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Secret Societies
http://www.washingtonpost.com ^ | Nov 4,2008 | By Joe Brancatelli

Posted on 11/16/2008 5:56:48 PM PST by Maelstorm

A few years ago, I dragged my carcass into a swanky Hawaiian resort, presented my credit card, and watched the front desk clerk turn ashen after entering a few keystrokes into her terminal.

"Who are you?" she asked.

Confused and exhausted after more than 20 hours of flying from London, I answered prosaically: "Joe Brancatelli." Then I tried a lame joke: "It's a common Hawaiian name."

"No, I mean, who are you?" she repeated before turning her monitor toward me and pointing to my guest profile.

Next to my name were six V's in front of V.I.P., about a dozen stars and the capitalized notation: "Maximum upgrade. Triple-A amenity. Alert G.M. and P.R. on arrival."

"I've never seen that," said the clerk. "You must be one important guy."

Obviously, I ain't. But I certainly didn't complain about the gigantic oceanfront suite or the cornucopia of fruit, flowers, chocolates, cookies, and red wine. The ultra-deluxe treatment was a perk from the hotel's public-relations woman, an old friend who'd convinced me to fly halfway around the world on short notice to give a speech.

You and I don't normally get V.V.V.V.V.V.V.I.P. attention. Only a select few rate: Celebrities, politicians, royalty, financial masters of the universe -- and the ultra-frequent travelers who are ushered into the unpublished, unpublicized, hush-hush secret societies operated by the airlines, hotels, and car-rental companies.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Travel
KEYWORDS: 1k; hertz; platinum; united
An interesting story for frequent travelers. I finally got invited to Hertz Platinum which I'm looking forward to taking advantage of over the next year. Anyone have any good travel stories?
1 posted on 11/16/2008 5:56:48 PM PST by Maelstorm
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To: Maelstorm
None other than being surprised 3 weeks ago at getting an overseas upgrade into Business from NWA, who used to only upgrade on domestic flights. I was Gold when we took off, but Platinum upon landing at Schiphol.

Business was nice and I even slept on the plane (which I never can do in steerage) -- but that totally messed up my usual routine for getting on local time the following day, and I paid for that.

2 posted on 11/16/2008 6:05:10 PM PST by sionnsar (Iran Azadi|5yst3m 0wn3d-it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY)|http://trad-anglican.faithweb.com/|RCongressIn2Years)
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To: Maelstorm

I got upgraded to first class and my supervisor had to stay in coach during several weekly flights we made together!


3 posted on 11/16/2008 6:05:51 PM PST by Nonperson (Live Free or Die!)
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To: Maelstorm
I'm Platinum at my usual airline and Platinum at my usual hotel this year.

It sucks.

Not the perks... it's the amount of time I spent away from home to earn them this year.

4 posted on 11/16/2008 6:09:51 PM PST by justlurking (The only remedy for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.)
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To: Maelstorm

Well I flew a lot so the TSA screeners finally started using some vaseline on the rubber glove.


5 posted on 11/16/2008 6:10:39 PM PST by driftdiver (No More Obama! - The corruption has not changed despite all our hopes.)
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To: Maelstorm

....SSShht! I tried that, didn’t work for me...


6 posted on 11/16/2008 6:11:02 PM PST by gargoyle (..."If this be treason, make the most of it.". Patrick Henry...)
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To: Maelstorm
I was traveling across the U.S. Delta bumped me up to First Class. While I was waiting to board, a young mother told me her two children wanted to get a photo with me.

I believe the treatment was due to my appearance. I was returning home from a deployment and wearing desert BDUs.

7 posted on 11/16/2008 6:12:28 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Grizzled Bear
I believe the treatment was due to my appearance. I was returning home from a deployment and wearing desert BDUs.

Some of the airlines will admit active military to their club if you show a copy of your deployment orders (DD-24 sound right?).

I've bought a meal for people in uniform several times while waiting in an airport. I just ask the server to add their bill to mine.

8 posted on 11/16/2008 6:16:26 PM PST by justlurking (The only remedy for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.)
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To: justlurking

Yeah the time away from home sucks but for me it has balanced out. I usually have about 3 months off a year but I travel a lot. The first year was the most difficult but it has really normalized. The perks for me are about making the traveling as comfortable as possible. Also it is nice to have no arguments when a flight is delayed or canceled and always to be certain of a hotel a paid dinner when sometime goes wrong. Bypassing the line is also priceless.

