Reader Questions: IHG Hotel Booked Using Booking.com, Unexpected Starwood Point Bonus, 15K Points Short Of IHG Spire Elite, Hilton HHonors Gold Fast Track Issue, Eligible IHG Stay & Where To Credit Air France HEL-CDG Flight Operated By Finnair?

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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 December 26

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.

Bala’s Question Booking IHG Hotel On Booking.com?

Hi, If I book IHG hotel(crowne plaza) thru booking.com, will I get points and member benefits.

Booking.com is a third party OTA and reservations made using these don’t qualify for IHG Rewards Club points, night credits or elite benefits.

Khaarl’s Question Regarding Unexpected Bonus For Starwood Stay?

Hi there, this just appeared on my SPG account today. Do not recall registering for anything related but it is a good surprise!

Le Royal Méridien Shanghai
MEMBER EXCLUSIVE 6000 (X0D)

This looks like a bonus points based on the New Member or Select Member Exclusive promotions that I have written about here on LoyaltyLobby.

Will’s Question Is It Worth Getting IHG Spire Elite When 15,000 Base Points Short?

I am 15K points away from the Spire Elite. Is it worth to try to stay in a expensive hotel ($1500) to get the status?

I certainly wouldn’t spend $1,500 to get the Spire status. What I would do is to book a hotel that has very high “Bonus Points Package” as those points also count towards the status. You should be able to get 15K base points for less than $300.

Remember that Spire Elite comes with 25,000 bonus points or the ability to gift Platinum status. You also get 100% bonus on base points next year compared to 50% for Platinum members.

Pete’s Hilton HHonors Gold Fast Track Issue?

Hi John, In June and July I did the 4 stays in 90 days I was emailed about, ( and you mentioned in your blog), called HH after to confirm it was successful, which it was and asked if it was for just 2015 or next year also. Was told that it was good until some time in 2016. (Can’t recall but I am thinking the call taker said June or July). Just logged on to the HH site and it says that I have 170,000 overall points, but need 2600 base points or a bunch of stays to maintain my Gold. I called HH and after 45 minutes the decision was that I needed those 2600 pts by Dec 31 or I would drop to silver. As I am travelling all of Jan and Feb I would like to maintain the gold but I am not going to buy 2 nights in a hotel that I can’t really use. My wife is Platinum in IHG so perhaps will just get her to do the Hilton status match you mentioned to Diamond, she can book the hotels and I will use them. Would prefer to do things on the up and up but as it seems they are all for screwing me, perhaps I will reciprocate. Another thing I dislike about Hilton, every time I phone I get different answers, even when they go back in “my” phone log and check what the last person has said to me. Also , do you know if the Fees such as the Las Vegas Tropicana Hilton $25 “resort” fee is included in their Base points?

If you did Gold fast track successfully this year, the status will be valid until March 2017. The Hilton HHonors customer service was likely just uninformed.

I don’t see an issue for doing a Hilton HHonors Diamond status match for your wife based on her IHG Rewards Club Platinum status, however.

Bader’s Question About Eligible IHG Stays?

Hi all, i stayed at a holiday inn for 30 days and was told by the call center (sounds like bloody Manila) that its not eligible for nights. 5 days after checkout, the nights were posted! I stayed again for 30 days and the hotel receptionist said that they had changed the rate to “eligible”. I am now waiting for the nights to post, but the same call center said that they are again not eligible. The reason they keep mentioning is that the rate is more than 30% discounted than the standard rate. If thats the case, why were my previous points posted? I’m confused and annoyed.

The terms and conditions state that: “In addition, in North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, points may be collected on locally negotiated rates if these rates are discounted less than 30%. At Asia Pacific hotels, Qualifying Room Rates also include all locally negotiated rates”.

I wouldn’t sweat unless the stay first posts as a non-qualifying one. I have stayed at many rates that are discounted more than 30% outside of the Americas and Asia-Pacific and have had the stays posts correctly.

Hazem’s Question Regarding Air France Operated Flight By Finnair

RJ U

Subject: How can I get delta credit my miles? Who to complain to? Thanks you!
I traveled last weekend HEL/CDG on AY (part of KL ticket CAI/AMS/HEL/CDG/CAI) and was refused entry to their lounge in Helsinki despite flying full-fare business class and being OneWorld Emerald. Their claim my flight sold as AF flight number so they get the money not AY! Furthermore this sector was not credited for by DL nor did AY accept that I credit the miles to my RJ.

There is quite particular situation regarding these Air France flights operated by Finnair. Air France has something called “hard block” arrangement when it comes to flights between Helsinki and Paris that are operated by Finnair.

Hard Block means that the airline buys certain number of seats from the operating carrier and treats them as their own inventory. You can actually even redeem miles from SkyTeam programs for these flights. I have done it using Delta SkyMiles.

You have to understand that there is a difference how different alliances credit flights. Oneworld always credits by the marketing carrier while Star Alliance always goes by the operating one. I am not sure how SkyTeam operates in this matter.

As this flight was marketed by Air France, you cannot credit it to any Oneworld alliance program tat doesn’t have Air France as their partner. You should, however, be able to credit this to any Skyteam one due to the special “hard block” arrangement that Air France has with Finnair.

Conclusion

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

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