Required Reading for Frequent Flyers
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[Mar 2011 Issue]
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Part 2 of the most comprehensive look at hotel elite programs-EVER. Over 25 hotel loyalty programs from around the world are compared by basic member benefits and how they serve their elite members.


Last month's magazine included Part 1 of our look at hotel loyalty programs including the benefits offered to non-elite and elite members and included a chart comparing the different benefits offered by more than 25 hotel loyalty programs. This month, we close the door on our inspection of hotel loyalty programs with a look into ways to reach elite other than with hotels stays, a report on lifetime and "secret" elite, elite matching offers and more.


Hotel programs are known to give elite status for activities like obtaining a credit card or buying into a timeshare.


Other Ways to Reach Elite

You don't necessarily have to spend a lot of nights in a hotel room per year to earn elite status. There are various other ways to reach elite. Hotel loyalty programs sometimes gift elite status to VIPs. InterContinental Hotels Group recently extended its sponsorship of the PGA Tour and is offering Platinum Priority Club Rewards status to all the players. But you don't have to be a VIP to fast track to elite.

Hotel programs are known to give elite status for various activities like obtaining a credit card or buying into a timeshare and also are known to run elite promotions such as "Stays Count Double" to make it easier for members to gain elite status.

A program by Starwood Preferred Guest recently ended where members could earn elite status after only four stays within four months at Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton hotels. Normally, to earn SPG Gold, you would need 10 stays.

SPG is also one of the programs where owning their co-branded credit card helps you gain elite. The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express offers card holders credit of five nights, or two stays, toward SPG elite status each year making Gold obtainable at 20 nights, or eight stays, and Platinum obtainable at 45 nights, or 23 stays. Members can also earn SPG Gold status by spending $30,000 or more on your card per calendar year. Also, purchasers of Starwood Vacation Ownership receive Gold status.

IHG Priority Club Rewards is another program where owning the credit card pays off with Gold. Priority Club Rewards members who own the Priority Club Select Visa have permanent Gold status as long as they own the card (and as long as Gold status is part of the card's benefit package). Priority Club Rewards also allows members to simply buy Gold status for $50. The membership is valid only for the duration of the calendar year in which it is purchased so it goes without saying, that buying earlier in the year is preferred. Go to http://www.priorityclub.com/purchasegold or contact your nearest Priority Club service center.

But keep in mind that since you can get Priority Club Gold status with owning the co-branded credit card with an annual fee of $49, and the fee is waived the first year, buying Gold status for $50 doesn't make a lot of sense unless you cannot obtain the credit card. And you'll miss out on the annual free night certificate that the card offers as well as the other benefits of the card if you opt to buy Gold.

Yet another way to get Priority Club Gold is to join Priority Club Meeting Rewards and host just one qualified meeting. With two meetings in a calendar year, you can reach Platinum status. You can also get Gold status when joining the paid Ambassador program. (Read more about the Ambassador club later in this article.)

During the dark days of the down economy, Hyatt Gold Passport ran a promotion that allowed all members to experience complimentary Platinum membership for four months with the ability to earn the status through the following year with only five nights at a Hyatt hotel. And with only 15 nights during the promotion, members could earn Hyatt's highest status, Diamond, which comes with a 30 percent base-points bonus and four suite upgrades on paid nights among other benefits. Ric Garrido of BoardingArea's Loyalty Traveler blog gave this promotion his highest five-star rating. (Garrido also writes the Loyalty Traveler column in InsideFlyer.)

Hilton HHonors members who become a member of Hilton Grand Vacations Club, a timeshare program, are automatically enrolled at the Silver level and will maintain that status level as long as they have the timeshare. HHonors members can also gain elite status through owning the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card. Gold VIP status (normally offered with 16 stays or 36 nights) is offered free for the first year of owning the card.

Cardholders can maintain Gold VIP status after their first year if their total eligible spend reached $20,000 during each calendar year; and if your total eligible spend reaches $40,000, you'll get HHonors Diamond VIP status that comes with a 50 percent base-point credit and such benefits as a half-day Snorkeling Safari excursion for you and a companion if you find yourself at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Cardholders receive complimentary Silver VIP status with a 15 percent points bonus as long as you own the card.

During the dark days of the down economy, Hyatt Gold Passport ran a promotion that allowed all members to experience complimentary Platinum membership for four months.


