Travel Predictions for 2016 Part 1: Airlines and Hotels

Update: Travel Predictions for 2016 Part 2: Credit Cards and MS is now live!

Good morning everyone, happy New Years Eve!  To prove how smart or dumb I am, I wanted to make a few predictions for 2016.  In Part 1, I will share my thoughts and predictions about airlines and hotels.  In Part 2, I will share my thoughts and predictions about credit cards and MS.  If you strongly agree or disagree with any of my thoughts or predictions, please leave a comment below and we will see who is right next year.  Without any further ado, let’s make some guesses!

Airlines

Southwest – Southwest points used to be worth 1.67 CPP, then they were worth 1.43 CPP, now with route variability, I have no idea how much Southwest points are worth.  I wish Southwest points would be worth a fixed amount, maybe 1.5 CPP for all flights.  I hope Southwest continues to announce new routes, especially a few routes from the West Coast to Hawaii.  Lastly, for the last several year, credit card sign up bonus points have counted toward the Southwest Companion Pass.  I think this might change in 2016.

American – after the devaluation goes into effect, I hope award space improves considerably (it can’t get much worse).  I hope American gets rid of the close-in booking fee for booking award flights within 3 weeks of travel.  I also hope that Citi adds the ability to transfer Citi Thank You Points into American Airlines miles.  I hope Citi Prestige Credit Card holders retain the ability to book American and AA codeshare flights for 1.6 CPP.

Delta – not even I can make an educated guess about what Delta will do next year.  My best guess is that all the decent redemption options will get worse and “Miles for Magazines” or “Pay with Points” will look like great deals.

United – if Delta makes a change, I am sure United will not be too far behind.  I’m curious about the future of MileagePlusX (the online shopping portal app that earns United miles).  Will there be any big developments with that app in 2016?  Will it even survive to make it to 2017?  Lastly, as I like to say, “The only good think about flying United out of SFO is that I don’t have to walk very far from the Centurion Lounge.” #burn

Alaska – I status matched from the Southwest Companion Pass early in 2015 to Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K, but I never flew Alaska Airlines in 2015.  I had a few first class upgrade codes that I used to surprise my friends who purchased Alaska Airlines flights.  I have over 150,000 Alaska Airlines miles from various credit card sign up bonuses, but I can’t remember the last time I redeemed any miles.  My goal for 2016 is to redeem at least half of my Alaska Airlines miles.  There hasn’t been any bad news from Alaska Airlines in a long time, so I think a devaluation is overdue.

Virgin America – I flew Virgin America for the first time in 2015.  I like the airline, but I am not in love with the airline like some of my friends are.  I hope Virgin America adds new routes in 2016.  If they do, the prices will probably be very cheap, so snag them early.  I wish there was an easier way to book Virgin America flights with Virgin Atlantic miles or even to convert Virgin Atlantic miles to Virgin America miles. #onecandream

British Airways – 4,500 Avios awards are slowly dying and I think we will see 7,500 Avios awards slowly disappear too.  I love Cash and Points availability and I hope British Airways can add more functionality to their site and add a few more booking partners online (like Alaska Airlines and Aer Lingus).

Singapore Airlines – Singapore has a great frequent flyer program and you can get Singapore miles from Chase, Citi, AMEX, and SPG.  I wish the transfers were instant, rather than the current ~24 hour wait time.  I also wish it were possible to book non-Singapore award tickets online.  I hope both wishes come true in 2016.

Hawaiian Airlines – there hasn’t been any news from Hawaiian Airlines in a long time.  I think they might be working on a promotion to get people to fly them more often.  Maybe they will offer half price awards to Hawaii?  Yes, please!

JetBlue – I haven’t flown them in years, but I wish they expanded their route network along the West Coast.  Pretty please?

Spirit, Allegiant, Frontier & Sun Country – I have never flown any of these airlines and will probably not start in 2016.  But I do have around 25,000 Spirit Airlines miles from the Bank of America Spirit Airlines Credit Card. Hmm… Lastly, I am sure these airlines will figure out new ways to nickel and dime passengers and that passengers that do fly these airlines will continue to complain. #easiestpredictionever

Hotels

Hilton – everyone and their mother is probably Hilton HHonors Diamond at this point.  Will Hilton make any major changes to their Diamond elite benefits in 2016?  Hopefully not before my stays at the Hilton Munich City and Hilton Molino Stucky Venice in mid-January.  Will there be another major devaluation in 2016?  I hope not.

Hyatt – like Hilton, I am sure everyone and their mother has been status matched to Hyatt Diamond by now (side note, I am still waiting for my approval email).  Will there be a major change to Diamond elite benefits?  I would love to be able to easily search for award nights and cash and points nights (ala SPG’s calendar).  If we could then book Cash and Points online, rather than calling, that would be great too.

Marriott & SPG – the big question is what will happen when Marriott completes their acquisition of SPG.  What will hotel points be worth?  What will airline transfers and elite benefits by like in 2016?  There are so many unanswered questions.  I say prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  At the moment, I have around 30,000 Marriott points and around 60,000 SPG points.  As long as they do not make any major changes to the cost of category 1-3 hotels, I will be happy.  There is very little upside for the merger, but lots of room for negative changes. #waitinggame

Club Carlson – After all the Last Night Free stays have been used, I think Club Carlson will have some pretty great promotions, similar to what they did in the past.  Maybe they will start offering free night certificates for each paid stay.  As far as the free night certificate for spending $10,000 on the card, if it remains valid only for US hotels, I am not interested.  If they change the terms and allow it to be used internationally, then it would get my attention.  It would also be great to get breakfast included for Club Carlson credit card holders, is that too much to ask?

IHG – last but not least, we have IHG.  I think the best deal in hotel credit cards goes to the Chase IHG Credit Card.  Last year, I used my free night certificate to book an upcoming stay at the Hotel Indigo in Paris.  When my anniversary rolled around again in November, I used that free night certificate to book the second night at the Hotel Indigo in Paris.  I love the fact that there is some overlap between free night certificates.  I am sure IHG will have more promotions in 2016 and those promotions will not go smoothly, resulting in many unhappy customers and manual overrides by customer service.  Due to IHG’s IT systems, there are interesting ways to take advantage of the free night certificates.

Hopefully I didn’t miss any major airlines or hotels during my predictions.  If I did, please let me know and I will be sure to share my thoughts and predictions for the coming year.  From my family to yours, have a very happy New Years!

P.S. I need to update this graphic since I no longer have a few of these credit cards.

Chase Credit Card Family Christmas Photo

6 thoughts on “Travel Predictions for 2016 Part 1: Airlines and Hotels

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