Friday, December 11, 2009

Elite tier benefits on discount airlines in the Americas and a Tiger in the African woods

I stayed in the room that Tiger Woods stayed in but I am not saying that I was one of his admitted “infidelitieS”. When he was a guest at the Shamwari Game Reserve, he proposed marriage to his wife in that room but I was there years later.
It is a wonderful Malaria free, eco game resort near Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
Tiger Woods is not out of the woods yet because his Mistress count continues to climb. What a fall he has taken from being a respected golfer representing, "focus and discipline"', to being dropped by his sponsors. Tag Heuer, Gatorade and others are reportedly attempting to use a morals clause to cancel their contracts with him but Spirit airlines jumped in on the publicity by promoting an “Eye of the Tiger", fare special with fares from only $9 and $35 coupons. Accenture is running ads about “Tiger in the rough” but their slogan “Opportunity isn’t always obvious “ ~ is proof that no one anticipated that the opportunistic, Tigers mating habits would surface.

FREE SPIRIT is Spirit Airlines’ frequent flyer program which enables travelers to earn free travel on Spirit, has an additional membership to their $9 Fare Club. Unlike most other frequent flyer programs, all of the miles earned from flown miles, bonus miles, credit card miles, and partner miles that have been earned in the preceding 6 months will be totaled. Your status level is updated on the second business day of each month and will be based on the preceding 6 months of activity.
Somebody, Elite & VIP. Membership Tier Benefits don’t include upgrades but do earn free travel
Predominantly a leisure travel airline, Spirit Airlines is one of the most complained-about airlines but not as bad as RyanAir or EasyJet. Read about why Ryanair is the reason that I don't fly discount airlines by clicking on this link:-
Spirit maintain bases in Florida; Detroit, MI; and Atlantic City, NJ and also fly to destinations in the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Latin America. You can book Spirit airlines flights with CheapOair or book the deals on the airlines web site that is reserved for members of their $9 Fare Club. To get low fares, this deal:-Atlanta to Myrtle Beach for $9 (like most from Spirit) ends soon.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas is celebrated for 2 days in Europe

In the USA, there are no businesses open on Christmas day and then we hit the store sales the day after, but in England, Xmas extends to “Boxing Day”. Over the past few centuries, servants served the gentry, then on the 26th December, they boxed up the leftovers and took them to their relatives for their day off.
In Holland and in Germany, the “second Christmas Day” is a time to treat your family to dine in a restaurant but most are booked well in advance, so it usually becomes a second day of cooking and feasting at home.
It is believed that the tradition of Santa (Father Christmas) originated in 340 A.C, when the Bishop of Myra gave sweets to children. The legend of the kindly Pope’s representative arriving is played out with much pageantry in Holland to this day. Sinterklaas arrives annually on a Saturday at the end of November. This event is broadcast on national Television, each year he arrives at a different city by boat.
I traveled to Amsterdam with some friends from America and enjoyed their astonishment at seeing Santa’s helpers because he is always accompanied by 2 fake black moors! They are both named “zwarte Piet”( Translated is: “black Peter”). I have to admit, it is the strangest thing to see 2 grown men in tights with black makeup covering their faces! Well worth hopping on a KLM flight to cross the pond to experience a Dutch Christmas, if you can keep a straight face.
Children place one of their shoes in front of the fireplace (or heater). Inside the shoe, they place a carrot (for his horse), and a list of desired gifts that they hope will appear on December 5. Did you notice that I said that in Holland St. Nic delivers the gifts on Dec 5th and not on Dec 25 as he does in other parts of the world and that he has a horse in the Netherlands whereas he needs reindeer to travel globally? ~~~~Visit a Christmas market and drink hot “gluwine” with traditional “Snert” {Pea soup) to really experience this wonderful season. See the Telegraph.

Remember to get to the airport early because capacity is down this year so if you miss your flight, you may be stranded for a long time waiting for a seat on another flight. Elite members have priority.
Due to snowy conditions there will be delays and flight cancellations and the airlines bump passengers that don’t arrive on time. While the TSA has specified mandatory security measures, some local airport authorities have instituted additional time consuming measures, so I advise getting to your gate early. The average time required from entering an airport terminal within the U.S. to boarding an aircraft is approximately one hour for domestic flights. Cut off time is 30 minutes for domestic flights and 60 minutes for international flights.
Happy Christmas travels!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dubai is an exciting place to visit on Emirates Airlines

It saddens me that the United Arab Emirates, is in financial straits because I love traveling to Dubai. It is my version of adult Disney land. It is a magical place of duty free shopping malls, an indoor ski resort, the only 7 star hotel in the world and anticipation that you can find Aladdin’s lamp in one of the Spice or Gold, Souk markets. Oil sheiks and business moguls party at lavish Bedouin themed soirees. I have even partaken of a feast served in a tent while sitting on authentic carpets.
I love to shop in Dubai and the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, loves to shop the world via his Dubai World investment company, purchasing assets like stakes in Las Vegas, MGM Mirage.Another holding is:- Leisurecorp, a golf development company, that holds the "Race to Dubai" -- the world's most lavish golf tournament with $7.5 million that ended the European Tour at the Jumeirah Golf Estates. Leisurcorp's portfolio also includes Turnberry in Scotland and Pearl Valley Golf Estates in South Africa.
The self proclaimed 7 star Hotel is the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai The staff take service so seriously that they do their homework to find out what you like. The rooms are all duplex suites, with marble staircases and personal butlers. Another hotel that I stayed at, that also has stairs connecting a duplex accommodation, is The Hyatt next to the Galleria mall and ice rink.
My favorite hotels are the Fairmont hotel Dubai (it is a Ritz-Carlton Hotel), Hyatt and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa. Some of the world's top luxury tennis resorts can be found in the U.A.E., including The Four Seasons in Nevis, Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. Don't miss the cuisine at the Fairmont restarant "Spectrum on One' (But make a reservation because word is that it's so fully booked that during the filming of Syriana, even George Clooney could not get in.
Dubai's debt crisis sent world financial markets down, on concerns that loans to Dubai World, the state company will not be paid. It made me realize that lavish spending has to stop before the recovery can take place.
Recently, foreigners working in the UAE have lost their jobs and visas, so many have abandoned their Porches and other luxury cars at the airport in Dubai when departing. The huge property-led boom saw tons of money go to infrastructure and construction projects like the Palm Jumeirah or the 810 meter Burj Dubai tower that will be the tallest building in the world. A private island chain in the shape of a world atlas is currently under construction. Dubai is one of seven sheikhdoms in the U.A.E. Abu Dhabi, another of the emirates, holds 8 percent of the world’s oil reserves
the Burj Al Arab Hotel is not easy to visit if you are not a guest. The only way to get into the lobby to admire the two-story-high aquariums and dancing laser fountains is to make a reservation at one of seven restaurants, and give your credit-card number for security and guarantee a minimum spending of $100.
Guests are shuttled to the airport by helicopter, Rolls Royce or BMW. And if you become accustomed to a Rolls, you may even be able to take one home! -It is the best airport for a layover! --Exotic cars and other prizes can be won at the airport lottery. Tickets cost about a thousand dollars but the odds are better than the U.K., Dutch or German National lotteries because it is restricted to 1,000 tickets. I paid about Dh500 to enter to almost win an Aston Martin or a BMW 750 at Dubai Duty Free
• In a future posting. I will tell you about my most cherished adventure in Dubai, but if you visit before my story, I would like to recommend that you take a day trip tour to Sharjah and Ajman with Arabian Adventures and take a Dhow Cruise Dinner.
Emirates Airlines Skywards program offers three tiers of membership and I am happy to keep trying to attain the highest elite level by flying the 50,000 miles required to get Gold level.
CNBC reported that Luis Costa from the EMEA debt team, “believes Abu Dhabi will come to the rescue” so perhaps the fairytale land will have a happy ending even if Aladdin does not save the day!