Another recent promotion from Hilton offers targeted Mileage Plus members Gold status by completing four stays within 90 days (it normally takes 16 stays or 36 nights during a calendar year to achieve Gold. HHonors members must choose United as their preferred Double Dip earnings partner). And just for registering, members are given Silver status.

Marriott Rewards is currently offering Air China PhoenixMiles members instant Gold Elite membership when registering for the promotion as a Marriott Rewards member by March 31, 2011. PhoenixMiles members can also earn up to 4,500 bonus miles (1,000 bonus miles for first stay, 1,500 with second, 2,000 with third and 4,500 with fourth Marriott stay). The Gold Elite status will end March 31, 2011 unless you stay 12 nights within 90 days of your joining as a Gold Elite member. If you stay the 12 nights, you'll get Gold Elite status until Feb. 28, 2012. Gold Elite offers a 25 percent base-points bonus, room upgrade, lounge access with continental breakfast and more.

Marriott Rewards members who have a co-branded credit card are guaranteed at least Silver status. The Marriott Rewards Credit Card (Visa) offers 10 nights credit toward elite status and an additional night's credit toward elite for every $3,000 spent on the card--with no limit to the number of elite nights you can earn. This card is only $30 a year with the first year's fee waived. The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card ($65 annual fee) offers 15 nights toward elite status and the same one night's credit for every $3,000 spent on the card. There is also a Marriott Rewards Business Card that offers 10 elite night credits and one elite night for every $3,000 spent. When booking a qualifying group, event or meeting with Marriott's Rewarding Events, 10 elite-qualifying nights will be awarded to the member along with the points or miles the member would normally earn.

Best Western Rewards members get an automatic upgrade to Gold Elite status upon enrollment in the Best Western Ride Rewards, an exclusive, free program for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts. H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) members receive Platinum status. (A full membership in H.O.G. is $45 for one year, $85 for two years or $120 for three years.) Best Western Rewards members who have a Best Western Rewards MasterCard will receive a one-tier elite status upgrade when spending at least $6,000 per year on the card. There is no annual fee for the Best Western MasterCard.

Choice Privileges is another program that offers elite status with a credit card. When you obtain the Choice Privileges MasterCard, you are automatically updated to Elite Gold status offering a 10 percent elite point bonus and extended window for booking awards among other perks.

JALHotels Frequent Guest Program is currently offering new members Silver status through December 2011. Silver is normally obtained after five stays and comes with 10 percent bonus JAL Mileage Bank miles for hotel stays among other benefits.

We asked hotel expert Ric Garrido to sum up credit card offers toward elite and the following is his response:

Hilton's credit card gives high added value for big spenders with the ability to earn top Diamond elite status for $40,000 in annual spend and exclusive discounted four-night awards. Points earned from hotels, gas and groceries add up quickly. Hilton Diamond is a fine benefit to earn without making 28 hotel stays a year.

SPG American Express has high added value for big spenders with its ability to earn Gold elite with $20,000 annual spend and exchange points for frequent flyer miles in many programs. Cardmembers who frequent Starwood Hotels benefit with two bonus points per dollar accelerated earn rate. Only the Hilton Surpass approaches this points earning rate for hotel spend. SPG Cash & Points awards make discounted award nights accessible for less than 5,000 points at most Starwood Hotels.

Priority Club Visa and Marriott Rewards Premier Visa offer annual free night certificates. Priority Club free night is valid at any hotel globally. These two cards have the highest added value for the low spender with a $150 to $300+ free night available annually.

Priority Club Visa members receive a 10 percent rebate on all award nights, up to 100,000 points per year. Marriott Rewards limits its free night certificate to category 4 the first membership year and category 5 hotels for renewal members.

Lifetime Elite

Lifetime elite programs in travel loyalty programs historically have been a bit of a mystery. Over the years airlines have become more upfront about how members earn lifetime elite, although some still do not publish lifetime elite information. Hotels are still in the dark ages for the most part and it takes some digging to find information about the programs.

Marriott Rewards has the most well-known lifetime membership program offered to those who have been members for at least 12 years. The criteria is documented on the Marriott Rewards Insiders online travel community. Lifetime Silver status is earned after 600 nights with at least one year of earned Silver elite status as well as 1.2 million lifetime earned points.

Lifetime Gold status is earned after 800 nights with at least one year of earned Gold elite status as well as 1.6 million lifetime earned points. And the top lifetime elite status is Platinum, which is earned after 1,000 nights with at least one year of earned Platinum elite status as well as two million lifetime earned points.

