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And now its American Express India’s turn to downgrade Membership Rewards

Sigh, it is the season of downgrade of benefits and American Express does not want to be left far behind from the pack. They have decided to close 2011 on a high note by sending me (amongst several other) cardmembers with a very nicely wrapped letter which has 2 layers of envelopes before you get to the letter itself. Now you think, this arriving right after Christmas must be Santa Amex Claus sending you a Lotto ticket to win in the MR sweepstakes. But all it comes to is an intimation on the downgrades which kick in a few weeks from now. If you’ve been reading up about my American Express Gold Card adventures, I’ve been pretty happy with them so…

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Saudi Arabia to open domestic skies to foreign carriers

An interesting development is taking place in Saudi Arabia, something at least I haven’t heard of in another part of the world so far. Saudi Arabia’s Aviation department is considering a move to open up the domestic skies to foreign carriers who may want to operated in Saudi Arabia, to create new capacity in the 27 million strong market for flying. Till so far, the Middle-East country only has Saudi Arabian as a full-service carrier, and Nas Air as the secondary carrier. A third carrier sama shut down last year after huge losses. As per reports published in the ArabNews and The National, the Kingdom is proposing to initiate a tender process in January 2012, which will allow various airlines…

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Sign up for JetPrivilege and get 2,000 JP Miles Bonus

Jet Airways is the largest airline in India, operating on domestic as well as international routes to the Middle-East, South-East Asia, Europe and North America. JetPrivilege is its frequent flyer program, which used to offer the best frequent flyer benefits in India. If you are not already on JetAirway’s JetPrivilege frequent flyer program, and are planning to signup, now is the time to do so and lap up 2,000 bonus JPMiles for the enrollment. Jet Airways, via its Facebook page, has given out a link for new enrollments which get credited with the bonus after signup. You can access the enrollment form here. While it was an award-winning programme at a point of time not so long ago, of late…

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Status for free and discounts with Kingfisher KingClub till Dec 31, 2011

Kingfisher’s loyalty program KingClub is offering free status to premium MasterCard holders all the way uptil December 31, 2011. To register, you should have an eligible MasterCard (Platinum, World, Titanium Credit Cards or a Premium Debit Card), and you have to plonk the first 6 digits on the Kingfisher website here, to get your upgraded status. Titanium and Platinum tiers get Kingfisher KingClub Red tier, but World MasterCard users get KingClub Silver. Please note, this promotion works when you open a new account with Kingfisher Airlines KingClub, and not on existing accounts. You also get 250 miles credited for opening your account, and if you fill up your details to complete the profile, another 500 come your way. In the…

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Jet Airways cuts lounges across India w.e.f. Jan 1, 2012

Somehow Jet Airways’ does not seem ever interested in informing this lowly Gold member of their JetPrivilege program about their new initiatives, so I’ve had to depend on FlyerTalk for this update. Jet Airways has apparently being ‘Reviewing’ its lounge contracts with all the airports it operates with in India, and is terminating about 10 of them. 9W, in an email sent out to select members of the Jet Privilege program, believes that the product offering would become diluted or unviable at these airports, and hence is terminating them from January 1, 2012. Going forward, Jet Privilege will offer lounge access at the following airports domestically, and that too only for Platinum, Gold, Silver and Jet Airways Citibank Credit Card…

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Radisson Big Night Giveaway 50,000 points posted!

As you might have read on BoardingArea a while back, Radisson started a Big Night Giveaway to launch their Radisson Blu brand in the USA, and is offering 50,000 Gold Passport points to everyone of the first 50K people to register at the website www.radissonbignightgiveaway.com and stay at least one night at the Radisson brand of properties in the USA till December 30,2011. Since I was anyways heading to the USA, specifically Chicago for achieving my Executive Platinum with AA, and I needed a hotel to stay for a night in Chicago, I decided to head to the Blu for the stay and lap up the points as well. Now, 50K points may be worth a good hotel night at…

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Lets go ‘Scoot’ing…

I know I have a problem with the name of Scoot because it reminds me of ground transport more than air transport. But what the heck, these guys have been making good progress in getting up in the air pretty soon. The Singapore Airlines-owned airline will be open for business in mid-2012, and has decided that the Singapore-Sydney sector will be the first one where it will fly. And to celebrate the launch of the airline, they are giving away two roundtrips in the premium cabins on the launch flights for free (SIN-SYD-SIN and SYD-SIN-SYD). All you got to do is sign up for their updates, and they’ll make a draw on 20th February 2012 to decide who takes the flight. Now,…

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How to make a rough day rougher? Easy, delay a ultra long haul flight by about 3 hours…to start with

While I was still recovering from the bout of slamming doors and interconnecting rooms and disturbed sleep on my last night in Chicago, there is much more that was going to go wrong it seems than right. I arrived in time for my ORD-DEL flight AA292 which was boarding from gate K12 at O’Hare. I saw the plane arrive at the gate about an hour and forty minutes prior to departure (at about 2 PM for the 3:40 PM departure). Now I don’t know if it was the same plane that they use every day or rotate planes on the route. I’d assume everything was alright and I sat easy at the Admirals Club doing my final rounds of email…

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More disclosure from hotel front-desks please!

I am almost done with my trip to Chicago and San Francisco and on my way back to Mumbai (via Delhi), but I am groggy and sleepy as I write this. Reason? No, I did not go out and party in town, not that the foggy overcast weather of Chicago permitted me to last night. I was also not a spent force at the Bar 151. But one good deed from the Hyatt Regency Chicago did me in. So, i booked up my stay here a week to ten days back, and the hotel decided to put me up at the Junior Suite in the East Wing because of the Diamond status. Gracias, I said to them, although I wondered…

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The AA/BA/IB transatlantic bonus miles promo is extended

AA, along with its transatlantic JV partners British Airways and Iberia has been offering a bonus mileage program for transatlantic flights on BA, IB or AA for a while now. On the table is the opportunity to earn 25K bonus miles on the first eligible TATL flight, 35K on the second TATL flight and 45K on the third and onwards…The initial promo was valid till end of 2011, but now the offer is extended to 15 March 2012. As earlier expected, it looks like AA is churning out miles like crazy and making sure it rewards loyal flyers enough to carry them along till they are out of the bankruptcy! While the opportunity for economy flyers is limited, since it is…

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