which gets you free breakfast, including the most over-the-top breakfast I’ve had in my life at the Waldorf Jerusalem.  If you spend $40K/year you’ll get top-tier Diamond status, which confirmed room upgrades and space available suite upgrade at hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. This card has a $95 annual fee.

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-The Citi Premier card offers 50K ThankYou points for spending $3,000 in 3 months for a limited time only.  The points are transferrable to airlines/hotels or 50K points can be used for a $500 gift card or $625 of travel purchases. If you have a Prestige card the points can be worth even more.

The Premier card has very strong spend categories. It offers triple points for travel and gas and double points on dining and entertainment. The travel category on the Premier card includes airfare, car rentals, hotels, cruises, travel agencies, public transportation, boat rentals, taxis, tolls, parking, etc. Entertainment includes sporting events, amusement parks, tourist attractions, theater, concerts, movies, etc.  There are no foreign transaction fees and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.  More info in this post.

 

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-The Citi Prestige card offers 50K ThankYou points for spending $3,000 in 3 months for a limited time only.  The points are transferrable to airlines/hotels or 50K points can be used for a $500 gift card,  $665 of airline purchases, or $800 of travel on American or USAirways. More info in this post.

The Prestige card offers 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, and travel agencies, and double points on dining and entertainment.  Note that the less expensive Premier card actually has better bonus categories.

There is a $450 annual fee. However the Prestige card comes packed with awesome benefits:

1. $250 annual air travel credit. No need to pick an airline. No need to buy a gift card. Just a straight credit for up to $250 of whatever you spend from any airline including tickets, bag fees, seat fees, etc. In your first cardmembership year you can get $250 back in 2015 and $250 back in 2016, which more than covers the annual fee.

2. Free American Admirals Club lounge access for you and your family or you and 2 guests when flying American.

3. Priority Pass lounge membership with free guest access for your family or 2 guests when flying any airline. Additional Prestige cardmembers are just $50 and they also get their own Priority Club lounge membership with free guest privileges. The Priority pass membership that comes with the AMEX Platinum card doesn’t include free guests access, so that’s a nice perk of this membership. Click here to search for lounges in airports across the world.

4. Global Entry or Pre-Check reimbursement. A 5 year Global Entry membership is normally $100 but will be free when paid with the Prestige card. Skip the lines when returning to the US and get Pre-Check included as well. Pre-Check allows you to keep your shoes and jacket on, skip the nude-o-scope, and leave your laptop in the bag.  It makes traveling a whole lot easier.

5. A 4th night free on all paid hotel stays. When you make a hotel reservation of 4 or more nights just call 561-922-0158 to make the reservation and you’ll get the 4th night of the reservation rebated back to your for free. The rates will be the same as on the hotel website and the rates do qualify for hotel elite status and points. Note that the 4th night of the stay will be the rebated night. In some cases the 4th night may cost significantly more or less than the rest of the nights, so always check to see the actual rate for each night. There is no limit to how many times you can take advantage of this offer. You need to use your Prestige card, but you get triple points for hotel spending, so that’s not a bad thing.

6. 3 free rounds of golf per calendar year. You can search for courses here and make reservations here. That’s 6 free rounds of golf in your first cardmembership year.

CitiGold benefits:

Several folks who have CitiGold accounts have gotten notices that their annual fee on the Prestige account has been adjusted down from $450 to just $350. CitiGold customers also get 15% bonus points on the Prestige card. Citigold checking is free for 2 months after which point you can downgrade to a free checking account or keep $50K in it, but benefits typically stay even after your downgrade. CitiGold customers can also signup for the card in-branch with the $350 fee, but the in-branch offer requires $15,000 in spending.  If you have a CitiBusiness Preferred checking account you can get a personal CitiGold account for free.  CitiBusiness Preferred requires you to maintain $15K in the account to waive the fees.

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The advantage of having both the Premier and the Prestige cards:

When you have a Prestige card you can also redeem ThankYou points for 1.33 cents towards airfare or 1.6 cents towards airfare on American or USAirways. That means you can book $800 of free travel (and earn miles for the flights) with the 50K signup bonus if you would rather go down that route as opposed to transferring points into miles.

If you have both the Prestige and Premier cards all of your points will be able to be used at the 1.6 cents per point value towards American or USAirways airfare.  From just the signup bonuses alone that’s at least $1,600 in free travel from the points plus $500 in free travel from the Prestige airline credit in your first cardmembership year.

