Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Transfer Offer

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Apparently, Delta would love to see me transferring some SkyMiles out from my account and paying a fee of half a cent for doing so. They just emailed me the following offer that is valid until August 31st, 2012. You can try to see if the offer link works for you.


Delta is charging half of the usual one cent and also waiving the $35 processing fee. The email states that the offer is targeted, but I am not sure if that is really the case.



I would ONLY participate to this offer is the recipient is few thousand miles short of an award. You can always issue an award ticket from your SkyMiles account to another person if needed making transferring large amount of miles between accounts unnecessarily.

Spending money to move miles around makes very little sense to anybody else than Delta’s bottom line.

United Airlines Mileage Plus Buy or Gift Miles at 40% Discount

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United just emailed me an offer of 40% discount on the price of buying or gifting Mileage Plus miles. This offer is valid through 11:59PM CDT on August 22nd, 2012. The price of a mile bought under this offer including the exercise tax is 2.26 cents. You need to access this offer through a special link.


You can buy or gift up to 100000 miles per calendar year per account. If you have more than one family member, they can all participate to this offer.

Does it make sense to buy United Mileage Plus miles at 2.26 cents each?

It really depends. If you are using your miles for international business and first class travel on Star Alliance partner airlines and don’t otherwise have easy access to earning miles, the answer is most likely yes. I personally value my United miles highly due to rather lax routing, double open jaw and a stopover rules.

Here’s the small print of this offer:

       To take advantage of this offer, you must use the order links on this page.

For a limited time, buy Personal Miles or Give Miles for less – only $21.00 per 1,000 miles (normally $35 per 1,000 miles) plus a 7.5% excise tax

15,000 mile minimum purchase required for this discounted rate and after that miles are available in increments of 1,000

Offer ends 11:59PM (Central Time) August 22, 2012

Purchase up to 100,000 MileagePlus Personal miles or Give Miles per account per calendar year

Credit card will be billed immediately for purchase

Mileage rates and other applicable fees are subject to change

Discounted pricing will automatically display when using the links on this page

Allow 48 hours for miles to post to MileagePlus account

Personal Miles and Give Miles are non-refundable

Purchased miles do not count toward Premier® qualification

If you have questions or concerns about this offer, please email for assistance

All MileagePlus Program Rules and terms and conditions apply


How to Work Numerous Priority Club Promotions?


There are always a number of different kinds of Priority Club promotions that you can take advantage of. Some of them are combinable with each other but then some are not. I hope that this post clarifies the situation.

1. Quarterly Stay-Bonuses

Priority Club has been sending out targeted offers for years for X number of points after Y number of nights.

There are normally 3 to 4 thresholds of 5K, 10K, 15K, and sometimes 20K points after certain number of nights. You can only register for ONE of these promotions. After you have registered, you cannot change the selection.

You should always register for the version of this promotion that you are certain to achieve.

2. Global Promotions

These are the type of promotions that Priority Club advertises on print media and often all over the properties as well.

They are not tied to quarters but can vary in length and promotion type. This year (2012) there has been two global promotions so far; one for double points or miles and the other one for 1000 extra Priority Club points per night.

3. Welcome Back / New Member Bonuses / Next Stay Bonus

These are normally emailed or mailed. You will receive a code that yields anywhere from 1000 to 3000 points for one stay. Sometimes these are eligible only for Gold or Platinum Priority Club members.

4. Anniversary Bonus Offers

These are very lucrative ones. You will typically receive 1000 bonus points per stay for 60 to 90 days after you sign up. Sometimes they only work for Gold or Platinum member accounts.

5. Ambassador Accelerator

After you sign up for Ambassador membership, you are then eligible for 20K bonus points for every 15 nights spend at InterContinental hotels. You are not automatically signed up for this offer.

6. Airline Specific Offers

Sometimes there are offers for double/triple airline miles in selected airline programs. I don’t always write about these as I don’t find them to be very lucrative. You have to choose miles as your earning option and these often conflict with some other bonus points promotions.

7. Hotel Specific Promotions

Sometimes hotel advertises a rate or rates that include number of bonus Priority Club points. Often these rates are higher than some other discounted rates that the property offers. These tend to be geared towards reimbursed business travelers that may find it beneficial to book artificially high rate but which includes bonus points that the traveler can later use i.e. for their vacation.

