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Monday, September 28, 2009

100 Free Priority Club Points

Here's an easy way to add another 100 free Priority Club Points:

Go to this link , enter your Priority Club number and your PIN, then enter any of the following five codes (it doesn't matter which one):


That's it, you're done!

Hat tip to FrugalTravelGuy and View from the Wing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hotels.com Rebate Coupon for Your Next Booking

To shave a few bucks of the cost of your next vacation, why not consider booking a room on Hotels.com? They have an ongoing promotion where you can print out a rebate coupon and send it in for the following discount:

  • Get $20 with a 3-Night Booking
  • Get $30 with a 5-Night Booking
  • Get $50 with a 8-Night Booking
  • Get $75 with an 10-Night Booking
  • Get $100 with a 12-Night Booking
Just visit Hotels.com to make your hotel reservation. After you complete your stay, you must print out the Hotels.com Rebate Coupon and fill out your name, the hotel, the date of your stay, and your booking number. Your Hotels.com rebate will be credited back to your credit card within 3 weeks of receipt of the rebate coupon. There is a limit of 1 rebate per customer or household, and the rebate does not apply to vacation package hotel stays. Your reservation must be made online, and not by telephone.

Click here for the details and the printable coupon.

Besides being just a nice little discount, we enjoy considering some creative ways to use this rebate coupon - (remember our $9 per night Laughlin rooms post?) In any case, any discount is a good thing!

Book by Dec 31, 2009 for travel through Feb 28, 2010.

Free Disney Admission for Upcoming 2009 Birthdays!

Here's a great deal for those of you (like myself) who live near one of the Disney theme parks, or for anyone planning to travel there, who have an upcoming 2009 birthday. For the remainder of the year, Disneyland (in Anaheim, California) or Disney World (in Orlando, Florida) are offering free admission to their parks to those celebrating their big day! (Wish I'd heard about this deal sooner!)

Here's all you need to do to participate:

Register through Disney's website, creating your free account, proceed to the "Free admission on your birthday" form, and you're done! You can even sign up your children if you wish. Just make sure you have a valid I.D. to show at the gate when you arrive.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Temecula, California - Pechanga Resort Hotel & Casino

"The Pechanga Resort Hotel & Casino"
Temecula, CA
Wednesday's Featured Expedia BRG

This AAA Four Diamond resort offers eight restaurants, six full service bars and lounges, nightly entertainment, and California’s largest casino. Pechanga Resort & Casino is also one of Southern California’s premier entertainment venues, offering headliner acts and concerts throughout the year, as well as Broadway-style theatrical performances and musicals.

Pechanga hotel guests will find Four Diamond comfort and amenities in each of its 522 spacious guest rooms and suites, including 24-hour room service. Each oversized deluxe room is unique with floor to ceiling windows and an impressive master bath. Hotel guests enjoy complimentary use of Pechanga's fully equipped health club, seasonal pool, and sundeck with private cabanas, and a knowledgeable concierge service. Massage therapy is available by appointment. Parking is free to all guests, with valet parking available as well.

Pechanga Resort & Casino is located just off I-15 in Temecula, within minutes of several championship golf courses, the Temecula Valley wine region, and historic Old Town Temecula, and about an hour’s drive from all the major L.A. and San Diego area attractions.

Hotel Address: 45000 Pechanga Road, Temecula, CA 92592

Competitor Website: Arestravel.com
Sample Dates: 10/5, 10/24, 11/6, 11/26 (and many more!)
May be claimed most dates, weekdays & weekends too!

Occupancy: 2 Persons

Room Details: Standard "Deluxe Room"
(shown on both sites as 1 King or 2 Queens)

Rate variation: For sample date 11/26:

Arestravel.com $121.80 / Expedia.com $126.67

Deluxe Rooms include: in-room safe, coffee makers, & high-speed internet access. Receive a complimentary newspaper during weekday stays.

The Pechanga Resort Hotel & Casino's website can be viewed here.

Tripadvisor reviews for the Pechanga Resort can be viewed here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

500 FREE Priority Club Points for Answering 4 Simple Questions

Want an easy way to boost your Priority Club balance? Simply visit Priority Club, enter your member number, and answer four simple questions about the program and you'll receive 500 bonus points sometime in the next six weeks. (Hint: DADD=correct answers!) Keeping up your balance with this program is crucial, as they release new 5000-point Pointbreaks opportunities every 2-3 months and you certainly don't want to miss out while the list is "fresh" and loaded with excellent hotel choices!

Hat tip to View from the Wing.

