InterContinental London Westminster rebranding to Conrad, a Hilton Worldwide luxury hotel brand, is a major hotel shift for the two year old central London property located between Parliament and Buckingham Palace. The six floor, 256 room hotel with 42 premium rooms and suites will not close during the rebranding transition from an IHG InterContinental to Hilton Conrad in September 2014.

InterContinental London Westminster was a recent addition to London luxury hotels, opening in December 2012, after £150m ($225m USD) investment to refurbish the former government building of Queen Anne’s Chambers.

The hotel owners decided Conrad was a better brand fit for their property.

Loyalty Traveler – InterContinental London Westminster Hotel (March 25, 2013)

Hilton London Bankside is another major Hilton property opening in London summer 2015.

IC Westminster

InterContinental London Westminster (March 2013) will become Conrad London Westminster September 2014.

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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.

There is an IHG Rewards Club buy 60% bonus points promotion to August 18 on purchases of 10,000 points or more.

You may purchase points in 1,000 increments:

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points

IHG Rewards Club Buy Points Rates with 60% bonus

$135 = 10,000 points + 6,000 points = 16,000 points ($8.44 per 1,000)

$137.50 = 17,600 points ($7.81 per 1,000 points)

$299.00 = 41,600 points ($7.19 per 1,000 points)

IHG buy points 60 bonus

Buy IHG Rewards Club points by August 18, 2014 for 60% bonus points.

IHG Rewards Club program Terms & Conditions state a member may buy 50,000 points in a calendar year. That is outdated. The limit was increased to 60,000 points a couple years ago. And the current sale wording indicates a much higher annual points purchase limit for IHG Rewards Club members.

Members may purchase a maximum of 120,000 points per calendar year and receive as a gift a maximum of 120,000 points per calendar year.

IHG Rewards Club points were available through Daily Getaways this year from late May to July 4 at the price of $567 for 100,000 points. Those points packages did not sell out.

Loyalty Traveler – Daily Getaways IHG Points Did Not Sell Out (May 26)

The current sale is a decent offer if you have an immediate use for points like the current PointBreaks list for hotel reward nights at 5,000 points per night.

Loyalty Traveler: IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks July 28 to September 30, 2014 (July 26, 2014)

Otherwise, simply buy points as needed using Points & Cash option for award nights at rate of $70 per 10,000 points. Points purchased for Points & Cash Awards do not count toward the annual purchase limit. Members keep the points purchased for Points & Cash reward nights when the Points & Cash reward stay is cancelled. This is a way to buy points at an even lower rate of $7.00 per 1,000 points compared to the current 60% bonus points offer.

Earn United miles and Marriott Rewards points with a new promotion for 1,000 Mileage Plus miles per stay from July 23 to October 31, 2014. This offer is valid only for hotel stays in USA, Mexico and Caribbean at participating hotels in full-scale brands Marriott, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection and Gaylord. There are about 250 participating hotels in USA, Mexico, Aruba, Costa Rica, Curacao, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts-Nevis, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Marriott Rewards promotion registration is required. Hotel stays must be booked by September 5, 2014.

Marriott Rewards members may earn up to 5,000 United Mileage Plus miles after five stays during the promotion period.

This is one of the infrequent promotion opportunities to earn both miles and points for hotel stays outside of Hilton HHonors hotels. 5,000 United miles after five stays is a good bonus offer additive to earning 10 Marriott Rewards points per dollar in hotel spend too.

Marriott points and United miles 2014

IHG Rewards Club Connect, the members community forum, has posted the list of hotels participating in IHG Rewards Club PointsBreaks July 28 to September 30, 2014. These are hotel reward nights at 5,000 points per night. Essentially this is a $35 hotel night opportunity through buying points via Points + Cash reward rates. The Loyalty Traveler post below shows the Trick to buying 10,000 points for $70.

IHG Daily Getaway points, PointBreaks and the Trick in Pictures

I was hoping for a nice hotel in Europe during the time I will be there in September. Crowne Plaza Bratislava, Slovakia looks tempting. Bucharest, Romania holds little interest for me. Antalya, Turkey is a location where I have seen cheap flights from Oslo and the Crowne Plaza Antalya is on PointBreaks.

There are several InterContinental Hotels in Central America and Colombia on this list.

United States

Alabama

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Whales, Whales, Whales near Carmel-by-the-sea beach

The same day a humpback whale was spotted swimming beside the Santa Cruz Wharf on the north side of Monterey Bay, we set up chairs and a beach tent on Carmel Beach and watched what appeared to be around ten or more humpback whales spread across outer Carmel Bay, five miles from our home in Monterey. We watched humpback whales spouting and splashing for a couple of hours Tuesday, July 22. Monterey Bay whale watching was happening that same day along more than 50 miles of coastline as dozens of humpback whales came close to shore. July 2014 ocean temperatures in Monterey Bay recorded the warmest water since records have been kept.

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Yesterday’s post on Norwegian Air under $500 USA to Scandinavia fares had a glaring omission on the real cost of travel with this low cost carrier for travel between the USA and Europe. Passengers need to pay the $89 checked bag fee each way if you desire an assigned seat, one checked bag and food or drink.

Internet wifi is free for everyone on board.

Norwegian bag fees

Norwegian Air ticket Oakland OAK – Stockholm ARN round trip Sep 6-16, 2014

  • Airfare = $560.60 (one carry-on 10kg max = 22 lb. and purse/laptop allowed free of charge).
  • One checked bag (20kg max = 44 lb.), seat assignment and meal $178.00.

There is also a 1.99% service charge for credit card payment.

