In this article I look at the room rates and reward cost for 14 hotels in London comparing hotel reward value across six different hotel programs with Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

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It may come as a no-brainer that the best hotel deals for an American in London are using Club Carlson points as a U.S. Club Carlson Visa card member. This article examines the value of Club Carlson points in London for a U.S. resident Club Carlson U.S. Bank Visa card member.

Club Carlson Visa card members get a great deal as Americans in London with one free reward night on reward stays.

Club Carlson is a major hotel player with 18 properties in London with the Radisson Blu Edwardian and Park Plaza brands.

There is an interesting aside in the Radisson Edwardian brand due to its family ownership having a recent legal battle in the UK: Father of £800million Radisson Blu boss loses High Court battle with his son for a share in the wealth from luxury hotel business they built together.

Note the UK story title in The Daily Mail states ‘luxury’ hotel business. The Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels of London are one of the crown jewels of the Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group. These hotels are a different world from the  Radisson brand and Country Inns & Suites prevalent across the USA.

Hotel Credit Cards and Club Carlson Visa card free reward nights deal

Club Carlson has a compelling credit card benefit with far more value than other hotel loyalty credit cards. Club Carlson Visa card members receive one night free on all reward stays of two or more nights. This benefit can be used for up to 50 free reward nights per year.

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Choice Privileges is having a flash sale for 50% bonus points today until 5pm eastern.

The standard rate for Choice Privileges points is $11 per 1,000 points. All purchases receive 50% bonus points reducing the price to $7.33 per 1,000 points. This is not a great deal for most Choice Hotels in the USA. In Norway and Sweden, Choice Privileges points have much higher value.

Bottom line is 16,500 points costs $121 with this deal. I redeemed 13 hotel nights in Norway last month spending Choice Privileges points. I paid 16,000 Choice Privileges per night for 11 reward nights and 20,000 points per night for two reward nights at The Thief, Oslo’s top rated luxury hotel. Several of the hotel room reward nights I booked in Norway were priced at $500 per night. The interesting thing about Choice Privileges points for Nordic Choice Hotels in Norway and Sweden is many of the hotels offered several types of rooms, including suites, when booking reward stays. I booked one spa resort into a 3-bedroom cabin, but later cancelled that particular hotel stay when I went to Bergen instead.

Choice Privileges points are a good deal if traveling to Norway and Sweden where there are about 170 hotels, mostly 16,000 points per night.

Hotel Diana is a Comfort Hotel in Venice, Italy for 10,000 points per night. This is another place where points are an incredible deal. You can stay in Venice for under $75 per night with Choice Privileges points.

Choice 75K

You can buy a maximum of 75,000 points with this offer for $550. 50% bonus points applies to any purchase beginning at 1,000 points for $11 and receive 1,500 points.

Norway September 3-17, 2014 Trip Posts

Norway for two weeks on a budget with a $541 United Airlines round trip ticket SFO-OSL and $300 spending cash for the trip.

Climbing hills for a few days in Bergen was the highlight of my trip. While Norway is expensive, in top three countries worldwide for cost of living, the hotels I picked for stays provided most of the food I wanted to eat. I only needed $25 or about 150NOK for food and I spent about $275 for  train and bus tickets and a plane ticket to travel OSL (airport) – Oslo Central-Larvik (southeast Norway)-Sandefjord TORP Airport – BGO Bergen (Norwegian Air) – Express Bus Bergen Center – Bergen Line to Oslo (bus/train) – OSL (airport).

There was no corporate or tourist board sponsorship for this trip. My objective was to find out what value Choice Privileges have in Norway. Answer: Terrific value. Sweden and Norway have about 170 Nordic Choice Hotels. The focus of my trip was checking out Nordic Choice Hotels with stays at six hotels and site visits at four other hotels in Oslo, Bergen and Larvik and also a visit to Clarion Collection Hotel Atlantic, a unique hotel/whaling museum  in Sandefjord, the whaling capital of the world a century ago on the southeast coast of Norway, 75 miles south from Oslo.

