Between business and personal travel I’m lucky enough to have accrued status in a few hotel and airline programs. Travel is hard and anything to make it a bit easier or more enjoyable is important.
By the time the year comes to a close I will have spent 57 nights in a hotel. That’s nearly two months away from my own bed. The good news is I will have earned a new status.
I’ve had Silver status this year with Hilton Honors program but that will change this month when I go over the threshold for Gold and end the year at 42 nights.
The best perks for being gold are free breakfast at the brands that don’t include it and bonus points. I learned the hard way that Hilton won’t give credit for nights booked at third party sites so if you want to go to a status with them book at their website.
Until last year I would choose Marriott over other hotels but then realized they are inconsistent in recognizing elite members. I always get two bottles of water with Hilton as silver but with the Marriott Bonvoy program there are different rules by brand and most of the time I wouldn’t get one. After flying all day, water to parch your thirst (and for me to go in my cpap humidifier) is very welcome yet inexpensive for them.
I earned Gold Elite for this year but am dropping down to Silver Elite in 2020 with 10 nights for this year.
San Diego is not a hub for any airline so the destination usually drives the choice of airline. Sometimes I have options and sometimes there’s only one good choice unless I want to add segments, money and/or time to the itinerary.
I try to stick with two main airlines. Last year that worked with Southwest and American. This year, not so much although I learned what airline I’m going to do my best to avoid in the future.
Last year I was gold on American and I will have earned it again before the year is over (four round trips). The two best perks are better seat options and a free checked bag.
I also get upgrade certificates but there are so many people with higher status, I never make it off the upgrade list. So, I’ll take the preferred seats (and if I’m really lucky there’ll be main cabin extra seats open 24 hours in advance which come with more legroom and free alcoholic beverages).
The best A-list benefit is being automatically checked in with a good boarding position. Otherwise, you have be vigilant about checking in exactly 24 hours in advance to end up with a decent number (even then I’ve gotten mid-Bs sometimes).
This year some of the customers I’ve visited aren’t in Southwest cities. Often those that were had flight times that didn’t work. So, I won’t be A-list in 2020 and will be back to that 24 hour check in practice.
I only flew 8,600 flight miles on Delta this year but all 8 flights were good experiences. They give you snack choices (including a Kind granola bar), have outlets at every seat and great flight attendants.
I never know where business needs will take me but if Delta is an option and all things being equal, I’m picking them.
I also have had 8 flights on United this year and more than one left me asking myself why? Their seats seem to have the least amount of pitch leaving passengers feeling crammed in. I’ve had more crabby flight attendants on this brand as well.
Next year I will avoid unless there’s really no other good option for the trip.
Do you have preferred hotel and airline brands?