Is Turkish a bad deal? An easy deal most of us missed, a terrible Hertz change and more

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This week around the web, we have a number of good reads from the last two weeks as I missed the chance to highlight some of these last weekend. From an argument I can’t buy about Turkish to the latest reason I’m not a Hertz can and the dead deal too many of us missed, here are some choice reads from around the ‘net.

Let’s Be Honest – Turkish Airlines Is Not The Deal Of The Year – It Sucks!

I had to laugh when I saw this headline. We all have different opinions and while I was excited to have found this sweet spot, I’m not emotionally attached to it being called the “deal of the year” (though I am looking forward to the hat tip when it wins at the TPG awards in a couple of weeks :-)). While Turkish does require a bit more effort to ticket than many award programs, I find it hilarious to argue that 15K miles per passenger round trip anywhere in the US — including to Alaska and Hawaii and from small market cities — is something that “sucks”. Like I said, I’m not emotionally attached to it being held above all others (and let’s be clear: I found public information on an award chart, I didn’t discover Pompeii and don’t have any illusions of grandeur about that), but I do think it’s a hard deal to top — so I was interested to see discussion in the comments about what was better. When Mark argued in the comments that redeeming SkyMiles at a value of 2 cents each toward vacation packages was a better deal — that getting two cents per mile was a better deal than a round trip flight to Hawaii or Alaska for 15K miles per passenger or a transcon flat bed seat for 12.5K miles each way, — he totally lost me. Mark argues that Turkish isn’t enough better than the next best option to be worth the effort to book it. He’s arguing that the next best option only being 67% more expensive per passenger (which I’ll add scales quite quickly if you’re flying with a family) makes it not worth an email to book a ticket. What? I like you, but that’s weak sauce, Mark. If the ability to MS round trip economy class flights within the US for $40 in fees or less round trip isn’t the deal of the year, I need to hear a better argument about what is. I look forward to Mark’s post on which deals were better.


Best Western Rewards Award Massacre

Best Western $20 Travel Card Offer

Best Western Rewards is a program with which I’m not terribly familiar. While I’ve stayed at a number of decent enough Best Westerns in my lifetime, it’s not a brand I seek out nor do I see much opportunity within its rewards program apart from the occasional lucrative promo. However, this overnight devaluation reported by Loyalty Lobby appears massive. Thankfully, most programs won’t double the top end of the award chart overnight without notice. Unfortunately, Best Western Rewards isn’t most programs.


Expedia Punishing Hotels With Resort Fees In Search Results

We can all hope that online travel agencies put the pressure on hotel chains to abolish this ridiculous practice of adding on fees for having the option to use the amenities that they choose to provide. Three cheers to Expedia for standing up for themselves on this one.


ARE YOU KIDDING ME? MANDATORY GALA DINNER AT A CAT-2, FOUR POINTS?!

#Bonvoyed. This is some ridiculousness that feels unique to the hotel industry. For better or worse, I’ve come to expect it at high end properties — but as the headline from Travel Update would suggest, the head-scratcher here is having it at a Category 2 Four Points. I guess the takeaway here is that if you book a hotel during a holiday travel period, expect that it may add on a pricey dinner a couple of months in advance.


New Hertz policy irks top customers

One of the things I love about award travel is flexibility. Many foreign airlines have very low cancellation fees for award tickets, hotel rooms booked on points are often fully flexible (aligning with the policy for standard rate bookings), and rental car bookings have long been quite flexible (I’ve probably even forgotten to book a rental now and again and not been charged). So this new policy from Hertz really surprised me: booking a car with points is subject to a 50% penalty 24 hours after booking for Gold members or a 25% penalty for Five Star Members. Losing half the points you earned from being a loyal customer for cancelling a reservation six or seven months in advance seems pretty unappreciative of loyalty. I could certainly see instituting a cancellation policy of a few days in advance or even a week or two — but saying that you’ll lose half the points once 24 hours have passed from booking looks like a way to clear the books of points liabilities without renting out cars. Poor form, Hertz.


Deal Dead – MileagePlus GO

Stefan’s post at Rapid Travel Chai made me regret not getting involved in this one. I knew it was out there and truth be told it was very low-hanging fruit — there is really no good excuse for leaving this one by the wayside. This one is worth reading for the reminder not to turn a blind eye to the easy wins in this game.


That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.

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Ian
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Ian

Nick, you and I and everyone else knows that Mark is crazy.

Mark Ostermann
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Mark Ostermann

This all started as a joke ribbing between the two of us 🙂

What?
Guest
What?

Honestly I was hoping you wouldn’t give more oxygen to this silly ‘not the deal of the year’ argument as it’s not worth anyone’s time. I’m still glad you aren’t writing a rebuttal in a dedicated post – would be a waste of your time!

Move on, let that dude pay more. More United availability for others!

Ron
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Ron

Totally agree with this comment. Not worth anyone’s time.

But it should be recognized that the post on the MtM site was intended to stir the pot. When MtM founder wrote for Frequent Miler, working Nick’s job, there was little to no content originality, let alone any finds similar to what Nick discovered with TK. And it should be recognized that it was a great find – It was a published sweet spot that no-one knew or blogged about. The community has benefited immensely. That much should be recognized. I saw the post on the MtM site as a jab to FM.

