Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ramada Plaza Bourbon Street - New Orleans, Louisiana

Here's a good location for you all - Bourbon Street. BRGs like this don't come around often, so take advantage of it if you can.

Hotel Address: 541 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA 70130 US

Competitor Website: http://www.hotels.com

Availability: Beginning May 25th, through end of August

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: Standard Room

Rate variation: 20% off via Hotels.com's summer sale.

Special Comments: Many reported successful claims, but as always, YMMV.

Expedia 24 Hour Sale

Expedia has one of the most pathetic 24 hour sales I've yet seen. It's so bad, they're not even advertising it on their website. Expedia.ca is, though. Nevertheless, there was not one BRG opportunity this week.

I was hoping for the Wingate Orlando Airport. Maybe next week.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wyndham Nassau Resort - Nassau, Bahamas

Caution with this one: One reader reports his claim being denied. While the rates may be different, this might be defeated due to reports of the cancellation policies being different. Oh well, I tried. Don't expect much from me regarding Wyndhams - they give me headaches.

Hotel Address: West Bay Street, Cable Beach - Nassau, Bahamas

Competitor Website: http://www.orbitz.com

Availability: Many dates during Orbitz spring special (25% off)

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: Only two room types will work with this BRG. They are: "Casino / Hibiscus / Marlin Island View - 2 double bed or 1 king bed" or "Casino / Hibiscus / Marlin Ocean View - 2 double bed or 1 king bed"

Rate variation: $286.00 Wyndham Webrates, $171.56 Orbitz.com

Special Comments: Be careful - remember, you have to pay for the Wyndham rate upfront, and you won't be able to cancel. You're at the mercy of their interpretation of the terms and conditions.

Baymont Inn North - Columbus, Ohio

Here's one I found while perusing Expedia this evening. I haven't tested it, but it should work OK. Make a screenshot.

Hotel Address: 1100 Mediterranean Avenue, Columbus, OH 43229 US

Competitor Website: http://www.expedia.com

Availability: Through the end of August 2008.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: 1 King Bed or 1 Queen Bed Standard Rooms.

Rate variation: $69.00 TR, $53.10 Expedia.

Special Comments: No guarantees, but its worth a shot.

(Disappointing) Update on the Wyndham Situation

It seems there is something more to this story than meets the eye.

I've recieved emails from readers asserting "pshh, you can get claims approved on the cancellable Best Available Rates, what are you talking about?". They didn't further elaborate how or why. Based on this, I went to the Wyndham BRG website and saw them mention their "New WWW Guarantee". So, I instantly assumed something had changed (since their guarantee has been around for years and years).

In talking with one of my most trusted contributors, George, he's told me that he's heard of this happening, and that the claims were initially rejected but were processed on the second round. According to him, it largely depends on the agent involved. Your mileage may vary.

In any case, it doesn't hurt to try. But, I'm pretty sure that 1) Some people are screwing with my mind, and 2) The verified cases were mistakes on the part of the agents.

It looks like my announcement was made in haste and based on bum information. Let's be frank, I was pretty excited. I should have investigated further, but myself, I'd have probably not have done any claims for a couple of weeks, so I'm glad someone found out it's invalid when they did.

So, most disappointedly, we're back to square one. Wyndham BRGs must be the prepaid Webrates (or you must be a very lucky person and get a clueless agent).

Sorry to disappoint. I'm sad too.

Welcome to the new Best Rate Guarantee Blog

We've undergone some changes to our appearance here at the BRG Blog, now featuring a brand-new banner and style.

Let me know what you think of the new site

Also, I'm in need of a slogan. Your votes are appreciated (simply comment on this post, or email me):

1. Free Hotel Rooms Today And Forever
2. Free Hotel Rooms Today And, Well, Until They Discontinue It
3. Long Live Free Hotel Rooms
4. Free Hotel Rooms Every Day of the Year

Any other suggestions are appreciated

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Days Inn (Hard Rock Park) - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This one comes to us courtesy of both our east-coast expert George, and from Bruce. Bruce notes that this hotel is right across from the new Hard Rock Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach.

Hotel Address: 3650 Waccamaw Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC, 29579

Competitor Website: http://www.reservetravel.com

Availability: Sample date: June 13-14/08

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: King size, NS, handicap room

Rate variation: $114.00 TR, $106.88 Reservetravel (prepaid rates)

Special Comments: The rooms must be the prepaid type. They are labeled "Pre-Paid Internet Reservation - Promotional Rate Thank You For Choosing Days Inn". If your claim does not go through, you will be responsible for this reservation, it cannot be cancelled, and it must be prepaid.

Also, as a disclaimer, with these handicapped room types, I leave it up to you and your own conscience to decide whether or not to book it for yourself if you are not handicapped.

Wyndham Anaheim Park - Fullerton, California

Another one from George:

Hotel Address: 222 W. Houston Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832

Competitor Website: http://www.hotels.com

Availability: Most dates in summer 2008

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: Standard room

Rate variation: $80 Wyndham.com / $72.00 Hotels.com (non refundable) There are also cancellable rates that will work with Wyndham's new WWW Guarantee.

Special Comments: Many confirmed approvals. This is based on a limited time "summer sale" on Hotels.com, so hurry.

Howard Johnson Inn and Suites - Reseda, California

This one comes to us courtesy of George. Thanks, George.

Hotel Address: 7432 Reseda Blvd

Competitor Website: http://www.reservetravel.com

Availability: Mid-may and possibly many more dates.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: Suite, Non-Smoking 2 Room Suite With 1 King 32" LCD TV/Sofa Bed/Wireless High Speed Fridge/Coffee-Maker/Hair-Dryer
/Iron

Rate variation: $120 TR, $112.50 Reservetravel (example: May 15-16)

Special Comments: It HAS to be the "prepaid internet reservation" to get the free night. If you book the prepaid, you're stuck with it. You cannot cancel. So, make sure you're filling out your claim form properly, or you might end up paying full price for this room.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mother's Day BRG: Wingate by Wyndham - Savannah, Georgia

One of my readers, Bruce, tipped me off to a good deal for Mother's Day (and many other dates). It includes a hot breakfast. As Bruce suggests "take the wife out for a night and don't tell her how much you spent on her".

