Very interesting -- in the past month Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood have (without my asking, since I'm an indie now) offered me highest status with few stays. Today's was the most interesting. Best Western said they'd give me Diamond Status back (I have not stayed there in 3 years) if I stayed two nights before August.
Is this an augury of things to come?
Tomorrow I will write about my free business class flight booked on Delta to Nice but flown by Alitalia (best ever). Methinks at least SOME execs realize we feel as FFs or FHs that we are being taken for granted (duh) and are reaching out. The BW was the most obvious, but as of 2015, I expect I will change my FF status to Alitalia. Again, more when I am really awake tomorrow.
I mentioned [previously that I have been solicited by two other lodging companies to become members of their highest elite status, In both cases the privileges are for the entire year, as in 2014, To maintain the status for 15 I need to stay only a few (4 in one case) times.
So the competition is indeed trolling the waters, in a propiocentric sense that is.
I am deadly serious Shoe, the differencec between me and many others here is that I personally pay for every stay, no one reimburses me for staying, it's on my dime, not a company dime. That changes the calculus for me and I suspect many others. Like the Millenials who see price as the primary sort in a decision, I find that money I spend needs to have value, not just cost.
Right there with ya anadyr, no more travel vouchers for me either, it comes from my pocket so I've become quite value conscience over the past 18 months, so definitely looking at other ships as they pass by my display.
As an equity partner in my business, price/value means everything to me in ALL facets of our business, including travel. Also, my feelings on Millenials is that they are looking for the 'cool' place stay, not necessarily the cheapest. Either way, would love to hear of anyone's experiences outside the Marriott bubble, and discuss the pros/cons. Even if we see things differently while looking at Marriott (some folks are very happy with what they receive, others not so much), most of us would welcome a better mousetrap. bring it on!
It might be interesting for some of you road warriors (who are given remibursed stays by your employers) to weigh in on their feelings if there were no reimbursements. Bet there would be a different rationale on staying.
anadyr - Over the years, I have contracted my engagements as "plus expenses" or "all-inclusive" and I prefer the former mostly because it prevents the unseen or unexpected travel costs from becoming out-of-pocket. Regardless of the arrangement, I have always heavily weighted costs as the primary factor in all travel and until recently, tried to find a "Marriott fit" that was reasonably priced while being reasonably close to the client's office. For 25+ years, I have succeeded lodging at Marriott to earn the points and retain status (2013 the exception as I switched to Hilton).
Having just completed my last engagement on 03/28/2014, I am in search of my next contract. I am seeing a shift in the marketplace for more all-inclusive arrangements (a rather significant shift since my last search in 2012) with perhaps 75% now wanting AIs rather than + exp. Consequently, I am much more likely to entertain a corporate apartment arrangement for my next gig and dump hotels completely as the dollars allocated to cover expenses seems squeezed since 2012 as well.
Upon reflection, I loved earning points on the client's dime, but I can legitimize my corporate apartment approach as I may be faced with an AI rate on my next assignment (using estimated numbers): why should I spend $3000 a month in a hotel to earn perhaps $300 worth of points/free stays/etc. when I could easily do a corporate apartment for $2000 and be a net $700 ahead? Saving MYSELF $700 a month over the course of the year can buy one heck-of-a vacation with $8400 and not have the hassles of using points, avoiding blackout dates, getting suite upgrades guaranteed, being limited to a hotel brand, etc., but instead use the almighty and universally accepted CA$H payment? I sense more freedoms and choices while also being more frugal.
Pingreeman, thank you
I am guilty of spending your money (federal tax dollars) for stays over the last three decades so all stones being thrown by me are hitting me square in the face. While I was supposed to be using the BOQ's (which were available only ten percent of the time). I lived within a per diem allowance for all those trips and when I exceeded it, I ate the difference. I was and am handsomely paid for my so-called expertise, but now I realize that the cost for a room is paramount.
When I became a contractor (for the last 15 years) I was in a non-rembursed status and for the first time paid full freight (unless I could strike a deal for 100 plus nights).
