Start off 2018 right with airline credits and hotel promotions

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front):  1) Set your airline for the new year under Amex Platinum’s $200 airline discretionary credit and 2) sign up for hotel promotions to gain additional points for stays this Spring.


Disclaimer: There are credit card referral links below at which I would receive credit cards points for every person that goes through my link to apply for a credit card.

Its been a while since my last blog entry but I’ve just had my first child on New Year’s Day and its been a rollercoaster of a ride!  But baby and mom are doing great.  Its going to be very interesting to see how this addition to our family will affect our travel plans.  I’m sure it will be more of a challenge, but as of now, I’m planning to still try to travel as much as possible after his first vaccine shots in 2 months…kids under 2 travel free right?  So now, let’s set ourselves to a good start maximizing miles and points for 2018! First thing to do….

Select your $200 AMEX Platinum Airline Credit

Once a year every January, the American Express Platinum card allows you to change the airline assignment for your  annual $200 incidental credit.  Whether you are PCSing(relocating), PCAing(new position/new responsibilities), or a new  airline won the city pair contract for your routine TDY(business trip) location, this is your chance to change your airline so you can utilize the $200 credit.  This link will take you to the page for changing your airline.

*I’ve changed my airline to United, not because I see myself flying with them this year but to  use United’s MileagePlusX to get $200 worth of Amazon credit.  The reviews have been mixed on whether it works or not so I tried it out with a $25 Amazon gift card but NO DICE!  It might be because I tried it the same day I changed my airlines and the changes haven’t been updated in the system.  I’ll try one more time and report back if successful. If you aren’t familiar with United’s MileagePlus X program, recommend reading my previous blog on the program.

In the extremely small off-chance you are military and don’t yet have an American Express Platinum Card, please support this page and use my referral link here .  For military, Amex doesn’t charge the annual fee due to their interpretation of the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act.  As long as you are responsibility with credit cards, this is a foundational credit card every military traveler should have for the benefits alone.

Sign-up for SPG/Marriott/Hilton’s first promotions for 2018

Many remember to give their loyalty points when checking into hotels but most leave a ton of points by just not signing up for the hotel promotions.  It doesn’t cost anything and its a one time sign-up per promotion period.

Starwood Preferred Guest’s Great Weeks, Grand Weekends Promotion (Sheraton, St. Regis, W Hotels, Westin, Luxury Collection, Tribute, Design, Element, Le Meridien)

  • Register at this link.
  • Stay at any  participating hotels and resorts worldwide between January 16 and April 15, 2018
  • Earn double SPG points (additional 2 points per dollar) starting with your second stay and an additional 500 points if the stay includes a weekend (Friday or Saturday night, Thursday or Friday in the Middle East).  

SPG are the most valuable points in the Miles/Points game because of their numerous airline transfer partners.  Their transfers are usually 1 for 1 with an additional 5,000 miles bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.

I know what your thinking…”I got a month-long TDY, so I’m gonna check in the first day and check out/recheck-in the next day to get my double points!”  Well sorry to say SPG is already ahead of you and won’t work.

From the SPG promotion FAQ sheet, “If a Registered Member checks out of a guest room and then checks back in to a guest room at the same SPG Participating Hotel on the same day, it will count as a single stay for purposes of calculating stays.”

On to the next one…

Marriott’s MEGABONUS promotion

  • Register at this link by March 31, 2018
  • Stay at any  participating hotels and resorts worldwide between January 16 and April 15, 2018
  • Get 2,000 bonus points per stay starting with your second stay, plus an extra 1,000 bonus points when your stay includes a weekend night(Friday or Saturday night, Thursday or Friday in the Middle East). 50,000 points max.

I predict Marriott and SPG will have similar promotions since Marriott bought out SPG back in 2016.  The great result for customers is that each side will reciprocate the status of the other.  This reciprocity and the benefit of the AMEX Platinum giving SPG Gold as a benefit means now military can be Marriott Gold without a single stay! Also, you can transfer back and forth points between program at a SPG 1: Marriott 3 ratio.  I will write later how this really opens up opportunities.

And last but not least…

Hilton’s Honor’s Points Unlimited Promotion

  • Register at this link
  • Earn 2,000 Bonus Points on every stay plus an additional
  • 10,000 Points on every 5 stays from January 1 – April 30, 2018.
  • There’s no limit on the amount of Bonus Points you can earn.

The great thing about Hilton’s program is that there are no hotel exclusions in their hotel promotion and you get rewarded from the very first stay.  Also, remember a benefit of the Amex Platinum card is that it give Hilton Gold membership.

Each promotion has its pros and cons.  Right off the bat, SPG seem most beneficial for long stays while the Marriott and Hilton programs encourage the shorter stays.

Free American Airlines Gold Status

  • Free AAdvantage Gold status until 25 May 2018
  • To extend your elite benefits through January 31, 2019, earn 7,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and $1,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) on American or other eligible airlines for travel between the date you register and May 25, 2018.

It seems like American Airlines is sending out targeted e-mails to AAvantage members for free status, even up to Platinum Pro!  I’ve received an offer for free Gold status until May 25, 2018.  Just FYI, I didn’t fly with American at all last year.  The only miles I received was through one flight through a partner airline.  I don’t foresee myself flying American Airlines before May 25th but hey, I’ll take a free Gold status.  If you think you might have gotten an offer but don’t recall seeing an e-mail, remember to do a quick search of your inbox.  The offer could have easily went to your spam inbox.

In conclusion, remember to sign up for loyalty programs and sign up for updates and promotions.  It’s free points/miles/status for the taking and it only takes a few minutes to sign up.  If you’re wondering how to manage all these promotions,  I have a previous blog on how I sign up for every loyalty program possible and how I keep it from overwhelming my inbox.

What additional promotions did I miss?

3 Comments on “Start off 2018 right with airline credits and hotel promotions”

  1. I’m pretty sure that the United MileagePlusX gift card loophole has been closed for the past year. I just bought $700 worth of American gift cards (in $100 increments) using three of our Platinums and a PRG and got reimbursed with no problem. We have Delta on our fourth Platinum so that we can use it to get our kids into Skyclubs and then get reimbursed.

    1. That is unfortunate but thanks for the update. How do you have 4 Platinum cards? I was tracking that the $200 credit is only for the primary card holder; unless you and your wife both have the Platinum and Platinum Business independently?

    2. We (my wife and I) are actually up to five Platinums now. We both got the regular and Mercedes-Benz cards a couple of years ago, and since I’m an AU on my wife’s accounts she gets SCRA benefits. I’ve also had a Premier Rewards Gold card for a little more than a year that I just upgraded to another regular Platinum. I did it in January after I had already gotten the PRG’s $100 credit, and now that it’s a Platinum I have another $200 of travel credit to spend.

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