Club Carlson Confusion

UPDATE 5/19: Club Carlson has done the right thing! According to Radisson’s Facebook page, existing reservations WILL BE ELIGIBLE for the promotion! This is exactly how the situation should be handled. Kudos to Club Carlson’s marketing department! Thanks to Jeff the Wanderer for the tip-off.

As you may have read on Mommy PointLoyalty Traveler, and Deals We Like, there are some major issues with the handling of these free night promotions. The gist of the story is that a Club Carlson Facebook representative confirmed, 5 days before the promotion went live, that existing reservations would be eligible for the promotion. However, after the promotion went live on 5/15, Club Carlson then stated that existing reservations would NOT be eligible.

Here is the screenshot that I luckily saved from their page. They since edited or took down what you see in the capture.

This is obviously a problem for people who took the word of the Club Carlson rep on Facebook and booked non-refundable reservations. If this reversal stays true, then these people are basically s*** out of luck.

This is just poor form on the company’s part. They explicitly told their FB followers one thing and then turned around and stated another. Now, all their social media fronts are either ignoring any questions on the subject or replying with generic “Please see our terms & conditions” response.

Sure, this could be a mistake. Maybe whoever was in charge of the FB page was wrong regarding that part of the promotion. However, instead of clarifying immediately and making another announcement about existing reservations, the post was just deleted and ignored. That’s a terrible way to handle a promotion.

So, if you are participating in this promotion, let Club Carlson know what you think of this dishonesty – Facebook pageClub Carlson TwitterRadisson Twitter.

Club Carlson, we are asking you to do what’s right and stand behind the integrity of your company. This should not have played out like this…

Review: routehappy.com

When you want to find out which restaurants are good, do you use Yelp? When you want to find out which hotel to stay at, do you hit up Trip Advisor? You’re probably the type of person to use routehappy.com. This is a new website that is currently in public beta.

If you’re a traveler conscious about their quality of travel, routehappy can be pretty valuable. You can sort through reviews with several different criteria – the actual flight number, city pairs, or just search a particular airlines’ reviews. Want to know how United is doing since the merger? Search for it and sort by date. I know that I want the best possible  experience when I fly so I utilize this part of routehappy often. When booking award trips for friends and family, I want to know the highest reviewed routes and book those flights. I want to know what airlines to avoid and how I can get to the quickest security checkpoint.

Also, if you’re an avid reviewer like me, you will love this site. You can review the departure airport, the flight itself, the arrival airport, and everything in between. You can leave tips or warnings for future passengers (this part is helpful to everyone). And like so many new websites these days, there is a social aspect to routehappy. Points and badges are given for writing reviews and also if people find your reviews “Useful” or “Amusing”. It’s this kind of foursquare-esque interaction that keeps me interested and wanting to contribute to the site more.

Overall, I just wanted to give my quick opinion on the startup routehappy.com. I encourage you to contribute so knowledge about flight experiences will spread, but if not, at least use it to know what things to avoid when flying! You can see my routehappy flight reviews here.

Frequent Traveler University

What a great end to a busy week in the travel world! I had some wonderful experiences that really make you realize how awesome the travel community really is. I already wrote about Thursday’s 2012 Freddie Awards and they were a blast. On Friday, Randy Petersen hosted a Travel Executive Summit. It was a moderated discussion among top executives from some major loyalty programs in the travel industry. Some topics that were discussed were using points as currency (boo!) and what makes hotel loyalty programs tick.

And then we come to the highlight of the weekend, Frequent Traveler University. At $99 for 2 days of sessions (including lunch), this is an event worth attending. There is content for beginners and experts alike. Everyone in the miles and points community is super friendly and you can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. If you don’t learn at least ONE thing this weekend about miles and points, then you just aren’t listening.

I won’t go into detail about each session because 1) you should go yourself and 2) in my opinion, there was no crazy groundbreaking info shared. I will say that this was an amazing event and totally worth it. There is so much information on the Internet and the forums, but these seminars really explain that data in easy to understand ways. Moreover, just the coming together of so many passionate minds is an invaluable experience. There were some great giveaways, some even donated by generous milepoint members, and even a new iPad was raffled off. I won a bottle of wine! Probably for the best because I was one of the few that drove. I can’t imagine all these savvy frequent flyers checked any bags. All net proceeds went to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

If your’e interested in attending one of these things, Tommy announced that there will be another FTU in Los Angeles from Dec. 7-9 and the Chicago Seminars still have seats available. Don’t hesitate! I had so much fun this weekend that I hope I can attend another one!

Special thanks for FTU goes to Randy, Tommy, Ed, BrianGaryDaraiusSummerSeth, and everyone that made this event possible! 

My Experience at the 2012 Freddie Awards

As you may know, the 2012 Freddie Awards took place last night. I was graciously chosen by The Points Guy to attend the Freddies as his guest. It was a fun night of laughs and travel talk. This was my first event since really getting serious in the travel game and, I must say, it was a blast. Here’s how the night went.

Happy Hour

This was probably one of the better parts of the evening. Free booze and industry folk! I spoke with a lot of different people from those working in the industry to bloggers with regular day jobs like myself. It got really loud as the cocktail hour came to a close but that just shows how passionate people are about travel (and free drinks).

Awards Ceremony

Hosted by Randy Petersen himself and actor/comedian Robert Wuhl, the ceremony got off to a slow start by handing out, what I would call, honorary Freddies to the sponsors – American Express, Swift Exchange, Priority Pass, etc.

Sitting at the TPG table was great. The TPG team is super friendly; along with Brian, there was Danielle, Eric, and Ryan the intern.  There were jokes being cracked and extra wine being procured (right, Jeff?).

TPG Table. Photo credit - @JeffTheWanderer

After a short break, the good stuff started and just flew by. Big winners for the evening were Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards in the hotel sector. Lufthansa, American Airlines, and Jet Airways took home the most honors in the airline indsutry.

For a complete list of the results, check out TPG’s post.

Afterwards

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend the after party that took place in the hotel bar and spilled out into the lobby where the Renaissance smartly set up a makeshift bar. I had work the next day so I had to save my energy for that and the rest of this travel-filled weekend.

Overall

This was a very cool event to be a part of. While the chatting with fellow bloggers and travel industry folk was more interesting than the actual awards themselves, I am still impressed with the whole production that Randy Petersen and crew come up with. It was a great night and a great start to this travel-centric weekend in hometown Jersey. Thanks again for the invite, Brian!

Stay tuned for a review of Frequent Traveler University, which goes down this Saturday & Sunday!

I’m Going to the Freddies!

The 2012 Freddies will be held on Thursday, April 26, at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel. Thanks to The Points Guy, I will be one of the lucky few in attendance!

Originally introduced by Randy Petersen in 1988, the Freddie Awards were the first to bestow honors based on loyalty program member votes. The famously obelisk shaped crystal awards, utilized by many airline and hotel programs in their advertising, were hand delivered to the recipients by Petersen himself until 1998, when the first Freddie Award ceremony was held in New York City.

I’m excited to go and see several major travel bloggers, airline and hotel executives, and the Godfather himself, Randy Petersen. I’ll definitely be taking a lot of photos and will also be live tweeting from the event. Follow me @THEinfamousdx for all the latest updates!

Next week will be a great week for travel events. The Freddies on Thursday, Randy Petersen’s Executive Travel Summit on Friday, and then Frequent Traveler University on Saturday and Sunday. Looking forward to meeting fellow miles/points junkies and learning a lot.