It’s no secret that I have had a great experience with National Car Rental, so when National challenged UPGRD to think about what life would be like living in the Emerald World, hotels immediately came to mind…
Recently, I checked into the Emerald Hotel. The property was new, clean, and the rooms were beautiful. One of the key features of the property was its design. There were a variety of room types, from efficient studios to something with room for families, and swanky suites with the latest and greatest technology. But that’s not what makes this property unique.
It’s the selection.
I’m an Emerald Executive Elite, the property’s highest tier customer, and as such I have access to any room I want. If I am having colleagues over before a meeting or event, I can choose something showy. If it is a family weekend, I can get a separate suite with a kitchenette. If I am just going to stay overnight before a flight, in and out, I might choose something small, easy and close to the elevator on a low floor. Regardless of which I choose, the choice is mine.
Walking into the lobby of the hotel always fills me with joy. I see a line of people waiting to check in at this property and the one across the street and stride past, roll-aboard in hand. I have an app on my phone that allows me to select my room in advance if I want, based on my status level. That feature is great if I am in a rush or the hotel is full and I want to make sure I get a room with two beds for example, or something on a high floor.
My favorite feature, however doesn’t happen until I get upstairs. While anyone can pay for any room in the hotel, elites can book a standard room and upgrade themselves for free. But what’s more, all of the doors are unlocked to rooms that have not yet been checked into.
The property features a ton of different room choices and they are all a little bit unique. Some have luxury bed sheets and a chaise lounge by the floor-to-ceiling windows. Other rooms might have USB plugs on the nightstand next to the bed. I have found some that have meeting rooms inside, and others that were a bit of fun and less utility.
As my status with the hotel grows and my stays increase, so too does my access to the rooms. When I get to the top tier, virtually any room is mine. But even those who simply join the loyalty program at the entry level have access to many of these features on their first stay. They still have a good selection of newly-renovated rooms of almost every variety. Entry level members don’t have to stop at the front desk, can do everything from their phone, store their preferences, and earn points or miles for their stay .
At checkout, like many hotels, I didn’t have to stop at the front desk, but with this hotel, as soon as I drop the key in the key slot, I get an email with an itemized bill ready for my expense report.
When I think of other competing chains I am reminded that even as a top tier elite, no program yet has all of these features. It’s not that I don’t want to interact with the front desk, it’s that there is no need to because I am going to pick out my own room and they already know what to bill me and what not to bill me.
It is quite possibly the best loyalty program. However, for it to be an actual hotel loyalty program it could only exist in an Emerald World.
Being an Emerald Club member with National Car Rental offers all of this, but for rental cars. Even entry level members can choose their own car from the Emerald Aisle. They can store their preferences on their membership profile so they never have to fill the car with gas before they return, or if they would prefer, never get charged for gas and always bring it back full. They can pick their car in advance through the National app, or they can try and find something unique when they land. As members advance through the elite levels of the program, they earn access to the Executive Aisle, and at the Executive Elite level, the cars are some of the most premium in the fleet including Cadillacs, BMWs, and Lincolns (or this Dodge Challenger I am driving today).
When renting cars, skipping the counter is enough to win me over, but picking my car, hopping in and driving out knowing that my bill will be exactly what I expect it to be is what makes me love National.
It’s a shame all of my travel experiences aren’t in #TheEmeraldWorld.
This post is sponsored by National Car Rental. All opinions are my own.