Also a reminder for everyone to get in on the Priority Club partner offer that we posted a couple of weeks ago. Completing the partner offers cost me a total of $15.00, and I'm two Pointbreaks nights ahead because of it. Remember, there are several high-value hotels routinely offered on Pointbreaks - last time there was a $300 night resort in Fiji on offer. $15 for two nights at a place like that is a no brainer. The early bird gets the worm - get your partner activities in NOW.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tripadvisor's Top 10 Hotels for Under $19 (Seriously!)

An e-mail I received last week from Tripadvisor definitely caught my attention. It was their "Top 10" list of hotels around the world for under $19! Wow, can a person actually rent a quality hotel room for such a dirt-cheap rate? I thought Vegas and Laughlin were the only places where one could do that! (apparently not!) As far as I can tell, the price includes full amenities with very little to sacrifice.

Remember our post awhile back about the Rancho Bernardo "Survival Package" deal with it's $19 room rates? Well with that deal, a bed (and even toilet paper) wasn't included! ... with these hotels, it apparently is (thank goodness!)

Find out which hotels are included: click here to read the list.

It makes for some interesting viewing, if nothing else. And who knows, you may actually be considering visiting one of these locations sometime in the near future. - Enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

FREE $60 Hotel Cash for signing up for Accor Hotels A-Club

FrugalTravelGuy Rick sent me a note a couple days ago informing me of this excellent offer via Accor Hotels' A-Club.

To celebrate the 1st birthday of A-Club, Accor Hotels is offering 2,000 bonus points to any new sign ups within the next two weeks. 2,000 points can be exchanged for a voucher worth 40 Euro or $60 USD off of any Accor Hotels property (including Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, ibis, all seasons and Accor Thalassa locations, and excluding Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn properties - but isn't that a good thing?).

Now, realistically, the ability to use the voucher within the USA is limited, but there are a few properties around. Europe has thousands of Accor properties, as does Asia. So, this is a decent promotion for any international travelers.

Sign up for Accor Hotels A-Club here and use promotion code "2009BirthdayBonus" to receive the bonus points. Then, redeem your points for the 40 Euro/$60 voucher and you're set! We recommend trying for only 1 voucher (since they will be mailed to your home address).


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

$89 Weekends @ "All-Suites" Hotel Near Washington D.C. (Breakfast Included!)

"Washington Suites Alexandria"
Alexandria, VA

Getting away for a fall weekend in Washington D.C.? Looking for a great rate on a luxury room? You can get exactly that with this special deal! The folks over at Travelzoo.com are featuring this great offer among their line-up of this week's travel deals. We thought we'd share this particular one with you.

Located in historic Alexandria, Virginia, The Washington Suites Hotel is providing guests with an $89 room rate for an elegant Studio Suite (Friday-Sunday) from now through November, a savings of 35% off the regular rate!

This offer also includes the following perks:

  • A complimentary continental breakfast for two adults (with no limitations on the number of children)
  • Free in-room high speed internet access
  • Free on-site parking for all guests
  • A "welcome gift" including one free in-room movie, snacks and area maps
  • Complimentary daily shuttle service between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. to the Van Dorn Street Metro station, providing easy access into Washington, D.C.

These 480-square-foot studio suites include a full kitchen, two queen beds, and a pull-out sofa in the living area. The hotel features a fitness center, nine-hole putting green, flat screen televisions in each suite, and an on-site restaurant.

Guestroom Amenities: Washington Suites Alexandria, located just 3 miles from Old Town Alexandria, provides accommodations that are furnished with plush beds, 42 " LCD flat screen televisions with high definition programming, and ergonomic work stations. Smoking and non-smoking accommodations are available. Each individual suite is stocked with complimentary toiletries for your convenience. Your pets are also welcome at this pet-friendly hotel.

Click here to book this great rate online.

You must click on "Enter Rate Access Code" (just below where it says # of adults) and enter the promotion code Travelzoo. Or, call 877-736-2500 and mention Travelzoo.

Book by Sept. 24.

Enjoy this great D.C. deal while it lasts!

Here are Tripadvisor reviews for the Washington Suites Alexandria

United Airlines Rewards Your Fall Travel with Discounted Spring Travel

View from the Wing and One Mile at a Time just broke word of another interesting United Airlines promotion, this coming after the Double Elite Qualifying Miles offer we wrote about a couple of weeks back. Depending on the number of trips you take with them between now and the end of December, they'll give you a electronic discount code that provides up to 50% off your airfare. The potential savings here are huge. One qualifying trip will net you a 5% discount, two trips a 10% discount, three trips a 20% discount, and so forth, all the way up to a 50% maximum discount after 6 trips. The discount code will be sent to you 4-6 weeks after the promotion period ends (ie. sometime between January 31 and February 15, 2010).