The cheaper Premier card actually has better bonus categories including triple points on all travel expenses and on gas, but the Prestige card makes all of your ThankYou points worth more.

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Getting more than one Citi card and repeat bonuses:

Citibank doesn’t generally allow 2BMs anymore, though some people have reported success. You can apply for one card, wait 8 days, and then apply for another Citi card. You would have to wait 60 days from the date of your first card application before you can apply for a 3rd Citi card and 60 days from the date of your second card application before you can apply for a 4th Citi card.

Most Citi card applications now require an 18 month waiting period from when you last had that exact card before you can get the signup bonus again.

Citi phone reconsideration (888-201-4523) can be tough if denied, but many people (myself included) have had great luck reconsidering via snail mail! Just write a short letter explaining why you want the card to: Mr. Ken Stork, Office of the President, PO Box 6000, Sioux Falls, SD 57117

Starwood Adds 33rd Airline Transfer Partner!

Monday, August 17th, 2015, 12:38 pm

Related:
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
-It’s Back: 30,000 Starpoints Signup Bonus On Both The Starwood Consumer And Business AMEX Cards! Plus: New Benefits For Existing Cardholders!

-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

-Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express
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The unique value of Starpoints is found in their versatility. Sure, they’re excellent for staying in Starwood hotels. And you can do awesome things with them like get a suite loaded with kosher food at Wrigley Field, Madison Square Garden, the US Open, etc. But they’re the only currency that transfers into airline miles at a permanent favorable ratio of 20K:25K. And you have a plethora of airlines to choose from including programs like American and Alaska that don’t participate in other major point transfer programs from AMEX, Citi, or Chase.

Today Starwood announced that Korean Airlines will be their 33rd airline transfer option. Currently Chase points transfer to Korean at a 1:1 ratio and now Starwood will as well with a 20K:25K ratio.

Korean has lots of positive things going for it:
-There are no close-in fees, no fees to change an award, and no fees to cancel an award and redeposit the miles.
-They have the best first class award availability of any foreign carrier and it’s very good. I reviewed it here.
A Korean First Class Kosmo Sleeper Class Suite between North America and Asia or between Tel Aviv and Asia is just 80,000 miles one-way, so you can fly all the way to Tel Aviv the long way in the only true international first class option the whole way from US to Tel Aviv. They serve delicious Hermolis kosher meals out of Asia and have a open self-service bar on the A380 with top-shelf drinks.
If you do stopover in Seoul (and take a tour of the DMZ) you can stay at the very highly rated Park Hyatt with your Chase points for just 20K points of 10K+$125 per night.
-They allow you to hold Korean award seats until 2 days before the flight.
-Korean miles don’t expire for 10 years.
-A round-trip flight from the US48 to Alaska on Alaska Air is just 20K miles in coach or 40K miles in first class with a free stopover.
-A round-trip flight from the US48 to Hawaii on Delta is just 25K miles in coach or 45K miles in first class with a free stopover.
-A round-trip flight from the US48 to Hawaii on Alaska or Hawaiian is just 30K miles in coach or 60K miles in first class with a free stopover if flying on Alaska.
-A round-trip flight from the US48 to Tahiti on Air France is just 60K miles in coach or 90K miles in business class.
-A round-trip flight from the Sydney to Auckland in a first class suite on an Emirates A380 with a shower spa onboard is just 75K miles.

HT: benjie1305, via DDF

It’s Back: 30,000 Starpoints Signup Bonus On Both The Starwood Consumer And Business AMEX Cards! Plus: New Benefits For Existing Cardholders!

Sunday, August 16th, 2015, 12:00 am

Update: Numerous people who signed up under the old offer are reporting getting matched to the 30K offer by calling or chatting with AMEX.

Additionally all Starwood cardholders can now signup for Boingo unlimited for free via this link.

Originally posted on 08/11:

Related posts:
-Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered
Using Points To Get To Israel

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

-Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

This is a limited time offer scheduled to run until 09/14.  It offers 20% more points than the standard offer and there has never been a better public offer for this card.

For the consumer card you will get 30,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $3,000 within 3 months. The consumer offer is for first time Starwood consumer cardholder’s only.

For the business card you will get 30,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 within 3 months. The business offer is available as long as you haven’t had a Starwood business card in the past 12 months.

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

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Spending on the Starwood card:

The Starwood card remains a very good card for general spending. Best of all, as of 08/11 there are no longer any foreign transaction fees on the Starwood card!

