Welcome to this week in review around the web, where we highlight some of our favorite posts from around the Internet.
First up, I ask the title question — would you pay to shower on a plane? Word on the street is that Emirates thinks you might. While just a rumor, I don’t find it all that hard to believe. I the past month, I’ve flown Emirates A380 first class 3 times and have noticed a few corners cut: pajamas and amenity kits were not proactively distributed on one flight (though they were available on request); on another flight, the pre-departure beverage served was Moet & Chandon with Dom Perignon not served until we were airborne. Don’t mistake those for complaints — just indications that the cost-cutting rumors seem to be true. While it’s kind of neat to take a shower at 35,000 feet, I do wonder about the pricing sweet spot. Obviously they want to tempt a few passengers to give it a go while space and time would seriously limit the number of people who could be accommodated.
Speaking of accommodation, Shawn at Miles to Memories has the scoop on how you could earn up to 10K Southwest miles per night when you book through SouthwestHotels. I’m of two minds on this: it seems that it could be a viable shortcut to a Companion Pass if the miles earned here do indeed count. On the flip side, the opportunity cost of losing elite benefits on the stay might be too much of a trade for me. I admit that I’ll be taking a look at this in comparison to what I can book elsewhere. Even at just 6,000 points per night, a Companion Pass would only require about 19 nights. Compare that to how Hyatt wants me to spend 60 nights a year to maintain top-tier status and a companion pass at ~19 nights (or maybe less) starts to sound pretty interesting.
In other hotel news, the increased SPG sign up bonuses remind us that SPG has some really cool experiences you can buy with points. Charlie at Running with Miles covers a number of opportuities to use as few as 5,000 Starpoints to attend MLB Spring Training games with SPG Moments.
In “news I wish I knew a month ago”, Mommy Points shares a simple trick to help the United computers find the routing you want. Complex itineraries used to be easier with the multi-city tool. Instead, I spent several hours on the phone with agents piecing together something that I was having trouble pricing correctly online. Maybe it would have been a little easier if I’d have nudged the computer along with Summer’s trick!
Continuing to wish that I could turn back time and know then what I know now, I wish I could have known that Vietnam was introducing E-Visas for US Citizens on February 1st. Right now, I type this post from Ho Chih Minh City, where I landed a few hours ago and entered the country on a paper visa that I applied for through the mail. It’s now both cheaper and easier for US Citizens to visit for up to 30 days than it was when I applied last month. Oh well! That’s how the cookie crumbles.
Finally, not all news is good news. Loyalty Traveler uncovered unannounced changes to Wyndham Rewards GoFast rates — increases in copay, decreases in room types available, and more constricting terms on some stays. This is disappointing news for a program that was starting to look more appealing when they overhauled the program a couple of years ago.
That’s it for this week’s stories from around the web — check back again for this week’s last chance deals