chitownscorner

Where Chitown's travels and smart tips intersect.

Hilton Come Dream With Us Sweepstakes

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Hilton is offering a sweepstakes contest with the top prize consisting of a five day and four night trip for two to the London Olympics. The lodging is provided by the Waldorf London which is located near the West End theatre and Covent Garden. Other prizes include a trip for two to San Jose for the US Olympics gymnastics trial. Registration is found at this link, and there are additional entries provided for each night you stay at a Hilton hotel through October 31, 2011.

https://www.hiltonhhonors.com/enroll/OlympicSweeps2011.aspx

Written by chitownflyer

July 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Posted in Hilton, London

Tumi Seasonal Sale Save 30 to 50 percent

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Tumi is currently conducting their seasonal sale offering from thirty to fifty percent discounts with free shipping. The direct address for their website is found here. There are some good buys to be found. Some items are marked down thirty percent, and then Tumi is offering an additional twenty percent savings on top of the mark down price that was added by Tumi in the past week.

For example, take a look at this International Expandable Carry-On( Style #: 6320) which is marked down from $549 to $319, when it is added to your cart the price is further reduced by 20 percent to $255.20. This is quite a deal for this bag.

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There are many other good savings available on a variety of bags as well. Quantities and styles are limited, so order if you see something you like. Tumi offers a 30 day return policy, so you can be confident of your purchase. The direct link to the Tumi sale can be found here: http://www.tumi.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=4238826

Written by chitownflyer

July 24, 2011 at 11:30 am

Posted in Great Deals, Luggage, Tumi

Wynn Las Vegas From $149 A Night

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The Las Vegas Wynn Hotel has recently redecorated all of its rooms, and it also has some special rates and packages that are available from now until November 30, 2011. These rates are subject to availability, and the best rates are found by avoiding the weekends and staying Sunday thru Thursday.

One option is to use booking code RNWFRD2 to book a $149 nightly rate from Sunday thru Thursday, and a $219 rate for Fridays and Saturdays with a $50 dining credit. For another option for multi night stays, two night stays are available starting at $299 and include two tickets to see Le Rêve with booking code RENEW24.

If you call 877-770-7829 for a booking of the RENEW24 rate, an upgrade to a King Suite at Encore will be made complimentary if space is available. Alternatively, rates and bookings may be made at http://www.wynnescape.com and searching with the codes RENEW24 or RNWFRD2 (For complete terms of the offer, visit http://www.visitwynn.com/terms/RENEW24 )

I visited the nightclub and hotel at Encore last year, and it is a great and chic place in Las Vegas. Here are some photos of Wynn & Encore below.

Exterior of Wynn & Encore

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Shops at Wynn

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By day, the area is used as Encore’s beach club. By night, this Encore’s Surrender nightclub.

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Encore’s Surrender nightclub

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Encore’s Surrender nightclub

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Written by chitownflyer

July 24, 2011 at 12:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Hyatt Regency Maui $199 thru Dec 17, 2011

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Via Travel Zoo, the Hyatt Regency Maui is offering a $199 rate per room with breakfast at buy one get one free from August 14 thru December 17, 2011. For an additional $10, one may upgrade to a partial ocean view room. This offer must be booked by July 27, 2011, and it is a non-refundable and non-changeable pre-paid rate. I recommend booking directly with the Hyatt Maui’s page and searching for rates here for ease of earning of Gold Passport points. http://maui.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/

Written by chitownflyer

July 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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 united.com 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. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/16600805-post57.html. 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.

 

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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, DAL_DD@hilton.com, or  diamond@hilton.com.  

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

Star Mega Do 3

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At View From the Wing, Gary Leff unveils all the great details of the Star Mega Do 3. The complete details are found at Milepoint. The sponsors of the program are United, Lufthansa, and Hyatt. The European portion of the program begins on September 5, 2011, and it has the option to start in New York City, fly the A380 to FRA, and then visit the Lufthansa facilities at Munich airport. Then return to the US with Lufthansa to Chicago(ORD). The LH flights earn actual EQMs flown and cost $900 in coach(S class) and $2400 in Business(Z class). The North American section takes place from September 7 though September 10, 2011. For those wishing to only travel within the US, the program starts in Chicago, goes to Montreal, and ends in Denver. Air travel is by a chartered CO 737 which earns a minimum of double EQMs for coach travel costing $750 and up to quadruple EQMs for first class travel costing $1675. A great benefit to the program is that three one night stays at the official Hyatt hotels of the program will earn the person Diamond status through 2013.

The direct link for registration is at this address: http://www.starmegado3.com/.

Written by chitownflyer

June 25, 2011 at 11:11 am