Friday, October 30, 2009

American Airlines fare sale to Europe - tricks


Halloween is about dressing up and trick-or-treating but if you want to experience creepy history, ghost tours, bonfires - visit Europe.

American Airlines has a fare sale to Europe where you can stroll down ancient cobblestone streets, and enjoy history at many European destinations. Purchase your tickets by November 5, 2009 to get low fares. Begin travel Oct, through March 28, 2010,.

Fly to England and see the Oldest, most haunted castle in Europe The Tower of London. You can fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to/from London (LHR) with fares starting at $306. each way.

Other Fare Sale offers by American Airlines are Chicago O'Hare, IL to Champaign, IL for $84 each way, based on round-trip purchase. Chicago O'Hare, IL to Philadelphia, PA for $65* each way Boston, MA to St. Thomas, USVI $125 each way.

If you're looking for a special Fall retreat in some of the most inspirational cities, book a two-day stay with InterContinental Hotel London Park Lane, InterContinental Paris Le Grand or David InterContinental Tel Aviv and receive 6,000 Priority Club BONUS points plus exclusive benefits, if you register and stay before 31 December 2009 you get free breakfast and an upgrade with 20 Euros credit plus 6,000 bonus points

In old England cakes were made for the wandering souls at All Hallows an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead but then it was wiped out in England when it was considered a "pagan" holiday. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory rather than try to obliterate native peoples' customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them so the Irish brought the custom to America. Also, thanks to Pope Gregory, the day of the dead is celebrated in Mexico.

In the U.K., Halloween is being picked up from the USA but their biggest night is on November 5, Guy Fawkes to commemorate the successful foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Also known as Bonfire Night. A great place to visit to experience this is Hexham's popular fireworks extravaganza. They have a Band playing and a big Bonfire.
Visit the White Cliffs of Dover is one of Britain's most haunted castles. The spooky events at Dover Castle this Halloween will entertain kids with the legends then adults join a ghost walk through the castle and grounds. Another ancient site worth a visit is Anne Boleyn’s gruesome beheading site. Poor Anne’s headless ghost is said still to roam Blickling Hall.

I still feel it is decidedly pagan, never liked, visiting "haunted houses" or watching horror movies, though I did enjoy the bonfires at Guy Fawkes in England as a child.

If you have children, the Haunted House at Walt Disney World has an offer at Resorts to Buy 4 Nights, Get 3 Free At Moderate & Deluxe Resorts This Includes Disney Theme Park Tickets plus you'll earn 500 AAdvantage miles when you book online at . The 3 free hotel nights are valid till March 27, 2010. Enchanting worlds are at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Continental Airlines Mileathon amid new fees

Airlines will charge $50 to check a 2nd bag to Europe but no charge for elites

I have registered for Continental Airlines Mileathon. Eligible activities get compounded miles through Dec. 31, 2009, earn up to 100,000 bonus miles and give Onepass members a chance for the Grand Reward — a trip to Steamboat, Colo. Earn up to 50 Mileathon extra credits when you acquire a Continental Airlines Chase credit or debit card.
It’s a great way to accumulate points if you plan on traveling a lot before Nov 30th. Mileathon credit earning activities include using online check-in, booking flights, hotel stays and car rentals and more. At the end of the promotion, the top credit-earner in each OnePass category will also receive a Grand Reward - a dream vacation for two to Colorado, Hawaii, China or Paris, including First Class or BusinessFirst airfare, hotel accommodations and a $500 gift card.-- I plan to earn a bunch of miles on my Continental flights to Washington. This is a new direct flight that they have added to the capital. .
The Mileathon is a chance at making a run for Lifetime Elite status. As a Continental Airlines OnePass member, if you have flown over one million Lifetime Flight Miles, you join the Million Miler program. This program comes with some unique benefits reserved for the most loyal customers

Holiday air travel will cost more because several big airlines have added $10 surcharges on most of their ticket fares for travel on busy days around Thanksgiving and New Year's holidays. American, United airlines, Delta and US Airways Group Inc. added the surcharge.
United, Continental Airlines and several other will charge $50 to check a 2nd bag to Europe. Continental and Delta are adding extra $10 fees to Latin America so the rest will follow soon.
Many passengers would rather have the base fare raised so that they are not surprised by all the hidden fees and surcharges like the 7.5% U.S. excise tax. The quoted fare does not include taxes, fees and charges that may apply to your travel itinerary such as:
* Passenger facility charges (PFCs) of up to $18 per round trip
* September 11th Security Fee of up to $10 per round trip etc.

The good news is that holiday fares are still running 15 percent lower than last year

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You can win a free Sheraton hotel stay

If you would like a free hotel stay, enter every day from October 6–9 to see if you’re an instant winner at
My Platinum elite status did not help me win a free night, but don't let me discourage you. I got this message:

While you didn’t win today, be sure to sign in daily through October 9 for another chance to be instantly rejected.

You could win a free night’s stay on Friday, October 23, 2009, at your choice of one of the nearly 100 new or newly renovated Sheraton Hotels & Resorts in great cities across North America, including Waikiki, San Diego, Dallas, Phoenix and more.

Starwood Preferred Guest sent out emails to elite members, announcing the offer, 13 hours after the contest had started. I can only guess that this is an attempt to obtain email addresses of non-Starwood members. As I mentioned, I don't quite get the business strategy of giving away the free stays, especially since SPG are raising funds.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., announced that it has priced an underwritten public offering of $500 million of 7⅞% Senior Notes due 2014.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Priority Club is introducing "FLIGHTS ANYWHERE"

Priority Club Rewards, are today, introducing "Flights Anywhere" awards. Now your points can take you even farther. With Flights Anywhere, the choice is yours. Redeem your points, or combine points and cash, for flights.

• Fly Anywhere on over 400 airlines worldwide, including all major U.S. carriers
• Fly Anytime with no blackout dates or restrictions on availability
• Earn Miles Anytime through your favorite frequent flyer programs

Flights Anywhere gives you the flexibility to book flights for any occasion – including peak holiday travel periods. If there is still a seat available on a flight, you can redeem it for a ticket using your Priority Club points.
Holiday Inns recently introducing Points & Cash payment akin to Starwood’s popular cash & Points Award, and now Priority Club are again following Starwoods lead. They are introducing a similar program to Starwoods SPG Flights program that SPG presented on September 4, 2008 to redeem Starpoints for miles. But remember that when you use points & Cash you dont earn any points for the partial cash payment.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hilton HHonors advance paid rates

Hilton HHonors has a promotion to get away with your girlfriend You can save up to 15% off select rates when you book your stay 14 or more days in advance.

