(6) Four Seasons vs (3) Encore
I’m going to call out all points collectors out there including myself as being frauds of the luxury lifestyle. While we all have taken showers at 30,000 feet aboard Emirates, have been treated like royalty at the Park Hyatt, and felt entitled simply because we have reached platinum status, the gig is up when we return to the daily grind.
The medicine for the aches of reality is to keep churning, keep moving, hoping that the dreaded financial review or a devastating devaluation never catches up to us.
In February of 2014, it finally did.
Stacking discounts as only an adept points churner could, I booked a room at the Four Seasons Las Vegas. The Four Seasons is connected to the Mandalay Bay but besides that, it is in a world all its own. The lobby is too quiet for a Vegas hotel and the rooms too decadent for an after-party.
It is perfect.
Before I get into specifics of this failed transaction, I need to call your attention to a few facts:
- The Four Seasons does not have a points program. Reservations are made using another form of currency that is seemingly always in short supply- cash.
- The Four Seasons Las Vegas was bestowed the honor of being in Fodor’s Top 100 Hotels for 2014.
- The Four Seasons is the best hotel brand in all of the world.
Anyhow, after another fight with another Vegas taxi driver, I was escorted by the friendly bellman to the front desk.
“Mr. Bachuwa, I see you are staying here for two nights and have booked the standard room. I will just need a credit card to cover any incidentals.”
“Certainly,” I said, knowing it was showtime.
By all the accounts I read online, the $20 trick was a common accepted business practice in Vegas so I had no reason to be nervous. Furthermore, I had practiced how I would execute the $20 trick on my flight from Phoenix over and over and once again in the taxi. All I had to do was take a crisp $20 bill and place it neatly behind my ID, on top of my credit card and ask if there were any available upgrades. Low and behold, the agent would reply that there was and then I, for a few greenbacks, would be treated to the most extravagant room in the entire hotel!
“In my hotels, there is always somebody watching,” went through my head as I fumbled for the prescribed ingredients to pull off this epic maneuver.
“You can have this back,” the front desk attendee said handing me back my tarnished twenty, “but I do have good news for you. We do have an upgrade available for a special rate of …”
Almost fainting from the mere mention of money needed for an upgrade, I found myself disoriented, my body overcome with chills. Wiping the sweat from my brow, my voice shaking, I replied, “I’ll let you know what my friend thinks about that, he arrives tonight.”
I was given the key to my room then headed for the elevator with my bag on my back and my tail between my legs. Called out as the peasant that I am, I decided to drown my sorrows in glasses of chilled Veuve Cliquot, an outlet from the uncomfortable reality that I don’t belong here.
Remarkably, moments later, everything felt right again: the bed was softer than heaven, the HD liquid as crystal, and the bathroom marbled for Romans.
So to you, my points friends and to you my points critics, I say to hell with reality, keep churning!