Elevator Talk

Occasionally I have a list of hotel related news items I find interesting, yet never get around to writing an article on the topic. I call these pieces Elevator Talk. The idea is you can discuss this item during the time of an elevator ride.

Got Points? Get Stuff! says hotel loyalty program members are spending 14% to 23% more points on merchandise redeemed with points this shopping season over last year through Hilton HHonors, InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards, and Marriott Rewards. suffering from East Coast algae bloom?

I love shellfish. Dungeness crab season is here this month in Monterey, CA and I have been ingesting my fair share of crustaceans as a local coastal resident. East Coast shellfish is on the “Do not Eat” hazard warning list at the moment. Apparently, red flag signals have also been raised by for the hotel review site when it comes to financing the hungry molluscs on staff. provides a fairly comprehensive collection of hotel photos for properties in the limited locations the site has covered since launching in June 2009.   Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and Boston are the US cities covered. Beach resorts of Hawaii, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica are other locations. A typical hotel review will include about 200 hotel photos taken by the reviewer and a write-up of hotels and best hotel lists in categories like Best Luxury, Best Business, Best Family hotel.

Apparently paying journalists to stay in a bunch of hotels in an expensive city with a nice camera and write an opinion of a hotel along with taking hundreds of photos posted on a website with no advertising revenue is not sustainable in an expanding business. A large portion of the company’s staff has been eliminated.

I have empathy with their troubles since I basically run a one man Oyster-style operation. My expenses are kept in check by not having a DSLR Nikon camera for my hotel passages.


Palace Hotel San Francisco Free 3-night Stay in the Presidential Suite Room 888

The Palace Hotel celebrated its 100 year birthday on December 15 with a key to the Presidential Suite attached to a bouquet of helium balloons allowed to drift away over the city. Find the golden key and you will receive a three night stay in the Presidential Suite, Room 888. This same stunt accompanied the opening of the rebuilt Palace Hotel on December 15, 2009, 42 months after the great San Francisco earthquake destroyed the 1875 property in the firestorm. San Francisco Chronicle story.


The Palace Hotel San Francisco, Room 888-Presidential Suite

The Palace Hotel San Francisco, Room 888-Presidential Suite



Hyatt is just in time for 2010 World Cup

Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort & Spa opened in Herold’s Bay, George, South Africa. The resort features South Africa’s first Ernie Els designed golf course. The hotel location is on the Garden Route, an upscale beach resort location on the Western Cape between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Hyatt Regency Oubaai website link


Hilton Sneak peek at the Q1 2010 promotion for free nights (Best HHonors promo in a long time)

HamptonInsider on FlyerTalk says HHonors will offer a free hotel night after every 4 stays or 10 nights from January 5through March 31, 2010. Free night is said to include all high category hotels. No further details yet.

HHonors has also just signed up with Virgin America as an airline partner. Earn 250 Elevate points per hotel stay or 50 Elevate points for Hampton Inn or Homewood Suites.


Marriott Rewards Insiders

Marriott Rewards has a social community forum Marriott Rewards Insiders. I find the site contains favorable user generated content. Along with Priority Club Connect,  I think these hotel social forums offer some valuable insight and tips on the hotel loyalty programs and hotel properties for members. Interacting with other members is more valuable to me than reading packaged content primarily from hotel staffers and SPG members selected by to be a core group of experts.

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 in 2008.

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  1. I must have missed that great earthquake of 2006. Maybe I was out of town 😉

    I never really knew about, which in a way I take as a sign that they spent a lot of money without really getting a lot of traction. Searching “hotel reviews” on Google returns them on the second page somewhere in the middle (I would have never gone to the 2nd page if I wasn’t specifically looking for them). Looking at a hotel I just the other day booked for an upcoming weekend getaway to Hawaii, I did find them quite useful. It would be sad to see them go under, but the cost of creating the content must be huge in comparison to, say, tripadvisor (different model, I know…).

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