What To Do With That New Hyatt Status

Hyatt Diamond Twitter Confirmation

Hyatt’s recent status match opportunity has been well documented here on OMAAT. Ben’s initial post about the match prompted me to status match to Diamond before Hyatt retooled the match criteria.

Ben recently asked what was Hyatt thinking with the match. Even as someone who clearly benefited from the match, I’m surprised by how generous the initial terms were. Mid-tier status (SPG Gold) for top-tier status (Hyatt Diamond) was enough to make me act immediately when I saw the offer.

Clearly I wasn’t alone since Hyatt received more than 10,000 status match requests.

Hyatt has since revised the offer to be more reasonable. Based on recent reports, mid-tier status at SPG, Marriott, Hilton and IHG all match to Hyatt Platinum instead of Diamond. Top tiers can still match to Diamond.

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Qatar Airways To Make “Historic Announcement” In New York


As anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows, I’m fascinated by Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ CEO. He’s one of the most passionate/insane people in the airline industry. So I feel strongly about him, both positively and negatively.

Al Baker certainly isn’t afraid to open his mouth. He has called Delta’s CEO unpatriotic, unethical, and weak, just to give one example.

That brings me to his latest announcement, which makes me curious. Via Travel Market Report, Al Baker claims he will “usher in a historic moment in American aviation” in New York on December 9, 2015:

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Could Hotel Cancellation Fees Be On The Rise?


The hotel industry has been doing quite well overall, with pretty high occupancy and room rates across most regions. Of course they’re always aiming to do better, and earlier this year we saw some of the major chains implement new policies to deal with room cancellations.

It started with Marriott, which earlier this year implemented a new global cancellation policy, whereby you have to cancel your stay by 11:59PM the day before arrival in order to avoid a cancellation fee. At the time, ~75% of Marriott hotels let you cancel stays until the day of arrival, so it was a pretty negative change for many members.

Hilton followed with a similar policy shortly thereafter, and then Starwood followed as well.

I do sort of get the reasoning of what they were doing. On one hand they don’t want to be risky and oversell the hotel by too much, but at the same time when people are consistently canceling day of arrival and they can’t resell the room, it’s costing the hotels quite a bit of revenue.

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2,500 Bonus Starpoints For Using SPG Keyless


For a while now, Starwood has been rolling out SPG Keyless, whereby you can use your smartphone as your room key, which allows you to skip the front desk altogether. I shared my experience using SPG Keyless at the W Lakeshore Chicago, and was really impressed by the offering.

While I still value contact with the front desk on many stays (when I want to see what kind of upgrades are available, etc.), just as often I’m checking in for a quick stay and just want to get to my room as quickly as possible. And SPG Keyless is awesome in those situations.
Anyway, Starwood is offering a generous promotion for 2,500 bonus Starpoints after using SPG Keyless for a stay and paying with a registered American Express card.

Here are the basic details of the promotion:

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When “Resort Fees” Make Their Way To City Hotels


It’s not just airlines which love nickel-and-diming and charging hidden fees. Hotels have been doing the same for years, with “resort fees.” This is a practice whereby many resorts charge a daily fee for use of their facilities, like the pool, towels, etc.

I guess it’s the hotel equivalent of airlines imposing fuel surcharges. When I pay for an airline ticket, shouldn’t the cost of fuel be factored in? Similarly, if I pay to stay at a resort, am I not paying for use of the facilities? That’s why people stay at resorts.

Historically these fees have mostly been limited to resorts, and haven’t spread to city hotels… well, for the most part.

In late 2012 I wrote about how Le Parker Meridien in New York City added a mandatory “facilities charge.” At the time the fee was $10, and included the following:

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Using Lyft At Las Vegas McCarran International Airport

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After a few starts and stops, rideshare companies finally began operating legally in Las Vegas a couple of months ago.

Permission to operate at the airport took a little longer for Lyft, who started last last month. Uber still doesn’t have a permit to operate there.

I needed to be in Vegas for a few hours on Monday, so I figured it was a good excuse to test out the rideshare situation at the airport.

Before this, I’d only ever used Uber. So, I needed to signup for a Lyft account. Similar to Uber, Lyft offers new members a signup bonus. Currently the offer is 5 free rides (up to $10) for new members.

