Monday, February 28, 2011

Bonus Offer Picks of the Week: February 21 - 27, 2011

A well rounded week of new bonus offers posted to FFB. Of the offers posted to 30 airline and hotel programs these are our top picks:

Bonus Offer For Flying
A tough choice this week as offers were either residency restricted or limited to a number of routes, with that in mind this is our top pick:
Air France KLM:
3,000 bonus Flying Blue Miles when you join Flying Blue now and fly with AIR FRANCE or KLM within the next 6 months. Simply enter the code “WEL5” when signing up at Air France or KLM.   Residents of the United Kingdom only. Until Mar 31, 11

Bonus Offer For Staying (Airline Miles)

We like the following offer as it does not limit you to one hotel chain although you do have to buy a flight to take advantage of it:
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan:
1,000 Mileage Plan Miles every time you book a hotel along with your flight on alaskaair.com. Full details Until May 9, 11

Bonus Offer For Staying (Hotel Points)

There were no huge offers this week that covered a lot hotels or regions, but this one does cover the most out of any of them:
Best Western Rewards:
Earn up to 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points  for stays at participating hotels in the Netherlands. Full Details. Various end dates until Mar 31, 12

Bonus Offer For Driving
Another week of some really great car rental offers with the following rankings the best in our opinion:
Continental OnePass:
Earn up to 3,000 Bonus OnePass Miles on all rentals with Avis in United States and Canada.
* 500 bonus miles for a 1-2 day rental. Use coupon MUAA018
* 1,000 bonus miles for a 3-4 day rental. Use coupon MUAA019
* 3,000 bonus miles for rentals of 5 days or more Use coupon MUAA020
Use appropriate coupon # and AWD# K024447 when you book online at  Avis.com. Until Mar 31, 11


Bonus Offer For Other Activities

Out of all the other offers this week it came do a large credit card offer and a nice transfer bonus, we'll let you figure out which one came out on top
InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club:
60,000 Bonus Priority Club Points after your first purchase with the Priority Club Select Visa. Apply Online
* US Residents only

Bonus Page Updates: February 21 - 27, 2011

Feb 25: ANA Mileage Club | Cathay Pacific Asia Miles | Kingfisher King Club | Marriott Rewards | Qatar Airways Privilege Club | SriLankan FlySmiles | United Mileage Plus

Feb 24: Air France KLM Flying Blue | Best Western Rewards | Continental OnePass | Delta SkyMiles | Emirates Skywards | Finnair Plus | Shangri-La Golden Circle | Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer | TAP Portugal Victoria | US Airways Dividend Miles

Feb 23: Aerosvit Meridian | Air Berlin Top Bonus | Bangkok Airways FlyerBonus | China Eastern Eastern Miles | Coast Hotels Coast Rewards | Etihad Guest | La Quinta Returns | Meridiana HiFly | Wataniya Diwan

Feb 22: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan | Japan Airlines Mileage Bank | Priority Club | Scandinavian EuroBonus

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kingfisher King Club 30% Transfer Bonus

Kingfisher's King Club program is offering its members a 30% bonus when they convert at least 5,000 partner points into King Miles. This includes transfers from all their credit card partners, hotel partners and shopping partners. The one partner that will stand out here is Starwood Preferred Guest. If you are not already aware, when you transfer at least 20,000 Starpoints out of SPG, they will give you 5,000 bonus miles for a total of 25,000 miles posted to the program. So with this additional bonus King Club members can accrue a total of 32,500 miles for their original 20,000 Starpoints. Not a bad deal if you are one who does not use Starpoints very often for hotel stays or if you have too many that you don't know what to do with them.

You can find all the details on this promotion here.

