Here’s a quick and dirty round of some things floating around in the miles and points world…..
- Today and tomorrow through 10:59AM Eastern you can get Hilton Hotels at up to 40% off and 2,500 bonus HHonors points per stay (up to a max of 10,000 bonus points through this offer). These reservations are non-refundable and you need to register for this very limited time promotion. If you want to read a full write-up of this offer, head to Deals We Like.
- The Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes have been grounded voluntarily by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines after an emergency landing yesterday by an ANA flight yesterday in Japan. These two Japanese carriers have roughly half of the world’s 787 planes that are in service, and after issue after issue in recent weeks they are sitting on the ground. The FAA was already looking into this aircraft even before this most recent incident in Japan. Here is a good USA Today article that summarizes some of the recent events. United is the only US carrier to have the Dreamliner in operation, and I have been “lucky” enough to fly on it four different times already. Once on the inaugural flight from Houston to Chicago, twice on the Star MegaDo 4, and once in BusinessFirst with my family on the way to Newark. Most of my flights experienced problems with the in-flight entertainment system being glitchy and having to be reset, but otherwise the flights were thankfully unremarkable. I am booked on an international 787 flight in a few months, and I very much hope these issues are sorted out far before then. If I had a 787 flight today I may get on, but I would not feel very comfortable until I safely exited the aircraft. I’m rooting for Boeing to get this sorted out quickly.
- The Priority Club award chart changes on Friday the 18th, so if you want to lock in some nights at a property you know will be more expensive after that date (such as some of the Manhattan properties like the Staybridge Suites), you might as well get it done now. You will be able to call in to get the old price through March 18th, but you can save yourself a call by doing it online now. Double-check the cancellation policies, but you usually can cancel until a couple of days before the reservation in the event your plans change. Also, there were some very good redemption values available for a little over 12 hours last night that were likely a result of the upcoming award chart changes. They are gone now, but stayed tuned in case something like that happens again.
- As was promised during our time with Jeff Smisek at SMD4, United now has onboard satellite-based WiFi internet connectivity on the first of its international widebody aircraft, becoming the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer customers the ability to stay connected while traveling on long-haul overseas routes. The widebody aircraft is a Boeing 747 that serves both trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes. United also has satellite based WiFi on two Airbus 319 planes that are serving domestic routes. They plan to have the satellite based WiFi on 300 aircraft by the end of the year. The prices for internet are reported to range from about $4 – $15 for standard service, depending on the length of the flight. I am personally very excited about this development as United has seriously lagged behind when it comes to on-board connectivity, and it will be fantastic to have the opportunity to stay connected while traveling. Head to the official announcement on this Milepoint thread for more info.
- After some time off during the holidays, SPG Starpicks have returned! These deals are available for booking from Tuesday – Friday for various dates over the next few weeks at discounts of up to 40% off. We have snagged several fairly priced SPG reservations via Starpicks, but do keep in mind that the reservations are non-refundable.