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Middle Age Miles

Middle Age Miles News & Notes 1/10/20 – MGM; AA Vacations; Best Western; Hilton; Alaska; LifeMiles; Hyatt-AA

middle age miles news notes 1/10/20 mgm resorts sale american airlines aa vacations best western rewards hilton honors points sale alaska mileage plan fiji airways lifemiles booking.com hyatt american airlines aa bonus promotion promo

No doubt, the biggest news in the credit card/points-and-miles world this week has been the impending changes coming to the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) card. We’ve been digesting that news and thinking through the CSR value proposition and strategies in light of the changes. We’ll have an article with our thoughts soon.

In the meantime, though, there are several things that have caught our eye in the past few days that we wanted to be sure to bring to the attention of Middle Age Miles readers:

1 – MGM Resorts Semi-Annual Sale

The MGM semi-annual sale usually has some good deals for Vegas stays, and this one is no exception. Here are the key details:

  • Savings: 20% off room rates
  • Food & Beverage inclusions: Vary by property (see below)
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • Book by: January 31, 2020
  • Stay by: July 31, 2020
  • Offer Codes: Vary by property (see below)

Here are the Food & Beverage inclusions for each MGM Resorts property in Las Vegas, along with a link for the booking site and the Offer Code for each hotel:

  • Bellagio: 2 buffets per night
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • Aria: 2 buffets per night
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • Vdara: 2 buffets per night
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • MGM Grand: 2 buffets per night
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • The Signature: 2 buffets per stay (note: per stay, not per night)
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • Mandalay Bay: 2 buffets per night
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • Delano Las Vegas: 2 buffets per night
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20ND
  • Park MGM: $100 food & beverage credit (per stay)
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • NoMad Las Vegas: $150 food & beverage credit (per stay)
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20NN
  • The Mirage: 2 buffets per night
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • New York New York: 2 buffets per stay
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • Luxor: 2 buffets per stay
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N
  • Excalibur: 2 buffets per stay
    • Offer Code: ZSAS20N

We really like the offers at NoMad and Park MGM that include food & beverage credits, which are more flexible than the buffet benefits.

Remember that you can also earn World of Hyatt points and elite night credits on your stays at MGM properties. Also, we’ll hope that another Amex Offer for MGM hotels comes along soon, to pair with these great rates. Finally, to perhaps get even more credits along with a potential room upgrade and late checkout, you might also want to check the rates and benefit packages offered by the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection (LHRC) and Signature Travel Network.

2 – AA Vacations sale

With the American Airlines “New Year, New You” sale, you can save on flight + hotel vacation packages to many AA destinations. Here are some key details:

  • Savings: $20.20 per night
  • Bonus Miles: 2,020 AA miles (in addition to the normal 1,000 bonus booking miles and your regular miles-earning from your flights)
  • Minimum Hotel Stay: 2 nights
  • Book by: February 5, 2020
  • Travel by: November 16, 2020
  • Promo Code: NEWYEAR20 (enter at checkout)
  • Blackout Dates: 4/12/20; 5/25/20; 7/4/20; 9/7/20
    • Note that if your travel period includes any blackout date, you’re not eligible for the promotion – this can be a serious impediment to taking advantage of the offer.

3 – Best Western gift card promo

For about 3 more weeks, Best Western has a promotion where you can earn a Best Western gift card (BW GC) for each of your first 3 stays during the promotional period. This promotion actually started back in early December. You must register for the promotion before your first stay.

In short, you’ll earn a $10 BW GC after your first stay; a $20 BW GC after your second stay; and a $30 BW GC after your third stay (if you live in Canada, the UK or a Euro-using EU country, you’ll receive a BW GC denominated in the local currency instead). The promotion runs through February 2, 2020 (you must check out on or before February 3 for your stay to count). BW GCs are delivered by email, which may take 2-3 weeks after your qualifying stay.

