The secret to a life lived well on the road are the perks accumulated as a result of frequency. Whether it is seat upgrades, bonus nights in hotels (redeemed for non-business travel, naturally), breakfast included, free wifi and the like, it makes an otherwise lonely existence worthwhile.
So imagine how crestfallen I was last week when I checked into my favorite Hampton Inn, and learned my lofty Hilton Honors status had taken a hit. The front desk clerk, who knows me by sight and name, looked up from her computer screen, and the gleam in her eye that usually shines extra bright for elite Honors members was dimmer than usual.
“You’re only Gold now?” she asked. “What happened?”
“It says you’re only Gold.” she said. “I thought you were Diamond.”
“I have no idea,” I said. “I certainly haven’t been traveling less.”
This week I called the Honors customer service hotline, and demanded to know the meaning of this.
“To keep your Diamond status, you needed to complete 28 trips with us last year,” the customer service representative said. “You only had 26.”
Busted! I knew immediately of two trips where I had strayed from the Hilton family. I had stayed at The Mansfield Hotel in New York City last spring and Fairmont Chicago in the fall, both while attending conferences. Two dalliances, and no more diamond: Quite a metaphor for life!
More sobering, though, might be that I was on the road more often than not over the last 52 weeks, because there were also a couple of vacation trips not included in those 28 hotel stays.
If I am going to be on the road more than half of the year, every one of those stays will count toward my reward status from now on. Hilton, ahoy, so long as I don’t become this guy: http://www.theupintheairmovie.com/#/video/4