A few years ago, I wrote My Travel Predictions (Both Good and Bad) for 2014 on December 30, 2013. I thought I wrote a similar post at the end of 2014 for 2015 predictions, but I guess I did not. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to review that original post and see how close I came to predicting the truth. For the most part, I think my predictions were about a year too early.
My original predictions are in black and my thoughts/reactions are in red.
- British Airways – I think the 4,500 and 7,500 (maybe even 10,000) Avios award prices will go away or the entire award chart will be revamped. The current prices are just too good. I was partially right about the 4,500 BA Avios award band. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 4,500 BA Avios band completely disappears in 2016.
- Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines – since there has been a lot of fighting over routes to/from SEA and SLC, I think Alaska will no longer allow you to earn or redeem miles with Delta. This is an ongoing issue, but I think the fighting will continue in 2016.
- American Airlines and US Airways – after the merger, we will see some new “enhancements” (aka devaluations) to the new award chart. Maybe off-peak awards will be changed or removed. You could see this coming from a mile away. I’m sad that off-peak awards are changing.
- Southwest Airlines and AirTran – hopefully the merger goes through smoothly and quickly. I look forward to using Southwest Rapid Reward Points for flights to Hawaii, Mexico City, and other tropical destinations south of the border. I also think the 50,000 Southwest Rapid Reward sign up bonus will no longer count for companion pass status, it is just too easy to get Companion Pass. I hope Southwest continues to add new routes. I’m especially excited about the newly announced LAX-LIR (Liberia, Costa Rica) route starting in mid 2016.
- Hawaiian Airlines – merge with another airline, maybe JetBlue or Alaska Airlines. This seems unlikely, but it could still happen.
- Lufthansa – revamp their award chart after everyone signs up for their credit card. I wasn’t approved for the Barlcays Lufthansa credit card (or any Barclays credit card, ever), so I don’t care what happens to the Lufthansa award chart.
- Virgin Atlantic – miles will be transferable 1:1 with Virgin America and Virgin Australia. This seems unlikely, but Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines allow transferring miles between their award programs (just not at a 1:1 ratio).
- I think the new American Airlines and Hilton will create a partnership (similar to SPG-Delta and United-Marriott) for reciprocal elite benefits. What do you think Hilton Gold will be worth? I still think this will happen, hopefully soon now that I am a Hilton HHonors Diamond elite member.
- Starwood – their credit card from American Express will offer no foreign transaction fees so I can use the card at SPG hotels outside the United States. Well, the SPG card will probably disappear after the Marriott merger is complete.
- Hyatt – change the credit card from “2 free nights at any Hyatt in the world” to something not as good (maybe exclude top tier properties). Was Hyatt testing out different sign up bonuses at some point in 2015?
- Hilton – since there are so many ways to get Hilton Gold, I think we will see some benefits dropped, like no free breakfast. Speaking of Hilton Gold, I think the Hilton Diamond status match will cause Hilton to drop some elite benefits for Gold and Diamond elite members.
- IHG – I hope they run more Points Break deals, but I think they will raise award night prices or Points Break prices, from 5,000 to 10,000 points a night. Points Break deals are not as good as they used to be, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they discontinue them in 2016.
- Club Carlson – Revamp stay 2 nights for the price of 1 night award chart. You could see this coming from a mile away. Good thing I booked several BOGO stays in Europe before the disappearance of “Last Night Free.”
- Points Hound and Rocket Miles will merge into one company – Points Miles or Rocket Hound? I think Expedia or Orbitz will buy 1 or both of these companies in 2016.
- Credit card sign up bonuses – I think more cards will go from having huge sign up bonuses, to having larger spending bonuses (such as $10,000, $20,000, and up) to receive more bonus points/miles. I think this general trend will continue, especially with business cards and top tier cards like the AMEX Platinum.
- Chase Ultimate Reward Points – add more travel partners, but not offer any transfer bonuses. Chase has still never offered a transfer bonus, which is great news. They did add Singapore Airlines, but dropped Amtrak.
- American Express Membership Reward Points – less transfer bonuses and less transfer partners. I think AMEX has continued offering transfer bonuses, but the change in MR to BA/IB was a big hit. I wouldn’t be surprised to see MR to SQ change too.
- Citi Thank You Points – add more transfer partners and allow transfer from all Thank You accounts. Citi Thank You Points continue to get more and more valuable. I hope we get a few more transfer partners (American Airlines would be great).
- Discover It card – will have a $500 sign up bonus (please!) No increased sign up bonus, but several ongoing promos (double cash back and 10% ApplePay).
- Capital One – revamp their reward program and offer 5x rotating categories to entice more credit card sign ups. Capital One has a terrible rewards program, so anything they do to the program will be an improvement.
- A new card will come out from nowhere to surprise and overwhelm the travel credit card industry (please!) Some that come to mind are the JPMorgan Ritz Carlton, Citi Double Cash, and Citi Prestige. Am I missing anything?
At the end of the year, I will probably do another post for 2016 travel predictions. There will be some similarities to this post, but hopefully a few new predictions to keep you on your toes. If you have any topics you want me to predict, please let me know in the comments section. Have a great day everyone!
I enjoy reading predictions, so I look forward to your list for 2016! Two questions: 1) why don’t you believe IHG Point Breaks are as good of a deal as they used to be, and 2) why is it great news that Chase has still never offered a transfer bonus?
Great questions Robert.
IHG used to have several Intercontinental hotels in great locations on the Points Break list, but now they are mostly Holiday Inn Expresses in the middle of nowhere.
Since Chase has not had transfer bonuses for their travel partners, it has slowed the rate of devaluations. I also think the lack of transfer bonuses has kept all transfer ratios steady at 1:1, whereas Amex Membership Rewards ha several transfer bonuses and many travel partners are not 1:1.
Good thoughts. I just wish Chase would add something to add some life to the UR program – more akin to the SPG bonus rather than the MR periodic bonuses. Personally, I don’t think Chase can afford to lose the 1:1 ratio. UR is still great, but the CSP is no longer the dominant card it used to be.
A couple of ideas for you for your 2016 list: the fate of the SPG program once the merger is completed and what happens to the SPG cardholders. My thoughts: the card could be dropped altogether, converted to a Marriott card (in the tune of the AA Aviator from Barclays), or converted to another AMEX product. I think we’d all hope for an Aviator-type product- seems unlikely that AMEX would have all those cardholders simply fall by the wayside, right?
I totally agree that the CSP is no longer the dominant card in the market. I think the Citi Premier is the new best travel rewards credit card.
Just remember, that the majority of people redeem Chase UR points for cash back, statement credits, or gift cards. I’m sure Chase is happy that people redeem their Chase UR Points for those options, instead of transferring the points to their travel partners.
I will share my thoughts on the Marriott-SPG merger and what I think will happen to the SPG CC.
I’d say that since 2013, the Citi Prestige has already come out of nowhere and made a big splash. You were also right about the SPG forex fees being eliminated. Why do you think it’s a good thing that there have been no UR transfer bonuses?
disregard the bit about UR – i had an old version of the page in my browser before I commented.
No problem Tonei, I probably should have explained why in the main blog post. Sorry for the confusion :)