Marriott Rewards 2015 Spring MegaBonus will open for registration tomorrow, December 17, 2014, according to Marriott Rewards Insiders. 2015 Spring MegaBonus runs February 1 to April 30, 2015.

Registration opens on December 17th, when you will be able to visit your Promotion Central page to receive your unique offer. All offers will be available by 5:00pm EST on the 17th. All qualifying stays can be paid using any payment method/credit card of your choice (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.)

Registration is required by March 31, 2015

Earning Dates: February 1, 2015 – April 30, 2015

Participating Brands:

EDITION,® JW Marriott,® Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott Hotels,® Marriott Vacation Club, Gaylord Hotels,® AC Hotels by Marriott,® Courtyard by Marriott,® Residence Inn by Marriott,® SpringHill Suites by Marriott,® Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott,® TownePlace Suites by Marriott®, Moxy Hotels® and select Protea Hotels®.  Stays at our exclusive luxury hotel partner, The Ritz-Carlton,® will count toward achievement.

Questions? You will also find FAQs and official terms & conditions when the registration period officially begins December 17th at MarriottRewards.com/MegaBonus.

Marriott-MegaBonusSP15-LPv1b

Moscow luxury hotel rates are rock bottom for 2015 stays. The Russian ruble hit a record low against the U.S. Dollar today at 72 RUB per $1 USD. Travel to Russia is a relative bargain right now with the recent Delta and Skyteam partners low fares to Russia and Aeroflot discount rates.

In 2012, Hogg Robinson Group reported Moscow had the highest average hotel room rates at $404 or £258.11 of 50 cities around the world.

HRG hotel rates 2012

Moscow had held that position for eight years running.

For the 8th year in a row, room rates in Moscow are far and away the highest of any destination monitored by HRG.  Hotel prices in the Russian capital have risen 3% in local currency over the past year.

HRG – August 13, 2012

Time to Rocket to Russia on their Road to Ruin

News of the Russian ruble crisis along with recent low fares I have seen for flights from USA to Moscow, led me to check hotel rates in Moscow this morning.

My findings blow me away. Moscow is looking like a budget destination for a luxury vacation.

Hotel Rates for July 3-6 for three nights in Moscow, Russia

Ritz-Carlton Moscow is $362 after tax for a higher category Executive Room with breakfast daily for Friday, July 3 on three night stay. Rate increases 25% on Monday and Tuesday. Rate is $278 USD after tax for the lowest category room over the weekend without breakfast.

This is a list of most expensive chain brand hotels for Moscow. Room rates shown are without 18% hotel tax.

  • Four Seasons Moscow $317
  • Park Hyatt Ararat $232
  • Baltschug Kempinski $166
  • Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow $161
  • InterContinental Moscow – Tverskaya $157
  • St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya $155
  • Hotel National, Luxury Collection $154
  • Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora $137
  • Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya $114
  • Moscow Marriott Tverskaya $107
  • Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel $107

Radisson Royal Moscow

Here is an article on 16 best luxury hotels in Moscow from Five Star Alliance.

The wait time for a visa is one issue with a trip to Russia. Travel tip advice suggests applying three months before your trip.

Will a reservation at a couple of the top luxury hotels in Moscow help speed up visa processing?

 

*****

Update 10 hours after original post 6:20pm Dec 17, 2014.

Rates have dropped at most of these hotels today for the same July 3-6 2015 dates.

