Travel News Recap – SPG Merger – eBay Gift Cards – AA UI Change

Booo.

Easily the biggest (and saddest) news this week, Marriott and Starwood-SPG merger is to be completed this week. Announced in November of 2015, we have dreaded this moment for what seems like an eternity. Starwood points are some of (if not) the most valuable “point” currency in the business. We are still unsure what will happen to our Starwood points, although we have been assured that we will receive proper notice to any changes. We will see about that.

Happy Birthday.

IHG Hotels will give you 1,000 points on your birthday. The only catch is you have to set your month and day of birth, which is rather simple; just Go to IHG.com and log into your account, click on the tab for Personal Information and then go to the bottom and click “add birth date”.

IHG points aren’t known for being extremely exciting, however, Points Break specials can be had for 5,000 points a night. Points Break properties are released quarterly and can be a real-steal if you are able to put one of the selected properties to use.

If you need a few extra IHG points you can transfer 1:1 from Chase Ultimate Rewards. I don’t recommend burning your UR points unless you just need to top-off. Hyatt makes the best transfer from Chase UR since category one Hyatt properties need just 5,000 points per night. (all year-round)

American Airlines Booking Interface.

American changed their interface when customers are shopping for paid tickets. Award tickets are searched for with the same-old trusty interface (still can’t book award flights from a mobile). Some users are complaining that the new interface requires you to click once to see the connection city. I don’t fly AA revenue flights so I don’t really mind the change.

merger
American Airlines new booking interface

 

This really sucks.. bucks.

eBay is rolling out a two-phase update to eBay bucks earning and spending. Both of them are negatives for us, the little guy.

“Gift Cards, Digital Gifts, and eBay Gift Cards exclusions for October 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017
After October 1, 2016, you will not be able to earn eBay Bucks when purchasing eBay Gift Cards, Gift Cards, and Digital Gifts purchases within the Gift Cards & Coupons category.

After January 1, 2017, you will not be able to redeem eBay Bucks for eBay Gift Cards within the Gift Cards & Coupons category.” 

 

Starting next month, eBay bucks will not be awarded when making a purchase of any item in the gift card category. Starting next year, you won’t be able to redeem your earned eBay bucks to purchase gift cards. This is a major bummer for gift card flippers who make good use of eBay’s 8% Buck Promos.

 

This should be interesting for re-sellers as it takes away a huge incentive of dealing with eBay. Without notice, eBay and American Airlines yanked their 1 point per dollar portal bonus. That leaves us with British Airways portal or cashback portals at up to 1.4% for purchases on eBay. Things are not looking good..

 

You can read more details of the sad eBay bucks news, here.