IHG destroys Best Rate Guarantee, SPG’s great new status challenge, Norwegian overflight rights, Kenya Airways schedules New York flights

– IHG has been changing the Best Rate Guarantee and instead of a free night you can now earn 5x the points

When you book directly with us, we promise you’ll always get the lowest price online. If you find a better price somewhere else, we’ll match it and give you five times the IHG® Rewards Club Points, up to a 40,000-point maximum – so you can focus on your stay, not your wallet.

This is a major drop from its very generous policy before. However I’m surprised the free night lasted so long as it became the target of way too many ‘travel hackers’.

I hope the BRG now becomes much easier to get approved (it was basically impossible before) but it’s generally not worth it for the 5x bonus points.

– SPG is running a status challenge to reach Gold with 9 paid nights and Platinum at 18 nights within 3 months

Simply contact SPG Customer Care to register and validate eligibility. Then select your three-month challenge period and start earning at any of the 1,500 participating SPG hotels and resorts (brands include St. Regis®, W®, Sheraton® and more).

Only accounts that have had no status in the last 5 years are eligible. But hey is it so hard to create another SPG account?

It seems Starwood sees much fewer elites now that everyone assumes it is becoming Marriott Rewards soon (which has a higher qualification criteria and less generous benefits).

This promotion is worth doing of you have some nights coming up. There is a good number of cheap Starwood properties in Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt that can be had under $50 a night.

Trivago makes it very easy to search worldwide for the cheapest chain properties.

The cheapest I could find right now is the Aloft Zhengzhou Shangjie at $34 a night.

– Norwegian seems to finally be able to secure overflight rights over Siberia opening up routes to Japan and China

– Kenya Airways is adding New York as their first US destination with daily flights scheduled from October 2018