After a great week in Hawaii and flying through the night, we are home.  Tired, dirty, and a little disoriented, but home.  Now that we have landed, here is a summary of some miles and points news that has been going on.  Never too early to start earning points and planning for the next adventure!


Price to pay for a week in paradise

United improving meal options:

If you fly United flights in a premium cabin and like to get fed on the plane, then you are in luck as United is upgrading first class food options and replacing snacks with full meals on some of its shortest flights.  It seems they are not only bringing food to shorter flights of at least 800 miles (down from 900 miles), but more importantly (to me) they are improving quality and variety of the meals served.

Recently I had become convinced United only knew how to make about three things (one of which was a very bland salad), so this really is good news.  Their new menu options will reportedly use “fresh ingredients and offer greater variety”.  Between August and September they are introducing all-new gourmet, premium salads and sandwiches, which are served chilled or warmed depending on flight distance and departure time.

Also on the list of improvements are revamping food options on United Express, improving meals in international economy, and increasing frequency of meal changes.  What no cheeseburger 33% of the time? 


Crunchy bun United cheeseburger

Seriously, I’m happy to see United making what should be a tangible improvement to its on-board experience.  Can I put in a small plea for the children’s meals to be improved as well? 

Lower spending requirement on targeted SPG Amex offers:

The Starwood Preferred American Express card has had a $5,000 minimum spending requirement to trigger the sign-up bonus for a couple of years at least, but MileValue shares a targeted version that now requires just $3,000 in spending to get the bonus.  That would be a welcome change if that version of the offer became open to the public!

Park Hyatt New York now open, but award availability isn’t:

The much anticipated Park Hyatt New York is now officially open and some of the first reports of stays are rolling in on Flyertalk.  I love Park Hyatt and New York City, so I very much want to stay there as soon as possible.  However, award availability disappeared a few weeks ago before opening and hasn’t returned since.  I have been told there just aren’t more than a handful of standard rooms there, but the problem is deeper than that since all of the availability disappeared at once and I can’t find a single day with a standard room available on points – even a year from now.

I’m one of the biggest Hyatt junkies there is, but if this award availability issue isn’t fixed for the PHNY, that will leave a sour taste.  Scarce availability is sort of okay.  No availability is not okay.  Certainly kicking myself for now locking in an award night while the availability still displayed a few weeks ago!

Free Night via Hyatt Place Contest:

I have had pretty good luck with winning contests that require sharing a photo to enter (since I guess fewer people take the time to enter those sort of things), so I shared news of the current Hyatt Place contest that is giving away 200 Hyatt Place nights in 200 hours a couple of days ago.  Turns out I did win a free night, and so have several Mommy Points readers, so I really encourage you to enter if you have a picture of, or at, a Hyatt Place.

Hyatt Place Contest

You can get full info in my previous post – just hurry as the contest ends on August 26th.

More Hyatt Targeted Promos Out:

There are now at least seven different versions of targeted fall Hyatt promotions out there, with some of the emails alerting members to their targeted offers still trickling out as late as last night, so perhaps even still today.  I still haven’t received a thing, but you can try your hand at registering for a promo in the Flyertalk wiki here.  Neither my account or my husbands worked for any of the promos, but perhaps you will have better luck!



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National Car Rental’s Emerald Club has brought back their popular “One Two Free” promotion where you can one free rental day after every two qualifying rentals of two or more days on midsize cars or better from today, August 20, 2014 – January 31, 2015, at participating National Car Rental locations in the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia.  You will earn your standard Emerald Club reward benefits in addition to ONE TWO FREE points.

One Two Free

You do have to register for this promotion and you do not receive retroactive credit for rentals before you registered, so go ahead and register now just in case you have some National rentals in the next five months.  I would have loved some more free rental days to use on our recent Alaska trip as car rentals there were pricey.  Redeeming in NYC, during ski season at mountain locations, etc. could give you a very good return on your free days.

Outside of qualifying rentals, you can also earn points for bonus activities, some of which include downloading National’s mobile app, referring friends to the promotion, linking your Facebook page, and adding a GPS to the rental.  To earn points by referring friends (300 per friend, max 3000) they have to actually enroll in ONE TWO FREE and complete a qualifying rental by January 31, 2015, but that can be handy if you have some family members with rentals coming up.

You will receive 300 points per qualifying rental or 300 points every four consecutive rental days, whichever is greater. For example, a rental lasting two days = 300 points and a rental lasting eight days = 600 points.  Free rental days earned via the ONE TWO FREE promotion will expire at 11:59 p.m. on June 15, 2015 and you can redeem up to three free days at a time.

You can view the full terms and conditions here.  Are you a fan of the National One Two Free promo?

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This offer has expired.  Congrats to those who got in on time!

