Members voted and Hilton HHonors is offering Double Points for its next promotion running November 1 – January 31, 2015. Double points start with your second hotel stay.

Hilton HHonors Double Up double points means double base points at 20 points/$1. HHonors Points & Points members earn 25 points/$1, plus any elite and HHonors credit card card bonus points.

Promotion registration is here at HHonors.com/DoubleUp.

There are slightly more than 400 hotels opting out of the promotion. All but 16 of the hotels opting out are located in the USA.

A couple of FAQ clarifications:

  • No retroactive credit for stays prior to promotion registration. Your first stay is counted as the first stay after you register for HHonors Double Up.
  • Double points bonus may be earned on two rooms beginning with second stay. Two rooms on your first stay will not count as two stays.
  • Award stays count for double points for incidental charges at all Hilton brands, except Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites.
  • Existing reservations made prior to promotion registration count for Double Up as long as your stay falls in the promotion period and you register for Double Up before the stay.

What are you waiting for? Register for HHonors Double Up.

HHonors 2xpoints 2014Q4

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Members voted and Hilton HHonors is offering Double Points for its next promotion running November 1 – January 31, 2015. Double points start with your second hotel stay.

Double Points means double base points at 20 points/$1. HHonors Points & Points members earn 25 points/$1, plus any elite and HHonors credit card card bonus points.

Promotion registration is here at HHonors.com/DoubleUp.

There are slightly more than 400 hotels opting out of the promotion. All but 16 of the hotels opting out are located in the USA.

A couple of FAQ clarifications:

  • No retroactive credit for stays prior to promotion registration. Your first stay is counted as the first stay after you register for HHonors Double Up.
  • Double points bonus may be earned on two rooms beginning with second stay. Two rooms on your first stay will not count as two stays.
  • Award stays count for double points for incidental charges at all Hilton brands, except Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites.
  • Existing reservations made prior to promotion registration count for Double Up as long as your stay falls in the promotion period and you register for Double Up before the stay.

What are you waiting for? Register for HHonors Double Up.

HHonors 2xpoints 2014Q4

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Bats are one of the main icons for Halloween imagery. I know a place not too far from Monterey, California known for its bats. They are a species named Townsend’s big-eared bats. These bats breed in talus caves of Pinnacles National Park.

Pinnacles-2

Bear Gulch Reservoir, Pinnacles National Park

Talus caves are a unique type of cave formation resulting from large rocks and boulders falling into narrow canyons. The rock formations have openings, many large enough to hike through standing up. In the 1930s there were stairs and trails built through Pinnacles National Monument in one of numerous public works projects. To this day, the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps established the infrastructure millions of visitors to U.S. National Parks rely on for casual public access to nature. Pinnacles National Park is largely central coastal California wilderness.

Pinnacles Bear Gulch-1

Bear Gulch Trail, Pinnacles National Park

Bat breeding season is primarily mid-May to mid-July in the Pinnacles Bear Gulch caves and the caves are closed seasonally. The upper half of Pinnacles Bear Gulch Caves closes November 1, 2015 for the winter. There is danger that flash flooding may occur in California rain events. There is a major California rain storm forecast in this area for tomorrow, October 31, Halloween day.

Pinnacles bear gulch talus cave

Bear Gulch Trail has a stairway built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1930s through talus caves, Pinnacles National Park, San Benito County, California. Flashlight is a necessity for this hike.

I was able to spend a spooky afternoon before Halloween hiking alone in Bear Gulch talus caves of Pinnacles National Park, California. There may have been bats in the caves, but honestly, hiking alone in the dark, with my iPhone flashlight as my primary tool for watching my steps, I really was not looking around for bats and I did not see any, unless I find some in my flash photos.

talus cave bat

Looks like my camera flash snapped one bat in motion photo in the dark Bear Gulch talus cave of Pinnacles National Park.

Pinnacles National Park is located beside California’s San Andreas fault. Pinnacles are the remnants of the western half of a 25 million year old volcano. The eastern portion of the volcano is about 200 miles southeast of Pinnacles National Park. Besides having talus caves, the significant feature of Pinnacles National Park is its geological evidence supporting plate tectonic theory.

Pinnacles talus cave-2

I could not help but think of my close proximity to San Andreas fault as I walked alone through large boulder talus caves.

Pinnacles National Park has more significance for me than being the newest park in the U.S. National Parks system, created January 10, 2013. Pinnacles has been a local attraction for people on the Central Coast of California for more than one hundred years, since it was designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 as a National Monument. The best feature of Pinnacles National Park for me is I can drive to either the west side or the east side park entrances in 90 minutes or less. There are no roads that cross the Gabilan Range through the park, although hiking trails through the National Park allow passage from one side of the Gabilan coast mountain range to the other.

