InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Night Based Promotion For The 2nd Quarter of 2012

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UPDATE: Please note that some of these are actually based on STAYS rather than on NIGHTS. I will update this in the next few days to clarify which are based on STAYS and which are based on NIGHTS. There is NO rush to register as this one won’t start before April 1st, 2012. 

IHG’s Priority Club just launched their stay/nights based bonus points promotion for the 2nd quarter of 2012. This offer is valid from April 1st until June 30th, 2012.

Normally Priority Club member is targeted to one of these based on their stay history, but that doesn’t prevent registering to one of the other offers if they decide to do so.

Please note that you can only register for ONE of these, and once you have registered you cannot change it.

Stay 3 get 5000 points Code 1385
Stay 4 get 5000 points Code 1386
Stay 7 get 10000 points Code 1387
Stay 8 get 10000 points Code 1388
Stay 10 get 10000 points Code 1389
Stay 12 get 10000 points Code 1390
Stay 15 get 15000 points Code 1391
Stay 18 get 15000 points Code 1392

Depending how many nights you expect to stay during the second quarter, you should choose 3, 7, or 15 nights version of this promotion.

You can then use the following link for registering:  https://secure.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/pc/1/en/ep

Emirates Tier Status Summary Feature That Shows EQM For Upcoming & Past Flights

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Not sure why other airlines don’t have this same function on their website? On Emirates.com you can see your tier miles month by month for upcoming travel, and whether you would requalify for your current tier during the rolling tier period.

emirates-tier-status-summary

You can go back and forth to see how many tier miles you have earned in the past, and will earn in the future. It won’t, however, show how many redeemable miles you will earn from the flights.

This feature is very useful and would be beneficial if other airlines would implement it as well.

Last Call For Priority Club Awards At Old Point Levels – March 18th, 2012

On January 3rd InterContinental Hotels Group’s Priority Club announced that some hotel categories were changing on January 18th resulting 25% going up, 20% going down, and the rest was staying the same.

Priority Club didn’t want to provide a list of hotels changing categories due to “competitive” reasons. Both Marriott and Starwood moved some hotels, but didn’t have a problem providing a list of properties. I manually went through all the InterContinental’s and made a list of the new points requirements compared to old ones.

At the same time Priority Club announced that they would honor the old redemptions levels until March 18th. You can book the hotel using the new points rate and call Priority Club to have them to give you goodwill points for the difference.  These goodwill points will count towards your Priority Club Gold/Status.

holiday-inn-suva-goodwill

I took advantage this couple of weeks ago when I was staying at a Holiday Inn Suva (Fij). Made the booking using Priority Club points and later called the customer service. Rep posted the 5000 points as a goodwill one.

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status Match – Hyatt Diamond Trial Challenge As Of 2012

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UPDATE: If you signed up for the challenge after May 31st and successfully complete it, your Hyatt Gold Passport status will be valid until the end of February 2014.

Hyatt has a nice little program, and I have been a Diamond member since 2004. The program has grown significantly since 2004 mainly by Hyatt acquiring both Amerisuites, which were later converted to Hyatt Places, and Summerfield Suites, that became Hyatt Houses. Both of these acquisitions were a way for Hyatt to enter the limited service market i.e. Hilton’s Hampton Inn.

Sign up for our daily blog updates by email and follow us on TwitterFacebook for not to miss any valuable program information and promotions that Hyatt Gold Passport offers.

How to get matched to Hyatt Diamond status?

Hyatt ended doing direct status matched back in 2010. Since then Hyatt has started to do challenges called Hyatt Diamond Trial. You can probably still get a direct match, but you need to do it through a hotels sales department, and it is probably quite a hassle.

 Do you have any of the following statuses?

– Hilton Gold (you can get one easily using this or this) & Hilton Diamond

– SPG Platinum

– Marriott Gold & Platinum

– Priority Club Platinum

Hyatt may match others as well, but it could be worth printing your stay history that shows significant stay activity.

