Buy American Airlines AAdvantage Miles April Edition – 30% Bonus & 15% Discount

1 Comment

The other day, American sent an email regarding their latest Buy AA miles promotion. You will get 30% bonus and 15% discount off the purchase price, if you make the purchase by noon on Thursday 5th of April. With the bonus & the discount, you can buy 52000 AAdvantage miles for $1035.13. The price of the mile is 2 cents.

american-airlines-buy-miles-april

The last time American Airlines run a promotion for buying AAdvantage miles the price was 2.2 cents per mile. The current offer thus is better.

american-airlines-buy-miles-april-2

Please note that you can only buy 40000 AAdvantage miles per calendar year. If you need to purchase more miles, I would suggest opening an account for an immediate family member. For ticketing purposes it would be better if you share the same last name.

american-airlines-buy-miles-april-3

Does it make sense to buy?

The same advice still applies that I gave during the January sale:

When it makes sense to buy miles?

  1. Short on miles for premium international flight award on partner airlines
  2. Oneway travel in markets where OW fares are expensive
  3. Travel that requires flexibility as award tickets can be changed/canceled for a fee/without fee almost like flexible tickets

One of my favorite bright spots on AA’s award chart is the Europe to Middle East/Indian Sub-continent. It is 30K in business and 40K in first class for oneway travel. Now that Etihad is AA’s redemption partner this award has become more useful as Etihad has quite comprehensive coverage of the region.  You could fly from Europe to Maldives in business class for 60000 AAdvantage award miles.

The Australia/New Zealand zone is good way to burn miles too as is the Europe. Both of these markets tend to be expensive unless you can plan your travel far in advance, or travel in the markets where there is competition from low cost carriers.

Here are the Terms and conditions of this offer:

Strategy for 2nd Quarter Hilton Double Your HHonors Promotion – Virgin Atlantic, BMI, and British Airways

3 Comments

The latest Hilton HHonors promotion for double points or miles is valid until the end of June. If you are interested only about Hilton HHonors points, it makes sense to consider crediting stays to Virgin Atlantic and here’s why. With Virgin Atlantic you get 1000 miles per stay for Hilton, Conrad, DoubleTree, Embassy Suite, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations and The Waldorf Astoria hotels. Crediting Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites or Home2 Suites to Virgin Atlantic doesn’t make any sense due to lower number of fixed miles earner. I would credit these latter three brands to BMI’s Diamond Club.

hilton-hhonors-double-points-2nd-q-2012

Here’s the beauty of Virgin Atlantic’s program. You can transfer Flying Club points to Hilton HHonors points at a ratio of 2 Hilton HHonors points for 1 Flying Club miles. The minimum transaction is 10000 Flying Club points. Alternatively, you can use the miles to book Virgin America flights.

hilton-brands

hilton-vs

So, a night stay at any of the full earning properties would earn you 2000 Virgin Atlantic miles that would turn into 4000 Hilton HHonors points. This is better than double base points, if your folio amount is $300 or so, as you forego some points when you choose double dip option. This only applies to fixed mile option.

hilton-double-bmi-ba

If you are really looking for Avios points out of Hilton, it makes sense to choose BMI as the partner airline. You will earn more than double the number of Diamond Club miles per stay compared to BA’s Avios at minimum. Also, you will earn 1000 BMI miles per DAY up to three days. You earn the same number of BA Avios regardless how many days you stay. British Airways’ parent is in the process of finalizing the deal with Lufthansa to buy BMI. The deal should close later this month. The Diamond Club miles will turn into Avios in not so distant future.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Priority Club Last Minute Reward Nights Out For April

IHG just released a list of last minute rewards nights for this coming weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) and you need to book them by Thursday night. These last minute rewards nights are offered at 50% discount of the usual number of points needed. This time they have 103 hotels on the list of which only one is InterContinental.

priority-club-last-minute-april-2012

The latest Point Breaks list is out as well. There are quite a few nice hotels that you can book at 5000 Priority Club points per night.

Hilton Award Availability Woes – Premium Room Rewards, Sold Out Situation & Nor1

4 Comments

Yesterday, I was looking to book the Hilton hotel in Colombo (Sri Lanka) where I have been few times in the past. This time, however, the Hilton Colombo and the Hilton Colombo residences were apparently both sold out.

