Top 10 List Of Things I Would Change In The Travel World

I’ve gotten a bit fatigued writing about Daily Getaways so I wanted to write something more fun for me.  I went back through my list of ideas for posts and thought I’d have some fun creating a list of things I would change in regards to airlines and hotels if it were up to me.  I wouldn’t necessarily say these are the “Top 10”, but rather the Top 10 I’ve been able to think of.  In some cases, I don’t actually think these items will ever change, but this is my list.  I’m allowed to dream a little, right?

I’m sure readers will be able to come up with some better ones to add to my list as well.  To keep the posts a reasonable length I’m going to split the list up into two posts.  Here’s my “first 5”:

1.  I wish British Airways would eliminate fuel surcharges on award redemptions.  Simple enough request, right?  We have a family trip to Italy this year and the outbound trip is booking using United miles on Lufthansa.  The return is booked on British Airways using AAdvantage miles.  Our outbound flight to Rome cost $150 in taxes and fees.  The return from Venice on British Airways was $1500 (mostly fuel surcharges).  Redeeming miles for coach tickets on British Airways is generally speaking a bad proposition given the fuel surcharges.  The hope is that with the presence of fuel surcharges, the airlines wouldn’t feel the need to drastically mark up the price of award redemptions since they get a hefty chunk of cash when you redeem your miles in this fashion.  That’s a great segue to #2 on my list.

2.  I wish United would rescind the new onerous pricing for partner redemptions.  This goes back to the Black Friday devaluation United announced last year.  At that time, they raised the price of a business class redemption to Europe from 100,000 miles to 115,000 on United.  They also raised the price of travel on a partner to Europe to 140,000 miles.  That means if you want to fly Lufthansa instead of United, like we’re doing for Italy this year, your price went up a whopping 40%.  As a DC-based traveler, I have a lot of Star Alliance choices for Europe when I fold in the Lufthansa options (as well as other carriers like Turkish Airlines).  But the premium to take advantage of all those other flight choices (and, usually, a better in-flight product) is brutal.  I have no illusions that this pricing is going away.  But, it’s at the top of my wish list.

3.  I wish American Airlines would resume service between Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles.  Dear American, there are 3 airports in the Washington DC metro area.  They’re all about the same size in passenger traffic, but you only serve 2.

It’s been longer than I can remember since American effectively gave up on this route.  United runs a ton of traffic between the two cities since both function as hubs for them and that likely chased American out of the market.  But, American flies to IAD from all of their other hubs and has plenty of flights to BWI and DCA from ORD.

As an unabashed American Airlines loyalist, not having a connecting option in Chicago really bogs down my ability to fly them on certain routes.  Flights to and from Seattle are especially painful.  I can add an hour-plus drive to DCA to get the job done more effectively in some cases, but that’s a bear.  Of the wishes listed so far, this one probably has the highest likelihood of happening though it’s not imminent based on the lack of any data that they want to move back into the market.

4.  I wish Starwood would figure out a way to make their innovative/useless suite night awards useful.  This one still puzzles me.  It wasn’t long ago that Starwood announced they were extending the expiration dates of these awards.  That was a pretty solid sign that things weren’t working the way they wanted it to.  The premise here was that Platinum members who stayed a certain amount of nights each year would earn these certificates that they could redeem for a suite ahead of time as opposed to the traditional “based upon availability at arrival” metric that’s been around for a while. These were supposed to be better because, to some degree, Starwood was taking the decision out  of the hotel’s hands and making them commit inventory early that SPG could award to preferred guests ahead of time.

I don’t like playing russian roulette to figure out if I’m getting a suite especially when traveling with my family, which is why I was so excited when they announced this change.  But, reservation after reservation I’ve come up dry.  I had one success but that’s it, over almost 2 years. I recently had a stay at a decidedly average/below average Four Points property in a much smaller market and even took a swing at redeeming suite night awards there.  Sorry, no availability even though the hotel was quite empty.  I want to like this benefit because it would definitely strengthen my bond to SPG, which has weakened some despite a fabulous Ambassador relationship.  But, when Hyatt is offering to confirm 4 suites a year ahead of time for me, it’s hard not to want to date other hotel programs.  Which leads me to #5 on my list.

5.  I wish Hyatt would allow me to use Diamond suite upgrades on award stays.  This isn’t as big a wish now that you can use the Diamond suite upgrades for Points & Cash reservations.  For those not familiar, Diamond (top level) members in the Hyatt Gold Passport program receive 4 confirmed suite upgrades that they can use throughout the year on paid reservations.  These can be confirmed at the time you book your reservation so there’s no guesswork.  I don’t really care as much about a suite when I’m traveling for work but it’s much more important on family trips.

Being able to lock in a great suite upgrade ahead of time is great, but I also like to use my points for family vacations.  I can’t effectively burn up my Hyatt points if I’m paying for rooms on family vacations to get suite upgrades.  I’ve even said I would be willing to give “double the price” and redeem 2 suite upgrades for an award stay.  I’d really just love the extra flexibility.

There’s my first 5 wishes.  I’ll be publishing the second 5 tomorrow.

In the meantime, tell me what’s on your travel wish list?

14 Comments

    1. P, chuckle. There is a lot of it, I know. Personally, I prefer the moderation approach of speaking about cards I’m knowledgable about when there’s compelling info.

  1. I would like to see AA show all open seats for redemption on their site. ( not just the crappy schedules)

    checking online for eg. san’bkk has a 40 hr travel time all over the place.

    calling in, I can get CX space and under 24 hrs travel time.

    1. Mike, I agree that partner redemptions still need work. They’ve made progress, for sure, but have a ways to go.

  2. Regarding the United request, when they made that change to a premium for partner awards , I stopped trying to earn points there. I stopped using my United credit card. Actually with al the changes I am still trying to figure out what the lessor of all these new evils are. Delta lost my business and credit card spend long ago, no matter how much I enjoyed flying them, the awards cost so much it is not worth earning anything there. United and their 40% increase as moved me away from them, I would rather earn Lufthansa points and pay the fuel charge for Europe.

    1. Leonard, tough choices, I agree. I’m still earning Chase UR points that I might end up redeeming for LH flights through UA, just not sure yet. What methods are you using to accrue LH points?

  3. I wish I could use my companion pass on Alaska for first class.
    I wish MCI would build a new airport with lounges
    I wish IHG hotels would allow consistent upgrades on award nights.
    I wish it was easier to earn status (or at least more EQM’s)through CC spend.

    1. DaninSTL, I’d rank your 4 wishes in this order:

      Alaska Companion pass
      Elite status through CC spend
      MCI
      IHG (Switch to Hyatt!)

  4. Tons of things.
    But since the real question seems to be what would I change about miles/points/and big american chains, i’ll start with the simple one.

    I wish Hyatt would stop screwing travel agents. Their new elite rates are woo hoo for people, but it killed their agent’s earning power.

      1. Yes. No smart client is going to let their TA book them when they can get 10% or more off best rates with the my elite rate. I’ve even switched my own res to non TA done res because of this.

        1. I’m agnostic on TAs. I don’t use them personally but they provide value for plenty of folks that want to book that way. I have said for a long time that I think the hotel chains should take more control of their inventory away from the consolidators, and the My Elite Rate certainly helps Hyatt do that. I wonder if the genesis for My Elite was to save money by booking more rooms through their own channel.

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