Here is a list of all the Loyalty Traveler post titles with a brief description of the post content for July 2013. This provides readers a recap of posts you might have missed.
July 2013 Loyalty Traveler posts
American Airlines re-partners with Marriott Rewards after a three year split since July 1, 2010. Marriott Rewards also eliminates its better rate at 125,000 points = 50,000 miles/35,000 miles for its airline partners by replacing it with 140,000 points = 50,000 miles/35,000 miles, which is no better rate than exchanging at 70,000 points.
Club Carlson makes a massive devaluation to its hotel points-to-miles transfer rate by switching to a fixed rate of 10 points = 1 mile. This results in 44% fewer miles when transferring 100,000 points to 10,000 miles. The old exchange rate was 100,000 points = 18,000 miles.
Daily Getaways are the annual 5-week sale sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association and American Express. This is one of the lowest cost ways to buy hotel points. Wyndham raised their price this year, but the deal was still good for cheap hotel points-to-miles exchanges. Daily Getaways ran from June to July this year. In the past they have been April to May.
IHG offers 50% award rates at around 50 to 100 hotels for the first Friday-Sunday in a calendar month. The hotels are listed on Tuesday with a booking window of about three days for discount award stays for the three weekend nights of the new month at participating hotels. IHG implied this promotion would be expanded to other weekends of the month, but it still only applies to a small number of hotels each month and only for the first full weekend within the calendar month.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards offers another great promotion for a free Tier 1-3 hotel after two Ritz-Carlton stays. Potential to get a free hotel night worth more than the two qualifying one-night stays at less expensive hotels. The catch is Marriott Rewards members have to switch to Ritz-Carlton Rewards before the start of these promotions to be eligible. New members to Ritz-Carlton Rewards who are not Marriott Rewards members are automatically registered for the offer.
In this post I discuss my tactics for using IHG PointBreaks and Marriott Rewards as my primary programs for my July road trip driving from Monterey, California to Denver, Colorado and back via Las Vegas for the Hyatt-M life partnership launch celebration. I ended up staying three consecutive nights in three states on IHG PointBreaks for $90 all-in on my road trip ($90 was the cost to buy 15,000 IHG points through Daily Getaways. IHG points did not sell out during the specific Daily Getaways days and were available for all of July.
This is the third picture essay from my May 2013 visit to Arches National Park in Utah. This is one impressive landscape with more Navajo Sandstone natural arches in this portion of Utah than any other place on earth. Links to the first two Arches N.P. posts are at the end of this post.
Hilton HHonors offers triple miles with several airlines for summer stays.
Hilton HHonors Triple Miles with various Asian airlines July 1 – Sep 30, 2013.
- Asiana Airlines
- Air China Phoenix Miles (promotion period May 1 – July 31)
- Japan Airlines Mileage Bank (3x miles for Asia-Pacific Hilton brand stays and 2x miles for Hilton brand stays in rest of world).
- Jet Privilege Miles
- Korean Air SkyPass
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Sri Lanka Airlines Smiles
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid
The day before leaving on my road trip I was able to find several hotels in Denver with lower rates on Expedia for Marriott brand hotels than the Marriott website. I booked four hotel nights with Marriott on the Marriott site and immediately filed Look No Further best rate guarantee claims for 25% off the lower Expedia rate. All three of my claims were approved and my final hotel rate was around 50% of the rates I booked through Marriott.
Monthly summary of current hotel promotions and some updates on the Loyalty Traveler blog layout.
One of the best discounts for the past several years in Europe is the IHG 2-for-1 rate. This offer is available at select hotels, no list is offered, and often this rate is available for hotels in London and Paris. The 2-for-1 is based on the Best Available Rate. One of the best aspects of this promotional offer is the availability of suites at 2-for-1 rates. London is often under US$100 per night with these rates.
First day of western states road trip. Description and photos of driving scenic California Highway 88, Carson Pass, across the Sierra Nevada to Carson City, NV. Major fire burning near Carson City was one of the largest wildfires in the state’s history.