8. Rebate Promotions

Priority Club has had different kind of rebate promotions in the past few years. They normally require a two night weekday or weekend stay. Then you need to fill out rebate forms and mail them out to the rebate processed and hope that they correctly fulfill the promotion. Your reward is normally a MasterCard or Visa prepaid debit card for $50 or $75.

9. Other One Time Bonus Points Promotions

There are often promotions that could be brand specific i.e. earlier offer of 15K bonus points after 6 nights at InterContinental hotels or 5000 bonus points for a weekend stay.

10. Surveys / Quizzes / Toolbar / Shopping Promotions

There are number of onetime bonus opportunities that are not tied to stays at all. These tend to come and go. You can earn thousands of points per year just completing them all as they come.

Most of the time you can double or triple dip (or even more) multiple Priority Club promotions if you plan correctly.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Your account may not be eligible for specific promotion

You may get an error message that you have signed up for a promotion or the promotion code is invalid. This normally means that you have already signed up for a variant of the offer.

2. Geographical Requirement

Some promotions may require for your address on file with the Priority Club to be in the certain region (mainly in the United States. If your address in in UK, the promotional points just won’t post.

3. My Promotions

The promotion may show in your “My Promotions”, but it doesn’t mean that the points will actually post. You need to fulfill the terms and conditions of the promotion as well that are sometimes unknown.

4. Delayed Promotional Points Postings

Some promotions don’t actually yield the points at the time your stay posts. There are some bonuses that can post weeks after the qualifying activity has happened. It just shows up as an additional line on your points history. This depends how Priority Club does their sweeps.

5. Conflicting promotions

Sometimes signing up for one offer will disqualify you from other one. There is no way to unregister after you have signed up for an offer. Earlier in the year there were two different offers for InterContinental stays. After I signed up for one, I was disqualified from the other one.

Under no circumstances should you call Priority Club regarding a promotion that you were NOT originally targeted for.

I know, it is terrible that certain promotion won’t register or the points post. I have gone through this numerous times with Priority Club. You should never, however, call and inquiry about promotions that you were not targeted for i.e. received an email offering the promotion or a post card on the mail.

I will post about new Priority Club bonus points opportunities as they happen.

Make sure that you have signed up for our blog email updated and follow us on Twitter and like on Facebook. I will always make a post when there is exciting Priority Club promotion or bonus point opportunity around.

InterContinental Koh Samui Taling Ngam Resort, Thailand – Review of My Stay


intercontinental-koh-samui-baan-taling-ngam-resort-view-of-the-lower-level-from-lobbyThis is one of those hotels that have an interesting history. At one point in time, it was operated under the Le Meridien brand and owned directly by the now disgraced and bankrupt Lehman Brothers investment bank.

[nggallery id=53]


The hotel is located on the exact opposite side of the Koh Samui airport. The ride from the airport to the resort can take from anywhere 45 to 60 minutes depending on the traffic. The distance itself is not that great but the road infrastructure is very bad on the island.

Koh Samui Airport to InterContinental hotel
Koh Samui Airport to InterContinental hotel

The location from the mainland ferry and the city, where all the government services are located, is about 20 minutes ride away.


The reception building is built on the mountain and you have great views of the beach and the sea from the units that are on the main building and from the high villas.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - View of the Beach from Reception
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – View of the Beach from Reception

There are three types of accommodations at this resort:

1. Regular hotel rooms on the main building

2. Villas on the hill

3. Villas on the beach

Check In

I was coming from the nearby Conrad Koh Samui resort where I had spent two nights. The problem I have with Koh Samui island is the lack of taxis. You are forced to use either hotel cars or “taxis” that refuse to use meters. You can rent a car to get around as well, but as I said earlier the traffic is very chaotic.

I had booked the most basic accommodation as an Royal Ambassador and counting in on my luck with a nice upgrade. The hotel had preupgraded me to one of the mountain villas.

As is the custom in Thailand, the front desk photocopies your passport and swipes your credit card. I also met the customer service manager who happened to be a gentleman from Sweden and had worked for this resort for quite a few years already.

