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Unhappy Hhonors member comped to ?????

Unhappy Hhonors member comped to ?????

Old Feb 27, 04, 4:07 pm
  #1  
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Unhappy Hhonors member comped to ?????

Hi all,

I am a new user of FT, and have read many of the previous posts for the last week or so before deciding to jump in the water here. Forgive me if I don't have ALL my protocol down yet.

I am a displeased Diamond HH member, and would like to switch primary hotel chains. I have been in contact with Starwood and Marriott and have been given favorable response as to what they will comp -- which seems to be the general consensus as to what I have found elsewhere on the board (HH Diamond = *W Plat = MR Plat -- if you have 75 nights). I am inclined to believe that PC would also comp matching status, if I were inclined to ask.

My questions are this:

1) I don't not want to abuse the offers from the different chains, do I? I mean, if these companies truly are "one per" forever, would I not want to make sure that I get comped from the ONE chain that I am most likely to attain preferred status going forward? Or, should I just try them all and see which one works the best for me?

1A) In your own experiences, do you have a preference for one company's highest elite status over another? i.e. comparison of MR Plat, *W Plat, and PC?

2) I don't seem to have the hotel budgets that a lot of other posters to this board have. I try to keep my hotel travel in the $100/night range. My two primary travel destinations are Dallas, TX (easy to do for $100/night) and the greater New York area (usually end up at about $135/night). I do have other destinations, but these are the ones I hit most frequently. Would you think it would be easier to find reasonably nice hotels within my budget for one chain or another?

2A) In your experiences as elite members, do you find it easier/harder/no difference to negotiate rates with hotels that you frequent regularly. For instance, there is a Sheraton on Long Island that offers a $139/night 21-day advance purchase rate. However, their regular rate is $179/night (out of my range). Have you had success trying to negotiate down to the lower rate, or is it more hit and miss?

Those are about the biggest issues I have. If anyone has any information they are willing to share, I would appreciate the help. Feel free to email me or post directly, as I plan to check back regularly.

Thanks to all.

Stevekoe
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Old Feb 27, 04, 5:17 pm
  #2  
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Welcome to FlyerTalk stevekoe. You've got an interesting decision to make and I'm sure fellow members will be able to assist you.

There's a little bit of additional info that might influence any suggestions I might make for you - such as, what are your plans with your hotel points? Do you always convert them into airline miles or do you tend to use the points as hotel rewards. Also, where do you like to redeem your points if they are hotel points and likewise, if you are mileage crazy, what are your airline program choices. Any of this will certainly help with the qaulity of the suggestions.

Again, welcome to FlyerTalk and we look forward to seeing you around here for a very long time.
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Old Feb 27, 04, 5:40 pm
  #3  
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Welcome, indeed, stevekoe!

Since you know where you travel (Dallas and New York/Long Island) consider that you will be staying at the same properties over and over. Your opinion of the specific hotels will matter alot. Consider searching the Marriott and Starwood forum (and the rest of the web) for reviews of these properties.

Randy makes a good point in asking what your reward goals are. Do you want hotel stays or airline miles? And what kind of stays are you looking for?

Finally, what benefits are most important to you? If suite upgrades are king, there's little question that Starwood will be more to your liking. But if free breakfast is king, things may be different...

Also what were the problems you encountered with Hilton? That may give a window into which program you should consider.

Finally as to who to request a comp from - at least with Starwood comps are once in a lifetime, so I do think you should only request the comp if you know you'll requalify.
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Old Feb 27, 04, 5:46 pm
  #4  
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Hello Randy --

Thanks for the quick reply. I am most often travelling within the continental US -- though, I could use a trip to Hawaii at some point in my life! I tend to use my hotel points for hotel stays, and my airline points/miles for free air travel. I am, however, intrigued by the *W option to transfer 20k/pts into 25k/miles at most airlines, and the folks on the *W board seem to like their miles+nights awards.

