Point & Center: Free Points, Free Miles, New Discover it Miles Credit Card & More

Happy Saturday everyone, I hope you are enjoying warmer weather than I am in New York. Here is a quick recap of some of the deals and offers from the past week.

1) 500 Air Berlin Miles – It feels like free Air Berlin miles comes around every few months or so. This time the offer is for 500 free miles for linking your Air Berlin topbonus number to Heinemann & Me which is apparently a German duty free store chain. You might need to first register for a Heinemann & Me account which is free.

AirBerlin

In the event you are not an Air Berlin topbonus member, you can first register for an account here and earn 500 free miles for joining. Then you can complete the offer above for an additional 500 miles.

2) New Discover it Miles Credit Card – Discover launched a new credit card, Discover it Miles, that sounds basic at first as it offer 1.5x  on all spending for no annual fee which isn’t that exciting, considering there are 2% cashback cards with no annual fee out there. However, instead of a traditional signup bonus,  Discover is offering double the points for the first year so this is really a 3% cashback card for the first year with no annual fee and the additional travel perk of $30 towards in-flight wifi via Gogo annually.

Discover

I personally prefer to collect airline miles or hotel points over cashback since I use my miles for international, premium travel and cashback is really only suitable for cheap, domestic travel. I’m passing on this card but Doctor of Credit had the best review I saw on the card and I agree with his conclusion. On a side note, kinda lame of Discover to name this card it Miles when it doesn’t even earn miles…

3) Delta Checked Baggage Guarantee – In a move that rivals Alaska Airlines, Delta is now offering customers a 20 minute guarantee on the delivery of their checked baggage or else customers are entitled to 2,500 SkyMiles. Delta claims checked baggage will be available within 20 minutes from the time the plane pulls into the gate. If not, Delta customers can go online and fill out a form to claim their 2,500 SkyMiles. This promotion is only valid through March 31st and is for domestic flights only. It appears Delta is giving this a test run and if successful, it wouldn’t shock me to see this rolled out on a more permanent basis going forward.

4) Refer a Friend Offer for Chase Sapphire Preferred – I’ve wrote about this offer before but Chase has recently reintroduced the refer a friend offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred in which existing cardholders can refer others and earn 5,000 bonus points for doing so (the applicant will receive the standard 40,000 point offer currently). Not all cardholders are eligible however, including myself. You can check your eligibility here and if you keep getting an error message, then you are not able to refer others. I have no idea how Chase chooses who can participate in this offer but it can’t hurt to call or secure message them asking to be enrolled.

5) Free 300 La Quinta Points – Not a huge offer but I’ve seen various free point offers over the years for La Quinta so you might already have a small point balance there. You can earn 300 points for watching this quick video here or if you are lazy, you can just register at this page here without watching the video.

I didn’t include the promotion for the free 1,000 Hilton HHonors points for changing your password since that promotion is not yet valid contrary to what other bloggers posted. Once that promotion is confirmed to be working, I will post a separate entry about it.

Point & Center: Free Alitalia Miles, Free Etihad Miles, 25% Bonus on Redemptions for Airbnb Gift Cards and More!

In case you missed it, the big news last week was the removal of the Delta SkyMiles award chart. I wrote my angry rant about that on Friday, which I recommend reading but for this post, let’s cover what else went on last week.

1) Free Miles from Alitalia & Etihad – I love free miles, especially when there is little to no work involved. The first offer is from Alitalia for 4,000 miles for joining their frequent flyer program. The link to do so is here.

