Ric Garrido is owner-writer of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler has been my travel writing business since April 2006. Loyalty Traveler blog is primarily about hotel loyalty programs, hotel brand and industry news and hotel loyalty promotions with a consumer frequent guest focus.
I got into the points and miles travel writing world in 2006 after seven years of extensive travel around the globe earning and redeeming several million frequent flyer miles through travel promotions like OneWorld 1999 (300,000 miles), LatinPass million mile promotion in 2000 (1,014,000 miles), Star Alliance 2002 5th anniversary promotion (500,000 miles) and many other travel deals.
My perspective as a traveler is one who primarily pays for my own hotel rooms 90% of the time. I seek value in travel and not luxurious experiences. I use hotels more for lodging than a vacation destination. Loyalty Traveler is about finding hotel rate deals and good value award stays with hotel points and promotions. Saving $25 to $100 per night on most hotel stays is a straightforward, achievable travel style for a frequent traveler using hotel loyalty programs.
You will not find much about room service, fine dining, spa treatments and hotel excursion trips in my blog trip reports. My travel is more about places and what I found there. Hotels are only the lodging aspect of my experience. Hotel loyalty programs make the lodging aspect less of a challenge for finding a good value with great rebate potential on paid stays for discounted future travel. For example, using a promotion like Marriott MegaBonus to stay twice and earn one free night certificate is one I promote even if you are not otherwise engaged in Marriott Rewards.
I have held elite status over the past decade in most major hotel loyalty programs including SPG Gold and Platinum, Hyatt Platinum and Diamond, IHG Rewards Club Gold and Platinum, Best Western Diamond, Marriott Silver and Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold and Diamond, Club Carlson Gold. For years my loyalty was limited primarily to Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood. Much of my travel the past few years has included most other major hotel loyalty programs to expand my practical knowledge of the different programs beyond the website descriptions.
Parks, wildlife, fun urban places, cultural history, beer, wine and music are frequent pieces on Loyalty Traveler to spice the blog up with more travel topics than just hotels. The blog writing is all mine, and while I love hotels and they are the primary focus of this blog, hotels are just one dimension of my travel experiences.
Loyalty Traveler Goals
- Reduce the cost of hotel nights for consumers and/or upgrade the hotel experience.
- Share nice and cool hotels, places, events, music and ideas from all over the globe.
- Educate readers about Monterey and California and USA travel, lifestyles and history.
Loyalty Traveler has been hosted on BoardingArea – Voices of the Frequent Flyer since July 2008.
When not traveling, I enjoy life with my wife and three cats on the Monterey Peninsula, 100 miles south of San Francisco.
Loyalty Traveler Contact and Social Media Links
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- Twitter: LoyaltyTraveler
- Facebook: Ric Garrido
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- website: www.loyaltytraveler.com
2012-2014 Blogger and Media Invitations:
Occasionally I travel and receive complimentary hotel rooms as a media attendee of hotel industry business conferences, corporate sponsorships, hotel opening invitations and tourist destination FAM trips.
All sponsored posts and media trips providing free travel in the form of complimentary hotel nights or airfare or free services to me as Loyalty Traveler are disclosed. This happens a few times a year. Nearly all my complimentary travel are hotel and travel conferences, where sometimes I get a free room, but generally I simply receive free conference admission and no travel reimbursement.
- Calaveras County and Tuolumne County FAM trip May 18-21, 2014 included three nights lodging, and all activities and meals.
- Iowa Ag Tours – pre IPW bus tour of Iowa April 2-5 with meals, activities and free hotel nights at Holiday Inn Dubuque, Country Inns & Suites Waterloo and Hilton Garden Inn, Ames.
- Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group – Radisson and Radisson Blu Americas Conference February 18-21, 2014, Bloomington, Minneapolis. Three complimentary nights at Radisson Blu Mall of America as media attendee to conference.
- Ford Motor Company media invitation to North American International Auto Show, Detroit, Michigan Jan 12-14, 2014. Economy class airfare Monterey-Detroit and two nights at Westin Detroit Airport provided by Ford.
- IHG Americas Investment Summit, The Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas October 28-30, 2013. Two complimentary nights at the Palazzo as invited press attendee of IHG annual conference. Other travel expenses my own. Interviewed Don Berg, VP IHG loyalty programs.