Full details and a registration link are available at the landing page for the promotion:

4 – Hilton Honors Points Sale

Hilton Honors points normally cost 1 cent per point, but Hilton regularly runs promotions where you can buy points for less. The best deal they offer is a 100% bonus, and that deal is back again. Here are some key details:

  • Deal: Purchase at least 10,000 HH points (pre-bonus) and receive a 100% points bonus
  • Maximum purchase: 80,000 HH points (pre-bonus; becomes 160,000 HH points total, including the bonus)
  • Cost per point: 0.5 cents per point
  • Last day to purchase: February 19, 2020

We recently revised our baseline value of HH points to 0.45 cents per point, so this sale price is only slightly higher. That said, there are plenty of opportunities in the Hilton program, particularly at the highest and lowest ends of the points spectrum, to get more than 0.5 cents of value. If you have an upcoming trip where you can redeem at more than 0.5 cents per HH point, this may be a good sale for you.

Sales of Hilton Honors points are made by Points.com. We recommend going through the Top Cashback (TCB) shopping portal when purchasing from Points.com. As of today, Top Cashback is offering 2.5% cash back on purchases of HH points through Points.com. The TCB cash back brings the net cost down a bit, to 0.4875 cents per HH point. Your credit card rewards will reduce the net cost slightly further.

5 – Hilton Honors small positive changes

Hat Tip to Doctor of Credit for reminding us of a few relatively minor but positive changes to Hilton Honors points-earning that went into effect this week (January 9):

  • You can now earn points on up to 4 rooms simultaneously (previous limit was 2)
  • No limit to the amount of base points you can earn per stay (previous limit was 100,000 per stay; note that the change only impacts stays that cost more than $10,000)
  • You will now earn points for incidental spending at all Hilton brands (previously, you only earned points for your room rate when staying at Hampton, Tru, Home2 Suites and Homewood Suites)
  • Points expiry, if you have no activity in your account, is now 15 months (previously 12 months; any account activity extends the expiration date)

Even though they are minor and may never make a difference to us, we appreciate these customer-friendly changes.

6 – Alaska Mileage Plan promo with Fiji Air – Award Redemption Sale and Earn Double Miles on Paid Fares

Early this week, Alaska Mileage Plan started a very clever promotion with its partner Fiji Airways, which could be quite useful to some Middle Age Miles readers.

The promotion has 2 parts:

  • Book a paid fare on Fiji Airways and earn double Alaska Mileage Plan miles
    • You’ll have to register for this promotion prior to your flight (you can do this through the landing page link below);
    • You’ll have to credit your flight to Alaska Mileage Plan;
    • You must book by February 29, 2020
    • You must fly between February 1 and June 30, 2020, inclusive
  • Redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for flights on Fiji Airways at a reduced rate, with savings as much as 50%
    • Economy from North America to South Pacific/Australia/New Zealand – regular price 40,000 AS miles; sale price 20,000 AS miles
    • Economy from Hawaii to South Pacific/Australia/New Zealand – regular price 27,500 AS miles; sale price 20,000 AS miles
    • Business from North America to South Pacific/Australia/New Zealand – regular price 55,000 AS miles; sale price 40,000 AS miles
      • [But note that Business Class award space between the US and Fiji is extremely tough to find.]
    • Business from Hawaii to South Pacific/Australia/New Zealand – regular price 45,000 AS miles; sale price 40,000 AS miles

Here’s a link to the landing page for the promotion, where you can register and see more details:

Some clever commentators have noted that you can combine the award sale with Alaska Mileage Plan’s generous “free stopover” rule, to fly from the US to Australia or New Zealand, with a stopover in Fiji, for 20,000 AS miles each way, or 40,000 AS miles round-trip. That’s an incredible deal! (Note that Fiji Airways flies non-stop to Fiji from SFO and LAX.)

Frequent Miler had a good article about this promotion here:

7 – LifeMiles 6 miles/$ with Booking.com

If you make hotel bookings through third-party OTAs and use the LifeMiles frequent flyer program of Avianca, you might really like this promotion – Earn 6 LifeMiles per dollar on your hotel stays reserved through Booking.com.

