Phantom Stays?

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by edenri, Mar 12, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. edenri
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    edenri Silver Member

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    Just noticed on another thread a member was doing a phantom stay. I'm curious to know which hotel programs will honor phantom stays? Is this sometimes a gamble as to whether or not you will get credit?
     
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  2. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    I have received some phantom credits, but not on phantom stays--just stay credits that showed up for no reason.

    I have never called them and demanded an explanation. ;)
     
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  3. jammanxc
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    jammanxc Silver Member

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    its totally random for phantom stays
     
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  4. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    and should never be counted upon IMO, UNLESS you were to 'pre-clear' with the gm of a property. (in my experience works best when doing a face to face with them)

    Specifically explain why you want a low rate and that you will not be checking into the hotel but still want credit as if you had. If you can find the right gm, there can be some great win-win situations, especially when good promos come around.
     
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  5. jammanxc
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    i made SPG Plat last year by doing a lot of Phantom stays at the Four Points LAX, ... they don't care , they just want revenue. Just call and speak to Juanito who will gladly check you in over the phone
     
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  6. jupper
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    jupper Silver Member

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    Wow, hope Juanito doesn't leave soon for you. :)
     
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  7. DonV.Smith
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    DonV.Smith Gold Member

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    I haven't tried phantom stays, but I've had several occasions of getting bonus points on Marriott for a specific property a 3-4 weeks after a given stay. I've chosen not to question the reasoning behind these ;)
    • Typical bonus points are deposited with the earned points
    • I've found no info on bonus points for stays at the given property, regardless when they may be intended to post
     
  8. Explore
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    Explore Silver Member

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    Ahhh, for the days of legit phantom stays at Hyatt, along with stay credit for a $1 incidental charge on your Priceline booking.
     
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  9. edenri
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    edenri Silver Member

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    Please speak, speak my friend. I take it this does not work anymore, but I would like to hear an old war story if you don't mind?
     
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  10. paladin87
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    paladin87 Silver Member

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    Personally I think not crediting phantom stays is the dumbest thing ever. You offer rate X to get the money. I pay rate X and you get the money and I get the room to use as I please. If I DO or DO NOT check in physically, the hotel's positives and negatives received are the EXACT SAME. I have never understood the logic behind it. If you do not want people benefitting from a certain rate, do not offer it. I pay the rate, I get the room, simple as that.
     
  11. Trout Fishing in America
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    Trout Fishing in America Silver Member

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    I've always felt the exact same way. But, more recently, I am almost positive that there must be some reason that I have not yet considered that makes this issue make more sense. Maybe not though.
     
  12. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    Didja ever think that they want you in the hotel so you may end up generating incremental revenue? Parking, room service, in room movies, etc, etc, etc.? If it was my hotel, I want you physically there, so I could up sell and plus sell you anything and everything. Resort fee anyone?
     
  13. Trout Fishing in America
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    Trout Fishing in America Silver Member

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    Yes, I have thought about that. I definitely think it is probably a likely reason, or part of the reason. But, on the other hand, a phantom stay is certainly better than an empty room. In some senses, it's better than an occupied room-- no cleaning, no new shampoo. Either way, I've never been in a situation where a phantom stay would be beneficial for me. But it comes up sometimes on these travel forums, so I've wondered about it off and on for years. I think your reason is probably as good of a reason as I've ever heard.
     
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  14. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    I found this restriction, found in the rate rules for a specific Marriott property in California, to be especially interesting:
    • ****************************************************************
    • ******************** SPECIAL ALERT *********************
    • ***** A credit card MUST be present at check-in and *****
    • ***** swiped for verification. Credit card authorizations *****
    • ***** are not available for this package. No exceptions. *****
    • ******************** SPECIAL ALERT *********************
    • ***************************************************************
    Although this rule is for a specific package promo, I think it demonstrates that hotels are catching on to people trying to "game" the system.
     
  15. GUWonder
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    GUWonder Silver Member

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    That game of using PCLN stays with a minor incidental charge is almost certainly over for most all of us who had done that before reliably, and it is very difficult -- bordering on a waste of my time -- to try to engineer nowadays, save perhaps the situation of getting physically checked-in ... and even then it's unreliable.

