Category Archives: Hotels + Points

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Trip Planning and Award Booking for South America: Bogota, Buenos Aires & Iguazu Falls

Good morning and buenos dias amigos!  This weekend, I will be heading to South America for a week.  First stop is Bogota, Colombia, then down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then onto Iguazu Falls (on the border of Argentina and Brazil).  Here is how we planned the trip (Great Circle Mapper):

  • SFO-DFW-BOG in economy on American Airlines using 20,000 AA miles + $26.20 taxes/fees
  • BOG-EZE-IGR in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas using 25,000 KLM miles
  • IGR-EZE in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas for $140.70
  • EZE-MIA in business + MIA-ORD-SFO in first on American Airlines for 57,500 AA miles + $93.46 taxes/fees

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Trip Report: Holiday Inn Express Heathrow T5

After spending a few days at the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale (trip report), we spent our last night in the UK at the Holiday Inn Express London – Heathrow T5, mostly to avoid an additional night of central London hotel prices.

Lobby of the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T5. Photo from ihg.com

Lobby of the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T5. Photo from ihg.com

Location: This hotel is located in Slough, a town just west of Heathrow Airport. It was a bit of a trek from our hotel in London – we had to take the Underground to Paddington Station, then paid £9.20 each to go one stop to Slough on a Great Western Railway train, then took a double decker bus about 20 minutes from the Slough railway station to this hotel. It’s located just off the M5 highway next to a water reservoir (not exactly an exciting location), and about 5 miles from the western edge of Heathrow airport.

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Trip Report: London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale

After leaving Paris (read Trip Report: Holiday Inn Gare de l’Est, Paris and Trip Report: Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile), we headed to London as our next stop on our big winter trip.  We spent 3 nights at the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale, a Category 7 hotel which I booked using 105,000 Marriott Rewards points (I transferred 35,000 points from my Starwood Preferred Guest account).

London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale. Photo from marriott.com

London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale. Photo from marriott.com

Location: The hotel is located in Northwest London, a short walk from the Kilburn Park Underground and Kilburn High Road Overground stations and about a 20-30 minute trip to central London via bus or train. It’s not far from Regents Park, the London Zoo, and Paddington Station. Continue reading

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Trip Report: Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile

We spent the second half of our time in Paris with four nights at the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, the hotel whose mistake rate was the impetus for this entire trip.

Location: The Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile is a 950-room hotel located in the Palais des Congrès shopping and convention center in Paris’ 17th arrondissement, right on top of the Porte Maillot Metro/RER station within walking distance of the Arc de Triomphe and about a 15 minute train ride from central Paris. The hotel is currently undergoing a major renovation, which means a bit of extra walking to access the hotel through elevators and corridors that would normally be used for emergency exits or convention access, but the hotel has done a decent job of ensuring clear signage to help people navigate the spaces. We did get lost a few times when walking through the shopping center though – there are signs and floor markings to guide you from the hotel’s (currently closed) main entrance to the elevators that take you to the temporary lobby, but if you come in from a different entrance or are on the wrong level of the shopping center it can be tricky to find the right elevator.

Directional signs and arrows on the floor direct guests from the hotel's main entrance to the back elevators. Photo by the author.

Directional signs and arrows on the floor direct guests from the hotel’s main entrance to the back elevators. Photo by the author.

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When will my 40,000 Bonus Club Carlson Anniversary Points Post to my Account?

Good afternoon/evening everyone.  I know what you are all thinking… how long does it take for Club Carlson to post the 40,000 bonus anniversary points to my account?  That is a great question and I am happy to say you are in the right place to find out.  I have both the US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature Credit Card and the US Bank Club Carlson Business Credit Card, so I can share those 2 data points with you.  Up first, let’s look at the US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature Credit Card.  The $75 annual fee posted on November 2, 2016…

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