Primer on Hilton HHonors Program and Status

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by chitownflyer, Feb 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    This is Hilton’s basic point earning structure.


    With Hilton HHonors, you can earn both hotel points and airline miles for the same eligible stay at Hilton Worldwide's 10 distinct brands. Hilton offers a double dip component of their program where a guest may choose to earn HHonors points and frequent flyer miles or HHonors points and then bonus HHonors points in lieu of airline miles. Choose your personal Double Dip Earnings Style from three rewarding options:


    HHonors Points and Variable Miles

    Earn 10 HHonors Base Points + 1 airline mile per eligible U.S. dollar spent


    HHonors Points and Fixed Miles
    Earn 10 HHonors Base Points per eligible U.S. dollar spent + 500 miles per stay (100 miles per stay at Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites.)


    HHonors Points and HHonors Points
    Earn 10 HHonors Base Points + 5 Bonus Points per eligible U.S. dollar spent

    I opt for HHonors points and bonus HHonors points as you will earn more points this way on a multi night stay than selecting airline miles, but this is a matter of one's personal preferences, so select points and miles if you need frequent flyer miles. With regards to benefits, they are best for stays at Doubletree, Hilton, and Conrad hotels, especially at international locations. Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, and Hampton Inns generally just award 250-750 bonus HHonors points per stay. Waldorf hotels may offer varying benefit levels depending upon location and hotel policy. Hilton’s Gold status offers an excellent value for its members.

    Silver: Awarded after 4 stays or 10 nights in a calendar year.

    · Earn a 15% bonus on all HHonors Base points.
    · Complimentary Health Club Privileges.
    · Gains you access to reduced multi night award stays aka GLON starting at 6 nights. There are also AXON awards for 4 nights or more which also have reduced points requirements for HHonors American Express cardholders, but one may have to call HHonors to find them. The elite awards apply to all elite levels.

    Further information is found here http://hhonors1.hilton.com/en_US/hh/landing/VIPOnly/index.do
    To find VIP rewards, go here: http://hhonors1.hilton.com/en_US/hh/landing/VIPOnly/index.do
    Then click the Go to Search link near the bottom of the page, and you are prompted to login to your HHonors account. Once logged in, do a search by entering dates, city, and country, but leave the reward category selected as View All. The results found will then show the discounted VIP rewards in the results of the search. Please note, Waldorf discounted awards may not appear, so you have to call HHonors to check for them.

    Please note that the hotel brands with Executive floors and lounges are Doubletree, Hilton, and Conrad, but not every hotel will have Executive floors, but this should not deter one from staying at Hilton branded hotels. The Waldorf Grand Wailea is one of the most impressive hotels I have ever visited. The really stellar international Hiltons may offer you a choice to have breakfast in the Executive lounge or at the full spread buffet.

    Gold: Earned with 16 stays, 36 nights, or 60,000 base points in a calendar year.

    With Gold status, one receives free internet worldwide, while Marriott only guarantees it in the US.
    · Complimentary Health Club Privileges.
    · Earn a 25% bonus on all HHonors Base points

    · The biggest benefit is an upgraded room or an upgrade to a room on the Executive floor if space is available. If there is no Executive lounge or one does not receive an upgrade to the Executive floor, then the room is upgraded and free breakfast is also provided.

    Diamond: Earned with 28 stays or 60 nights or 100,000 base points.

    · Earn a 50% bonus on all HHonors Base points.
    · Guaranteed access to the Executive Lounge regardless of which floor your room is located. If there is no Executive floor, one receives a room upgrade to the best available upgrade and free breakfast is also provided.
    · Complimentary High-Speed Internet Access.
    · Complimentary Health Club Privileges.
    · Diamond force stay makes reservations availability guaranteed to Diamond Members when reservations are made before midnight hotel local time, 48 hours prior to intended arrival. This can even be done for award stays! There are some exclusions such as seasons of the year or special events. One can also call the Diamond desk even when award space may not show availability, and the Diamond desk will contact the hotel on your behalf to see if a paid reservation or award reservation, which may even be a VIP-GLON multi night award stay, can be redeemed.

    There is also the option to earn status via American Express Hilton HHonors credit cards. With the Hilton American Express Platinum card, one can earn Gold status by spending $20,000 in a calendar year, and this card has no annual fee. With the Hilton HHonors Surpass card, one receives Gold automatically for the first year, and this card has a fee of $75 per year, but one can also earn staus with an annual calendar year expenditure $20,000 for Gold and with $40,000 for Diamond status.