Trouble is that Advance Purchase Rates are non-refundable. I am always so afraid to make a full payment when booking, incase plans change and I hate it when my credit card is charged immediately for the entire stay but I have to pay for incidentals on a sepeaate tab. It just makes my bookkeeping more difficult and the other reason that I am reluctant to pay up-front is that it has been my experience that they don't give free elite upgrades on Pre-paid rooms.
The Hampton Offer ends on September 30, 2009 but the Girls getaway is valid to book by 12/31/09 and stay by 1/1/10.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Christian Hotel owners arrested & no vehicles in NYC or Amsterdam

Christian hotel owners were arrested after defending their beliefs in discussion with Muslim guest as reported by the Daily Mail in London, U.K. The Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool, had a Muslim guest that was upset by a discussion about Christian religious beliefs and requested that the police arrest the hotel owners, Mr. and Mrs. Vogelenzang, were shocked that their comments were construed as anything more than a polite discussion, explaining beliefs
Neil Addison, a prominent criminal barrister and expert in religious law, said: ‘The purpose of the Public Order Act is to prevent disorder, but I’m very concerned that the police are using it merely because someone is offended. ‘It should be used where there is violence. Free speech should be respected and those that don’t agree can just walk away.

In The Netherlands today, all cars were banned from the down town main cities and in Amsterdam,free taxi rides were provided for Muslims, paid by Dutch taxpayers as reported in de Telegraaf. This sparked a fairness debate that Christians are never given taxi rides at Christmas time by the government, so some feel that people of the Islamic faith should also use public transport during Ramadan.
New Yorkers have been car free in Times Square for several months now and the ban on motor vehicles will probably continue next year. Most people in Holland own a bicycle and were not greatly inconvenienced by the Auto free Sunday. Tourists can rent bicycles from most hotels and can even take sightseeing tours on two wheels. (Though I would be happier with 3 wheels or training wheels). They say that you never forget how to ride a bike but I am the exception. Perhaps I did not have a very good instructor when I was 5 years old.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Buy your own belongings back from the Airline?

I have been lambasting the airlines for all the ridiculous charges that they manage to think of but this is the worst charge to date: See others here

A 9 year old girl from Ireland lost her wallet while waiting at the gate of her return flight. Little Emma Lally handed over the EUR 10 as only a credible child would when RyanAir claimed that it was a service charge, but her father was angry that he had to pay for something that belonged to her. RyanAirs “Lost and found”, contractor is Greencap and they claim that the Ten Euro fee is for administration costs. De Telegraaf reported that lost articles are no longer are accepted by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA). This is not only uncivilized but if there is no lost and found department to report to security, it makes lost items susceptible to terrorists.
The skies are becoming more and more unfriendly. Click here to see my posting about Ryanair’s CEO saying that they are considering “installing a coin slot on the toilet door”? ”- and my posting on the Cash PRIZE for the “BEST””suggestion for revenue ideas like charging the obese.
US Airways stopped charging for non-alcoholic beverages, due to public outcry, but they don’t give out complimentary blankets and pillows in coach. They sell a $7 kit containing a pillow, blanket and earplugs.
The most hated ancillary revenue charges are the baggage fees. You can avoid checked baggage fees;- flyers on most airlines don’t charge their Elite members for checked bags. For example;-CO, DL and AAdvantage Executive Platinum members are exempt from the charges for checked baggage.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Las Vegas Starwood & Priority Club offers from $79

For every night you pay the regular rate, you can get the next for 50% off at the 3 Starwood properties in Las Vegas.
An exciting night on the town in Vegas is offered by the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino, a Sheraton Resort. See 25 dancers and celebrity star performers with 2 ticklets to a Show, a bottle of wine with your guest room accommodation package costing $129. Ask for Promo code PHP to get this rate. They have PHabulous rates from $79 per night mid-week and $149 on weekends for select dates:
This hotel is in a great location on the middle of the vibrant strip and attached to the Miracle Mile Shopping Center
I always enjoy the view of the Bellagio fountain performance while reclining on the bed or while relaxing in the enormous bath tub. Photos of my room interior can be seen on - planet-hollywood-offer-for-platinum and the video clip is The Bellagio Fountains seen from Planet Hollywood
A wonderful day trip out of the busy Vegas is a visit to the Grand Canyon (450.6 km/280.0 miles}
An offer from the Westin Casuarina Las Vegas Hotel, Casino & Spa:
• Stay One Night and the Next is 50% Off!
• 3 night minimum length of stay required
• Available on stays through September 30, 2009 Mention promo code ZBT
The grand opening of element Las Vegas Summerlin offers rates from $99 per night for arrivals Thursday through Sunday.- mention rate plan: FMOPEN. (This is located outside the City of Vegas near the JW Marriott hotel.) I love the spa at the JW
American Express gold card has an offer to watch Bette Midler command the spotlight with terrific front-orchestra seats in The Show -girl Must Go On, package including hotel stay, roundtrip airport/ hotel transfers, taxes, and service charges, from $795 for two people. 3 nights in Las Vegas and 2 tickets to see Bette To book this offer, call American Express Travel at 866-297-9491and mention Promo Code F3920000. Book by 10/31/09.
The Holiday Inn Express Las Vegas South is just minutes away from the famous "Las Vegas Strip" and Las Vegas Speedway, host of NASCAR, offers rates from $80 per night.
Till September 15, 2009, you'll receive 1,500 bonus points each time you book online, stay at any hotel within the Priority Club® Rewards Family of Brands in the U.S. or Canada and pay with your Visa card. You can earn up to 7,500 bonus points towards a free hotel stay, airline miles, merchandise, gift cards and more!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Holiday Inns are introducing Points & Cash payment akin to Starwood’s popular Award

The Indigo Brand of the ICH group, presently, has a promotion to earn 2,000 Priority Club® Rewards bonus points when you stay at an Indigo, through February 28, 2010.
The Indigo Blue color and the sea shell motive appear throughout the hotel. Its reminiscent of the 80’s style beach house décor, though the trend was in pastels and indigo is a deep color. IHG bill it as a “new type of business hotel” and most of the locations are in cities and not on the beach so I have not really figured out what the brand represents. I say this without intending to sound as if I don’t like the hotels, in fact I do think that they offer all the amenities that one needs for a comfortable stay, except a bath tub and I hate to shower! Even the newly opened Indigo at Paddington Station London, does not have bath tubs. I suspect it must be the only hotel in the U.K. in that price range without a bath tub. Works out O.K. if they are counting on American guests, but the English do love their tea and tubs.
I’m also puzzled by the re-launching of the Holliday Inn brands. They are changing the logo that we have learnt to know and now say, “from the lobbies to the linens- you'll see and feel the difference the moment you walk in”. Yes, I have noticed that they have updated the linens and appreciate that the florals have gone but I don’t understand why the logo has changed?.
Holiday Inn / InterContinental brands are introducing Points & Cash! Now you don’t have to wait till you have enough points because, Points & Cash allows you to use a combination of points and cash for Reward Nights at more than 4,200 hotels and resorts worldwide.
Starwood has long allowed members to redeem Reward nights in this manner at many of the SPG hotels. For example, you can reserve Starwood Cash & Points at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Casino Hotel, by redeeming 4800 Starpoints + paying USD 90 per night in Aug 09 but check first because they also have a cash only rate for about USD 90.
Just a word of caution when using this method of payment at both of the Hotel chains, You are not eligible to earn miles if you partly redeem points, which means that you don’t earn elite nights either!
You can still earn a Free SPG weekend night award with every two eligible stays through the end of the month and awards can be redeemed through September 2009.
Another offer worth considering is that you can earn points, which can be redeemed for a prepaid $50 dollar cash card if you earn a bonus after a 3rd stay at a Choice Privileges property until Oct 09.
Summer time is the best time to find great offers to pay, earn points, or redeem them, so take a couple of days off and enjoy some R & R because Hotels are really courting the leisure traveler now that business travelers are almost extinct.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jakarta Indonesia Marriott Hotel - tragic bombings