You will be awarded a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Trial, which is in fact a full-fledged Diamond status for 60 days. You will get all the Diamond level benefits during this 60 day period including the four Diamond Suite Awards that are valid up to 7 days each. You can use these to upgrade any paid stay (eligible rate) to a suite at a property that is not on the exclusion list, and has confirmable suite inventory available at the time of request. You need to do the request over the phone as the website is incapable of processing these.

Timing of the Diamond Trial

If you request your Diamond trial now and complete the required number of nights (12), your Hyatt Diamond status will be valid until February 2013. You need to complete the required 25 stays or 50 nights before end of this year to qualify for Diamond status all the way until 2014.

It might be better idea to start the Diamond challenge/trial in the second half of 2012. If nothing has changed, your status should then be valid until February 2014 after doing the required 12 nights in 60 days. Unfortunately I am not aware of the exact cut-off date for this.

Process of requesting the Diamond Challenge/Trial

Do you have a Hyatt Gold Passport account set up? If not it is probably best to set it up online first. Then you need to call (this would be my choice) or send an email request to the service center using the online web form.

You should then receive a following reply within 24 hours:

Thank you for contacting Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service. I
appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Regarding your inquiry, currently a Diamond Trial Offer is available.
You will receive trial Diamond membership for 60 days with proof of top
tier status with one of our competitors program.  However, you must
complete 12 nights in 60 days to maintain Diamond tier through February
of 2013.  You will also receive 1000 bonus points on your first six
eligible nights within 60 days, up to a maximum of 6000 bonus points.

Please note this offer can only be made one time and can not be extended
beyond the 60 day period.

Please note the list of competitors that Hyatt Gold Passport will match:

Hilton Gold VIP or Hilton Diamond VIP
Marriott Gold or Marriott Platinum
Starwood Platinum Preferred Guest
Priority Club Platinum

Please email or mail a statement of your account activity with a
competitor to us for processing at:

PO Box 27089
Omaha, NE 68127-0089

To find more details on our exclusive Diamond status please visit us
online at:
http://goldpassport.hyatt.com/gp/benefits/membership_diamond.jsp

I appreciate your support of Hyatt and the Gold Passport program. Please
let me know if I may assist you further.

Sincerely,

XX XX
Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service

You can mail the requested documents to the above mentioned address or email them to goldpassport@hyatt.com.

They should process the documents within 24 hours and you can then immediately see the updated status by logging in to your Hyatt Gold Passport account.

Note that theoretically this is only once in a lifetime (or program account). You should probably do it if you plan on staying with Hyatt to experience the Hyatt Diamond treatment. As a bonus you will also receive 1000 bonus Gold Passport points for first six of your eligible night during this period.

US Airways Dividend Miles Hotel Points 50% Conversion Bonus Offer – Ends March 31st, 2012

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US Airways has been very predictable of running continuous promotions for buying, gifting, transferring, or converting, money or points to Dividend miles. Their latest offer is 50% bonus for points conversions from number of hotel programs. US Airways run identical offer last year.

Please note that according to the Terms and conditions you can only earn the conversion bonus ONCE.

us-airways-conversion-offer

The beauty of Dividend miles program are the rather generous routing rules, competitive award chart, ability to earn and burn on all Star Alliance carriers and then some, and these continuous offers from Dividend miles.

Essentially, US Airways is selling miles at a reasonable rate that enables the travelers like you and me to experience international business and first class at a fraction of the cost.

But, as always when you are dealing with award space, you need to be flexible and often book either well in advance or at a very last minute. I tend to typically do the latter. When airlines realize that they have unsold business and first class inventory, they often dump it to the award inventory few days before.

