Category: Hotel Chains

A 5-Minute Practical Guide for First-time Travelers to Paris, France

TravelWhimsy and I took advantage of the Presidents’ Day long weekend and spent 3 delightful winter days in the City of Light.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Three Winter Days in the City of Light (February 2013)

This post, listing things not present or emphasized in Rick Steves’ Paris Guide, is meant to help those of you planning your first trip to Paris save some time and money (and maybe points). For our readers who are Paris veterans, feel free to add your tips and suggestions in the comment section.

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Putting Non-Bonus Category Spend on the Club Carlson Visa – A Secret Weapon to Earning Free Hotel Nights with Minimal Effort for Infrequent Travelers and Families

If you and your family

  • Only travel once or twice a year;
  • Don’t mind staying at Country Inns, Park Inns, or Radissons (for free) for your vacation or road trips;
  • Would like to minimize the number of credit cards your use on a daily basis;
  • Have no time or desire to manufacture credit card spending;

Then, there might be an easy solution. All you have to do is to put ALL your non-bonus category spending on a single hotel credit card.

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Booking a Last-minute Trip to Kauai for 4 Adults 7 Days Prior to Departure with Miles & Points

It is often debatable whether collecting miles and points is even worth our time and effort, given the existence of 2% cash back credit cards. TravelWhimsy and I just returned from a whirlwind long-weekend trip to Kaua’i, HI, with our moms. The entire trip was conceived and booked on a whim – 7 days prior to departure, to be exact. A last-minute trip like ours seems to indicate that miles and points could trump cash back, and we will let you be the judge.

Kauai's Napali Coast from the Kalalau Trail
Kauai’s Northern Coastline Viewed from the First Half-Mile on the Kalalau Trail

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Vegas Calling – Stay at Marriott’s Renaissance Las Vegas for $79 All-in and Get Almost All Your Money Back in Perks

Planning a getaway or staycation in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada before April 4, 2013? Here is a hotel deal that you might want to consider. Stay at the AAA 4-Diamond Renaissance Las Vegas for $79 all-in and get almost all your money back in generous (and delicious!) perks.

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Get a Hotel Room for $35 a Night (Now through January 31, 2013) – Book Priority Club PointBreaks Hotels for 5,000 Points Only

Pura Vida – A Few Travel Tips for Costa Rica

TravelWhimsy and I took her parents to the amazing country of Costa Rica during Thanksgiving week. Two of our dearest friends, M & P, who had recently retired there, hosted us at their new home. M & P expertly planned almost every single aspect of our trip, so this is not going to be my typical trip report involving much about miles and points strategy. Instead, I will share a few notes I jotted down along the way that could help you better plan your future trips to Costa Rica. If you have never experienced PURA VIDA, don’t wait too long. It only takes 30-35,000 miles per person, and you won’t regret it!

Beautiful “Bluebird” (Yes, Pun Intended for You Mile/Point Junkies!) in Costa Rican Rainforest

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1,000 Free Priority Club Points + Possible Official 80,000 Points Sign-up Bonus Offer for Priority Club Select Visa Card (The Most Underrated Hotel Card You Should Never Cancel!)

Are you familiar with Priority Club PointBreaks? Every two months or so, InterContinental Hotels Group (“IHG”) releases a list of hotels bookable for only 5,000 points a night. Prority Club points can be “purchased” for 0.7 cent a piece, so PointBreaks hotels essentially cost $35 net a night (no taxes or fees charged for award nights). Upscale brand InterContinental and mid-scale brands Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo are often included in the sale.

TravelWhimsy and I took advantage of the last PointBreaks sale and stayed at the newly renovated Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar while beach hopping in sunny San Diego. As platinum members (top-tier elite status is now a standard benefit for Priority Club Select Visa cardholders), we were upgraded to an ocean-view studio suite. Instead of reviewing the hotel, I am going to tell you

  • how you can get 1,000 free Priority Club points;
  • how you may get the official 80,000bonus-point offer for signing up for the Priority Club Select Visa card (current public Chase offer requires $1,000 in initial spend for 60,000 points) ;
  • and why this is one credit card you should never cancel.


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National Park Extravaganza – 5 National Parks and More in 4 Consecutive Weekends

As a recently-converted nature lover, I am proud to report that TravelWhimsy and I have survived the self-imposed mission of visiting 5 national parks in 4 consecutive weekends. Our “National Park Extravaganza” was made possible by:

No time was taken off work. We would usually leave home on Friday nights or Saturday mornings and return on Sunday nights. In short, our 4 whirlwind weekends came at an effective total cost of $496 for two people (see the following table for details).

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No-go for the Wyndham Free-night Extension Offer

A quick but important update to the extension of Wyndham promotion I wrote about yesterday. I’m afraid that this is going to be disappointing to many of you.

According to a Wyndham Representative who posted in this flyertalk thread (see posts #397 and #418), the change of offer dates that made the offer look like a new one was the result of a two-part targeted promotion. Most Wyndham Rewards members who had subscribed to email offers received the original offers through emails, while those who had not received an actual paper mailer with an offer link and new dates. If you have taken FULL advantage of the original email offer (receiving 48,000 bonus points for 3 stays), which ran from August 6 to October 6, 2012, I’d advise you NOT to proceed with making any new bookings. If you didn’t know about the original email offer and have not received the actual paper mailer, I’d also recommend that you do NOT attempt it.

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The Penny-mile Free-night Wyndham Rewards Promotion Is Back and Even Better!

[Update (October 18, 2012): Offer terms have changed. Read today’s update first. You might get lucky, but proceed at your own risk.]

It’s a wonderful day for all of us interested in earning more Wyndham points that can be transferred to your airlines of choice. Yes, the recently expired 16,000-bonus-point-per-stay Wyndham offer I first wrote about on August 14, 2012 is BACK and even BETTER!

This time around, you can earn ~54,000 Wyndham Rewards points for as little as $150. Those 54,000 points can be converted to ~21,600 traditional airline miles or ~16,200 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Even if you don’t like airline miles or the Southwest Companion Pass, you will end up with enough points for three free nights at a midtown Manhattan hotel. Best of all, the confusing “must click through email” clause has been taken out of the fine print.

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