June 20 2015

Crowne Plaza Fredericton – Lord Beaverbrook Hotel Review

In decades of hotel stays, I can remember only one other occasion when I intentionally did not tip housekeeping. (At times I have unintentionally omitted a tip.)

But let me start at the beginning.

I chose the Crowne Plaza for a stay spanning several nights as it was a PointBreaks property that happened to work with my travel plans. (PointBreaks, for those unfamiliar, is one of the best deals in hotel loyalty programs.)

The hotel exterior
The hotel exterior

 

The location

The location is perfect for this city girl – right in the city center and easily walkable to restaurants and visitor attractions.

The town’s main street (King Street) is a block away, Officers Square (with its beautiful public skating rink) is down the street, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is next door, and the Fredericton Playhouse is across the street.

The hotel is also set on the banks of the Saint John River, affording lovely views – even in the middle of winter:

View from my room
View from my room

 

The room

When a property describes itself as “historic,” that’s usually marketing code for “old.” The hotel may be historic in the traditional sense of the word, but it is also indeed historic in the marketing sense. However, its upkeep was good – albeit not impeccable.

Furnishings included a lot of dark wood. I’m not usually a fan of old-world design, but it works here. I wouldn’t expect a hip property at this location (that feels semi-remote, even if Fredericton is the capital of the province New Brunswick).

Room
My suite

I was given what the hotel described as a suite, although it was all one room so not a suite by definition. However, I typically prefer having everything in one room so the setup worked for me.

It was definitely spacious. I had a Jacuzzi Suite which, intuitively, had an in-room Jacuzzi tub.

The fireplace added much coziness to the room, especially during my winter stay.

Fireplace and sitting area
Fireplace and sitting area

The bed was very comfortable (if you like beds with soft fluffy mattress toppers).

I did notice the absence of an in-room safe. The guest booklet said they’re available at the front desk, but I never used them given the inconvenience that would have entailed.

 

The service

This was the hotel’s epic fail.

I generally like the service at Crowne Plazas – much friendlier and less stuffy than at the same chain’s luxury brand, InterContinental. Many of the staff here were great, but there are clearly bad apples and they unfortunately left a sour taste.

Internet was complimentary, but not reliable. It was also incorrectly described as “high speed” – I tested it several times and always got below 5 Mbps. I work when I travel so I’m sensitive to Internet functionality.

On a particularly bad Internet day – when it was completely out for several hours – I called the front desk. And the agent who answered basically told me to fix it myself.

I kid you not.

First she said maybe I’m using the wrong code. (Um…I did manage to graduate junior high. Besides, I couldn’t even get a signal to access the code-input page.) Then she said “you’re the third call I’ve had about this so let me give you the number of our Internet provider and they can help you figure it out.”

Yes, she told me to deal with the hotel’s outside Internet provider.

And since I’m the third call, shouldn’t that indicate the problem isn’t me?

After I said it is not my place to deal with the hotel’s contractors, to get rid of me she finally just said snapped “well then let me call you back.” (She never did.)

The worst part, though, was the housekeeping. OMG, the housekeeping.

On arrival, I found literally over a dozen hairs (that I am certain belonged to a stranger) on the bed. I picked off the first few but pulled back the sheets and kept seeing more and finally concluded the linens hadn’t been changed after the last guest. The lack of creasing on the sheets suggested the same.

Revolted, I picked up the phone and requested housekeeping, specifically telling the operator I was checked into a room with unchanged linens. She offered no apology; just a rote “I’ll send housekeeping right away.” (The “right away” turned out to be an exaggeration.)

The housekeeper came, took one look, and immediately acknowledged the linens hadn’t been changed. She said she didn’t service the room that day but would have a “private conversation” with her supervisor about it. Unlike the operator, she seemed sincerely apologetic, was (or at least acted) concerned about the situation, and thanked me for letting them know. She then changed the linens.

The next day a different housekeeper came. This housekeeper sniffled heavily the entire time and could barely speak. So, the person who made the bed I slept in and folded the towels I used was sick and possibly contagious.

I actually don’t blame the housekeeper; lots of people feel they need to work even when they’re not feeling well. However, I believe management should not have let her work in a guest-facing role that day given her obvious health condition.

Unfortunately the housekeeping issues only worsened. On yet another day, there were brown stains on the (supposedly newly-changed) sheets.

