November 2015 Updates
While traveling over the past 2 weeks, there have been some major developments in the travel industry. Below are the highlights…
Marriott has decided to buy Starwood Hotels and the deal will close mid-2106. This is a major negative for SPG members who have seen the program to have the best redemption values across all hotel brands. I hope SPG points still retain their value but time will tell. The change comes just as I re-qualify for SPG Platinum status staying 52 nights this year. I’ll be spending most of my SPG points prior to the deal closing.
“The combined companies will operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide. About 35% of the properties are outside the USA.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2015/11/16/marriott-buys-starwood-hotels/75858600/
“They are both extraordinarily powerful programs and we will make them more powerful and relavant, Sorenson says, noting that SPG members will not lose their points.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2015/11/16/marriott-ceo-to-starwood-members-dont-worry-about-your-points/
Hyatt has decided to use the above news to offer Elite status matching to gain new members. I’ll have Hyatt Diamond status matched from my SPG Platinum within the next 2 weeks (currently a long backlog). I sent Hyatt Concierge a Direct Message and they replied with this:
Hilton is following Hyatt’s footsteps in offering Elite status matching. Details here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/25770793-post34.html. Now I’ll have top tier Elite status at Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood (SPG) during 2016.
American Airlines has decided to devalue their miles by charging more for most of their award tickets. This change is effective for new award bookings as of March 22, 2016. One of the major increases that personally impacts me is for a partner award on Cathay Pacific First Class will go from 67,500 miles to 110,000 miles required each way for US-Asia.
All 2016 Changes for AAdvantage: http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/programDetails/AAdvantage2016.jsp
2016 Award Charts: http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/redeemMiles/all-partner-chart2016.jsp
Virgin America announces a new route from San Francisco to Denver. Services starts March 15, 2016. This should be an interesting route for Virgin to operate. Most nonstop are on United as SFO and DEN are major hubs. Frontier also serves nonstop but they are like Spirit Airlines now and Southwest is the only other nonstop alternative. We will see if the load factors can support this route.
Stay tuned for a review of Singapore Airlines Economy Class and SATS Premier Lounge Singapore.