Good morning and happy Friday the 13th from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Today I'll be flying to Erbil, the largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, a trip I've been eager to make for many years now.
Nothing like flying to a formerly war-torn country on Friday the 13th, right?
Let's finish off the week strong:
🏨 First-class Friday: The art of "Suite Talking"
📊 Yay! More Daily Drop survey data to sift through
✈️ A flight deal that's too good not to tell you about
🏨 First-class Friday: The art of "Suite Talking"
I get a lot of questions from readers asking how I get so many suite upgrades at hotels.
Many people who have dabbled with hotel elite status have probably experienced the never-ending frustrations of suite upgrades (or lack thereof).
Maybe you hold a credit card that gives you some level of hotel elite status, or maybe you hold this card, which gives you no fewer than THREE different hotel elite statuses...
You show up at the hotel, hoping for an upgrade into a suite, only to be told that they've generously upgraded you from a Twin Standard room to a Twin Deluxe room...
This is where "SuiteTalking" comes into play.
When push comes to shove, your fate lies in the hands of the employees working at the property, and treating them with respect and kindness will give you the best chance of receiving benefits like suite upgrades (and gives you the added bonus of being a good person).
But there's an ancient travel hacking secret technique that can drastically increase your odds of successfully going from a "basic room without running water" to a "champagne on the veranda" room.
The technique I'm about to share with you has worked wonders for me, getting me into some gorgeous suites like this one at the Ritz-Carlton Al Bustan Palace in Oman last year:
How to Suite Talk
One of the main benefits of using apps for hotel loyalty programs is the ability to use the chat function to communicate with the property before arriving.
In my experience, your best chance of being upgraded is by using the chat feature immediately after checking in and saying something along the lines of:
I'm so excited about my upcoming stay at your property, this will be my first time visiting (city/country/continent/planet)!
As part of my (insert elite status here) benefits, I'm hoping you might consider upgrading me into one of your suites - it would be an excellent way to make this trip even more special!
Thank you and have a nice day (even better if you can type this in the local language if travelling abroad),
Sending something along these lines lightly hints at the benefits you're entitled to while also adding a personal, friendly touch.
You aren't demanding that they upgrade you (you'd be surprised how many people I see at check-in desks doing exactly that), but rather explaining how having an upgrade would add to your experience.
When you think of how many guests hotel staff deal with on a daily basis, you can imagine how something like this would stand out and make a good first impression.
While this is never guaranteed to work, you can likely expect your success rate for suite upgrades to increase drastically by using this method.
I've even succeeded in using this method at hotels where I don't have any elite status at all.
As I said, the decision comes down to availability and the hotel staff. If they have a free room and you're nice, they might upgrade you anyway.
If you don't typically use apps for booking, you can do the same thing by email if you are savvy enough to hunt down the contact details of the specific property you're staying at.
Next time you want to leverage your elite status benefits (or shoot for the stars without any status) give this method a try.
📊 Mmmm... more Daily Drop survey data
As you know, we surveyed y'all at the end of 2022 and were surprised at some of the results.
So today, I wanted to continue to share these results with you and maybe provide some tips based on the data we've seen.
While we're on the topic of hotels, let's take a peek at your hotel stats:
I was surprised to see that more than half of you spent more than 10 nights in hotels last year, especially considering the pandemic restrictions still in place for the first six months of the year.
Ten nights over the course of a year might not seem like that much, but you'd be surprised by how much you could leverage those hotel stays if you play your cards right.
For example, let's say you own a Marriott credit card, most of which will come with some elite night credits as a perk.
For example, there is a $0 per year Marriott credit card that gives you an automatic 15 elite night credits every year. The banks are very sensitive folks and won't let us tell you which card this is, but that's what Google is for. 😉
Marriott had multiple promotions in 2022 that offered double elite night credits over a period of months.
That means that if you owned the aforementioned credit card, you would've only needed to stay 18 nights during the entire year to reach a total of 50 nights, because:
18 x 2 + 15 = 51... because math.
50 nights means you have Platinum Elite Status, arguably the best "sweet spot" with Marriott.
It's not their highest status, but it gives you the most important benefits like free breakfast, late checkout, bonus points, and suite upgrades (oh look at that, this relates to the previous section 😉).
That status carries over for the entire following year after you qualify, meaning your 10-20 hotel nights in 2023 would come with all these extra benefits that save you money and add to your travel experience.
The main point is this:
The majority of you spend enough nights in hotels to get more value than you probably think you can.
So when I share hotel promos that you don't think will apply to you because you "only spend 15 nights a year in hotels," make sure you crunch the numbers first. 😉
Oh, and if you live abroad, don't think the credit card hack doesn't apply to you. Just look at all the countries where Marriott has co-branded credit cards:
Some of these cards are on par with the ones in the U.S., so definitely explore your options if this type of travel hacking sounds up your alley.
✈️ Fly to Vietnam for less than $600 round trip
I don't do this kind of thing very often, but today I wanted to share a deal that is simply too good to ignore.
Right now, flights from Dallas, Texas, to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, are incredibly cheap... I'm talking under $600 round-trip cheap.
This is definitely special because it's not often we see trips to Asia at such low prices from cities that aren't on the West Coast.
We have a lot of readers who would have a much easier time departing from Dallas than from any of the aviation hubs in California.
Right now, there seem to be quite a few options for which dates are priced like this, but I doubt it will stay that way for long...
If you choose late March as a departure date, you can schedule a return flight on many dates in March and April to lock in the $573 price tag.
Vietnam is one of my favorite countries in the world. It's stunningly beautiful, extremely affordable, safe, easy to get around, and you'll always have new cities and towns to explore.
Oh, and the food... 🤤
If you have the flexibility and have ever wanted to see Vietnam, I'd recommend scooping up these amazing prices.
If I weren't already traveling during that time, I'd personally be buying these tickets myself.
That's gonna finish off the week, y'all! Next time you hear from me, I'll be in beautiful Iraq, and I can't wait.
I look forward to sharing some of my travel hacks for the Middle East and Africa next week, but in the meantime, tell me:
Which country would you most like to learn about travel hacks for? Have you ever successfully upgraded to a hotel suite?Let me know by replying to this email or reaching out on social media.