Participating partners:
Credit Card Partners
American Express Membership Rewards Programme
Axis Bank Pluspoints
Citibank Reward points
Citi, Dubai Citi Miles
ICICI Bank Reward Points
HDFC Bank Reward Points
HSBC Reward Points
Deutsche Bank Reward Points
SBI Power Points
Standard Chartered Bank Reward Points
Tata Cards Empower Points
Kotak Credit Card Reward Points
RBS Credit Card Miles

Other Partners

Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints
Hilton Hhonor Points
ITC WelcomReward Stars
The Park (PATP) Points
I-Mint Points

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bonus Offer Picks of the Week: February 14 - 20, 2011

A shortened work week meant only three days of bonus updates to 20 programs. Out of all the offers here are our picks:

Bonus Offer For Flying
Only three airlines had new flight bonus offers added to them this past week and our pick goes to Iberia:
Iberia Plus:
Earn Double Plus Points when you fly with Finnair from Helsinki to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Bangkok, Delhi, Shanghai, Beijing or Seoul. Full Details Until Mar 31, 11

Bonus Offer For Staying (Airline Miles)

Bonus offers that are per night with no limitation on the maximum number miles you can earn are rare but we have one this week:
Air Canada Aeroplan: Earn up to 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles per night for stays at participating Fairmont Hotels Worldwide.
- Earn 500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles PER NIGHT for eligible stays in a standard room.
- earn 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles PER NIGHT when you book our GOLD FLOOR or a SUITE at participating Fairmont locations
Full details. Until May 31, 11

Bonus Offer For Staying (Hotel Points)

The following offer covered the most hotels and provided the biggest bonus:

InterContinental Hotels Priority Club:
7,500 Bonus Priority Club Points for every stay at participating hotels in Panama City FL, Honolulu, Orlando, South Padre Island, Daytona Beach, Los Cabos, Cancun, San Jose Costa Rica, Miami or San Diego. Full Details. Until ?


Bonus Offer For Driving
This week had some really good car rental offers but for the second week in row it goes to an America AAdvantage bonus offer:

American AAdvantage: Earn up to 3,000 Bonus Advantage Miles on all rentals with Avis in United States and Canada. Rent for 1-2 days, get a bonus of 1,000 miles, If you rent for 3 days or more, get a bonus of 3,000 miles Use coupon # MUAA022 and AWD# K817100. when you book online at Avis.com. Until Mar 31, 11

Bonus Offer For Other Activities

Although we added some big credit card offers there were geographically limited whereas the following offer is available to everyone:

U.S. Airways Dividend Miles: 75% Bonus Dividend Miles when you buy miles online + an additional 25% bonus if you download and use the new Dividend Miles Toolbar. Full details. Until Mar 31, 11
* Toolbar portion of the offer for residents in the 50 United States and Puerto Rico

Bonus Page Updates: February 14 - 20, 2011

Feb 17: Air Canada Aeroplan | British Airways Executive Club | Cathay Pacific Asia Miles | Emirates Skywards | Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles | Marriott Rewards | Preferred Hotel Group I Prefer

Feb 16: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan | American AAdvantage | Continental OnePass | Iberia Plus | Priority Club | Qatar Airways Privilege Club | Starwood Preferred Guest | US Airways Dividend Miles

Feb 15: Accor A|Club | Air China Phoenix Miles | Delta SkyMiles | Etihad Guest | Jet Airways Jet Privilege

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Carlson Hotels to launch Club Carlson, replaces GoldpointsPlus

Carlson Hotels announced on February 14 that they will be launching a new frequent guest program called Club Carlson. The Club Carlson program will replace Carlson's current GoldpointsPlus program. There are not many details out yet but the press release states new redemption partnerships with CWT (Carlson Wagonlit Travel) Vacations and Club Med plus 20 restaurants and retailers. For the very loyal customers, they will introduce a new elite tier called "Concierge" which will offer complimentary upgrades, continental breakfast, early check-in/late check-out and 75% bonus points. And following in Marriott's footsteps, Carlson will offer rollover nights which allows Elite members to roll over extra nights for the following year's elite re-qualification.

