The 2023 Bonvoyed Awards

13

a wooden doll sitting on a ledge with a flowerAs we close out 2023, it is high time we took a moment to recognize the low points in loyalty by honoring those who have dishonored their loyal members with unexpected devaluations, unfriendly changes, and other unforced errors. The 2023 Bonvoyed awards are on — and you’ll have to listen to this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air to find out who takes home this year’s sad Bonvoyager trophy shown in the picture here.

Elsewhere on the blog this week, read about how I got into miles and points, Greg’s new favorite points-bookable hotel (which I’ve found from just 9,000 points per night!), and how to find when your Capital One Shopping rewards will post. Also don’t forget to use up your airline incidentals credits (we’ve updated our post about what still works) and consider which cards to keep or cancel (a guide to that has also been updated and linked below). Watch or listen to the show or read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler.

Podcast


00:00 Intro
01:58 Giant Mailbag
04:51 Card Talk: Marriott Bonvoy Bevy & Bountiful cards
10:41 What crazy thing . . . did Air France / KLM Flying Blue do this week?
21:44 Award Talk: Bilt adds Avianca LifeMiles  
24:48
Award Talk: IHG allows free point transfers between members….well, some members
27:27 Finnair Plus announces new award charts and info
38:19 Main Event: 2023 Bonvoyed Awards The Nominees….
39:19
: Marriott Bonvoys free night certificates
41:19 Hyatt / MGM marriage goes bust
43:51 Wyndham vacates their high-value Vacasa bookings
45:41 Delta dumps their devastation
47:52 Chase guts their Pay Yourself Back program
49:07 Air Canada Aeroplan’s Etihad alliance goes astray
52:00 Hotels.com becomes 5x less rewarding
56:15 Nominee recap
56:42 Nick’s pick for 2023 Bonvoyed Award
59:24 Greg’s pick for 2023 Bonvoyed Award
1:02:41 Question of the Week: What is the best thing to do with 80,000 Membership Rewards points before we cancel Player 2’s Amex Gold card?

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This week on the Frequent Miler blog…

The backstory: How Nick got into miles and points

a man and woman taking a selfie

The chance of circumstance can be a beautiful thing. Whereas many miles and points people got into this game after paying dues as a road warrior, I very accidentally stumbled into this field in part because I was looking for ways to travel beyond my means. While the post emphasizes the lucky convergence of factors that led me to where I am, the truth is that the story relies as much on the kindness of good people I met along the way in guiding me and giving me opportunities. A reader asked how the FM team got into miles and points, so this is my story.

Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?

Amex Platinum cards

As we head toward the end of the calendar year, now is the time to use up your Amex airline fee reimbursements for 2023 if you still have them kicking around (you’ll get a fresh set in January for 2024!). I have updated this post with recent data points, but I want to emphasize that credits are posting slowly right now — as in 7 to 14 days after purchase (it seems to vary a bit by airline). I recommend making your charges today if you want to have a chance of confirming that you’ve received the credits before the end of this year. There are some easy backup plans if you look through the data points in the post and keep in mind that chat reps will usually allow you to switch your airline on request (even if you’ve used some of the credit already). Caution: it sometimes takes a calendar day for the system to update and recognize your new airline selection. Make any changes, then wait a day to use the credits.

Here’s when your Capital One Shopping Rewards will post to your account

a screenshot of a website

This post just consists of a short tip, but it’s one that can save you some stressing over wondering when your Capital One Shopping rewards will become payable since you’ll have insight into the time table once you know where to look (as expected, it varies by merchant). I’m also including this in this week’s review because the $200 referrals from the amazing Capital One Shopping referral promotion began posting to accounts yesterday. Some doubted whether or when those would post, though I was confident they would all along. Now that there are likely some new believers out there, you may find this post useful.

Which Premium Cards are Keepers?

a group of credit cards

Just the other day, I counted our open credit cards and I have to admit that I was surprised by the number we currently have open in my household. As if he read my mind, Greg updated his spreadsheet that helps you determine which cards to keep, adding some cards and making updates to others with new or changing benefits. This is timely for me as I decide which cards to keep and which ones to kick to the curb in short order.

Cellars-Hohenort Hotel Cape Town South Africa: Now Greg’s favorite points-bookable hotel

a hand giving a thumbs up in front of a blue flower garden

I am tentatively planning to spend a couple of nights in Cape Town next year and Greg’s glowing review of this SLH property has me thinking I should book it sooner rather than later. That’s especially true because Greg was gushing about this place at 15,000 points per night, but it is available at off-peak priced during the dates I’d be considering, which drops the price to just 9,000 points per night for a standard room (versus a flexible cash rate of about $375 a night!). Especially given the way that Hyatt intends to deepen its integration with Mr. & Mrs. Smith, I should probably hop on this SLH booking as soon as I can.

