Monthly Archives: September 2016

Marriott-Starwood Merger Complete, Link Accounts Now

Late Thursday evening the merger of Marriott and Starwood cleared its last hurdle with Chinese regulators granting approval.  Other bloggers have already covered this in great detail so I’ll just provide the links here:

One Mile At A Time

Frequent Miler

Immediately after the approval it was announced that Marriott/Ritz-Carlton and Starwood accounts could be be linked.  There are a few execeptions but, in general, if you had a higher status in one program than the other, you’ll now have that higher status in both programs.

My experience linking accounts

I received emails from both Marriott and Starwood, each providing links that began on their site.  The Starwood email looked like this:

And the Marriott email looked like this:

I clicked on the link from the Marriott email and was directed to a webpage where I could select any of the three impacted programs: Ritz-Carlton, Marriott and Starwood.  I chose the Marriott link and was directed to a special login on their site.  Once that was accomplished a pop-up box notified me I’d be transferred to the Starwood site.  From there I entered my credentials on the Starwood site and at that point my accounts were linked.

I received the following email as confirmation:

I found it interesting that even though I initiated the process from the Marriott site, the email I received was from Starwood and included my SPG number.  Don’t know if there’s anything to read into that or not or if it’s simply because the SPG site was the final step in the process and therefore was the one to send out the email.

Update: Overnight I received an email from Marriott confirming my accounts were linked.

Before the linking I had Silver status with Marriott and Gold status with Starwood.  Once the linking was complete I noticed my Marriott status had changed to Gold as well.  I’m hoping that means we can get free breakfast at a Marriott stay I have coming up next month!

The linking procedure couldn’t be easier…as long as you can remember your passwords.  There’s no reason not to do it now and, believe me, the IT departments would much prefer you make the links yourself than depend on their software!

Categories: Marriott, Starwood | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Enter to Win 100,000 AA Miles


American Airlines is offering entrants the chance to win up to 100,000 AAdvantage® miles by entering their Latitude Adjustment Sweepstakes.  To enter, all you need to do is either join the AAdvantage® eShopping program or, if you’re already a member, simply sign in to your eShopping account.  Register or sign in by 9 October 2016.

The Grand Prize winner will receive 100,000 AAdvantage® miles and $2,500 (to cover the taxes) and three First Prize winners will each receive 20,000 AAdvantage® miles.

If you already have an AAdvantage® account, you should have received an email with a link to the registration.  Others can go to and click on the link for the sweepstakes

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Earn Hawaiian Miles for local shopping


Like a lot of loyalty programs, Hawaiian Airlines allows you to earn miles for shopping online through their portals.  Unlike many other programs they also allow you to earn miles for shopping at local businesses as long as you use your registered credit card.

Log into the Hawaiian Miles portal and register your Amex and Visa cards.  Then when you shop at one of these businesses you’ll earn one Hawaiian Mile for each dollar you spend:

  • Athleta
  • Banana Republic
  • Gap
  • Old Navy
  • Whole Foods Market®
  • Lowe’s

Can’t get much easier than that, right? Plus it’s a great way to keep your Hawaiian Miles account active.

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Freedom Q4 Bonus Activation Now Live!


The Chase Freedom card normally offers 1 Ultimate Reward point per dollar spent.  But each quarter the card offers bonus categories which will earn 5 UR points per dollar for up to $1500 in purchases during the specified quarter.  To get the 5 UR points per dollar bonus you must activate it for your Freedom card.

The activation page is now live for the fourth quarter of 2016.  The categories for this quarter are:

  • Department Stores
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Drug Stores

These are a terrific set of categories and make it easy to max out the bonus.  With the holidays approaching, many people will shop at department stores and wholesale clubs for gifts.

And if you find you’re going to fall short of maxing out the deal you can buy gift cards to complete the spend.  These can be department store cards for yourself or as gifts and both wholesale clubs and drug stores sell a number of merchant gift cards for restaurants, other stores and gas stations.  You can also buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards and use those for everyday spend at places where you would not normally earn 5 UR points per dollar.

To activate the card, simply go to the activation page on the Chase website, enter your information and you’re all set!  You should then see a web page indicating your activation is complete.

You have until December 14 to activate the bonus categories but why wait?  Do it now and you’ll be all set when October 1 rolls around.