Pinnacles Bear Gulch boulder

Upper Bear Gulch cave below the reservoir in Pinnacles National Park.

Pinnacles National Park had 238,000 visitors in 2013. That is near the low visitor end for National Parks in the lower 48. North Cascades in Washington, Congaree swamp in South Carolina and Voyageurs in Minnesota are National Parks with smaller park visitor counts, but those are remote places to visit. There are more than 7 million people residing within a 2.5 hour drive of Pinnacles National Park in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay.

Where is Pinnacles National Park?

Pinnacles National Park is 26,605.73 acres (107.7 km2) in San Benito County, California. The Gabilan Range within the park is mostly designated as wilderness. The western entrance to the park is located east of Soledad in Monterey County and the eastern entrance is south of Hollister, California west of Highway 25.

Google Maps Pinnacles

Google maps for Pinnacles National Park shows proximity to Monterey Bay, California.

Pinnacles National Park is about 120 miles south of San Francisco. The west entrance is 60 miles from Monterey and the east entrance about 70 miles from Monterey.

Pinnacles NP

Monolith is one of the unique rock formations of Pinnacles National Park.

The rock formation pictured above is the image used on most of the Pinnacles National Park souvenir items, along with a California condor. There are around 25 California condors residing in the Pinnacles park area. There were numerous birds in Bear Gulch during my hike, but I did not see a single raptor soaring in the skies. Perhaps the record high temperatures for the late October date, near 90 degrees in the afternoon, kept the condors out of the skies.

In the spirit of Halloween stories, what actually motivated me to visit the eastern side of Pinnacles National Park is my iPhone earlier this week kept showing Paicenes or Hollister as my location, rather than Monterey. I took it as a sign that I should go hike in the Gabilan Range of Pinnacles National Park.

My phone has since gone back to showing Monterey as my location.

Related Loyalty Traveler post: Pinnacles National Park west side entrance (April 18, 2013) was my last trip to Pinnacles. This post has many more vista photos.

Pinnacles National Park – NPS site.

Pinnacles National Park – Wikipedia

Marriott Rewards free wi-fi global benefit launches January 15, 2015. Free Wi-Fi benefit for Marriott Rewards members will be available at nearly all 3,700 hotels worldwide. Free Wi-Fi benefit applies only to reservations made through Marriott booking channels with the member’s Marriott Rewards number attached.

Does this change the offering at brands that offer free Wi-Fi to all guests?

No, EDITION, Moxy, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, and Marriott Vacation Club, brands who already offer free in-room Wi-Fi today will continue to do so. The same is true for members at hotels in Asia where they currently receive free in-room Wi-Fi.

What does this mean for Gold and Platinum Elite members?
All Gold and Platinum Elite members will continue to receive complimentary enhanced Wi-Fi where available regardless of booking method at participating hotels worldwide. Participating brands include:: The Ritz-Carlton®, JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott Hotels®, Gaylord Hotels®, AC Hotels by Marriott®, Courtyard®, Residence Inn®, SpringHill Suites®, Fairfield Inn & Suites® and TownePlace Suites®. Not applicable in meeting rooms. This benefit is not available at hotels that do not participate in the Marriott Rewards Program.

Marriott Rewards Free Wi-Fi launches January 15, 2015

Marriott Rewards has some properties that will not participate in this benefit. Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and Protea (Africa hotel brand acquired by Marriott) are still transitioning into Marriott Rewards and will not participate in free wi-fi benefit when it launches in January. The other exclusions are primarily Ritz-Carlton and Vacation Club resorts.

Atlantis Paradise Island:

As a recent addition to the Autograph Collection, Atlantis remains in a transition period and will not participate in free in-room Wi-Fi at this time. This property participates in free enhanced Wi-Fi for Gold and Platinum Elite members.

The following brands, properties or partner hotels do not participate in the Marriott Rewards program or in free in-room Wi-Fi:

Non-Participating Brand: Protea

Non-Participating Properties:

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Millennia Singapore
  • Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  • Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  • The Ritz-Carlton Destination Clubs, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, and The Abaco Club JW Marriott Miami
  • Beaux Arts
  • Residence Inn at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
  • Marriott’s StreamSide Evergreen, Vail, CO
  • Marriott’s StreamSide Douglas, Vail, CO
  • Marriott’s StreamSide Birch, Vail, CO
  • 47 Park Street – Marriott Grand Residence Club, UK
  • Marriott Vacation Club at The Empire Place, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Marriott Vacation Club at The Buckingham, Macau, China

Protea hotels in Africa will be integrated into Marriott Rewards in 2015 and likely become a participating brand for free Wi-Fi next year.

All in all, a nice benefit to keep members connected with Marriott Rewards.

