Author Archives: Shelli

About Shelli

Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to Travel with Grant, you can find her at Joy in Movement.

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Dear Hyatt, I am a World of Hyatt Globalist, not an Explorist

Is this new Hyatt loyalty program confusing or what? Back in October, Hyatt changed the name of its loyalty program, as well as the terms and conditions, and it launches on March 1.  This week we’ve all been getting those emails letting us know what tier we’ll be on next year. I got an email that said, “Welcome to the World of Hyatt, You’re An Explorist”.  Only one thing wrong. It should have said, “You’re a Globalist” because according to me, I had made Diamond again for next year. Uh oh!

World of Hyatt Tiers

I started to check my own records and then thought to myself, call Hyatt and let them work through this with me. Could I possibly have been mistaken? I would not have been a happy camper if that was the case. I do keep good records but I’ll admit to booking and canceling stays, and some of my stays can be quite confusing in the way I set them up. And sometimes I use suite upgrades, and hotels often record these as two rooms which can also confuse the numbers.

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Hotel-Lounges-Long-Logo

My Favorite Hilton Lounge in the World is…

Do you have a favorite hotel lounge? I don’t mean one that’s good, but rather one that takes good and turns it into GREAT. Seems to me, many lounges are fine, or even good, but in each hotel chain there are usually a few standouts.  I previously mentioned my 13 criteria for the perfect hotel lounge.

I’ve already talked about my favorite Sheraton lounge and Hyatt lounge, so what’s my favorite Hilton lounge?  There are a few Hilton lounges that I like, but the Hilton in Budapest is great and my favorite pick from the Hilton’s I’ve stayed at.  In general, I had a fantastic experience at this hotel and highly recommend it. (Lounge images courtesy of the Hilton Budapest staff)

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American-Airlines-AA-Long-Logo

5 Ways to Keep American Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles from Expiring (Without Getting on a Plane)

My cousin called me yesterday afternoon to ask a question about her American Airlines miles expiring. She has a stash of miles expiring in a few months and didn’t even know that miles expire. I gave her a short answer because I was heading home from the mall to get ready for dinner. But it got me thinking, that maybe I hadn’t given her the best advice or even all the options, so I did some research and here’s what I’d tell her now.

Yup, your miles will expire if you don’t have activity in your account every 18 months. If you have no plans to fly to keep your account active, there are plenty of options. My cousin could:

  1. Apply for a Citi AAdvantage or Barclays Aviator Credit Card.
  2. Make a hotel reservation or car rental with an AAdvantage hotel or car rental partner. As long as her American Airlines frequent flyer number is linked to the reservation, she’ll get activity in her account and keep her miles alive.
  3. Link a credit card to the American Airlines dining program.  She can link American Airlines and then get miles when she eats at select restaurants.
  4. Shop online using the AAdvantage shopping portal.
  5. Buy or gift miles, redeem for a magazine subscription, or donate miles to any of American Airline’s partner charities.

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Hotel-Lounges-Long-Logo

My Favorite Hyatt Lounge in the World is…

Do you have a favorite hotel lounge? I don’t mean one that’s good, but rather one that takes good and turns it into GREAT. Seems to me, many lounges are fine, or even good, but in each hotel chain there are usually a few standouts.  I previously mentioned my 13 criteria for the perfect hotel lounge.

I’ve already talked about my favorite Sheraton lounge, so what’s my favorite Hyatt lounge?  There are many Hyatt lounges that I like that are quite good. But the one at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, B.C. is great! I’ve stayed there many times and it never disappoints. Besides the wonderful downtown location of this hotel, the lounge totally gets it. It has 11 of the 13 criteria! It’s on a high floor and even has an outdoor area with amazing views of the mountains. I’ve only seen a few lounges with outdoor seating and in a beautiful setting like Vancouver, it’s perfect.

The lounge staff is wonderful. Totally helpful without being at all intrusive. Their breakfast spread is excellent, and dinner time is filled with real food and salad. I’ve noticed they change up their menu to match the seasons and weather. This makes so much sense. And evening hours are late enough, so there’s no rush.  (Photos courtesy of the excellent lounge staff)

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Which Credit Card

Consumer Reports Tool Identifies the Perfect Cash Back Credit Card for You

Almost every week, someone who knows I’m a miles and points girl, and savvy about credit cards, asks me this question: “If I want to get a cash back credit card, which one do you suggest?” There’s never a one-size-fits-all answer! There’s a lot to consider. For instance, it’s smart to consider how much cash you get back, how much you spend and in what categories, and what the fees and rebate rules are. And there are tons of card choices out there.

Recently, I came upon a great tool that helps navigate these cash back card choices, and I wanted to make sure you knew about it. It helps by calculating the costs and benefits of the major cash back cards based on buying patterns. It’s called the Credit Card Advisor Comparison Tool and it was created by Consumer Reports.

Here are 3 different scenarios (showing various spending amounts in a few categories) and the credit cards the tool recommends.  It also incorporates any sign up bonuses and shows that in the 1 year total.

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