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My weekend trip is where this hobby pays off for me. I used 60k United miles for an award on SAS that gives me 2 days in Oslo, 2 in Svalbard, and a half-day in Tromsø. Norwegian winter feels great and today is my first 24 hours of darkness polar night.
SAS economy long-haul is good experience, Star Alliance Golds don’t expect the red carper or any upgrades to premium economy. Their lounges reached their zenith with hot dogs in Newark. The domestic lounges in Oslo and Tromsø are skimpy on the refreshments. Norway is the odd European country with no 3rd-party airport lounges that I can find, certainly no Diners Club or Priority Pass lounges.
The SAS app is quirky such as showing flight status as to, then from. Norwegians don’t read right to left, do they? I like the liability within 22 hours of departure to download various publications. Give me my FT Weekend and I am a happy flyer.
Hotels are the functional Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo, next to the main station, and well, the intent was to be at the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen in Svalbard. That closed this month for renovations so they moved me to the serviceable Spitsbergen Hotel. Both were last-gasp bookings of the Club Carlson credit card 2-for-1.
My night in Tromsø will be at a Choice Hotels that looks like a typo: Clarion Collection Hotel With. With what? Not only breakfast but also evening smorgasbord for 16,000 Choice Privileges points. I had 38,000 expiring under Choice’s old policy, so booked that and also my 25,000 point stay at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island Nassau, which has full Atlantic resort privileges. The new policy keeps points alive with any activity every 18 months. I need to write more on Choice Privileges because there is much value to extract and this gives more flexibility.
Last week was a return to travel program news after a week of manufactured spend cuts. Some of these article go back to late 2015, they say in my mobile bookmarks folder, and are still relevant so are being unearthed.
- I’m Pleasantly Surprised by My Return to United Airlines (Travel Codex).
- United MileagePlus Elite Mileage Earnings Rates Increasing (One Mile at a Time).
- Delta raises many Business Class award prices, lowers some Economy (MileCards).
- Award Searches To Europe Through Delta Are a Nightmare: Here’s Why (Frugal Travel Guy).
- Delta SkyBonus continues to disappoint. Such a #KeepDescending worthy loyalty program! (Renés Points).
- Delta Amex Companion Certificates lose Comfort Plus seat access (MileCards).
- DOT Sends Delta To The Back of The Line Again On Haneda (Pizza In Motion).
- American Cutting Mileage Earning Rates On Partner Airlines In 2016 (One Mile at a Time).
- The New AA Award Chart (starting March ’16) and Making the best of the AA award changes coming (both Travel is Free).
- Air Canada plans big transborder expansion (TravelSkills).
- Aer Lingus joins Avios loyalty programme (Business Traveller).
- How to keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring (or not… see comments for details) (Frequent Miler).
- Marriott 5 Night Travel Packages exist, but they’re secret. (Frequent Miler).
- Running with Miles | Great New SPG Transfer Partner Opens Up Excellent Award Chart [Full Booking Details] (Running with Miles).
- Preferred Hotel Group Reduces The Cost Of Award Stays By 5,000 Choice Points Per Night (Doctor Of Credit).
- There’s a New Choice Hotel in New York City: Cambria Times Square (Will Run For Miles).
- Fidelity FlexPerks? Is the Fidelity Visa Signature 2% card better than we thought? (Frequent Miler) and How to Redeem Bank of America WorldPoints Travel Rewards (Travel with Grant).
- Citi Executive Card Adds Admirals Club Access For Authorized Users (Danny the Deal Guru).
- 2016 Bonus Categories for Chase Freedom, Discover it & More! (Miles to Memories).
- Should You Consider Chase Amazon Visa? (Miles For Family).
- BJ’s membership and credit card information (Personal Finance Digest).
- This Snapshot Of United’s Saver Award Availability Between Newark And Tel Aviv Shows Just How Much Having Their Credit Card Can Help (Dan’s Deals).
- National Car Discover Certificate Chargebacks (Miles to Memories).
- Inside a $5.7 Billion Antitrust Trainwreck (Bloomberg Business).
- Charles M. Cawley, Credit Card Pioneer, Dies at 75 (NYT).
- Blue Friday aftermath: winners and losers (Personal Finance Digest).
- Dad Post: Let Me Show You Why You Should Never Accept “Free Miles” From an Energy Provider (Angelina Travels).
- Why I Finally Signed Up for Netspend Account, and You Should Too (Miles For Family) and Netspend 5% Savings Accounts on up to $5000 (Doctor Of Credit).
- What You Can (and Can’t!) Do With Citi ThankYou Points From a Checking Account (Million Mile Secrets).
- Anyone Notice The Awesome New Addition On CashBackMonitor? (Chasing The Points).
- Miles and points as an (irrational!) commitment mechanism (The Free-quent Flyer).
- Who are an airline’s best customers? (The Free-quent Flyer).
- Social Networking in The Hobby (Miles For Family).
- It’s fun to read what outsiders think of our hobby (Personal Finance Digest).
- Confessions (Personal Finance Digest).
- This Site is Too Commercial (And More Great Feedback From Last Week’s Survey) (Nomadic Matt).
- Russell Smith: Say bye to the online comment section as you know it (The Globe and Mail).