Travel Hacking

2014 Loyalty Program Changes and Devaluations

The end of 2013 was flooded with bad news on the loyalty program front. Airline after airline announced some sort of devaluation, and hotel chains soon joined in. In case you’re having trouble keeping track of it all, below is a list of upcoming loyalty program devaluations:

US Airways

Hilton Honors – Earning Points

Starting January 6, 2014 Hilton will do away with the Honors points + fixed value miles earning option. Members can still earn Hilton points + 1 mile per $1 spent. This isn’t a huge blow to anyone who spends less than $100-$200 per stay.

Hyatt’s new Hotel Category

Starting January 7, 2014 Hyatt is introducing a new category and increasing redemption rates for categories 5-7. Various properties will move up and down. As I outlined before, there are some positives, like the Hyatt Regency Maui being available for 20,000 points per night (2,000 less than before the devaluation).

Alaska MileagePlan EQM’s

Starting January 15, 2014 Alaska Airlines MileagePlan members will begin earning elite qualifying miles on partner airline flights. For once, some positive news from a frequent flier program.

United MileagePlus Changes

Starting February 1, 2014 United MileagePlus will implement the devaluation that was announced in November. Along with minor increases to domestic economy redemptions, United is making it virtually impossible (or at the very least highly undesirable) to redeem premium seats on Star Alliance partner airlines. Business Class awards are going up 20-40%, while First Class redemptions will increase by 40-80%.

US Airways – American Airlines Merger

US Airways is set to leave the Star Alliance on March 30 and join One World on March 31, 2014. This gives you a bit more time to redeem a premium Star Alliance award after United finishes butchering its award chart in February. Or hold on to your miles and redeem on one of American’s One World partners. Either way, first/business class redemptions aren’t entirely out of the question.

Southwest Wanna Get Away Redemptions

Starting March 31, 2014, Southwest Rapid Rewards Wanna Get Away fares will require more miles for redemptions. Previously, 60 points per $1 were required, a number that will increase to 70 points per $1. So a $250 flight will now require 17,500 points as opposed to 15,000.

I’d definitely stock up and redeem these points as soon as possible. This is a great reminder that you should never hoard your points, because they will devalue and you’ll be in a panic to redeem them on short notice.

Which of these devaluations affect you the most? Are you reconsidering your loyalty as a result?

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  1. You knew when they were giving 100,000 sign up bonus, and everyone had tons of miles it would not be long before the value would drop….silly boy their is no free lunch..

    Wisdom of the 3 words.

  2. United devalues as of Feb 1 or March 1?

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