There has been a lot of buzz the past two days about the March 27, 2015 launch of Iceland’s WOW Airlines low cost carrier flights between Boston  and Iceland (KEF), London (LGW) and Copenhagen (CPH). The fares are truly low at $100 to $200 each way into June and July 2015. WOW Air will also fly from Washington DC (BWI) to KEF, LGW and CPH, beginning June 4, 2015.

Reykjavik, Iceland has $99 one-way fares from Boston until summer season starts mid-June.

Copenhagen looks like the best deal to me with $200 fares Boston-CPH and $173 CPH-BOS up to mid-July dates. I am looking at clicking the mouse on this fare since $375 roundtrip to Europe in summer is an incredible deal. Spending miles to get from California to Boston is 50% of the miles to fly to Europe.

London is the most expensive destination, yet a $495 roundtrip ticket between Boston and London Gatwick is an incredible bargain for travel in July.

Analysis of WOW Airlines low summer fares to London and Copenhagen


$195.48 to fly Boston to London Gatwick one way on July 2, 2014.

Read More…

As I was writing this article I came across a Telegraph UK hotel review which questions the role of TripAdvisor and the influence of smart social media on the part of hotels. The hotel review story tells how Red Carnation, a boutique hotel chain, has 5 out of 6 London hotels in the Top 10 hotels for London. Red Carnation Hotels consistently holds the top 3 spots on for London hotels. Kind of reminds me how Kimpton is smart with social media in the USA for high ratings on TripAdvisor.  I’ll follow up on that topic in a separate article.

Club Carlson London Hotels TripAdvisor rankings

I have attended five annual Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group conferences since 2010. Radisson Edwardian was a confusing entity to me for some time. They are a family owned hotel brand centered on London hotels with additional hotels in Guildford and Manchester. These hotels are now branded Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels, except for The May Fair, which stands alone as its own brand name. There are 14 Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels including The May Fair. These Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels in the UK have a free breakfast offer for stays from January 1-February 28, 2015.

Park Plaza is the other Club Carlson brand in London.

Link: TripAdvisor London Hotels (1,063 hotels – one new hotel added as I write this article.)

TripAdvisor allows filtering by brands with Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn brands for sorting these hotels out of 1,062 London Hotels. There is a Park Inn at London Heathrow Airport.

TripAdvisor brand sort

The “I like” bar appeared based on sorts I conducted while writing this piece. Sort by hotel brand icon in bottom center of screenshot.

Links in the TripAdvisor rankings shown below go to hotel reviews page for each hotel. On each hotel’s TripAdvisor page there is a link to the hotel’s website.

#85 of 1,062 London hotels: Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf Hotel (Certificate of Excellence 2014)

#102 : Park Plaza County Hall London (90% favorable rating)

#105: Plaza on the River – Club and Residence (93% favorable rating)

#118: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London (Certificate of Excellence 2014, Green Leaders Gold level).

#140: Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel (Certificate of Excellence 2014)

#169: Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel (Certificate of Excellence 2014)

#207: Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street (Certificate of Excellence 2014)

#216: Park Plaza Victoria London (93% favorable rating)

#262: The May Fair Hotel (Certificate of Excellence 2014)

#294: Park Plaza Riverbank London (78% favorable rating)

#295: Radisson Blu Edwardian Sussex Hotel (formerly Radisson Edwardian Savoy Court)

#304: Radisson Blu Edwardian Leicester Square (78% favorable rating)

#316: Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes London (77% favorable rating)

Six of these Club Carlson hotels have been awarded the Certificate of Excellence 2014. Hotels with no favorable listing did not show that data on TripAdvisor hotel page.

Here is what TripAdvisor states a Certificate of Excellence means.

TripAdvisor Honors 2014 Certificate Of Excellence Winners

NEWTON, Mass., May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, today announced the 2014 Certificate of Excellence award recipients. Nearly 58,000 U.S. hospitality businesses have been awarded this year. Now in its fourth year, the award celebrates hospitality excellence and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account reviews ratings. Businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five. Volume and recency of reviews, as well as a business’ tenure and popularity ranking are also factored into the algorithm.