I stay about 100 nights per year in hotels (not nearly as many as a lot of folks on this board), and try to be loyal to one chain. Sometimes, like in the event of different conference hotels or reward specials, I will stay at other brands. Last year, for instance, I had 70+ nights at Hilton, and fewer than 5 each at IC, Marriott, Wyndham, *W, and indies.

I am not elite with any airline, but I do prefer WN. I know some folks knock it, but for me, they do just fine. I have flown a lot on DL, as they pretty much rule the roost in the southeast US, but I don't fly enough to qualify for elite under there new rules. I also have base memberships in CO, AA, US.

Perhaps this information helps some. Also, while I do try to use partners (mostly cars), I do not have an affinity credit card (credit still a little hurting from a divorce, but working on it), but hope to have one in the next yr or so?

Regards,
Stevekoe

[This message has been edited by stevekoe (edited Feb 27, 2004).]
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Old Feb 27, 04, 5:55 pm
  #5  
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stevekoe:

Hyatt will comp you their Diamond -- top tier -- status in a blink of an eye -- that is what I did, by the way.

After doing so, I realized just how awful HHonors was, and I only have stayed at Hilton family hotels to run off all the HHonors points I had accumulated when I was blind to what else was out there!

Once you had Hyatt take care of you, you will wonder what took you so long. I can assure you that you will not regret it!

Also, even if at first blush Hyatt properties seem to be outside of your budgetary issues -- and they may not be -- there are many Hyatts that you can almost certainly snag at PLN rates, and unlike the other chains, Hyatt will still recognize your status with PLN bookings.

With regard to NYC, many of us actually prefer the Jersey City Hyatt which has excellent connections to the NYC subway, and it is a much newer property. Besides, you can't take in the sweep of the NYC skyline from Manhattan, you need to be in either Jersey, Brooklyn, or Queens!

I believe there are two Hyatt properties in and around Dallas -- at the airport and downtown.

Go to the Hyatt board for futher advice and investigation, I think that it will prove helpful to you.

[This message has been edited by NJUPINTHEAIR (edited Feb 27, 2004).]
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Old Feb 27, 04, 6:03 pm
  #6  
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OOPS

[This message has been edited by NJUPINTHEAIR (edited Feb 29, 2004).]
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Old Feb 27, 04, 6:10 pm
  #7  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by gleff:
Welcome, indeed, stevekoe!

Since you know where you travel (Dallas and New York/Long Island) consider that you will be staying at the same properties over and over. Your opinion of the specific hotels will matter alot. Consider searching the Marriott and Starwood forum (and the rest of the web) for reviews of these properties.

Randy makes a good point in asking what your reward goals are. Do you want hotel stays or airline miles? And what kind of stays are you looking for?

Finally, what benefits are most important to you? If suite upgrades are king, there's little question that Starwood will be more to your liking. But if free breakfast is king, things may be different...

Also what were the problems you encountered with Hilton? That may give a window into which program you should consider.

Finally as to who to request a comp from - at least with Starwood comps are once in a lifetime, so I do think you should only request the comp if you know you'll requalify.
</font>

Hi Gleff --

Thanks, too, for the kind welcome and quick reply.

My problems with Hhonors ran the gamut last year, and the bottom line is that I just never felt like I was treated as though my business was worth their collective time. I don't expect that elite members be given any type of red carpet treatment, but some of my experiences were pretty bad. The final straw came during one of my last trips of the year, and I finally wrote a letter of complaint, which was also posted at: http://www.planetfeedback.com/shared...8966-0,00.html
To this date, I still have heard nothing from Hilton regarding this matter, and that leads me to believe that my business is simply not their priority.

I would like my hotel points to cover my "fun" travel stays. This year, I am planning trips to San Francisco and Omaha (College World Series). In the past, I have been able to use my hotel points for a solid week's worth of stays at hotels that are usually as nice or nicer than the ones I pay for on business.

