Almost BonvAAyed & making lemonade from Marriott’s September lemons


In this week’s FM on the Air, see Greg and Nick discuss getting a broken award ticket reinstated, what’s up with all the Marriott changes, and where MSers can find a bright spot in the new award chart that debuts next month. One thing I neglected to note in my discussion of my AAward fiasco this week was my thanks to friends of the blog like Stefan from Rapid Travel Chai, Tiffany from One Mile at a Time, Julian from TPG, and JonNYC for their responses to my frantic messages when AA broke my ticket — their insight and guidance helped me get that fixed before I had a heart attack over potentially arriving late for nonrefundable hotel bookings that could have cost a small fortune.

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



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

Major Marriott news:

Marriott announces major award changes: peak/off-peak, cash+points, and more

Greg and I talk about this topic extensively in FM on the Air above and while Greg characterizes the changes as mostly negative in this post (and I can’t disagree with that label), I do see some opportunity from the standpoint of MSing status and off-peak luxury properties. In fact, if you asked me last week, I’d have said that I’m unlikely to re-qualify for Platinum next year. However, now considering these changes, I think I’ll probably easily re-qualify for Platinum and may even go after another year of Titanium. Regardless, see this post for in-depth analysis of the changes (and then watch FM on the Air for our discussion of them).

Surviving Marriott Peak & Off-Peak Award Pricing

Going hand-in-hand with the in-depth discussion of the Marriott changes is this guide on how to survive peak and off-peak pricing. The key takeaways here are that credit card free night certificates are taking a major hit and that you should make your reservation by 9/14/19 (especially if you know you’ll have free night certificates posting down the line that may benefit from locking in rates now).

In Credit Cards:

“Must have” Chase cards

Which Chase cards are the “necessary” ones to get if you’re just starting out? In this post, Greg makes the case for what turned out to be a somewhat controversial list (see the comments). I was surprised to see the United card included, but totally agree that it belongs there because it can be downgraded to the no-fee version that keeps some of the key features (like expanded award availability). Another feature that the downgraded no-fee version maintains: an extra point per dollar at many shops via United MileagePlus shopping. See this post for what else made the list.

Inking credit card guides

A while back, Greg wrote a popular post about a typical day as a career blogger. As you might expect, I got a kick out of that post because of my ability to relate. But I think that this post, which showcases where we’re going with our Best Offers and individual card pages, shows an equally important glimpse into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into this blog specifically. The impetus behind creating these guides is to give you a complete resource on every card that you can return to and reference for the long-term. Check out our first few.

In award travel:

Capital One Miles Sweet Spots

Rounding out our transferable currency sweet spot posts, this is the guide for where to go for value from Capital One’s transfer partners. While Capital One spent many years as an also-ran in the rewards card space (in the eyes of enthusiasts, at least), don’t sleep on Capital One any more: there are plenty of ways to get great value.

Stacking sweet spots with Miles & More

That Miles & More 75K offer caught my eye thanks to running a number of searches with Juicy Miles and stumbling on some sweet spots from the Miles & More award chart. This post shows how, by stacking sweet spots, you could get to places like China, Korea, or Japan for 47.5K total miles one way — in business class — or use 55K total miles to stack a round trip in economy class that includes stops in Hawaii and three Asian cities.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for week in review around the web and this week’s last chance deals.

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