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Air New Zealand to fly Auckland to Buenos Aires and how to take advantage of it

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Air New Zealand announced last week that it will start service to Buenos Aires soon. This decisions was certainly made easier by the steeply falling oil and airline fuel prices (once the hedging runs out) for most airlines.

There are very few South Pacific to South America flights – Qantas and LAN have been moving schedules back and forth for their flights connecting Sydney/ Auckland and Santiago de Chile.

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Air New Zealand plans to connect Asia with South America better than before and provide an alternative to the flights via Europe or North America. The flight is a hefty 6,421 miles.

The route is important because it allows you a one-way over the Southern Pacific with Star Alliance. Lufthansa Miles & More charges 62,500 miles for the one-way in Business Class. However the program does not allow to touch a '3rd region'. Since all Star Alliance options so far would have routed via Los Angeles or Asia this was a theoretical award only. This will change once Air New Zealand gets in the air.

Miles & More does have a fuel surcharge – it's not yet clear how high that will be for the flight but Air New Zealand charges no (Asia) or low fuel surcharges (US) for its flights.

Award availability to the US is abysmal in Business Class but on routes to Asia it's actually not that bad. Let's hope lot's of availability will pen up once this flight is loaded into a GDS.

Picture courtesy of thedrum.com

InnDependent InnCentives – the loyalty program of IBC Hotels and independent boutique hotels worldwide

InnDependent InnCentives – the loyalty program of IBC Hotels and independent boutique hotels worldwide

Have you heard of IBC Hotels and their loyalty program InnCentives™?

IBC is a worldwide collection of independent, boutique, destination and city center hotels as well as resorts and villas.

InnCentives™ is the boutique hotel loyalty program of IBC Hotels – a global nights-based consumer loyalty program which rewards travelers with free nights.

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IBC Hotels isn't puny – the booking engine and the loyalty program covers 22,000 hotels in 70 countries, with properties in the US/Americas, Europe and the Middle East/Africa.

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Starwood opens W Bogota Hotel

Starwood opens W Bogota Hotel

Starwood has just put live reservations for the new W Bogota. It's located close to the (also new) Four Points by Sheraton in one of Bogota's best neighborhoods.

The opening of W Bogota is a milestone in Colombia's hotel landscape, setting the stage for a redefined luxury experience in one of the world's most vibrant destinations," said Paul James, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection. "As emerging economies expand, so does tourism, and W Bogota's highly anticipated debut is symbolic of the whims and wishes of today's more global and interconnected modern travelers.

Owned by Terranum and operated by Starwood, W Bogota is the 46th W Hotel worldwide and third W Hotel in Latin America after W Santiago and W Mexico City. With the opening of W Bogota, the company gets closer to its 100th hotel in Latin America. Starwood currently has 84 hotels in operation and 16 in the pipeline.

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I just went to Bogota in August and really liked the place (after I adjusted to the thin air).

The W Bogota has filed rates north of $350 per night. However the Cash & Points rates look more attractive with 6,000 Starpoints and $110.

Image courtesy of revistasumma.com

Have Citibank fraud alert calls become the worst in the industry?

Have Citibank fraud alert calls become the worst in the industry?

Since I got back to the US at Thanksgiving, I have taken to make sure I fulfill all minimum spend requirements and do some Manufactured Spend with more vigilance. For me, this usually involves buying PayPal cards and loading the Target for American Express cards.

Given that some of my credit card accounts lie rather quiet the rest of the year, I can understand the fraud alerts and temporary blocks that banks set up for the transactions.

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Deal Alert – $480 – Awesome fares to Hong Kong (HKG) from Atlanta (ATL)/ Denver (DEN)

Great fares from Denver (DEN) with Delta and from Atlanta (ATL) with United for tickets to Hong Kong for just $536. Note they each have that fare only from the airline's hub.

Many dates are available in the next couple of months.

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IHG buys Kimpton Hotels to integrate Kimpton Karma Rewards

IHG buys Kimpton Hotels to integrate Kimpton Karma Rewards

IHG has agreed to take over Kimpton Hotels for $430 million in cash.

(more…)

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