(TripAdvisor link)

When I am in London next month, I will be staying in three of the Club Carlson hotels and I will see if I can get around to several more to get locational awareness and photos.

I took a look at the reviews for Radisson Edwardian Sherlock Holmes London to see what complaints there were about the hotel to garner only a 77% favorable rating. There were hardly any complaints in the first two pages of reviews and most commenters described the location as excellent.

Seems like it is hard to go wrong with Club Carlson in London.

For comparison, here are samples of top ranked hotels for other major chains.


Hilton Conrad London St. James #34 (used to be InterContinental Westminster until 2014)

Hilton London Canary Wharf #130

DoubleTree by Hilton Tower of London #133

Hilton London Tower Bridge #137

DoubleTree by London Ealing #185

Hilton London Islington #189



Hyatt Andaz Liverpool Street #58

Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill #186


InterContinental Hotels Group

IHG Hotel Indigo Tower Hill #44

IHG Hotel Indigo London Kensington – Earl’s Court #76

IHG Hotel Indigo London Paddington #96

IHG InterContinental London Park Lane #124

IHG Crowne Plaza London Kensington #152



St. Ermin’s Hotel, Autograph Collection #51

The London Edition #86

Threadneedles Hotel, Autograph Collection #143

Marriott London Park Lane #172

London Marriott West India Quay #174

Grosvenor House, JW Marriott #208

Marriott London County Hall #246

London Marriott Regent’s Park #256



The Lanesborough, St. Regis #131

Aloft London Excel #210

The Park Tower Knightsbridge #266

W London Leicester Square #370

Le Meridien Piccadilly #482

The Park Lane Sheraton #644


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Last November I earned a free category 1-5 hotel reward night e-certificate from Marriott MegaBonus with two stays on best rate guarantee discount rates in Denver. My free night certificate expires in two weeks.

Marriott Rewards had a major shift upwards in hotel category reassignment on April 8, 2014. Over 200 hotels moved up from category 5 to category 6 on that date. This change pushed over 200 hotels out of contention for redeeming a Marriott category 5 hotel certificate. The MegaBonus certificates and Marriott Rewards Visa card member annual free night certificate are capped at category 5 hotels. Loyalty Traveler – Marriott Rewards hotels geographical list for category 5 to category 6 reassignment April 8, 2014 (March 20, 2014).

There has been a significant shift in Marriott Rewards hotel reward categories over the past two years. In late 2012 there were fewer than 9% of Marriott Rewards hotels in Categories 6, 7 and 8. Marriott Rewards added a new high end category 9 in 2013 and the proportion of hotels in categories 6-9 grew by more than 50%.

Marriott Rewards category distribution 2013

Changes in 2014 pushed another 200 hotels into Marriott Rewards category 6. The proportion of hotels in categories 6-9 jumped to 20% of Marriott properties. Two years ago there were less than 9% of Marriott’s global chain in categories 6-9 with just over 300 hotels out of reach of a category 5 free night certificate. Now, in 2014, there are more than 750 hotels in Marriott Rewards categories 6-9.

Marriott Rewards 2010-2014 category changes

I will take a road trip to California’s north coast redwood country in the next two weeks. There are a still a couple of Marriott brand hotels where I can burn a free night in a place I want to travel.


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Angelina of Just Another Points Traveler posted a summary of Best Rate Guarantee policies yesterday for ten major hotel chains – Everything You Need to Know About Best Rate Guarantees. Nice summary, although I disagree with some of her assessments.

I have filed over 50 Best Rate Guarantee claims in the past two years and I have a different take on which chains are best for approval.

Kimpton – Angelina rates Kimpton the easiest. I agree in that Kimpton is the only hotel chain remaining that accepts a phone call to process a best rate guarantee claim since Hyatt dropped their phone claims a few months ago. You can get a best rate guarantee claim approved prior to booking a room.