U.S. Route 50 from Carson City, Nevada to Ely, Nevada is 300 miles of desert scenery described by a AAA writer in the 1980s as ‘the loneliest road in America’. Actually US Route 6 across Nevada is the far less traveled road. This post has a link to a great 9 minute YouTube video crossing US Route 50 at about 1,800 mph. At the end of the day we came across free roaming mustangs in the desert north of Ely, Nevada.
July 10 – Salt Lake City smoggier than Los Angeles
Photos of Salt Lake City area haze. Turns out the Nevada fires contributed to the Utah haze. On our drive back through Bakersfield, California on July 20 the air quality index was 135 which was far worse than SLC at 74.
I discuss the difficulty I had cancelling a Wyndham Hotels Super 8 hotel reservation on day of arrival while on the road. Also how I was allowed to change the date of a PointBreaks reservation after the cancellation deadline to one day earlier while sitting in the lobby of an IHG Candlewood Suites in Craig, Colorado.
Photo essay and description of drive across U.S. 40 in northern Utah and Colorado. This is one of the premier dinosaur fossil areas of the world with Dinosaur National Monument. In Colorado we came across pronghorns crossing the road in the grasslands of the high plains.
Few packages of points for sale at the rate of about $10 per 1,000 points meant this offer was gone in 60 seconds. Hyatt’s lowest annual price for points purchases is usually a 25% discount on the normal $24 per 1,000 points rate.
Earn triple points for stays with Friday to Sunday nights and double points for stays Monday to Thursday. About 600 hotels in USA are not participating in this offer along with about 50 hotels across the rest of the globe opting out.
July 12 – Elk High in Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park visit with photos of bull and cow elk beside the road at 12,000 feet.
Photos and review of Starwood Hotels Aloft brand in a business park location between Denver and Boulder, Colorado.
Major announcement of Marriott Rewards partnership with United Mileage Plus conferring elite status match to Marriott Gold elite for United Mileage Plus elites holding Gold or higher status. Marriott Platinum elites and higher get status match to United Silver elite. This is definitely a great deal for United elites. Also bonus miles when making Marriott Rewards points transfers to United miles.
IHG is giving away 100,000 points each week through the end of August for photo posting on instagram.
July 16 – SPG US Open Tennis Sweepstakes
Win 100,000 Starpoints, two courtside tickets to US Open tennis in New York and two nights in Presidential Suite at Westin New York Grand Central. One free entry for registering by August 15, 2013.
Photo essay from my visit in April 2013. This California near-the-beach hotel is being rebranded to Le Meridien in Q4-2013.
I signed up for MGM Resorts M life the day I was driving across Utah to Las Vegas. This is an introduction to M life benefits and hotel rates I found. Kelley and I attended the Hyatt Gold Passport – M life partnership launch event in Las Vegas July 18 at MGM Grand.
July 17 – THE King Suite at THEhotel Las Vegas
Booked THEhotel, the Hyatt Gold Passport category 6 MGM Resorts property, and part of Mandalay Bay Resort. Photos of the standard room King Suite in this post. The room rate was $108 + $28 resort fee. This same room type was $675 per night for dates I checked in August a couple days ago.
The celebration launch event for Hyatt Gold Passport and 12 MGM Resorts Las Vegas M life programs. Fine wine, exclusive location, and ice mountains of king crab claws. Photos of the Mansion enclave and party setting.
Split Las Vegas before the deluge and headed across the Mojave Desert and into the hills of Tehachapi, California. This hotel was the most pleasant category 1 hotel surprise I’ve had in years. Large junior suite with balcony and free breakfast in a new looking hotel for 7,500 points. Hotel and room photos.
July 21 – MGM Grand Las Vegas Grand King Room
Review of hotel room provided free of charge courtesy of the Hyatt Gold Passport- M life launch event.Room photos show the room was finely furnished, but inadequate air cooling in the room when it was 108F outside made the stay less than satisfactory. The hallways were cooler than the room. We left after one night of a two-night stay to get back to cool California.
Road trips with midscale and upscale hotel stays do not need to be expensive. Our road trip of 3,000 miles from Monterey, California to Denver and back via Las Vegas included 9 paid nights and two award nights using points. $728 was my after tax hotel spend for 11 nights including $150 for THEhotel.