While other cards have 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.

They also generously allow members at the same address to transfer points between their accounts for free.

The Starwood card earns 2 Starpoints per dollar at Starwood hotels, or a 4.4% rebate at a value of roughly 2.2 cents per Starpoint. It earns 1 Starpoint per dollar everywhere else, or a 2.2% rebate.  There are thousands of uses for Starpoints, some of which have been over 50 cents each for me, 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.

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American Express Benefits:

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.
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Annual fee: Making it pay for itself.

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.

That small annual fee is nothing compared to what you can make from promotions like Small Business Saturday, AMEX Offers/Twitter offers, and other promotions that American Express runs all year long such as AMEX Express Checkout. Up to 99 additional cardholders are free on the Starwood card, and each one qualifies for their own promotion credits! 9 months later and we still haven’t spent through all of our prepaid credit at my local pizza shop or grocery stores thanks to SBS.  And it will be quite a while before we finish our collection of free diapers and wipes.

You can also always downgrade the card to a card with no annual fee.

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Spending $3K or $5K in 3 months:

With cards like Bluebird, Serve, and REDcard, it’s not hard to hit a spend threshold.

You can buy gift cards with your Starwood card and then cash out the gift cards with Bluebird, Serve, or REDcard.

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Business cards and Open Savings:

With the Starwood business card you will get Starpoints AND automatic cash back on purchases from these select retailers with Open Savings.  That means an additional 5% off at HP, Hertz, Hyatt, Barnes & Noble online, and Fedex.

In other words if you use your Starwood business card at a participating Hyatt hotel you’ll earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spend plus 5% cash back.  That’s better than the triple points that the Hyatt card awards for Hyatt spending!

Getting a business card is simple. If Joe Smith sells items on Ebay or on Amazon, or has any other side business/hobby and wants a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures he can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.

A perk of business card spending is that it doesn’t count against your credit utilization. On a personal card you should pay off your spending before the statement is even printed so that you don’t cost yourself points on your credit score. On a business card that’s not necessary and the spending isn’t reported as long as you pay your bills.

It’s also worth remembering that the credit line (and utilization) of business cards are not reported on your personal credit report, thus closing them also won’t effect your score.
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Sheraton Club Lounge Access:

Effective 08/11, with the Starwood business card you will get 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.

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Premium Internet Access:

Effective 08/11 with either Starwood card you will 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.

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Unlimited worldwide Boingo WiFi:

Effective 08/11 with either Starwood card you will 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.

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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.

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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:

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

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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 Westin Venice would cost 80,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 5 Westin Maui, Sheraton Kauai, W Hollywood, or the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv will be 48,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 4 Sheraton Big Island of Hawaii or Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort will be 40,000 points.
-5 nights at the category 3 Sheraton Agoura Hills (great base for eating out at Tierra Sur, arguably the best kosher restaurant in the world) would set you back 28,000 points.
-The fantastic category 2 Le Meridien Chiang Mai Thailand would set you back just 3K points over an awesome Shabbos at the nearby Chabad House.
-A night at the category 1 Aloft S. Jose Costa Rica 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:

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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:

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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. Other point savings promotions have included this one for 35% off 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 is doing now by offering a 50% bonus for transfers to them through 08/31.  Air Canada and United are also currently offering promotions.

Curious about the 33 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 (currently 30K, 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)
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. Amtrak rides on select routes are just 1,500 points in coach or 2,000 points in business. Within the Northeast corridor a ride is 4,000 points in coach, 6,500 points in business class, 8,000 points in Acela Express business class, or 12,000 points in Acela Express first class.  A private bedroom and bathroom with kosher meals from NYC-Miami would be just 12,500 points per adult. More about these options in this post.

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!

How Far Will The Chase Marriott 80K Limited Time Signup Bonus Go For Hotels In Israel?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015, 1:23 pm

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 fall 2016.

It seems hotels don’t need to stay part of a loyalty program to fill up their rooms in Israel.

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 has a 75K limited time offer on the Citi Hilton card plus they give 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.

Chase recently released a limited time offer on the Chase Marriott card for 80K bonus points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

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.

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.

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. While there you can look at the additional free night you receive at signup besides for the bonus points at category 1-4 hotels.

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.

Marriott also offers miles+nights packages.

Israel has 2 Marriott hotels:
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya is a luxury hotel that opened 7 months ago and has been getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor and on DDF. 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 standard room for a tourist from 08/09-08/14 is $2,875 or $575 per night.  Or you can use 200,000 points, a value of 1.44 cents per point.  The 80K signup bonus would be worth over $1,125 for a redemption at that value per point.

