FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

2019 Quint, Hall of Fame and Crystal Inductees

by Erich Martin

Dec 3, 2019

THE RITZ-CARLTON
Best International Hotel Chain
PHOTO: © THE RITZ-CARLTON

December 2019

NOW ENTERING ITS 16TH YEAR, the GT Tested Reader Survey has become a tradition. Year after year, we honor the best in the business after a rigorous vote by our readers. This year nine brands reached consecutive-win milestones, from Quint Status at five years to Hall of Fame inductees at 10 and Crystal Status winners at 15.

No matter the award, winning consecutively is not easy. This year’s Quint Status winners showcase excellence in the travel industry by staying relevant to their passengers and guests.

Hotel brands dominate this year’s winners. First up: The Ritz-Carlton, reaching five consecutive wins in two categories. This brand, known internationally as the gold standard of luxury accommodations, enters Quint Status in the Best International Hotel Chain and Best Domestic Hotel Chain categories. The brand was established in 1983 with a single hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Boston. Since then the brand gained what feels like ubiquitous fame, with presence in 30 countries and more than 95 hotels in Chile, China, Turkey, Singapore and beyond.

The Ritz-Carlton’s parent company, Marriott International, is no stranger to success at the GT Tested Reader Survey awards. In 2014 Marriott Hotels took home Hotel of the Year, and the brand’s rewards program has been recognized consistently over the years.

A simple look at The Ritz-Carlton’s standards of operation, including warm welcomes and good-byes and the goal of providing the finest personal service available, makes it clear. The Ritz-Carlton’s arrival at Quint Status was always more a question of when rather than if.

LOTTE HOTEL SEOUL
Best MICE Hotel
PHOTO: © LOTTE HOTEL SEOUL

For Best MICE Hotel we travel to Seoul. Lotte Hotel Seoul takes the prize for the fifth year in a row, cementing its place among our readers as one of the best hotels in the world for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions. Lotte operates properties all over the world, but the Seoul hotel stands out to readers as the pinnacle of business travel. In addition to the 5-star accommodations guests can expect at any Lotte property, the lobby boasts a business center. The center offers everything guests need to get down to business, including conference rooms accommodating up to four people and office equipment like a laser printer, laptop rental and more. Two larger conference rooms, the main tower and executive tower, provide serious guests a distinctive place to meet and get things done.

Almost hand in hand, the city of Seoul itself enters Quint Status as Best MICE City. As one of the world’s leading cities for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, it lends itself well to events of any type or size. Alongside its world-class facilities, Seoul boasts one of the world’s top airports, quality infrastructure, warm hospitality, a safe environment and much more.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES
Best Overall Airline in the World
PHOTO: © SINGAPORE AIRLINES

The final brand to gain recognition for five consecutive wins is the Best Overall Airline in the World. In the Asia Pacific region, Singapore Airlines proves a major power player, always looking for ways to expand its offerings and make travel within Asia Pacific and beyond convenient for passengers. And the airline isn’t afraid of engaging in cooperation to do it. Earlier this year, Singapore signed a partnership agreement with Malaysia Airlines and added more flights to North America.

Achieving Quint Status is no simple achievement. These brands and organizations have stayed relevant with their most loyal customers for years, but the next group of winners have reached 10 years of sustained excellence. This year we welcome oneworld (Best Airline Alliance), Alitalia (Best Airline Cuisine), Aeromexico (Best Airline in Mexico) and Briggs & Riley (Best Luggage Brand) to the Hall of Fame.

ONEWORLD
Best Airline Alliance
PHOTO: © ONEWORLD

Many would argue the more airline partners an alliance has, the better. Oneworld would disagree. Despite having the fewest partner airlines of the major alliances, the group claimed victory 10 times in a row. As passengers fly oneworld more often, they receive more benefits, including extra baggage allowance, wait list priority and much more at the highest levels. The alliance also grants access to more than 650 exclusive lounges around the globe for qualifying passengers. The biggest oneworld partners include American Airlines, British Airways and Qatar Airways.

ALITALIA
Best Airline Cuisine
PHOTO: © ALITALIA

Continuing the airline trend, Alitalia enters the Hall of Fame for airline cuisine. Alitalia offers a unique program where guests can book specific meals in advance of their flight. This alone is not unique, but the types of meals the carrier offers contribute to the impressive reputation the airline cultivated. Alitalia lets guests order special diet-restricted meals, be it for medical or personal reasons; religion-based meals; and a whole selection of options for children. Outside the special meals, Alitalia serves delicious standard meals in flight as well for passengers flying in cabins where it is offered.

