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2012 Freddie Award Winners Announced

Freddie AwardThe winners of the  2012 Freddie Awards have been announced, with American Airline’s AAdvantage program doing the best out of all the airlines and Marriott and Starwood both doing well in the hotel categories.

The full list of award winners is below:

Program of the Year
Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Jet Airways JetPrivilege
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Taj InnerCircle
Europe/Africa Airline: Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Promotion for Earning
Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage
Americas Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Jet Airways JetPrivilege
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Accor A|Club
Europe/Africa Airline: Lufthansa Miles & More
Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Promotion for Redemption
Americas Airline: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: El Al Matmid Club
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest
Europe/Africa Airline: Lufthansa Miles & More
Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Redemption Ability
Americas Airline: TAM Fidelidade
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Etihad Airways Etihad Guest
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Taj InnerCircle
Europe/Africa Airline: airBaltic BalticMiles
Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Customer Service
Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Jet Airways JetPrivilege
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Taj InnerCircle
Europe/Africa Airline: Lufthansa Miles & More
Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Elite Program
Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Etihad Airways Etihad Guest
Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Hyatt Gold Passport
Europe/Africa Airline: airBaltic BalticMiles
Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Loyalty Credit Card
Americas: Delta SkyMiles American Express
Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Etihad Guest Above Credit Card
Europe/Africa: Turkish Airlines Shop&Miles Garanti Credit Card

World Airline News

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has sold British Midland Limited (bmi) to the International Airlines Group (IAG). The sale was completed at the close of business on April 19. The gross purchase price was approximately $277.6 million.

According to Lufthansa, “as price adjustments have been agreed as part of the transaction structure, the net purchase price will be determined at the end of the second quarter 2012, at which point the final amount will be transferred. It continues to be expected that the net purchase price will be negative. However the costs of the transaction for Lufthansa will amortize within one year. The gross purchase price is expected to be reduced by a number of items including agreed deductions for not selling bmi regional and bmibaby prior to the completion of the transaction.

Bmi’s underfunded Pension Scheme is to be transferred to the UK Pension Protection Fund. The pension shortfall for the members…

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(Almost) Free 42,000 Membership Reward Points (UK)

Amex Platinum Card

Update (August 2013): The bonus for the American Express Platinum card is now 35,000 points, still a great deal.

Update (February 2013): American Express have increased the bonus for taking out this card to a whopping 52,000 Membership Rewards points. 

Update (2012): American Express have now increase the annual fee on this card to an eye-watering £450 per year. They are also adding new benefits but it is still worth getting the card just for the 42,000 Membership Reward points sign-up bonus. More details here.

American Express have a fantastic offer of 42,000 bonus Membership Reward points for taking out their Platinum Charge Card, when you are referred by an existing cardholder.

I am a UK Platinum Cardholder and I would be very happy to refer anyone who  would like to take out the Platinum card. You don’t even have to provide any information to anyone else, but simply follow this link, where you can see the 42,000 offer:

https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/platinum

Once you have the 42,000 Membership reward points, its a simple online process to convert them, on a 1:1 basis, into Avios or BMI miles, or into one of the many other airline frequent flyer programs.

You can also cancel the card after you have received Membership Rewards points and have transferred them to your favourite airline scheme. You then get a pro-rata refund of the annual fee. eg, after 6 months, you’d get £150 back, based on the £300 fee.

The American Express Platinum Card

I have held the Platinum card for over two years now and travel several times a year and can honestly say it is a brilliant card to have and an absolute must if you travel regularly. It is not a credit card, but a charge card which gives you around 30 days interest-free. You simply have to pay off the balance each month and therefore incur no interest charges.

For the £300 annual fee you also get a free Priority Pass card, which gives you free access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world. This alone is worth nearly £260.

Another great benefit is the top level travel insurance which removes the need for any other annual policy and also covers anyone travelling with  with you. This policy also covers anywho who has a supplementary cardholder on your account, so you can, for example, give a supplementary card to your parents and they are covered under the same policy!

You can also get Hilton Gold Status, the equivalent with Raddison, Starwood, Hertz and others and a 24-7 concierge free of charge. I have used this to arrange gifts for  business clients, booking tickets to sold our concerts and to get tables at restaurants with several month waiting lists.

You also have access to the Amex Fine Hotels of the World Programme,  benefits such as complimentary room upgrades and guaranteed early check in and 4pm checkout, as well as perks like fast track airport security at some airport just for showing your Platinum card.

Finally, for those without Elite status with a OneWorld airline, the card allows you to get free Cathay Pacific Gold status, which is equivalent to BA Silver or OneWorld Sapphire. This status tier brings all sorts of benefits such as free lounge access to OneWorld lounges and the ability to select seats for free on certain airlines in advance of those without status.

Amex  also regularly run offers  where you can exchange your Membership Rewards points for airline frequent flyer points, such as BA’s Avios, with 30%, 40%, 50% or even 100% bonuses!

I honestly could not recommend this card highly enough.

If you’d like the bonus 42,000 miles and are UK based, please follow this link:

https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/platinum

More information about the card can be found here.