There are some drawbacks with US Airways Dividend miles as well. You will end up paying some fees unless you are top tier on their program. There is a booking fee (up to $50) as these cannot be booked on the web, and a quick ticketing fee ($75) if you book less than 21 days in advance. There are no fuel surcharges, however. The US Airways may not be the most stable of the airlines, and there has been some chatter lately of some changes to come. I would do a transfer or buy miles without hesitation, if I know how I would spend them in the next 6 to 12 months.

Look at the conversion partners

The conversion partners this time are Best Western, Choice Privileges, Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, Starwood Preferred Guest, Wyndham Rewards, and La Quinta.

us-airways-conversion-offer-partners

I am only concentrating on Club Carlson, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest conversion possibilities. I don’t believe that the other options provide too much value unless you just need to top off your Dividend Miles account for small number of miles.

Club Carlson

club-carlson-us-airways

This is very straightforward offer. 100K Club Carlson points would transfer with the 50% conversion bonus to 27K Dividend Miles.

Hyatt Gold Passport

I don’t think that this is a good use of Hyatt Gold Passport points, but this is the last opportunity to transfer them to US Airways and earn the conversion bonus. You cannot earn Dividend Miles or transfer Gold Passport points to Dividend Miles after March 15th, 2012. Hyatt announced their discontinuance of this and some other airline partnerships on February 23rd.

hyatt-gold-passport-us-conversion

50K Hyatt Gold Passport points would become 37.5K Dividend Miles after Hyatt’s and US Airways’ conversion bonuses. It is actually not that shabby at all.

Marriott Rewards

I transferred close to a million Marriott Rewards points when AA was running somewhat similar conversion bonus before their partnership with Marriott Rewards ended. It was the major push to take me over 2 million lifetime miles in AA’s program and granting me a lifetime AA Platinum status.

us-airways-marriott-packages

The key here is to use Marriott Rewards points for travel packages that have a miles component as well. You can get a seven night award category 1 to 5 Marriott Rewards property and 120K (180K with conversion bonus) US Airways Dividend Miles for 270K Marriott Rewards points.  This is what I did few years ago with AA. The hotel part of this is valid for a year. I was, however, able to extend them by an additional year, but it is no longer possible. There aren’t that many interesting cat 1 to 5 in North America, but there are quite a few in Asia.

Starwood Preferred Guest

This is my favorite hotel program when it comes to transferring points to partners. Starwood has a nice list of partner airlines where you can dump points when needed.

us-airways-starwood-conversion

For every 20K Starpoints you transfer, you will receive a 5K miles bonus from Starwood. With the US conversion bonus 20K Starpoints becomes 37.5K Dividend Miles. Note that you can transfer only 60K Starpoints per day to US Airways if you want to maximize the bonuses. This would be 112.5K Dividend Miles.

Here are the Terms and Conditions of this offer that can also be found here.

Eligibility: Offer void where prohibited by law. No registration required. Only miles converted with an activity (‘eligible activity date’) date between March 11, 2012 and March 31, 2012 will earn a bonus. Earning bonus miles: Bonus miles are in addition to Dividend Miles awarded by hotel partners for points conversions. Only hotel points that are converted into Dividend Miles from March 11, 2012 – March 31, 2012 are eligible. Hotel bonus miles do not count towards Preferred status. Bonus miles will post 6-8 weeks from date of the eligible activity date. Dividend Miles members will earn only one bonus when they transfer hotel points into Dividend Miles during the promotion. Dividend Miles members will earn a 50% bonus. Eligible activity date: Eligible activity date is based on the date the qualifying partner records the mileage transaction, and not necessarily the date on which the transaction occurred. US Airways assumes no responsibility for how qualifying partners record activity dates. Check with the applicable partner to confirm policies and procedures for recording activity dates. The last date that activity from a qualifying partner can be received by US Airways for bonus miles consideration is April 10, 2012, regardless of the eligible activity date for such activity. General terms: All US Airways Dividend Miles terms and conditions apply. You may opt out of US Airways emails at any time. US Airways is not responsible for the quality or delivery of goods and/or services provided by Dividend Miles partners. All Dividend Miles partner terms and conditions apply. Partner offers are subject to change without notice. Hotel transfers (points to miles conversions) are subject to terms and conditions as stipulated in your agreement with your hotel program.

