Top loyalty deals
Alitalia revamps Mille Miglia programme
Alitalia is relaunching its Mille Miglia loyalty programme for 2013 to 2015, with all existing miles expiring next month unless members collect a special bonus promotion before June 30.
All existing miles from the 2008 to 2012 period expire at the end of June, but Mille Miglia Club or Ulisse Club members can earn a bonus equal to 50 per cent of the miles not used during the 2008 to 2012 period. To earn this bonus members must fly at least four times before June 30.
Upper-tier Freccia Alata Club or Freccia Alata Plus Club members can receive 100 per cent of their leftover miles following just two flights. Reward flights do not count towards this promotion and any miles earned after January 1, 2013 are automatically registered on the 2013 account.
On July 1, all top-tier Freccia Alata Plus Per Sempre Members will obtain a mile bonus equivalent to 100 per cent of their leftover 2008 to 2012 mileage balance, regardless of how many Alitalia flights they take. This status is attained by being a top-tier loyalty member for ten consecutive years.
Ulisse Club status is attained by earning 20,000 miles or taking 30 qualifying flights in a calendar year. Ulisse Club members gain 25 per cent bonus miles and priority check-in and boarding, as well as paid lounge access.
Freccia Alata Club status is attained by earning 50,000 qualifying miles or taking 60 qualifying flights. There is a 50 per cent miles bonus applied for Freccia Alata Club members and up to four upgrades from Classica economy class to Classica Plus (premium economy) or Ottima (business), free of charge, as well as lounge access, priority check-in, boarding and extra baggage allowance.
Freccia Alata Plus status is attained by earning 80,000 qualifying miles or by taking 90 flights. The same benefits as Freccia Alata Club are applicable but a 100 per cent miles bonus is added and up to four upgrades to a superior class are included.
New features of the programme for 2013 include the ability to earn miles on all flights, for any purchased fare, and up to three times more miles if you are travelling with an Ottima or Magnifica business class ticket to international destinations, or with a full fare economy class ticket on domestic flights.
If you have reached and exceeded the status threshold to one of the Exclusive Club tiers, you can transfer the extra miles to the following year. For example, if by the end of 2013 a member has earned 30,000 qualifying miles, 20,000 can be used to join the Ulisse Club and the remaining 10,000 miles can be credited as qualifying 2014 miles, valid for access to the Exclusive Club the following year.
Marriott Rewards partners with Iberia Plus
Members of the Marriott Rewards and Iberia Plus loyalty schemes can now earn Avios when staying across the Marriott portfolio, and may also exchange Marriott Rewards points for Avios, thanks to a new partnership.
Members must first designate Avios as their earning preference, before gaining two Avios per US$1 spent at the following Marriott brands: Marriott Hotels and Resorts, JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club, Autograph Collection Hotels, Edition (room rate only), The Ritz-Carlton (room rate only) and Gaylord Hotels (room rate only).
Members will also earn one Avios per US$1 spent on room rate only at other Marriott brands, including: AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Towne Place Suites by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartments.
In addition, Marriott Rewards members can convert their points into Avios. Points can be exchanged at a rate of:
- 2,000 Avios for 10,000 Marriott Rewards points
- 5,000 Avios for 20,000 points
- 10,000 Avios for 30,000 points
- 25,000 Avios for 70,000 points
- 50,000 Avios for 125,000 points
Marriott Rewards already partners with Iberia’s sister airline British Airways Executive Club loyalty programme, which also uses the Avios currency.
Marriott currently has 77 hotels in Spain, including AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, and Marriott Vacation Club properties.
Hyatt Gold Passport offers 45,000 bonus points
Hyatt Gold Passport members can earn 3,000 bonus points after every three eligible nights at any Hyatt hotel worldwide between March 1 and May 31, up to a maximum of 45,000 points.
Eligible stays are defined as one night or more during the promotional period when choosing points or miles, and paying an eligible rate. Award nights do not constitute an eligible stay.
Points are redeemable for free nights, room upgrades, and dining and spa services (available at participating properties only).
Hyatt Credit Card members will also receive a 20 per cent bonus of 600 extra points after every three nights, therefore earning up to a maximum of 54,000 points.
Members must pre-register by April 30 by visiting goldpassport.com/possibilities and complete all stays between March 1 and May 31 in order to earn bonus points.
Marriott Rewards makes redemption rate changes
From May 16 Marriott Rewards will make changes to its hotel categories as part of an annual review, including the addition of a ninth band, requiring 45,000 points per night for a redemption stay.
All redemption reservations booked on or before May 15 for stays after May 16 will be honoured at the point price booked, and redemption reservations can be made up to 50 weeks in advance, even before having the required points in your account.
Category one is charged at 7,500 points and category two is set at 10,000, with the other categories rising up by denominations of 5,000 to the new category nine, at 45,000 points. These existing rates have not changed, but the hotels in each category have.
The new category nine includes hotels such as: Boston Marriott Long Wharf, London Marriott Hotel County Hall, London Marriott Hotel Park Lane, St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, Renaissance New York Hotel Times Square and Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees.
Points Saver awards are available for category nine properties and are charged at 40,000. Points Saver is an ongoing promotion offering discounts on selected hotels in the Marriott collection, with changing properties all the time.
The breakdown of the category changes reads as follows:
- 73 per cent of the program's properties will remain in Categories 1-4
- 63 per cent of the properties remain unchanged
- 1 per cent of the properties will decrease by one or more categories
- 36 per cent of the properties will increase by one or more categories
The scheme has also made its Elite nights rollover benefit permanent (see online news February 13).
Marriot Rewards makes Elite nights rollover a permanent benefit
Marriott Rewards has made its Elite Rollover Nights benefit a permanent part of the loyalty programme.
The benefit allows members to roll over nights earned in excess of the minimum Elite requirements, and apply them to the following year’s status.
For example Gold status requires 50 nights per year, so if a member earns 60 nights then ten of these will be carried over to the following year’s qualification.
Rollover nights expire after one calendar year, and note that they can only be used to renew at the member’s current level or to achieve a higher level – so if a member downgrades to a lower status the following year there would be no rollover nights applied.
Marriott Rewards has been offering the Elite Rollover Nights benefit as a promotion for some time, but has now made it a permanent part of the programme – full details can be seen on the FAQ page here.
Oneworld adds new top tier benefits
From February 1 Oneworld Emerald status members will be entitled to an extra checked luggage allowance when travelling on any Oneworld airline, above the standard limit for the cabin class they are travelling in. This means passengers will benefit from either one additional item where the piece concept applies, or an extra 20kg where a weight policy is used.
In addition Emerald members will now be able to use fast track security lanes “when flying from select key airports worldwide on select Oneworld member airlines”.
Priority Club launches Cars Anywhere redemptions
Intercontinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) Priority Club loyalty programme has launched a new platform for redeeming points on car rentals, called Cars Anywhere.
This joins Priority Club’s Hotels Anywhere and Flights Anywhere programmes that seek to offer members greater flexibility when booking travel through Priority Club.
