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What am I missing by booking a Peninsula hotel with Expedia or similar?

What am I missing by booking a Peninsula hotel with Expedia or similar?

Old May 31, 19, 7:08 pm
  #1  
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What am I missing by booking a Peninsula hotel with Expedia or similar?

Hello.

Im new to luxury travel. We want to do a 4 night layover in Beverly Hills this August on our way to Hawaii. The Peninsula BH is our first choice. I am crunching the numbers and trying to figure what wed be losing by booking with Expedia or similar OTAs.

So for a deluxe patio room I can book via Virtuoso or their own site for $3,300 total. I can get a prepaid rate on their site for $2,800. With Expedia/Orbitz I can get $150 off the $2,800 and earn miles going through the airline portal, Hotels.com would give me 5% back paying with PayPal and airmiles and Rocketmiles would get be 37,000 miles on the 3,300 rate. Those savings/miles are very tempting.

BUT with Virtuoso I can get free breakfast, $100 credit and guaranteed late check out (we fly at 7pm). I can let them know were celebrating 2 birthdays and have a chance at an upgrade. Also very tempting, especially the guaranteed late checkout. I notice on their site that the wording is different for the prepaid rate and late checkout isnt guaranteed if prepaying.

I also wonder if OTA guests are treated second class, Ive experienced that in lesser hotels. Would we still get the little touches like monogrammed pillowcases and newspaper choice or would we put in the worst room and ignored.

Were just middle class people pushing out the boat for a joint birthday celebration so its hard to justify choosing a higher rate when I could have hundreds in my pocket and some miles by using an OTA. Then do we risk getting that room no one wants and will we regret having to go to Starbucks when we could be eating a free breakfast on our balcony.

I know that ultimately only we can make the decision but Id like to hear from travellers here who are used to this caliber of hotel. Do you think the extra benefits of Virtuoso/Pen Club are worth over an OTA or even their own prepaid rate? Will we have the full experience in terms of room and service if we choose to use an OTA? Any advice, suggestions, pointers are welcome.

Thanks,
Tom.
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Old May 31, 19, 9:30 pm
  #2  
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It does cost more to use an agent and Pen Club but I do really think it would come better for this occasion and particular Pen. An agent familiar with Pen BH is going to do their best for your booking.

I used an OTA eons ago at Pen HK and got the room we paid for and nothing more. The view was side air conditioner rooftop. Service was fine but the room felt like it was bottom of the barrel.

Last edited by Aventine; May 31, 19 at 9:49 pm
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Old May 31, 19, 10:14 pm
  #3  
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Welcome to Flyertalk, tomthird
As this is a special occasion , I would book via a Virtuoso agent. You will receive personalized service and they will have your back in the event something goes amiss with your booking. You want to begin your holiday to Hawaii in a celebratory fashion. You won't get that from booking with Expedia, et.al.
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Old May 31, 19, 11:36 pm
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I would book through PenClub or Virtuoso (most PenClub agents are also Virtuoso mebers). Give the agent screenshots of the OTA rates, and ask the agent to request a rate match from Peninsula.

Your TA, working directly with his/her contacts at the hotel, will get you the best rate and value added benefits, including PenClub’s totally flexible arrival and departure times, which are far better than an ordinary late check out benefit. You simply arrive and leave exactly when you want to at any time of day or in the evening.

While the miles and rebate may be tempting at first glance, I think it would actually be a penny wise pound foolish decision to forgo the added value, particularly upgrades, that a good TA can get for you. The hotel would rather work with a good agent that has a relationship with their sales and reservations departments than have you just click on Expedia, costing them a large commission to the OTA that essentially does nothing for the hotel and adds no real value to you.

It would be better even to just book on Peninsula’s own website than use an OTA. However, a good agent will get you the best value, so that is what you should do. Do not focus on trivial differences in rate, focus on the big difference in value that you receive.


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Old Jun 1, 19, 8:38 am
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i'll just point out that Peninsula Beverly Hill does flexible check in and check out times for all clients on direct bookings too. Not sure about OTAs
I'd also say, if you have zero'ed in on the Patio Room already, I think you might not wish to be upgraded out of the Patio room into a room with small french balcony
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Old Jun 1, 19, 9:05 am
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I would only ever book a high end hotel on an OTA if a rate were so good that I thought it were a possible mistake rate.

Confirmed upgrade to desired patio room may be an option.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 9:12 am
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For a special occasion such as this one, I would undoubtedly book through a TA or direct with Peninsula at the very least. Also, ask them for a price match. I second the previous commenter in that I would book through an OTA only if the rate is crazy good (mistake rate). If you're starting in luxury, go all the way
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Old Jun 1, 19, 9:15 am
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All hotels treat OTAs as second class. They are a major PITA and an evil we have to live with. And if you book via an opaque channel...well good luck.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 10:06 am
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Ask the TA if they can get the prepaid rate or rate match the OTA rate. $150 is a very small discount vs. free breakfast, etc.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 11:07 am
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Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
Ask the TA if they can get the prepaid rate or rate match the OTA rate. $150 is a very small discount vs. free breakfast, etc.
Indeed, breakfast and the $100~ credit, not to mention the upgrade possibility, far exceed a $150 savings. It simply does not make sense for anyone going to the extent of staying at The Peninsula Beverly Hills to book on an OTA. If youre staying there, and are knowledgeable enough about how to get better added value, then it only makes sense to book the right way.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 11:51 am
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I agree with everyone else. Don't use Expedia for this. Virtuoso offers much better service and value.

Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
I would book through PenClub or Virtuoso (most PenClub agents are also Virtuoso mebers). Give the agent screenshots of the OTA rates, and ask the agent to request a rate match from Peninsula.

OT, but would you know if Virtuoso can match special rates from hotels? For example, I've recently seen Hyatt offer 10% off for members of its frequent stay program and Marriott offer a similar discount for seniors.

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Old Jun 1, 19, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
I would only ever book a high end hotel on an OTA if a rate were so good that I thought it were a possible mistake rate.

Confirmed upgrade to desired patio room may be an option.
I did this recently with the Peninsula Tokyo, I think it was under $500/usd which is pretty great for that property. I am a repeat guest at that location and have stayed at every Peninsula location worldwide so i'd hope they treat me like a normal guest.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by GetSetJetSet View Post
I did this recently with the Peninsula Tokyo, I think it was under $500/usd which is pretty great for that property. I am a repeat guest at that location and have stayed at every Peninsula location worldwide so i'd hope they treat me like a normal guest.
Of course they will. Japan is also somewhat of an exception re OTAs. The Japanese tend to use OTAs and local travel agencies for their travel arrangements. Japanese hotels would never disadvantage a third party booking of any kind, least of all one made by a regular guest.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 2:55 pm
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While I agree with most I wouldn't expect an Ibis-experience when booking via OTAs. You may don't get an upgrade, not such a personalized welcome (IF available) and perhaps the less preferable room in the category but that it is. If it's a few bugs I would always take the agent booking. If it is a substantial saving an OTA is fine if you don't get a match.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 4:45 pm
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Well the saving is more than $150 if comparing the Virtuoso agent rate to the pre-paid rate. Its $2800 pre-paid on their own site, $2650 pre-paid with an OTA or $3300 with Virtuoso.

Looking at the offers on the Pen Club site, theres a last minute offer for BH expiring June 9 so perhaps they will offer another deal then. The other properties have promotions running through summer up now.

Ill probably wait until June 10 to see if they load any offers covering my dates. I assume if I book with the agent and a better rate appears closer to the date they can switch me to the lower rate?
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