READER QUESTIONS: Using Hilton HHonors Points Towards Parking Inclusive Rate, Ambassador Free Weekend Night Expiry, IHG Into The Night Free Night Award, Aegean/Delta Or Gulf Airlines, Accor Hotel Lowered The Rate And Promo & What Program For The US?

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Here are six reader questions from the past week (so many good questions coming in!) that I have decided to reply to publicly. You can always email me, leave a note or private message on Facebook, or Tweet me with your questions.

Reader Questions May 17

Note that I can shorten the emails and edit them for clarity. I always remove the personal information of both the reader and front line employees. If there are managers involved, I may leave their names intact, however.

Using Hilton Points Towards Parking Inclusive Rate?

I’m looking to book a 1 night stay at a Hilton Property around Anaheim, CA this Saturday using Hilton Honors Points. Very few properties offer free parking, and since I am using points, I’d hate to pay upwards of $25 for parking. Notice most properties offer free parking in some of their special “pay” packages. If I call in my HHonors Points reservation to say either Hilton or Property itself, think I can get parking comped? Can a Hilton Property book a HHonors Point stay directly?

Unfortunately, you cannot use points towards a rate that includes parking. Some other programs such as SPG and Hyatt allow you to redeem points (at very bad value) for 0n property expenses. Note that parking is often leased to an outside company.

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Marriott Rewards, Airline Frequent Flier Programs, IHG Member Exclusive Rate & Qualifying Stay, Delta’s Medallion Program & Downgrade On AA Award Ticket?

Ambassador Free Weekend Night Certificate Expiry Question?

I have IHG ambassador weekend voucher exp may 2015 did still work or finnish?

The Ambassador free weekend night certificate is valid until the end of the month printed on the cert.

IHG Rewards Club “Into The Night” Free Nights Usage Question?

Hi, I am an IHG Gold member and had 4 free nights available.  I booked a hotel using the free nights and have since discovered that the hotel is undergoing an extensive refurbishment.

Would you know if it is possible to cancel the booking and not loose the free nights.

The free nights were earned from the promotion “into the night”.

You can cancel the award reservation towards which you have applied the free night certs. They will go back to your account. Probably a good idea to stay away from a hotel that is going through extensive renovations.

John’s Question Whether To Stay with Delta, Aegean or To Go With One Of The Gulf Airlines?

I have gold elite status at Delta’s Skymiles. However, with the higher Platinum and Diamond categories, having Gold now is just like being in the Bronze status that existed years ago.

I recently enrolled in Aegean’s program. I was aware of the recent change in required mileage to reach gold. I thought that when I reached gold, the requirements to keep the status was worth it.

However, for my first flight using my Aegean membership, they credited only 50% of the mileage flown. The flight was Tokyo-Chicago so the actual plane I used was that of ANA. My course of travels are mostly out of Aegean’s coverage so I could only fly with the partner airlines. I am so disappointed because I realized that to reach the 48,000 miles required by Aegean, I would be needing to fly double the amount needed to reach Gold in Delta (or some other airlines).

Now I am pondering whether to pursue Aegean, to go back to Delta, or take the Gulf airlines from now on. Any recommendation?

You always have to be very careful when calculating the number of elite qualifying and award miles earned on partner flights especially in economy. These often won’t earn the 100% unless full fare.

The good thing about Delta Gold status is that it is SkyTeam Elite Plus at the same time giving you business class check in and lounge access when flying on partner airlines.

Aegean is still one of the easiest to get the Star Alliance Golf status especially if you can take the few A3 flights that are required for lower qualification requirement.

I guess that the question is how important the elite status is for you? Emirates and Etihad are not part of any alliance, although they have partner airlines and some Etihad elite benefits also apply to their equity airlines. Qatar Airways is part of Oneworld Alliance, however.

If you are flying on business class fares the elite status doesn’t mean a lot. If on economy fates, however, it makes the process smoother.

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Using Corporate Rate Not Entitled To, Consecutive Nights For Accor Promotions, Getting More Qualifying Marriott Rewards Nights Towards Lifetime Status, Hilton HHonors Gold Fast Track Back To Back & Converting Delta SkyMiles To Marriott Rewards Points?

Henk’s Question About Accor’s Rate Lower Now & Won’t Qualify For Promotion

Booked an expensive week in London this May, but did this in February because Accor said “book early, now cheaper”. I’m a sucker:

– they lowered the price with 200 euro

– they started the new “earn up to 10000 points” for 3x 2 stays before August which I can’t enter because I booked earlier. Technically, I disagree, because it’s not in the terms.

Hotel prices are very dynamic nowadays. If the demand is soft, the price can go lower closer to the stay date OR if the demand is strong it can as easily jump up a lot.

You can always ask the property to adjust the price in light of the current lower rate OR give you a on property F&B (food and beverage) credit for the rate difference. Better hotels often agree to this, as there aren’t that many guests who check the rates and realize that there have been a drop in price.

You might get lucky with the Accor promotion IF you do an online check in, as this appears to reset the booking date to the actual check in date. I wrote about this issue on my recent post here.

Kassandra’s Question About What Program To The US?

We are Platinum Accor members. However, in the next 1-2 years we will be concentrating most of our travel in USA. As you know Accor’s representation in the USA is very low. Would there be any USA based hotel group that would be worth enquirying to as to how they can match our Accor Platinum status?

Accor is close to non-existent in North America. It really depends how many nights you are planning to stay in the US and whether you prefer more higher or lower end properties.

Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott and Starwood all have good presence in most markets of the US. Hilton, IHG and Marriott have better captured the smaller cities than Hyatt or Starwood, however.

If you usually stay at ibis, Mercure and Novotel Accor brands, then the IHG is probably the best fit due to Holiday Inn Express and Holiday Inn brands (and maybe Crowne Plazas too). You can buy up to the Platinum status by signing up for the Ambassador program and then doing the Dining Rewards afterwards.

Other good option would be the Hilton HHonors Gold status that gives you a breakfast and lounge access when upgraded to Club floor. You can sign up for Gold status fast track that only requires 4 stays within 90 days here.

Conclusion

Keep the emails and messages coming. I will have these READER QUESTION pieces at least once a week (sometimes more often) and try to cover issues that would help LoyaltyLobby readers.

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