Focus: Cruise Myths Debunked

Focus: Cruise Myths Debunked

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When you’re booking a different type of holiday for the first time, it’s natural that a thousand and one questions are going to be whirling around your head. Will you like it? Will it be money well spent? Will the food be good? What will the other guests be like? (You get the point!) But it’s worth taking the plunge, because it could end up being the trip of a lifetime! And if you don’t try it, you’ll never know.

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July 3, 2017 at 12:58PM

HotelsPro turns to Turner, and more…

HotelsPro turns to Turner, and more…

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This is a roundup of announcements related to people moves and business expansions in July 2017.

Monday 3 July 2017:

HotelsPro turns to Turner

  • The reservations technology specialist has appointed Robert Turner as managing director. Turner, who has previously held roles at Travco and onhotels.com, will be responsible for sales, customer support and contracting in Europe for HotelsPro.

 

 

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July 3, 2017 at 12:37PM

When Do Purchased Points Count Toward Lifetime Status?

When Do Purchased Points Count Toward Lifetime Status?

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“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

We here at The Points Guy definitely prefer earning points for free over paying for them, but sometimes there’s a good reason to buy points. TPG reader Thomas wonders if this might be one of those good reasons…

If I purchase miles from Marriott, do they count toward lifetime status?

TPG Reader Thomas

I’m going to be completely honest, Thomas — when I first read your question, my immediate reaction was “nope, they don’t.” That’s because, at least when it comes to airlines and many hotel chains, purchased points and miles aren’t usually considered qualifying points from a lifetime or elite status perspective.

But when I started to research the answer to confirm my original suspicions, I was surprised to find out that even though it’s not noted in the program’s terms and conditions, multiple reports indicate that Marriott does in fact count purchased points — along with any and all points that reach your account in any manner — toward lifetime elite status.

Now, there are two important qualifiers to keep in mind on this. First, you can only buy up to 50,000 Marriott Rewards points per calendar year. Since lifetime status at the lowest level Marriott Silver requires 1.2 million points plus 250 nights at Marriott hotels, you’re not going to be able to come anywhere close to simply buying lifetime elite status via purchased points.

The Renaissance Hotel Barcelona Fira on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.
The rooftop pool at the Renaissance Hotel Barcelona Fira, a Category 6 Marriott property.

The other quirk of the Marriott program — again, one that isn’t specified in the terms and conditions but which has been widely reported — is that any points you might transfer to someone else as well as points used to buy back your elite status in a given year are deducted from your lifetime total. Award night redemptions don’t have the same effect so you don’t have to worry about that, but if you’re thinking about buying back status, you might want to consider the effect on your lifetime points.

Other hotel programs such as Starwood base lifetime status not on points but on nights and/or years of elite status, so this interesting Marriott quirk doesn’t apply. And if you’re wondering, both Hilton and Hyatt use “Base Points” when awarding lifetime status based on points, which Hilton defines as “every US dollar spent on your room rate and other eligible room charges” and Hyatt specifies as either dollars “spent by the Member on an Eligible Rate” or “payment of Eligible Incidental Charges and Eligible Non-Stay Charges.” Everything else is “Bonus Points” and doesn’t count at either chain.

Yep, sometimes in answering a question from a reader, I learn something myself. Thanks for teaching me a new trick, Thomas, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own — or teach me something new! — tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image of the Marriott Burbank Convention Center courtesy of Marriott.

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July 3, 2017 at 12:15PM

US lodging association calls out online travel agencies on misleading strategies

US lodging association calls out online travel agencies on misleading strategies

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The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has launched a new Search Smarter consumer awareness campaign aimed to put a halt to what it describes as misleading marketing strategies by online travel agencies and travel search sites, as well as to fight rampant bookings fraud.

The group particularly focuses on Expedia and Priceline’s dominant control “95% of the online travel market,” describing them as creating “false choices” for consumers by operating separate brands.

“The overwhelming majority of consumers (74%) are unaware that they’re just comparing between the same two companies: Expedia and Priceline. Expedia owns thousands of online affiliates, including Trivago, Travelocity, Hotwire, Hotels.com, Egencia, CarRentals.com, Classic Vacations – controlling 75% of the online travel marketplace. Priceline owns Kayak, Booking.com, Agoda, Rentalcars.com as well as thousands of online affiliates.”

The Association also raises concerns about the marketing strategies of these online agents.

“Recent data shows 79% of consumers use ‘digital middle men’ because they believe they will find better deals. That belief is fueled by misleading marketing practices like ‘slash’ or deep discounted pricing, which is not based on an actual room rate set by the hotel.

“Booking directly with the hotel results in a better value for consumers.

“Almost half of consumers (45%) have reported being influenced by messages that say: ‘Only 2 rooms left!’ These messages aren’t based on the full room inventory from the hotel. They’re just marketing tactics used to make consumers book faster.”

Online booking scams coordinated through fraudulent websites and call centers, AHLA says, are on the rise, with mobile sales channels particularly vulnerable.

“In 2015, just 6% of travelers reported booking on what they believed was a hotel’s official website, only to find they had booked on a fraudulent site not affiliated with the hotel.

“Just two years later, the number of travelers who have experienced this has nearly quadrupled to 22%. That amounts to 55 million hotel bookings of this type each year, translating to some $3.9 billion in bad bookings.

“As consumers increasingly move to mobile booking, smaller screens also make it harder for consumers to differentiate between the scam site and the legitimate hotel’s website.”

To address these threats, AHLA suggests that consumers book directly on the hotel booking site and verify they are on a secure https:// URL, sign-up for and take advantage of hotel loyalty programs, and call the hotel directly with questions on their reservations.

“Transparency, consumer choice, and guest satisfaction are at the core of the hotel industry’s business model. AHLA is raising awareness among consumers,

“Congress, and federal agencies to make sure guests have all the necessary information prior to booking their hotel reservations. With so many ways to book a reservation, it’s important to make sure consumers understand how to slow down, search smarter and make the best decisions throughout the booking process for themselves and their families.

“Consumers should know what to look for before they book a hotel reservation.”

Travel

via Tnooz https://www.tnooz.com

July 3, 2017 at 11:55AM

Where to Stay: Where to Stay in Orlando

Where to Stay: Where to Stay in Orlando

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There is no shortage of places to stay in Walt Disney World Resort, but for something more luxurious than many theme hotels, there’s the Spanish Revival-style Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, which received a AAA Five Diamond Award. Its 26 acres include an adults-only pool, a golf course, three tennis courts, a 24-hour fitness center and a spa with suites for couples.

Other upscale choices include the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. All include transportation to the theme parks.

Continue reading the main story

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July 3, 2017 at 10:39AM