Not-chocolate stains on the sheets
Stained linens

I want to think it was chocolate.

But chocolate comes out in the wash, no?

If you’re a housekeeper and your job is to ensure guests have clean rooms, how do you miss a noticeably brown, dried-blood-like stain on white sheets? Either you overlooked the stain (in which case you’re incompetent) or saw it and used the sheet anyway (in which case you’re…let me find a polite word…indifferent?).

I mean, this is an upscale hotel. If there’s a big brown stain, take the sheet out of service! Even a mediocre hotel would do that (I hope). By now I was utterly disgusted, but in the end it is only a hotel stay so I just called down to have someone come change the sheets. Again.

End of rant. 🙂

 

The amenities

The indoor pool area had a saltwater pool, hot tub, and steam room. Though the area was mostly deserted when I took pictures, it was full of guests most evenings.

Pool area
Pool area

There’s also a small fitness room in the corner…

Gym
Fitness center

…and a business center whose printer came in handy as I had to work during my trip.

However, I think the hotel’s best attribute is its location – next to the river yet right in downtown. In winter the weather constrains river activities, but I’m sure in warmer weather the jogging path behind the hotel makes for a great amenity.

And I imagine the scenery would be stunning during Fall foliage season.

 

Summary

Overall, I’m ambivalent about this hotel. I did stay at another hotel – the Delta Fredericton – on this trip and had a much better experience in terms of service.

But the Crowne Plaza is best-located of all hotels in Fredericton. Despite its issues, for the location alone I might still stay here if I were in Fredericton again.

Upon checkout when I was asked how my stay was, I said I did have something to bring to a manager’s attention. The agent called a manager right away and when I conveyed my experiences about housekeeping she was (or at least acted) concerned and thanked me for letting her know. Hopefully they have addressed it by now.

Cost: 4,500 IHG points per night (5,000 PointBreaks rate minus a 10% rebate for holding the co-branded credit card). Since I value an IHG point at 0.7 cents, I equate the cost to $32/night.

Link to hotel website.

 

June 18 2015

Nice Hilton HHonors Promotion (But Short Fuse) – 5,000 Bonus Points for Any Stay

Evening, everyone.

This will be a short post but I thought it might be useful for those still making travel plans for 4th of July.

Hilton is offering 5,000 bonus points per stay at any hotel through July 6th. You must register prior to checkout (register here).

Though a short-lived offer, it’s a nice bonus rate – free nights start at 5,000 points so just from this promotion you’d earn enough for a free night.

Of course, those 5,000 point properties aren’t exactly the finest, but to evaluate this another way, I value a Hilton point at .4 cents so this works out to $20 in bonus points – not bad for a few seconds of your time to register.

Furthermore, the promotion stacks with Hilton’s current summer promotion, Double Your HHonors, so don’t neglect to register for that one as well.

 

Bonus deal

I previously wrote about one of the benefits of traveling with an external battery. If you could use one, Amazon currently has this 3000mAh external power bank for $5.99.

Power Bank

Note Amazon prices can change any time so double-check your cart before paying.

Have a great rest of the week. It’s almost Friday!

May 25 2015

Gift Card Sale – Save on Chevron/Texaco, Hyatt Hotels, and More

Just a quick post to share a good deal for your summer road trips.

But first, happy Memorial Day! I hope you’re having a wonderful day, but don’t forget the significance of the holiday and take a moment to remember the sacrifice of those who fought for our freedom.

eBay has nice discounts on a selection of gift cards. Here’s the full list:

eBay GC Event

There’s a $100 Chevron/Texaco gift card for $90. Shipping is free and there is a limit of 3 per buyer.

There’s also a $200 Hyatt Hotels gift card for $175. Shipping is also free and the limit is 2 per buyer.

Other participating cards are Sears, Cold Stone Creamery, Cabela’s, TGI Fridays, and GILT. The iTunes cards appear sold out at the moment, but if interested I would check again later in case they restock.

The seller, SVM, is a reputable eBay seller so it’s not as if you are buying from a random person on eBay.

For additional savings, enroll in the eBay Bucks loyalty program to earn 2% back. And if you previously managed to acquire discounted eBay gift cards, pay with those for further savings.

Finally, since gift cards are just a form of payment, they’re almost always combinable with store promotions as well.