There were bombings at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Jakarta Indonesia a few minutes ago and it is already reported on Twitter but still not reported on television. Six people were killed in this barbaric form of slaughtering innocent people. Some tweets reported that bombs exploded at both the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton in Jakarta. @BreakingNews reported on Twitter via AP that a Jakarta Hospital doctor said that at least 6 were dead, 50 injured in blasts at Ritz-Carlton, a Marriott group hotel.
The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place is near the city’s Stock Exchange, upscale shopping and most prominent business, commercial district. The hotel has a wonderful Club Level lounge with complimentary food and beverage presentations throughout the day in the Club Level for all Elite guests but children under 12 years of age are not allowed in the Club Lounge, so we stayed at the Hyatt on our last trip. Though I do like their suites because they are the largest in Jakarta and have Bvlgari amenities.

Jakarta’s 10 million citizens reflect a striking contrast of tradition and modernity. It is so sad to see the news of this attack. Apparently, the blast happened at a café, which means that the security was good at the RitzC and as I mentioned in my posting about the Islambad bombing, Security is one of the major considerations in selecting a hotel. In Pakistan the Hotel security guards bravely protected the guests.
After the dreadful terrorist attack on the Marriott hotel in Islambad last September Bill Marriott issued a statement saying that, "Marriott remains committed to global travel after the hotel bombing" Both Indonesia and Pakistan are Predominantly Muslim nations and Marriott have been expanding in other Islamic nations.CNN is now reporting that the Indonesian group has ties to al-Queda. HOW DREADFUL!
See Telegraaf 1 2 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Courtyard by Marriott is now in every US State

The newest addition to the brand is the hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii, travelers can now stay at Courtyards in all 50 U.S. States.
In the U.S., the brand is currently undergoing a makeover by redefining the hotel lobby experience. Guests are greeted in a bright, new lobby where the front desk has been replaced by more intimate pedestals. They are putting news, local attractions and directions on what they call a ”GoBoard™”. I stayed at one of the new design Ct yds in Southern California and felt as if I was staying at a full service Hotel.
I wonder if doing away with the desk will prevent people from hearing my private information when checking in. As a woman, I am more careful about shouting out my name and address when checking in so I hand reception staff my Marriott Rewards Membership card when I check in but the silver writing on the card has worn off so they still demand my name and shout out my room number, when they think I can't read. I am also cautious because I have had unauthorized charges signed to my room by someone posing to be me. For those reasons I do recommend this tip of presenting the card or a printed confirmation of your reservation.
(Hopefully, the "GoBoard" will eliminate the need for all the un-necessary info. sent on the 3 page confirmation email.)
The new lobby also features – Eat. Drink. Connect.; a 24/7 Market and free WiFi. This is the part that I like. I like the fact that I can rely on Court yards to have convenient, PC workstations because sometimes my Laptop is needed at a Show or I just want to go to the internet for a few minutes. If I’m travelling for only one night I can even manage with my 3G phone and may get a net book because I have damaged several notebooks on the road. Plus it's so COOL to travel light! Nothing glamorous about being weighted down like a pack donkey!
CourtYard is my preferred hotel because I like the free WiFi and the American Express discount to save 5% with OPEN Savings® for Small Business. Fairfield, Res Inn, TownePlace and SpringHill Suites also offer 5% off the bill and JetBlue give 3% Discount off flights.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

BA asks staff to work for free - FARES RISING SOON!

Take advantage of cheap fares now because they are going up.
International airfares have been really low recently, especially in business class but now that airlines have cut capacity on domestic flights, they will start to cut capacity on long haul flights. When this happens, ticket prices go up.
In an e-mail to 40,000 staff, British Airways sent an offer to employees to take unpaid leave, or work for free. What a shame that the national flag carrier of the United Kingdom has done this! I understand that demand for the airline's seats are way down due to the recession and it gives them time to look for another job without feeling too desperate, but I think that it is a creative way to not lay them off, thereby avoiding paying severance packages that could tip them into bankruptcy. Other airlines that have jumped on the furlough bandwagon are US Airways and American Airlines.
Pilots are underpaid and overworked on many airlines and cost cutting has become ridiculous, as I mentioned in a previous post , Some pilots are requesting passengers of EasyJet to bring extra food with them so they can feed the crew.” You might want to bring along some coffee to keep your Capt. awake.” Is dangerous considering that both pilots on the Hawaiian Airlines flight fell asleep and flew past the airport to the dismay of the Passengers.
And an Airline pilot mentioned that a flight from London, LGW-SSH, ran out of crew water & food You really want your pilot fed and watered and focused on safe travel.
Delta Airlines has business Class deals From Atlanta, Cincinnati, or New York-JFK to business Elite destinations in Europe, with fares as low as 30 to 50 day-advance purchase: $1,249–$1,669 each-way, (based on a round-trip).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Enjoy summer fun at Intercontinental Hotels or a Fairmont Spa at the Ocean

Had a wonderful dinner at Shula’s in the Intercontinental Hotel Tampa, Florida. The steak house was named after NFL Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Player Don Shula (owner) and has memorabilia all over the restaurant, but it does not have a Sports bar atmosphere. It is an elegant, romantic and cozy setting.

If you are a Priority club member, you may be interested to hear that they have an offer for an overnight stay at the Intercontinental Hotel Tampa, Florida plus a delicious Shula's Steak House dinner for only $149 Ask for rate code "IKA 11". Valid through August 09.The hotel does not have a Concierge “Club type” lounge for snacks, but does have a nice coffee machine in the guest rooms.

Priority Club IHG, also has a good promotion going. Stay any 2 nights from now to – July 3, and you will get 1 FREE Night to use from July 3 – December 26, 2009
Earn and use free nights at any of these global hotels: ..

Fairmont Hotels are calling their 2-night stay, offer-"Spa Season" at any of their fourteen global locations, this season. The promotion includes a room upgrade, spa gift, $25 spa credit, and a Spa robe and slippers. Don’t know why they featured that because there is usually a Spa robe and slippers.- Nothing special about it, in fact, I can’t remember when last I stayed at a full service hotel that does not have a robe. (Tip: Call housekeeping if there is not one to loan in the room. 9 out of 10 times the will send one up.) Fabulous to step out of a bath into freshly laundered robe!
Viva Mexico on the Riviera Maya the Viva Wyndham Azteca hotel in Playa del Carmen- an all inclusive beachfront Resort has an offer for $69 per person (children free) SAVE 60% OFF Rack Rates.OR a 3 night spa package for $159 Per Person, per Night with spa treatments and room included.
enjoy the white sand beaches. Mayan ruins, lush jungles and a championship golf course.
The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun rests peacefully at a quiet end of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, where you can enjoy the serenity of private white-sand beaches and stay in a room with super clean, white marble floors. It is a Cat 3 hotel so you only need 7000 Starpoints for a free night. We rented a car to see the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza and Uxmal. You can catch a tour to the ruins from your hotel. Tulum is the closest to Cancun, so try to fit it in. It is a wonderful experience! Stay 4 nights and get One night free + $100 credit on Food and a Room upgrade. Starwood Preferred Guest members, will receive 35% off their room rate,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bing will shake up Hotels and Airlines

