2023 in review: Some memorable Travel Hacks & Error Fares, even more Devaluations & Nerfs

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In 2023, it was pretty much pre-COVID business-as-usual for travellers, as most airlines now fly at full capacity and hotels (finally) stopped using COVID as an excuse for providing reduced services.

Travel Hacks and Error Fares

We discussed plenty of amazing travel deals and hacks in Suitesmile Chat Telegram group in the past year, but here are my favourites:

An honourable mention to the Qatar Airways award mispricing that I shared in 2022, which allows travellers to travel in First Class at the award rate of Business Class (still possible today!).

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Devaluations and Nerfs

Award devaluations and credit card nerfs are part of the game, and in 2023, we saw quite a number of bad ones:

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My 2023 travels

Travel-wise, 2023 was a little more chill on my end, nowhere near as crazy as it was in 2022!

I spent the new year in California, went to Seoul/Jeju the following month, did a round-the-world trip a few months later, a 3-week road trip in Thailand, and lastly, an enjoyable 3-week trip in Japan to catch the Formula 1 and MotoGP races.

My flights in 2023

Airline and Hotel statuses that I am keeping/losing

I am currently holding quite a number of frequent flyer and hotel statuses, and honestly, most of them have not been useful to me.

Frequent Flyer statuses

Frequent Flyer statuses are only really useful for travellers who fly a lot in Economy Class, with one particular alliance.

As expected, my FF statuses remained pretty useless to me in 2023. When flying in Economy Class, I prefer the freedom to choose the airline that offers the best value, instead of paying a premium just to “enjoy” my status in the forms of mediocre airport lounges, priority boarding and extra checked baggage.

In my opinion, these are the only FF statuses that are truly worth it, especially if your trips are self-funded:

  • oneworld Ruby (priority check-in)
  • Qatar Airways Silver (oneworld Ruby benefits + lounge access, priority boarding and 15kg extra baggage allowance when flying with Qatar Airways)
  • oneworld Emerald (First Class lounge access when flying in Economy)
Airline2023 Status2024
Qatar
Airways
Gold
(oneworld Sapphire)
Lose
UnitedGold
(Star Alliance Gold)
Lose
Singapore
Airlines
Silver
(Star Alliance Silver)
Keep

Hotel statuses

Marriott Bonvoy remains my top priority, and I am on course to becoming a Lifetime Platinum member in 2025.

Hotel
Program
2023
Status
2024
Status
MarriottTitaniumPlatinum
GHATitaniumKeep
HyattGlobalistLose
HiltonDiamondLose
IHGDiamondPlatinum
(soft landing)
AccorPlatinumGold
(soft landing)

It was fun being a Hyatt Globalist member for the past 3 years. However, as previously shared, it was never in my long-term plans, as there is no way that I am spending over US$200,000 on Hyatt stays, to earn its lifetime status.

The other hotel statuses were nice to have, but honestly, pretty meh. The benefits simply did not outweigh the amount of effort and spending required to maintain them for another year.

I’ve run out of reasons to stay in Hilton properties (only once in the past 2 years!). Hilton Diamond benefits are becoming more diluted, and its points are close to worthless, due to ever-increasing award rates.

Related: The best Hotel Loyalty Programs

To another great year ahead

As compared to the previous two years, 2023 was pretty uneventful, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s great to once-again see some stability in the travel industry.

To be successful in the Miles Game, players should remain updated with program changes (good or bad) and make the necessary adjustments to stay on the winning side. Take advantage of new travel deals and hacks that will be shared on Suitesmile’s channels, and expect even more devaluations and nerfs in 2024.

Thank you for your readership and for supporting the website with your credit card applications and miles/points purchases.

And as always, a special thank you to the admins and members of Suitesmile Chat Telegram group who’ve been sharing travel hacks/tips/experiences and helping other newbies travel smarter and better. It’s been 4 years since the creation of this 3,600-strong chat group, and we’ve made it this far without formal group rules. Let’s see how long we can keep this streak going. Kindness and common sense goes a long way! 🫶

Happy New Year, everyone. Travel safe, stay healthy, keep smiling for suites. ❤️🥂

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