AEROMEXICO
Best Airline in Mexico
PHOTO: © AEROMEXICO

Aeromexico, part of the SkyTeam alliance, has been in operation for nearly 100 years. According to schedule analysis, Aeromexico operates the most routes in Latin America and has been recognized for social responsibility, greenhouse emission management and more in recent years. The airline has flown to New York and Los Angeles with regularity since 1957. In 2019 Aeromexico proves it isn’t happy to rest on its laurels, launching a Barcelona–Mexico City route, changing flight attendant uniforms and adding new destinations throughout South America.

For all the good airlines accomplish in their culinary sectors and the destinations they serve, these things don’t matter if travelers cannot easily take advantage of the new offerings. Briggs & Riley has kept travelers equipped since it introduced wheeled luggage to the market in 1970. Since then, Briggs & Riley has become one of the biggest names in specialty luggage. This year, its name enters the Hall of Fame for 10 consecutive years as Best Luggage Brand.

BRIGGS & RILEY
Best Luggage Brand
PHOTO: © BRIGGS & RILEY

Briggs & Riley stays in good graces thanks to a few of its offerings. An unconditional lifetime guarantee means every time a bag gets damaged or broken, the company will repair it, no questions asked. Real travelers and readers voted Briggs & Riley to victory for the 10th consecutive year because of its high-quality luggage and ironclad guarantees.

Finally, we acknowledge this year’s Crystal Status winner. This brand has won its category every year since the GT Tested Reader Survey began, except for the very first year. Winning any award 15 years in a row proves a monumental feat, and in this case InterContinental Hotels Group experiences its first taste of crystal with IHG Rewards Club (Best Hotel Rewards Program in the World).

Loyalty programs are common in the travel industry. Every airline, hotel, car service and luggage company seems to have its own. The result is a fiercely competitive space where every airline and hotel tries to outdo the others. For this reason, InterContinental Hotels Group’s top position for 15 consecutive years reflects a true sign of quality.

IHG REWARDS CLUB
Best Hotel Rewards Program in the World
PHOTOS: © IHG

With IHG Rewards Club, rewards points stay active as long as guests remain active in any 12-month period. The lowest tier membership lets guests build bonus points and receive exclusive rates. In addition, a partnership with Hertz helps guests rack up extra points. The club’s highest tier, InterContinental Ambassador, carries a $200 membership fee but comes with upgraded stays including complimentary weekend nights, discounts at on-site restaurants and bars, complimentary mineral water and internet and much more. The in-between tiers offer different perks that grow in value as your tier escalates.

Every year we are excited to see which brands muscle their way to the forefront of our readers’ favor. It is even more exciting when companies achieve multiple milestones in a given year. As InterContinental Hotels Group celebrates its placement as our sixth Crystal Status winner, all we can do is look to the future and guess which brand might next gaze into the crystal ball.

Read This Next

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Cruising
Oct 15, 2021

Galataport Istanbul Welcomes First Ship

Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.

‘Tis the Season for a Luxurious Retreat

This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.

Events
Oct 14, 2021

Celebrate Halloween at a Medical Labyrinth

The countdown to Halloween weekend is on! Are you are still unsure about plans? Do you go to a house party? Stay in to hand out candy? Try something different this year and join Philadelphia’s  The Mütter Museum at its 6th annual Mischief at The Mütter.

eFlyer Reviews
Oct 13, 2021

Jackson’s Bar & Oven Review

There’s an aspirational rustic chic/farm-to-table restaurant genre often associated with Northern California’s wine country. When you drive down the main street of Napa, Sonoma or any of the other towns, it appears there are as many of them as there are vineyards. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this genre, as the quality of the food is consistent and ambitious chefs earnestly endeavor to elevate home-style dishes to a higher standard.

Greece: Destination Luxury

Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.

eFlyer News
Oct 13, 2021

The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Collaborates with Porsche

The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco announced a new amenity for guests in collaboration with Porsche. Porsche electric vehicle charging stations will now be located in the valet area of the hotel’s parking deck, allowing guests and visitors to top off the batteries of electric vehicles while enjoying a cocktail at Top of the Mark, enjoying farm-to-table fare at Nob Hill Club or staying overnight at the property.

Daily
Oct 13, 2021

Grenada Fall and Winter Specials

Head to the Caribbean to escape the cold fall and winter weather. Grenada hotels offer travelers numerous deals, perfect for a fall, winter or holiday getaway.

Greece: Destination Culture

History and culture are etched into every corner of Greece. Beginning with its language, the oldest written language still in existence, and moving from the traces of passing civilizations and religions to pre-historic findings and works from many movements, there’s a wealth of culture to discover on your next trip to Greece.

Daily
Oct 12, 2021

6 Reasons to Put Reykjavik, Iceland, on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Reykjavik with us.