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homey May 23, 01 1:06 pm

Is it just me?
i'm relatively new to this forum and to frequent travel, so forgive me if this post is out of line. i love the forum, im happy with my travel, and im not a battle hardened road warrior. but i have to ask...

am i the only person who doesnt care about having his butt kissed, and getting free cookies and water? am i the only one who realizes that when a hotel calls me "diamond" it is just part of a game to get more of my money, and that i am not a superior human being?

here is what i mean - i have been lurking in FT for quite a while, and i read lots of posts from people who say, "i visited the toad suck, arkansas, hotel, and despite being triple gold super executive status, and being upgraded (for free despite my $109 rate,) to a corner suite overlooking the town square, i did not receive my complimentary four ounce bottle of filtered water and two ounce bag of cheez-its. oh, and i also had to pay for my own breakfast, which is totally uncalled for. furthermore, it was cloudy that day! adam, please remedy this situation." its every forum, except rental car ones. (low expectations = fewer complaints?) notwithstanding, the snacks i usually see are highly processed, high-sugar, high-sodium, partially hydrogenated nutritional aberrations. i view it as an assault on my health to be offered cheeze-nips, milano cookies, and all that other stuff. i want an apple! i leave those snacks right where i find them, on top of that fake-cherry-laminate particle board desk!

let me say, i LOVE excessive service, and i love getting my butt kissed, but i do not feel ENTITLED to it. i love pre-boarding, i love upgrades, i love getting a big hotel room. but i dont need it. and who the hell do i think i am giving some clerk a hard time because i KNOW there are rooms on the "executive" floor? who cares? if it REALLY mattered that much to me, i would pay for it. (i might be totally insane.)

so let me be totally clear - if i reserve a suite for $1k a night, and they tell me its on the roof, and has a hot tub, and then i get there, and im on the ground floor, with a twin bed and a black and white TV, i go complain. but when i reserve an el cheapo room and dont get upgraded to an awesome suite, i dont complain. i got what i paid for. im talking about folks who complain when they dont get free stuff that they havent paid for.

in summary, even though it says gold-pressed latinum, or elite, or executive, or super-duper on some card in my wallet, i know im just a regular guy, cruising through life, happy to get a little extra, but really happy just to get what i need to keep cruising. is that common or uncommon? are my sights set too low? am i part of the problem? am i the guy the travel industry loves because they can steam-roller me by not giving me snacks and free eggs?

help a new FTer set his expectations.

maybe people are just venting, and i am readng too much into it. forgive me if thats the case.

p.s. when i re-read my post, i sound like the folks lamenting that parts of FT are now being used to screw/exploit the travel folks, as opposed to just finding ways to maximize the miles/points on a good-faith basis. maybe im old-school, even though i just got here...

fallinasleep May 23, 01 1:45 pm

homey, welcome to the boards.

there's absolutely nothing wrong with the old school. keeping perspective of the really important things is good.

cactuspete May 23, 01 1:46 pm

Welcome, homey.

You will find all types here on FT. It ebbs and flows, but at present the elitists seem to be a bit more vocal.

To each his/her own, but I happen to agree with you whole-heartedly. If the outcome of your day is determined by whether a $6 an hour desk clerk addresses you as "sir" and gives you a coupon for free instant scrambled eggs, then you need to re-prioritize.

summerdawn May 23, 01 1:53 pm

Welcome Homey,

I love your attitude! If you haven't gone far in surely will. Welcome to FT

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

nwr1txg May 23, 01 1:56 pm

Interesting topic. Here is my take on a few of your points.
No room upgrade – I spent over 100 nights in Hilton hotels less year. This entitles me to carry a “Super Duper” Diamond card in my wallet. Since I spend so much time away from home I appreciate a room upgrade whenever they are offered. I have been turned down for upgrades before because of an abundance of paying guests and that does not create grief for me when handled politely. “Sorry Mr.G. we don’t have a suite available for to upgrade you tonight but here are your passes for the executive lounge.” Compare that with “Upgrade? What upgrade? Diamond, what’s that?” In the first scenario I feel like my loyalty as a customer was recognized before I arrived at the hotel and that an effort was made to recognize one of there best customers, even if they could not comp an upgrade that night. In the second scenario,(which usually involves 10 minutes training the clerk on some of the Honors nuances and several trips by the clerk to confer with others) I feel agitated because I know I was never considered for an upgrade . In most circumstances I would prefer scenario 1 – no upgrade to scenario 2 -train the clerk and try and talk them out of the upgrade. Hmm…… what does that mean? I guess it means that I like the butt kissing better than the actual goodies. On second thought I think it means that I find the (Hilton anyway) hotel recognition programs very uneven in the recognition of their best customers. In this regard the airlines seem to do a better job.
Snacks in the room – could care less.
Anyone else?

fparker1 May 23, 01 2:26 pm

we are entitled to everything offered. after all, they offered it, we accepted. when the marketing effort is not reflected in the end product, yes i get pissy. after all i could have used a competing product that does perform as promised.

stat's i have heard ...

anyone who spends more than 25 nights in a year is gold to hotels.

anyone who spends more than $30,000 a year is gold to airlines.

car rentals, havent heard any stat on this one.