Villa 614

This was an upper part of a villa that probably had been a single unit in the past. It wasn’t a suite but a very spacious room with a sitting area, work desk, bed in the middle, shower and the vanity area in the back.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 614 Bed
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 614 Bed

The toilet is somewhat weird. It was in a very small space resembling a tiny closet. This was an obvious afterthought.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 614 Sunset View
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 614 Sunset View

The best part of this villa was the fantastic view of the sea from the very large balcony area that had plenty of space and really nice sitting area.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 614 Balcony
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 614 Balcony

The minibar with the wine “cellar” was one of the most complete that I had seen at any hotel. The problem was that only the minibar beverages inside the fridge were complimentary per the Royal Ambassador benefit letter that I received. I think that this is rather understandable for the wine but not for the other alcohol. I hadn’t come here to party so it was ok with me.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 614 Sitting Area
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 614 Sitting Area

I had a nice fruit presentation waiting in the villa, but the problem was the number of tiny fruit flies that it had attracted. I had to promptly move it to outside.

After a while, I became curious, why the temperature of the villa hadn’t come down at all regardless of the unit blowing at the full speed. I called maintenance to fix it. It took two hours for them to realize that the air compressor unit was faulty and that they would need to move me to somewhere else.

Villa 510

So, after the air compressor fault, I was moved to a proper ocean view villa with its own small pool. It also had a direct beach access from the villa. This was much better location than the 614.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 View of the Villa
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 View of the Villa

It had a separate bathroom with a large tub, indoor and outdoor showers, toilet, and vanity area.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 View of the Sea
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 View of the Sea

The bedroom wasn’t as spacious as in the 516 but really liked the own pool and sitting area outside with sun chairs etc.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 Bed
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 Bed

This was only a short walk away from the main pool and some restaurants.

There was some water leagake between the tiles. I had a maintenance coming to have a look at it twice, but they couldn’t fix the problem. This was in the bathroom.


The room package that I had booked included a breakfast. I could either use the room service or the main restaurant close to the reception area where it was served. I decided to use the room service for the first morning and the restaurant for the second.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 Breakfast
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 Breakfast

I had a rather unhealthy breakfast with some Heineken by the pool.

Restaurant breakfast the following morning was better than what I had expected. They had plenty of hot and cold options to choose from.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Breakfast Cereals
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Breakfast Cereals

Overall, if you prefer privacy and having a leisurely lunch, it is probably better to use the room service. For greater selection and getting out of the villa, then go to the restaurant.

Fitness Center

This was bit of a disappointment. It was within a short walking distance from the villa, but wasn’t as comprehensive that I would have expected. They didn’t have any headphones available, although they had cardio machines with built in TV’s. Luckily, I had brought mine.

Royal Ambassador Benefits

After the initial problem with the first unit, I was very satisfied with the upgrade that I received. You really cannot expect the resort to give the wine selection as minibar beverages, but they should have included at least some of the other alcohol besides the beers.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort Royal Ambassador Welcome Letter
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort Royal Ambassador Welcome Letter

It was a nice touch from the manager to send a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine after the problems I had with both of the units.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 Sparkling Wine
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 Sparkling Wine


I have been to several resorts in Koh Samui previously; Renaissance, Le Meridien, and the Conrad Koh Samui. The Conrad is more luxurious but at the same time is about the double the price compared to this InterContinental resort. There is no beach at the Conrad but there is one at the InterContinental.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort Beach Pool
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort Beach Pool

Overall, I really liked this resort. The only downside that I can think of is the location exactly on the opposite side of the island from any nightlife activities.

The couple of issues I had were solved amicably and I am sure that I will return to this resort in the next 12 months.

Priority Club Welcome Survey for 1000 Bonus Points


Priority Club has been sending out a short survey for new members and giving out 1000 bonus points for completing it.


Please note that this is intended for new accounts and the points do not post instantaneously. The terms and conditions only suggest that you must be signed up for Priority Club rewards email offers to be eligible for this.


Thanks for our reader sLeEpLeSs in BaNgKoK for this tip.



This is about the easiest 1000 Priority Club bonus points that you can get.

National Car Rental One Two Free – One Free Rental Day After Two Qualifying Rentals


National has had this same promotion for the past few years. You will receive a free rental day for every two qualifying rentals that you do during the promotional period from August 20th to January 31st, 2013. You can redeem your free rental days starting September 10th and must redeem them by June 16th, 2013. You can register for this promotion here.


