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I fly tomorrow to Seattle for an overnight business trip. I went through the options. Fly American and get no upgrade and miles I rarely use to preserve a lackluster mid-tier elite states. Fly United and also no upgrade on the nonstops, though with a pre-holiday shot at a ps Service upgrade using RPUs with an added connection in LAX or SFO…then remembered I need to get to the meeting and even a United nonstop is risky. So I settled on Delta nonstops, two of its daily JFK-SEA operate on 757s with nice business class seats, two on regular 737s, and it looked like good for upgrade chances at booking. The return upgrade cleared several days out, while my outbound upgrade is scuppered by a last minute rush on tickets in both classes that have the plane oversold. Darn those people paying for nice seats!
- Garuda Indonesia to fly one-way non-stop from Singapore to Amsterdam (Travel Daily News). A new SkyTeam option not currently subject to SkyMiles blackouts.
- Speaking of SkyTeam, they are the only alliance with service to Madagascar, and now local airline Air Madagascar risks ruin if strike continues (ch-aviation).
- Continuing, the Vanilla Alliance may lose a founding member before it exists (ATWOnline).
- United Airlines to acquire 5% stake in Brazil’s Azul (ATWOnline). Expect the partnership to grow, currently a great option for United awards in Brazil.
- Avianca Brazil to join Star Alliance July 22 (ATWOnline). In my recent Brazil trip I spent a bit of time trying to figure out if Avianca Brazil did or did not roll into the other Aviancas or might earn United miles. You might still see this airline referred to as Oceanair in websites such as corporate travel tool Concur. This has been an on-and-off thing that looks set to finally happen. Star Alliance returns to Brazil.
- New SPG Hotels 2015 June Edition and a Few Bargains (The Lazy Traveler’s Handbook). New options on the cheap end of awards.
- Kimpton CEO Vows to Keep Rewards Program Unique Despite IHG Integration (Skift). IHG will have 3 award programs.
- My Love / Hate With Airbnb (Travel Is Free). Airbnb is great for many. I have not used it. My midnight arrival, dawn departure single night stays are not its target market.
- Why I won’t chase Hyatt Diamond status (The Free-quent Flyer). Hyatt doesn’t work for my travel footprint or business travel budget. Here’s a manufactured spend view that argues it is not the small footprint that is an issue, it is that Hilton essentially covers the same footprint and more and is good enough while easier to MS.
- Stay 13 Nights at Norway Scandic Hotels for Fixed Price (Magic of Miles). If you didn’t book Club Carlson before the devaluation, here’s an alternative for a mega-expensive country.
- I’ve Earned Lifetime Status With Starwood! (One Mile at a Time). Hotel lifetime status has little utility to me beyond ego-stoking. For business travel I chase the points promos, for personal I avoid chain hotels.
- Citi Retention Offer for AA Exec Card makes the Annual Fee $100 (The Winglet). I got a similar offer and made the opposite decision: closed my card and keep my Citi Prestige.
- Set Up Amazon Allowance to Automatically Charge your BofA Better Balance Rewards Credit Card (Travel with Grant). The BBR cards are great in theory and work ok once you over initial hiccups and get in a groove.
- Good News & Bad News for Discover it Card (Million Mile Secrets). Now with chip and a PIN, I need to request a chip card.
- What type of EMV Chip + PIN credit card works best? (MileCards). Explication of the gradations of chip cards.
- Barclay’s Upromise Changes Their Bonus Structure Again (Chasing The Points). Some things clearly alert, “TOO MUCH HASSLE.”
- WARNING: New Visa Gift Card Scam & How to Protect Yourself (Miles to Memories). I continue to be cautious on doing anything with gift cards.
- If you do gift cards, see My Amex gift card strategy (The Frequent Miler).
- Today Was a Very Important Day For Far More Than Travel (View from the Wing). Heated debate, some insightful, some predictable. Some told Gary to stick to miles and points. I want to know the people I read and I want to hear what they think. Sanitizing public discourse out of existence is not desirable.
- Free press trips for travel bloggers (Loyalty Traveler). Objectivity and subjectivity in the context of one one-man blog.