The process for cancelling our hotel also required an exception. I had found a great pre-paid rate at a Sheraton not too far from Logan Airport. Knowing the rate was pre-paid and the rules associated with that rate, only the property could make the decision to allow me to cancel the reservation and not charge me for the night. I called up the Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Concierge and gave them the story. I indicated we wouldn’t be making the flight and would like the room cancelled. They indicated that the rate was pre-paid and would need to contact the property directly. I was placed on a brief hold and within 3 minutes had received confirmation that the room had been cancelled and I wouldn’t be charged. Again, top tier status pays off.
My last cancellation was with my rental car with Hertz. I’m not a top tier elite with Hertz, but rather just a #1 Club Gold. I don’t rent enough cars to make it anywhere near the top, and it was clear that Hertz wasn’t going to do a thing for me. I had booked a pre-paid rate direct through Hertz, and the customer service agent wouldn’t do a thing. No escalation, no request from a manager, no contacting the local office. I was within 24 hours of my scheduled pickup and it was either pay $53.73 (cost of my rental) or pay a $50 cancellation fee. I opted to deal with the $50 cancellation fee and will follow-up this week to see about getting a refund. Barring any success direct with Hertz I’ll go the route with disputing the charge with American Express. If businesses aren’t held liable in the case of a natural disaster how can a business hold the customer liable? I tried contating @Hertz on Twitter but got no where. They could certainly learn a thing or two from @DeltaAssist and @SPGInsider.
For this week I’m headed to the office in the US Capitol area, off to a meeting in Florida, and then a few meetings in New York. I’m flying Delta everywhere, and thanks to my ability to do Same-Day Confirmed changes for free I’ll have the flexibility to mix up my flights a bit from the (cheapest) ones that I booked. Some may think I abuse this benefit as I SDC on probably 30 to 40% of my flights, but it is a benefit and I’m just making use of it. What do you think?
For my visit to the office I’m staying at my Sheraton where I have a negotiated rate. When I go to Florida I’ll be staying with a co-worker at a Holiday Inn that I got for $49 on Hotwire. The best rate I could find at a place I *wanted* to stay at was $125. We got two rooms for less than that! And on my last leg, the visit to New York, I’ll stay with my brother in Queens and will take a cab in/out of Manhattan. The cab will be less than 1/2 the cost of a hotel room, and I get to spend a night with family; a big plus! I win and the company wins.
Travel Tip: Eat your vegetables.
Some of us have a hard enough time eating our vegetables at home and when it comes time to being on the road, forget it! I’m not going to try to be your mother (or your grandmother), but eat your vegetables. When we’re away from home we don’t have easy access to fresh food and often times are relegated to what can be found at an airport terminal or off the interstate. Sometimes you’ll luck out, but most of the options are processed foods by chain restaurants. And most of the time you’ll find something fried or microwaved. When you’re hungry you need to eat, and when you need to eat all of the rules about being healthy or making smart food choices are forgotten. Fresh / raw food is good fuel for your body and when you stress your body with travel you need to do whatever you can to keep yourself going. I’ll opt for a side of steamed veggies versus fries or chips if I go out to eat. I’ll get sushi/sashimi instead of the fried chicken. I’ll grab the salad without dressing instead of the bacon cheeseburger and an unsweet iced tea instead of a beer or a coke. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of these things. When I’m away from home, short on sleep, working long hours, and stressing my body beyond what I should I do what I can to keep it going. It works for me.
Packing Tip: Travel size can be cheaper.
Most of my travel is done on a plane, which means I have to abide by the 3-1-1 TSA rule. I never check a bag when on business, so I need to make sure I can fit my liquids in that quart-size bag. I do my travel size item purchasing at Target. They have all my wares at prices that work for me. While toothepaste, mouthwash, and shampoo are always more expensive in travel size I’ve found face and skin cleanser to actually be cheaper (by volume). Instead of buying a single bottle at 4.5oz and transferring contents to my travel size bottles, I’ll buy 5-1oz bottles where I’ll save $.50. Most importantly I’ll save the hassle of having to transfer product to the travel size container. Bigger volume doesn’t always mean better value.
Let me know of any tips you’ve got; I hope these can help you on your next trip.
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