Greg’s credit card cuts, stitching awards together, Marriott elite plans and more

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Which of Greg’s credit cards should get the boot in order to make room for the one keeper card he doesn’t have? Find out if you agree with my answer, hear about how to mitigate risk when stitching together a value-priced award, and hear us out on our 2020 Marriott plans on this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air. We also talk about the latest method to bypass 5/24 and a credit card that got a little hotter this week thanks to a benefit we didn’t realize it had. All that below for your viewing or listening pleasure.

FM on the Air Podcast

For those who would rather listen during the morning commute or while you’re working, the audio of our weekly broadcast is also available for download as a podcast on all of your favorite services:

You’ll also find us on Spotify and hopefully your other favorite platforms. If you’re not finding the podcast via your favorite source of good podcasts, send us a message and let us know what you’d like us to add.

On to our weekend recap of the week’s top stories:

In burning points:

Assembling a cheap award to paradise

Greg recently took the lemons that he was given when searching for award space and made sweet lemonade that he sipped on the sandy beaches of Grand Cayman for a few days. Find out how and why he stitched together multiple award tickets to get the same end result for less so that you can enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade of your own some time.


Pluses and hidden devaluations in AA’s dynamic pricing for domestic awards

American Airlines Planes

I’m not generally a fan of dynamic award pricing. That said, Delta just yesterday showed how dynamic pricing can draw a great deal of customer interest and I had optimistically hoped that AA’s move to a dynamic system might present more options for the average person to get a decent value for their points. While that has happened by some measure, it’s not without a couple of sneaky and disappointing devaluations.


Hawaii tip: Cat 4 Hyatt in Maui now bookable

View from O’heo Gulch, Maui

Hyatt has been expanding its footprint with acquisitions and partnerships over the past couple of years and lately I’ve been surprised more than once or twice by places where I’ve found good Hyatt options thanks to many of these properties that have joined the fold over the past year or two. Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a newly-bookable property with free parking, no resort fee, and full kitchens in each room that only costs 15,000 points per night in Maui. Whether you’re looking to utilize free night certificates or just keep more points in your pocket, it’s great to have an option to do it in Maui.


In building a bigger points balance:

Buy points for less: When does it make sense to jump on a deal?

Have you ever wondered which points it makes sense to buy and when? If yes, this is a good post to bookmark and use as a reference point in the future. I think the key here is that it is usually not a good idea to buy points speculatively. And even in situations where it might be OK to consider a slightly speculative purchase, it probably isn’t a good idea to buy points speculatively if you already have enough points in a particular program to book the type of award that fits your usual travel patterns. But in the right situations, buying points can lead to great value, a higher-end travel experience, or both.


Bypass 5/24 With Targeted Offer In United App

if you’re over 5/24 but looking for a path toward one of the must-have Chase credit cards, a new route has opened up: United is advertising a pre-qualified offer for the Mileage Plus Explorer card to some members. The truly pre-qualified version, with a set-APR instead of a range, has bypassed 5/24 for many (which it’s worth noting does not mean that everyone gets approved — only that it is possible to be approved when over 5/24). As I said in FM on the Air this week, I’m rooting to see this type of offer from Hyatt. We’ll have to keep our eyes on these with other Chase co-brands


In maximizing value:

2 Claims Using Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee: 2 Successes

Best Rate Guarantee programs often get a bad rap. I’ve always assumed that the agent reviewing my claim has incentive not to approve it, so I’d better have crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s when submitting such a claim. However, I’ve written about several successes with such claims before and in this post Stephen Pepper writes about not one but two successful claims he has made recently. Stephen made a great choice in taking the points and this post shows how just a little time investment in searching and submitting a claim can make for a standout deal even with the smallest of price differences.


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.

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