In 2010, the lifetime points thresholds were adjusted to the current levels. Before that, Lifetime Platinum elite status required three million points. All qualifying nights count toward elite status, including "nights count double" promotions.


InterContinental's Royal Ambassador status has the distinction of offering its members complimentary, unlimited use of their room's minibar.


Marriott Reward's close cousin program, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, offers lifetime Platinum elite status with unpublished criteria. Marriott Rewards members who have switched from Marriott Rewards to Ritz-Carlton Rewards will retain all of their progress toward this status. (Guests cannot belong to both Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards--you must choose between the two.)

Hyatt offers Lifetime Diamond status, requiring 10 consecutive years as a Gold Passport member plus one million base points (which equates to $200,000 spent). You do not have to be a Diamond member for the 10 years, just a Gold Passport member at any tier for 10 years. Lifetime Hyatt elites can expect top pecking order for room upgrades for life. If you elect to earn miles, however, your stays will not count toward lifetime status.

Hilton does not offer lifetime elite status (you can get elite status as an ongoing benefit if you purchase a timeshare or spend enough on a co-branded credit card). Starwood and most other loyalty programs also do not offer lifetime elite status. One high-spending InterContinental Royal Ambassador member posted on FlyerTalk that he received lifetime status called "Royal Ambassador VIP" in that program, but no one else has stepped up to claim the same honor. You can read more about Royal Ambassador status under, "Secret" Elite in this article.

In 2006, to mark Best Western's 60th anniversary, Best Western Gold Crown Club (now called Best Western Rewards) offered members lifetime Diamond status if they stayed 60 nights or more in Best Western hotels that year. Look for Best Western to run a similar promotion this year for the program's 65th Anniversary.

While researching for this article, we asked the various programs if they plan to offer a lifetime elite program if they currently do not. Not every program responded, but some did. Daniel Guerzon, Director, Choice Privileges, Strategy & Communications said, "Choice Privileges does not have a lifetime elite status at this time, however we are always considering additional ways to reward and recognize our most frequent guests, and lifetime elite status has been on our radar screen for some time." Anna Andersson, Director of Customer Loyalty, Scandic Hotels said that they do not offer lifetime elite, "...however, we are in the process of conducting a strategic review of the program and this is something that will be evaluated." Starwood prefers to "refrain from speculating on any of its future plans" regarding lifetime elite.

We suspect that many hotel loyalty programs are having conversations around offering lifetime elite status, so members of programs without a lifetime program who would like to see one introduced, would do well to let their program know.

One program that shared with us that they will be introducing a lifetime program this year is VOILA Hotel Rewards.

"Secret" Elite

For those hotel loyalty members who spend enough in hotel stays to catch the attention of the program, there are rewards waiting in secret and not-so-secret top elite categories. The InterContinental Royal Ambassador, Hyatt Courtesy Card and Marriott Platinum Premier are three such ueber elite programs that come to mind.

InterContinental's Royal Ambassador status has the distinction of offering its members complimentary, unlimited use of their room's minibar. Needless to say, these members speak highly of this perk. Other Royal Ambassador benefits include guaranteed room availability with 24-hours advance reservation and 8am early check-in with an upgrade to an executive room, Club InterContinental room or suite. Royal Ambassador status is by invitation only but all members must also be members of IHG's Ambassador club.

According to IHG's website, Ambassador is more than a club. "It's a status. It delivers exclusive privileges. It opens doors. It sets you apart." Anyone can gain Ambassador status for an initial fee of $200 and must pay for the membership yearly. Benefits include guaranteed room upgrades, 4pm late checkout, free weekend night (in conjunction with a minimum two-night paid weekend stay), fresh fruit and mineral water, single rate for double occupancy and 5,000 Priority Club bonus points. If you are not currently an elite Priority Club member, when you join Ambassador club you'll receive Gold elite that comes with a 10 percent base point bonus. Ambassador members are also offered the Ambassador Accelerator, which is 20,000 bonus points for every 15 qualifying nights at an InterContinental Hotels & Resorts property.

The Hyatt Courtesy Card is offered on an annual basis to a select group of Diamond Hyatt Gold Passport members. A business sales manager at a Southern California Hyatt had this to say about the program on FlyerTalk.com, "Review and selection of this very small fraction of Diamond members is all done through Hyatt Corporate and numerous factors are taken into consideration. I believe the next batch of members will be reviewed for inclusions beginning Spring 2012. The guests are top producing in the entire company, to multiple hotels in both the individual and group capacity and have potential to increase that loyalty and business with Hyatt Hotels."

