Tag Archives: Marriott

Italian Vacation Part 1: Gelato in Venice, Park Hyatt Milan Meat Slicer and the Last Supper

Are you taking advantage of Europe being on sale these days? I know many readers are heading over the pond. If Italy is in your plans, either now or sometime in the next year or so, be sure to read this post. After all, who doesn’t plan on visiting Italy sooner or later. I’ve got four Italian destinations for you, so let’s get started.

VENEZIA (Venice, Italy)

Venice, Italy by water

Venice is an amazing place. I could easily sit all day and watch the waterway life. But of course, I had to stay somewhere, eat something, drink coffee and indulge in gelato, so here are some tips for you. When I’m in Italy, I have my priorities, so let’s start with gelato :)

There’s actually a place in Venice I’d suggest staying AWAY from. It’s called Gelateria Alaska. It was on some lists of top gelato in ALL of Italy, which totally baffles me. First off, the guy working there was plain nasty. “Can I taste a flavor?” I asked him. He responded with a gruff NO. I should have walked out at this point because his energy was plainly foul, but I didn’t. And the gelato was not very good at all. Oh well. Lesson learned, stay away from Gelateria Alaska. My preferred gelato in Venice is Grom. They’ve been around for a while now and can be found throughout Italy. I’m definitely partial to their pistachio and chocolate with hazelnut flavors.

Grom Gelato in Venice, Italy. Image source: http://comradechufood.blogspot.com/2011/12/grom-venice-italy.html

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Trip Recommendations for Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean

Good morning everyone, happy Friday!  Tonight, I am going on a family vacation with my parents and brother to Saint Kitts and Nevis (which is in the Caribbean).  Here is the routing for my flight (thanks to Great Circle Mapper):

  • San Francisco (SFO) to Atlanta (ATL) to Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKB) on Delta Airlines using 27,500 Delta SkyMiles + $15.60 in taxes/fees
  • I will visit the SFO Centurion Lounge tonight and then visit a Delta Sky Club Lounge in ATL in the morning (both free since I have the American Express Business Platinum Charge Card)
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKB) to Miami (MIA) on American Airlines using 10,000 British Airways Avios + $53.46 in taxes/fees
  • I have a long layover and need to go from MIA to FLL – I think I will stop by the beach for some lunch before going to FLL
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to San Francisco (SFO) on Virgin America using 8,094 Virgin America Elevate Miles + $5.60 in taxes/fees

Unfortunately, I did not write down the flight prices at the time I booked these flights, but I remember getting pretty good value out of my miles when I booked these flights.

SFO-SKB RT Great Circle Mapper

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Which 10 Credit Cards am I Considering for my March App-O-Rama?

Good morning everyone, happy Thursday.  My last App-O-Rama (where I applied for several new credit cards at the same time) was back in mid December 2016.  I usually wait 3+ months between App-O-Ramas, so the time has come to start my next round of credit card applications.  I am going to list the credit cards I have in mind in the order in which I will probably apply for them.  If you have any feedback on my strategy or think I am missing or applying for the wrong credit cards, please leave a comment below. Without further ado, let’s begin…

1. American Express SPG Business Credit Card – 25,000 SPG points after spending $5,000 in 90 days and an additional 10,000 SPG points after spending $3,000 in 120 days.  No annual fee the first year, then $95 in the second year.

With the impending merger with Marriott, this might be my last opportunity to apply for the SPG business credit card.  I can’t pass up this opportunity. 35,000 SPG points are worth ~$700 in hotel nights and airfare (and possibly much more).

2. Bank of America MERRILL+ Credit Card – 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in 90 days.  No annual fee.

Doctor of Credit reports that you can apply for this credit card over the phone.  50,000 points is worth $500 cash or up to $1,000 toward airfare. Continue reading

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

My Outrageous 2017 Travel Predictions + Reader Ideas Needed

Good morning everyone, I’m sorry for the delay, but I have been diligently thinking about my 2017 travel predictions.  I am going to channel my inner Nostradamus to come up with some outrageous travel predictions for 2017.  Doctor of Credit has a good resource for all other 2017 travel predictions.

Disclaimer: I have made some travel predictions in previous years and I am more often wrong than right, but that losing streak has not dampered my prediction spirit.  To see how bad I am at making predictions, please read A Look Back at my 2016 Predictions (Airlines, Hotels, Credit Cards & MS).  I consider myself an optimistic pessimist (I prepare for the worst, but hope for the best), so these travel predictions will sound depressing.

Airlines

  • Southwest seems bent on making the Companion Pass very difficult to get unless you fly Southwest every week.  I believe credit card signup bonuses will no longer count toward the Companion Pass and Southwest might kill the whole concept of the Companion Pass entirely or switch to a certificate program similar to the Alaska Airlines companion fare or Virgin America companion ticket.
  • Other airline credit cards will adopt the Alaska Airlines companion fare (you pay full price and your companion pays up to $120) or the Virgin America companion ticket (you pay full price and your companion pays full price minus $150).

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