Now, surely I won't suggest anyone to go buy tickets needlessly to hit the six trips needed to obtain the 50% discount code, but for anyone who has to travel anyways (eg. business travelers), you would be wise to consider shifting your flight business to United for the time being.

You can register for this offer and read the terms and conditions here. Only flights between September 14 and December 31, 2009 will count towards the offer. Flown in the past few days? No worries, the offer is retroactive for 30 days prior (but not before September 14). The discount certificate will be valid for United States domestic travel, as well as US to Canada, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Continental Airlines Jumps Aboard the Double Elite-Qualifying Mile Bandwagon

Continental Airlines has released its own double elite qualifying mile offer. Registration is required, and the terms and conditions are pretty much identical to the American and United DEQM offers we wrote about a few weeks back.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Free Room at Sheraton Brookhollow Houston, Texas (for Ike)

I just spotted this quirky promotion on Flyertalk - I'm in China and highly distracted, so forgive me, Ike, there is only 4 days left for you to obtain your free hotel at the Sheraton.

That's right, to commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane Ike, the Sheraton Houston Brookhollow is giving away a free room to anyone named Ike - first name, middle name, or last name.

The Houston Business Journal's article details the promotion, which is valid September 13th to 19th.

I hope we have helped you, Ike.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Megabus Continues to Offer Additional $1.00 Seat Inventory

Megabus continues to offer additional $1.00 seat inventory using Promo Code HOTDEAL on its website. For those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure of riding Megabus, let me assure you that it blows Greyhound out of the water. They work on an e-ticket system, whereby you show a code to the driver (even flash him or her the code on your Iphone). The buses are comfortable, with some seats having tables, and FREE wi-fi is provided onboard via Satellite service. Movies are frequently shown, and there are far fewer stops than on Greyhound. I rode them around the Midwest earlier in the year, travelling out from Chicago to cities like Champaign, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Cleveland, all for just $1.00 each. Nearly 50,000 additonal seats are still available at $1 for travel between the dates of September 14th and November 19th. The sale won't end until all tickets are sold.

Megabus serves plenty of destinations, from Kansas City all the way east to Boston and Washington DC. The only problem? The Midwest and Eastern network do not intersect. The furthest east point on the Midwest network is Cleveland, OH, and the furthest west point of the Eastern network is Buffalo, NY. You'd have to take Greyhound or Amtrak between these two points if you were wanting to get from, say, Boston MA to Kansas City MO. Still, it can be an incredible value, so check out Megabus today and see if it can work for any of your upcoming travel needs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Vasquez Rocks - a Trip Tip for those Visiting Los Angeles

"The Vasquez Rocks" - Agua Dulce, CA
For those of you adventurous types who may be planning on visiting the Greater Los Angeles area, here's a travel tip that will satisfy your desire to spend a fun afternoon in the great outdoors! - And best of all, it's totally FREE!

Only about 35 miles to the northeast of Downtown Los Angeles lies a 745-acre county park enjoyed as a popular hiking, picnicking and equestrian area. The park is located in the outskirts of the high desert of southern California near Agua Dulce Springs, or about 30 minutes south of the city of Palmdale. This unusual place is known simply as "Vasquez Rocks."

This beautiful and sparsely populated location, featuring many unusual rock formations, is an often overlooked spot unknown to many living in the Los Angeles area. It was created by 8 to 15 million years of earthquakes, and is actually on a fault line that is an offshoot of California's famous "San Andreas Fault." The unique appearance of the boulders has made it a popular location for dozens of movies and TV shows dating all the way back to a Rudolph Valentino film in 1905! Even music videos have been made here. Vasquez Rocks has been used as an alien planet for shows such as Star Trek (8 episodes), Buck Rodgers, the original Twilight Zone, and the Outer Limits. Old Western movie-makers favor this spot as well. The Rocks were used as backdrops for TV shows like Bonanza, the Lone Ranger, the Wild Wild West, and even as the prehistoric setting for the Flintstone's movie! The first Austin Powers movie, Mission: Impossible, Sliders, and Charmed are just a handful of other TV shows that filmed out here at some point in time.

1960's Star Trek photo @ The Rocks

Plenty of free parking for hiking, picnicking, & rock-climbing!
Vasquez Rocks was named after the outlaw, Tiburcio Vasquez, who used the caves as a hideout. Before he was hanged in 1875, Vasquez claimed to have hidden his loot in a hole in the rocks, but never told anyone just where. So who knows, maybe a visit to the park might just be your opportunity at finding it!

