Good morning everyone, happy Friday. I will be flying up to Seattle this weekend to attend FTU (Frequent Traveler University) Advanced, a travel conference where some of your favorite travel bloggers will be presenting. If you see me at the event (I’m not hard to spot, just look for the gray Travel with Grant shirt), feel free to stop and chat with me. I am not presenting and I’ve heard most of the presenters many times, so I am mainly there to talk to fellow travel bloggers, readers, and catch up with old friends.
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!
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.
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)
Good morning everyone, happy Presidents Day! I am writing this post from beautiful, sunny Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and I hope you have the day off as well to explore the world. When I travel, staying connected is always a huge priority to me, so finding free, reliable Wifi is important. Unfortunately, public Wifi in hotels, restaurants, and public spaces is fraught with danger. You never know who is connected to the Wifi network and if they are intercepting your data and personal information.
Several months ago, my friend Stefan at Rapid Travel Chai recommended ExpressVPN (referral link). VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it is a service that encrypts all of your incoming and outgoing data. I have used ExpressVPN at home, on the road, and on my iPhone for the last 3 months and have nothing but good things to say about the service. Here are the highlights of the service that I cut and pasted from their website:
- Videos from anywhere – Watch the content you want from anywhere on Earth at blazing fast speeds.
- Online privacy – Encrypt your internet traffic and hide your IP address from hackers and spies.
- Unblock websites – Access any website or app without censorship.
- Easy-to-use VPN service for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Routers, and Linux – Setup is easy, whether you’re using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Our user-friendly apps let you secure your connection and unblock websites in one click. Just sign up, install, and connect.
- Ultra secure and ultra fast – Our network is SSL secured with 256-bit encryption, and we’re constantly optimizing our network to provide unlimited bandwidth and speed, so you can stream your favorite movies and TV shows in high definition. ExpressVPN runs seamlessly in the background so you can use the internet without interruptions.
- 5-star customer support – Our world-class support team is at your service. We offer round-the-clock customer support by live chat and email. Get instant help from a knowledgeable support agent when you use our live chat feature.
- 145+ VPN locations… and counting! – You can choose from 145 cities in 94 countries. With unlimited speeds and unlimited server switches, you can connect from anywhere in the world.
- 30-day money-back guarantee – We’re confident that you’ll be happy with our product and services. We also want you to be confident in your purchase, which is why we have a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here are screenshots of the ExpressVPN software running on my laptop (left side shows not connected and right side shows connected to VPN):
Good morning everyone, I am heading down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico tomorrow for a long Presidents Day Weekend. A few months ago, I wrote Redeem Virgin Atlantic Miles for Virgin America Award Flights (Complete Route Network from SFO). In that post, I showed how it was possible (at the time) to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles for travel on Virgin America (this partnership is no longer possible since Alaska Airlines is acquiring Virgin America). Long story short, I redeemed 25,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for a round trip Virgin America flight from SFO to SJD (Cabo). This will be my second trip to Cabo and I wrote about my first trip in these posts:
- 3/27/2014 – Planning your Cabo San Lucas Trip (from Orange County)
- 8/14/2014 – TWG is Flying to Cabo this Weekend on Southwest Airlines
- 8/18/2014 – Weekend Trip to Cabo – Part 1: Southwest Airlines Flight and Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort
- 9/8/2014 – Weekend Trip to Cabo – Part 2: ATVs on the Beach, Boat Ride to El Arco, and Dinner at Cabo Wabo
- 9/17/2014 – Hurricane Odile Ravages Los Cabos / Cabo San Lucas Hotels and Community
During my first visit, I stayed at the beautiful Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort and loved the property. Here is a view from my room that overlooked the pool and beach.