I am somewhat familiar with the Sheraton Long Island, as I have a colleague that stays there. As I mentioned above, I usually stay at the Hampton Inn in Commack (which I DO love, for a base hotel) and had about 30-odd nights last yr. When in Dallas, I stay at the ES Park Central, which is OK for an ES. I am sure that *W would have a similar property. Last yr, I think I stayed at that property almost 15 times. Since I think I only need 50 nights for *W Plat -- so, I am pretty sure I can make it, if I can get a reasonable rate at the LI Sheraton. Just curious if most people thought that MR was a better program?

I would probably like suite upgrades better (don't know....Hilton never upgraded me to a suite!), though breakfasts are good. However, when you are in NY, you can always get a couple of eggs on a hard roll with coffee and juice for under $3 at most delis -- so, I would guess if I had to choose, it would be the suite!

Thanks for the unput. Your help is most appreciated.

Regards,
Stevekoe
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Old Feb 27, 04, 6:15 pm
  #8  
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Thanks for the info on Hyatt. I will look into that, too. I am staying at the Rochester, NY location for a conference in May. My only problem with Jersey City is that I really do most of my work in the suburbs. I am a college recruiter and tend to spend more time on Long Island and Westchester Cty than in the city proper.

I have never used PLN. I know I have read elsewhere how some people can manipulate the system into getting the hotels they want, but is there a way to be SURE that I can get a Hyatt through PLN?

Regards,
Stevekoe
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Old Feb 27, 04, 6:25 pm
  #9  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by stevekoe:
Thanks for the info on Hyatt. I will look into that, too. I am staying at the Rochester, NY location for a conference in May. My only problem with Jersey City is that I really do most of my work in the suburbs. I am a college recruiter and tend to spend more time on Long Island and Westchester Cty than in the city proper.

I have never used PLN. I know I have read elsewhere how some people can manipulate the system into getting the hotels they want, but is there a way to be SURE that I can get a Hyatt through PLN?

Regards,
Stevekoe
</font>
First, with respect to Westchester, there is the Hyatt in Greenwich, CT. That is nearby, as I come from Westchester originally.

Second, unless Hyatt is the only hotel in a given region at a given star level, there is no certain assurance. That said, if you study BiddingforTravel.com, you will note doubt see a pattern of where certain hotels usually price out. Moreover, if you check it frequently, you can often anticipate a date and price based on another's reporting, which might be the same date that you were thinking of!

Finally, I understand your frustration with Hilton, believe me, I do! Another thing is that certain of the Hyatt hotels also accept an Entertainment rate discount that is not displayed on the website.

I have to laugh because sometimes the price that people are paying via PLN and reported on BiddingforTravel.com is the same or higher than the Entertainment discount, and you get points on the entire amount paid on the Entertainment rate, whereas the pricelin amount is not factored into your Hyatt points, only incidentals are.

Trust me, once you stay at Hyatt and experience their service, there is no going back to Hilton.

I can't spread myself too thin, so I can't comment on Starwood, but others have. See the recent comments on the Hyatt bonus point promo. In addition, there are often Hyatt bonus points or airline FF miles multipliers if you stay at certain Hyatt hotels during a particular time frame. These are also found on the Hyatt site under promotions and are available regardless of the rate that you pay, something that I know resonates with you having read your comment on the Hilton board.

Finally, there is nothing like Hyatt's FFN promo, however, you must get a MC!
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Old Feb 28, 04, 9:59 pm
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stevekoe,

I am a Diamond member with Hyatt for 2 years and Hilton Diamond for just under a year and Marriott rewards silver for 3 years and here are my feedback.

As a diamond, Hyatt really looks after you. YOu get an amenity, typically beverage (red wine, white wine, beer, soda sometimes Cava/sparkling wine) and and snack (cheese, fruit, nuts, etc.) which may vary property by property. The most memberable two are at the Park Hyatt Toronto where access to the changing room (cost $20) and heavenly doubledipped chocolate strawberry at Grand Cypress in Orlando. Both were award stays and it did not make a difference to my amenities.