  • Ritz Carlton $278   $297 (breakfast rate after tax)
  • Four Seasons Moscow $317  $264 Premier Room King bed (after tax)
  • Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow $161  $219.62 (after tax) is only hotel to rise in rates.
  • Park Hyatt Ararat $232   $257 (after tax)
  • Baltschug Kempinski $166  $193 (after tax)
  • St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya $155  $168 (after tax)
  • InterContinental Moscow – Tverskaya $157   $154.13 (after tax)
  • Hotel National, Luxury Collection $154  $130.06 (after tax)
  • Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya  $108 (WinterSale after tax for King Executive Room)
  • Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora $137   $107 (after tax)
  • Savoy $94   $106.40 Orbitz.com rate after tax with breakfast
  • Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel $107  $90.63 (after tax)
  • Moscow Marriott Tverskaya $107   $74.11 (after tax)
  • Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya $114   $74 (WinterSale after tax rate for Queen Standard Room)

If you don’t have the need for luxury, Holiday Inn Suchevsky Moscow Executive Suite with Club Lounge access and breakfast is $90 per night after tax or a Standard room is $35.80 per night after tax.

InterContinental Dublin opens January 1, 2015 when the Four Seasons Dublin rebrands. The Four Seasons Dublin Hotel is located in south Dublin in the area of Ballsbridge, but within walking distance of Trinity College in Dublin city center or the Dublin Bay coast. The hotel was voted one of Ireland’s Top 25 luxury hotels for 2014 on TripAdvisor.com.

InterContinental Dublin hotel will be 197 rooms. The public areas, meeting rooms and restaurant will undergo renovation as part of a five-year property improvement plan. The hotel was originally built in 2001 and then purchased by the current owners London & Regional in 2011 for 15 million EUR, about 25% of the price to build the hotel ten years earlier. IHG says they are interested in opening a Hotel Indigo in Dublin too – Irish Times.

The property was rumored to become a Hyatt managed hotel, but IHG won out. As someone who sought out an IHG hotel in Dublin last month for my Into the Nights task of staying in two countries outside the USA, there are slim pickings in Dublin with two airport hotels at Northwood and one Crowne Plaza at Blanchardstown, northwest in the Dublin suburbs, miles from central Dublin.

InterContinental Dublin will offer a Dublin location away from the bustling and congested city center, yet with easy access to central Dublin on foot or public transportation.

Four Seasons Dublin

Four Seasons Dublin currently ranks #10 of 176 Dublin hotels.

Four Seasons Dublin map

Four Seasons Dublin is about one mile south of Dublin city center and the River Liffey.

Four Seasons Dublin city map

Big news in the IHG world with the acquisition of U.S. based Kimpton Hotels upper upscale boutique chain and a new InterContinental Dublin announced in the past 24 hours. Loyalty Traveler – IHG acquires Kimpton Hotels boutique chain, but don’t expect PointBreaks deals in 2015.

*****

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.

IHG acquires Kimpton Hotels boutique chain in a $430 million deal, but don’t expect PointBreaks deals in 2015 for your favorite Kimpton. The best we can expect for IHG in the near future is maybe they will pick up some of Kimpton’s IT savvy and laid back California charm to counterbalance the IHG UK corporate face and troublesome promotion roll outs.

Kimpton Hotels manages 62 hotels around the USA and has another 16 hotels in the pipeline. IHG currently has Hotel Indigo as its boutique brand and EVEN, a new fitness-focused brand recently launched. The acquisition of Kimpton will double the IHG boutique portfolio and put the chain at nearly 200 boutique hotels. In general, Kimpton Hotels will be more upscale than Hotel Indigo.

In the short-term, Kimpton will maintain its Kimpton Karma loyalty program. I don’t think the loyalty programs will merge until the latter half of 2015 based on the time it has taken Marriott to merge with AC Hotels and Protea after those chains were purchased. On the other hand, Hyatt was able to integrate Avia (Andaz) and Sierra Suites (Hyatt HOUSE) into its program quickly, but Hyatt is not the behemoth organization IHG. In time, we should get word on how IHG and Kimpton plan to integrate loyalty programs and categorize the Kimpton Hotels for IHG Rewards Club points.