With Cars Anywhere members can search, book and purchase car rentals with well-known rental companies at a wide range of airport destinations by visiting priorityclub.com/carsanywhere.
Priority Club Rewards members are able to redeem loyalty points for rentals through the Cars Anywhere programme using points or a combination of Points and Cash, with redemptions starting at 5,000 points.
A quick search for cars at London Heathrow in mid-February brought up 68 results from Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Green Motion and Thrifty. These ranged from 25,000 points per day in the Mini category, namely a Hyundai i10 from Alamo, up to 189,000 in the Premium category, namely a Mercedes E Class with Avis.
Hotels Anywhere and Flights Anywhere allow members to book hotels around the world, including non-IHG properties, and reserve seats on more than 400 airline carriers using Priority Club points.
Mandarin Oriental and Etihad in loyalty programme tie up
Mandarin Oriental and Etihad Guest, the loyalty scheme of Etihad Airways, have teamed up to allow their frequent customers to rack up miles through hotel stays.
The airline's frequent flyers can earn 500 miles for an eligible stay in a regular room and 800 miles in a club room or suite at participating Mandarin Oriental properties. Etihad Guest Gold and Gold Elite members will benefit even more with upgrades as well as early check in and late check out.
Another chance to earn miles comes from booking the chain's "Luxury Breaks", which runs until April 15. Members receive double miles for standard room categories and triple miles for suites.
The airlines flies directly to many of Mandarin Oriental key locations such as London and Hong Kong, while Mandarin Oriental hotels are expected to crop up in Abu Dhabi, Etihad's home base, as well as in Doha.
Club Carlson launches triple points promotion
Club Carlson – the loyalty scheme of the Carlson Rezidor group – has relaunched its triple points promotion, valid for stays at over 1,000 properties worldwide.
Members must pre-register for the offer, which runs until March 15 for stays at participating Radisson, Radisson Blu, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson and Park Plaza hotels.
Bonus points are available for each hotel stay during the promotional period, as well as on food and beverage purchases, and see members earn 60 Gold Points per US dollar spent instead of the normal 20.
Swissotel partners with British Airways
British Airways’ Executive Club Members can now earn Avios when staying at any Swissotel Hotels and Resorts property worldwide, excluding the Swissotel Le Concorde, Bangkok.
Simply present your British Airways Executive Club card at reception upon check-in to receive 500 Avios per qualifying stay. A qualified stay is defined as a paid stay limited to one room per Executive Club member for one or more consecutive nights at a participating hotel.
A special launch offer is also available up until March 31, allowing Executive Club members to earn up to quadruple Avios per stay when booking through the Swissotel website. The first night will be awarded with 500 base Avios and 500 bonus Avios and the second and third nights will be awarded with another 500 bonus Avios each, meaning a maximum of 2,000 Avios can be earned per stay.
BA Openskies to join Oneworld as affiliate
British Airways subsidiary BA Openskies is to join Oneworld as an affiliate member from December 1.
It means that Oneworld cardholders will be able to earn and redeem miles on BA Openskies services, as well as earning tier points. Elite members will also be granted lounge access when flying with the carrier.
Announcing the news BA Openskies managing director Patrick Malval said: "With Openskies being brought closer to mainstream British Airways, we are delighted now to be able to offer our customers the full range of Oneworld services and benefits and to bring our flights into the network of the world's leading quality airline alliance."
The carrier currently operates flights between Paris Orly and New York Newark, offering a three-class Eco, Prem Plus and fully-flat Biz Bed product. From March 31 next year BA Openskies will also relaunch its Orly-JFK service.
MAS offers 50 per cent redemption discount
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Enrich members can take advantage of half price flight redemptions up until December 31, for travel to and from the carrier’s hub at Kuala Lumpur between February 1 and June 30.
Redemptions will be valid for both one way and return flights between Kuala Lumpur and all destinations worldwide, including the London Heathrow A380 route.
Redemption tickets must be issued by December 31 for the travelling period February 1 to June 30, 2013, except when travelling to or from India where the travel period lasts until April 30.
Redemption options have been separated in to six different international travel zones, and one Malaysian domestic zone, including Europe/Americas, China/Middle East and South Asia. There are redemption rate tables available online for each zone showing the half price rates across all classes.
For example a return redemption from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur on the A380 on a Basic economy fare will be as low as 30,000 (15,000 each way), as opposed to the normal rate of 60,000. A Basic business class return will cost 55,000, down from 110,000. Please note that this promotion will override the standard 15 per cent online rebate.
Marriott Rewards introduces Cash plus Points
Since August 24 Marriott Rewards members can combine redemption nights and cash nights within a single reservation of two or more nights when booking online, while still earning points and Elite night credits for the nights paid for with cash.
In order to use Cash plus Points check the “Use Marriott Rewards points” box in your hotel search and when selecting your room check the “Use Cash plus Points” box. This will open a calendar where you can select which nights to use cash and which nights to use points on. At least one redemption night must be included. Additionally members can get their fifth redemption night free.
However, unlike other hotel loyalty schemes such as SPG and Hilton HHonors, members are not able to use both cash plus points on a single night by using redemption points and then topping up with cash to reach the full redemption value.
Hilton HHonors opens online Shop-to-Earn Mall
Hilton HHonors has opened its global Shop-to-Earn Mall, a network of shops online. Members can earn bonus points for their purchases at retailers including Tesco, Dell, Orange, Marks and Spencer and Play.com, as well as taking advantage of exclusive offers.
To earn points, users must go through the online mall and first select the shipping country. From there, visitors can browse, choose a retailer, shop and earn points when purchasing.
The site has features such as a list of recently visited merchants, favorites, the ability to track eligible purchases and an opt-in under email preferences to get a customised newsletter.
Millennium and Copthorne Hotels partners with Qatar Airways
Members of Qatar Airways' Privilege Club scheme can immediately start earning 500 Qmiles for every qualifying stay at more than 120 Millennium and Copthorne properties across Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa.
Members must present their airline membership card or quote their number upon check-in and blackout dates may apply. For full terms and conditions, click here.
Qmiles can be redeemed for complimentary flights and upgrades on Qatar Airways’ global network of 118 destinations. FFP members can also take advantage of benefits such as priority check-in and boarding, extra baggage allowance and unlimited lounge access.
Hertz Partners with Royal Jordanian
Hertz has entered into a new partnership with Royal Jordanian’s Royal Plus frequent flyer programme, providing preferential rates and rewards.
Royal Plus members will earn 500 Royal Plus miles for each booking, doubling up to 1,000 when booking cars from the Hertz Prestige Collection, when booking best available rates.
Hertz currently has 11 franchisees in the Middle East and 23 in Africa, with a total of 66 locations in the Middle East and 161 outlets in Africa.
Royal Plus members will also be able to take advantage of year-round promotions and offers through a new HertzLink booking platform, accessed through the airline’s website.
