Daily Points: IAG CEO Steps Down; Confirmed Sapphire Reserve Changes

Daily Points

IAG’s CEO is stepping down. The rumored changes to the Sapphire Reserve were confirmed. A few good hotel promotions were announced.

IAG's CEO Willie Walsh in Retiring

Photo: IAG

Willie Walsh, the CEO of International Airlines Group, is stepping down on June 30, 2020. Walsh is 58 and previously stated he would retire by 60. 

IAG is the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and several other airlines. Walsh was key in the creating and integration of airlines into IAG.

The new CEO of IAG will be Luis Gallego, who is currently the CEO of Iberia. This is a surprising choice since many people believed that the CEO of British Airways, Alex Cruz, would be chosen. Cruz led British Airways during the 2018 data breach, the IT meltdown that disrupted flights for several days, and during the pilot strike. 

Gallego took over as CEO of Iberia in 2013, where he reversed six consecutive years of operating losses. Iberia has undergone a great turnaround under Gallego’s leadership by investing in newer planes, better business class seating, and adding new routes. 

Confirmed Sapphire Reserve Changes

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

We previously reported on rumors of changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and now those rumors are officially confirmed.

The annual fee will jump $100 from $450 to $550. The card will add one year of Lyft Pink, free DashPass (DoorDash) for one year, and $60 in DoorDash credits in both 2020 and 2021.

The Reserve will also earn 10x Lyft points. Other Chase cards also getting a boost with Lyft:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire, Ink Business Preferred, and Ink Plus: 5x points.
  • Chase Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited: 5% (5x) cashback.
  • Chase Ink Cash and Ink Business Unlimited: 5% (5x) cashback.

Travel News

  • Uber in California will no longer display a fixed price for a ride in response to California’s new labor law designed to reclassify gig economy workers as employees. Passengers will now be shown an estimated price range. Drivers will now also be able to see how much they will make on each ride, and won’t be punished for rejecting trips they don’t want to make. 
  • United Airlines first refurbished Boeing 787 is entering service on Wednesday. The refurbished 787 has the updated Polaris business class in a 1-2-1 configuration rather than the outdated 2-2-2. [TPG]
  • United Airlines announced that the civil unrest in Hong Kong cost them about $90 million (or $1 million per day) in the fourth quarter of 2019. It would be interesting to see Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific’s financial hit over the past year. 
  • Frontier Airlines pulls service at Mobile, Alabama’s new downtown airport, which will end on April 22, 2020. Frontier previously flew to Denver and Chicago-ORD. Frontier Airlines was the only airline that serviced the new airport. 
  • Cathay Pacific is swapping planes at Chicago-ORD from a Boeing 777 to an Airbus A350, which means there will be no first class on the route between June 1st to October 24, 2020. [OMAAT]
  • Denver Airport will be adding three outdoor patios in its $1.5 billion expansion. The first patio in Concourse B should open by the end of 2020. An outdoor patio will be a nice amenity, especially in the summer months. [TPG]
  • Formerly defunct, now potentially restarted, WOW Air is in the process of opening a cafe and ticket office in Washington D.C. It will be interesting to see if new version of WOW Air actually restarts. [VFTW]
  • The lifeless body of a 10 year stowaway child was found the well of the landing gear of an Air France plane that arrived in Paris from Abidjan. 

Deals and Points News

  • American Airlines has sent out an targeted offer allowing members to earn 3x points per dollar spent with Hyatt. You have to register by February 15, 2020, for stays in between January 15- March 15, 2020. 
  • LifeMiles introduced Lock and Fly on Avianca flights that allows customers to place an award on hold for free. An International Business class hold is $15 for 3 days and $80 for 90 days.
  • Hilton made three minor changes to their points program starting January 9, 2020.
    •  You can earn points on four rooms at a time, up from 2 rooms. This allows you to earn points when you’re staying with family and friends.
    • No cap on the number of base points per stay. (Previously 100,000 points)
    • You can now earn points on incidentals at all brands. Previously, you could not earn points on incidentals at Hampton, Inn, Tru, Home2 Suites, or Homewood Suites.
  • Virgin Atlantic and Air France/KLM Flying Blue released the details on their partnership. However, they have not released the details of the award chart yet. 

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