    By using a Hilton AMEX card to pay for your stays, you will really increase your HHonors account balance. With the basic Hilton HHonors card, one earns 6 HHonors points per dollar spent at drug stores, grocery stores, phone and internet providers, and most importantly at Hilton branded hotels. With the Surpass card, one earns 9 poitns per dollar spent at Hilton branded hotels. Latly, one receives an extra 500 bonus points for each reservation made online with a Hilton HHonors AMEX card.
     
  2. thetenken
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    thetenken Silver Member

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    I believe Gold members also get complimentary "high speed" internet access. Not sure if that's different than just worldwide internet access.
     
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  3. I only know that Hilton Garden gives free Internet where I have stayed. It seems to vary at different brands.
    Of course it never hurts to ask if you can get it for free. There have been times when I had to push a bit to get the list above :p
     
  4. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    "With Gold status, one receives free internet worldwide, while Marriott only guarantees it in the US. "

    Marriott as of Jan 7,2011 now offers complimentary Internet worldwide too for Gold and Plat.. So it's not just Hhonors elite.
     
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  5. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    Gold and Diamond will receive free internet access at all properties, including those that charge. In my experience, all Hilton, Waldorf, Conrad, and Embassy Suites charge, and at Doubletree it is a mixed bag depending on the property. As a Gold or Diamond member, these charges are either removed from the bill, or you are given a code at check-in (depending on the property).
     
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  6. SAN-man
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    SAN-man Active Member

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    Don't forget that you can also easily earn status just through credit card spend. Makes starting in a program much easier. Unlike Starwood, you can even earn top tier and get Diamond if you spend enough.
     
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  7. I didn't know that and I have both of Hilton's credit cards :)
     
  8. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    Thanks for posting this. Is there a complete listing of these awards anywhere? How are they booked? When I search for awards for 6 or more nights, will they automatically show the best award (lowest points) for that hotel? I am a HHonors Amex cardholder. How can I access AXON awards? Do I have to tell Hilton.com that I have the card, or does it know?

    I feel like I should know this stuff, but somehow I don't. I'm fairly new to the HHonors game.

    As an example, when I search for an award in London for 4 nights, I am offered a drop-down box offering reward codes HV404, HV504, HV604, and HV704. When I search for 6 nights, I am offered the similar award codes for 6 nights. How do I access the AXON and GLON codes?

    Thanks.
     
  9. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    @gemac, AFAIK you have to call Hilton HHonors to book the AXON awards. IIRC, the cost per night is similar to the GLON awards. When you see those codes(HV706, etc.), you should be searching for the GLON VIP awards, but they key is to make sure you are logged into your HHonors account and then do the search.
     
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  10. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    So, as I understand it, the GLON awards will show up in the same drop-down box with the HV awards if available? If I don't see them, that means that there are non available in London for the time period I am searching for? I was logged in and didn't see any, searching London checking in March 14 for 6 nights, checking out March 20. All I am seeing is the HV awards. I am HHonors Gold.

    Thanks.
     
  11. BobbyOrr
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    BobbyOrr Silver Member

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    I don't think most of us realize how easy it can be to get to and maintain Gold or Diamond with HHonors if you really set your mind to it. I have a neighbor whose children are very active in soccer and basketball. This fellow and his wife spend many weekends throughout the year traveling with their kid's teams to tournaments across California and Nevada. Several years ago I turned him on to the concept of loyalty programs and he looked into a few hotel programs. He likes Hilton's brands and figured he could get to the Diamond level by focusing his weekend stays at Hilton properties. They generally get a room at a Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites or Hilton Garden Inn on a Friday or Saturday and pay very reasonable weekend rates. The breakfasts and reliable quality of the properties make it a cost efficient and worthwhile stay for him and his family. He uses the Hilton AMEX card and he pays between $69 and $85 on average for weekend rates. Anything beyond $90 he balks at and will try another chain (Marriott or IHG) for a lower price. In 2010 he had 37 stays and 44 nights and paid less than $3200 in total room rates. Granted this is coming right out of his pocket but he made the decision to travel as part of the family's quality of life so you can't fault him. This is a guy who has a municipal job, doesn't travel for business and can't really expense things for work like most road warriors. But he's been Diamond for several years, has several hundred thousand HHonors points and is saving them to take his wife and kids on a dream vacation across Europe in a few years. I can't argue with his methods. He's already got more HHonors points than I could ever hope to have in a lifetime. Why did I bother going to college .....
     
