Itinerary Splitting: Getting free Economy Plus for someone flying solo

I’m United Premier Gold, and one excellent thing that gets me is free Economy Plus seats at booking for myself and a single companion. (You can also get this awesome power without being Gold by buying the Economy Plus subscription, which is what made me a United whore in the first place.)

Caroline needed to fly to San Francisco to pick up our six year old nephew and bring him back for a week with his grandparents, who were then going to fly him back. The GP’s are in New Jersey, so we were definitely talking about United, who own both SFO and EWR. It was my job to figure out how to how to get everyone’s asses into Economy Plus seats for free, when I wasn’t even flying. Continue reading

Do you maybe just want some fucking cash back instead? [updated Jan 2019]

I don’t really do cash back cards, because I want to travel in business class when I can, and points that can be turned into airline miles for award tickets are the best way for me to do that. That’s why I got into this nonsense.

But there’s a case for cash back cards if you don’t have biz class ambitions, or you don’t want to have to figure out the difference between paying with points vs booking award tickets and crap like that, or you primarily fly an airline whose award prices follow their cash prices, like Delta, JetBlue, or Southwest. Cash is cash, and it’s easy to understand and deal with. And with some of the cards that are available, you can get between 2% and 5% back on all your spending without even having annual fees. Continue reading

Your life sucks, chapter 35: spending on Marriott Biz card won’t earn you elite nights no more

Quickie here, but: according to a post by Frequent Miler and others, you are going to be banned from all Marriott, SPG, and Ritz properties. Jk jk. No, instead, on August 26, the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business card is losing its benefit where you get an elite night for every $3,000 spent — though, like the other Marriott and SPG cards, you’ll now get 15 elite nights annually just for having the card (though having multiple Marriott or SPG cards won’t get you more than 15 nights). The card is also being renamed to Marriott Premier Plus Business, but it’s not a new card.

The personal Marriott Rewards Premier card, if you don’t upgrade it to the new Marriott Rewards Plus card, does seem to be keeping the benefit, leaving it as the only card that still lets you earn elite nights by spending (and now you’ll be getting twice as many Marriott points for doing so, as all the cards, old and new, will earn a minimum of two points per dollar spent).

The Ritz card is now going to get free Gold elite status, rather than requiring that you spend $10,000 as it used to, but, in the new program, free Gold is like free mold. You can still spend $75,000 for Platinum, which is almost as good old Marriott Platinum Premier and SPG Platinum, though you’ll still be a mid-tier bitch when it comes to attention and upgrades, behind the new Platinum Premier and new Platinum Premier with Ambassador Service members, even though their benefits aren’t notably better.

I don’t really give two fucks about these cards, but passing it along in case it matters to you before the SPG/Marriott rewards programs go boom. I’ll do a full rundown of all the old and new SPG/Marriott/Ritz cards once the dust has settled in late August.

Creative problem solving so as to not die prematurely

It turns out that if you don’t exercise, you get fat and feel shitty and die early, so I decided it was time for me to join a gym again. The problem with this brilliant idea is that in a city like NYC that’s gonna run you at least $100 per month, and fuck that shit. I just need some dumb cardio and weight machines within a 5 minute walk of my house so I can get the whole thing done at the crack of dawn before I wake up enough to realize what I’m doing. Continue reading

Can you cancel a ticket after you’ve checked in? You know, because something very, very important came up?

I started to write some allegedly amusing intro, but it wasn’t flowing, and it wasn’t amusing, and for once, I just feel like answering the fucking question (thanks, readers!) in the comment from a couple posts ago, about my loungey day at Newark airport, without writing War and Peace. Let’s go!

Yup. You can cancel your ticket after check-in, by calling the airline, or, if they have a responsive social media team (meaning Delta, not United), via Twitter DM — just shoot them the cancel+refund request with your locator number, and wait for their response. I guess you could also cancel with a customer service agent the airport, if you a) can look them in the eye, and b) still stand up straight.

Delta, in fact, used to have an “un-check-in” button right on their web site, and I assumed that if you used it, you could then cancel a flight. I rarely fly Delta, so I don’t know if it’s still there, especially now that they’re doing involuntary automatic check-in, plus they just had a web site redesign featuring, as modern web designs do, pointlessly large fonts. Anyway, one of you Delta people can tell me if it’s still there. Or maybe one day, when I’m bored, I’ll just find out for myself.

The Great Marriott-Starwood Fustercluck, in theaters August 1

So, because capitalism loves nothing like a good, hard merger, in 2016, Marriott, which also owns Ritz-Carlton and a shit-ton of other hotel brands, scooped up Starwood, who also own a shit-ton of hotel brands. Marriott’s been presenting these, more or less, as three separate master brands, with separate loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), with easy points transfers between the programs.

We all knew that wasn’t gonna last forever, and now the day has come where the holy union of 29 hotel brands will come together to become a glorious new Rewards Program To Be Named Later. This is not a joke. The programs will merge into a single new program under three names, months before the new program gets a single name.

Overall, things will be a bit shittier, especially for people who spend on SPG cards. Things will be better for some people, too, especially regulars. Things are not nearly as shitty as they could have been.

This is not comprehensive. This is just a best effort. It’s probably wrong. Fucking sue me. I figured out some parts of it from other bloggers, anyway. The Points Guy and Frequent Miler have some good posts on this shit if you want to read more. Continue reading