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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June 27 - Customers Who Rent Cars Through Lyft-Hertz Partnership Can Get $10 in Lyft Credit

Rideshare giant Lyft and rental car company Hertz have partnered up to get you a ride, whether you need a rental car or a Lyft.

The companies announced a new partnership and special offer this week that means new benefits for customers who book a Hertz rental car directly through the Lyft app. Here’s what you can get:

  • A $10 Lyft credit after you return your rental.

  • A free additional driver option added to your reservation at pickup, allowing you to avoid a fee that is usually about $13 per day.

For now, the deal only applies to rentals in Austin, Charlotte, New Orleans, Kansas City and Nashville, though Lyft said it intends to roll it out nationwide in the future. You’ll also have to be at least 22 years old with a valid driver’s license to rent a Hertz vehicle through Lyft.

If you’re under 22, you can still rent a Hertz vehicle, but you’ll have to book directly through them. Better yet, you can also get young driver fees waived by enrolling in the Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program and opting in to its limited-time college graduate promotion, which ends on June 30, 2022. Beyond that, young renters can also get Hertz underage driver fees waived by joining AAA.

Even if you aren’t in those cities doesn’t mean you can’t rent a car through Lyft. The company in 2019 launched Lyft Rentals, which allows you to book rental cars through its app. Cars are parked in Lyft–operated lots around major cities, often in both downtown areas and at airports. Many are operated through another rental car company, Sixt, though some are operated directly by Lyft. When you book one of those Lyft rentals, you’ll receive a $10 Lyft credit each way to get to and from the lot.

Plus, you can earn extra travel rewards by booking rides or rental cars through Lyft. Certain Chase credit cards offer bonus points for Lyft purchases. You can also opt to earn either bonus Delta SkyMiles or Hilton Honors points for your Lyft spending.

June 16 - T-Mobile launches travel discounts including free international data and Wi-Fi on airplanes

It’s a good summer to be a T-Mobile customer, as the wireless provider today announced a bunch of freebies and discounts on travel. Some of the highlights are:

  • Free international data: Starting June 21, T-Mobile customers on either the Magenta MAX or Business Unlimited Ultimate plan will get 5GB of free high-speed data each month, at up to 5G speeds where available, in more than 210 countries and destinations.

  • Free in-flight Wi-Fi: T-Mobile will offer customers free in-flight Wi-Fi on select Delta, American and Alaska Airlines flights, starting June 21. T-Mobile also added that it expects to soon add free Wi-Fi to its customers flying with United Airlines, too.

  • Free AAA membership: Magenta, Magenta MAX and eligible small business plan holders can now get a year of free AAA membership, which means 24-hour roadside assistance as well as travel discounts on products including rental cars, and other extras like waived underage driver fees with Hertz.

  • Gas discounts at Shell: T-Mobile customers can get 25 cents off per gallon of gas purchased at Shell between June 21 and Labor Day via T-Mobile Tuesdays.

  • Priceline discounts: T-Mobile has partnered with Priceline to offer deals of up to 40% off for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers.

To get in on the deals, T-Mobile customers should head to either t-mobiletravel.com or the T-Mobile Tuesdays app. There, you’ll enter your phone number to receive a code, which unlocks the benefits.

June 14 - Capital One Announces New Lounge Access Perks Across Multiple Cards

Capital One has announced new airport lounge access benefits for Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business cardholders in a significant expansion of its partner lounge network.

In addition to the lounge benefits that Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card cardholders already get — access to Priority Pass and Capital One Lounges — cardholders will now get unlimited, free access to the Plaza Premium Lounges network, which includes the Air France Lounge in Montreal and multiple Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounges along with the network’s own Plaza Premium branded spots.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business cardholders, who currently get two complimentary lounge visits annually, will now be able to use those visits to access the Plaza Premium Network as well as Capital One’s own lounges.

