Award sweet spots hiding in plain sight, Happy Marriott Merger Day and more

Happy Marriott Merger Day! It’s finally here. In this Frequent Miler week in review, we look at everything you should have done to maximize the merger for your own benefit. Now, sit back and see how we all did. Also follow along and pick up a couple of great award chart sweet spots, a way to stack the Prestige for massive hotel savings and more. Read on for our weekly recap.

Here’s Marriott’s timeline for August 18th merger day

This one is just a quick tip post from the middle of the week, but you might find it particularly relevant today…..or you might not find it relevant at all — let’s see how this goes. I’ll say this much: they sped ahead of schedule a bit and took SPG offline sooner than expected last night. Key systems have been up and down for days. Could they actually stick to this timeline? It’ll be an interesting day finding out what happens.


Round trip biz class to Europe for 80K Korean miles; and a trick for avoiding fuel surcharges

Business class awards to Europe

Korean air award

With Korean set to leave its partnership with Chase this week, our chance to take advantage of crazy sweet spots in Korean’s chart  (like this one) are dwindling to near-zero. If you’re looking to take a trip to Europe in business class, you’ve gotta see this so you can avoid fuel surcharges like the ones shown above.


Betting again on top value Marriott travel packages. Analysis of the “no upgrades/downgrades” rule.

If you have a DeLorean handy and a stretch of road where you can get it up to 88mph, you may be able to check out this thoughtful analysis and put it to amazing use. If not, you’ll have to hope that you made the right call in booking what you booked. Hopefully we’ll know soon who made the right calls. This much is for sure: Marriott didn’t make it easy.

Stacking 4th Night Free + BRG for big savings

The Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit likely saves some people hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year. Did you know you can do even better with a best rate guarantee claim? I recently got almost 40% off of the cheapest advance purchase member rate on a Hyatt stay — with Hilton it could have been as good as 60% off. If you’re a Prestige card holder, you should be looking for these opportunities to save big.

The case against buying travel packages (even if you want airline miles)

Practicing our 'No' faces (I call mine Angry Blue Steel)

If you didn’t buy a Marriott Travel package and you’re looking for a reason to point to when the subject inevitably comes up at your next cocktail party, Korean Air is your answer. See this post for more on why.


Rental car driving in Germany. 3 Lessons Learned.

Have you ever wondered what you would look like in grainy security camera footage while driving the getaway vehicle at a blistering 5mph over the limit? Greg can show you.


Wow: Chase losing Korean as a transfer partner

This is another quick tip, but the short-notice deadline here seemed to warrant getting it in week in review for those who may have otherwise missed it mid-week. You have just 7 days left to transfer Ultimate Rewards to Korean Air Skypass – so if you had an award in mind, now is the time.

Crunch time! Final pre-Marriott/SPG merger checklist

Hopefully you gave this one a read and took all your screen shots. If you didn’t do so yet, you might want to screen shot what you can right now. As I was typing this late last night, I was refreshing my accounts and checking hotel availability. My Marriott point balance was showing a 100K point difference between the “Account Overview” page on the website vs the balance indicated in the top right on the home page (which was equal to the balance shown in the app). I expect more of this over the next day or two. Do not panic. It’ll get ironed out. The one thing worth watching out for right now is any glitchy hotel misprices that might open a window to scoring a great deal. I wouldn’t bother calling Marriott with any account problems until Monday.

A case for gambling on top tier travel packages

I placed my bet on “What can go wrong #3”. The odds dictate a potential payout that could be very lucrative, yet aren’t bad enough to consider this a true long shot. Whatever your wager, the smart money is on not knowing who was right for a couple more weeks if you ask me. Marriott has said they would release a conversion chart today, but I doubt we’ll know the outcome on these for a while yet.


Yet another new Marriott travel package conversion theory

 

I’m already on record in the comments saying that I don’t buy this theory. It’s an interesting idea and as my comment says, it is the most mathematically equitable solution to the problem of mapping these certificates — but I find it the least likely scenario. And once this doesn’t happen, I hope we can take one key lesson away from this: most phone reps have no idea at all what’s going on in upper levels of company management. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but I don’t put much stock in a single phone rep’s word – even when the theory sounds this plausible.


Mapping old to new Marriott Travel Packages

One last set of guesses, which were actually Greg’s first predictions of the week. According to Greg’s analysis, I set myself up to be “slightly disappointed”. Ya know, set expectations low. Your move, Marriott.


How To Find Business Class Awards To Europe For 88,000 Miles Or Points

Business class awards to Europe

ANA Star Wars TM collaboration planes flying to somewhere other than Europe via http://www.ana-sw.com/

John Klukas brings us an award chart sweet spot you may be missing — and for this price, you shouldn’t be. Avoid fuel surcharges by following advice in the post and enjoy a terrific deal.


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.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Rob
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Rob

When do they tell us how the travel package certificates are converting? Shouldn’t it be today, since we can’t buy the old deal anymore?

Grimex
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Grimex

” I’ll say this much: they sped ahead of schedule a bit and took SPG offline sooner than expected last nigh”
Is this a clue about some hidden opportunity ?

Platinum
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Platinum

So Greg, where is your reaction blog about today’s events.

Kalboz
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Kalboz

The title is “Award sweet spots hiding in plain sight” then there is no mention of such sweet spots in the article.

Did I miss it?

Pam
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Pam

Thanks Greg & Nick – opened up my Marriott app to “Platinum Elite” today as you continued to promise!

FINALLY makes the long wait, new app, & hand-wringing worth it. I was propelled from Gold status with the RC card based on all your input and discussions with Marriott. You boys both enjoy your time off and thank you again for all you do for us!