The Latest in Travel Rewards News

News on points, miles, credit cards, loyalty programs, airlines, hotels and more from NerdWallet writers.

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April 26 - United Airlines Expands Partnership with Singapore Airlines

United has announced an expansion of its codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines to include 19 new destinations. United’s passengers can now benefit from connections to cities in:

  • Brunei, Cambodia.

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

  • Perth, Australia.

  • Male, the Maldives.

  • Several destinations in Indonesia.

Similarly, Singapore’s customers can now connect through Los Angeles to Austin, Baltimore, Boise, Cleveland, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and Sacramento.

The strengthening of this partnership will allow customers of both airlines to reach destinations more easily, particularly as demand for travel increases.

April 22 - Southwest Announces Bonus Earnings for Carbon Offset Spending

In honor of Earth Day, Southwest Airlines has announced a limited-time 20x earning rate for Rapid Rewards members when they buy carbon offset credits through the carrier’s offset program. Rapid Rewards members can take advantage of this earn rate through May 22, 2022, and though eligible earnings max out at 500 points, Southwest will match all carbon offset contributions 1:1.

April 20 - U.S. Airlines Announce an End to Mask Requirements for Passengers and Employees

A U.S. District Court judge this week struck down the federal mandate requiring passengers to wear masks on public transportation, including planes. The Biden administration subsequently announced that the mandate will no longer be enforced at U.S. airports by the Transportation Security Administration. Numerous airlines followed suit, issuing statements indicating that they will no longer require employees and passengers to wear masks onboard domestic flights or in terminals.

Several airlines noted that masks would still be required on certain international flights where the destination requires masking, so be sure to review policies before your next trip abroad.

The following U.S. airlines have made statements indicating that they will no longer require masks:

  • Alaska Airlines.

  • American Airlines.

  • Allegiant Airlines.

  • Delta Air Lines.

  • Frontier Airlines.

  • Hawaii’s Airlines.

  • JetBlue Airways.

  • United Airlines.

  • Southwest Airlines.

  • Spirit Airlines.

April 20 - New Delta Sky Club lounge opens at LAX

Photo courtesy of Meghan Coyle.

The Delta Air Lines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport just got a major upgrade. Delta passengers will now start using a consolidated lobby for check-in, an expanded security area and a brand new Sky Club lounge.

The spacious 30,000-square foot space can seat more than 500 guests, which will be key when Delta starts opening more gates at LAX in the coming weeks. Delta Sky Club visitors, in particular, will have one of the best views for watching the entire operation from outside on the Delta Sky Deck. The lounge overlooks the runway, Delta’s two terminals and the Hollywood hills. On a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. The Sky Deck features a retractable roof and heaters, as well as an outdoor bar.

Indoors, the Sky Club has two buffet bars, an indoor beverage bar and plenty of spaces to eat, sit or work. Delta added a few soundproof phone booths, as well as showers with spa-like amenities available for those who need a refresh after a long flight.

Find out more about how to access the Delta Sky Club on your next trip.

April 13 - IHG revamps loyalty program as IHG One Rewards

On the heels of an overhaul to the IHG credit cards, the hotel company behind 17 hotel brands including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn, has given a complete makeover to its loyalty rewards program.

IHG on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, announced its revamped loyalty program called IHG One Rewards. Among the biggest differences between the old IHG loyalty program and the new IHG One Rewards version:

  • A faster earn rate: A new tier and bonus point earning structure will allow members to earn more points faster and gain rewards sooner.

  • Free breakfast for elite members: If you hold Diamond Elite status or higher, you’re entitled to both free breakfast and a welcome amenity choice. This small gift varies by hotel but can include chocolate, wine or hotel points.

  • Milestone rewards: For every 10 nights you stay (starting at 20 nights), you’ll get extra goodies thrown in. Rewards vary by the milestone, but include points, food and beverage credits, upgrades, and lounge membership.

Additionally, IHG said it plans to roll out a major update to its app over the coming weeks, refreshing it as the IHG One Rewards mobile app. Like the existing app, it can be used to book and manage IHG stays. IHG says the revamped version will allow for a more streamlined booking process, more room for personalizations, and a faster, virtual check-in process.

Most of the benefits affect members who are chasing or have already earned IHG elite status, which can be attained through frequent IHG stays or by holding either the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee) and the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card ($0 annual fee).