I imagine Kimpton will retain its own name brand in IHG since the brand recognition and attitude to Kimpton Hotels is highly favorable. Kimpton has made a name for itself by remodeling historic buildings in urban centers into designer boutique hotels. Kimpton will fill a slot below InterContinental Hotels luxury segment. IHG brands Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo fall into the Upscale Hotels market segment as categorized by Smith Travel Research, the Tennessee based hotel data company. Upscale brands in other chains are Starwood Hotels Four Points, Marriott Courtyard, Hyatt Place and DoubleTree.

IHG has a serious gap in the Upper Upscale Hotels market segment where brands like Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Le Meridien, Hyatt Regency, Hilton and Embassy Suites hotel brands reside in terms of their average daily rate.

Kimpton is firmly in the upper upscale hotel market segment for the USA and will fill that void in IHG between luxury InterContinental Hotels and the often times ageing Crowne Plaza hotels and the small footprint of Hotel Indigo brand, which seem like second tier boutique hotels in many locations.

IHG says they see Kimpton rolling out internationally as a hotel brand of IHG.

I don’t expect points bargains when IHG integrates Kimpton Hotels for reward nights with IHG Rewards Club points. Most of the Kimpton properties should fall in the 30,000 to 50,000 points range. I doubt we will see the integration before summer 2015 and perhaps not until 2016.

Personally, I love the fact that San Francisco with IHG will become a bit like London with Club Carlson and its 18 Radisson Edwardian hotels. Kimpton has 9 hotels in San Francisco and 17 in California.

Kimpton Karma

*****

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.

Many of us IHG Rewards Club members received the IHG Set Your Sights Holiday Inn Club Vacations package task. First thing to know is this is a time share sales pitch task. I subjected my family to a timeshare pitch at Hyatt Carmel Highlands a couple years ago and truly regretted wasting a few hours of our family gathering for a $150 hotel credit.

Here are the terms I gathered from a telephone consultation about the Holiday Inn Club Vacations mini-vacation package.

Participating Resorts

  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orlando – Orange Lake Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Las Vegas – Desert Club Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Myrtle Beach – South Beach
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Gatlinburg – Smoky Mountain Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Cape Canaveral – Beach Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Williamsburg Resort

There is currently an offer for $199 + tax for three nights in any of these six properties. You buy a certificate and you have one year to redeem the certificate. If this is a task I wanted to complete, I would sit on the phone and get set dates before my purchase. There are peak season dates with higher rates.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations Las Vegas – Desert Club Resort had spring break peak season dates from March 6 to April 11, 2015. I assume the other hotels have similar peak season dates and maybe more.

Here are basic questions I answered to determine eligibility

Marital status: if married, partners must travel together to timeshare event.

Must be 23 years or over.

Is your annual income over $50,000?

No bankruptcy on records.

Need Passport or driver’s license and credit card.

Package certificate good for 12 months from date of purchase.

$99 additional fee to $199 if stay is in peak season dates.

Fee to change stay dates $20 total, if 4 days or more.  Fee is $99 to change dates within 3 days of arrival.

2 hour timeshare presentation is part of package requirements.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations promo

Now for the Good News

There is currently an offer to a $100 Holiday Inn rebate or 20,000 points.

My Set Your Sights offer is 5,000 points for booking the Holiday Inn Club Vacations mini-vacation package. The three nights count as eligible nights for the six total nights I need for Set Your Sights. And there is either a $100 rebate or 20,000 points.

That can be a good deal if you want to visit one of the locations with these timeshare properties.

Personally, I’ll likely go for six nights if I do this IHG Set Your Sights promotion. I know my wife has no interest in going to Las Vegas for a timeshare, no matter how many points can be earned.

 

Terms & Conditions for my Set Your Sights task for 5,000 points.

Book a mini-vacation package at a qualifying Holiday Inn Club Vacations® property and earn 5,000 bonus points.