I redeemed 216,000 Choice Privileges points for 13 nights with $6,000+ in hotel stay value. Most of the points were purchased at a rate around $4.00 per 1,000 points through U.S. Travel Association annual Daily Getaways promotion, generally held between April and June each spring and limited to U.S. residents. Loyalty Traveler – Daily Getaways Choice points are good deal for Europe Hotels (May 14, 2014).

Floyen-city-view_thumb.jpg
 
 
  1. Oslo, Norway walking on a summer day (Sep 6)
  2. Hotel Review Clarion Royal Christiania Oslo, Norway (Sep 6)
  3. Hotel Review Clarion Collection Hotel Bastion Oslo, Norway (Sep 7)
  4. Think before you eat whale meat (Sep 8)
  5. Six days in Norway and $6 spent on food (Sep 9)
  6. Hotel Review: Farris Bad, Ascend Collection Larvik, Norway (Sep 10)
  7. Hotel Review Farris Bad Kaupang Suite upgrade (Sep 10)
  8. Hotel Atlantic Sandefjord offers whaling culture experience and beds too (Sep 11)
  9. Hotel Atlantic Sandefjord, Clarion Collection (Sep 13)
  10. Oslo Sandefjord Torp Airport low cost flights (Sep 12)
  11. USA Branded Bergen (Sep 12)
  12. Oops! Radisson Royal Bergen hotel damaged Bryggen UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Sep 12)
  13. Walk like a Norwegian up Floyen in Bergen (Sep 13)
  14. Think before you eat Norwegian farmed salmon (Sep 13)
  15. Biked, hiked and psyched about Bergen (Sep 15)
  16. Clarion Collection No 13 Bergen, Norway (Sep 15)
  17. Clarion Collection Havnekontoret Bergen, TripAdvisor #1 hotel – Part One (Sep 16)
  18. Clarion Collection Havnekontoret Bergen – Part Two (Sep 16)
  19. Bergen Line to Oslo, 500 km by train (and bus) – Part One (Sep 18)
  20. Bergen Line to Oslo 500 km by train part two (Sep 19)
  21. How I stole 2 nights at The Thief Oslo with points (Sep 23)
  22. Hotel Review The Thief Oslo Room 603 (Sep 23)
  23. The Thief Oslo by design (Sep 24)
  24. Clarion Collection Folketeateret Oslo is recommended Nordic Choice Hotel (Sep 27)

I have two Holiday Inn stays booked for Saturday nights next month. Today I open up BoardingArea to see a post on One Mile at a Time about the IHG Into the Nights promotion changes. Lucky shows his offer changed from Book a Stay using IHG mobile app to book 5 stays using the app. Mommy Points also wrote about changes to her promotion from Book a Stay using the mobile app to booking 2 stays with mobile app.

I logged into see what happened with my offer. The changes to my targeted promotion offer blow. They are completely different tasks than I have been calculating for with my hotel reservations.

IHG Into the Nights Clusterf#*k

Here is my original IHG Rewards Club ‘Into the Nights’ offer when the promotion launched.

IHG-Into-the-Nights-tasks_thumb

Task 1: Download and sign in to the IHG app and book stay.

Task 2: Stay 3 nights at any IHG hotel worldwide.

Task 3: Book two stays on ihg.com or IHG App.

Task 4: Stay 2 Saturdays at any IHG hotel.

Task 5: Stay at 2 Holiday Inn hotels.

My IHG bookings are already complete to fulfill these five tasks and earn two free nights, although I have not completed any of the hotel stays. My reservations are for November stays.

I booked three nights at two Holiday Inn hotels including Saturday nights using the mobile app. My two hotel reservations for three nights fulfill all five tasks to earn two free hotel nights.

 

This morning I log into my account to find these IHG Rewards Club ‘Into the Nights’ tasks.

IHG IntotheNights tasks-2

These are completely different tasks than I received upon registration last month.

Task 1: Stay 7 nights at any IHG hotel worldwide.

Task 2: Take our survey for 100 points.

Task 3: Book 1 stay using the Bonus Points Package with breakfast rate.

