April 28, 2015

Where to Donate your Miles and Points for the Earthquake Victims in Nepal

If you are wondering where you can donate your miles and points for the earthquake victims in Nepal, I've come up with a list below similar to the one I did back in 2013 for the typhoon victims in the Philippines.

The following organizations have stated that they have activities to help out the victims. I will be listing the airline and hotel loyalty program under the organizations they work with so you can decide where to donate and which of your miles/points you can use. Just click on the loyalty program name and it should direct you to their official page. I am not sure what the monetary equivalent of the miles are but, for sure, every donation helps -- no matter how small or large. Lastly, unless the miles/points to be donated were purchased, I think most donations are non tax-deductible.

So without any further ado...

Not sure about the minimum miles required

Minimum miles required is 3,000 and in increments of 1,000 thereafter

Minimum donation is 10,000 miles and in increments of 5,000 thereafter

Minimum points donation required is 500 points. 500 points = $2

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles - through HK Red Cross
Minimum donation is 10,000 miles with increments of 5,000 thereafter

Minimum donation required is 3,000 points and in increments of 1,000 after

Minimum donation is 1,000 Finnair Plus points

Minimum points donation is 4,000 points and in increments of 10,000 thereafter

Minimum donation required is 2,500 points

Not sure about the minimum points required

Minimum mileage requirement is 500 miles

You used to be able to donate your miles directly to the American Red Cross with US Airways. But since the merger with American Airlines, you can only donate your miles now to their in-house umbrella programs. According to the airline, though, their "Miles of Hope" program benefits organizations like the Red Cross -- so if you wish to donate your American Airlines AAdvantage Miles, you can  do so by visiting their donation page at www.aa.com

Incidentally, they are currently running a promotion with the Red Cross that ends this month where you can earn bonus miles for your cash donations. Earn 250 miles for a donation of $50 and 500 miles for $100. The bonus miles is capped at 500. To learn more, visit their page here.

Minimum mileage requirement is 500 miles

Minimum mileage requirement is 1,000 miles

Minimum mileage requirement is 1,000 miles

Minimum donation is 10,000 miles with increments of 5,000 thereafter

Minimum points required is 2,000 points up to 10,000 points

Minimum mileage requirement is 1,000 miles

Minimum mileage requirement is 1,000 miles

Minimum donation is 10,000 miles with increments of 5,000 thereafter

Minimum mileage requirement is 1,000 miles

Minimum donation is 1,000 Finnair Plus points

Minimum points required is 2,900 points

Donation starts at 500 points 

LASTLY, similar to their efforts for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, United has set up a crowdrise.com site specifically for donations to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal....

Image from United/Crowdrise
Here is the link: https://www.crowdrise.com/unitednepalrelief

United will award 250 bonus miles for donations from $50-$99; $100-$249 will receive 500 bonus miles; $250 or more will receive 1,000 bonus miles; up to a total of 5 million miles to be given away until May 15, 2015. On top of that, United will match up $50,000 in donations made by their MileagePlus members! Amazing! Thank you very much, United!

I will update this list when I find out more loyalty programs connected to the organizations helping out in Nepal.

Reminder: Depending on your loyalty program, donations to their charity partners may count as an eligible activity in your account -- which should, in turn, extend your miles/points' expiry date. Make sure to check out their terms & conditions, though.


March 23, 2015

Quick Pics: Loews Minneapolis Hotel

Here is another quick pics post. This one is sent in by a friend who recently stayed at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel.

In a nutshell, my friend said that he liked the hotel, that the location was good, but the service wasn't anything special. Anyway, he said he would stay there again the next time he finds himself in the city because he believes there are no other better options.

- End of friend's statement - :-)

I actually also just stayed at a Loews property (in downtown Chicago) and will post my review of the same later this week.

A great week ahead to everyone and enjoy the wonderful Spring weather out...

March 16, 2015

Hotel Review: Hyatt Place Madison (Wisconsin)

This review has been long overdue. I won a free night certificate from a Hyatt Place promo last year and decided to use it to go on a mini-getaway. The closest property they had where we would feel like we were on vacation was the one in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a two hour and a half drive from Chicago and people have been saying that it is really pretty up there at the peak of Fall. And it was (check my post about it here).

Anyway, just a quick note on that Hyatt Place promo. They ran a promo to celebrate their 200 locations by giving away 200 free night certificates last August 2014...

Image from Hyatt Place
I, luckily, won one of the certificates after having entered the contest numerous times. This was my entry that won....

Image from Twitter. Photo from Myself. Hihi.

Image from Twitter

And here is the free night certificate...

Not bad, right?

So without much further ado...


Check-in was quick and uneventful -- which is always good. The check-in staff was pleasant and efficient and we were on our way to our room after a couple of minutes.

Here are some photos of the lobby...

The Room

The room was huge and was compartmentalized into different areas, which is Hyatt Place's signature lay-out/look.

Right through the door is the living area...

Past it is the sleeping area...

To the left of the entrance, across from the living area is the mini-bar and work area...

And past it, across the sleeping area, is the shower area...

Now this is where I felt the layout sort of failed. I don't like the fact that the sink was exposed to the room and how the shower and toilet were cramped into a tiny dark corner. I am not sure if this was the standard throughout this property but I checked other Hyatt Place's and they seem to have more standard bathrooms

There is a tiny closet located in this area, where the iron & board is also kept...

Other than the awkward shower and sink layout and the dated look of the room (which makes it feel like any other mid-range hotel room in America), everything else like (again) its size, its condition, and how it was spotless was all good. Oh, I forgot to mention that the water pressure in the shower was kind of poor and Wi-Fi is free :-)

Other Amenities

Hyatt Place offers its guests free breakfast off its lobby area...

The offerings were good for a quick bite and they also served juice and coffee, too.

There was a small business center...

A tiny but clean gym...

And a (again) small but clean indoor pool...

There is also parking for the guests but I forgot now if there was a fee or if it was free, sorry.

Around the Area

The hotel is really close to the State Capitol,...

...the University of Wisconsin campus, and the surrounding commercial area with all of the food choices you may think of (that includes a very good Nepalese restaurant that you should try when you find yourself in the city)...


All in all, I liked my stay at the Hyatt Place in Madison. The hotel is clean and in good condition, the location is great, the staff are pleasant and helpful, and there is not really a lot to complain about.

It is actually a surprise to me that (as of this writing) this property ranks #20 (of 60 something) on TripAdvisor. Most of the properties in the area are in the same category so I wonder what makes them so much better than this property -- given how I thought that the Hyatt Place Madison was already considerably good.

With that said, though, even if I would stay there again -- I'd probably check out another property the next time I am back just to see what makes them rank higher than this hotel.
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