For existing members, stays as of Jan. 1, 2022, will count toward status under the new IHG One Rewards. The new tier and bonus point earning structure starts on April 13, 2022, and will be reflected in all member accounts by April 17, 2022.

Other fresh benefits, like the milestone rewards, are expected to become available for members in early June 2022.

March 31 - Delta Makes Earning Toward Elite Status on Award Travel Permanent, Removes Earning Cap

Delta Air Lines flyers will continue to benefit from the ability to earn Medallion Status on award travel, as the airline announced today that the COVID-era policy will be a permanent feature of the SkyMiles program moving forward. The airline has also opened up earning potential by removing the 75,000-mile earning cap on all flights. This policy will apply retroactively to any flights taken since the start of 2022.

Both these moves are a boon to Delta loyalists, making it easier than ever to earn toward elite status with the airline.

March 30 - Cardless and LATAM Airlines Announce Forthcoming Co-Branded Card

LATAM Airlines and financial technology startup Cardless are partnering to bring U.S. consumers a new co-branded credit card. Known for its sleek, numberless card products and focus on mobile-enabled spending, Cardless has historically worked with entertainment, leisure and professional sports brands, making this venture with LATAM the company’s first foray into the co-branded airline card field.

More details on card benefits are to follow, but prospective cardholders will be able to apply online via their smartphone and receive a mobile card for immediate use within minutes. Based in Chile, LATAM services South American destinations from a number of U.S. hubs and partners with domestic carriers Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines on redemptions, earnings and elite benefits.

March 29 - Capital One and MLB Announce Partnership

Capital One and Major League Baseball this week announced a partnership agreement that makes Capital One the league’s official banking and credit card partner and the presenting sponsor of the World Series. The deal benefits Capital One cardholders (credit or debit) through access to exclusive tickets for events like All-Star Week and the MLB Postseason, including the World Series.

Furthermore, carriers of Capital One rewards cards can now redeem their rewards points for MLB game tickets and VIP experiences through the recently launched Capital One Entertainment ticketing portal. Additional perks like discounts on the MLB Shop and MLB.TV are coming down the line. Read more about using points and miles to book sports tickets here.

March 24 - Wanna Get Away Plus: Southwest’s 4th Fare Type Is Here

On Thursday, Southwest Airlines announced a new, fourth fare class called Wanna Get Away Plus.

With it comes some new features that you won’t find in the cheaper, Wanna Get Away fare class:

  • Transferable flight credits: This lets you make a one-time transfer of an eligible unused flight credit to another traveler for future use. Both of you must be Southwest Rapid Rewards program members to make the transfer happen. And you’re still bound by an expiration date, which is 12 months from the date the ticket was booked.

  • Same-day confirmed changes and same-day standby: If there’s an open seat on a different flight on the same calendar day as your original flight and it’s between the same cities, you can book a confirmed seat on the new flight at no additional cost — even if that flight is more expensive.

  • A higher earning rate: Get 8 Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent (versus 6 for the lowest fare class).

Fare classes on Southwest Airlines.

However, you can’t book under the new Southwest Wanna Get Away Plus fare class just yet. It’s set to launch in the second quarter of 2022.

Southwest also announced a few other Rapid Rewards loyalty program modifications:

  • More benefits for higher fare classes: Business Select and Anytime customers will also have access to the transferable flight credit benefit.

  • Anytime customers will also receive EarlyBird Check-In and Priority and Express lane access. This benefit was previously only available to Business Select passengers (Business Select might be considered by some as a sort of Southwest first class).

  • More benefits if you have elite status: A-List and A-List Preferred customers now gain the same-day confirmed change and same-day standby benefit, even with a Wanna Get Away fare.

March 22 - IHG Announces 20% Reward Night Discount for Chase Cardholders

Beginning March 22, 2022, and running through April 5, 2022, IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card cardholders will get a 20% discount on all Reward Night bookings. In order for a booking to qualify, the reservation must be made through an official IHG reservation site using one of these cards while logged into an IHG Rewards account. Stays booked beyond May 22, 2022, do not qualify.

If using IHG’s Points & Cash option for payment, rather than just points, the discount will be applied to the cash portion of the payment. IHG expects to open the discount up to additional IHG Rewards Club members as the promotion progresses.

The information related to the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.


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