Source: Carlson Hotels

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bonus Offer Outlook for 2011

What will we see for bonus offers from the airlines, hotels and other travel reward providers in 2011?. FFB provides this outlook on the bonus promotion side of the travel loyalty industry based on emerging trends and provides our predictions for the year. The year started off relatively slow with new bonus offers but as January progressed we began to see many new bonus offers being released in every shape and form. The offers came from all the well known providers but also from lesser known airlines and hotels that were not known to ever dole out bonus offerings or at the very least not very often. The outlook is broken down into the five main categories of bonus offers: Airline, Hotel, Car Rental, Credit Card and Other.

Airline
With the economy slowly starting to recover I believe that we will see less lucrative offers from the airlines in general and more so in the elite bonus offerings. Back in 2009 we saw a peak in elite status offers from many airlines particularly in the U.S. where many flights were counting double towards status or you only had to fly so many segments to receive status. With the economy warming up in 2010 we saw a lower amount of these offers then in 2009 but there were a couple of good ones that floated around earlier in the year (think US Airways). For this year we definitely won’t see as many as planes are flying more full and many airlines are actually turning profits now.

We will continue to see a whole host of route specific bonus offers where there is competition (eg Frontier and Alaska Airlines right now for flights between Denver and Anchorage) or where airlines are launching new routes and want to drum up business (eg American Airlines new Los Angeles –Shanghai service) These type of offers never change, we have seen them in the past and will continue to see them in the future.

Some airline programs to watch out for in 2011 are Air China’s Phoenix Miles and LAN’s LANPASS, both of these programs have become very active in the bonus offer market in the last few months. It seems like Air China is adding a new bonus offer every few days from their various partners. For the majors, American and Continental continue to offer many flight bonus offers for specific routes, Cathay was up there too in 2010 but so far they have been significantly quieter in 2011. We have had some surprises already in 2011 from some of the smaller airlines such as Germanwings who have run separate flight bonus offers in January and February. It has been nearly a year since they ran their last bonus mileage offer for flying with them. Garuda Indonesia was virtually inactive in 2010 with bonus offers but have pushed out two flight bonus offers in February with one of them covering their entire international network. I believe this will be the continuing trend in 2011, the lesser known and the low cost airlines of the world are starting to realize that they can create value with bonus offerings that are similar to what all the majors have been providing for years.

Another emerging trend, not so much for the airlines but for the offers themselves, will be in the various airlines social channels. I believe you will begin to see some bonus offers pop up that will only be available and/or promoted via Twitter and Facebook. Several airlines have already seen success in the social media channels for seat sales and drastically discounted tickets and there is no reason why they can’t or won’t apply this to their loyalty program promotions.

Hotel
For the past couple years it has been a virtual gold mine for bonus offers and free nights from most of the hotel reward programs. Hotels were not as full due to the economic situation worldwide and the chains needed to keep business coming their way, so the purse strings were loosened in 2009 with bonus point and free night offerings. The trend continued in 2010 and will continue in 2011 despite the slightly better look for the economy. The playing field in the hotel industry is way more vicious then the airlines and if a hotel reward program decided not to run some sort of system wide bonus each quarter like they have for many years straight.

The question is, what type of offers we will see in 2011?  So far, the majority of the programs have brought system wide offerings of bonus points or miles with only a few going the route of the free night award.  For the remainder of the year we predict that there will be a healthy mixture of both type of offerings. Bonus points/miles for stays will never go out of style and we will see lots of them, some will not be so lucrative while we will probably see a half dozen or so that will be extremely good. Hotels offering free night awards achieved greater popularity with their reward programs over the past two years with some very successful promotions from almost all of the major brands. Free night awards make an extremely good value proposition to the hotel programs as something to give out instead of bonus points. The reason is that the free night awards can provide a larger ROI over bonus points offers for a system wide promotion because of the restrictions they carry like a fixed expiry date which leads to more breakage then points, capacity control (weekends only, etc.) and potential revenues from the use of that free stay such as adding on extra paid days, food and beverage revenues, ancillary revenues (parking etc).

