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Thread: Airline/Hotel Loyalty Programs

  1. #1

    Default Airline/Hotel Loyalty Programs

    I know there are some road warriors on the board, whether in frequency of trips or just enough international travel that you really rack up the miles. I'm interested in hearing which airlines/hotels you stick with and why. I couldn't find an existing frequent flyer thread so if there is one feel free to merge.

    I have gone exclusively Delta the last 3 years and it has treated me pretty well. The flight options out of the NYC area airports are great and having a bunch of flights out of each airport cuts down on the competition for upgrades. I was platinum the last two years and was probably upgraded on 75% of my flights. Unfortunately, 2015 was a rather slow travel year for me so I'm struggling to make silver (if I end up meeting the dollar waiver through spending on my Skymiles Amex ). I'm not looking forward to being cast down with the masses out of sky priority, frequent upgrades, and free comfort+ seats. Delta reward miles have been devalued recently in that they are harder to earn, but I still think if you can make platinum or above Delta is a pretty good travel experience. My problem is my international travel is virtually nil, so even when I meet mile requirements, I don't have the high dollar flights to push me over the spending requirements for the higher tiers. Is there another airline program out there I should be exploring?

    For hotels I was exclusively Hilton forever until their massive points devaluation last year. Free nights cost a gazillion points with Hilton now, so I switched to SPG the latter half of 2015.

  2. #2
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    I am tied deeply into southwest and United programs. Southwest is easy but offers nothing exciting. United I hate, hate and hate some more but I am so deep into it I cant make myself get out of it. Hotels SPG for the most part. They have been easy to work with over the years, more so than Marriott, IMO.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    I am tied deeply into southwest and United programs. Southwest is easy but offers nothing exciting. United I hate, hate and hate some more but I am so deep into it I cant make myself get out of it. Hotels SPG for the most part. They have been easy to work with over the years, more so than Marriott, IMO.
    What do you hate about United?

  4. #4
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omaha 680 View Post
    What do you hate about United?
    The airline. The mileage program is OK, although the miles required has been creeping up, but they allow you to book easily on line and you can see what is available. I have used their program to travel all over the owrld and we accumulate miles with credit cards and travel. But I hate the airline; crappy service, crappy planes (we just flew to hawaii on a 737-900 without any movie or music or food, etc.) and generally unpleasant experiences.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  5. #5

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    I'm Delta almost exclusively. For hotels I'm Marriott is the US and Shangri-La in Asia. Marriott is mostly because of Residence Inn. My preference to use my points when traveling with my family. That and I'm lifetime Platinum.

  6. #6

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    It's a moving target as everyone devalues their points. It really depends on where you're going for what you want to go after.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    The airline. The mileage program is OK, although the miles required has been creeping up, but they allow you to book easily on line and you can see what is available. I have used their program to travel all over the owrld and we accumulate miles with credit cards and travel. But I hate the airline; crappy service, crappy planes (we just flew to hawaii on a 737-900 without any movie or music or food, etc.) and generally unpleasant experiences.
    I see. As far as airline experiences go, Delta is reasonable, especially with status. Their newer planes are quite comfortable and they have wifi on every flight which is important for me. I haven't heard many good things about United and their status tiers aren't any easier to get than Delta so I guess they aren't an option for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bo Diddley View Post
    It's a moving target as everyone devalues their points. It really depends on where you're going for what you want to go after.
    This is not helpful!

    Most important is probably comfort. I want an airline that I can get status with quickly so I can have the perks that make travel more bearable. Reward miles are nice, but are becoming less important because as you say no one gives good value in their reward miles any more.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJF View Post
    I'm Delta almost exclusively. For hotels I'm Marriott is the US and Shangri-La in Asia. Marriott is mostly because of Residence Inn. My preference to use my points when traveling with my family. That and I'm lifetime Platinum.
    What gets you lifetime Platinum? 1,000,000 miles?

  9. #9
    One man.....one pie Moliere's Avatar
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    I have a platinum AMEX Delta card. We put everything on it. I think we've put over $50k in expenses on it this year alone. However, I get it mostly for the companion pass. MJ and I fly at least once somewhere together for pleasure and it's nice to get a "free" ticket, which only costs the $185 annual fee. I also prefer Delta's program when it comes to using miles. When we plan it right we can fly the entire family to SLC or Boise for 25k/person. Unfortunaelty for work I have to fly United because Delta doesn't fly to Midland. I do get triple miles on my United flights though since, when I buy through my company, I get auto premier upgrade which means I don't have to wait in line at IAH. Midland doens't have a premier only line...but I've never waited more than 1 minute in line at security in Midland.

    I stay mostly at the Hilton for work, but would prefer something else. Is Starwood any good? I used Marriott a lot back in my EY days but I just don't stay much in hotels anymore for work.
    "Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessing of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not primary way of worshipping." -Pres. Uchtdorf

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omaha 680 View Post
    What gets you lifetime Platinum? 1,000,000 miles?
    I can't remember. Something like 700 nights and 2 million points. It's a lot of stays. That I do know.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omaha 680 View Post
    I see. As far as airline experiences go, Delta is reasonable, especially with status. Their newer planes are quite comfortable and they have wifi on every flight which is important for me. I haven't heard many good things about United and their status tiers aren't any easier to get than Delta so I guess they aren't an option for me.



    This is not helpful!

    Most important is probably comfort. I want an airline that I can get status with quickly so I can have the perks that make travel more bearable. Reward miles are nice, but are becoming less important because as you say no one gives good value in their reward miles any more.
    Sounds like if you don't care too much about using the miles, you've got a pretty good plan.