You also typically get continental breakfast or other breakfast as a Hyatt Diamond. I know in the Grand Hyatt near Central Station, they accepted my diamond breakfast coupon for their buffet on the weekend and it was a decent spread with smoked salmon.

For Dallas, I would not recommend the DFW Hyatt. Was there late Oct after a conference but before an early flight on Sat. and it was not that great. Paid $100 and did get my amenities and breakfast but the place was in renovation and the rooms are tired. The only thing that was good from this stay was half of a FFN Faster Free night where for every 2 stays get 1 free night anywhere with limited/no blackouts.

My experience as a Hilton Diamond is limited to 2 property, one Hampton Inn in Miami which is fairly comfortable but no real special treatment and Hilton in Cleveland Beachwood where Gold / Diamond have access to the conceirge lounge. One thing I do not like is that if I do not make my hotel reservation until the day of arrival (when I forget), I do not get my amenities and the ameniites are hit and miss - changing from 1 beer and snack mix, hot chocolate in mug with some cookies, half bottle of wine and cheese, nut mix.

Marriott does not do much for their lower level elite althought some colleagues that are Platinum got a good reward skiing in Salt Lake with lift tickets for a few days.

Cannot comment on *W since I have only stay in them 2ce in the last 3 years but some of the Ws and Westins are nice.

Have fun :-)
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Old Feb 28, 04, 11:00 pm
  #11  
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You need to see what you want and how you are treated. I am totally happy with Hilton Diamond, and until they do something insane to me then I'll be very loyal to them. So my advice of course would be different then somebody in your position who hasn't been happy.

I say take all the comps they are offering, and try it out for yourself to see how you are treated. Make up your mind based on what is important to you.

By the way, welcome.

Negoitating is way more hit and miss. I've often been told when asking for a lower rate that they can't even match the one I got online. There are other times the person will say something like "Did you say you were with the XXXX convention those dates, because those rates are $60 a night lower". But in general, I wouldn't expect much in the rate lowering area.

If however you are talking a lot of nights, not just one here and one there, then ask if they can give you a reduction if you guarantee them so many room nights.
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Old Feb 29, 04, 8:45 am
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Starwoods is a good program when they have big bonuses for the lower tier members like the fabulous ASIAPAC 50K promo, although travelling to Australia, or even worse being able to get all the stays required in Australia alone came from a "screw-loose" promo dept. mentality. Now acheiving the promo was good and helped get a F class ticket on CX via mile transfers, but at what physical cost. Otherwise, I find their points are few and far between, unless it accompanies a 500 booking bonus or some other bonus. These bonuses have large gaps when before each appearance. Therefore, I find something like 120 points (180 points for GLD) for a $59 stay with no breakfast, really a raw deal.

Then I push Hilton HHonors with the double dipping and the numerous bonuses that accompany it. FFMiles (500) + as much as 1200 - 2000 points per stay with using a rental car and other on-going promos. Hiltons recent 50,000 point bonus by merging accounts with 4 stays was a huge plus.

But for both programs, both of these bonuses in liu of their inflated award levels are also few and far between.

Priority Club (PC) has some good bonuses that pop up, all the time and can overlap. The points skyrocket and can be VERY helpful negating some overpriced stays in Asia.
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Old Feb 29, 04, 10:46 am
  #13  
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Welcome to flyertalk, stevekoe!

Let me comment to your first two elaborated remarks!

Ad 1) There is a lot of competition between hotel chains and as you achieved top tier status within HH I would not hesitate to go for one match. Reasons:
  • Most companies only comp once in a lifetime, so why to waist possible future options?
  • I would like to maintain my status.
LH 738 created an excellent overview for top and middle tier frequent guest programmes (FGP). As an add on, he developed a point calculator to compare different FGPs.

