March 15 2015

Delta Fredericton Hotel Review

This was my first-ever stay at a Delta Hotels and Resorts property and it might also prove to be my last. Shortly after my stay, it was announced the Canadian hotel chain would be acquired by Marriott International.

I haven’t heard whether Delta properties will be rebranded as Marriotts, but this particular property is fairly recently renovated so I’d be surprised to see it undergo a huge physical overhaul any time soon.

Overall I enjoyed the stay.

Exterior
Hotel exterior


The location

A city girl, I almost always prefer hotels in the city center. Walking strolling to restaurants and other services is more relaxing than driving/cabbing/public transiting, I think.

Unfortunately, the Delta’s location is just the opposite. There was a grand total of three eating options in walking distance: (1) the hotel’s own offerings – a restaurant, pub, and room service, (2) a 24-hour restaurant next door, and (3) a diner/convenience store across the street which closes at 7:00 pm on weeknights and earlier on weekends.

The rest of the surroundings is residential.

View from Room
View from my room

That said, it is not far from the city center so a taxi ride downtown is not expensive. I vaguely remember paying around $6 (Canadian) each way. And if you are coming with a car then the location is probably even less consequential.

Furthermore, the hotel’s setting – next to the Saint John River – is picturesque. I just don’t happen to have any pictures of it – sorry!

But here’s one (clearly not taken in winter) from the hotel’s website:

Photo from the hotel's website
Photo from the hotel’s website

In the middle of winter (it was -17°C the day of my stay) there wasn’t much opportunity to enjoy the adjacent trails and other outdoor activities, but I imagine it would be very nice in more agreeable weather. In fact, if I were reviewing the hotel after a summer stay this “location” section might sound totally different.

 

The room

Assessing décor is so subjective, but this particular hotel’s design is nicely aligned with my personal taste. Sleek and uncluttered – yet with just enough coziness to not feel sterile. But for the rustic-y twist, I might have described the décor here as W Hotels-esque.

Overall
My room

Having booked through a third party (Orbitz), I expected no special treatment. Indeed, I was given what I presume to be a basic room…with a view of the parking lot.

Nevertheless, I was happy with the room and perfectly comfortable in it. Square footage-wise it was not large, but being efficiently designed and functionally furnished it felt spacious.

The bathroom also afforded plenty of space, including a countertop that must have been 6 feet long.

Bathroom

The HVAC worked well (very important given the weather), a mini-fridge was included (albeit hard to find, concealed behind a drawer under the desk), and the desk area was well-equipped.

As one who needs to stay connected when traveling, I have a pet peeve about hotel rooms with insufficient power outlets. Worse yet when I have to crawl under a desk to reach the few outlets that are there.

No such problem in this room. There were plenty of outlets, including a power strip built into the desktop.

Plugs
“Smart desk” features

Internet was complimentary and the speed was decent (~12 Mbps when I tested), but I was dropped a handful of times which is always frustrating.

 

The service

I showed up well before noon while the hotel’s check-in time is 3:00 pm. Despite having made no prior request for early check in, I was cheerfully given a room immediately. The agent was very nice – and forthcoming with (non-hotel) dining and general suggestions.

Beyond check in, check out, and requesting a taxi, I had little interaction with the staff but I felt the service was overall friendly yet professional.

 

The amenities

The gym was clean and well equipped.

Gym

The gym overlooked the indoor pool, which had big windows and plenty of lounge chairs. Both the gym and pool were open 24 hours.

The pool, in turn, overlooked the grounds.

Pool
Indoor pool

The hotel’s website also shows an outdoor pool, but I’m sure it was snowed over at the time.

The lobby was also well done. Two stories high, it had the right balance of rustic, cozy, and luxurious. The type of look it’d expect in, say, an upscale ski resort property. (I think all that snow influenced my perception.)

Lobby
Lobby

There is also a business center upstairs.

 

Summary

But for the location, I enjoyed everything about this hotel.