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 166,000 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 for a tourist from 08/09-08/14 is $1,465 or $293 per night.  Or you can use 140,000 points, a value of 1.05 cents per point. The 80K signup bonus would be worth $540 for a redemption at that value per point.

Roundup Of Changes To American Express Gold And Starwood Consumer And Business Cards

Monday, July 13th, 2015, 2:09 pm

Update: American Express has confirmed that all holders of the Premier Rewards Gold card will receive 15K bonus points for spending $30K in 2015.

That comes on top of double points on restaurants, gas, and groceries in the US and triple points on airfare.  If you can spend $30K this year that bumps up the double point categories to 2.5 points per dollar and the triple points category to 3.5 points per dollar.

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Originally posted on 06/03:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Effective June 1st AMEX made some excellent changes to the Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card.  The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN will see a positive change on July 28th.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card will be refreshed on August 11th.

Here’s a recap of the details:

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The Premier Rewards Gold card’s annual fee has increased from $175/year to $195/year. The fee is waived for the first year.

But the benefits provided for that $20 increase are awesome:

1. You can register here for a $100 airline fee credit per calendar year. That means in your first cardmember year you can get $200 back with $100 in 2015 and $100 in 2016. Officially these are intended to be used for bag fees, seat upgrades, and lounge passes/memberships. However they also work for items like $100 American Airlines gift cards or $100 United gift registry contributions and more.

In my mind that effectively drops the annual fee to a far more palatable $95/year.

2. The card no longer charges a foreign transaction fee.

3. The card will now give double points at restaurants in addition to double points on gas and groceries in the US and triple points on airfare.
That’s a very nice mix of bonus spend categories and comes out top of Membership Rewards promotions like the one earlier this year that offered 40% bonus points for transfer to British Airways Avios.

4. Officially this card was supposed to stop offering a 15K point bonus for spending $30K in a calendar year, but there have been numerous reports that it’s still working in 2015.  That’s pretty sweet as it bumps the effective earn rates of the double point categories to 3x and the triple point category to 4.5x.

5. The card also continues to offer 5 additional cardholders without any additional annual fee, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday. Last year SBS gave a $30 per card credit, so someone who had a Premier Gold card with 5 additional users was able to get $180 in free spending.

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The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee effective 07/28.

The card offers triple points in one of these categories of your choice and the other 4 categories get double points:
-Airfare purchased directly from airlines
-U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
-U.S. purchases at gas stations
-U.S. purchases for shipping
-U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
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DDF user Maurice broke the news 2 weeks ago about upcoming Starwood changes and AMEX has now confirmed that information.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business card’s annual fees will increase from $65/year to $95/year. The fee is waived for the first year.  The spend threshold to get the signup bonus on the consumer card has dropped from $5K to $3K.

The new benefits that will take effect on 08/11 include:

1. The cards will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee.  It will finally make sense to pay for Starwood hotels overseas with your Starwood credit card :)

2. Free premium in-room internet. All SPG guests get free internet, but elites and cardholders get the faster version for free.

3. Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide.  Search from over 1 million hot-spots here.

4. The Starwood business card will now provide free access to Sheraton Club lounges.  The business card is also eligible for Open Savings rebates on purchases from Fedex, HP, Hertz, Hyatt, and more. (1 Starpoint per dollar + 5% cash back at Hyatt makes this card better for Hyatt stays than the Hyatt card…oh the irony.)

5. Both cards continue to offer Preferred Plus status which gives complimentary 4pm checkout at SPG hotels.  If you spend $30K you’ll get Starwood gold status, though that status comes free with the Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card. Some people even get it free for asking nicely 😀

6. Both cards continue to offer up to 99 additional cardholders without any additional annual fee, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday.  It’s not hard to make up the annual fee thanks to these promotions (you should see how many diapers I now have thanks to the recent Sam’s Club promotion 😉 )

While the Starwood card still only offers 1 point per dollar (except at Starwood hotels where you’ll earn 2 points per dollar), you do earn a 25% bonus when you transfer Starpoints into miles from dozens of airlines at a 20K:25K ratio.  Of course Starpoints can also be used at SPG hotels starting at 2K points for a free night or with other redemption options like nights & flights, cash & points, and 5th night free awards.