Comparing Lifetime Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood Status Options

Hyatt, Marriott and now also Starwood has realized that giving out a lifetime status after meeting some pretty tough revenue, number of nights, and number of years in the program could be an important part to make members stick with the chain long term.

I have already independently written about Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood requirements. Currently neither InterContinental Hotels Group (Priority Club/Ambassador) nor Hilton offer a lifetime incentive for their members.

My preference in easiness of achieving the top tier lifetime status in these three programs is as following:

1. Starwood Lifetime Platinum

Requires only 500 nights (now all nights count including cash & points/award) + 10 years of Platinum membership

This is in my opinion the easiest. The night requirement is not onerous. The only “real” requirement is the fact that you need to have Platinum status for 10 years. These years do not need to be continuous, but other years do not count for lifetime Platinum.

2. Marriott Lifetime Platinum

Requires 2 million points, 1000 nights & 12 years as a Marriott Rewards member.

The biggest hurdle is the number of night’s requirement, although all the nights count including the ones from credit card + possible meeting ones.

The 2 million point’s requirement might sound high, but in reality it is not considering how many points you will earn from the stays including all the status based bonuses, Megabonus promotions, and points from the credit card spend.

You need to have been at least ones a Platinum member during your membership of the program.

3. Hyatt Lifetime Diamond

This can be the easiest or hardest depending how much you spend. The requirement is one million base points. These are NOT the lifetime points that you can see in your account, but only points that are from eligible revenue before any additional bonuses. It translates to $200K in Hyatt spend that is credited towards Hyatt points. If you have credited some of the stays to airline miles, none of those count for this lifetime status.

The only other requirement is the requirement of having been a Gold Passport member for 10 years. There is no need to ever have a status with Hyatt.

InterContinental Minibar Get’s The Royal Ambassador Treatment

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One of the benefits of being a Royal Ambassador with InterContinental is the complimentary minibar beverages (including the alcohol) on paid stays. The minibar should be refreshed daily.

Most of the InterContinental hotels do adhere to this, and give out complimentary snacks as well, although this is not required by the program. Some properties even extend this benefit to award stays, although again not required.

Then there are some InterContinental hotels like the one here in Kuala Lumpur that specially “prepares” the Royal Ambassador’s minibar prior to arrival.

Can you spot the differences between these two?

Regular Minibar at the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur

intercontinental-kuala-lumpur-minibar

Royal Ambassador Minibar at the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur 

intercontinental-kuala-lumpur-ra-minibar

White and red wine both gone and replaced by two generic water bottles. Also the Ferrero Rocher chocolates gone. Half of the beers and some soft drinks gone. No energy drink and some fruit juices either. They do this minibar clean up quite cleverly. They remove the price list so that a Royal Ambassador guest cannot be sure what should be included.

Last night, I actually asked one of the ladies who were working in the lounge if they do this for all Royal Ambassador. She was borderline embarrassed to say that they do. What really surprised me is the fact that the minibar here never included any hard liquor. Only some red and white wine in small bottles that cannot be that expensive.

InterContinental Bangkok used to clear their minibar from hard liquor, but they had 2 deciliter bottles not the usual tiny minis. They did stop this practice, however. I hope that InterContinental Kuala Lumpur would star adhering to the Royal Ambassador benefits. Maybe this has something to do with converting this hotel from Nikko to InterContinental brand.

