American Airlines refuses to seat an infant, Hyatt charges man $5K because his father died and a Dave Ramsey smackdown (Saturday Selection)


Hyatt charges a man $5,500 for cancelling a reservation (because his father died), American Airlines refuses to seat an 18-month old, taxi drivers in Cancun go Mad Max on Uber and a Dave Ramsey smackdown. All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from around the interwebs (links to each article are embedded in the titles).

Does Dave Ramsey understand credit card rewards?

a woolly mammoths fighting in the snow
It’s a mammoth Dave vs. Dave showdown.

It’s Dave vs. Dave. The first Dave is Ramsey, the well-known financial advisor/radio personality/debit card hawker who’s a bit disliked controversial in the points and miles corner of the blogosphere. This is primarily because he’s historically been a “cash-only” advocate, telling folks that, across the board, credit cards are (trigger warning) “bad”? The second Dave is Grossman, of MilesTalk. Dave (Grossman) is somewhat ambivalent about Dave (Ramsey) and recently authored a subtle critique titled, “Dave Ramsey Should Stick to What He Knows – and It’s Not Credit Card Rewards.” It’s worth a look-see and, while I won’t rehash the whole thing here, suffice it to say that Grossman feels like Ramsey is painting with a brush about ten feet too broad.

American Airlines tries to deny boarding to an infant

a baby sitting on a bed with a red circle around it
Image from an American Airlines flight attendant training presentation

Here’s another heartwarming story from the Hallmark Channel of domestic carriers, American Airlines. The basic gist is that a woman was flying from Portland to Florida with her two 18mo daughters (for which she already deserves our respect and admiration). She bought one seat for one infant and one seat for her, since she could treat her second child as a lap infant. They flew from Portland to DFW without issue, but then the clouds darkened in the form of an overzealous AA flight attendant, who said that both the FAA and AA had a policy against children under two sitting in their own seat (which isn’t true). The flight attendant stood her shaky ground and, in the end, the only reason the family was able to actually get to Tallahassee is that a stranger saw what was happening and offered to hold the second infant all the way to Florida (for which she deserves our respect and admiration). AA refuses to refund the seat that they (incorrectly) refused to allow the infant to occupy, saying that a) the flight attendant was perfectly within her discretion to deny boarding to a toddler, even if the reason she did so was incorrect and b) they only guarantee that you get from point A to point B. They don’t guarantee that you’ll have a seat along the way. The woman is now suing AA in small claims court, but the airline is fighting back. After all, refunding a Portland to Florida economy ticket could be $400, but being able to lay claim once and for all to the “Scrooge of the Skies” title is priceless.

Hyatt charges man $5K to cancel a reservation (to attend his father’s funeral)

a magnifying glass over a paper
Even reading the fine print won’t tell you how much cash you could be on the hook for if you have to cancel a Hyatt award reservation.

Hyatt, normally the upstanding citizen of US hotel programs, gave us another warm and fuzzy recently. A man spent 63,000 Hyatt points on a three-night award booking at the Grand Victoria Hotel on Lake Como, a favorite of our own Nick Reyes. Unfortunately, the man’s father passed away and the funeral was during the stay. So, he figured he’d just cancel and, worst case, be out the 63,000 points. There was a problem, though. When you book an award with Hyatt and cancel after the deadline, although you’d assume that you’d just forfeit those points, its terms say that you’ll actually be on the hook for a percentage of the cash value of the stay – but you’re not told what that cash value will be (Marriott has the same rules). Oftentimes, an agreement can be reached with the property, especially given extenuating circumstances. You’d think that would include the death of a parent. However, in this case, neither Hyatt nor the Grand Victoria agreed and charged the man $5,500 for the missed stay. In fairness to Hyatt, this is a Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) property and so Hyatt doesn’t have full control over reservations. But still, this feels like a case where someone’s heart is two sizes too small. Gary Leff recaps the news here and provides some good advice for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.

Taxis going Mad Max on Uber drivers mid-ride

a group of men on a car with a gun on top of it
A recent Airport taxi queue

In general, taxi drivers cast a wary eye towards Uber and its employees drivers. Especially when it’s new to market, the pricing structures and ease of access can negatively effect taxi ridership. I’ve personally seen Uber drivers get yelled at, flipped off and cut off by taxis, both in the US and abroad. That said, things have reached another level in Cancun this year, causing the US State Department to issue a travel warning back in January (as far as I know the first such warning regarding taxi drivers). Since then, there have been a string of assaults on cars suspected of being Uber rides, including one last month that resulted in the arrest of two cab drivers. There have been numerous social media posts about Uber attacks by the “taxi mafia,” culminating in the government’s recent announcement that drivers who attack another vehicle will now get their licenses revoked. Of course, this bruhaha is nothing compared to the French taxi drivers, who blew up cars, closed roadways and were hit with teargas during protests in 2016. But, then again, can there be any protest like a French protest?

