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Friday, August 28, 2009

Why Pay Retail? Get 5000 Priority Club Points for a mere $30 through Cash+Points

Here's another great Priority Club offer for those who want to earn points on the cheap!

Priority Club offers an excellent "Cash and Points" feature that allows you to reduce the number of points needed for your stay by 5000 (with a $30 fee - the "cash" part). There is a 10,000 point reduction/$60 cash limit. So, say you want a room for 10,000 points, you'd redeem 5000 of your own points and pay $30 for the additional 5000 points. Say you want a 20,000 point room, you'd redeem 10000 of your own points, and pay $60 for the additional 10000 points. The points are immediately credited to your account and move you closer towards elite status. They are non-refundable - and that is where things get interesting...

Let's imagine that your plans have changed, and you need to cancel the room you just booked. No problem. The points you redeemed, plus the points purchased using cash are INSTANTLY credited back to your account. Net result is $30 for each 5000 point Pointbreaks property (a list of discounted hotels that is updated every 2-3 months). Just so you know, this list is PACKED with hotels! ...which are gradually removed as the discounted rooms sell out. Often, Pointbreaks properties will include the ultra-luxurious Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts (there was one in Fiji listed last month!) and most always have a few high-end Crowne Plaza and Indigo Hotels properties. Make sure to check out the updated hotel list which comes out around September 15th. Paying $30 for one night at these $250+ hotels is ridiculously cheap - do the math!

The only drawback is that you must redeem at least 5,000 points in order to obtain points using this method. So, you need to already be a Priority Club customer, and you need to have some points to redeem. If you're not quite there yet, be sure to take advantage of this deal while it lasts and while you have points!

Compare this to Priority Club's Buy Points feature. There, you must pay $67.50 for 5000 Points - so this is a serious savings!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clarification Regarding the Priority Club Refer-a-Friend Promo

The response to the Priority Club refer-a-friend offer has been overwhelming. We have discovered a small caveat in this offer, though, that may affect whether you want to participate or not.

As it turns out, the 5000 point bonus is awarded to both of us only after the first qualifying stay within 90 days of enrolling. So, if you are not planning on staying at a IHG group property (as a paying guest) within the next three months, neither you or we will get the 5000 point bonus.

As per the fine print:
"5,000 Bonus points will be awarded to new and referring members after the first qualifying stay by the new member, which must be completed in the next 90 days at any InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® locations worldwide."

Therefore, we're pushing the "Reset" button on your referral requests.

If you still want to be referred, please re-send your request for a referral. Otherwise, if you know you will not stay as a paying guest within the next 90 days, please sign up directly at Priority Club in order to take advantage of the 10,000 points (two free Pointbreaks nights) offer that we posted earlier today. But, if there is a good chance you'll be staying within three months, we'd be happy to refer you.

PS - I completed my Priority Club partners offer today. I bought 1000 Points, 1 Itunes track, swapped 2 American Airlines Miles for 1 PC point via Points.com, and redeemed e-Rewards for 1000 PC points. 4 partners, complete. Two free nights on the way!

For those of you wanting to take advantage - joining Points.com is an easy way to fulfill one partner activity. You will recieve 500 PC points for signing up with them (free), which counts as a partner activity! Once you've joined Points.com, you can receive 1280 PC points for joining and making an Ebay purchase. You'll soon find that PC points have some of the highest redemption values in the industry, and are easy as ever to earn. I'd consider it to be the best hotel rewards program out there.

Easy 10,000 Priority Club Points for Partner Activity

Priority Club, the rewards program of the Intercontinental Hotels Group (including Holiday Inn), is currently offering up to 10,000 bonus points (enough for TWO free Pointbreaks nights) for completing activities with select partners. You must register online prior to completing the partner activities, and do so between August 20, 2009 and October 31, 2009. Points may take 10-12 weeks before posting, so be patient.

The details are as follows:

• Earn 1,000 points for the 1st unique activity
• Earn 2,000 points for the 2nd unique activity
• Earn 3,000 points for the 3rd unique activity
• Earn 4,000 points for the 4th unique activity

So, complete 4 unique activities, and you'll receive 4000+3000+2000+1000=10,000 Bonus Points!

From the Offer Terms and Conditions:

"A unique partner activity is defined as one partner transaction or Priority Club Point purchase between August 20, 2009 and October 31, 2009. A Priority Club Point purchase and a partner points to points conversion transaction are considered eligible unique activities. Points earned for purchases using your Priority Club Rewards Visa card count as one eligible activity.