You’ll need to make your booking by February 8, 2020, but your actual stay can be at any time. You must use the LifeMiles/Booking.com website and include your LifeMiles number in order to use this promotion:

8 – [Targeted] Hyatt stays earn 3x AA miles

The Hyatt-AA partnership was one of the nice points-and-miles developments of 2019. It allows elite members in each program to earn points/miles in the other program – one extra AA mile for each dollar spent at Hyatt; and one extra Hyatt point for each dollar spent on an AA paid fare.

This week, Hyatt upped the reward for certain targeted World of Hyatt members. Through this new promotion, the targeted Hyatt member can earn three AA miles for every dollar spent with World of Hyatt. Targeted members should have received an email from World of Hyatt.

Key details are:

  • Register for the promotion before your Hyatt stay
  • Register by February 15, 2020
  • Complete your Hyatt stay between January 15 and March 15, 2020
  • Earn 3 AA miles for every $1 spent at Hyatt

Here’s a link to register, but note that you won’t be approved for the promotion if you weren’t targeted:

We went 1-for-2 with this promotion, and unfortunately, the wrong one of us was targeted. Philly was able to successfully register for the promotion:

Whereas I was not targeted and my attempt to register was unsuccessful:

We concentrate our Hyatt stays under my World of Hyatt account to take advantage of our newly-earned Globalist elite status and make progress toward hopefully re-qualifying next year. It’s certainly not worth shifting our stays to Philly’s Hyatt account just to get a few extra AA miles. Oh well, maybe I’ll get targeted next time. Hopefully other Middle Age Miles readers fared better!


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4 thoughts on “Middle Age Miles News & Notes 1/10/20 – MGM; AA Vacations; Best Western; Hilton; Alaska; LifeMiles; Hyatt-AA

  1. Larry

    Thanks for all of this information. Love the blog!

    On #1 for the ZSAS20N free 2 buffets promo, do you know if it can be used 1 for two different meals or is it only once per day for up to 2 people? Years ago I might have booked this kind of offer and think it might have been only one time use per day.

    Also, it is possible to book this using points, like UR, ThankYou or CNB points?

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hey Larry – Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your long-time support of Middle Age Miles on Twitter.

      On your question about the buffets – I don’t know directly. I was just re-reading the terms and conditions of the offer, and it looks like it *can* be used by 1 person for 2 different meals. Full T&C language (this one is for the Bellagio ZSAS20N offer) is: “In order to redeem Buffet Credit, a valid credit card must be presented upon check-in and you will be required to charge your two buffets per night to your room prior to check-out. Buffet Promotion valid for a maximum of two (2) breakfast, lunch or brunch buffets, per night and are not available on holidays. Unused Buffet Credit will not be refunded and has no cash value.” Importantly, note that the benefit for purposes of this promotion only covers “breakfast, lunch or brunch” and not dinner.

      For programs where you have to go through the credit card provider’s travel portal, you could only book this rate if it shows up on their portal. I doubt this will show up as an option. I just did a very quick search on the Chase portal at the MGM Grand, I’m not seeing this rate/promo as an option. Probably limited to paid rates here, with the points play being a “purchase eraser” program like C1 Venture or using USBank Real-Time Rewards. ~Craig

  2. Larry

    Hi Craig- Just to follow up on the buffet promos, I didn’t get to find out about splitting the 2 per day. I stayed at the Excalibur hotel which was 2 per stay. Your post had it clearly but I didn’t notice it and when I asked at check in they said it was 2 per stay (dinner excluded). I was able to use those 2 at different times though and they did come off the final bill automatically.

    On the plus side, the Excalibur wasn’t as bad as I remembered it to be and they put me in the Royal tower as a MGM gold (Hyatt Globalist match). I also stayed at the Hyatt Place Silverton Village, and it was a nice brand-new Hyatt Place. Highly recommend for 8000 WOH points if the casino hotels are pricey.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Larry – Thanks for the Vegas DPs! I’m glad to hear that your buffet credits worked well and that you got an upgrade at the Excalibur. Good tip on Hyatt Place Silverton Village too. ~Craig

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