- Hyatt Gold Passport-MGM M Life Launch event at the Mansion MGM Grand, Las Vegas July 19, 2013. MGM Grand comped two hotel nights for this special event and granted attendees a M Life invitation-only Noir status elite loyalty card. With that card flashing around my hand I got two free admission tickets to Shark Reef in Mandalay Bay, got to cut to the front of the buffet lunch line at Mandalay Bay and got the premium fast valet service at MGM Grand when other suckers were standing around in the 108 F degree heat waiting for their cars. DYKWIA is the name of the game with the M Life Noir card. You can just wait. My parents said the Cirque du Soleil seats at Aria were the best seats they ever had for a Vegas show. Wife and I left town before the Friday evening summer lightning and floods. Kudos to the Mansion party menu selection team for the wines and King crab claws. I paid for my own transportation to Las Vegas.
- IPW Las Vegas June 2013 - conference fee waived as media attendee. Transportation and lodging self-funded. Conference activities included a complimentary trip to Valley of Fire State Park (It’s an Adventure) and an 80-minute Grand Canyon airplane tour (Grand Canyon Airlines) .
- TBEX 2013 Toronto June 2013- Conference fee, lodging and transportation self-funded. Several activities around Toronto were complimentary through the Tourism Toronto offers to conference bloggers. I participated in a parks tour, city sightseeing, CN Tower and canoe paddling excursion to Toronto Islands as complimentary activities.
- BAcon Boarding Area conference, Colorado Springs, May 2013 – Randy Petersen sponsored BoardingArea conference attendees with two free hotel nights at Cheyenne Mountain Resort. All transportation expenses self-funded.
- ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show, Berlin, Germany March 2013 – Conference fee waived as blogger attendee. All transportation and lodging costs covered by me.
- Carlson Rezidor Radisson Hotels Business Conference, Chicago March 2013 – Three nights at Radisson Blu Chicago were complimentary as media attendee to conference. Transportation expenses covered by me.
- Americas Lodging Investment Summit January 2013. Conference fee waived as journalist attendee. I paid for my lodging and transportation.
- NMX New Media Expo January 2013 Las Vegas. BoardingArea paid conference fee and $250 towards trip expenses.
- Costa Brava Tourism Board “Surf and Turf” sponsored tour – September 2012. Three days and nights of ground transportation and hotels complimentary of Costa Brava Tourism as part of a group of six TBEX bloggers invited to experience and promote the Costa Brava region of Spain.
- Travel Blog Exchange TBEX12 Keystone, Colorado (June 2012) and TBEX12 Girona, Spain (Sep 2012). Conference fees, transportation and lodging self-funded. Beer crawl tour courtesy of Denver and Colorado tourism agencies.
- Starwood Preferred Guest American Express “Amex Stars” – May to Dec 2012. New York trips for US Open Tennis and New York Fashion Week – Sep 2012. Taste of Luxury with two night stays at St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, St. Regis San Francisco and St. Regis Bal Harbour, Florida. I received about $6,000 in free travel and six Loyalty Traveler readers won prizes totaling 230,000 points + $250 American Express gift card.
- Expedia “Find Yours” Passports with Purpose film project – May 2012
- National Steinbeck Center 32nd Steinbeck Festival in collaboration with Woody Guthrie Centennial – “What Can a Voice Change? – Everything” – May 2012
- JW Marriott Chicago press trip – May 2012. Included two free nights, roundtrip flight Monterey-Chicago, wine tastings and meals, two hour spa treatment and Frank Lloyd Wright houses guided bus tour.
- U.S. Travel Association International PowWow 2012, Los Angeles – April 2012. Conference fee comped. Hotels and transportation on my own.
- Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group Global Summit – Atlantis Resort, Nassau, Bahamas – Feb 2012. Three hotel nights at Atlantis comped by Carlson Rezidor Hotels as media attendee. Air travel and other hotel nights on my own.
The hotels and brand products discussed and views expressed on Loyalty Traveler blog are the sole editorial decisions of Ric Garrido and his company Loyalty Traveler.
Disclosure Policy: Any link that provides affiliate marketing income or complimentary media trip is disclosed in my posts.