9. Marriott Santiago

9. Marriott Santiago


Santiago, Chile

3 nights Award Redemption

Suite Upgrade

After landing from Easter Island at 7:30PM, Lady Tocqueville and I picked up our Hertz rental car at the Santiago Airport.  I had booked the rental car on a discounted Delta rate, and included unlimited mileage and tolls in the Santiago area.  After a short 20 minute drive, we managed to not get lost and find the Marriott Santiago. This hotel is great for having a rental car, since underground parking just beneath the hotel is free.

Our check-in was very smooth, with the front desk agent thanking me for being a Platinum Premier guest, and letting us know we had been upgraded to a suite, the biggest they have on the top floor, room 2508.  We would have lounge access, and chose wine and cheese to be delivered the next day to be our check-in amenity.

This hotel was an exceptional value.  We got it on Marriott pointsavers for only 20,000 points per night, less than the Marriott in Charlotte, NC even.  And this was a finer hotel.  Our room, on the top floor, was massive and very comfortable.

You know you are going to be in an awesome room when there are double doors to the entrance of your room.  You know, just in case they need to wheel in a grand piano or something.
The view of our living room at night did not do the view justice.  We had a beautiful view of the Andes, and massive windows on two sides.
This is a view of the bathroom from the living room.  There is also a bathroom entrance from the master bedroom.
The master bedroom, with very comfortable king-sized bed, and another set of windows with beautiful view.

A dark view into the bathroom, which had a separate toilet, separate massive bathtub, and separate shower.  Water pressure and temperature in the shower was great.

Overall, the room was fantastic, and for a Suite in a major metropolitan city, was such a value at 20,000 points per night.

I, regrettably, did not take pictures of the concierge lounge which was also excellent.  The breakfast spread was fantastic, with over 30 items to choose from.  This included meats, cheese, fruits, pastries, eggs, bacon, and even an espresso machine.  In the evening, the snacks and drinks were great.  Sparkling wine and Malbec were complimentary, with a full set of chocolates, dips, and chips.  We spent alot of time in this lounge, and got great utility out of these full spreads.

After three nights, we checked out to head to the airport for our next destination, Mendoza, Argentina.  It was another quick 20 minute drive to Santiago airport, a quick return for South American standards at Hertz, and we were on our way to check-in for our next flight, Santiago to Mendoza for 5 nights in Argentine wine country.

Status Match in Preperation for AA/US Merger

As many readers know, I am a US Airways Chairman membership.  This offers me unlimited space available upgrades, priority check-in, security lines, and check-in etc.  I was able to match previously had Delta Gold status to SAS Gold, who is part of the Star Alliance.  The Star Alliance offers Gold members (of which SAS Gold members count), complimentary lounge access for them and one guest when flying internationally.  Since SAS is based in Scandanavia, any flights outside of Sweden, including US domestic flights, count for lounge access.  Thus every time I fly US Airways or United Domestically, which is 90% of the time, I get free lounge access by flashing my SAS Gold card at the lounge.  And I have never flown one SAS flight.

With the coming US Airways and American merger, US Airways will become “American Airlines” and will be part of the OneWorld alliance.  Thus the SAS Gold will no longer give me lounge access.  I need to get an international OneWorld airline to match my US Airways Chairmain, or SAS Gold status to at least OneWorld Saphire status, and hopefully OneWorld Emerald status to gain lounge access.  If I get a match to OneWorld Emerald, I can use elite Flagship and First Class lounges of British Airways, and American while flying, even domestically.

Last week I made a status match request to AirBerlin based on View From the Wing’s post about status matches with them.  The good news is that they responded by matching my US Airways Chairman Status to AirBerlin Gold Status.  The bad news is that they have only done it for 4 months, and during that 4 months I have to fly a minimum amount with AirBerlin to maintian this status. Here is their response:

We have examined your request carefully and would like to offer you the following:

Enjoy the advantages of the topbonus Gold status for 4 months as a start, and the status will be extended for one more year if you collect 17.000 status miles or fly at least 20 times within this period. If you accumulate 8.500 status miles or fly at least 8 times in the same period, you will get our topbonus Silver status for one year.

The topbonus Card Gold offers you some exclusive and worthwhile gold-benefits that will make flying with airberlin and NIKI an even better treat:

• Gold bonus – 40 % mileage bonus on all award and status miles collected
• Exclusive service: topbonus Gold Card members can reach a personal contact partner on the Goldhotline at cheap regional landline rates when dialling from Germany, Austria and Switzerland
• Priority Check-in at all airports and the chance to take advantage of Priority Boarding, plus Security Fast Lane at selected airports
• “My route” – double award miles for flights on one of your chosen routes within Europe. You can make your selection online in your log-in area or by telephone at +49 (0)30-38 30 30 83

Have we caught your interest? We would be happy to send you your personal topbonus Card Gold per mail.

This is unfortunate for two reasons:

  1. I will not be flying AirBerlin anytime soon and won’t re-qualify or extend the status
  2. The American/US merger won’t be complete in the next four months, rendering the lounge access portion for legacy US Airways flights meaningless

Gary from View From the Wing says I am the 2nd person he has heard of to receive this “status challenge” and not the outright “status match”.

So I continue to search for a OneWorld carrier to match US Airways Chairman too.  I have contacted LAN’s LANpass program, but haven’t received a response.  I have heard that they often take 6-8 weeks to respond, and rarely match to Comodoro status, their top status.  I think I might try Cathay-Pacific next.  For my next status match request, I will use my company’s corporate travel desk and their relationship with each airline to put the request through them to strengthen the case.

What are your thoughts?