Welcome to the Miles, Points and Travel Hacks Weekly Round-Up for the week of October 24th.
Each week we sift through all of the posts, blogs, PR, hyperbole and rumors, boil it down and share the best stuff with you.
Now I’ve Seen Everything?
If you live long enough and fly long enough you might get to see everything. I took my first flight on Delta 35+ years ago and saw the following for the very first time this past Friday AM – LAS-ATL. They called pre-boarding for people needing extra time. No one comes up. They call pre-boarding for people traveling with infants or small children in car seats, etc. A woman comes through the crowd pushing a baby stroller and wearing a backpack. No big deal, right? Not so fast. There was no child in the stroller. Just a duffel bag. I looked at the two people next to me waiting for them to call FC and asked, “Do you see a child anywhere in there?” No one did. When I went to board I asked the GA, “Just curious, did that woman have a child hidden somewhere we couldn’t see?” She said, “Not that I could see.” I left it at that.
PS – No one else got on the flight with a small child later.
The Finer Things
Four Seasons sits near the top of the luxury hotel brands out there. They vary from good to great, but a quality brand overall. The Maldives is an aspirational destination. It conjures up images of rooms perched over blue-green waters on tiny island outposts that are to die for. When you put the two together it’s got to be wonderful, right? Four Seasons doesn’t play around when it comes to the Maldives. They currently have two hotels there – Maldives at Kuda Huraa and Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru.
Well, that’s not enough for Four Seasons. Coming in November is the Maldives Explorer. It features “a luxurious three-deck catamaran that embarks on 3-, 4- and 7-night cruises, plus private leisure, surf and manta ray charters into the undiscovered Maldives.” As a long-time scuba diver who hasn’t done the Maldives yet, this is pretty appealing. Cabins start at $1700 per night.
Actually, that’s not what I came here to write about. With two hotels and the Maldives Explorer, Four Seasons management said to themselves, “That’s not enough, let’s do more.” And they did. The fourth Maldives offering is the Four Seasons Maldives Private Island. Slated to open before the end of 2016 the private island of Voavah is described as “a truly private island coupled with legendary Four Seasons service: seven bedrooms, Beach House, PADI 5-Star Dive Centre, white powder beach, vibrant reef, extreme water sports, pools and spa. Your own 2-hectare (5-acre) playground and party hideout, 19-metre (62-foot) luxury yacht, and UNESCO ocean territory. Off limits to everyone else. Limitless to you.”
Sound great, right? I saw that someone booked Richard Branson’s Necker Island with 1,000,000 Virgin points, but the Four Seasons Private Island appears to a cash-only deal. The price isn’t on the website but a little digging around the Internet revealed that prices start at a cool $38,000 per night, and since it’s such a chore getting there, you MUST stay for at least a week. I wonder if they have a pay for 6, get the 7th night free?
The Fine Print
Hyatt and Mlife have a partner relationship where you can earn Hyatt Gold Passport points when you stay at an MGM property in Vegas. They also do status matches where Hyatt Diamond gets Mlife Platinum, and Mlife Noir gets Hyatt Platinum. I love these status matches as you often have an opportunity to double or triple dip points and benefits. It’s a shame Mlife Platinum is only a so-so upper tier with no lounge access or good benefits, especially when compared to what Total Rewards provides for their Platinum and Diamond members. (Want Caesars Total Rewards Diamond NOW? Consider Joining FoundersCard.)
On October 19th, they jointly announced a 20% bonus program. I’m a big fan of Hyatt and have Diamond status, so this could be a great way to ensure I’m Diamond in 2017. I can do a Vegas stay and mattress hop a bit to pick up a good number of stays and some extra points in the process. But, it’s important that I meet ALL of the requirements, so I don’t come up short. When I looked up the FAQ that describes the Hyatt-MGM relationship it had more than 60 different questions to wade through and they didn’t even touch on the T’s & C’s of this promotion.
The important details are covered once you sign up for the offer and are worth studying closely. After registering, you will earn a twenty percent (20%) Hyatt Gold Passport point bonus for all Hyatt Gold Passport base points earned during an eligible M life-Eligible Stay or an eligible stay at Hyatt Place Las Vegas between October 19, 2016 and December 29, 2016 (“Promotion Period”).
An M life-Eligible Stay is defined as
(i) any stay where payment is made directly to a participating MGM Resorts International Las Vegas property,
(ii) any stay booked through hyatt.com, or
(iii) any stay booked through a Hyatt Global Contact Center.
Be very careful to book your stay directly with Hyatt or MGM and not through another travel agency or travel website. I learned this lesson the hard way when I booked the Grand Hyatt at DFW prior to a trip to Dubai. #NoMilesForYou
Time For A Quickie?
It’s important to have more than one good lounge you can access nowadays. You can’t always depend on your default airline to be there for you all the time. (Hello Delta. No lounge in LAS. That’s just cruel.) Our good friends at LoungeReview.com help you compare and contrast the offerings.
Stay tuned for a 2016 update on the Tasting Menu at L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand in Vegas. It’s interesting to see how things have evolved since Blackjacker1979 wrote about it in his 2015 article – L’Atelier at MGM : A Culinary Performance.
That’s it for this week. If you have observations or comments, please join the conversation below. If you have any rumors, whispers, questions or answers, you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.