My Week in Points: Intercontinental lesson leard the hard way

I had an 8-day stay in Shanghai in early May, to change things up a bit while staying within corporate budget and reasonable distance from the office I stayed at the Intercontinental Shanghai Pudong. The hotel is nice yet unremarkable with a good breakfast. I had not properly researched point earning, though. It turns out Priority Club members at stays outside the Americas earn 2,000 points per stay and nothing for spend, favoring short stays and hurting long. I had sent a missing point request thinking it an error, when I heard nothing back, I got the scoop from Loyalty Lobby, with full details here. Lesson learned, no long stays at Intercontinental outside the Americas, is that really what they want to incentivize?

Last week I was in the US for 4 hours and I find when I am on business travel miles and points stuff must take a backseat, certainly no Vanilla Reloads in China, just finding a place to accept a foreign-issued credit card is hard enough.

Here are a few pieces that caught my attention:

  • Loyalty Traveler wrote the most thoughtful piece on the BAcon blogger conference, and a follow-up on credit card affiliate marketing.
  • SkyMiles cheat sheet – Hidden partner gateways for better award availability (MileCards). The value in SkyMiles has been reduced to certain partners on international routes, which is why I just flew Saudia.
  • Club Carlson is surveying some customers with blue sky thinking on its program. Programs frequently test ideas that may have little chance of coming to pass, so it is mainly of interest to see some ideas floating around the industry (Live from a Lounge). Club Carlson also has a nice Avis promo for 3-day rentals (Point, Miles & Martinis).
  • Marriott Gold & Platinum members now get complimentary weekend breakfast in North America. So odd that this benefit was denied for so long. (Loyalty Lobby).
  • Google Wallet and GoBank are the hot topics for non-travel points earning (Frequent Miler and Million Mile Secrets). I will let others more adventurous work out the kinks in Google Wallet before I wade in. As for GoBank, the curse of being NYC-based continues to enfold me in numerous ways, why do so many things depend on access to a Wal-Mart? Drat.
  • Million Mile Secrets has started the million word study of Lufthansa miles. I had never given the program a thought but now with an attractive credit card offer that nets enough miles to do something with, I am glad someone else did. Amazing how the haters pop out on everything. So many bloggers have long ago given up these kinds of detailed studies because they require a tremendous amount of work. Kudos to Daraius for this effort.

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