Connect with us

Vacation

Should I Bother Earning IHG Spire for Just $119 Out of Pocket?

Published

on

Since last year I’ve been pretty settled on a hotel status plan. The World of Hyatt Visa makes attaining Hyatt Globalist possible, and I’ve been loyal to Hyatt since 2019 when I was first able to qualify for their top-tier status. Hilton Diamond has been my “backup” status, attained through the Hilton Aspire American Express Card. Together, this has been a great hotel loyalty strategy.

However, I just ran the numbers for attaining top-tier status with IHG, and it is an intriguing idea.

My Potential Path to IHG Spire Status

This opportunity starts with a mishap. Last month I did my in-person Simon verification in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, I ended up having to run my IHG Premier Mastercard instead of my Double Cash, as Citibank declined the charge. Simon has a policy of not attempting the same card twice when buying gift cards, which is unfortunate. The only backup card I had with sufficient credit limit for the purchase was my IHG Premier Card. The value of 9,000 IHG points is far less than $180 cash back, but I couldn’t complain since the fees were waived for this particular in-person visit.

What hadn’t occurred to me is how much further along the path toward IHG Spire status this would put me. IHG has reduced their 2020 status requirements, and credit card spending counts toward the base points needed to attain IHG elite status. I’d forgotten this was the case. The card already provides automatic Platinum status, and I pretty much forget about the IHG elite program beyond that. When I saw that I only needed just shy of 39,000 points, my wheels started to turn.

With the Simon charge and a couple other purchases at grocery stores during the 5x promotion, my current statement will be earning me 12,000 IHG points. All of these should be elite qualifying points. This will put me at 26,000 points remaining.

There is a single upcoming stay where I’ve elected to earn an extra 5,000 IHG points through one of their bonus point packages (for just $19 more). Since these points are elite qualifying as well, the stay will add another 6,000 points to the total. This will put me at just under 20,000 points needed.

This might sound like a lot, but hear me out. I generally do some manufactured spending through online Simon bulk gift cards each month. If I switch my spending to my IHG card instead of the Double Cash, I could knock out IHG Spire before the end of the year pretty easily. Card fees and liquidation costs come to $119. In the process I’d earn:

  • 20,000 IHG points from the card spend
  • 10,000 bonus IHG points from hitting over $20,000 in cumulative spend on the IHG card
  • 25,000 bonus IHG points when qualifying for Spire elite

Rather than just earning 20,000 IHG points, which are not worth $119 to me, I’d take home many more points. The 55,000 IHG points are worth $330. Even discounting the value of the status entirely, I still come out ahead.

What Does IHG Spire Status Provide?

Unlike top-tier status with Hyatt, Hilton, or Marriott, the benefits of IHG Spire are lackluster. These include:

  • 100% bonus points on IHG stays
  • 25,000 bonus IHG points upon qualification
  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Check-in as early as 10:00 AM
  • Hertz Five Star status
  • Kimpton Raid the Bar benefit
  • Kimpton $30 in-room spa credit
  • Kimpton Inner Circle Amenity each stay (if Inner Circle)
  • Kimpton Chef’s Taste each stay (if Inner Circle)

Unless you really like the Kimpton benefits, Spire doesn’t offer much. IHG upgrades have never been guaranteed and I’ve never had anything to write home about. The biggest perks are honestly the 25,000 bonus points and the 100% bonus on stays. This will come in handy for potential work travel next year, but even that doesn’t offer massive value.

Final Thoughts

It’s a toss-up whether I’m going to switch things up and pull in IHG points and status rather than keep earning ThankYou Points for two months. I’m essentially getting $330 in value for $119 out of pocket, which is a net gain of $211. But I’m also forgoing a net gain of 25,000 ThankYou Points, which I value at $500. Is earning IHG Spire for 2021 worth $289? That I don’t really know.

What would you do if presented with this option? 

By: Family Flys Free
Title: Should I Bother Earning IHG Spire for Just $119 Out of Pocket?
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/earn-ihg-spire-just-119-dollars/
Published Date: Tue, 06 Oct 2020 13:07:01 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://vistagaze.com/vacation/significance-of-burglar-alarm-installation-3/

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Vacation

Limited time Amex points transfer bonuses ending soon!

Published

on

By

During normal times, points transfer bonuses by Amex or any other issuer gain a lot of traction. However, we live in unusual times. Travel is nowhere close to normal and only a small minority is actively looking to book travel. Amex Membership Rewards points, along with Chase Ultimate Rewards points are two of my favorite transferable points currencies. Amex, in particular, has the edge over Chase when it comes to international airline partners. At the moment, Amex is running two lucrative points transfer bonuses with their Membership Rewards points. However, if you’re looking to travel any time soon then now is a good time to transfer time as these limited time bonuses end on October 31.

Amex Points Transfer Points Bonuses

Amex is currently running points transfer bonuses for Hilton and Marriott. These limited time offers expire on October 31, 2020.

Hilton Honors

The standard points transfer ratio for Hilton Honors is 1:2. With this bonus, you’ll get a ratio of 1:2.8. For example, if you transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards points, you’ll get 2,800 Hilton Honors points.