Hotel Address: 11 Gateway Blvd. East, Savannah GA

Competitor Website: http://www.expedia.com

Availability: Scattered dates in May - mainly Saturdays through Wednesdays.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: 1 King or 2 Double Beds

Rate variation: Example 5/10-5/11, TR $109.00, Expedia $87.20

Special Comments: Thanks, Bruce!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wyndham Resort - Palm Springs, California

This one was posted on Flyertalk earlier today. There is talk on Flyertalk that the rate is only available when booking multiple nights, but play around with the dates. I don't do Wyndhams as they're too risky and I have plenty of other resources to get free nights, but this is here for your convenience.

Remember, Wyndham Hotel claims require booking a non-refundable rate. Their claims process is different - you will need to claim via the http://www.wyndham.com website. It's a totally different staff and branch of the company than Triprewards.

Hotel Address: 888 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, California

Competitor Website: http://www.airfare.com

Availability: Late December.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: 2 Double beds standard room.

Rate variation: $71.29 airfare.com, $127 Wyndham.

Special Comments: Good luck

Expedia $10 off Coupon

Right now you can save $10.00 per night on an Expedia.com reservation.

Simply use the code "WELCOMEBACK03" and $10 will drop off of your room rate per night.


Days Inn SeaWorld/Airport - San Diego, California

I had been tipped off to this one by our friend George. Though, availability and room types have changed since then. So, I'm treating this one as a YMMV opportunity

Hotel Address: 3350 Rosecrans Street/I-8, San Diego, California

Competitor Website: http://www.tripres.com

Availability: Scattered weekends (ex. May 16-17)

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: "Suite" - the ambiguity might pose a problem here, but try anyways.

Rate variation: Tripres $96, TR $129

Special Comments: Not a bad location at all, if you can get it.

Rehashing some old posts: Tips to get your claims approved

A number of my readers have emailed me asking me somewhat basic questions that were ventured into back in January. I think it's time to refresh all your memories about the BRG process, and delve into some tips and tricks of how to get your claims approved.

Here they are, folks:

My first post: What is a BRG anyways?
(BRGs, defined)

Multiple Nights? Sure, why not?
(learn how to stay more than one night on a BRG and still follow the T&C's)

How to file a claim 101
(this one is an important read for those of you who have sent ME your claims - hehe)

Ten ways to get your claim denied
(Learn the biggest mistakes to avoid when filing a claim)


Enjoy, and comments are always appreciated.

Consolidator Sites Part One: Tripres.com

Over the next few weeks I'll be featuring posts describing my favorite consolidator sites. These are websites that have worked together with the hotels themselves to set out-of-the-ordinary rates, which are usually good stomping grounds for finding BRGs.

Most consolidator sites work with hotels only in the most popular of areas (the largest of cities and the major resort towns). Because of high competition, it's easy to find a variety of BRGs in the city you are interested in.

Today's feature is http://www.tripres.com. This site is great for finding BRGs. It specializes in Nevada, California, and Florida hotel rates. I've had many BRGs go through from leads from this site.

Give it a try today - you'll be surprised what you find.

Ramada Airport Woodlawn I-77 - Charlotte, North Carolina

Hotel Address: 212 W Woodlawn Rd, Charlotte, NC

Competitor Website: http://www.expedia.com

Availability: Through June 30, 2008.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: Std King, King w/bkfst, Dbl/Dbl, Exec King

Rate variation: All rates are 10% less on Expedia

Special Comments: Good if you're flying in/out of Charlotte this spring.

Days Inn Historic Center - St. Augustine, Florida

Here's one for anyone planning on visiting the historic city of St. Augustine this summer. Florida is sure the BRG hotspot lately...

Hotel Address: 1300 N Ponce de Leon Blvd, St. Augustine, Florida

Competitor Website: http://www.orbitz.com

Availability: Many dates available.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: 2 Double Beds room.

Rate variation: Around 10% cheaper on Orbitz.

Special Comments: Many confirmed approvals. This one's a sure thing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Travelodge Hotel - West Palm Beach, Florida

Hotel Address: 3651 Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, FL

Competitor Website: http://www.orbitz.com
Availability: Almost every date is available.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: 1 King Bed / 2 Doubles. Any room will work, pretty much.

Rate variation: Around 8% cheaper on Orbitz (eg. $73.74 OR, $79.00 TR)

Special Comments: Located right on I-4 north of West Palm Beach. Not really worth coming down for a vacation for, but good for one night's sleep.

Days Inn - Key West, Florida

Sorry for the delays, folks, I've been super busy planning a trip to Florida.

Hotel Address: 3852 N. Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL

Competitor Website: http://www.orbitz.com

Availability: Very limited availability. Scattered dates. Sample: May 26, 2008 Other dates appear as the same price as TR.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: 2 Double Beds Room

Rate variation: 5% less on Orbitz. Sample: $94.93 Orbitz, $99.99 TR.

Special Comments: Very good deal if you can get this one!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Days Inn 33rd Street - Orlando, Florida

Hotel Address: 2500 West 33rd Street

Competitor Website: www.expedia.com

Availability: Most dates are available.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: 2 Double Bed Pet Rooms / 1 Double Bed Handicapped rooms

Rate variation: 15% off on Expedia

Confirmed Approvals: Many (over 30)

Special Comments: Close to Universal Studios, other room types are not likely to work with this one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Featured Partner Blog: The Flying Critic

If you haven't yet visited The Flying Critic, one of the partner blogs here at The BRG Blog, I highly recommend doing so.

