READER QUESTIONS: IHG Rewards Club/Ambassador Issue, Converting Airberlin Miles To Iberia, Hilton eStandby Upgrades, Hilton Online Check-in, Continuing With Hilton Or Go For IHG Spire Too, Le Club Accorhotels Platinum Lounge Access/Cocktails & Delta Delay Compensation (Missed 4th Of July)?

7 Comments

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.

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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.

Mike’s IHG Rewards Club/Ambassador Dilemma?

I’ve been a platinum member of IHG rewards for around 11 years now, and the last 2 as ambassador sadly it would seem I’m not valued as the top level has now been moved now and a new one introduced, do you know of any ways to get this level as increasingly it’s getting harder with non qualifying points and stays, even the UK credit card only currently gives platinum.

Well. If you stay a lot at InterContinental hotels, you would need to have the Royal Ambassador status (IHG just removed the qualification criteria from its website – read more here).

You can qualify for Spire by having 75,000 base points or 75 nights. Some reader mentioned that converting Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles currently counts as qualifying point (not sure for how long). Other option would be to purchase Bonus Points Packages to go with your stay. I would look for packages that reward 10K to 20K per stay (there are some out).

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Global Services on United, Enterprise or National, Maintaining Delta Diamond Status, Accor’s 10K Bonus Points Promotion, Hilton HHonors vs Marriott Rewards, Malaysian Flight Cancellation, IHG Points + Cash Nights Qualifying & Expedia Tier 3 Support?

Fabiola’s Question Transferred Airberlin Topbonus Miles To Iberia?

I have account in Iberia and in AirBerlin (TopBonus). How can I transfer my points from TopBonus to Iberia? So I can buy a ticket in Iberia? Thanks a lot.

You cannot. It is not usually possible to transfer miles between airline programs. The only exception that I know currently is the British Airways/Avios (UK shopping scheme) and Iberia, as they are all owned by the same company (IAG) and use Avios as their “currency”.

You can, however, use your Airberlin Topbonus miles for award redemptions on Iberia.

Vicent’s Question About Hilton HHonors eStandby Upgrade (Nor1)?

As a recently upgraded Gold HHonors member, I’ve booked a trip to Florence in September. After my reservation, I was offered the eStandby Upgrade possibility. I could select the Executive room-upgrade for free which I obviously did. (suits etc were at a fee of course).

What is the general success-rate with these upgrades? And does the mobile check-in via the app takes at these Standby upgrades into account as well?

Many hotel chains are offering these eStanby upgrades that are processed by a company called Nor1. I wrote a piece about them couple of years ago (access here). These are available at least when booking on Hyatt, Club Carlson and Hilton hotels. Don’t remember seeing them on Starwood’s or Marriott’s website yet.

Not sure if there is benefit by selecting an upgrade that should be granted to you on space available basis anyway. I don’t usually use these and rather negotiate the upgrade at the time of checking in IF it hasn’t been processed properly.

Sometimes you can see the upgrade that hotel has already has already processed to you and further upgrade to a suite/higher category suite at a lower price than previously.

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Using Avios for Hotels, Terrible Accor Stay, Right Frequent Flier Program For Asia, One FF Number For Elite Benefits And Another For Miles, Hilton Online Check-in, From MileagePlus To KrisFlyer & Delta Frustration

Tris’ Comment About Hilton Online Check-in

I have a huge dis-like for E-check via Hhonors.My biggest complaint is no upgrades!  Diamond member here, so if I can get an upgrade, I want one!  Did e-check in for the Raleigh Hilton-banner said, e-check in now and when you check into the hotel, we will upgrade you.  Got to the hotel, desk clerk just looked at me and said…”We weren’t sure if you wanted the room on the 5th floor that you checked into or if you wanted to be upgraded to the Executive level’.  Explained the banner on e-check in, and I guess they set aside 2 rooms for me, just in case….I did get 6th (top) floor which made me happy.

Also, certain room types (executive room at an ES) seem to only be available on certain floors – didn’t e-check in for an ES because the only room offered to me was on the 2nd floor… and at check-in was put on the 2nd floor – why, because that’s the only floor an ‘executive room was on’.

The other thing is…it seems the clerks don’t like it either, I’ve heard everything from “I don’t get to explain the hotel to the guests”,  “It takes away a lot of being personal”, “People are too rushed and I like to recheck/reswipe their key so when they get to the room, I know they don’t have to come back down”, “I know the guests like it because it’s quick, but it’s impersonal’….

