Findings between the lines, changing plans in light of coronavirus, and more

In this week’s Frequent Miler week in review around the web, find a trick that might help you find extra value from your Mastercards, read about changing plans in light of coronavirus (even on nonrefundable tickets), why you may (or may not) want to wait to match to Mlife Gold status, and more.

TRY THIS TRICK TO FIND VALUABLE WORLD MASTERCARD BENEFITS

Bethany Walsh at Bougie Miles continues to knock it out of the park with interesting finds in the depths of program terms and conditions. I’ve often stumbled on foreign benefits guides and now and then taken advantage of them, but I didn’t realize how often this may be possible. I’ll be taking a look around the resources she highlights to see what else I can find hidden between the lines.

DESPITE CORONAVIRUS, NOW IS THE TIME TO VISIT ASIA

Gilbert Ott at God Save the Points makes some interesting points about sensationalism and statistics. He’s absolutely right that the mathematical odds of contracting the new coronavirus are infinitesimally small based on current statistics, yet I’ve still noted that I’m not planning to travel to Asia this year. I actually agree with Gilbert’s analysis, but disagree with his conclusion: what makes me nervous about coronavirus is how highly contagious it appears to be and how little we appear to know about it. The odds may be very low based on what we now know, but it’s what we don’t know that has me playing it more conservative for the time being. My attitude may change in the coming months, but I’m OK with slowing down the pace a bit for now.


STUPID MISTAKE – I NEVER USED A FREE NIGHT CERTIFICATE

Your Mileage May Vary fesses up to a cardinal sin of free night certificates: letting one expire totally unused. I find myself in a similarish situation at the moment, with a Hilton weekend night certificate that’s approaching expiration without a plan for how to use it just yet. Like YMMV, I have an upcoming trip to New York City, but room rates are so low on the dates I need that I’m having a hard time justifying the use of the certificate for that trip (and in my case, I need two nights, so do I use it at a nice place and overpay for night #2, or do I pay the same amount for two nights at another hotel?). Thankfully, I have enough time to likely find a better use, but it’s easy to end up on the wrong side of this looking back at what you coulda shoulda done. Make those free night cert plans sooner rather than later!


My experience cancelling a KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes award

On our Frequent Miler on the Air podcast, we’ve recently talked about Greg’s need to cancel some flights in Asia, including on Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. We noted that customer service often has some latitude, so it’s worth asking nicely, sometimes a few times if necessary. In this case, Mile Lion was able to cancel a nonrefundable award. While phone attempts failed, the situation is a good reminder that even if one person won’t help, it can be worth trying again. All that said, the most interesting piece of this story was rather how his travel insurance works.


Why I Would Reconsider Matching Mlife & Hyatt Status

Mark at Miles to Memories makes the case for why you might want to hold off on the next spin of the status-match-go-round between Hyatt and Mlife. He’s not wrong that if Atlantic City is on your horizon, you’ll want to wait to match. However, I disagree with him that Hyatt Explorist status is worthless without club upgrades. When I couldn’t get a 45 minute extension on a late checkout at a Hilton hotel last year, I had to book a night at a Hyatt just to have a room to do a video conference for an hour. Had I booked with Hyatt, I’d have had a 2pm checkout thanks to Explorist status. Guaranteed 2pm checkout is in fact my favorite Hyatt Explorist benefit, so I don’t consider Explorist sans lounge access awards worthless at all.


That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for 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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DSK
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DSK

Nick–Totally agree with you on Gilbert’s article, both his analysis and his conclusion. I have been personally agonizing over the Asia travel debacle and decided yesterday to cancel our upcoming trip in two weeks to two of the most affected areas in Asia outside of China (entire trip booked nearly a year ago on points in J), not really because of a huge fear of catching the virus, but a justifiable fear of everything else. What kind of trip would it be if I was the only one not wearing a mask (or if I felt I needed to wear a mask because everyone else was doing it)? My photos would be filled with empty spaces with a few mask-wearing people walking by. Would I be able to book the tours I wanted and would they be at risk of cancellation if not enough people booked them? Would tourist attractions keep more limited hours or close completely? Would airport lounges be closed since air traffic dried up and the airlines decided they weren’t being used enough to keep them open (already happened in HKG)? Would hotels close their lounges for the same reason? What if I caught something that was not Corona and ran a low-grade temp (food poisoning for example)–would I be allowed into a country or back into the USA, or could I be forced into involuntary quarantine? What would conditions be like in two weeks when I was scheduled to leave but, even more important, in four weeks when I was scheduled to return? I could keep going–too many questions. As my wife said, why would we want to run directly into a fire?