Rental Car Partners: Hertz

Dining, Retail & Other Partners: Priority Club Rewards Shopping (one purchase); Priority Club Rewards Dining by Rewards Network (one restaurant purchase); e-Rewards (one e-Rewards currency redemption for points); FTD.com; Florist.com, Gift Sense™, Netflix; Points.com (point/mile swap for Priority Club points): Global Traveler, USA Today, Vinesse LLC, DIRECTV, Energy Plus™, Office Max.

Credit Card Partners: Points earned for purchases using your Priority Club Chase Visa card count as one eligible activity.

Real Estate & Financial Partners: Chase Home Equity; Chase Checking; LendingTree; Everbank, Sentry Insurance.

Vacation & Cruise Partners: Priority Club Cruises.

Other Eligible Activities: Priority Club Point purchase; points to points transfers with Membership Rewards; Diner’s Club; Points.com. Bonus points count toward Gold and Platinum status.

Ineligible Activities: Priority Club Gift Points, Transfer Points, Holiday Inn Club Vacation, and airline partner activities are not eligible for this promotion."

It's easy to hit the 10,000 (two free nights) bonus. Here are my recommendations:

1. Buy 1,000 Priority Club Points ($13.50)
2. Buy an Itunes Track on Priority Club Shopping ($1.00)
3. Swap for one Priority Club Point on Points.com (free)
4. Buy a Coke at a Priority Club RewardsNetwork-listed restaurant ($2.00)

And there you have it, 10,000 bonus points for a less than $16.00.

This is a great deal if you want to stay somewhere nice, for a very small investment!

Click here to register here for the promo.

If you are not yet a member of Priority Club, please allow us to refer you before joining. We will receive 5000 points (one free night) for referring you, AND YOU WILL ALSO receive 5000 points (one free night) for being referred. Note that you WILL NOT receive the 5000 points for signing up on your own, so this is a win-win situation! To be referred, please contact us at bestrateguaranteeblog@gmail.com!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

$48 Rooms @ MGM Grand Las Vegas

Stay at the AAA 4-Diamond MGM Grand in fabulous Las Vegas, located right on the Strip, for as little as $48 per night on select upcoming weekday dates through January 13th! This deal is about 40% off the rgular rates you'd normally expect to pay this time of the year!

The following perks are thrown into this deal:

2 for 1 tickets to the show "Crazy Girl"
2 for 1 "All-Day" Buffet
2 for 1 cocktails @ Zuri, Rouge, West Wing & Centrifuge
2 for 1 admission to Studio 54 & Tabu

$48 Special Rate (these dates):
Nov. 23, 24, 29
Dec. 8-10, 13-17, 21-23
Jan. 3, 4, 11-13

$59 Rate (these dates):
Sep. 2, 3, 7-9
Oct. 1, 15, 18-22, 27-29

Hotel Address: 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV

Note: Weekends start at $81 per night, with the lowest rates in December.

Book this great deal by September 4th!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The BRG Blog gets Priceline's seal of approval

We were very happy to receive an email this morning from none other than Priceline.com's Public Relations department, notifying us that they've given us the honor of being included as a Favorite Blog on their official Priceline Ekspert Travel Blog (penned by travel guru Brian Ek).

Priceline explains that the BRG Blog was "selected for being an important part of the online travel community and providing exceptionally valuable information". Why thank you, Priceline!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

3 Lonely Planet Guidebooks for the Price of 2 - with FREE shipping!

Our newest sponsor, Lonely Planet Guidebooks, is offering 3 of their books for the price of 2 for a limited time only. This is a substantial savings, especially if you buy three higher-priced books of relatively equal value. The lowest-priced item will be offered free of charge.

The offer includes shipping as long as your order exceeds $40.00 USD. This is easy to do, as most guidebooks are in the $20 - $25 range. Books are delivered from their USA warehouse, so you won't incur any customs fees as long as you are shipping the books to USA addresses.

Friday, August 14, 2009

US Airways is offering FREE Silver Preferred Status for 90 days

Embattled-but-not-defeated, US Airways is begging for your business with its latest promotion - a free 90 day trial of their Silver Preferred status.

There are no catches, no flight requirements, nothing. Simply sign up and you will recieve status for three months.

The perks of US Silver Preferred are complimentary upgrades for you and a companion to First Class (based on availability), waived checked baggage fees, and 25% bonus miles on every flight. You'll also have pre-boarding privileges, priority check-in, and priority standby. They usually charge $200 for these perks for one calender year.

You must fly 7,500 miles or 10 segments within your 90 day trial in order to keep your status through February, 2010.