Royal Jordanian President/CEO Amer Hadidi added: “We are pleased to work with Hertz, a worldwide leading car rental brand. Through our partnership with Hertz, we enhance the passenger’s travel experience by delivering more benefits. Our vision is to expand our partners’ network and thus reward our loyal customers with generous, non-airline services.”
Bid Starwood Preferred Guest points for a chance to play tennis with Andre Agassi
Starwood Preferred Guest is offering exclusive experiences at this year’s US Open through its starpoints auction site Moments.
Experiences include a tennis clinic with Andre Agassi, courtside seats, the Arthur Ashe Stadium Luxury Suite and behind-the-scenes tours, all made possible through a renewed partnership with the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
The tennis clinic with two time US Open winner Andre Agassi will undoubtedly prove popular and there are only ten sessions up for auction, with the minimum bid at the time of writing 10,500 points. The clinic session is followed by a photo opportunity and a seat in the SPG Luxury Suite in Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch the men's semi-final matches.
The US Open is taking place between August 27 and September 9 at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York.
Wyndham Rewards expands in Asia Pacific and Middle East
Wyndham Rewards has announced that it will be expanding into countries throughout the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
This expansion is part of a broader strategy to provide members with earning and redemption options in all 66 countries where Wyndham Hotel Group properties are located. The programme is currently available in only 50 countries.
Wyndham Rewards was already available in China and Thailand and will extend in to the Phillipines, India and Sri Lanka as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and beyond in the Middle East. The GCC currently consists of six member states, namely Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE, all of which are now included in the scheme, as well as Jordan and Lebanon.
The programme is set to roll out in Australia, New Zealand and throughout Latin America by the end of the year.
“With the growth of our program in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, we are providing members with more ways to earn points and more ways to get rewarded for staying with Wyndham Hotel Group properties,” said Robin Korman, senior vice president of loyalty marketing and strategic partnerships. “We will continue to build partnerships that offer our members more redemption options with vendors they know and trust.”
Avis Preferred rewards loyalty
Avis has improved its Preferred loyalty programme in Europe by adding benefits for members including free car hire, complimentary upgrades and free second driver cover.
The new scheme looks to build upon the speed of service already offered, with benefits including priority service in branch, a dedicated membership telephone line and a three-minute promise, which guarantees customers their keys and rental agreement within three minutes of arriving at the branch.
Additional benefits for members now include money off vouchers and exclusive offers, such as a worldwide single upgrade voucher following their second booking, and free car hire for the weekend in Europe with their third booking. After five rentals and a minimum spend of €1,000 over a 12-month period members can take advantage of complimentary upgrades and free second driver cover.
Customers who rent ten times or more and spend a minimum of €2,000 within a 12-month period will become an Avis Preferred First Plus member, which entitles them to a guaranteed single upgrade at airports and railway stations, double upgrade on weekends upon availability and free additional driver and car guarantee if a reservation is made at least 48 hours in advance.
Kaye Cellie, managing director of Avis UK, said: “Our Avis Preferred scheme was all about speed of service and whilst this is still a key priority we wanted to recognise loyal customers with additional benefits for multiple rentals.
“Other loyalty schemes require that customers complete ten or even 20 rentals before they receive practical offers. By contrast, the Avis loyalty scheme rewards both leisure and corporate customers from their second rental.”
These benefits are currently only available in Great Britain, Switzerland and Germany but are planned to be rolled out across Europe.
Earn 4x Stash points in Miami, West Hollywood, Seattle, and Nashville
First-time guests of Viceroy Miami (Miami, FL), The Hotel Wilshire (West Hollywood, CA), Hotel Max (Seattle), and Hotel Preston (Nashville) earn quadruple Stash points. Stay-by dates vary by hotel.
Earn 4x Stash points at 15 anything-but-ordinary hotels
First-time Stash guests earn 4x points in December and January at the following hotels:
Hotel deLuxe (Portland, OR), Hotel Lucia (Portland, OR), Hotel Max (Seattle), Hotel Murano (Tacoma, WA), Hotel Preston (Nashville), Hotel Teatro (Denver), John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino Resort (Sparks/Reno), Menger Hotel (San Antonio), Overton Hotel and Conference Center (Lubbock), RiverPlace Hotel (Portland, OR), The Beacon South Beach Hotel (Miami Beach), The Belamar (Manhattan Beach, CA), The Chase Park Plaza (St. Louis), The Plaza Suites (Santa Clara, CA), Williamsburg Hospitality House (Williamsburg, VA).
Book by: 01/31/12 Stay by: 01/31/12
Notes: Subject to availability. 2 night minimum. Must join Stash prior to checking in. Must be a first-time guest at the hotel as a Stash member. Must book directly with the hotel using the link at www.stashrewards.com/specials for this promotion. Points awarded on completed stays only.
Oman Air starts FFP online raffle draws
Oman Air’s Sindbad members can now spend their miles to participate in online raffle draws and win prizes.
The website promotions are an additional redemption option for members, alongside booking tickets and upgrades.
Abdulrazaq Alraisi, Oman Air’s Chief Commercial Officer, said members who buy raffle tickets online for 100 Sindbad Miles stand a chance of winning a two-night stay for two people at the recently rebranded Ritz-Carlton Al Bustan Palace Muscat, including breakfast and dinner at Al Khiran restaurant.
He said more tie-ups will be announced soon.
El Al launches frequent flyer charitable donation scheme
El Al will make donations to Israeli and global charities equivalent to five per cent of all flight points earned by members of its Matmid frequent flyer scheme.
The Globaly Plan will see donations made to the Make a Wish Foundation, as well as Israeli charities Birthright and the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers.
Starwood adds new benefit for loyalty members
The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty programme has amended the conditions for earning elite status to include SPG Award stays, which will now be counted as part of the number of stays required to progress to Gold or Platinum tier.
The initiative applies to all free SPG Award Nights redeemed by members, including the Cash & Points Awards, which enables members to redeem nights using a combination of Starpoints and cash, as well as those earned through promotions, such as the SPG Getaway Free campaign.
This also applies to the Fifth Night Free benefit enjoyed by members, whereby after four consecutive nights the fifth night will be complimentary. If a member redeems four consecutive nights, they will count towards elite status and the fifth free night will still be provided.
However, though Award stays can contribute towards climbing up to elite tiers, they cannot benefit from promotions that offer double and triple points for stays, which only apply to eligible paid stays, defined as bookings made directly with the hotel under the published rate.
To earn Gold Preferred Guest tier, a minimum of 10 stays or 25 nights are required and for Platinum Preferred Guest tier, a minimum of 25 stays or 50 nights in a calendar year are needed. Starwood’s SPG is one of the few loyalty programmes that has no blackout dates for Award Nights.
For our analysis of various loyalty programmes and their requirements for earning elite status, click here.
Delta opens new Sky Club lounges at Atlanta
Delta has reopened its Sky Club lounge on Atlanta airport’s Concourse A following renovations, and will unveil a brand new lounge on Concourse D later this month.