Courtesy Card members are welcomed into the folds of the ueber elite with special packages, which have been known to contain a bathrobe as well as membership information. Members have reported suite upgrades for upwards of 75 percent of their stays, can enjoy upgraded room amenities and can give a Diamond elite status to a friend or family member. As one Courtesy Card holder said, "Is there anything above Courtesy Card? Probably the only thing better is being one of the owner's children."


"Is there anything above Courtesy Card? Probably the only thing better is being one of the owner's children."


Marriott Platinum Premier members are said to be the top three percent of members and are nominated for membership by hotel managers who identify their best customers--and like Royal Ambassador and Courtesy Card, membership criteria are not published. Because Marriott Platinum Premier members are suggested by individual hotels, it follows that you have a better chance of getting in if you stay at one better/high dollar hotel frequently. Benefits can include better room availability, special offers, the best award availability and a dedicated phone line. Several members report that they have achieved this status year after year.

Because these ueber elite programs do not have published criteria for membership, there is some mystery surrounding the best way to become a member. We suspect that some hotel loyalty programs may be using these ultimate elite programs to target high-spenders in other hotel programs, hoping to lure them to switch their alliance.

Benefits for these programs can include finding a member a hotel room in another hotel when their hotel is full, suite upgrades, exclusive welcome gifts such as a nice bottle of wine, free WiFi, dedicated reservation agents, priority concierge service when at the hotel and more.

And because hotels are home away from home, many individual properties of the different hotel groups go out of their way to please their best customers. Although Omni Select Guest doesn't have a "secret" or lifetime elite program and does not plan to add one, Brandon Smulyan, speaking for Omni said, "For those wonderful and long term members, the Omni properties are always looking for ways to make it special and personalized for them via the Loyalty Ambassador." Platinum and Black level members have access to a Loyalty Ambassador who will customize the members' stay and take care of any last-minute details, even before their stay.

Status Match

If you have elite status with one program, it's possible to use your status as leverage and attempt to gain status in another, competing program. Hotel programs, like airline programs, are fiercely competitive and the programs know that a frequent traveler accustomed to the perks of elite in another program is more likely to switch programs if they can still receive the benefits of elite in a new program. Many programs will consider your request and either match your status outright without requiring you to stay at their hotels and some will require that you complete a "challenge" where you will need to stay a predetermined number of nights or stays in a short period of time.

The status match offers for most programs are unpublished and requests are considered on an individual basis, but many members have reported that they have successfully received matching status to an elite level at a comparable tier in the new program. Be prepared to provide documentation, including a copy of your account statement that indicates your elite status in the other program and possibly a copy of your membership card in order to be considered for a status match
* Best Western Rewards
Best Western Rewards has a very clear policy with their "Status Match...No Catch" program that you can read about on their Web site at http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?3880 - If you have status in another program, Best Western Rewards will match your status to a level that is equal to, but not higher than, your current status in another competing hotel group's loyalty program. The offer is open to members residing in the U.S., Canada or Caribbean. Members can call customer care at (800) 444-7646 or email Statusmatch@bestwestern.com and provide proof of their elite status in another loyalty program.
* Choice Privileges
Choice Privileges will match status but they have been known to reject requests and tell members that status matches are not offered. To request a status match, send an email to customer service with your request and you will be asked to fax a current statement that shows your elite status with another hotel chain.
* goldpoints plus
Members have reported receiving status upgrades from goldpoints plus. Send a request to goldpointsplus@carlson.com. You will need to send copies or screenshots of your current status and membership cards and they will decide whether to match your status. SPG Platinum, Hilton Diamond and Marriott Platinum members have reported receiving status matches to Gold in goldpoints plus. The program says that it will match top level elite to top level elite in another program and second level to second level.
* Hilton HHonors
Hilton HHonors offers a fast track to Gold status for members who register and complete four qualifying stays or nine qualifying nights in a 90-day period. Gold VIP status normally requires 16 stays in a year so members can qualify for Gold with only one fourth of the required number of stays if the stays occur in a short amount of time.

This offer is valid at all U.S. Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels and Hilton Garden Inn hotels and at select U.S. Hilton Grand Vacations Club locations, Hampton Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites hotels. To register for this offer, visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?3775 - The Web site indicates that this offer is only for MVP Members, but members have reported that the fast track works for all members who register. You can also call customer service at (866) 424-4276 and request promo code MVPF to register.


