Happy 2013 from Sydney, Australia!
When my son Andrew suggested we make the trip to see the fireworks display in Sydney Harbor we jumped at the chance. Without question it was the most amazing display I have ever seen in my life. Seven barges in the harbor. Fireworks from the rooftops of the Sydney skyscrapers. Fireworks from jetskis in formation and exploding from under the surface of Sydney Harbor. The flotila of boats in lights in the harbor was amazing and beyond description. I’ll try to get you some photos in the days to come, but nothing can compare to seeing it live. Katy and I wish you all a Happy New Year and suggest you give it a go here next December 31st. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Now lets take a look at 2013 personally and for the travel game.
On a personal note, I’ll hopefully be a grandfather again in late April or early May. Carter will be getting a new baby sister and I’ll have babysitting duty with Carter, as Katybug chips in with the new one. I don’t think 20 months is too young to take him to his first baseball game do you? The University of South Carolina ballpark is right down the street from his house. I’m sure we will be taking a travel hiatus around the birth and for a couple months thereafter. My only real travel goals are taking Claire to Italy for her dream trip and spending as many days as I can on Kauai. Of course if a dynamite mistake fare appears, I’ll surely find time for it.
For the travel game, I expect 2013 to be a year of change. I envision a legacy carrier attempting the switch to a revenue based awards program. I’m not thrilled with the idea, but I think the time has come for one of the biggies to give it a try.
I can see good and bad for the credit card game. I’m predicting sign up bonuses remaining similar to 2012 levels, no monster offers, and if anything, a tightening of restrictions on earning the sign up bonus. Also expect an increase in minimum spends to earn those bonuses. The credit card companies now have sufficient numbers of cards outstanding and they will just be tweaking profitability on each card. This will probably include the tightening of the Ink Bold/Plus to Vanilla Reload card gig. It is just too good to be sustainable long term.
Debit and prepaid cards will continue to jump into the mileage mix. With so many small time operations in the game, some of them are sure to make value calculation errors and our gang will be in the forefront of groups finding the hidden value.
Hotel and rental car promos will stay with lower promotion benefits. As the economy improves, their occupancy rates will continue to increase and the need to offer big incentives will diminish. I think the same will hold true for rental car promos.
As more people jump into the game, I’m guessing we will have to work harder for our most profitable bonuses. We may all need to become eBay or Amazon sellers of merchandise to reap the big bonuses. That means more time and more risk to garner the big miles stashes.
All the above are predictions only. The only thing I’m confident of is our ability as “players” to stay ahead of the corporate crowd when figuring out how to win the game. Individual entrepreneurship will always win out over corporate policy and restrictions, if, we work together to share what we have learned.
Let’s see how well my predictions work out.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day American Airlines AAdvantage® has provided 2500 AAdvantage® miles for the best deals, fares, promotions, anything related to American Airlines, their oneworld partners or AAdvantage® partners. Add it to the comments section of this post or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post (with your first name, last initial, and home airport) to be eligible to win.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49