National will email you/send you a link to the page where you can find the redemption codes for the free rental days. You can combine to have up to 3 of these on the same reservation. The only requirement is to be a National Emerald Club member and to rent a midsize or larger vehicle in the 50 United States for two consecutive days or longer.


This is absolutely the best free rental credit promotion out there. You will earn your usual credits for free rentals in conjunction with this offer. The only drawback is that you can have maximum 3 free rental days in one reservation.

If my memory is right, these won’t allow one way rentals as the regular free rental days from national do.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

One Free Rental Day will be awarded for every two qualifying rentals made after the date on which the member has registered and which occur between August 20, 2012, and January 31, 2013. Credit will not be given for rentals made prior to a member’s registration date. A qualifying rental is the paid rental, via the Emerald Club®, of a Midsize or larger vehicle at participating National Car Rental locations in the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia, for a period of two or more consecutive days during the promotion.

Earned Free Rental Day fulfillment will begin on September 10, 2012, (solely by email to the email address provided at the time of registration) and thereafter will occur within 1–2 weeks after the second qualifying rental. To redeem a Free Rental Day, visit to view your free day certificates, click redeem and then rent a Compact through Fullsize car starting after September 10, 2012, and before June 16, 2013. To take advantage of this offer, make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance. No more than three Free Rental Days may be redeemed toward one rental of three or more days. Unfortunately, we cannot combine this offer with any other discount and cannot apply the offer to a previous or existing reservation. All standard rental qualifications apply. Be aware that taxes, surcharges, recovery and recoupment fees and other charges may apply, and that optional products and services (such as damage waiver and additional driver fees) are extra charges. Please check your auto insurance policy and/or credit card agreement for rental vehicle coverage. The availability of this offer is limited to participating U.S. locations and is subject to change without notice. Blackout dates may also apply. We cannot accept the coupon if it has been purchased, bartered or sold for cash.

Referrers of friends and colleagues through our email form and social media links will earn a maximum of ten Free Rental Days, regardless of how many friends and colleagues enroll. In order to receive credit, referred friends and colleagues must use the email address provided by the referring party at time of enrollment and conduct a rental by January 31, 2013.

To be eligible for the complimentary credit toward a Free Rental Day, you must electively opt in to receive emails from National. Offer expires January 31, 2013, and is valid for new opt–ins only.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Points for Marriott Gift Card Purchases


Marriott often has promotions for their gift card purchases; sometimes you get a discount, sometimes they load more to the card than you paid, and occasionally they have promotions with the airlines for miles.


Now, Marriott has teamed up with Southwest Airlines. You can receive up to 12000 Rapid Rewards points for buying $1000 worth of Marriott gift cards. This promotion is valid from August 1st to November 30th, 2012. You can access this offer here.

If you buy the maximum amount of Marriott Gift cards, the value of the Rapid Rewards points you receive is $200 when used for Wanna Get Away fares, $120 when used for Anytime fares, and $100 when used for Business select fares.


If you are looking for some Rapid Rewards points and stay Marriott properties frequently, it is no brainer to buy the maximum amount through this offer. You can use the prepaid card to pay for all folio charges at the checkout.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Marriott GiftCard Offer Terms and Conditions:  This is an online promotion only and cannot be combined with any other offer.  Offer not valid on Marriott GiftCards purchased on property, via third parties, or 1.800.813.GIFT.  Promotion is valid August 1, 2012 through November 30, 2012 only.  The Marriott GiftCard can be used for all purchases and services charged to a Marriott guest room.  If you are not a registered hotel guest and are planning to use this card at a spa, restaurant, retail store, or other outlet, please confirm in advance that the Marriott GiftCard is accepted.  The Marriott GiftCard cannot be used to secure or confirm a room reservation but may be used as payment at checkout. Marriott GiftCard purchases earning Rapid Rewards Points are not eligible for return or refund.  This is a limited time, limited inventory offer.  Marriott Rewards points will not be earned with the purchase of the GiftCards.  Shipping and handling fees apply.  $1 shipping option available to U.S. addresses only for orders less than $1,000 USD.  See full Marriott Rewards Terms and Conditions.  All Marriott Rewards rules and regulations apply.

