If Brands don't stay true to their brands, consumers feel cheated 

July 11, 2011 Categories: Starwood

I traveled to California and typed Whole Foods in the GPS to find a Whole foods near my hotel to get a chair massage, drinks and snacks.

Founder John Mackey’s innovative ideas have made Whole Foods a success and I hope that they will continue to cookie cut the successful stores by getting the Whole Foods brand to become consistent. I have a summer home in Austin and it’s nice to know that I can find the same stuff at any Whole Foods store. John Mackey is an original entrepreneur who’s unashamed to defend the morality of capitalism

I am disappointed that the newly opened store on Waugh does not have the chair massage. I wish that brands would stay true to their brands and not let each store operate as a different un-associated entity.

I really felt cheated that this SPG brand was not what I expected! Starwood_10_Logo_Spread:

I booked a 4 points hotel even though the Aloft in the area was cheaper, because I know that Four Points by Sheraton, hotels always have bath tubs whereas the Aloft only has a shower. After arrival, I discovered that it did not have a tub and even though it is a new hotel, the rooms are cheaply decorated to look like an old hotel. The lobby is nice at the San Antonio Four Points NW but the staff are not professional. I won’t bore you will the trivial problems that I encountered but I will tell you that I wish I had paid twenty dollars more to get a classy hotel.

AMEX and United Airlines are now opponents 

July 04, 2011 Categories: united Airlines

united_continental_logo_detTransferring American Express® Membership Rewards® for OnePass members is not cost effective. You have to pay for the transfer and even if you want to do it, it is not easy to do because AMEX and United airlines are now adversaries.

Texans are sad to see that United Airlines is taking over Continental airlines. I have been a OnePass Elite member for many years and have seen the downgrading of the airline during the transition to United. If you've earned American Express® Membership Rewards points, you may be interested to know that Continental Airlines' participation in the Membership Rewards® points transfer program will end after Sept. 30, 11

You will be automatically enrolled in Mileage Plus when OnePass ends.

Points to consider:

  • - You can transfer Membership Rewards® points into your OnePass account through Sept. 30, 2011. Not after that date but it costs you $6.00 for every 10,000 points
  • - Until then, you can convert Membership Rewards® points to OnePass miles, add them to your existing balance and use them at your convenience for reward travel on the world's largest airline network, as well as upgrades, OnePass Online Auction* items and more.
  • - Continental’s participation in the American Express® Airport Club Access program is also ending. Cardmembers can use their Platinum and Centurion cards to visit Presidents Club® lounges through Sept. 30, 2011 because they want to promote the United Airlines credit cards.

American Express are counteracting on their website with this statement to put you off transferring to Continental Airlines.

“Fly anytime, anywhere on Continental Airlines without transferring points! To learn how you can take advantage of AMEX low prices and use Membership Rewards® points to fly Continental with no blackout dates or seat restrictions, even after September 30, 2011, visit Americanexpress.com/travel Transfer points to over 20 frequent traveler programs, including Delta SkyMiles® and Starwood Preferred Guest®. “

If you still want to transfer OnePass® Miles, How many do you need to transfer?

  • 1,000 OnePass® Miles =1,000 Membership Rewards Points
  • You must transfer Membership Rewards® points into your account before booking your reservation.
  • The Airline Excise Tax Offset Fee to transfer 10,000points it will also cost you $6.00 (or 1,200 points if you elect to pay the fee with points) They have given their fee this fancy name to make it sound like it is a tax and not a fee they thought up.

Usted sólo relájese y disfrute, ya que American Express Membership Rewards Socios en viajes, le ofrecen servicios con los más altos estándares al rededor del mundo, para que su traslado, estadía y regreso a casa sean una vivencia para recordar toda la vida: Aeroméxico, Continental y Delta




Eat Pizza to win a stay at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills 

June 28, 2011

California-Pizza-KitchenI don’t usually enter competitions because the odds are that I am wasting my time but we dined at CPK last week and I won a 10% discount on food from the scratch off envelope.

California Pizza Kitchen has an offer to win a stay at the Four Season Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills or $100,000.

You get an envelope to be opened by a CPK manager to possibly win a prize. They also say that “ if you ‘like’ them on Facebook you could win a trip to any CPK in the world” but when you go to the Facebook page, it appears to have a notice that it is no longer running. The printed flyer states that it runs till 07/03/20011. not.
I did contact them and they explained that their, “Biggest Fanatic contest ended, but still have luxury trip prizes available in Thank You Cards that were distributed in our restaurant through June 15. If you are holding a sealed envelope you have until July 3 to redeem”

I hope the trip to any CPK in the world is still out there waiting for me next week.

