Item description for The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel: The Art of Cultivating Preferred Customer Status (Travelers' Tales) by Joel L. Widzer...
Although its emphasis is on getting a good deal, this no-nonsense guide steers people firmly away from no-frills travel and points them toward the wonders of first-class accommodations and preferential treatment. Readers will acquire an intimate knowledge of the art of luxury travel: how and when to visit the most desirable destinations; the role frequent-user programs play; the importance of building long-term relationships with elite travel companies; avoiding scams; and finding shortcuts through the labyrinth of airline and hotel rules. The result? Exceptional service and amenities, hotel and airline upgrades, and the sense of empowerment and freedom that comes from avoiding inhospitable employees and the annoying hassles regularly inflicted on the masses. Written in a refreshingly down-to-earth style, the book explains exactly what to do and how to do it, and is filled with engaging true-life travel anecdotes. Appendices list important phone numbers and websites, and compare major frequent-user programs.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.9" Width: 5.1" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date May 24, 2004
Publisher Travelers' Tales
ISBN 1932361049 ISBN13 9781932361049
Reviews - What do customers think about The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel: The Art of Cultivating Preferred Customer Status (Travelers' Tales)?
Upgrades Are Possible... If You Upgrade Your Imagination Sep 6, 2008
I came on this site looking for books similar to this one. I recently finished reading this book and I must say that I'm glad I invested the 10 or 11 bucks. It has saved me hundreds, I dare say (though I do really think) thousands. I set out to do more travelling and stumble across this book in Borders. When I flipped through it, I read recounted tales of some of the places the author had been. Locations I aim to visit. After perusing the chapter on hotels, I must say I was "sold". I took a chance, bought it and started reading. Some of my friends lovingly teased at my endeavor.
I personally did not interpret the author as braggodocios but merely divulging his experiences with certain travel providers so that you can utilize the info as you see fit. I figured, regardless of the fact that he is a travel critic, if he can travel in style I could as well.
I took initiative and researched what I wanted out of a destination, hotelier, car rental and airline. I already had the instinct and desire to avoid the "trendy locales". The author described this as the "Contrarian Attitude". I have booked extremely low fares and room rates being Contrarian.
Also call companies and do, as he suggests, ASK QUESTIONS. Simply from inquiring about certain programs, I got a Hertz #1 Gold Membership FOR FREE. Just like he suggested. If you have an AAA Premier Membership you can get it waived in addition to the AAA rate for rentals. I also believe, if I remember correctly, that if you have a AAA Plus membership that you can have it reduced to half price. You can also get it waived if your employer has a contracted CDP Code with Hertz. ASK. I did and the rep gave me all the info I needed without me even asking her to give it up.
Did you know that not only can you save on hotel rates at hotels with AAA membership but if you sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Program that you are AUTOMATICALLY upgraded to a Gold Preferred Guest? Normally you have to stay at any Starwood brand hotel 10 times to receive this status. As Gold, you can get your rooms upgraded without a fee for the price of the room you pay for AND you get the bonus points over the base points Preferred Guests earn. I have had my membership for less than a month, made reservations for stays at the Sheraton only twice, and I've been upgraded to a club level room BOTH TIMES. Not only that, but being an AAA member, you get free breakfasts on the club level or coupons to the hotel restaurant for breakfast depending on when during the week you stay.
I do not know if author was not giving free advertising for Delta, or anyone else for that matter, to get a kickback. I don't fly Delta, I'm not even a frequent flyer, yet the first time I flew after reading this book I was able to get myself an upgrade to first class for LESS THAN $50. I do know that when I applied a only few of the tips he wrote about I was ready to tell ANYONE of my good fortune as well. I'd write a book too. I did it in my own way. I only used this book as a CATALYST. YOU have to be your own CATAPAULT. Find the angle that works for you. If you don't really fly but you want the best stays possible in hotels, do the work, study a bit, and go with it. If you don't stay in hotels because you have family you can stay with in various cities, yet you have to fly to get to those cities, make it work to your advantage. Good Luck to all of the fellow travelers out there. I must add. Those same friends that laughed ironically now ask for tips on how to get the most out of their future travels for less.
This Passport has a Valid Visa Jul 11, 2008
I think Joel Widzer hit another home-run with the third edition of his Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel. When he shares his tips on flying First Class at Coach prices, and getting luxury class hotel accommodations for a pittance, I sense right away the author speaks with authority and from experience; he seems to have distilled his decades-long serious globe-trotting, like fine wine, into a practical travel guide that the reader can tote along with ease. Seasoned business travelers as well as novice leisure travelers will find nuggets of useful information that they might otherwise have overlooked, that they can immediately use the very next time they need to book a trip. Joel offers ten principles of his Contrarian Travel Strategy (p.69), including being loyal to one's travel provider (be "the right customer to one airline", p.132), and acquiring a "minimum elite-level frequent-flyer" status with one airline (p.133). Having traveled extensively around the world for both business and pleasure, e.g. First Class on PanAm among others, and having stayed regularly at top-notch hotels like the Hotel Conrad in HongKong, I know that Joel's travel tips are a quick and worthwhile read. I like best his section on Resources and References, since it is a "portal" to all the other travel experts that Joel frequents. Reading Joel's compact book, I feel like I have my best friend traveling with me, always vigilant that the experience is classy no matter the travel budget. My best friend just happens to be a globe-trotter who travels in the lap of luxury year in year out, so he is a guy who practices what he preaches. The only thing this book is lacking is information from Joel's little black book, in which he keeps the names, phone numbers, and emails of all the contacts at his favorite airlines and hotels around the world. My hope is that Joel will include that information in his fourth edition.
Rich in Great Travel Advice Jun 23, 2008
If you're gonna travel why not learn to travel First Class? Thanks to Joel's book, I wish no longer. This book is full of all the right stuff on how to upgrade your travel experience, and since you gotta go, why not go in the best style possible? My old road warrior travel ways have been changed forever. I'm telling you, you really owe it to yourself to BUY THIS BOOK! For the price of an average lousy Airport meal, your entire travel experience can be improved exponentially. Believe me, you could easily get used to an across the board travel experience upgrade and the Penny Pincher's Passport delivers!
Common Sense in bloated form Jun 8, 2008
Instead of any "secrets" to luxury travel the author simply repeats the same common sense "if you just spend enormous amounts of money with travel providers and are nice to them, they'll be nice back" Well Duh. Of course they're nice to someone who's flown 3 Million miles with them. What about the rest of us? Further, the author shamelessly shills for all the major airlines and outright bashes Southwest and other discounters. His plugs for Delta should win him free tickets for life. Save your money. This is a page of common sense jammed into 300 page plus tome that's not worth your time.
Excellent lessons for anyone who travels May 8, 2008
After reading this latest version of "The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel" I find that those who use the lessons within wisely will find that traveling in style is not just for the rich! This book applies to anyone and everyone who appreciates traveling comfortably and in style. Furthermore, the travel industry has been greatly impacted as a result of the recent economic crisis and rising fuel cost. Forcing themes them to cut where it hurts the customer most SERVICE. So I find that this book will be a great tool in helping new or frequent travelers alike in getting the most out of their hard earned travel dollar! This is a MUST read!