If you're interested in making your next US Airways flight a bit more comfortable, just register here between May 15 and August 31, 2009. You must have a Dividend Miles number in order to register. If you don't have an account, create one here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The "Double The Difference" Best Rate Guarantee

I'm winding down my steady stream of recent Las Vegas postings with a reminder of a great deal lurking out there on the net. It's not a big secret by any means, but some of you may never have even heard of it.

As most of you are well aware, there are quite a significant number of Best Rate Guarantees out there being offered by the major travel websites. Wyndham is just one among many. We all know how these guarantees work - book a room on your favorite travel site, locate a lower rate on one of the competitor's, and after verification has been made of your "lower rate found", your booking cost will be adjusted to match it, or in many cases, even be reduced by an additional 10%.

What if a travel site offered a "Double The Difference" Best Rate Guarantee? One such site is doing just that ... and it's been around for quite awhile too. You can take advantage of this BRG at Vegas.com. So if you're a Vegas addict like me and frequently stay in Sin City's numerous hotels, why not find out about how it works?

Here's an example of a real BRG I found for a major Las Vegas hotel:

Vegas.com has a listed rate of $31 for a "Standard Room"
Expedia offers this same "Standard Room" for the same night @ $21

*Book the $31 rate and ...

Vegas.com will then refund your credit card "Double The Difference" found. (up to $150!) In this case, $10 doubled = $20, for a final grand total booking cost of just $11. Just fill out their online claim form to make this happen. After the doubled difference is refunded to your credit card, this is all you'd be paying for your accomodation for that night! You may also do this for multiple night stays!

This is one of the best BRGs out there now that the Wyndham freebies are no longer an option. It's unfortunate that a BRG as strong as this one is found on a website strictly aimed at Vegas area hotels. It would be a wonderful thing if other travel sites would take a hint from Vegas.com and present us with a BRG as generous as theirs. Keep your fingers crossed that perhaps that day will soon come! In any case, hats off to you guys over at Vegas.com for this wonderful opportunity! I hope some of you will take advantage of it!

CLICK HERE for the complete rules and info on the Vegas.com BRG. Good Luck!

FREE $15 Hotel Credit from HotelClub (with no minimum purchase required!)

We all remember the HUGE $50.00 USD credits that HotelClub was offering last winter for creating a new account with them. Several thousand people milked that promotion for all it was worth, due to the fact that there was no clause in the Terms and Conditions that prohibited anyone from creating multiple accounts.

Since January, HotelClub has been pretty mundane with their promotions, usually offering huge dollar discounts with huge minimum spends to go along with them. Luckily, they're back in business with the "member dollars" offers, this time offering $15.00 off of your next hotel booking.

It might not be $50, but it's something...

Sign up and get your FREE $15.00 in HotelClub member dollars here, and then come back to the BRG Blog to support our work by booking your room through the link below:

Update 3:45 PM EDT: This deal appears to have died.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

JetBlue offers "All-You-Can-Jet" pass this fall for $599

Low-cost carrier JetBlue is offering unlimited travel on its fleet from September 8 - October 8, 2009 with its "All-You-Can-Jet Pass". They're asking a mere $599 for it, inclusive of taxes.

This opportunity could be very lucrative if you had the time to take full advantage of this offer. Students and Backpackers who would consider buying the unlimited pass options on Amtrak and Greyhound now have another faster (and arguably more comfortable) option to ferry them around the country on their sightseeing and self-discovery endeavors. Or, if you are a businessperson who travels frequently between any of its 50+ cities, you might save a bit of money by switching your business to them for this 30 day period. Baseball fan? Attend a few games around the country.

Of course, there are a few expected restrictions:

-While Domestic taxes and fees are included, International and Puerto Rico taxes are not
-Each flight must be booked a minimum of three days prior to departure
-No TrueBlue frequent flyer points per segment, but a flat earning of 35 points for the pass
-No change fees if changing flights three days out, but standard fees for last minute changes
-$100 no-show penalty for booked-and-unflown flights (or else pass forfeiture)
-Only one flight per day, per city (you cannot fly out of the same city twice on the same day)

Still, unlimited travel for 30 days for $599 is a steal - especially given the fact that all taxes are included for domestic segments. Rumor is that some are planning a "50 cities in 30 days" trip to take full advantage of the offer.

To see where JetBlue flies, check out this map. They serve most major cities in the USA and the Caribbean, and also fly to Bogota, Colombia, Cancun, Mexico, and San Jose, Costa Rica. It's hub is John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

You must book your pass by calling Jetblue at
1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583), option 4.

Offer ends August 21, 2009, so don't wait!

