We’re chock-full of Middle Age Miles News & Notes on MLK Day after a long flight from DFW to Seattle.
But first, a quick moment in honor of Dr. King and his contributions to America and our civil rights movement. The featured image above is one that is particularly meaningful to us, Dr. King hand-in-hand with Father Ted Hesburgh, who served as president of Notre Dame during Philly’s time there and had quite the remarkable life himself.
Turning now to the News & Notes …
1 – Ritz Carlton Visa $100 airfare discount disappears
We were incredibly disappointed last week to learn of the demise of one the most valuable credit card benefits out there, the $100 airfare discount on our Ritz Carlton Visa card. The elimination of this benefit came with no advance notice. In fact, we’d been planning to use it ourselves for a trip to Chicago next month, but the benefit disappeared before we booked.
The discount had its limitations – 2 people (or more) had to be traveling together round-trip on a domestic itinerary within the contiguous 48 states (with exceptions for trips originating in AK and HI), and Southwest and most LCCs were excluded. But between us and the Middle Age Miles kids, we had been using the flight discount a solid 5-10 times per year over the past 4 years. It was particularly valuable on cheaper fares, where the $100 discount could represent a good-sized percentage reduction in flight costs.
If you go to the old website for this benefit, all that’s left is this text message:
This was a really good tool in our bag of tricks to save money on travel, and we’re really sad to see it go.
2 – Reminder of ongoing Hyatt promo – 3,000 bonus points per stay at SLH properties
Here’s a quick reminder of a really going ongoing promotion – You can earn 3,000 bonus Hyatt points per paid stay at Small Luxury Hotels properties. Here are the key details:
- Landing page/Registration link to Hyatt-SLH promo
- You must register in advance (use the link above) and no later than 1/31/2020
- You must make your reservation through Hyatt booking channels (and not through SLH or the hotel directly)
- You must check out on or before 3/2/2020
- Stays on consecutive nights at the same hotel will constitute one stay.
At our baseline value of 1.5 cents per Hyatt point, this amounts to a points rebate of about $45 per stay – not too shabby. In addition, this will stack with your regular Hyatt points-earning on Hyatt-booked stays at SLH properties and other promotions that Hyatt may run during this promotional period.
3 – Chase Offers for 15% off at Hyatt House [Targeted; YMMV]
We received a nice Chase Offer last week for 15% off when you spend $100 or more at a Hyatt House property. It’s a targeted offer, so you may or may not have it. We were fortunate to have the offer on the 2 Chase cards where it helps most – our World of Hyatt card and our Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
The Offer is good one-time only per enrolled card. It expires on 2/15/2020. It has a cap of $45 statement credit, which means that the 15% discount works on stays of between $100 and $300. In our situation, where we have the offer on 2 different cards, we could get the 15% discount on up to $600 in charges (if we only had a Hyatt House stay coming up!).
We’ve also heard that it may be possible to purchase a Hyatt physical gift card at a Hyatt House front desk and trigger the Offer. We haven’t tried this ourselves, so YMMV. In addition, we’ve also heard that a similar Chase Offer may be available for Hyatt Place hotels, so you might be on the lookout for that one too.
4 – Radisson Rewards Winter Promo – Earn up to 150,000 bonus points
Last week Radisson Rewards launched its winter promotion, where you can earn up to 150,000 bonus points when you complete multiple stays by 3/31/2020. Here’s the landing page for the promotion, where you can register and see the terms and conditions:
- Radisson Rewards: “Let your travel take you farther” Winter 2020 promotion
Bonus points-earning under this promotion is:
- Complete 2 stays, earn 5,000 bonus points
- Complete 3 stays, earn an additional 10,000 bonus points (15,000 total)
- Complete 5 stays, earn an additional 15,000 bonus points (30,000 total)
- Complete 10 stays, earn an additional 45,000 bonus points (75,000 total)
- Complete 15 stays, earn an additional 75,000 bonus points (150,000 total)
Key details of the promotion are:
- You must register in advance of your first stay
- You must complete your stay by 3/31/2020
- Award nights and Cash+Points stays count
- An “Eligible Stay” means one or more consecutive Eligible Nights at the same Participating Property, regardless of the number of check-ins or checkouts that occur during that stay.
- Participating brands are all Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson hotels worldwide
- Bonus points stack with your regular Radisson Rewards points-earning
We give Radisson Rewards points a baseline value of 0.4 cents per point, but even at that level, the number of points you can earn here can make this promotion valuable if you have a lot of short stays at Radisson properties. Even with just 3 or 5 stays, you can earn a useful number of points.
For further details and nuance, we’ll send you to the guru of mid-major hotel chain loyalty programs, Ric Garrido at Loyalty Traveler:
- Loyalty Traveler: Radisson Rewards up to 150K bonus points for stays Jan 15-Mar 31 (January 15, 2020)
5 – AA removes close-in award booking fee
Plenty of people we know are very happy at this news from last week – that American Airlines has removed its close-in award booking fee.
