Monday, December 26, 2011

Luxury Hotels for New Year

One of the Resorts that I love to visit in winter is the Ballantyne Hotel because it has a wonderful in-door swimming pool and they always heat it adequately. They have a wonderful Spa, golf course and you can sit in front of the fireplace to have tea or cocktails. It’s the best place to enjoy the season. Ballantyne Hotel We’re celebrating 2012 in style with a festive overnight package at The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. The New Year’s Eve Dinner Package includes an elegant room, dinner in Gallery Restaurant, complimentary valet parking and a 2pm late check-out. Pricing starts at $299 for double occupancy. Reserve  here or by calling 1.800.325.3589. New Year’s Eve at Gallery Restaurant & Bar.Ring in the New Year with a live-spinning DJ, appetizers and drink specials in the Great Hall beginning at 9pm. Enjoy a champagne toast at midnight.  This event is complimentary to hotel and dining guests. There will be a $25 public cover charge for others. The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, a member of Starwood’s The Luxury Collection, is a Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond award-winning hotel with a 18-hole championship golf course and fitness facility.

I felt like Goldilocks because I tried the one resistance pool first but it was too cold and then I jumped into the hot tub but it was too hot, next was the big pool … Just right! Perfect! They have 3 pools and a hot whirlpool, including 2 endless pools for resistance swimming, enabling you to swim in place in your own pool.

Make it my New years resolution to stay in Luxury whenever possible . Life it too short to rough it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Visit an Airline lounge without flying stress

I’ve been complaining that Texas got the short end of the stick with the Continental - United merger, but I have to say a big thank you to United for a wonderful treat at the mall. It was like going to the Presidents club without flying. I was able to have a break from Christmas shopping with a thoroughly enjoyable visit to the United Airlines VIP Lounge at The Houston Galleria and also at the Mall at Short Hills, NJ. It’s a haven, exclusively for Continental and United Chase Card members; the lounge is a retreat for weary holiday shoppers. Open daily till- Dec. 24,  the VIP Lounge offers complimentary snacks and beverages, Wi-Fi, gift wrapping and more united_continental_logo_det

These days you have to have an airline card to avoid paying baggage fees and to get other benefits like priority boarding. As a Presidential Plus cardmember, you get United Club airline lounge membership automatically (formerly Presidents Club). It’s a hefty $395 annual fee but you get a $95 statement credit after the first use of the card. , and they have a new Blue Carpet benefit of reward seat upgrades for Elite members.

American Express also has a lounge in the Galleria Mall. They are allowing any AMEX card holders entry and pampered us with Godiva chocolates, Starbucks coffee, valet parking validation Wi-fi access and cell phone charging Stations.

I have the SPG Amex Card allowing me to earn up to 5 StarPoints per dollar at participating SPG® hotels and resorts and 1 Starpoint everywhere else. Some other benefits of this card is that I get credit for 5 nights and 2 stays toward SPG elite status each year. That means that I have fewer stays to make to qualify for elite Status. The Hyatt Credit card does not offer elite status help but it lets you begin with up to two free Award Nights at Hyatt properties worldwide with the Hyatt Credit

Merry Christmas! / Feliz Navidad! / Joyeux Noel! / Frohe Weihnachten! / vrolijk kerstfees    to all

