Hilton or Starwood? Not even a close call

How do you decide which hotel to choose in the city you are visiting if you want to redeem your points for a free night? I had to make that decision this month, and unlike in many similar situations, it wasn’t even a close call.

I usually start with the chains where I have top elite status — Hilton HHonors and Starwood. Hilton’s Diamond benefits are inferior to Starwood’s Platinum perks — Hilton doesn’t give you suite upgrades and free Internet. The only advantage with Hilton is that award stays count toward elite status, which is rather significant in my book…

Preserving upgrades in case of rebooking

Dealing with flight delays and cancellations is challenging enough for travelers, but for some of us it has an additional complication: How to preserve our upgrades in case of rebooking. My trip to Alaska this week provided a textbook example.

As experienced and creative as I might be in handling flight disruptions, the weather is always my worst enemy. I’ve rarely felt more helpless than I did in Denver on my way to Anchorage. My plane had diverted to Colorado Springs because of a thunderstorm, and my departure time kept being pushed back more times than I cared to count…

In air with Clinton on first trip abroad

Have you ever wondered what it’s like traveling with the secretary of state around the world? Although I’ve been doing it for more than eight years, I’ve resisted frequent suggestions by friends and colleagues to write about it.

Now I’ve found an excuse. There is a new secretary — Hillary Rodham Clinton no less — and she has just completed her first overseas trip since taking office. So it’s time to step back from what has become a routine for us in the press corps and try to look at it through a fresh pair of eyes. The State Department usually gives us 13 seats on the secretary’s plane, but this time we got three more, to accommodate the bigger interest in Mrs. Clinton’s maiden voyage to Asia.