This week we have lots of good news for loyalty program members! Airlines are offering new routes that help make travel much more convenient, Wyndham has launched a vacation sweepstakes, Groupon has taken the ‘e’ out of ‘e-commerce, and we also see hotels being more innovative in boosting revenue and incorporating technology into customer stays. All the great things these loyalty programs are doing members should be taking advantage of so read more to see how you can benefit! Emirates Airline is set to become the first airline in the world to travel to the US twice daily on A380 flights. Emirates will increase the capacity on one of its daily flights from Dubai to JFK starting in 2013 by 1000 additional seats. It will replace its current Boeing 777-300ER with the new and modern A380 aircraft. This expansion is due to the popular demand for the Dubai to NY route and is allowing Emirates to become a better known brand amongst Americans. Emirates has launched two new US gateways this year in Dallas/Fort Worth and Seattle, and the airline will be launching flights to and from Washington Dulles International Airport this September. Scandinavian Airlines is adding service to the US west coast beginning in April of 2013. The airline will have a non-stop route from San Francisco to Copenhagen six times a week. The airline already operates from Chicago, Washington and New York, this new addition will allow passengers to have more choice in flights and connectivity options. British Airways will soon be Googling passengers before flights so that staff can put a face to the name for VIP customers. This move is part of the airline’s “Know Me” program which will give staff members iPads to search Google images to find future fliers. The program is to help the airline have more personal interactions and better service to its fliers. Some are saying that British Airways is profiling and snooping, what do you think? Groupon has just set up its first retail concept store in Singapore! The store is an avenue for shoppers to redeem their purchased goods instantly and is a way for the company to get to know and interact with its customers. The store has three computer terminals and iPad stations where customers can browse, buy and print deals. Customers can also try out goods displayed at the store before purchasing. If the store is a success we could be seeing Groupon stores pop up in the near future! Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham hotels has launched its “Design Your Perfect Getaway” sweepstakes. Until August 15, travelers who visit the newly designed Microtel Inn and Suites website can enter daily for their chance to win by creating their perfect getaway. Entries include choosing a favorite vacation setting as well as daytime and nighttime preferred activities. If you are a member of Wyndham Rewards, then participants can earn 2 extra entries to help increase your chances of winning. One grand prize winner will receive a three-night, four day trip for two to the US or Canadian destination of their choice complete with hotel accommodations, roundtrip airfare, car rental and $500 in spending money. Five first prize winners will receive a free three night stay at any Microtel Inn and Suites which will be awarded in the form of 48000 Wyndham Rewards points. Hotel Indigo in Newcastle, England is offering the Bible on an Amazon Kindle e-reader. The Kindle will be placed in the drawer of the hotel room just like the Bible has always been. Guests will now have the opportunity to download a different religious ebook of their choosing at no extra charge as long as it does not cost more than $8. Guests can also use the Kindle to buy other books and the cost will show up on their hotel bill. This hotel in Newcastle is undergoing a two-week trial period and if all goes well the chain is planning to expand this service to its 44 hotels worldwide. Last week, you read about hotels trying to boost revenue by creating their own beers and teaming up with microbreweries. This week, we see new ploys from skating rinks to yoga centers that hotels are going to try! A new high-end hotel in Manhattan will have either an art gallery, doctor’s office or yoga center. Hotels are trying to bring in new streams of revenue by building meeting rooms that can be re-purposed for nighttime cooking parties, incorporating ground-floor retail space and creating ice rinks that charge for skate rentals. Hotels want to get the most out of their real estate and they are thinking of more innovative ways to generate revenue instead of the typical bars and conference room space. Will these new ploys make your holiday or business stay better? Have a great week full of deals, bonuses and loyalty love!