Never thought I could accomplish this. In fact, almost immediately after the merger, I caved to the fact there was no way I could get almost 400K in points. I did not think I had any issue with the nights so that wasn't worrisome. But with the merger and new structure in April I believe, it just seemed out of reach. As such, I even started my goal of achieving Diamond once again with Hilton.ltpp4me
I had truly given up chasing it and basically accepted (haha) that I would be LTP until I got 10 years in. I hit 750 nights EXACTLY on my 4th anniversary with Marriott 2 weeks ago. However, what I FORGOT was that I earned a 100k points bonus from the SPG AMEX card and it posted to my account 3 days ago which put me literally within 24k points! Now I am waiting for the promotion bonuses to post but apparently they will not until the new year (think that wasn't planned by Marriott!!). Anyway, when all was said and done and even though our LT points balances no longer are posted, I contacted MRCS and they advised me that I needed 11,223 points to hit my 2 million points so I ended up buying 12 (1000 points bundles (no fractions)) @ $12.50/1000. Of course I wish Marriott would have posted my promotion points or even my missing meeting event from September that I have asked for 3 separate occasions.
So all in after 4 years and 2 weeks I sit at 755 nights and 2,000,223 points so I am thankful that I will get the 75% bonus without any effort for the rest of my time staying.
A few days ago, we stayed at the Marriott Fallsview Hotel and Spa in Niagra Falls Ontario. The ONLY saving grace was the VIEW from our room (1606) of Horseshoe and Bridal Veil Falls. Unfortunately, our arrival was delayed .... I was hoping to get a quick bite and drink in the concierge lounge, but its hors d'ouvre service was limited to 5:30-7:30pm, I went to the "lounge " to discover tables and chairs in a plain room resembling and employee lunch room with a cooler with bottled water and a metal rack with potatoe chips and popcorn. At the check-in Elite counter, the agent said your breakfast will be off the menu in Mortons, not in the lounge. When we arrived at the host desk in the morning, I was looking at the menu cards but the hostess said, "you get the buffet", which was far below Marriott standards in U.S., let alone what is offered in their European hotels.
Upon arrival at our room, we looked at limited room service menu and decided to go to lobby restaurant to check out full menu. We attempted to order "to go" and were told that we had to eat in restaurant, although
the hotel complex was contingent to several fast food outlets which offered unhealthy alternatives.
Our bill was "padded" with "destination fee" which appears to be a duplication of what is already included with Elite status and "incremental fees" which I still do not understand.
The most practical disappointment were the BEDS! I am faithful to Marriott because of the BEDS which they also market for home use. Our beds were NOT Marriott beds,,,,,soft, lumpy, uncomfortable mattresses.
In addition to the VIEWS, the other saving grace of this hotel is that most of the employees are very friendly and gracious (with a few exceptions: the Morton impersonal breakfast hostess )
I would not stay here again!! Next time, I'll experiment with some of the newly acquired brands.
We stayed at the Sheraton Tel Aviv from Sept 7-14. I had received an email prior to our stay asking if we'd like to upgrade to a Seafront room for an extra $30 per nite. I accepted this offer. When we checked in the desk agent (I believe her name was Mila) said it was a complimentary upgrade since I was a gold member. When we checked out we were charged the $30 per nite ($210) as they told us there was no notation in the system of a complimentary upgrade. Not right. In addition, our room had a very musty/funky odor. On our way out the first evening I told the desk agent. She said she would take care of it. As I walked outside I realized I never gave her our room number. I walked back in and mentioned that to her and she said she knew our room. I asked her what it was and she gave me a wrong room. When I told her our room number she again said she would take care of it. Well, she didn't. I had to call again next day and they sent an ac guy to room to check filter. That wasn't the problem. I called a third time on third day as we had figured out an awful smell was coming from the bathroom sink. They said they would fix it and they changed our room. So, after 3 days of complaining of smell, finally got it resolved and had the inconvenience of repacking and moving. Never comped for a drink or a breakfast.
I recently stayed at this property for 2 nights. The location of this property is just amazing – right in the middle of Cusco – opposite Qurikancha – regarded as the most important temple of the Incas.
This was my second Luxury Collection property and the platinum treatment and the property is just miles apart from my previous experience – the Equinox property in Vermont.
This property charges the dreaded destination fees but it’s waived on points and C+P booking. I made a C+P booking 2 days before the stay because of a last minute schedule change. I had emailed the property before hand and they did say they would waive the fees for platinum members.
Check in area:
They also offer 10% off F&B for platinum members.
At check in – I was upgraded to a Deluxe suite with 2 beds – the bed type I had initially booked but I asked for a king bed room after looking at it as it looked like 2 single beds and they gladly obliged.
We went for lunch and they gave us the new room keys when we were at lunch.
