Happy Sunday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.
Here we are, at the end of 2018. When looking back at our hotel stays from the past year, I get a sense of how we traveled and how it compared to previous years. I make travel decisions based on how I think we travel but if those trends are changing, I’ll need to adapt the methods I use when looking at the best way to maximize our points usage and out of pocket spending. When I look back at 2018, I’m really happy how everything turned out. Going into the year, due to some work changes, I knew that saving cash on hotel stays would be a priority. I never really focused on earning hotel points before but I’m a quick study and I set a goal to not pay for a hotel room if I could help it.
I did really good in achieving my goal. We stayed in hotels for 37 nights and only paid $1000. When I paid cash for a room there was a specific reason I did so. The rest of our hotel stays were paid for by points or free nights earned by having certain hotel credit cards. Here’s a breakdown of our stays for the year:
When I’m charged the annual fee for a credit card, I take time to think if I want to keep, downgrade or cancel the card. For me to keep the card and pay the fee, without having any guilt, the benefits I receive have to be worth more than I’m paying for the card. Those benefits may come in the ability to earn points that allow Sharon and I to go on amazing trips around the world. A card might also provide certain savings on travel like getting a free checked bag with an airline or free WiFi when staying at a hotel. There also also cards that make our travel more comfortable by giving us access to airport lounges or room and car upgrades, like the SUV we received when we rented a base sedan from Sixt.
I’m not a computer programmer, but the equation is a simple one
- If card benefits > cost, then keep card
- If card benefits < cost, then cancel card
But what happens if when I go to cancel a card, the bank does something to alter the calculations? That’s how retention offers work.
I know watching the news stories about the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence can make you feel helpless. The scope of this event just causes you to feel numb and you want to do something but don’t know how you can help.
Luckily, most of the airline and hotel programs are making it easy to contribute in any way you can. Even if you don’t have cash to spare, you can donate those random points you have here and there to the recovery effort. Face it, it’s better to donate them than redeem them for some magazines that you’ll never read.
Happy Sunday, everyone! Here are some articles we’ve read this week from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.
- For a while, we’ve heard about difficulties using Chase Ultimate Rewards to book stays at Walt Disney World. Fortunately, you could use a work around to purchase Disney World travel packages by calling Chase’s Travel & Cruise desk. Doctor of Credit reports that’s no longer possible and only Chase Freedom cardholders can buy Disney tickets though the Chase portal.
- Steph from One Mile At A Time was stuck overnight at Chicago’s O’Hare airport due to a flight cancellation. Here’s the details of her filing a claim under her credit card’s trip delay coverage.
- John from Loyalty Lobby shared an article from The Telegraph where Richard Quest asks “What’s wrong with British Airways?”
- Halloween is approaching and Erin from Million Mile Secrets put together a list of her favorite Halloween theme park celebrations. I don’t know about you, but I’m skeptical of any list that doesn’t include the Golden Ticket winning Halloween Horror Nights at Universal.
- Gary writes on View From The Wing about his need to cancel an award ticket due to a family emergency. One airline stepped up and showed they are able to be compassionate and act like human beings instead of being bound by company policies.
- Many people are tempted by low cost fares on trans-Atlantic flights. The World According To Dev shared a tale of a flight on WOW Air that didn’t end up as planned. It’s an interesting read because the passenger involved works for another airline and is able to describe events better than most others could.
- Mark on Miles to Memories reminds us that it’s always a good idea to have the airline apps loaded onto your phone before traveling. I fully agree and include them as part of my travel apps you need to have.
- Ed from Pizza in Motion was looking for hotel rooms around Disney World and stumbled upon this hidden use for Wyndham Rewards points. I never even knew this resort existed but if you’re traveling with a large group, it looks like a great option.
- Lastly, there has been a lot of frayed nerves over the Marriott/Ritz Carlton/SPG loyalty merger. Some things are working, others are not and there’s no ETA on when everything will be fixed. However, in instances like this you’re occasionally able to find a hidden value if you know where to look. Nick from Frequent Miler managed to snag a 5 night stay at the St. Regis in Bora Bora for 48,000 Marriott points a night. Not bad considering the Swan or Dolphin at Disney would cost 40,000 points per night for a 5 night stay. (Five night award stays at SPG/Marriott/Ritz hotels get the 5th night free)
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary