Hilton gave me the Diamond status. I have never held the highest elite status before. Yey! I used Marriott Gold to match it. Grateful to Hilton for coming through with this.
I tried to build on that success and match it to Hyatt. I had attempted the Hyatt match on Twitter with SPG gold and was offered Platinum which I ignored. This time I sent the Hilton info to their email, but alas… The Platinum stays. Bastards! How dare they!
So, boys and girls, you snooze, you lose. If I matched to Hyatt Diamond on the day they announced it, I would’ve been able to use any of my golds to match, and I’ve got quite a few. But I was like, eh, there is always another day. No, there isn’t. Sigh!
There are two revived credit card bonus offers in town from our old friends
- US Bank LANPASS Visa is offering 30,000 miles (48,000km) instead of regular 20,000 miles.
- Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards is offering 45,000 points instead of regular 30,000.
While neither card is extremely popular with our jaded, capricious, DYKWTFIA crowd, both are, in fact, pretty good and solid offers due to several reasons.
- The spending requirements for both cards are supremely easy. For Wyndham Rewards, it’s the $1,000 in 3 months), while for LANPASS Visa it’s 45 transactions within the first 90 days. I will take 45 transactions rather than actual spending any time of day or night. If any of you guys think it’s hard, read this excellent post by Frequent Miler and keep in mind that credit cards work every bit as good as gift cards only better (you don’t care about the $1 hold). I like the Amazon method, because you can buy an e-gift card for any amount you want.
- With LAN having joined TAM, this offer is now more valuable than before.
- You’ll get 3 upgrade coupons for the first year, which sounds like a fantastic deal, if they can be used on award flights.
- The LANPASS VISA annual $75 annual fee for the first year is waived.
- The Wyndham Rewards bonus will give you three nights at any Wyndham property anywhere in the world.
- This “anywhere in the world” does include all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as high-value properties in the South Beach, Chicago Riverfront, Hawaii, and others.
- Getting two cards will give you six days of bliss (or something close) for two annual $69 fees (not waived, unfortunately).
Here is my April’s post about LANPASS Visa when they had the same bonus.
- Bonus: 30,000 miles (regular bonus is 20,000 miles)
- $0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, thereafter $75
- Spending requirement: 45 transactions in the first 3 months
- Three upgrade coupons that [supposedly] work on an award flight in the first year
- Apply by December 31, 2015
There are other benefits that are not as important, so I’m not listing them here.
Use LANPASS kilometers for trips as far as Brazil
Unfortunately, LAN enhanced away the award charts from its website—to help us avoid distractions and improve our user experience, of course. However, it’s still not impossible to find them on some of the blogs if you look hard enough. What you need to remember is that there are two charts: the region-based one on LAN metal and the distance-based one on oneworld airlines.
Here is where 48,000 LANPASS kilometers will take you.
- Miami to Colombia, Peru, northern Brazil, including Manaus and Belem, or Equador including Galapagos.
- Dallas, New York or LA to all the above plus Rio.
Yes, for some weird reason, LAN prices Miami to Rio flights in the 70,000 kilometers despite the fact that TAM flies directly from MIA to both Rio and São Paulo. Whether it’s a glitch that can be remedied by a call to LAN’s CSR, I have no idea. What I do know is that dealing with their CSRs can be tiring and frustrating.
Use LANPASS kilometers for ultra-short hops in the U.S.
But there is more! Let’s not forget that due to the upcoming BA Avios devaluation in February, using LANPASS kilometers for AA super short hops up to 500 kilometers in the U.S. (310 miles) will become less expensive than using Avios—only 6,000 LAN kilometers rather than 7,500 Avios. That’s not groundbreaking—we’re talking about really short flights, like New York-Washington, Boston-Philly, Miami-Bahamas, and LA-Las Vegas, but if you need one of these flights, you can have it for 12,000 LANPASS kilometers per RT (one-way redemptions are not available on LANPASS unless you want to deal with a complicated hack).
Here is my Wyndham Rewards April’s research when they just announced their revolutionary 15,000 redemption rate for anything.
If you are at all interested in the nitty-gritty details of what this card can do for you, I strongly suggest you read that post. I really went into deep nitty-gritty details on the best possible redemptions you can get in South Beach, Chicago, Midtown Manhattan, Santa Monica, and Hawaii, to name just a few. But there is more as well, because Wyndham has the same 15,000 rate at their all-inclusive properties.
Here is the list of the Wyndham all-inclusive properties.
Most of them don’t have stellar reviews, but there are a couple of Mexican resorts that most people seem to like: Viva Wyndham Maya and Viva Wyndham Azteca in Playa del Carmen. Aspirational properties—they aren’t, but judging by the reviews, they are quite good; they are on points, and besides, I like Playa de Carmen. At least I like it better than Cancun. By the way, they are sister hotels, and you would have access to either.
What makes AI redemptions even more appealing, is that your rate seems to included up to 2 adults and 2 kids up to 17 years old. At least, this was what I threw at Wyndham, and it complied without the hitch. Since this is a dummy booking, I don’t know what would happen in real life. Try and let me know.
Another AI resort that looks interesting is Viva Wyndham V Heavens in Playa Dorada (Puerto Plata), on the North Coast of DR. It opened literally two days ago, and it’s an adult only resort. Since it’s so new, there are no reviews yet, but it looks promising if you don’t intend to go out too often. 🙂
HT (boy, this is getting complicated):
And this is another reason why you should read comments to the blogs you read. At the above TBB link, Konorth shares invaluable piece of information on visiting Petra, IMHO. Petra sits firm on my ever-evolving list of absolutely-must-go places, so I just copied it for later use.