United 1k is the best I’ve discovered. I almost always get what I want. Also I don’t have to pay any pesky baggage fees, get all kinds of free upgrades and free adult beverages. Also the miles rack up. I was able to take my family of four to California for the price of one ticket which is something I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

I don’t know about you but I’ve found that treating those who wait on you with respect and dropping a few lines to commend those who do a good job for you is a good way to win some perks that you wouldn’t usually get. Especially when you have a long term contract.


9 posted on 11/16/2008 6:23:32 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: Grizzled Bear

That is great. It is good to see our Military treated with respect.


10 posted on 11/16/2008 6:25:08 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: Maelstorm

currently:
President’s Circle - Hertz
Executive Platinum - AA (1.5 million miles, 200,000 this year)
Platinum Premier (not Elite — Premier) - Marriott

Do *I* have travel stories.

I didn’t know Hertz had a Platinum level — holding out on me, are they?


11 posted on 11/16/2008 6:26:37 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Der neuen Fuhrer: AKA the Murdering Messiah: Keep your power dry, folks)
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To: Maelstorm

I have a Home Depot Platinum Card. They upgrade me from warped 2x4’s to straight ones.


12 posted on 11/16/2008 6:30:18 PM PST by smokingfrog (If it's to be a bloodbath, let it be now. Appeasement is not the answer. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: Maelstorm

The brown dog barks at midnight but the canary doesn’t sing.


13 posted on 11/16/2008 6:32:19 PM PST by cripplecreek (The poor bastards have us surrounded.)
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To: Maelstorm

And here I was hoping for robes, rituals, conspiracy, and... MURDER! ;)

(Ref. Psych)


14 posted on 11/16/2008 6:33:20 PM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Maelstorm
Just got back. TWO weeks at Amsterdam Marriot, total work time 2 1/2 days. One-half day of work, two days of business dining and acting professional. Nice.
15 posted on 11/16/2008 6:33:38 PM PST by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: Maelstorm

I just read the article (sometimes I do that).

I am pretty sure Platinum Premier is one of the non-published levels.

I usually get high service, frequently the Hotel GM calls me when I first show up at a Marriott property I don’t usually stay at.

And of course other perks.


16 posted on 11/16/2008 6:35:01 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Der neuen Fuhrer: AKA the Murdering Messiah: Keep your power dry, folks)
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To: Maelstorm

>I don’t know about you but I’ve found that treating those who wait on you with respect and dropping a few lines to commend those who do a good job for you is a good way to win some perks that you wouldn’t usually get.

A long time ago, there was something called courtesy, which that sounds a lot like.

Also, have you noticed it’s a lot easier to berate someone for poor service than commend them for excellent service? (Human nature, I think.)


17 posted on 11/16/2008 6:37:40 PM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Maelstorm
LOL The class of hotel I usually frequent in SEA gives me VIP treatment because I always pay my bill and tip the bell captain. The only stars they have are tones hidden by the smog.

Cheap and clean is the best I can hope for.

18 posted on 11/16/2008 6:42:12 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: Maelstorm
I used to travel all over the world when I was working in Hollywood, so apparently I had accumulated enough ‘clout’ to warrant special treatment, unbeknownst to me. I decided to take time off and go to the Ritz on Maui and invited my boyfriend at the time. From the moment we were upgraded to First Class, met at the airport with a fancypants limo to our fancypants room my boyfriend kept being addressed as Mr. -my last name-. LMAO! Poor thing endured that for 12 days....but had a sense of humor about it....

A couple months later, we went to Vegas on R&R and were staying at Ceasars. We landed at the airport and one of those drivers with a sign was standing there with my name on it. Again...my boyfriend was called Mr. -my last name-....and once we got to the hotel....forget it!!!! HAHAHA!

I am out out of the biz now so I travel like everyone else....

19 posted on 11/16/2008 6:50:12 PM PST by BossLady (Whether its muslim wives or an Obama Presidency - NO MORE THAN 4!!!!!)
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To: Maelstorm
Every time I flew in uniform (except for USAF aircraft, of course) I was upgraded to first class. I never asked why, because I didn't want to screw it up. Korean Airlines was the best ... I just had to think of something, and two stewardesses would appear.
20 posted on 11/16/2008 7:07:02 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Barack Obama: In Error and arrogant -- he's errogant!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Just read your tagline.

Consider yourself *highly* commended, sir.

(And thanks for your service: you are now a PREMIUM Freeper!)

