Eye-Opening 2016-01-31T19:41:46-08:00

Mr. Widzer,

I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that your Passport to Luxury Travel book has completely changed my outlook on travel. Thanks to your advice, I will be earning Platinum level status in just two trips (AA challenge) and plan on enjoying that status as I travel around the country and the world in the upcoming months. I have also enrolled in the HHonors and Starwood programs and picked up a miles-earning credit card.

While I am confident that I have the airline travel component figured out, getting the best hotel values seems to be a lot more complicated. As I mentioned before, I am putting together an around-the-world trip. I intend to keep track of my adventures with a website full of pictures and stories. However, unlike the travel journals that I have seen on the internet—where the travelers write about sleeping in chicken coops and whatnot—I want to document a trip that includes staying at the finest hotels of the world. When I am negotiating hotel rates, is it worth bringing up the free advertising that these properties would get from the website or should I just stick with the original strategies outlined in your book?

The first place that I want to try is the Hilton in Auckland, NZ. I think I have found out the name of the General Manager(John Ingram) and will be writing him an email (should I call instead?). I will be there in August, which is winter in New Zealand, so I am hoping that this will help me to get a more reasonable rate. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for your eye-opening book,

Christopher Loomis


edited question

Answered by The Penny Pincher

Hi Christopher,

To begin with, thank you for your kind comments. You are on the right track with gaining elite status, and using the right credit cards to promote your loyalty and earning further opportunities.

It also sounds like you are off on a wonderful trip.

I have a few recommendations for how to approach hotels and other travel providers about your online journal. Bear in mind that all sorts of people represent themselves as alleged travel writers or having some connection to the travel industry in hopes of getting a free deal or better hotel room. Most travel writers travel unidentified unless they are on an official project or press junket. With this said contact the managers of each hotels and tell them your plans without making any grandiose claims of promoting their properties to the world.

To me you are undertaking a legitimate and worthwhile project that will highlight (albeit on a smaller scale) the properties you have visited. As any marketer knows the best form of advertising is word of mouth, and this is what you are offering.

Also offer to pay at least the lowest available rate on their web site, but ask for an upgrade (if available) on your arrival. The manager or his assistant will make a notation in your record and this will give you upgrading leverage when you check-in.

Let me know how your trip goes and send me your web link.

All the best,