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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.