This week around the web, read about what I think is Marriott’s next huge devaluation in disguise, the latest way that the house wins in Vegas (watch out, this one’s coming to a city near you), a hidden airline devaluation, and more. It’s not all doom and gloom — definitely check out the sweet spot video below if you have any interest in travel to/within Canada. Read on for the weekend recap.
Well, this stinks. I know — most people will probably share this with fanfare — Look! An $8K per night Marriott! Personally, I’m really annoyed. It’s been just over a year and a half since the Vice President of Marriott’s rewards program stood with us face to face and said that all properties would be defining a “standard” room so you would be able to book a “standard” room at any Marriott property using your Marriott points as per the Marriott award chart pricing. Despite the naysayers who doubted our understanding, Marriott did just that and many of us were able to enjoy incredible stays at places like the St. Regis Bora Bora, which were previously not bookable as standard rooms. But I’m annoyed at this addition because if they make it available on points, it surely won’t be available as a standard reward within one of the current categories. Surely the justification is going to be that the rooms are all presidential villas / there are no “standard” rooms. That sounds a lot like, “all rooms are suites, there are no standard rooms, so you’ll have to pay more points”. That epidemic will spread back to places like the St. Regis Bora Bora, St. Regis Maldives, etc in 3…2….1……
Well, folks, there you have it. I’ve long been vocal about my displeasure with resort / destination fees. Many times, I’ve made this comparison almost verbatim: Imagine if a restaurant charged you a “gas surcharge” for the stove used to cook your steak or a an “electricity surcharge” for keeping the lights on. You no longer need to imagine: just that type of ridiculousness is now happening in Las Vegas. How long before this spreads to New York and Los Angeles? Ridiculous. Thanks to the LA Times for uncovering the latest way you’ll get cheated if you’re not vigilant. I guess what they say is true: the house always wins.
You know how Greg wrote yesterday about the way that changes to one credit card can influence the value of another? Mark at Miles to Memories unveils a hidden devaluation regarding AA’s economy web specials. The deals lately have been amazing, though eliminating flexibility is a definite downside (AA has traditionally allowed date and routing changes, but not so with Economy Web Specials). However, the (in)ability to book with partner miles is definitely a big hit.
It turns out the Expedia credit card isn’t necessarily as crummy as I’d imagined. In fact, if you’re looking for hotels in an area without many chain options, it turns out this might be a really helpful bonus after all. Andy at Lazy Traveler’s Handbook shows that you could get over $700 in value from the welcome bonus and stay at pretty reasonably-priced hotels doing it. I had shared his incorrect assumption that “VIP” meant “luxury / expensive”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally convinced this card is worthwhile, but it’s good to know that it may be a better choice than I’d have given it credit for.
I’ve linked to Prince of Travel quite a few times in recent week in review around the web posts, and he continues to knock it out of the park with both posts and video. I’d long known that Aeroplan had a short-haul price, but the truth is that I never really bothered to look into it too closely. This video opened my eyes to how good a sweet spot it is. If you have Citi points and some patience to deal with Turkish Miles & Smiles, you can of course fly domestic flights in Canada on Air Canada for 7.5K each way without the short haul restriction, but if you’re flying between the US and Canada and/or you want to be able to take advantage of stopovers, you should definitely check this video out. There are some great values to be had.
That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.