Task 4: Download and book 10 stays via the IHG app.

Task 5: Apply for IHG Rewards Club credit card.

Task 6: Stay at two IHG hotels in two different countries outside USA.

IHG Into the Nights bonus-2

This is one of the greatest clusterf@#ks I have ever seen in hotel loyalty promotions.

This reminds me of a conversation I had last October with Don Berg, VP of IHG loyalty programs. When I asked why IHG allows members to enroll in dozens of targeted promotions and earn thousands of bonus points on hotel stays, his reply was IHG technology is not sophisticated enough to prevent IHG Rewards Club members from signing up for multiple promotions and earning the bonus points.

IHG ‘Into the Nights’ promotion reveals the inadequate technology infrastructure within IHG Rewards Club.

The Last Word

Honestly, I am not concerned about this IT glitch in the promotion terms. I’ll hold back on booking any more IHG stays until this issue is resolved, but I am confident IHG Rewards Club will get this promotion back on track.

You can follow the IHG Into the Nights clusterf@#k on in this FlyerTalk thread.

IHG Response today at 10:53 on FlyerTalk

Response from IHGCare: Into The Nights Promo

HelloWe apologize for the recent issue regarding the Into The Nights Promotion. We have identified the solution and are moving toward quick resolution.

We have been advised of the following:
· All affected IHG Rewards Club members who we know have made progress towards the offer, but then received a revised hurdle offer, will have their offer marked as “completed.”

· IHG Rewards Club will be sending a direct email communication to those members who have made progress toward their offer. We will be letting them know we will be honoring the original offer and marking their progress as complete.

· IHG will be honoring their original offer and IHG Rewards Club Members will see their offer as complete if they made progress toward it. If the members have yet to stay toward their offer, but have already registered, it will transition back to a hurdle of one stay to complete.

· IHG will not be changing any point values, so the members will receive the original amount of points that the offer showcased.

· IHG Rewards Club Members who have yet to register or to see their offers will receive the variable stay amounts. To those who may inquire why they have a variable amount, simply say that we are honoring the original offers that members saw when they received their offers. All members who are newly registering are receiving the correct variable amounts.

On a side note, I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to @IHGSteve, our new IHG Rewards Club community manager:http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/members/ihgsteve.html.

Thank You,
Kevin
IHGCare

 

Update 4:03pm from IHGSteve, the IHG spokesperson on FlyerTalk:

I’ve been informed that it will take about 48 hours and then will be automatically updated.

*****

Related Loyalty Traveler posts:

Sep 5, 2014: My IHG Rewards Club Into the Nights offer

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Making London hotels affordable is my objective for a seven night trip next month. This article looks at hotel rates and hotel competitive set pricing for London hotels among the major hotel chains. This week I will publish several articles about London and Dublin hotels.

London Hotel Rates and Competitive Set Hotel Pricing

There are distinct sets of hotel rates seen on Kayak.com when searching chain hotels in London and Dublin. Hotels with similar room rates are often part of a hotel competitive set. Similar class hotels in a limited range area tend to charge a similar rate so shoppers are not attracted to a lower room rate to one particular brand over another when booking rooms. The system is one hotels prefer since research shows lower room rates than other hotels in the competitive set is poor business practice with a reduction in revenue. Competitive set pricing in 2014 means hotels push rates higher and follow each other’s lead. In a popular place like London, hotel rates are sky high.

This article shows examples of competitive set hotel pricing. I limited my searches to major chain hotels in London. Filtering for hotel rates high to low revealed hotel pricing in London operates within small price range zones of hotels. The luxury hotels segment in London is $400 and up with a selection of chain brand hotels in the $400 to $450 per night range. Here you find InterContinental, Marriott and Starwood Luxury Collection. The next segment ranges from $320 to $380, where one finds more than a dozen brand names like Andaz, Hilton’s new Conrad St. James, Hotel Indigo, and a rare Marriott Edition London. The majority of this hotel competitive set is more narrowly ranged from $320 to $350 per night hotels.

Can Points Pave the Way to London Hotels?

