The economics behind hotel loyalty programs (with insights from a former Marriott VP)

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

In the past, I’ve reported on how loyalty programs are becoming even more important to airlines during the coronavirus pandemic. But after a discussion with Jeff Borman — the former VP of Revenue Management at both Marriott and Hilton — I’ve come to realize that it’s even more important to hotel groups. After all, in Borman’s …

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5 times it makes sense to transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Delta SkyMiles

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Delta is my favorite domestic airline, and American Express Membership Rewards are my favorite transferrable points. Coincidentally, Amex and Delta are transfer partners, so I can transfer points from my favorite credit cards to my favorite airline. This isn’t usually recommended, though — Delta SkyMiles have been notoriously devalued and are worth just 1.2 cents …

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Virgin Australia devalues Velocity elite status, pauses codeshare flight sales

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Virgin Australia quietly unveiled a handful of negative changes to its Velocity loyalty program. These include the suspension of selling international codeshare flights and devaluing a handful of elite status benefits. These changes come months after Virgin Australia entered administration — similar to filing for bankruptcy in the U.S. — due to the coronavirus pandemic. …

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Ten Hilton properties I can’t wait to redeem Hilton Honors points for after the pandemic

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Hilton may not have as many luxurious properties as Marriott or Hyatt, but it has a suite of incredible properties worldwide. Brands like Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and LXR offer top-tier luxury in cities worldwide, giving you plenty of ways to spend your Hilton Honors points. Plus, the hotel group even has a few all-inclusive resorts, …

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My top 5 American Express Membership Rewards redemptions of all time

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

American Express Membership Rewards points are by far my favorite type of miles and points. Over the years, I’ve redeemed them for well over $100,000 worth of flights. Some of my best redemptions include a $12,000 first-class ticket from Europe to the U.S., a round-the-world trip, and many other high-end redemptions. These points were earned …

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How I used points and miles to save over $6,000 on a last-minute trip to Europe

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Last month, I had to book a last-minute round-trip ticket to Prague for a family matter. Despite the country being closed to Americans due to coronavirus, I was able to enter with my Czech passport as I’m a dual citizen. Current travel restrictions mean fewer airlines are offering U.S. to Europe flights right now, so …

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Airlines need to do more for elite members in 2021 to retain loyalty

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

This has been a tough year for airlines and frequent travelers alike. Travel demand remains low compared to last year as coronavirus cases continue to peak in some parts of the world. Expecting the virus to be contained in 2020, airlines went into the pandemic with elite status extensions and lower qualification requirements. But as …

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The 5 best high-end international flights you can book with miles this winter

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been friendly to travelers. The U.S. passport was once one of the world’s most powerful, but Americans have been largely excluded from international travel since the start of the pandemic. Most of Asia and Europe, for example, remain off-limits for Americans except for special circumstances or for travelers lucky enough to …

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This credit card can save you money on your next road trip

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

With international travel largely closed off, road trips have newfound glory during the coronavirus pandemic. More Americans are jumping in the car to head to National Parks, new cities and other destinations around the country. That said, road trips still aren’t cheap: you’ll pay for gas (or electric car charging), hotels or Airbnbs, tolls and …

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The most flexible airline and hotel loyalty programs for pandemic (and post-pandemic) travel

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Travel flexibility is more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic. Country by country and even state by state restrictions can change on a dime, so being able to cancel or change your award flight or hotel night is a huge benefit. Thankfully, most travel companies have already modified change policies in response to the …

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Amex is dropping El Al, here’s why you shouldn’t care

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

As first reported by Travel with Grant, American Express made a few changes to its credit card terms. The most notable change is that the bank is removing El Al as a Membership Rewards transfer partner. This change is effective on Dec. 31, 2020, when American Express and El Al’s partnership seemingly ends. While this …

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Lyft adds free Grubhub food delivery to Lyft Pink membership

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Lyft and Grubhub just announced a new partnership that adds a huge new benefit to Lyft Pink, the company’s subscription service. Starting today, Lyft Pink members have access to Grubhub+ and Seamless+ free of charge. This subscription service waives delivery fees and offers exclusive discounts on the Grubhub and Seamless apps. In the past, we’ve …

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10 high-end redemptions I can’t wait to make when travel resumes

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

I’ve felt like a caged bird during the coronavirus pandemic. I had a slew of travel plans this year and nearly all of them were disrupted. My mileage balances grow with my everyday credit card spending, but having no way to use them in the immediate future is a harsh reality to face. That said, …

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Get a 20% bonus when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Today, Chase launched its third-ever transfer bonus and its first to Southwest. You can get a 20% bonus on transfers to Southwest Rapid Rewards between today, Oct. 1, and Oct. 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET. This is not a targeted offer and Chase cardholders with an eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit card can …

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Book holiday travel now with $50 off JetBlue flights, $300 off vacations

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Normally, the airlines are in the power position when it comes to holiday travel demand. A systemwide airline fare sale or discount valid for peak holiday flights wouldn’t have happened in the recent past, but in 2020, that’s exactly what is happening. JetBlue is gearing up for the holidays with a two-day sale on flights …

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Coronavirus devaluations will hurt airlines long-term — here’s why

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

The coronavirus pandemic took air travel from record-breaking demand to historic lows. We saw fewer than 100,000 people pass TSA checkpoints per day in April — a dramatic drop from the 2+ million passengers per day we saw during the same time in 2019. This caused airlines to slash service and — ultimately — lose a …

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This is how United Airlines can improve MileagePlus for a post-COVID travel boom

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

Some airlines have impressed me during the coronavirus pandemic and others have been a massive disappointment. For me, the most disappointing airline has been United Airlines. Once my airline of choice, it spent the coronavirus travel downturn devaluing its miles by removing partner award charts and capping the number of Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) that …

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How Swiss business class manages to remain excellent — even during a pandemic

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

I recently traveled from New York City to Prague for a family matter during the coronavirus pandemic. It was my first time traveling internationally since the start of the outbreak, and — unfortunately — right at the start of the “second wave” of infections in the Czech Republic. When I traveled, the country still wasn’t …

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Your Marriott national park hotel stay may have just gotten cheaper

Written by Andrew Kunesh @ The Points Guy

On September 17, 2020, Marriott and the National Parks Service announced a partnership that brings cheaper rates to hotels near national parks in the U.S. Additionally, this partnership lets Marriott Bonvoy members redeem points for “America the Beautiful” annual park passes and donate points to the National Parks Foundation, the National Parks Service’s nonprofit partner. …

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