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Touching: Alaska Gate Agent Sings National Anthem


With all the bad stuff going on in the world, it’s nice to see people who go above and beyond to do a good deed. Regardless of where you stand politically, here’s the video of an Alaska Airlines gate agent singing the national anthem prior to an Anchorage to Los Angeles flight. What’s the reason for the singing? Apparently the ashes of a fallen soldier were aboard, and she wanted to pay her respects.

The video was uploaded to Facebook in mid-October, though seems to have gained more traction over the past week or so. I actually saw it for the first time this evening.

I’ll let the video and description speak for itself otherwise:

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Delta’s Pre-Black Friday SkyMiles Award Sale

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Delta SkyMiles has announced what they’re calling a “Pre-Black Friday Award Sale,” whereby many domestic awards are being discounted to 10,000 SkyMiles each way.

Through this sale, awards to “select US cities” are available for just 10,000 SkyMiles each way. The basics of the promotion are as follows:

— Valid for roundtrip travel within the “lower 48”
— Valid for tickets booked through November 30, 2015
— Valid for travel between January 5 and February 24, 2016 (blackout dates of February 12-16, and February 19 apply)
— 21 day advance purchase required
— Saturday night minimum stay is required

Delta doesn’t actually publish a full list of eligible cities, but instead just provides some sample city pairs.

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Should You Buy Alaska Miles With A 50% Bonus?


Alaska Mileage Plan is one of my all around favorite frequent flyer programs, and I especially love that they seem to offer discounts on the purchase of miles roughly a handful of times per year.

As I first wrote about a couple of weeks ago, Alaska Mileage Plan is offering a “mystery bonus” on the purchase of miles through December 23, 2015.

Based on the data points I’ve received, people have been offered bonuses of 35%, 40%, or 50%.

If you max out the bonus, the cost per purchased mile is as follows:

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The Sad State Of American Award Availability


I’ve long been an advocate for American AAdvantage. Not because I think American as such is superior to Delta or United, but rather because their loyalty program has been a point of differentiation for them.

I’d like to think I’ve been fair to them, and I’ve encouraged people to fly with them because I truly believed in the value proposition of the AAdvantage program. Has the program been perfect? Absolutely not. But I’ve been willing to forgive the shortcomings because of how great the program was otherwise.

One issue I get a lot of comments about is how abysmal American’s award space is on their own flights nowadays. Back in the day American was incredible about releasing award seats on their own flights, by far the best of any US carrier. Years ago I remember there being saver level award space more often than not, in particular on transpacific flights.

That has changed over time, and American has certainly gotten stingier with award space. But I’ve always sort of forgiven that:

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WOW: 10,000+ Requests For Hyatt Diamond Status

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Late last week Hyatt began offering what may have been their most generous status match offer yet. Through Twitter they offered anyone with any status with a competitor and proof of at least one stay Diamond status through February 2017. Yes, it was that straightforward. There was no challenge required, and new Diamond members even received four Diamond Suite Upgrade Awards, each of which can confirm a suite at the time of booking for up to seven nights.

Mike shared his experience matching SPG Gold to Hyatt Diamond, which was a painless process.

While I’m a Hyatt Diamond who stays 100+ nights a year with the chain, I’m still super happy for those who got in on the opportunity. We all benefit from amazing deals at some point, so I have nothing but positive feelings towards those joining the Diamond ranks.

Nonetheless I don’t actually get what Hyatt was thinking with this promotion. On Sunday I wrote a post about why I found the promotion to be so odd. While I totally get they’re trying to capitalize on the Marriott/Starwood merger, from their perspective you’d think they’d want to target such a promotion a bit more closely, and not give everyone and their brother Diamond status.

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Lufthansa Flight Attendants To Strike AGAIN!


It hasn’t been a pretty month for Lufthansa, to put it mildly. Lufthansa is at odds with their flight attendant union over a new contract, and that ended with Lufthansa flight attendants going on strike for nearly a week earlier in the month.

The effect of the strike varied, as some days only some aircraft type were grounded, while other days virtually every flight out of Frankfurt and Munich was canceled.

Nowadays I don’t really understand what strikes accomplish. At least in the case of Lufthansa, management almost never budges. Their pilots have been on strike an average of almost once a month over the past couple of years.

The flight attendants had an especially long strike, though it didn’t seem to accomplish anything, as no progress was made with the contract. So then what…?

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