This blog is jam-packed with the latest in travel news, travel experiences, and travel deals - a great potpourri of descriptive, entertaining information. I visit this site often and I'm never tired of hearing what the author has to say. The author puts multimedia to good use, often featuring video clips and photos to describe things more clearly. I've found these contributions very useful in planning my own travel.

A very cool feature of The Flying Critic is the Daily Travel Photo - there are some breathtaking shots shared here. In addition to the excellent photography, the author keeps you up to date with the latest in airline deals, and often delves into the realm of hotels. It's updated daily, so you'll never have a lull between posts. And the best thing is that the posts actually MEAN SOMETHING, unlike many of the other thousands of travel blogs that are scattered across the internet. It's clean, to-the-point, and all-in-all, an excellent read.

Click here to visit The Flying Critic online. You will not be disappointed.

News and other housekeeping

Forgive me for my lack of BRG posting this week. It's not that I don't have any to post, it's that I have too many. It looks like my "call for BRGs" really did work. Thank you everyone for the 50+ emails I've recieved with (purported) BRG opportunities. I'll be confirming that they're still available, that they're error-proof, and that they're useful for the whole community, and as I do that, I'll post them. Don't be afraid to email me with your questions, they're well appreciated and I'm always here to help.

Now onto the matter of when exactly the next BRG opportunity will be posted. Out of respect for the claims department, I'm going to hold off on posting the reader contributions and anything I've found on my own until Friday or Saturday. I might post one or two before then, but posting 10+ BRG opps will inundate the claims staff to an unmanageable level, and I fear that that will only make things worse regarding the BRG's future. I'm going to wean myself off of posting lists of 6-8 different hotels at once (other than Expedia) since from what I understand, the claims staff are now working weekends to catch up with the influx of claims. While I want you to have free rooms, I want it to be manageable and not a headache for the claims staff. If they're working overtime to get the claims filed, we're seriously screwing them over, and that's not what this blog is about.

I'll be posting the Wednesday Expedia opportunities as per normal. For those who aren't yet aware, I post those (usually, don't hold me to it) at 2:00 AM Mountain Time on Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning. So, if you're up late, head to the website for an early peek. Again, please book what you need and nothing more. Don't book things just for the fun of it - I'm even guilty of that sometimes (ie. "Maybe I will go to Louisville in October, you never know"). If there's no chance of you going, let the claims staff have some rest and take it easy on them and don't claim :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Super 8 Motel - Victoria, British Columbia

Here's another one courtesy of George. He sent a few others, but I'm still verifying that they're indeed workable with the BRG. George, please contact me at bestrateguarantee@gmail.com, I have a few questions for you.

Hotel Address: 2915 Douglas St, Victoria BC

Competitor Website: http://www.expedia.ca or http://www.hotels.ca (MUST use Canadian sites, as the currency on Triprewards is CAD)

Availability: Through June 30, 2008

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: 2 Double beds (w or w/o micro/fridge), 1 Queen (w or w/o micro/fridge)

Rate variation: 10% less on the competing websites.

Special Comments: Looks like a sure bet. One of the better locations in Victoria.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wingate by Wyndham - Savannah, Georgia

Hotel Address: 11 Gateway Blvd E, Savannah, GA

Competitor Website: http://www.expedia.com

Availability: Through the end of May 2008

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: 2 Doubles (S or N/S) or 1 King (S or N/S)

Rate variation: $99.00 TR, $84.15 Expedia.

Special Comments: Ignore the "advance purchase rate" as this is not valid for the BRG (this is one case where their own rules make it easier for you to get a free room claim). Book on TR with the regular rate, claim against Expedia, and this should go through without any problems.

George comes to the rescue: 3 New BRG Opportunties

One of our readers, George, was kind enough to tip us off on three new BRG opportunities, all on the eastern seaboard.

Kudos to him, as I would have never found these on my own. You'd have to be really looking for these to notice them. That's why I need all of YOU to join in as a community and share your finds. The things I find are either very obvious (huge sale slashes, etc.) or I'm looking in detail to find rooms for my own travels.

Without further ado, here are the new BRG opportunities. Thanks George!

Ramada Plaza Resort - Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Sample dates: 9/20-9/21. Rate is $189.00 on Triprewards, $180.00 on Hotels.com for the oceanfront/gulf view room. George says he has got one room approved by the claim staff.

This one's not working for the spring, but a good pick for the early fall. Check your possible dates and see.

(Days) Inn at Ellis Square - Savannah, Georgia
(This one is now dead. Expedia now reflects the normal rates)

Ramada at the Beach - Virginia Beach, Virginia
(This one is now dead. Travelocity now reflects the normal rates)

In the Need for BRGs

The BRG Blog is a one-man operation, and searching endlessly comparing rates can get tiresome. If anyone has any contributions of a recent successful claim, please email me so I can post it. Things are slow this weekend on the BRG front.

I have one I'm sitting on , which I'll announce shortly. It's not too impressive, though, so no rush.

$1.00 Spirit Airlines Sale - Today Only!

Now I know this blog is supposed to be about hotel deals, but I hope you won't mind the occasional airline offer. This one's a truly good deal, and if you're lucky enough to get seats, you'll be glad you did.

The Spirit Airlines MILF Sale (many islands, low fares) is running today only with $1 base fares (plus taxes).

The routes are limited:

Fort Lauderdale - Orlando/Tampa/Nassau Bahamas/Freeport Bahamas
Orlando - Fort Lauderdale
Tampa - Fort Lauderdale
Nassau/Freeport - Fort Lauderdale

$2.00 round trip is a great deal to the Bahamas.

After tax, the Orlando - Fort Lauderdale run was around $22.00 round-trip, and the Fort Lauderdale-Bahamas runs were around $100 round-trip.

Still, not bad prices, especially for this time of year.

