It’s always fascinating when Conventional Wisdom does a 180º turn.
Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a Devil’s Advocate post about how disappointing the U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways promotion had become (see “Yawn… Someone Wake Me If Daily Getaways Ever Gets Good“). I suggested the Conventional Wisdom praising the promotion was based on the version of Daily Getaways that existed in 2011 when there actually were some great deals, but not as it existed in 2015.
Well, apparently in 2016 Conventional Wisdom got the memo.
This year I’m seeing a lot more posts about Daily Getaways that can basically be summarized as “meh.” Our good friend Stefan over at Rapid Travel Chai pointed out (correctly) that if there’s one thing all the recent devaluations have taught us, it should be to never stockpile points, miles, or certificates for an unknown future trip. Angelina opined (correctly) at her blog Angelina’s Travels that, among other things, many of these “deals” come with blackout dates and restrictions. And my buddy and colleague Shawn at Miles to Memories summed up his analysis of this year’s Daily Getaways by noting (correctly) that “there isn’t a ton of value in most of the deals and the ones like Hyatt which make a lot of sense are very limited.” So it seems like everyone is finally on board with me.
But hang on a second…
Maybe I was too hard on Daily Getaways last year. Maybe I was guilty of judging every deal together as one, lumping in the good with the bad. Maybe I missed out on some awesome deals because I was too busy mocking instead of being constructive and supportive.
You know what? I’m changing my mind. I think I love this year’s Daily Getaways.
Does this make me a hypocrite? A person without any moral or ethical foundation who can change quickly in the wind like a weather vane? A curmudgeon who can never simply be happy, even when people finally agree with what I’ve been saying all along?
Nope, it just makes me the Devil’s Advocate. (Though seriously, you damn kids get off my lawn!)
Just because some deals are bad doesn’t make them all bad.
Last year I noted that approximately 20% of the Daily Getaways deals were worth looking at, which meant 80% of the deals were junk. So are the percentages any better in 2016?
I was too lazy to do all the math last year to figure out which deals were the good ones, so I relied on the analyses of Scott here at Travel Codex and Greg over at Frequent Miler to do the heavy lifting. But this year… well, just because I’m changing my mind on the deals doesn’t mean I’m changing my mind about not wanting to do hard work. So let’s be thankful that Scott and Greg are on the case again.
Scott notes 5 deals in this year’s lineup that he thinks are worthwhile, while Greg is slightly more optimistic and names 6 deals that he considers “deal-worthy.” Since there’s a total of 23 deals across the entire 5 weeks of Daily Getaways, that means this year the percentage of worthwhile deals is around 23%. So yaaaay! Improvement!
OK, maybe not a lot of improvement. But this year Scott and Greg actually have extremely different lists of what they each consider the worthwhile deals. In fact, only 1 deal appears on both lists — the May 3rd deal with Marriott e-gift cards at 20% off. So if you add the two lists together, there are potentially 10 deals that might be worthwhile depending on who you listen to. That’s more like 43% of all the deals.
On the other hand, as long as we know which deals are the good ones, does it even matter how many there are as a percentage? If someone gives you 20 boxes and one of them has $1,000 in it, do you complain that the other 19 boxes were empty?
Perhaps my real issue last year was that the hype didn’t live up to the deals since only 1 in 5 of them were potentially worthwhile. But since this year there’s less hype and potentially more decent deals, I don’t think it’s fatal that more than half the deals this year aren’t worth a look.
The good deals can actually be good.
Last year we took a closer look at each one of the worthwhile deals, but I think a smattering will make our point this year. So with all due respect to Greg, this is Travel Codex, baby! Let’s check out the deals suggested by our Fearless Leader Scott.
Even though this one went on sale yesterday, as of this writing there are still plenty of packages available, which is a plus right off the bat. As Scott notes, you can always buy IHG points for 0.7 cents a point, but this price is roughly 20% better. So as long as you’re going to use the points before they have a chance to devalue, it’s a good deal.
This actually seems like an unbelievable deal at first glance, but the extreme restrictions on it make it somewhat less desirable. While that fact only adds to my personal dislike for Expedia and their horrendous customer service, that’s a subject for another post. In any case, if you can use this despite the restrictions then it’s a terrific deal.
Ehhhh, I was skeptical on this one last year and I’m still pretty skeptical this year. It’s not a terrible deal, but I just find Hilton HHonors points to be so devalued that it’s practically not worth collecting them. I mean, Hilton has devalued so much that those two “H”‘s in “HHonors” are only worth one “H” now.
If you really like Hilton and can use these quickly, then it might be worthwhile (especially in the smaller 100,000 point package) but I’m not rushing to get this one.
There’s no doubt in my mind this is a great deal, just as it was last year. In fact, the only issue every year with the Hyatt offer is it’s so popular that it’s almost impossible to snag one. That is still a major failing of Daily Getaways, but it doesn’t change the fact that if you can manage to grab one of these Hyatt packages, you’re sitting pretty.
As mentioned earlier, this Marriott deal is the only one both Scott and Greg agree is worthwhile. It’s a straight up 20% off a gift card that can be used at any Marriott. There’s also over 1,000 cards available at the lowest $100 denomination, so if you stay at Marriotts and can get this deal, grab it.
OK, maybe I lied. I don’t love Daily Getaways, but…
I can’t say Daily Getaways suddenly blows me away but I’m not so ticked off about them this time around. I don’t think the deals are particularly better or more plentiful, but the hype is now much more in line with the actual quality of Daily Getaways. So perhaps it’s a case of lowering expectations to match reality that makes me less unhappy with the 2016 version of this promotion.
In any case, as the Devil’s Advocate I’m used to having the unpopular opinion and being the odd man out, so it’s nice for once to see others come around to my way of thinking. Because of course I’m always right, so the sooner everyone just accepts that, the better.
And who knows, next thing you know maybe Conventional Wisdom might change its mind and decide the Chase Sapphire Preferred card isn’t the bomb after all…Devil’s Advocate is a bi-weekly series that deliberately argues a contrarian view on travel and loyalty programs. Sometimes the Devil’s Advocate truly believes in the counterargument. Other times he takes the opposing position just to see if the original argument holds water. But his main objective is to engage in friendly debate with the miles and points community to determine if today’s conventional wisdom is valid. You can suggest future topics by following him on Twitter @dvlsadvcate or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent Posts by the Devil’s Advocate:
- Why The Chase 5-24 Rule Is Worse Than Amex’s Once Per Lifetime
- Did Following My Own Advice Save My Serve From Armageddon Part Deux?
- Why I’m Giving Up My Hyatt Diamond Status
Find the entire collection of Devil’s Advocate posts here.