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From the 123rd Annual Meeting column of the October 2008 issue of Perspectives on History

Making Plans to Attend the 123rd Annual Meeting in New York City? Some Useful Reminders

Sharon K. Tune, October 2008

Registration

For the 123rd annual meeting of the American Historical Association, to be held Friday–Monday, January 2–5, 2009, in New York City, the Association has negotiated special discounted rates with the meeting hotels. These special rates will be available only to those registering for the meeting. Preregistration has been open since September 15, and discounted registration rates are available to those who register by midnight of December 19, 2008. Individuals registering after December 19—or onsite at the meeting—will pay slightly higher registration rates. Admission to all sessions, the Exhibit Hall, the Job Center, and the Messaging/Internet Center require a registration badge.

Advance Registration

Attendees can preregister online (the easier and preferred method) via a link on the AHA’s web site (www.historians.org/am2009) at the following reduced rates: $145 for members, $165 for nonmembers, $70 for student members, $80 for student nonmembers, $70 for unemployed, and $35 for precollegiate teachers (evidence of employment as a teacher is required for the precollegiate teachers’ rate). The AHA also offers special preregistration rates of $50 for middle and high school teachers and $100 for undergraduate teachers each leading groups of up to five students.

Advance registration must be received by midnight on Friday, December 19, 2008. Preregistration forms may also be mailed with the requisite payment, but to the address shown on the form and not the AHA. Preregistrants will receive an e-mail confirmation with a registration number that will be needed for making hotel reservations. Registration badges will be distributed at the meeting.

Onsite Registration

For registration after December 19, 2008, onsite rates will be charged. Fees for registering at the meeting will be $170 members, $190 nonmembers, $75 student members, $85 student nonmembers, $75 unemployed, and $40 precollegiate teachers (evidence of employment is required for the precollegiate teachers’ rate). The previously mentioned special teacher-student group rate is not available onsite.

Refund Policy

Advance registrants who are unable to attend the meeting may request a refund of their registration fee. A written request must be postmarked by December 19, 2008, and should include a copy of the preregistration confirmation. Proof of payment—copies of front and back of cancelled check or copy of credit card statement—may also be required. All refunds are subject to a $20 processing fee. No refunds will be issued for requests postmarked after December 19, 2008.

Accommodations

Blocks of rooms have been reserved at the Hilton New York (headquarters), Sheraton New York (co-headquarters), Waldorf=Astoria, and the Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square. AHA and affiliated society sessions are scheduled in the Hilton and Sheraton. The Hilton will house AHA registration, meal ticket cashiers, the Exhibit Hall, the Job Center, and the messaging and internet center. (for more information, download the hotel rate information and map of the area). Discounted registration rates are available only to those who register by midnight of December 19, 2008.

Reservations for Standard Rooms and Suites

Rates for standard rooms at the Hilton and Sheraton are $129 single and double. The additional person charge is $20 at the Hilton and $30 at the Sheraton. The suites in the AHA block at the Hilton and the Sheraton have sold out. Similarly, the rooms in the AHA block at the Waldorf=Astoria have also sold out. The rate at the Doubletree Guest Suites is $199 single and double and $30 for each additional person. All rooms in the AHA’s inventory at this hotel are one-bedroom suites. Rooms and suites are subject to city and state taxes, currently 13.375 percent plus $3.50 occupancy tax per room, per night. Meeting rates are in effect three days before and after the January 2–5 meeting dates (except for the Doubletree Suites), and are for a limited number of rooms only at each property.

Attendees can make hotel reservations directly with hotels once they have preregistered for the meeting. Requests for reservations will be accepted via the internet (through special customized links to each hotel, with AHA meeting rates automatically inserted) or via the hotels’ direct-dial or toll-free numbers. Specific instructions will be included in each attendee’s preregistration confirmation.

Callers should have the following information on hand when making the reservation: arrival and departure dates, number of rooms required, type of room (standard or suite), number staying in the room (single, double, triple, quad), names of persons to occupy the room, arrival time, credit card number and expiration date, mailing address, telephone numbers, and e-mail address. In addition, callers should also have the meeting preregistration number to avail of the special discounted hotel rates. Note that room categories will be booked on a first-come, first-served basis.

