Let’s dive into a week I learned a lot, with tip of the week honors going to Loyalty Traveler for finding that Choice Hotels has launched Cash Plus Points and there is an IHG-style Choice Privileges Points Plus Cash Trick. There are some tremendous values, particularly in Europe, and previously there were few ways to earn or transfer to earn Choice points. I have been keeping my Choice Privileges credit card from Barclaycard open just to have flexibility to earn points, at the possible detriment of new card approvals.
- Delta wants its customers to be ignorant. The old website duped customers out of countless millions of miles in award overcharges. Too much transparency set off alarm bells at Delta HQ after just over month and now the award charts have been removed (One Mile at a Time.)
- I have not flown Delta yet this year, though got dinged for 50% earning on a big Alitalia trip in January. I really wish I had the guts to walk away from Diamond Medallion status and 223k MQMs.
- Delta’s Skybonus Program Shifts Focus (Running With Miles). Detailed analysis that quickly told me my time in SkyBonus is limited. At end of 2013 I was one of the accounts that had all points confiscated with no-notice so not meeting the annual $5,000 annual spend requirement which at the time was buried in fine print. Appeals to Delta reinstated my account but not the points. Surprised it has not happened again at end of 2014.
- American Will Now Waive Telephone Fees for Awards You Can’t Book Online (View from the Wing). Just in time for some Cathay Pacific bookings I need to do. Oops, my wife and I need new AA credit cards for our 10& rebate, too bad all those Executive cards don’t have that benefit. US Airways, hello?
- I took up a targeted American Platinum offer and dumped United. Lots to learn. The AA website certainly sucks for booking revenue tickets (Free-quent Miler), especially when trying to get specific fare classes or building multi-segment trips. Phone service is not pleasant, either.
- AeroMexico has a 20% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards. Travel Summary shows the potential value such as US-Europe business class for 67k MR points roundtrip. One-way awards are fine, however there are fuel surcharges so watch out for many of the SkyTeam carriers. I would like to hear more about the booking process before I dive in.
- Korean Air Will Codeshare on American’s Dallas-Seoul Route (View from the Wing). I hope Korean finds more ways to stick it to arrogant Delta.
- All Chinese Airlines Eliminating Fuel Surcharges on Domestic Flights (View from the Wing). If only this happened with international flights, SkyMiles awards on China Eastern, China Southern and Xiamen Airlines would greatly increase in value.
- How to keep your LifeMiles alive (FrequentMiler). I have a small balance I inopportunely purchased when I SAW a use that two days later closed before I could finalize my Turkey trip plans. Forgot I had them. Someday I need to get to San Andres & Providencia and hope to use the points them.
- Philippines Airlines has great award availability from the West Coast and and there are partner of partner transfer options (View from the Wing). Enjoy Manila airport!
- Marriott acquired Canada’s Delta hotels (Travel Weekly), some of their hotels are special, many are standard chain hotels. The Lazy Traveler’s Handbook has a good recap of that and Marriott’s other recent additions. It will likely take some time to bring Delta into the Marriott Rewards fold. It took over a year for 26 of South Africa’s Protea hotels to come online, which will be on February 23, 2015, while others will wait until late 2015.
- My Into the Nights experience finally concluded, with my wife receiving her two nights after successful appeal that she did use the IHG app. Many others had similar issues with the app task. Fortunately, aware of those reports, we not only installed the app, but used it to make a reservation.
- The Holiday Inn Reynosa Zona Dorado has a great restaurant, yet the slowest check-in and check-out of any hotel in the world and you need to fight for an elite amenity. FYI – your colleagues’ spouses will not be happy when they find out you arranged a business trip to cartel-infested Reynosa. Fortunately there are several bridges to the US and the running gunfights usually do not shut down all at the same time.
- Chase is tightening up on airline reimbursements on Ritz-Carlton cards (Travel with Grant). With no problems in 2014 and beginning of 2015, my mid-January $100 Delta charge has been held up with Chase requesting proof. My take is that this is a supposed premium card so Chase should build a better, automated process like the competition. It is a hassle and I suppose the result is their real target market customers will forget about the credits and maybe not bother to keep the card long-term.
- A way to get the Chase IHG card 80k offer + $50 statement credit (Doctor of Credit). I love this card and think it should be the first Chase card anyone gets in order to start the annual cert clock starting.
- Bank of America/FIA WorldPoints Mall Ending in March 2015 (Out and Out). Never used it.
- How to Redeem Your Fidelity Amex Worldpoints (Milenomics). I need to finally get this card. Have not been in a rush since I have the old Barclaycard Priceline Visa which is a no annual fee uncapped 2% cashback card. PFDigest has a list of 2% cards.
- I was thinking of trying for the Amex Business Rewards Gold 75k offer. Online, at least, it seems to be head. I love Miles to Memories’ creative way to test browsers on a massive scale.
- Is it time to shut down the “shills” who are paid to endorse credit card companies? (Chris Elliot). TBB-syle debate in the comments with fewer codewords and more complete sentences.
- My Delta-granted Presidents Circle status on Hertz showed up, just as they said, after 6-8 weeks. Just in time, I had a rental on Wednesday. Delta Gold and above, see here to start the process.
- Discover has run out of National certificates (FrequentMiler). I hope they come back.
- Expedia has acquired Travelocity, per Christopher Elliott, the Travelocity brand with continue in a zombie state. I hope nothing disrupts the Capital One rental car portal that uses Travelocity.
- Staples and Office Depot are merging (NYT DealBook). I wonder what that holds in store for the hobby.