The second offer is from Etihad which requires just a bit more work. You will receive 1,000 Etihad miles for signing up for their frequent flyer program as well but you need to have some sort of qualifying activity to activate those miles. The easiest way to do this is to do a hotel review on HolidayCheck which should only take a few minutes. You will receive 150 miles per hotel review and that activity will trigger the 1,000 welcome bonus on your Etihad account, so you will end up with a total of 1,150 miles. (HT to Euflyer)

2) 25% Bonus on Redemptions for Airbnb Gift Cards – American Express is currently offering a 25% bonus for redeeming American Express Membership Rewards points for Airbnb Gift Cards. I wrote about this new redemption option from American Express when it became available and suggested it wasn’t a great use of Membership Rewards points since it valued them at only a penny per point. The normal redemptions amounts were 10,000 points for a $100 gift card and 25,000 points for a $250 gift card.

Airbnb Airbnb2

With this sale, you will still use the same amount of Membership Rewards points as before but earn a 25% bonus on the gift card amount, so now the gift cards are worth $125 or $313. This offers a 1.25 cents per point in redemption which is obviously better but still not my preferred way of utilizing Membership Rewards points. I generally prefer to transfer points to airlines or hotels where I will get more value out of my points.

That advice also holds true for the 25% Discount on Membership Rewards Redemptions for Hyatt Gift Cards.

3) American Express Transfer Bonus to AeroMexico – I admit I know next to nothing about the AeroMexico frequent flyer program, Club Premier, but American Express is offering a 20% transfer bonus to AeroMexico which is good until March 6th. Instead of the normal transfer ratio of 1:1, the transfer ratio is now 1:1.2.

AeroMexico

I won’t be making a transfer during this bonus period but if you are considering it, Travel Summary has a great writeup on the AeroMexico program. There are some hidden gems such as 67,000 miles roundtrip for a business class ticket to Europe.

4) Amex Business Gold Changes Effective Now – Late last year, I wrote about how the earning structure of the American Express Business Rewards Gold was changing for the better in which you could select the category that earns 3x bonus points. Well, American Express has rolled out this change and cardholders are now eligible to make their selection for the 3x category.

The following categories are eligible to be chosen for 3x points and the ones not chosen will earn 2x points.

  • Advertising in Select Media
  • Gas Stations
  • Airfare (when purchased directly from the airline)
  • Shipping
  • Hardware, Software and Cloud Computing purchases from select vendors

I’m not a current cardholder of the Business Rewards Gold but if I were, I’d probably choose gas stations since I don’t spend much money in the other categories.

500 Free & Easy Lufthansa Miles

Lufthansa is giving 500 FREE Lufthansa Miles for signing up for their loyalty program newsletter, Miles & More. It’s really as simple as providing your Lufthansa Miles & More loyalty program number and an email address for the newsletter (hint: don’t use your main email unless you actually want to read the newsletter).

Click Here to Signup for the the Lufthansa Newsletter to Earn 500 Miles.

500LHMiles

I know many people have (or had) 50,000+ Lufthansa miles when the Barclays Miles & More credit card had a large signup bonus on it so this is a way to supplement that balance with another 500 miles. Even if you don’t have any Lufthansa miles now, you never know when you might acquire more Lufthansa miles, such as another large signup bonus appears for that card. In short, for ten seconds of your time, signing up for this newsletter for 500 miles is worth doing.

The Terms & Conditions are as follows:

TC

(H/T Mile Nerd)

Point & Center: 100 Free American AAdvantage Miles, Only 26,250 Miles Roundtrip for a Award Flight to Europe and More!

Welcome to the first Point & Center feature of 2015. Let’s get to it with some real quick updates of what’s going on in the points/miles world.

