Last month my wife and I got to see Adele in the SPG suite at The o2 Arena in London. For me this was an incredibly decadent way to redeem my SPG points for an event that I would normally not be able to buy tickets for. Starwood, has a really cool redemption option called SPG Moments where you can redeem your points for concert tickets (like these), baseball, hockey and even other events. Two years ago I even redeemed them for two luxury box seats at Wrigley Field to see a Giants game and it was INCREDIBLE. Continue reading
Let’s get this clear I’m loony. Looney looney looney. I’m the guy that flew to Dubai 3x in 6 weeks with only 8 hours on the ground for each trip just to earn miles, it didn’t hurt that the ticket was dirt cheap. Or flying to Seoul Korea for 6 hours just so I could experience Singapore Airlines first class on the a380 flying home.
Now that we’ve established to what lengths I’ll go to prove my looniess (is that even a word). Let’s get to the point.
This week I spent three nights in Kansas City, Missouri and two night in Indianapolis, Indiana. Being that it’s a new year and my hotel status reset, I had a choice to make. It was very simple with top tier in three programs Hilton, Starwood and Hyatt and the desire to keep at least two of them if not all three for next year; sorry Hilton you might be the odd man out. I needed to start staying places. All three programs let you qualify on nights or stays. For me stays are always easier to attain then nights. Hilton 30 stays/60 nights, Starwood and Hyatt 25 stays/50 nights. In all three cases I always make it on stays yearly and sometimes as the year rolls down I’ll get it on nights too. But latter doesn’t happen every year. Continue reading
Ok let me start off by saying in the grand scheme of things my issues are minor at best. But when you travel too much like I do, you’re sensitive to wanting a good night’s rest and a good start to the day.
Also in this case the hotel immediately gave me a room refund once I complained. So for that I’m happy, but did it really make me happy?
I had a one night stay at the aLoft Ontario/Rancho Cucamonga this week. I specifically stayed here to take advantage of two sweet Starwood promotions that I could achieve in a one night stay. One was the 2500 Starwood points for using keyless entry and the other was 2015 Starwood points in 2015. For me to earn these points I needed a stay at a hotel that had keyless entry. This hotel fit the bill, but was 80 miles roundtrip from where I was working. But for 4515 extra points it was worth it, or so I thought. Continue reading
I’m always excited to try out a new hotel brand, so when I’m in a city that has one I’ll do my best to check it out. On a recent trip to Dallas, Texas I was able to do just that and stayed at the Element DFW. Element Hotel is one of the new/hip extended stay brands made for the 20-40 something traveler. It offers rooms with full kitchens, separate sleeping/sitting areas and modern lobbies with a communal vibe and a nod towards environmentally friendly building supplies and green hotel habits.
Hilton is finally expanding their keyless entry program and I’m excited to have a chance to try it out at the Hilton Kansas City Airport. At the moment I’m under the impression they have 23 locations worldwide that offer this feature, where until a few weeks ago it was a whopping one hotel. I didn’t pick this property because of this but I’m happy I get to check it out. Plus thought the end of November you get a bonus 2500 Hilton Honors points for using it. Here’s a link to the promotion. I’m hopeful that I’ll get the bonus points, it seems you don’t need to register for the promotion, just check in via the mobile AP, so cross your fingers.
Back in June Hyatt offered a really great status match opportunity (its way beyond dead now). If you registered for the promo and in eight weeks stayed 12 nights not only would you get their top tier status (Diamond) through 2016 but you’d also get four upgrade certificates.
For me this promo was available at the perfect time. I had already qualified for top tier with Hilton and Starwood and I enjoy those brands, but I was looking to diversify a bit and try out other hotel chains and see what they had to offer. But, being spoiled if you can call it that these days, I was used to free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and on occasion great upgrades based on my status. So starting at the bottom with zero status was not happening.
Several months back I got to work on my suntan in central Florida on the gulf side. While I was in Fort Myers, I spent a few nights at the Doubletree Suites Naples Florida.
It was a sleepy little hotel and offered up a pretty decent spot to rest my head. After checking in I went up to the room and was happily greeted with a nice two room suite. Yippee!! Well there all suites Dummy. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to stay at the Marriott Oakland Convention Center. I’m not a Marriott person, and probably stay at one of their properties once or twice a year. It’s not my goto brand, but due to a corporate rate my wife got us for an event we were attending it was worth it for us to stay here. The hotel is on Broadway Street in Oakland, on the edge of sketchville, and because of that I would not find myself walking around this neighborhood after dark. It’s close to a lot of good things in Oakland, though like Jack London Square, China Town, Lake Merritt and close to BART too.
I was in Seoul, stranded for 24 hours and needed a hotel pronto. My first choice was a Sheraton property due to constantly chasing platinum status. There are actually a lot of SPG options in Seoul, but due to not wanting to take a 45 minute or longer bus/cab/train ride to a more central hotel I chose the closest one, the Sheraton Inchon Hotel in the Songdo International Business District. I really had no idea what to expect, but TripAdvisor gave it pretty decent reviews, and I was hopeful. Continue reading
After my stupid good flight on Singapore Airlines from Shanghai to Singapore, I had about 12 hours to kill before heading out on SQ 12 Suites Class to Los Angeles. I arrived at about 10 PM and could have easily slummed it at the airport. The lounges are open 24 hours and there’s a transit hotel and a Crowne Plaza connected to Terminal 3. Besides these hotels Singapore is chock full of 5 star properties that run the gamut of hotel chains. I was trying to stay on a budget of sorts and based on cost would have used points or cash depending on how expensive the hotel was I would end up staying at. In this case it came down to how much time I would actually have at the hotel and how much it would cost, and decided that the Sheraton Towers Singapore on cash was the best way to go. I really wanted to stay at the Conrad or W Sentosa Island, but they were both too expensive anyway you sliced it (cash, points, or cash points).
After a quick cab ride I was quickly greeted by reception at the hotel. It was quiet at reception, but there was a wedding going on one level up and you could tell people were having a really great time. I had requested a Sweet Suite Upgrade. As a Starwood Platinum who stayed 50 nights with them in 2014, I get 10 confirmable upgrades. These can be used and will confirm up to 5 days out from arrival. At the four day mark I received an email letting me know I had been upgraded to an Executive Suite. This is my fourth year as Platinum, but the first year I’ve qualified on nights and gotten the 10 upgrades, so I had no idea how good a deal this could or would be. In this case once I got there I was assigned my room and quickly went off to get some shut eye. On a side note, I’ve almost gotten upgrades as a Platinum, so I’m hopeful that the Sweet Suite Upgrades will actually get me an upgrade when I haven’t previously. Continue reading