Norwegian Air Hand baggage allowances

You are permitted to carry one item of hand baggage (max 10kg – 55x40x23cm or 22” x 16” x 9”) in addition to one small personal item onboard the aircraft. Your personal item (e.g. small handbag or laptop case) must fit comfortably under the seat in front of you.

Norwegian Air baggage fee rules are fairly complex to determine the actual fee based on city pairs for checked bags and the fee depends on whether your flight is direct or transiting through another airport. To make it easier and less transparent, Norwegian offers a discount package rate for one checked bag and a seat assignment when purchased online in conjunction with the purchase of low fare tickets.

My round trip flights San Francisco to Oslo in September on United Airlines for $541 include one checked bag free. United and Delta with their European airline partners had a fare war with Norwegian Air March to May 2014 for flights to Europe before the summer months and from September into later months.

I may try and take a two week trip from Oakland to Scandinavia and onward to Greece this October on Norwegian Air with 22 pounds of carry-on luggage and a computer. Then again, perhaps the legacy carriers in the USA will have a better deal come up before then where I can check one 50 pound bag for free.

United Airlines bag fees

United Airlines SFO-OSL 1st checked bag free.

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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.

The InterContinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel rebranded to Loews Chicago O’Hare this week after Loews Hotels completed its acquisition of the 556-room hotel located less than two miles from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The hotel is located across the street from Donald E. Stephen’s Convention Center in Rosemont.

Loews Chicago O’Hare runs a complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle.

Hotel amenities feature 60 guest room suites. The hotel features Montrose Room, a live music and comedy club venue. The Ice Bar offers evening martinis and cocktails and beer.

Three restaurants for dining include Fresco 21: A Mediterranean Kitchen, McCormick and Schmick’s seafood and The Capital Grille for steaks.

Loews Chicago O’Hare has an introductory special rate offer including breakfast and drinks for two.

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Marriott Flash Perks one-day sale has a package offer for a Renaissance Phuket Pool Villa at $400 per night or $465 per night for Ocean Front Pool Villa including breakfast for two and 5,000 Thai Baht ($157 USD) daily resort credit. This is a prepaid, nonrefundable rate for stays from August 7 to October 31, 2014. This flash sale offer is available for booking until Friday, July 25, 10am Eastern.

The Pool Villa is a one bedroom 1,259 sq. ft. unit with private pool.

  • Daily resort credit of THB 5,000 net can be applied toward food and beverage, spa, limousine, and other services
  • Resort credit cannot be applied to the room rate or be redeemed for cash.

Renaissance Phuket

One Bedroom Pool Villa is 117 sqm or 1,259 sq. ft. of space for a posh vacation setting.

Nestled on the gleaming white sands of Mai Khao Beach, Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa offers the perfect ambience for a relaxing vacation, boasting 25 villas with private whirlpool spas. Indulge in soothing therapies at our Quan Spa. Savor local specialties at Loca Vore Restaurant, where the chef creates each guest a unique dish from the day’s fresh and local ingredients, based on their preferences.

  • 50% Off Regular Stay for Breakfast rate for Pool Villas and Oceanfront Pool Villas
  • Complimentary daily breakfast for two
  • THB 5,000 resort credit per day
  • Stay dates: August 7 – October 31
  • 10 rooms available per night
  • Prepay in full, non-refundable, no changes

Marriott Rewards Flash Perks offer ends Friday, July 25 at 1:00pm Eastern, 10:00am Pacific time.

Norwegian Air USA to Europe under $500 round trip are airfares worth considering for travel in August and September.

Oakland, California to Oslo, Norway for $475 round trip in September. Oakland to Stockholm is $547 round trip. Oakland to Copenhagen, Denmark is $561 round trip.

Norwegian Airlines flies from New York JFK, Fort Lauderdale FLL and Orlando MCO, Los Angeles LAX and Oakland OAK. The primary destinations in Europe are Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm with nonstop flights.

Flights from Fort Lauderdale FLL or New York (JFK) are even less than $500 for some travel dates in August.

  • Fort Lauderdale – Stockholm FLL-ARN is $484 round trip in August.
  • Fort Lauderdale – Stockholm FLL-ARN is $408 round trip in September.
  • JFK-ARN Stockholm as low as $466 round trip in September.
  • LAX-ARN Stockholm for $561 round trip in September.
  • LAX-CPH Copenhagen Denmark, $549 round trip in September.

Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm are the lowest priced destinations. That does not mean you need to make those cities your destination. There are options for ticketing dozens of other destinations in Europe traveling via Oslo and Stockholm on Norwegian Airlines.

  • LAX-Amsterdam, Netherlands $350.20 one way on September 15.
  • LAX-Budapest $371.10 one way Sep 9 or Sep 16. The return from Budapest is $481 on September 17.

Norwegian LAX-CPH

Or fly to Copenhagen, Oslo or Stockholm and use a low fare carrier to get to other destinations.

Since the return flights from Europe tend to be higher priced, buy a one-way ticket on Norwegian Airlines to the city in Europe you want to be, then fly back on Norwegian from Copenhagen, Oslo or Stockholm. You will only need one low cost carrier flight to reach one of these Scandinavian cities from a place like Paris or Rome.

*****

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.

Marriott Rewards Flash Perks Thursday, July 24 at noon central time will have a flash sale for two hotel properties at 50% off reward rates and Marriott Vacation Club Ko Olina on Oahu at 30% off regular rates with $75 daily dining credit. There are also discount redemptions for a Go Pro Hero 3 (42,500 points), iSound Twist Bluetooth Speaker (10,000 points) and Zip Zip Satchel from Dooney & Bourke (30,000 points).

Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort 22,500 points per night

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