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gorgeous new Philippine Airlines Business Class, Uber sells off Russia business, Amex 1:1 to Avios is back, Qatar to start a hub in Oman?, Delta feels impervious with Skymiles, 50,000 Citi Prestige sign-up link

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– Philippine Airlines is reaching for Qatar territory with their new cabins on the A330 – learn about the story behind LIFT the designer

– sadly Uber is exiting Russia and is starting a joint venture with Yandex

The San Francisco-based company and Yandex NV are merging their ride-hailing businesses in Russia. Uber will invest $225 million and take a 36.6 percent stake in a new, yet-to-be named venture that will be valued at $3.73 billion, the companies said in a statement Thursday. The shares of Yandex, which will invest $100 million and own 59.3 percent of the new enterprise, jumped as much as 15 percent in Moscow to 1,881 rubles, its highest level ever.

In Russia, Yandex.Taxi has gross bookings of $1.01 billion on an annualized basis, while Uber had $566 million, according to a presentation prepared for investors. The new, unnamed company “will have the right to use Yandex.Taxi and Uber brands in the region,” the companies said. Apps from both ride-hailing companies will continue to be offered, while the driver app will become a single platform. They will also operate the UberEATS food-delivery service.

– American Express Membership Rewards can now be transferred to British Airways Executive Club Avios on a 1:1 basis in the US and UK again

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– Qatar Airways is apparently planning a secondary hub in Oman to serve the UAE and Saudi Arabia again

I just wonder wouldn’t the UAE and Saudi just block those flights again? I find it difficult to believe that they would change their stance just because the hub is in Oman (but run by Qatar Airways which in turn is a huge investment by the Qatar rulers).

– the numbers speak – Delta is still the biggest driver in the AMEX co-branded portfolio – maybe those constant devaluations haven’t sunk in with consumers yet?

“There are incredible value propositions for customers out there who acquire and use our cards, and we have no interest to degrade the total value proposition,” he said. “We may adjust on the margin the valuation of peak seats versus off peak seats. But the value that we are creating seems to be greater and greater, and I think that’s being recognized in the marketplace.”

Hauenstein said Delta is trying to create new options for customers to use miles for products other than plane tickets. It has tried allowing travelers to use miles for Dom Perignon champagne and other high-end drinks in the Delta Sky Club, as well as permitting them to use miles for upgrades to first class and premium economy.

– the 50,000 bonus points Citi Premier credit card sign-up link is back

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