Loyalty Traveler – October, 23 2009

Loyalty Traveler – October, 23 2009


Hyatt Gold Passport’s Next Big Thing promotion is an incredible opportunity to earn free nights and leverage hotel stays into sky high travel value. Normally I don’t think of hotel stays as a route to discount airline travel, but these are not normal travel times.

Shortly before the Oct. 1 promotion launch, Gold Passport Concierge announced a rule change on FlyerTalk stating members choosing airline miles rather than points are eligible for Next Big Thing promotion credit. The Next Big Thing rewards members a choice of a free night after every two stays or 3,000 bonus points with every stay beginning with your second stay. Members also earn double stay elite credit during the promotion period. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/12458336-post47.html

Earn up to 25,000 Bonus Airline Miles through Dec. 31, 2009

Gold Passport is offering 5x bonus miles with airline partners on top of regular base miles earned for members who choose to earn miles instead of base points. Members must request miles instead of points at hotel check-in.

Air Canada, Alaska, American, Amtrak, British Airways, Continental, Delta, Lufthansa, Midwest, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic are participating in this promotion.

Most airlines offer 2,500 bonus miles after every two nights, up to 25,000 bonus miles. Airlines like Southwest (0.5 credit base miles; 2.5 credits bonus) and Virgin Atlantic (750 base miles; 3,750 bonus miles) with different base miles also earn a five times bonus. Promotion bonus may be earned for up to 20 nights.

Gold Passport Points or Airline Miles — which is the better value?

For all calculations assume a member spends $200 per night on four, two-night hotel stays and four, one-night hotel stays during the promotion. The member completes 12 nights with eight stays and spends $2,400. (This is just one simplified scenario to outline earning options. Variables like room rate, stays and nights, G bonuses, and elite bonuses impact actual miles or points earned.)

Gold Passport base miles or base points earned without any bonuses

Member earning base points earns five points/$1 x $2,400 = 12,000 base points — or — Member earning base miles earns 500 miles/stay x eight stays = 4,000 base miles.

The value of 12,000 points is a free Hyatt Category 3 hotel night. Value of 4,000 miles is questionably less for most airline programs.

Add the Next Big Thing Bonuses

Member who chooses free nights option and Gold Passport base points earns: Four free nights (eight stays) + 12,000 base points ($2,400) + 16 elite stays. — or — Member who chooses 3,000 bonus points each stay after first stay earns: 21,000 bonus points (seven stay bonuses) + 12,000 base points + 16 elite stays.

Earn Airline Miles Instead of Gold Passport Base Points

Member earning miles and selecting free nights option with eight stays (12 nights) earns: 4,000 base miles (eight stays) + 15,000 bonus miles (12 nights) + four free nights + 16 elite stays

Member earning miles and selecting 3,000 Bonus Points option with eight Stays (12 nights) earns: 4,000 base miles + 15,000 bonus miles + 21,000 bonus points + 16 elite stays.

19,000 miles potentially has greater value than 12,000 Gold Passport points. Virgin Atlantic members earn 28,500 Flying Club miles in this scenario.

Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa currently offer highly discounted international award travel. Virgin Atlantic has New York — London economy awards for just 25,000 miles. http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?1884

Virgin Atlantic Miles Plus Money awards I priced for SFO-LHR economy awards were $169 less using 2,000 Flying Club miles. A premium economy fare was reduced by $297 with 7,500 Flying Club miles.

Lufthansa is offering some awards at a 60 percent + discount. Business class upgrades in Europe normally 30,000 miles are as low as 10,000 miles. The Dusseldorf Special DUS-ORD business class award is only 35,000 miles for November travel. Complete 20 one-night Hyatt stays and you can earn 35,000 LH miles during the Hyatt promotion.

For links to the Hyatt airline partner bonuses, visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?1881

Miles earned from your Hyatt stays can have you flying cheap. Highly discounted air travel as an added bonus of your Hyatt Hotel stays makes “The Next Big Thing” miles bigger.

Correction: In last month’s column, I incorrectly stated that the points purchased during a Priority Club Rewards Points & Cash award would count toward elite status. During the initial stages of the program, some Priority Club members reported earning elite qualification points, but that eligibility loophole appears to have shut down within the first few weeks.

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