1) 100 Free American AAdvantage Miles for Joining PointsHound – PointsHound, which is a site that offer miles or points for booking hotel rooms through them, is offering new users 100 Free AA miles simply for signing up – no purchase required. You will also get an additional 2,000 miles if you actually reserve a hotel room by March 31st. I definitely recommend signing up to get the free 100 AA miles but if you do book a hotel room through them, remember you will most likely not earn stay credit with the hotel program nor have your elite benefits recoginzed. I mainly use PointsHound if I have a non-chain hotel stay. (H/T View from the Wing)

AA100Miles

2) How to Fly to Europe for 26,250 Virgin Atlantic Miles Roundtrip…with a catch – Virgin Atlantic is having an award sale that is discounting the amount of miles needed for an award flight by 25% for ALL destinations. If you orginate on the East Coast of the United States, that means a roundtrip award is only 26,250 miles but with one major issue – fuel surcharges of $500 per person.  The other approach is to use this for a one way TO London where the cost would be 13,125 miles + $134 in fuel surcharges (its more expensive departing FROM London). You must book your tickets by January 22nd and this is valid for economy only. This is similar to their award sale last year that I wrote about here.

Cost of Discounted Awards

Cost of Discounted Awards

3) Starwood Best Rate Guarantee Improves – Starwood has one of the easiest Best Rate Guarantees as you don’t need even need a current reservation to make a best rate claim to get a cheaper rate at Starwood branded hotels. Starwood recently announced an enhancement to their best rate guarantee by now offering customers 20% off the lower rate if it is found outside the Starwood reservations channels (website, mobile app & phone reservations). The old discount used to be 10% off. You also still have the option to select 2,000 Starpoints instead of the 20% discount.

4) A Pretty Awesome Club Carlson Promotion – Club Carlson is enticing its members to stay at Club Carlson hotels (Radisson, Radisson Blu, Country Inn & Park Plaza) in Q1 2015 by offering 15,000 points after staying 2 nights or 30,000 points after staying 3+ nights for stays from January 12 to March 29. This promotion called “Extend Your Stay, Earn 30K” is by far the best promotion of Q1 across all major hotel chains. Additionally, some Club Carlson members were sent an email offering them an extra 10,000 points on top of the bonuses if they registered by January 12th. Here is the link to register.

5) Starwood Q1 Promotion – Starwood has also announced their Q1 promotion which is open for registration as well called the SPG Double Play Promotion. You can earn double points on stays of 2+ nights and 1,000 point bonus after every 5 nights. The 5 nights do not have to be consecutive to earn the 1,000 point bonus. Compared to the Club Carlson offer, this pales in comparison but is still worth registering for.

As always, I recommend registering now even if you don’t think you’ll have an applicable stay in the period because if the need for a stay unexpectedly arises, chances are you won’t remember to register for these promotions (this applies to the Club Carlson offer above as well).

6) Start Linking Your American & US Airways Frequent Flyer Accounts – The next step in the merger of American and US Airways is to combine the frequent flyer accounts of both program so members will have just one resulting frequent flyer program (which will be your American AAdvantage account and you will keep your existing AA number). However, before they can completely merge the frequent flyer accounts, American is asking members to link their AA account to their US Airways account.

Per One Mile a Time, American announced the following:

“The time has come – beginning tonight, members with accounts in both programs will be able to match their accounts on aa.com and usairways.com (full sites only; not on the mobile sites or the app). Members will automatically be presented with the option to match their accounts on either site when they log-in or by selecting the Match My Account link in the My Account section. Once a customer has successfully matched their account, they will see a success message online, receive an email and will see a success message in the My Account section on both sites. Matching accounts is simply a way to self-identify, so the process to merge the accounts in second quarter of 2015 is easier on the business.”

Hopefully this is a sign that members will soon be able to transfer miles back and forth between programs but this has not been announced yet. Here is to hoping its sooner rather than later!

500 FREE Virgin America Elevate Points

Virgin America is offering 500 free points as a way to say thank you to its loyal customers this holiday season. All you need to do is click on the link above and enter your name, email and Elevate number. Click submit and in a few weeks, 500 bonus points will be posted to your account. This could not be simpler.

VirginAmerica500

Even if you think you will never fly Virgin America, their points do have some great redemptions on partner airlines including flights on Hawaiian Airlines for Interisland flights for only 3,000 points. This offer gets you 1/6 of the way there! This is worth the 10 seconds of your time to click the link and fill out the form.