Hotels Facial Recognition, Bonus Miles, BA First Availability & More: The Most Interesting Travel Stories Of The Week...

I see the greatest asset of this blog to be the filtering of useful information to the greatest readership out there. Things that strike my fancy aren't necessarily newsworthy but I take pride in my ability to think about what matters to you, the reader, and deliver it in an uncomplicated and actionable way. It's been a busy and enjoyable last few days of my honeymoon and a fairly quiet week in the travel world. Fortunately, despite not writing, I have been reading. Tons! In fact, there have been some very interesting stories this worth mentioning which could be the ticket to your next great trip or just make you think...

Hotels Moving To Facial Recognition

In another episode of government technology adapted to consumer needs many hotels are trialling facial recognition. Why? Well, facial recognition can give hotels early warning of blacklisters, homeless and others they may wish to exclude from their properties while simultaneously alerting the hotel of an arriving guest of importance (everyone). It would be neat for a bellman to receive a notice that I am a regular and valued elite and perhaps even provide him with a tip that I like a bottle of water (champagne) on arrival. That would make my day!

Virgin America Points Sale/Transfer Bonus

Virgin America is having a sale on points as well as a simultaneous transfer bonus from American Express to Virgin America. You care because not only can you use Virgin America points on Virgin America, you can use them on Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. To fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class using Virgin America miles you only need 35,000 round trip from the East Coast USA to London in business class! Insane. Unfortunately, as with most ways to fly Virgin Upper Class (excluding Delta) you'll get hit with fees so you'll still pay about a grand in USD for your ticket. A bad deal for some, but for others it's business class at coach prices for an incredibly low number of miles. If you are a regular business class traveler who often pays through the nose for the pleasure, buying points can hedge your cost to roughly $2400 round trip for Upper Class with taxes and fees included. In addition to the 70% bonus on purchased points, Virgin America is offering a bonus on points transferred from American Express and if you transfer 80,000 points you will also receive Virgin America Gold Elite status which marks the first time I can think of where points turned into elite status. Nice! So yeah, you could transfer 80,000 points, book some great tickets including business class to Australia and be an elite. All in one click!

British Airways Wide Open First Class Award Space

On a daily basis British Airways fliers get in touch to gripe about how hard they find spending their miles. British Airways is moving to a four cabin plane on their San Diego-London (vice versa) route which means tons of open seats! If you have a national budget worth of miles you've been waiting to redeem to the West Coast USA, this is a perfect opportunity to reach California in British Airways ultimate offering, First. Connecting from San Diego to Los Angeles, Las Vegas or San Francisco is a breeze. Hell, you could even drive it! Get to it!

You Can Now Hold United Reservations Using Miles

I always feel immense pressure when I am trying to book an award ticket. I need to iron out my plans but I need to find availability. Presuming I can find availability I am terrified of losing it yet the fear often leads to imperfect planning. Fortunately United is now allowing 5 day holds on award tickets where you can lock in the inventory using miles without committing. This is a wonderful opportunity to price shop, compare dates and figure out what works best before booking. Kudos United.

Fear not, i'll be fully back to work after Monday. Until then I'll do my best to keep you up to date with everything you need to achieve elevated travel at minimal expense. I'll even try to make you smile while doing it. Thanks for reading, thanks for caring and enjoy the weekend!

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