The room was a bit dark so please forgive the contrast. It had 2 balconies and it had a nice view of the Qurikancha on one side and the city on the other side.
View from the balcony:
For those who are not familiar Cusco is at a high altitude of 3400 Meters or 11200 ft. They have coco tea in the lobby to deal with the shortness of breath.
This is an old palace which was converted to a hotel and they have preserved the old Inkan palace feel. Every evening around 5 PM they organize a tour of the hotel which is usually hosted by the concierge and I would highly recommend it.
Our concierge was Jose and he did a wonderful job of narrating the history of the hotel and explaining the significance of the various artworks present through-out the hotel. The courtyard right in the middle is very beautiful – one of the best I have seen since the one in RC New Orleans.
At the end of the tour we took part in a small Inka ceremony which I thought was pretty cool.
After the tour we stopped by the bar for a lesson on how to make Pisco sours – a must have drink in Peru. I liked the taste though it did not go down well with me – I will just leave it at that.
I would recommend just trying a small glass first and not drinking too much as it’s not for the light hearted.
Since we were leaving the next day at 3 30 AM and the breakfast starts at 4 30 – yes it starts that early we asked for a box breakfast and I had asked for fruits and water for my wife who is a pure vegetarian. I got 1 apple and 2 ham sandwiches – when I complained the operator at F&B said she had mentioned that they only give single fruit and the kitchen did not listen to her instructions.
On the night we got back from Laguna Humantay we ordered room service and when I said I wanted a pizza with no cheese – yes that’s how I like my pizza she could not understand that and had someone sent over to my room to get the order. I did sense that there was a language barrier.
I ordered chicken soup as well with noodles and the noodles were raw – the waiter did offer to take if off the bill but I said its ok.
I asked for a late checkout at 1 PM and easily given.
I would definitely stay at this property again – this usually has cheaper rates than the JW which also looks pretty darn nice from the pictures. We had planned to go there for dinner for 1 night but we were too exhausted to walk.
As a Chase customer for close to 20 years with a Marriott Visa Card, I have having a heck of a time getting them to give me what I've earned; my Free Night for my Chase anniversary. That anniversary was in May and here we are in mid July. What gives? I've called them and their customer service is virtually non existence. This is the first year that I have ever had this problem. Oh, beside the Free night, I haven't gotten the associated 15 credit night either. Anybody else having an issue with Chase? Thanks
I am interested in knowing how the 7 night hotel/mileage package that Marriott currently has will change in august? i.e., will it be offered? and at the current point price? and should I purchase several now so I can use after august?
AND will the 7 night Marriott package I have be good to use at a starwood property after august?
My wife and I were in the Hong Kong International Airport and is amongst the best airports in the world in my opinion. I have visited this airport many times and for anyone who has not, it is bloody huge! This was my wife's first time and I wanted to share my very positive experiences with the Cathay Pacific's First and Business Class Lounges so the thought process was very simple. We had just about 4 hours to experience 3 CP lounges...'The Wing' - Gate 1 as soon as you come though immigration, the NEW BC 'The Deck' near gate 16 and end up at 'The Pier' near Gate 63. However, things changes slightly as you will read below.
First off was The Pier at 1330hr and in my opinion one of the best lounges anywhere because of the view and ambiance. We ate in the restaurant where I had roasted duck and my wife had a chicken dish. As some of you know, I do not drink alcohol so I was on a double espresso mission and my wife tried her usual assortment of champagnes and Chardonnay or Cabernet. We stayed in this lounge for about 45 minutes because she wanted to do a little shopping and I wanted to start making our way to my highly anticipated first experience with the NEW 'The Deck'.
At 1435hrs, 'The Deck' was on the second floor near Gate 16 area. It is a noodle bar mostly with a smaller assortment of alcohol. This was my least favorite and I was disappointed not with just the much smaller size of this BC lounge but the service was poorer as well. You must go to the noodle bar to place your order and then return to get it as they give you one of those buzzer thingy's you would get if you went to an Olive Garden.
There was no doubt I was now really excited to get to 'The Pier' near Gate 63 around 1515hr as it is my favorite lounge within the CP group. I know there is a long appointment line to get a massage so as soon as I got inside, I put my wife's name in but there first appointment was not until 1730hr and we were boarding at 1740hr. They did put her name on a 'cancellation list'. We found a very nice spot next to the window in the bar area looking out a British Airways A380 being prepared. The wife had 2 glasses of champagne and I enjoyed a Fanta. Then it was time to eat again so we went to the restaurant where I ate an Angus Burger (highly recommended and quite popular).