What will be the programs to watch out for? The independents. 2011 will be the year of independent hotel loyalty programs. Don’t get me wrong, the majors will still be king and not go out of style but this will be the year to watch for programs like Stash Hotel Rewards, Voila Hotel Rewards and Global Hotel Alliance’s Discovery program. These programs are making inroads in the hotel loyalty industry and are the perfect place for those looking to breakaway from the norm.

I also have to discuss residency restrictions, those of you who have read my work for awhile know this is my pet peeve. In reality, there are very few hotel programs that restrict their bonus offerings to certain areas, actually there have really only been two that do this, Best Western and Choice Hotels, the latter of which has been getting better. The first promotion of the year for Choice Hotels is available to most of their worldwide audience with only a few restrictions so I won’t harp on them like I have in the past. BW on the other hand continues to offer their system wide promotions to the North American market only. For a chain that likes to promote themselves as the world’s largest they sure don’t seem to focus on the majority of the world’s population. Granted they have lots of individual hotel bonus offers in Europe and Asia but why can every other chain offer system wide bonuses to members in these areas and not BW? The question remains to be answered.

Car Rental
Car Rental offers will remain the same in 2011 as they have in 2010, 2009, 2008 and so forth. The only offer that has stood out so far has been from Sixt where they awarded bonus airlines miles in several programs for booking a car via their iPhone or iPad apps. Much like the airlines I believe the only change we may see here is more offerings via the various car rental companies social channels.

Credit Card
Sign up bonuses for credit cards have exploded over the past 18 months or so in the United States. Several card offers made it up to 100,000 bonus miles for receiving the card and reaching a certain spend level within a predefined period of time. Based on current offerings from credit card providers we may not see any offers that high in 2011 although many cards in the U.S. are still offering and will continue to offer very respectable bonuses in the 30,000-60,000 mile/point range. Where we will see an increase in the amount of miles offered for credit cards is outside of the U.S. as the the big bonus sign up trend reaches into other worldwide markets. We have already seen it happen in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany with bonuses reaching up into the 50,000 - 60,000 mile/point range and we should see it happen in more markets around the world this year particularly in other European countries and in Asia.  Latin American and African programs will lag significantly behind as many card offers remain under the 10,000 mile/point level, that is if any bonus is even offered.

Transfer bonuses continue to be a good source of miles especially for American Express Membership Rewards members in the U.S. and to a lesser extent Diners Club Club Rewards members. With offers ranging from 15% up to 80%, this is a good way to top of accounts in the major U.S. programs or for those residing in the U.S. who frequently fly one of the many international airlines that you can transfer Membership Rewards points to. A good example of this is El Al which tends to have 15-25% bonus Matmid Points on American Express transfers several times a year. The one big promotion outside of the U.S. that should return is for Canada’s RBC Visa Avion to British Airways. This 50% bonus may even return this spring as it has occasionally in the past but will most definitely return in the fall like it has every year.

Other offers

All other bonus earning opportunities will continue at a regular pace. Bonus miles for using certain merchants at a loyalty programs online shopping mall, for purchasing, trading or gifting miles, or for dining out will not change. The most popular of these lately has been the bonus offers on the purchasing of miles with some airlines like U.S. Airways offering up to 100% bonuses this past year. The bonuses on these transactions will continue although I have a hard time believing we will see them reach that 100% level as there are already rumblings of U.S. Airways taking a revenue hit on all the miles that were purchased. The trend for bonus miles on purchases is expanding beyond the U.S. market in 2011 with it emerging in places like India where Kingfisher is offering a 20% bonus on mileage purchases.

