This week in loyalty program news we have lots of airline and hotel announcements! Some airlines are enhancing the flying experience with new dining options while others are expanding abroad. For hotels, we see reward programs expanding globally, offering more ways to earn points faster, and trying to distinguish themselves in the growing hospitality industry. The loyalty industry is becoming more and more innovative which means more options and benefits for you! US Airways has become the first domestic airline to offer a premium meal option in economy class. DineFresh is the airline’s premium meal option for customers flying internationally to Europe, the Middle East, and South America. The meal option is paired with complimentary wine, allows customers to choose from one of two meals. The vegetarian meal consists of a Caprese salad with balsamic dressing, Portobello mushroom tortellini, Mediterranean-style appetizer and turtle cheesecake for dessert. The protein meal consists of chicken skewers, grilled vegetables, classic shrimp cocktail and creme brulee cheesecake for dessert. The premium entree is priced at $19.99 must be purchased at least 24 hours prior to the flight. Last week, United unveiled its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner which delivers on efficiency, comfort, and low emissions. United has ordered 50 787s for delivery by 2019. The cabin consists with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in Economy Plus, and 111 seats in Economy class. Air New Zealand has introduced a new program where members can pool their Airpoints Dollars with up to four other members. Airpoints can now become Shairpoints which is a great way for families to combine balances and purchase flights and other rewards much faster. Air New Zealand is also running a promotion with this launch: Airpoints members who open a Shairpoints account between now and the end of August will have a chance to earn 2000 bonus Airpoints dollars. The booming Gulf carriers are forging new links abroad. Etihad Airlines and Aer Lingus announced a codeshare deal last week which will feed traffic into one another’s networks. Qantas is also in talks with Emirates concerning potential alliances. This past April, Emirates sealed a codeshare deal with JetBlue Airways, and beginning last month, both airlines began allowing passengers to earn miles on each other’s frequent flyer plans. Etihad Airlines has stakes in Virgin Australia, owns 30 percent of Air Berlin and 40 percent of Air Seychelles. Qatar Airways is looking for cross border opportunities that are closer to home. The airline is in talks with Saudi officials about launching a new airline registered to Saudi Arabia. Chase and Marriott rewards launch the only hotel rewards credit card in Canada with no foreign currency transaction charges. Chase and Marriott Rewards launched the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card from Chase where consumers do not pay a 2.5 percent foreign currency transaction charge on purchases outside of Canada-in person or online. The card also offers members the opportunity to earn accelerated Marriott Reward points on all purchases, accumulate free stays and receive automatic Silver Elite Status. Cardholders will earn 5 points per $1 spent at any Marriott, 2 points per $1 spent on car rentals, dining, and airline tickets, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Wyndham Rewards is expanding to the Middle East and Asia Pacific, which will provide members with broader access to Wyndham hotels. Recently Wyndham Rewards launched the program in the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka at 30 properties. In the Middle East, Wyndham Rewards is now available in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman. In addition to expanding the program to more hotels, the program has added new airline partnerships. These include: Saudi Arabian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Jet Airways. Wyndham Rewards is set to expand in Australia, New Zealand and throughout Latin America by the end of the year. Four Seasons Hotels expands to Africa and luxury safaris. Fairmont Hotels is the only global hotel brand operating safari lodge properties, with three in Kenya and two in South Africa and Four Seasons is also looking to capture the luxury vacation niche. Four Seasons took on management of Bilila Lodge, an existing resort in Serengeti National Park which will be upgraded and re-launched as the Four Seasons Safari Lodge this fall. The Lodge will feature 60 rooms, 12 suites and 5 villas with natural landscape, indoor and outdoor dining options, a Spa, and an infinity pool overlooking an active watering hole. Hotels are increasingly looking for ways to distinguish themselves from “cookie-cutter” chains and one of the ways they’re doing this is giving guests the option to purchase the artwork in their rooms. Omni Dallas hotel features more than 6,500 original pieces of art in guest rooms and public spaces, which guests can enjoy and possibly purchase. The Lancaster Arts Hotel in Pennsylvania sells art and furniture found in guest rooms, and its own gallery. The Principe Forte Dei Marmi in Tuscany, Italy hosts an artist in residence where guests can meet with the artist and order a custom piece of art. Several hotels are starting to do this throughout the country and world, so guests may need leave some extra space in their suitcases to bring a souvenir of sorts home. Have a great week full of deals, bonuses and loyalty love!