Enjoy the remaining holiday weekend.

May 23 2015

1,500 Free Spirit Miles, New PointBreaks Round About to Open, and More Deals

Happy Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial start of summer!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend whether traveling or relaxing at home, but please don’t forget the significance of the holiday and take a moment to remember those who served.

 

Random deals

For fun, here are a few random deals:

  • Free smoothie at White Castle tomorrow.
  • Get a coupon code for $10 off an in-store purchase of $10 or more at JCPenney by texting “FB” to 527365. That signs you up for JCP text alerts, so if you don’t want the ongoing spam then text “STOP” after you’ve used the coupon.
  • Get a $20 rebate when you buy $300+ of Visa Gift Cards at Staples May 24-30. The gift cards have a purchase fee ($6.95 per $200 card) so the deal only nets $6.10 in profit (when buying two $200 cards). However, I pay with a Chase Ink card that earns 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, netting 2,069 points. I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so the points are worth $35.

Staples VGC

 

1,500 Free Spirit miles

For loyalists of Spirit Airlines, here’s an easy way to earn up to 1,500 Free Spirit miles by taking three quizzes for 500 miles each.

Answers are very intuitive – just remember Spirit is a discount airline – but you do have to get them correct to earn the points. You can always re-take the quiz if necessary 🙂

(If you are not a Spirit loyalist, I wouldn’t bother since Spirit miles expire after three months of inactivity.)

 

New set of PointBreaks hotels bookable on Monday

Just a heads-up, booking for the next round of IHG PointBreaks hotels will go live on Tuesday, May 26 for stays through July 31, 2015.

I consider PointBreaks one of the best deals in hotel loyalty programs, with hotel rooms available at the deeply discounted rate of 5,000 points per night.

I value an IHG point at 0.7 cents, so it’s like paying $35 a night. If you’re unfamiliar, I’ve described the program at length in prior posts (such as this one).

IC Nha Trang
The InterContinental Nha Trang – on the new PointBreaks list – is a steal at 5,000 points per night

Every time a new round is released, the desirable properties go quickly – in a matter of hours, if not sooner.

The discounted rate usually loads sometime between 8 to 10 AM Eastern on the day booking opens. However, the official PointBreaks page usually doesn’t display the new properties until the afternoon – by which time many desirable properties are gone. (If you go to that page before the new round is loaded, you’ll just see properties from the prior round still there.)

So here’s my strategy in advance of each new round:

  • Check out the preview list now and identify properties I’m interested in.
  • On the Eastern Time morning of the day booking opens (Tuesday, May 26 for this round), go to the webpage of each desired property (accessible from the preview list) and navigate to the booking page.
  • Find the 5,000-points-per-night-rate and book it! Again, the exact time the PointBreaks rate loads is unknown, but it’s usually between 8-10 AM EST. I just periodically refresh the page until it appears (I don’t sit there and stare at the page the whole time; I work on other things in another window).

Happy hunting!

 

May 3 2015

Kroger Promotion on Gift Cards – Up to 30% Off

With Mother’s Day approaching, many retailers are offering nice promotions on gift cards.

For example, the Kroger grocery chain – which includes Ralphs, Fred Meyer, and Harris Teeter, among others – currently offers the following through May 10th:

  • $10 off two GAP, GAP Options, Banana Republic and/or Old Navy Gift Cards
  • $20 Dominos gift card for $16
  • $5 off two $25 or more Bath & Body Works gift cards ($50 for $45)
  • $5 off two $25 or more Applebee’s gift cards ($50 for $45)
  • $15 off two $25 or more Groupon gift cards ($50 for $35)
  • $5 off two $25 or more Michael’s gift cards ($50 for $45)
  • $5 off Yankee Candle gift cards
  • $5 off one $25 or more Fandango gift card
  • $10 off two $25 or more Payless gift cards ($50 for $40)
  • $5 off two Aeropostale gift cards
  • $10 off two Carnival gift cards
  • $10 off two $25 or more Spafinder gift cards ($50 for $40)
  • $5 off one $25 or more Skype gift card ($25 for $20)
  • $10 off two Jiffy Lube gift cards totaling $50 or more ($100 for $90)

Aside from the Gap/Banana Republic offer (which can be combined with store promotions like Gap’s current 35% off + free shipping), the 30% discount on Groupon is particularly appealing.