The refurbished lounge has seen conference rooms removed to make way for additional seating, and new power sources installed for guest use. Located close to gate A17, the lounge is Delta’s busiest facility, with more than 55,000 visits per month.
The carrier will also add a new lounge on Concourse D this month, with a full service bar, and “updated contemporary atmosphere”. The new opening means Delta will offer at least one Sky Club lounge on every concourse within the airport.
Features of both the new and refurbished lounges include complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the day, new artwork featuring aerial photography of the region, updated restrooms, and a work zone with free wifi, cyber counters with power outlets, desktop computers, wireless printers and additional charging stations.
Marriott Rewards offers a free night for new members
Marriott Rewards is luring new members in Asia with a free night stay for those who join by December 31, 2011.
New members, who join the programme while checking into any of the 97 participating properties in the region, only need to stay with the group twice within 120 days to earn the free night. The first stay will need to be at a property in the region, while the second can be anywhere in the world. A stay is defined as check in and check out.
The free night certificate will apply to category one to four hotels around the world.
The 120 stay period begins on the first day of enrollment, which is free of charge.
Thai Airways launches new loyalty tier for frequent flyers
Thai Airways has introduced an invitation-only platinum tier to its Royal Orchid Plus programme. The invitation is extended only to Thai customers who travel frequently in its premium classes and have maintained gold status for a long period. Members need to have earned at least 50,000 miles or flown at least 40 international Thai flights in a calendar year.
Added benefits of platinum status include no expiry of miles (miles for silver and gold members expire after three years), and a waiver of service fees, such as those for changing the award nominee or for re-routing a Thai award ticket. Other platinum benefits include priority reservation and a dedicated check-in area in Bangkok airport.
Intercontinental offers free nights in Europe
Intercontinental is offering Priority Club Rewards members free nights and food vouchers this season. The “Summer Package” is available for stays of five nights or more between July 14 and September 11, earning members four nights for the price of one and €100 worth of food and beverage vouchers. The five nights (based on two adults sharing) must be consecutive and spent in one property. It is limited to a maximum of three free nights per stay – 15 nights for the price of 12.
All of the group’s European hotels are participating in the offer, with the exception of its Istanbul and London Westminster properties, the new Moscow hotel (opening this summer) and the Mar Menor golf and spa resort in Spain. Stays at properties in Warsaw, Geneva, Paris, Cannes and Porto (opening August) will only be eligible for stays between August 1 and September 4. Call +44 (0)800 1800 1800 to book.
Etihad launches loyalty scheme for companies
Etihad has also unveiled Business Connect, its new loyalty scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which grants companies a percentage of miles earned by employees who are Etihad Guest members.
The scheme is open to all registered UK businesses, and between two and 200 staff can be registered. Employees must sign up to Etihad Guest first. Diamond first class and Pearl business passengers can pass on 75 per cent of the miles they earn to the scheme (while retaining all the original miles earned in their account), and Coral economy members can pass on 40 per cent. See also “Small schemes, big benefits."
Points transfer ends between American Express and One Pass
Members of Continental Airlines’ One Pass programme who have been participating in the points transfer scheme with American Express will no longer be able to take advantage of the offer from October.
Participants should take the opportunity to convert any outstanding American Express Membership Rewards points into One Pass miles. Platinum and Centurion One Pass cardholders will not be able to enter American Express Presidents Club lounges after this date either. Points transferred to One Pass miles can be exchanged for flights – with no seat blackout dates – after September 30, regardless.
Marriott Rewards offers quadruple miles
Marriott is offering all Marriott Rewards members quadruple miles with participating airlines for stays at Marriott properties. Under this scheme, members can now earn up to 8 miles for each dollar spent on qualifying charges and the room rate, depending on the airline and the Marriott brand.
The promotion runs from June 1 to August 31, 2011 and members must registeronline. Guests can only start earning from the second stay onwards within the time frame and there is no limit to the number of stays under this promotion during the mentioned period. Stays at the Ritz-Carlton are also included.
The following airlines have signed up for the programme: Aeroplan, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiin Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.
Marriott Reward members normally earn up to two air miles for each US$1 spent on room rates, although earning rates differ for each airline and two miles per US$1 spent on qualifying charges billed to the room, such as meals or phone calls. At certain brands, members only earn one mile for each dollar spent on room rates.
Delta partners with No.1 Traveller lounge at Gatwick
Delta’s premium passengers now have access to the new No.1 Traveller lounge at Gatwick’s North Terminal, with facilities including a business centre, free wifi, a bistro area, bar and travel spa.
The new lounge opened last week, joining No.1 Traveller’s existing facility at Gatwick’s South Terminal, and Delta’s BusinessElite, Medallion members and SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers now benefit from free entry.
Features include a business centre with fax, scanning and printing services as well as bookable private meeting rooms, a mini-cinema, two games rooms, free wifi, complimentary bistro-style food and selected alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
There is also a travel spa (at additional cost, with treatments starting from £15 for a 15-minute treatment), and guests can also pre-book No.1 Traveller’s chauffeur service (again at additional charge).
No.1 Traveller also has two existing lounges at Stansted airport, and will open a Heathrow T3 facility this August, which will include bedrooms with ensuite showers and on-demand movies – for more information see online news March 25.
Qantas revamps frequent flyer scheme
Qantas is adding a new "Platinum One" tier for its most loyal members, and is increasing bonus points for premium economy, business and first passengers, as well as bonus status points for Silver and Gold members.
The carrier has announced “a major round of programme enhancements”, including a new partnership with Australian telecoms giant Optus, which will allow members to earn points with the company.
But of more interest to international members will be the news of increased bonuses for premium travellers. Cabin bonus points for premium economy passengers will rise from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, while business class passengers will see their cabin bonus rise from 25 per cent to 50 per cent, and first class passengers from 50 per cent to 100 per cent.
In addition status bonus points will increase from 25 per cent to 50 per cent for Silver cardholders, and from 50 per cent to 100 per cent for Gold cardholders.
Other enhancements include more options to earn points on subsidiary Jetstar flights – a new fare structure will see members earn both points and status credits in economy and business on any fare purchase with a "Plus or Max Bundle". These bundles can be purchased on top of any fare, and provide extra benefits including seat selection and free changes to flights.
The new “Platinum One” tier status will be available from the fourth quarter of this year, for members who earn more than triple the usual status credits retain level for Platinum tier status. Those attaining this status “will have access to even more benefits and exclusive services, including a dedicated team to look after yourtravel needs every step of the way”.
The Qantas Frequent Flyer programme was launched in 1987, and currently has 7.8 million members worldwide.
Europcar launches Privilege loyalty scheme
Car rental firm Europcar has launched a new loyalty scheme offering up to 30 per cent discount on leisure rates, and free Gold membership of Accor’s A Club loyalty programme.
The new Privilege scheme - which runs alongside Europcar’s existing BusinessAdvantage, Europcar Club and Hire Rewards schemes – offers entry level members an express pick-up service, 10 per cent hire discount across all car categories and locations, 10 per cent discount on best unrestricted weekend rates at Accor hotels, and silver membership of Accor’s A Club loyalty scheme.