Marriott – In her ratings Angelina gives Marriott a middle tier rating.

I give this program a 2.5 because with any online claim form, rates could change before the claim is viewed, but for the most part, they are pretty generous in honoring claims.

Just Another Points Traveler

I completely disagree with this rating since every major hotel chain requires an online claim form. The advantage of Marriott in my experience is they are the most lenient about accepting claims by far compared to the other programs. I have had more success with Marriott than any other chain. My claims are approved about 80% of the time.

Starwood is one of three programs with Kimpton and Hyatt that allow you to file a best rate guarantee without having booked a room on the hotel chain’s website first. Next to Marriott, I have had more success with Starwood than any other chain for the number of approved best rate guarantees, but I have had most of my claims rejected in the past year for weak reasons. I used to get about 50% approval and that has fallen to less than 25% in 2014.

My main complaint about Starwood is 10% off the lower rate is a low discount for an approved claim. Marriott and Carlson give 25% off and Hyatt gives 20% off the lower competitor rate. And if you choose to take 2,000 points instead, then the lower rate from the competitor website is only matched. Angelina suggests taking the 2,000 points. That is my advice too when the 10% off the lower rate is less than $40 value. Take the 10% and forget the points when cash savings is more than $40 or $50.

Hyatt is a tough program to get a Best Rate Guarantee claim approved. I have had five nights at Hyatt this year on Best Rate Guarantee discount rates. Overall, I ‘d say my approval rate is less than 25% with Hyatt. I do not see many rate discrepancies for Hyatt.

IHG best rate guarantee claims offer first night free when approved. Angelina states approvals are pretty easy. That is not my experience. I had four approved claims for free nights in 2013. In 2014 I have been shot down every time.

Here is the reason for IHG Best Price Guarantee rejection this week:

Please be advised that the rate on has a more restrictive policy when it comes to the time frame and charges involved in cancelling the reservation and it is incomparable to the Best Flexible Rate on IHG.

Therefore, your claim will not qualify for the Best Price Guarantee.

IHG is not disputing the rate is lower on Amoma, just that it has a more restrictive cancellation policy. The cancellation policy is where I find Marriott excels for best rate guarantee claims. Online Travel Agency (OTA) sites rarely offer the same cancellation time as the hotel site. Many of the discount OTA sites have a day of arrival 12:01am cancellation policy time compared to 3pm to 6pm day of arrival for the hotel site.

Hilton – Never had an approved BRG with Hilton. They have a bad reputation for denying best rate guarantee claims. Honestly though, I have filed very few claims with Hilton.

Club Carlson – I have had success with Club Carlson and received a 25% discount, but I just don’t see too many opportunities for best rate guarantee claims with this chain.

Best Western – receive a $100 gift card for an approved claim. My favorite rejection reason for the year came from Best Western. I was told special discount rates from an OTA are not acceptable.

Choice – one free night for approved claims. Angelina rates this program highly, however, she neglected to mention Choice Hotels only allows one Best Rate Guarantee free night every 30 days. If you have a free night tonight, you can’t get another free night on an approved claim for 30 days. At least IHG allows another BRG free night for a different IHG hotel more than 50 miles away. Choice is another hotel chain that rejected my best rate guarantee claim this week.

The Best Internet Rate Guarantee program terms & conditions state that the rate located on a competing website must match the rate terms/restrictions that you made at The competing website information you submitted requires prepayment. The reservation you made at is a pay when you stay at the hotel reservation.

The room rate for the same room at The Gibson, Ascend Collection Dublin on was 40EUR less per night with a flexible cancellation policy for full refund 48 hours before arrival. For 35 EUR less per night than the Choice Hotels site I can also include breakfast.

The plain fact is this hotel is substantially less for the same room type through an OTA. In this case, I might just decide to forego the Choice Privileges credit and book the lower rate for The Gibson through a third party.