Bookings can be made through mid-May. Select dates only.

Visit Spirit Airlines MILF Sale page for more info.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Priority Club POINTBREAKS Hotels - Updated List

Well, just a few days after my original post, the Pointbreaks list of hotels was updated. Looks like I spoke too soon. The good news is there are several great picks this time around.

For those who missed my last post, Priority Club Pointbreaks is a great way to avoid spending too much money on high-end hotels. Instead of the usual 10,000 points or more, these hotels are going for 5000 points until June 9, 2008 (but can possibly be booked beyond then). Priority Club is the frequent guest program of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, which includes Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, and more.

Don't collect Priority Club Points? Don't fret - you can simply open an account and buy 5000 points for just $50.00. This is much, much cheaper than the going rates at most of these properties - some of these are $200 or more if you booked on a site like Expedia.

Click here to see the list

Canadian readers can redeem around 700 AirMiles Reward Miles for 10,000 Priority Club points.

Here are the best choices I saw. Hurry, as availability is limited:

USA:
Holiday Inn Rocky Mountain National Park - Estes Park, Colorado
Hotel Indigo Boston/Newton - Boston, Massachusetts
Hotel Indigo Downtown Dallas - Dallas, Texas
Crowne Plaza Hotel Paramas NJ - New York City area
Crowne Plaza Hotel St. Louis Airport - St. Louis, Missouri
Crowne Plaza Hotel Billings - Billings, Montana

CANADA:
Staybridge Suites Toronto Pearson Airport - Toronto, Ontario
Holiday Inn Sherwood Park - Edmonton, Alberta

EUROPE:
Holiday Inn Express - Baden Baden, Germany
Holiday Inn - Brno, Czech Republic
Crowne Plaza Moscow World Trade Center - Moscow, Russia
Holiday Inn Express - Hull, England

MEXICO/SOUTH AMERICA:
Crowne Plaza Monterrey - Monterrey, Mexico
Holiday Inn Centro Historico - Veracruz, Mexico
Crowne Plaza Curitiba - Curitiba, Brazil
Holiday Inn Rosario - Rosario, Argentina

ASIA/OCEANIA/AFRICA:
Crowne Plaza Hotel - Kobe, Japan
Holiday Inn Downtown Dubai - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Holiday Inn Kuwait - Kuwait City, Kuwait
Crowne Plaza Amman - Amman, Jordan
Crowne Plaza Port Moresby - Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Holiday Inn Darwin - Darwin, Australia
Crowne Plaza Auckland - Auckland, New Zealand

Complaint Letters and Claim Etiquette

I recieved a rather interesting letter yesterday from a concerned reader, who purportedly was in a conversation with some of the BRG claims staff. He reports that many of the claims staff are overwhelmed by the number of claims they are receiving, and that some of the staff were in tears because of harassing and violent phone calls from individuals who were unfamiliar with the claims process and the terms and conditions of the BRG. Some of these individuals are reportedly threatening lawsuits if their claims are not approved.

I know many people on the internet see the announcements of this blog on the net, quickly check out the details, and muddle through their claims, only to be rejected because they don't know how to file a claim. They don't know the rules. Most of you do, thankfully, but there are a lot of emails I get daily asking me the simplest of questions (ie. are these rooms really free or is it a scam, how do you know I wont be charged, will you guarantee it?, would 2 queens be the same as 2 doubles because its still 2 beds, etc etc). Please, please, read the first few entries of this blog (mid January) and LEARN before you claim.

Here are my suggestions, which I expect all my readers to abide by:

1) Be NICE to Triprewards staff members. Friendliness makes everyone happy.
2) Don't demand anything, anytime. They have their rules, so follow them and don't make up your own rules.
3) Don't overdo your claims. If you know you're not going to use a room, why book it?
4) Can't use a room you booked? Cancel it. Don't screw the hotel over because you changed your mind. They'll keep that room available and not be able to sell it.
5) Give them time. If they don't answer within 4 hours, just chill. Wait until the end of the day, and then resubmit your claim or make a courtesy call. Never yell at them, you'll be blacklisted and screw yourself over for life.


If any of my readers are being threatening on the phone with BRG staff, shame on you. They're all mostly young women in their early 20's who don't deserve to be yelled at because you filed your claims wrong. All they do is follow a set of terms and conditions which are easily found on the internet. Read these. Read the posts about claims early in this blog. Follow the rules. If you do this, your claims will be approved. Don't expect an invalid claim to be approved - these people play by the book. If you are claiming lawsuits, that is just pathetic, and have fun in court trying to convince the judge that they NEED to give you a free room. They don't need to give you anything. They have covered their butts with the clause that claims must be filed "to their own satisfaction" - that's the BRG staff's satisfaction, not yours.

Get rid of the "us against them" mindset. This blog is not about sticking it to the Man and screwing Triprewards over as much as we can. This blog is a simple notification tool about rooms that can be issued for free, but by no means am I trying to screw a company over. It's their guarantee, I didn't offer myself the free rooms, they did. I just know how to get them. They can pull the guarantee at any time, and when they do, I won't be angry with them - I'll be thankful that a company actually kept their word and did give us free rooms for finding a rate lower than theirs. So, I plead to you, don't book more than you need, and cancel rooms you won't be using.

Days Inn - Traverse City, Michigan

This opportunity was listed yesterday on Flyertalk and today by The Frugal Travel Guy. This is a perfect opportunity to check out some of the nation's biggest festivals mid-summer.


Hotel Address: 420 Munson Ave, Traverse City, Michigan

Competitor Website: http://www.travelocity.com

Availability: Many dates. Available during National Cherry Festival and Blue Angels show. Sample dates: July 4-5, 2008.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: Standard with 2 Double Beds, Non Smoking

Rate variation: 1 CENT: $179.99 Triprewards, $179.98 Travelocity

Confirmed Approvals (Approver if known): Many confirmed.