Members completing 10 rentals in a year will be upgraded to Privilege Executive tier status, with benefits including a 20 per cent discount on leisure rental rates, free upgrades subject to availability, and gold membership of Accor’s A Club.
Those completing 25 rentals in a year will receive Privilege Elite membership, which features 30 per cent discount on leisure rentals, one free weekend hire per year, free additional driver, Gold A Club tier status, and 200 A Club bonus points on their first stay in an Accor property.
Leading Hotels launches “Home Benefits” perk
Members of the Leading Hotels of the World loyalty programme can now take advantage of benefits at member hotels in London, New York and Paris, even if they are not staying at the property.
The Home Benefits programme includes discounts on food and beverages, and offers on spa and hairdressing packages at member hotels including the Baglioni, Landmark, Ritz and Langham hotels in London, as well as Hotel Plaza Athenee, The Pierre and The Alex in New York, and Hotel le Bristol, Hotel de Crillion and the Ritz in Paris.
Leading says it is initially launching the programme “in cities where there are multiple Leading Hotels and large numbers of Leaders Club members”. Note that members must be resident in the relevant cities to avail of the offers.
The benefits are in addition to the revamped Leaders Club scheme launched earlier this year (see online news January 19). The programme offers members free breakfast and internet access, although there is now an annual membership fee of US$100
A full list of the current discounts can be seen below. For more information visit lhw.com.
Home Benefits offers:
- Complimentary glass of Champagne with the order of an entrée at Brunello Restaurant, Baglioni London
- 20% discount on food and beverage at The Mirror Bar, 222 Restaurant and Bar, and Winter Garden, Landmark London
- Complimentary spa product with a NuBo facial service in The Spa at Brown's, Rocco Forte Brown's Hotel
- 15% discount on food and beverage at Roux at The Landau and Palm Court, The Langham London
- 15% discount on food and beverage at Cheneston’s Restaurant, The Milestone Hotel
- 20% discount on any service at The Ritz Hairdressing and Beauty Salon, The Ritz London
New York City
- 10% discount on lunch or dinner at Arabelle Restaurant, Hôtel Plaza Athénée, New York
- 10% discount at Shibui Spa and access to pool and gym with treatment, The Greenwich Hotel
- Afternoon tea for two, buy one tea, get one free at The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges, The Mark
- 10% discount on restaurant bill at Le Caprice and/or complimentary birthday cocktail (within 30 days of birthday) at Two E Bar, The Pierre - A Taj Hotel
- 30% discount off hair or make-up service at Julien Farel and 30% off spa treatment at Auriga,The Setai Fifth Avenue
- Complimentary starter, cocktail or dessert with entrée at Riingo, The Alex Hotel
- Buy one afternoon tea get one free at Hôtel Fouquet's Barrière
- 10% discount off lunch or dinner at La Table du Lancaster, Hotel Lancaster
- Complimentary spa product with spa treatment at The Spa, Hotel Le Bristol
- 10% discount on food and beverage at L'Espadon restaurant for a three-course business lunch, and 10% discount on Saturday high tea, Ritz Paris
- 30% discount off lunch or dinner at L’Obé restaurant (excluding daily menu at EUR 35), Hôtel de Crillon
Starwood Preferred Guest offers members a free resort night
Starwood Hotels is offering Starwood Preferred Guest members a free resort night for every three stays at a participating Starwood hotel between May 1 and July 31, 2011.
The ‘SPG Getaway Free’ offer provides members with a Resort Night Award after three eligible stays, qualified by check-in and check-out for one or more nights at a property, within the time frame. Multiple rooms under one name count as one stay.
The reward night, which will be valid until December 21, 2011, will be applicable to all days of the week and there will be no blackout dates. There is also no limit to how many resort nights can be earned, enabling members to combine several reward nights.
SPG members need to register for the promotion and members must pay an Eligible Rate, defined by bookings made directly with the hotel rather than through a third party.
Rezidor guests benefit in loyalty scheme changes
Guests at Rezidor’s hotels including Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Country Inn properties can now earn points more quickly following the replacing of Goldpoints Plus with the Club Carlson scheme.
Points are now calculated per equivalent US dollar spent rather than per euro spent, meaning that members will receive around 1.4 times the number of points as previously (at today’s exchange rate).
For example, €100 spent on a stay at a Radisson Blu property would have earned members 2,000 (20 points per Euro), but now the member gets 20 points per US Dollar spent, which equates to around US$140 and 2,800 points.
Park Inn and Country Inns and Suites guests benefit even further, as the earning rate at these brands has been moved from 15 points to 20 points, in line with Radisson Blu properties, so whereas previously a member would have earned 1,500 points for a €100 stay, they will now earn 2,800 points, nearly twice the number.
Finally the scheme is also running a free nights promotion, with registering members earning one free night when completing two separate stays between April 15 and June 15. The free night can then be used between August 15 and December 31 at over 1,000 hotels with the Club Carlson scheme.
No.1 Traveller to offer airside bedrooms at Heathrow
No.1 Traveller is to open its latest airport lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3 this August, complete with bedrooms featuring ensuite showers and on-demand movies.
The lounge, due to open August 14, is believed to be the first paid-for facility to offer airside accommodation at Heathrow. It joins No.1 Traveller’s existing three UK lounges (one at Gatwick South and two at Stansted) and the new Gatwick North lounge expected to open May 10 (see online news January 1, 2011).
The bedrooms are a key highlight, offering ensuites with showers, soundproofing, telephones, wifi, on-demand films and room service. They will be of particular interest to transiting passengers, especially those needing a visa to enter the UK.
Guests pay a minimum of £25 for stays of up to three hours, with each additional hour costing £5. Stays cannot exceed six hours however, and Priority Pass, Airport Angel, Diners Club, TTT MoneyCorp and WEXAS loyalty members can all enter for free.
There are 11 single bedrooms (£20 per hour, minimum two-hour stay) and three rooms for double occupancy (£30 per hour, and also a minimum two-hour stay).
The extensive leisure facilities include free wifi, a games room - complete with consoles and table football – a cinema, bar and bistro, aquarium area and spa. Hot and cold dishes, snacks and drinks are all included, with the exception of champagne and cocktails. Food is served throughout the day, with dinner service taking over from breakfast at 11am and wheat or gluten free options available.
Visitors will only incur additional costs if they book a spa treatment including massages, haircuts, massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, and there are shower facilities available to all.
Virgin Atlantic's flights depart from Heathrow T3, as do selected BA services, so the new lounge represents another option for those travelling in economy or without sufficient loyalty scheme tier status.
The new Heathrow lounge, along with both Gatwick branches, opens from 4am until 10pm every day and entry can be booked in advance online - though bedrooms can’t be reserved until September 20.
Visitors should follow signs for airport lounges and departures, then take the lifts up one floor to find the new lounge, above BA's facilities.