Friday, December 16, 2011

Crazy words on a flight prior to an IPO launch

I flew on a 3 hour United flight to Chicago. The time went by so slowly because there is no entertainment. Previously, the food in first class was so good that I considered it entertainment. Boredom set in without any distraction, not even a movie! , so I was forced to watch that infantile program 30 Rock.   Continental Airlines has been installing Direct TV on their planes for the past 2 years but I have bad luck to not land many of those flights… .
Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear that the AA flight crew  are calling for the feeble, 30Rock show to be removed from their planes after Alec Baldwin’s abusively insulting flight Attendants. img_aadvantage240They claimed that Alec’s drunken rampage was so loud that the Captain could hear it through the cockpit door.  I believe that Alec was intentionally giving publicity to Zynga. Movie stars had the privilege of getting in on  IPO ‘s  in the 1990’s. The IPO market is not so hot anymore but I suspect that Baldwin was drumming up publicity for the IPO launch for the company behind the Subpar “WordsWithFriends” Game he refused to shut down for takeoff.  Despite his fiasco, he probably lost money due to his greed, because Zynga was down below their $10 IPO price on first day of trading.  Maybe they  should not have encouraged the jerk to boost their public trading debut. Another company with declining profits is discovering that he was not the best person to put in the Capital One Venture  card commercials. Some of us were appalled at an enraged Alec unleashing a volcanic tirade of threats and insults on his 11-year-old daughter.
Zynga games are fun to play but not a fun place to work and are 53 on the list of happiest places to work  according to Glassdoor, because they rescinded stock options and give over critical job evaluations  and their friend berating a flight attendant on SNL is not helping them.
American Airlines has been in the news a lot for being the last of the legacy airlines to file for bankruptcy,  for the crazy Baldwin and now AA is the first airline to give their pilots iPads to replace the 45 pound brief cases they lug around, containing Charts and Manuals 

united_continental_logo_detSome say that if Pilots can use electronic devices, why can’t passengers? Is is simply because they want us to pay attention to the safety announcements that everyone makes a point of ignoring?  What do you think?
I’ve just received an email  from United Airlines asking me to do a survey but I don’t think I will waste my time doing it because I don’t plan to fly with them much. It started with Dear Jen, As a OnePass® member who has recently flown on a Continental flight with DirectTV® service ….

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

‘Tis the season for getting Hotel points

I stayed at The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel in the UK and was disappointed to discover that they don’t participate in the SPG Triple Up promotion to earn bonus points. In a previous post I advised, to redeem for SPG Free Night Awards or Cash & Points Awards to further your ELITE progress before the year ends. Only a few more days to go … I’m registered for the SPG Triple UpstarwoodHotels2 promotion, so for stays through December 18, 2011, I earn triple Starpoints on stays including a Thursday or Sunday night and double Starpoints on all other stays worldwide, across all 9 brands, including Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, W and rewards
I earned an additional +258 double points on a bill I paid of $130, in addition to the regular 258 points plus SPG ELITE 50% BONUS points of 129, and the Elite Platinum 500 welcome amenity points, giving me a total of 1145 points. The best part was that this was a free stay! The $130 that I paid was at the Spa!  The free stay cost ten thousand points, but I’m well on my way to getting another free stay with the 1145, and I also earned Starwood points on my American Express charges at the hotel.
The downside is that the list of Non- participating hotels is long, so do check on this link - before booking. Hotels on the list are from cities as diverse as Aloft Jacksonville Airport, Chapel Hill and Plano TX, Element Houston Vintage Park, The Nines, Portland, The St. Regis Aspen Resort and The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina.
MegaMiles bonus is a good miles earning promotion from MARRIOTT REWARDS. M Rewards’ MegaBonus promotion runs till Jan 15th 2012. They offer MegaBonus twice a year and this year, stays at luxury hotel partner, The Ritz-Carlton, also count toward MegaMiles awards.One mile per $1 is  the base you earn on the room rate with most airlines, when you stay at the budget brands like Courtyard and Fairfield Hotels. Renaissance, JW Marriott hotels and other luxury Hotels, earn 2 miles per $1 at participating airlines.
Also, don’t forget to register to earn 1,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles per stay at any Hyatt brand hotel worldwide till January 15, 2012. (Regular Hyatt  miles earned with airline partners, for members who prefer miles to Hyatt Gold Passport points per dollar are 500). Triple AAdvantage miles can be earned on ten stays producing 15,000 miles for you. Hyatt Gold Passport members have to remember to request airline miles when you check-in at a Hyatt Hotel front desk. Most guests prefer to earn Hotel points because you get more points than miles when you consider that food and other extras charged to your room, also earns points. Your bang for buck value is $20 for every 1,000 points.  Hyatt-Logo
If you stay at the new Hyatt 48 LEX NYC, you can save with their special Grand Opening rates of $399 a night. It’s the newest luxury boutique hotel in the heart of bustling Manhattan where you can earn Triple AAdvantage Miles at any Hyatt Hotel. The Occupy Wall Street group have discovered that you can stay in NYC for free but for those  of us, that like to bath, $399 is a good rate for NYC.