Mini Points: New UR Partner, Gift Card Function, and Hyatt Diamond Option

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Usually the weekends are pretty slow in the miles and points world (you know, because people aren’t in the office, um, “working”…).  However, there are several new updates that have come out this weekend that I want to catch you up on.

  • New Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner – The Chase Ultimate Rewards program that includes cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Ink Bold® Business Card, and the Ink Plus® Business Card has been at the top of the points pack for a while now, but thankfully they are continuing to improve the program by offering Virgin Atlantic as a new 1:1 transfer partner.  Partner additions can only be viewed as a positive thing.  I think the most common use for many in the miles and points world will be to go from Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic at 1:1 and then from there to Hilton at 1:2.  This is already a common occurrence from Membership Rewards.  True top end Hilton properties now require close to a bazillion miles per night, but there are many family-friendly mid-tier properties where this wouldn’t be a terrible play if you were a little short on Hilton points.  Thanks to View From the Wing for sharing this development!
  • Prepaid Visa and MasterCard gift cards will now likely have a pin function – Who knew that the miles and points community would be so closely tied to decisions made by the Federal Reserve, but that is what has happened.  The Federal Reserve has issued guidance that Visa and MasterCard prepaid gift cards need to have a PIN number in order to comply with the Dodd-Frank law.  An issued guidance isn’t the same as a written law, but it is likely it will have an impact on how the gift cards many of us know and love operate.  This does not mean you will be able to use them at an ATM, but it does mean you will be able to use them to purchase other items that require a “debit card like” transaction.  Rack your brain and you can probably come up with some good uses for this, or just see this post by Million Mile Secrets for more juicy details.
  • Hyatt International Properties Offering Diamond Members a Points Amenity Option – I have been lucky enough to stay at several international Hyatt properties since becoming a Hyatt Diamond, and one of the few qualms I have had with the program has been the inability to select 1,000 bonus points as my Diamond amenity at check-in with properties outside the US.  Instead your only choice is to accept the food/beverage amenity, whereas in the US you can choose either.  Sometimes I am all for the food and beverage amenity, but often it just goes to waste if I am traveling alone, and/or already have plans for food, can get something similar in the lounge, or just don’t like it.  I think having an option at all properties would be great, and it seems that is exactly what is happening.  I haven’t seen a formal announcement from Hyatt about this change, but there seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence here.  Thumbs up to Hyatt!

Hope you are enjoying what is left of the weekend!

 

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Comments

  1. I am so excited about the pin function!!! We have a chain called Aldi’s here in Ohio & I haven’t been able to take advantage of their deep discounts because they only take cash or debit card.

  2. FYI on those visa/MC/AMEX gift cards, Our local Houston office depot has began to pull these off there shelf’s. One of the sell clerk said it was due to have over amount of scammed/thief/ fraud with these cards. I have a pic of the shelf but no where to upload it.

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