Sunday, September 30, 2012

Score! Unexpected Points at The Langham Hotel in Hong Kong

There's nothing like getting points when you didn't expect to get points. I'm usually really on top of that type of thing though, so this doesn't happen to me very often. However, I received a pleasant points surprise when I checked in at The Langham Hong Kong this past week.

Quick background - I had a short business trip to Hong Kong this past week, and while I would normally look to stay in one of the larger, western chains (Starwood, followed by Hilton, followed by Marriott, followed by Hyatt), the rooms were being booked for our entire group, and our hosts already had an arrangement at The Langham. While this luxury chain started in England, most of their hotels are located in Asia (3 in Hong Kong and 5 in Shanghai), and I didn't know anything about them. After poking around their website, I couldn't find any mention of a loyalty program or airline partnerships, so I'd resigned myself to only getting 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on my Chase Sapphire card (with no foreign transaction fees, of course!).

That was until I checked in...

As I was filling out the guest checkin form, I noticed a line for "Frequent Flyer Program". I asked if I'd be able to put in my United number, and the check-in agent confirmed that I could. As it turns out, you need to be a member of Langham's 1865 program in order to get airline miles for your stays, so he registered me on the spot. After getting settled, I visited United's website to see how many miles I'd be getting for the stay and was pleasantly surprised again to see that Langham is one of the more generous hotel programs, offering 500 miles per night, up to a maximum of 1500. I then visited the 1865 section of Langham's website, and saw that they actually have a pretty nice mix of partners, including all the major US carriers.

Lesson learned: always double-check to see if you can snag a few miles when you're not staying at one of your preferred hotel chains - I would've ended up missing out on 1500 United miles if I hadn't done so this time!

The hotel itself was quite nice - Langham is an upscale chain, and the level of service from every employee I interacted with was high. After checking in, the front desk agent escorted me to my room, and my suitcase arrive shortly thereafter. I didn't have a king bed, but it really wasn't that big a deal.

I arrived late, so my room had already received turndown service

I was in a "Deluxe" room - despite the name, it was one of the more basic options

The bathroom was a little small, but nicely-appointed

My little friend had a number of bathroom amenities for me

My only real complaint was the lack of power outlets in the room. There was one at the desk, and one at the mini-bar, and that was it - not nearly enough as I've said before.

My rate also included complimentary breakfast at the buffet off the lobby. Given the 12hr time difference, and how early I needed to be out the door each morning for work, I didn't end up sampling it until my day of departure. I'm glad I did though, because it was quite an extensive spread, with a full "American-style" buffet (bacon - multiple kinds of bacon actually, eggs, etc.), and an "Asian-style" buffet as well.

"American-style" side of the breakfast buffet
They also had a number of pastries and other baked goods, as well as a variety of fresh fruit juices.

Fresh juices and baked goods

Next time I vist Hong Kong, I'll still probably try to stay at one of the big western chains, but I would certainly recommend The Langham as a nice alternative.

What is your preference when traveling abroad? Staying somewhere more "local" or one of the big western chains (Starwood, Hilton, Marriott, etc.)?

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