Update: Deal is dead. Someone called Hyatt to ask about it, which alerted them so they pulled the offer. The rule is: If you see a great rate book it, never phone in to ask about it.
The Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile has a possibly-mistake rate which is bookable now for stays until next summer. This is an unbelievably low cost for this quality hotel near the center of the City of Lights.
I’ve made a personal reservation a few minutes ago for 3 nights in July 2017. They are showing as cancellable until 4 PM the day before. Some commenters believe this is just payment for an upgrade, not an actual room…I hope for clarification in the next few days as people begin arriving for their upcoming stays.
Hotel chains like Hilton / IHG / Marriott / etc. grant “status” to their best customers, the customers who stay the most nights. Some typical status names are Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond.
Having status is beneficial, because it often enables you to get free/faster wi-fi, late departure and free breakfast. The latter can really save you money…a few weeks ago I used my Hilton Diamond status to get free breakfasts that would normally cost $15 plus tax per day.
Hilton is currently offering free Gold status to employees of Accenture, but it seems as if anyone can sign up for it.
Once you have status from one hotel chain (say, Hilton), you can ask other hotel chains to for a “status match.” They usually will grant you temporary status that they believe is comparable to what you have at their competitor. That is how I came to be a Hilton Diamond…not from stays, but because Hilton matched my IHG Platinum status.
And how did I get IHG Platinum status, you ask? Did I do a lot of paid stays at IHG properties (Crowne Plaza, Interncontinental, Holiday Inn, Staybridge)? Nope, I just applied for and received one of their IHG credit cards from Chase Bank…one perk of that card is that it grants free Platinum status.
The world of hotel (and airline) status is crazy like that.
If you have status on one airline or hotel chain, you may be able to have another airline or hotel chain match it. So, for example, if you are Gold on American Airlines and are a nobody on AirBerlin, you can request a status match on AB before your next flight and receive the privileges that your new (temporary) AB status grants.
This post from Dan’s Deals is a very useful summary.
IHG PointBreaks are a wonderful deal, just 5000 points per night (= ~$35) and the desirable hotels go fast. Bloggers explain how you can legitimately purchase an unlimited number of IHG points for less than the official price.
How to Complain Effectively to an Airline, Hotel or Rental Car Company
Remain calm. Whoever raises their voice first, loses. If it’s you, you might even be detained and questioned by the TSA or local police.
If possible, talk to a person with the ability to give the outcome you desire. Don’t complain to a flight attendant about the price of airline tickets…s/he has no control over that. Some airports have desks of specially-trained airline agents in the secure area, who can help resolve issues. If you have access to an airline lounge, the agents there can be exceptionally helpful.
Distill your complaint down to one specific item, maybe two. For example, “The room smells like mildew.” Any more will overwhelm the person you are complaining to, so they won’t do anything helpful. (I use the term mildew rather than mold, to keep the discussion more civil.)
Decide in advance what compensation you will accept. Is it 5000 frequent-flyer miles, or a free drink, or a room upgrade, or a free night, or elimination of toll-road charges?
Ask questions that require more than a yes/no answer, because it’s too easy for the person you are speaking with to just say “No.” Example questions are “What can you do to help me?” and “Can you see my frustration?” and “What do you typically do in a situation like this?”
Follow the airline or hotel chain on Twitter in advance, so you can Direct Message them a tweet about a situation that arises. This will often lead to a good outcome, even if you are a relative nobody in the Twitterverse.
With luck, you will get at least as good a result as you had hoped for. If you are offered more, graciously accept and don’t argue or prolong the conversation.
Some of my vacation planning is now being done courtesy of International Hotels Group (IHG). My decisions about where to visit are increasingly based upon where IHG has some of their super-cheap PointBreaks hotels.
For example, last year it was Liverpool, England and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I also was able to utilize PointBreaks hotels for already-planned trips to North Carolina and Phoenix.
The new list of IHG PointBreaks should come out in about a week, so I can plan my next trips then. The best places to find the PointBreaks announcement, when it comes out, seem to be http://LoyaltyLobby.com or http://MommyPoints.com