$7K for canceling an award stay, awards up north, hacking Turkish and more

In this weekend’s Frequent Miler week in review around the web, we’ve got the goods on why Marriott thinks resort fees are good for you, how you can hack that Turkish sweet spot a notch further, getting way up north on miles and points, and a last-minute addition that hit the headline: getting charged $7,000 to cancel an award stay more than a half a year in advance. All that and more to follow.

Marriott’s CEO Defends Resort Fees, Says They’re Good For You

Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection

Was it Carnegie who said, “The business of business is business”? Listen, I get that hotels are in business to make a profit. And hey, I’m American. I like profit. I don’t mind Marriott hotels wanting to make a few bucks more — and heck, I know that what makes a hotel as nice and comfortable as I like it to be is the ability to turn a profit. As a consumer, I just don’t like being lied to about the price. While I’m sure that Marriott would argue why resort fees are good for you whether they believed it or not, this piece from View from the Wing makes me think that Arne has actually convinced himself that people appreciate the value provided by resort fees – as though the hotel’s amenities are there for any other reason than to be competitive enough to draw consumers in the door. Hey Arne: you offer free Wi-Fi and towels at the pool because if you didn’t nobody would stay there. It’s the cost of doing business — just build that cost into the price of your products like everyone else does. I know that hoteliers likely wield a strong lobby, but I’m surprised that the industry hasn’t been forced to be honest about prices in the same way that airlines have. Do they really think this would hurt business? Has Delta stopped turning a profit since they started having to disclose the full price up front? Enough. Three cheers to the AG suing.


Track Hotel Free Night Certificates & Credit Card Annual Fees with my Spreadsheet

Organization is the key to winning in this game. Travel with Grant put together a spreadsheet that could prove very useful for staying organized with your free night certs and annual fees. As he references in the post, I recently wrote about why this is particularly important with Marriott free night certs as they may not automatically detach from your reservation upon cancellation. For those less spreadsheet-savvy or who just don’t want to put in the time reinventing the wheel, see this post for a handy tool.


FIRST AIR AND CANADIAN NORTH MERGER, HOW TO REDEEM AEROPLAN FOR THESE FLIGHTS

I hate being cold, so one would reasonably think that flying to the far remote reaches of northern Canada wouldn’t be my cup of tea. On the other hand, I love how miles and points can open up destinations I’d never have considered and can get me to places that would be prohibitively expensive to reach. As my son gets older, I look forward to bringing him to places off the beaten path, and this post from Points Miles and Bling at Travel Update shows how a recent merger opens up new possibilities to do just that in the far north.


How to Get Lie-Flat Seats on United in the U.S./North America for 12,500/15,000 Points and a Possible Trick

Should you be feeling a bit hack-ish, you may head over to Lazy Traveler’s Handbook, where Andy plants the idea as to how you could potentially put the Turkish sweet spot we recently uncovered to pretty solid use.


Watch Out for Non-Cancellable Hotel Rewards: Reader Got a Surprise $7000 Charge

I don’t normally include two posts from one blog in week in review, but I just saw this headline after writing the rest of this week in review post and had to include it here. This is unbelievable. If you saw the headline and thought, “oh, yeah. I remember hearing about some awards with 60-day or 90-day cancellation policies or else you’re charged in cash”, you should click through and read it. This guest booked a year in advance and canceled 7 months in advance and got charge seven grand. In the comments, CW says, “I doubt that this is really about getting paid by corporate for the rooms and is more likely intended to act as a deterrent against people booking points stays. The property can claim to have award inventory (thus complying with program rules), but if it scares people off from booking those rooms, it will still be more likely to sell the rooms for cash.” That doesn’t sound far-fetched, does it? I understand the hotel wanting to protect its profit, but so much life can happen in a year that it seems crazy to force this type of policy on members using loyalty points. Has the hotel forgotten the purpose of a loyalty program in the first place? Ask any American to name 5 hotels that don’t belong to a loyalty program and I bet 9 out of 10 can’t — being part of Hyatt is what puts them on the map, so it’s a shame to see them show such underappreciation as to charge a member so much so far in advance for cancelation. Credit it to Gary for helping this guest get it worked out and also for sharing it — lest the rest of us make the same sort of mistake. Be careful out there.


That’s it for this week around the web. Next up: 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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Hey Nick, thanks for writing about your Marriott free night certificate story and for giving me the idea 🙂

Those Canadian destinations sure look tempting, just tricky to get to from SFO.