Daily Points: SWISS Grounds A220s; Qantas Testing SYD-NYC; Alaska Kills Intra-Asian Stopover

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SWISS Airlines Grounding A220s- SWISS Airlines is grounding its Airbus A220s due to issues with the Pratt and Whitney engines until they can conduct a full inspection of the engines. Delta Airlines currently operates 25 A220s and will continue to monitor the situation. There appears to be major issues with the Pratt & Whitney engines since Air Baltic, who operates twenty A220s has already replaced 50 of their P&W engines.

Qantas is Testing Sydney to New York Route- Qantas is attempting a 19.5 hour flight between Sydney and New York using a Boeing 787-9 to study the health issues and jet lag associated with flying that long. Qantas will use the results of the test to determine if it is viable to fly direct from Sydney to New York or London, which would be an hour longer flight. [Bloomberg]

Alaska Airlines Kills Intra-Asian Stopover- One of the great award hacks was Alaska Airline’s Intra-Asian stopover is no longer not allowed per Alaska’s terms and conditions. The Intra-Asian stopover was great due to Alaska’s large definition of “Asia.” For example, you could fly from India to Tokyo (stopover) to Singapore for only 25,000 miles in business class on Japan Airlines, which was equal to 15 hours in the air. [GSTP]

IHG Card Adding Cell Phone Protection- The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the former IHG Select Card are adding cell phone protection starting on November 17, 2019. 

  • The IHG Premier will get up to $800 in protection per claim and up to $1,000 per year in cell phone protection with a $50 deductible when you pay your cell phone bill with the card.
  • The IHG Select will get up to $600 in protection per claim and up to $1,000 per year in cell phone protection with a $50 deductible when you pay your cell phone bill with the card.

However, both cards will be losing price protection and MasterCard’s Concierge service. Price Protection was cut from almost all Chase cards so that deletion is not a surprise.

Alaska Airlines Lounge at Portland Leaving Priority Pass- On November 1, 2019, the Alaska Lounge at Portland (PDX) Airport will leave Priority Pass. Alaska Lounges have been overwhelmed by Priority Pass users and regularly restrict access during most times of the day. Priority Pass has been losing several U.S. Lounges, which is why their strategy has shifted to opening their own “The Club” lounges in several U.S. airports. [DOC]

Travel News

  • Iberia now allows you to stopover in Madrid for free for one to six nights for no additional cost.
  • Flybe, the British regional airline, will be re-branded as Virgin Connect. Flybe suffered financial issues this year and was partially bought by Virgin Atlantic. Flybe currently has 76 aircraft including 61 turboprops and 15 Embraer ERJ jets.
  • Delta sent a private jet after a high school’s cross country team’s Frontier flight was canceled due to weather. In total, 80 high school runners from Ocean City, New Jersey made it in time to Orlando for their competition. [USA Today]

Deal News

  • Singapore Airlines Spontaneous Escapes offering several deals including Singapore to San Francisco for 26,000 points in economy class or 66,5000 points in business class, or Singapore to New York for only 28,000 points in economy class. 
  • Flying Blue (Air France) Special Promo Rewards is offering some good deals to Europe:
    • Los Angeles- 28,000 points roundtrip for economy and 56,000 for premium economy.
    •  New York City- 22,000 points roundtrip for economy
    • Seattle- 58,000 points roundtrip for premium economy or 72,000 for business class
    • Toronto- 22,000 points roundtrip for economy, 50,000 for premium economy, and 64,000 for business class. [VFTW]
  • Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is running a “Points Festival” in which you can earn up to 45% back in points. This can be a good deal if you have a Rakuten account earning American Express Membership Rewards. [DDG]
  •  Marriott’s Fall 2019 “Unlock More” promotion will earn you 2,000 bonus points after two stays plus you will receive an additional mystery offer after your second stay for hotel stays between October 29, 2019, and January 14, 2020.
  • Amex Offers:
    • 15% back at U.S. Supermarkets up to 15% back.
    • Bed Bath & Beyond- Spend $25 and get either $5 or 500 Membership Rewards points.