In this Frequent Miler week in review around the web, read about how to get a refund from a COVID-canceled flight when the airline isn’t playing ball, what the (hopefully short-term?) future of Hawaii tourism may be, whether or not you really even need a wallet anymore and more.
Greg has written in the past about how Apple Pay has been incredibly useful in Europe (particularly in London) as it often obviates the need for a chip-and-PIN card in situations where you would otherwise be unable to use a chip-and-signature card (like at automatic ticket machines for trains). However, I found this post from Gilbert Ott at God Save the Points really interesting because I definitely wouldn’t have expected mobile payment acceptance, particularly of Google Pay, to be so widespread as to be able to take a trip to a Greek island and completely leave one’s wallet at home. I obviously wouldn’t recommend traveling without a wallet at all as I think it makes sense to have a backup, but if mobile wallet acceptance is this good in Greece, it is a good indication that it will likely be useful almost anywhere you go moving forward (surely with some exceptions).
Airlines have been playing games to try to avoid refunding passengers for canceled flights. While they may offer you a voucher instead of a refund, in many cases you are entitled to the refund. Loyalty Lobby covers how to approach the situation for a reader who had a canceled TAP Air Portugal flight, but much of the advice should be applicable to the same scenario with many other airlines. If you’re stuck with travel canceled by COVID, check this post out for tips on how to handle it.
In a timely post given the fact that I just booked a 2021 trip to Hawaii this week, Jeffsetter contemplates the current state of affairs in Hawaii. The current situation has very little influence on my travel decisions in April and May of 2021 because if 2020 has taught me anything it is that predicting the situation eight or nine months from now based on the situation on the ground today is like predicting the weather in January based on the weather in May: we have no idea if there will be any correlation. That said, this post is the one that put things in perspective in terms of realizing that it’s certainly possible that I’ll be able to go to Hawaii but not want to. I’ll answer the title question: if the situation is such that I’d have to stay at my hotel, I wouldn’t fly 11 hours to Hawaii. I can take that kind of trip on a Caribbean island that is much closer and much cheaper if all I want is to relax at a resort for a few days. That is not at all to fault Hawaii for the difficult decisions they face — I do not envy those tasked with making these difficult decisions today and planning for a future with such uncertainty. But I do think that how places reopen will surely have an influence on whether or not tourists are interested. Here’s hoping that this is all behind us next year.
Award Travel | Category 1, 2, & 3 Hotel Maps: Hilton, Radisson, Marriott/SPG, IHG, Hyatt (Updated Aug 2020!)
The digital nomads of the blog Screw the Average: Be an Outlier have created an excellent resource for low-category chain hotels. Given the pandemic, I’m sure that many readers are considering more domestic travel than ever. Personally, I really enjoy using points for luxury hotels, but I rarely bother to do so within the US as I find that the luxury-per-point/dollar that I can get abroad is often a much better ratio than here in the US. As such, I can certainly see the usefulness of knowing where my low-category options are in the major chains in the US (and perhaps especially so now that we’ll be traveling as a family of soon-to-be-four). I’ve bookmarked this one myself for future reference. Note that while this post isn’t entirely new, it was just updated, which makes it all the more useful.
(Update: App Might Work After All) Cashback For College: New App By CardCash & Gift Of College Which Sells Gift Cards
As a parent who is starting the path to saving for college at birth for my sons, I found this post from Stephen over at GC Galore very interesting. I haven’t yet signed up, but I kind of like the idea of something linked to Gift of College that I can make automatic, so this seems appealing to me even if not the absolute best in all scenarios. If you’re also saving for college, this might be worth checking out.
That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.