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On the rare occasions when we write about an article in the mainstream press here at InsideFlyer UK, our aim is often to point out the flaws and errors in the article. But when I recently read a truly outstanding article in Bloomberg Businessweek, I felt it would be good to share with InsideFlyer readers. You can read it by clicking here. (there is no paywall, although you only receive 10 article views per month)
The article discusses the merger of Starwood and Marriott and, in my opinion, perfectly explains the concerns that SPG loyalists have regarding the future within “Marriott mediocrity”. I was also somewhat shocked to find that the article’s author managed to perfectly explain three travel hacking concepts that are often misconstrued. (I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve corrected somebody who claimed that “hotel hopping” was actually “mattress running”)
The Mattress Run
The concept involves booking unnecessary travel to earn points or gain status.
1. Book a cheap room within a reasonable drive from home or work. (Airport hotels work nicely.)
2. Check in, but don’t go to the room, unless you like a view of the tarmac.
3. Drive home, sleep in your own bed, and dream of elevated status.
This involves changing hotels mid-trip to inflate the number of “stays,” a metric that can lead to higher status.
1. You’re going to a three-day conference. Book the same hotel as your co-workers for the first and third nights of the trip.
2. Check out after the first night and move to another hotel nearby.
3. After the second night, check back into the original hotel. You’ve racked up three stays instead of one.
Think of it as money laundering but with free breakfasts. (This tactic is common but may be illegal in some cases.)
1. Acquire a co-branded hotel credit card that earns points.
2. Go to the nearest big-box store and buy gift cards with your card.
3. Use the gift cards to buy money orders.
4. Deposit the money orders and use the funds to pay down your credit card balance.
The author also mentioned the “meeting run”, which is a term I’ve never used before, but I wrote about the concept here.
So kudos to Patrick Clark and BusinessWeek (although I’m sure that some travel hackers will not be pleased that he mentioned “manufactured spend”) and, again, it’s well worth giving the article a read…