I like to save money as much as the next reader on this blog. That’s why I’m obsessed with points and miles to the extreme, as in a friend has lovingly taken to refer to me as “Flyer Talk Furlong” kind of extreme. But maximizing your travel potential, as we’ve said again and again, isn’t just about playing the points and miles game. It’s also about practical ways to save money, and one of the best ways to do that is through researching “best rate guarantees” when booking hotels. Why? Let me give you a case study.
The other day I was looking for a hotel in Washington D.C.
I found a Starwood property at a rate of $165 a night on the Starwood website, not bad at all. I booked it but as is my custom, I went to check how the rate compares to other sites, and what I found, was the jackpot of best rate guarantees. I searched Trip Advisor and Kayak, and found a rate through a website called Get a Room (wish I was joking but I’m not) for $65. What I did next saved me hundreds of dollars, but also got me a bonus that is very valuable for any savvy traveler. Continue reading
I love Starwood points. I’ve mentioned this before. Of the hotel loyalty programs, I think Starwood has the most valuable currency. It doesn’t hurt that I also happen to like their hotel chains, have their American Express, and have linked my Uber account to my SPG account so I get free Starwood points for every Uber ride.
I consider my Starwood Amex my second most valuable credit card behind my Chase Sapphire Preferred. It’s the card I use for most general day-to-day purchases (unless I have a card that earns more points per dollar in certain categories like travel and gas stations).
And unrelated to my small crush on Starwood, I’m a HUGE Chicago Cubs fan. I am also one of those nerds trying to see a baseball game in every ballpark in the country. And it just so happens the Cubs, for the first time in years, have decided to grant mercy on their loyal fans and actually be competitive. Since my son was born (and yes I take full credit for this win streak) they’re winners of 9 in a row and 15 of their last 16 games.
And so when I was flying out to Chicago for a conference in June, there was one thing I knew I had to do: Use my Starwood points to get two tickets to a fancy suite right behind home plate for the Cubs vs. Dodgers.
Maybe the Cubs aren’t your thing. Here’s the not so secret, secret: That’s OK- because Starwood offers you the chance to use your SPG points for concerts with back stage access, the best seats at sporting events, and more! You just have to know where to look! Continue reading
American Express is making some big changes. Fresh off losing Jet Blue and Costco as co-branding partners, it looks like they’re trying to make their cards more attractive to more consumers. And with the changes recently announced, it sure looks like they’re at the very least turning heads. But we’ll leave it to you decide of the changes are good or bad. So should you get the Starwood Amex? We have a few thoughts on that.
But first, a big congrats to the two winners for our contest where we gave away two subscriptions to AFAR Magazine, our favorite travel magazine. So congrats to: Continue reading
Big news in the travel world. First, if you’re like Laura and I, you have a mild obsession with House of Cards. Season three drops on Friday, the same day we’re boarding a flight to Paris. So naturally we had to know, which countries will you be able to stream House of Cards through the Netflix app?
And though we have mixed feelings about Uber, a few things are obvious:
1. They’re convenient. We’ve hailed an Uber everywhere from LA to Joburg to Doha, and everytime have found it easier and more enjoyable than relying on taxis.
2. The app is easy to use. Simple enough.
3. As far as transportation options go, they’re a mile and points junkie’s dream come true. While traditional taxis still try to make me feel guilty about using a credit card, Uber created a cashless system that makes so much sense. I love the hassle free experience of Uber.
So when the news alert hit my desk early this morning, I was intrigued. Earn Starwood Points (my favorite hotel currency) for doing what I already do? You’ve got me intrigued, so I guess the two things we’ve got for you today are this: What countries can you watch House of Cards in come Friday, and how can you earn extra Starwood Points for doing something you probably already do anyway?
A couple years ago at a party, we met a man who seemed so familiar. The longer we hung out and flung stories back and forth, the more we connected. “You’re sure we’ve never met” I asked for about the 5th time, at a total loss as for why this stranger seemed so familiar to me. He smiled sheepishly, and said “If I tell you where you know me from, promise not to tell other people at the party?” And then he said that famous line: Continue reading