There are two types of miles/points travelers when it comes to positioning for flights, especially international flights: those who live in major hubs and have tons of options, and those who don’t. I was reminded of this yesterday during a conversation with Grant. He’s in a hub location (San Francisco) and I’m not (San Diego). I may be based out of America’s Finest City, but when it comes to getting anywhere overseas, it’s anything but the finest. Funny how all cities call their airport an international one :)
Probably 99% of the time, I have to go to LAX or SFO or some other hub city to start my trips. And when I send my award trip requests to my award booking team, they’ll remind me of this and send me some itinerary options based on my needing to position for my flight.
Just in case you’re one of the lucky ones who has never needed to position to start or end a trip, or in case you’re just getting started in miles and points based traveling, let me offer a very basic explanation. Often, for various reasons, using miles/points to book a trip will have you start or end in a city that’s not your home airport. You’ll either need to fly (using other miles/points or paying cash) or sometimes drive to get started or to get home.
It helps to have some hotels that you think of as your go-to hotels at the cities you’re most likely to be positioning from for those times when you need to overnight before or after a flight. As award tickets become more challenging to book, I find myself positioning to cities I’ve never been to before and so I have no idea what hotels would work best if I need to get in the night before or stay over before heading home.
It occurred to me, given what I’m assuming is the diversity of locations for TWG readers and the diversity of our travels, that we could start helping each other by having TWG compile a list of the recommended hotels and the ones we wouldn’t recommend. To start off, here’s my favorite LAX hotel.
I started using the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles years ago when I lived in Hawaii and came to LAX to start almost all my flights. Even the award flights to Asia from Hawaii seemed to start at LAX!
View of Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles. Image source: http://www.sheratonlax.com/en/gallery