Painful devaluations, from “roughing it” to the lap of luxury and more


Both Hyatt and ANA announced painful devaluations this week, though in each there are bright spots (or at least not so dark spots?) to be found. This week at Frequent Miler, we also covered ways to stay in the great outdoors, our favorite luxurious business class flight experiences, and a lot more. Read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler.

a woman wearing goggles and smiling

This week on the Frequent Miler blog…

Ouch. Hyatt’s 2024 devaluation has been announced & it’s not pretty

A reader points out in the comments that calling this a “devaluation” might be mistaken for painting with a broad brush as this isn’t anything like the recent Turkish overhaul that saw almost all awards become astronomically expensive with only a few days’ notice. By contrast, perhaps the best news to come of the annual Hyatt category changes announcement is the fact that Hyatt is continuing to maintain an award chart with categories, which sets it apart from the competition (and we should all be thankful for that). That said, almost a quarter of the properties decreasing in category here are in one country (China), whereas lots of properties that have made for good uses of free night certificates will soon move out of reach. You’ll want to book those places now if you can.

The ANA Devaluation: It’s not all doom and gloom

an airplane seat with a screen and a monitor
ANA’s new business class is called “The Room”. Photo courtesy of ANA’s website

In other not-so-bad devaluation news, I took a closer look at the looming ANA devaluation (set to take effect on April 18, 2024) and it wasn’t really as bad as I initially feared. Yes, some long-time sweet spots increase in price substantially, but many of the award chart increases are pretty mild and there have been no changes at all on most routes in economy (and premium economy) class. Most importantly, the “round the world” award chart remains intact and untouched. Still, if you’ve had an ANA RTW in mind, it’s probably time to get thinking more seriously about it because I have to imagine that will be the next area for adjustment.

Hilton partnering with AutoCamp: Airstreams, glamping & more

Airstream at AutoCamp Cape Cod (image courtesy of Hilton)
Airstream at AutoCamp Cape Cod (image courtesy of Hilton)

At the other end of the award booking spectrum, Hilton announced that they are adding a new partnership with a company that offers “glamping” opportunities and stays in things like Airstream campers in scenic locales. While we know you’ll be able to both earn and redeem points, we don’t yet know what that will look like. I suspect these won’t be standard room awards and will be subject to some sort of award pricing that is closely associated with the cash price. Still, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on this because it would be really cool if you could end up using Hilton free night certificates and/or things like the 5th night free for these experiences.

How to book a night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon at Phantom Ranch

If you like the idea of creature comforts in scenic natural areas, but you’d like a little less “gla” in your camping, Carrie this week explained how you can book a night in a cabin at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Phantom Ranch actually looks pretty nice (and the location is of course stunning), but the only thing harder than hiking into and out of the Grand Canyon will be actually snagging a reservation. In this post, Carrie shares the secrets to success.

Frequent Miler’s favorite business class flights

a seat with a monitor and a pillow on the side of the seat

If roughing it on land with AutoCamp or at Phantom Ranch isn’t your cup of tea, let’s switch gears as this post shares some of the poshest experiences in the sky. In this post, Frequent Miler team members share our take on our own personal favorite business class flight experiences. Keep in mind that this list is only about products we’ve actually flown, it isn’t meant to be a list of the best business class experiences in the world (we haven’t flown them all!). It’s worth noting that we don’t all agree on the ones we like, so you’ll get a slightly different take from different team members on some of these.

Podcast: Which is the best Amex Platinum card? | Frequent Miler on the Air Ep244

Episode 244 Frequent Miler on the Air Podcast Art

On this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air podcast, we discussed which Platinum card is the best Platinum card. Given that you’ve got the “vanilla” Platinum as well as the Morgan Stanley and Schwab versions and then the Business Platinum as well, which one should you have and hold in your wallet (if any)? There isn’t a single best answer, but in this episode we talk about who should have which card.

Bilt adds Flying Blue Gold status “match” for Platinum members

Bilt Rewards has finally added a somewhat meaningful elite status benefit with a “match” to Air France / KLM Flying Blue Gold elite status for Bilt Platinum status members, though they must transfer 10,000 points to Flying Blue to activate the match. Personally, I find this benefit really interesting from the standpoint of how you can leverage it. I imagine there may be some opportunities for status matching to other airline programs, which can be tough for those who are primarily award travelers. A reader also points out that in a recent “error fare” situation, Air France did not cancel the tickets of those with Gold status or higher. Obviously the chances of that type of situation happening twice are slim, but I’d be happy to have Air France Gold status if I were already spending enough to get near elite status with Bilt. This benefit alone wouldn’t be the main driver to get me to elite status (the transfer bonuses are good for that!), but I’ll be happy to pick this up if and when we get to Bilt Platinum status in my household.

Podcast: Nick’s baller Bilt gamble | Coffee Break Ep02

Coffee Break Ep02

Speaking of Bilt status, in this week’s coffee break (our new short-form 20-minute podcast episode that comes in addition to the weekly Frequent Miler on the Air), Greg and I discussed the gamble that my wife and I took with getting a Bilt card because of an announced transfer bonus and effectively creating our own welcome bonus. Along with this came Silver status for my wife, and I expect that she’ll get to Platinum status by the end of the year.

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

a man taking a selfie in a baseball stadium

Before you read any further, know that almost all of the April and May games were gone within a few hours of posting this. Capital One once again has incredible seats to every Major League Baseball game for 5,000 miles per seat. The catch is that they only have 4 cardholder exclusive seats at every game that are a good value — and they now mix those in with a bunch of poor-value VividSeats options. I’m including this post in the week in review so that baseball fans can read about it and understand how to find the good seats in preparation of more games being released down the road. Last year, the June and July games were released on April 28th and the August and September games were released on July 13th. I don’t expect it to happen on the same exact dates this year, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Grand Hyatt Kauai standard 2 queen parking lot view: Bottom line review

Last week, I returned to the Grand Hyatt Kauai. We originally intended to stay for five nights, but we continue to love this property and the surrounding area so much that we ended up staying for eight nights. This isn’t the most modern or flashiest Hyatt in the portfolio, but it might just be my happy place — the comfort food of resorts. In this review I lay out the potential drawbacks, the reasons I love it so much, and a few of the things we did in the nearby area.

 American Express Everyday Credit Card Review (2024)

The Amex Everyday credit card is probably due for a refresh at some point because this card just isn’t compelling at all for ongoing spend. That said, it is a great tool for your belt if you won’t open business credit cards since this no annual fee card will keep your Membership Rewards points alive and transferable even if you were to cancel all of your other Amex cards. It is therefore worth having and holding for someone who wants to maintain a fee-free path to keeping their points alive (though if you’d consider business cards, the Blue Business Plus would be a better choice).

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

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