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  12. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    These are not always the most intuitive to find. :D To search for GLON type awards, go to Hilton.com, and then click the HHonors tab, then click Rewards tab, then Hotels link, and then the VIP sub menu. On this page: http://hhonors1.hilton.com/en_US/hh/landing/VIPOnly/index.do it displays the VIP reward descriptions, and then you must click the SEARCH link towards the bottom of the page.

    Once signed in to your account, leave all brands checked and enter the dates which you wish to stay( e.g May 11-May 18) and the city and country, but do NOT enter the reward code. Then click the search button, and the available hotels should appear. as stated earlier, it is not always so user friendly searching for these awards. I wish you success in finding an award stay to your liking. If you want any feedback on the London properties, I would be happy to provide it.
     
  13. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    Thanks. Following your directions, I get to a page that says at the top "Search for hotels or take advantage of exclusive VIP rewards.", so I think I must be on the right page. I don't see a special section for VIP rewards, so I assume a search for hotel will turn up the award if offered. I fill in city and dates, leave the award code as "view all", and hit the "GO" button. All the hotels in the results list show the number of miles required and say "Standard Hotel Award". Is this where I would see the GLON designation if it were available? Is there any less time-consuming way to find one of these awards? Lastly, if anyone knows of a hotel that is currently offering GLON availability, could you please post location, hotel name, and dates. I'm still not at all confident that I'm doing this correctly, as I have worked with it quite a bit and still haven't seen one.

    Thanks and sorry for being a PITA.
     
  14. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    His Diamond status isn't doing that much for him if he is staying mostly at lower-end properties. Sure, he has several hundred thousand HHonors points, but has collected them over a period of years. He is getting about 75,000 points per year. Buy a Hilton timeshare on the secondary market, convert the timeshare points to HHonors points every year, it isn't hard to get 175,000 to 200,000 HHonors points per year, and over the course of 5 years spend less than he does. Of course, if you think it would work out better for you, you can always spend the 44 nights in Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites or Hilton Garden Inn every year. [​IMG]
     
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  15. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    No worries. It is not so simple.

    Go to this page: http://hhonors1.hilton.com/en_US/hh/landing/VIPOnly/index.do

    Then click the GO TO SEARCH link near the bottom of the page. This will prompt you to log into your HHonors account. Once logged into your account, you will be on the search page. Enter a city, country, and multi nights( e.g. June 1 check-in & June 8 check-out), but leave the view reward category type as ALL, and leave all brands checked(or select the brands which you wish to search). The displayed results should show the discounted multi night stays then. When I do this for London, UK, I see results including category 7 multi night awards for 225,000 points for March 14 check-in. The available results include the Park Lane Hilton and Waldorf Aldwych which are a good points redemption value. I suggest you read the reviews on tripadvisor for further info.
     
  16. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    Thanks so much for your kind help. I think I have been seeing it all along, and didn't know it. I clicked GO TO SEARCH, logged in, and it took me to the search page. I entered London, checkin in March 14 for 6 nights, checking out March 20. I see the Waldorf Aldwych for 225,000 points, so I guess I am looking at the GLON award. What was confusing me is that it says (right under where it says "225,000 points per stay") "Standard Hotel Reward", and doesn't say anything at all about GLON, so I was thinking the fabled GLON was something else and better still. I did realize that 225,000 points was less than the 300,000 that would represent 50,000 per night, but thought that there was more than one discount level, a VIP discount and an even greater GLON discount. So it appears that if you follow the steps as above, you will automatically get the lowest possible award level (except for the AXON, for which you have to call in). As I understand it, the discounted awards available via the procedure above are for any number of days between 6 and 14 inclusive?

    I had found this table

    http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/...ionid=RXPPWGGV3QS3OCSGBJBOLYQ?showLinks=false

    of reward codes and points required, but it calls this award HV706, not GLON. I guess the GLON designation is something that we call it when talking to each other, but I don't have to worry about when making award reservations, as long as I am doing it through the VIP page.

    I feel much better now. The thought that there was an added discount available that I wasn't seeing was killing me. Thanks again.
     