KrisFlyer offers bonus miles on new Singapore-HK service
Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be offering KrisFlyer members bonus miles on the Hong Kong-Singapore route to celebrate the carrier’s seventh direct daily flight between the two cities launched last month.
KrisFlyer members on the SQ891 or SQ871 flights can earn up to 5,000 bonus points for bookings made by March 31, 2011 for travel between March 27 and May 31 of this year. They must quote their membership numbers when making bookings.
There are no earning limitations for these bookings – each booking on these flights will receive bonus miles.
The seventh flight, linking Hong Kong and the Lion City announced on February 21, will commence March 27 (see story here).
Regal Hotels offers Eastern Miles members double points
After signing a mileage agreement with China Eastern Airlines in February (see story here), Regal Hotels International is now offering double miles for each stay of Eastern Miles members until May 31, 2011.
The deal offers frequent flyers 1,600 free miles per eligible stay at participating Regal properties. A stay is categorised as a check in and a check out rather than the number of nights spent.
Eastern Miles members, however, will not be able to use their miles to redeem future stays or earn miles patronising the hotels' F&B outlets.
Participating properties include Regal Airport Hotel, Regal Hong Kong Hotel, Regal Kowloon Hotel, Regal Oriental Hotel and Regal Riverside Hotel in Hong Kong; the Regal International East Asia Hotel, Regal Shanghai East Asia Hotel and Regal Jinfeng Hotel in Shanghai; Regal Master Hotel in Chengdu and Regal Kangbo Hotel in Dezhou.
Easyjet joins Nectar loyalty scheme
Members of the Nectar loyalty programme will soon be able to redeem points against Easyjet flights
The low-cost carrier joins the Nectar scheme from March 22, when members will be able to use points to pay for Easyjet flights (including taxes and charges), with no restrictions or time limits. There is also the option to combine points and cash to purchase tickets.
It’s not yet clear what the redemption rates will be, but as an example, 500 points is currently equivalent to £2.50 worth of shopping at Sainsbury’s (a founder member of the Nectar scheme), or the same value against Eurostar travel or purchases with Expedia.
Easyjet says that customers should go to nectar.com from March 22 for more details. Nectar estimates that around 300,000 flights per annum will be booked using points.
Choice Hotels gives away free nights and points
The hotel group has launched an online game offering visitors the chance to win free hotel nights, a share of 200,000 Choice Privilege points, or one of four Tom Tom devices.
The game is running until March 31, and involves visitors (who must reside in Europe) guessing which of the group’s Comfort, Quality of Clarion brand keys will fit a virtual hotel door. Visitors have four guesses, and can obtain more by recommending friends to register.
Prizes include a free night’s stay including bed and breakfast at a Choice Hotels property in Europe (a total of 255 free nights across 121 hotels), a share of 200,000 Choice Privilege points (three prizes of 50,000 points each and two prizes of 25,000 points), and four Tom Tom Go Live 1,000 devices.
All winners will also be placed into a prize draw to win a five-night stay at the Clarion Hotel Prague Old Town.
Millennium and Copthorne launch double points offer
To celebrate the inclusion of French and German properties within the M&C Loyalty Club, members can earn double points for stays at hotels in the UK,France and Germany.
The group introduced its loyalty scheme to the UK last year (see online news June 11, 2010), and has now rolled out the M&C Loyalty Club to include properties in France and Germany.
The double points offer is valid for stays from March 1-31 inclusive, at all UK,French and German properties (with the exception of the Millennium Hotel Stuttgart which is not participating in the M&C Loyalty Club).
Shangri-La's Golden Circle members can now redeem points
Shangri-la’s Golden Circle programme, which did away last October with the practice of invitation only membership, now enables customers to redeem rewards from March 1, 2011 onwards.
Launched in October last year, the new programme introduced a points system for the first time, enabling members to accumulate GC points when staying at any Shangri-La property, or when patronising the hotel’s F&B outlets and spa facilities (see story here). They can now start to redeem points earned over the past six months.
Guests can use their points to redeem free nights, room upgrades, treatments at CHI, The Spa and dining privileges. Room upgrades start from 800 GC points and free nights start from 1,000 GC points.
Regal Hotels and China Eastern Airlines in mileage deal
Regal Hotels International has signed a mileage partnership with China Eastern Airlines, allowing members of the carrier's Eastern Miles programme to earn extra miles when staying at a Regal property in Hong Kong and China.
Frequent flyers can now earn 800 miles per stay on eligible room rates. A stay is categorised by check in and check out rather than the number of nights spent. Eligible rates refer to bookings made without a third party. Eastern Miles members will not be able to use their miles to redeem rooms at Regal properties or earn miles by spending at any of their F+B outlets.
This is the hotel group’s 20th airline partner. It has similar arrangements with American Airlines, ANA, Cathay Pacific, ASIANA Airlines, British Airways, China Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Qantas, JAL, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Varig Brasil, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Jet Airways, Philippine Airlines and Eva Airways.
Delta removes loyalty miles expiration
Members of the carrier's Skymiles scheme will no longer see their miles expire after two years of inactivity.
The move, which follows the completed integration of Delta's loyalty scheme with that of merged airline Northwest, is effective for all accounts as of January 1, 2011, and means that members are no longer required to earn or redeem miles within the two-year period in order to keep accrued miles.
It's a change from Delta's strategy back in 2007, when the Skymiles expiration period was reduced from three years to two years (see online news February 1, 2007). Several US carriers also tightened up their miles expiration policies around this time, and Delta says it is now the only major US carrier without mileage expiration.
Delta has made several changes to its loyalty programme as part of the merger with Northwest, including the removal of last-minute redemption fees, and the introduction of a Diamond Medallion tier (see online news June 3, 2010).
The carrier says there will be further enhancements to the scheme in 2011, including “ an upgraded award travel calendar, improved booking process and better flight information displays”, as well as "new benefits" for Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members when travelling with alliance partners including Air France, KLM, Alitalia and Alaska Airlines.
QHotels loyalty scheme aims for 5,000 members by mid 2011
QHotels, which launched its loyalty scheme ThankQ Rewards in October, now has 1500 members with an aim to attract 5,000 by mid 2011.
Members staying at one of the 21 four-star properties across the UK can earn points, which can then be exchanged for a number of rewards including room upgrades, chocolate and champagne on arrival, a massage or a weekend stay for two.
Guests with a ThankQ Rewards card will earn two points for every £1 spent on the total bill (including food, drink and spa treatments) which can then be redeemed against full or part payment of any goods and services within QHotels across the UK. For example, a back, neck and shoulder massage would be the equivalent of around 3,000 points (but this can be made up with part payment).
David Taylor, QHotels’ group sales director says: “Our investment into ThankQ Rewards shows our commitment to rewarding people who regularly stay and use our hotels. We have worked very hard to ensure that this loyalty scheme has been implemented in the most efficient and cost effective way possible to help us pass on the benefits and savings to our guests.”
Another benefit of the scheme is that members will be able to pick up their room card from a dedicated area at the check in desk and go straight to their room and wifi is free for ThankQ members too. If you are not a member then the first two hours of wifi are free and after that it is charged at £5 per hour or £12 per 24 hours.
