Is This The Golden Age of Reward Travel?

Is This The Golden Age of Reward Travel?


Add in I would bet that “the other airlines” will likely follow Delta’s model of essentially hiding what a flight would cost in airline miles (supposedly tied to the flight’s cost), so much harder to plan. It may take a couple/few years…but “I feel it in me bones!!”

I agree, there won’t be any “cyclical”. The big thing is airlines are devaluing b/c there are BILLIONS (if not trillions?) of unused miles out there and w/ all their profitability from bag fees, X fees, Y fees, and yet to be named fees, it will hit their bottom line…so you see AA essentially making them worthless or extremely difficult to use, delta charging up the butt for them and United still doing their steady devals every 2-ish years.

That said, you see the BANKS, who buy miles from the airlines for the CC incentives, have no reason to increase the # of miles they give on their cards, short those ‘specialty’ cards where they are trying to steal mkt share from another bank (CSP, anyone?). But those are relatively short-lived, while on many other cards where the ppl getting those CCs aren’t “prime cardholders” (i.e. profitable) those cards won’t, generally, have great sign-up bonuses. That said, the business cards best offers have climbed a bit (chase ink/bold cards), but again are short-lived too.

Add in the DRASTIC increase in # of miles for biz (relative to coach) and then the 3x+ increase of F to Coach…well, another ‘hidden’ devaluation, well, the golden age of redemptions, if not over, is closing FAST. If you’re a Coach guy…well, so far it hasn’t hurt THAT badly…

One story I’ll relate is when United and Chase were in a “Oh no you’re not!” game…was when United was (did, but retracted) their domestic flights increasing from 25k miles RT…Chase said “you’re devaluing OUR miles and OUR commercials saying we’re giving you TWO free flights (for 50k signups)”. Anyways, United balked, but slashed elsewhere. In short, it’s only a matter of time before more devals come and it gets worse and worse.

-2 cents


On the other hand, the 25,000 mile standard means that you should be able to get a domestic cross country roundtrip in coach for 25,000 miles. That’s still worth something, even if you can go cross country for $300 round trip routinely now. When a mainstream airline deviates from that, then airline miles programs have jumped the shark.


That’s the line they don’t seem to want to cross. Although they’ve done a stealth devaluation by restricting availability.


Next year, Marriott rewards will have peak and off-peak rates (similar to surge pricing). I guess it’s time to seriously consider AirBnB.


Great news if you have Marriott/Starwood points and prefer Off-peak travel times (decrease). I think we may have yet to determine if they’re changing their Off-peak schedule though.

I like how they try to sell their adjusted pricing as “good news” though.


Recently, I booked a Courtyard (category 5) for 25K points/night during Christmas time. If I had waited until August, it would cost 35K points/night. Next year, the same hotel will be a category 4 but require 30K points/night. Also, Marriott’s website used to let you pay for a stay in points and the remaining nights in dollars but now you have to call them.