Another thing a clerk told me was….”we’ve been told, if a client e-checks in, then that’s the room they want, and that’s the room they get” – which didn’t happen to me at the HGI in Orange Beach Alabama – I e-checked into a top floor, corner room – (yes, e-check-in finally worked on my behalf) – at check-in, they put me 2 floors below.  The manager could have cared less that she moved me, and basically told me – someone wanted a room for 4 nights and you only had it booked for 3, so we gave it to them….arghh, I was not happy and ended up down the street at the Hampton Inn.

I don’t know if e-check is available to every hhonor member, but if so, I know my upgrades are few and far between.  I have found if I just ‘check-in’ without selecting a room, then call, I can at least get a top floor.

I have commented these online check in initiatives that many hotel chains are trying out and there are no benefits (IMHO) using them. In the long term the hotels are just trying to employ less people when you can actually use your phone to enter the room etc.

Marlon’s Question On Continuing With Hilton Or Going For IHG Spire Too?

I renewed my Hilton Diamond status for next year already last month (over 30 stays).

I prefer the Hilton points – the hotels are better than the IHG group and as a Diamond member I always get lounge access for both me and the Mrs. (most hotels don’t allow kids into the lounge though).

However, now that IHG offers the new spire level, I need another 26,302 points (I have passed the 40.000 points level for Platinum this year).

What would yo do? I assume I have enough time to stay at IHG hotels – it’s only end of July…and I have lots of business trips to make.

Well. If you are so close to the Spire level with IHG Rewards Club, I would do it. Just note that there are no other benefits of the Spire status than 100% bonus on base points + 25K bonus points or gifting Platinum status to some after reaching it.

If you can commit 60+ paid nights to IHG and could stay at InterContinental hotels, I would go for Royal Ambassador status.

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS & COMMENTS: Le Club Accorhotels Benefits On 3rd Party Bookings, Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills Reflag To Marriott, Hilton HHonors Triple Points Rate Offer, Close To Marriott Lifetime Platinum Status, US Airways Flight Delay & Flight Cancellation On United Issued Award

Paul’s Question About Le Club Accorhotels Lounge & Cocktail Benefits

I am a member of accor plus and i recently got upgraded to platinum status, I wanted to know that if Latinum card holders are only allowed to access the premium lounge or can they have cocktails as complimentary? kindly let me know in detail so that i dont have to face an embarrassing situation in the hotel.

Some Accor hotels have a club/executive lounge where guests paying for the access and Le Club Accorhotels Platinum members can enter too. Sometimes when the lounge is closed or the hotel has decided not to have a lounge but keep selling club benefits, they keep offering these at the F&B outlets.

It is worth clarifying the situation when checking in.

Hanh’s Question About Delta Delay Compensation From Europe

I was on a flight from AMS – ATL (DL73) on July 3rd that had major disruptions and wanted to ask your advice on the appropriate compensation that I should request from Delta.  First, the 747 being used for our flight had technical issues that resulted in a four hour delay in taking off from AMS. However, that wasn’t the worse part.

An hour and a half after take-off (as they were servicing lunch), the pilot announced that we had to make an emergency landing in 15 mins because there were signs of fire/smoke in the cargo area – we were asked to hold onto our trays and drinks.  We made a speedy landing in Shannon, Ireland and sat on the runway until the ground fire crew could confirm that there was no fire in the cargo area and that our brakes were cooled from the impact of the landing.

The plane was grounded and we spent the next 3-4 hours in Shannon airport while Delta made hotel and shuttle arrangements for each passenger (all 374 of us)!  We finally got word at 11:15 pm local time that our outbound flight would resume at 5 pm (local time) and land in Atlanta close to 10 pm on July 4!

Being a Platinum member, I knew to make back-up plans just in worse case scenarios and had already contacted Delta to secure a back-up flight for me on the 12:30 pm flight to JFK with connection to Atlanta.  I was able to confirm those plans upon hearing of the late departure for our ongoing flight but due to gate congestion at JFK, we (me and about 15 other folks who were on my original flight) had to run for our connection flight to Atlanta once we de-boarded at JFK.  Upon landing in Atlanta, the first email I received was from Delta informing me that my bags had not made it onto the Atlanta flight.

While I commend Delta for their handling of all the travel disruptions I experienced during this trip, I just don’t feel like their offer to add 17,500 miles to my account is appropriate compensation for (basically) robbing me of my Holiday plans with family and friends.  I’d like to contact Delta about this but wanted to ask your advice on what a fair compensation would consist of in my situation.

Thanks in advance for your help and keep up the great work!  I learn so much from your blogs/posts! and am thankful that road warriors like myself have the resources you provide each day.

I would request EC 261/2004 compensation from Delta due to the arrival delay to your final destination. They owe you 600 euros in cash.

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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