American Express Business Gold Credit Card Review (2023)

American Express Business Gold

The Business Gold is an interesting animal in the sense that it didn’t really make sense as a long-term keeper for most people in the “current” form. However, with the 2024 changes, I think the card may prove to be a keeper for a wider range of cardholders. Given the fact that the monthly credits have already begun, it makes sense to get in before the fee increases since those monthly credits are already sweetening the pot.

Amex adds family language to Marriott Bonvoy cards

a hotel entrance with a street and a building

It’s a bummer to see the family language spread to yet another card, but if it’s going to spread I am happier with the “may not be available” language that’s showing up on cards like the Bonvoy Bevy. That leaves open the possibility that you may be eligible. The only way to know for certain is to try to submit an application. From the terms, Amex should let you know if you’re not eligible and give you an opportunity to withdraw your application if that is the case, so if you’re approved it is still a pretty safe bet that you’ll get the bonus. Just be sure to keep screen shots of the terms.

Getting Started: How to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to partners [Video]

How to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to partners

If you’re relatively new to using your transferable points with airline and hotel partners, this video should show you the basic mechanics of making a transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards to airline and hotel partners.


That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep a close eye on this week’s year-ending last chance deals and be sure to use up all of those credits and offers before they expire.

Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
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Thomas

How come you guys never mention the Amex MR Checking account as a way to keep MR alive?

Andrew

Good podcast to (almost) end the year!

For the Bevy and Bountiful cards there is one demographic that seems targeted for these cards – frequent business travelers who can charge expenses to personal cards and get reimbursed by their company. As Nick mentioned the 1000 point per stay bonus can add up, but only if you take many short trips. That fits well with consultants and executives who might take quick trips to visit a client office or remote company site. Traveling technicians for field service might fit as well. The 4X dining fits with expensing business travel. There’s less value in the Brilliant if you’re already going to earn Platinum or higher (probably much higher) through stays.

The points and miles world would be all in on Hyatt with that much travel, but the general business world has a lot of Marriott loyalists thanks to their much larger footprint and more properties with name recognition. I know many folks at my company who go out of their way to stay with Marriott – but not a single person who does for Hyatt.

Brent

Hotels.com was the winner. The One Key shift led me to this blog looking for some way to get value. I’ve wasted so much time online because of them.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Frank

Air France doesn’t consider it a mistake charging 1.2 million miles for a business class ticket. That’s insane. These airline programs need regulation. They should not be allowed to charge whatever they want. These miles are a currency that need independent oversite.

kevin

Unpopular opinion but I nominate Amex for Bonvoy awards. NLL offers drying up. New family language limiting SUB. Many more pop up jail DPs. New ” up to ” welcome offers. Higher MSRs. More complicated Hilton cards.

Eric

Yeah I’m surprised between what you mentioned and the new family rules that Amex didn’t win, much less be nominated.

Andrew

I don’t think that’s unpopular at all – with family language and the increase in pop up jail frequency the days of leaving AMEX until after all the other banks because of “easy” approvals seem to be ending. As a newer player to the game it has been frustrating landing in pop up jail after opening a single AMEX business card (my first AMEX card!) while under 5/24. Managed to get the Surpass on the links that bypassed NLL and pop up jail but otherwise going on 9 months of pop up jail despite so few AMEX cards.

Brian

I think the easy winner is Vacasa. I know why it happened. But that was a great program that got totally nerfed.

Albert

I am surprised United’s massive deval didn’t get nominated. Also Aeroplan is still failing to show ANA availability bookable on United.

Lee

New Marriott Bonvoy cards?

Bufu Card
BOHICA Card

Fuzzy

Can I give a shout-out to Cartera and Giftcards.com for nerfing my Executive Platinum dreams?

Gary Leff

Contrary to the concern that Flying Blue abolished its award chart and then says the pricing is a mistake, when there’s nothing to reference against, they actually brought back their award chart a year ago. https://viewfromthewing.com/air-france-introduces-new-award-chart-free-stopovers/

Note that they now list North America – Europe at 55,000 in business class rather than 50,000. But they do have a chart again!

Dave Hanson

Thank you Nick for once again including the podcast timestamps in this writeup!