Given that 2013 has elapsed by half it's time for my personal update on what I think my loyalty goes:
Since I'm spending more time in Europe this year I'm trying more hotels here than before. I'm a Hilton Diamond (from CC spend) and a Starwood Platinum.
I used to check spg.com first before planning to go to a location. I even designed trips around hotels that were luxurious and a great deal under the Starwood brand. Nowadays I find it harder to find these great deals. I often made Cash&Points redemptions where I'd get 6-10 cents per Starpoint – I have trouble getting decent values these days at all.
Starwood also has a well working BRG and I used to take advantage of it a lot – however I'm finding fewer good priced deals than I used to.
I'm at 21 stays so far and I'm sure I gonna re-qualify but I won't be able to make it to 50 nights as last year.
I still haven't used the suite upgrades from last year – I have found them less useful than previously thought.
Hyatt is quickly becoming my favorite chain. They manage to shape out a brand that looks good to a young and older audience. I think that is fantastic work.
The places I went to recently had fantastic hotels and decent point redemption opportunities. I also just got a BRG approved for the Grand Hyatt in Berlin for August.
In some places Hyatt is just priced way to high for my taste but if I could I'd opt to stay at Hyatt (especially Park Hyatts) only 🙂
Marriott has a fantastic BRG and I keep on using it for great deals. However I have found them less useful then before. It's not a chain were loyalty is rewarded really so I'm looking at it from deal to deal.
I have actually begun to stay in a lot of Intercontinentals, Crowne Plaza's, Holiday Inns this year. Price was usually the deciding factor but also the BRG.
I certainly would rather have a Hyatt but if a room at an Intercontinental is $200 less than at a Hyatt I'm game. I like the fact that the Internet has become complimentary in all hotels for IHG Rewards members.
I stayed in just two Hilton properties this year but both were fatastic so that may change my view on the chain. The Doubletree Kuala Lumpur is very affordable and treats Diamonds very, very well. The Conrad Koh Samui is an awesome hotel Diamond or not. I'd love t stay Diamond and get the guaranteed suite upgrade in Asia also in 2014 but I'm not sure I can make that happen since I gave up on the Hilton Surpass card.
As you probably know I'm not a big fan of Airline status. Flying 100k miles on paid tickets is just not gonna happen for me without intense mileage running. I like mileage running I just don't have the time for it and I still have to burn all those miles 🙂
I'm very happy with my decision to go for it in late 2012. It has given my access to my favorite lounge – the Turkish Airline lounge in Istanbul and many Lufthansa lounges in Frankfurt and Munich. It also allowed me access to United Clubs for all itineraries.
It also took care of bag fees which I would have had to pay otherwise.
I'm still looking for a way to burn those miles effectively but that should be easy enough.
Flying Blue Gold
I got this status as a status match. So far I have had only one series of Skyteam flights and it got me nothing. I was not allowed into the Delta Skyclub on a domestic or international itinerary.
If I'd have the time I'd be eying the American Airlines Executive Platinum status. It gives you 8 upgrade vouchers which you can use on any Economy ticket. AA often has fantastic deals (this years Chile and also JFK/LHR) so this is a fun way to mileage run.
I'm a big fan of Avis now.
I have gotten great cars (mostly small Mercedes cars) for booking a compact in Germany. Prices are very competitive and service is impeccable.
I used to rent a lot of cars from Hertz but they are my second choice now.
(Picture credit goes to eglobaltravelmedia.com.au)