    There are still ways to get phantom stays in, but an on-property assistant of some sort -- which can take one or more forms -- is rather ordinarily a basic requirement to make this work at any of a variety of properties across a variety of brands.

    One of the reasons corporate management running the loyalty programs doesn't like "phantom" stays/runs is because it creates larger scale and scope opportunities for hotel room buyers to get discounted stays than would benefit the hotel(s) and/or brand owners over a longer time frame. The corp management types in charge of the loyalty programs may be willing to put up with a minuscule segment of their market playing games to get the maximum return out of their transactions with hotels, but they don't want to see that become the mainstream game. It's a balancing act of sort.
     
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  16. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    Most major program Terms and Conditions have been updated to specifically declare opaque bookings as ineligible stays (not earning points ans stay credit).
     
  17. GUWonder
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    GUWonder Silver Member

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    Many have indeed gone that course, but there remains some discrepancy between hotel program policy and hotel practices related to this. How much of a discrepancy between policy and practice can be exploited, well that varies. It's certainly not as prevalent a gap for exploitation today as it was some years ago even after "opaque" bookings (of the PCLN name-your-own-price sort) became part of the terms and conditions of various programs.
     
  18. paladin87
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    In my case when I have a stay and do not plan to actually stay there, I DO check in physically. I just do not stay.
     
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  19. Wurm
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    That is the "magic difference" - you appeared "in person", presented your credit card, and took possession of your room key.

    As I understand it, the "classic" phantom stay would involve me remaining at my home in Florida and calling via telephone to "check into" the Hyatt Place or Four Points near Dulles Airport, which happens to be offering a $39 or $49 eligible rate for tonight, The goal here is to earn the stay credit, since that is what achieves top-tier elite status, without physically going anywhere near the hotel property.
     
  20. DonV.Smith
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    DonV.Smith Gold Member

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    I think it's just intended to be a way to beat the system as rewards programs try to tighten up loop holes.
     
  21. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    simple as that on the single stay you mention. What you don't take into consideration is the cost to the chain overall in terms of you earning status & perks/free nights/points for less $ than the chain wants.
     
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  22. paladin87
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    Yeah, but regardless of whether I am physically there or not, I earn the same perks and pay the same amount as someone who IS there.
     
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  23. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I think the point is that you don't pay the same as someone who is there. Guests who stay at the hotel are more likely to pay for parking (as much as $25-40, even at some airport hotels) and to eat at the restaurants or watch a movie in the room. Even if you don't partake in those activities, the hotel does see more revenue, on average, from people who stay in the room.
     
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  24. paladin87
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    I fully realize you are just pointing out their possible point of view, so don't take this as argumentative :). I am just saying that I have to say if THAT is the best argument they have, it is a pretty weak one. A lot of hotels, such as Hyatt Places and those level don't even charge for parking or have restaurants. Also, many times THOSE are the hotels that are being used for phantom stays where you do not physically check in. Very few people are doing MR to the Park Hyatt Zurich. I stand by my complete lack of understanding for the policy against phantom stays. Revenue is fact is likely GREATER in my opinion, because I may book several "stays" I would not otherwise, which is certainly greater revenue for the otherwise lost night, than the POTENTIAL $27 porno movie someone might buy in room.
     
  25. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I seriously doubt your revenue is as great as the rooms you would book and perks you'd realize if phantom stays were allowed.
    Again on the ONE stay, most customers are not staying at the same lowest priced/highest earning bang for $$ spent property, time & time again.

    My guess is that if you could do a phantom stay to earn credit/perks that you would probably book as many of these phantom stays needed to get you to Diamond/or max a promo such as FFN (as would I if phantom stays were allowed), we'd search out the lowest priced property in the system or the property with the highest earning bang per 4 spent and book our phantom stays.

    Besides Hyatt missing out on incremental revenue (parking, move, eats, etc), the above action when multiplied would clearly generate far less revenue than Hyatt wants or expects from an avg customer.
    -
     
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