Must be an IHG® Rewards Club member and must register your member number in advance to participate in this Offer (“Registration”). Number of bonus points listed above will be awarded after member books a Qualifying mini-vacation rate, between 1 January 2015 and 30 April 2015 (both dates inclusive) at participating Holiday Inn Club Vacation properties. The points will only be awarded for the first qualified mini-vacation booking only. Please allow up to 4 to 6 weeks for points to be credited after booking. The Offer is subject to the General Promotion Terms and standard IHG® Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditions and earning structure, which can be obtained by visiting http://www.ihgrewardsclub.com. This exclusive Offer is valid and applies to the original recipient only. IHG® reserves the right to remove a member’s bonus points if fraudulent use of the Offer is detected. IHG® Rewards Club reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion/Offer at any time with or without notice. IHG® reserves the right of final interpretation of this Offer. Holiday Inn Club Vacations® resorts are independently owned and operated and are not owned or operated or by the owner of the Holiday Inn® brand. Any timeshare sales are being independently marketed for sale and are not marketed by the owner of the Holiday Inn brand.


Participating Resorts

  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orlando – Orange Lake Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Las Vegas – Desert Club Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Myrtle Beach – South Beach
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Gatlinburg – Smoky Mountain Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Cape Canaveral – Beach Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations Williamsburg Resort

Breakfast is on Blu this winter with complimentary breakfast when you stay in any Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel from 1st January 2015 to 28th February 2015. Book through the link to easily find rates or use Promotional Code WINTER on the Club Carlson reservations site.

Participating properties:

London

  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Berkshire Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Kenilworth Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Leicester Square Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Sussex Hotel
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel
  • The May Fair

Guildford

  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Guildford Hotel

Manchester

  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Hotel

Rad Blu UK Breakfast 2-2015

Book this offer online or call reservations +44 (0) 20 7629 7474, quoting ‘Winter offer’.

Terms and Conditions

  • Offer is subject to availability and may change or be withdrawn at any time without prior notice.
  • Free cancellations can be made before 16.00 hours on day of arrival (U.K. time). One night’s accommodation will be charged when cancellations are received after this deadline.
  • Check-in is from 3pm
  • Free breakfast is only available beween 1st January – 28th February 2015
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Club Carlson Gold Points

Rate Analysis

Rates at Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels are high priced as a reflection of the current popularity of London as a business and tourist destination. Most Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels in London run $200 to $400 per night most nights. Rates were peaking $700+ per night last month when I was staying at Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels in London on points.

Rad Edwardian Winter Mercer

Winter Offer rates are same as Best Flexible Rate. There may be lower advance purchase rates like £60 less per night for the Mayfair at £239 for prepaid, advance purchase rates that are nonrefundable and do not allow changes. Complimentary breakfast is about a £60 value at The May Fair and you get a flexible cancellation policy with Winter rate.

May Fair Winter Rate 2015

If you are paying for your room, breakfast has a value of £12.00 to £30.00 GBP per person, depending on Edwardian hotel. Free breakfast is quite a bit more added value for a Radisson Edwardian hotel on the standard room rate when you want Best Flexible Rate terms.

*****

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.

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall Montego Bay Jamaica opened last week and Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, the adults only resort opens December 20, 2014. Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall was scheduled to open November 1, 2014 when I wrote a rate analysis in July. Both Hyatt Zilara and Ziva Rose Hall all-inclusive resorts were formerly the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall near Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Unfortunately, my rate analysis for Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Rose Hall last July 2014 used November 17-20, 2014 for hotel stay dates, so I can only make limited comparisons from rates shown in July to rates shown now. Rates are across the board 33% more now at the entry level category rooms to book a room in December for March stay dates. At least you know the Hyatt all inclusive Rose hall hotels are open in March. The hotels were not open yet for the November 17-20 dates I sampled hotel rates for five months ago.

Free Round of Golf in 2015 with 3-night stay

When you stay 3 or more nights in 2015, in addition to the 50% off Grand Opening rates, there is a special offer for one free round of golf at Cinnamon Hill Golf Course or White Witch Golf Course, the latter being a golf course with a haunting legend, according to the hotel website.

Here is my new rate analysis for March 15-19, 2015 and November 17-20, 2015 at Rose Hall. In a couple of months I can check rates again and see if they are rising or dropping.

