Here are seven 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.
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.
Zafeer’s Question On Redeeming Delta SkyMiles On Saudia
I want to redeem Delta miles for travel KHI / LON / Khi but they are telling me nothing is available on any dates in any period. I have been trying since 2014. They have partnership with Saudia. Any options you can recommend?
Have you tried calling Delta? Many of Delta’s partner airline awards are not available online and I believe that this is the case with Saudia as well.
You can search for Saudia’s award available using paid tools such as the ExpertFlyer that shows plenty of available on all dates between Karachi and London at least in economy.
I would imagine that the fares in economy and business class are very competitive between this city pair and it is probably not the best way to use miles.
READ MORE: 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?
Geoffrey On Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee
Came across your article on loyaltylobby.com a few months ago regarding the difficulties in dealing with Hyatt when making a Best Rate Guarantee claim. I’m going through exactly the same thing, with a much cheaper rate on www.otel.com. It is clearly a public website, and no membership is required to make booking. But they are using the same excuse as your case anyway, claiming that it is a membership-only site. What a joker! To top it off, I was specifically told not to reply to the email, and only generic hotline/email were given. Seems like they want to avoid being contacted to follow up at all and challenged about their incompetence.
So I’m just wondering if you had any luck in dealing with it? If so, who did you speak to, who are at least semi-reasonable? How do I get into contact with them.
Hyatt is basically grossly lying here to the customers that the best rates are always available on the Hyatt.com that is RARELY the case. Then when you try to match a 3rd party rate, the reply most of the time is that the site requires “registration” and thus would be a membership site that is utter nonsense.
Depending where you live, you can always complaint about Hyatt’s deceptive marketing practices to the Attorney General of the state that you live in or even to the FTC.
So the bottom line is that Hyatt keeps advertising its Best Rate Guarantee but has decided not to stand behind it.
Shawn’s Question What Time The New PointBreaks Hotels Become Bookable
Your article mentions these bookings start around 9am, but doesn’t specify a time zone. I’m not sure if you mean yours or EST or IHG’s GMT – can you confirm ?
The IHG Rewards Club program is administered from Atlanta and these are Eastern Times. They usually go live somewhere between 8AM to 10AM. They don’t go live all at the same time that may indicate that some has to change them manually.
We will have an update on LoayltyLobby.com when the first hotel has become available at 5,000 points, so that readers can then start checking their favorite ones.
Dave’s Issue With Qantas
I hope this is not too long. I booked (through AA) a points award for a flight from the US to Australia for 2 PAX. It was 3 legs, one being LAX/SYD on Qantas. It was Economy, but I went on Qantas website and paid $180AUS each (total $360 AUS) for exit row seats (very nice two seat section with great legroom due to the full exit door.
Come time to check-in and was told they had mechanical issues and switched planes to a different version. I believe originally it was a A380 and changed to a 747? Anyway configuration was different.
My “new” boarding pass had two aisle seats apart in a non-exit row. When I asked they said I had not paid for the exit row. After showing my receipt, they then said sorry all exit rows were taken. So we did not even have seats together (though we had the same booking).
After spending about a total of 1.5 hrs with different staff/managers. I mentioned all the time how it was the airlines fault for the plane change as well as the airlines fault for losing my exit seat payment. We were able to get to aisle seats with one in front of the other. But it was in the two rows set-up for bassinets. One seat had the bulkhead in front, the other behind. So limited legroom and no ability to recline in either (I could, but then I would smash my partner who could not recline). Add to that about 14hrs of babies crying in a somewhat enclosed area.
All told a very horrible experience. We saw other couple come up after us getting seats together, and we did not even sit next to each other.
To add to it, with all of this issue, my partner left her noise cancelling headphones on the plane when we packed up to leave. I know this is our fault, but being separated, lack of sleep, caused her travel stress and she forgot an item (I doubt it will be found/returned). It was hard for me to help her and move back in the plane with the stewards herding everyone out the door.
Anyway, they told me I HAVE TO NOW CALL IN SOMEWHERE JUST TO GET MY $380AUS REFUNDED. When I call Qantas, what should I ask for (other than the obvious refund)? I don’t fly with them as my travel is Domestic US on AA, only Qantas for a vacation points trip. Should I also try compensation from AA?
It is unfortunate that airlines often are this difficult to deal with.
1. Open a complaint with DOT Aviation Consumer Protection that you can do online here
2. Initiate a charge back with your credit card company for the service not received
There is no excuse for Qantas how they have dealt with your issue.
Stanis IHG Rewards Club Note
I have been a Platinum with IGH for 9 years now and nowadays it seems a lot harder to successfully register for any promotions with codes and accelerate points accrual. I have had some amazing holidays on points: the Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort in the Maldives stands out, the Intercontinental in Dubai, currently I am in the Crowe plaza resort in Vilamoura, south coast of Portugal, very nice too and countless number of nights free nights elsewhere.
There are certainly less those lucrative bonus points codes as in the past. The targeted bonuses of Into The Nights etc. have been quite lucrative IF you were given a reasonable offer.
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?
Peta’s Question About Ritz-Carlton Rewards Account And Staying At Courtyards
We are wondering if points earned at a Marriott hotel (i.e. courtyard) are the same as points earned from staying at a Ritz? The Ritz reward account that they set up for us was a Marriott and my husband stays at Courtyards all the time and has amassed a lot of points…There does not seem to be any difference. Also, is a level 4 hotel with Marriott the same as level 4 with Ritz.
There is no difference between Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards accounts. It is just a flag in your account what the name is. You can freely switch between them and the number stays the same.
You can earn Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Rewards points at Ritz-Carlton and Courtyards hotels. There is no difference.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards have separate award chart for Ritz-Carlton and EDITION hotels that require a lot more points than Marriott category 4 ones.
Siwusa’s Problem With IHG’s Best Rate Guarantee
I guess the IHG BestPriceGurantee changed, regarding matching the cancellation terms when only the best flexible rate is available.
Responses I am getting:
We have verified the competing site and we were able to find out that the lower rate is listed and available. However, please note that you have booked a flexible rate where it is possible to cancel the reservation without penalty before 4:00 PM (local hotel time) on Friday, 5 June, 2015 will result in no charge, while the third-party site levies a Restricted Rate which states that FREE Cancellation before 31/05/2015. Please be advised that this would make the lower rate being claimed more restrictive than the reservation you have booked and as such we are unable to compare the two rates for the purpose of the Guarantee.
I have covered this on my LoyaltyLobby post that you can access here.
As long as you choose the lowest rate on IHG’s own website, it can be compered to a prepaid rate on 3rd party site. If they decline this, just read them their own terms and conditions. Continue to escalate if needed.
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.