F1 racing brings $275 nachos to Miami, Capital One kills Priority Pass restaurant access (again) and another buying group in trouble (Saturday Selection)


$200 baskets of wings at F1 Miami, Capital One kills Priority Pass restaurant access for the Venture X Business and another major US buying group is having issues. All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from other sites around the interwebs.


Capital One Venture X Business Priority Pass loses restaurants

Capital One’s VP of card-based lounge access

By this point, I imagine that the majority of the folks that are into points and miles have some sort of access to Priority Pass via one of their (hopefully many) credit cards. But for the uninitiated, Priority Pass is a subscription-based program that gives its members access to an array of airport lounges throughout the world. It’s also affiliated with a number of airport restaurants, but instead of getting lounge access, you get a (substantial) credit towards food and beverage to be used during your visit. While many premium credit cards provide a Priority Pass, a declining number of them are springing for restaurants. Amex was the first to drop non-lounge options several years ago and Capital One followed last year by removing it from passes issued through the consumer Venture X card. A couple of months ago, Chase joined the stingy bandwagon by letting Sapphire Reserve and Ritz Carlton cardmembers know that they too would be left lonely at the restaurant door starting July 1st.

That left only a smattering of cards still willing to foot the bill for a full Priority Pass, among them the Capital One Venture X Business (VXB). However, Capital One recently announced that it was changing the VXB from a Mastercard to a Visa. That led Dave Grossman over at MilesTalk to predict that, once the change happened, the VXB would lose its Priority Pass restaurant access. Sure enough, Dave was right on and C1 is now confirming that all new VXB applicants will not have access to Priority Pass restaurants. Those of us that still have a Mastercard aren’t currently affected, and can still enjoy a plate of cold fries and a beer at the airport on Capital One’s tab. However, it’s most likely only a matter of time before we’re on the chopping block as well.

Another buying group may be on the rocks

Image of buying group customer service agent

Merchandise and gift card buying groups can be very useful tools to increase credit card spend. These groups get around household limits for high-demand items by harnessing the purchasing power of large groups of people, in the process enabling those people to create credit card spend and/or make a profit from the sale. There is some risk involved, as folks pay for products that they then send to the buying group, trusting that they will be paid back by the group in a timely fashion. It all goes swimmingly until it doesn’t, as hundreds (or thousands) of folks recently found out after selling millions of dollars worth of concert tickets to one group in a deal gone wrong. There’s also the infamous example of The Plastic Merchant, a gift card reseller that suddenly went of business several years ago, leaving one woman holding the bag for $100K (cautionary tip…please avoid getting in a situation where one buying group owes you $100K). Now, Travel on Points summarizes some severe issues cropping up with another major buying group, MYS. What started out as moderate payment delays has now ballooned into people being owed for months worth of purchases and customer service advice to “contact the owner.” Be careful out there, folks.

F1 racing comes back to Miami…with the $200 basket of wings to prove it

The menu at the F1 Miami Hard Rock Beach Club took more than a “bite” out of your wallet (Image via Twitter)

Formula 1 racing has always been known more of a playground for the wealthy, as opposed to being a pursuit enjoyed by the masses. However, the sport has reached new levels of worldwide popularity over the few years, due in no small part to the Netflix series “Drive to Survive.” Last weekend the fast cars returned for the third straight year to another playground of the rich, Miami, Florida. Let’s just say that the combo was synergetic. That international bastion of high-end cuisine, Hard Rock Cafe, opened the ironically-named “Hard Rock Beach Club,” effectively a Vegas-style day club with a full view of the racetrack…and prices that would make Vegas blush. A three-day pass to the club started at an already stout $1,750, but the prices became truly eye-watering once you walked in the door. Bottles of water for $25, a “crispy wing board” for $190 and a plate of Nachos for $275 (no, those prices aren’t a misprint and are in US dollars). Luckily, those looking for true luxury could add a $400 scoop of caviar to their $280 Maine lobster roll and still make it out the door for under $1K after tip…as long as you didn’t wash it down with too many $60 beers.