It was now around 1705hr when I noticed on the display board our gate had changed from Gate 63 to Gate 30 and I was a little ticked since I wanted to just hang out and not have to walk another kilometer. So we loaded up our stuff and proceeded to head towards our gate. As we got closer, around Gate 48 but in between the shopping intersection, I noted 'The Bridge' lounge. I had been there years before but totally forgot about it. You go downstairs and we were greeted by two very happy CP folks and I told them this was our 4th CP lounge in less than 4 hours and they both chuckled and said, 'Are you going to go the the 5th one? It is closing at the end of this month. This absolutely peeked my curiosity and they proceeded to to state it was located near Gate 20. Again this is not a small airport and my wife and I both thought no thanks for about a minute or two but then I thought well if we don't at least look at this opportunity, then I know I will wish I had tried at least. So we decided to go for it.
Thankfully, there are many moving sidewalks and as we past our Gate 30 for AA192 at 1725hr, I thought it was not going to happen as I am the type of person who must be first in line and on the plane but as we briskly walked aided by the moving sidewalk, I thought we can do this. We get to 'The Cabin' and you go down an elevator to get to this one. Sweating a little and probably aided by the expressos, we checked ourselves into the lounge. My wife a little worried about getting back to our gate, I walked swiftly through this lounge to say hello and bid farewell since it is indeed closing the end of April.
We got back in the elevator, jumped onto the moving sidewalks in an assisted effort of making it to Gate 30 in time to board only to arrive at 1737hr to find out they had already started boarding our Business Class so we had no line except for the 'screening' prior to boarding the flight. Needless to say, I had a nice glass of water on the plane and was out like a light before we even left the gate.
Who knew you can get so much fun with life challenges.
Five Cathay Pacific Business and First Class lounges in 4 hours. Oh BTW...they stamp your boarding pass each time you enter the lounge.
Do not stay at this Hotel. I am a Platinum member and when using my points to book a stay for my daughter and grand-daughters dance contest in Ft Worth, they arrived at 11 pm and the hotel would not honor their stay, even after calling me. They had the wrong last name and did not have my credit card with them. The ironic thing is they were going to charge me a nights stay for a NO SHOW. The Night Manager Cherry was EXTREMELY rude and uncooperative on the phone. I hade to find another Residence Inn in Ft Worth for them to stay in, they finally got to a hotel at 2 am, courtesy of a very nice Omaha Call center employee who found us a room. The Ft Worth Courtyard Downtown is a snooty uppity and belligerent hotel. DO NOT BOOK THERE!!
Okay, just a little venting here...have you ever wondered why a Rental Car that is supposed to be free, costs you money to cover all the taxes and frees and Airport concessions. I just reserved a 1-week rental car with Hertz as a President's Circle member. Instead of the standard weekly rental fee of 2,750 points, I had to surrender 5,500 points because it was a booking less than two weeks out. I searched for Airport and Non-Airport Hertz locations to find the best car availability (premium) so I can receive the guaranteed upgrade to a luxury vehicle. The Airport venue would have cost me another $75 in taxes and fees; so I found a city location that was only $42 out the door in taxes and fees.
So, if the rental car points are supposed to give you a free vehicle, why isn't it free. When I use my Marriott points for a hotel stay, the room is absolutely free; no taxes, no fees; just free. But a rental car still entails taxes and fees almost as much as the daily cost of the vehicle or more. Seems like a bit of a rip off to me. Oh and also while I'm on it, when you use FF miles, like say United Miles to book a Hertz rental car, it is completely free. No tax, airport fees, or concession fees. Zero. So why is that.
I wanted to surprise my wife for our fifth wedding anniversary, so I reserved a corner room at the Marriott Al Fosan in Abu Dhabi with full board. I paid in advance only to have them jack up the rate upon arrival (the price I paid to reserve the package was 1,200 and they raised it to over 2,000 at check-in). Then they stuck us in a room with noxious paint fumes. We have a three-month-old baby and and three-year-old child. The fumes were so bad that we were worried about our children's health, not to mention it was very unpleasant. My wife used the bathroom and it flooded all over the hotel room. There was literally an inch and a half of water on the floor all the way to the bed.
We refused to stay in the room as it was a health risk for our baby and three-year-old son. The hotel promised to upgrade us to an executive suite, so we agreed. We moved all of our things to the new "suite" only to find that the hotel had instead put us into a standard room just a few doors down. The paint fumes were just as strong, and the room was much smaller. We refused to accept it, and after much apologizing, the front desk agreed to refund ALL of our money. When we arrived back home, we received an email from Dennis, the Manager, stating that the hotel would not refund our money. Furthermore, I received a phone call from an extremely rude and arrogant woman who more-or-less told me that there was nothing I could do about it, She was so smug and disrespectful.
How can any hotel chain treat their "guests" like this? How in the world is a refund under these circumstances even in question?
