Tag Archives: SPG

Why Do I Keep the American Express SPG Business Credit Card?

There are a few credit cards I always carry just for the benefits. Because I have a business, I put plenty of spend on my American Express SPG Business Credit Card. I like earning those SPG points! But when I travel, I take it with me for a different reason. I’ve had my American Express SPG Business Credit Card for many years, and it was always a keeper for me. Back in 2015 when American Express added new benefits to their personal and business SPG credit cards, I was glad to see complimentary Sheraton Club access added as one of those benefits.

I’ve always been an SPG Gold elite member, but I’ve never had SPG Platinum elite status. Sometimes as an SPG Gold elite member, I’d be given a complimentary upgraded room and Sheraton Club access, but it certainly wasn’t guaranteed. This did, however, give me an introduction to Sheraton Clubs, and since I knew I’d always keep the American Express SPG Business Credit Card, I looked forward to experiencing the Sheraton Clubs whenever I stayed at a Sheraton. I also liked that Sheraton Club access was available no matter how I paid for my stays, regardless if my stay was paid for with points, cash and points, or all cash.

Sheraton Club sign at Sheraton Chicago O’Hare. Image source: http://www.sheratonchicagoohare.com/club

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Coronado / San Diego Week: Part 2 of What to Eat, See & Do in Beautiful Coronado

Coronado is a gem, and one that I’ve been enjoying for many years now. Whether you stay at Hotel Del Coronado or use other lodging on Coronado, or just come for a day from San Diego, there’s a lot to explore. If you like to walk or bike, or just want to know more about what to see/do in Coronado, you’ll like Shelli’s Coronado Loop! The whole loop takes you by the ocean, through town, to the bay side, along the Coronado Golf Course and back to the ocean. The whole loop is just under 7 miles, but of course it can be done in parts, too. It can be enjoyed both riding a bike and walking. It works in either direction.  If you haven’t done already, please check out Part 1.

Part 2 takes you through the bay side of Coronado, under the Coronado Bridge, along the golf course through beautiful residential areas, and circles back to the ocean. Doesn’t get better than this!

Starting from the bay park and what’s called Ferry Landing, you’ll see a few restaurants and shops. On weekends, especially during the summer, there’s often live entertainment, and some of the bands can be very good. The area is not just called Ferry Landing. There’s actually a ferry that’s been in business since 1915. The Coronado Ferry takes 15 minutes to cross the bay and goes to two different stops in downtown San Diego. It’s a great way to get into San Diego from Coronado and vice versa.

Coronado Ferry Landing

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Trip Report: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

I arrived at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa mid-week in September.  The resort is situated on prime beach front real estate and the views are fabulous.  8,000 SPG points were offered for attending a promotional review of their timeshare presentation, so that was a nice bonus as well.

The Flights

I could have done a separate review of United First Class, but it wasn’t all that spectacular. Sure the seats are wider and there was food service in first that presumably coach did not get, but the seats were not lie-flat.  United did have 120V electricity outlets on each seat, which was nice.  The first flight from Denver to San Francisco had WiFi, but there was no entertainment system. The flight from San Francisco to Honolulu did not have WiFi and the DirecTV entertainment system went offline soon after leaving the airport, but movies were still available.  Despite this being a fairly long First Class flight, one doesn’t get United Club lounge access unless you have a membership or Star Alliance Gold status from any carrier but United.

Domestic United First Class

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My Go-To Airport Hotel for Positioning Flights

There are two types of miles/points travelers when it comes to positioning for flights, especially international flights: those who live in major hubs and have tons of options, and those who don’t. I was reminded of this yesterday during a conversation with Grant. He’s in a hub location (San Francisco) and I’m not (San Diego). I may be based out of America’s Finest City, but when it comes to getting anywhere overseas, it’s anything but the finest. Funny how all cities call their airport an international one :)

Probably 99% of the time, I have to go to LAX or SFO or some other hub city to start my trips. And when I send my award trip requests to my award booking team, they’ll remind me of this and send me some itinerary options based on my needing to position for my flight.

Just in case you’re one of the lucky ones who has never needed to position to start or end a trip, or in case you’re just getting started in miles and points based traveling, let me offer a very basic explanation. Often, for various reasons, using miles/points to book a trip will have you start or end in a city that’s not your home airport. You’ll either need to fly (using other miles/points or paying cash) or sometimes drive to get started or to get home.

It helps to have some hotels that you think of as your go-to hotels at the cities you’re most likely to be positioning from for those times when you need to overnight before or after a flight. As award tickets become more challenging to book, I find myself positioning to cities I’ve never been to before and so I have no idea what hotels would work best if I need to get in the night before or stay over before heading home.

It occurred to me, given what I’m assuming is the diversity of locations for TWG readers and the diversity of our travels, that we could start helping each other by having TWG compile a list of the recommended hotels and the ones we wouldn’t recommend. To start off, here’s my favorite LAX hotel.

I started using the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles years ago when I lived in Hawaii and came to LAX to start almost all my flights. Even the award flights to Asia from Hawaii seemed to start at LAX!

View of Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles. Image source: http://www.sheratonlax.com/en/gallery

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