Great European hotel awards, a race around the world, where to put big spend and more [Week in review]


Whether you’re curious about a couple of popular Hyatt and Marriott London properties or you’re hunting for hidden value in the Nordic region, this week at Frequent Miler we’ve covered some ground for you. Elsewhere on the blog this week, read about our 2024 team challenge, other cool stuff I learned at the Travel Summit, and more.

This week on the Frequent Miler blog…

Flying by the Seat of our Points (Last Minute Travel Challenge)

Every year, the Frequent Miler team participates in a challenge that pushes us to see how far we can stretch our knowledge of miles and points and to learn and share new things we learn in the process. You may remember past challenges likes 40K to Far Away, Passing the GUC, 3 Cards 3 Continents, and Party of Five. The 2024 Frequent Miler team challenge is coming in a few weeks and it’s called Flying by the Seat of our Points. This time around, it will be a completely last-minute challenge, with Carrie and Stephen planning and judging while Greg, Tim, and I compete to win them over. On Monday, June 3rd via live stream, Carrie and Stephen will inform Greg, Tim, and I where we need to converge domestically and we’ll have 48 hours to get there. Then, when the three of us converge somewhere in North America on the evening of June 5th, we’ll jump on another live stream together, where we will each be given a different international destination where we need to be within 48 hours along with a number of local travel challenges to complete at that destination. Then, when the three of us are in our 3 different international destinations, we’ll hop on another live stream and Stephen and Carrie will tell us a point somewhere in the world where the three of us need to meet up with each other once again within 48 hours and we’ll have local travel challenges to complete at that destination also. Each time, we’ll find out in the moment where we need to be within 48 hours and will need to immediately put our award booking skills to the test to push our points & miles to get us there in as much comfort and luxury for as few points as possible. Read more details in the post above.

Podcast: 4 Cool things Nick learned at the Toronto Travel Summit | Coffee Break Ep10 | 5-7-24

Coffee Break Episode 10

I recently attended the Travel Summit in Toronto, Canada and it was a terrific conference. I love attending points & miles conferences when I can because there is always something new to learn and everyone you meet at these things probably knows a lot more about something than you do. In this week’s coffee break, we discuss four cool things that I learned over the course of the weekend.

Use Finnair Avios to book Nordic / Scandinavian hotels at 2c per point or better

One of the cool things I learned at the Travel Summit was that there is a way to get terrific value out of Avios for hotel bookings. In fact, the key part of the headline above is “or better”. If you read the whole post, you’ll see that Finnair has a really unique opportunity for far outsized value from Avios for booking hotels in the Nordic and Scandinavian countries.

[June / July ’24 added!] Baseball fans: Capital One once again has great seats for 5,000 miles each

This was the view from the seats at Citi Field for a New York Mets game.

Capital One offers 4 cardholder exclusive tickets to every Major League Baseball game for just 5,000 miles (or $40 in cash back) per seat and last night they released their seats for the June and July 2024 games. Many of the best games are likely gone already, but I continued to see comments late last night between the post and Frequent Miler Insiders from people who still snagged tickets for their favorite team, so there may still be some games left (likely not for the Mets or Yankees, but some teams in other markets might still have the cardholder exclusives). You’ll have to search game by game to find whether those four cardholder exclusive seats are still available and you have to know what you’re looking for — Capital One also sells tons of overpriced seats at awful value for the miles. But if you can snag the Cardholder Exclusives, they can be a great way to enjoy a day at the ballpark in excellent seats for a very reasonable number of points.

Attempts at stacking a deal on event tickets

Apart from those Capital One cardholder exclusives for Major League Baseball noted above, I hate buying event tickets. I hate the opaque pricing models used by ticket sale websites that advertise one price but charge far more in the end and I hate having to shop around a million sites to make sure I’m not getting utterly ripped off for seats. Still, with the numerous opportunities for stacking shopping portal payouts and card-linked offers, I decided to accept the full run-around and compare tickets for a non-sold-out event across numerous sites. I was surprised at which option came out on top.

Podcast: Our favorite big spend bonuses | Frequent Miler on the Air Ep254

This week’s Frequent Miler on the Air was chock full of good discussion topics. While the “Main Event” is the best big spend bonuses, we had a solid 45 minutes of discussion about things like the new Cardless Qatar Cards and why you’ll be continuously Cardless if you cancel your Cardless Qatar card (ok, that was just fun to say out loud). But seriously, we discuss spending toward elite status with those cards, the new Etihad and JetBlue partnership, our 2024 Frequent Miler team challenge, and a lot more on this week’s show.

Hyatt’s Great Scotland Yard Hotel, London: Bottom Line Review

When Greg told me he was staying at this property, I was nervous for him. I had a friend who had a very negative experience at this hotel a year or two ago. Thankfully, Greg’s experience was the complete opposite: he really enjoyed the Great Scotland Yard hotel. Looking at the pictures, I think I’d probably enjoy this place, too. I see in the comments though that a reader notes that even a suite cannot accommodate more than 2 people and I would find less enjoyment in paying for two rooms, so for now I’ll have to live vicariously through Greg as this one probably won’t be in the cards for me unless Carrie and Stephen are sending me to London for Flying by the Seat of our Points.

Marriott’s Bankside Hotel London: Bottom Line Review

If you’ve got Marriott 85K certificates to burn, this looks like it could be a decent option in London. I say that both because the property looks quite nice in the photos (if you’re into modern luxury) and because there is no destination fee and good elite recognition (both rarities for Marriott in large cities). That said, I probably wouldn’t stay here myself. Truth be told, I’m not very drawn to London (but let me be clear, I am very drawn to Dishoom), so take my opinion with a grain of salt (and take Greg’s opinions on London far more seriously since he knows London far better than I ever likely will), but I really thought that Greg’s long-held praise for the St Pancras Renaissance was well deserved (which was undoubtedly influenced by the amazing upgrade I got, but I enjoyed walking around the place enough that I’d go back again). I do enjoy modern luxury, but in London I think I’d want something with a bit more character.

World of Hyatt Complete Guide

a swimming pool with umbrellas and chairs on a beach

Our World of Hyatt Complete Guide has been updated with all of the pertinent info about the partnership and integration with Mr. & Mrs. Smith. While there’s not much positive going on there, this is a good reminder to bookmark this guide if you’re a big fan of the Hyatt program and to check out our Resources page for other similar guides and resources for the major hotel and airline programs (and a lot more).

How to select seats on partner bookings

a man pointing at a map

When you book a partner award ticket, you’ll typically need to go to the operating airline’s website to select seats. However, it isn’t always easy to find the right PNR to pop in to the operating carrier’s website. In some cases, you might be able to select seats on a third partner carrier’s website. This guide gives you the key details you need to know about how to select seats on many popular partner awards.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep an eye on this week’s last chance deals to be sure you grab them before they’re gone.

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