Point & Center: $50 Off Hotels, Southwest Flies International & More…

Point & Center is a new feature here where I share some of the big news and offers in the points and miles world that necessitate their own blog post. Think of it as a 60 second summary of some of the highlights in the points and miles world today.

1) Expedia is offering $50 off a hotel booking over $200 if you book via their mobile app. Via Million Mile Secrets, click on their special 4th of July coupon link here and enter your cellphone number to get a unique coupon code. Book your reservation via their mobile app (download it first if necessary) and enter the coupon code Expedia texted you to take $50 off if you book by July 7th and stay before December 31st.

2) As of yesterday, Southwest Airlines now flies international to several destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico. Based on your travel needs, I think this could drastically increase the value of Southwest points for some of you. Legacy carriers like American, United and Delta all charge 35,000 miles roundtrip but I’ve found many itineraries on Southwest to be pricing significantly cheaper. Here is an example from Long Island, NY to Aruba in September pricing out at only 24,220 points!  Before you book your next Caribbean or Mexico getaway, remember now to always give Southwest a check as well for the best deal (both in dollars or points).

Only 24,200 points roundtrip!

Only 24,200 points roundtrip!

3) As highlighted in Points & Miles 101, Starwood SPG points are quite valuable as they can transfer to airlines at a ratio of 1 SPG point to 1.25 airline miles if you transfer in increments of 20,000 points. Well American Airlines has announced a promotion where you will receive a 20% bonus on the miles transferred from Starwood to American Airlines. So if you follow my advice and transfer in increments of 20,000 points, you will end up with 30,000 American Airlines miles instead of the standard 25,000 miles. I wouldn’t make any speculative transfers but if you need miles to book an AA award, this is a nice little bonus to save you some valuable SPG points.
UPDATE: This works for US airways as well!

4) Frontier is giving away 20 $100 gift cards and $1,000 off Frontier flights to one winner for celebrating their birthday by liking them on Facebook. I don’t heavily promote contests like these but it literally took 8 seconds to enter it, so why not? The link to enter the contest can be found here – Frontier Birthday Bash.

I hope you enjoyed the inaugural edition of Point & Center – feel free to let me know your thoughts on this and I can make this a more regular post!

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Southwest Airlines Is Now Flying to Mexico…and Why That’s A Good Thing

Southwest released some good news for air travelers today in that they will be expanding their route network to include more international locations, including Cancun and San Jose Del Cabo, in addition to service already planned for Aruba, The Bahamas and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

This is good news for the majority of my readership (as a lot of you are NY-based) because your Southwest points can be used for those tropical vacations you’re already planning, to escape next winter (especially if it is anything like this winter). Southwest flies from 3 area airports – Long Island/Islip, LaGuardia and Newark, so I expect options to be plentiful though with at least one connection in most cases.

Cabo looks pretty good right now...

Cabo looks pretty good right now…

The other reason this is good news is that it forces competitors to lower their prices in response to Southwest entering the market. United has a monopoly on several Mexican and Caribbean routes from Newark and if Southwest provides enough service from the NY area, I think prices will drop on these routes.

In short form, the value of your Southwest miles increases going forward as you will no longer be limited to just domestic flights using Southwest miles, and even for paid travelers, I expect prices to drop on certain routes as Southwest provides competition to some of the legacy airlines.