Radisson 35% off 2-night stays Nov 21 to Jan 31, 2015 is a real deal for hotel stays in the Americas and Asia-Pacific booked by November 11. The great feature of these recurring Carlson Rezidor sales is the discount rate is a flexible rate that allows cancellation without penalty. Hotels I checked in the USA allowed day before arrival cancellation with no penalty.

Radisson Hotels 35% off 2-night stays is a true 35% discount on Best Available Rate (BAR). You can stay longer than two nights on this 35% off discount rate.

Radisson Hotel Denver SE 35-off

Radisson Denver Southeast is $109 per night using Best Available Rate and drops to $70.85 with this 35% off sale. Prepaid and nonrefundable Advance Purchase rate is only a 20% discount on BAR.

Even better, the 35% discount rate for Radisson Denver Southeast offers an Executive Suite for $96.85.

Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach, Thailand

Radisson Phuket

Radisson Blu Phuket is a resort on the Andaman Sea. One of the best values of the 35% rate discount is the opportunity to book higher category rooms for extended stays.

This Radisson beach resort offers junior suites at $168 per night with this sale. The cancellation penalty is 14 days at this hotel with the 35% discount rate, the same as when booking BAR rates.

Rad Blu Phuket-2

As seen in this screenshot, you can get the 35% discount on longer stays than two nights. This is a six-night stay at Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket showing the 35% discount rate.

Club Carlson Visa card members will pay 66,000 points for two nights in a Deluxe Seaview room booked as a Premium Award. At 33,000 points for a $138 room, my advice is pay the discount rate and save your Club Carlson points for a better redemption value than $4.18/1,000 points.

I find in my analyses that Radisson 35% off limited time offer sales are one of the best hotel discounts available.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

IHG Rewards Club has The Venetian and The Palazzo on sale for 50% IHG points for 24 hours only beginning at 12 noon ET today. These Las Vegas properties are InterContinental Alliance Resorts partners with IHG. Normally the cost for a reward night is 50,000 points. For 24 hours members can book these resorts for 25,000 points per night for stays November 16 – April 10, 2015. There are some blackout dates, and I assume December 31, 2014 is one of those.

Here are the URLs to the sale:

IHGRC: http://www.ihg.com/hotels/us/en/global/offers/offers/vpflashsale

InterContinental: http://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/global/offers/vpflashsale

There will be also be an IHG 48-hour sale with paid rate discounts for 600 hotels in Europe beginning 9pm ET or 6pm PT today. The start times I calculated based on the webpage clock. The website states IHG members will get into the sale 24 hours early when using the IHG app, but I checked rates for Dublin and London this morning and the rates are the same as they have been all week, so I am not seeing any discounts yet through IHG app.

IHG 48-hour sale

Loyalty Traveler post: IHG 48 hour sale at 600 hotels in Europe October 31, 2014

Related Loyalty Traveler post: Venetian and Palazzo Las Vegas for 25,000 IHG Rewards Club points at 24 hour flash sale October 30

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Looks like I have to carry the FLAME torch for IHG on my own, as I am seemingly the only Boarding Area blogger burned last week by a complete change of tasks for the Into the Nights promotion.

Over the past week I deconstructed my experience with the IHG Into the Nights events.

IHG Into the Nights fiasco deconstructed

Loyalty Traveler (Sep 4, 2014) – IHG Rewards Club – We are sorry, but there was an error.

I was staying at the Clarion Royal Christiania in Oslo, Norway when the IHG Rewards Club Into the Nights offer debuted. My September 4 Loyalty Traveler post reminded me that I was one of many IHG Rewards Club members who did not see any Into the Nights offer when it launched in early September. Trying to log into Into the Nights site resulted in an error message.

I was finally able to register for IHG Into the Nights on September 5, 2014 when I saw this offer in my account.

Read More…

Better Know a Rate: SPG Birth Year is a closer look at the Starwood Hotels discount rate for two and three night stays. The Birth Year deal is pay a published full rate for the first night, typically higher than best flexible rate. The second night and third night is the rate of your birth year 19xx. Not all hotels allow a third night birth rate. Some hotels charge $100 + birth year for second or third night.  And some hotels do something slightly different as we see with Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica, California.

SPG homepage

Starwood Hotels Celebrate Your Birth Year rate link in bottom center of the newly refreshed SPG.com website.

This NBR promo code rate is available only for select hotels in USA, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica

SPG Santa Monica birthyear

Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica offers a birth year rate for weekends. The advantage of the birth year rate at this hotel is rates tend to be higher on weekends for this beach location.

What I do not like about this page is the rate does not mention that this hotel has a Birth Year + $100 nightly rate for the second and third nights. You have to go through the booking process before this is revealed in the rate terms.

SPG Le Meridien Santa Monica

Le Meridien Santa Monica for Friday, October 31 check-in offers city view room for $325 or ocean view for $390. Note: Le Meridien Santa Monica hotel is four blocks from the ocean beach, so not exactly a beach view.

