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Early Holiday Shopping Bonuses from Amex, AA and United and New Rewards Program from Hyatt

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American Express rewards spenders at small businesses

Between now and the end of the year, earn double miles and points when using your American Express card at qualifying small businesses in your area. Included in the offer are more than 50 Amex-branded cards including the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express and Hilton HHonors American Express. What’s unique about this promotion is that Amex is doubling whatever rewards currency your card offers. If you have a Delta-branded card, you earn double SkyMiles, if you have a Hilton HHonors card, you earn double points, and if you have a cash back card, you get twice the cash back. This is a great way to support local businesses while also earning a nice bonus yourself!

Earn bonus American or United miles via shopping portals

If you start your holiday shopping early, you could get a nice mileage bonus even before you start unwrapping those presents. American AAdvantage and United Mileage Plus are offering bonus miles for those that use its shopping portal between now and November 20. Spend at least $150 to earn 500 bonus miles; spend at least $750 for 2,500 bonus miles; or at least $1,500 for 5,000 bonus miles. Be sure to shop via the airline’s portal to take advantage of this offer. Alaska Mileage Plan has a similar offer, albeit less generous, available through its portal.

Aadvantage Shopping portal rewards
Use the American AAdvantage shopping portal and earn bonus miles

Best Western triples points until the end of the year

Best Western is targeting business travelers to earn triple points between now and December 31 at any of its hotels. Best Western has several brands within its portfolio including the upscale Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier brands targeted directly to frequent business travelers with amenities like free wireless Internet and, even free breakfast in many cases. In addition to redeeming points at hotels, Best Western Rewards members can also transfer them to airline frequent flyer partners or redeem them for gift cards. The offer is targeted, but many members are eligible. You won’t know unless you register for the promotion.

Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic cut the cord

Say bye to reciprocal earning and burning of frequent flyer miles between the two carriers with a shared name. Given Alaska’s soon-to-be merger with Virgin America, it makes sense that Virgin America would eventually need to snip its former ties. You have until November 13 to score miles on either carrier’s flights or redeem them for other travel.

JetBlue and Lyft partner together

It’s time to score bonus TrueBlue points by hitching a ride with Lyft. Much like Starwood’s partnership with Uber, JetBlue and Lyft will offer discounts and special promotions plus the ability to earn TrueBlue points for using Lyft to or from a JetBlue-served airport. The car-riding service will be integrated into the JetBlue app to make it easier to use. New users can also enjoy a $15 credit or 750 TrueBue points for signing up.

Earn Trueblue Points with Lyft
Sign up and receive a $15 credit or 750 TrueBlue points

British Airways expands to the U.S.

Looking to spend Avios points or American miles to Europe? There are lots of new options including new BA flights to London from U.S. cities like Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, and Oakland. The trio of cities will see new service starting in 2017 and although Fort Lauderdale and Oakland will be to London Gatwick, there is still the possibility of connecting to many other cities (although a change of airports may be needed). These two Gatwick routes seem to be direct competition to flights from Norwegian Airlines, a low-fare carrier making great headway into the U.S. They are sure to be great options for award redemption if you can make plans before others take notice.

Hyatt launches new elite program

Nope, it’s not a joke. Hyatt Gold Passport is going away, and in its place, World of Hyatt is next in line. This also means that the way people earn elite status is changing. Instead of the Gold, Platinum, and Diamond monikers, the hotel program is opting for hipper names like Discoverist, Explorist, and Globalist respectively. Status is changing in terms of accrual; members now earn status based upon nights (not stays). No more switching hotels for the sake of earning two stays. Status is now earned based upon qualifying nights, base points (qualifying spend over the course of a year), or qualifying meetings (great news for meeting planners). Other changes include the loss of the welcome amenity for top-tier elite members, but those that attain specific levels of status will receive a free night as a courtesy. While the logo looks amateurish, the new names sound quite elitist, and it is yet to be seen how members will react. Still, this is a bold move for a travel company that faces the new Starwood-Marriott behemoth.

Hyatt launches new elite program World of Hyatt

Delta and Airbnb are new partners

The next time you book an Airbnb stay, be sure to have your Delta SkyMiles number handy. Starting immediately, members can earn one mile for every dollar spent. There’s also a big-time offer for those that want to put their house on Airbnb topping out at 25,000 bonus miles. First timers can earn 1,000 bonus miles and a discount on their first stay through this new partnership.

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