There have been a lot of problems with the Hilton’s website lately. More often than not there are 404 pages, connection issues, and timing outs. Sometimes when the Hilton.com is not working you can use Hilton.co.uk to make a revenue booking. You cannot use the latter website to make an award reservation, however.

hilton-colombo-residence-1-no-availability

First, when I am logged in at Hilton.com and search for availability for April 3rd for one night, there is none.

hilton-colombo-residence-2-diamond-guarantee

Then when I check the box for Hilton HHonors availability, it gives an option for Diamond Guarantee room at the Hilton Colombo Residence.

hilton-colombo-residence-3-room-types

As a matter of fact, it gives an option to choose from three different room types.

hilton-colombo-residence-4-room-types-cash

But, when I uncheck the Use HHonors points, it shows the room types that are bookable using cash as well, although these were not supposedly first available.

hilton-colombo-residence-5-nor1

hilton-colombo-residence-6-nor1-more

I made the booking and was then presented number of Nor1 upgrade options for cash. I always disregard these. These might be worthwhile if you don’t have Gold or Diamond status with Hilton HHonors. (You can get the Gold status easily by following instructions here or here)

hilton-colombo-residence-7-confirmed-upgrade

When I checked the reservation today for tomorrow arrival, the hotel had already processed the upgrade to a 3 bedroom business suite.

hilton-colombo-residence-8-business-suite-10500-points

Then a week later, they have this same suite for 10500 points as a HHonors Special. Makes you wonder?

Conclusion

There is something wrong with the website that doesn’t first show paid availability when you are checking out hotels. As a Diamond member, I have “guaranteed”room availability, if I book at least 48 hours in advance. To get these rates to show up you need first check the box that you are using points and then uncheck it. Also, Hilton has really made using points for hotels like a roller coaster. At this Hilton Colombo Residence the number of required points seems to fluctuate from 10500 to more than 100000 per night.

Discover America Daily Getaway Deals for the First Two Weeks

8 Comments

We now have the details of the deals for the first two weeks of the Discover America. These are brought by the US Travel Association and American Express. You can use any credit card to pay, but you will receive 10% discount if paid using American Express branded card.

discover-daily

Having a quick look there really aren’t any “deals” that I would need to participate in the first two weeks.

Here are three deals that are worth having a look:

daily-getaways-apri-9-13

1. Priority Club point packages on April 8th

InterContinental Group is selling 10K points for $67, 40K points for $267 & 25K points for $167. You can buy Priority Club points any day by doing cash + money redemption for $60 per 10K Priority Club points. Canceling the reservation doesn’t reverse the point transaction, however.

The benefit of buying Priority Club points through Discover America is that these points will count toward the elite qualification. You can make a Priority Club Platinum by buying 60K points.

2. Avis Chairman’s Club Membership for $1115

This can come handy if you are doing lot of airport rentals. This membership includes an airport drop off and delivery. This could truly be a timesaver. I was actually contemplating buying this membership the other year as I used to rent a lot from Avis.

discover-daily-marriott

3. Marriott Travel Cards at 20% Discount When Paid Using Amex

Marriott tends to run promotions for buying Marriott gift cards with number of airlines. You usually get a 10% discount or 10% premium and airline miles. When bought directly from Marriott, you do get the bonus points for buying the card using Marriott branded credit cards. If you buy it from Discover America, the purchase is not coded as Marriott and you lose the bonus points for Marriott purchases.

Marriott has sometimes run promotions that are tied to a type of credit card the bill is used to settle. Marriott Gift cards used to be Visa’s, but no longer. Just a thing to keep in mind.

April Hotel Promotions Update Best Western, Carlson, Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood & Wyndham

1 Comment

Here’s the monthly hotel promotions wrap up.

Best Western Rewards

Best Western’s promotion for a $50 travel card won’t start before April 15th. You can also earn Air Canada AeroPlan bonus miles + bonus points for booking online and paying using Best Western MasterCard.

Best Western Rewards Spring Bonus Offer JUMP12 – $50 Travel Card for 3 Stays + Bonus Points & Miles

best-western-spring-promo

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

No promotions as of now.