Also earned one free Marriott Rewards category 1-5 hotel night certificate.
TownePlace Suites is one of three Marriott International extended stay brands including Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites. TownePlace is the lowest market segment of the three extended stay brands. Room photos of studio room suite with kitchen from four nights at two TownePlace Suites in Denver.
Aurora, Colorado is a suburb of Denver and the Gaylord Rockies conference center is scheduled to be built. Denver area hotels have filed a petition to review a state tax incentive package for the conference center hotel due to its impact on other hotels in the region. Petition says Marriott which purchased Gaylord after this project launched will have too high a share of the conference facilities in Colorado. Several Marriott brand hotels in Colorado signed onto the petition to reevaluate the state’s tax incentives for the project.
July 24 – Utah Rocks over the Southern Swells
Road trip thoughts on Utah desert and mountain landscapes, Mormon pioneers and Utah rock and country radio stations with a shout out to Townes Van Zandt and Willie Nelson.
July 25 – HHonors Food & Wine Great Giveaway
HHonors has a Great Getaway sweepstakes giveaway with airfare, five nights and cash to one of four locations.
July 25 – Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica
Rebranding announcement from Starwood for Sheraton Delfina changing to Le Meridien.
Good value bonus points offer for Club Carlson properties in Europe and EMEA region. 2,000 points for one night and 5,000 points for two night stays at participating hotels.
Register for this offer to earn 1,000 bonus miles per night on top of regular Points & Points or Points & Miles earn rate.
Photo review of IHG Candlewood Suites from Craig, Colorado stay in a room that looked just like the other one bedroom suite where I stayed a couple years back in another state. Kitchen in suite.
July 27 – Where are You From? The Wonder Years
A personal piece talking about the different states and Germany where I grew up on army bases moving year to year. I have met bloggers raised on the beaches of Hawaii by hippie parents and I have met bloggers who just got out of elite private colleges they attended after their elite private high school. This piece is where I came from in my wonder years.
Bryce Canyon City is like a family owned company town with two Best Western hotels and a few restaurants just outside remote Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. This is a review of the hotel with photos. You will pass by this hotel if you drive to Bryce Canyon National Park. Popular with tour groups.
Extensive outdoors and wildlife photos sharing a hike across Point Lobos State Reserve, the park land seen from the Hyatt Category 6 luxury hotel Highlands Inn in the Carmel Highlands of California near my home in Monterey. Sea otter mom and pup photos.
July 29 – Starwood Birth Year Rate discounts
Starwood Hotels have select properties offering a birth year rate discount. Pay the full rate first night and then your birth year rate for second and sometimes third night. For example, a person born in 1970 would pay $70 for the second and third nights. Major bonus is the availability of suites at some hotels using this rate.
Benefits of redeeming Choice Privileges points. Photos of Clarion Inn Grand Junction, Colorado. Difference in way Choice Privileges handles a no show award reservation compared to Starwood Preferred Guest.
List of IHG Last Minute Reward Nights at 50% discount for select hotels over Friday, August 2 to Sunday, August 4 weekend.
Promotion for stays at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas, 22 miles east of Las Vegas Strip. Hotel was formerly Ritz-Carlton lake Las Vegas. Starwood Hotels Westin Lake Las Vegas is in the same area.
Receive a 10% discount code for American Airlines on a reservation for up to two persons. Simple game with 100,000 codes available. Promotion for Disney Planes movie and entry earned for a sweepstakes trip.
Hyatt Hotels has not only partnered with MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. Hyatt has opened new hotels in France and bought a stake in Playa Hotels & Resorts with the addition of all-inclusive beach resorts in Mexico and Caribbean coming over next three years.
Hotel news about the boutique hotels affiliated with Choice International through the Ascend Collection. Choice Hotels grew this independent hotel alliance brand broadly in 2013. Post includes a table of new Ascend Collection properties in the USA.
August 2 – Guide to Hyatt and Las Vegas M life benefits
The basics of earning Hyatt Gold Passport and M life points at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. Benefits for Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum and Diamond elites are listed for members getting an M life elite tier status match.
I hope readers find this July summary of Loyalty traveler posts useful.
Pacific Grove, California
Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.