Photo: Index Open

It's summer, and weekend hotel stays are part of many travelers' vacation plans. With the economy still in a funk, however, consumers are still keeping a close eye on their spending.

That seems to be the thinking behind Marriott's new offer for weekend stays this summer.

Offer Details

Between May 28 and September 6, guests at participating JW Marriott and Marriott hotels in the continental U.S. and Canada will receive a $25 Visa gift card for each weekend night (Friday or Saturday night) charged to a Visa card, up to a maximum of two gift cards for two nights.

Gift cards can be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted....read more»

Dollar bills on a line (Photo: Index Open)

Taking a page from the playbooks of United (Mileage Plus Award Accelerator) and US Airways (Dividend Miles Multiplier), American is now offering AAdvantage members the opportunity to purchase extra miles when flying on American.

As always with such offers, the question comes down to price: how much those extra miles cost, and how much they're worth.

Offer Details

With American's new Mileage Multiplier, AAdvantage members can choose to purchase double or triple the base miles normally earned for any American, American Eagle, or AmericanConnection flight for about 3 cents each, plus a 7.5 percent federal excise tax....read more»

US Airways aircraft close up (Photo: US Airways)

US Airways has been on a promotional tear.

Currently, it's offering a 1,500-mile sign-up bonus for new Dividend Miles members.

And it's doubling the miles for all US Airways flights competed between April 13 and June 15.

It cut the price to transfer miles to other Dividend Miles members through May 31.

And on three separate recent occasions, US Airways effectively halved the price to purchase miles.

The latest addition to the list: a bonus for doing business with US Airways' rental car and hotel partners....read more»

Question mark sign (Photo: Index Open)

Wondering why there was no "Best Airline Loyalty Program " on our Editors' Choice Awards list? Here's why we chose not to choose, and how you can pick the best program for yourself....read more»

Woman shopping online with credit card (Photo: Index Open)

The theme of this summer's hotel promotions is free nights. And for good reason: With U.S. hotel occupancy rates stuck below 60 percent, according to the latest report from hotel research company STR, the major hotel chains have plenty of empty rooms to give away.

Through June 30, Hilton is offering HHonors members a free night after either four qualifying stays or 10 nights.

Marriott is offering a free night after three stays, between June 1 and August 31.

Omni is offering a free night in conjunction with a paid weekend night through September 6.

And through July 31, Starwood Preferred Guest members can earn a free weekend night after every three paid stays.

The latest free-night promotion to be launched is from Carlson Hotels....read more»

First-class travelers watching videos (Photo: Stewart Cohen/Index Open)

With the cash co-pay now waived, more United elites will opt to use miles for upgrades. But elites standing by for complimentary upgrades will find fewer first-class seats....read more»

Man shopping online with credit card (Photo: Index Open)

With the economy on the mend, credit card issuers are on the prowl for new customers. In particular, they're looking for consumers who can afford to spend and are at low risk of default. Members of travel loyalty programs, with their higher household incomes and spendy dispositions, fit the desired demographic profile to a T.

Today, program members routinely receive solicitations for credit cards linked to the major airline or hotel programs bundled with generous sign-up incentives—typically enough bonus miles for a free ticket with the airline cards.

But there are even more lucrative deals circulating in the blogosphere that, if nothing else, indicate just how highly the card issuers value frequent flyers' business.

Two current promotions—one for a Marriott credit card, the other for a United card—are cases in point....read more»

Frontier jet flying over water  (Photo: Airbus S.A.S. )

Yesterday, I posted a blog entry reviewing a new AirTran promotion designed to poach Midwest's best customers: Milwaukee-area frequent flyers. For context, I noted that AirTran had a frequent flyer program relationship with Frontier, with whom Midwest is in the process of merging.

Last night, Frontier issued a press release announcing it would sever its frequent flyer program relationship with AirTran, effective July 16.

The events—AirTran's promotion targeting Frontier's merger partner, and Frontier's subsequent rejection of AirTran—are almost certainly related, the former as cause, the latter as effect.

And even if the causal chain were less direct, this would be a case of Frontier's acting on the venerable principle that the enemy of my friend is my enemy....read more»

AirTran aircraft tail close up (Photo: AirTran)

A most peculiar promotion turns out to be AirTran's attempt to poach Midwest's most frequent flyers in Milwaukee....read more»

Photo: Index Open

Marriott has weighed in with its contribution to the growing list of summer hotel promotions, offering a free night after three stays.

Offer Details

Marriott Rewards members will earn one free night after three paid stays between June 1 and August 31, up to a maximum of two free nights for six stays. In addition to the free nights, members receive a voucher worth up to $50 toward Hertz rentals completed by February 28, 2011.

The free night awards can be redeemed for stays at Category 1 through 4 Marriotts between June 1 and December 31.

To participate, Rewards members must register by June 30....read more»

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