Each year I try to predict the future of the points & miles world. I’ve never pretended to be good at this, but it has been a fun exercise. And, somehow, I’ve stumbled upon a lot of correct guesses in the past few years. For example, here was my scorecard from 2017:
- Citi will add significant new benefits to the Prestige card: CONFIRMED-ISH (Citi did add new benefits, but it’s a stretch to call them “significant”. See: Citi Prestige new benefits confirmed)
- Alaska won’t significantly devalue their Mileage Plan program: CONFIRMED
- Marriott won’t devalue their travel packages: CONFIRMED
- The promise of Digital Wallet Cards will die: CONFIRMED
Keep in mind that all of the above were true by the end of 2017, but several of them have since changed. For example, Marriott did completely devalue their travel packages in 2018, but my prediction was for 2017 so it was a proven prediction.
In January I posted my 2018 predictions (found here). Without further ado, here’s my scorecard for 2018:
- A US airline will introduce Basic Economy awards. Confirmed
Delta began offering Basic Economy awards on some routes earlier this month.
- A hotel chain (or brand within a chain) will eliminate resort fees. Wrong
To be honest, I never expected this to happen. I hoped that a hotel executive would read my post and decide that it would be great for PR to do this. Are you listening hotel execs? We’ll lavish you with praise if you do this in 2019. We promise!
- Marriott will offer free breakfast to Gold and Platinum elites at resorts. Confirmed
I failed to predict that they would rename “Gold” to “Platinum” but the gist of the prediction (that 50 night elites would get breakfast at resorts) was correct.
- Marriott will announce details of the combined Marriott / SPG rewards program and it will look a lot like Marriott Rewards. Confirmed
Not only does the new program look like Marriott Rewards, they even adopted Marriott’s existing technology platform for better or worse (mostly worse).
Three out of four ain’t bad. And, considering that the resort fee one was more of a wish than a prediction (I described it as my “hope” rather than prediction in the post), I think I did really well.
2018 bonus predictions regarding the Marriott/SPG merger
In addition to the above primary predictions, I made the following predictions about the combined Marriott / SPG program:
- Marriott will add new higher end reward categories. Confirmed
- Ritz Carlton will be rolled into the new program and most Ritz properties will be mapped to the new higher-end award categories. Confirmed
- Amex’s super-premium Marriott cards will offer 3 points per dollar for un-bonused spend. Wrong. The SPG Lux card only offers 2X for non-bonus spend (just like almost all other Marriott and SPG cards).
- The new program will introduce something similar to SPG’s Suite Night Awards (certificates that let high level elites request free upgrades to suites that can be confirmed up to 5 days before your stay). Confirmed. The new program now offers Suite Night Awards that work exactly like the old SPG SNAs.
- SPG’s extensive transfer partner options will go away in favor of Marriott’s current transfer partner relationships. Wrong. The combined program did much better. They adopted SPG’s transfer partners and added in the handful that were previously unique to Marriott.
On these bonus predictions I got only 3 out 5 correct.