More opportunities to earn Marriott Rewards. Marriott International will greatly increase its presence in Canada with the planned acquisition of that country’s Delta Hotels brand for $135 million. Delta has 38 hotels with 10,000 rooms in 30 Canadian cities; after the deal is complete, that will boost Marriott’s total presence in Canada to more than 120 hotels and 27,000 rooms. Marriott said that will make it “the largest full-service hotel company in Canada.” Meanwhile, Marriott also announced plans to bring its new Moxy brand from Europe to the U.S., with three new Moxy properties in New York City and others in San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans and Chicago. The first Moxy opened in Milan last fall and others are coming in Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin Copenhagen and London. The Moxy brand will be modern and high-tech, with “highly social” lobbies, “free and furiously fast Wi-Fi” and such.
InterContinental offers double Delta miles. Members of InterContinental Hotels Group’s IHG Rewards Club who select Delta SkyMiles as their earning option can get double bonus miles for every qualifying stay at an IHG property from now through April 30. The offer requires online registration.
Storm update: Airlines have started to cancel flights and issue waivers of change penalties for Monday/Tuesday flights across a wide swath of the northern US. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Chicago. Stay warm and remember: If your flight is canceled and you decide to bag your trip completely, the airline owes you a full refund.
FCC gets tough on Wi-Fi blockage. The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau issued a stern warning last week that it won’t tolerate hotels or other commercial establishments blocking customers’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots. Last year, the enforcement agency fined Marriott $600,000 after one of its affiliated properties was caught doing just that in conference rooms; it said last week it is seeing a “disturbing trend” of similar activity and is currently investigating several complaints. “No hotel…may intentionally block or disrupt personal Wi-Fi hot spots on such premises, including as part of an effort to force consumers to purchase access to the property owner’s Wi-Fi network,” the FCC said. Think this has happened to you? Go to www.fcc.gov/complaints or call 888-CALL-FCC with details. Do you prefer your own hotspot to the hotel’s Wi-Fi? Under what circumstances?
Full capitulation by Marriott. At first, it Marriott put up a fight over the heated hotspot issue, but quietly issued this “we thought we were doing the right thing” statement Saturday morning: Bethesda, Md., January 30, 2015 – Marriott International has decided to withdraw as a party to the petition seeking direction from the FCC on legal Wi-Fi security measures. Our intent was to protect personal data in Wi-Fi hotspots for large conferences. We thought we were doing the right thing asking the FCC to provide guidance, but the FCC has indicated its opposition. As we have said, we will not block Wi-Fi signals at any hotel we manage for any reason. And, as of January 15, we provide free Wi-Fi to all members of our Marriott Rewards program who book directly with us. We’re doing everything we can to promote our customers’ connectivity using mobile and other devices, and we’re working with the industry to find security solutions that do not involve blocking our guests’ use of their Wi-Fi devices.
SpringHill Suites Security. Have you seen how SpringHill Suites is putting a wrap (and some cushy couches) on airport security? See this
Hyatt’s new brand. Is there no end to new brands in the hotel industry as major companies try to capture the growing market of Millennial business travelers? Hyatt has introduced five brands since 2006, and here comes a sixth: Some 15 Hyatt properties in key business destinations (like New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and Paris) will take on a new identity this summer as the company launches the Hyatt Centric brand. Hyatt says it will be “a full-service lifestyle brand” for travelers who want “a cosmopolitan vibe in the center of the action” (hence the name Centric). Like so many new brands, Centric will offer a public area where guests can work and socialize, along with a “knock ‘n’ drop” room service (i.e., no “formal delivery”). For more, go to www.hyattcentric.com. Which new hotel brands have you tried? What’s your favorite?
Virgin’s Nashville plans. Virgin Hotels just opened its first property — in Chicago — but already has released plans for its second, which will open in Nashville in fall of 2016. Appropriate to its address at One Music Row, the 240-room hotel will include one non-standard facility: A recording studio. Also on tap are a live entertainment venue, Virgin’s trademark Commons Club bar/restaurant/hangout space, a gym, wellness center and rooftop pool.
Did you miss the Saturday issue of our WEEKEND EDITION? Here ’tis!
New jets SFO-LAX + Europe summer deals + United move at ATL + Delta wi-fi progress + Cathay biz class sale
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