Special Comments: This one will be fixed in a hurry. If you can use this, go for it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Expedia 24-hour sale BRG opportunities for this week!

It's Wednesday, which means new Expedia 24 hour sale opportunities.

In reality, it's slim pickings this week, with one GEM.

Here's the catch for April 16th, 2008. All pricing examples are using May 7-8 as the stay date:

Days Inn East - Cincinnati area
(available through the end of schedule. Exp $40.50, TR $44.99)

Days Inn Montreal Downtown
(this is the GEM of the week. Right on Rue St. Catherine in downtown Montreal, in the heart of EVERYTHING. One of the best locations I've seen for BRGs. Exp.ca $84, TR $112. Available through MAY 31 only.)

Travelodge Sacramento
(far from glamorous, but it gets the job done. 12 miles east of downtown. Exp $44, TR $60. Available through end of schedule.)

That's all, folks.

Some of you may have seen the Wyndham Orlando. This will not work because the exact bedding type is not stated. So, hold off on the emails announcing this one to me.

Here are some excellent deals, though, that we thought were worth a mention: (even if you have to pay for them)

Shanghai, China hotels - several 3 1/2 star properties from only $40.00 per night.

Apartamentos Costa Tropical Fuerteventura, Spain $34.00 per night - great property if visiting the Mediterranean this summer.

Tahoe Inn Lake Tahoe, California $31.00. Sure, hotels here are a dime a dozen, but its spring and what a better time to take a trip to the lake.

Aquarius Casino Resort or Harrah's Casino in Laughlin, Nevada $22.00 and $28.00 per night, respectively. Casinos dont' come much cheaper than this. I've been to Laughlin and didn't mind it too much (I didn't like it too much, either), but at these prices who cares if there's anything to like.

Sand Dollar Inn - Monterey, California $75 per night with Fireplace. Great little room at this seaside hotel, right next to Fisherman's Wharf on the Monterey peninsula. A great time of year to visit, too - down 30% from usual prices.

Enjoy the deals!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Orbitz.com Coupon Code List - Save Big Bucks!!!

Today on the blog, I thought I'd highlight some of the excellent deals and coupon codes currently offered on Orbitz.com.

Orbitz is famous for providing these excellent deals every so often. Two times last year a $200 off any 5 night international stay coupon was offered. This took $200 off the price, no questions asked. I took full advantage of this. Rooms in Arequipa, Peru and Puno, Peru were around $35 per night plus taxes. After tax, they were around $45 per night. $45 x 5 nights = $225.00. After savings, I paid just $25.00 for a 5 night stay.

I had similar luck in Quito, Ecuador. Rooms here were around $52 including tax - after savings, I paid only $60 for a 5 night stay in a three star downtown hotel.

That particular code isn't on offer right now (it's by far the best code). Right now, though, there are a couple that will save you money if you haven't been very lucky with your BRGs:

Orbitz 7 Day Sale - Save 20% off all hotel rooms: Code SEVENDAYSALE2

Sadly, this can't be done to get free rooms all this week on Triprewards, since it is not a "published rate" but a special coupon code. But, it will knock 20% off all rooms as long as you book before April 20th and complete your stay before August 31st.

Save $200 on a 4+ night flight+hotel package to Puerto Rico: Code ORBPR200

This one is great for those wanting to head to San Juan this summer. From places like Miami, this is a very good deal. Book by April 30 for travel between May 1 - July 31.

Save $150 on 5+ night flight+hotel family vacations: Code 150FAMILY

Great for Caribbean travel. Can also be used to places like San Diego, Orlando, Hawaii, The Bahamas, and most major cities in the USA. From FLL or MIA, this will cover most of the airfare (for one person) to places like the Bahamas. Just book by April 28 for travel by May 30.

Save $50 on a 3+ night flight+hotel package to Las Vegas: Code 50LVORBITZ
Not the best deal I've ever seen, but if you're going there, why not. Book by April 20, and travel between March 24 and August 31.

$200 off 4+ night flight+hotel packages to Grand Bahama. Code GBIPACKAGE200

This one's great if you live in Florida and can get to the Bahamas cheaply. Book by April 22, 2008 for travel by September 1, 2008.

Various coupons that are Gay-targeted, but which are open to everyone to use:

I am by no means gay, and if you're not either, these coupons won't mind. They're open to everyone, and provide good discounts (hotel check-in staff cannot see any coupons you've used on Orbitz, so no need to be bashful).

INTLGAY1 will take $200 off a 5+ night hotel+flight package to International destinations. Book between March 3 and May 4, for travel through July 31, 2008.

INTLGAY2 will take $75 off 3+ night hotel (or hotel+flight) to International destinations. Book between March 3 and May 4, for travel through July 31, 2008. This is the best coupon on Orbitz right now, especially for places like Thailand. Find a hotel for around $25 per night (usually the minimum price), book three nights, and you'll stay free.

GAYDAYS100 or GAYDAYS50 will take $100 off 5+ night hotel (or hotel+flight) or $50 off 3+ night hotel (or hotel+flight) in Chicago, Illinois or Orlando, Florida. Book by May 31 for travel from May 22 through June 10. The $100 off 5 nights in Orlando could be especially lucrative, where hotels can be found as low as $26.00 per night.


Enjoy the coupons. I've provided a link to Orbitz.com directly above this post, so feel free to tinker with the codes - but hurry - in the cheapest locations, hotels will fill up quickly (as I learned the hard way in Cambodia last fall).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Northwest Airlines is no more...

Well, it's official. Northwest Airlines is no more. It was just announced a couple of hours ago that Delta Airlines is buying NWA and merging to become the world's largest airline, operating under the Delta name.

The experts are saying this turn of events will be sure to raise already high airline fares.

I'm glad the merger finally happened. Hopefully the new Delta will be bigger and better than ever before.