I know whereof you speak. The dollar seems to be bottoming against the euro (forgetting even the pound), now at 71 cents. I get about $3000 a year toward all of my research trips to Europe, so I just give them a couple of the airfares to max it. At the $25 per diem we have, that means I can eat $17 worth of food a day in Europe. Again, one of the reasons free breakfasts are so essential to me.
as usual, this was a very informative post. Your situation being what it is, lends itself to a corporate apartment. You are employed somewhere for a lengthly period of time and do not have the need to move around. Under those circumstances, I might feel the same as you. Alas, I am on the run constantly, two nights in a row at a property is an 'extended stay' for me…. While accruing points on someone else's nickel (all of you out there purchasing shoes) is a good thing, even better for me is ROOM SERVICE, HOUSEKEEPING, heightened security (hopefully), and the frugal part of me abhors paying for nights I am not using the bed…. Perhaps I should look at this more closely, but the reality is that I am very comfortable with my current arrangement and will likely continue with it until I am on my own dime….
I'm a self employed lawyer and attend trials around the UK, giving occasional lectures and really occasionally consulting for the EU. My cases/contracts are a mix of all-inclusive and expenses-added work. Most business stays are for 1 night only. When quoting my clerk includes the estimated cost for a Marriott, whether it's a all-inc or not as even clients on the expenses-added contracts insist on being aware of the likely expenses. Except of course the EU, which doesn't seem to give a toss, and refuses to settle any expense account that includes a budget airline - it's full fare only with the EU!
Over recent years I've found significant pressure on expenses and my clerk has been forced to adjust the sums as clients even on expenses-added insist on restricting that element of the bill. This led to me struggling to retain Marriott status and I found I didn't enjoy my travels so much when they ended at a Holiday or Premier Inn. After one particularly diabolical non-Marriott stay last year, I had enough and told my clerk to stick with the expenses at Marriott rates and if necessary offer compensatory movements on my fees which has worked well. My Holiday and Premier Inn accounts now stand silent whilst the Marriott reservations are groaning under the weight and I'm again enjoying my travels, even though my fees are being adjusted for the excess.
Sometimes it's just not all about the points...
Very well said, I think we have that calculation of risk/gains, costs/benefits, and ROI in our collective heads when we travel. Of coujrse points matter at some level, but not every level when costs are higher.
PS What is the rationale for EU mandating full price ariline tickets?
Ooops, not full price, I meant full service! as for why, hmmm, I suspect other-peoples-money syndrome!
The EU seems to have a real downer on the budget airlines. Bringing weekend flights to the masses is apparently not on the Eurocrats to-do list, which is a pity as I believe the budget airlines have done far more to increase European understanding by us ordinary Europeans travelling to fellow European countries than any amount of taxpayer funded political town twinning and junkets.
This seems to happen every few years, and is especially noticeable during the year following a down year for hotels. I found that you can be in both (or 3 or 4) elite status groups while the introductory period is available. However, keep your options open, as when the hotels have a good year, They will suddenly forget all those promises previously made to entice you. One of the good things about Marriott (and Holiday Inn also) is that they remember who pays the freight.
So enjoy it while it lasts.
Actually, while I have open (and often elite) status with these different programs, I am booking almost everything through hotels.com so I can stay where I want, points or not. Fortunately, hotels.com after 10 stays gives you a free night at the average of what you paid -- which turns out to be quite substantial for me. I am never going back to a loyalty program for hotels for the sake of status. Even when I recently stayed at the Hyatt Regency Palais de la Méditeranée in Nice, I entered my loyalty status number (which might have added a few points thanks to dinner) but booked through hotels.com
I'm in the process of a one and a half year change via my Delta status since I want to keep Platinum through 2015 when the horrible changes occur (at least for people who travel abroad); then in 2016 I will book everything through the online consolidator sites.
Prof - I cannot agree more with your approach. Status is fine for when you can need a guaranteed 24-hour booking to "somewhere" but other than that, I am finding points and status mean little. Give me a clean room at a fair-ER price, and the loyalty points not earned is so easily made up in reduced cost and flexibility of choice.