Mattress Runs, similar to Mileage Runs, are what members do to ensure that they earn elite status by the end of the year.


When we emailed Hilton HHonors customer service at hhonors@hilton.com to ask about a status match, we were told to mail or fax a copy of our Platinum status and activity in a competing program for a potential fast track offer.
* Hyatt Gold Passport
As of May of last year, Hyatt has discontinued its policy of matching status from other programs, but you may be offered an elite trial offer and the option to complete a challenge to earn status. We inquired about a status match and were asked to fax a statement of account activity with a competitor. Hyatt Gold Passport offers a Diamond Trial Offer membership for 60 days with proof of top tier status in a competitive program. To keep Diamond status for the year, however, you will need to stay 12 nights in Hyatt hotels within 60 days.
* IHG Priority Club Rewards
IHG Priority Club will offer elite status matches to members who hold status in a direct competitors' loyalty program, including Starwood Hotels Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Wyndham Rewards and Best Western Rewards. Priority Club Rewards will not process requests for elite members of A|Club. You will need to send an account statement that indicates your elite status in a competitor program and Priority Club will determine which corresponding elite level you qualify for.
* Marriott Rewards
Marriott is inconsistent about granting status matches but in some cases will match. Marriott has been known to offer conditional status upgrades for a limited amount of time with an elite challenge to fast track to elite for the following year. The usual offer is Gold elite status for three months and an extension of Gold for the following elite-qualifying year after completing 12 paid nights (instead of the regular requirement of 50) at any Marriott property.

Members requesting a comp to Platinum will need to spend 18 nights in hotels during the three-month challenge period to receive the status upgrade. The offer isn't given to everyone and some members have been denied. The only way to know for sure is to contact Marriott and request a status match. When we contacted Marriott Rewards, we were told, "The Marriott Rewards program does not offer status matches and will not normally offer an opportunity to bypass the achievement requirements of our Elite membership. However, if you send a copy of your stay information for the last 12 months with one of our competitors, we will review your request based on your past history with Marriott and future reservations."
* Starwood Preferred Guest
Starwood will upgrade eligible members to Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Preferred but it can take up to 30 days for the program to review your request and documentation and decide whether they will match your status with another program. And if you have been a SPG Platinum member in the past, your request will be denied. Only requests from Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond, Marriott Rewards Platinum, Shangri-La Golden Circle Elite and Hilton HHonors Diamond members will be considered.

Which Hotel Elite Program is Best?

Ah yes, which elite hotel program is the best? The best program for someone to reach elite who lives in New York and traveling internationally could very well be different from someone living in Los Angeles and travelling domestically. There are many factors to consider when deciding which program is your best option to aim for elite status.

The Frequent Traveler Awards, the group that is following the trail that our own Freddie Awards blazed for more than 20 years, announced late last year that Hyatt Gold Passport was voted as the Best Elite-Level Program in the Americas. Hyatt also won for Middle East & Asia/Oceania while Starwood Preferred Guest was the favorite of those voters living in Europe and Africa.

When the last Freddie Awards were held in 2008, IHG Priority Club Rewards won for the Americas, but that was that program's first time to win in the category. Marriott Rewards won eight times in this category over the life of the Freddies, Starwood won six times and Hilton won four times in the 1990s; so, you can see that the love has been spread out over the years amongst the major programs.

Starwood has always been a favorite in Europe and Starwood and Hyatt are both popular in Asia.

Just for fun, we conducted a quick poll of a group of frequent travelers worldwide, asking them to pick their favorite hotel program. Hilton came in first with just over 34 percent of the vote, followed by Starwood with nearly 26 percent and Hyatt and Marriott tied for third place with just over 17 percent of the vote.

Mattress Runs

Mattress Runs, similar to Mileage Runs, are what members do to ensure that they earn elite status by the end of the year. Or some would say they are taking a Mattress Run to take advantage of particularly beneficial bonus promotions. Mileage Runs are usually quite detailed and can be a chore to plan, while Mattress Runs are a more straightforward proposition.

You can easily calculate how many stays or nights you need to reach elite, or to earn a free night through a promotion, and with a quick Internet search, can find the cheapest, most convenient hotel in your chosen loyalty program to stay in to earn the credits you need. (Do not, however, make the mistake of using third-party booking sites like Priceline, Orbitz or Travelocity to book your stay because stays booked in these types of sites will not earn points in your hotel program.)

