A failure to protect the data collected, 4% APY for T-Mobile, how to book LifeMiles for value and more

In this weekend’s Frequent Miler week in review around the web, we’ve got some details on Marriott’s big data breach, how T-Mobile customers can make some extra money each year, booking that elusive LifeMiles redemption, and more. Read on for the weekend recap.

Marriott: Data on 500 Million Guests Stolen in 4-Year Breach

This quote from Marriott about sums this up: “For approximately 327 million of these guests, the information includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date and communication preferences”. Umm…wow. They assure us that credit card information was encrypted, though. I wish the security departments at these companies would realize that I’m much less concerned with a hacker’s ability to use one or two of my credit cards (since I won’t be liable for fraudulent charges) and much more concerned about them gaining access to my bank logins and identity thanks to having my name, phone number, email address, passport number, date of birth, blood type, fingerprints, hair follicle DNA samples, and whatever other information these companies collect and fail to protect. Krebs on Security has the details.


I TRIED PROJECT FI INTERNATIONAL (AND HAD MIXED FEELINGS)

Cell Phone Amex Offer

If you just can’t get enough Google Fi coverage after our posts this week, see this post from SightDOING about Becky’s experiences with Fi so far. One thing that stood out for me: she reports coverage at home that was less reliable than when she had T-Mobile alone. That’s concerning for me, especially living in a rural part of upstate New York (I noted a few days ago that while the Pixel 3 has support for band 71 built-in, Fi does not offer band 71 coverage from what I’ve read). Still, she seems pleased overall and ultimately I will likely agree with her assessment that Fi makes a nice secondary service for traveling abroad. We’ll see soon enough as my Pixel shipped yesterday.


T-Mobile Money Review – Earn 4% APY On Balances Up To $3,000

T-Mobile has launched a new a new bank account with a nice 4% APY yield for T-Mobile customers (on up to $3K). Even the 1% APY for non-customers certainly isn’t bad for a checking account that only requires a monthly deposit of $200. See this post from Doctor of Credit (and the comments on that post) for full details.


Lessons Learned from that Hilton Amazon redemption a few days ago

A couple of times recently, Amazon and Hilton have offered the opportunity to convert Hilton points to Amazon account credit at 0.5 cents each. In both instances, this died quickly after a great deal of quick excitement. Vinh at Miles per Day writes about how you should have all your ducks lined up in a row waiting for an opportunity like this. I disagree. I just didn’t get excited about the idea of cashing out Hilton points at 0.5c each. Sure, the median value of Hilton points is only around 0.45c each, but the whole point in collecting a variety of types of points is so that you can cherry pick the best redemptions. The fact that the 0.45c is the median means that somewhere around half the time you’ll do about as good as this Amazon cashout or better. I find a few opportunities every year to do better than 0.5c per point — I wouldn’t sell mine for half a cent each. I understand Vinh’s point that cashing out probably beats sitting on hundreds of thousands of points for years, but I rather tend to use hundreds of thousands of Hilton points each year to decent value so I wouldn’t jump on this.


Citi 25% Bonus for Transferring to Avianca LifeMiles Part 3: The Nitti-Gritti and Booking a LifeMiles Award

Last week, I included in our week in review around the web a post from The Lazy Traveler’s Handbook about taking advantage of the Citi transfer bonus to Avianca LifeMiles to get good value. Andy is back at it again this week with another good post on the details of booking an award — including how to get the routing you want via email if it doesn’t show up online, which might be very useful at times when the site just won’t show you what you want.


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

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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DSK
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DSK

Had to laugh about Vinh, when he said “If you didn’t do the deal because you have plans to book Bora Bora or the Maldives, then fine.” Actually, I do have reservations at both during the next few months (five nights at each), which killed 700,000 Honors points. So I guess that’s fine.

Leo
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Leo

Based on the quote above, it actually sounds like the data breach was with your beloved Starwood program, not with Marriott — otherwise I’d expect to see Marriott and Ritz numbers included as well. If this was indeed Starwood, and it wasn’t disclosed ahead of the merger, I hope the former Starwood investors get their asses sued. Unfortunately we have a much better chance of someone seeing meaningful fines and possible jail time for failing to disclose something like this in an M&A than just for consumer data info breaches. Sucks, but whatever it takes.

WR2
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WR2

I made this comment on reddit, but of course the leftists hate this perspective:

How can you sit there and blame Marriott for hackers? How about blame the hackers? It’s like blaming a bank for getting robbed. Sure there can be gross negligence, but it happens all the time, there is no way to protect against all hackers. How do you know there was negligence? How about go after the hackers, who are disgusting criminals, instead of go after the victims?

Josh
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Josh

I didn’t cash out Hilton either, but couldn’t one say there could be more points had by cashing out to amazon, paying cash, using promos, and using the right cc spend?

Andy Shuman
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Andy Shuman

Agree about Hilton/Amazon promo. Just because Hilton points might be worth on average around $0.05, doesn’t mean you can’t find outsized bargains sometimes, and that’s even before taxes and the 5th night free are taken into account. Besides, no matter what people say, Amazon is not cash. If anything, it’s a delayed cash redemption opportunity, unless you have a big-ticket purchase in mind.