A Quick Mid-Year Check On Hotel Status

Some vacation time and a very busy work schedule have kept me from checking my progress on hotel status at the halfway point of the year.  Now that I’ve had a moment to catch up, I’m fairly pleased with where I sit at the midpoint.  My goal was to retain both Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status and Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum status.  I had a secondary goal of keeping my Starwood Ambassador who takes pretty good care of our family.  100 nights with Starwood would be a tall tale along […]

New Hyatt “My Elite Rate” Benefit Pretty Cool

You would think I’d remember that Hyatt’s new benefits kicked in today, given that I reminded everyone that yesterday was the last day to book awards on the old price table. I’ve been trying to secure a better rate for an upcoming booking in Seattle.  The best non-prepaid rate I was able to establish at the Grand Hyatt Seattle was $192.10 a night on a AAA rate. I went back today to see if I could score a better rate and the preview screen showed a lower rate for the […]

American Airlines Brings Back Elite Status Buyback And Also Debuts The Limited Purchase Of “Phantom” EQMs, But Is It Worth It?

American Airlines has traditionally allowed people to purchase status at the end of each year if you missed the qualifications by some narrow or wide margin.  But, they’ve never allowed the straight purchase of EQMs.  Despite this recent announcement about additional options to earn status, they still don’t.  With a recent announcement, they’ve essentially added more levels to the elite buyback program to entice more folks to purchase.  And, in some cases I think it’s a pretty good deal.  Others, not so much.  Let’s take a look, level by level: […]

Wrapping Up Status At The End Of The Year Can Lead To Challenges

Unless you’ve been fortunate enough to earn lifetime status with your favorite airline or hotel chain, keeping those benefits that you value so highly is a yearly requirement. Virtually every loyalty program you’ll come across recognizes your achievements over a calendar year and offers you benefits in the current and following years based on those achievements. Starwood Preferred Guest is no exception, and also one of my favorite hotel chains.  I carry the Starwood Preferred American Express because I believe it’s one of the most flexible and rewarding cards out […]

Free Advice Is Sometimes Worth What You Pay For It

There’s no question that the frequent travel game has changed drastically over the years.  The value of certain perks has diminished based on the lack of availability (such as award seats on more crowded planes).  But, all in all, I still think it’s a very lucrative game to play. That’s why I (mostly) disagree with Joe Brancatelli on one of his recent articles, even though I regard Joe as a pretty smart guy. He wrote this article about purchasing your benefits instead of flying to earn them.  And I disagree […]

Sheraton On The Falls, Niagara Review

When we originally planned our trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls, I was looking forward to crossing another destination off my list.  After all, I’d never been to Toronto despite it’s proximity to where I grew up (New York) and the short flight from where I live now (DC). However, I always thought I had been to Niagara Falls.  Apparently, I was wrong.  More on our trip to the falls later, but after doing some research, we decided to stay at Sheraton On The Falls, which is a hotel on […]

SPG Platinum Renewal Gift

I recently requalified for Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum, and was a little surprised to receive a renewal gift shortly thereafter.  It’s not like they haven’t offered gifts in the past, but they’re usually once the year was completed. And now, since they have different versions of Platinum (read more about that on Milepoint) I wasn’t sure if those gifts would be reserved for people who have stayed 75 nights or more. I don’t know a Hulu from a Hula, so I suspect I’ll go with the $25 award. The only […]

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards: Is It Worth Accumulating Points?

I’ve been a Hertz guy for a number of years now, and pretty much 100% Hertz since getting Hertz Platinum (their quasi-unpublished level with pretty cool benefits) a few years ago. For the longest time, I credited my rentals to Southwest.  Under the old Southwest program, they used to perpetually offer double credits and sometimes as much as quadruple credits for rental.  At quadruple, it didn’t take long to accrue free tickets (8 rentals, iirc). At some point in the past X months, Hertz started to focus on their rewards […]