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Archive for the ‘Earning Elite Status’ Category

Hilton Visa Infinite Cardholders Instant HHonors Gold Status & 40,000 Bonus Points Offer

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This Flyertalk thread discusses instant Hilton HHonors Gold status which can be earned simply by registering at this page. This is a great offer as Hilton Gold status enables you to receive free internet, free breakfast, and an upgrade to an Executive floor if space is available or upgrade to the next best room category for those hotels not having an Executive floor. You must register for this promo by May 31, 2012, and it is possible to earn 40,000 bonus HHonors points by completing 4 stays paid with a Visa Infinite card after registration for the offer. Full terms and conditons are described as well.


Written by chitownflyer

December 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Lufthansa 1 Day Business Class Sale Valid on United & Continental from $1982

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Today only Lufthansa is offering a great one day Business class sale fare to select European cities including Frankfurt, Berlin, Geneva, Zurich, and Vienna. The fares start at $1982 from the east coast and $2400 from the west coast. Travel is valid from December 19 thru April 13 with a 5 day advance purchase required, and the fares book into Z fare class. Full details can be found on the TravelZoo website. This is an excellent offer from Lufthansa. To book with Lufthansa, go to this page. These fares may also be booked via Continental-United’s website or phone reservations agents as well.

Written by chitownflyer

December 14, 2011 at 11:20 am

Star Alliance Thanksgiving Business Class Fare Sale November 2011

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Yesterday evening I found great Business class fares to Europe while searching around various dates that book in Z class and earn 150 percent EQMs in many Star carriers frequent flyer programs.. These fares are valid on most Star Alliance carriers from North America to Europe such as United, Continental, Air Canada, Lufthansa, US Air, and even more. The fares average $2000-$2400 from the US West Coast, and they tend to decrease the farther east one chooses as a departure point. There are fares as low as $624 one way from the East Coast. Travel must occur between November 20 and November 25 for the departure, and return travel must be completed by November 30, 2011 on many Star carriers. Tickets must be purchased and issued by October 27, 2011.

I am posting a direct link to the fare sale from Lufthansa, but travelers should feel free to book via their preferred airline’s website, as they should be available across the Star carriers.This is a good offer indeed as it is often the same price one would pay for a miles and $550 copay to upgrade a coach ticket to Europe. Flyers will earn 150 percent EQMs in many Star carrier’s frequent flyer programs. This offer also presents a great opportunity for a year end mileage run and boost of EQMs to ensure elite status for 2012. Happy travels.

Written by chitownflyer

August 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm

What is a Mileage Run?

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A mileage run is a trip taken in part on an airline or airline alliance, such as Star Alliance, for the purpose of earning or maintaining elite status. I tend to earn my United elite status by taking long trips to international locations like Dubai, Sydney, Japan, Europe, and Hawaii. To start, let’s distinguish between Elite Qualifying Miles(EQMs), and Redeemable miles(RDMs).

Elite Qualifying Miles(EQMs) should be thought of as status miles which are counted towards earning elite status, but they can not be used for award travel. They may be earned from flights, but they may also be earned as bonuses for purchasing high cost airline tickets in full fare coach or Business and First class tickets. For example, United tickets bought in full fare coach(Y or B class fares), Business, and First class all earn a 50 percent EQM bonus for each mile that is flown: 1.5 times the actual miles flown. A 10,000 mile trip would earn a total of 15,000 EQMs with this bonus( 1.5 x 10,000 = 15,000 EQMs). EQMs may also be earned with certain activity like using United’s Mileage Plus Visa credit card for ticket purchases. This will be covered in a later post. Redeemable Miles(RDMs) are the miles that are actually earned and posted into an account. from flight activity and may be redeemed to book award travel. A person flying Los Angeles to Frankfurt on United in discounted coach class would earn around 12,000 Redeemable Miles. If the person holds United’s Premier Executive or 1K status, a 100 percent redeemable miles bonus will also be earned, so the LAX-FRA trip would earn 24,000 RDMs and 12,000 EQMs. This shows why it is worthwhile to acquire elite status with an airline alliance.

For example, a frequent traveler may have earned 89,000 EQMs in United’s Mileage plus program, and they need 100,000 to reach 1K status. The person decides to take a quick 3 day trip to London and buys a San Francisco to London ticket discounted coach fare which will earn over 12,000 EQMs and end the year with 101,000 EQMs.. The purpose of the trip is to earn 1K status, and the benefit is also seeing London for a few days. What is even more advantageous is for frequent flyers to book travel during promotions when Double Elite Qualifying Miles(DEQM) are offered. This type of promotion results in a traveler earning twice the number of EQMs by complying with the terms and conditions of the offer. In our SFO-LHR example, the person would earn 24,000 EQMs during a DEQM offer. United Airlines offered DEQM promotions during 2008 & 2009.

