News in brief:
Dave Stringer passes away
Regular readers may remember that, back in January, I posted a link to Dave Stringer’s travel blog.
I get a lot of emails from readers who tell me of all the great places they have been able to visit and all of the great hotels they have been able to stay in as a result of reading Head for Points. I’m always pleased to receive them.
I got a similar email from Dave, but unfortunately the circumstances were different. Dave, despite being only 49, had incurable lung cancer despite having never smoked. HFP was helping him spend much of his last year travelling so he could see the world whilst he has the chance.
Unfortunately, Dave passed away yesterday. His family posted this on his blog:
On behalf of him and the family, I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone that has read his blog. From the amusement of the hooker in London to the sadness of his pain and low points, he thoroughly enjoyed sharing his experiences with you. Your comments and support never failed to lift him up and the support network it allowed him to form helped him battle on for this long. You made him feel like a superstar. Today is a sad day, but we are happy that dad is at peace now. He had the best last days he could ask for and passed away without pain or suffering.
Dave had set up a JustGiving page for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation which is here.
Pleasant surprise for Marriott Platinum Challenge participants
I wrote a couple of articles in recent months about the Marriott Platinum Challenge, which elevated you to Platinum status in Marriott Rewards for completing nine stays within 90 days.
(The challenge is no longer available as part of the preparations for the scheme merger.)
As I will have over 1 million points in the new combined Marriott / Starwood scheme when it launches in August, the idea of getting Platinum status to Jan / Feb 2020 appealed. It will literally pay for itself within weeks – the cost of the ‘mattress run’ nights I did on top of stays I had to make anyway was less than I will save from getting 12 free breakfasts at the JW Marriott Venice in late August.
Quite a few HFP readers decided to follow my example. Suddenly, at the start of the week, all of them were upgraded to Marriott and Starwood Platinum status despite not completing the challenge. Some had not completed a single night.
There are two possibilities here:
it is a big mistake, or
Marriott has realised that it doesn’t have the IT capabilities to track challenge stays once the two schemes merge in a few weeks, and thought it was easier to ‘clear the decks’ by upgrading everyone and then not having to worry about it
For clarity, it is not certain that this ‘comped’ status will last until early 2020. Marriott would be in its rights to drop you down in early 2019. If you want to be certain that your Platinum status will last until 2020 then I recommend that you complete your challenge as originally planned.
Some people will have got lucky over this. On the other hand, others were unlucky when Marriott pulled the challenge without notice. That’s how it rolls.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)