Rapid Rewards Terms and Conditions:  Rapid Rewards Members will receive 1,200 points per $100 Marriott GiftCard purchase; 3,000 points per $250 Marriott GiftCard purchase; and 6,000 points per $500 Marriott GiftCard purchase. Only preset $100, $250, and $500 Marriott GiftCards are eligible for this promotion.  Marriott GiftCards purchased in other denominations are not eligible for this promotion.  Purchaser’s name must match Rapid Rewards account number to receive eligible points.  Maximum amount of Rapid Rewards Points eligible to earn for this promotion is 12,000 points per Member during promotional period. Member must purchase Marriott GiftCards between August 1, 2012 and November 30, 2012. Valid on new purchases only. Shipping and handling fees apply.  Please allow four to six weeks for points to post to your Rapid Rewards account. All Rapid Rewards rules and regulations apply.

Priority Club: Select Holiday Inn Resort Flash Sale Using Points at 50% Off

Priority Club has 16 Holiday Inn Resorts on flash sale using points at 50% off until noon today EDT. You can access this offer here.


All these resorts are on sale from September 4th until October 2nd, 2012 for 12.500 Priority Club points per night from the usual 25000 points per night.





This is a very good offer if you can take advantage of it. Priority Club has had few of these flash sales recently and you usually need to act fast.

Get More Than 3000 Free Club Carlson Points – 100 Points Per Day


Club Carlson has launched a Club Carlson Global Giveaway for residents of United States and Canada. There are various prizes that you can win, but the icing on the cake is the 100 FREE Club Carlson points PER day that you can get by flipping through the Vacation Look Book.


This offer is valid from August 14th to September 24th, 2012. You can get the 100 Club Carlson points for each day during this period.


I just flipped through the first Vacation Look Book and will flip it through again tomorrow for another 100 points.


This is very easy way to rack up few thousand extra Club Carlson points. You just have to remember to do it daily.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Club Carlson: Country Inn & Suites 25 Years – Get 25000 Bonus Points For 2 Nights Stay

Country Inn & Suites has turned 25 years. To celebrate this Club Carlson is offering 25000 bonus points per two nights stay at all Country Inn & Suites location between August 15th and October 14th, 2012.


You must book using promotional code 25FOR25 to be eligible for the bonus points. This promotion is valid at all Country Inn & Suites locations worldwide. You need to register for this promotion before of your stay and be a Club Carlson member.


  • Register for the 25 for 25 Event by clicking on the “Register Now” button below. You’ll need to be a Club CarlsonSM member to register. Not a member? No problem, just follow the “Join and Register” link below.
  • Complete a two night stay booking the 25 for 25 Promotion Rate at any Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotel worldwide between August 15 and October 14, 2012.
  • After you complete your stay, your 25,000 bonus Gold Points will be deposited in your Club Carlson account within 4-6 weeks. Then redeem your points for a variety of gift cards or other great redemption options.

Booking the 25FOR25 rate

Club Carlson Country Inn & Suites 25 for 25
Club Carlson Country Inn & Suites 25 for 25

Just make sure that you include 25FOR25 in the promotional code field to pull up the rates for this promotion. You need to choose a two night stay for the rates to be shown.

Club Carlson Country Inn & Suites 25 for 25 Rate Display
Club Carlson Country Inn & Suites 25 for 25 Rate Display
Club Carlson Country Inn & Suites 25 for 25 Rate Display 2
Club Carlson Country Inn & Suites 25 for 25 Rate Display 2

Apparently the 25FOR25 is based on the Best Available Rate (BAR). The BAR is rarely the lowest rate, but is not a rack rate either. You need to choose if the 25K bonus points are worth more than the savings that you could get using advance purchase, AAA, and other discount rates that you are eligible for.


Club Carlson has been very active in the promotional front for the past year. The various Ultimate Night Giveaway are now gone, although the Park Plaza version runs until the August 28th but the registration is closed.

This Country Inn & Suites 25 year 2-night bonus of 25K Club Carlson bonus points is a good offer, if the best available rates for the dates are reasonable.