Consumer Advocate Chris Elliott blogs about the Expedia Refer-a-Friend Fiasco, and mentions our work

Notable consumer advocate Christopher Elliott has reacted to the email campaign that Flyertalk members barraged him with late last week. Notably, he posted the entire protest form letter that yours truly penned for Flyertalk members to distribute. We do have our ten minutes of fame, every now and then.

Chris' reaction was that Expedia shouldn't have changed their terms and conditions without notifying anyone, and that giving no explanation for doing so was a bad move. However, he loses sympathy for us with his accusation that several of the forum members were "abusing" the coupon, citing Expedia's right to cancel the promo if this was happening.

I agree and disagree with Chris. Sure, there were plenty of people who referred themselves repeatedly and likely contributed to Expedia's ire. But where does that leave people like us at the BRG Blog who referred over 50 actual people and legitimately received vouchers for those referrals? Can being successful in a promotion be labeled "abuse?"

Chris was clearly annoyed by our form letter. If you are reading this, sorry Chris. We wanted the form letter to be available to people that otherwise might not have the courage to pen their own letter. Still, it's nice to know that we were noticed, which is exactly what the aim here was. We generated the publicity necessary for the big dogs to look into this for us, and we're now sitting on a mountain of valid, working Expedia vouchers.

And that, Chris Elliott, deserves a huge "Thank You".

We've sent reminders to all of you who requested one but have not used one. They should work for around $35 off your next hotel room, anywhere.

To read Chris' column on the Expedia aftermath, click here.

Las Vegas 3-Diamond Hotel @ $18 Per Night!

The AAA 3-Diamond Orleans Hotel & Casino is now offering rooms for just $18 per night Sunday-Thursday beginning August 16th and continuing through September 3rd. This special offer is over 50% off their regular rate and is quite the deal for a getaway vacation during the week.

This rate also includes a few of the following perks:
* $5 match play coupon
* Buy one drink, get one free at the casino bar
* 20% off spa treatments
* Buy one game of bowling, get one free

Stay Labor Day Week (Sept. 7-10) for just $20 per night

About this hotel: Located at 4500 W. Tropicana Boulevard, The Orleans offers free shuttle service to The Strip, which is one mile away. Along with a sizeable casino and relaxing spa, hotel amenities include a bowling alley, 18-screen movie theatre, video arcade for the kids, and more than 10 dining options! This is a place where many of the locals frequent (so you know it must be good!) and has looser slots than those found at most Strip casinos.

You will likely NEVER find a better room rate in Vegas for a 3-Diamond property!

Click here to book this deal directly with The Orleans. Or you can call 800-675-3267 and mention promo code TRB2009. Book by August 14th!

Click here to sample guest reviews for this hotel posted on Tripadvisor. It's rated #28 out of 292 hotels in Las Vegas ... not bad!

$400 off 5+ night vacations to Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles

Curaçao has long been lauded as one of the finest vacation spots in the western hemisphere. That said, it can be pricey, too. Orbitz is offering $400 off of vacation packages to this idyllic Caribbean island using coupon code CUR400, making this the perfect opportunity to check it out.

You must book your package between July 22, 2009, and December 15, 2009, for travel between August 15, 2009, and December 15, 2009. The minimum stay is 5 nights.

As expected, prices are cheapest from Miami, and if you're going solo. The cheapest package I found (after the coupon code was applied) was $554.00 for one person on American Airlines, with a 5 night stay at the Howard Johnson Curaçao (an unbelievable bargain, given that this Hojo usually sells for $155 per night). For two people, the total cost was $932 at the same hotel.

Please consider supporting our work by booking your travel through the link below. Thanks!

Vacations Under $500 (468x60)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Get $10 Hotel Rooms at LastMinuteTravel

For those who haven't already heard, LastMinuteTravel is offering $10 hotel rooms at select locations, on select dates. They publish a new list of cities and dates every Tuesday.

One thing to note is that several of these hotel stays have two night stay requirements, meaning you pay full price on one of those nights (assuming there are no consecutive promotional dates).

To take advantage of this offer, you'd need to be fairly flexible and be able to make your plans at the last minute. Most dates are just weeks away from now. Luckily, it makes up for these limitations by offering a good variety of cities. Last week's cities included New Orleans, Orlando, Budapest, Paris, Gothenburg, and plenty of others. I'd love to see some Asia hotel rooms pop up under this promotion, but so far there have been none.

This thread on Flyertalk lists the exact hotel names that people have been able to book, and other success stories. Check it out if you want to pursue this offer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rancho Bernardo San Diego Rooms from $19 per night

The legendary Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort and Spa is offering ultra-low prices on its rooms through its "Survivor Package". Note that the key word here is "rooms", not electricity, pillows, or even beds! The promotion runs from August 16 - 31, 2009.