Here’s how to maximize it on travel…

Buy Groupon gift cards at 30% off

This offer is only available in-store, and you must first load the digital coupon to your store loyalty account.

But none of that is out of my way as I need groceries anyway and it only takes a few seconds to load the coupon to my account (I do so through the Ralphs app).

Ralphs Groupon

The result is $50 worth of gift cards for $35.

Plus, Kroger is currently offering double fuel points on purchases made on weekends. (You earn 10 cents off per gallon of fuel for every $50 spent on gift cards.)

Your fuel savings depends on how much gas you buy, but for simplicity let’s value the fuel points at $1.

Use the gift cards to buy Groupon products

Groupon has thousands of items, from merchandise to spa treatments to restaurants to travel.

I’ve scored some great deals over the years (but it does take some “vetting” as not all offers are great).

Let’s analyze a hotel offer.

Since the Kroger offer is limited to $50 in gift cards (per loyalty account), buying a product right at the $50 price point maximizes our savings (percentage-wise).

Take this Hampton Inn & Suites in Center, Texas – it has standard king rooms from $50/night (click on the image to enlarge):

Groupon Hampton Inn
Click to enlarge

The price includes breakfast and a $5 Starbucks gift card. For simplicity let’s value the Starbucks card at par.

Groupon itself already sells discounted products, so we are just layering on more savings with the Kroger promo.

Ultimately, our net cost is $29/night ($35 gift card cost minus $1 fuel savings minus $5 Starbucks perk).

Not bad for a stay at a reputable hotel (Hampton Inn is part of the Hilton chain). Check out Groupon’s travel offerings and see if you fancy anything.

Caveats:

  • Most Groupon travel offers are non-refundable, so be sure of your plans before buying. Many (but not all) merchandise deals have free returns, however.
  • If you don’t need anything from Groupon immediately, just buy the gift cards now to lock in those savings. To spend them, wait until Groupon offers a percent-off discount. (They recently offered 20% off all beauty and spa deals, for example.)

Finally, if you don’t already have a Groupon account, do a friend a favor and sign up through his or her referral link. Unfortunately you don’t get anything for it, but the friend gets $10 if you make a purchase. Feel free to use mine. 🙂

Wishing you, as always, safe travels.

(Source: this Slickdeals thread.)

May 2 2015

1,000 Free Aadvantage Miles, Half Off Starbucks, Complimentary Wine Tasting, Free Museum Entrance, and JetBlue Signup Bonus

Happy weekend!

I’ve been cooped up all month thanks to work deadlines so I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend. Here are a few good travel (and non-travel) deals to consider…

 

1,000 free American Airlines Aadvantage miles

This one’s really easy:

  • Go here and type in your “dream destination”
  • Watch all six videos and answer a question after each video (you don’t have to get the correct answer)
  • Enter your account information at the end

I value AA miles at 1.6 cents each, so I view this as $16 for about two minutes of my time. (I didn’t count the time it takes to actually watch the videos since I just let them run in another window while doing other things, only coming back to answer the question after each video.)

Promotion ends June 12, 2015.

 

7,000-point JetBlue signup bonus

If you’re not already a member of JetBlue’s loyalty program, TrueBlue, the airline is offering a new-member promotion.

JetBlue signup bonus

To earn 7,000 bonus TrueBlue points, join and register here then book a trip and fly by June 18, 2015. (The flight can be one way or round trip.)

I value a TrueBlue point at 1.4 cents, so this equates to a $98 bonus. That’s a great deal, especially considering JetBlue flights start at $49. Playing your cards well, you can essentially extract 3 flights for the price of 1 with this promotion.

 

50% off Starbucks

Now through May 10, Starbucks is offering 50% off Frappuccino beverages from 3-5pm. (Members of the My Starbucks Rewards program get an extra hour – until 6pm.)

Sbux happy hour

To me 50% off starts to make Starbucks prices seem reasonable, but you can do even better by paying with a Starbucks gift card acquired at a discount. (There are currently no deals on that, to my knowledge, but past examples would be this and this.)

 

Complimentary wine tasting at Andaz West Hollywood

On May 13, Andaz West Hollywood is hosting a complimentary wine tasting from 6-8pm.

While not something I’d personally go out of my way for, I might stop by if it were right on my way.