Kenya floods severely damage JW Marriott Masai Mara

Aerial photo of Masai Mara floods (Image via Twitter)

Last week, a devastating series of floods hit Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve, one of the most popular places in the country for wildlife safaris. The floods are predicted to have a serious impact on wildlife, both through immediate drowning and destruction of habitat. They’ve also submerged several lodges in the areas, necessitating helicopter evacuations of tourists and staff. One of the affected lodges was the JW Marriott Masai Mara. The JW opened last year top much fanfare, allowing folks the enviable opportunity to book an all-inclusive luxury safari on points (see a terrific reader review of the property here). Along with many other lodges, it’s now closed while the water recedes and the level of damage is assessed. Bookings will undoubtedly be affected for some time at most area lodges and, more importantly, so will the livelihoods of those who depend on the tourism that the reserve creates.

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“…suddenly went of business several years ago…”
The word “out” may have unintentionally been left “out”.


Mys is now up to date with payments


I wish people would stop using these “buying groups” altogether. When they work properly they serve to enrich middlemen at the expense of ordinary people who simply want to attend events,but see their prices driven up by predators. Just to use round numbers, if a “buying group” purchases $100 tickets and resells them for $150, the person who actually wants to attend has now paid $100 for the event plus a useless $50 to a rapacious middeman who adds nothing of value. I can see playing games to get more out of a credit card or points and miles than intended; that’s a matter of using the rules or policies of a bank or travel provider to your advantage and usually doesn’t harm other consumers.The buying groups do harm ordinary people. It may be controversial to say, but I have no sympathy whatsoever for those who lose their shirts when things go wrong with buying groups. Furthermore, for Frequent Miler to publicize them does serious damage to your reputation for integrity.


All methods of “playing games to get more out of a credit card” involve someone, somewhere paying out money, generally in a way they didn’t intend to. When that someone is the payment processor then those costs are invariably passed along to other people — and generally spread among the people who do benefit from them and the people that don’t. Credit card rewards program essentially function as a 1 to 2 percent privately-levied tax on transaction. While that’s less of an effect than buyer’s clubs, which exist to defeat “fair distribution” policies of retailers, it isn’t philosophically any different.


You have a point, but if, for example, I buy more gift cards at an OD with a 5x card than the T&C state, it is because someone has not written or enforced their rules well. If they don’t like it, they could change their procedures or even close my account. Those things happen. I would argue that if there is any harm to other consumers it is extremely negligible.

By contrast the actions of buying clubs hurt other consumers primarily.

Mark W

The vast majority of buying groups do not resell event tickets. Even the buying group in question above that overcommitted to a certain concert’s tickets mostly resells US Mint coins. And the vast majority of buyers groups are just scaling modest discounts on resellable goods that they then unload outside of the US at a cheaper price than is normally available in those markets. (One could argue they are, in fact, thus providing a service to those who are typically more disadvantaged than US consumers and would otherwise have to pay more of a premium on goods.) For me personally, concert/event tickets are a line that I won’t cross with buyers groups, but I don’t feel the slightest bit of remorse about using them to liquidate my AmEx Biz Plat Dell credits.


Having been to F1 events, it is not unusual to pay top dollar for access to special areas or lounges. You might pay $1,000 to $10,000 to be in a certain area but…many of those areas include drinks and food. F1 needs to be careful as greed is taking over at events like Miami and Las Vegas.


I’m not sure how much it matters but the $275 nachos are $180 on the menu in your picture. A bargain for sure at that lower price.


So a bargain if you buy nachos en bulk, is that it? 😉


I was at the F1 event and I did not see any of those items. I did see and purchase a large carnival-like turkey leg for $28 and 16 inch sausage and peppers for $23. Those items were found at many food stands. On a side not the Chase Sapohire Lounge at F1 did not have nearly enough food to go around. It was almost a gimmick pop-up lounge


The post about the F1 menu is misleading. The drink prices are for buckets of five. I imagine the food is probably also large platters.

Tonei Glavinic

I swore off MYS at the beginning of this year after I had payments that had been requested in mid-November that still had not been issued in mid-January despite multiple tickets filed with support. When I asked them to confirm the correct mailing address to send a legal demand letter to they finally coughed up the payments.