Monday, September 22, 2008

Continental retracted the change in minimum miles for elites.

Continental Airlines announced earlier this month, that OnePass members would earn the actual miles flown rather than a minimum of 500 miles per flight for tickets purchased on or after Nov. 15, 2008. They have now recanted and announced today that elite members will be exempt from this change because members complained that the change unfairly dilutes the benefits of the OnePass program. Therefore they are exempting elite members from this change, and Elite members will continue to earn the 500 mile minimum on all segments flown.

Glad they changed their mind!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Terrorist explosion at a Marriott Hotel

NBC News reported on 9/20/2008 that a ton of explosives ripped through Islamabad, Pakistan –at part of the heavily guarded Marriott Hotel in Pakistan's capital, killing at least 55.

Pakistan’s recent army-led offensives against insurgents in its border regions has weeded out many of the Militant Islamic Terrorists, so sadly, sometimes it becomes worse before it becomes better.

Luckily security at Hotels in Houston during and after Hurricane Ike was excellent. The Intercontinental in particular implemented extra precautions and the Mayor prevented looting where windows had broken.

I was concerned about security at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Mexico City when some street boys tried to open my hotel room door in the middle of the night. I think that they had come up from the garage via the fire escape. Judging from their apparel they appeared to be peasants and not guests. This was an isolate incident and I have always seen evidence that the security at the J.W. Marriott is the best in that country. It is a very well run hotel but I was concerned that John McCain would be safe when he stayed there after his visit to offer support to the hostage release of Ingrid Betancourt in Columbia in July 08. I dismissed my concerns when I saw that the security was top notch.
No matter how good the security is at any hotel, guests should bear in mind that we should call the front desk if we have doubts about opening the door. The security at the JW Marriott attended to my call immediately and I never had a problem again.
We all have to be cautious and observant!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Houston hurricane hotels

Due to Hurricane Ike most hotels don't have power but a few in the Galleria and downtown area are open. The Fourpoints Sheraton in Greenway Plaza has structural damage so they asked all the guests to leave on 9/15/2008. They will be closed for several weeks.
the Intercontinental Hotel has beefed up security and dont allow many people entrance.

The CrownePlaza has power from a generator and is one of the few downtown buildings that has not lost many windows.
If you need help finding a hotel - leave a comment on this site with your email address or phone number and I will get back to you.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Continental will begin charging for your FIRST checked bag

I may have to resort to dressing in layers as a human equivalent of a Russian stacking doll.
We have been appalled by the trend towards charging for the first bag but now that we have to check liquids, it has reduced women road warriors to worriers. Keeping track of expenses on the road is time consuming.

Many airlines are nickel and diming passengers with charges for food, headsets, bags, pillows and all kinds of taxes. In keeping with the industry standard, Continental will not charge the fee to elite-level frequent fliers or customers traveling on full-fare refundable tickets. The new fee goes into effect immediately for tickets purchased for travel on or after Oct. 7, the company said in a news release.

Southwest Airlines is one of the few to still allow two free checked bags.
Despite lower fuel prices, Continental Airlines will charge domestic customers $15 for a check in bag. American Airlines and US Airways assesses a $15 fee for passengers' first checked bag and also charges $25 for all second checked bags. US Airways exempt all Dividend Miles Preferred members (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Chairman’s Preferred) and confirmed First Class or Star Alliance Silver and Gold status members.American Airlines exceptions to this policy include customers who purchase First or Business Class tickets, AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum® and AAdvantage Gold® members as well as customers who purchase full-fare tickets in Economy.

Discouraging baggage on board will mean that more carry-on luggage will need to be gate-checked. And that means more departure delays and longer TSA security lines.
American Airlines has again raised the bar by charging for internet on cross country flights. This is an annoying habit that hotels engage in. I’m glad the hotels can’t pick up the bad habit of charging for pillows because you would find a lot of women carrying pillows on their bodies. (Men can’t get away with this one)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Elite Benefits

Upcoming issues will cover:
• The criteria to earn lifetime status (Emeritus status) with Hotels and airlines.
• Elite Benefits comparison of major loyalty programs.
• New offers and elite specials
• Facts and features of frequent flyer and stayer programs.

Watch this space for future topics and feel free to contribute.

THE INSIDE SCOOP on Hotel and airline Tips and Trends

Starwood is going to announce SPG® Flights, a new redemption opportunity now available.
You can redeem Starpoints for airline tickets on hundreds of airlines worldwide — with no blackout dates — even during peak periods such as holidays or for last-minute flights. If there's a seat available for purchase with cash, you can use your Starpoints.

Starwood Preferred Guest is the first and only hotel loyalty program that allows members to redeem award points for air travel on available flights without the restrictions or fees typically required by frequent-flyer programs. Their popular airline transfer awards are still an option, which allow members to redeem Starpoints for frequent-flyer miles.

I think that it makes sense to choose Starwood, Marriott, Priority Club or any hotel Points rather than get airline miles.
Points can be accumulated through qualifying stays in hotels. You can redeem points for more cost effective awards as hotel stays not Frequent Flyer Miles, but it is nice to have the option.
This new offer by SPG flights may tempt me to try it even though it has been my policy to use hotel points for hotels and frequent flyer miles for air travel.