MARCH 2019 globaltravelerusa.com 15
Banks Encumber Rewards Redemption
Credit cards with stellar travel rewards programs have become staples
in many a frequent traveler’s wallet, but the impact of the cards on
banks has not been as rewarding.
As members rack up points quickly and pay off their balances just as
quickly, banks are left with few benefits and find themselves essentially
paying for members’ free flights and hotels earned with their points.
Once members earn and redeem their points on their cards with high
annual fees, they may stop using the card and eventually let it expire.
Banks anticipate annual revenue of 14 percent from credit cards but
without the high interest rates or late fees they used to expect with irre-
sponsible spenders, as smarter travelers find a way to work the system
and earn the maximum number of points without having to overspend.
In response, banks like Chase have begun to remove some of their
perks, such as price protection, sign-on bonuses, certain insurances or
the ability to combine features from different rewards programs.
American Airlines’ Economy Web Specials
American Airlines’ new Economy Web Specials allow rewards members
to book flights for as little as 5,000 miles for a one-way ticket, a thresh-
old that used to be 7,500 miles. This new special is applicable only to
six routes to start, all less than 500 miles: Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to
Wichita (ICT), Corpus Christi (CRP), Brownsville South Padre Island (BRO)
and McAllen (MFE); Phoenix (PHX) to Long Beach (LGB); and Charlotte
(CLT) to Orlando Melbourne (MLB).
As of Jan. 8, customers can view these specials by clicking the
Economy Web Specials heading on the awards chart on AA’s website.
Flights cannot be changed at any time after booking.
Hyatt Adds Spas to Loyalty Program
Hyatt’s recently acquired spa company Exhale is now a part of its loyalty
program, World of Hyatt.
As of October 2018, World of Hyatt members can earn and redeem
points at any of Exhale’s 20 spa locations in the United States and the
Caribbean. The facilities offer spa treatments, fitness classes, massages and
even an on-site nail salon. This collaboration marks one of the first between
a hotel rewards program and a wellness company, allowing hotel rewards
members to earn and redeem points outside of the hotel industry.
The acquisition of Exhale in August 2017 complements Hyatt’s other
wellness companies such as FIND and Miraval Group, the latter a wellness
and resort spa company Hyatt also added to the World of Hyatt rewards
Royal Air Maroc Joins Oneworld
By 2020 Royal Air Maroc will be fully
integrated into the oneworld alliance
of airlines, further expanding the
alliance’s presence on the African
With its entry into the alliance,
Royal Air Maroc will also add 34 new
destinations to 21 new countries, not
just in Africa.
Royal Air Maroc will be the first
new member to join oneworld in four
years and will bring the total number of
airlines to 14, a number that includes
American Airlines, British Airways,
Cathay Pacific, Finnair and Qantas.
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