Park Hyatt Shanghai, China – Review of My So So Stay

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It is always sad when a one of supposedly the best Park Hyatt locations let you down service wise. This is just what happened at the Park Hyatt Shanghai. The hardware is excellent, but the service is very inconsistent and sometime borderline terrible.

park-hyatt-shanghai-view-from-the-lobby-lounge

Yes. I know. This is China and you shouldn’t expect the same level of service as from hotels in other parts of Asia and in Europe. I have heard that line so many times from my friends. Also, the hoteliers always complain how difficult it is for them to employ competent staff. But, I am not buying any of that. You train the staff or hire competent ones, and pay and treat them well enough, so that they stay. Shouldn’t be more complicated than that.

[nggallery id=40]

Unfortunately I don’t have the usual number of photos, but I happened to leave my camera to a taxi on my way back to the airport in Shanghai before I had uploaded them.

Location

Depending where you need to be in Shanghai the location may or may not work for you. I know that I probably should use the underground, but the taxis are generally so cheap, unless they try to scam you, that it is really the transportation that I tend to use in Shanghai.

From the airport I took the Maglev train to the station near to the city. Then I took a taxi from there, that turned out to be a scam one, but luckily I knew how much the meter should be from the station to the hotel, and paid based on that, and not what was shown on the meter.

Check in

This is where everything started to ravel. I had an early morning flight in from Apia via Auckland. I had informed the hotel about my early arrival. If it hadn’t suited them, I would have just booked an InterContinental hotel where I have guaranteed 8AM check in as a Royal Ambassador member.

When I arrived the taxi parked on the side of the road. He “missed” the entrance on purpose. Anyway, I wasn’t traveling too heavily so I just walked towards the entrance with my black 22 roller board and computer bag.

I was waving trying to get the bell boys attention so that they could take my bag and escort me to the lobby. It took a while before I was able to get one, and he only took me to the elevator and left my bag there.

So, I was rolling with my bag from the entrance elevators to the front desk. The first question was if I was checking out. Why would I be checking out when I am coming from the elevators that don’t have quest room access with my carry on bags? I promptly replied that I would like to know where the Diamond check in area at this hotel is. Other lady just said that the check in time is at 2PM.

This was absolutely ridiculous and no hotel should operate like this. I had arranged an early check in and they didn’t even bother typing my name to their reservation system to see my reservation. At this point, I politely asked them to get a manager on duty to help me and went to sit down on the chairs by the windows.

The front desk manager was polite and noted that I had come a bit earlier than what was indicated. Yeas, I was. The flight landed early, didn’t have to wait for the Maglev train, and just took a taxi from the station to the hotel. I just told him that if this early check in is a problem I don’t mind just booking another hotel and they can just cancel the reservation I had at the Park Hyatt.

The manager went on his way while I was doing some emails. He came back shortly telling that the room was ready.

Room 8411

This was a very beautiful corner room that almost felt like a junior or studio suite. Per Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond upgrade benefits hotels are not required to upgrade Diamond members beyond best available room.  I believe that this was probably very close to the best, although it was only on the 84th floor. BTW I don’t think that the floor itself makes a huge difference because due to the weather you can hardly see anything besides some smog/cloud on this level. The view could actually be better on much lower floors.

Fitness Center / Pool

park-hyatt-shanghai-pool

Here my service problems continued. Came to the right floor and asked where the fitness center was. The guy directed me to the fitness center, but he should have realized that I need to go and change to the gym attire first as I was carrying shoes and work gear. I just walked back to the “reception” and asked where the lockers are. They were entirely the other way.

park-hyatt-shanghai-fitness-center

The fitness center was nice as one should expect from a Park Hyatt. I was the alone for an hours. That’s good.

On my way to the locker rooms I decided to take a picture of the pool using my cell phone. The same guy came and said that one shouldn’t take photos here. There was nobody in the entire area so there was no excuse for this no photos nonsense.

Breakfast

Breakfast was one of the better ones in the Hyatt chain. I ordered eggs benedict with smoked salmon sauce on the side from the menu. It came almost as I had ordered it.

park-hyatt-shanghai-breakfast-eggs-benedict

The breakfast selection was nice, but the service at times bit too much. I was up  rather early so there was way too many servers compared to guests. I like good service but not when five people are looking at me when I am eating.