Marriott Bonvoy

The standard points transfer ratio for Marriott Bonvoy is 1:1. With this, bonus you’ll get a ratio of 1:1.4. For example, if you transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards points, you’ll get 1,400 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Crunching the Numbers

During normal times, many frequent travelers tend to jump on these limited time transfer bonuses. However, how lucrative are these bonuses during the current situation?

For example, let’s say you want to book a top tier Hilton hotel. One night will cost you at least 95,000 points for a standard room. With this bonus, you’ll need 39,000 Membership Rewards points instead of 48,000.

Similarly, let’s say you want to book a top tier Marriott hotel. One night will cost you at least 85,000 points for a standard room. With this bonus, you’ll need 61,000 Membership Rewards points instead of 85,000.

In short, the higher the category of the hotel, the more lucrative these transfer bonuses become for you.

Credit Card Bonuses

If you’re falling short on Marriott or Hilton points, another option is to sign up for co-branded credit cards from Marriott and Hilton. Currently, many of these cards are running limited time offers. Please note that Amex and Chase restrictions may apply to these credit cards.

Card Name Sign-up Bonus Application Link
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless 30k points
Apply Now
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold 5 free nights (up to 50k points each)
Apply Now
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card 125k points + Platinum Status for 2021
Apply Now
Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Card 100k points + $150 in credits
Apply Now
Hilton Honors Business Card 130k points
Apply Now
Amex Hilton Honors Card 95k points
Apply Now
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card 140k points
Apply Now
Hliton Honors American Express Aspire Card 150k points + 1 free night
Apply Now

The Pundit’s Mantra

In most cases, I don’t recommend transferring points speculatively. However, if you do have a trip on the horizon, then it makes sense to use these Amex points transfer bonuses to your advantage.

In the past, I’ve used transfer bonuses to book some really cool trips. For example, I used a transfer bonus to British Airways in order to book a last minute trip to Colombia. However, given the current scenario, not many of us are planning such trips on the go.

Do you plan to make use of either of these points transfer bonuses before the end of the month? Tell us in the comments section.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is currently offering a limited time welcome bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points. You’ll earn a welcome bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. You’ll also earn 2x points all on all travel and dining spend and 5 x on Lyft rides.

Apply Now

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Never miss out on the deals, news and travel industry trends. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter to keep getting the latest content!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Disclosure: The Points Pundit receives NO compensation from credit card affiliate partnerships. Support the blog by applying for a card through my personal referral links. This article is meant for information purposes only and doesn’t constitute personal finance, health or investment advice. Please consult a licensed professional for advice pertaining to your situation.

By: The Points Pundit
Title: Limited time Amex points transfer bonuses ending soon!
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/limited-time-amex-points-transfer-bonuses-ending-soon/
Published Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:10:32 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://vistagaze.com/vacation/cruise-ship-rescues-24-people-from-sinking-boat-off-florida-coast/

Continue Reading

Vacation

Cruise Ship Rescues 24 People From Sinking Boat Off Florida Coast

Published

on

By

The Carnival Sensation was sailing in international waters off the Florida coast on Saturday when crew members spotted a crowded 36-foot boat that appeared to be in distress.

The ship maneuvered alongside the boat and crew members handed over blankets, life jackets, food and water to the 24 people onboard the smaller vessel, including two children, according to the Carnival Cruise Line.

As it floated 37 miles off the coast of Palm Beach, the boat began to take on water. The passengers were quickly ushered aboard the cruise ship through a side hatch that is typically used in port to load supplies via a gangway. The boat sank after the rescue, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

The rescued passengers were the first guests to board the cruise ship in months, Carnival said. They were evaluated by the cruise ship’s medical staff and quarantined away from crew members, the cruise line said. They were picked up by the Coast Guard after about six hours, the spokeswoman said.

The rescued boat was coming from Freeport, Bahamas, said Nicole J. Groll, the Coast Guard spokeswoman. It was not clear where the boat was headed, she said, nor was it clear what had happened to the boat that caused it to sink.

“The disabled vessel sank and actions are currently being taken to coordinate the transfer of the individuals ashore,” Ms. Groll said in a statement Monday.

The $45 billion global cruise industry serves 20 million passengers in a typical year. But since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, ships have been roaming the seas for months without guests, staffed by skeleton crews. Operations have been suspended until Oct. 31, and some lines have canceled cruises into next year.

Carnival operates 23 ships. While they are idle, they maintain a “minimum nonoperational manning status,” according to a spokesman. That means they are staffed by 75 to 100 crew members, including marine engineers, technicians and officers, as well as housekeeping, culinary and other staff members.

Occasionally, they perform rescues, the spokesman said. In July, the Carnival Legend responded to a call for help from a boat that had run out of fuel off the coast of the Bahamas. The Legend gave the boaters 25 gallons of gas to help them make their way back to Jacksonville, Fla.

Ships are obligated under maritime law to respond to vessels in distress, said Jim Walker, a Miami-based maritime lawyer.