For info on the merger, visit CNN's article

Update:

It appears they even have a publicity website up-and-running:

http://www.newglobalairline.com/

Sunday, April 13, 2008

San Antonio, TX Bonanza: Tons of free night opportunities

The following San Antonio, TX BRGs are available for most dates in spring 2008:

Howard Johnson Inn & Suites San Antonio (Expedia)

Super 8 San Antonio/I-35 North (Expedia)

Super 8 Motel - San Antonio/AT&T Center/Coliseum Area (Orbitz)

Super 8 Motel - San Antonio / Near Seaworld (Orbitz)

This is a great chance for anyone to get away for a weekend (or
more!), visit the Alamo and the Riverwalk, and check out one of Texas'
nicest cities. This is one of the best slew of BRG opportunities I've
ever seen - you can alternate these rooms as you wish.

Dates are all over the calendar - some can be booked all the way out
til December or further.

PLEASE ONLY BOOK WHAT YOU NEED. Abuse will only lead to the end of the BRG program.

-Enjoy!

p.s

For those who may have missed my blog announcement, Ebates is a program that pays you CASH back on all online purchases. It's headache-free, the payments actually DO come, and it's a great little program. Right now, you can get $10.00 absolutely free to start out with by joining through the link below. Simply sign up and $10.00 will be available in your account immediately (you are able to cash this out after your first purchase - even a $0.99 Itunes track will do). This is one of the best programs on the net - join today. Not only will you be earning $10 and saving money shopping online, but it's also a great way to show your support of the BRG Blog. Thanks for joining though this link.

The secret lives of Lonely Planet Guidebooks

I found this story quite funny. I love these books and they are my only authority while travelling, but after reading this story on CNN, perhaps they shouldn't be...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TRAVEL/04/13/lonely.planet/index.html

Delta-Northwest merger said to be "close"

Today it was announced that a merger between Northwest and Delta is "close".

Find the story here

Looks like my hunch last week was correct.

If this happens, it would create one of the strongest airlines in the World.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Rebates: Cutting the cost of travel one click at a time

For any budget traveler, keeping costs down is important. One of the best ways to do this is via an online Rebate site. There are a bunch out there - they pay you cash, points to redeem for gift cards and other gifts, and more goodies. But which are worth your time, and which aren't? Here I list some of my favorites, along with their sign-up bonuses and my experiences with them.

For those of you who are skeptical and haven't gotten the passion yet for these sites, let me assure you, once you receive your first payment you will be made a believer. By using them properly, you can save up to 10% on every purchase (and stack coupons to save even more).

Ebates.com
Ebates.com is a well-established rebate site with a ton of merchants, and usually have some exclusive coupons. Each day, one of the sites receives double the cash back. I was skeptical when I signed up for this site back in December that they'd actually send me the sign-up bonus. It took around 3 weeks, but I did eventually receive it and redeemed towards Seinfeld season 9 :) This site has paid me over $120.00 since joining. One lucrative part is the $3.00 per Orbitz car rental - this really adds up, especially if you do multiple one-day rentals. They pay via check (snail mail) or Paypal (on the 15th of Feb, May, Aug, Oct).

Click here to join Ebates.com, and you'll receive $5.00 cash or a $10.00 gift card after your first purchase (even a $0.99 Itunes track will do). I highly encourage everyone to join, it's a great program, and by allowing me to refer you you're supporting this blog in the process.

And as our friend Janis noted a while back, if you book your Wyndham rooms through Ebates, you'll recieve $5.00 cash back - that's even on FREE

Mr. Rebates.com

Mr. Rebates isn't as good as Ebates, with a more limited selection of stores, but its still worth checking out for the introductory bonus alone. By joining Mr. Rebates, you'll receive $2.50 after your first purchase. The site has a few stores that Ebates doesn't, and some of the payouts are higher (Orbitz car rental is $4.00 on here).

Mr. Rebates have paid me in full, through Paypal, without much ado.

Great Canadian Rebates

For my Canadian readers, this is the site to go to for Canadian merchants. I've learned to love this site for all of my purchases at Canadian retailers. I used to try to get rebates or airline miles for Best Buy purchases, but the American sites would never credit for the Canadian Best Buy purchase. This no longer is an issue, thanks to Great Canadian Rebates. Join through this link. By joining, you'll recieve $2.00 to start. One of the best offers is the $7.00 rebate for trying Zip.ca (Canada's version of Netflix). I joined for the two week trial in January, recieved the $7, cancelled after trial, and they haven't bothered me since - not even through email. Good ethics over at that company.


Those are the only ones I frequent, really. Let me know if you have a favorite I might not know about!

Priority Club PointBreaks opportunities, the AVIS Delta promotion, and what's to come this weekend...

Priority Club Pointbreaks:

Pointbreaks is an ongoing promotion through Intercontinental hotels (Holiday Inn, etc) - these are heavily discounted hotel rooms (only 5,000 points per night). The lowest category of hotels start at 10,000 points, so this is an unbelievable opportunity. Don't collect points? You don't need to - you can buy 5,000 points for only $50.00, which is much less than some of these properties are actually worth, as Gary Leff points out in a recent blog article.

Here are some of the best opportunities right now:

Crowne Plaza Nuevo Laredo, Mexico (any Texan looking to party for the weekend in comfort)
Holiday Inn Garden Court/Expo - Brussels, Belgium (good deal for central Europe!)
Holiday Inn Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (this is the famed 'journalist hotel')
Crowne Plaza Resort - Petra, Jordan (anyone looking to visit the holy land will want this one)
Holiday Inn Suva, Fiji (you don't often see discounted hotels in the tropics)
Holiday Inn Cody, Wyoming (this is perfect for Yellowstone N.P. visitors)
Holiday Inn Oneonta/Cooperstown, NY (perfect for overnight when visiting Baseball hall of fame)
Holiday Inn Express Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (hotels are NEVER cheap in the land of Anne of Green Gables)
Holiday Inn Express Rocky Mountain House, Alberta (perfect for a visit to the Canadian Rockies this summer)

Tons and tons more - give the page a look!