There are lots of limited time increased credit card sign-up bonuses right now, and it looks like the time is winding down very, very quickly (as in today) for the temporarily increased offer of 70,000 Marriott Reward points after $2,000 on the card in the first three months.  This is clearly better than the common public offer we usually see of 50,000 points after hitting the spending requirement.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card:70,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months + free night at a Category 1-4 property after account approval

It is also better than the not-as-public offer with the lower spending threshold of just $1,000 for those who are repeat card members since the terms state that offer is only for those first-time Marriott Rewards Credit Card Cardmembers with new accounts.  You can find more about that offer here.  The terms for the public 70,000 point offer with the $2,000 spending requirement state that it is not open to previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.  That means it is open to cardmembers who received the sign-up bonus more than 24 months ago.

If you are newer to Marriott, the Marriott Rewards chart goes from 7,500 – 45,000 points per free night (with point savers available for a lower points price) and the fifth night is free on point redemptions.  If you want to use this for Ritz Carlton stays, be ready to spend 30,000 – 70,000 points per night.  I have a post dedicated to tips on stretching your Marriott Rewards points here.

The introductory annual fee for this offer is $0 the first year and $85 thereafter.  You also get one additional free night at a Category 1-5 location every year after your anniversary date.  The card earns 5x at Marriott charges, 2x on airline tickets booked directly with airlines, on rental cars, and restaurants, and 1x elsewhere.

If you care about elite status, it also gives you 15 credits toward your next elite membership level at account opening and each year following.  There are no foreign transaction fees and chip + signature technology – in other words, it is a travel-related credit card you can actually travel with.

As an example of what you can do with 70,000 points, it can get you two nights at 35,000 points each at Category 7 Marriott hotels such as:

Vienna Marriott Hotel
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
London Marriott Hotel Regents Park
Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park
Courtyard Anchorage Airport
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (on the Big Island)
Waikoloa Marriott
Of course you don’t have to use the 70,000 points for two nights at those hotels, you can use them however best suits your needs and travel plans.  Good luck if you decide to pull the trigger on this offer – and again, I recommend doing it in the next couple hours if you want in on the public 70,000 point limited time offer.

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The sun is setting on summer 2014 as many kids are already back in school, with the rest to follow in the coming weeks.  As we squeeze the last days out of our final summer 2014 trip, my mind immediately jumps to planning out getaways for next summer.  For us, it makes it more tolerable to end our current vacation knowing more are on the horizon, but for a family… Read the Rest.

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To celebrate their 200th location, Hyatt Place is giving away “200 nights in 200 hours” via contest on social media.  I know, I know, I roll my eyes at some contests too, but I actually entered this one since it was quick and painless.  From August 18th – August 26th if you share a photo of or at a Hyatt Place via Twitter, Instagram, or Foursquare/Swarm then you can win… Read the Rest.

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The good news is that there are some Hyatt Gold Passport fall promotions out today, but the bad news is that they are targeted.  I don’t know for sure how many different versions of the promos are out there, but the ones I have read about thus far. Earn up to 50,000 bonus points for 20 eligible nights between September 1 through November 30, 2014.  Mlife stays do not count… Read the Rest.

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JetBlue is offering 25% off TrueBlue award redemptions when you book today or tomorrow (August 18th and 19th) for an award flight that takes places between September 2 – November 20, 2014.  This is not valid for award redemptions on Fridays and Sundays. This timing stacks perfectly with the current Membership Rewards transfer bonus to JetBlue that also offers a 25% bonus on top of the regular transfer rate.  The… Read the Rest.

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We travel for lots of different reasons. To see different places and different cultures, to try somewhere new, to getaway, to find ourselves, to lose ourselves, to just have fun. I believe the benefits of family travel are virtually infinite, but on our current trip I noticed a benefit that I hadn’t in a while.  Getting away from home and out of our routine allowed me to see how grown… Read the Rest.

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This is a very popular time of the year for shopping thanks to back to school needs, as well as stocking up on summer clearance items for next year. Or at least that is what I like to buy in August… Anyway, if you have some online shopping to do then you might as well earn bonus miles for it.  I recently did a post that listed lots of different… Read the Rest.

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As those who visit here frequently likely already know, my parents are on a quest to visit an always growing “Bucket List” of destinations and experiences.  Most of their items are here in the US of A.  They love National Parks, outdoor beauty, good musicals, cheap flights, cold Coca Cola, Las Vegas, and darn near anything patriotic.  My dad in particular is Mr. Patriotic, and as such being in Washington… Read the Rest.

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Once upon a time there were only a handful of Hyatt Hotels in NYC.  Then in a flurry the last couple of years, we are up to eight Hyatt Hotels open in New York City (by my last count), with numbers nine and ten soon to open (woohoo Park Hyatt NYC)!  I had already stayed at the Grand Hyatt New York, Hyatt 48 Lex, and the Andaz Fifth Avenue, but… Read the Rest.

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