BTW, i like bottled water in the room. the tap water in most hotels is ugly. I usually pick up enough in the lounge to hold me over for my stay.


ziobacio May 23, 01 2:29 pm

homey's post made me laugh. I agree.

I am a lurker, not a poster here. (May have posted once.) I like and use all the good information, but...

My wife and I try to get FF miles in order to travel, not to upgrade. Most posters here seem obsessed with getting upgrades, "elite" status, having their own line for check-in, board first and get off first, and not have to mingle with the cattle (like me!). How dare one of us proles try to use their overhead bins or their bathroom up front??!! Gasp! I find this partly amusing and partly offensive.

Many other businesses do not automatically treat frequent customers specially. How would you feel about a special checkout station at the grocery?

I think FF programs began as a marketing tool but have taken on a life and culture of their own.

I cannot imagine getting on an airplane just for miles and 'elite' status. We get on an airplane to go places, generally traveling internationally twice a year -- in the back with the rest of the cattle. We'd much rather take two trips in coach than one trip in business or FC.

Different strokes for different folks!

squeakr May 23, 01 2:57 pm

Originally posted by ziobacio:
homey's post made me laugh. I agree.

I cannot imagine getting on an airplane just for miles and 'elite' status. We get on an airplane to go places, generally traveling internationally twice a year -- in the back with the rest of the cattle. We'd much rather take two trips in coach than one trip in business or FC.

Different strokes for different folks!

and I think that's one key - a LOT of posters here fly for business quite a bit, so the niceties DO become more important. If your'e spending over 100K miles in the air or over 100 nights with a hotel chain, comfort., ease of flight check in and the other "perks" can be the difference between doing your best work and working while tired or cranky or hungry. I work w/ a lot of consultants who travel for our company way more than I do and I don't begrudge them a single perk - it's rough traveling 50-60 % of the time..

Now do some folks take an attitude? Definitely...

As a gold w/ some hotels and an elite flyer (primarily for leisure but some for business) I have a mixed feeling about these perks. I am always delighted by upgrades esp at hotels and my life has made more pleasant by becoming an elite flyer. Better seating, better treatment etc. DO I make some rez agent's life hell if I don;t get the perks? Not usually...But as nwr andfparker have posted, if I'm treated poorly, I won't feel happy whether I get an upgrade or not.

Now when I only flew once or twice a year I honestly didn't care at all about any of this stuff. Now that I fly much more often I do count on the perks that COMPANIES OFFER TO ME VOLUNTARILY - no one twists United or Hilton's arms to give me free things, they offer them. So when it's offered and I don't recieve it, I am nore likely to complain.

I do also try and pick my battles tho - if I'm in a hampton Inn for one night and don;t get a free breakfast, so what. If I'm at the Westin Horton Plaza and the someone leaves dirty tissues in the bed (not a joke) when I go to turn in, you best believe I am squawking to anyone who will listen.

edited for spelling

[This message has been edited by squeakr (edited 05-23-2001).]

chexfan May 23, 01 3:14 pm

Originally posted by squeakr:
Now when I only flew once or twice a year I honestly didn't care at all about any of this stuff. Now that I fly much more often I do coulnt on the perks that COMPANIES OFFER TO ME VOLUNTARILY
This is where I fit in. Coming out of college, I was excited to sit in the back trans-atlantic. It was the destination for me.

BUT now that my job requires me to get on a plane every week and stay at hotels in a different time zone... it's how I get to that destination that makes me happy. I like it when my life is made just a little bit easier when i am on the road and status with the hotel and airline allows this to happen. Like kokonutz, I feel that status does matter more than the points.

In a short time, I have learned that "it's the journey, not the endpoint that matters."