Wyndham – Angelina has nothing nice to say about Wyndham. I have been to some nice Wyndham Hotels like Mills House, Charleston, South Carolina where Wyndham points have great value. Here in the western USA, road tripping is a lifestyle and there are long stretches of road where Wyndham and Choice are the only hotel options around. You lose the hotel snob attitude when it is just you and a car in the desert or mountains and a hundred miles of wilderness to reach the next town. That being said, I don’t recall ever applying for a Wyndham best rate guarantee.

The Final Word

I always check for best rate guarantee claim opportunities wherever I travel. Nearly half my paid stays are on approved best rate guarantee claims with discount rates. Since my two claims this week were denied, I’ll keep looking for another opportunity.

Check out Angelina’s post on Just Another Points Traveler – Everything You Need to Know About Best Rate Guarantees.

Related Loyalty Traveler Post: Analysis of eight Best Rate Guarantee claims with six hotel chains (April 28, 2014).

London geography for 18 Club Carlson hotels is a look at where Radisson Blu Edwardian and Park Plaza hotels are located in London. Club Carlson website has impressed me these past few days as I have used the site extensively in planning hotel stays for London and Dublin.

The advantage for Club Carlson is they started fresh with web design in the past few years. They built a new Club Carlson site as part of the hotel company’s 5-year restructuring plan Ambition 2015. Loyalty Traveler – Ambition 2015 Carlson Rezidor Conference 2013 Chicago (March 4, 2013) is a good read for Club Carlson members summarizing the transition of Gold Points Plus hotel loyalty program to Club Carlson and the global corporate restructuring of Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group. (I reread the article myself while writing this and it has lots of good information revealing how different Club Carlson has changed compared to Gold Points Plus loyalty program in 2010. There was not even a Carlson Hotels forum when originally launched in 2011.)

Club Carlson Points for 2014 Hotel Rate Savings

London Club Carlson hotel map-1

Map of Club Carlson hotels in London. This area around Westminster, Mayfair, Soho and Covent Garden holds 11 of 18 Radisson Blu Edwardian and Park Plaza hotels in London available with Club Carlson points.

Six of the other Radisson and Park Plaza London hotels are just outside this map view. Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf hotel is six miles east along the Thames in the London Canary Wharf area. This hotel ranks #85 on

Last year I stayed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, pin #8 at the lower right on the south bank of the Thames River. Big Ben and Palace of Westminster on the left side of the river are located at the bottom right. I took two walks of about three hours walking from the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge to Buckingham Palace and along The Mall.

I booked three hotel stays using Club Carlson points for three different hotels. The reservations can be changed with no penalty up to day of arrival, so my objective was to simply have reservations in place in case availability goes away.

Radisson Vanderbilt Kensington

Then, Kelly asks, “Are we staying in Kensington?”

“No. Do you want to stay in Kensington?”

Apparently she thinks she might glimpse Royal Kate’s baby bump at Kensington Palace.

Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt is near the west side of Hyde Park and Kensington Palace. TripAdvisor #386 of 1,062 hotels.

I could care less about Royals, but I wouldn’t mind creating our own AbFab tour around Holland Park.


Club Carlson ‘Search by Map’ feature is found in the middle of the black ribbon of links. This can be a useful tool when choosing between different Club Carlson hotels, especially in London where there are so many properties to chose from.

Luxurious London

London is my theme for the next six weeks as I plan a 12 night trip to Dublin and London. The higher cost to travel in London compared to Dublin is apparent in my research this past week. Four Seasons Dublin is under $200 per night. Four Seasons London Park Lane is $792 for November dates I checked. I am thinking of splurging in Dublin since luxury hotels are bargain rates.

