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Hotel room (Photo: Index Open)

The latest winter hotel promotion to be announced is Hilton's "More Nights, More Points" for stays during the first quarter of 2011.

Offer Details

Between January 3 and March 31, 2011, Hilton HHonors members can earn up to quadruple points for qualifying stays of two or more nights at Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, and Homewood Suites hotels.

The bonusing works as follows:...read more»

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Among airline marketers of a certain age, there are more than a few who would lay claim to having fathered airline frequent flyer programs, and by extension the modern theory and practice of loyalty marketing generally.

But really, frequent flyer programs are the product of airline deregulation; and the father of deregulation—and hence of travel loyalty programs—was the economist Alfred Kahn.

It was Kahn who, as Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board under Jimmy Carter, oversaw (and vigorously promoted) the deregulation of the industry, leading to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. The rest—discount carriers, mileage programs, convoluted pricing schemes, labor discord, financial instability—is history.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kahn several times over many years, and he was unfailingly kind and accommodating—in spite of the fact that I sometimes challenged his unwavering faith in the free market....read more»

Photo: IndexOpen

It's been an interesting year for loyalty program aficionados. And next year promises to be every bit as eventful.

Looking ahead, I'm working on my list of miles- and points-related resolutions for 2011, and expect that many of you are as well....read more»

Travelers packing up convertible

Got Hilton HHonors points? Want to get the best value when redeeming them?

Hilton's recurring Point Stretcher Rewards may be just the ticket....read more»

Hotel room door slightly open (Photo: iStockphoto/MBCheatham)

Elite status is normally awarded for flights or room nights earned during a calendar year. Elite-qualifying points (EQPs) earned during 2010, for instance, count toward 2011 status. But EQPs earned in excess of one elite threshold but below the next-higher threshold are superfluous.

Example: You earned 35,000 EQPs during 2009. Your program awards silver status at 25,000 points, and gold at 50,000. So on the strength of your 35,000 EQPs, you enjoyed the perks associated with silver status throughout 2010. But the 10,000 EQPs you earned over and above the silver qualification requirement? They're wiped off the books. On January 1, 2010, the EQP clock reset to zero for earning 2011 status.

There has always been a contingent of frequent travelers who railed against that policy. Why, they argued, should those 10,000 EQPs disappear into the ether? Shouldn't they count ... somehow ... toward something?...read more»

Man with PDA (Photo: iStockphoto/Pali Rao)

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'Tis the season for stocking-stuffers, and here's one from United: an easy 1,000 frequent flyer miles for sampling the latest check-in technology.

Offer Details

Through December 31, Mileage Plus members can earn 1,000 bonus miles for checking in for a United or United Express flight on a smartphone, using the airline's new mobile check-in app....read more»

Woman looking from a bridge in Italy (Photo: IndexOpen)

American Express's upcoming elimination of currency conversion fees is part of a larger trend to put such fees to rest, at least for select sub-categories of cards....read more»

US Airways aircraft front 1 (Photo: Airbus S.A.S. )

Until this month, US Airways was the only major U.S. airline that didn't offer its most frequent customers an opportunity to earn lifetime elite status.

Lifetime status is typically awarded after earning 1 million miles, which explains why it has come to be known as million-miler status.

I said "until this month" because, ta-da!, this month, US Airways finally joined its legacy-carrier cohorts in adding lifetime status to the Dividend Miles elite program.

Dividend Miles members are likely to have mixed feelings about the new addition....read more»

Photo: Delta Air Lines

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By the summer of 2013, Delta will add more than 1,200 first-class seats to its fleet. That's over and above the recent addition of first-class seating on all Delta Connection regional jets with more than 60 seats.

For context, that amounts to a 13 percent increase the the airline's supply of first-class seats, which account for 11 percent of Delta's total seating.

Bottom line: According to Delta, the airline already has more first-class seats than its competitors, and it's adding even more. In addition, "Delta also is the only U.S. carrier to offer a First Class cabin on every domestic flight longer than 750 miles, or approximately 2.5 hours."...read more»

Hotel bed with rose petals (Photo: Index Open)

Starwood has just announced its "Great Weeks, Grand Weekends" promotion for stays during the first quarter of 2011, affording travelers yet another glimpse of the future promotional landscape as the hotel industry rebounds from the recent travel slump.

Offer Details

Between January 3 and April 15, 2011, Starwood Preferred Guest members can earn double points for all nights, plus an additional 500 points for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, at "more than 930 participating" Starwood family hotels. (There are around 1,025 Starwood properties, which means that almost 100 hotels are not participating in this offer. Confirm in advance.)

Registration is required, beginning on January 3, 2011, and by March 31, 2011.

Deal or No Deal

Double points, plus the booster bonus for weekend nights, make for a decent bonus.

Of course, the value of any promotion is relative to the value of competing incentives....read more»

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