Marriott hotels have started a new offering of random, deeply discounted, advance purchase rates at specific Resort properties. Each offer is valid for 24 hours and can be found on a bubble on their home page or on Twitter. Today’s example is:
Deal of the Day: Waikoloa Beach Marriott, View Room $159/night . Book before 7am EDT, Wed, June 3
And yesterday was the first offer, - to stay at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, 55% off room rates.
Microsofts Bing shows a green "DEAL" sign to point to the best rates; Savvy travelers now, have competition from Bing, or can see Bing as a tool to speed up their search for the best deal. Hotels must be concerned that even the average Joe will be able to find rock bottom rates. Up till now many gullible travelers fall for the absurdly high Rack rates.
I suspect that this is the reason that Marriott has introduced the “Deal of the day”. This way, they can retain traffic to their website. The June 4th Deal is at the San Juan Marriott® Resort & Stellaris Casino, 4th night free with extras –!

Booking your flight with the new search engine is now a breeze. Bing’s new approach, with a decision Engine, is able to find the right hotel easily,completing a search. It offers a fare predictor that can track hotel rates to see if rates trend up or down.
I have always alleged that buying an airline ticket is like trading the stock market. You have to do your homework!

A useful feature on Bing is that you can get instant flight status. They even pay you to shop on their site.
Each hotel review has a score based on reviewers' responses to TravelPost's survey For example, the Vegas MGM Grand 5 star luxury hotel -score is: 7.8 out of 10 (based on 4 reviews) I could view all 5-star hotels •and the• $135 JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa came up for $135.

Many airlines have their weekly specials like Continentals offers that you can subscribe to receive an e-mail every Tuesday Delta has Web Fare Specials and AAirlines have netSAAver fares, plus last minute packages. Marriott also send an email with their weekly destinations for e-breaks. There will probably be more of the package deals offered on their websites to evade Bing. See de telegraaf

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New low cost airline to charge $9 for tickets

A new low-cost airline will start service from Newark N.J. and Florida, flying to mid-sized U.S. cities not served by larger carriers. JetAmerica is targeting small and midsize cities like Lansing, which has seen the number of daily flights at its LAN, Airport fall from 35 to 12 the past five years. Capacity has been cut by many airlines so the result is that airfares have increased at those airports as daily flights have decreased.

JetAmerica CEO, John Weikle, lost me when he said that he, "has based JetAmericas business model on RyanAirs!" See my February posting explaining that it will cost me alot if they install, “a coin slot on the toilet door”? ”- and my posting on how Easy Jet wants Pilots to pay for coffee
An EasyJet UK Airline Pilot mentioned that a flight from London, LGW-SSH, ran out of crew water & food. He said that the crew, “would get better treatment in prison”. European aviation has hit an all time low . One Pilot suggested that,”You might want to bring along some coffee to keep your Captain awake” This cry started a Facebook group called, “Feed the Crew”
Sure, the tickets are cheap, but when you add all the “ancillary revenue fees”, the tickets can end up more expensive than flying a full service airline. To break even, JetAmerica will have to make 71 dollars per passenger on average, so they even charge a “convenience fee” for booking on their website or by phone. No charge for the ticket booth at the airport but you have to book early to get one of the 9 seats for $9 on each flight.
The $9 airline is getting ready to take off on July 13th. As I mentioned in my previous post, : the promotions become tiresome. In this economy, some people are , ditching the loyalty programs and going for the cheapest flights, due to problems with Mileage accounts like David Berlind had. USAir told him that his last 15+ years of frequent flyer data was lost. Vanished! The USAirways Rep said: "I understand Mr. Berlind that you're reading your Dividend Miles number off one of our cards, but we have no record of that number anymore".

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Starwood, Priority Club and Marriott Rewards points

Tough economic times so hotels are coming up with new deals. Bill Marriott said his, ”business has been hit with a triple whammy. First, the global recession, and then an assault on business meetings by our government officials and the new flu virus, which is waning.”
Priority Club Rewards announced an offer for all members to earn a free night if you stay any 2 nights thru July 3rd 09. You can use your free night between July 3rd – Dec 26th. The InterContinental Hotels Group (Holiday Inn) have made it simple: - 2 nights gets 1 free
Starwood’s promotion (Sheratons etc.) is -for every two stays through July 31, 2009, you earn one Free Weekend Night Award No earning limits and NO catch apparently.

Marriott’s offers are different for Platinum, Silver and Gold members. Marriott run their MegaBonus promotions periodically and now they have a similar offer but they have not called it the MegaBonus. It is the “Summer promotion” or ‘escape”
Some can earn: 25,000 points when you stay 20 nights : June 1 to Aug 31, 09 but I won’t get any points if I don’t make the 20 nights. Some Members got an offer to earn 5,000 points every other stay, starting with your 2nd stay up to 15,000 points max till Aug 09. I would rather have this offer so I don’t think I will even try to make the one they assigned to me.
Marriotts Global Rate Break offer IS simple and can save 20% off weekend stays between May 21st and September 7th, 2009, if you book by June 2nd

As one member put it, “After a while the promotions become tiresome, it is easier to stay at a non point hotel than to do the homework on the complicated points”. Last year some of the Marriott offers earned 2,500 Marriott Rewards points for every Visa®-paid stay, but none of the present programs stipulate the credit card to be used. It is tiresome to have to remember which program offers what and then to get the fine print right. You have to find out which of their brands participate. For example, with Residence Inn by Marriott - all locations participate except: Inn at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL and Participating redemption partners are The Ritz-Carlton, Ashford Castle but you can’t earn points at these locations.
Some needed 11 stays and some 15. Some members were eligible to starting earning points with a second stay. up to 25,000 points for 15 nights some got 35K pts for 20 nights
Marriott is introducing some good incentives. You can earn 5,000 points every other stay, starting with your 2nd stay and offering Double Nights till June 26, every night you stay counts twice!
I have to give credit where credit is due and that is that this past Megabonus offer was the better than previous Megabonus offers, but I was one night short.
The best new Marriott offer is that each night members stay with Marriott, you’ll earn credit for two nights instead of one, which will help you to reach your next Elite level twice as fast. I wish that I had known that this offer was on the way because I would have postponed my trips. As it turned out I was missing one night. If I had stayed one extra night I would have obtained the full 50,000 MegaBonus points
The offer was: a MegaBonus when you stay at Marriott February 1 through April 30, 2009, and this is what I got:

The moral of this story is that I have noticed that the offers get better towards the end of the year, so try to do all your travel in November.

See De Telegraaf reports that loyalty programs don't work.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alaska Airlines and Marriott elite winners at the Freddie Awards

The the 21st Annual Freddie Awards for the best Elite Level airline and hotel loyalty programs were awarded to Alaska Airlines for their Mileage Plan program and to Marriott Rewards for Europe/Middle East/Africa, the Airline prize went to: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles and the hotel award for Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel went to: Starwood Preferred Guest program.
Among the big winners were Marriott Rewards, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club, Virgin Blue Velocity, Starwood Preferred Guest and many more.

