24 February 2006

This better be good...

Yeah, so I haven't posted in nearly a month. I stink. I will try to make some new stuff worthwhile.

My previous post briefly delved into my fascination with collecting airline miles and hotel points. Just this week, I have discovered a new web site to make sure that you get the best reward available for every purchase. You can browse evreward.com by category (all travel sites, for instance) to find the best available discount or mileage opportunity for any online shopping activity. There are SO many sites listed that I had no idea offer any kind of renumeration. Of course, the part of me that is really bummed is the one that thinks of how much I could have received in travel rebates (on the company nickel) that I have never known about. Uggghhh!!!

Some highlights and lowlights of the site -- some of the discount amounts advertised on the listings are not accurate. For example, a search on Wal-Mart, which is advertised at a 9.6% discount, reveals that the best cash back discount is from Upromise.com and is only 4%. On the other hand, it also shows how you can get cash back on a reservation at Hyatt Hotels ($1 per booking through ebates.com) PLUS mileage (or hotel point) earning opportunities. They also have a downloadable feature that will alert you to any savings opportunities that you might be missing, with the opportunity to re-route you through the correct portal.

All in all, this new site, which is still in "beta testing" gets two thumbs up and The Travelin' Man Seal of Approval.

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01 February 2006

Using my travel powers for good!

Good for me, that is. I have not really discussed my bizarre fascination with airline miles and hotel points accumulation. I try to share some of my favorite deals with those who know me well -- and who also understand and support this obsession. This one is A-1!

Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport offers what may just be the best travel promotion in the industry. Faster Free Nights (FFN) is their deal where they offer you a free night stay for every two stays paid with a Mastercard. Last fall, I was able to get a rate of $75/night at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas through Travelzoo. I was able to secure two one-night stays at that rate while I was in Dallas for business. Two stays = One free night!

Sidenote -- as great a deal as this is, it even gets a litte better. You can only use single FFN awards on weekend nights, or you can use them for a mid-week stay (when hotels are usually more expensive) if you stay for a minimum of three nights. Starwood hotels offered a similar promotion last year and I was able to acquire five free nights -- but, they had to be used on weekends, which somewhat limited their use-ability.

This coming weekend, I will be using my free weekend at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale. I have read some less-than-flattering reviews of the place, but for a one night place to crash, I am sure it will do. Rates this weekend run a minimum of $350 including tax -- with most of the upgraded rooms pushing $400. Cost out of my pocket = $0 -- gotta love the company expense account; gross revenue to Hyatt = $150; Reward = $350/night room for nothing in high season in south Florida. On top of all that -- the award nights were supposed to be used by January 31. I was fortunately able to beg for a five day extension to use the award this week.

I like Hyatt hotels, the Gold Passport program, and Faster Free Nights. I wish that they had more hotels in areas that I travel at competetive rates. They have recently merged with Amerisuites and Hawthorne Suites, so perhaps there will be more hotels in my travel regions in the coming months. Hyatt is not running Faster Free Nights right now, but I will be sure to post the next time that they do.

Marriott Rewards, however, is running their MegaBonus promotion. This one is targetted (the offer is not the same for everyone, but as far as I know, if you have a MR number, then you are offered something), but offers a bonus on stays during the traditional spring travel season for college admission counselors!

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