On the other hand, you were displeased with your top tier HH, but I know a lot of people who feel very comfortable with this hotel chain.

I am also enrolled as a blue member, but I am not familiar with this FGP at all. I just stayed one night at a Hilton in July last year and I was satisfied with my stay. I was not satisfied who customer service handled my account (I qualified for VISA double promo, but despite two attempts, I did not earn these additional points). I was almost in the process to give up, but – fortunately for me – I realized that there is a special e-mail address for FlyerTalkers ([email protected]) to which I addressed my concern. Within hours (!), my enquiry was sloved. Bottom line: I you just have troubles with your account, try this address and maybe you are able to sort your problems out.

Besides that, I would also like to draw your attention to this thread and the question: Are the advantages being a most valued guest with top tier status worth the price I pay for it?

Ad 1A) If I am joining a FGP, I would like to be in the published top tier status. And I have to decide, if I like to pay for a room eg in a Marriott (= I can expect benefits besides earning points) or in a Fairfield Inn (= I should not expect benefits besides earning points).

For MR that means I have to stay 75 nights/year for maintaining Platinum and I know that they introduced Platinum Premier last year. I also know, that at Marriott/Renaissance properties I cannot expect an upgrade to a suite and most of the time I will end up in a regular room on concierge/executive floor.

Top Tier in PC is Platinum, top tier in Ambassador is Royal Ambassador (by invitation only). While I do not see extra benefits – besides earning more points – in being a Platinum guest at a Holiday Inn (maybe I am ending up with an upgrade to an executive floor at Crowne Plaza) I see perks for being Royal Ambassador at IC (have to admit that these properties are most of the time more expensive than Marriott’s).

I do not have experiences with *wood.

As long as Hyatt counts stays where a member has made his reservation and purchased via Net Wholesaler or through a web site other than their own, such as Priceline.com or Hotwire.com, or similar booking engines (= room rate is not viewable or publicly available at the time of booking), for elite requalification as long as you buy incidentals at the hotel IMO Golden Passport is the winner among FGPs.

Good luck!
 
Old Feb 29, 04, 1:12 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
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Having experience with most of the chains your looking at, I would go with *wood.

The one drawback with *wood is that the properties tend to be more expensive than Hilton/Marriott or Hyatt and they lack a low end chain (Four Points don’t compete well with equivalent Hilton and Marriott properties IMO). However, they have by far, the best elite recognition and award redemption policies.

Also, Starwood is the only program that guarantees its top level elites, access to suite upgrades. As a *wood Platinum, I average about a 75% success rate of getting upgraded to a suite. This could make a huge difference if you’re camping at a hotel for long durations.

Plus, if you use your points for room stays, Starwood can’t be beat. There are no captivity controls, and I’ve been upgraded to the presidential suite at the Princeville in Kauai, an over water bungalow in Tahiti (Moorea), a deluxe suite in Maui and other various suites throughout the world all during award stays (most of these rooms would be prices at well over a thousand dollars a night if I was to pay). I’ve also noticed on the *wood board many refugees from other programs, Hilton and Marriot included. Check out the board for more feedback.

My second choice for a hotel program would be Hyatt, especially if they start a new round of Faster Free Nights—that could be a gold mine for you. However, Hyatt does have a very limited number of properties and does lack a lower end chain.

From someone who averages 90 nights a year on 60+ stays, my vote would be for *wood first, Hyatt second, Hilton third and Marriott fourth. Good luck…
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Old Mar 1, 04, 9:37 am
  #15  
 
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I don't have much experience at Marriott. Starwood has a great program when you consider the availability of rewards and the transferability of their points. Properties tend to be a bit more upscale, with an appropriately higher price. Starwood also has fewer properties. Marriott is probably roughly equivalent to Hilton on price and availablility; Hyatt may be akin to starwood but more acute - even fewer properties, more expensive options.
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