$100 ignites an unpredictable controversy, FM’s newest addition, cheap business class to Africa, and more


As we welcomed 2018 this week at Frequent Miler, Greg laid out some predictions: among them was not how animated the discussion would become over Wednesday morning’s post. In other news this week, there’s a new name and face on the Frequent Miler team and an amazing award ticket that has newly reappeared. All that and more in this Frequent Miler Week in Review.

Frequent Miler’s 2018 miles & points predictions


The past two years, Greg has more or less knocked it out of the park with his predictions. This year, my prediction is simple: I think Greg’s right. For better or worse, I think these predictions are extremely likely to be true. Don’t get me wrong — I hope that basic economy awards don’t become a thing and that we don’t lose SPG’s 1:1 airline transfer partners, but the realist in me knows that these things are coming. On the bright side, I think his resort fee prediction might seem the most outlandish — but I’ll bet he’s right, and I’ll bet it’s Wyndham that leads the charge. I just won’t bet much :-D. Now if only I could get Greg to predict tonight’s Powerball….

Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection vs Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts

Loews Chicago, where I recently enjoyed a cheap FHR stay.

Many mentions are made of Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, but how does the Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection stack up against Amex’s luxury hotel benefits program? In this post, we compare benefits, hotel selection, and price. The sample size was small (though it was larger than what made it into the post), but check out this overview for some interesting insights into the strengths and weaknesses of these programs you can enjoy with your premium cards.

Marriott pays up when they fail to deliver elite benefits

In the undisputed most controversial post of the week, Greg let us know about a lesser-known benefit of the Marriott Rewards program. I’ll be completely honest — as I read Greg’s post, I had no idea what a firestorm of controversy it would ignite in the comments — and as good much as I think Greg’s miles & points predictions were spot on, I’m betting he didn’t predict this one, either. As I read it, I thought to myself, “Huh…Marriott makes a promise and stands by it with a real guarantee. That’s awesome!”. Needless to say, not everyone agreed — so Greg later posted a poll: “Was it wrong of me to ask for $100? (Open in browser for reader poll)“. My personal take on this one: The purpose of an elite program is to encourage loyalty and drive business & profit for the company. Whatever policies are put in place within that program are aimed at those goals, so I don’t think taking advantage of this guarantee is any different as an elite-status customer than enjoying access to the executive lounge or earning more points per dollar spent. All of those things are the benefits of choosing to be loyal to the program and are policies instituted by corporate to ensure long-term loyalty and profit. This guarantee (and more specifically the post) makes me more likely to stay at a Marriott — not because I hope to get a hundred bucks, but because I give credit to Marriott for the faith they place in their employees to deliver the consistency of experience that elite members seek when they choose one chain’s hotels for so many nights out of the year. The fact that this policy isn’t more widely known tells me that the policy works. Now if only Hyatt would pay out $100 every time a Globalist member isn’t upgraded to an available suite….

5 years, 50 states. Welcome aboard Stephen!

Stephen Pepper is a name that surely isn’t unfamiliar to regulars in our Frequent Miler Insiders group. Stephen has made some excellent contributions (including on the HP double dip — thanks to his intel on that (see what I did there?), I’m typing this post on the brand new HP I bought a couple of months ago!) — and he’s just embarked on an adventure that would make many a traveler envious. On top of all that, he is now going to be helping out around here as a part-time Quick Deal author. As I’ll soon be spending a couple of weeks changing my first diapers, you’ll be seeing more of Stephen’s contributions in my absence. Read the intro above — and welcome to the team, Stephen!

50K Business Class round-trip to Africa (DC to Senegal) now available

South African Airways Business Class

While certainly a niche award, I find this one really intriguing. Flying all the way to Africa in a flat bed seat for the same cost as a domestic US business class ticket in a recliner seat is a pretty amazing deal — especially when you consider how easy it is to accumulate these points. I love flights like this that get you off the beaten track a bit and then position you to take advantage of other award chart sweet spots to piece together a bigger trip for fewer miles. All that enthusiasm aside, this obviously isn’t for everyone — but I’m glad to see it is again possible.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for our week in review around the web and this week’s last chance deals.

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