This program has been named in honor of the Maverick airline entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker who took on the big legacy airlines as competition. I feel that the awards have betrayed their namesake because they habitually place the big contenders in the winning roles. The judges are not impartial because they obtain advertising and other paybacks from the winners.
sure, there were More than 700,000 Freddie ballots, but the campaigns sent out by the big players encouraged members to vote and many of the voters had no experience with the airlines and hotels in the running. Many of the travelers are loyal to the program that they have joined and are not in a position to compare because they are blissfully ignorant about what they are missing out on. Take it from me I can assure you that there is NO conflict of interests reflected from my blog.
I have been staying at many of the Marriott hotels as they opened over the past 25 years. When I was living in Asia, Europe, S. America and Africa, I stayed at Starwood, IHG and Hyatt hotels because there were no Marriott hotels at the time. It was Hyatt that gave me a taste for the Regency floor (AKA Club or concierge lounge). The lounge was a welcome oasis in exhausting countries like Indonesia and refuge from the maddening crowd in Acapulco. At that time Marriott grew because they had the US market.

Hilton won the Freddie for Best Award Redemption and Marriott came in 3rd Petersen said, "If award redemption is easy, you have a very happy program member. If it's difficult, call out the National Guard, you might need some help. If there's one thing that irks frequent travelers the most, it's the unavailability of awards--and the hassles of redeeming them. We've learned that it's not just about making seats and rooms available; it's also about the process. Does it require members to jump through hoops to get an award? We never said that award redemption would be easy, but some programs make it easier than others. Voters were asked to vote on the program that makes award redemption the most user-friendly--Can you get the award you want when you want it?"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Marriott is excited to announce but I am not excited to hear

Marriott is about to announce something new .--- Elite Rollover Nights! an idea that was suggested via Marriott Rewards Insiders.
Ooo ! frustration, at not being able to achieve the ever elusive goal! Dilemma. - Should I abandon the present goal and go for the next one that offers a better deal - double nights?
A release from Marriott claims that this program will help you achieve – and increase – your Elite status. With Elite Rollover Nights, after you’ve stayed enough nights to earn Elite status in 2009, They will roll over all additional nights to 2010. That means you can start earning next year’s status this year! This has never before been an option. Many people would have liked this last year but I don’t think that many will qualify for this program this year due to the economy. Last year, I made the 75 nights needed to re-qualify for Platinum status and then I started using my points for free stays. I assume that they want to discourage this practice.
Plus, to help members get a head start Marriott is offering Double Nights. Between May 11 and June 26, every night you stay counts twice!
Apparently I can never win with the infamous MegaBonus from Marriott Rewards!. I received a good offer this year to earn 50,000 miles if I stay25 nights at Marriott from February 1 through April 30, 2009. Unfortunately, the bar is always too high for me to earn Megabonus points. I am 4 nights short of the 25 nights needed and was considering staying in a hotel for the weekend to make it up but I won’t be eligible for the double points yet and feel that I should stop letting Marriott dictate when I stay because it never works out for me. (The bar goal is fewer nights for silver Elites to achieve) I am not keen to embark on another offer that manipulates me where I may be made to feel disappointed if I fall short by a few nights. They hold the Platinum carrot out but they don’t really want Platinum members. They have given thousands of people silver membership even if they have not made any 2008 stays, but if I were to make 70 nights and not the 75 nights, ( as I did one year) I am sure that they would not waive the 5 missing nights required per year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Airlines new revenue sources alienate their customers

American Airlines and United Airlines have found a new revenue source called the “fat tax” They are going to charge larger people double if the flight is full. The real problem here is that it gives the flight attendants more of a “Police” job and respects passenger’s right to dignity even less. The carrier is not shipping products or containers that are categorized by weight. They are transporting people. Will travelers have to endure the humiliating scale prior to flights, or squeeze into a version of the dreaded carry-on example cage?”
This is an update on my April posting about Ryanair’s CEO saying that they are considering “installing a coin slot on the toilet door”? ”- and my March posting on the Cash PRIZE for the “BEST””suggestion for revenue ideas resulted in Ryanair claiming that most of the people entering the competition, are for charging the obese.
Ryanair may discontinue flying to Weeze, in Germany to cut costs and I think that they should stick to practical solutions like this, rather than alienating their customers. Easyjet is worse to alienate their Pilots by getting them to pay for their own coffee.
According to De Telegraaf, Ryanairs options to implement a fat tax, include a charge per kilogram over 130 kg for men and 100 kg for women; a charge for every waist inch over 45 inches for men and 40 inches for women; and a charge for a second seat if a passenger's waist touches both armrests simultaneously.

Most airlines don’t charge their Elite members for checked bags. For example;-CO, DL and AAdvantage Executive Platinum members are exempt from the charges for checked baggage. Will these policies extend to exempting overweight passengers for the extra pounds?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Continental closer to joining United and Star Alliance

At a cocktail party I was interested to hear from Shannon Holden, that Continental Airlines has long term plans to develop Houston (IAH) airport on the same design plan as Atlanta airport.Holden is a Senior Vice President of Global Real Estate and Security at Continental Airlines.

On April 7, 2009 the U.S. Department of Transportation tentatively approved the application for Continental Airlines to join the existing alliance between United and eight other Star Alliance member carriers on international routes. Regarding SkyTeam, as previously announced, Continental intends to end its participation in the SkyTeam Alliance after the last scheduled flight on Oct. 24, 2009.

OnePass Members:
• Will continue to earn OnePass miles on Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines for all qualifying flights through Oct. 24, 2009.
• May book and ticket reward travel using OnePass miles for travel on Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines through Oct. 24, 2009.
• Must complete all reward travel on or before Oct. 24, 2010.
• Will continue to receive Elite upgrade privileges on Northwest through Oct. 24, 2009, or the date of the Delta SkyMiles and Northwest WorldPerks loyalty program integration, whichever comes earlier.
Presidents Club Members:
• May continue to access Delta Crown Room and Northwest WorldClub airport lounges through Oct. 24, 2009.
Continental will continue to work through the details of their exit from SkyTeam and planned entry into Star Alliance, but anticipate that participation in Star Alliance will begin promptly after leaving SkyTeam.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

BA Club World gets Fast track que, but travel has lost Glamor

I heard from an EasyJet pilot after my previous post on the airline wanting pilots to bring their own Coffee or pay for refreshments. The pilot took a photo of his 5 am,“full English breakfast” provided to get him through an 8 hour day. He made a plucky quip about his elite lifestyle and a pertinent remark about how EasyJet would rather save a few pennies than fend off fatigue.

Remember the 2 Hawaiian Airlines pilots who fell asleep and flew past their destination in Feb 2008? It may end up costing EasyJet more than the cost of a cup of coffee. Then again, they are not so badly off when you consider that Ryanair’s may “install a coin slot on the toilet door” and Russia has also started charging the Astronauts to pee. Astronaut Michael Finck told AP that “there was no fighting over the toilet in Orbit" after Russia started charging other space agencies for food and equipment on the international space station “.
The USA managed to get the original Astronauts to enlist for the job because it was sold to them as being an elite sort of airline pilot career. On April 9 1959 (50 years ago) NASA's first seven astronauts started to enthrall us. Airmen were considered glamorous and even recently, it was an honor to sit next to one in first class but now they have to ride in the back if they are not driving the flying bus.
Some pilots are requesting passengers of EasyJet to bring extra food with them so they can feed the crew. You might want to bring along some coffee to keep your Capt awake. The crew are not a happy and motivated work force. Children will suffice with cereal, but I know enough about men to know that if you don’t give them a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon, they don’t consider it breakfast. The photo was taken with disdain for the meager ration.
Interesting that easyJet stated that removing coffee saves £400k. The same amount as the CEO and FD got in bonuses this year!! Hmm. ;)
Add on charges are rampant, most of the major U.S. airlines charge $15 to $35 to book your flight over the phone and typically charge $15 to check that first bag and another $25 for that second bag -- each way so that “low-cost”, fare can end up as expensive as the other prices.
Southwest Airlines, who advertize that they don’t charge any extras,- commented that selling snacks and sandwiches on board "was intriguing " Southwest do not charge to check luggage and JetBlue don’t either but JetBlue does charge $7 for pillows.