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

You will earn 8000 Choice Privilege points for every two stays. Note that in lower quality Choice brand a stay is defined as two or more nights for this promotion. This promotion that started on March 8th runs until May 8th.

Choice Hotels Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn One Free Night

choise-hotels-march-promo

Hilton HHonors

You should sign up for the two promos below. Even if you are Diamond with Hilton, you can still get 40K HH for four Hilton stays.

Register Your Visa and Get 1000 Hilton HHonors Points + 4000 Bonus for Spending $100

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders + 40K HHonors Points After Four Stays (For All?

Hilton’s second quarter promotion is for double points or miles. You need to choose one or the other, and you cannot change your selection.

Hilton HHnors 2nd Quarter 2012 Double Your Honors Promotion – Double Points or Miles

hilton-hhonors-double-points-2nd-q-2012

The following promotion expires at the end of this month. You can get a free night certificate after five night resort stay or two after ten. You can also do two give night resort stays.

 ‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt’s promo that expires at the end of April is for up to 44000 extra Hyatt Gold Passport points after 16 nights.

Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

hyatt-spring-promo-2012

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

As always, Priority Club has number of promotions that you should sign for.

Double points or miles end on April 30th.

Double Points or Miles – 2X More

intercontinental-hotels-group-1q-2012-promotion-double-points-or-miles

Priority Club 2nd Quarter Stay/Night Bonuses

This time Priority Club has two parallel promotions. One is based on nights and the other is based on stays. You can earn 5000, 10000, or 15000 depending how many nights/stays you have during the promotional period until June 30th, and to which promotion you sign up for.

Three Priority Club Points Promotions That You Should Sign Up For

One is for 1000 bonus points per stay for 90 days after registering (this is the most lucrative if you have number of paid stays), another one is for 3000 bonus points after a stay, and the third one is for 1500 welcome back bonus.

There is a forth one that I have yet written about. It is 1500 Priority Club points after a stay. The promotional code for that one is 5109. I tested it last week when I was staying at an IHG property. It posted without a problem.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott has two promotions running until the end of April. MegaMiles and MegaBonus.

Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer.

marriott-rewards-spring-2012-megabonus

MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles

Ritz-Carlton Rewards

You can get two free night certs after four stays. This promotion expires on April 15th.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards – Earn Free Night Certificate After Two Stays Promotion

ritz-carlton-rewards

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood promotion Better by the night is expiring on April 8th. We don’t have information about their next move.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1st Quarter 2012 “Better by the Night”–promotion

There is a promotion of 1000 extra Starpoints for booking a Club accommodation at Sheraton hotels and paying using an American Express card.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

spg-1000-bonus-points-sheraton-club

Some renovated Sheraton hotels are also offering 1000 bonus Starpoints.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Staying at a Newly Renovated Sheraton Hotels

spg-sheraton-1000-bonus

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham has two promotions. One is for North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) and the other one is for rest of the world. In my opinion the rest of the world is better.

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

wyndham-rewards-stay-2-get-2

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

wyndham-reward-spring-2012-non-north-america

Etihad Guest Lowers Miles Earned in Discounted Economy, Business, and First Class Up To 50%

4 Comments

Whenever you receive an email from an airline or hotel program that has a title “Changes to the Etihad Guest programme”, you can be 100% certain that there is no good news. This was the case with the Etihad as well. Under this ”enhancement” you are only better if you fly on full fare business or first class. Vast majority of flyers on discounted economy will earn only half what they used to.

ey-email

Basically, they are moving to the same six tier system that Emirates has been using for a while. The only difference is that Emirates uses zones to determine the number of earned miles where Etihad uses actual flown milesetihad-new-base-earnings

You have different number of miles earner for:

– Discounted Economy 50% (E, U, V, L, Q, M, K)

– Economy 100% (H, B, Y)

– Discounted Business 130% (W, D)

– Business 175% (C, J)

– Discounted First 180% (R)

– First 250% (A, F)

Unless you are flying in on full fare economy, business, or first class, you will earn less miles after this change on June 1st than before. To be frank, Etihad’s program has been generous giving full miles for discounted economy as well, but I think that it has to do of being an underdog compared to the neighboring Emirates out of Dubai.