 

Free museum admission this weekend

Finally, just a quick reminder that this weekend Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders are offered free admission to 150+ museums.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

April 21 2015

If You Don’t Ask, the Answer is “No”

I suspect this is a true concept in general, but I’ll just relate it to my travel experiences.

Many years ago I took my first grown-up trip – the first international trip without my parents.

In the infancy of my travel life, an eleven-hour flight from Los Angeles to London seemed really, really long. These days I have enough miles and points to “pay” for the comfort of a premium cabin. But at the time – long before my entry into the points and miles game – flying anything other than economy class wasn’t even in my frame of reference.

As it turned out, that flight was overbooked and they asked for volunteers to be bumped onto a later flight. In return, the airline would give monetary compensation (which is common) and an upgrade to first class on the later flight (less common but not unheard of).

I briefly considered volunteering, but the friend I was traveling with and I ultimately decided against it as we had plans on the other end we didn’t want to miss.

However, my friend chatted up the gate agent and jokingly said something to the effect of “we can’t volunteer for the later flight but we’ll happily volunteer to be bumped out of our coach seats into first class on this flight.”

VA Upper Class
Virgin Atlantic first class (or “Upper Class,” as they brand it)

The agent chuckled and left it at that. We returned to our seats and awaited boarding.

Right before boarding, we heard our names over the loudspeaker and were asked to present ourselves at the desk.

At the desk, the same agent asked us to hand over our boarding passes. She then printed us new boarding passes – for first class seats.

We were surprised (flabbergasted would be more accurate) but simply said thank you and booked it to the jetbridge. It was one of those times in life when you don’t ask questions; you just take your loot and run.

I never did find out why we were given the upgrade – a very generous upgrade at that, considering what a long flight it was – and literally cannot think of any reasonable explanation aside from the fact we simply asked. Neither of us had status with the airline; I doubt I even had a frequent flyer account with them at the time.

Now, this happened a loooong time ago. (So long, I don’t even have digital photos from the trip – hence the semi-random filler picture below 🙂 ). I cannot imagine it happening today, when upgrades are processed very procedurally – mostly by a computer, based on frequent flyer status and other non-subjective attributes.

u Liotru
u Liotru in Sicily

Nevertheless, it was an early lesson in the it-never-hurts-to-ask concept.

I don’t know if it’s fear of rejection, or perceived tackiness, or inherent meekness…but I think people oftentimes don’t speak up and ask enough. I suppose I’m the opposite (or have no shame), but I think taking 90 seconds out of my life to (politely and non-tackily) ask for a benefit is a good investment of time.

Even if I get shot down nine of ten times, 9 requests at 90 seconds each equates to losing a few minutes of my life. There is no risk (worst is someone says “no”) and high potential reward (retail price on a first-class flight from Los Angeles to London is several thousand dollars).

This morning I had another reminder.

I had booked a hotel room at a breakfast-inclusive rate. The cost was an incremental $10; easily justified by the convenience of being able to eat onsite before leaving for an early morning meeting.

I ended up running late and did not have time for breakfast. On the way out, I swung by the desk and told the agent I didn’t have opportunity to use my breakfast benefit and asked if I might have a refund.

I expected nothing (it’s not the hotel’s fault I ran late) but hoped for a $10 credit.

The agent tapped a few keys on his computer, saw that I had eaten dinner in the hotel restaurant the night before (evident because I charged it to the room to maximize earning points), and removed the dinner charge (which was much more than $10) from my bill. Well worth the minute out of my life that it took to ask.

Just a few examples of other benefits I commonly receive for the asking:

  • Early check in and late check out
  • Complimentary room upgrades when I have no status
  • Free Internet when it’s normally not free
  • Waived annual fees on credit cards that assess them

Yes, the asking part is kind of an art. But remember, the worst that can happen is someone says they can’t grant your request. (And when that happens, I don’t get upset. I simply thank them for trying and get on with my life.)

Wishing you, as always, safe travels.

 

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April 4 2015

$100 ExxonMobil Gift Card for $90

Happy Easter weekend!

Gas card deals seem popular around here so I thought I’d mention this offer that just popped up on my email.

eBay has $100 ExxonMobil gift cards on offer for $90. This is from a reputable seller (not a random person selling on eBay) and probably will sell out quickly so grab it soon if interested. Shipping is free.

Exxon Ebay

Enjoy the weekend.

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.