  17. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    You have the correct table for multi night awards, but these awards have often been referred to by elites as GLON which stands for Going Global. Do keep in mind as well that one can also search an individual hotel's award availabilty by selecting the rewards tabe from the hotel's specific web page and see what is available on the calendar. For example, here is the Waldorf's page. http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hot.../en/hi/&xch=831196430,EWSM5P54TVATSCSGBJC2VCQ

    You can then select to see award availability by clicking the Book a Reward tab which is next to the reservations tab. When you slect the go menu, you will be prompted to log in, and the GLON type awards should appear if available. I like this method if there is one specific hotel I wish to search such as the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

    However, I prefer to use the previous VIP award search method I described previously by going through the page listed below, as then you can search a multitude of hotels in one search.

    http://hhonors1.hilton.com/en_US/hh/landing/VIPOnly/index.do
     
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  18. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    Thanks again for straightening me out. I was getting all tangled up in the terminology. Thanks also for your earlier offer to advise on London. We have stayed at the Hilton Waldorf London, and have found it quite convenient for theater-going, which we like to do a lot of. I consider it satisfactory but not great as a hotel. We did get upgraded as Gold to Executive rooms, which turned out to be small two-room suites. I thought the lounge was just OK. We would stay there again, just for the location, unless you have other suggestions.
     
  19. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    Gemac, the best hotels for theaterland would be the Waldorf and the Trafalgar. The difference between the two is the Trafalgar has no Executive lounge, but you can literally walk very quickly to Leicester Square, Picadilly, and Jermyn street to name a few great locals. I did view a room at the Trafalgar, and it is simple but chic. The Waldorf will be close to Covent Garden and has the benefit of an Executive lounge. You might also wish to consider the Hilton Park Lane. I have heard very good compliments about this hotel from a friend of mine who stayed there, and he really raved about the Executive lounge there. It is only a short tube or bus ride away from Leicester Square.

    BTW, do try and go see the Children's Hour with Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss in the Children's Hour. I was fortunate to see her and Damian Lewis in the Misanthrope In January 2010.
     
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  20. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I doubt that, he is getting his points towards his dream trips he plans to take, he has to do these stays anyways with the kids tournament travels, and he gets his free breakfast, sounds like the program is working exactly how Bobby Orr's friend wants it to work. Which is the whole point about YMMV and making a program work for one's travel goals.

    On the HHonors program, my personal thoughts are I like the points & miles option, the miles are towards an airline program I don't fly with often, the miles add up quickly and are a nice option to use when I can't find an award on my preferred airline.

    Single night awards are a rip off, the real bang for HHonors comes with GLON & AXON awards, God I remember when 100k HHonors got 6 nights in Hawaii, NICE !!

    Point Stretchers programs continues it's sucky, limited choices and for me has been useless for quite awhile. I don't expect this to change.

    I thought Hilton was the bomb back in the 90's and EARLY 2000's, it faded pretty quick when I found SPG, which was nice for years, but faded pretty quick when I found Hyatt the last couple years. That said, I still maintain status in all three thanks to some good promos.

    Great start chitownflyer (wishing MP had a thumbs up)
     
  21. BobbyOrr
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    BobbyOrr Silver Member

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    I'd have to say for my neighbor and his immediate needs it's working out for him pretty much as he hoped it would. The Diamond status is helping him accrue more points than he might without it. Since he is using this personally financed travel as a means to keep the family together comfortably, well rested and with a full tank in the morning at a reasonable rate while building a nice stash of points for future use I'd say he's meeting his personal goals. Frankly I'm more interested in seeing how he eventaully puts those points to use for a family trip accross Europe.

    On a related note ... Not sure about a full 44 nights but I can say I'd be happy to switch much of my business stays to a Homewood Suites if I could. I've never not enjoyed a stay at one of those properties; they are always clean, comfortable and staffed well. Too bad most of my business stays are in big city/downtown locations where you generally won't find one.
     
  22. BobbyOrr
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    BobbyOrr Silver Member

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    Amen to that. Couldn't say it any better. It's all about setting a goal and making the program work for you. If it doesn't work for you then find another program which will.

    And I hear you loud and clear with the Point Stretchers comment. All in all I enjoy the Hilton properties I frequent for business and make good use of my points for rewards stays. So long as this keeps up I'll remain loyal to them. I've been tempted to switch a few times over the years but not found an overwhelming desire to move to any other particular hotel program.
     
