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The Penny Pincher’s Passport to Luxury Travel: The Art of Cultivating Preferred Customer Status

The Penny Pincher’s Passport to Luxury Travel: The Art of Cultivating Preferred Customer Status

The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel: The Art of Cultivating Preferred Customer Status

  • Used Book in Good Condition

This new edition of The Penny Pincher’s Passport to Luxury Travel provides readers with the secrets and wisdom necessary to travel first class on a tight budget. Engaging and entertaining true-life travel anecdotes demonstrate how the luxury travel experience is not impossible for most travelers, while, in down-to-earth, accessible language, the author tells travelers exactly what to do and not to do to travel in style. “Quick Tips” reinforce the most important information in each chapter, and

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3 Responses to “The Penny Pincher’s Passport to Luxury Travel: The Art of Cultivating Preferred Customer Status”

  1. A Customer "A Customer" says:
    96 of 103 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Five Pages of Information and Endless Egotism, October 3, 2005
    A Customer “A Customer” (Southeast Asia) –

    All of the useful information in this book could have been condensed into a travel magazine article. The remainder of the book is comprised of the author bragging about his free upgrades.

    The author has the annoying habit of constantly stating that he’s about to divulge a secret to discount luxury travel; then, the author (a) fails to provide any tips on the topic, (b) provides general common sense advice (make friends with the gate agents) or (c) provides anecdotes too specific to his situation to be applicable to most readers.

    This is a revised edition of a previous book. Yet the author will occassionally imply that the earlier edition contains additional luxury travel secrets — so you should run out and buy that book, too.

    I was not at all surprised to find on this web page a series of content-less yet five-star reviews which read suspiciously like the book itself.

    Avoid. Your time is better invested learning the details of actual frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs on the various web pages devoted to the topics.

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  2. John White says:
    41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    an ok book, July 6, 2004
    By A Customer

    I found the book ok; not brilliant, not terrible. I notice a curious consistency in the other reviews. All five stars, yet strangely generic for people who supposedly liked the book so much. All about the same length, and written in what appears to be the same voice. My guess is they’re all written by the same person. So consider this a review of another of the author’s works too…

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  3. Anonymous says:
    21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Real Advice – Real Results, January 1, 2001
    John White (Orange County, CA) –

    Being a luxury travel newbie, this book was very helpful in presenting information which I’m guessing must come to seasoned frequent travelers over time. On the first day after I achieved Premiere status for the first time on my airline, I called the reservation desk to change the details of my return flight. After finalizing the changes (which took over 15 minutes of discussion), the customer service representative told me he couldn’t believe I had just achieved Premiere -for-the-first-time-. “You asked all the Pemiere questions,” he stated. That was due to the strong start I got from Joel Widzer’s book.

    Here are some specific things which I do now which I didn’t do before:

    1) Concentrate my travel with one airline. It seems common sense in retrospect, but it wasn’t something I did. I shopped price and was proud to do so. I flew the no frills airline which everyone in the southwest should know without realizing that other carriers could do more for me.

    2) When speaking with any customer service representative, I ask for my current Premiere status. After emphasizing my loyalty by doing that, I then make whatever request I’m making. Even when I hadn’t achieved Priemere the first time, this helped.

    3) I use my miles to upgrade, not for free tickets. The common sense approach was to get things for free. Widzer points out that you don’t get additional miles towards Elite status for award travel. Buy a cheap-as-possible restricted ticket and use your loyalty, leverage, and if necessary, ff miles to upgrade yourself. You fly the route without worrying about blackouts, fly first class, and get closer to Elite status.

    Some things which Widzer doesn’t mention:

    1) At least on my airline, United, it seems pretty difficult to get a compimentary gate upgrade, though I have done it. That seems to be the exception. You usually have to use miles or upgrade coupons, especially when competing for upgrades.

    2) You’ve got to study the planes flying the routes you’re interested in. My LAX to Seattle flight was on an Airbus A320(?) which had something like 4 First class seats. That’s damn tough to upgrade into.

    3) As a million miler, Widzer probably didn’t run into many other travelers with similar seniority when it came to upgrade priority. Persistant asking probably can get you confirmed on the upgrade list when you consistantly fly 100K miles a year. For those of us at the 25K level, getting confirmed into Economy Plus is usually guaranteed. Just asking a lot isnt’ going to get us in first class.

    4) The E-Fares which United advertises on their web site are billed as “non-upgradeable.” True for Elite flyers? I haven’t had the opportunity to try.

    5) “After calling the marketing department…” is a phrase Widzer uses more than once. This isn’t something a non-travel writer can do, so shouldn’t be mentioned in the book.

    To be clear, the book opened my eyes to the frequent traveling world. In Nov/Dec 2000, I found $500 fairs to London and Paris on my airline, and made my first trips to Europe, racking up 20K from Los Angeles in two trips. One round trip coast to coast later, and I’m an Elite flyer. I’ve flown a <500 mile segment with a comp gate upgrade, and a 2500 mile segment with a comp gate upgrade. I’ve changed details on restricted tickets, and had fees waived for me when using coupon upgrades. I didn’t even know that such a thing as a concierge level at a hotel existed. I’ve stayed in them twice on special deals after reading the book, though I have yet to have Hilton volunteer an upgrade or agree to comp me an upgrade there.

    I wouldn’t have thought to do any of the above without the book.

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