In general, this year should continue to be a great year for bonus offers from many of the airline and hotel programs with many of the trends that emerged in the U.S. starting to take place Worldwide. Social Media, if you haven’t heard is playing a major role in everything right now although frequent flyer and guest programs have lagged a bit behind in using them as a primary function for pushing out bonus deals. This will change in 2011 as we will definitely see more mileage/point specific offers via SM channels since the FFPs/FGPs will need to play catch up to their parent companies general marketing and sales efforts. A good example of this is American Airlines, which just launched Twitter and Facebook pages for the AAdvantage program on February 1, 2011!  But for those programs that don’t embrace the social media evolution you will always have Frequent Flyer Bonuses to keep you up to date on all the bonus offer promotions for 2011 and beyond.

Delta SkyMiles eliminates mileage expiry

Finally some good news coming out of an frequent flyer program! Delta announced today that they have eliminated their mileage expiry rules. Simply put this means SkyMiles don't expire. Delta is now the only major U.S. carrier, North America actually, without mileage expiration.

The question that will now be raised, is will other airlines follow suit? I think we will definitely see a couple of the other majors do so in the U.S. but I am not too sure about cross border airlines like Air Canada or AeroMexico. Hopefully this trend will be like others that start in the U.S. and go global so that more airlines adopt this customer oriented rule.

You can see Delta's membership rules here stating that miles no longer expire

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bonus Offer Picks of the Week: February 7 - 13, 2011

This past week was one of the largest ever for FFB in terms of the number of new offers added to the sites which in turn made it more difficult to make our top picks of the week:

Bonus Offer For Flying
We added new flight offers to 16 different airline programs and Air Canada's Winter Extravelganza came out on top:
Air Canada Aeroplan:
Earn Double Aeroplan Miles for every eligible round trip, or two one-way flight segments, for select flights within Canada and North America; Canada and Beijing, or Shanghai; Canada and Copenhagen, Brussels, Zurich, Geneva or Paris.
- 5,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you complete two eligible round trips, or four one-way flight segments, on the following scheduled flights operated by Air Canada between Canada and Buenos Aires London, Frankfurt, Munich, Santiago or Tel Aviv.
- 7,500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you complete two eligible round trips, or four one-way flight segments, on the following scheduled flights operated by Air Canada between Canada and Hong Kong, Seoul or Tokyo.
Full Details Until Apr 30, 11

Bonus Offer For Staying (Airline Miles)

As is usual this category had the most bonus offers added to it with our top pick going to AA's version of the new Best Western promo :
American AAdvantage 250 Bonus AAdvantage Miles + Various bonus miles for joining Best Western Rewards and staying with Best Western. New members will earn 250 AAdvantage® bonus miles just for joining and registering for the promotion. Then earn 500 bonus miles on your first stay, 750 bonus miles on your second stay, and 1,000 bonus miles for each stay thereafter.
Full details * Valid for U.S., Canada or the Caribbean Islands residents only Until Apr 11, 11

Bonus Offer For Staying (Hotel Points)

There isn't much time to take advantage of our top pick but we still make it number due to the size of the promo:

Carlson Hotels GoldpointsPlus:
10,000 Bonus Gold Points for stays on the “Experience the World of Radisson” promotion at participating Radisson  hotels in the Americas. Full details. Until Feb 28, 11


Bonus Offer For Driving
 A lot of new offers for this category as well but this one offered the biggest bonus and is from one the largest programs so it gets pick of the week:
 
American AAdvantage Quadruple AAdvantage Miles when you rent a Budget vehicle for one or more consecutive days at participating airport locations in the US and Canada. Mention coupon # MUAZ034 and BCD U072411 and your AAdvantage number when making your advance reservation. Full details Until Mar 31, 11

Bonus Offer For Other Activities

American Express Membership Rewards has seen this spot quite regularly over the past few months this time it is with British Airways:

British Airways Executive Club: Receive 40% Bonus BA Miles when you transfer your Membership Rewards points into BA Miles. Full details Until Mar 31, 11
* US Residents Only