Radisson hotel is a Central Ciudad México Location 

June 01, 2011 Categories: hotel brands Mexico Radisson Starwood

Don't miss this chance to earn a free hotel stay. Enjoy the privileges of Radisson membership and take advantage of the STAY Twice, Earn a FREE Night promotion, where you can earn a free night after two qualifying stays at over 1,000 Radisson®, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, Park Inn® and Park Plaza® hotels worldwide. Join Club Carlson to accumulate points for free stays.radisson logo

You have to register, then complete two qualifying stays arriving now through June 15, 2011 and you'll earn a free award night. Cool Once earned, your free award night may be booked for stays through December 31, 2011.

For a Limited Time, Save 30% with a discount, when you stay at select Radisson® or Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotels during specific dates between June 17, 2011 and September 3, 2011. Book your room byJune 7, 2011.

30% off your stay at is at Radisson hotels in Canada, Central America, Mexico, South America and the United States.locations such as:

  • Radisson Hotel Admiral Toronto-Harbourfront Offer Available: - June 24 - June 25
  • Radisson Colon central American Hotel & Casino Offer is Available: June 17 - August 04
  • Radisson Hotel Flamingos-Mexico City with offer Code 30PCTOFF The Average Nightly Rate starting from $70.70 USD  Available: June 19 - June 25, July 01 -July 30, August 05 - September 03

This hotel is a central location in Mexico City, but Av.Revolucion is not near the tourist areas of Reforma. Nearby attractions include the Frida Kahlo Museum, but you will have to take a hotel taxi (Safe) to the  National Museum of Anthropology, Zocalo and other attractions. I did not enjoy spending an hour in the horrendous traffic, to get to the Museum. If there was no traffic, it would be a 10 minute drive but that is a part of the city that always has traffic jams.Frown The traffic runs faster from the International Airport. It’s12 miles from the Mexico City Airport, so I was glad to get settled in faster than my Colleagues staying at the STARWOOD BRAND W Hotel on Reforma. The hotel's restaurant, Passerina, serves fresh international and Mexican specialties. The Radisson also features a coffee,deli bar and the Scala Night Club. Mexico is a dangerous country so we ate at the hotel in the evening.

Español - Cómodo hotel en Ciudad de México cerca del World Trade CenterSiendo uno de los hoteles más adecuados de Ciudad de México, el Radisson Hotel Flamingos le ofrece una ubicación ideal cerca de las principales atracciones y una amplia variedad de servicios diseñados para que disfrute de una estancia ideal.

ClubCarlson:    Programa de recompensas hoteleras. Consiga noches gratuitas y privilegios exclusivos en más de 1.000 hoteles Carlson de todo el mundo.


$49 Fares to the beach 

May 27, 2011 Categories: Discount Airlines united Airlines

Vision Airlines has $49 Fares this weekend on all Sat and Sun flights!
They also have a promotion where you get a $200 Visa Gift Card from Vision Airlines when you book a vacation package. Vision Airlines provides big jet, non-stop/direct air service from under-served airports to popular leisure destinations at an affordable cost. They have cheap flights from their hub Destin.

In order to receive the $200 Visa gift card, the reservation must be made for two guests and include airfare, hotel accommodations, and rental car. The reservation may be booked at www.visionairlines.com or by calling 1-877-FLY-A-JET (1-877-359-2538). This offer is good for passengers flying from any of the 22 Vision Airlines markets to Destin/Ft.Walton Beach for the first 1000 travelers to book this type of vacation package

United Continental Airlines also has good specials this weekend like $119 round trip Houston to Corpus Christi, TX (CRP)

I'm outa here! You can find me on the beach sipping Pina Coladas

Short of a few points to get a free flight or hotel? 

May 13, 2011 Categories: American Airlines Sheraton Starwood

Need more Starpoints to redeem an award? If you are short of a few points to get a free night at Sheraton Hotels, buy 1,000 Starpoints for $28 until June 30, 2011.Starwood brands
American airlines has  extended their offer to let you buy miles at a 20% Discount. This is good for AAdvantage members short of a few miles to get a free flight. You can buy 1,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for $27.50. Purchase the miles that you may need to reach your flight award and save 20% when you purchase 20,000 miles , through May 31, 2011.
I don't think that it is cost effective to buy more points. It is only worth doing if you are short a few miles or points.


