Concierge services. I just don’t get the appeal. Maybe it’s because I’m someone who enjoys obsessively planning my trips and doesn’t need someone to tell me where to go or what to see. I also think it’s because there have been times I’ve asked them for help and the advice I received was mediocre at best. I’m not saying they’re not useful, just that the service is so inconsistent that having a “concierge desk” at your hotel really doesn’t mean anything anymore. Oftentimes what’s called a concierge is just a customer service agent standing at a different desk. I stayed at a hotel in London where the concierge just sold overpriced theater tickets to the tour groups who were staying there (Note from Sharon: Joe won’t give the hotel’s name but I have no shame. It’s the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum. DO NOT STAY THERE. It’s awful. How it gets 3.5 and 4 stars is BEYOND ME unless they’re paying people to give them good reviews. The WiFi was slow as molasses, the rooms were last updated in 1972, the TV was about 12″ big, and the staff was no help for anything. It is an AWFUL hotel!). And don’t get me started about Las Vegas, where the “concierge” desk was the place you signed up for a tour of a timeshare to get free show tickets, and that was not the service I was looking for.
I’ve been signing up for hotel co-brand credit cards as a way to decrease our total out pocket spending on travel. Several cards have sign-up bonuses good for multiple nights at low-cost properties or a long weekend at a luxury resort. The most recent card I signed up for is the World of Hyatt credit card from Chase.
I’ll admit that Hyatt was a hotel chain I didn’t pay much attention to before I started earning Chase Ultimate Rewards. Once I was able to transfer points from Chase to Hyatt, I noticed that they had hotels with award space in locations I wanted to stay like Hollywood, Sedona, Key West, and Raleigh. NC.
Happy Sunday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.
Happy Sunday, y’all! Sharon and I have come across a lot of interesting travel-related articles this week – here are some of our favorites.
Gary from View from the Wing writes about how United wants to undo the decision to move out of JFK airport and only have flights to New York from their Newark hub. Admittedly, that decision ended up costing them money in the long run. This is a perfect example of what can happen when you run a company by how things look on spreadsheets. While a decision may look good on paper, when you put it into practice the damage caused by the ripples end up making you regret your decision and it’s not always easy to fix damage that’s already done.
Kimpton hotels are now folded into the IHG hotels portfolio and their Karma Rewards program is no more. However, they were able to keep many things from the old program alive. One of those is the “Secret Password” which Loyalty Lobby was nice enough to share with everyone. When you tell the password to the front desk, you’ll get a special gift, which is different depending on the hotel where you are staying.
Reselling items is one way that those in the points and miles community use to earn large balances in their accounts (and possibly make a profit if they’re really good at it). There are dangers in this as Miles to Memories found out when trying to get rid of a pair of Justin Timberlake tickets.
I love checking for AMEX offers but often I’ll see others post about deals that aren’t available to me. Nick from Frequent Miler found out that AMEX will set your offers to where you are at the time. So if you’re out of town, check the AMEX app for offers and you might get in on a good deal that you otherwise would miss out on.
Every time Marriott announces details about the combination of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards there are plenty of people going through the details. Many SPG platinum members were happy Marriott announced that Platinum members would get free breakfast at hotels, including the previously excluded Courtyard brand. Lucky from One Mile at a Time writes about how people quickly noticed that breakfast isn’t included at Courtyards on the newly released list but instead you’ll get a $10 credit per day for up to two people. I was thinking about this but then realized that we don’t have status, so what difference does it make to us? Then I remembered that Sharon might have Marriott Platinum status next year, so it does matter to us. Finally, I stopped worrying because we don’t like eating hotel breakfasts anyway and might get more out of a $10 credit we can use to buy waters, coffee or a drink at the bar.
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