London geography for 18 Club Carlson hotels is a look at where Radisson Blu Edwardian and Park Plaza hotels are located in London. Club Carlson website has impressed me these past few days as I have used the site extensively in planning hotel stays for London and Dublin.

The advantage for Club Carlson is they started fresh with web design in the past few years. They built a new Club Carlson site as part of the hotel company’s 5-year restructuring plan Ambition 2015. Loyalty Traveler – Ambition 2015 Carlson Rezidor Conference 2013 Chicago (March 4, 2013) is a good read for Club Carlson members summarizing the transition of Gold Points Plus hotel loyalty program to Club Carlson and the global corporate restructuring of Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group. (I reread the article myself while writing this and it has lots of good information revealing how different Club Carlson has changed compared to Gold Points Plus loyalty program in 2010. There was not even a Carlson Hotels forum when MilePoint.com originally launched in 2011.)

Club Carlson Points for 2014 Hotel Rate Savings

London Club Carlson hotel map-1

Map of Club Carlson hotels in London. This area around Westminster, Mayfair, Soho and Covent Garden holds 11 of 18 Radisson Blu Edwardian and Park Plaza hotels in London available with Club Carlson points.

Six of the other Radisson and Park Plaza London hotels are just outside this map view. Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf hotel is six miles east along the Thames in the London Canary Wharf area. This hotel ranks #85 on TripAdvisor.com.

Last year I stayed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, pin #8 at the lower right on the south bank of the Thames River. Big Ben and Palace of Westminster on the left side of the river are located at the bottom right. I took two walks of about three hours walking from the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge to Buckingham Palace and along The Mall.

I booked three hotel stays using Club Carlson points for three different hotels. The reservations can be changed with no penalty up to day of arrival, so my objective was to simply have reservations in place in case availability goes away.

Radisson Vanderbilt Kensington

Then, Kelly asks, “Are we staying in Kensington?”

“No. Do you want to stay in Kensington?”

Apparently she thinks she might glimpse Royal Kate’s baby bump at Kensington Palace.

Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt is near the west side of Hyde Park and Kensington Palace. TripAdvisor #386 of 1,062 hotels.

I could care less about Royals, but I wouldn’t mind creating our own AbFab tour around Holland Park.

image

Club Carlson ‘Search by Map’ feature is found in the middle of the black ribbon of links. This can be a useful tool when choosing between different Club Carlson hotels, especially in London where there are so many properties to chose from.

Luxurious London

London is my theme for the next six weeks as I plan a 12 night trip to Dublin and London. The higher cost to travel in London compared to Dublin is apparent in my research this past week. Four Seasons Dublin is under $200 per night. Four Seasons London Park Lane is $792 for November dates I checked. I am thinking of splurging in Dublin since luxury hotels are bargain rates.

Luxury in London is a $400+ per night experience. The Savoy is $725 per night. My wife and I worked a couple of summers as nannies for a Manhattan East 80s couple with infants in the 1990s. Mommy Cash raved about her girlfriend weeks at the Savoy. My wife and I honeymooned at St. James Court Hotel in 1989. We spent part of our stay in the residences which are now the 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences at $483 per night. Taj 51 Buckingham Gate is currently ranked #5 out of 1,062 London hotels on TripAdvisor.com.

We paid about $130 per night for the St. James Court residential unit during our 1989 honeymoon when I used Entertainment.com for a 50% discount rate at the hotel. It was not a Taj hotel in 1989. Looks like I have been hotel rate scheming for more than 25 years.

Taj 51

I stopped by the hotel last year while in London to check out Taj 51 Buckingham Gate.

While we won’t be staying at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate this trip, the opportunity to return to London for our 25th wedding anniversary year is a dream come true.

In this article I look at the room rates and reward cost for 14 hotels in London comparing hotel reward value across six different hotel programs with Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

Read More…

It may come as a no-brainer that the best hotel deals for an American in London are using Club Carlson points as a U.S. Club Carlson Visa card member. This article examines the value of Club Carlson points in London for a U.S. resident Club Carlson U.S. Bank Visa card member.

Club Carlson Visa card members get a great deal as Americans in London with one free reward night on reward stays.

Club Carlson is a major hotel player with 18 properties in London with the Radisson Blu Edwardian and Park Plaza brands.

There is an interesting aside in the Radisson Edwardian brand due to its family ownership having a recent legal battle in the UK: Father of £800million Radisson Blu boss loses High Court battle with his son for a share in the wealth from luxury hotel business they built together.

Note the UK story title in The Daily Mail states ‘luxury’ hotel business. The Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels of London are one of the crown jewels of the Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group. These hotels are a different world from the  Radisson brand and Country Inns & Suites prevalent across the USA.

Hotel Credit Cards and Club Carlson Visa card free reward nights deal

Club Carlson has a compelling credit card benefit with far more value than other hotel loyalty credit cards. Club Carlson Visa card members receive one night free on all reward stays of two or more nights. This benefit can be used for up to 50 free reward nights per year.

