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Getting hotel Gold status and then using Amex Travel seem counterintuitive

Getting hotel Gold status and then using Amex Travel seem counterintuitive

Old Apr 19, 17, 3:31 pm
  #1  
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Getting hotel Gold status and then using Amex Travel seem counterintuitive

As an Amex Platinum member I have enjoyed the card's various benefits for years, one of which being automatic gold status with Hilton and SPG. I just booked a trip for the first time using "amextravel.com" and was pleased with the ease of the website. However, I was surprised that the Hilton where I'm staying refused to honor the gold status, and refused to give me any credit for the stay on my hhonors account (and I swear gave me a really crappy room out of spite...). I understand this may be common knowledge (it is to me now), but it begs the question why one would use amextravel after receiving the gold status perk from Amex (aside from 5x the Amex points, I guess). It's a shame, but I won't be using Amextravel anymore. U'd think Amex and Hilton or SPG could work out a special deal.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:33 pm
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i agree, doesn't seem very well thought out on their part. on the other hand, if you stay a hotel that doesn't have a loyalty program it is nice to get some kind of points multiplier for the stay.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:40 pm
  #3  
mia
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This isn't difficult to understand. Hotels pay ~25% commission to online travel agencies. They really, really, really, do not want you to book through any of them, and they offer perqs for booking direct. One of those perqs is their loyalty program.

The agency wants you to book through their site so that they can earn that commission, and they offer an incentive (in this example) in the form of bonus points.

You can have one or the other, but officially not both. (Practice doesn't always follow policy.) It does not bother me in the slightest that American Express gives me this choice. Sometimes I stay at Hilton or SPG/Marriott properties, but when I don't it's nice to have the option to earn some bonus Membership Rewards points rather than a few points in another hotel program where I will never accumulate enough for a meaningful award.

Last edited by mia; Apr 19, 17 at 4:05 pm
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Old Apr 19, 17, 6:10 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
This isn't difficult to understand. Hotels pay ~25% commission to online travel agencies. They really, really, really, do not want you to book through any of them, and they offer perqs for booking direct. One of those perqs is their loyalty program.

The agency wants you to book through their site so that they can earn that commission, and they offer an incentive (in this example) in the form of bonus points.

You can have one or the other, but officially not both. (Practice doesn't always follow policy.) It does not bother me in the slightest that American Express gives me this choice. Sometimes I stay at Hilton or SPG/Marriott properties, but when I don't it's nice to have the option to earn some bonus Membership Rewards points rather than a few points in another hotel program where I will never accumulate enough for a meaningful award.
If I transfer MR points to SPG, and use these points for a free stay, would I then get credit for the stay and nights for SPG status?
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Old Apr 19, 17, 7:14 pm
  #5  
mia
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Originally Posted by d3vi0uz View Post
If I transfer MR points to SPG, and use these points for a free stay, would I then get credit for the stay and nights for SPG status?
The transfer rate from Membership Rewards to Starwood is 3:1. You wouldn't do this unless you were desperate. However, once the points are in your SPG account they are the same as any points earned through any other method. I do not know if award night count toward status.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 7:26 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
The transfer rate from Membership Rewards to Starwood is 3:1. You wouldn't do this unless you were desperate. However, once the points are in your SPG account they are the same as any points earned through any other method. I do not know if award night count toward status.
It looks like it's now 2:1 (taken from the transfer partners page)

Starwood Preferred Guest®
1000 Membership Rewards points = 500 Starpoints®
I would probably do this with Hilton, assuming reward nights counted toward status.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 7:39 pm
  #7  
mia
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Originally Posted by d3vi0uz View Post
It looks like it's now 2:1 (taken from the transfer partners page).
I daresay you are not looking at the page for USA Membership Rewards, which is here:

https://rewards.americanexpress.com/...R&viewfullsite
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Old Apr 19, 17, 8:34 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
I daresay you are not looking at the page for USA Membership Rewards, which is here:

https://rewards.americanexpress.com/...R&viewfullsite
Ah you are correct. I'm out of the country so that's probably why I got directed to this:

http://catalogue.membershiprewards.c...erOverview.mtw
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Old Apr 19, 17, 8:44 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
The transfer rate from Membership Rewards to Starwood is 3:1. You wouldn't do this unless you were desperate. However, once the points are in your SPG account they are the same as any points earned through any other method. I do not know if award night count toward status.
As far as I know award nights count towards SPG status
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Old Apr 20, 17, 7:36 am
  #10  
mia
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Originally Posted by d3vi0uz View Post
I got directed to this:

http://catalogue.membershiprewards.ca/en/viewPartnerOverview.mtw
That's the Canadian site.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 7:42 am
  #11  
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To add to the conclusion, some Starwoods are in FHR. If you book these rates through AmEx PTS/CTS, you apparently do get elite benefits and points/nights/stay credit as well as the FHR benefits, although of course you're not entitled to breakfast for twice as many people.

To answer another question in this thread, yes indeed, points bookings DO get points/nights/stay credit in SPG. The same is true if you use points and cash. Either way you should get full elite benefits.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 7:48 am
  #12  
mia
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
... If you book these rates through AmEx PTS/CTS, you apparently do get elite benefits and points/nights/stay credit as well as the FHR benefits....
Correct, but you pay the FHR rates -and- you do not receive bonus Membership Rewards points. I believe (haven't verified) that FHR bookings are still run through Platinum Travel Service, rather than through American Express Travel.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by Rd3 View Post
As far as I know award nights count towards SPG status
They do in Canada.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:26 pm
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I find this also, though I find the FHR rates are so much worse then the regular rates that its pointless to book FHR. Having used Amex travel a few times recently, I won't be using them again:

1) It is SO hard to change a flight with them, especially once you've taken the outbound. I was on an early BA flight, when I noticed the later flight had upgrade availability. I called BA, if I'd ticketed with them they'd be able to put me on the later flight for a £100 change fee and I could have used my miles to upgrade, but wouldnt change it since it was still under TA control. I called Amex travel, and even they couldn't help me because it was done online, so they had to put me through to the 'online team' who eventually said there wasn't space in that class for them (though for BA there certainly was)

2) If you book online (which gives you the double MR points) you have to deal with the online team, who are TERRIBLE at replying to emails. I don't have a large sample, but 50% of emails aren't answered, and the rest take 4 days. Not fun when you're T-48 hours.

3) I made a flight + Car booking recently. The field wouldnt let me enter any FF numbers, and a message said book and add them later. I booked and it wasn't a problem to add the airline ones later, but Amex couldnt add it to Hertz, and Hertz also refused because it was a TA booking. I'm sure a one off, but annoying since the only reason I booked it with Amex was since I could bundle hertz with it.


Now a lot of my problems are problems that most would face with pretty much any TA vs booking direct, but I think that just highlights to me that direct is the way to go these days.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:36 pm
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I've recently booked stays at a Hilton property and a Marriott property through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which I would presume the hotels treat the same as they would reservations booked through the Amex portal.

In both occasions I was able to add my rewards number to the reservation either by phone in advance or upon check-in, and in both cases they honored my Gold benefits. For the Marriott, this meant access to the M Lounge and the breakfast provided there, plus late check-out. For the Hilton, this meant a breakfast voucher at the hotel restaurant.

Of course, there was no credit or points for the stay to my HHonors or Marriott Rewards account.
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