The British Airways B747-400 business class (new Club World) flights to Asia, are still considerably luxurious, and the fast track queue for business and first class passengers helps make travel easier, but travel is still a far cry from the days of The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) that was very glamorous until dissolving in 1946.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BA will cut Pay and EasyJet wants Pilots to pay for tea

Easy Jet wants Pilots to bring their own Coffee or pay for refreshments, according to De Telegraaf. Only one problem – They don’t even let Cabin crew take liquids on board and some pilots earn less than $20K a year….Low cost airline, Easy Jet has been feeling left out of all the publicity that has made Ryan Air notorious. Remember my February posting about Ryanair’s CEO saying that they are considering “installing a coin slot on the toilet door”? ”-
My March posting explained the Cash PRIZE for the “BEST””suggestion for revenue ideas like, a seat belt fee or charging for toilet paper – with CEO O’Leary’s face on it, and now Easyjet want to get onto the publicity bandwagon. Their March load factor was down 2.8 pct points and the new Chairman Michael Rake, will reportedly ask Pilots to pay for their own tea. EasyJet is a low cost airline, trading on Britain's FTSE 100 stockmarket, and are invested in every segment of the consumer market from cell phones to EasyPizza franchisees.
The Times reported that BA will CUT PAY. British Airways' 13,500 cabin crew could see marked reductions in pay and holiday allowances. Next they will be asking elite passengers to take a hit but if the global economic downturn is reaching its bottom, how will they get us back? Customers are discovering that it may not be in their interests to remain loyal to the airline hubbed in their city.
Unless you fly un-discounted fares with BA several times a year there is little point in being a member of BA’s Executive Club . BA don’t allow cancelations of mileage reservations within 24 hrs even with doctor's note. A friend booked a return business class trip from the USA to the UK using miles but had to postpone her trip and BA said that they don’t refund miles. This differed from what the Youfirst desk told her. It’s tough to lose all the miles after suffering so many flights to earn them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

United Airlines and Marriott join forces

Fly on United and you can save 20% at Marriott Hotels - for a limited time offer.
Marriott Rewards Members, get a special fare at United Airlines if you book by April 5th and you will get 20% off your Marriott stay at participating hotels worldwide. A 14 day advance purchase is required and travel must be complete by June 17, 2009

Great if you live near its hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
As a JAL Mileage Bank member, you can now earn triple miles with Japan Airlines via Marriott Rewards from May 1 through August 31, 2009.if you Stay at a Marriott hotels worldwide.
AP reported that a United Airlines jet carrying 178 passengers and 11 crew members from London to Washington, D.C., has made an emergency landing in Maine today because of mechanical problems. Scary! but if that does not put you off,- United’s great flyaway sale has offers as low as Las Vegas to SFO for $39 and LAX - Maui for $194. They are a Star Alliance member and you can fly from the USA to Melbourne or Sydney from 299 dlls on the “G'day Australia “sale. They also have an offer to Moscow from Dulles (IAD) airport beginning March 29, 2009. To celebrate, the launch of a new, daily service to Moscow, Russia (DME) out of Washington Dulles (IAD) airport beginning March 29, 2009. So they have special introductory fares.

United is becoming creative with their ideas. Westin hotels previously teamed up with United Red Carpet Clubs. Keep the promotions rolling.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Canada is on SALE and 3 for 2 promotions abound !

Time to come out of winter hibernation and get out into the sunshine!. It is a buyer’s market and the trend is towards getting a good deal when you walk into a hotel and ask for the $79 rate.
I’m giving you this tip but don’t want to
mention the name of the hotel that took me up on my bargaining because it is smart for the hotels to give front desk personnel the authority to take walk-ins instead of empty rooms. Previously, the cheapest rates were on their websites and one had to pay rack rate if you turn up at the hotel.
Spring is a good time to have a weekend getaway at Halifax Marriott in Canada on the harbor front and receive a $25 food credit and free parking! Choose from two fabulous onsite restaurants - 44 North Ocean Bistro for chef-crafted Maritime cuisine or the Fife & Drum Pub, featuring casual favorites and live Maritime entertainment on weekends! Or use your credit towards private in-room dining. Offer is valid until April 30 for weekend stays until May 30. (If you book,-quote promotion code P51.)
I often enjoy the hospitality at the downtown Calgary attached to the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre They have a great concierge lounge for elites. It is a bi-level lounge, serving complimentary breakfast and evening hors d'oeuvres. Their eBreaks rate is CAD 111 this weekend.

The average price per room declined 25% in Canada, Western Canada led with highest number of transactions and room pricing discounts.

Many chains offer the,”pay for 2 and get one night free”,.You can even get a discount now if you use points,- Marriott are appeasing their MR members, after devaluing points, by offering the 3 for 2 nights discount in the points needed to redeem nights at a Marriott resort to 2008 levels:
. 3 for 2 Resort Redemption Cat. 4 Resorts = 40,000 points
• 3 for 2 Resort Redemption at Cat. 5 Resorts = 50,000 points
• 3 for 2 Resort Redemption at Cat. 6 Resorts = 60,000 points
• 3 for 2 Resort Redemption at Cat. 7 Resorts = 70,000 points

The 3 for 2 promotion people, must have known that my New Year’s resolution was to not travel for more than 2 nights, unless it is International business travel, because I don’t like to leave my cat for longer than 2 nights.

W Hotels have an offer at several hotels for a green Spring Fling. - Includes a donation of trees on your behalf, in-room breakfast for two, two spring cocktails with the room, .W Fort Lauderdale’s offer is to escape into intra-coastal cool. Your experience includes a VIP Living Room table, W beach towel, two lounge chairs and umbrella on the beach, Bliss® Hot Cream Manicure, a chef-guided kitchen tour with wine at Stephen Starr’s signature restaurant and a room upgrade The W Scottsdale, is also a place to visit before it gets too hot in the Summer. It's a new W, complete with the desert’s most dazzling infinity pool, Arizona’s first Bliss® Spa, Sushi Roku and more. The newly-renovated Hilton Anaheim's near Disneyland CA, is offering 89 of its rooms every day for $89 per night all this year.

