It is always disappointing when the cruise lines change things and some of the "insider" tricks no longer work.
Then again it isn't like the information that is being given is equal to the location of the Arc of the Covenant, Holy Grail or even the Mason's secret handshake.
The cruise lines watch trends closer than a cat watches a fish in a fish bowl. The marketing and revenue people at the cruise lines aren't stupid. Well; a few may be a bit challenged but when they see a trend they will try to capitalize on it to create revenue. Perhaps the spread of information on the Internet and cruise sites hastened these changes by a few months or a year but it wasn't like the good times were going to go on forever.
Yes: I am bummed that aft balconies are now categorized at a higher level and I will need to pay more for one. Then again, if the cruise lines overcharge for them and end up giving upgrades because people don't book them then their tactic failed. Or if people stop charging cash to their sign and sail in order to get free money or bonus points then the cruise line may rethink adding a 3% charge. If people no longer book 3 and 4 day cruises because they no longer can get equal loyalty program points then the 3 and 4 day cruise market will dry up or, once again, become the party boats. However; the last time I checked, people still charge cash to their sign and sail and book cheap 3 and 4 day cruises and the cruise line is laughing all the way to the bank and it helps keep the fares down and ships floating.
In the words of Jim Stafford: "All good things must come to an end and the same with the Wildwood Weed."
I am a firm believer that a secret isn't a secret if two people know it. We, as cruisers, can find ways to get around the system or do things that save us money and heighten our cruise experience. We'll just ride the wave as long as we can. When the waves breaks and the cruise lines take away our insider "perk" we can just be thankful we had a nice ride.