Feb222008

Rocky Mountain Wired Less in Colorado


Hyatt Regency, Denver – lobby

“Now his life is full of wonder
but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the mountains down
to bring in a couple more
More people,
more scars upon the land”

-John Denver

Pim and Colorado aligned for a wired less eclipse this past week. Pim is my 10-month old kitten. Colorado is the state. My computer died and the timing was Thursday evening 48 hours before a trip out of state.

An alignment of place and time left me in a brief internet blackout coincidental to this week’s lunar eclipse. The place was Colorado for a 5-day trip. Amazing growth has occurred throughout Denver in the past ten years. The housing tracts are approaching the airport periphery, although the nearest hotels are still miles away from the terminals.

The AC cord had been faulty on my computer for a month and I delayed purchasing a new one since I wasn’t sure if the cord was faulty or something else internal. I now have a new AC cord and a working computer.

Pim is the prime suspect for my computer eclipse. Pim is our adopted kitten, found lost in the street at about 3 weeks old last May. Pim initially fit in the palm of my hand. I typed for a month with the fingers of my right hand while cradling Pim in my left hand for much of the day. When restless and wandering off my lap, Pim frequently came to rest behind the computer where he slept, warmed by the computer fan. And when Pim was falling asleep he tended to play with the computer AC cord.

The computer went dead Thursday afternoon, 48 hours before heading to Colorado. I spent hours transferring files to a backup computer. I forgot the wireless card software.

A piece will appear this weekend on Hilton Pointstretcher awards and their airline miles-to-HHonors points opportunity. For the most part, I remained relatively unconnected to the internet and physically connected to family. Although, there were some business activities.

Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only a Frequent Guest Blogger

Tuesday, I checked out several hotels in the Denver Central Business District. I looked around the Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Hotel Monaco (Kimpton Hotels).

The Hyatt Regency has rooms with gorgeous views of the Rockies and the LODO district of Denver. Lounge on 35th floor provides a great western view of city. A visitor can have a 27th floor dining experience. The restaurant is primarily evening hours service. The Hyatt Regency is the closest hotel to the Denver Convention Center.

I was approached by Marriott Denver hotel security after spending time wandering around the lobby and cafes. My suspicious activity was taking pictures of hotel signs, menus, the lobbies, and hotel maps. The photos are for my websites and memory joggers for my hotel research.

The security officer accepted my business card. I’m a legitimate small business entrepreneur creating public consumer information. Hotel visits are part of my sightseeing plan wherever I go. Real travel is part of my knowledge base to add contextual details to my writing on hotel loyalty programs and how to get good hotel rates through careful navigation of hotel web sites.

I congratulated the Marriott security team on being observant.

Hotel security is certainly a consideration when I travel internationally. One of the primary reasons I like upscale hotels in the major hotel corporate chains is the presence of security in the form of employees, lighting, locks, and video surveillance. I was serious in thanking the Marriott security personnel for questioning me.

I feel more secure sleeping in a Sheraton in Bangkok, a Hilton in Belfast, or a Best Western in Guayaquil, Ecuador with an armed escort to the taxi on the street.

Denver Boutique Luxury

The Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton Hotel, is on the block between the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton. Boutique luxury is an apt descriptor. TripAdvisor ranks Hotel Monaco #1 in Denver. The lobby is charming and cozy, while the hotel is located in the heart of downtown. The location and ambience had a welcoming feeling. There is an Aveda shop at the entrance of the hotel.


Hotel Monaco, Denver – lobby

“Added Value” Frequent Guest Loyalty Programs

Kimpton Hotels are some of the most popular hotels in San Francisco. Many of the boutique and independent hotel associations such as Fairmont, Mandarin Oriental, or Leading Hotels of the World operate loyalty programs offering frequent guests added amenities and room upgrades with paid stays. These are what I call “Added Value” frequent guest programs.

The primary feature of Added Value programs is recognition of elite status and associated privileges by the frequency of paid stays. There are no points involved. Basically, the going rate at a luxury boutique hotel may be $300/night and you may get a $150 added value in room upgrades and/or amenities like complimentary breakfast, wine, spa packages, dining packages, and more as a frequent guest perk.

Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Priority Club, and Starwood operate hotel points loyalty programs which allow any member to accumulate points redeemable for free hotel nights, upgrades, and additional items and services. Hotel points may be earned without ever actually staying at a hotel.

Hilton HHonors provides members multiple avenues for earning hotel points:

  • purchases made with a Hilton HHonors co-branded credit card earning HHonors points,
  • the transfer of loyalty points from a variety of programs into HHonors points,
  • the ability to purchase HHonors points
  • the option to exchange airline miles into HHonors points
  • Hotel stay activity
  • Business Partner activities earning HHonors points

The exchangeability of hotel points to hotel nights, amenities, services, airline miles, and additional items makes Hotel Points frequent guest programs more versatile than Added Value frequent guest programs.

In addition to hotel points, elite status frequent guest members generally earn regular room upgrades and additional amenities in the major hotel points frequent guest programs.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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