Those are scary hotel rates in London considering a $300 to $400 per night room for seven nights is a $2,100 to $2,800 trip expense.

Read More…

This post shares how I stayed more than 50 hotel nights in 2013 spending less than $100 per night on average for hotel rooms for hotels priced much higher than I paid in most cases.

There was a surprising insight given to me by a hotel industry CEO a few years ago,

“You can buy a laptop for the price of one hotel night” was his response to the idea that many travelers pay $400 for a hotel room night in many places.

That idea of value between hotel stays and other things in life given a $400 hotel room for one night compared to a $400 laptop computer for years has stuck with me. I recalled that conversation last week as I looked at a $350 laptop in Costco. Hotel room rates are quite a bit higher in many places these days than in 2009-10. Computers cost less.

Loyalty Traveler $100 Hotel Night Rule

Over the past seven years since I started publishing Loyalty Traveler blog, my general rule is I stay in hotels when I travel, and 90% of time in brand chain hotels. My objective is to use hotel loyalty programs for $100 average room nights.

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Travel is not free. Having the mobility of a ‘speedball on fairy dust’ (Entourage phrase) requires an investment of time to reduce travel expenses or sustainable income to support your travel addiction spending habit. Travel can develop into a cocaine-like binge of chasing the next suite/seat upgrade and airport lounge drink.

Most of us fall into the middle of the road traveler. Why do you think Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express are the largest hotel brands in a sector of the travel industry that is all about brand names and your active travel lifestyle? Hilton, Canopy; InterContinental Hotels Group, Even; Starwood, W; and of course feeding the masses are Priceline, Airbnb, Expedia, TripAdvisor…

You can give up opportunity time to reduce travel expenses through credit card games with manufactured spend, shopping bonuses and credit card enrollment bonus miles and points, while also reducing your available time for other lifestyle pursuits like sports, family time, education and socializing.

Or just do plain nothing, kind of like vacation time in your own day-to-day life. Then, pay the asking rate when you decide where to go when you want to go. I meet many happy people who don’t care they could have got their hotel stay and flights for a fraction of what they spent. They are happy on a trip and the expense was worth the convenience of vacation planning without the vacation finance planning concern.

Another tactic for bargain travel is sit back and wait for travel opportunities to appear in the dynamic world of airfare fluctuation. Be prepared to strike fast when the deal is around. That happened for me this week.

San Francisco to Dublin $538 British Airways via London Heathrow.

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Hilton Worldwide has lined up 11 letters of intent to build hotels under the Canopy by Hilton new upper upscale lifestyle brand. This announcement follows the launch of Curio Collection by Hilton a few months ago for independent boutique hotels.

The announcement of the new hotel brand happened at Hilton’s Global Partnership Conference this week in Orlando, Florida.

“Built on extensive market research, our highly anticipated Canopy by Hilton brand delivers a fresh approach to hospitality and the guest experience,” Nassetta said said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide. “We saw an opportunity to not only enter the lifestyle space by developing a new brand, but also to redefine this category by creating a more accessible lifestyle brand. We identified the need to take the emphasis off of capital-intensive design and deliver exactly what the target consumer desires: an energizing, comfortable stay with more included value.”

Hilton Worldwide Press Release – October 15, 2014

Say Hello to Canopy by Hilton

One of the first hotels will be Portland, Oregon.

CanopyPortland_LobbyRendering_FP

Lobby rendering for Canopy Portland, courtesy of Hilton Worldwide.

Another lifestyle brand keeps the hotel industry moving forward with new ideas for guest experiences. Personally, I think W Hotels and Aloft are the only two hotel industry original brands to hit the market in the past 15 years. W Hotels brought originality, unique design and playfulness to a luxury hotel setting and Aloft made social playfulness affordable with a cookie-cutter room design. Every other new hotel brand seems to try and emulate the success of Starwood Hotels original brands. Luxury Collection already had the boutique, independent hotel in mind as a lifestyle brand that has been copied by Marriott Autograph Collection and Curio Collection by Hilton.