Here are the full terms and conditions of this offer:

The 25 for 25 Event (“Promotion”) is available only to Club CarlsonSM members for new reservations. To be eligible for the Promotion, members must register online for the Promotion (“Promotion Registration”), provide their Club Carlson member number at the time of reservation or check-in of a Qualifying Stay, and then complete one Qualifying Stay at any Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotel worldwide (“Participating Hotels”). A “Qualifying Stay” is defined as a stay of two or more consecutive nights in the same room at a Participating Hotel regardless of the number of check-ins or check-outs during the Promotion Period, for which the guest specifically booked the 25 for 25 Promotion rate The Qualifying Stay must begin on or after August 15, 2012 and check out must be completed no later than October 14, 2012 (“Promotion Period”). Guest must be present at the Participating Hotel at both the time of check-in and check-out, enrolled in Club Carlson at or before the time of check-in, and registered in the Promotion no later than the time of check-out (to enroll in Club Carlson, Members who complete the Promotion Registration will receive a 25,000 Bonus Gold Point award after the completion of their Qualifying Stay. This Bonus Gold Point award is in addition to the standard Gold Points awarded for a regular stay. An individual can earn a maximum of one Bonus Gold Point award for this promotion regardless of the number of Qualifying Stays completed during the Promotion Period. Only one Club Carlson account per Qualifying Stay will be credited with the Bonus Gold Point award. Allow 6-8 weeks for Gold Points to appear on account. The Promotion and Gold Points are subject to all Club Carlson program Terms and Conditions, including rules and restrictions regarding redemption for prepaid cards and retail gift cards which may not be available to all members and which vary based on member’s country of residence1. Only standard rooms are eligible for the Promotion and rates for each night of a Qualifying Stay may vary. Promotion is not valid on existing reservations and is subject to availability. Country Inns & Suites By Carlson is not responsible for: interrupted or unavailable network, server or other connections, miscommunications, computer hardware or software or technical failures, Internet Service Provider/network/website accessibility or availability, garbled or jumbled transmissions or other errors of any kind, whether human, mechanical or electronic; including without limitation the incomplete, incorrect or inaccurate capture of Promotion Registration information. Promotion void where prohibited by law. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson reserves the right to add, modify or discontinue these terms and conditions or the Promotion at any time with or without notice. By participating in this Promotion, you agree and consent to these terms and conditions.
1 The merchants listed are not affiliated with Carlson Hotels, nor are they sponsors or co-sponsors of Club Carlson. All merchant names, logos, trademarks or other marks herein are used with permission. The registered owners of the names, logos, trademarks or other marks retain all rights therein. Merchants may have additional terms and conditions, which may be found on the gift card, gift certificates, or merchant’s website. Merchants listed are subject to change without notice. iTunes® trademarks of Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple is not a participate in or sponsor of this promotion. T.G.I. Friday’s® is not a sponsor or co-sponsor of this program. T.G.I. Friday’s® is not a sponsor or co-sponsor of this program. T.G.I. Friday’s is a registered trademark of TGI Friday’s of Minnesota, Inc Country Inns & Suites By Carlson is not affiliated with The Home Depot®. The Home Depot® is a registered trademark of Homer TLC, Inc. The Home Depot® is not a sponsor of this Promotion. The Club Carlson Prepaid Card is issued through UMB Bank, n.a., pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A. Use of the Prepaid Card is governed by Cardholders Terms & Conditions. TM Trademarks of the Bank of Nova Scotia. ® Registered trademarks of the Bank of Nova Scotia. ® VISA Int./Lic. User The Bank of Novia Scotia. MC Marques de commerce de la Banque de Novelle-Ecosse. ® Marques de commerce deposes de la Banque de Novelle-Ecosse. ® VISA Int./Utilisateur sous licence la Banque de Novelle-Ecosse. The MasterCard Prepaid Card is issued by Raphaels Bank, pursuant to a license from MasterCard International Incorporated. The Shell Gift Card can be used only for purchases of goods and services at Shell locations in the U.S., except territories. The Shell Gift Card cannot be redeemed for cash and no change will be given, except in states that require redemption for cash. Shell Oil Products U.S. and its related companies are not sponsors or co-sponsors of this promotion. If the Shell Gift Card balance falls below one dollar, pay at the pump may not be available, in which case contact station cashier to access balance or call the number printed on the card for assistance.

Would You Stay at “Ikea” Budget Designer Hotel?