Bonus Page Updates: February 7 - 13, 2011

Feb 11: Air Canada Aeroplan | Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan | Carlson Hotels GoldpointsPlus | Cathay Pacific Asia Miles | Executive Hotels Executive Rewards | Frontier Early Returns | Hainan Fortune Wings | Olympic Air Travelair Club | Priority Club | Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer | Thai Royal Orchid

Feb 10: American AAdvantage | China Eastern Eastern Miles | Iberia Plus | Miles & More | Starwood Preferred Guest | Turkish Miles&Smiles | United Mileage Plus | WestJet Frequent Guest

Feb 9: Accor A|Club | Air France KLM Flying Blue | Alitalia MilleMiglia | Best Western Rewards | British Airways Executive Club | Frontier Early Returns | Garuda Frequent Flyer | Gulf Air Frequent Flyer | Japan Airlines Mileage Bank | Jet Airways Jet Privilege | Kingfisher King Club | Korean Air SkyPass | Lan LANPASS | Malaysia Airlines Enrich | Philippine Airlines Mabuhay | Qatar Airways Privilege Club | Scandic Hotels Frequent Guest | Shangri-La Golden Circle | TAP Portugal Victoria

Feb 8: Air China Phoenix Miles | ANA All Nippon Mileage Club | Avianca Plus | BMI Diamond Club | Continental OnePass | Emirates Skywards | Etihad Guest | Expedia Rewards | Germanwings Boomerang Club | Golden Tulip Flavours | Hyatt Gold Passport | Malev Duna Club | Qantas Frequent Flyer | Scandinavian EuroBonus | Ukraine International Panorama Club

Feb 7: Czech Airlines OK Plus | Stash Hotel Rewards

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bonus Offer Picks of the Week: January 24 - February 6, 2011

We only updated 9 programs on the two days we worked before we took off on vacation on the 26th so there were not many offers to choose from but these are our considerations for the best:

Bonus Offer For Flying
What to pick? Specific route bonuses from American or Air France KLM's push on the Ukraine market?:
American:
Double AAdvantage Miles for non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Vail (Eagle airport) Register online with promo code LAEGE (Registration is required). Book by Feb 22 for flights Feb 22- Apr 4, 11

Bonus Offer For Staying (Airline Miles)

The following offer was added to both Air China Phoenix Miles and Hainan Fortune Wings, we'll post only Air China's to keep things short:
Air China Phoenix Miles: Earn up to Quadruple Phoenix Miles Kilometers for qualifying stays at Wyndham Rewards participating hotels Worldwide. Full details. Until Apr 30, 11

Bonus Offer For Staying (Hotel Points)

We only added three offers from two programs and we picked the program with a more of a global reach:

Accor A|Club:
Triple A|Club Points for stays at Accor hotels in The Hague. Book online at Accor Hotels (Stays must be booked online to earn bonus points) Until Mar 17, 11
Participating locations
ibis Den Haag City Centre
ibis Den Haag Scheveningen
Mercure Den Haag Central
Novotel Den Haag City Centre
Novotel Den Haag World Forum


Bonus Offer For Driving

We didn't add any new car rental offers so not top pick for these past 2 weeks.


Bonus Offer For Other Activities

Delta and American Express keep adding new bonus offers for transfers and the latest takes top spot:

Delta SkyMiles: 50% Bonus SkyMiles the first time you ever transfer Membership Rewards points into Delta SkyMiles. If you transfer 50,000 points or more, you'll also receive 25,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) Full details and online registration (Registration is required) Until May 31, 11
* U.S. Residents Only

Bonus Page Updates: January 24 - February 6, 2011

Some vacation time over the past two weeks meant we only had updates on the following two days:

Jan 25: Air Canada Aeroplan | Air China Phoenix Miles | Air France KLM Flying Blue | American AAdvantage | Coast Hotel Rewards | Delta SkyMiles | Hainan Fortune Wings | Qantas Frequent Flyer

Jan 24: Accor A|Club