Confirmation

Room reservations made by phone are confirmed immediately with a confirmation number. Callers can also ask for an e-mail confirmation. Reservations made via the hotel’s web site will be confirmed by e-mail.

Early Departure Fee

Some hotels have an early departure fee. Guests wishing to avoid an early checkout fee should advise the hotel at or before check-in of any change in planned length of stay. Hotels will inform attendees of this potential charge upon check-in.

Deposit

All hotels require a deposit equal to one night’s stay. Checks and major credit cards are acceptable to establish prepayment. If a credit card is used, it will be billed immediately at the time of making the reservation.

Cutoff Date

The cutoff date for the AHA’s official block at the Hilton, Sheraton, and Waldorf=Astoria is December 12, 2008, and for the Doubletree Guest Suites December 3, 2008. After this date, remaining inventory in each hotel’s block will be released and rooms will be available at the AHA’s meeting rates on a space-available basis at the time of reservation. Frequent updates on availability will be posted on the AHA’s web site. If all hotels sell out, the AHA will secure additional hotel rooms and post details on the AHA web site.

Changes, Cancellations, and Refunds

Meeting attendees can continue to make and modify (depending on availability) or cancel reservations from September 15 through their selected hotel’s cancellation period. If canceling a reservation, callers should ask for a cancellation number. For the Hilton, Waldorf=Astoria, and the Doubletree Guest Suites attendees must cancel at least 72 hours prior to reserved arrival date and for the Sheraton at least 48 hours prior or one night’s room and taxes will be charged.

If a reservation is not cancelled and the individual is a “no show,” the hotels will charge one night’s room and taxes as a penalty.

Transportation

Association Travel Concepts (ATC) is the official travel agency for the annual meeting. ATC has negotiated discounts with American Airlines, Amtrak, Avis, and Enterprise to bring attendees special air, rail, and car rental rates that are lower than those available to the public. To take advantage of these rates and benefits, e-mail reservations@atcmeetings.com. ATC is available for reservations from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. A link is also available through the AHA annual meeting web page, www.historians.org or directly from ATC’s web site at www.atcmeetings.com. Follow the “Meeting” links to the “TravelASP” booking engine. When registering on the web site, enter “AHA” in the company/association field.

Airfares

By contacting ATC, attendees traveling on American Airlines (ID Number A6819AL) will save up to 5 percent. Some restrictions may apply and service fees will vary. Discounts apply for travel Tuesday, December 30, 2008, through Friday, January 8, 2009, for service into John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Attendees may also contact airlines directly, noting ID numbers —United Airlines (ID number 510CK) at 800-521-4041 and American Airlines at 800-433-1790 (the discount ID cannot be used on American Airline ’s web site).

ATC will also search for the lowest available fare on any airline serving the three airports. ATC is a full-service travel agency that provides personalized service, advance seat assignments, special meal requests, frequent flier programs updates, electronic ticketing, e-mail access for convenient booking of your tickets, and more.

Train Fares

Amtrak offers a 10 percent discount on the lowest available fare to New York City between December 30, 2008, and January 8, 2009. To book, call Amtrak at 800-872-7245 and refer to Convention Fare Code X72T-942. Please note that this discount cannot be booked via Amtrak’s web site—you must call Amtrak directly and mention the fare code. The offer is not valid on Auto Train, but is valid with Sleepers, Business Class, or First Class seats with payment of the full applicable accommodation charges. Fares are also valid on Amtrak Regional and Acela service seven days a week, except for holiday blackouts.

Car Rental

Attendees can also arrange to rent a car through Avis or Enterprise, with discounted rates effective from December 30, 2008, through January 8, 2009. Contact Avis at 800-331-1600, noting ID number J952801, or Enterprise at 800-593-0505, noting ID number 32H7476.

—Sharon K. Tune is convention director for the American Historical Assocaition.