Luxury in London is a $400+ per night experience. The Savoy is $725 per night. My wife and I worked a couple of summers as nannies for a Manhattan East 80s couple with infants in the 1990s. Mommy Cash raved about her girlfriend weeks at the Savoy. My wife and I honeymooned at St. James Court Hotel in 1989. We spent part of our stay in the residences which are now the 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences at $483 per night. Taj 51 Buckingham Gate is currently ranked #5 out of 1,062 London hotels on

We paid about $130 per night for the St. James Court residential unit during our 1989 honeymoon when I used for a 50% discount rate at the hotel. It was not a Taj hotel in 1989. Looks like I have been hotel rate scheming for more than 25 years.

Taj 51

I stopped by the hotel last year while in London to check out Taj 51 Buckingham Gate.

While we won’t be staying at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate this trip, the opportunity to return to London for our 25th wedding anniversary year is a dream come true.

Hyatt 48 hour sale is now my top pick for most useless hotel chain promotion around. I am building this article around an analysis of the time suck I find with Hyatt 48-hour sales when searching for random hotels. The Hyatt 48 Hour Sale 20% discount rate is analogous to finding a needle in a haystack. Except rather than getting pricked finding the elusive needle, Hyatt simply pricks me off with the number of searches I make to find one participating hotel in the Hyatt 48-hour sale.

Here are the Hyatt 48 Hour Sale details if you don’t want to read my whole Hyatt rant. I may simply boycott participating in social media advertising of Hyatt 48-hour sales until these offers are managed in a more consumer-friendly way.

Hyatt 48 Hour Sale link

Reserve By: 22 Oct 2014 11:59pm Central time (Chicago)

Stay: 05 Nov 2014 – 03 Feb 2015

Relax, Refresh and Save this Season. For a limited time, simply book using Offer Code C48OCT beginning October 21, 2014, and save up to 30% on a family vacation, romantic getaway or a holiday just for you.

Book your escape now at at participating hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean and Latin America. This offer is valid through 11:59 PM CT on October 22, 2014.

Hyatt 48hour sale 10-22

They neglect to mention on the main webpage that 48-hour sale rates are prepaid and nonrefundable.

Read More…

IHG 48 hour sale at 600 hotels in Europe will begin at 00:01am October 31 (London time). Based on the countdown clock time, I calculate the sale starts 5pm Thursday, October 30 Pacific time and 8pm Eastern time in the USA.

IHG 48 hour sale-10-30-14

Perhaps a reader can verify my time calculations. Clocks roll back in London one hour October 26. Currently, there is an 8 hour time difference between London and California. I calculate a 7 hour time difference from 00:01 on October 31, since the US does not end daylight savings until November 2. The timer includes the additional hour when clocks roll back in London, so the sale starts at 5pm California time and 8pm Eastern time on October 30.

Not long to go now!

Don’t miss this opportunity to have a winter holiday experience you’ll never forget by bagging yourself a bargain in our 48hr winter sale.

The sale kicks off at 00:01AM on 31 October 2014 with amazing discounts on rooms at over 600 participating IHG® Hotels across Europe.

So grab a strong coffee and countdown to midnight, or get one step ahead of the pack and download our free IHG® Rewards Club app which will enable you to book 24hr’s before anyone else.

IHG 48 hour sale

Why is this IHG 48 hour sale significant?

IHG would have been my go to hotel chain in past years for London hotel stay discounts. IHG hotels are far more expensive in 2014 than in the past.

For years, one of the best discounts for London was InterContinental Hotels Group 2-for-1 rates. From 2007 to 2012, IHG 2-for-1 rates in Europe kept the price of hotels down to an average of $100 per night in London and even lower in many other places around Europe. The 2-for-1 rates were available all year. Paris was never as easy to find with 2-for-1 rates.

I published Loyalty Traveler articles from 2007 to 2013 every few months showing how travelers could go to London and Europe with 2-night stays at a time on deep discount IHG hotel rates. IHG 2-for-1 Rate Analysis for London and Barcelona (August 31, 2012). These rates typically did not earn IHG points, but at 50% discounts, points were not as significant as cash saved.

