Welcome to AwardGuru.com! (this blog has been migrated over to www.awardguru.com)

This blog has been moved to www.awardguru.com.

Since I started blogging actively over past several weeks, I have received glowing reviews and the response from the readers has been all positive. This was an encouraging and so, I have decided to move the blog to our own domain, AwardGuru.com, which will provide me better flexibility than what was available under WordPress.

I thank you all for following my blog. I will continue on my mission of empowering readers to unlock their miles and points and to opti-maxi-mize their value! Please follow this blog at AwardGuru.com from now onwards.

Posted in General Travel | Leave a comment

Comparison of BA’s new distance based award chart for partners and LAN’s distance based award charts for partners

British Airways’ announced changes to it’s frequent flyer program went into effect today. Lets take a look at BA Avios’ new distance-based award table to locate the sweet spots as well as compare it with LAN’s (another OneWorld partner), distance-based award table.

Here is a snapshot for easier comparison of the two award tables. please note that LAN’s kilometer award table has been converted to miles for easier comparison. Check this post for more details on LAN’s “good deals” on short-haul non-stop round-trip awards.

As we from the above tables, BA’s partners only new award chart appears very similar to LAN’s partner award chart. Each of the two tables has some sweet spots but overall there is not much to choose from between the two.

One important difference between the two tables which tilts the balance in favor of British Airways is the ability to redeem for one-ways only. LAN’s awards are for round-trips only. This feature makes the BA’s new award chart extremely attractive, especially for domestic travel within and around North America. For example, ORD-SJU comes to 12,500 miles each way and so does LAX-HNL. Also, most of the airports that have non-stop flights from AA hubs at ORD, JFK, MIA, DFW and LAX fall within 2,750 range except for transcontinental flights, and connecting  and multi-stop flights.

I am working on a detailed analysis and the impact of this new award chart for BA’s Avios’ North American customers and will post over next few days.

Posted in Frequent Flyer Programs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hawaiian Airlines fare sale out of NYC, $212 each way, total $445 all-in for the round-trip

In celebration of the introduction of their new route between New York City – JFK and Honolulu, Hawaiian Airlines has announced a huge sale for the new route. The new route is non-stop, direct service between New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Honolulu that starts June 4th, 2012. This fare sale should entice the East Coasters looking for a tropical getaway next summer as well as Hawaiians searching for adventure in the Big Apple. There are a lot of dates still available at their low advertised price of $212 each way plus tax.  The total for the round-trip comes to $445 which is fantastic for the non-stop flight on a brand new wide-body airplane.

This is following their recent fare sale that I had talked about in one of the posts. Collect your Hawaiian Miles and learn to maximize their use in this post.

Points to note:

• Roomy, New Wide-body Planes
• Complimentary Meals Curated by Hawaii’s own Chef Chai Chaowasaree
• State of the art In-Flight Entertainment
• Award-winning Hana Hou! Magazine

The most interesting part is that flight times are also very conveniently scheduled with arrivals at 3pm into Honolulu and arrivals at 6am at JFK for the return flight.

Validity of the sale fare –

Travel Period: June 4th-30th, 2012

Booking Period: November 16th-20th, 2011

Plan your Hawaiian Getaway for next summer at this low price. I doubt you will find a better fare to Hawaii from the Big Apple, during the peak summer travel period.

Posted in Airfare Deals, Frequent Flyer Programs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

*Exclusive* First look at British Airways’ new distance based award chart!

Here is the first look at British Airways’ new distance-based award chart. This new award chart is applicable for awards that do not contain any British Airways or Iberia segments.

Please note:

Flight distance are for each segment in your itinerary and not for the itinerary. Example, for DTW-ORD-LAS award, which comes to 235+1514 miles for a total of 1749 miles will be charged 4,500+10,000 miles for a total of 14,500 miles one-way and not 10,000 for the total distance traveled.

Posted in Frequent Flyer Programs | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

British Airways changes its loyalty program!

As a lot of my readers may already know, British Airways had announced a change to its award program starting today, November 16, 2011. First of all, the rewards programs will no longer be called Executive Club but is now called Avios. All those miles sitting in Executive Club have been converted to Avios points in the new program at 1:1. But that is not the only change.

Lets take a look at the most interesting aspect of the program for the purpose of this blog, the award redemption and locating the best value. BAEC earlier had four different award tables.

  1. For travel on British Airways only (award table no longer available).
  2. For travel on British Airways plus one partner (award table still available but no longer valid).
  3. For travel on one partner only entirely (award table still available but no longer valid).
  4. For travel on multiple partners excluding British Airways (award table no longer available).

What they have done is they tried to simplify the award charts in to two charts only. One is award chart for BA plus partners and other one is partners only excluding BA.

As of now, BA has not yet officially released the new award charts but it is expected that the new award levels will be significantly devalued for most routes. Though, we do know that some of the routes are now cheaper for award redemption like JFK-LHR which now costs 20,000 miles each way as compared to 25,000 miles under the previous award structure. I will fill in more on this as more information is made available to me.

British Airways had announced about the changes good month in advance, though the details of the new award structure were not released and are still awaited. The changes they had advertised seemed to be cosmetic, though it appears that some of the awards like the North American-Asia, North America-South America (especially to Easter Islands-IPC) have been severely gutted and have taken a big hit, more than 100% is some cases. Unfortunately, British Airways changed its most attractive award chart, the Single Partner award chart, which to me was the best redemption value. I will mention some of the awesome award redemption that I made in the past over next few days.