Concierge

Again a problem spot. I needed to buy a new SIM card as the previous one that I had for China was purchased in Lhasa, and it would be better to have a “local” one. The concierge couldn’t really understand a word that I was saying. I was able to get a hold off of a western associate that was able to explain my request to the concierge. I then had an employee escorting me to the China Mobile office nearby and get me a local SIM card for data access that I needed. But this whole process was way too complicated.

Diamond Amenity & Welcome Letter

Not sure what is the standard Diamond amenity at this Park Hyatt. All that I got was five pearls. No welcome letter.

Early Arrival Continental Breakfast

As the hotel had noted my early arrival, I had nice selection of pastries and orange juice waiting for me when I finally got to my room. This was very nice touch.

After Stay Satisfaction Survey

You do get these quite often after staying at international properties. I gave them less than stellar score due to the numerous problems I had. I also noted the problems in the written in sections of the survey.

I was really surprised that the following day I received an email from the property. No. It actually came from the survey company and the reply to-address had been changed to some executive assistant at the property. The content of the email was partly mail merged from the comments that I had left.

If they had had look at the record of my stay, they would have quickly noticed the problems that I had and what I had reported. I find this kind of “automatic” responses very amateurish for supposedly one of the flagship Hyatt property.

Conclusion

It is a very nice property hardware wise, but you need to lower your service expectations to the same or lower level than your average domestic US Hyatt.

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Suite Awards Non-Participating Locations (Updated)

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Hyatt decided to finally update the locations where Diamond Suite Awards are not valid. It had already been known for months that the exclusion list they had up on the website was no longer valid. There might be still properties that officially participate, but where you cannot find a single date for confirmable upgrades.

The following properties supposedly don’t have any standard suites where you could use Diamond Suite upgrades:

Hyatt Regency Kyoto

hyatt-regency-kyoto

Not sure what is so special about this Regency Suite that would make it non-standard for Diamond Suite upgrades?

Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine

hyatt-regency-madeleine-suites

This 60 square meter Regency Suite sounds a lot like a really regular suite to me, but apparently it is not.

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort 

park-hyatt-beaver-creek

Again, this location seems to have quite a few different suite types available. Why this fireside one wouldn’t qualify as a standard one?

Park Hyatt Maldives

I really believe this one as I have been there. They don’t have suites. They have Over Water Villas, Pool Villas, or Regular Villas.

Park Hyatt Sydney

park-hyatt-sydney

Not sure what is going here. The lowest suite is actually smaller than their Opera or City Deluxe, but it is still not considered a “standard” suite.

Hyatt Santa Barbara 

Fair they don’t have suites. I have stayed there few times and it is a nice hotel.

Key West Resort and Spa 

This is a small property that doesn’t have suites. I have stayed there once.

Hyatt Regency Wichita 

 hyatt-wichita

This property has suites, but apparently not many. Wondering what is so special about this Bluestem suite that it couldn’t be categorized as a standard suite for suite redemption purposes?

Hyatt Regency Tulsa

Apparently no suites here.

Conclusion

Apparently four of the nine non-participating properties don’t have suites. The other six that supposedly don’t have any standard suites, do have suites that one could think by reading the suite description to be a standard ones

Hyatt must have had hard time getting some of the better properties to sign up for this suite upgrade thing. They either don’t compensate properties or compensate very little for usage of these suite awards.

Apparently the Park Hyatt Chicago is not available using these Diamond Suite Awards per several Hyatt Private Line agents, although Hyatt has not added that property to the list (yet).

Holiday Inn Suva, Fiji – Review of My Stay

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Isn’t it quite remarkable that a Holiday Inn is the best hotel in the capital? This was the case with Suva that is the capital of Fiji. I had zero expectation as one should always have when booking a Holiday Inn. Some of them are nice but lots of them are not so nice, to put it very kindly. This one in Suva? It was actually one of the nicer ones to my surprise.

