Predictions for Major Changes to Loyalty Programs in 2014

2013 was a year of several major devaluation announcements including:

United (kicks in February 1, 2014)
Southwest (kicks in March 31, 2014)
Delta (already kicked in on current award bookings for travel that starts February 1, 2014 or later)
Hyatt (kicks in January 7, 2014)
Ultimate Rewards (with three major transfer partners devaluing--United, Southwest, and Hyatt--the program took a major hit through no fault of its own)

But the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Current Offer on SPG Cards: 25k Starpoints

If you apply for both the personal and business card today, you'll have 60k Starpoints after meeting the minimum spending requirement after meeting the minimum spending requirement of $5k per card in the first six months.

Limited Time: 50k AA Card Offer Plus Expiring SPG Cards’ Offer Means Round-the-World Business Class Award

Update: American Airlines got rid of its RTW awards, so the best way to book RTW awards now is elucidated here.

Key Links:

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Explorer Award chart (eliminated April 2014)
Explorer Awards: The Rules (eliminated April 2014)

Combined, the cards offer enough American Airlines miles for a round-the-world business class award with up to 15 stopovers.

You could take this trip in business

I Assume the Bride and Groom Aren’t Reading on their Wedding Day

How lucky are they?

For the wedding, I'm staying with some friends at the Westin Pittsburgh. There is something in the room that we hung on the door knob that declined housekeeping during the stay in exchange for a $5 coupon per day or 500 SPG points per day.

Since 500 SPG points are worth more than $10, I told my friend to take that option.

Don’t Get the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express without Reading This Post

This offer has expired. Click here for the current Starwood Preferred Guest American Express offer.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card temporarily increased its sign up bonus from 25,000 SPG points to 30,000 SPG points after $5,000 in spending within six months of getting the card. Here are the stats:

Issuing Bank: American Express

Absolute Value of the Sign Up Bonus: $732+

Rebate Percentage of the Sign Up Bonus: 14.6%+

This card's sign up bonus is denominated in SPG points (Starpoints), the proprietary points of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program.

Review: Krakow, Poland Hotel Guide

Recently I spent three nights in Krakow, Poland at two hotels. I'll be reviewing four hotels in Krakow, based on my stays and their location relative to where you want to spend time in the city.

Before I get to that, let me say that I highly recommend a trip to Krakow. First of all, it's in Poland which I found to be inexpensive, full of delicious food, and brimming with attractive people who spoke some English.

Of course, the English is not as strong as in western or northern Europe.