The duty to rescue a derelict vessel falls to a ship’s captain, who “has both a moral and a legal obligation to help,” he said.

There are typically three or four such rescues every year, some of which involve migrants, Mr. Walker said.

“Often there is no true ‘rescue’ of foreign immigrants at sea because the cruise ship will call the U.S.C.G. who will pick them up and then return them to their home countries,” Mr. Walker said in an email, referring to the Coast Guard. “It is not so much a ‘rescue’ but an ‘interception’ at sea.”

In some cases, he said, a ship’s captain or the captain’s employer could face criminal charges for ignoring a cry for help.

In 2012, Princess Cruises was sued after one of its cruise ships, the Star Princess, failed to help a disabled fishing boat that had been adrift for days when it was spotted by crew members and passengers. Two of the people on the fishing boat died.

The cruise industry has come under fire during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly early in the outbreak as passengers and crew members were trapped aboard ships where the virus spread rapidly.

In February, more than 700 passengers were infected on the Diamond Princess as the ship idled off the coast of Japan. Nine of the infected passengers died.

In August, the cruise industry voluntarily suspended operations until Oct. 31, following the extension of a no-sail order for cruise ships through Sept. 30 issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency noted that from March to July there had been nearly 3,000 suspected and confirmed coronavirus cases and 34 deaths on cruise ships in U.S. waters.

The Carnival Corporation, which operates Carnival, Princess and other brands and serves roughly 50 percent of the global cruise market, has dealt with outbreaks on several of its ships, including Holland America’s Zaandam, which tried to unload sick passengers in Florida in April. Last week, Carnival Cruise Line canceled several cruises that were scheduled for November and January.

By: Marie Fazio
Title: Cruise Ship Rescues 24 People From Sinking Boat Off Florida Coast
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/10/19/us/carnival-cruise-rescue.html
Published Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 22:51:45 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://vistagaze.com/vacation/2000-year-old-cat-etching-found-at-nazca-lines-site-in-peru/

Continue Reading

Vacation

2,000-Year-Old Cat Etching Found at Nazca Lines Site in Peru

Published

on

By

The image, stretching for 40 yards on a hillside in Peru, shows a creature with pointy ears, orb-like eyes and a long striped tail. It appears to be a cat lounging, as cats often do.

Archaeologists stumbled across the faded etching while remodeling a section of a UNESCO heritage site known as the Nazca Lines, Peru’s Ministry of Culture announced last week.

The catlike geoglyph — which experts say dates to 200 B.C. to 100 B.C. — is the latest discovery among the carvings of larger-than-life animals and plants previously found between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, in a desert plain about 250 miles southeast of the capital, Lima.

“The discovery shows, once again, the rich and varied cultural legacy of this site,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Nazca Lines were first discovered by a Peruvian aerial surveyor in 1927. Images of a hummingbird, a monkey and an orca were unearthed at the site. UNESCO has designated the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa a World Heritage Site since 1994.

The cat etching is believed to be older than any of the prehistoric geoglyphs previously unearthed at Nazca.

“It’s quite striking that we’re still finding new figures, but we also know that there are more to be found,” Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the Nazca lines, told Efe, a Spanish news agency.

The designs were believed to have been created when ancient Peruvians scraped off a dark and rocky layer of earth, which contrasts with lighter-colored sand underneath. Researchers believe that the figures once served as travel markers.

Drone photography has led to several discoveries in recent years, Mr. Isla said. In 2019, researchers from Japan, aided by satellite photography and three-dimensional imaging, unearthed more than 140 new geoglyphs at the site.

Research and conservation work had continued at the site even during the coronavirus pandemic, when most tourist sites have been closed. Archaeologists and employees were working on the Mirador Natural, a lookout point in the protected site, when they began unearthing something intriguing. When they cleaned the mound, clear lines showing the sinuous body of a cat emerged.

“The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear because it is situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion,” the culture ministry said in a statement.

The authorities said that even a stray footprint could mar the fragile grounds, and have imposed strict rules against trespassing at the site. Before the pandemic shut down tours, visitors were permitted to view the lines and figures only from planes and lookout points.

But disturbances at the Nazca lines have occurred, drawing widespread condemnation.

In 2014, Greenpeace activists left shoe marks near a large hummingbird design when they placed a sign that promoted renewable energy, Peruvian officials said.

“You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years,” Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian official and archaeologist, told The Guardian at the time. “And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognized of all.”

In 2018, a truck driver was arrested after intentionally driving his tractor-trailer across three lines of geoglyphs.

Even as Peru works to preserve its ancient sites, officials reopened Machu Picchu this month for one lucky tourist after he became stranded during the pandemic and waited seven months to see the 16th-century Inca citadel.

By: Tiffany May
Title: 2,000-Year-Old Cat Etching Found at Nazca Lines Site in Peru
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/10/19/world/americas/peru-cat-nazca-lines-nasca.html
Published Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 08:48:43 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://vistagaze.com/vacation/a-30-mile-canoe-trip-through-alaskas-tongass-national-forest/

Continue Reading

Tags

Trending