There are two types of miles and points travelers when it comes to taking international flights. Those who live in major hubs and have multiple options so positioning for a flight is rarely necessary, and those who don’t. Those of us who do have to position for flights often have to stay at hotels near the airports we’re flying out of or into for our travels.
If you live in a major hub city, I’m jealous! Most of the time I’m based in 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, but in San Diego’s case that’s a bit of a misnomer.
Probably 99% of the time, I have to go to Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) or some other hub city to start my international 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.
Breaking It Down:
What Does Positioning For a Flight Mean?
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 or points to book a trip (or a cheap cash fare) will have you start or end in a city that’s not your home airport. You’ll either need to fly (using other miles 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.
My Top Choices For LAX Hotels
However, I do know the Los Angeles Airport hotel options very well. Lately the options have increased and more hotels are still being built and will be opening in the next year or two. Here’s a compiled list of recommended properties so when you transit and need an LAX hotel, you’ll know which one works best for you.
As a point of reference, these hotels are all on Century Blvd. They are within walking distance to LAX, meaning under two miles from the furthest hotel to the airport, should you choose to walk. Historically, this area originally was home to many office buildings that over the years have been renovated into hotels.
Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles
For many years this was one of my go-to LAX hotels. Now though, it’s looking old and dark. There really is no place to enjoy a quick snack, as the bar area and main restaurant are both more formal and don’t seem open during the mid-day hours. Even the Starbucks in the lobby keeps odd hours, closing at 6 pm.
As a hotel guest I’ve always been treated well, given rooms and upgrades with good quiet locations within the hotel. I’ve noticed since Marriott took over Sheraton, the cash rates have gone up and I imagine the hotel to be much busier now.
The executive lounge is always well stocked serving hot food at dinner time rather than just snacks of the cheese, cracker, hummus variety. I particularly like being able to see sunset from the lounge, and also watch the planes coming and going from LAX.
Some people complain that the hotel shuttle doesn’t run often enough, but I’ve never had to wait too long. And I like the fact, that as often is the case from San Francisco Airport, for instance, it’s not one of those shuttles that stops at various hotels but rather solely goes to and from the Sheraton.
I’ll usually pay cash, rather than points, for this hotel, and looking back over my notes, the most I’ve paid is in the $130 range. One time I got the room for $111.00! It’s good to check availability and price as soon as you know you’ll need to position for a flight.
In terms of service, the front desk people are fine. Not overly friendly, but certainly efficient. That’s good by me because it’s one of the busier LAX hotels, and I’ve never not seen a line at check-in. They are good at helping Marriott members right away. And maybe I’m weird, but I do like those Sheraton pens, and the front desk is always good about me replenishing my pen supply!
Crowne Plaza LAX
The IHG family of hotels has a Crowne Plaza at LAX. It’s an older hotel and the rooms get mixed reviews for both their furnishings and often musty smell. The lobby is small but well laid out and works very efficiently.
There is a lounge for elite IHG members. There are quite a few restaurants in the hotel with offerings that are well-priced. Well-priced good food is hard to find in airport hotels, so here’s a tip. One find is at the main restaurant called The Landing. They roast about six chickens every day. On their main menu, which starts at 11 AM, you can get either a whole chicken or half chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, cole slaw and rolls. For $23 for the half, it’s a great deal!
The Crowne Plaza is a good choice if you have an IHG free night award from your IHG credit card, as the points needed for a hotel stay falls under the maximum limit of the free award night certificate.
Hyatt Regency at LAX
The Hyatt Regency has become my new go-to LAX hotel. It’s modern and was renovated two years ago. The standard rooms are fine, with the feature I like the most being a lounger/couch in the corner. I’ve been upgraded to suites, which are huge and comfortable, with an awesome view for plane spotting.
Unfortunately during dinnertime, there have been cutbacks in the lounge (no hot food, no spirits, only beer and wine). Breakfast, though, remains a full assortment of foods with fresh Mexican papaya and mango cut daily.
Apparently Hyatt elites complain about lounge food and beverage cutbacks. These cutbacks happened in the last three months since the new GM took over. I did not complain. However, when I was talking to the hotel staff about the changes, they comped me a $25 voucher for a meal in the restaurant.
The bowls of ramen from the restaurant were great! If you don’t have lounge access and want to add it, there is a cost. The fee is $50 during the week and $75 on the weekend. The hotel offers a good variety of food for both take-out and eat-in. There is both a lobby restaurant and snack bar. The hotel staff is competent and friendly. On my last stay at the Hyatt, there were internet problems throughout the hotel. However, they were quickly handled by the manager on duty.
A Hyatt Place is under construction and set to open in the next year. This seems to be a Hyatt strategy for hotels at airports. At the San Jose Airport, in San Jose, CA, Hyatt is also opening both a Hyatt Place and Hyatt House.
The Hilton Properties At LAX
If Hilton is your hotel group of choice, you’re in luck. Hilton has an interesting set-up that impressed me. There are two Hilton choices side by side using the same lobby entrance.
One is a Hilton Curio property and the other is a Homewood Suites. These LAX hotels opened within the last two years and are busy, busy, busy. The more expensive, higher-end Curio property offers Hilton Gold and Diamond members breakfast in the restaurant. On the back side of the lobby is a new Gloria Jean Coffee and a new Subway sandwich shop. When I stopped in to see the properties, I spoke with the front desk manager. I enjoyed his enthusiasm for these new properties. Either property is a great option for Hilton members.
It’s good to know your hotel choices when you need an airport stay before or after a flight. For Los Angeles, there are quite a few LAX hotels to choose from. If you’re like me and use a particular hotel, or use many in different cities, before or after flights, share the ones you like best.
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