Marriott's "customer service" assured me that they would take care of it, and that I could "count on Marriott" to make it right. Then they did absolutely nothing except ignore me.
The battered, dust-covered cement mixer backed slowly, rumbling and slowly spinning. I leaned a little harder on the handles of my wheelbarrow, knowing that the first load would be for me. Bob and I were both recent grads of Brentwood High School, and part-time laborers. I was working in a city park for 75 cents an hour--my summer job. A perk in this small town, since a lot of other jobs were inside
Bob and I waited for the inevitable with large barrows, flexing our arms. We watched as the driver, somebody in his late 20s, skillfully backed the truck into the tight lane where the new steps would be, not even bothering to open the doors of the cab, just glancing casually at the mirrors, making a perfect landing. He jumped out, cigarette dangling like a white string from his mouth to tell us where to stand, what to do when he opened the mixer’s chute. His massive forearms bore tattoos reflecting his love of his mother and another girl, someone named “Jayne.” He pushed a lever and the lava-like slurry flowed down the metal riverbed into my barrow. I could feel the pulse, the life of this mysterious paste as it settled into a Jell-O-like mound.
“Go,” he yelled, telling me to take that load to the most distant wooden form of the steps and dump it. I moved with the unsteadiness of a punch-drunk fighter, but in this case the blows were coming not to my head but to my underdeveloped biceps. For a time it seemed as if I might make it through to the step without mishap, but the load seemed to want to escape, go to ground, and I was powerless to stop it.
The boss was cursing He was a large guy who seemed to tolerate me and the other high school kids like a mother dog tolerates her nipping puppy. I was waiting for the next yell, but I had made it to the wooden form and with a heave, I pushed the load forward. The regulars, the hardscrabble park crew who labored year-round, quickly smoothed out the concrete and brought it to a wet velvety gray smoothness like a dolphin’s back. “Go back, get another load,” the nicest of the regulars said, lighting another Camel and wiping his brow in a practiced motion.
I was tired, and it was only 30 minutes into the nine-hour workday. This might go on for a while, since the load we put in these wheelbarrows seemed puny compared to the size of the truck and its load. Bob Baldizar was ahead of me, his neck red from sunburn, his white tee-shirt stained with sweat and concrete. “Hey Bob,” I yelled, “don’t lose your load!”
He turned and gave me the “get lost” look that we all practiced in the hallways of high school. I was tempted to try one of the newly learned epithets from the regulars, but the boss stopped our repartee with a massive pointed finger.
“Kids! Get on the stick!” he yelled. It was his favorite thing to say, a comment that he’d picked up from some other crew member, one he used all the time.
Bob rumbled unsteadily down the path. I was glad to see that others had as much trouble as I did. He slipped on some loose gravel and the entire load of wet concrete fell sideways, away from the wooden form. The boss ran down the hill, took the wheelbarrow and started back up the hill. He took the next load, in fact he took twice as many loads as any of us, until all the forms were filled, smoothed and edged. I guess there were about 25 steps in all, a cascade of new cement.
“You and you,” the boss said. “Make sure that nobody messes with these or screws ‘em up. No drawings or initials. Stay here until dark. Got that? Now get on the stick!”
Bob and I looked in awe at the day ahead, a day of guard duty, lounging in the shade or the sun, watching everybody else work while we played. We laughed about the summer, the time that the boss’s 25 year-old daughter-in-law put the moves on us, the great sun tans we’d be getting, and all the muscles we’d have from this labor. It was 1962; we’d both be going to college in a month or so. We were more than a little scared.
It was early 2001. The Concierge Lounge at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel is perched on the 18th floor. I was waiting for my wife. A man about my age came in, sat down, asked his pretty blonde wife to get him a drink. She headed for the bar while he shifted on the leather sofa across from me, putting his cane beside him.
“You from here?” he asked without ceremony.
“Yeah, Monterey. But originally, I’m from Back East, Pennsylvania.”
“Me too,” he said, “where?”
“Small town near Pittsburgh…”
“Me too,” he said, “Was it Brentwood?”
“Bob, Bob Baldizar!” I screamed, startling everyone else in the lounge.
We caught up that afternoon, fast-forwarding through four decades. He told me of being shot down, the irreversible damage to his leg, and the end of his Air Force career. He was with BASF, the tape people. I told him of my 30 years in intelligence, of a life spent wandering through a wilderness of mirrors. He seemed interested.
“Have you been back to Brentwood, to the Park? I asked.
“Once or twice,” he answered with a grin.
My wife arrived, we were due somewhere for something, can’t remember what. “Well,” I said, “I gotta get on the stick, good to see you Bob.” I shook his hand, then turned and left the lounge. I turned and stopped at the door. “Those park steps still there?”
“Yep, they’re cracked in a lot of places, but they’re still there, even those special initials.”