Hyatt launches a vacation rental program, a harrowing tale of actually using Frontier’s all-you-can-fly pass and at least one frequent flyer thinks JetBlue might be as much of a premium airline as Delta. All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from around the interwebs (links to each article are embedded in the titles).
It’s Fall and Halloween’s right around the corner, so it’s once again time for some good horror stories. Along those lines, as the saying goes, there’s only one thing scarier than flying Frontier: flying Frontier a lot. Everyone’s least favorite airline decided to shake up the industry last year by introducing the GoWild! all-you-can-fly-pass. Originally priced at $599 for a year (then $799, then $499), the GoWild! pass allows spontaneous frequent flyers unlimited access to the magic of the Frontier route map for only 1 cent per flight. Now, there are even multiple permutations that go as low as $49 for one month GoWilding. Restrictions? You bet there are. You still have to pay for taxes, fees, seat selection, changes, food, beverages, luggage, smiles and advanced booking. Wait, advanced booking, you ask? That’s because, with the pass, you can only book domestic flights one day before departure (international flights can be booked up to ten days beforehand for advance planners). While most folks in the blogosphere have held their nose, Andrea Sachs from the Washington Post decided to buy a pass and try it out. Her harrowing tale will probably have most people internally swearing to never even think about buying a pass after about five paragraphs. That said, one of the best parts of reading her article was discovering that there is a facebook page dedicated to loving and hating the GoWild! pass. There’s some hilarious stuff there, including some tips on traveling light that I had never even considered possible. Our own light packer, Caroline Yoder, has just started GoingWild! on her own Frontier adventure. She’ll be writing up her experience when she’s done, but you can also follow her journey in real time over on Instagram.
I’ve talked with a lot of Hyatt fans over the years, from the 200 night per year Globalist to the casual family traveler. One thing that I’ve never heard any of them say is, “I wish I could rent vacation homes through Hyatt!” Nevertheless, soon we will be able to, as the company is launching itself into the world of home shares and pirate hangouts with “Homes & Hideaways by World of Hyatt.” The initial press release said it would be live within a few weeks in targeted domestic markets like Colorado, Hawaii, etc. The nice thing is that, by renting through the program, we’ll be able to earn World of Hyatt points and elite nights with vacation rentals. Hyatt also says that redemptions will be possible soon, which could be “yeah” or “meh,” depending on the award costs. Marriott has their own similar (we think) program, Marriott Homes and Villas. Because the inventory is from other platforms (as Gary mentions in the linked post), they tend to be fairly uncompetitive from a cash perspective…but that can change when Marriott runs its regular promotions incentivizing folks to use the service. Hopefully Hyatt’s version will be a little less Homes and Villas and more Wyndham Vacasa.
Southwest flyers, rejoice! There’s a voice in the desert for all those poor souls who for years have been having to pay full price for a diet coke and Gardetto’s at the Chicago Midway Hudson News. After almost 100 years of existing in the drab netherworld of loungelessness, Midway is finally going to have an airport lounge all its own. Brought to you by the same folks who pioneered “The Club at LAS,” “The Club at DFW” and “The Club at SEA;” “The Club at MDW” is slated to open in late-fall of 2024. Not only that, but the lounge will be in the Priority Pass network, meaning all those thousands and thousands of ultra-premium credit cardholders will get to wrap themselves in 3,300 square feet of complimentary snack mix bliss.
Hello, hot take! Delta SkyMiles have long been the among the least-valuable of the major US airline reward currencies, thus their nickname: “SkyPennies.” Delta has also awarded those SkyPennies at a slower pace than many of their competitors and, with the announced changes in earning elite status, its top-tier Diamond Medallion status will be the most expensive to attain in the industry. But, Delta has balanced those loyalty shortcomings by contending that it’s the only true “premium” airline in the US, with higher-quality product, better service and dependable operations. Lucky over at One Mile at a Time disagrees. He thinks that Delta is backsliding into a sea of aging, cramped aircraft, packed lounges with ridiculous waits and indifferent, AA-like service personnel. He even contends that, “JetBlue has been offering free Wi-Fi to all passengers for over a decade, has way more legroom in economy, and also offers TVs. So if that’s what makes an airline premium, then perhaps we should consider JetBlue to be the more premium US airline?” Is he being overly-sensitive? Or does the Air Line have no clothes?