Tag Archives: Marriott

New AwardWallet Plus Feature: Receive Alerts for Incoming Miles & Points with Balance Watch [Winners Selected]

Updated 8pm PT on 3/15/19: Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway.  I wish I could give everyone codes, but I only have so many codes available.  Here are the winners: Mike Saint, Bill Pisor, LAURAPDX, Brandon, Priscilla Ennis, Seth, Will, Stephanie Woods, iwantmoremiles, and Jim F.  I will email the winners the codes.  Thank you.


Good afternoon everyone.  A year ago, I wrote AwardWallet Feature I Wish Existed: Keep Checking for Account Balance Changes.  In that post, I wished there was a way for AwardWallet to constantly check a specific airline / hotel account to see when miles or points posted.  This is super important if you transfer points from a transferable points currency (Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Thank You Points, Capital One Points, or Marriott Bonvoy) in the hopes of booking an award flight before the award space disappears.  Some transfers are instant, while others may take several hours or several days.

I am happy to report that AwardWallet took my idea and added the feature to AwardWallet.  Here is a blog post describing Balance Watch and how the feature works:

“Balance Watch will monitor a loyalty account to let you know as soon as your points arrive. Once activated, AwardWallet will check your balance up to twenty-four times per day and send you a desktop, mobile, and email notification as soon as a change is detected.”

Image source: https://awardwallet.com/blog/balance-watch/

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Keep Airline Miles from Expiring with Conversions from Radisson Rewards (or Hilton / Hyatt / IHG / Marriott / Wyndham)

Good morning everyone.  A few days ago, I got an email from Radisson Rewards about transferring Radisson Rewards Points into airline miles.  I figured it would be a bad deal in terms of the value you get from Radisson Rewards Points, but thought it might be useful if you have airline frequent flyer miles expiring soon and need some activity to reset the expiration date.  I went through the transfer process to convert 2,000 Radisson Rewards Points into 200 American Airlines miles.  Trust me, I know this is a terrible exchange, but it is a very efficient way to keep airline miles from expiring (and I don’t put much value on 2,000 Radisson Rewards Points).  I then went even further down the rabbit hole and looked at other hotel programs (Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Wyndham) to see if they offered better value in terms of resetting airline mile expiration dates than Radisson Rewards.  Here are my results…

To get started with the conversion of Radisson Rewards Points into airline miles, I started here.  As you can see, 2,000 Radisson Rewards Points = 200 airline miles.  The transfer ratio is the same regardless of how many Radisson Rewards Points you want to transfer.  10 Radisson Rewards Points = 1 airline mile.  According to Frequent Miler’s Reasonable Redemption Values (RRV), 1 Radisson Reward Point is equal to 0.38 cents per point (CPP), which would make 1 airline mile worth 3.8 CPP (which is unrealistically high).  But look at it a different way.  2,000 Radisson Rewards Points would be worth $7.60 (2,000 x $0.0038 = $7.60).  In reality, I get 40,000 Radisson Rewards Points every year when I pay the $60 annual fee on my US Bank Radisson Rewards Business Credit Card, so that comes out to a 0.15 CPP value ($60 / 40,000 = $0.0015).  The new calculation would make 2,000 Radisson Rewards Points worth only $3.00 (2,000 x $0.0015 = $3.00).  So would you redeem $3.00 in Radisson Rewards Points to reset your frequent flyer miles expiration date?

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Trip Report: Skopje, Macedonia (FYROM) is My Favorite Eastern European Capital

Good afternoon everyone.  Last week, I published 2 trip report posts about my recent EuroTrip (Visit Chisinau, Moldova & Transnistria (Breakaway State / Frozen Conflict Zone) and 6 Hour Layover in Bucharest, Romania? Visit Palace of the Parliament (Second Largest Building in the World)).  Today is the third and final trip report post about my experience visiting Skopje, the capital of Macedonia (FYROM = Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). My friend and I had a rental car and made the 3-4 hour drive from Sofia, Bulgaria to Skopje, Macedonia.  We stayed 2 nights at the beautiful Skopje Marriott Hotel, using 10,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.  Thanks to Marriott elite status, we were upgraded to a suite with complimentary access to the lounge (snacks, drinks, desserts, etc) and complimentary breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  Here is a photo from inside the spacious lounge and the view outside the lounge.

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How Right (or Wrong) Were My 2018 Travel Predictions?

Good afternoon everyone.  In mid January 2018, I wrote My Unlikely, But Entertaining 2018 Travel Predictions.  I did not look at that post until yesterday, so it was fun to look at the predictions I had made.  I will go through my 2018 predictions and see how well I did.  Since my memory is not that great, please correct me if I am wrong on any of these.  In a few days, I will share my probably equally as unlikely but equally as entertaining 2019 travel predictions, so check back for that post.  Without further ado, here were my 2018 predictions and the results:

Airlines

  • After the Virgin America merger, Alaska Airlines will add new routes to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean (Correct! According to Alaska Airlines’ website, they did add several new routes of Mexico City from SFO, LAX, and SAN.  Unfortunately, there were no new routes to Canada or the Caribbean.)
  • Delta Airlines will introduce cash and miles award tickets, then American Airlines and United Airlines will follow suit (Wrong!  Looks like none of the big 3 airlines added “cash + miles” award tickets.)
  • Southwest Airlines will increase their Transfarency by automatically keeping track of travel funds in each account (Wrong!  You still need to manually track your travel funds.)
  • JetBlue will add new routes along the West Coast and maybe to Hawaii (Wrong! JetBlue did add new routes along the East Coast, but nothing new on the West Coast.)
  • Singapore Airlines will allow you to book United Airlines awards online (Correct!  Singapore Airlines added the ability to book award flights on United Airlines in February.)
  • British Airways will bring back the 4,500 Avios award price in the United States (Wrong!  Sadly, the 4,500 British Airways Avios pricing band is still not available in the US.)

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Maybe You Can’t Avoid Resort Fees, But You Can Pay Less For Your Hotel Room

Resort fees, destination fees; call them what you want, they all stink. Hotels have a menu (except we don’t get to pick and choose) of junk fees that are attached to our bills for all kinds of “services and amenities” that used to be complimentary or something we could choose to pay extra for. I don’t think any of us really believe hotel claims about why they’re now adding on these fees. From what I’ve read, it seems like these fees enable hotels to still claim their rates are lower and also pay less to travel agents since commissions are paid based on the base rate, not the total rate.

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