Marriott’s hidden category increases, Avianca shutdowns, Southwest to Europe and more

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In this weekend’s Frequent Miler week in review around the web, read about Marriott’s properties in motion: apparently, there have been more than a couple of properties increasing in category mid-year without announcement. Also read about Southwest’s possible eye toward Europe (years in the future), leveraging a little-discussed perk, why some airlines are not releasing last-minute space for awards, the latest wave of shutdowns and more.

#Bonvoyed Again: Residence Inn Miami Beach Surfside Stealth Category Increase

Hacked Hyatt Gift Card

Marriott Bonvoy continues to surprise and not delight: the latest installment in that series comes from Dan’s Deals, which highlights a hotel that changed category unannounced mid-year, going from 25K points at the beginning of this year to now 40K points per night during peak dates (putting it out of reach at times for free night certificates). But that’s not all — see the comments for reader highlights on other properties that have pulled a mid-year category switch. There’s obviously nothing that says that Marriott can’t do this, but it is a shame that they can’t stick to a calendar in terms of when properties will be re-classified. Wasn’t it enough that properties changed categories in March and peak and off-peak pricing went into effect? Evidently not.


AmEx Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card (Formerly AmEx SPG Luxury) Double Dip Opportunity!

We actually first reported on this little nugget more than a year ago, but it’s good to see confirmation that it’s still working and a useful data point for those considering an upgrade. US Credit Card Guide writes about an opportunity to sort of double dip the annual credits on a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card by upgrading from the cheaper version of the card with time before your next anniversary date. I imagine this works identically with the Hilton cards.


Get A Free Annual Hotel Night From The JetBlue Business Card!

We recently revisited the sometimes amazing values of airline vacation packages when we saw American Airlines discount business class airfare to Europe with a hotel to as low as about $1075 round trip from some US cities (I found cheaper options after publishing that post). Ian at Miles to Memories has uncovered a play with the JetBlue business credit card to take advantage of a similar concept on a smaller scale to pick up a free hotel night with one of the annual benefits. While this benefit alone wouldn’t make me run out to apply for the card, I bet there are a lot of people in our community who have looked past this credit entirely and let it go unused. Ian shows what you could be missing.


Popular Bank Sending Out Shut Down Letters For Avianca Card

In this week’s latest shut down news, some folks with the Avianca Visa cards are getting shut down by Banco Popular. I haven’t seen any real data points that suggest the cause of the shutdowns, but I’d strongly suspect that MSing was likely determined to be un-popular. This is something to keep in mind if you’re planning to get one of the cards under the current increased bonuses — I’d recommend not messing with any MS before you’ve received your new cardmember bonus.


Could Southwest expand to Europe? Newly promoted exec shares his thoughts

Southwest to Europe? I’m all for competition, so I’d love to see it. That said, I’m less excited about this than many will be because I think this is so far out that the Companion Pass will likely change significantly before it happens. On the other hand, Southwest has already increased the requirement to 125K and one might reasonably take that to mean that they intend to keep the Companion Pass around for a while to come. If they do make it to Europe eventually and the Companion Pass is still around and Southwest points are still worth roughly the same value (that’s a lot of ifs), I’d be pretty excited to see it. For the time being, I’m glad to hear that there is at least a rumbling of interest in making it happen — I just won’t hold my breath on that.


Why Airlines Are Releasing Fewer Last Minute Award Seats

Lufthansa business class

This post from One Mile at a Time caught my eye today and I found it fascinating to consider why airlines are allowing flights to go out half empty rather than releasing award availability close to departure. That practice seemed nonsensical to me — until I read the explanation. I could definitely see how predictability abused to the level suggested here could lead to actual revenue loss that would discourage the airline from following a pattern. Very interesting indeed.


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

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