Read More…

Travel is not free. Having the mobility of a ‘speedball on fairy dust’ (Entourage phrase) requires an investment of time to reduce travel expenses or sustainable income to support your travel addiction spending habit. Travel can develop into a cocaine-like binge of chasing the next suite/seat upgrade and airport lounge drink.

Most of us fall into the middle of the road traveler. Why do you think Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express are the largest hotel brands in a sector of the travel industry that is all about brand names and your active travel lifestyle? Hilton, Canopy; InterContinental Hotels Group, Even; Starwood, W; and of course feeding the masses are Priceline, Airbnb, Expedia, TripAdvisor…

You can give up opportunity time to reduce travel expenses through credit card games with manufactured spend, shopping bonuses and credit card enrollment bonus miles and points, while also reducing your available time for other lifestyle pursuits like sports, family time, education and socializing.

Or just do plain nothing, kind of like vacation time in your own day-to-day life. Then, pay the asking rate when you decide where to go when you want to go. I meet many happy people who don’t care they could have got their hotel stay and flights for a fraction of what they spent. They are happy on a trip and the expense was worth the convenience of vacation planning without the vacation finance planning concern.

Another tactic for bargain travel is sit back and wait for travel opportunities to appear in the dynamic world of airfare fluctuation. Be prepared to strike fast when the deal is around. That happened for me this week.

San Francisco to Dublin $538 British Airways via London Heathrow.

Read More…

One of the great values in Europe is the IHG 2-for-1 hotel rate at Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Hotel Indigo brands in various cities around Europe. The comments on my blog lately suggest many travelers do not know the acronym IHG for InterContinental Hotels Group.

2-for-1 rates can be great savings, however they are severely restricted.

  • Nonrefundable
  • Must be booked five days in advance.
  • Full payment at time of booking.
  • Generally do not earn IHG Rewards points.

The tricky thing about IHG 2-for-1 rates is finding the link for this special offer:

http://www.ihg.com/hotels/us/en/reservation/findandbook?ratePreference=IDEX1

Click through the drop down menu and select Partner Rate 2×1.

After searching a specific hotel, I typically have to reload the original link since IHG automatically reverts to Best Available rate and will not show the 2-for-1 rates.

Here are a few IHG 2-for-1 rates I found in different countries for stays in February 2014. In rate searches I located 2-for-1 rates in London for May 2014, however, not in June 2014. In years past 2-for-1 rates have been available in summer. It may simply be that 2-for-1 rates have not yet been loaded for June 2014 travel or I did not search enough dates and locations.

London

Read More…

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London has prime location for stepping outside directly into the vicinity of the iconic sites of London.

DSC_0011

View of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament from hotel room.

That’s Big Ben out the window. This is not even the preferred location for a room in the hotel, although better than many other locations in the hotel. Best location is a room on the front side, Thames River facing side of the 12-story hotel. Read More…

London and Paris are the top two international tourism destinations for Americans and international travelers.

I have been to London four times and Paris three times.  I would like to spend more time in these cities, but my travels have not worked out that way. There are so many places in the world to visit.

TripAdvisor.com shows 1,079 hotel listings for London, UK in 28 neighborhoods.

My recent one night stay in London was March 13, 2013 at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, a Club Carlson category 6 property at 50,000 points per night. The hotel is ranked #73 of 1,079 London hotels on TripAdvisor.com.

I have only stayed in three hotels in London, all in the neighborhood of Westminster.

Honeymoon in London 1989 Read More…

I am traveling 16 of the next 17 days and staying in ten or so different hotels in seven or more different cities. This week I will be in Chicago for the Carlson Global Conference and next week Berlin for ITB 2013 travel trade show. The trip home from Berlin includes overnight stops in Oslo, Helsinki, London and Chicago.

Yesterday I had Best Price Guarantee claims approved for two nights in Chicago and one night in San Francisco. These approved claims mean the first night of the hotel stay is free and all three hotel stays are one night stays.

Last Wednesday I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Denver on a free night using IHG’s Best Price Guarantee reducing the $199 room rate to free.

IHG denied my claims twice over the weekend for a free night at the Crowne Plaza – St. James, London. Read More…

Choice Privileges has an offer available right now that allows members to buy and redeem points for hotel nights in Paris, London and many other high priced locations for as little as $80 per night.

Choice Privileges offers 10% bonus points on points purchases through December 31, 2012. The regular price for 1,000 points is $11. This offer gives 1,100 points for $11.

image

Choice Privileges limits points purchases to 20,000 points per calendar year. This means a member can buy 22,000 points now for $220 and up to another 20,000 points in January 2013 for $220.

Note: Choice Privileges does not allow points transfers to other members, even a spouse.

You may not combine your points with points belonging to anyone else, including your spouse.

Choice Privileges Rules & Regulations: Other Terms and Conditions Rule #3.

  • Only members from USA and Canada are eligible to buy Choice Privileges points.
  • Reward reservations can be booked only within 60 days of stay for international hotels.

The main point to know about Choice Privileges is reward reservations can only be made for hotels outside the USA within 60 days of your stay, unless you are an elite Platinum (75 days) or Diamond (100 days) member.