Before the fee was removed, AA charged $75 for award bookings made within 21 days of travel, which we always thought was punitive. The fees mostly impacted non-elite members.
We certainly have our issues with AA these days, and there are counter-balancing changes to AAdvantage award pricing that may work against members, but we’re certainly happy about the elimination of this fee!
6 – Southwest delays flight schedule extension
The Southwest flight schedule is currently open through 8/10/2020. Until last week, Southwest had been expecting to extend its flight schedule into October on 2/13/2020.
Last week, though, Southwest delayed its flight schedule extension until Thursday, 3/12/2020. On that date (usually starting early in the morning), Southwest flights will be open for sale through 10/31/2020.
This is especially an important date for college football fans like us, so be sure to circle your calendars for the morning of March 12!
7 – New Chase Marriott co-branded card sign-up bonuses, including 100k on Boundless
Last week, Chase announced new, higher sign-up bonuses for its Marriott co-branded cards:
- Marriott Boundless: 100,000 Marriott points after $5,000 spend in the first 3 months of card opening
- Marriott Bold: 50,000 Marriott points after $2,000 spend in the first 3 months of card opening
At our baseline value of 0.67 cents per Marriott point, the bonuses are worth about $670 on Boundless and $335 on Bold. The expiration date of these increased bonuses is unknown, so you might want to apply sooner rather than later if you’re interested and eligible.
The cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, and they’re also subject to a complicated set of eligibility rules based on what other Marriott co-branded cards you hold/have held/have received sign-up bonuses on. Since this is just a News & Notes column, a review of the eligibility requirements is beyond the scope of this post, but you can see them by going to this Chase landing page and clicking on “Offer Details.”
As an alternative, if you prefer 3 free nights (35,000-point cap) as a sign-up bonus for the Boundless card, with $3,000 spend in your first 3 months, you can use our referral link here:
8 – Kimpton “Life Is Good” promo – 10k bonus IHG points/night at 8 Kimpton hotels
Kimpton announced a limited-but-excellent points promotion last week, where you can earn 10,000 bonus IHG points per night at 8 specified hotels across the US.
Participating properties are:
- Kimpton Canary Hotel, Santa Barbara, CA
- Kimpton Epic Hotel, Miami, FL
- Kimpton Gray Hotel, Chicago, IL
- Kimpton Hotel Born, Denver, CO
- Kimpton Hotel Eventi, New York, NY
- Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, Austin, TX
- Kimpton La Peer Hotel, Los Angeles, CA
- Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel, Boston, MA
Key details are:
- Book by 1/28/2020
- Stay by 3/31/2020
- The rate code is LIFE IS GOOD
- You *may* be required to book through the promotion landing page to receive the bonus – here’s a link to the landing page:
At our baseline value of 0.45 cents per IHG point, the bonus points are worth a very sweet $45 per night. Of course, you’ll want to compare rates to make sure that you’re getting a reasonable deal compared to what you might be able to get by booking other available rates.
On the good news side, these bonus points will stack with your regular IHG points-earning and other applicable promotions. On the bad news side, in our limited test, we weren’t able to get this promotion to work when going through a shopping portal. Perhaps readers can provide additional guidance or tips if there’s a way to get the promotion to stack with a shopping portal, as we’ve seen several occurrences lately of 10-12% cash back for IHG properties.
9 – AA opens Admirals Club in DFW Terminal E
Last week, American Airlines opened a new Admirals Club in DFW Terminal E, which is good news. Terminal E has traditionally the one that DFW’s “other” airlines used, but AA has expanded its operations into the high-numbered gates at Terminal E recently, including re-opening a satellite terminal there.
We’re very happy to hear about this opening, and we’ll look forward to checking it out the next time we have an AA flight leaving from Terminal E.
We first read about the DFW Terminal E Admirals Club on Andy’s Travel Blog, so we’ll link to his article here. It looks like Andy got an early-access preview of the space, and his article includes some good pictures:
- Andy’s Travel Blog: American Airlines opens Admirals Club in DFW Terminal E (January 14, 2020)
10 – New Centurion and Escape Lounges in Phoenix
Hat tip here to Reddit Churning contributor u/TheTwoOneFive for this good news and early review of the new Centurion and Escape lounges in PHX airport. Both of these lounges opened very recently. TheTwoOneFive visited both and provided some very useful commentary (in the 1/15/2020 Daily Discussion thread), which we’ll simply screenshot here for Middle Age Miles readers to enjoy:
We’re looking forward to trying out these new lounges sometime when we’re in or passing through PHX, and they’ll be nice alternatives to the Admirals Club there.
It’s been a full episode of News & Notes as we played some major catch-up from last week (as most of you know, we spent most of last week focused on AA termination & lockdown issues). We hope these items are helpful to you!
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