Monday, August 30, 2010

Honor me

I arrived at my hotel, motel, Holiday Inn (false) late Monday night. For some reason, most Los Angeles hotels require that you use their valet service if you plan on keeping a motorized vehicle at their facility. God forbid you don't get charged enough money. Seriously... God forbids it... I asked him.

The hotel was.. mediocre. For $185 dollars a night (includes state tax, lodging tax, tax tax, water tax, and idiot tax), I was underwhelmed. The room was... fine. Nothing special about it. The bathroom was clean, but had stains and weird rust on the ceiling of the shower. The bed was comfortable enough for me to sleep in. The television did sport high definition channels, which was a plus. The room lacked enough plugs to plug in all of my excellent computational electronic devices. The restaurant and room service closed at a pathetic 10pm. However, the lobby did have a sort of fake Starbucks.

So, as I said, it was pleasantly mediocre, like health food, the new Droid phone, or Canadians. One thing that made me laugh was this sign.

However, something incredible occurred during my hotel stay this time 'round. I was upgraded to Hilton Honors VIP Gold. BOOOOYAAAAAA

Just so you know, reaching Gold status requires either 16 stays or 36 nights, whichever happens first. I have stayed exactly 36 nights. I shall be receiving a little gold card with my membership number on it. This card is highly functional. You never know when the internet will randomly stop working and you'll need your membership number embroidered onto a gold card...and fast.

Here are some of the benefits Gold members receive taken directly from the Hilton website:

My Way On-Property VIP benefits welcome Gold VIPs at Hilton Worldwide hotels. Choose from high-speed internet access, space-available room upgrades, and other great options. Your choices at each brand are listed below.

Learn about our updated Executive Lounge access policy for Gold and Diamond VIPs.

Sign in as a Gold VIP member to pre-select your preferences by hotel brand at select properties.

At Hilton®, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts and Doubletree®, choose from:

  • A space-available room upgrade, including breakfast.**
    You will be upgraded to an Executive Floor room (where/when available) at time of check-in. If an Executive Floor room is unavailable, you will be upgraded to the next best available room from the room type booked. Upgrades exclude suites, villas and specialty accommodations. At hotels with Executive Floor lounges, if an Executive Floor room upgrade is available, you will also receive access to the lounge. In addition, you will receive complimentary Continental breakfast for you and up to one additional registered hotel guest each day of your stay.
  • Enjoy complimentary high-speed internet access, each day of your stay.
    At hotels that already offer a choice of a standard or higher-speed connection, you will receive access to the higher-speed connection at no cost. If a hotel does not offer high-speed internet connectivity, simply choose another option.
  • Earn 1,000 Hilton HHonors® bonus points per stay.
    A great way to maximize your points earnings.

** Executive Lounge Access Policy

If you select a space-available room upgrade as your on-property VIP benefit, the following policy will apply at all Hilton®, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts and Doubletree® hotels:

If you are a Gold VIP, you'll be given access to the Executive Floor lounge when you receive a room upgrade to the Executive Floor. If an Executive Floor room upgrade is unavailable, you'll still receive daily complimentary Continental breakfast in lieu of lounge access.

If you are a Diamond VIP, you'll enjoy access to the Executive Floor lounge, even if you don't receive a room upgrade to the Executive Floor, including daily complimentary Continental breakfast.

At hotels without Executive Floor lounges, Gold and Diamond VIPs will receive complimentary Continental breakfast for themselves and up to one additional registered hotel guest each day. If breakfast is included in the room rate, you'll receive an alternate welcome amenity that varies by hotel.

The list goes on. For those of you wondering, the VIP Diamond is the next tier up. I will not be reaching that tier. It requires that you:

A) Stay 28 times, or 60 nights
B) Drip your own blood upon an inverted pentagram tattooed unwillingly onto the back of a helpless child
C) Have successfully sued the concept of fairness, and won at least $40 million
D) Can speak ancient, dead languages such as Evil-Latin and French
E) Have been responsible for starting at least 2 international military incidents

I guess the requirements aren't too harsh. I know a fellow business traveler who travels 200 days out of the year. He has the 100,000 mile status on multiple airlines, and top tier status at two or three hotel and rental car chains. He is a god, I forgot to mention. I think the god of thunder and lightning, specifically.

I have stayed on the executive level a couple of times before, and here is what you should know. The executive level only exists in actual Hiltons. So, if you are staying at a Hampton Inn, you won't see it. If there is no executive level, you will receive nothing for being a Gold member, except for occasionally some free bottled water.

Some other things I have received because of my status:

1) At the Hilton Las Vegas (avoid this hotel if at all possible), I was able to access the gym for free. Non-members must pay an outrageous $20 per day for gym access.

2) Slightly discounted rate on valet parking at the Hilton Pasadena

3) Sometimes there will be a separate line for VIP members, however, the only hotel I have ever seen that actually honored it was the Las Vegas Hilton, which as I mentioned above, you should avoid unless you are a zombie or something and can't think straight

If the hotel you are staying in has multiple types of room in a range of luxury, you certainly can expect an upgrade once in a while. I have yet to experience this personally but I also have only just achieved Gold status (see entire post above for more information). I will certainly report back to all of you on any excellenties™ I receive because of my status going forward as a shiny Gold member.

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