Nov042008

Loyalty Traveler is on the road to Canada

“I mean everyone has got to take a road trip, at least once in their lives.
Just you and some music.”

Claire Colburn in the Cameron Crowe movie Elizabethtown.

The next two weeks will likely be different types of blog posts than typically seen here on Loyalty Traveler.  The plan is for sporadic dispatches from the road.

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of my two week road trip through the Pacific Northwest.  The California winter rain season started this weekend.  Going north on Interstate 5 the rain was supposed to be greater than 2 inches.  California is a state where most people only drive in rain about 10% of the year.  Driving during the first major storm of the year is “No Fun”. 

The rainy weather changed my itinerary from a coast road drive to an Interstate 5 trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. I’ll see how the weather is next week for the return south and determine if time and inclination take me coastward.

I feel like there is no better time than election day USA to go on the road.  The media is anticipating change.  I anticipate a national breakdown if we, as a nation, don’t embrace change. 

My  schedule is 1,050 miles north through California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to Vancouver over the next five days.   Portland plans include visiting an elementary school converted into a hotel/brewpub.  I’ll see if they need a substitute for the day. 

As with most travel trips the cost generally comes out more than what you initially planned.  The price of gas is down, and some hotel rates are down, however, there are still a fair share of $200+ per night hotels out there in the Pacific Northwest.  I have pulled out lots of hotel rate tricks for this trip.  

Starwood Best Rate Guarantee for two hotels is saving about $50USD and SPG awarded me with 4,000 bonus points for the successful claims.  SPG 50% off awards will save me another $175 in Portland, Oregon. 

IHG PointBreaks awards at 5,000 points per night discount the Holiday Inn Express hotels in Oregon to $62.50 per night compared to the outrageous $140 per night regular rate the hotels command from Interstate 5 traffic. I bought 11,000 points for $125 on Saturday and the points posted to my account by Sunday.  Yesterday I booked my PointBreaks hotel for 5,000 points.

Canada is an absolute bargain right now for hotel rates.  The Canadian Dollar is down against the US Dollar.  When I first started planning this Canada trip a couple of weeks ago the exchange rate was $1.15 and on Monday, Oct 27 it approached $1.29CAD.  The Canadian currency has strengthened during the last week and today the US Dollar is back to $1.16CAD.  I should have exchanged some cash last week.  Many of the 4-star and 5-star hotels in Vancouver downtown area are under $130USD per night, even among the major brand hotels. 

Kimpton Hotels Fall-ing for Vancouver with $139CAD suite (under $120US + 18% tax)

Some deals in Vancouver are under $100 USD per night like Kimpton Hotels’ Vancouver Pacific Palisades Hotel with an $89USD room special. 

Next Loyalty Traveler dispatch should be from the state of Oregon.

A call-out to any readers with sight-seeing tips or other recommendations for a traveler along the I-5 corridor.  Leave me a comment or send an email ricgarrido@frequentguest.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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