Travel pet peeves plague many of us, including infrequent travelers. In fact, mention travel pet peeves online and you’ll almost always spark a conversation full of grousing, commiserating, and anguished memories of travel made less pleasant when encountering said pet peeves. Discounting the multiple annoyances of air travel, the biggest travel pet peeves usually involve the nickel-and-diming of added fees by hotels and other tourism-related “small print” charges. The great news for Starwood Preferred Guest American Express® card members, as of August 2015, is that there are no more foreign transaction fees, Boingo is complimentary, and hotel wifi is forever free!
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express introduced these three fantastic new benefits knowing that nickel-and-diming in the tourism industry is a travel pet peeve that many travelers have felt strongly about for years. It’s difficult to have a strong grip on our travel budgets, pre-trip, when wifi on the go and in hotels, along with foreign transaction fees, come into play. SPG Amex sent me and my spouse on a trip to the international destination of our choice to celebrate (and, admittedly, publicize) these new benefits; we chose Vancouver and had a lovely long weekend there. One of the best parts of this trip was the lack of annoyance and stress that comes with paying for hotel wifi and foreign transaction fees. Thank you, SPG Amex, these are truly customer-facing benefits that really mean a lot to card members.
Now, we have more than one credit card. But we really, really leaned on our Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card on this trip because the lack of foreign transaction fees meant that we were not only saving money that way, but also because we racked up so many more Starpoints as a result of those credit card charges. Why, yes, fancy restaurant waiter-man, I would like to order a third round of drinks, and dessert.
Good news for most travelers passing through the Los Angeles Airport and Vancouver Airport is that both offer free internet now. So, my partner and I didn’t get to take advantage of complimentary Boingo services at either one. However, hotel wifi — truly, one of my top three travel pet peeves — is now complimentary at at all SPG participating hotels. Amazing. It should always be free, in my book, but so often it isn’t. I’m so glad to not be nickel-and-dimed regarding in-room wifi anymore.
None of the old SPG Amex card member benefits went away to “make room” for these new ones, these are added onto the preexisting benefits such as getting credit for five nights and two hotel stays towards SPG elite status every year. Make that, two hotel stays with complimentary wifi. And, of course, no more foreign transaction fees is a huge plus for international travel fans.
I’ll be writing more about Vancouver and my experiences there soon, but here’s a tidbit: It was mostly overcast and drizzly the entire four days, so I was able to take advantage of the Westin Grand’s room service and in-room wifi, without the pain of additional fees for either. That’s one silver lining to inclement weather. So, while a travel pet peeve might be crappy weather during vacation days, in this case, at least I wasn’t doubly punished by being nickel-and-dimed while making the best of bad weather.
This post is part of a sponsored trip taken on behalf of Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, as part of my continuing SPG Amex “Amex Stars” partnership.