Loyalty Traveler room rate analysis for Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall looks at the family friendly resort within the same property for room rates based on number of adults and children.

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

March 15-19, 2015 with 50% off Grand Opening rates

Children 13 and over count as adults; 3-12 count as children. Under 3 stay free.

Ziva Standard King or Double (493 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $288 $384
  • Two Adults = $360 $480
  • Three Adults = $504 $672
  • Four Adults = $648 $864
  • One Adult + One Child = $360  $440
  • Two adults + One Child = $432  $528
  • Two Adults + Two Children = $504  $616

The entry level rates for adults only guests shows a 33% increase across the board from one to four adults in a Standard King bed for March 2015 compared to initial 50% off Grand Opening rates in July 2014 for a stay November 17-20, 2014. That stay date has now passed and the hotel was not open yet. There may be limited trend data in comparing November 2014 rates checked in July 2014 and March 2015 rates checked in December 2014. March is peak season and November is still hurricane season in Jamaica.

Rates only increased 22.2% for the adults with children indicating the Ziva property is indeed more family friendly than adults-only Zilara Rose Hall.

Rates are 8% less for entry level Standard King at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall next year for November 17-20, 2015 compared to March 15-19, 2015.

I wonder what happened with reservations booked before the hotel fully opened last week? Were any readers scheduled to be there before last week?

Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall Montego Bay November 17-20, 2015 rates

Rates shown are Zilara adults only resort room rates for next year, November 17-20, 2015. Cross-out rates were Grand Open 50% off rates for November 17-20, 2014 when Loyalty Traveler checked resort bookings in July 2014.  If no crossout rate shown, then rate check made today in December 2014 for next year, November 17-20, 2015 are same rates shown last July 2014 for grand opening rates this year Nov 17-20, 2014, before the hotel actually opened.

Rate observations for Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall

The harshest change is a single adult is now charged 80% of two adults compared to 67% if booked in July 2014.

For three adults there is a $112 surcharge and four adults is another $144 regardless of room category; until you get to suite categories and the rate for third and fourth person goes quite a bit higher. This makes sense since a suite divided between three or four people is a budget way to stay at this all inclusive adults only resort. Even though the extra person charge for a suite is a significantly higher rate, back in July the Hyatt website would not show suites as available when checking rates for three or four adults.

At four adults there is little savings compared to two rooms.

Hyatt’s rate structure for Zilara promotes two guests to a room.

Hyatt Zilara rates for November 17-20, 2015

checked December 15, 2014.

Rates in bold are March 15-19, 2015 checked for two persons only.

Zilara King or Double (480 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $320  $384
  • Two Adults = $480 Nov 17-20, 2015   $540 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $560 $672 (Double)
  • Four Adults = $720  $864  (Double)

Zilara Ocean View King or Double (480 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $344   $408
  • Two Adults = $510   $570 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $602 $714 (Double)
  • Four Adults = $774  $918 (Double)

Zilara Ocean Front King or Double (480 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $376  $440
  • Two Adults = $550   $610 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $658 $770 (Double)
  • Four Adults =  $846 $990 (Double)

Zilara Swim Up Double (480 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $400  $464
  • Two Adults = $590  $580  $640 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $700  $812
  • Four Adults = $900 $1,044

Zilara Swim Up King (480 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $416  $480
  • Two Adults = $590  $596   $656 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = NA
  • Four Adults = NA

Zilara Ocean View Junior Suite King or Double (672 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $432   $496
  • Two Adults = $610 $620   $680 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $756  $868
  • Four Adults = $972 $1,116 (Double)

Zilara Swim-Up Junior Suite King (672 sq. ft.) $496

  • One Adult = $496  $560
  • Two Adults = $620  $700    $760 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $980
  • Four Adults = NA

Zilara Ocean Front Butler Junior Suite (1,200 sq. ft.) $512

  • One Adult = $512  $576
  • Two Adults = $700   $720   $780 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $1,008
  • Four Adults = NA

Zilara One Bedroom Ocean View Butler Suite (1,000 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $560  $624 
  • Two Adults = $700 $780 ($390 per person)  $840 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $1,092  ($364 per person)
  • Four Adults = $1,404 ($351 per person)

Zilara One Bedroom Ocean Front Butler Suite (1,012 sq. ft.)

