My Week in Points March 17-23: maybe Delta can downgrade dead elites in-flight, and whittling through ATL

Just emerged from the Great Firewall of ever-worse internet in China, even with VPN custom gateways from WiTopia it was tough to get things done.


  • Many commentators have lamented Delta’s decision to revoke mileage balances at death. On my PVG-NRT flight this morning I got to think how far they might take it, for instance, if an upgraded passenger dies in flight will they push the body back to economy and move up the next living passenger on the upgrade list?

Line of the week:

  • While bashing the airline in Atlanta, I am catching up on episodes of Points Hoarder, Episode 22 discusses the TSA’s decision to allow certain, small knives onboard, the jokes go back and forth until Fozz lowers the boom:

But you know, if you are flying, like, through Atlanta or something, you also have the problem of someone whittling sitting next to you.


  • Hilton’s Q2 promotion is out, nothing too exciting, usually I would just register and forget, but if memory serves, it seems that in the past I have signed up for these only receive emails a week or two later with alternate airline options that are then excluded by my points registration. I will sit on this a bit until I have a stay coming up.
  • I have a 1-night business stay at a Doubletree this week, I just did my review of the point/mile earning and My Way options. I have noticed that the booking system my company uses pulls my AA account for the miles component since I had that set when I added the Hilton account to the system. It has not updated with subsequent changes so I need to fix it at check-in as I have been burned when this overrides my Hilton HHonors profile preferences. A lot of work just to stay one night, yet I do like the flexbility in earning and benefits. For My Way, on a 1-personal business stay I opt for points while a personal stay with wife the breakfast options make sense.


  • Checking out this morning from a 20-night business stay at The Hongta Hotel, Shanghai, more than my prior lifetime Starwood nights, I realized that my Starwood Amex Biz card did not have even enough credit limit to pay for the stay. Recently Amex has given me ultra-low credit limits and I have not bothered to subsequently raise it. I whipped open my computer while the clerk waited, paid an extra $1,000 into the account and the transaction went through. Nice boost to the SPG account, now I need to make my first-ever SPG redemption, every time I have wanted to use my points I have found no availability or higher prices than I have felt justified.

Club Carlson:

  • I noted last week that I was targeted for a 10k ‘we miss you’ bonus for any stay. Here comes a business trip and a chance at the Country Inn & Suites Bentonville South. I have a soft spot for the anachronistic coziness of Comfort Inns, though the rebrand is inevitable and probably is for the best – just don’t mess with the chicken fried steak at breakfast.


  • Scott at Hack My Trip has at least a weekly existential post about miles and points and/or blogging. This would get tedious from most blogs,  Scott’s posts though are thoughtful and generate interesting debate that is more nuanced and contemplative than the never-ending FT threads. Check out his Five Travel Blogs You Should Be Reading and follow-up Why Travel Hacking Is More than Just Credit Cards. I come at this as someone who has been traveling for pleasure as a backpacker for years and found this hobby as a way to make otherwise cost-prohibitive destinations possible. I am fascinated to hear the perspectives of people who get their principal pleasure from the earning, the Frequent Miler-ites let’s say, while the travel is more a trophy or afterthought.

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  1. At least one existential post a week? So be it. :)

    What really happens is I get bored and just start writing whatever. Sadly, I never followed up my interest in philosophy in college because I didn’t think there’d be any money in it. I’m not using my biology training either, so a lot of good that attempted rationalization did me.

  2. Did your Amex SPG stay result in foreign transaction fees? My SPG card has only a $3300 credit line while my no fee Hilton card is at $9,000. Amex does some weird things

  3. I fly out of Atlanta and loved your comments on Delta! Hilarious!

    At my pat down at the Atlanta airport a few days ago I discussed the new “knife” policy with the TSA agent. They are looking forward to it and think it will make their jobs easier. I asked if they also will be allowing corkscrews (my main concern) and she said yes. I hope this is true because it is such a pain to find them at most destinations. Ironically I had the toughest time finding one in Italy.

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