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Old 08-27-2014, 07:12 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,651,031 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apexgds View Post
Even if you do travel for business, it's still difficult to gain gold status. It's not always possible to stay in the same chain, depending on price, location, availability, etc.
It's very, very easy to do so. "Chains" include a wide variety of properties. Hilton includes everything from Hampton and Homewood Suites to Hilton and Conrad. Marriott has Ritz Carlton to Fairfield. IHG has Holiday Inn Express to Inter-Continental.

Choose two, and if you actually do any regular business travel you will easily gain status at both before the year is over.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apexgds View Post
I believe the other poster's point was that his employer doesn't allow upgrades, despite being a Senior VP.
All the same, the somewhat utopian view that mels is presenting about the "perks" frequent travelers get is a bit laughable. I have over a million flight miles and easily 2,000 hotel nights under my belt (95% of it for business) and I'm here to tell you that anything meaningful is both few and fleeting. I've been moved up to 1st class maybe 4 times in 15 years. The hotel points and air miles are nice for a "free" vacation or two. But, once you really look at what they're actually worth, the savings isn't anything extraordinary. The bottom line is that the companies put these programs in place for no other reason than to garner repeat business while offering what amounts to a token gesture in return (i.e., you're/we're paying for it regardless). And, while hotel upcharges have always been around, they were generally discretionary. This push towards them being compulsory and only removed when the customer raises a stink is downright unethical.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by timberline742 View Post
You really believe this, don't you? Yikes.
Yes, I do. For a family of four, how many don't spend $1600 a month on food, doctors bills, clothing, utilities, car insurance, homeowners insurance, gas, cell phones, entertainment, etc.? I'm guessing very few.

I put $1250 a month on my AmEx just on the stuff that autocharges from that list. In other words utilities, insurances, etc. That's before gas, clothing, medical bills, groceries, etc.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:24 AM
 
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^Lot's of people. $1600 (closer to $1700 ~ 1666.67, to be exact) per month would be considered a luxury for many. The average American family lives on about $35k (take home pay) per year. Subtract housing and car payments out of that and there probably isn't $20k left, let alone the concern or desire to gain "gold" status in some stupid rewards program.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland_Collector View Post
Many people don't spend that much past their mortgage and car payment.



Annerk's point was that you could achieve "gold" status at the typical hotel chain by spending $20k using their brand of Visa/MC. I haven't seen a bank yet that allows the usage of a credit card for a mortgage or loan payment.
I don't have a car loan and pay my mortgage by check.

But I have things like utilities, insurance, medical bills, and things I need to buy such as groceries, clothing, household goods, etc. My husband bought milk and carpet cleaner last night at Publix. $30 and change. It adds up quickly.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
I can't argue about that and it is getting harder to gain gold, I was just mentioning, for the leisure traveler it is almost impossible.

Our granddaughter's husband is a senior VP of a relatively large company: believe it or not, he doesn't get upgrades flying even when he travels to China for a week, which he just did. If he wants an upgrade he has to pay for it out of his own pocket. So the thought that some have; about business travel and perks isn't necessarily the case.
Trans Atlantic/Trans Pacific upgrades aren't free, but almost all companies book business class or at least premium economy tickets for their employees for these trips.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland_Collector View Post
^Lot's of people. $1600 (closer to $1700 ~ 1666.67, to be exact) per month would be considered a luxury for many. The average American family lives on about $35k (take home pay) per year. Subtract housing and car payments out of that and there probably isn't $20k left, let alone the concern or desire to gain "gold" status in some stupid rewards program.

Exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Yes, I do. For a family of four, how many don't spend $1600 a month on food, doctors bills, clothing, utilities, car insurance, homeowners insurance, gas, cell phones, entertainment, etc.? I'm guessing very few.

If you mean "the majority" by "very few", you would likely be correct.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:32 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,651,031 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland_Collector View Post
All the same, the somewhat utopian view that mels is presenting about the "perks" frequent travelers get is a bit laughable. I have over a million flight miles and easily 2,000 hotel nights under my belt (95% of it for business) and I'm here to tell you that anything meaningful is both few and fleeting. I've been moved up to 1st class maybe 4 times in 15 years. The hotel points and air miles are nice for a "free" vacation or two. But, once you really look at what they're actually worth, the savings isn't anything extraordinary. The bottom line is that the companies put these programs in place for no other reason than to garner repeat business while offering what amounts to a token gesture in return (i.e., you're/we're paying for it regardless). And, while hotel upcharges have always been around, they were generally discretionary. This push towards them being compulsory and only removed when the customer raises a stink is downright unethical.
Something is wrong with your situation. If you are flying three trips a month, you should be getting upgrades on 75% of your trips (domestic.) I'm guessing you aren't loyal to one or two carriers, or you're 60, have been traveling 4-5 times a year your entire career, and never really achieved any sort of status on any carrier.

The perks I get are upgrades to rooms with great views or suites, free Internet, free breakfast, a welcome gift (usually a couple bottles of water and a snack), free use of health club, the list goes on, and sometimes for places I go back to regularly, free dinner or a couple free drinks or a bottle of wine and canapes in my room or a fruit basket, or recently the most delicious mango cookies.

I do agree that the junk fees shouldn't be imposed. I think it was Holiday Inn years ago that had a hidden fee of $.75 for the daily paper--ridiculous when many similar hotels always provided them for free in the lobby.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:40 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,651,031 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland_Collector View Post
^Lot's of people. $1600 (closer to $1700 ~ 1666.67, to be exact) per month would be considered a luxury for many. The average American family lives on about $35k (take home pay) per year. Subtract housing and car payments out of that and there probably isn't $20k left, let alone the concern or desire to gain "gold" status in some stupid rewards program.
Nope. The median income for US households in 2011 was $50,054. For a couple with two dependents, after taxes they are taking home $42K--it will be even more if they have a mortgage/property tax deduction or live in a state with no or low income tax.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:42 AM
 
3,161 posts, read 8,102,519 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland_Collector View Post
^^ All the same, the somewhat utopian view that mels is presenting about the "perks" frequent travelers get is a bit laughable. I have over a million flight miles and easily 2,000 hotel nights under my belt (95% of it for business) and I'm here to tell you that anything meaningful is both few and fleeting. I've been moved up to 1st class maybe 4 times in 15 years. The hotel points and air miles are nice for a "free" vacation or two. But, once you really look at what they're actually worth, the savings isn't anything extraordinary.
Anyway I slice it, I have to travel for my work whether I receive perks or not. By staying loyal to a hotel chain, this also means I can accrue points and stay for free across the globe in many locations for my personal vacations. Sure, hotel points aren't worth much to leisure travelers staying twice a year but when I can stay with my husband for a week in prime areas of London, a resort in Hawaii, at a Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam for free, receive free breakfast, internet, etc....all because I just did my job. Not bad. I tend to use my hotel points in very expensive hotels to maximize their benefits. I am not using free stays in a $90/night hotel in US suburbia. My last personal vacation/chain-hotel stay was in London and would have cost me 400 GBP per night ($600+ USD), multiply that for the 6 days I was there...the math works for me.

As for upgrades, I see them more on international flights than domestic, although the last few times I have flown US Airways to DC in recent months I have been upgraded to first class. Too bad that flight is only 1 hour in an Embraer! YMMV with airlines, as those who are loyal to AA will have a different view than those loyal to JetBlue, etc. Programs and ability to redeem seem to vary quite a bit.
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