After the drama from last week’s devaluations at United Airlines — creating a minimum spend requirement and increasing award change fees for non-elites — this week is due for some devaluations on the hotel front.
The first was reported on FlyerTalk and shared by Canadian Kilometers. LAN decreased its transfer ratio from 2 LAN kilometers per Starpoint to just 1.5 LAN kilometers. (Mathematically, this makes some sense. SPG offers 1 mile per point for most other airlines, and there are roughly 1.6 kilometers per mile.) But many people are upset that it removes some of the value in LAN’s program. New Girl in the Air shares a few ideas where LAN kilometers might still be worthwhile, but the options are slim.
Second, Loyalty Lobby announced a change to Expedia’s Best Rate Guarantee. It used to be that Expedia would give you 24 hours to make a claim, and if it was approved you would receive a match plus a $50 credit toward a future reservation. Up to three were permitted per month, so some people would just make lots of best rate guarantee claims, collect the $50 credits, and cancel the original reservation.
Those $50 credits could then be applied to hotels you really wanted. You could, in theory, book several individual reservations of one night each and have them combined at check-in.
Anyway, no longer. Expedia’s new policy is that it will no longer offer a $50 credit. Update: Apparently the old policy remains in effect, but the new policy is only for Expedia Rewards members. So not much of a devaluation, though I remain unconvinced that this is much of an enhancement, either. Quote: “Expedia Rewards members, you also qualify for an extended Hotel Price Guarantee that provides price matching up until 24 hours before your hotel stay” (emphasis mine).
Expedia has added a “Hotel Price Guarantee” (in addition to its existing “Best Price Guarantee”) to make your claim up to the day before arrival. This is not really such a great offer. Many hotel rates can be refunded up to a day or two before arrival, so nothing would stop you from canceling and rebooking at the lower rate. As John said, it will be interesting to see if any of the hotels’ own loyalty programs follow suit. Check out this post by Travel Summary to learn what best rate guarantee opportunities are still available.