  23. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    I wasn't trying to say that your neighbor wasn't getting any benefit out of Diamond status, just that he was missing what I regard as the major benefits - the upgrades, the free breakfast, the lounge access, and the Diamond force. These benefits are mostly at the more expensive properties.

    I am new to the HHonors system. In the past, I did all of my hotel stays on Priceline, since they all come out of my own pocket, and are mostly international. I typically pay 50% or less of what it would cost me to book on the hotel's website. My credit card was one that earned AA miles until I hit lifetime Platinum status on AA, then I switched it to a HHonors Amex, and have used the points earned to book a few Hilton stays. I have yet to have a paid stay at a Hilton property except through Priceline. I am HHonors Gold via the credit card. I like the Hilton properties generally, and the extra benefits that status provides at their higher-end hotels, but not enough to justify paying an extra $200 per night to stay at a 5* Hilton with the benefits as opposed to a 5* Marriott or Sheraton.
     
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  24. BobbyOrr
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    BobbyOrr Silver Member

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    Every once in a while you read something and say "holy smokes, why didn't I think of that?" You know I have to admit I have never considered PriceLine as a viable means for hotel bookings; simply because I have my company pay for my travel. But from your explanation I think I just learned something valuable. I could get personally paid stays at a (hopefully) dirt cheap rate and pay on a loyalty card thereby accruing some points or miles for use later on. I don't know why that never occured to me. Duh ....

    I'd be interested to know: how long did it take you to earn lifetime platinum on AA? What was your experince in the hotels you booked on Priceline? I've always considered Priceline a dirty little secret and wondered how hotels treated guests booked under those rates. Forgive me if I sound like a snob, that's not my intent - I'm genuinely curious to know what you think of your expericne booking rooms off that platform.

    I've always found the real value in travel loyalty program to be the hotels; in my mind you can carefully plan in advance or react to an unexpected decent airfare, so having a ready supply of hotel points to throw at a fare sale makes for easier and more rewarding travel. But that's just my opinion. Do you think the lifetime platinum with AA was worth it? And would you pursue such similarly with another airline as a hedge against AA going away some day?
     
  25. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    I got my AAdvantage membership in 1981. Didn't do a lot of business travel except for a period of about 3 years, and during that time company was picking the airline via cheapest fares, so airlines chosen were all over the place. Much more flying and mileage since retirement. Achieved1MM on AA in 2006, 2MM in 2010.

    Occasionally, I've had the hotel assign me what I took to be the worst room in the place, or gotten what I interpreted as a sneer from the checkin clerk - maybe 5% of the time, mostly in Europe where rooms are not standardized and there is a room that is really below average. About 90% of the time, there is absolutely no difference, and the only way that I know that they know is that the clerk will say something at checkin like "I need to swipe your credit card in case you buy incidentals, but your room is prepaid". About 5% of the time, I get really lucky, and get something I didn't expect. As an example, I routinely get a free breakfast at the LAX Hilton because I am Hilton Gold, and as I understand it I shouldn't get any Gold benefits when booking through an opaque website.
    I think that for the person who doesn't fly enough to qualify as elite annually, lifetime Gold on AA is more of a step up from general membership than lifetime Platinum is from lifetime Gold. Gold gives you no baggage fees, the ability to use premium cabin checkin lines and TSA lines, early boarding, the ability to select exit row seats, 25% bonus miles and occasional free/paid upgrades. The big added benefits for Platinum over Gold are lounge access on international flights and 100% bonus miles instead of 25%, and your upgrade percentage goes up some. The added bonus miles are nice, but if you don't fly a lot won't amount to much. Lifetime Gold was definitely worth it, lifetime Platinum was worth it to me because at the time I did it, AA was pretty competitive on prices, and now I'm mostly choosing where to fly by seeing where AA has cheap fares to that I want to visit, so it really isn't costing me anything. I am not pursuing this with any other airline. Today airlines as large as AA don't seem to just go away, they merge with or are bought by somebody, and one of the things being bought is the loyalty of customers in the loyalty program.[/quote]

    If you want to try Priceline to bid for hotels, I highly recommend the Bidding for Travel website,

    http://biddingfortravel.yuku.com/

    to find out what others are paying for the quality of hotel you want in the location where you want to be. Start small, with a night or two, and see how you like it. I have never found substantial savings using Priceline for air tickets, 10% savings or less, so I don't use it for air tickets, just for hotels and car rentals.
     

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