Letters – April, 20 2010

Letters – April, 20 2010

Not So Happy, Hotels

Okay, here are the things that are most disappointing to me in the hotel travel industry. Hotels choose whether or not to participate with companies such as Priceline and Hotwire. No one makes them rent their rooms at discounted rates. They could choose to let them remain empty. Hotels are not bashful about raising rates as occupancy increases.

Guests (and I use the word lightly) are faced with astronomical room service costs, delivery charges, service fees, parking charges where none used to exist and a variety of other revenue increasing strategies by hoteliers.

These same hospitality companies refuse to credit nights and points for any rate that a guest is prudent enough to shop for even though the choice to put rooms on those sites is that of the hotel alone.

I think that this is unfair. If a guest stays at a hotel, a night is a night and a stay is a stay at whatever rate the hotel allows the guest to stay at. It is unfair for the hotels to abuse their guests by up charging whenever they can get away with it and penalizing their frequent guests with no points, miles or credits because the hotel lists their rooms at a discounted price.

Many of us stay at hotels enough that no matter which hotel we get through Priceline or Hotwire we have loyalty cards for. All being denied the points does is infuriate me and lose me as a guest in the future.
T.W.

Awarding Behavior

I’d just like to say that I’ve become convinced that most of the people you hear complain that they can’t find an award seat say that after they don’t get the exact day and route that they want. In my experience, I’ve always found an award but I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten exactly what I wanted. But I don’t let that stop me.

For example, I recently made a booking for open jaw award tickets with Continental OnePass miles, from two different accounts, for flights at the end of May 2010 (about three months away). The good news is that we’re able to travel on the dates we want.

The bad news is that we’ll be flying from the West Coast to Toronto, to sit in an airport for six hours before flying to Frankfurt to change planes/airlines for our final Moscow destination. Now, there are lots of nonstop flights from SFO to Moscow, but none to be had for a coach award. On the way back from Beijing, yet again, there are plenty of nonstop flights but we’ll be going via Tokyo. The customer service agent said she could “see” nonstop flights on Air China but couldn’t “get to them,” whatever that means.

But instead of giving up and writing in a blog that I can’t get seats with my frequent flyer miles, I ponied up to pay the ridiculous $50 to get the seats booked via phone (even though that is my ONLY option because I can’t book these types of awards online–argh!). And presently, all in all, I am a happy camper. I know I can get tickets to where I want to go for a total cost of $356.06 and 120,000 miles. If I tried to book that same flight through Expedia today it would be $3,911. (The total cost for the award tickets was more because I had to transfer some of my miles to my husband’s account.)

And, now that I’ve got a way there and back for my dream vacation, I’ll check back to see if better connections open up. I can make changes to my award flights for free up to 21 days in advance as long as I don’t change my origin/destination.
Ursula

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