Room rates here are $219.00 per night for a room with full amenities. If you're willing to give up some or all of the following amenities, they are willing to decrease your rate to as follows:

• $199 without breakfast
• $179 without honor bar
• $159 without A/C or heat
• $139 without pillows
• $109 without sheets
• $89 without lights
• $59 without linens
• $39 without toiletries
• $19 without bed

All guests of the Survivor Package get full access to everything outside of the room, including the pool.

Many people have taken the Rancho Bernardo up on their curious offer, pitching their tents in the room at the four-star resort. It's definitely worth considering if you're like me and a bit of an adventurer. You'll have a great story to tell at parties for years to come.

For reservations, call (877) 517-9340.

Hat tip to BlueRainDrop for pointing us to this offer.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Expedia Keeps Its Word on the Refer-a-Friend Promotion

Word broke this morning that the Expedia vouchers that were invalidated en masse early this month have now been re-established - with no minimum booking requirement as they had threatened in their correspondence with several Flyertalk members.

If you are holding on to a couple of the "old" Expedia coupons, we strongly recommend you use them immediately. There is no telling if the no minimum booking requirement was intentional or an oversight. The early bird gets the worm (and the free hotel room).

Vegas New Year's Eve Deal - $26 Rooms Near The Strip!

If you're like me and enjoy heading out to Vegas, but hesitate going when the holiday rates shoot sky-high, here's a deal I stumbled upon over at easyclicktravel that's truly very tempting! You may decide to snatch it up while it lasts if a Vegas New Year's fits into your plans! Yeah, the rooms are nothing glamourous (if you're looking for that, head on over to the Bellagio!), but this particular hotel is comparable to most economy chains such as the Wyndham properties we all know (and love?). I was also surprised at the better than expected reviews found on Tripadvisor! This seems to be a very satisfactory choice of budget lodging ... even walking distance to the Strip!

Book this $26 rate for a "Standard Room" @ easyclicktravel.com
(for a grand total after taxes of only $29.61/night!)
Here are the details:

America's Best Value Inn - Las Vegas

Hotel Address: 167 East Tropicana Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Date: December 31, 2009 (and most nights prior to this date!)

Occupancy: applies to 1 or 2 Persons

Friday, August 7, 2009

$200 OFF Expedia Flight + 3 Nights Hotel (Vacations from $44 all-in)

Expedia UK might be the object of my ire this week, but the same cannot be said for Expedia USA. Right now, it's offering what I'd consider to be a near unbelievable deal.

Using Promo Code 200IHG, Expedia will gladly knock $200 off a flight + hotel combo, that includes a minimum three night stay at an ICHG property (Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Intercontinental, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites) as well as a non-refundable flight (pretty well every ticket in this day and age!). This offer is valid for travel from July 20, 2009 to September 30, 2009. You must book before August 31, 2009.

The full terms and conditions of the offer can be read here.

Many people have reported success with this coupon. Some have seen packages from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in the $40 range. But, regardless of where you are using it, you'll save $200 - you can't beat that. This Flyertalk thread lists plenty of success stories using this coupon code.

Don't wait - August 31 will soon be upon us.
Visit Expedia.com today and explore your options!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Megabus offers 50,000 seats for $1.00 a piece - Hurry!

We all know how difficult it can be to get a seat on Megabus for $1.00 unless you plan your travel well in advance. Well, there is good news - Megabus is offering 50,000 additional seats during their MEGA-HOT sale!!!! Simply use the Promo Code "HOTDEAL" and you will gain access to the $1.00 inventory!

This offer is valid for travel from September 14, 2009 to November 19, 2009, so act now!

Why go Greyhound? Leave the driving to Megabus.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Expedia.co.uk Nightmare – When a Company Renegs on their Promise

For those of you who participated in the Expedia refer-a-friend promotion, that deal has now died. Not only did it die, but they took it upon themselves to cancel ALL vouchers previously issued, and replace them with coupons that require an almost 500 DOLLAR SPEND on a hotel room reservation.

Flyertalk is abuzz with hatred for Expedia’s UK counterpart, which seems to favor screwing customers over over any variety of customer satisfaction.

If you have been affected, write to Expedia.co.uk and demand that you be issued a coupon in line with the terms and conditions you agreed with. There is talk of a class-action lawsuit. People have legitimately referred others to use Expedia’s service, and to what avail? Expedia has robbed thousands of people of what is likely tens of thousands of dollars.

Shame on you, Expedia.