Categories: Chase, Credit Cards, Freedom | Tags: | Leave a comment

Earn AA Miles with Sprint

2016-09-17-aa-miles-for-sprintActivate a new Sprint account between now and the end of the year and earn 25,000 AAdvantage miles! You’ll need to activate a new account with at least one phone, request your miles through this link and in 8-10 weeks your AAdvantage account should be credited.

Already a Sprint customer?  You can earn up to 5,000 miles for your current service.  These miles will be awarded in monthly installments up to 5,000 miles per year as long as your Sprint account remains active and in good standing.

So if you’re looking to change your service, maybe this offer is worth a look for you.  If Sprint is already your provider then there’s no reason not to register for this offer.

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Convert IHG Rewards Club Points to United MileagePlus Miles


Between now and October 10, 2016 you can transfer your IHG Rewards Club points to United MileagePlus miles.  For each 10,000 points you transfer you get a 50% bonus.  The kicker is that 10,000 IHG points usually becomes 2,000 airline miles. With this special you’ll end up with 3,000 UA miles.  So it’s not a great ratio, obviously.

The process is quite simple.  First go to the United site and register for the promotion.
Next, contact the IHG Customer Care Center to initiate the transfer.

Is this something you want to do?  As usual, it depends on your personal situation.  If you are IHG points-rich and just need a few miles to top off a UA award then, perhaps.  Otherwise I’d give this one a pass.

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Get Bonus Miles When Transferring Membership Rewards to Avios

British Airways logo

Avios are the currency of the British Airways Executive Club that can be useful in different ways. Since Avios pricing is distance-based, they’re super-useful on non-stop shorthaul flights as the shortest flights cost only 7500 Avios.  Since each leg of a flight is priced separately, the more connections required, the more Avios required.  For this reason, and the fact that on international flights BA passes along the fuel surcharges, they’re not as useful for international flights.  There are exceptions to this general rule however: BA’s booking window opens up a couple of weeks before American’s does, giving those with Avios first crack at award seats on certain carriers.  For example, I was able to use Avios to book a first class seat on a Qantas flight to Australia before it was available to AA members.  I had to pay the fuel surcharges but since premium cabin seats are so scarce on Qantas, I thought it was worth the cash required to obtain that seat.

Normally you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points to Avios at the rate of 250 MRs to 200 Avios.  But from now through October 10, 2016 you’ll earn a 50% bonus when transferring MRs to Avios. So transfer 250 MRs and get 300 Avios.  To make the transfer, log into your Amex account and indicate the number of MR points you want to transfer.  The website will show you how many Avios you’ll receive.

All transfers are final so if you’re transferring for a specific flight, be sure there is award space available.  If you’re planning to use the Avios on a BA partner flight you’ll need to be sure the available award space is at the saver (cheapest) level.

Categories: American Express, British Airways, Membership Rewards | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Stand Up to Cancer and Earn AA Miles

This past Friday you may have seen the Stand Up to Cancer telethon on many TV stations.  American Airlines is offering the opportunity to earn AA miles while donating to this cause.


For a minimum donation of $25 you’ll earn 10 AA miles for each dollar you donate. This page on the AA website has the link to use.  Almost everyone knows someone who has won or lost a battle with cancer. Here’s your chance to fund the research to make sure everyone wins in the future.

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Review: Hyatt Place Milwaukee Airport

For the second night of my long weekend visiting friends in Milwaukee I used the free night certificate from my Chase Hyatt Visa for the Hyatt Place Milwaukee Airport.

I chose this hotel for a few reasons:

  • I knew there would be a nice large sitting sofa where my friends and I could gather to watch one of our favorite shows
  • Breakfast was included
  • The hotel had a free airport shuttle

Even though my room was just across the street from the airport, airplane noise was never an issue.

I’d reserved a king room and received one on the fourth floor.  Just inside the door was the living area with the sleeper sofa, a desk and a cabinet which held the mini-bar and on top of which sat the coffee maker.


Sleeper Sofa with Ottoman

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Categories: Hotel, Hyatt, North America, United States, Wisconsin | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lufthansa now offers PreCheck!

On September 1st the Lufthansa USA Twitter account announced that they had become the first European airline to participate in the TSA PreCheck program.  This is fantastic news for travelers who have signed up with either the PreCheck or Global Entry programs!
2016-09-05 LH Tweet
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Categories: Security | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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