IHG dropped regularly available 2-for-1 discounts rates in 2013. The best deal in 2013 was 3rd night free for IHG in Europe and 35% discount rates. Then, IHG dropped its Europe weekend discount rates in 2014. This is a major change after so many years of discount rates readily available in London.

2014 IHG discounts for Europe Hotels have been limited time offers

There were some IHG discount rates for Europe for summer 2014. There was an IHG summer weekend 50% off sale for stays from July 18 to September 28, 2014. There were several InterContinental Hotels priced around 70EUR per night. That IHG deal had to be booked by July 31, 2014. I was whitewater rafting on the Tuolumne River near Yosemite that week and apparently I never wrote about that sale. Loyalty Lobby shows some of the deep discounts available in his post. These rates were prepaid and nonrefundable.

IHG also had 30% off and 4 nights for price of 3 nights deals for Europe in summer 2014. Loyalty Traveler – IHG Europe 4-for-3 rates or 30% off July 4-September 4.

The 48 hour sale next week may be one of the best deals for booking discount hotel rates in Europe at Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental, Staybridge Suites and Holiday Inn Express hotels.

Check back with the IHG app since you might be able to begin booking in the USA on Wednesday, October 29 if that is the 24 hour advance window? Or perhaps the 12:01 am (London time), October 31 is the start time for IHG App bookings?

As many of us have learned the past two months, IHG promotion terms are often confusing, conflicting and clusterf@#ked.

Loyalty Traveler – IHG Into the Nights Clusterf#*k (October 20, 2014)


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

In this article I look at the room rates and reward cost for 14 hotels in London comparing hotel reward value across six different hotel programs with Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

Read More…

It may come as a no-brainer that the best hotel deals for an American in London are using Club Carlson points as a U.S. Club Carlson Visa card member. This article examines the value of Club Carlson points in London for a U.S. resident Club Carlson U.S. Bank Visa card member.

Club Carlson Visa card members get a great deal as Americans in London with one free reward night on reward stays.

Club Carlson is a major hotel player with 18 properties in London with the Radisson Blu Edwardian and Park Plaza brands.

There is an interesting aside in the Radisson Edwardian brand due to its family ownership having a recent legal battle in the UK: Father of £800million Radisson Blu boss loses High Court battle with his son for a share in the wealth from luxury hotel business they built together.

Note the UK story title in The Daily Mail states ‘luxury’ hotel business. The Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels of London are one of the crown jewels of the Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group. These hotels are a different world from the  Radisson brand and Country Inns & Suites prevalent across the USA.

Hotel Credit Cards and Club Carlson Visa card free reward nights deal

Club Carlson has a compelling credit card benefit with far more value than other hotel loyalty credit cards. Club Carlson Visa card members receive one night free on all reward stays of two or more nights. This benefit can be used for up to 50 free reward nights per year.

Read More…

Choice Privileges is having a flash sale for 50% bonus points today until 5pm eastern.

The standard rate for Choice Privileges points is $11 per 1,000 points. All purchases receive 50% bonus points reducing the price to $7.33 per 1,000 points. This is not a great deal for most Choice Hotels in the USA. In Norway and Sweden, Choice Privileges points have much higher value.

Bottom line is 16,500 points costs $121 with this deal. I redeemed 13 hotel nights in Norway last month spending Choice Privileges points. I paid 16,000 Choice Privileges per night for 11 reward nights and 20,000 points per night for two reward nights at The Thief, Oslo’s top rated luxury hotel. Several of the hotel room reward nights I booked in Norway were priced at $500 per night. The interesting thing about Choice Privileges points for Nordic Choice Hotels in Norway and Sweden is many of the hotels offered several types of rooms, including suites, when booking reward stays. I booked one spa resort into a 3-bedroom cabin, but later cancelled that particular hotel stay when I went to Bergen instead.

Choice Privileges points are a good deal if traveling to Norway and Sweden where there are about 170 hotels, mostly 16,000 points per night.