The Ritz-Carlton has a Reconnect package, a two-night stay gives you up to a $100 credit that can be used for retail, spa or dining purchases in many hotels. Or use PointSaver points to get a reduced point rate at Ritz-Carltons.
I ‘m so glad that Marriott Rewards are putting the PointSaver offers out again. I had stopped trying to find them because they were so difficult to find. With PointSavers, it takes fewer Marriott Rewards points to get free stays at Marriott hotels worldwide.
Marriot Elites Get 15% Off Plus $100 Bonus Bucks in Canadian Cities -Valid through, March 29, 2009 Use Promotional Code: E0S when booking.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Marriott hotels to turn off the lights

Marriott hotels are dimming the lights for Earth Hour. Many hotels and offices around the world will be turning off all their non-essential lights for exactly one hour to conserve energy, raise awareness of the need to address global warming - or as it is now called “climate change” (because global warming was hilarious). But, the words "climate change", does not say anything because we all know that the climate has always changed since the time that dinosaurs roamed the tropical Arctic. They really should think of a better name for this phenomenon that tree-huggers can embrace.
Athens will cast its vote for Earth by switching lights off at the Acropolis. The Empire State Building in NYC and even the The Great Pyramids of Giza and Cairo Tower will switch off their lights. Jordan will also switch off the lights at Petra. Petra is the most WONDERFUL TOURIST attraction that I have visited.
Wherever you live on planet earth people will participate at 20:30 on Saturday the 28th of March.
In South Africa the V&A Waterfront are planning celebrations along with entertainment including a special performance by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra at the momentous moment of Table Mountain’s lights being switched off in support of the Earth Hour initiative. See Earth hour in the Telegraaf or here
In Sydney, where Earth Hour began in 2007, every ferry in the city’s famous harbour will sound its horn at precisely 8.30 p.m. to herald the beginning of Earth Hour in Australia, while in Melbourne a people-pedal-powered concert will be underway at Federation Square.
Mass power on-off is not a good idea, simply because it puts a burden on the power management system. If the on-off is large enough and if it covers something like the state of New York, it will incite other problems, largely on the grid management level. Lose the grid and big parts of North America can blackout.
On October 15th it is Blog Action Day link to

Power outages are caused by overloads the system but also by under-use, and can even cause dangerous explosions on the energy-grid. Environmental Awareness to conserve energy is essential, but I hope that it does not cause any problems.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Las Vegas: Room with a view

Las Vegas is more spread out than most people think. The strip is several miles long. The Monorail is convenient but was a 15 minute walk to the Venetian and then walking inside the Venetian has given me blisters. Wish they had walking conveyer belts like in airports. It’s a convention factory and the Convention center is even bigger. They have conventions for everything imaginable! I could go to conventions every day of the year but it would not be very cost effective for my business. This economic slowdown is going to make us all think twice about excess overindulgence.
The Spa at the Venetian (Canyon Ranch) has moved to the next hotel, The Palazzo. and is also a 15 minute walk to the Spa. Looking forward to MIX10 at the Mandalay Bay. I hear that they have a great Spa.
Grabbed my bill and jumped into a taxi to the airport.(only 15 dollars but drivers complain if they don’t get a $10 tip. Hotels and Taxi drivers in Vegas need to improve their service. Their attitude is that most people don’t return or don’t have a say in where they stay if they attend a convention. Recessions remind businesses that service counts. I realized that my hotel bill had a restaurant charge that was not mine and immediately called and spent an hour on the phone with the hotel trying to sorting it out to no avail.
I was ecstatic going to the Loo at the convention because I could stride past the men’s queue for the W.C. restrooms, and there was, BLISSFULLY, no line for the Ladies. I was one of about 10 women attendees’ amongst thousands of men. There was another female at breakfast. She was from Holland. I knew this because she had white slacks on. I used to enjoy sitting at Heathrow and guessing where people came from and I was invariably right. Forgive me for being obnoxious but travel wears me out and I am jealous of all those men that can sleep on planes. Not as fit as I once was. I did refrain from thumbing my nose at the men in line, so I am not ALL bad.
MSFT always puts on a class act convention. Mr. Softie only employs the best of the best. Tao nightclub was fun, talking about toilets, they have glass doors that frost over when one closes it from the inside. – Not many people were brave enough to try it. Wonderful dining experience at the Picasso at the Bellagio Hotel and my view from my room at the PH of the Bellagio fountains was most appreciated. I made this mini movie of it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hitting the road to Vegas MIX09

There has been a lot of talk about Congressional criticism of corporate travel and how the travel industry is suffering, but I don’t see any evidence that they are suffering (earnings apart), because I tried to book a flight to Vegas, 2 weeks ago, for the MIX09 conference. All flights were full so I had to buy a first class seat and could not even use miles.
No rental cars are available even though Vegas is used to bigger conferences. (I always rent a car because parking at most Vegas hotels is free)…... Then I tried to book a hotel but prices have not gone down.. Sure there are lots of offers for the buy 2 nights and get one night free, but Hotels have not given in to make concessions for the bad economy. No compromises on the Starwood Vegas cancelation policy that you can only cancel your reservation for NO charge until 7 days before arrival and many SPG Hotels have an early departure fee. Marriott are a bit better with ; “You may cancel your reservation for no charge until 3 days before arrival” at some hotels in Vegas NV and AZ… etc. Business travel is always wrought with adjustments, so I try to book 6pm hold reservations. Hotels need to amend their rules, unless they only want guests on vacation.
Media coverage and Congressional criticism of corporate travel has created a "paralyzing environment," said Roger Dow, President of the U.S. Travel Association. Wells Fargo continued to try extravagance, but AP revealed a planned a Vegas casino trip for employees booked for 12 nights lasts month at the Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore Las Vegas. Wells Fargo canceled the trip after it had been exposed that it was misusing the $25 billion it has received in federal funds.
The Bankers and Government meeting last month forASF 2009 was also packed. Bankers gathered at the five-star Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas for the American Securitization Forum, paid for in part by companies that took taxpayer bailouts. NBC's Lisa Myers reports. - With criticism of pricey corporate events spurring hotel and resort cancellations, travel industry leaders on Monday encouraged companies to keep spending on travel and offered guidelines they hope will prevent a backlash. But what are they doing to cooperate with travelers? They should be looking after their loyal ELITE customers and doing what needs to be done in a free market economy. I do believe that, survival of the fittest works.
Silicon Valley flourished in the economic recession of the 80’s because people became innovative and competitive. It does not help to have people in Government that don’t know how to run business, interfering and subsidizing bad businesses with taxpayer money.

There are lots of offers. I tried to book the “ELITE MemberOffer Buy Two get One Free, buy 2 nights get 3rd free, see From $137 - $395 atShadow ridge The villages in Palm Desert CA., But got a message that “Unfortunately, the special rate you requested is not available”. Please make a selection from the expensive room rates listed below……….The trendy Renaissance Vegas has a minimum 2 night stay offer called the ”Savvy Traveler Renaissance Las Vegas Vacation Package”.Promo Code is P53) You get $100,towards your next stay, when you choose this package Rates from: $109-$269 Valid Through: December 3, 2009 This is the largest smoke-free, non-gaming hotel. Now that research says that 3rd hand smoke, in rooms and rental cars, causes cancer, I like to stay in a smoke free hotel, but they too don’t have good rates available.
I usually stay at the Planet Hollywood on the Strip, See:

MIX09 at the Venetian Hotel is located on the Strip and features a Grand Canal complete with gondola rides, Las Vegas is the most dynamic, spectacular city on earth. At the start of the twentieth century, it didn't even exist. All its growth has been fueled by adult tourism, but the tourists haven't spoiled the "real" city; there is no real city.It is bizarre sitting on a terrace with a fake sky and gondolas floating in blue CLEAN water. Not like Venice at all.!