I’m going to mileage hell

If there’s a mileage hell, it has a Priority AAccess carpet with my name on it. On Friday the 13th no less. So let me “repent.”

I… I… I… I drove somewhere this weekend. Like, in a car. I usually hate driving, which is why I avoid vacationing in Florida. I’d rather drive to the airport and fly somewhere than just drive somewhere.

This is a map I like to see while napping in a wide seat and not while driving:

On the plus side, I did have the world’s best co-pilot, Mr. Aich Ovee (it’s a long story, don’t ask):

While my final destination is the new St. Regis Bal Harbour courtesy of the Starwood American Express (you know what that means — I’ll be giving away 60,000 SPG points next week!), I decided to spend a couple of nights at the Westin Diplomat on the way down.

Gary is a fan of the hotel, as they have excellent elite recognition. As he writes:

But this hotel offers the very best Platinum elite treatment of any property, anywhere.

They have something like 86 suites in the upgrade pool, about three-quarters of which are “corner suites” — a bedroom and separate living room with small dining area and large bathroom. These suites have a wraparound balcony looking straight out at the Atlantic ocean, and to the side the ability to see the Intracoastal Waterway as well.

With this many suites, it’s the ‘default’ room for Platinums. The hotel’s reputation for giving Platinums suites is so strong that they’ve been known to send out emails to Platinums during high demand periods (like the week between Christmas and New Years) just to give them advance warning that they might not get a suite. When you’re that consistent, you do need to set expectations appropriately when you’re likely to deviate.

Of course as my luck would have it they’re out of suites this weekend, but I did nonetheless get a very nice Grand Deluxe room with a balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

And while I haven’t yet seen the club offerings, physically it’s one of the most beautiful club lounges I’ve ever seen.

Mileage Gods, forgive me. I promise my next trip will be by plane! Though driving isn’t nearly as bad as I thought either…

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest
  1. Do you not earn points/miles with your gas purchases? At least you are getting some miles that way instead of absolutely no miles.

  2. That is a lovely lounge! I didn’t realize they had a lounge. I’m so conflicted when I travel domestically, as I love the lounge access offered by Sheraton, but prefer the overall feel of Westin. Now I have the both of both worlds in South Florida!

  3. @ phraktur — Hah, I did use my Premier Rewards Gold card, which mitigated the pain ever so slightly.

  4. I stayed at a Westin Dallas this week. First time with SPG club access. I was unimpressed with the constant gratuity requests. How do you handle the lounge agents constantly wanting your autograph at SPG properties?

  5. I got married at the Diplomat last year. We had a bet going at the reception to see who would get drunk enough to try and use the water feature in the lobby (a big black block covered in water) as a slip-and-slide. Disappointed that no-one won the bet,..

  6. You know if you use 1,000 star points at a St Regis you get half off the room rate 🙂

  7. @ WebRobby — Funny you mention it, because I just Tweeted about this. In the club lounge they present these when you’re seated:

    I’ve actually never seen that in ANY club lounge before. Did they do that for you as well in Dallas?

  8. I don’t think Elmo actually counts as a passenger for the purpose of HOV lanes but you should do some research as Florida is a very strange place.

  9. @ Iain — ROFL!

    @ Usairelite — Sorry, whaddya mean? Are you talking about an SPG50 or something else? And if so, is the rack rate the same as the BAR?

  10. @ Usairelite — Right, though in my experience the rack rate is usually at least double the best available rate. Do you have different experiences? :p

  11. @ Usairelite — It looks nice on paper, though in my experience unfortunately the rack rate is typically more than double the best available rate.

  12. @ Papa Smurf — Not sure it really is that much faster. 45 minute drive to the airport, get there 45 minutes before departure, 60 minute block time, and 45 minutes from arrival time to getting to the hotel. That puts us up to 3hr15min, and it means I’d be in Miami without a car. Would rather drive the extra 45 minutes and have a car.

  13. @lucky – The Sheraton in San Juan, PR also did this every time we visited the club lounge. Was very distasteful in my opinion.

  14. When we were at the Sheraton Lima Club recently, we were asked to sign a computer-generated slip/check with 0 balance on it. We just needed to put in tip amount, room number, name, and sign it. Not the fancy card Westin handed out to you. We had to sign a slip when we asked for a bottled water, too. We just left cash instead.

    As for driving vs. flying, this sounds similar to LAS-LAX, although we normally would rent a car for $10/day from Hertz and get miles.

  15. Sheraton LAX does this, but i never fill it out. As Jimmy mentioned, Sheraton Lima does as well, which is an otherwise pretty good property

  16. I agree with the drive too. Only in Florida when you travel from one end to the other is about the same time you went from one airport to another. BTW, is Elmo trying to be the side seat driver or he’s trying to tell you to smile during your long drive? I can’t tell with his arm gesture.

  17. @Lucky. Yes, their cards are very similar – asking the same questions. The explanation provided by staff is often to “monitor the number of guests who enter the club” but of course they surely don’t need to know that in hotel management. It is awesome to be in a private room constantly getting asked for your autograph.

    Have fun at the Westin Diplomat that’s been on my wish list for a while now.

  18. @Adam – well, it could be. There is Sixt in Florida nowadays and Hertz carries some 3ers as well.

  19. Don’t feel bad. The last two times I tried flying MCO-FLL, I got delayed 4 hours the 1st time and had the flight cancelled after waiting 3 hours the 2nd time.

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