Qhotels has city centre locations, which are well placed for business travellers such as The Midland, Manchester (pictured) and The Queens, Leeds. For road warriors there’s the Cheltenham Chase Hotel, The Oxford Belfry, Tankersley Manor (Sheffield) and The Nottingham Belfry all just off main motorway junctions.
See qhotels.co.uk/thankq for more information and to sign up.
Oman Air celebrates sultanate’s birthday with 100,000 miles giveaway
The carrier is celebrating Oman’s 40th National Day, by giving away 100,000 Sindbad Miles to passengers taking flights over the next 40 days.
All Sindbad members flying with the carrier between November 1 and December 10 will be placed into weekly prize draws to win 4,000 miles, and then a Mega Raffle will see two members who have flown over the 40-day period winning 40,000 miles each. Members must register for the promotion at omanair.com.
The miles giveaway is the latest Sindbad promotion from Oman Air, with the carrier also giving away 100,000 miles to members renting cars with Avis before December 15, to celebrate the carrier’s new partnership with the firm (see online news October 18).
United and Continental commence reciprocal FFP elite privileges
As the newly merged carriers move towards full integration over the next few months, elite members of the airlines’ loyalty schemes now enjoy reciprocal seating and upgrade benefits.
The move means United’s Mileage Plus elite members now have access to domestic first-class upgrades, extra legroom seating and preferred seating on Continental flights, while Continental’s OnePass elite members now benefit from unlimited domestic first-class and business-class upgrades and Economy Plus seating on United flights.
The merged entity said that additional programme benefits will be announced “periodically” over the next few months, with full integration of the schemes anticipated in 2012.
United and Continental announced the “merger of equals” in May of this year (see online news May 3), with the new carrier to be named United Airlines, but with aircraft sporting the Continental logo and livery, and the merged company was officially launched on October 1. The airlines will continue to operate separately until the receipt of a single operating certificate.
Etihad Guest adds Fairmont partnership
Members of the Etihad Guest frequent flyer programme can now earn miles on qualifying stays at Fairmont hotels and resorts worldwide.
Members earn 500 miles per stay, and there are bonus miles also on offer for guests who are also members of Fairmont’s President’s Club loyalty scheme – Premier members earn an additional 250 miles per stay, and Platinum members earn an extra 500 miles.
The Etihad Guest programme partners with over 20 hotel brands, including Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Jumeirah, Raffles, Rotana and Taj.
AA launches 275,000 miles "Leder Posin'" giveaway
Members of American Airlines' AAdvantage scheme can win up to 275,000 miles by posting images of themselves dressed in Lederhosen, to celebrate the annual Oktoberfest event.
Travellers have until October 15 to submit photos of attendees at Oktoberfest or any other global tourist attraction dressed in lederhosen/other traditional German clothing, to the Leder Posin’ gallery at aa.com/milestones.
Ten finalists will be chosen after submission, each receiving 25,000 AAdvantage miles. Milestones visitors will then vote for their favorite photo, with the grand prize winner receiving an additional 250,000 miles.
All voters will also be entered into a sweepstake with the chance to win 100,000 AAdvantage miles. Voting commences on November 1 and runs until November 30.
AA extends free alcohol to US lounges
Guests of American Airlines’ Admirals Club lounges in the US will soon enjoy free alcoholic beverages during their visit, in line with the carrier’s international lounges.
From October 1 visitors to AA’s domestic lounges can choose from selected wine, beer and spirits free of charge, in addition to the existing complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks and juices.
Premium spirits and wines, as well as a selection of Amora fresh food items will continue to be available for purchase in the US lounges.
“Updating our beverage selection to include complimentary alcoholic beverages is another example of American’s commitment to reinvest in our premium products and enhance the travel experience for our loyal members and guests,” said Nancy Knipp, American’s President – Admirals Club. “Our customers have asked for free drinks and we are delighted to respond to their request by providing this service for our existing and new members at our clubs worldwide.”
AA is currently building a new Admirals Club lounge at San Francisco International airport, ahead of the carrier’s move to Terminal 2 next spring. The airline also unveiled revamped facilities at its London Heathrow lounges earlier this year (see online news May 17).
Bmi joins Star Alliance corporate loyalty programme
Bmi has discontinued its own Company Rewards programme in favour of the Star Alliance Company Plus scheme, becoming the programme’s 13th member.
Aimed at SMEs, the programme is dubbed as “the industry’s first airline alliance corporate incentive scheme”, and now counts Air Canada, ANA, Austrian, Blue 1, Bmi, Brussels Airlines, Continental Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss, TAP Portugal and United as member carriers.
PlusPoints are earned on flights taken on member airlines, which can then be exchanged for free flights, upgrades or cash. Existing Bmi Company Reward members have been given the opportunity to join the Star Alliance programme and transfer across any points.
Marriott Rewards extends free internet benefits worldwide
Gold and Platinum members of the Marriott Rewards scheme will soon be able to enjoy free internet access at all Marriott-branded properties, extending the benefit previously available in South and North America.
The expansion of the benefit to all JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Renaissance Hotels and The Autograph Collection properties worldwide will take effect on January 7, 2011, and follows similar moves by rival hotel groups including Hilton (see online news August 3) and Starwood (see online news February 24).
Members reach Gold status within the Marriott Rewards scheme by staying 50 nights a year, and Platinum after 75 nights. Other benefits of elite status include room upgrades, bonus points, and club lounge access.
BA Executive Club offers bonus miles for Travelex purchases
BA Executive Club has launched two bonus miles for purchases of currency through Travelex.
Available from Tuesday September 14, 2010, members who use Travelex for the first time to purchase a minimum of £50 worth of currency will receive 1,000 bonus BA Miles in addition to the normal miles they’ll earn through their transaction. In a second offer, all BA Executive Club members who already collect BA Miles through Travelex, will be rewarded with a one-off bonus of 500 BA Miles if they make three individual currency transactions of £50 or more in the next 12 months.
* Note that the normal rates for earning BA miles when changing money with Travelex have changed. Executive Club members now earn no miles when spending up to£49.99, one mile per £5 when spending between £50 and £149.99, one mile per £3 when spending between £150 and £299.99, and one mile per £1 when spendingmore than £300.
Previously, members earned one mile per £5 when spending upto £109.99, one mile per £3 when spending between £110 and £224.99, and one mile per £1 when spending more than £225. *
BA Executive Club changes Travelex earning rates
The rates for earning BA miles when changing money with Travelex have changed. Executive Club members now earn no miles when spending up to£49.99, one mile per £5 when spending between £50 and £149.99, one mile per £3 when spending between £150 and £299.99, and one mile per £1 when spendingmore than £300.
Previously, members earned one mile per £5 when spending upto £109.99, one mile per £3 when spending between £110 and £224.99, and one mile per £1 when spending more than £225.
Air Berlin to join Oneworld
Germany’s second largest carrier has announced it is to join the Oneworld airline alliance in early 2012.
