The European Business Class Experience right here at home, get banned for booking too often, and more


In this Frequent Miler week in review around the web, find out how to game yourself a 96-hour cancellation window on flights, why you might want to re-think speculative hotel bookings, how to get an empty middle seat on domestic flights, and more. Read on for this weekend’s recap.

Why I (Almost) Always Book My Flights Through Priceline

This post from Chris at Autoslash points out some of the benefits of booking through an OTA — but specifically of booking through Priceline. I love his little hack for a 96-hour cancellation policy under the right conditions. I’m someone who looks at flights almost every day and I learned a couple of things from this post – it’s worth a read.

Walmart cancels order; invalidates gift cards used on order


Woof. There have definitely been crackdowns across the board from banks fighting what they deem to be abuse of the system in the past year. Retailers have also long shut people down for abuse — perhaps by banning them from ordering online or returning items in-store. However, this one was new for me: Walmart cancelled an order and zeroed out the gift cards used to place it. Ouch. I’m confident that Vinh’s reader will eventually get his money back — but see the comments for a similar reader experience and his report of the timeline in getting paid back.

SPG Warns Members Who Make Speculative Bookings At New Hotels

Speaking of crackdowns, this one reported at One Mile at a Time surprised me. I didn’t expect a surprise based on the headline — it seemed like it was going to be a clear-cut case if you only read that far. But after reading the description, my opinion changed. I saw this as someone who basically played by the rules — booking hotels and cancelling within the timeframe that they have set out (without seeking or receiving any compensation apart from a single ~$10 payout). Luck’s readers clearly disagree with my assessment (see the comments), but I thought this was unfair. Like airlines, hotels routinely overbook based on their algorithms — being happy to sell a room twice if you don’t beat the cancellation deadline — so I’m surprised to hear of an account being locked for it.

Who Knew? You Can Buy an Empty Middle Seat For More Space on All the Big US Airlines

avoid United Basic Economy

I certainly didn’t know. Wow. I’ve long thought that the Southwest Companion Pass was the best deal in domestic travel, but this might just be useful for an even greater range of people. I was surprised to read how easy the process is and how flexible policies are — at least according to Gary’s research. See this View from the Wing post for more on getting yourself the European Business Class Experience right here at home for a basic economy price.

Why I’m Not Getting My Hopes Up Over 60,000 Marriott Point Luxury Redemptions

Not gonna score this room for 60K.

Doctor of Credit has a good counter-point to our excitement over the Starwood luxury properties about to be bookable for 60K Marriott points in August. I’ve said all along that I think availability will be tight because a “standard room” is going to be hard to come by. And he makes a good point in asking if you even want to travel to these places or whether you have considered the associated expenses. Personally, my answer to both is “yes”. I don’t know what DoC has against an over-the-water bungalow, but I for one would love to wake up in the morning and look down at the fishies. With SPG Platinum status fairly easy to attain this year, I’m counting on gorging myself on free breakfast (I intend to complete $10K spending on my Ritz card in the coming weeks) and budgeting for dinner. In fact, maybe Altitude Reserve points or an Arrival signup bonus can help with that.

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

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