Mattress Runs are not as popular as Mileage Runs for frequent travelers. In recent surveys InsideFlyer conducted, 62 percent of travelers said that they have not conducted a Mattress Run compared to 33 percent who said they have not taken Mileage Runs. But that said, a good percentage, 38 percent, admit to taking Mattress Runs.

As always, when it comes to loyalty programs, you need to pay attention to the fine print. Make sure that your stays are qualifying stays for your chosen hotel that will earn you credit toward elite status. And make sure that the room rate qualifies as well.

When it comes to promotions such as stay two nights, get one night free, sometimes there is a limit to how many free nights you can earn--it would be a disappointment to rack up more stays than allowed by the promotion.

Wishlist from Members

We asked a group of frequent travelers for their wishlist items for their favorite hotel loyalty programs. This is a good way to learn where the members think their programs are falling short. Some of their answers are listed below:
* All Hotel Programs
- Free Internet.
- Free health club access.
- Free water.
- Free parking including free long-term parking at airport hotels with minimum one-night stay.
* Hilton HHonors
- Lower redemption levels for awards.
- Free breakfast and free Internet access in Europe. Free breakfast for Gold members at all properties.
- Lifetime elite status.
- More generous benefits for credit card spend.
- More extensive Point Stretchers, and advance notice of Point Stretchers.
* Hyatt Gold Passport
- Lifetime elite status.
* Marriott Rewards
- Free Residence Inn evening meal available Friday to Sunday.
- Concierge access for Silver status members.
- More complete vacation package with hotel, air and car.
* Priority Club Rewards
- Uniform extension of elite benefits with award stays such as club access for Platinum members where clubs exist, and free breakfast if not club for Platinum/Royal Ambassador members.
- Free Staybridge Suites evening meal available Friday to Sunday.
- Better rate to convert airline miles to Priority Club points.
* Starwood Preferred Guest
- Free WiFi in all locations.
- "Real upgrades" for Golds.
- Better points conversion rate from Membership Rewards.
- Earn Platinum status based on credit card spend (not just Gold).
- More consistent amenities.

How to Stay Sane

We asked a group of road warriors what they do when they're on the road to help make themselves feel at home when in yet another hotel room.

Several travelers mentioned that they take their own music to enjoy in the room. "I take my own entertainment in the form of BBC iPlayer videos, films and the like, phone home daily and make sure that I don't work at the weekends to balance out what is a very unbalanced work / life balance."

Others make the room more like home. "I make the bathtub bathe-able by running the shower on hottest for about 10 minutes so that when I want to take a bath and relax my first and every consecutive night it will be clean." "I put away all the clutter like the brochures and TV instructions." "I watch TV." "I take scented candles." "I buy flowers for the room." "I turn on my computer!" "I log on to the Internet."

Others look for comfort and amenities. "I use the room bathrobe." "I pull the sheets out from their ultra-tuck position. I feel like a mummy when I get into straight jacket tight covers."

For others, it's all about food and drink. "I bring my own water and snacks." "I buy a bottle of wine and some quality snacks to have on hand and enjoy." "I order a bacon cheeseburger. Okay, not the healthiest thing but it works for me!" "I stock the fridge with my own beer, unless they have one of those refrigerators that charges you every time you move something."

And others simply do their best to make the most of the situation. Several said that they call home daily, and one traveler mentioned, "I breathe a sigh of relief that I'm not home looking at my clutter that I need to clean but am too busy."


"In fact, my business travel is now viewed as a family benefit since I earn for our vacations."


Tony MacKay, who spent more than 100 nights in a hotel room in 2010, had this to say about coping when on the road: "Since I'm away quite often I cope with being away by planning my business stays to reap maximum loyalty benefits to redeem for personal stays with family. While I'm away, I tend to work longer hours on my laptop so I'll have less to do at home when I get back ... it's not unheard of to do a 6am to Midnight work day while away from home.

"I also cope by booking a nice room and by having a nice meal in the evening followed by the mandatory call home before I hit the laptop and close some work. ... In fact, my business travel is now viewed as a family benefit since I earn for our vacations."

And then, there's FlyerTalk's Firewind who said, "I don't 'cope with' being away. I live to be away. I wanted this since I was a child, and my prayers were answered. When I do my laundry, I roll up everything and put it in my drawers rolled and ready to go into my 22" rollaboard Briggs & Riley suitcase."


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