  • One Adult = $608  $672
  • Two Adults = $760  $845  $900 (March 15-19, 2015)
  • Three Adults = $1,176
  • Four Adults = $1,512

Hyatt All Inclusive Award Rates

Of course, you can always toss down the points for a room or suite at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall and Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall.

Hyatt all inclusive Rose hall rates

*****

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.

A few times a year there is an auction that comes to my attention for great hotel deals. Here is an auction bidding opportunity over the next two days organized by the Omaha Marriott Business Council Children’s Miracle Network Fundraiser.

Bid for 64 Marriott deals in Omaha Children’s Network Fundraiser

There are 64 Marriott brand hotels in the auction. They are nearly all JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance and Autograph Collection hotels with a few Courtyards in the mix. Most of the hotels are in the USA, one in Montreal, a couple in the Caribbean with St. Thomas USVI and Aruba, and a few in Europe. Most hotels are for one or two night weekend stays, many with breakfast included. Some resorts even offer golf with the hotel stay certificate.

You need to register at Super Silent Auction to bid on these Marriott Hotel packages. Auction bids end Wednesday, December 17 at 4:00pm Central time zone (Omaha, NE). Bidding continues in 10-minute increments until no more bids are received. There is a $15 shipping fee attached to each hotel stay certificate.

Check certificate validity and blackout dates closely before you bid. One certificate I checked was good through December 20, 2015 while another hotel certificate expired March 31, 2015. Also, check closely for certificate blackout dates at some hotels.

Screenshots of the current bids for each hotel stay are shown below with 2 days, 7 hours left to bid.

Read More…

In a promotion similar to the soon-to-end Into the Nights, IHG follows up with Set Your Sights. Basically the same structure of individualized tasks from IHG Rewards Club Into the Nights is used for Set Your Sights with 50,000 bonus points total for most members. No free nights choice this round.

IHG Rewards Club members worldwide can register for Set Your Sights beginning December 15. Eligible stays from January 1 to April 30, 2015 inclusive count for these tasks.

IHG Set Your Sights

IHG Set Your Sights on tasks for 50000 points Jan 1-Apr 30, 2015

I checked Kelley’s IHG Rewards Club Set Your Sights tasks first.

Read More…

In three days in Dublin I found myself hanging out in Dalkey two afternoons after sunset. One day I walked from the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s Hotel in Booterstown to Dalkey, but the early 4:11 pm sunset kept me from walking the final mile or so around Sorrento Point to Killiney Beach. The second trip started at Killiney Beach DART station an hour before sunset where I walked Bono and Enya’s neighborhood Killiney, County Dublin and around Sorrento Point to Dalkey and Finnegan’s Pub before DARTing back to Booterstown and the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s and off to the airport.

Years ago I read that Bono of U2 lived in Dalkey, in the southern coastal part of Dublin Bay and County Dublin. I stayed in B&Bs in past Ireland trips around Dublin Airport, north of the city center in the towns of Portmarnock and Malahide with lovely sea views. North Dublin was a scary place to me in the late 1990s when I rode the bus through the streets to the city center. Dublin locals told me the decade long Celtic Tiger economic boom from 1998 to 2008 upscaled North Dublin. Dalkey, Sorrento Point and Killiney Hill and beach have long been upscale neighborhoods for the Dublin area. The area is described as the place for the posh, privileged class and the ‘Hollywood Hills of Ireland’. I wanted to see where Irish superstars like Bono and Enya choose to live in Ireland. Read More…

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