Last week, Joe from As the Joe Flies, Joe Cortez, and I convened to award the Saverocity Observation Deck 2015 End of Year Awards. Of course, this was a light hearted, and eggnog filled event. The actual podcast will be published in the near future, however we wanted to share the nominees ahead of time.
This post dovetailes with As the Joe Flies’ post on the Saverocity Observation Deck 2015 Award Nominees – Part 1, so definitely take a read there too.
Saverocity Observation Deck 2015 Award Nominees: Category 4 – The Deal of the Year
Discover’s 10x for Apple Pay
This is perhaps one of the most talked about promotions of the year. In fact, I even bought an iPhone to take advantage of it. The deal is this, you load your Discover card (which you hopefully have double cash back on, which makes it even better) into Apple Pay, then you go into your favorite stores, like Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, and others, and pay via Apple Pay, and you get at least 10% cashback.
American Airlines’ $400 Mistake Business Class Fare to China
Earlier in the year, American Airlines had a mistake business class fare to China. Many took advantage of it, including Greg the Frequent Miler, who this year seems to be frequently flying. It was an absolutely awesome deal, because you could still upgrade to First, as many did. Of course, for those who just held their reservation, many found that American unilaterally cancelled it, although some were able to social engineer their way to a confirmed seat. Overall though, $400 for a business class trip to China is a huge deal.
American Express (AMEX) Offers
I think everyone would agree, this year was yet another great year of AMEX Offers. We also saw some of 2014’s innovations, including Offersbot, and SyncAssist get throttled by twitter. Regardless, there were some great offers, including $200 off a $1000 Virgin Atlantic purchase, $25 off a $200 Newegg purchase, as well as offers for Best Buy, Staples, and so many more.
Target Prepaid RedBird
I think many would agree, the Target RedBird was an amazing twist of fate. Here we were coming off of losses of Vanilla Reloads, and American Express and Target partner for this wonderful new pre-paid card, that for the first few months even allows credit card loads. Forget Visa Gift Cards! Go straight to Target, collect your points! Unfortunately, in the course of less than a year, the Target RedBird moved from the best thing since sliced bread, to requiring pin-based debit reloading (a la Visa Gift Cards), then going to cash only. RedBird’s death hurt many, new and old, but, it helped so many more.
Saverocity Observation Deck 2015 Award Nominees: Category 5 – Worst Move by a Loyalty Program
Hyatt Offering Easy Diamond Status to the World
This doesn’t take much explanation. Earlier this month, on the heels of the news that Marriott was buying Starwood, Hyatt saw the opportunity to get some of the high value, ultra loyal elites from Starwood Preferred Guest. Who could blame them? Well, it turns out, many current Hyatt Diamonds. Some current Diamonds reached out, requesting the match or some level of understanding, since they weren’t quite requalified, only to get a cold no in response.
Delta Award Charts Disappearing
Generally transparency is good, lack of transparency is bad. Well, Delta Airlines decided to side toward being less transparent. Earlier this year, they removed their award charts, leaving mile and point enthusiasts to guess whether they are getting saver space or not. We think there are 5 levels, last I heard, but, I’m not sure if anyone has anything more definitive than what Wandering Aramean has.
American Airlines’ AAdvantage Program going Revenue Based
Many dreaded this move, but the fact is that they made the move, following everyone United and Delta, and to a lesser extent Southwest, and probably others. The result wasn’t as bad as many feared, but it was still pretty bad. Some of the impacts include significant award chart changes–hitting premium cabins most–and the eventual revenue based earning sometime in 2016. If you want to fly to Southeast Asia in First Class, you may be needing 3 credit card sign-up bonuses, for example.
We mentioned this earlier with the Hyatt nominee, but, Marriott has announced that it will buy Starwood Hotels, and with it, the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program. Many SPG loyalists are up in arms. Even non-SPG elites are up in arms. SPG points are some of the most–if not the most–valuable transferrable points in the community. Marriott buying up the program doesn’t bode well for the amazing value of SPG points.
British Airways removing 4,500 Avios point redemption in North America
I have to be candid here. I initially wrote that this was not the end of the world. A few readers (to their credit), made it pretty clear that I may very well have had my head where the sun does not normally shine. They weren’t wrong. Many people leveraged the 4,500 Avios point redemption for short award flights (such as DC to New York, for example). It was a fantastic deal. Certainly a sweet spot in British Airways distance based award chart. This was a pretty big hit to many folks.
So what do you think? Please leave your votes for each of the categories and comment if you think we missed anything.