Nick I’d buy you a beer, or two, if we ever got to meet. You’re a great writer and have added incredible value to the FM blog, and the miles and point community. Keep it up! The TK deal is the greatest deal of the year as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already used it a few times for myself and my family.

Mark Ostermann
Guest
Mark Ostermann

Ron I really don’t get this take. FM and MtM have a great relationship and we are all friends. My post had nothing to do with FM and I didn’t even think about them when I wrote it. It was an argument that Ian Snyder and I were having for a few weeks back and forth and were poking fun at each other. As you can see in the article I bring him up the entire time and use his own bookings against him. The post was a response to that argument to see if anyone felt the same way that I did – which people have commented that they did. And others have commented that they don’t – about a 50/50 split. Discussion is always a good thing so that is what the point of the article was, to start one.

It was a great find by Nick which I have said numerous times. And the value of the deal wasn’t what the article was about it was about the process of booking the deal.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Miles to Memories web site really SUCKS,!

Pam
Guest
Pam

Can’t speak for Mark, but he might argue his all expense pd Hawaii vacay was the deal of the year 😉

Mark Ostermann
Guest
Mark Ostermann

Haha – true Pam $6 >>>>> than 15K miles 🙂

Pam
Guest
Pam

Ono…total trip cost less than a shave ice at Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha!

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Uncle Clay better be there when I get there or there will be Trouble .
$6 it’s a long walk ??
CHEERs

Mark Ostermann
Guest
Mark Ostermann

Nick to be fair I said using Avios from the West Coast when taking a 40% transfer bonus into account isn’t that much different than Turkish and a heck of a lot easier. A far cry from 67% more (more like just under a 20% premium). I know that isn’t from across the country but I think your numbers are misleading.

Also with the dynamic pricing coming to United and I think it is likely that they play the web specials game AA is playing to block partner bookings I think it will be harder to find the space going forward.

And you dismiss the Delta Vacations deal because of the opportunity it gave you to cash in Skymiles for things like Disney season passes, cruises etc. It was available for pretty much anything and not simply flying United coach across the country. And it was easy to book and easy to use. That provided a lot of variety of opportunity that was more helpful to more people imo.

I don’t discount the Turkish bookings are a good deal but they are and will most likely always be a pain in the ass. And the more popular they get the more difficult it will be to book them (as one comment said Atlanta gets 30 Hawaii booking emails a day).

Mark Ostermann
Guest
Mark Ostermann

I would also say 10-12K round trip to Australia or New Zealand on AA was a better deal 😉

Pam
Guest
Pam

+1

AlexL
Guest
AlexL

“Atlanta gets 30 Hawaii booking emails a day.” If you look at from a different perspective, it proved it is a great deal otherwise people will not go the great length to book. And the data is just from one office and for the route to Hawaii, so the deal benefits a lot more people whether they are going to Hawaii/Alaska from the east coast, continental business class like Ian, flight between two small town, and so on. In addition, the deal lasts much longer than the Delta Vacations deal or 10-12K round trip to Australia or New Zealand on AA, which are both great. You seem to focus more on simplicity of the deal rather than the saving and length of the deal.

Mark Ostermann
Guest
Mark Ostermann

Alex you got it 100%. The argument wasn’t really about the value of the deal, I guess I did a poor job showing that in the article. It is more about the ease of the deal. Now some people have it down to a science. They know which branches work well and respond to emails etc. and others have had to email numerous branches or drive to the airport to book in person because they couldn’t get a response. The fact that their online booking rules are pretty terrible and stuck in the 90’s is another annoying portion.

The whole point of the article was that the booking process is so medieval for 2019 that it is sad. I do prefer easy deals and I don’t mind paying a premium for it when it comes to miles and points. With 2 small kids time is a very valuable commodity for me.

Because of that for my calculations ease is something that I put a value on. Does an airline’s search engine work well, is it easy to book online, do I really have to fly United lol? I just wanted to share that perspective because I think it is one that other people have but it wasn’t being written about. And sure the post was a little tongue in check, fun on a Friday, that started with me and Ian going back and forth on it when he was telling me what was going on while he was booking his recent award. Plus I had been reading his articles and shaking my head along the way about the whole thing over the last few weeks.

I am sure Ian will write a post on why he thinks I am crazy too haha.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Mark
U did fine but on a Blog some will give u a hard time for NUTTHING . Don’t waste ur time on BS I just transferred 1k TY to TK maybe I can book something someday .
Christmas is coming spend time with the family and Christmas is Always for me ..
Merry Xmas ..
CHEERs

Andy
Guest
Andy

I got 3 RT East coast – HNL tickets with 45,000 TYP. This is the best award travel deal I’ve had for years. Mark is out of his mind.

MSer
Guest
MSer

I’m mostly with you about the Turkish deal, but it isn’t significantly better than using Avios with Amex xfer bonuses. The Turkish website blows and making repeated calls to find a competent agent is a royal pita.

tkies
Guest
tkies

Hi,
Here you discuss very beautifully about Turkish deal.
Here you give a such a nice opinion about the persons that it depends upon the person and his mentality.
and you give a such a nice brief article about it which clarified about every doubt.
so thanks a lot to give your opinion about it so keep it on.
Thanks.