ey-auh-lhr-new

You will still earn the same TIER MILES or TIER SEGMENTS that are used to determine the status with Etihad’s program. You will get the “base” miles at economy or 1 tier segment, 50% bonus for business or 2 tier segments, and 100% bonus for first or 3 tier segments. You can qualify for the status either by tier miles or segments.

ey-auh-lhr-old

As you can see from the Etihad’s charts above, the only times the new chart is better is when you are flying in full fare business or first. In all other cases the number of miles earned is lower than previously

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

1 Comment

The international version of the Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 promotion, that runs from March 29th to July 12th promotion, is 10000 bonus points for every two stays up to 30000 bonus points. So, you can max this promotion by staying six times. The North American version of this promotion was for double points or miles for the first four stays + movie tickets.

wyndham-reward-spring-2012-non-north-america

You can transfer 30000 Wyndham Rewards points to number of airlines for 12000 miles.

This international promotion is more lucrative unless your first four stays would cost more than 1500 USD (20 points per dollar = 30000 Wyndham Rewards points) not counting in the value of the movie tickets, and what you would earn for the spent in the non-North America promotion.

If you do six stays and get the 30000 bonus points, the number of bonus miles earned per stay would be 2000 (if you would transfer the points to miles).

My Wyndham Rewards account is based in the United States. I do, however, have an address in the EU as well. I might just transfer my account to Europe to participate to the promotion that is valid for non-North American members.

BTW it doesn’t make any sense to use Wyndham Rewards points for cinema tickets that is part of this promo.

Note the participating locations:  “Participating Hotels” are Ramada®, Days Inn®, Baymont Inn & Suites®, Hawthorn Suites®, Howard Johnson®, Dream®, Night®, Knights Inn®, Microtel®, Travelodge® (U.S. hotels only), Wingate® by Wyndham branded hotels and Super8 – however Super8 China does not participate in this promotion. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts® properties located in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and China also participate in this promotion.

The Terms and conditions of this offer:

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

3 Comments

Wyndham Rewards just launched their spring 2012 promotion (United States, Canada & Mexico) that is valid for stays from March 29th to July 8th, 2012 with a check out date no later than July 12th.

wyndham-rewards-stay-2-get-2

There are two separate components for this promotion:

Double Points or Miles:

1. You will receive double points/miles beginning from your first stay if you book the stay at any Wyndham website (wyndhamrewards.com, daysinn.com, ramada.com, wyndham.com, wingatehotels.com, hawthorn.com, super8.com, baymontinns.com, microtelinn.com, hojo.com, travelodge.com, knightsinn.com, dreamintl.com, or nighthotelny.com)

2. You can earn double points or miles ONLY for the first four stays during the promotional period.

3. US Airline Carriers (American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United & US Airways), Air Canada & AeroMexico are valid for double miles.

4. This promotion requires registration at wyndhamrewards.com/movie and is only valid for US, Canada, and Mexico residents (Wyndham Rewards account address)

Movie Ticket

1. You will receive an email with a code for Hollywood Movie Money certificate up to 24 USD, 24 CAD, or 288 MXP after your second and fourth stay during the promotional period.

2. Valid for US, Canada, and Mexico only.

wyndham-rewards-brands

Should I choose miles or points?

That is always an interesting question. In general hotel points are best used for hotel awards, but sometimes there are promotions from airlines for partner activity i.e. US Airways Dividend Miles. But, even if you prefer miles over Wyndham Rewards points it does make sense most of the time to collect the points and later transfer them to miles.

You earn 10 Wyndham Rewards points per dollar spend except at Hawthorne Suites where you get 5 points per dollar. Both are doubled for the first four stays during this promotional period.

With airline partners the number of miles earned is dependent of the partner. Also, the number of miles earned at Wyndham hotels & Hawthorn is capped at 500 miles per stay.

You can exchange Wyndham Reward points for airline miles. You can get 12000 American Airline miles for 30000 Wyndham Reward points.

If you think, 20 Wyndham points per dollar is essentially 8 American Airlines miles per dollar spend when you transfer in the chunks of 30000 Wyndham Reward points. You only get 4 American Airline miles per dollar if you choose miles instead of points during the promotional period.

At the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts the situation is bit different due to the 500 miles per stay that is doubled to 1000 miles during the promotional period. If your folio is under $125, you are better by choosing the fixed miles (doubled) instead of points.

