...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

World of Hyatt suite upgrades need some work

Earlier this month Hyatt rolled out its new loyalty program called World of Hyatt.  At the time they touted this as an upgrade to an already existing loyalty program that would enhance benefits for members.

For those members staying at least 60 nights the benefits are fairly robust including the ability to receive unlimited suite upgrades on checkin (based on availability).  For others at that level (or Diamond members who were grandfathered in the first year) four suite upgrades are also available for use ahead of time.  Gone are the 1000 point Diamond welcome amenity as well as the ability to qualify based on stays.

Hyatt still has work to do in my opinion with this entire new system, especially the ability to use suite upgrades ahead of a stay.

Over the weekend I made my first attempt to confirm an upgrade for an upcoming stay I have at a Park Hyatt property, and the experience itself was less than stellar and took three calls.  My first call to new World of Hyatt number was answered by a lady who was clearly upset about something and extremely short in her responses - a shock since every agent I've interacted with up to this point has been extremely professional.  When I asked to confirm the upgrade, I was put on hold for five minutes abruptly and then told it would be taken care of.  I asked for an email confirmation and was assured I would receive one.

After 24 hours and no confirmation, I called again and talked to a different agent.  Apparently the new system is difficult to use/navigate and agents are increasingly finding it difficult to help customers with no help from the Hyatt team.  She confirmed that the suite upgrade had been processed in the notes but was concerned about the missing notifications and said "the system is completely different" and they were still tweaking things.  In addition the changes to upgrades would mean no notification of confirmation as had been in the past.  She said she would try resending.

I did receive the second try but the email itself was incorrect - it said "change" at the top but only confirmed my initial reservation and not the upgrade. Clearly they have form work to do in their notification system.  Not only that but upon checking my account I had two suite upgrades deducted instead of one.  That required a third call to an agent to get one returned which was successful.

Hyatt, clearly you have work to do.  How about working to improve your notification system so that upgrades do not require a phone call to confirm?  You're risking a negative impact to your existing relationships with your most loyal customers by not having a program system in place to correctly handle these changes.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Upcoming trip: treating mom!

Back in 2013, I had an opportunity to take my dad to Norway and we really enjoyed exploring Oslo - I'm hoping someday I can get back to do more work on family genealogy.  When I had planned that first trip I also knew that I would do a similar trip for mom.

Well...very soon I will be back on the road with mom on a trip to Switzerland!  Seeing the Alps was one of the things she wanted to do so we'll be visiting the Bernese Alps region and a few other places along the way.  As in the previous trip, I was able to use all miles for mom's tickets and found a matching itinerary for myself that had good value.  We'll be flying United on the way over though mom will be connecting through O'hare on American to get to Newark.

I have some writing to complete before we leave, though with a 4/7 deadline it will be wrapped before we take off.

Looking forward to the fun!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Winners of United Miles Giveaway

Have you ever received the emails from various airlines running promotions for miles giveaways and wondered "does anyone ever really win these things"?  A recent United giveaway made me think this same thought and after clicking on my submission, also encourage me to seek out the terms and conditions.  All of these giveaways offer you the chance to see the winners list though I've never asked for one...until now.

If you're at all curious and happened to sign up for United's Billion Mile giveaway, here is the list:

Unfortunately, I was not a winner...

Friday, March 3, 2017

No longer three beeps but one…

I enjoy traveling and over the last number of years have taken advantage of the opportunity to fly to numerous countries around the world.  One thing that has helped me immensely has been using Global Entry.  It allows for Pre-Check when flying domestically and the easy use of global entry kiosks when flying back into the United States.  During domestic travel, one of the easiest (and early) ways to know that my global entry/pre-check notation was correct on my boarding pass was the sound of three beeps when the pass was scanned by TSA.  Though it appears something has changed.  At least, I think it has.

Over the last bunch of months while traveling (and using Pre-Check) there has been an interesting adjustment.  Instead of three beeps, the machine at the TSA checkpoint is now only beeping one time before I’m waved through.  Normally I wouldn’t notice this type of change but I’ve seen some curious facial expressions now from several TSA agents during my last few flights after the single beep.  In fact, they all curiously read whatever is being shown on the box and then wave me through (usually faster than others they are checking).  

Maybe I’ve missed something in the course of all my travel work, but does anyone have an idea about what this change might be?  Have I been put on some alternative travel list?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Already March...and Lent

I apologize for the length of time between posts – this semester so far has been one of the busiest I can remember.  Between normal work and other travel in between, I’ve also been working on several education initiatives and teaching opportunities.  In fact, I just returned from an Ivy+ meeting at Stanford where my group completed its second meeting.  I’m grateful that there has been such excitement among my colleagues from the other institutions about our work to support faculty, students, teaching, and learning.   

More posts to come!