As air travel has descended to lower altitudes, travel incentive programs are applying more thrust. From double miles/points to cash back to discounts, the number of incentives being offered to Americans this year is simply unprecedented.
This week, US Airways and Bank of America launched new debit card programs that enable consumers and businesses to earn miles on a major carrier. The Dividend Miles VISA Check Card for consumers offers cardholders the opportunity to earn 1,000 Dividend Miles after the first purchase, and one Dividend Mile for every $2 in purchases thereafter. Dividend Miles VISA Business Card customers will earn one Dividend Mile for each $1 spent in net purchases and two miles for every $1 spent on US Airways goods and services purchased directly from US Airways. The business owner also will receive 5,000 bonus miles after the first purchase is made using the card, one complimentary US Airways Club pass each year and a 10% discount on Dividend Incentives purchases. Business owners will also earn Dividend Miles purchases made by their employees with all miles credited to one account designated by the business owner. For more information: http://www.usairways.com/checkcard
Last week, Marriott and VISA teamed up to offer double points and double night credit toward special elite status and benefits through March 31, 2002. Starting with the second hotel stay paid for with a VISA card during this period, Marriott Rewards members will earn double points. Plus, members will achieve elite recognition and privileges twice as fast when using a VISA card. The timeframe for achieving Marriott Rewards elite status has also been extended to March 31, 2002, giving members 15 months, rather than the normal 12 months, to reach their desired elite threshold and benefits. On top of all this, Marriott Rewards members can receive a free weekend night for every three paid weekend nights spent with Marriott Sept. 14 through Dec. 23, 2001, with the ongoing Marriott’s Rewarding Weekends offer. For more information:http://www.marriottrewards.com/.
Also last week, American Express and Park Hyatt Hotels joined up to offer weekend guests a $50 American Express Gift Cheque. Gold Passport member guests who check in on a Friday or Saturday for two nights, pay a qualifying rate and pay with an American Express Card will receive a $50 American Express Gift Cheque. If a guest is not currently enrolled in Gold Passport, they can receive an instant membership by signing up at the time of reservation or the front desk. Park Hyatt is offering special discounted weekend rates through January. For more information: http://www.parkhyatt.com/.
American Express has also teamed with Delta to offer three SkyMiles promotions that enable members to earn accelerated status, bonus miles, and to redeem miles at reduced award levels. One of the three new promotions offers double miles for all purchases made with the Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express through Nov. 30. The second promotion enables SkyMiles members to earn double miles on all Delta flights through Nov. 15 and counts these bonus miles toward 2002 Medallion elite-level status. And third, the airline has extended by one month a previously announced opportunity to redeem travel awards at reduced mileage levels. Members may redeem 15,000 miles, instead of 25,000, for a free economy class ticket within North America, or 40,000 miles, instead of 50,000, for a free coach ticket to Europe or the Caribbean. For more information: http://www.delta.com.
American Express is also gearing up to launch a promotion with three San Francisco’s boutique hotel companies: Kimpton Group, Joie de Vivre Hospitality and Personality Hotels to offer special rates. From January 1 to April 30, 2002, several boutique hotel properties located in a variety of neighborhoods throughout the City by the Bay will offer special $99 and $135 rates per night. For more information: http://www.sfonsale.com/.