Ikea has been hugely successful discount furniture chain. I go to Ikea few times a year to eat at their food court the Swedish meatballs and to visit the small Scandinavian food selection to pick up some knäckebröd or näkkileipä as we call this bread in Finland.

IKEA Opening Budget Designer Hotel Chain
IKEA Opening Budget Designer Hotel Chain

Now, Ikea is pushing into budget designer hotels and planning to open 100 locations in Europe in the next few years according to the Financial Times. They are looking for an established hotel operator to manage the chain for them. These hotels would neither carry the Ikea name nor furniture, but would rather be a financial real estate investment for them.

It is interesting to see how this is going to develop. The only discount “designer” hotel chain that comes to my mind is the Starwood’s Aloft, which is the “vision of W hotels” according to their branding.

Registration Now Open for Hyatt’s Fall “Imagine the Possibilities” Promotion

Hyatt has now opened the registration for the fall 2012 “Imagine the Possibilities” promotion that I wrote about the other week.

Hyatt Imagine The Possibilities
Hyatt Imagine The Possibilities

You can register for this promotion here.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

ELIGIBILITY/HOW TO REGISTER: To participate in this Promotion, you must be a Hyatt Gold Passport member and register for this Promotion. Current member online registration begins August 15, 2012 by visiting and ends October 31, 2012. New member enrollments from August 15, 2012 through October 31, 2012 will automatically be registered for the Promotion. Void where prohibited.

PROMOTION PERIOD: Promotion begins September 1, 2012 and ends November 30, 2012 (“Promotion Period”).

ELIGIBLE NIGHTS: For the purpose of this Offer, an “Eligible Night” shall be defined as one (1) night at any participating hotel or resort when choosing points or miles and paying an Eligible Rate (as defined below). Award nights shall not constitute an Eligible Night. Hyatt Gold Passport members will only receive eligible night credit for their room, regardless of the number of paid rooms.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: During the Promotion Period, complete five (5) Eligible Nights at any participating Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House™, or Hyatt Residence Club® hotel and resort worldwide. After your first five (5) Eligible Nights, earn 5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points. Earn 10,000 Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points for every five (5) subsequent Eligible Nights thereafter during the Promotion Period. A maximum of 65,000 bonus points may be earned during the Promotion Period. To receive bonus points, you must be a Hyatt Gold Passport member, register for the Promotion, provide your Hyatt Gold Passport membership number at reservation/check-in, be a registered guest physically occupying the room to which you are registered, and pay an Eligible Rate. For the purpose of this Promotion, an “Eligible Rate” shall be defined as any hotel published room rate, including, but not limited to, rates found on, the Hyatt Daily Rate, volume, AAA and senior citizen rates. “Ineligible Rates” are discounted rates, including, but not limited to, any free night stays, Internet wholesale rates (such as,, etc.), traditional wholesale rates (such as GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, etc.), airline crew rates, airline employee rates, travel agency employee rates, Club at the Hyatt discount certificate stays, Hyatt employee or employee family discount rates, airline interrupted-trip vouchers or contracted rooms (a contracted room is a room that has been reserved pursuant to a written and executed agreement between a hotel and a corporation, government agency or individual for a negotiated room rate in exchange for an agreed upon number of rooms to be rented for an extended period of time).

BONUS POINT POSTING: Please allow two to three (2-3) weeks after your fifth Eligible Night (and every five Eligible Nights thereafter) for bonus points to be posted to your Hyatt Gold Passport account (allow 4-6 weeks for bonus points from nights outside the U.S.).

GENERAL CONDITIONS: Hyatt Gold Passport reserves the right to alter or withdraw this Promotion at any time without notice. This Promotion is subject to the complete Terms and Conditions of the Hyatt Gold Passport program. Membership in Hyatt Gold Passport is free. For complete program terms and conditions, and to join, visit

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt house™, Hyatt Residence Club® resort, Hyatt Gold Passport®, and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation and its affiliates. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

You Can Now Write a Review about InterContinental Hotels on Their Website

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You can now write a short review of the InterContinental hotel where you have stayed at on their website. Starwood launched a similar initiative late last year.

As always, I wanted to test this review process and decided to write a short review of InterContinental Manila where I stayed at this past May. You can access the review submission interface by going to and switching the city at the end.