There are more hard core examples of mileage running. A few years ago, oil was priced much lower and the dollar was not as debased and weak as it is now. FlyerTalk members often favorite destination for a mileage run would be Singapore.  From the West coast, a SIN run would earn 17,000 or even 20,000 or more EQMs from Chicago or the East coast depending upon the routing. There are stories of FlyerTalk members whom would fly to Singapore, arrive at 11:30 pm, go to the transit hotel for 6 hours, and get back on the 7:00 am flight to fly back to the United States all for earning their elite status and RDMs. I hope this provides insight as to the thinking behind Mileage runs. Happy travels!

Written by chitownflyer

July 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Hilton Eliminating the Diamond Special Arrangement (aka Diamond Force) on Reward Stays

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There is a big and growing frustration by Hilton’s Diamond elites at the change in policy that Hilton is implementing with regards to guaranteed reward reservations for its Diamond members. This Flyertalk post confirms the major changes to the Diamond special arrangement(DSA) policy. This is the link to the whole discussion

The original DSA allowed Diamonds to book a reward stay even if there was no available standard room. This was done by a call to the Diamond desk whom would then contact the hotel on behalf of the customer to attempt to arrange an award booking. The great aspect of this policy is that it applied to single night and multi night awards such as the AXON( AMEX Hilton) 4 night award and multi night VIP rewards termed discounted GLON( Going Global award staring at 6 nights) which often offer a reduction of 20 percent over the number of points needed for a standard night reward. For example a standard reward at a category 7 hotel costs 50,000 points per night, but averages 37,500 points per night under a multi night GLON stay, so a standard reward costs 350,000 points for 7 nights at a Category 7 hotel, but a GLON 7 night stay costs 262,500 points. VIP multi night rewards are available to all Silver, Gold, and Diamond members. The change to the Diamond special arrangement is that now the hotel must be completely sold out in order to redeem HHonors points for a single or multi night stay at the Standard or VIP reward multi night stays. Otherwise, one has to book a premium room at vastly and grossly inflated nightly rates. This is simply bunk, and an insult to Hilton’s loyal Diamond members.

Take a look at the example of the Conrad Hong Kong for a multi night stay below.




The nightly per stay rates can be at the VIP GLON level, but they can be double triple, or even quadrupled! For example, a seven night GLON from Sept 9-16 requires 37,500 per night for a total of 262,500. September 14-21 requires 85,584 points per night for a total 599,088.

Finally, GLON redemption on September 18-25 will cost 188,712 per night totaling 1,320,904!

This is an incredible inflation of the required points for Diamonds for award redemptions. It is simply plain wrong and a major devaluation of the HHonors program. I recommend everyone contact the Hilton Diamond line and request to speak with customer relations-customer loyalty and strongly voice their disapproval of this policy change. For an email to inform your discontent to the Diamond desk,, or  

This policy is not an enhancement, it is a a major inflation of HHonors points and an even larger devaluation to the program than the increase in points required for rewards to the HHonors program implemented last year. Furthermore, disgruntled HHonors members may seek to take their business elsewhere such as Starwood or Hyatt. Hilton needs to change this policy back to the previous Diamond special arrangement policy that rewards Diamonds for their loyalty.

Written by chitownflyer

July 2, 2011 at 11:52 am

What is a mattress run?

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A mattress run is a stay at a hotel for the purpose of earning elite status, points bonuses in a hotel loyalty program, or any other activity needed to qualify for a promotional offer. Mattress run are best done by booking inexpensive hotels especially on the weekends, and then using the benefit acquired for something really expensive. For example, Starwood is currently running a 3 stays = 1 free night promo that can be redeemed at over 200 resorts with an unlimited number of nights that may be earned. By checking in and out of a hotel 3 times, one may then redeem the free night at someplace quite expensive such as the St. Regis Kauai even though the stays for earning were 3 cheap mattress runs at Washington Dulles and the surrounding area Starwood properties. Starwood’s top elite status is the Platinum level which requires 25 stays, so one can earn both 8 free resort nights and book one additional stay for gaining Platinum status, but you might as well book 3 more stays and earn another free resort night.

Written by chitownflyer

April 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm