This is a news recap from last week, tailored to regular families. For faster updates, follow Miles For Family on Twitter or check the feed on the right side of the blog.
1) Southwest schedule is now open through November 3rd. Remember, you can always rebook if the price of the flight goes down later on. Just remember that if you use a gift card to pay taxes, your funds will have expiration date.
2) Aeroplan has brought back their promo where you’ll get bonus miles when converting from certain hotel programs. The most logical ones are SPG and Marriott (when redeeming points on travel packages). This can be a good deal for some families, specifically those who live near United hubs.
Aeroplan miles are redeemable on United-operated flights as long as “saver” award level is available. You can also book tickets online which is a major plus. One-way flights within Continental US (including Alaska) run at 12,500 Aeroplan miles. I probably wouldn’t transfer points speculatively, but if you are reasonably sure that you’ll find use for Aeroplan miles in a near future, this promo is worth considering. Not enough hotel points for a specific award? You can always top off your Aeroplan account by transferring Membership Rewards on 1:1 basis. (Hat tip LoyaltyLobby)
3) Don’t forget to register for 5% categories on Chase Freedom, US Bank Cash Plus and Discover It.
4) The rep from Plenti program has emailed me this exciting news:
“ Plenti, the first U.S.-based loyalty coalition with major brands, today announced the addition of the first grocer to its program, Southeastern Grocers LLC, parent company to BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys and Winn-Dixie. Southeastern Grocers will upgrade their loyalty program by launching Plenti throughout all stores as of April 5.”
I’m actually quite excited about this because I shop at Winn-Dixie fairly often. At the moment I have about 6,500 Plenti points which should give me $65 worth of groceries at the checkout. Remember, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Plenti program on 1:1 basis. However, I would wait for some sort of bonus similar to the one Amex had last year (1:1.5
5) I don’t believe this was in the original announcement on the latest SPG category adjustments, but nonetheless, Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort is now a Category 2. That means it costs 3,000 points during weekends, 4,000 points on weekdays. This is good news for families looking for an affordable place near Disney. (hat tip Milevalue)
6) This may be of interest to folks who got in on Fairmont offer before the card was discontinued. My reader Natasha recently found out that her Fairmont hotel certificates will expire two weeks before her planned trip. So, she has reached out to Fairmont to request an extension and here is what happened:
“I asked the first csr who said no, so I did HUCA (hang up call again) and then got a nicer csr who put me through to the supervisor who also said no but then after a few minutes she said yes!!! As a one time courtesy. I recieved the confirmation showing a zero balance. Saved me $1400.00 Canadian!
It gets better as the hotel also let me use my suite and room upgrade even though they aren’t in my account yet. I have certificates expiring in February 2018. She said she’d do the upgrade but I would have to pay for it if I don’t have valid certificates when I come. I will gladly pay $95 annual fee for a JUNIOR SUITE LAKEVIEW room.
I saved over $2,500 Canadian as those rooms go for $1,200 per night. You get the suite certificates as long as you own the card, since it comes with Premier status. This card was definitely a good deal for my family. Also, let the readers know that contacting the hotel directly allowed me to use the suite and room upgrade certificates even though they weren’t in my account. If you call Fairmont reservation line directly they will deny you.”
Nicely done! Of course, YMMV, but it doesn’t hurt to try if you are in a similar situation.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.