21 posted on 11/16/2008 7:13:48 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Maelstorm
I have a family member who is a high executive with a well-known luxury hotel chain, and a friend who runs a dozen of the fanciest hotels in Mexico, so I'm used to this treatment. It's pretty fun to show up in flips flops and a Hawaiian shirt, driving a 19 dollar a day rental car, and get to your room three bedroom suite to find a big basket of fruit and cheese and chocolates and champagne waiting for you.
22 posted on 11/16/2008 7:14:24 PM PST by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You were lucky! I still haven’t been upgraded from “drywall” to “aluminum”. I still have to load the baggage hold and provide MY OWN parachute for deplaning!


23 posted on 11/16/2008 7:27:11 PM PST by Boiling point (If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.)
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To: justlurking
I've bought a meal for people in uniform several times while waiting in an airport. I just ask the server to add their bill to mine.

I love doing this. No cop, fireman, or serviceman in uniform pays for food or drink when I'm in the house.

24 posted on 11/16/2008 7:28:56 PM PST by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: smokingfrog

rofl!

So you’re the reason all the straight 2x’s are gone?

And I’m betting you took all the good cinder blocks, too. Am I right?

Yeah, I thought so.


25 posted on 11/16/2008 7:34:27 PM PST by justkate
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To: ccmay

Now that is the life! I’ve never been to Mexico. I’ll have to do it sometime.


26 posted on 11/16/2008 7:36:08 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’d certainly give up a first class seat for someone in uniform. It sure is nice when you have accommodating stewardesses. :-)


27 posted on 11/16/2008 7:38:24 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: Nonperson

That is always great. Most of my supervisors travel as much or more than I do. What I do find out is not everyone knows how to maximize their perks. Also I’ve found that a lot can be accomplished by just asking. There is nothing so sweet as getting upgraded to an executive suite.


28 posted on 11/16/2008 7:43:36 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: driftdiver

I don’t like the screening much but I’ve found the best way to avoid it is to make sure you avoid having to switch airlines. It is a surefire guarantee that when you do you will get the dreaded SSSS code on your ticket. The most I’ve gotten is a couple pat downs by a big security dude.


29 posted on 11/16/2008 7:47:38 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: BossLady

Now that is a good story! Poor guy. ;-) I’m hoping to get my million miles lifetime status before I call it quits. I don’t imagine traveling too much less though. Even once I reach the point where I’m traveling less for work I’ll be wanting to travel with family. There is just so much more to see and do.


30 posted on 11/16/2008 7:59:09 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: OneWingedShark

Yeah that is the truth. I used to be on the other side of the counter but even if I didn’t have that perspective I was raised to be courteous sometimes to a fault. I try to be fair, when I receive good service I make sure to take the time to write a complimentary email and if I think there is room for improvement I write that but make sure to point out the positives. Most of the time the service industry will make things right if you are simply polite.


31 posted on 11/16/2008 8:02:54 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: JimSEA

Now that is some service. :-)


32 posted on 11/16/2008 8:03:41 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: loungitude

Yeah I had a couple weeks in Scotland. Most nights in the pub and fine dining. Can’t beat that kind of work!


33 posted on 11/16/2008 8:05:04 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: OneWingedShark

Yeah that is one reason I posted it. I wanted to draw in the Alex Jones crowd. :-)


34 posted on 11/16/2008 8:08:34 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: cripplecreek
Afghanistan Banana Stand
35 posted on 11/16/2008 8:31:52 PM PST by Hoosier-Daddy ("It does no good to be a super power if you have to worry what the neighbors think." BuffaloJack)
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To: Chode; TheLion; AxelPaulsenJr; jimt; Eric in the Ozarks; oldtimer; pt17; MeanWestTexan; hershey; ...
Gee Whiz! We've been upstaged! ;-)


36 posted on 11/16/2008 8:33:37 PM PST by uglybiker (1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d 2 g3t l41d)
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To: Maelstorm

My chances for entry to any of those “clubs” are nil. :)


37 posted on 11/16/2008 8:50:52 PM PST by GVnana ("I once dressed as Tina Fey for Halloween." - Sarah Palin)
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To: Maelstorm
WOW!!! Million Mile Club!!! Impressive!
38 posted on 11/16/2008 10:31:30 PM PST by BossLady (Whether its muslim wives or an Obama Presidency - NO MORE THAN 4!!!!!)
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To: Maelstorm

My mail came faster.


39 posted on 11/17/2008 8:12:37 AM PST by egannacht
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To: Maelstorm

Bills pile up faster because the mail comes faster.

Is that a perk?


40 posted on 11/17/2008 8:16:24 AM PST by egannacht
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