June 8 - IHG One Rewards Rolls Out New Benefits

New benefits of the revamped IHG One Rewards loyalty program are now available to members. IHG will now offer more options, like late checkout (if available) to all members and more perks to elite members.

The most notable new benefit is Milestone Rewards, which lets members choose a reward every 10 nights they stay, starting at 20 nights. The options include:

  • Bonus points.

  • Confirmable suite upgrades.

  • Food and beverage rewards, which are available to choose but you won’t be able to redeem until later in the year.

  • An annual lounge membership.

Other new benefits for elite members include an extra welcome amenity option for Diamond elites — free breakfast. Platinum and Diamond elites can now take advantage of complimentary room upgrades and early check-in (if available).

June 2 - American Express Adds New Way To Use Dining Credit on Gold Card

One of the best ways for some cardholders to offset the $250 annual fee on the American Express® Gold Card is using its $120 dining credit. But unless you regularly order from Grubhub or dine at The Cheesecake Factory or Shake Shack regularly, the dining credit might not be that easy to use. Terms apply.

American Express today announced that the statement credit, which is offered in increments of $10 per month, now covers purchases made with your American Express® Gold Card at Goldbelly, Wine.com and Milk Bar too. Terms apply.

Milk Bar, which is famous for its calorie-laden desserts including the Compost Cookie and bestselling birthday cake, has locations in major cities including New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Goldbelly is a company that lets you order food from some of the most famous restaurants all over the country directly to your doorstep. Get a taste of Texas by having brisket from Snow’s BBQ shipped to your home. And while its Provel cheese and thin cracker-like crust is polarizing, Imo’s Pizza can ship a slice of St. Louis to your home, even if you aren’t in Missouri.

The bad news is some now-former dining partners, including Ruth's Chris Steak House and Boxed, are no longer eligible to qualify for the statement credit.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

June 2 - United Members Can Now Earn Miles Flying Semi-Private JSX

Flying semi-private on jet service JSX just got more appealing for United MileagePlus members.

The two companies have partnered up to now allow you to earn United MileagePlus miles when you fly with JSX. The fare class you book on JSX determines how many miles you’ll earn. Here’s how they break down:

  • Fare classes Y, B, E, M, V, S, D, and T earn 100% of the miles flown.

  • Fare classes W, G, and Q earn 75% of the miles flown.

  • Fare classes N, H, and P earn 50% of the miles flown.

And between now and Aug. 31, 2022, you can earn bonus miles, depending on your level of United elite status. Here’s what those bonus miles are:

  • MileagePlus general members: 5x miles.

  • Premier Silver: 7x miles.

  • Premier Gold: 8x miles.

  • Premier Platinum: 9x miles.

  • Premier 1K: 11x miles.

JSX is a private jet operator that offers a semi-private flight service. You’ll get your trip started in a private terminal, where you’ll typically encounter fewer lines (plus posher seating and even complimentary refreshments) than everyone else in the main terminal. You’ll board a relatively small aircraft, but you will share it with other passengers. That can be good for luxury-minded travelers who are still budget-conscious, as many fares cost less than $200 each way.

May 23 - Wyndham App Helps Travelers Plan and Book Road Trips

Wyndham unveiled a new feature in its app to make road trip planning easier and giving customers the ability to book multiple hotels at once. The Road Trip Planner can either show travelers Wyndham properties along their custom route or give inspiration for recommended routes. After travelers have decided on a trip, the Road Trip Planner lets road trippers book multiple hotels (with either points, cash or a combination of the two) and see all of their reservations on one screen.

In addition to the Road Trip Planner, Wyndham is offering another incentive to use its mobile app. Between May 26 and May 30, 2022, members can take advantage of Wyndham’s latest flash sale offer — 8,000 bonus points when they book two-nights or more through Wyndham’s mobile app.  Travelers must tap the Mobile App Flash Sale offer on the app’s home screen to access the offer. A two-night minimum stay is required and stays must be completed by June 30, 2022. See our full list of hotel promotions for other offers.

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 and see our full review.

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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