Confessions of a Hotel Insider Article is a Treasure Trove of Hotel Advice

Right before Christmas, The Week published an article odd in tone and subject matter. The story "Confessions of a hotel insider" and subtitled "If you want the best room, sparkling service, and free booze, just follow these rules" was an excerpt of a new book "Heads in Beds" by Jacob Tomsky, a career hotel employee.

The first few tips fall under the general idea of being polite to the person checking you in because they have a ton of control over whether you end up in a good room or a bad room.

Twenty Dollar Trick: An Ethical Way to Get a Hotel Upgrade?

Last month, I used 145,000 Hilton points to book a four night stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. (This was a 55,000 point discount because I booked an AXON award.)

When I booked, the only room available was one king bed. My traveling party wanted two beds, but I wasn't worried because I knew that would be an easy change at check in.

20k Miles to All of Europe All Summer

Update 5/26/14: This deal is dead since American Airlines eliminated free stopovers.

Or: Save 10k Miles by Adding a Free Oneway

Summer airfare to Europe often tops $1,000 in economy class roundtrip. But you can get to Europe this summer for only 20k miles.

All the legacy carriers--American, Delta, United, US Airways--charge 60k miles roundtrip to Europe in economy class. That's where the European award similarities end.

American and United let you go oneway for 30k miles.

Anatomy of an Award: South America, Africa, Europe, and North America in Biz for 100k

Or: Help Me Choose Which Business Class Products to Fly I got trigger happy and booked without asking

Or: How An American Can Exploit the South American Sweet Spot with US Airways Miles

Or: How to Get an Open Jaw AND a Stopover on a US Airways Award

Or: How I saved 20k miles

Necessity is the mother of invention. I wanted to think of a way to get from Buenos Aires to Europe next summer with a stopover in South Africa, then from Europe to Chicago in time for the Chicago seminars.

Tricking’s Award Calendar

I generally love's award calendar, the calendar that shows up at the top of your award search results that lets you know what other days have award availability.

But there are two things I hate about's award calendar. The first is that it is color coded to show economy space, business/first space, or both.

American Airlines Domestic Availability Trick

In February from Nairobi, Kenya, I booked an American Airlines award 331 days out from Melbourne, Australia to Los Angeles in Qantas business class (with a later free oneway to Tampa.) See my Anatomy of an Award post on that booking.

On that booking, I noticed something odd about the way that American Airlines releases its domestic award space on some routes.

Trick to Hold Delta Awards

Delta only allows you to hold an itinerary if you don't have enough miles in the account to ticket at that moment. (If you sweet talk the right agent, you might get a hold even if you have enough miles, but it's not easy.)

Here's a trick to avoid this annoying policy if you have enough miles in your account to ticket the award you want.

Call Delta at 800-323-2323.
Instead of giving the SkyMiles account number you'll be using, give the account number of a friend that has very few miles.