One of the first questions people ask, after finding out that comped cruises don’t come from mLife matches via Hyatt is: what about the shipboard perks? If you recall the chart I recently posted, that includes some real ‘goodies’.
Since Hyatt flooded the market with Diamonds, which match to mLife Platinum, people are keen to know if being a Platinum via holding SPG Gold (via a credit card) grants them these super onboard perks…
Well there’s an answer to that, but it is irrelevant.
Are you asking the right questions?
I’m using Vegas/mLife/recent posts to suggest we think a little more outside of the box. The core of this is a mindshift and getting your head out of ‘being entitled’.
The problem I have with travel hacking today is that it follows a pattern:
- Find perks that you are entitled to for a certain status level.
- Find a way to get that status level.
The problem is that it locks your thinking into the parameters of the goodies on offer for the status, and limits your ability to benefit. Linear thinking creates two roadblocks, which don’t really exist, or matter, if you so choose:
- The perk isn’t on the list, so it cannot happen.
- The perk is on the list, but the rules say you can’t get on the list.
The perk isn’t on the list
An example of this is my recent cruise for Gold level. It isn’t on the list as an option, so people don’t think it is even possible. If that’s there (but not there) then what else? How about a free spa treatment, or all shipboard drinks rather than just 5 coupons? Can they exist?
The answer is only if you believe it is possible and pursue them accordingly.
The perk is on the list, but the rules say you can’t get on the list
Example, ‘can I get the perks for Platinum via status match?’ I recently considered this when I learned that I have earned Gold status, but I can match Platinum status. So if I do book that cruise on Celebrity, should I do so as a legit gold, or a faux Platinum, and what would happen if I do?
Matched Platinum do not get Platinum Perks
That’s the answer to the question. But the reason I dismiss the question is that if I accept it on face value, I gain nothing. But if I explore the rule, I gain an opportunity for social engineering, and human influence.
Let’s imagine I go on the cruise as:
- Legit Gold: I get my 5 drink coupons and free meal and other crap, quid pro quo.
- Faux Platinum: I get conflict, experimentation and ultimately, opportunity.
Faux Platinum possible outcome (good)
Despite the published terms, I actually get Platinum perks due to system error. That would be cool.
Faux Platinum possible outcome (seems bad, but not)
My account is registered as a Faux Platinum, I get no Platinum perks (and no perks at all!) the guys shipboard tell me that I am owed nothing at all, because my status isn’t earned. I actually like that opportunity because it gives me the chance for social engineering – I can tell them how silly it would be to penalize a Gold member for being upgraded to Platinum, and not only get at least Gold published perks, but also likely something extra as an apology – how about a second free dinner? What about a handful more drink tickets – so I’m Gold with a few Platinum perks?
To me, I see the limitations of the rule (which might stop another person) as an opportunity to experiment.
But also, bigger picture, what does any of this really cost, and why the original question is a waste of time? Is anyone really going to book a cruise on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean (with their own money) because they get some free drink coupons and a dinner? What’s the real cost of just going and buying your own? Maybe $10 a drink for $100, dinner is what, $35 pp? Perhaps $170 of ‘value’.
But the other thing to remember is that if you are really travel hacking, $170 of onboard costs isn’t really $170, it is something from $0-$85 depending on your method of earning, so if you really want to cruise, match up to Platinum, link a good credit card to pay your onboard account, and experiment. Just think if you could simply get them to waive the SeaPass charges, link the mighty CSP to earn, and cover the cost of that dinner quickly.
Every conflict, every discrepancy, every interaction is an opportunity, but only if you stop thinking about what you ‘deserve’ as being defined by the published rules of the program.