AA is giving away elite status

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🤓 Trivia Tuesday: Can you name this Nilotic ethnic community known for their deep cultural rituals, which include high jump dancing?

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🤓 Trivia Tuesday: Can you name this Nilotic ethnic community known for their deep cultural rituals, which include high jump dancing?

Habari za asubuhi na karibu tena kwenye Daily Drop! I’m currently on my fourth trip to Tanzania, one of my favorite countries in the world, and a place I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of…

Speaking of things you can never get sick of, I’ve got more great travel hacks for you today, so mábe (I’m picking up a little ki-Masai on this trip 😉):

  • 🏃🏼‍♂️ Mike on the Move: The best way to book hotels in Africa

  • ✈️ Some AA members can get an instant status pass

  • 🌎 Sponsored by Trusted Housesitters

  • 🤓 Travel Trivia Tuesday

🏃🏼‍♂️ Mike on the Move: The best way to book hotels in Africa

I’m spending about four weeks bouncing around Africa this month., and I want to tell you something that you might not realize:

Africa is CRAZY expensive… despite having a super low cost of living, hotels and flights to/from/within sub-Saharan Africa are just unbearably expensive.

Thankfully, there are some great ways to make use of your points and miles to eliminate 99% of those costs. And I’ll tell you how.

The MVP of my trip is a hotel chain called Protea Hotels.

Never heard of it? It’s probably because it only exists in sub-Saharan Africa, but it’s owned by Marriott and participates in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

I LOVE this hotel chain. Not only is it ubiquitous around Africa, but it offers a lot of value for your points.

Let me explain…

I’m staying at Protea Hotels four different times on this trip in Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana—all using Marriott Bonvoy points.

In Livingstone, Zambia, the Protea Hotel is the only chain hotel in the city. Normally, it costs around $225 per night.

That’s a lot… Especially considering that Protea Hotels aren’t really anything special… they’re generally pretty basic places to stay.

Thankfully, you can book the same room for only 10,500 points per night, meaning you’re getting more than two cents per point in value.

For Marriott points, that is AMAZING value.

Every Protea hotel has a disproportionately low cost in points when compared to the cash price. 

If you were to stay for five nights, the value would increase further since Marriott offers every fifth night free when using points.

A five-night stay at this hotel in Kampala, Uganda (where I’m heading tomorrow), costs over $1,000 total, but only 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the 5-night stay.

In this case, you’re getting around 2.6 cents per point in value…

This is just another example of why Marriott will always be my main squeeze in the hotel game. They simply can’t be beat when it comes to their global footprint and value for points…

Tune in next Monday, and I’ll tell you about how to use points to fly around Africa and save a whole bunch of money.

✈️ Some AA members can get an instant status pass

So I was hanging out in the jungle the other day here in Tanzania, and I thought to myself, “I wonder if anything good is going on in my American Airlines account.” Which is obviously what any sane person would be thinking about at such a time.

So, I whipped the app open.

And sure enough, this is what I found:

After texting some fellow humans, it turns out that a lot of people are seeing similar offers.

Here’s the deal:

  • Register for the offer from your AA account and get instant AA elite status for four months

  • During those four months, earn a certain number of Loyalty Points to maintain that status for another four months

  • The level of elite status depends on certain things (more below)

So, it seems like the level of elite status offered with the status pass depends on your World of Hyatt status level.

Remember, you can link your Hyatt and AA accounts to earn reciprocal benefits, points, etc.

Here are some further details:

  • Hyatt Explorists can earn AA Platinum Status and need to earn 25,000 Loyalty Points to maintain it.

  • Hyatt Globalists can earn AA Platinum Pro Status and need to earn 42,000 Loyalty Points to maintain it.

  • Even if you don’t have Hyatt status, you might still have an offer to get AA Gold Status and earn 13,000 Loyalty Points to maintain it.

I know this is a lot, so let me fill in some of the blanks…

Loyalty Points are the one currency that AA uses, and there are a LOT of ways to earn them. Check out my newsletter about this for more details on how to earn Loyalty Points, including from AA cobranded credit cards.

Overall, this could be worthwhile for anyone who wants to either enjoy four months of free status or can earn some Loyalty Points to extend that status.

So definitely log into your AA account, check the promotions page, and see what you have on offer! Free status is free status!

Sponsored by Trusted Housesitters: A travel solution for animal lovers

Become a sitter today and explore pet-sitting stays around the world!

Would you believe me if I told you that you could travel the world and get accommodations in cozy homestays… while spending time with cute pets (we’re talking cats, dogs, turtles, chinchillas, and everything in between)!

It’s true! There’s actually a genuine travel hack here…

Let me introduce you to Trusted Housesitters, the company that’s created a travel solution for pet people—they like to call it “vacation pet setting, with love.” ❤️

Pet-loving travelers know life’s adventures are made better with a fluffy friend in tow. It’s the freedom to roam with the feeling of home, and a chance to explore the world in a new way through pet sitting.

How it actually works:

  • You can browse pet sits in an area before committing to a paid membership

  • Then, if you’re down for it (I’d be so down), select your annual sitter plan basic, standard, or premium - depending on your needs

  • Get ID verification and create your profile

  • Explore, apply for, and confirm pet sits (and even conduct a video interview to meet the fur kids and their parents ahead of time)

  • Travel the world caring for adorable pets along the way in exchange for pet companionship - how cool is that?!

Trusted Housesitters values putting pets first and has members in 140+ countries with an abundance of 5-star reviews, so you’re almost guaranteed to find a unique opportunity no matter where you are in the world - with nothing exchanged but the love and care for animals and a place to stay in return.

It’s truly an amazing service. So yeah, who knew that the next most valuable travel currency behind miles and points was actually… pets! 🙃

🤓 Travel Trivia Tuesday

Correct answer: the Maasai people

The Maasai people are a semi-nomadic ethnic group indigenous to East Africa, primarily living in Kenya and Tanzania, known for their distinctive culture and clothing.

In my current neck of the woods (Northern Tanzania), it’s not uncommon at all to see Maasai walking around. As a warrior tribe, Maasai are often hired as security for local restaurants and shops here in East Africa.

The Maasai people value pastoralism, meaning they have been primarily cattle herders, relying on livestock such as cattle, goats, and sheep for their livelihood.

They’re known for their distinctive clothing, including bright-colored shawls called Shukas. Every time I come to Tanzania, I pick up a Shuka or two. They’re always unique and make for great blankets and stories back home.

There’s SO much more that makes the Maasai culture unique, so I encourage you to read more about these super cool and interesting people here.

Did you know that Daily Drop has a YouTube channel? Check out our latest video for some visual travel hacking tips 👇

That’s gonna do it for today, folks! I feel like today was a jam-packed newsletter… So to improve my service to you, can you please fill out this poll and tell me which part was your favorite?

What was your favorite part of today's newsletter?

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

Take care and see you tomorrow ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

3.3869° S, 36.6830° E

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