If you’ve had excellent service at an SPG hotel or been tempted to resell gift cards for a profit or points, you’ll want to read on for this Frequent Miler Week in Review Around the Web. Were you targeted for a lucrative Hertz promo? All that and more below.
LAST CALL: Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) “Elite Thank You” Certificates (Gold & Platinum)- Expires June 30, 2018
For a couple of years, I had no idea that SPG offered an official program for recognizing outstanding service. Gold and Platinum members receive annual certificates to share with employees for their outstanding service. Loyalty Lobby has the link you need to access your certificates to reward employees for good service before these certificates disappear a week from today. Personally, I just reached out to an employee who have me outstanding service quite a while back to offer my remaining certificates with my thanks. It’s not much, but hopefully it puts a smile on their face!
I recently had a great stay at The Algonquin Hotel in New York City — the hotel is full of charm, I got a great room upgrade, and the only hotel I’ve stayed at in the city with comparable service has been the Park Hyatt. That said, I had a bad taste in my mouth before I entered the door and have been mulling around leaving a negative review for one reason: the $25-per-night “destination fee”, which annoys me to no end. I commented to Greg that I don’t understand why more hotels don’t take the Kimpton approach and just include this fee in the price and then give you a “raid the bar” credit like Kimpton, making you feel like you’ve gotten something for free. That’s not entirely true — I do understand why they do it…to deceive people into thinking the rate is less than it really is. Richard Kerr at The Points Guy highlights a particularly egregious instance of deceptively hiding the fee without any disclosure whatsoever that is worth a read if only to empathize with the average person who travels once or twice a year and is being unfairly duped. Like Richard, I’m happy with hotels making money — but his example shows how dishonest this practice has become.
Back in February, I wrote a warning about gift card reselling. Checks had been bouncing from The Plastic Merchant, and I considered my post a fair warning in terms of being careful to diversify your risk. When recent reports surfaced of a new round of bounced checks, I re-shared my old post within the Frequent Miler Insiders group, but didn’t think it warranted a new post to reiterate the same advice considering the fact that we had all seen the red flags. Those who resell gift cards have surely heard the latest news about what appears to be a total meltdown at TPM. It’s unfortunate to see for a multitude of reasons and I hope that everyone comes out of this as OK as possible. For those who have been tempted by the reselling game, this post from Doctor of Credit is another good read to understand what can go wrong and how complicated it can get.
I read this post from Dan’s Deals lamenting the fact that I’ve never been targeted for a promo like this for Hertz points…and about an hour later I got an email reminding me to register for this promo. I have registered and I think I’m going to make a neighborhood rental this week to take advantage of this one as I can save on a planned future rental with the points even without the extra surprise that Dan got. Read his post for more on this one.
One of the things I like about miles & points is being able to attend events I wouldn’t have otherwise considered (like a couple of years ago when I surprised my wife with a trip to Omaha for the Olympic Swim Trials). Despite the fact that I was born, raised, and still live in rural America, where the county fairs are major life events in the summertime, I grew up firmly resisting this piece of my local culture – only making it to the county fair a couple of times in my life. I’ve been to 50+ countries around the world, but I’ve never been to a state fair. This post from Thrillist highlights the best in the country — and lo and behold my home state makes the list. I might just have to make this year the one.
That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.