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Monday, February 16, 2015

Grand Rapids, Michigan / JW Marriott Grand Rapids

February 2015, Weekend, 1-night, King concierge guestroom 2311

The JW Marriott is my favorite hotel in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am no longer traveling for work, so we decided to enjoy one last stay at the hotel before I lost my Gold status. Here are links to reviews of some of our other stays: March 2014, September 2012, April 2011, and February 2011.

view from guestroom

Gold perks and check-in

A couple of days before our stay, I looked up my reservation online and saw that we had been upgraded to a concierge city view guestroom. When we arrived around 2:30 p.m., our room was ready. I needed to show my AAA card for the AAA rate we had booked, which I did not recall doing before. This was not a problem for me since I always carry my card with me.

My experience this visit was similar to previous stays. All employees were professional and gracious. The front desk agent walked to the lobby to hand me my key packet after check-in was complete. The next day, we were granted late checkout when I called to ask about this.

Guestroom 2311

This is the same guestroom we stayed in March 2014 and September 2012.

Friday, February 6, 2015

You Don't Ask, You Don't Get!

I have often thought about publishing a book with the title You Don't Ask, You Don't Get! I have learned a lot in my 15 years of traveling, and I always like to share my ideas and experiences. Asking for an upgrade or something extra is often a necessary first step to receiving it, although I think there are many aspects to obtaining an upgrade or extra perks.

Today, I am sharing an often overlooked detail, which many may consider unimportant. I think that every piece of information is just as important as taking the initiative to ask.

Pay attention to what is going on around you. Here are a few examples of experiences I have had, and things I learned by paying attention.

Around the year 2000 – Traverse City, Michigan

I was waiting to check-in behind another guest who had walked in without a reservation. It was dinner/evening time, and I observed the guest doing some quiet negotiating. I easily overheard the guestroom rate he was given, which was about $10 - $15 less than the rate I had booked. When I got to the counter, I said, “I heard he just got his room for $XX. Can I get that rate, too?” The front desk agent looked up my reservation, and then lowered my rate to match what I had overheard.

Lesson learned: Be aware of your surroundings, and do not be afraid to ask!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Muskegon, Michigan / Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor

January 2015, Weekend, 1-night, Queen guestroom #711

Status perks and check-in

We arrived at the Muskegon Harbor Holiday Inn between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. The front desk agent recognized my Platinum status and offered me 500 bonus points or an on property perk: a bottle of water, snack, or drink in the bar. I accepted the bonus points, which posted to my account immediately. I had reserved two queen beds, because the cost for a king room was more. We prefer a king bed; however, since the two-bedded rooms were queen size rather than double beds, the room type we had reserved was also acceptable. My IHG profile preferences are king bed executive room. This hotel does not have an executive floor.

Even though this hotel was not very full, I did not receive an upgrade to a king guestroom, and the agent lied to me when I inquired about this. Instead of saying she could not give me an upgrade (or something similar), she told me that the hotel was "sold-out." I knew the hotel was not sold-out, although I did not question her other then to say, "Hmm, really."

Guestrooms available at the time of check-in
We stayed in this hotel January 31st, and I have included a screen shot showing that every room type was still available after we got to our guestroom: queen rooms, king rooms (listed two different ways), standard rooms, and 4 king jacuzzi rooms. Clicking on the photo above will enlarge it, and the date and time I checked the website and took the screen shots are visible.