The AVIS 5000 mile Delta bonus:

My buddy Rick over at FrugalTravelGuy recently listed this excellent promotion. Visit his blog, you'll be stunned by the many ways to travel on the cheap, some of which you probably didn't even know existed.

Avis is giving away 5,000 bonus Delta Skymiles per rental (one day is OK). This comes after the Budget 5000 bonus last month. You can get up to 15,000 miles during this promotion - over half of a round-trip ticket anywhere in the USA or Canada. Given that car rentals might be as low as $8.00 per day in your area, you may be able to get half of a ticket for only $24.00. Depending on how you use the ticket, it can be worth almost nothing to over $1,000 (think rural Alaska).

You can join Delta Skymiles here, and find out about the AVIS promotion here.


Excellent BRG Opportunity this weekend:

This opportunity is too good to pass up, that's why I'm not posting it tonight. Triprewards has been quick to change rates recently, and I want you all to have the opportunity to score this hotel for yourselves without the hassle of having to try to beg them with screenshots. So, Sunday evening, I'll post two hotels in the same major city, so you can have your claims in for Monday morning.

These rare alternating BRG opportunities are excellent. It looks like I'm going on vacation soon (two week stay courtesy of Triprewards, anyone?)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

TODAY ONLY - Expedia 24 hour sale opportunities.

Here are the Expedia opportunities for this week. Some repeats, but some great finds:

Wingate by Wyndham - Schaumburg / Convention Center (Chicago, IL area)
Days Inn Hurstbourne/Louisville East (Louisville, KY area)
Super 8 Motel Verona Madison (Madison, WI area)
Days Hotel - Hotel Circle (San Diego, CA area)
Ramada Savannah I 95 Gateway (Savannah, GA area)
Ramada Morgan Hill (Silicon Valley, CA area)
Ramada Surrey (Vancouver, BC area)


All rates have been verified as cheaper than Triprewards for dates in late April. YMMV for other dates, but try. These Expedia 24 hour sale opportunities are usually only good for a couple months out, from which normal prices will be in effect.

Screenshots are a MUST. Triprewards staff have been known to put off processing of these until tomorrow, when they will say "the rate does not appear on the competitor site". They'll be correct, as Expedia will change these rates this evening.

Some users are reporting problems with Days Inn San Diego - it seems dates are limited. As of the timestamp on this post, it IS working on Triprewards for April 22, so it has NOT been pulled - look around for dates that are working, and you'll get this BRG.

Wondering why others have been spending the morning booking these BRGs and you haven't? Wonder no more - simply add your email on the right sidebar for a two hour minimum head start.

Best of luck!

15% off all Choice Hotels stays - Ongoing promotion

Today, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite, ongoing discount codes. This particular one is for Choice Hotels International (Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion Inn, Rodeway Inn, Econo Lodge, etc etc).

It's a little-known fact that everyone - fans, players, parents, and the general public - can use the Little League Baseball corporate code on all of their bookings, to immediately save 15% off all rates on choicehotels.com.

The information is here.

The best part of this code is that a portion of your stay goes right back to support Little League Baseball, giving a nice discount for yourself, as well as supporting sports in your local community.

There's also a code for fans of LPGA golf. Though, personally, I'd rather support Little League Baseball.

And don't worry, you'll still recieve your Choice hotels points or airline miles on these rates.

Enjoy!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Reader Email: Why are my BRG requests being denied?

Hi everyone,
Thrilled to find this group: the BRG is an amazing way of getting free accomodation. I have used it in the US as well as in the UK. But I have had problems when comparing to websites with pre-paid rates, such as Expedia. Triprewards Best Rates are not pre paid, and that´s been a reason to neglect my claims. What´s your experience about this?
--Markus, Sweden

------------------------------

Hi Marcus, thanks for the message,

Almost 100% of BRG opportunities are through Expedia, Travelocity, and other prepaid sites. If a rate is not prepaid, it is most often through the hotel itself, which is usually the same price as Triprewards is. The prepaid rates are rates that have been negotiated by websites with the hotel themselves - the hotel does not set those rates and cannot change them.

I think the BRG staff may just be giving you a hard time, or you may be making an error in your claim forms. I'd need to know the exact error they're giving you to help you out further, but the website should not be an issue whatsoever, unless you are using Skoosh or one of the prepaid voucher sites (where a printed voucher is generated and you must take this to the hotel to check in). For more info about that, see my rant on Skoosh back in January.

Please read some of the earlier posts of this blog to learn how to maximize the chances of success with your BRG claims.

If you have any more questions, we're always here to help.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Two hour advance notice (deals only) for email subscribers

As many of you may have heard, TravelGlitch.com has offered advance notice to its email subscribers (which uses Google Groups, like my blog). He's charging $25.00 for this "service".

My competitive spirit won't allow such a slap in the face to those looking for a deal. At The BRG Blog, we now offer an advance notification service free of charge. You aren't a money-making tool to me, you're a valued reader whom I love to help save money. Because I'm sick of the way TravelGlitch treats its readers like customers, I decided to do this small attempt at oneupmanship.

So, all subscribers to the BRG Blog email list will receive at least a two hour notification before a deal is posted online. I won't do advance notice for blog entries that aren't about specific BRG deals - such as posts like this, or my previous one about the Screenshot site.

And it goes without saying, your email will not be sold. Ever.

How do you subscribe? Enter your details on the sidebar.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Three airlines fold within 3 days of each other - a sign of the times?

It seems the U.S economic condition has worsened to the point that three airlines have decided to call it quits, right at the end of the second quarter, within the same 72 hour period. Now that's shocking.

