Welcome to our Frequent Miler Week in Review Around the Web, where we recap some of the best stories this week from around the Internet. This week we look at a couple of sides of the loyalty coin.
Read that title again :-). That is not a group of words I’d have ever expected to have strung together in that order. Choice continues to make a play for travel loyalty, and there are some strong values in the program. Just this past week, I was looking at a hotel for a last-minute trip my parents needed to make. A Clarion Hotel that fit their needs was $108+tax or 12,000 Choice points per night — a value of more than 1 cent per point after tax is calculated. And now Choice is upping the game with Elite recognition. Will Choice become my new go-to hotel program? Probably not. But with 8,000 points after 2 nights, great benefits at Nordic Choice hotels, and now this — I wouldn’t argue too hard against choosing Choice. It’s certainly worth a status match if you have some upcoming stays.
Sriram at Travel Codex argues that hotel breakfast is the most overrated hotel loyalty benefit. I’m going to totally disagree with him. Can you get a cheap, more authentic breakfast elsewhere in the city you are visiting? Absolutely. But there is something really relaxing about easing my way into the day by strolling downstairs for breakfast and being able to come back up and sit in the room for a few minutes to digest. I enjoy not stressing about having to get together what I need for a day of sight-seeing before I’ve had my first cup of coffee and something warm in my stomach. Furthermore, I think I actually get up and out of the hotel earlier than I would if I were paying for breakfast — free breakfast forces me to wake up during breakfast hours and get a start to my day. Is it enough of a benefit for me to re-qualify for Hyatt Globalist? Absolutely not. Is it worth an annual fee? I’d say it certainly is if you spend $10K a year on the Citi Hilton Reserve (good for a free night and at least 30K Hilton points towards another on top of the automatic Gold status). Other cards perhaps provide less value — but I still don’t think free breakfast is overrated — do you?
The Free-quent Flyer has a great tip that I recently noticed but hadn’t yet researched. If you book your hotel stays through a cash back portal, you might be surprised to learn how little you qualify for based on your status with the chain. Did you know that being loyal to a chain means less cash back for you?
In a timely piece for me, Dakota – aka Majored in Miles at Travel Update — writes about an easy pitfall to encounter, and the fantastic customer service he received from another rental company thanks to his loyalty status (free, I assume, with his credit card). He also may have saved me an inconvenience with this post. Last night, I was flying to Colorado Springs but my connecting flight got cancelled. I rebooked to Denver and booked a one-way rental to get me to Colorado Springs (where I planned to pick up my original rental car). I wanted to stop for dinner on the way from Denver. It was late, and I probably wouldn’t have thought to call the rental counter in Colorado Springs to find out what time they close if not for this post. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in a quick stop at Waffle House on the way down — if I didn’t know I had to hurry, I might have missed the counter agent.
That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.