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There is another hotel, Novotel Suva Lami Bay, that you may also consider when exploring Suva. It is ten to fifteen minute drive from the center of Suva and they provide a shuttle several times a day. I think that overall Holiday Inn was better.

Location

The hotel is located in the center of Suva. It is very close to all government buildings and nightlife. The location really couldn’t be better as everything is within a walking distance.

Check In

I should always remember that when you are in somewhere in Pacific everything that just happens slower. There was one person checking in before me, but the process was taking forever. I asked the agent if he could page someone to come help him with check ins/outs. He then paged a lady to help him.

I had made an award reservation, because the paid rates that are bookable on their website were on the high side. This property was shown as 20K Priority Club points per night, but it is still bookable until 15th of March using the previous points requirement per night that was 15K/night. For some reason the lady was asking me a printed copy of the award reservation. According to her, they had had some problems with Priority Club reservation made using points and they request the guest to provide a copy of the award reservation. This was solved by forwarding a copy of the email to the hotel from my phone.

After these email confirmation issues were solved, I was checked in to a nice second floor room facing the ocean. This property had an additional Platinum amenity. You could choose one snack item or get a free drink coupon to the bar. I chose the latter.

Room 276

The room was nice for a Holiday Inn. It wasn’t the most modern but quite well kept up. I would imagine this to be the only Holiday Inn in the entire world where the free water for brushing teeth is Fiji.  There was a nice view from the balcony to the pool area and to the sea.

holiday-inn-suva-fiji-room-276-general-view

Pool

The pool itself wasn’t huge, but there were people enjoying it. I would come to Fiji and stay in this business hotel for vacationing purposes. There are other hotels in Fiji that are targeted to more leisure crowds.

holiday-inn-suva-fiji-pool-sunny

Food & Beverage Outlets

I only had few drinks in the evening and some iced teas in the following afternoon in the hotel, and thus cannot comment about the quality, service, and the price of food & beverage. There are plenty of places to eat and drink within a walking distance from the hotel.

holiday-inn-suva-fiji-pool-bar

Conclusion

This was a perfect hotel to explore the city of Suva. There is a large park next to the hotel that houses the history museum of Fiji that is definitely worth visiting. All the government buildings are next door to this hotel.

You have to accept that the service here is not really up to the standards that you might have come to expect even from a Holiday Inn. The stay overall, however, was good.

If you have Priority Club points, this is a very good place to burn some of them. The paid rates are high compared to number of points required.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai – Breakfast

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Emirates has grown very fast in the past few years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. They have very competitive fares for economy, business, and first class travel, and almost impossible to avoid if one is traveling in and around in the Europe and Middle East.

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Earlier in the week, I had a long transit in Dubai and used the Emirates complimentary limo service to/from Abu Dhabi. I will write later about the limo process and the service on the flights. This will not going to be a lounge review, but rather a review of the breakfast service in the lounge.

emirates-first-class-lounge-dubai-breakfast-restaurant

The lounge was very quiet when I was there on a recent Wednesday morning from 8AM to 9:30AM. When you enter the “restaurant” area there are typically a waiter seating you and handing you their breakfast ala carte menu. Normally they take your drink order at this time. You can also request them to bring you a morning cocktail like Mimosa or Bloody Mary. I just tend to drink plain Veuve Clicquot and some tea with the lounge breakfast.

emirates-first-class-lounge-dubai-breakfast-plate

There is rather extensive selection of buffet items available as well. My favorite is the sushi section and proper salmon.

emirates-first-class-lounge-dubai-breakfast-sushi

This morning I placed an order for eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead of bacon and the sauce to be on the side. They actually don’t have this item on the menu, but I am most likely not the only one that had requested it as it came just fine.

emirates-first-class-lounge-dubai-breakfast-eggs-benedict

I really like the proper bread basket that they have in this lounge. Almost identical to that on the flights as well.