Earn A Systemwide Sheraton Free Weekend Night For Every 5 Paid Nights

Thursday, July 9th, 2015, 2:16 pm

Related: Roundup Of Changes To Premier Rewards Gold And Starwood Consumer And Business Cards
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Sheraton Offer Registration Linky

-Register by 09/15.
-Stay 5 paid nights at Sheraton hotels through 09/30/15 and earn a free weekend night at any Sheraton in the world.
-Paid nights must be booked on SPG.com.
-Promotion only valid at Sheraton, not at Four Points by Sheraton or any other Starwood hotel brand.
-Nights do not need to be consecutive.
-You can earn up to 3 free nights per SPG account.
-Free nights will be credited within 2-4 weeks of earning them.
-Free weekend nights are valid on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night except in the Middle East, where it is Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.
-Free weekend nights expire 12/13/15.
-This promotion is stackable with other Starwood promotions such as Make It Count.

In other words 5 nights at an inexpensive Sheraton hotel can earn you a free night that will work in Hawaii, the Maldives, etc.

It’s definitely no Hyatt Faster Free nights that I got to take advantage of for so many years, but it’s better than nothing!

HURRY! Unprecedented United Transcontinental Lie-Flat Business Class Award Space For Your Entire Family!

Friday, June 26th, 2015, 3:10 pm

Update: I reached out to United and they responded that the Newark to Los Angeles and S. Francisco flights will have kosher meals in business class effective 10/25 when the p.s. service shifts from JFK to Newark.

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United announced last week that they will be abandoning JFK after 10/24.

They have now loaded the Newark to Los Angeles and S. Francisco routes exclusively with 757 aircraft that have lie-flat business class seating with the shift of the United p.s. flights from JFK to Newark. This change takes effect on 10/25. 

Typically lie-flat business class saver award availability on these routes are hard to come by, but it’s wide open right now.

Here is a award search from Newark to Los Angeles for 1 passenger with the calendar limited to showing nonstop flights only. The availability is surprisingly good:

 

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Here’s the same search for 8 passengers on nonstop flights only.  This level of availability for 8 passengers on the same nonstop transcontinental flight in a lie-flat seat is completely unprecedented.

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Same story for the return and for the EWR-SFO route.

You can book a one-way flight in United business class for 17.5K Lufthansa miles (an SPG transfer partner, not-instant), 20K Singapore miles (AMEX, Chase, Citi, and SPG transfer partner, none of which are instant), 25K Air Canada miles (transfers instantly from AMEX or non-instantly from SPG) or 25K United miles (transfers instantly from Chase).

You can connect stopover for as long as you want in LAX or SFO on the way to Hawaii for 30K Singapore miles, 35K Lufthansa miles, or 40K Air Canada or United miles each way.

United has yet to announce whether you’ll be able to order kosher meals when flying business class on the new p.s. flights from Newark. Currently the p.s. flights are only operated from JFK and they do offer kosher meals. Regardless, I’ve never had an issue having a United flight attendant warm up my own double-wrapped kosher meal that I brought onboard.

Grab a seat while it lasts!

HT: 12HRS, via DDF and TPG

The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Thursday, June 25th, 2015, 3:35 pm

Related:
-The Ultimate Hawaii Mileage Award Chart And Everything You Need To Know About The Hawaiian Islands

Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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This updated chart below attempts to break down some of the best options for getting to Israel with miles.

See all of the possibilities along with the mileage booking policies of mileage program from around the world after the jump:

(more…)

LAN: Los Angeles, Miami, NYC, Or Orlando To Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil From $272 Round-Trip

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015, 2:15 am

Update: DEAD!

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-Bookable on Priceline. Priceline tickets are refundable until 11:29pm ET the day after purchase. Just click on “view full itinerary” in your email confirmation and then click on cancel flights.

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Iguaçu Falls (also spelled Iguazú or Iguassu Falls) is one of the most stunning places in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced it in 2005 and 2014 and can’t wait to go back again.  It’s everything that Niagara is not. My own amateur pictures below from our family trip last October can’t possible capture even a fraction of its grandeur, it’s truly awe-inspiring to experience in person.

A ticket from the US to Iguazu is typically well over $1,000, this is the cheapest price I’ve ever seen for this route. Miles can be credited to OneWorld airlines like American and British Airways.

Travel is valid on limited dates between August and November.