The situation is yet different at Hawthorne properties that have lowered point earnings of 5 Wyndham reward points per dollar spend. Your folio needs to be in excess of $250 to be better off by choosing double points instead of double miles.

Overall to make things easy, I would say that the reasonable choice is to choose double points, and later transfer them to miles if needed.

The Terms and conditions of this promotion:

European Union Approves Lufthansa’s Sale of BMI to IAG (the Parent of British Airways & Iberia)

The saga involving BMI has been now going on for months if not for years. Back in December Lufthansa and IAG agreed about the sale, but it had to be approved by the European Union Competition Authority due to British Airways’ dominance (53% off the landing slots) at the London Heathrow airport.

bmi-logos

Now, the deal is expected to close around April 20th. It is unclear at this point whether the BMI will exit from the Star Alliance on that the day as well. The announcement is unclear. If you have BMI Diamond Club miles left and would like to use them for Star Alliance flights, it would be wise to start booking them now.

bmi-iag-lh

It is really sad to see the Diamond Club being swallowed by British Airways’ Executive Club, and my Diamond Club miles turned to Avios points. Although I have flown quite a bit on Oneworld alliance, the Star Alliance has served me better due to the number of airlines and destinations served.

I have loved the flexibility that Diamond Club has given me when redeeming miles. I have done numerous trips in business and first class that wouldn’t have been possible using other frequent traveler programs. I have never considered my BMI award tickets to be “free”, but rather highly discounted business or first class ones due to high taxes and YQ’s.

Now, it is time to get the last BMI Diamond Club award redemptions in. Just did two last night. Still have more than 200K BD DC to play with.

RIP British Midland International & Diamond Club. You will be missed.  (Not so your Indian call center for award tickets that has probably shortened my life by few years)

Priority Club Point Breaks Are Out Until May 31st, 2012 (Full List)

2 Comments

The new Priority Club Point Breaks list is finally out. These were all available for booking several hours ago, but International Hotels Group’s Priority Club took their time to update the list. These are valid until May 31st, 2012. But, some of the more popular properties will drop off the list far sooner.

priority-club-point-breaks-march-2012

This is a great way to save on redemptions. I just made a week along bookings for both the InterContinental  Asiana in Saigon and InterContinental Manila properties. I think that these good represent a very good value using points.

intercontinental-saigon-pb

I really cannot get too excited about most of these Point Break hotels, but I might book the CP in Prague for few days later next month as well as the HIX in Cape Town. The Holiday Inn Ploenchit  is an excellent property, but I find it hard to use points in Bangkok considering how inexpensive the better properties are.

My tips for booking Point Breaks:

1. The popular properties will drop off the list in a day or two. You need to act fast.

2. Book Point Breaks one day at a time. This way you have more flexibility to cancel/shorten your stay if needed. It might also show better availability this way, when some room types are sold out.

Things to consider

Most of the Royal Ambassador benefits do not officially apply when you redeem points for free nights. I would say that it is often fifty-fifty if you get them though. More unlikely if the property is on the Point Breaks list due to rise in free night redemptions.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa – Review Of My Fantastic Stay

7 Comments

Last August, I was on my way from Marrakesh to Bangkok and decided to use BMI miles for a business class award ticket. Using their award chart it was actually cheaper to have the final destination in Maldives, and to have an extended stopover in Bangkok on my way there.

I had been to Maldives before and stayed at the Hilton hotel that has been since converted to the Conrad brand. I didn’t like the treatment that I received there as a Hilton HHonors Diamond member and left after three nights, although my award was for six.

New Priority Club Point Breaks List Is Out – Valid Until May 31st, 2012

1 Comment

InterContinental Hotels Group’s Priority Club is about to launch their second quarter 2012 Points Break list. Point Beaks are great way to use Priority Club points at deep discount as all these hotels are only 5000 Priority Club Points per night. The list is not available yet, but the hotels are bookable at the lower 5000 Priority Club points per night rate.

priority-club-point-breaks-march-2012

I will do another post when I have access to the complete list.

holiday-inn-bkk-pb

There are few of jewels on this list. The Holiday Inn Bangkok that is next to the InterContinental hotel is excellent value at 5000 Priority Club points per night. This is one of the better Holiday Inn hotels in the system, and I have stayed there number of times. Of course hotels in Bangkok aren’t really that expensive.

