February 25, 2017

How Quickly Do SPG Amex Referral Points Post?

Last week I posted about the outstanding SPG Amex signup bonus.  I've had half a dozen people ping me for referrals and a couple have already posted (thank you!).

ATRP reader Elissa emailed me on Sunday, 2/19 to ask for a referral.  She applied and was approved that day.

The 5,000 points posted to my account on 2/22 so just 3 days later.  Kudos to Starwood for such a compelling offer for both parties and for posting the points in such a timely manner.  Who else is interested in picking up this card?

300 Free Points from Marriott Rewards

Marriott Rewards tweeted at me the other day to offer 300 Marriott Rewards points for my "anniversary."  Not exactly sure what that means - I've been a gold member for 4-5 years thanks to credit card benefits and now am Marriott gold for life (assuming they don't change the terms) thanks to my Starwood SPG lifetime gold status.

Certainly a nice and unexpected gesture (I value the points around $2.50) but the funny thing is that I don't have the points yet.  I received the tweet on 2/22...it's now 2/25 and they haven't posted.  You would think they would send the tweet on the day the points would post since that is fully in their control.

Doesn't really matter - it's a nice gesture and I appreciate it.

February 18, 2017

Hyatt Points + Cash a Great Deal at the Park Hyatt Seoul

I'm headed to Seoul in July for a couple of nights and based on reviews, am really excited to stay at the Park Hyatt.  I'm even more exited about using a combination of points and cash to make it a great deal.

Standard rates (not prepaid) with tax are running $389 per night.  I had three options:
  • Pay $389/night 
  • Burn 20,000 points per night
  • Burn 10,000 points per night and $140/night 

While $389/night isn't horrible for a Park Hyatt in a big city, it's a lot of money.  Hyatt points are relatively easy to acquire (transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards) but I still want to get the most value out of them if possible so burning 40,000 points wasn't ideal.  That would have given me a return of 1.95 cents/point.

I decided to book the points + cash rate which requires 20,000 total HGP points and $140/night.  This equates to a value of 2.49 cents/point given the $389 AI rate.

I'm pretty happy with that as Hyatt redemption given my goal of trying to redeem them for 2 cents per point.  

I'm looking forward to my stay and will post more details in the lead up to the trip in a few months.

SPG Amex 35,000 Point Offer is Back!

The Starwood Preferred Guest Amex is the credit card with the longest stay in my wallet.  I've had the card for nearly 12 years and don't plan on giving it up anytime soon.

The standard offer has ranged between 25,000 - 30,000 SPG points (we've seen 35,000 before a few times) for the past few years but Amex is now offering 35,000 SPG points on both the personal and business versions of the card.

In order to take advantage, you'll need to spend $3,000 in the first 90 days to earn 25,000 points.  Then another $2,000 within the first 6 months to earn another 10,000 points.  That's 40,000 SPG points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months of card membership.  That is a fantastic deal as SPG points are among the most challenging to earn while being the most flexible.  

Remember, you can transfer SPG points to Marriott at a 3:1 ratio making this deal worth 120,000 Marriott points.  Or you can transfer at a 1.25:1 ratio to a number of airlines turning the 40,000 SPG points into 50,000 airline miles.

If you haven't had these cards (keep in mind Amex's once in a lifetime rule) then I would encourage you to apply now.  It's unlikely that the offer will ever be better than this and the card may actually go away should Marriott choose to focus their card issuing partnership exclusively on Chase.

To that end, if you are interested in a referral link (I'll earn 5,000 SPG points) please send me an email and I will send it over.  

Review: JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Planning & Booking
British Airways First Class 747-400 Denver to London
British Airways Concorde Room LHR
British Airways First Class 747-400 London to Dubai
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi

After a great flight from London, we arrived around 11:30PM pretty tired and ready for a real bed.  We cleared immigration and headed out to grab a taxi.  While DXB is busy at this hour, there was no taxi queue and we were quickly on our way for the ~20 minute ride to the hotel.

The property is located in the "Business Bay" neighborhood of Dubai along the new Dubai Canal and across the canal from the brand new W, St. Regis, and Westin complex.  This is the tallest hotel and the world and while our stay would be short, we were both excited to check that one off our list.

Check-in formalities were processed and we were assigned a king room on a high floor (I think 57 but can't remember exactly).  The lobby was bananas at this hour.  In Dubai, hotels are hot spots given they have liquor licenses so locals and visitors alike head there to party.  We were both surprised at the dress code (really lack thereof) but were too tired to do anything other than head upstairs to sleep.

The room was actually really good size.  There was a king size bed, a couple of chairs, and a work desk.

February 11, 2017

Turkish Airlines IAD Lounge Now Part of Priority Pass

Turkish Airlines has among of the best (if not the best) business class lounges in the world at the their Istanbul hub.  We've spent time there on several occasions including an extended visit last August.

Turkish recently opened a lounge at Washington's Dulles airport and now that lounge has been added to the Priority Pass network of lounges.  I'm pretty excited about this given a couple of upcoming trips through IAD.

Keep in mind that many credit cards offer Priority Pass access.  Some are better than others with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ritz-Carlton Rewards cards offering unlimited, free guest access.

The lounge features both showers and a bar and likely top notch food.  We flew to London from Dulles last year and while the lounge hopping was good, this will certainly step it up a bit.

I'm flying through IAD in March and will provide a full report of the experience after we visit.

Thanks to View From the Wing for pointing this out.

American Offering Free Elite Status Challenge

I've never had Elite status with American Airlines.  In fact, I've only ever had status with USAirways (so I guess that's kind of AA) and United and maybe Frontier but that doesn't count.

Yesterday, I received an email from American offering me a fast track to elite status.  Seems like these offers are hitting and mine wasn't even the good one - American is offering straight up status to some that haven't flow on the airline much.

While I doubt I'm going to meet the requirements, I registered anyway.  My leisure trips are booked on United through June and my business travel will likely mean more trips on United or Delta.  So I'm not going out of my way to take advantage of this offer but spending $2,000 and flying 12,500 in the next 3 months seems doable (for Platinum status) for many with consistent business travel.

I'm sure there will be people that receive this challenge that just book a premium mileage run and achieve Executive Platinum but not me.  Will post again if I'm able to make more advantage of the offer.