Welcome to this week’s Frequent Miler week in review around the web, where we recap some great reads from around the ‘net. This week, we’ve got a nice hack to potentially stack an extra Marriott free night
If you’re no longer interested in keeping a card, it’s always a good idea to consider a product change. Many card issuers will allow you to product change to a different type of card, though options are often limited to remaining within a card family. Before reading this post at Travel With Grant, I hadn’t realized that it was possible to product change from the Chase Ritz-Carlton card. This looks like a great hack to end up with multiple annual Marriott certificates — if you currently hold both cards, downgrading the Ritz card should lead to a couple of free nights. A married couple might be able to put together a nicely discounted vacation each year with multiple Marriott cards. You’re obviously on the hook for multiple annual fees, but if you’re able to take advantage of availability at one of the Top 5 Cat 5 Marriotts in the world (like the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, which has wide open availability right now) or one of the Best Marriotts in the US tp spend your free nights. I’m intrigued!
The Shutterwhale brings us another reminder to keep a close eye on your IHG balance. As long as IHG continues to secure accounts with just an email address and 4-digit PIN, these issues are going to pop up from time to time. I’m glad, like the Shutterwhale, I use Award Wallet to track my balances — increasing the likelihood that I would catch this kind of hack early. Most reports I’ve read indicate that IHG is good about investigating and resorting the points if you catch it early, but I’d rather they fix the system by securing accounts a bit better to begin with.
Last week, I included a post on Disney since tripos to Disney have now entered my long-term radar. Discounted Disney gift cards are often a draw, though this post makes a great point that manufacturing points to use may create a better discount. The problem would have been the inability to shop around — but this post from As the Joe Flies points out a neat trick that I wouldn’t have known possible when it comes to getting maximize value for your bank points towards a Disney vacation.
Now that Hyatt award nights count toward elite status, it is possible to earn status through mattress running. Hyatt Globalist status certainly has its perks. Last year, I enjoyed a massive suite with one of my suite upgrades at the Park Hyatt Mallorca, a nice suite upgrade without using one of my tier suite upgrades at the Park Hyatt Saigon, a pretty substantial selection of food and drinks at the Grand Hyatt Singapore, and I’ve saved hundreds on parking over several stays in New York City. But would I blow 300,000 points mattress running to get this status back? Absolutely not. I certainly agree with Ariana at Point Chaser on that much. I’m not even sure if it would make sense under a status challenge should they bring one back — though I think it is likely that the status challenge would work the same as it does with Marriott or SPG — which is to say that award nights wouldn’t count.
Ugh. When Gary Leff at View from the Wing wrote about this phenomenon six or seven weeks ago, I included it in the week in review. Now, Sriram at Travel Codex covers the spreading of this disease to other hotels. Here’s hoping we find a cure before this becomes an epidemic. It’s certainly worth keeping these fees in mind when you’re comparison shopping — you can’t just go by what a search engine says. I was recently shopping for a car and resolved that if a dealership tried to add in a “used car fee” or “preparation fee” of some sort, I was going to agree to it and tell them that I would have to add my “Thursday afternoon negotiation fee”, cancelling out their make-believe fees. Luckily, it didn’t come to that. Hopefully, this fee nonsense at hotels ends before it gets out of control.
That’s it for this week around the web — check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.