IC Review Manila
IC Review Manila

You need to have your reservation number, last name, and the date of check out available. It seems that they want to validate that these reviews are done by actual hotel guests.

IC Review Manila Stars
IC Review Manila Stars

Then you will give hotel the overall guest experience rating. As you can see, my stay at this property was very good.

IC Review Manila Write Up
IC Review Manila Write Up

You need to do a write up of between 75 to 500 words. I decided to point out that they honored most of the Royal Ambassador benefits even on an award stay.

IC Review Manila Pros Cons
IC Review Manila Pros Cons

Then you can check some pros and cons about the hotel.

IC Review Manila Photos
IC Review Manila Photos

I do have quite a few photos of this hotel but decided not to upload any of them.

IC Review Manila My Info
IC Review Manila My Info

They want some basic information about me.

IC Review Manila Preview
IC Review Manila Preview

You can then have a look at the preview.

IC Review Manila Thank You
IC Review Manila Thank You

Just submit and you are done.


It seems that leaving review of properties is slowly coming to all hotel websites. Personally, I prefer reading on an independent website like TripAdvisor or FlyerTalk than the branded site. I just always have a feeling that they really don’t want to publish reviews that are critical of the property in question.

There are also lots of rules regarding what you can write if you want your InterContinental review published. The terms are whopping 1139 words. The submission guidelines are somewhat reasonable few hundred words.

Let’s see if my favorable review of the InterContinental Manila will get published on one day.

What’s Happening with United Airlines?

The U.S. Department of Transportation just released their August Air Travel Consumer Report for the month of June, 2012. I have been following these reports to see if United has had any improvement when it comes to delays & complaints. The United’s numbers on the latest report are downright ugly compared to other legacies in the United States.

You can access the August Air Travel Consumer Report here.

Flights Arriving on Time

DOT Report Flights Arriving on Time
DOT Report Flights Arriving on Time

Compared to the first quarter of 2012 when United’s flights arrived on time 80.9% the June figure of 70.1% is bad. It is also the dead last compared to major legacies and regional carriers.

Flight Cancellations

DOT Report Cancellations
DOT Report Cancellations

United was third as of percentage of operations cancelled at 1.6%. In June United canceled total number of 727 flights. This number doesn’t include cancellations by United Express carriers.

Mishandled Bags

DOT Report Mishandled Baggage
DOT Report Mishandled Baggage

United has, again, the highest number of mishandled bags at 4.9 per 1000 enplanements. Compared to June 2011 the number is 15.6% higher.

Denied Boardings

Airlines maximize their revenue by overbooking their flights. There is no incentive neither for full fare/flexible ticket holders nor restricted ones to actually cancel their travel arrangements even if they are not making their flight(s).

In a case of overbooking, airlines tend to try finding volunteers first by offering them future travel credits and confirmed space on later flights. If there are no volunteers, the airlines then start involuntarily deny passengers.

DOT Report Denied Boardings
DOT Report Denied Boardings

Compared to April to June 2011 to 2012 period United’s number of involuntarily denied boarding compared to number of passengers enplaned, has more than doubled from 0.93 to 2.11 per 10000 passengers.

United is dead last on legacy carriers on this measurement as well. Your likelihood of getting involuntarily bumped on Delta is about one sixth compared to United.

Consumer Complaints

Filing a complaint with the DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division is normally the last resort if the carrier has not resolved the issue using other communication channels.

DOT Report Complaints June 2012
DOT Report Complaints June 2012

The number of complaints that United has received is more than double per 100000 enplanements to compared to second last which is US Airways. For comparison, Southwest had more enplanements than United but only received 19 complaints compared to United’s 585.

Compared to June 2011 the number of consumer complaints that DOT received in June 2012 is 169% higher when adjusted for number of enplanements.

Of all the 1353 complaints that the DOT received against the airlines operating in the United States (excluding foreign) ones, United’s share of 585 complaints represents 43%.


Obviously the operational merger with United Airlines and Continental Airlines has not gone as expected. The DOT operational and complaint figures doesn’t paint a very rosy picture of the current state of the airline.

I have flown more than a million mile with United and Continental combined and went through the difficult bankruptcy time as a United frequent flier member in the early 2000’s. It is sad to see that merger hasn’t worked anywhere near as expected from the consumer’s point of view. These DOT statistics are just horrific.

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