Mar172012

Hotels for Heroes to assist wounded veterans’ families: Marriott, Wyndham and AmericInn sign on

Hotels for Heroes is a program launching this year to allow Americans of frequent guest programs to donate their hotel points to assist the families of wounded veterans who need lodging while staying near the hospital. Marriott International, Wyndham Hotels Group and AmericInn Hotels & Suites are the initial three hotel companies to sign on as participants.

Hotels for Heroes was created with legislation introduced by Maryland Congressionman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Senator Ben Cardin (both D-MD) in November 2011 and passed with bipartisan support in the “National Defense Authorization Act” December 2011.

“Hotels for Heroes” will be an expansion of the national “Hero Miles” program that provides free round-trip airfare to wounded warriors recovering at military or VA medical centers as well as to friends and family visiting them. Flights under the “Hero Miles” program, which was created by Congressman Ruppersberger in 2003, are made possible through frequent flyer mile donations made by individual airline passengers. The “Hero Miles” program is administered by the Fisher House, a non-profit organization that opens its homes to military families visiting their injured loved ones at hospitals across the country. Fisher House recently announced its 25,000th ticket issued through the program.

http://dutch.house.gov/2011/12/hotels-for-heroes-program-passes-congress.shtml

Hotels for Heroes launched this week with the announcement that Marriott, Wyndham and AmericInn have signed on to the program. Other hotel loyalty programs are asked to join the effort and agree to participate by Memorial Day when organizers hope to be ready to accept donations of hotel points.

The Fisher House Foundation which runs Hero Miles will also oversee the Hotels for Heroes program.

Best Western, Choice, Hyatt, La Quinta, Starwood, Carlson, Hilton and IHG… I hope that most or all of these hotel chains sign on to the program in the next two months.

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.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. This is a wonderful idea and program. Heck Yes! However, if the supporting airline and hotel Frequency Programs were serious about their participation, they should consider adding a 30%-50% BONUS to any miles/points donated to this program (subject to reasonable controls, of course). Wonderful to see airlines and hotels support this sort of thing, but they should walk-the-walk, not just talk… While a few of the hotel’s executives and managers might wuietly complain, ‘…but those folks are just not our tarket demographic…’ get over it! That same non-targeted demographic is the same one that protects YOU and enables you to attract your preferred audience. Those board rooms ought to give this program a second look.

  2. I am engaged to a Vietnam Vet now for two years who was wounded in Vam, and has been suffering with PTSD ever since, he moved to Australia several years back trying to escape his nightmares and memories but it did not help, he has been in therapy off and on ever since his discharge and went through two marrages, one when he first enlisted and another after his return because of the PTSD, We reunited a few years ago and would like to get married but the PTSD has caused him a great deal of concern and he has entered an almost full time therapy program their for x service personal both Australians and Americans, he has been going to both individual and group therapy every weekend as well as longer boot camps on holidays ever since we reunited almost three years ago. I have told him about the VA hospital we have here in Portland but he is worried about changing therapists for one thing and is partly worried about returning to the US and having the anger return that he brought back from Nam and that if it did it would ruin our relationship. We Would like to get married and keep post phoning returning to the us, partially because of the expense of moving back here and partly because he is not sure of how to get into a Veterans rehab or therapy program. I found this article by accident about getting assistance to get wounded serviceman to hospitals. How do we find out if he Qualifies and if he dose qualify what we have to do. We are both hitting mid 60’s and he has been alone for over 18 years because of the PTSD, It is about time that he get’s a chance at a real life back here where his family is, but he dose need help in recovering,
    The Physical wounds were bad enough but the mental ones he has had to deal with every day of his life ever since his time in the service, I would like him to get the best care he can in his homeland. Thank you and hope that their is some way to help him. A. Murphy

  3. Agree with Cook whole-heartedly. Hotels are showing their “support” on the cheap, by asking others to donate their points, apparently without doing anything themselves.

  4. This makes me nauseous. If we, as a society, cannot provide lodging for the family members of our (mercenary or otherwise) soldiers, then we should look again at what we are allowing to happen. That’s just great: send people overseas who get wounded, slap a “hero” tag on each of them (no matter how they got injured) and then ask the public to donate so that they (and their families) have a modicum of decency in their recoveries from what are no doubt grievous injuries. Gimme a break! If we (as a society) weren’t so quick to put them into harm’s way, often for no rational purpose, all the while depleting this nation’s treasures in every sense, then we wouldn’t face such pulls on the heartstrings while the problem goes on.

  5. While you may feel that hotels and/or airlines should do more, they are businesses with shareholders that may not have the same values as you. And taking the time to modify their systems and to have their CSRs move miles/points is a cost to them. I think those businesses that support this should be thanked for what they are doing, not vilified for what they could be doing and aren’t.

    On that track – Thank you Ric for sharing this with us!

  6. Setting up the hotel reservations system for donating points to the veterans assistance program is the major effort. Once the system is in place, then perhaps the hotel chains will also donate points from their own resources to assist contributions from individuals.

  7. @Anita – your story has been in my head for the past hour. I wish I had some advice or referral information. Like most Americans I am not directly involved with the military or military resources for those affected by our U.S. wars.

    PTSD has been a major issue in the news this past week.

    Family and friends are our best human resources for healing. I wish you and your loved one the best.

  8. As someone very close to this great program, I think it might be best for those making comments to do their due diligence before complaining that the hotels should do more. In fact on the day that the program was publically announced, Wyndham donated the first 10 miliion points which equates to 1,000 room nights. Others will come around! This is a marvelous program and the right thing to do indeed, however we should be grateful, glass half full my friends.

    Maybe Cook can come up with something to help the troops rather than to complain because this wasn’t his idea.

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