The world of travel rewards and travel hacking is complex. Frequent flyer programs, hotel points, credit cards.... how can you earn the most miles and redeem at the least cost? The journey begins with a plan and the flexibility to change the plan.
Maybe there has been some falling off of SPG sign ups since no one really knows what the points will be worth once Marriott swallows Starwood. We also don’t know what is going to happen to the SPG Amex card. Will it stay? Will it go? SPG points have always been some of the highest valued in the world of miles and points because they transfer to an very large number of airlines. They have also been famously difficult to aquire. Having the bonus of 35K for new American Express sign ups is the highest I have seen the offer. Most enthusiast wait until the offer is 30K to jump.
Is it worth blowing one of your American Express sign ups, I would say yes. This card may be gone next year, we just don’t know. You can always transfer the points out to the many airline partners if Marriott devalues the SPG points (which I find likely based on nothing more than my gut instinct).
Comment with your E-mail below for a link to the bonus, I have a limited number I can send out. If you have a link please send to one of the requests below.
For out trip to Los Angeles I focused on Starwood properties since I had recently picked up the American Express SPG credit card. (hint: right now there is a 35K bonus offer available If you would like to support my blog, just ask me for a link in the comment section with your email.) Before the trip began I had also signed up with Starwood for a Platinum status challenge. I needed to stay 18 ‘eligible’ nights. While visiting Los Angeles we stayed at 2 different Starwood properties. The Le Meridien Delfino in Santa Monica near the Santa Monica Pier was our first stop. The biggest issue here is that on our second day our room had not been made up by 5pm and we needed to get ready to go to dinner after a long day of walking the boardwalk. I requested the room be made right away and we went for another walk, at 6:45 the room had not been touched. We showered and went to dinner. I advised the front desk and sometimes between 6:45 and 9pm the room was cleaned. I complained when we checked out and was told we would be given points to compensate, but I don’t think those points ever showed up. All in all it was a lovely room and there is a small pool in the courtyard area. The pool was very crowded with no seats available anytime we tried to go.
Status Matching can be fun, if you use it. I used our fabulous and very useful Southwest Companion Pass as a gateway into the world of Airline Elite status. First stop, Alaska Airlines. I requested a status match from Alaska by sending an e-mail to email@example.com and attaching a copy of my Southwest Companion Pass, a screen shot of my southwest account showing all my miles (which I accumulated from shopping through the Southwest Portal), a copy of my photo id and my Alaska Account number.
In less than a week, I received an e-mail welcoming me to Alaska MVP Gold 75 program!
I have never held such a high honor and I immediately wanted to book a flight. Since I am on the east coast, the options were slim; a trip to Los Angles was in my future.
Until last year, I had not flown on many airlines other than Southwest. Southwest covered my needs, mostly BWI-CMH to visit family. This flight was the beginning of changing everything about the way I travel, or at least the way I would prefer to travel.
It began upon arrival at the Alaska counter, no line and happy employees greeted me warmly, checked my luggage and I received my first UPGRADE! Seat 4F! I was anxious to find out what happens in the front of the plane. There is no front of the plane on Southwest so anything was going to be different for me.
I felt like an impostor as I boarded the plane with the other elite customers, I felt like I had pulled off a huge heist and they might catch on any moment. The seats were more spacious than I was use to, we were offered beverages while the remainder of the passenger boarded.
Shortly after take –off delightful flight attendants presented us with… menus. These are both the menus from our flight out (breakfast) and our return flight (dinner).
Alaska did not want us to get bored so they loaned us a tablet to watch movies. It was very entertaining and I am very impressed with this feature. So much that I went out and got a table to take on my other flights.
After a good movie, I wondered where we were, so I stopped for a bit to take some photos.
I think this maybe the Grand Canyon! I’m not absolutely sure since I have never seen it before. Maybe its just how California looks.
We spent five fun days in Los Angeles and headed home, more on that trip later. I hoped the flight home was going to be as fun and I was not disappointed as the gate agent informed us we were upgraded. We enjoyed dinner and a movie on our 5 hour date in the sky.
It may not be such a good thing to go from only flying Southwest to Alaska MVP Gold 75 treatment because following Alaska with American Advantage Platinum can make for a shock.
Dinner began with Salad with Shrimp.
My husband had the Chicken.
I had the pasta and we relaxed with our tablets feeling like we had just won the lottery, twice.
Good Bye Los Angeles…..
You can research status matching for hotels and airlines at this great web site, Status Matcher. Also, follow my blog and twitter accounts because sometimes hotels and airlines decide to randomly match masses of people for almost no effort and when I find these out I will follow up on here.