Choice Privileges reward nights range from 6,000 to 30,000 points for the vast majority of the 6,000+ hotels worldwide.

Another feature of Choice Privileges are the reward night rates change seasonally. Reward nights at hotels in the USA do not vary nearly as much as the reward nights for international hotels. Many hotels in Europe that cost 20,000 to 25,000 points per night in summer drop to just 8,000 points per night in the low season.

image

Choice Privileges Reward Search for London, England November 26, 2012.

image

Choice Privileges Reward Night search for London, GB returns eight hotels within London proper at just 8,000 points per night. There are several more hotels in the suburbs at 8,000 points per night.

Rate comparison for London using points and paying cash.

image

Quality Crown Hotel Hyde Park = 159GBP = USD $252 per night.

You can buy 8,000 points for $88 through Choice Privileges and with the 10% bonus you will receive 8,800 points. This hotel example reduces the rate from $252 down to $88 for a one-night stay and you will have 800 points remaining in your account.

That is one hotel bargain for London.

Booking a 4-night stay in Paris for $330.

A couple can each buy 16,500 points now for $165 and make separate 2-night reservations. Then notify the hotel in advance that you are a couple with two separate reservations and ask for the same room so you do not need to change rooms after two nights.

image

Paris, France offers several hotels at 8,000 points per night in November 2012.  For November 26 there were 14 hotels available within Paris for 8,000 points per night. Of these 14 hotels, there were 10 hotels available for a 4-night stay Nov 26-30.

image

Comfort Hotel Royal Aboukir Paris 2 = 151 EUR or USD$193 per night.

Or 8,000 points per night which you can buy for $88.

image

Note: The current list of hotels at 8,000 points expire November 30, 2012. These same hotels are currently showing 16,000 to 25,000 points for December and January reward nights.

The new list of hotels at 8,000 points have not yet been loaded. This means hotels will show their full points rate for December and January reward reservations, however, I expect the hotel reward rates for December and January to be adjusted in the next couple of weeks.

You might want to wait until December and verify the hotels with reward nights at 8,000 points before you buy Choice Privileges points if Paris and London are in your plans for December 2012 to February 2013.

 

Exchanges for Choice Privileges points

You can also get Choice Privileges points from exchanges with American Express Membership Rewards, Amtrak Guest Rewards and Diners Club Rewards.

American Express

  • 1000 Membership Rewards points = 1,000 Choice Privileges points

Amtrak Guest Rewards

  • 5,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points = 15,000 Choice Privileges points

Diners Club

  • 1,250 Diners Club Rewards points = 2,400 Choice Privileges points

 

About Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels are the second largest hotel chain worldwide with over 6,000 properties in 11 hotel brands.

  • Comfort Inn
  • Comfort Suites
  • Quality Inn & Suites
  • Clarion
  • Sleep Inn
  • Ascend Collection
  • Cambria Suites
  • MainStay Suites
  • Suburban
  • EconoLodge
  • Rodeway Inn

More than 90% of Choice Hotels properties are located in the USA and Canada.

Clarion, Comfort Inn and Quality Inn are the primary three brands found in several international locations in France, Germany, UK, Italy, Brazil, Australia and Italy. There are several other countries with a few hotels. Sleep Inn is found in some Latin America countries.

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

The 5-star Lanesborough London St. Regis Hotel in Knightsbridge, London has been managed by Starwood Hotels for more than a decade. The problem though for Starwood Preferred Guest members is the hotel never participated in the loyalty program. SPG members have never been able to use points for free night awards at one of the most, if not the most expensive hotel in London.

image

Rate check today for Wednesday, October 17, 2012 shows rates starting at $762 per night or USD $914 per night after tax, however, that does include free internet and butler service.

On Monday, October 15 that all changes when the Lanesborough St. Regis London becomes a participating hotel in Starwood Preferred Guest entering as a SPG Category 7 hotel for 30,000 to 35,000 points per night for award stays. Members will earn points and be eligible for elite benefits and the hotel will participate in the SPG “Better by the Night” promotion for hotel stays through December 20, 2012. 

The building was formerly a 19th century hospital

The Lanesborough at the corner of Hyde’s Park in Knightsbridge served as a hospital for over two centuries since 1733. The original Lanesborough House was torn down due to disrepair and the current building was constructed between 1827 and 1844 when it reopened as St. George’s Hospital. The hospital remained in service until the 1970s.

Rosewood Hotels and Resorts refurbished the property in the 1980s and opened the site as a hotel in 1991. The hotel was taken over for management by St. Regis in 2002 as a non-participating SPG property.

The hotel has 93 rooms with 43 of these suites.

The restaurant Apsleys – a Heinz Beck Restaurant apparently set a record for the fastest time a London restaurant received a Michelin star rating.

Even TripAdvisor reviewers love the Lanesborough. Starwood Hotels offers reviews on their own site now, but as yet no reviews have posted for The Lanesborough.

image

The Lanesborough London St. Regis photos Starwood site link.

Lanesborough.com website photos.

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Comments are off for this article

« previous home top