farnorthtrader
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farnorthtrader

While I agree with the issues you mentioned around places being closed, flights being cancelled, etc, in terms of actually catching Covid 19, it would be more like why would you run into a room with a match burning in an ashtray, than running into a fire. Actually a pretty apt description of the actual risk versus the perceived risk.

DSK
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DSK

One of the wonders of this hobby is the ability to tilt if necessary. So I am using some other points and miles I had for two last minute tickets to Aruba in F and a few nights at a great resort on the beach. No masks. No mass hysteria. No risk of cancelled tours.The Asia trip in J will hopefully happen at a better time in the future, saver space permitting.

John Rogerson
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John Rogerson

Gilbert is being ignorant and stubborn. Sure, it is reasonably safe to visit these Asian countries based on the current picture. But with a 14 day incubation period, 2-5% death rate and cases of reinfection, you shouldn’t base your travels and safety on what is the case right now but what can happen in 2 weeks. The church in Korea and the Diamond Princess are evidence of how the disease can spread with just one person carrying it. You can’t control the future and people do get hurt or killed in helicopter crashes, attacks, train crashes, or from infections while away but those things can be quantified and steps can be taken to avoid tour companies with bad reputations, to stay away from bad areas and to stick with tourist areas and to get a flu shot if you are susceptible based on age or medical problems. But this virus is a completely different story. Why risk it. Why have this hanging over your head. DSK makes a good point about not being able to enjoy normal attractions and experiences.

Mary
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Mary

Just a few days ago I canceled the Asia portion of an eastward multi-alliance RTW trip for 2 that I had booked a year ago, all in J and F, including these very hard-to-get awards: FRA-SIN in Singapore Suites, SIN-NRT in NEW Singapore Suites, and NRT-LAX in JAL First. We were supposed to leave for the Europe portion of the trip on Tuesday and get to Asia in early March. Very painful decision because I don’t think I will ever be able to put together that award itinerary again. I tried to see if I could rebook any of it, anytime August 2020 through end of schedule in 2021, with no luck. My husband and I made this decision not because we’re so scared of covid-19 (though we’re on the lower end of the age group that is more likely to die of an infection with it) but because of how governments are freaking out about it. We don’t want to end up stuck somewhere because borders get closed, or to be thrown into quarantine. We changed to an out-and-back trip to Europe by keeping the outbound legs of the RTW and grabbing an award for a return flight. And then yesterday and today, the situation in Italy blew up: a drastic increase in infections and a literal lockdown of 12 towns in northern Italy. Ugh! So we canceled the Europe trip too, because if we’re going to get stuck inside a lockdown, we want it to be at home, where we are at least prepared to hunker down for weeks with enough food, toilet paper, etc. Imagine being inside that cordon as a tourist in a hotel, stuck in your room at the mercy of the hotelier. No thanks.

Kate
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Kate

We are supposed to leave for Israel on a long planned trip in three weeks. Have great business flights, luxury hotels lined up, on points. But reading about the South Korean tourists in Israel with coronovirus traveling around numerous locations has me wondering if we should cancel. I’m not prepared to at the moment.. but suspect in a couple of weeks we may.

CaveDweller
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CaveDweller

Yup I had the same deal in Dec planned for 3 months to do Aus again in 1/1/2021 waiting to book. Well the fires got stronger and Sydney was covered in smoke . I’m not going to risk my health and there’s lots of places to go I booked Aruba & SB for New Years . May 15th I got the EU will wait to see if if I can go another zillion hrs spent on that trip too .
U can always Go next year don’t look back look Forward .
CHEERs