When demand for air travel declines during the fall and winter months, airlines and hotels roll out promotions to keep us on the road and in the sky, which helps build up those banks of loyalty points.
For example, yesterday United MileagePlus launched a double miles promotion valid during the very slow weeks leading up to Thanksgiving– from now through November 21 only. But the promo is full of catches and limiting loopholes.
For example, you’ll only earn double miles on domestic US flights in the contiguous 48 states, which is a clear sign that this promo is a reaction to Southwest’s double points offer (see below).
It only applies to flights booked and flown between now and Nov 21. So for example, if you already have a reservation to fly United next week, you won’t earn double miles on it.
Finally, and most irritatingly, it also does not apply to the lowest fare classes. And as usual, the double miles are BONUS miles and do not count toward your annual PQMs.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards kicked off the double points promo last week, good for all flights booked and traveled between now and Nov 21.
What’s nice is that this DOES apply to Southwest’s cheapest Wanna Get Away fares, where you’ll earn six bonus points per dollar spent. More expensive Anytime fares earn 10 bonus points and Business Select fares earn 12 bonus points.
Virgin America is offering double Elevate points through Dec 31 to those booking more expensive (and roomy) Main Cabin Select or first class fare. Details here. Virgin has also slashed fares for trips during the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Check out the deals here.
It’s not just airlines trying to pump up the volume during slower months…. hotels are getting in on the act, too.
For example, Best Western is offering up to 20% off its standard rates for those booking on its website and selecting “Internet Only” rates for stays between now and Nov 24. It’s also offering a nice bump of 1,000 points to members of Best Western Rewards. Details here. (Disclosure: I’m a contributor to Best Western’s YouMustBeTrippin.com blog.)
Anyone who has traveled to New York recently has felt the pain of some of the highest hotel rates in the country. But that will change during the cold dark weeks of early January.
From Jan 3-12, you’ll find rates of $100, $200 and $300 available at a variety of properties, (many of which currently go for nearly $500 a night), so the savings can be substantial.
For example, the popular Affinia Manhattan is going for $100 per night; the hip and brand new Refinery Hotel (garment district) and Jade hotel (Greenwich Village) are going for $200 per night. For $300 you can squeeze in the trendy new Thompson LES (Lower East Side) for $300.
For a full listing of participating hotels and how to get the discount see this.