Sample dates:
Orlando-IGU, 08/19-08/24: $272.97
JFK-IGU, 08/19-08/24: $323.97
Los Angeles-IGU, 08/19-08/24: $374.97
Miami-IGU, 08/19-08/24: $422.97

Other sample dates from JFK-IGU: 08/16-08/23, 08/17-08/24, 10/07-10/15, 10/14-10/19, 10/19-10/26, 10/26-11/05, 11/01-11/09, 11/08-11/16, 11/15-11/22, 11/18-11/22, 11/25-12/02.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

HT: yls2011, via DDF and TFD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-If you have the more affordable United Explorer card you get just 1 mile per dollar, but that card gives a 10K mile bonus for spending $25K in a year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Discover it Miles card gives 3 “miles” per dollar everywhere for the first year that you have the card.  They’re worth 1 cent each, so you’ll come out 1.13% ahead of the 1.87% tax processing fee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bowling Center Locator

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

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

HT: SPGDUDE, via DDF

$50 Off $100 At Advance Auto Parts

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

Advance Auto Parts Linky

Use code: WD512

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

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

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

Post what deals you find!

HT: SPGDUDE, via DDF

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshot_2015-03-12-18-00-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

2 New Starwood Options Come To South Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: harrym, via DDF and PMM

Starwood 2015 Annual Category Changes

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

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

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Originally posted on 03/08:

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

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Starwood 2015 Complete List Of Annual Category Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

HT: Deal Guy, via DDF

AMEX Business Cards

Thursday, February 26th, 2015, 2:33 pm

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Read more posts about credit cards by clicking on the “credit card posts” tab.

-Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

-Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN

Business card signup bonuses can be earned if you haven’t had the card within the past 12 months. All business cards give automatic OPEN Savings rebates on top of points.

–Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express  (Limited time offer ends 09/14: 30K Starpoints for spending $5K in 3 months. 25% point bonus for transfers to airlines in 20K increments. Sheraton Club Lounge Access. $95 annual fee waived for first year. No foreign transaction fees.  No fee for additional cardholders.)

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. No fee for additional cardholders.)

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 (enrollment required, see instructions here). $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 you can enroll in Priority Club Select for lounge access. Up to $200 of statement credits per calendar year for incidental airline fees. Fee-credit every 5 years for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry 5 year membership. Purchase protection on eligible items purchased on the card when they are accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost within 90 days of purchase. No foreign exchange fees. $450 annual fee.)

SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express ($250 signup bonus for spending $5,000 in 6 months. To be eligible for this offer, your application must be received by September 21, 2015. 5% cash back at office supply stores and telecom. 3% cash back on your choice of Airfare, Hotels, Car rentals, 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.)

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN (10K AMEX MR points for spending $1 in 3 months. 30% annual point bonus. No annual fee.)

Ride Uber, Earn Starpoints!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about that promo in this link.

HT: raphy781, via DDF

Winter Break 2015 Trip Notes Part 1: Miami

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

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

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

Here are some notes from that trip.

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Read more about the trip after the jump:

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The Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart

Thursday, January 15th, 2015, 4:28 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.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
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This updated chart below attempts to break down some of the best options for getting to Israel with miles.

See all of the possibilities along with the mileage booking policies of mileage program from around the world after the jump:

(more…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spg9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

6.Book a Flying Blue December Promo Award?

7. Claim 500 free Virgin America points?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22. Pickup a free slurpee?

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

What else is ending today? Hit the comments!

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

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

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

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

Hyatt elites will get free premium internet where available.

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

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

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

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

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

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

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

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

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

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

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Originally posted on 10/01:

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

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

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

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

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

This is a Delta imposed limitation.

In AMEX’s words,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: miles, via DDF and Gary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally posted on 12/02:

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: Ya’alili, via DDF

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

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

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

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

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

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

More reminiscing on 10 years of fun after the jump:

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Redeem Starpoints For Courtside Suite Tickets At Madison Square Garden

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

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

Originally posted on 09/15:

Related:
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
-Using Miles For Sports Experiences
-Starwood auctions
-United auctions
-Delta auctions

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

FAQ Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Earlier today I covered a couple of American Express downgrades. 

Here are some clarifications from Delta:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dollars And Cents Behind A Hotel Award Stay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hyattyyz

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

hyattyyz2

 

 

 

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

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

Lenovo 15.6″ Core i7 Laptop For $589 Shipped

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

Lenovo 15.6″ Laptop For $589 Shipped

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

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

Save 35% On Select Starwood Resort Award Redemptions!

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

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

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Originally posted on 07/16/14:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT: maayanky, via DDF

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