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Award program changes abound.
Hilton announced that, starting January 1st, Gold and Diamond members would receive free breakfast at Waldorf Astoria hotels. Hilton doesn’t streamline benefits across the board for all of its hotel brands. For instance, breakfast was already a benefit for guests staying at Conrad hotels ( Hilton’s other premium brand), but not with Waldorf Astorias.
I ran into this when I stayed at a Waldorf Astoria ( The Caledonian, in the feature image) while in Edinburgh, Scotland. As a diamond, I thought it was pretty cheap that the hotel wouldn’t include breakfast, and it’s good to know that this practice has been corrected. They did include it for me as a gold when I stayed at the Conrad London a few years ago.
Included breakfast will aid Amex’s new line of cards as well. With their new top tier Aspire card giving a free annual night, Diamond status, and a $300 resort credit, this new perk will legitimately bring Waldorf Astoria hotels into the conversation for redemption. Breakfast could be the reason one chooses a Conrad or Waldorf over say a Ritz – breakfast can be $$$ during resort life. Don’t forget Amex upped their transfer rate to Hilton from 1:1.5 to 1:2 as well, Amex Plat gives Hilton Gold as a perk, and the new Ascend will also offer Gold as a cardmember benefit.
On the other hand of news, IHG announced a devaluation of roughly 500 hotels, and the addition of a new 70k category. YIKES. That will start being imposed January, 16th.
One of my favorites…The Intercontinental Park Lane will now set you back 70k.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.