In a statement Oneworld said:
“Air Berlin has accepted an invitation to join the Oneworld global alliance - and is to develop co-operative agreements with group members American Airlines and Finnair.”
A briefing was held earlier this week to confirm the announcement, hosted by Air Berlin CEO Joachim Hunold, British Airways’ Willie Walsh, American Airlines president Tom Horton, Finnair CEO Mika Vehvilainen, and Oneworld managing partner John McCulloch.
Often viewed as a low-cost carrier, Air Berlin offers free snacks and drinks on flights, as well as complimentary newspapers, assigned seating, and a frequent flyer loyalty scheme. Rival German carrier Lufthansa is a founding member of Star Alliance.
A webcast of the briefing can be viewed at airberlin.com/pressconference_oneworld. More details are also available in the comments section of this article.
Budget joins Miles and More
Members of the Lufthansa-led Miles and More scheme can earn points on rentals with Budget Rent-a-Car from August 1, and to celebrate the car hire firm is offering double miles and the chance to win a year’s free rental.
Members will earn a minimum of 500 miles per rental, with double miles on offer for bookings made in August and September (for rentals picking up before December 31).
In addition members can enter a prize draw to win a year’s free car rental with Budget (valid on car groups A and B) by visiting miles-and-more.com before September 30.
Commenting on the new partnership, Olivier van Marcke, general manager, Budget Rent-a-Car EMEA said:
“We are delighted to announce our new partnership with Miles and More, and look forward to offering not just award miles to members but outstanding value, and great quality car rental. Our extensive worldwide network – including over 800 major airports – will allow us to serve the needs of Miles and More’s growing membership across the globe.”
The Miles and More programme now counts nine member airlines - Adria, Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lux Air, Lufthansa and Swiss. Car hire partners include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt.
Lufthansa extends Miles and More benefits on Bmi flights
From August 1 Miles and More members flying with Lufthansa subsidiary Bmi can earn HON Circle Miles and Executive Bonus benefits.
The accrual of HON Circle Miles (enabling members to reach HON Circle status, with exclusive benefits) is usually reserved for members flying on fully integrated Miles and More partner airlines, but this has now been extended to those travelling on Bmi flights.
In addition Frequent Traveller status members and above will now be able to earn the 25 per cent Executive Bonus on award, status and HON Circle miles when travelling on Bmi flights. Note that miles cannot be earned on flights operated by Bmibaby.
Lufthansa took control of Bmi in 2009, but the carrier continues to operate its own Diamond Club loyalty scheme. However there has been speculation that Lufthansa may look to merge Diamond Club into the Miles and More scheme, which now has a total of nine member airlines.
Hilton HHonors offers premium members free internet access
All Gold and Diamond HHonors members can now enjoy free internet access when staying at Hilton properties worldwide.
Previously premium members could choose from several “My Way” benefits, including bonus points, space available upgrades, or free internet access (when staying at Hilton, Conrad and Doubletree properties).
This last option will now become a standard benefit for Gold and Diamond members staying at all Hilton Worldwide properties from September 1, with members then able to choose one of the other My Way benefits in addition (note that these benefits differ depending on which Hilton brand the guest is staying in).
Gold and Diamond members have been emailed with details of the new benefit, and the announcement is currently being discussed on our forum.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts introduced free internet access for Platinum members of its SPG loyalty scheme (click here for more details on our forum), and Best Western launched free access at its UK properties earlier this year (see online news February 24).
Rezidor’s Radisson Blu brand has offered free internet access to all guests across its portfolio for several years.
Topguest offers Priority Club points for virtual check ins
Members of IHG’s Priority Club loyalty scheme can now earn points simply by “checking in” to the group’s properties using location-based-services (LBS) such as Foursquare and Gowalla.
LBS applications enable smartphone users to virtually “check in” to locations across the globe ranging from airports to coffee shops and hotels using GPS technology, allowing them to leave advice, pick up “badges” and benefits such as discounts at restaurants, etc.
But this new partnership with Topguest and Intercontninental Hotels Group will be of interest to many business travellers, as it incentivises the user to check in at any of IHG’s 4,400 properties worldwide, in return for 50 Priority Club points.
Users must first register with Topguest, and link their Priority Club account with the scheme. They will then receive 50 points each time they check-in at an IHG hote using a LBS app, although note that only one "geo check-in" per day will be eligible for the points. Points will be credited to the member’s account within six weeks of checking in.
As an added incentive members can earn a bonus of 500 points by inviting five friends to join the Topguest programme. Topguest says it will be adding more partners to the scheme every week.
For more information visit topguest.com. Business Traveller has recently created its own Foursquare page which can be viewed here. It’s early days and we welcome readers’ comments on how the technology might be used going forward.
Virgin extends FFP privileges across sister carriers
Passengers with Virgin Atlantic and its sister airlines Virgin America, V Australia and Virgin Blue can now earn frequent flyer points under a new reciprocal agreement.
From today members of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club loyalty scheme can earn miles and status points when flying with any of Virgin’s sister-branded airlines, with the same being the case for Virgin America’s Elevate and V Australia / Virgin Blue’s Velocity members.
The agreement also means that Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and V Australia / Virgin Blue Velocity members can now also redeem miles of each other’s flights. Reciprocal redemptions for Velocity and Elevate members will be possible in the fourth quarter of 2010, and for Flying Club and Elevate members from the second quarter of 2011.
The new partnership extends previous FFP agreements between V Australia and Virgin America, and between Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Blue, giving fully reciprocal earning opportunities between all the carriers.
Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America have also signed an interline agreement allowing passengers to book single tickets and check bags through when travelling on flights with both carriers. The partnership is valid for bookings and travel beginning in September 2010, for flights booked through Virgin Atlantic.
The four Virgin carriers are celebrating the new agreement by offering frequent flyer members the chance to win a week’s holiday on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. To be in with a chance to win, members must fly with at least two of the four Virgin branded airlines between now and December 31, 2010.
Korean Air enhances Skypass loyalty scheme
Korean Air has made several changes to its frequent flyer programme, including extending the expiry date for earned miles to ten years, and allowing miles to be redeemed against lounge passes and excess baggage.
Under the new terms mileage earned after July 1, 2008 will be valid for ten years (up from the current five years), and any mileage earned before this date now has lifetime validity.
In addition the carrier has increased the number of seats available for award travel, and a new online system has been introduced allowing Skypass to check the availability of award seats at koreanair.com.
The airline says it will also gradually add new ways of redeeming miles, on services including excess baggage allowance, airport lounge access, and KAL limousine transport., and will increase the selection of redemption travel, accommodation and tour packages available.
Korean Air is also enhancing its Skypass Family Plan, allowing miles to be shared with wider family members including siblings, parents-in-law, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law.
Finally the carrier is increasing the validity of award tickets to one year (up from the current six months), and will also allow members to earn miles of additional seats purchased for musical instruments or for convenience reasons.
Korean Air says the changes will gradually become effective as system updates are completed.