One feature of Starwood Birth Year rate is sometimes there are higher category hotel rooms available.

Ocean View Room Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica

Three night stay = $610

Friday, October 31: $390 for Ocean view King room.

Saturday, November 1: $160

  • Second night $100 + Birth Year. For me that is $60. Most hotels do not have the $100 surcharge on this rate.

Sunday, November 2: $60.

SUNDAY OFFER: rates equal to your birth year only! (Note: this is the first time I have seen this kind of discount. Most hotels charging $100 + Birth Year will charge that rate for both second and third nights.

Birth Year Rate Description for Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica

Birthyear Offer. Rate from $300 for the 1st night, 2nd and 3rd night rates equal to your birth year + $100.

Example born in 1948 pay $148 per night for 2nd & 3rd night.

SUNDAY OFFER: rates equal to your birth year only! Born in 1948? Pay only $48 on Sunday as your 2nd or 3rd night.

Rate may vary based on room type. Identification Required.

Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica

$610 for three nights booking birth year rate for Ocean View King room this weekend (Friday, October 31 – Monday, November 3) .

$1,062 for three nights booking advance purchase, nonrefundable rate for Ocean View King room Oct 31-Nov 3.

Save 42% on this booking using Starwood Birth Year rate compared to booking the lowest rate on spg.com.

Birth year rate savings are usually not this great. This is just a random example I quickly found today when looking at SPG Birth Year rates in southern California.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

American Airlines AAdvantage has a bonus miles offer from October 23, 2014 to November 12, 2014 allowing the purchase of 80,000 miles with an additional 28,000 bonus miles for $2,200. That is 35% bonus miles on the purchase.

Buy 108,000 AA miles for $2,200 at a rate of $20.37 per thousand miles or just over 2 cents per mile. There are other 25% to 35% bonus AAdvantage miles at four levels from 12,000 to 80,000 miles with this limited time offer.

Purely from a business or first class perspective, 65,000 miles will buy a one-way First Class award ticket to Europe or Japan. Business class awards are 50,000 miles each way. This is an opportunity to buy miles for a premium class award ticket.

AA buy miles bonus10-26-14

The bonus miles percentage increases with purchase size.

image

Best buys

15,000 miles $330

  • $330 for 12,000 miles + 3,000 bonus miles is 25% bonus miles.
  • $330/ 15,000 miles = $22/1,000 miles or 2.2 cents/mile.

38,000 miles $825

  • $825 for 30,000 miles + 8,000 bonus miles is 26.67% bonus miles.
  • $825/38,000 miles = $21.71/1,000 miles.

65,000 miles  $1,375

  • $1,375 for 50,000 miles + 15,000 bonus miles is 30% bonus miles.
  • $1,375/65,000 miles = $21.15/1,000 miles.

108,000 miles $2,200

  • $2,200 for 80,000 miles + 28,000 bonus miles is 35% bonus miles.
  • $2,200/108,000 miles = $20.37/1,000 miles or just over 2 cents per mile.

The four price points with best bonus miles value offer AA members the opportunity to buy miles quickly and relatively inexpensively if you need to top off an account for a mileage award ticket or you want to use miles for a long haul premium cabin award ticket.

The maximum purchase limit allowed is 80,000 miles per AAdvantage account. You can buy or gift this amount. $1,375 buys 65,000 miles with the 50K + 15K bonus miles. That rate is only slightly higher at $21.15 per 1,000 miles. Basically, you pay $50 more for 65,000 miles when buying 50,000 for $1,375 compared to the all-in lower rate of $2,200 to buy 108,000 miles on this offer.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

One of my interests on Loyalty Traveler is deconstructing hotel rates. I analyze hotel rates from a consumer perspective since I want to find the best value for hotel spend. For many travelers the lodging component of travel is the biggest trip expense.

Since IHG Rewards Club changed nearly all my tasks for the Into the Nights promotion (Sep 4-Dec 31, 2014) last week, I have made my first extensive analysis of IHG ‘bonus points with breakfast rates’. Booking one of these rates is now on my list of tasks to complete for the Into the Nights promotion. Loyalty Traveler – Dealing with IHG Into the Nights Fiasco.

What I found is IHG is using this Into the Nights promotion to upsell members a value added package rate.  There is a dedicated link for finding bonus points package rates. The bonus points package rates shown are all Best Flexible Rates for the hotel. Using the Bonus Points Package rate link excludes lower rates at the hotel seen when checking www.ihg.com compared to the lowest rates shown when using the dedicated link to find IHG ‘Bonus Points with Breakfast’ package rates.

You need to check both booking sites on IHG to determine how much additional money is charged for bonus points and breakfast at the hotel.

IHG Into the Nights Bonus Points with Breakfast Package Rates

Read More…

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