Super low American Airlines fares  

May 11, 2011 Categories: American Airlines low airfare

American Airlines is offering super low travel deals with fares quoted  from $39* each way on  domestic flights now through Thursday. You can fly Dallas DFW to Oklahoma city (OKC) for $39.AAdvantage logo
The deals are to many cities with fares quoted Each way, based on round-trip purchase. Some fares are a little more. For example  El Paso To Dallas ( Ft. Worth) is $94* Book by May 12, 2011, for travel till October 5, 2011.
I'm getting tickets for the Dallas Mavericks, at the American Airlines Center. The Center is next to the W Hotel and you can get a hotel rate with concert tickets included.
Take advantage of these low fares to fly to the American Airlines arena in Florida. Home to the Miami Heat's'big three' of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

New benefits and a new name for hotel loyalty program  

April 27, 2011 Categories: hotel brands Radisson

I know that Radisson is not per se a US hotel brand, but I think of it as a US chain because so many of their hotels are in the USA. In fact, the majority of Radisson-branded hotels are located in the United States.They were partly owned by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). And are now  one of the leading, full-service global hotel companies with more than 430 locations in 73 countries.

radisson Hotels
I stayed at the Radisson Blu in Amstedam and did not think it was luxuriously decorated. The lobby is nice but the rooms are not. Radisson Blu, formerly Radisson SAS, is the brand name for Radisson hotels outside the United States, including those in Europe,Africa, and Asia. These are operated by Belgian hotel firm; Rezidor Hotel Group, under a master franchise contract with Carlson. Radisson Edwardian is the brand name for a group of hotels in the United Kingdom, The  Manchester hotel could do with a renovation. It looks like the Radisson Edwardian hotels will be brought into the fold of the Radisson Blu brand name after they have been refurbished.
Goldpoints plusSM has now changed their name to Club Carlson. If you are an existing goldpoints plus member, your membership number hasn’t changed. Radissons’ Club Carlson, the loyalty program for Carlson Hotels, offers rewards for stays at Radisson, Blu, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn & Park Plaza. One of the many perks is that Carlson Members earn 5,000 points at Avis rental car and save 25% on global rentals. Another is the complimentary "Grab & Run" breakfast + free internet.

New benefits:

  • Faster free nights starting at 9,000 points at more than 1,000 Carlson hotels worldwide
  • Redeem points for airline miles, Prepaid Cards, and more
  • Free Internet for Club Carlson members at Radisson hotels

The Radisson Town Lake | Austin has the largest outdoor pool in downtown Austin, featuring sun decks and poolside service from their T.G.I.Friday's restaurant located on Town Lake. The hike and bike trail, where Lance Armstrong can be seen, is steps away. You MUST see the famed Congress Ave. Bridge Bats. This hotel has rates with self-parking and internet for $183.20 USD A NIGHT
If you want the cheapest rate….Radisson Hotels have Advance Purchase Rates - up to 25% off their standard rate at participating hotels. To get this offer, you must book a stay at least 14 days in advance. Gold Elite is the highest tier at Radisson. Unfortunately they do not renew your elite status if you miss it one year and even if you do attain elite, they don’t give many upgrades.



When I travel, I like to stay at hotel chains because I know what to expect from each brand. Photos on the internet can be misleading. The TV show 20/20  showed how some hotels “photoshop” and airbrush pictures on their websites. You can’t even trust the star rating. (I’ve seen some 4 star rated hotels that should have a rating of one star but have not been downgraded from the 4 stars they got 20 years ago). Also, Most hotels around the world just award themselves stars. In Britain, hotels are rated from one star to five stars, as in many other countries, but the RAC pulled out of accommodation grading in 2008.  Michelin rated reviews are more reliable.Marriott rewards

Hotel chains like Marriott and Sheraton give hotels a category to rank the amount of luxury you can expect. -.Although that can also be misleading because some cities are just more expensive. For example;- a plain Marriott hotel (not a JW ) in NYC costs mega $$$ so it has a high category. The New York Marriott Marquis is a Marriott Rewards category: 8 and would cost 40,000 points to obtain a free night at this New York hotel or at the  Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees . Cat 8 is the highest Category offered by Marriott and Cat 1 is the least expensive in points or in dollars.

IHG Brand Logos

Holiday Inn’s brands (IHG) don’t use a category but they are generally true to their brand. The IHG hotels start at the high end top with the InterContinental Brand then continue in descending  order of price with Crowne Plaza, | Hotel Indigo, | Holiday Inn, | Staybridge Suites, | Candlewood Suites and Holiday Inn Express The Starwood Preferred Guest program allows you to redeem Starpoints for Free Night Awards from all seven  categories. A category one hotel would cost you about three or four thousand points whereas a cat 7 could cost up to 35,000 points for a free night and the dollar amount would be according to category too.

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