Virgin Atlantic adds LATAM as a partner

LATAM Business Class
The FM Team in LATAM Business on the way to Santiago during our recent Party of 5 Challenge.

South America is often neglected by points and miles/travel blogs, especially for a continent that offers such a wide diversity of culture, scenery, flora and fauna. That was part of the reason that Nick and I took the team to Chile, Brazil and Argentina during our recent Party of 5 Challenge. We had a blast during our (brief) time on the continent and were especially surprised with how much we enjoyed our LATAM business class flight from Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile. While it’s not nearly as private as some other carriers, it was extremely comfortable, friendly and had terrific food. LATAM business can be a bargain from North America using either Alaska miles or British Airways Avios, but it added another partner this week: Virgin Atlantic. Normally, this would be great news, but the award pricing looks like it was put together by the same people who brought you the Marriott Free Breakfast Chart. Some awards are priced by distance, while others are fixed based on origin and destination. Unfortunately, North America to Brazil and Chile is one of the fixed routes and costs a minimum of 95,000 points one-way…an astronomical sum compared to 45,000 miles on Alaska (with a free stopover). The rest of South America is priced according to a distance chart, making the awards much more competitive. JT Genter has the full scoop.

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Synde Manion

At Cape Town airport last year the Uber/lyft/bolt driver who was picking me up, texted me to walk to an adjacent area, and told me to be ready to enter quikly. He also said if when he pulls in, if things look fishy, he won’t be able to pick me up. Many of the Taxi drivers had been attacking the Uber/lyft/bolt drivers. I’m sure the Taxi driver’s have really suffered, that’s usually what happens when a monoply get’s broken up.


As someone who always flies in coach on SW to and from Los Angeles, I am green with envy looking at the picture above. Wowsers! You have a lot of room! Very nice!!


Where is article on how to avoid or insure against hyatt charging for cancelled reservations after the date

Dugroz Reports

FYI – the link for the Ramsey article links to MilesTalk in general, not the specific article … it’s here –


Tim, I always enjoy your weekly summary with your funny and (especially this week – empathetic) commentary.
It’s funny how by now I can start reading any given article on Frequent Miler and be able to tell who of you five wrote it.
Keep up the good work frequent miler team!


Ramsey also took thousands in advertising dollars from the Timeshare Exit Team which is a total scam.


> culminating in the government’s recent announcement that drivers who attack another vehicle will now get their licenses revoked.

Really? License revoked? How about indicted, convicted and sentenced to a significant prison term for committing a violent crime?


Just wanted to say it is Ramsey, not Ramsay.


Ramsay is an idiot. Ignore what he says. While his advice may have been relevant in the last millennium he’s proven himself completely unable to adapt to change. He’s an anachronism.


I wouldn’t call him an idiot, because he’s a capitalist with a great financial acumen. He’s just got credit cards all wrong.


Agreed. I shouldn’t stoop to name calling just because I’m frustrated with him for being incapable of showing a little mental flexibility instead of his 1980’s approach and lack of willingness to alter it.


His audience is the millions of people who are heads over heels in debt. Those people really shouldn’t be focused on miles and points right now anyway. He is not an idiot. He knows there are thousands of times more people who handle credit poorly than there are of us who play the miles and points game well. My attitude is simply that his strategies and philosophies don’t apply to me and move on.


You’re right. I stand corrected on the idiot part. I do think that he’s a close minded anachronism though and wish that he was open minded enough to allow for a little flexibility in his thinking.


I agree that he *thinks* his philosophies and strategies apply to everyone, but many of us know from experience that their are others that work for us.




I can’t believe that it is even legal to let an adult hold an infant on their lap, especially during takeoff or landing. Didn’t Rosie Perez show us all in the movie “Fearless” that in the event of a crash, it’s not physically possible to hold onto a child? All kidding aside, hospitals won’t even let you take your newborn home unless you strap them into a carseat.


The only reason (AFAIK) is that it has been calculated that it statistically leads to fewer killed infants compared to forcing parents to buy a seat, in which case many would instead drive (and driving is more dangerous).




and how many children have died while being held by their parents during take-off or landing exactly?
you must not have a child younger than 2 years old. when we travel with our 1-year-old, we actually purchase the seat for her for the extra space, but most of the time just hold her on our lap as that’s where she feels the most comfortable. forcing her to sit on an airplane seat for an extended period of time is next to impossible.
i cant believe the lady travels with 2 infants on her own. kudos to her!

A guy named Mike

And to further your point, how many children under 2 who did die while being held during take off or landing would have actually survived in the separate seat?

Why would we drastically increase the cost of travel for someone without being able to definitively prove there is a safety benefit?