Marriott had better wake up and smell the IHG One Rewards coffee. If you had asked me before I left for vacation a week ago whether Marriott or IHG had a better loyalty program, the question would have seemed ridiculous, but on this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air, Greg pretty much convinced me that the new IHG One Rewards is pulling out ahead (at least on paper). If that doesn’t light a fire within Marriott to improve the program, I could see IHG stealing away some business if they are able to execute on what they’ve promised.
Elsewhere on the blog, Greg, Stephen, and Tim have written a number of interesting posts this week including about how we value free night certificates, the rental car stack you’re probably missing, how you can attend a Formula 1 race (and even sleep on a team’s yacht!) using Marriott points, and more. Watch, listen, or read on for more of this week at Frequent Miler.
1:38 Giant Mailbag: Is the Apple card a better beginner card?
6:15 What crazy thing . . . did Caesars Rewards do this week? The un-matched get rematched.
8:24 Mattress Running the Numbers: Hyatt status fast-track
16:48 Maint Event: Marriott vs IHG
1:12:35 Question of the Week: Is there a trick to finding Qatar availability?
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This week at Frequent Miler
What a week to be on vacation! I spent most of this week almost completely unplugged and IHG decides to go off the rails and announce the details of a revamped program that sounds like a huge improvement. That said, I’m still skeptical. I hope that IHG is able to pull this off, but the difficulty in unifying a program like this is that there are so many different owners. I can’t help but feel like it will take a Herculean effort on the IHG corporate end to get everyone on board with a meaningful free breakfast benefit and other similar potentially-variable benefits. That said, if they can pull off what they have promised, I might just have to start getting spendy on an IHG credit card to go after elite status.
This quick post is worth a highlight because of the potential value in timing out your IHG Milestone qualification at either 40 or 70 nights. I’m not sure how valuable this is given that it doesn’t feel like IHG has that many lounges, but for someone frequenting InterContinental properties with lounges, it could totally be worth timing things out for two full years of lounge access.
This post is a great summary look at the benefits of elite status across the major programs, but I have one small bone to pick with Greg. He stated that he was comparing the quality and obtainability of each benefit. He then goes on to note that he can’t compare the quality of lounges, which is fair, but the quality of lounge offerings should be fair game. Given how IHG lounges appear to be so few and far between outside of InterContinental, I just can’t see IHG’s benefit on par with Hyatt and Hilton even if it is more standardized than Marriott’s lounge benefit.
The 80K offer is back on the Sapphire Preferred. Whether you’ve been eagerly awaiting this increase or you’re wondering whether you’re eligible if you product change your card, stand on your head, and rub your tummy, Greg probably has the answers for you in this post. Probably.
This post from Stephen highlights the fact that Marriott Moments are once again a thing. I looked at Moments last fall and there wasn’t much worthwhile, but Stephen shows that there are currently some really cool experiences. Given that Marriott points are hard for me to replenish, I am more interested in using them for stays than for experiences at the moment….I think. Those more flush with Marriott points may take interest in this post and some of the unique chances to use Marriott points for some really cool experiences that probably eclipse the Residence Inn redemption I made last week :-).
After a lot of consideration and discussion, Greg landed on a new system for valuing free night certificates. This was important for having an objective-as-possible (while still being accurate) value since free night certificates sometimes contribute to the first-year value calculations on credit cards (like the free night certificates that are sometimes offered as part of the welcome bonus on Marriott cards, etc). This post explains the new methodology and numbers.
I have certainly found the Platinum card Hertz rate to be handy, most recently a few months ago when I needed a one-way rental to pick up my new minivan and the 4hr grace period was helpful given the long drive, overnight stay, and slow pace of the dealership. That said, I have often found Autoslash to work bigger wonders with other competitors, so I look at this as a tool in my belt that’s great to take out now and then rather than a go-to discount code. But Tim notes some stacking that I may have missed, so I’ll have to give that a shot next time.
In this update to our Delta companion certificates quick guide, Greg shares the tip that eCredits can now be used for Delta companion ticket purchases. That’s great news for those who have booked and canceled Delta flights since those credits can now be used on companion ticket bookings.
This guide has been updated to reflect changes including the new all-inclusive award charts, the addition of the business card, and more.
Tim recently spent some time at the Hyatt Regency Miami and offers his take on this property.
That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep an eye on this week’s last chance deals and grab them while you can.