Where the new Canopy by Hilton hotels will open

  • Canopy Portland | Pearl District
  • Canopy London | Neighborhood to be announced
  • Canopy Miami | Brickell
  • Canopy Washington, D.C. | Bethesda North
  • Canopy San Diego | Gaslamp Quarter
  • Canopy Nashville | Downtown
  • Canopy Savannah | Historic District
  • Canopy Indianapolis | City Centre
  • Canopy Charlotte | Uptown
  • Canopy Oklahoma City | Bricktown
  • Canopy Ithaca | The Commons
171286687

Canopy logo, (photo courtesy of Hilton Worldwide)

What is unique about Canopy by Hilton?

Through Hilton Worldwide’s extensive research and analysis, Canopy by Hilton’s proposition and concept has been refined and validated at every step with both guests and owners alike. Beyond simply creating a positive stay, four essential elements define what it means to be a Canopy hotel:

  • Great neighborhoods. Canopy by Hilton is the streetlamp of the neighborhood. We are all about being local, through design, food and beverage, art, and local know-how. No two Canopy hotels will be the same, and we know that’s what our guests want.
  • Comfort and design. We take a people first approach to design. The energy from our great neighborhoods flows through our open, welcoming lobby space. This energy gives way to warm, inviting, and comfortable just-right rooms.
  • More included value. We know our guests demand a more inclusive approach and surprising extras. So basic Wi-Fi and an artisanal breakfast are included, along with a local welcome gift and an evening tasting of local beer, wine, or spirits*.
  • Our “positively yours” culture. With a “positively yours” service culture, hotel “Enthusiasts” will deliver a one-stop approach to front-of-house service.

Four elements define Canopy Hotels:

1. Unique properties. The claim is no two Canopy Hotels will be the same with an emphasis on local. I think every hotel is local and some reflect that local character. Sounds good. My recent stay at The Thief Oslo, Choice Hotels Ascend Collection offered this same type of local character in a luxury hotel owned by the Norwegian billionaire head of Nordic Choice Hotels.

2. Comfort and Design. The press release is simply marketing speak. Sounds like zen and the art of hotel design.

3. More Included Value = free Wi-Fi and artisanal breakfast. Locally sourced foods coming to a Canopy near you? Evening tasting hour and local welcome gifts. Sounds to me like there will be an additional price tag to the room rate for all these “included values”. I am thinking Embassy Suites amenities with a unique design and smaller rooms and lots of signs to tell you about the local character of the stuff in the hotel surrounding you. I have seen that in other hotels, like The Nines, Starwood Luxury Collection in Portland, Oregon.

4. Our “positively yours” culture. Of course my hotel stay is all about me, the guest. Isn’t that common to most hotels?

“The demands and preferences of today’s travelers continue to evolve, and Canopy by Hilton creates something new for consumers in the lifestyle space,” said Jim Holthouser, executive vice president, global brands, Hilton Worldwide. “Canopy by Hilton will deliver more choice and control for guests than ever before, from a mobile straight-to-room arrival to surprising extras throughout each stay.”

Hotels as a lifestyle space. What does that mean?

So I can check into my hotel room without having to interact with anybody at the hotel?

Sounds great for an anti-social person in a social setting.

I love new hotels and urban renewal. Hotels are an anchor for urban revitalization and development. Many of the Canopy by Hilton letters of intent are urban projects.

Canopy by Hilton is a new brand for the hotel travel game by a major player in the global hotel industry. Time will tell if this new lifestyle hotel brand is a game-changer or just another hotel brand to remember when searching for good hotel loyalty value from Hilton HHonors.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Round trip tickets from SFO-DUB under $500 all-in is the real deal for travel over the next few months. From Dublin, Ireland, low cost carrier RyanAir will take you to much of Europe. If you want to fly to mainland Europe or London, then fares are in the $650 to $750 range for many cities including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Venice, Paris, Rome, Zurich and more. This is the best overall sale for Europe I recall this year.