The service in the restaurant area is very attentive. I had my first flute of Veuve and before I had had a chance request more the waiter was already coming with a bottle to refresh it.

This is probably the best breakfast experience I have had in any of the airline lounges.

Novotel Suva, Lami Bay, Fiji – Review of My Stay

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The main selling point of this hotel is the close proximity to the capital of Fiji, but yet far enough away from the city to feel like a resort. I was on my way from Nadi to Suva and spent a night at the InterContinental Fiji resort, that was stunning, before continuing my way to Suva. As it was starting to be late I decided to spend a night here before continuing to the city, and to the Holiday Inn in the morning.

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The drive from Natadola Bay and Nadi is long. This will take about three hours if you drive fast. I would not suggest driving during the night-time as there are rather large potholes at times. It is impossible to see them in the dark.

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There are numerous villages on the way and you need to slow down considerably when you are driving through them. They have at least two speed bumps in every village. Just before you enter one and when you leave.

Check in

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The check in was fast. I had made my reservation earlier in the day while logged in to my Accor A Club Platinum account. Not sure about this A Club because apparently there are no benefits for staying at Novotel hotels besides getting some extra points. Anyway, I was allocated a room facing the bay and on a wing that appeared to been renovated fairly recently.

Room

The room itself was nice but rather small. All was very functional, however. There was a lovely view of the bay from the balcony.

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Bathroom, again, was quite small but functional.

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Restaurant / Bar

Didn’t have a breakfast at this property so cannot comment about it. I did, however, have a soup, dessert, and couple of beers in the evening when I arrived. There was couple of musicians playing some Polynesian themed songs and the atmosphere was quite nice.

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What I didn’t like was the number of insects flying around in the bar due to the lights. This entire area is open and probably because it is so close to the water it is impossible to control these. It didn’t seem to bother anybody else than me so I am most likely just not used to it.

Pool / Fitness Center

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They had a small pool on the property and few chairs around it. There were more chairs on the deck very close to the water. As I was leaving early in the morning, I didn’t have time to check out the fitness center at this property.

Transportation

The hotel was offering a shuttle (not sure if it was free) to the city center of Suva and back three to four times a day. So it is possible to explore the city and still day at this hotel. I didn’t use the shuttle because I had a rental car and staying at this hotel only for a night.

Conclusion

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Nice and relaxing hotel that is located very close to the Suva city. I probably wouldn’t spend here longer than couple of days, if you are just planning to explore the city. I also stayed at the Holiday Inn hotel in Suva that is right in the city center. I will write about it tomorrow.

Priority Club One Day Sale – 50% to 67% off Regular Redemption Rates

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This Priority Club One Say Sale is apparently their new weekly feature. I don’t mind as it is always great to save when you are redeeming points.

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These discounted rewards are only available until midnight Thursday EST.

This time they have 12 properties from 50% to 67% discount off their regular redemption rates. I don’t understand why they have the InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Financial Center on this list as this property NEVER has any paid or redemption availability. I again checked ten different dates during this redemption sale period and none was available.

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You can access this sale at http://www.priorityclub.com/onedaysale.

Accor A Club Rate Promotion “3 Nights For The Price Of 2”

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Accor is having a sale for stays between March 9 and April 15, 2012. You can get 3 nights for the price of 2. There are quite a few hotels participating to this promotion, but obviously not all. They just sent an email notification for their A Club members before making the offer more widely available.

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I was just looking for options in Kuala Lumpur, where I will be this weekend, and Novotel had quite decent rates. If you are looking for some stays that are 3 days or longer, it might make some sense to check out the Accor’s prices.

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There is still the promotion going to get instant Platinum status as well with the Accor’s A Club. You can access this sale using the link here.

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