I could have been happier with a room overlooking something other than the parking lot, but I did not expect anything beyond a base room. Normally I might have gently inquired about a complimentary upgrade (it never hurts to ask) but did not on this occasion as:

  • The alternative view would have been of the river, which at the time was blanketed in snow. I didn’t need to see any more snow at that point.
  • I had booked through a third party. That usually lowers you on the guest totem pole, reducing the chances of a free upgrade.
  • I paid a fraction of the normal rate to begin with and didn’t need to further feel as if I was robbing someone.
  • The rest of my time in Fredericton was spent at the Crowne Plaza, where I did have a river-view room (actually a suite, again for a fraction of the price; review here).

Cost: $25 (before tax) thanks to the Orbitz Cyber Monday offer.

Link to hotel website.

March 13 2015

1,000 Free Hilton HHonors Points & Complimentary Uber Ride in a Rolls-Royce

Happy Pi Day! (I know it’s actually tomorrow.) I hope everyone’s weekend is off to a great start.

Here are some deals for your weekend fix. 🙂

 

Easy 1,000 Hilton HHonors points

Free points don’t get much easier than this.

Hilton will eventually require members of its loyalty program to change from using a 4-digit PIN to a password.

They’re offering 1,000 points to members who make the change before March 25.

HHonors Banner Detail
Click to enlarge

Reset or create a password by:

  • Visiting www.HHonors.com/Login with your current username or HHonors number and existing password/PIN.
  • On the left-hand side, under the My Profile section, click “Personal Information.”
  • If you have a password, select “Change Password;” if you do not have a password, select “create username and password.”

I’m not much of a Hilton person these days but I still have a moderate amount of points in my account, so I take advantage of random opportunities like this to generate activity that resets the expiration clock on my points.

 

Free Uber ride in a Rolls-Royce

This weekend Uber is offering free rides in a Rolls-Royce in Los Angeles and New York City.

Uber RollsRoyce

The deal is pretty simple (instructions are found in the links above) but the catch is that there is limited availability and the coverage area is quite narrow.

In NYC rides are only available in Manhattan below 59th Street, and in LA the coverage map is as follows:

Uber RollsRoyce LA

I happen to be in one of the coverage areas tonight and fired up my Uber app to take advantage of this offer. But, alas, no Rolls-Royces were available nearby. So they’re not kidding about the limited availability. Better luck to others!

If you’re not already on Uber feel free to use my referral link, which currently gives $20 off your first ride.

 

March 1 2015

Get 20% and $25 off at Virgin America, Earn Miles via United Shopping App

Good evening – I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

A few quick notes for you…

 

Earn miles shopping through United’s MileagePlus X app

United’s newly-launched MileagePlus X app provides a way to earn miles for in-store shopping.

UA MileagePlus X app

The video is pretty clear, but to summarize:

  • Download the app.
  • Log in to your MileagePlus account. The app will sync your account with the payment cards stored in your united.com profile.
  • Search for participating stores (they should load automatically based on your location).
  • At the register, enter the total purchase price into the app to buy an electronic gift card for that amount, then show the app to the cashier to complete the purchase.

The process is a little more convoluted than I prefer since I like things as automated (i.e. brainless for me) as possible, but I shouldn’t complain about getting miles for buying stuff I’d have bought anyway.

One important consideration is you’re paying with a gift card (purchased on the spot through the app) – which is not the same thing as paying directly with a credit card.

Credit cards often provide warranties and other consumer protections not provided by gift cards. And if you return the merchandise you’ll likely be refunded in the form of a store credit.

 

Virgin America 10% or 20% off

If you’re still looking for spring break travel discounts, Virgin America is offering up to 20% off through today (March 1st).

VA 20 pref

Be sure to use promo code ESCAPE20 and note the 20% is valid for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday travel between March 6 and April 9, 2015.

Monday, Thursday, and Friday travel receive 10% off.

 

Virgin America $25 off $50+

Also from Virgin America, purchase a flight using Visa Checkout and earn $25 off a future flight.

VA Visa Checkout

Any credit card can be used with Visa Checkout, and if you don’t already have an account you can create one in the process.

Do note:

  • Offer is valid until March 15, 2015 or while supplies last.
  • The $25 discount (which should come by email in 1-2 weeks) must be redeemed by July 31, 2015 for travel flown by January 4, 2016.

Enjoy the remaining weekend!