Hotel Diana is a Comfort Hotel in Venice, Italy for 10,000 points per night. This is another place where points are an incredible deal. You can stay in Venice for under $75 per night with Choice Privileges points.

Choice 75K

You can buy a maximum of 75,000 points with this offer for $550. 50% bonus points applies to any purchase beginning at 1,000 points for $11 and receive 1,500 points.

Norway September 3-17, 2014 Trip Posts

Norway for two weeks on a budget with a $541 United Airlines round trip ticket SFO-OSL and $300 spending cash for the trip.

Climbing hills for a few days in Bergen was the highlight of my trip. While Norway is expensive, in top three countries worldwide for cost of living, the hotels I picked for stays provided most of the food I wanted to eat. I only needed $25 or about 150NOK for food and I spent about $275 for  train and bus tickets and a plane ticket to travel OSL (airport) – Oslo Central-Larvik (southeast Norway)-Sandefjord TORP Airport – BGO Bergen (Norwegian Air) – Express Bus Bergen Center – Bergen Line to Oslo (bus/train) – OSL (airport).

There was no corporate or tourist board sponsorship for this trip. My objective was to find out what value Choice Privileges have in Norway. Answer: Terrific value. Sweden and Norway have about 170 Nordic Choice Hotels. The focus of my trip was checking out Nordic Choice Hotels with stays at six hotels and site visits at four other hotels in Oslo, Bergen and Larvik and also a visit to Clarion Collection Hotel Atlantic, a unique hotel/whaling museum  in Sandefjord, the whaling capital of the world a century ago on the southeast coast of Norway, 75 miles south from Oslo.

I redeemed 216,000 Choice Privileges points for 13 nights with $6,000+ in hotel stay value. Most of the points were purchased at a rate around $4.00 per 1,000 points through U.S. Travel Association annual Daily Getaways promotion, generally held between April and June each spring and limited to U.S. residents. Loyalty Traveler – Daily Getaways Choice points are good deal for Europe Hotels (May 14, 2014).

  1. Oslo, Norway walking on a summer day (Sep 6)
  2. Hotel Review Clarion Royal Christiania Oslo, Norway (Sep 6)
  3. Hotel Review Clarion Collection Hotel Bastion Oslo, Norway (Sep 7)
  4. Think before you eat whale meat (Sep 8)
  5. Six days in Norway and $6 spent on food (Sep 9)
  6. Hotel Review: Farris Bad, Ascend Collection Larvik, Norway (Sep 10)
  7. Hotel Review Farris Bad Kaupang Suite upgrade (Sep 10)
  8. Hotel Atlantic Sandefjord offers whaling culture experience and beds too (Sep 11)
  9. Hotel Atlantic Sandefjord, Clarion Collection (Sep 13)
  10. Oslo Sandefjord Torp Airport low cost flights (Sep 12)
  11. USA Branded Bergen (Sep 12)
  12. Oops! Radisson Royal Bergen hotel damaged Bryggen UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Sep 12)
  13. Walk like a Norwegian up Floyen in Bergen (Sep 13)
  14. Think before you eat Norwegian farmed salmon (Sep 13)
  15. Biked, hiked and psyched about Bergen (Sep 15)
  16. Clarion Collection No 13 Bergen, Norway (Sep 15)
  17. Clarion Collection Havnekontoret Bergen, TripAdvisor #1 hotel – Part One (Sep 16)
  18. Clarion Collection Havnekontoret Bergen – Part Two (Sep 16)
  19. Bergen Line to Oslo, 500 km by train (and bus) – Part One (Sep 18)
  20. Bergen Line to Oslo 500 km by train part two (Sep 19)
  21. How I stole 2 nights at The Thief Oslo with points (Sep 23)
  22. Hotel Review The Thief Oslo Room 603 (Sep 23)
  23. The Thief Oslo by design (Sep 24)
  24. Clarion Collection Folketeateret Oslo is recommended Nordic Choice Hotel (Sep 27)

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