Sorry, guys, I haven’t been keeping up with the news. Marriott’s shenanigans and continued problems have been keeping me busy. But, it’s time to change that. So, here’s the latest airline fee changes and hotel promotions you need to know about.
JetBlue Fee Changes
The first of the airline fee changes was, surprisingly, JetBlue upping some of its fees. And the most talked about of these fee changes is JetBlue’s checked-bag fee increases. Why? Because, for once, JetBlue and not one of the Big Three, is making a negative move first. That move, of course, the increase of its checked bag fees as follows:
- First Checked Bag fee going from $25 to $30
- Second Check Bag fee going from $35 to $40
- Third Check Bag and beyond is going from $100 to a whopping $150
The other fee JetBlue is changing is its change and cancellation feel, which will be $200 going forward. But, while this is a negative change, people aren’t making a big deal about this one, as the new fee matches the Big 3.
United Does What United Does
As we all know, United loves to play monkey see, monkey do. And, with Scott Kirby at the helm, the also love to try to squeeze as much money out of their passengers as they can now. That’s why United has the most draconian Basic Economy fare of the Big Three, especially after American eased up on their own restrictions. But that’s not stopping them from trying to nickel-and-dime passengers even more. So, just days after JetBlue upped its checked bag fee, United followed along.
Ok, so United isn’t changing checked bag fees across the board. Rather, the first checked bag fee is increasing to $30 for flights in and out of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The second check bag fee also went up by $5 on the aforementioned, as well as on flights to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. And for those that need to check a second bag when traveling to Canada, be prepared to shell out $50 for the privilege. That’s a $15 increase over the previous fee!
Avoiding Those Fees
The simplest way to avoid checked bag fees is to get an airline’s co-branded credit card. With United, the cheapest card that’ll get your free checked bags is Chase’s United Explorer Card. The card has a $95 annual fee and lets you and one companion check your first bag for free. For JetBlue, on the other hand, you’ll want to get the JetBlue Plus Mastercard from Barclays. The $99 annual fee card provides a first checked bag free benefit for yourself and up to three companions.
Of course, you don’t have to go the co-brand route to save and checked bag (or other ancillary fees). You could also opt for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which provides a $300 annual travel credit good for any travel expenses. The Amex Platinum also offers a $300 travel credit. However, it’s only good for ancillary purchases on airlines, and you can select just one airline per year. Amex’s Gold Premier card which provides a $100 airline credit every year, and like the Platinum Card, you can choose only one airline to use it with every year.
Q4 Hilton Honors Promotion
For Q4 2018, Hilton is bringing back its double points promotion. But this time, they’re upping the ante by giving away triple points on all resort and luxury property stays. To put this into perspective, a Diamond Elite member can earn 60 points per dollar at resorts and luxury properties, while at all other properties they’ll earn 40 points per dollar! And that’s not including the bonus points you’ll earn if you charge your stay to your Hilton Amex.
Hilton’s promotion requires participants to register here. And the promotion is valid for stays made between September 10, 2018, and January 3, 2019. And, remember, if you’re an Amex Platinum cardholder, you automatically get HHonors Gold status. So under this promotion, you’d earn 54 points per dollar at resorts and luxury properties and 36 points per dollar at all other properties.
Q4 World of Hyatt Promotion
Hyatt’s Q4 promotion isn’t as generous as Hilton’s. Rather than being a points multiplier, Hyatt’s promotion is based on nights as follows:
- 5 nights = 2,500 points; 2,500 total points
- 10 nights = 5,000 points; 7,500 total points
- 20 nights = 10,000 points; 17,500 total points
- 30 nights = 17,500 points; 35,000 total points
- 40 nights = 25,000 points; 60,000 total points
So if you max out Hyatt’s points, you can earn 60,000 points, which is good for two free nights at any Hyatt in the world.
This promotion runs from September 1, 2018, through November 30, 2018, and requires you to register here. To take advantage of this promotion, you’ll need to register by October 15.
Airline Fee Changes and Hotel Promotions, Final Thoughts
With fuel and labor prices increasing, it was only a matter of time till the airlines began raising something. And since they have an aversion to raising ticket prices, the next logical thing is to raise checked bag fees. But it’s unusual that JetBlue made the move first, though it’s not uncommon that United quickly followed. What’s particularly egregious about United raising their checked bag fee, though, is the fact that their Basic Economy doesn’t allow passengers to bring a full-size carry-on aboard. Now, of course, we have to wait and see if the other two follow suit. American is the most likely to do so, though I’m not certain Delta will. After all, Delta is still committed to seat-back entertainment, while the other two aren’t.
As far as hotel promos go, the World of Hyatt promo is quite lucrative if you can take advantage of it. I wouldn’t, however, stay 40 nights if I didn’t have to. And World of Hyatt points can be difficult to use too, which is why I don’t prioritize earning them. That’s why out of the two I’d probably go for the Hilton offer. The problem is, while Hilton has a large footprint, there aren’t a ton of properties I want to stay at.
Absent from the hotel promotions list is, of course, Marriott. And I have a feeling that that will remain the case as they continue to battle through integration issues.