News And Notes For Monday, January 21st

As part of Starwood’s agreement to be the official hotel partner of the Chicago Cubs, they have also entered into an agreement for a Sheraton beside Wrigley Field.  I’m always in favor of more hotels in my favorite chains.  I don’t specifically see this as filling a niche, plenty of good Starwoods and Hyatts in the Chicago market, and I have no problem taking a train to Wrigleyville.  But, word is that it’s supposed to be a special property, so it may end up being a fun place to stay.  I’ll probably still stick with the Park Hyatt Chicago

Delta has added some revenue requirements for elite qualification next year.  View From The Wing was the first (or one of the first) to report on a leak of info, and then confirmed it the following day.

There’s been a slow but steady drumbeat towards revenue being a bigger factor in airline loyalty and Delta has been out in front the whole time, so not a lot of surprises here.  My opinion is that this isn’t actually as bad for the first foray down this road.  I actually expected Delta to have rolled out something more substantial, such as reduced earning on coach fares.

As it stands, the revenue requirement can be waived next year by spending $25,000 on Delta’s co-branded credit card.  Not the best place to put credit card spend, IMO.  But worth it if it’s the only way you can qualify for status.

A small note on the status of American Airlines in bankruptcy.  They received approval from the bankruptcy judge to refinance a bunch of airplane debt for some pretty significant savings.  While the news itself isn’t a big step forward, each positive step makes it that much more likely American Airlines can either thwart a US Airways merger or enter one as the dominant party.  While I think that remains a long shot, it’s only possible if AA can keep demonstrating the ability to stand alone and make money.

If you’re a Priority Club fan, or a loyal member, there’s a lot of bad news for you.  Priority Club has released a bunch of info about the specific re-categorizing of properties according to their market rate as opposed to the brand they belong to, leading to lots of increases in the number of points required for a redemption.  I don’t follow the Priority Club program closely in terms of redemption value as I find there are a larger number of properties that don’t fit my travel preferences, and I generally find the redemption value at SPG and Hyatt to be much better.  But, Mommy Points has a quick blurb on some top properties that are going up that will give you a general idea of what to expect.  Nobody likes seeing prices go up, and this change will lead to some significant increases in the number of points required for a free room.  To me, just another reason to focus your hotel spend elsewhere if you’re looking to achieve status or redeem points for free rooms.

Courtesy of SC Flier on Milepoint, the 2013 list of AAA 4-diamond and 5-diamond properties is available for review.  I see a few properties on there I intend to hit this year, like the St. Regis San Francisco.  While I do follow the list, there’s no question some properties earn their diamonds based on reputation alone.  Anyway, it’s something fun I do every year cruising through the list chuckling at some of the properties earning their ranking while strategizing how to enjoy others on the list I haven’t tried yet.

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