It’s been a few weeks since my last post, so I figured the best way to kick things off is with a recap post. A lot has happened points-wise in the last month and I’m just starting to catch up on things myself. From fare deals to hotel mergers and even blog news, there’s a lot to go over. Here’s what’s new with the blog and points and miles stuff:
1. The Plastic Merchant
Last month, The Plastic Merchant went radio silent after a bunch of checks bounced. There was an email from TPM staff, letting everyone know that Mike was in the hospital and the payment issues would be resolved shortly. As far as I can tell, people still have not gotten paid.
In the midst of all this, I received confirmation from a source purporting to know Mike that he was in fact hospitalized. And because he’s so involved in this business, his staff was unequipped to handle the payment issue on their own. As I previously stated, I think this explanation is ridiculous. Not because I don’t believe the hospital story but because of it. If you’re running your business in such a fashion that it can’t operate without you, that’s a problem. Especially when your customers are losing their shirts over it.
The same person also does business with The Plastic Merchant and read my post on the The Plastic Merchant fiasco. He informed me that if people began liquidating sold gift cards to recoup their TPM losses, “we will go after them.” It really pissed me off, especially since TPM is the culprit in all this. This kind of remark is ill-timed and completely insensitive to the financial hole these people are finding themselves in. If this other company was being affected by TPM customers cashing out gift cards in an attempt to recoup massive losses, they should be going after TPM.
The whole situation is awful and I can’t believe the nerve of this person to kick people who are already down, while completely absolving TPM of responsibility. I have very little free time these days and having someone waste 45 minutes on an insanely hectic day to threaten my readers was not appreciated.
2. Affiliate links
A couple of weeks ago I got approved as a Barclay affiliate. Translation? Prepare to get bombarded with posts about the Barclay Premier Arrival card. Just kidding. I wrote glowingly about that card long before I had affiliate links (and despite the negativity that post generated), so I’ll continue to write about it when it’s appropriate. For the most part, the only intrusive promotion you’ll notice are the Barclay ads on the site. As usual, I appreciate your support, regardless of whether you use my referral links or not.
3. The Hyatt Credit Card
Last week, Hyatt announced a brand new Chase credit card and it’s pretty awesome. The new World of Hyatt Credit Card is definitely an improvement over the old card, with the following benefits:
- 40,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in 3 months.
- Earn 20,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.
- 1 free night at a Category 1-4 hotel for renewing your card every year.
- 1 free night at a Category 1-4 hotel for spending $15,000 in a year.
- Automatic Discoverist status.
- 2 additional qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.
- 4 points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels, including restaurants and spas.
- 2 points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting (taxis, mass transit, tolls and ride-share services), dining, airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, and gym memberships.
- 1 Bonus Point per $1 spent on all other card purchases.
- 1 free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel when you spend.
That’s a ton of stuff, so let’s skip to the best part: You can earn top-tier elite status via credit card spending and earn up to two free Category 1 – 4 nights every year. That’s pretty awesome for a card with a $95 annual fee. When I heard rumors of a new Hyatt credit card, I thought for sure they would go the Hilton route and introduce a premium card with a ~$450 annual fee. With a lot of premium cards, you’re stuck trying to justify the cost with benefits that you’re actually paying for, like airline fee credits and lounge membership. With the new Hyatt Card, that’s not the case – you really get a lot of bang for your buck.
4. Starwood – Marriott Merger
In August, Starwood and Marriott will debut a combined award chart. It’s mostly good news, since top-tier awards are going to cost 50,000 – 70,000 points per night. You might wonder why that’s so great, considering a current top-tier SPG free night award tops out at 35,000 points. However, considering SPG points transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio, that top-tier free night will only cost you 20,000 points per night. Factor in the 5th night free and you’re down to 16,000 points at a hotel like the St. Regis Maldives, where a standard award night gets you an overwater villa.
While we’re on the subject of the 1:3 transfer ratio, you should also know that all SPG point transfers to Marriott will become automatic in August. So if you’re planning to take advantage of the SPG airline transfer bonus, you might want to do it before that. With the merger coming up, I’m focusing a lot more manufactured spending spending on the SPG card than I normally would. That card is going away eventually, so I’m no longer concerned about a shut-down.
5. The Iberia deal
Did you get in on that 9,000 mile bonus deal from Iberia a few weeks ago? If so, then you’ll want to start planning your redemption ASAP. Points are supposed to post within 10 days of booking and will expire in December 2018. So if you haven’t done so already, start making travel plans to redeem these points as soon as they post. Award availability might be tough to come by, with so many folks getting in on this with the intention of an immediate redemption. One Mile at a Time has a great post on how to redeem your Iberia Avios.
6. Content updates
Readers have been asking me for a while now to update the Newbie Guide to Manufactured Spending as well as the Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles. That is all in the works, so look for those posts to be republished in late July.