Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
American Airlines fuel surcharge-gate was an “oops”:
I didn’t even have enough time to write a post about the American Airlines award devaluation/fuel surcharge-gate this morning before it was reversed, and a statement was released that the fuel surcharges on some partner award tickets were “erroneously” added. I did have some exchanges on Twitter with @AmericanAir and others about the event, and it was not just a rumor, it was actually happening. However, it was an error…or so the story goes. The fuel surcharges were just supposed to be added to revenue tickets (I thought they already were?). From the perspective of an airline award junkie, that is better than having to pay hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges for the right to redeem my miles (though AA does charge fuel surcharges on British Airways awards, and to a much lesser extent Iberia awards).
Other than giving some folks a mild heart attack, the event today should be used as reinforcement that you absolutely can wake up one morning and your miles are not worth what they were when you went to sleep the night before. Most respectable programs tend to give some notice before implementing massive negative changes, but you never know when one won’t. Saving up some miles for a big trip is one thing, but “hoarding” a large six or seven figure balance in a program is simply not wise. Use them, share them, just don’t expect to sit on them for years and years and then redeem them one day at the same rates that are available today.
In most cases, your miles will only be worth less over time, so earn and burn. Don’t worry about earning more than you need in the relatively near term, and don’t feel bad about burning what you have. I personally don’t have any rewards accounts with seven figure balances, and the ones with six figure balances are in the low six figures. It isn’t because I couldn’t earn more, it is because I don’t see the point of having huge balances that I don’t have a plan for in the next year or two. I have all I need, and then some. If a huge change happens overnight I won’t be happy, but I also won’t be impacted the way I would be if my focus was simply building balances as high as I can.
This event also reinforces that when a company does something you don’t like, speak up! Whether it truly was an error or not, I think American got the message loud and clear via social media and blogs that we were not. happy. at. all. If it was an error, I think the uproar helped rectify it sooner than it otherwise would have been. I also think it clears up any doubt as to what the reaction would be if American ever really did make this move with award tickets.
Another Hyatt option in Orlando
Reports are that Hyatt is buying the very large Peabody Orlando Hotel that is attached to the Orange County Convention Center. Orlando is a very popular destination for traveling families, so I am happy to see another option for earning and using Hyatt points. This hotel has over 1600 rooms, including 193 suites. Currently, it also partakes in the famous “Peabody Ducks” tradition, though it didn’t start at this hotel. The hotel is located 5-10 minutes from Universal and SeaWorld, and about 15 minutes from Disney, so the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is still a closer Hyatt option for the Disney parks. The Peabody Orlando already has a club level and spa, a ton of meeting space, and is fresh off a large renovation. The deal is reported to close in early October, so those attending conventions in Orlando, or those just looking for a different spot to earn/redeem points should have a fresh option in the near future.
Enter to win prizes via SPG “Take a Spin” Contest:
SPG has a new contest that you can enter daily through October 10th. The daily prizes up for grabs are:
- 1 prize of a Free Night Award each day
- 5 prizes of 5,000 Starpoints each day
- 10 prizes of 1,000 Starpoints each day
- 25 priczs of 500 Starpoints each day
- 2 prizes of Kate Spade SPG totes each day (SPG sent me one about a month ago that will be given away in the Spouses Session at the Chicago Seminars, so come get it!)
The promotion is valid for residents of the US only. The promotion runs from August 26, 2013 to October 10, 2013, and the grand prize winner of 250,000 SPG points will announced on or around October 25, 2013. For tax purposes, the SPG values the points at 2.5 cents each – don’t be surprised if you have to complete a W-9 to get the grand prize!
I’d love to hear if some of you are lucky winners. I didn’t win today, but will keep trying when I think about it! Thanks to Live From a Lounge for sharing the news.