US Airways has the lowest fares. American Airlines has the advantage of allowing a 24-hour free hold on tickets including code share flights with US Airways and British Airways. I priced an SFO-DUB for $465 on US Airways, but opted for a $535 ticket flying British Airways that I have on 24-hour hold while I build an itinerary for a trip with my wife with her flying on American metal to London.

Take a look at flights today if you have a desire to fly to Europe.

Flights SFO-DUB are as low as $510 if you can leave the week before the Christmas holiday.

SFO-DUB Dec 14

SFO-DUB December 14-27, 2014

Google Flights SFO-Europe 11-12-to-11-19

SFO to Europe low cost flights seen on Google Flights

Wed. November 12 to Wed. November 19.

SFO-DUB Dublin, Ireland $468 all-in

SFO-MXP Milan, Italy $685

SFO-ZRH Zurich, Switzerland $688

SFO-BRU Brussels $711

SFO-GVE Geneva, Switzerland $716

SFO-CDG Paris, France $717

SFO-MAN Manchester, UK $720

SFO-LHR London, UK $727

SFO-MUC Munich, Germany $734

SFO-VCE Venice, Italy $736

SFO-AMS Amsterdam, Netherlands $748

SFO-FRA Frankfurt, Germany $751

This is a good time to be shopping if Europe is in your travel plans.

United Airlines Mileage Plus has a limited time offer giving one Marriott Rewards point for every 3 MileagePlus miles bought by October 20, 2014. Miles are available in increments of 3,000 miles for purchases up to 150,000 miles. The maximum bonus with this offer is 50,000 Marriott Rewards points.

United miles with Marriott bonus points

Number Crunching

For 99.9% of you this offer is no deal. The high price of MileagePlus miles at $37.63 per 1,000 miles makes this an offer only for those who would buy Mileage Plus miles anyway.

Mileage Plus Miles Price

15,000 miles = $564.38 and earn 5,000 Marriott Rewards points.

150,000 miles = $5,643.75 and earn 50,000 Marriott Rewards points.

Now, if you are a business traveler who might consider spending $5,644 for 150,000 miles that might take you to some far-off place in First Class, then 50,000 Marriott Rewards as a $5,000 spend bonus is a nice rebate. You might even be able to book a free night at a Ritz-Carlton with the bonus points.

For us middle income air travelers, there is no real incentive here to buy United Mileage Plus miles at the rack rate of $37.63 per 1,000 miles. The Marriott Rewards points are not a substantial rebate. Marriott Rewards points can offer $100 room value with 10,000 points, but at this price for United miles, the Marriott Rewards points rebate is less than 10% of the miles purchase price, even if you get a high value Marriott Reward stay using points.

Mileage Plus members are better off waiting for a 20% discount rate on miles purchases or 20% bonus miles or some other Mileage Plus offer with an even better bonus.

Terms and Conditions

Limited time offer: For every 3 MileagePlus miles you purchase, get 1 free Marriott Rewards® point

(Displayed price includes all discounts) Offer Details: (010980)

  • Minimum purchase of 9,000 miles required for this promotion.
  • One (1) Marriott Rewards point will be awarded with the purchase of every three (3) MileagePlus award miles with a maximum of 50,000 Marriott Rewards points being awarded.
  • To receive Marriott Rewards points, an active Marriott Rewards number must be provided during the purchase of MileagePlus miles.
  • The MileagePlus account and the Marriott Rewards account must be registered to the same last name and belong to the same individual.
  • Please allow up to 6 weeks for Marriott Rewards points to be posted to your Marriott Rewards account.
  • Miles are available in increments of 3,000 up to a maximum of 150,000 miles.
  • Purchase up to 150,000 miles per account per calendar year.
  • Displayed price includes all discounts and taxes.
  • Credit card will be billed immediately upon purchase.
  • Mileage rates and other fees and offer terms are subject to change.
  • Allow 48 hours for miles to process and post to your MileagePlus account.
  • Miles are nonrefundable.
  • Promotional offer valid until 11:59 p.m. CT (Chicago local time) on October 20, 2014.
  • Purchased miles do not count toward MileagePlus Premier® status.

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