Travel

Category Archives for Travel.

Hotel Review: Capital Hilton, Washington, DC

I’m back in Dallas and still reeling from an incredible trip this past weekend to Washington, DC, for BAcon 3 (BoardingArea’s conference for the blogger crew).

The more I stay in hotels, the more I feel it’s the staff that makes a good stay above all else. Location is probably second. Yep. Followed by breakfast. All I ever want is breakfast.

I took a Lyft for the short ~4-mile ride from DCA to downtown DC for my stay at the Capital Hilton. It was nice to see the foliage, and feel the fall chill: two things I’ve been missing in Texas.

capital hilton washington dc review

Back like a heart attack

I was in DC this August for FTU Advanced. So it was nice to be back, twice in a year.

The location of the hotel is incredible.

Easy walking distance to

Easy walking distance to so much good stuff (Click to enlarge)

You can easily walk to the White House, and Logan Circle or 14th Street for bars and restaurants. And anywhere downtown. Or take a quick Lyft to the Smithsonian museums, Washington Monument, and Lincoln memorial (or just walk it – it’s a beautiful part of the city).

It’s also 2 blocks from the subway, for those who like to ride the train. The location is the biggest reason I chose to stay here – it was the closest Hilton hotel to my conference location.

Arrival and check-in

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Get the Southwest Companion Pass for 2 Years for 90,000 Starwood Points

So it’s done: the Marriott-Starwood merger.

To be honest, they’re handling it a lot better than I thought they would. But I also get the feeling they can’t wait to destroy the program in 2018. But that’s neither here nor there.

Within the opportunity to link your Marriott and Starwood accounts, you’ll get:

  • An instant status match
  • The ability to transfer points instantly between both programs (3 Starwood points = 1 Marriott point)
asd

90,000 Starwood points gets you enough Marriott points for a Southwest Hotel + Air package, and thus, the Southwest Companion Pass

If you transfer 90,000 Starwood points, you’ll wind up with 270,000 Marriott points. Which is enough for a Southwest Hotel + Air package to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

It could be a fantastic deal if you fly Southwest a lot!

Use Starwood points to unlock the Southwest Companion Pass

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Hotel Review: Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu

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After months of anticipation, the day finally came to travel to Hawaii. I was a Nervous Nelly because of a line of thunderstorms moving through Dallas (where I was) and onward to Memphis (where the fam was).

Thoughts of missed connections, rebookings, and sitting in an airport instead of in Hawaii came to mind. But thankfully, it all came together without a hitch.

I flew over with my Mom, stepdad, and Jay. And my little brother met us at HNL.

Entrance to the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu

Entrance to the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu

We took an Uber to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, about ~20 minutes away. Really, couldn’t have gone more smoothly.

Arrival and check-in

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Hilton Makes More Award Rooms Available for Diamond Elite Members

I made a glancing comment on my Booking Hawaii: Part 3 post:

There were technically no award nights available, but I love the soft perk of Hilton giving Diamond guests enhanced award availability.

(Yasss, quoted myself!)

Which prompted some discussion in the comments. Drew asked for more detail. And Brandon reported getting more award space at a lower rate.

Aye verily, I was able to book an award stay when no award rooms were “technically” available:

hilton diamond

Boom

Hilton also has the room rate as “confidential.” Fancy!

This is, as far as I know, an unpublished benefit of the Hilton HHonors program.

They go on to say:

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How Hilton describes this perk

If you’re Diamond with Hilton, this could come in handy more often than you think.

Is this actually useful?

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Hotel Review: Homewood Suites Albuquerque Uptown

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I was in ABQ this past weekend checking out some potential investment properties.

I’m not sure I found a good mix of price, appreciation, rental demand, and location – but maybe I’m being too picky. It’s a whole other thing I’m thinking through now.

To set the stage for this heady trip, I booked 2 nights at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Albuquerque Uptown (and booked the flights and car rental, all within 10 minutes).

Breakfast area at the Homewood Suites Albuquerque Uptown

Breakfast area at the Homewood Suites Albuquerque Uptown

It was so good to remember the serenity of the high desert. The days were gorgeous. And the skies there are incomparable. I love seeing mountains in the distance. I’ll take mountains over sea any day.

After landing, I immediately drove to the East Mountains to meet the real estate agent. And checked in to the hotel around 8pm that night.

Arrival and check-in

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Booking Hawaii: Part 3 – Hilton Hawaiian Village and Tending Reservations

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I’ll go ahead and tell you the moral of this story: tend to your reservations.

After booking 4 flights to Honolulu, then adding my little brother into the mix, the final piece of the puzzle was to book the hotel rooms.

Step 1: The paid stay

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AwardAce: An Awesome Companion for Your Miles & Points Programs

Whoa! I just discovered an incredible resource that will appeal to beginners of our little hobby, and to full-on points & miles addicts.  It’s super cool and geeky, so of course I had to share it with you guys.

AwardAce is packed with great features

AwardAce is packed with great features

Meet AwardAce. You can use the site for:

Now that I’ve found it, I’ll be playing around with it on the regs!

About AwardAce

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4 Useful Chrome Extensions for Travel & Shopping

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I love using Google Chrome as a browser. It’s light, powerful, and has lots of good plug-ins… er, extensions.

Some of them have elevated to near-constant use territory.

I’ve written about useful apps because I love time-saving productivity stuff like a good millennial lol.

These 4 Chrome extensions come with my highest recommendation. They’ve helped me save a lot of time, money, and clicking around.

1. Hyatt – Show Me the Points

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Chase OR Costco + Autoslash: Get the Best Price on Car Rentals

I rented a car this past weekend in Albuquerque.

And I’m renting another one this upcoming weekend for a work trip to Austin.

I’ve rented enough cars by this point to rely solely on 2 places to look: the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and Costco Travel. One or the other of them has the best deal almost always.

car rental best price

Laaaa! Behold Costco Travel’s car rental search

For good measure, I usually run a search through Kayak, too – just to be sure.

Last week, I booked through Costco. And this week, I booked through Chase. One of them simply always works out for the best.

A quick comparison

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How to Get Free Gogo Internet (on American Flights With NO IFE)

I’ve been flying American a lot lately, and there’s a loophole I sometimes use to get free Gogo internet. I used it today on my flight back from Albuquerque.

There are a couple of catches:

  • You can only get ~30 minutes of internet
  • This ONLY works on flights with NO IFE (in-flight entertainment) (as far as I know)

No IFE as in, no screens overhead or in the back of the seat in front of you.

If you’re lucky, you can squeeze out closer to an hour of free internet. But it depends on the flight – there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to it.

Here’s how it works.

The trick to getting free Gogo internet

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My IHG Q3 Accelerate Offer Is Actually OK! How’s Yours?

I’ve gotten some pretty terrible IHG offers from IHG’s various “Accelerate” promotions (including one that required me to stay at a hotel brand with only 2 locations).

But their new Q3 Accelerate offer is actually… kind of OK (but couldn’t they come up with a different name for it? Even the URL is bland lol).

It’s not worth moving a minor mountain for or anything, but it seems I can stay at an IHG for 2 nights in September 2016 and earn an extra 35,000 IHG points.

My IHG Accelerate offer

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