One thing to remember is that most of BA’s FFP members are located in Europe, and end up using most of their miles for travel on British Airways. In the recent past, many of us in the US have racked up a substantial number of British Airways miles, thanks to their 100,000 miles credit card sign-up bonuses and the 50% bonus on AMEX MR transferpromotions in last two years. It was just a matter of time, a question of when and not if, when the program changes are announced. The days were numbered for all the “good deals” in their award program.

In the recent past, many of the loyalty programs have devalued and gutted their programs. For example, Air Canada’s Aeroplan was devalued in July 2011, and then now have announced levying of fuel surcharge to most of the partner redemptions. American Express Membership Rewards lost Continental as it’s partner. ANA started charging fuel surcharge on Virgin Atlantic redemptions, Hilton silently gutted their program by redefining their room categories at most of its premium properties and now BA hitting us with this big change.

Posted in Frequent Flyer Programs | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

*Hot Offer* Stay one night and Get one night free with Club Carlson (Radisson group of hotels)

Club Carlson is giving away up to 50,000 nights to celebrate the U.S. debut of Radisson Blu with the opening of our new Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago.

Register for their Big Night Giveaway promotion and stay at a Radisson® hotel in the U.S., Canada, or Caribbean through December 30, 2011 to receive 50,000 bonus Gold Points®. That’s enough points for a free night at any Radisson hotel worldwide!

Hurry, this offer is a limited offer. The first 50,000 guests who complete the Promotion Registration will receive 50,000 Bonus Gold Points after the completion of the Qualifying Stay.

Learn more & register today.

Here is the link to Club Carlson’s award table. Interestingly, Club Carlson also has good Points + Cash program. Redeeming points for award nights offer you the best value for your points.

You can also use the points for redeeming for Gift Cards, Vacations and Converting to Miles to over 20 different Airline Partners but all these redemptions don’t offer the best value for the points.

“The first 50,000 guests who complete the Promotion Registration will receive 50,000 Bonus Gold Points after the completion of the Qualifying Stay”

Please note that terms state that the stay must be completed at a “participating Radisson or Radisson Blu”.

Also, please note that you will actually get more than 50,000 points, because you can get 2000 points for booking online plus you also get 20 points per dollar on your bill. Plus, if you are new to Club Carlson, you can get 2000 points by signing up using this link. Thus, you could potentially end up with 54000 points+ which would get you up to 6 nights at a Category 1 hotel.

You could also sign-up for the Club Carlson using the code OPBCSL11 which will get you Silver Elite status with them for a year.

Go ahead and register right away!

Posted in Active Deals, Frequent Guest Programs (Hotels) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Today Only! Get 20% discount for flights booked today valid for travel 11/29 – 12/15 and 1/4 – 2/15

JetBlue Airways just announced a huge sale of 20% off on all flightsoriginating in the US purchased today valid for travel on 11/29/2011 to 12/15/2011 and 1/4/2012 – 2/15/2012.

It is online exclusive offer valid for bookings made today only. You need to use the promo code 20FORYOU to get 20% off.  For full details of the offer from JetBlue’s website, click here.

Offer Details:

  • Promo Code: 20FORYOU
  • Book: Today only, November 14, 2011 (until 11:59 PM ET)
  • Travel: November 29, 2011 – February 15, 2012
  • Blackout dates: December 16, 2011 – January 3, 2012
  • US originating flights (including Puerto Rico)

How to Book:

  1. Promo codes can only be redeemed online at jetblue.com/promo.
  2. Search flights within travel dates listed above.
  3. Enter code in promo code field exactly as it appears (case sensitive).
  4. You must select flights in order for discount to appear. Once selected you will see the discount amount displayed in the itinerary subtotal on the right side of the flights page.
  5. Offer available today only 11/14/2011 (11:59 PM ET).
  6. Only one code per reservation.

Fine prints from JetBlue’s promo webpage:

* Promo code is good 11/14/2011 only (until 11:59 PM ET) for 20% off the base fare for any JetBlue Airways flight originating from the United States (including Puerto Rico) between 11/29/2011 and 2/15/2012 (blackout dates 12/16/11 – 1/3/12) purchased on jetblue.com/promo. Code (case-sensitive) is valid for new bookings only and will apply only once per reservation, regardless of the number of travelers. Code cannot be combined with other offers, cannot be partially redeemed, has no cash value, is not redeemable for cash, but is transferable. If flight reservation is changed or canceled, a $100 fee per person will apply (plus any increase in fare), and the promo code will only apply to any modified or new reservation if it is booked by 11/14/11, is for travel within the eligible travel period, and otherwise satisfies all terms and conditions for this offer. Cancellations are for JetBlue travel credit only, valid for one year. If reservation is not changed/canceled prior to scheduled departure, all money associated with reservation is forfeited. All fares must be purchased at time of reservation, and are oneway and nontransferable. JetBlue reserves the right to deny boarding to passengers without proper documentation. Other restrictions apply. See http://www.jetblue.com/about/legal/legal.asp
Posted in Airfare Deals | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment