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New Cash + Points Options for Hilton Honors and Basic Economy Fares Abound

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Hilton Honors is about to add its newest feature with cash and points redemptions, which is exciting for many travelers. Plus, there are some new routes for mileage earning and redemption that are worth exploring, but beware the basic economy fares that seem to be expanding from third-party sites.

Redeem United miles at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airports’ new C North terminal.

Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport will open its new C North terminal next month, which features dining options from OTG including a Vietnamese-Cajun fusion outlet by chef John Nguyen, a taqueria from local chef Roland Laurenzo, and a James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd’s Houston-themed menu. OTG, the country’s second largest provider of airport restaurants, might even treat some of United’s most frequent flyers with free food and prizes. Everyone else can redeem miles for menu items, which is great if you don’t have enough United MileagePlus miles for a free trip. This could be a great use for them!

Hilton Honors introduces points and cash redemptions.

Beginning March 1, Hilton Honors members will have the chance to redeem points and cash for Hilton family hotels. This is a new feature for Hilton loyalists and represents a great value, especially for travelers that don’t have enough points for a full redemption. This makes points more valuable and puts the program in line with competing options like Starwood Preferred Guest.

Redeem Hilton Honors points for Hilton Family Hotels
Redeem Hilton Honors points + cash for Hilton hotels

American and United launch basic economy fares.

American has put its basic economy fares for sale on select routes from some of its hubs beginning March 1, and United has put basic economy fares on sale to and from Minneapolis/St. Paul for flights valid from April 18 and beyond. Remember that United’s fares do not earn any redeemable miles (they do earn elite qualifying miles) while American’s miles do earn redeemable miles, but only 50% of elite qualifying miles. Keep your eyes peeled for the fare classes when it comes to basic economy: B” for American, “E” on Delta, and “N” class on United.

Delta brings back meals to some transcon flights.

Delta is pioneering free meals for economy class travelers on some transcontinental flights, which is a nice perk that recalls the former style of inflight service that was on offer not that long ago. Eligible flights include routes between Boston and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle/Tacoma; between JFK and Portland, San Diego and Seattle/Tacoma; and between Seattle/Tacoma and Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Raleigh/Durham. Travelers are treated to several options including sandwiches and a fruit and cheese plate. On redeye flights, however, travelers will be given only a breakfast bar before touching down. Still, this is a huge step when it comes to improvement behind the first class curtain.

Condor puts new routes on sale.

Between now and March 5, Condor flyers can get special rates on the discount airline’s new routes between the U.S. and Germany starting this summer. These include nonstop flights between Frankfurt and New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and San Diego and between Munich and Las Vegas and Seattle/Tacoma. Travelers can earn and redeem miles from Miles & More, which is Lufthansa’ program plus a great alternative to United’s less generous MileagePlus program, which has recently gone revenue-based (meaning miles are awarded based upon price paid over distance flown).

Miles & More Silver Promotion 2017.

Speaking of Miles & More, take 30 flights on any Star Alliance partners and you can automatically jump to Miles & More Frequent Traveller status. This might be a lucrative offer for those not interested in participating in United’s mileage earning scheme based upon fare paid versus distance flown. While Miles & More may not be the most generous of programs, it surely does offer bigger incentives than United for fliers (especially those that travel mostly internationally). Cross-border European and intercontinental flights are all eligible.

Earn Miles & More Frequent Traveller status after 30 flights
Earn Miles & More Frequent Traveller status after 30 flights

Clear now available at MSP.

Delta Diamond Medallions are treated to free Clear membership, which means they do not need to carry identification with them for domestic travel (although you still should in case you pas). SkyMiles member already, you can earn a bonus of as many as 10,000 miles for signing up for the program and flying an international roundtrip flight within your first six months of membership. It pays off to be a newbie sometimes!

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