TrojanHorse May 23, 01 4:55 pm

How many of you have selected the hotel chain, airline based on perks offered by their Elite levels? How many of you did some sort of research to see who would give you the biggest bang for your buck? I know I did, I travel typically 300 nights a year so I am top tier in Hh, MR, and SPG. I chose my chains based on location, price (as much as I could get rates within corp guidelines) and amenities. When you sleep in a hotel 300 nights, fly 50K on 3 diff airlines and rent cars 40 to 50 weeks a year (lower expectations does = less complaints) the little things do matter. I should be entitled to the perks as advertised a vast majority of the time (not 100% of the time as I know its not always available). If it is available I am entitled to them whether its a bounceback rate or full rack rate. I chose this company based on the total package which includes upgrades, water, soda, suite etc. Like most when I was in college, I was happy on the $19 ow BOS to EWR shuttle where I had to pay for a soda while sitting in my middle seat in the rear next to another hung over college student.

AS for the free b/fast, I better get it, its in the advertising, its in the brochure, its their obligation based on my patronage. IF they didn't have the amenities I chose, I would find another chain that did. Ditto for airlines, thats why I switched from DL to CO as my primary carrier, when they started this bs on LUser fares not being upgradeable it was the last straw. yeah they are cheapo fares but CO allows upgrades on them so see ya DL.

Am I asking for more than I deserve on my $65 gov't rate tonight by expecting concierge level access? I don't think so, I've given this chain tons of cash, that I could have given to another chain.

And I like the food store privledged customer line (Ralph's are you reading this) and while we are at it, lets do it at the gym and gas stations too.

Watchful May 23, 01 6:10 pm

homey & ziobacio...good posts from Austin!

>>Many other businesses do not automatically treat frequent customers specially. How would you feel about a special checkout station at the grocery?<<

Here in Houston, many of the grocery stores now have specials that are good only if you have a shopper card with that chain.

ontheroad May 23, 01 8:50 pm

MHO: That feeling of entitlement to perks comes from the conscious decision to choose an airline/hotel/rental car company because of the expectation of perks. When those perks don't come or when service is poor, frustation ensues.

I have metal status with a few hotel chains and airlines. Lately, I've recognized that the perks are not as important as the basics. My complimentary upgrade to a FC seat doesn't mean squat if the plane has "mechanical difficulties" and I miss an important meeting.

I was upgraded last week to a spacious suite at the New York Hilton as is typical for my visits. But I have no plans of returning. Why? Continued problems with climate control. I can't get a good night's sleep when the heater pumps out freezing cold air all night, or vica-versa. My contact to Housekeeping to rectify the situation was ignored.

Although I have top tier status with another airline that travels the same route, I'd rather fly Southwest. I may be treated like cattle, but I am more likely to get to my destination on time -- with my luggage.

I abosolutely want the miles, but I am willing to trade my perks for consistent quality, on-time flights, and hotel rooms where I know I can get a good night's sleep.

He who dies with the most miles ... is dead.

pynchonesque May 23, 01 8:56 pm

Homey, good points. I especially find it pretty funny the way some people flaunt their hotel/airline "status" as if it were some big personal accomplishment to have spent a certain number of nights at hotels or miles on airplanes. This is not sour grapes on my part, as I have plenty of those "special customer" cards from travel providers, but don't tie my self-worth to them. I note that the "From:" fields for the posters in this thread are quite unusual for FT, if you know what I mean, and I won't elaborate more than that.

Something I see every time I'm checking in for a UA flight: the customer in line in front of me begins the conversation with the employee with a gruff statement like "I'm a 1K" and instantly starts demanding rule-bending -- not even a hello. The funny thing about this is that I find that a friendly, self-effacing manner, and a smile, can often get one many more perks than even the highest-level diamond/platinum/whatever cards.

pointman May 23, 01 8:57 pm

I think every post in this thread makes reasonable and valid points, including the first one.
Like everything in life, this issue has no black and white. Is a scale from one extreme to another. Reasonable people probably find a position somewhere in the middle.

My position is that our patronage should be rewarded as outlined in these programs. If customers do their part, the businesses should do theirs. On the other hand, elites should understand that the entire program is simply a marketing tool to increase revenue and build a successful business. To gratify elites at all cost and at the expense of the business would defeat the whole purpose and eventually there would be no airline, or hotel chain, etc....There may be some elites who are unreasonable in their demands but I don't think many are....
As for special perks such as elite lines and special priority, these are a well deserved benefits earned by directing all our business at a particular airline. For the occasional traveler, no big deal. For a frequent traveler, this is very important and rightly so....

keithnj973 May 23, 01 9:17 pm

Right on the money homey! Stick around and read some more and your chin will drop at some of the things, right down to the order in which they take your meal order on odd or even number flights and on and on and on. Just keep laughing until you too become ultra mega diamond platinum medallion executive elite tier vip status and can demand charmin in the air craft lavatory! And someone else mentioned the "from" field ... I know exactly what you mean!

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