Aloha Airlines was the first contender. This airline was in business for 61 YEARS. That's a long time. Bratty Mesa Airlines's GO! came onto the scene a couple of years ago, causing many headaches to "mom and pop" airlines like Aloha. They just couldn't keep up. One thing is for certain now - we probably won't be seeing $29 interisland fares anymore. While I doubt Hawaiian is going to fall anytime soon, they'll have to work hard to keep Go! from taking Aloha's share of business and keep their spot as Hawaii's most prominent airline.

Then, ATA called it quits. This Southwest Airlines partner was never a favorite of mine, and I can't say I didn't see this coming. While their fares were decently low, I only heard terrible things about the airline, and thus avoided it (much like I do with Southwest). With all the airlines heading over to Hawaii, I don't put my faith in the media's assertion that ATA's demise will raise Hawaii fares that drastically. Sure, it will be hard for fare wars to begin once there aren't as many players as before, but I never really considered ATA a major airline to Hawaii anyways (even if most of their schedules went there).

Then suddenly, right before midnight today, cheapie Skybus called it quits. I was excited at the prospect of $10 tickets when they served Bellingham, WA, but since they pulled out in January, I've largely ignored this airline. All flights were via Columbus, and to get anywhere else, you'd need to buy two tickets. This airline's main problem was serving small rural airports that were very inconvenient from the city's they supposedly served (ie. calling Portsmouth, New Hampshire "Boston", and Biloxi, Mississippi "New Orleans"). Not to say I wouldn't fly them for $10, but I wouldn't ever, ever pay their rack rates of $50 - $150 depending on route - sacrificing frequent flyer miles to save a few bucks is insulting.

So, what's the point of all this blather? These bankruptcies may be a sign of things to come.

As the U.S. economy worsens, with rising oil prices and high American unemployment, airlines are beginning to suffer. Right now, I am glad to be an Albertan, as the economy here is hotter than ever and unemployment is almost zero, but I feel for my American neighbors, who seem to have traded places economically with Canada in recent years. The US economy's health affects the entire world, especially the airline industry. Let's hope the US does not enter any further into recession, or travelling will become increasingly difficult.

What comes next? Northwest Airlines just announced they are freezing employment (aka not hiring any new workers), will add a host of service charges for extra bags, and will cut many domestic routes this year. This is the airline I think will either fold very soon, or will merge with Delta Airlines. Be wary about hoarding NWA World perks Miles in your account, and hoarding miles for ANY airline, in general. Make haste to get your award tickets booked sooner rather than later. You NEVER KNOW what may come, even overnight, as we can see with these three airlines folding.

Be warned, and let's hope I'm just a pessimist.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Expedia's 24 Hour Sale: TODAY ONLY SUBMIT YOUR CLAIMS OR GET SCREENSHOT TONIGHT!

Well, folks, Expedia's 24 Hour Sale is back. Here are a list of some of the opportunities you can possibly get today. I can't verify it they will work for you, as by the time my claims are answered, they'll be gone. But here's what I can see that will probably work:

Wingate Hotel Schaumburg/Convention Center (Chicago, Illinois suburbs)
Example: April 16-17. Expedia: $118.15, Triprewards $139.00. Looks GOOD.

Ramada Savannah, Georgia I-95
Example: April 16-17. Expedia $56.00, Triprewards $79.99
Note that there are two same descriptions on Expedia - this may not work - try submitting a screenshot for one of the two (cheaper), but expect the run-around for this one.

Ramada Surrey/Langley (Vancouver, British Columbia suburbs - just miles north of I-5)
Example: April 16-17. Expedia $92.65, Triprewards $109.00. This one looks GOOD.


Possibly many other dates - play around. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Travelodge LAX South has CHANGED!!!

The unthinkable has happened. Perhaps I didn't knock on wood as I should have, but this deal is no longer going to work. It seems it took a year, but Travelodge LAX South has finally smartened up to this deal and has created a 14 day advance of its own, with no prepay, thus thwarting the deal. This change is NEW, so pardon my ignorance - I just did a BRG claim a week ago. They must have changed it in the past five days or so.

The good news: It's still available for the 24 hour method I listed. So, if you can work last minute, try it out for a free room.

I'm not happy at all.

Thanks to "d" for pointing this out. Often I'm lazy and will just assume Triprewards hasn't changed anything (even more lazy in this case since they have never, ever changed rates for this hotel in the past, and I just assumed they wouldn't have). I'll try to refrain from posting incorrect information in the future. Sorry to anyone whose hopes I had heightened.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's still around - LAX Travelodge South - Los Angeles, California

This one comes and goes, but it is generally one of the best BRG opportunities in the country in terms of availability. I've only missed a couple dates I've needed, otherwise this one is always around.

The key here are two sales Expedia has for this property. One is the "Early Booking Bonus", where you must book between 14 and 30 days out, in order to get it to price at 20% less than Triprewards. The other is the last minute sale - it's always discounted 24 hours prior to check in. The only cases where this one will not work for you is if you require it between 1 and 14 days after booking.

This is generally a good hotel - no frills by any means, but a good basecamp for exploring LA, and right next to the airport. There isn't much airport noise, which means a good night's sleep isn't hard to get. Breakfast is included, and the staff are usually quite friendly. It's in the process of being remodeled, but there is not much noise to complain about. The property keeps getting better every time I visit in terms of looks, comfort, and agreeableness. Limo service is included from the airport (private car hire).

Without further ado, here are the details, once again:

Competitor Website: http://www.expedia.com

Availability: Within 24 hours or between 14-30 days from today.

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Details: One Queen, Two Doubles, or One King. I find the King to be the most comfortable.

Rate variation: 20% less on Expedia if you follow the above rules.

Confirmed Approvals (Approver if known): At least 30. All but BT have approved.

Special Comments: This one's a no-brainer. You always should get this room, or you are doing something wrong.