    However, if you're looking to get the most bang for your buck in rewards, it really does depend on where your home base is, and where you like to go. There are a lot of variables at play. British Airways has been good for some shorter routes, particularly in the NE. However, seems like they just devalued that a bit. They're good for west coast to Hawaii as well.

    One of my favorites is Southwest. For 110,000 miles, you get a companion pass for up to two years. After minimum spends last year, I was up to 106,000 miles just off of two credit card offers. Club Carlson was really good when they'd give you your last night free at each booking.

  12. #12
    вот так штука CardiacCoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moliere View Post
    I also prefer Delta's program when it comes to using miles. When we plan it right we can fly the entire family to SLC or Boise for 25k/person.
    Gotta be honest that doesn't seem like a very good deal.

  13. #13
    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    I used to be UAL because half of my siblings work for that airline but once we moved to Utah I switched to delta and haven't looked back. UAL has gone down the tubes even post merger with continental and as creek mentioned, crappy planes and service. Also, their hubs are all a PITA...SFO and ORD are weather nightmares with lots of delays.

    Delta is great. Lots of new planes. Good routes, on time, no baggage fees, and wifi in flights. For me that is almost the main issue for me now.

    SPG only for hotels. I hate Marriott. Spg has the nicest hotels on the upper end and it isn't even close.
    Fitter. Happier. More Productive.


  14. #14

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    Marriott is acquiring SPG.
    "What are you prepared to do?" - Jimmy Malone

    "What choice?" - Abe Petrovsky

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Public View Post
    Marriott is acquiring SPG.
    Not good for the consumer.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bo Diddley View Post
    Not good for the consumer.
    You aren't kidding.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Public View Post
    Marriott is acquiring SPG.
    http://news.yahoo.com/starwood-hotel...6--sector.html

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc on Friday said a $13 billion cash offer from China's Anbang Insurance Group Co was superior to one from Marriott International Inc , setting the stage for the largest ever deal by a Chinese company in the United States.

    The operator of Sheraton and Westin hotels said the Chinese insurer's offer beat Marriott's previously agreed cash and stock offer by nearly 15 percent, and that it planned to scrap the proposed deal with the rival hotel chain.

  18. #18

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    huh. wonder if this means the point devaluation won't happen.
    Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by old_gregg View Post
    huh. wonder if this means the point devaluation won't happen.
    That's what I'm hoping. Definitely a better chance than if the Marriott deal went through.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    I just want to say that on my new Garmin sports watch (Forerunner 235), I can input my loyalty card bar codes and display them on my watch face. Plane tickets etc. Now I dont have to carry any loyalty cards. Whee!

  21. #21
    Where's Wallace? Surfah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    I just want to say that on my new Garmin sports watch (Forerunner 235), I can input my loyalty card bar codes and display them on my watch face. Plane tickets etc. Now I dont have to carry any loyalty cards. Whee!
    Uh, why didn't you just use one of a number of phone apps that allows you to do this? I use Stocard for all of this.
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    Adventurer Walter Sobchak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfah View Post
    Uh, why didn't you just use one of a number of phone apps that allows you to do this? I use Stocard for all of this.
    The first person that buys one of these Garmin watches without telling everyone about it will be the first.
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  23. #23

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    I'm considering this SPG rewards card but I just got the amex blue and am in the middle of spending their required amount to get their 300 dollar credit offer. Sigh.

    I'm sure I can spend enough on both to get both rewards. Sigh again.

  24. #24
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfah View Post
    Uh, why didn't you just use one of a number of phone apps that allows you to do this? I use Stocard for all of this.
    Yup. Easy. You can also just put the info in your contacts.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    Because I dont walk around all the time with my phone, but I walk around all the time with my watch on. I'm old school that way. Very useful at the gym. Now I need to put my credit card on my watch.
    Last edited by Katy Lied; 03-19-2016 at 08:34 PM.

  26. #26
    Adventurer Walter Sobchak's Avatar
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    Your Michaels loyalty card is useful at the gym? How far did you run today BTW?
    You're actually pretty funny when you aren't being a complete a-hole....so basically like 5% of the time. --Art Vandelay

    I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. --President Donald J. Trump

    Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace. --President Donald J. Trump

    You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war. --William Randolph Hearst

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by LiveCoug View Post
    I'm considering this SPG rewards card but I just got the amex blue and am in the middle of spending their required amount to get their 300 dollar credit offer. Sigh.

    I'm sure I can spend enough on both to get both rewards. Sigh again.
    35k spg points are worth ~3x the amex blue offer. even if you have to miss the minimum spend on the blue, it's worth it to get it the spg card.
    Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est.

  28. #28

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    Delta just started an new little perk that I participated in the other night. At selected airports, they look through the passenger list for upper tier passengers who have tight connections on the other side of the airport. They then select a passenger and pick them up right off the plane, take them out the door down to the tarmac, and give them a ride in a Porsche across the tarmac to their next gate. I don't know if the additional loyalty will justify two full-time employees doing that all day, but I have to admit it was really cool.

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  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboy View Post
    Delta just started an new little perk that I participated in the other night. At selected airports, they look through the passenger list for upper tier passengers who have tight connections on the other side of the airport. They then select a passenger and pick them up right off the plane, take them out the door down to the tarmac, and give them a ride in a Porsche across the tarmac to their next gate. I don't know if the additional loyalty will justify two full-time employees doing that all day, but I have to admit it was really cool.
    they've done that for a long time at katl. not sure about other airports though.
    Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est.

  30. #30
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