United Airlines’ hidden award chart, Google Pay is shutting down and vacation rentals with benefits (Saturday Selection)


United’s “hidden” award chart for 2024, a billionaire is furious about expensive room service at a five start hotel and what to do when Google Pay shuts down. All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from around the interwebs (links to each article are embedded in the titles).

Google Pay will shut down in June

Google Pay is going away. Last week, Google announced that its mobile wallet counterpart to Apple Pay will be ending on June 4th, in an effort to “simplify our payment apps.” Instead, the tech giant will be moving all payment method storage and tap-to-pay functions to Google Wallet. Once that happens, Google Pay will no longer be functional for peer-to-peer payments or cash-back deals and all balance transfers will have to be made via the Google Pay website. It’s sort of unclear what will happen with the app after June 4th. It sounds like it will still be around in a kind of zombie state, where we’ll be able to use it to see balances, but won’t be able to perform any actions with it (sort of like how I feel when I’m trying to ice-skate). This doesn’t seem to be something that will be terribly traumatic for most folks, and Danny the Deal Guru runs through the changes that will be taking place in June.

United Airlines’ “hidden” award chart for 2024 

United Airlines Airplane

Several years ago, United Airlines moved away from fixed award prices and implemented “dynamic” pricing. This change meant that, instead of award tickets being priced based on a published award chart, they were now governed by…whatever the heck United wanted to charge. Initially, dynamic pricing only applied to United’s own metal, but it soon encompassed partner awards as well, giving rise to the 200K international business class ticket. Although dynamic pricing can make United awards seem like the Wild West, there is still some structure to the madness. Dan’s Deals has been publishing a yearly “hidden award chart” for United over the past couple of years, by basically doing a bunch of searches for flights to/from various regions. They are eventually able to come away with a rough range of what “saver-level” pricing is for the majority of United’s route map. DD just published the hidden chart for 2024 and, in contrast to some draconian cuts United made in 2023, it’s actually somewhat…improved?

Billionaire outraged by $85 room service brekkie

Four Seasons Macau - Room service lunch
Room service lunch in Macau during last year’s Party of 5 Challenge

Anyone who travels much knows that room service is expensive. Like, jaw-dropping, needing a second mortgage, better look to see if there’s an option to sell my kidney expensive. One look at an average room service menu is enough to burn your corneas, and the prices only get worse the blingier the hotel becomes. Once you add in room delivery fees, taxes and gratuities, your bill rockets off to the stratosphere. So, it was with mild amusement that I watched the clouds gather to rain on a recent social media post by billionaire hedge fund founder Kyle Bass. Kyle was staying in the Carlyle Hotel in New York, a five star property with average nightly rates of ~$1000. He ordered room service breakfast, including waffles, a side of bacon (first mistake), an orange juice (second mistake) and a diet coke (wait, what?). The total came out to $85 including delivery fee, taxes and gratuity. Evidently, Kyle hadn’t looked at a room service menu in a few years, not even the menu he was ordering from. He was so shocked when he saw the bill that he  posted it and tagged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, saying that it was a horrific “inflation milestone;” evidently unbothered by the fact that he was already paying $1K/night for his hotel room. One Mile at a Time offers some kind advice:

For all you confused billionaires out there, this is a very important PSA to remind you that room service can be expensive…you might end up spending 0.000000085% of your net worth on one breakfast. You’ve been warned.

Capital One adds “vacation rentals with benefits” to travel portal 

If you read Frequent Miler much, you may think that the only vacation rental company currently operating in the US is Vacasa. That’s because the platform’s partnership with Wyndham Rewards allows us to book vacation rentals with Wyndham points at incredible value, especially when combined with the terrific Wyndham Business Earner card. However, there’s plenty of other booking channels out there, from oldies like AirBnB and VRBO, to the home rental schemes that hotel programs have spun up over the last few years. Now, Capital One has thrown its hat into the vacay rental ring, recently adding the option to book vacation properties via Capital One Travel. Unique to C1, and perhaps making it more appealing than many other options, is that these rentals fall under the “Premier” and “Lifestyle” Collections, Capital One’s attempt to ape Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts and the Hotel Collection. This gives an expanded set of benefits to Venture X and Venture X Business cardholders when renting vacation properties through the portal, including things like late checkout and $100 experience credits that can usually only be found when staying in hotels. Monkey Miles has the details of this intriguing program in the post above.

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