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.
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 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.
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.
#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.
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.
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.