intercontinental-saigon-pb

Another good one, which I will book for few days, is the InterContinental Hotel Asiana in Saigon. When I was in Ho Chi Minh City last time, they were about the open this hotel in few weeks’ time.  This one is a good value as the price of western hotels has really gone up in Vietnam recently.

intercontinental-manila

Manila is not for everyone. It is one of the most chaotic cities to get around. I thought that I was going to miss the flight just sitting on the traffic jam. Anyway, the InterContinental there is also an excellent value for 5000 points per night. I have not stayed at this property before as I was staying at Mandaring and Hyatt when I visited there few years ago.

Starwood Preferred Guest SPG Ambassador Program – Now Also For 100+ Night Platinum Members

6 Comments

There were quite a few changes announced to the SPG program back in January. The ability to earn lifetime Gold or Platinum status, continental breakfast for Platinum members in lieu of the 500 point amenity, 10 suite night awards for PLT members with 50+ nights, and an extra Starpoint + flexible 24 check in/out for 75+ night Platinum members.

spg-plt-benefits

What was not “officially” announced or listed under various Starwood Platinum benefits, is the Starwood Ambassador for those with more than 100 nights with Starwood in 2011. I had 130+ nights in 2010 and around 110 in 2011. My nights actually went down, but I was assigned an Ambassador due to this new program wide initiative.

The Starwood’s Ambassador Program is not a new one. It was launched back in 2009 to serve better those high value guests that weren’t necessarily even members of the Preferred Guest program. Previously, there wasn’t any number of night requirement to become a Platinum member that is Ambassador managed, but the qualification was rather based on the dollar amount spent.

You will have the same Platinum status as the guest staying 25 stays or 50 nights yearly. The only difference that the front desk or the hotel can see, if they dig around a bit, is the fact that you are an Ambassador managed Platinum guest.

The Starwood Ambassadors are there to ensure that the hotels are aware of the preferences of the member and treat them to the utmost respect. These Ambassadors are basically spiced up Platinum concierge that are assigned number of guests to deal with. As is the case with Platinum concierge, they are supposed to deal with all kind of travel related requests from the guest even when they are not Starwood related.  I am not entire sure, however, why people would use them for issues that you can easily Google and sort out yourself.

I do understand why Starwood launched this Ambassador program. They are trying to capture a greater share of the travelers’ hotel dollars by providing personalized service that other chains i.e. Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, & Marriott cannot match.  Once you have used to program to fulfill requests to the level that the Ambassador program does, it is very difficult to switch chains.

bloomberg-businessweek-ambassador

There was recently a puff piece about the Starwood Ambassador program on Bloomberg Businessweek. You should not expect to receive the level of service described on this article from the run of the mill Ambassadors. Based on my own experience, I have needed to coach the Ambassador about the promotions that the program is running. Also, I don’t need the level of service described on this article. I can live without having my favorite champagne chilled and waiting for me in my suite when I arrive, or to have guacamole and chips sitting on the table.

All what I need from the Ambassador, is to sort out things when I am not able to accomplish them by myself i.e. the website is acting up. I have been to about 70 countries and have spent more than 300 nights yearly at hotels every year since 2004. I don’t think that there is a lot value added the Ambassador can bring to table by sitting on Starwood’s call center and contacting the hotels/using Google to fulfill requests. I rather handle my travel by myself. I don’t use Starwood exclusively. The chain gets about third of my hotel nights.

I have to say, however, that couple of friends of mine that have been part of the program longer, are huge advocate for it. It appears to help with upgrades in more popular Starwood hotels that have high number of Platinum members checking in.

Conclusion

Would I go out of my way to hit 100 nights with Starwood to get an Ambassador? I would absolutely not. I have and will always prefer having a top status with number of chains. Although Starwood has quite good global coverage, it is not present everywhere. Having a number of hotel statuses helps with promotions too. I like to participate to a number of exciting free and bonus points promotions over the year. Starwood doesn’t always have the best promotions every quarter. Besides, it would become boring after a while to stay same hotels over and over.

Trending Posts

X
ALERT: COVID-19 status extension policies