There are picnic tables at Vasquez Rocks as well as camping, equestrian programs, a junior ranger program, horseback riding, and lots of places to hike and go boulder-hopping. It makes for a great afternoon adventure for your entire family. Just make sure to bring plenty of water (the park has none) and a dependable pair of shoes! You'll find that the rocks are pretty easy to climb and that you don't need to be an expert to navigate these boulders. On your visit, you may even see coyotes, gophers, jack rabbits, and plenty of lizards. This place is open year-round, though summertime is often extremely hot. Your best bet would be to visit during fall, winter, or spring when the weather is ideal. Best of all about this adventure, it doesn't cost a penny to park your vehicle and explore! Hope you check it out soon! ... and bring a camera!

DIRECTIONS: From Los Angeles, take the I-5 northbound to the Antelope Valley Freeway (the 14) east. You will drive about 25-30 minutes and will see the Vasquez Rocks off to the left-hand side of the freeway. Exit right at Agua Dulce Canyon Road and turn left, and you will drive under the freeway and across the Sierra Pacific Railroad and wind uphill until you reach Escondido Canyon Road. Make a right turn and you will see the park straight ahead as you keep driving on Escondido Canyon Road. Watch for the numerous road signs guiding you into the park. Again, there is no park fee!

Enjoy the visit! ... Here's the address:

10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road
Agua Dulce, CA 91350
Park Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday, September 11, 2009

Misleading Hotel Description? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet...

I recently had the misfortune of staying at an Expedia property using one of my vouchers. I chose the "Beijing Botaihotel" in Beijing, China. I made the huge mistake of booking this property for three nights, and you'll soon see why. On Expedia, the hotel was described as a three-star property, but the stated amenities blew me away. Private Beach? Casino? On-site Health Club? Complimentary Area Shuttle? Fireplaces, Balconies, HDTV's, and kitchenettes in guestrooms? These were all supposedly to greet me upon arrival. Well, I arrived to find a dingy motel in a side alley on a busy road. None of those amenities existed.

Expedia showed a small drawing of the hotel exterior: a modern, comfortable looking building on a tree-lined street. The rooms looked of your typical Chinese variety, like a standard Super 8 or Days Inn. There were no reviews, and I was in a rush to book something, and it sounded nice enough. So, I booked it. Biggest mistake of my trip, so far. Had I read Tripadvisor, I'd have learned that this hotel had an overwhelming 84% unapproval rating, with unabashedly negative comments like "What an Experience!", "Reception Staff are a Complete Waste of Space!". Not surprisingly, the Chinese reviewers were much less harsh. There are definitely different standards overseas, but this - this was purely misleading.

I took a closer look at the amenities page upon my arrival. What I saw was horror - clearly someone trying to bring in some unsuspecting tourists. Poolside Bar, Hair Salon, Complimentary Newspapers (in China? hah!), Children's Swimming Pool, DVD Player in Room, Washer/Dryer, Satellite Television, Ergonomic Chairs, Cordless Phones, and the list goes on and on. What the hotel actually had: dirty lobby, rude check-in staff, a rusty old elevator, a tea kettle in the room, and a television circa 1983. The pool? None. Admittedly, the hotel I arrived to was pretty much what I would have expected from any mid-range hotel in China, but given the description on Expedia, I was completely aghast at the dishonesty here. Don't they check these things out? Vet the hotels whatsoever before posting the hotel-provided description? I'm still in shock.

To have a chuckle at my expense, please check out the Expedia description that I, the seasoned international traveller, fell for. This was beyond crazy, and I hope Expedia pulls this hotel from their inventory soon (or updates their description to reflect the cesspool that it actually is).

My dream of lounging by the poolside bar (in Beijing, no less) was crushed. C'est la vie. Thailand awaits...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

4-Diamond Resort @ Daytona Beach for only $69!

"The Shores Resort & Spa"
Daytona Beach, Florida

The Shores Resort & Spa, Daytona’s only AAA Four Diamond hotel, just announced a 50% off special. Stay in a Riverview Room for only $69 per night valid midweek through December. Weekend rates are just a mere $12 more!

The Daytona Beach area has a wide variety of activities and entertainment for folks of all ages. Daytona Beach is famous for its 23 miles of beaches and it's motorsports, but the area also offers an abundance of shopping, nightlife, cultural events, and sporting activities, making it the perfect family vacation spot.

Blackout Dates: Oct 4-7, 9-10, 15-17

To Book: Click here (This is the hotel website's booking page)
You may also call the hotel directly at 866-415-0591 and simply mention promo code TZOOSH to get in on this deal.

Note: Ocean view upgrades are also available at a 50% discount!

About the Resort: This hotel is home to the award winning Azure Oceanfront Restaurant and Indulge Spa. Riverview rooms offer a view of the Intracoastal waterway (some include a private balcony), a flat-screen TV, a pillowtop bed and a doorless Italian marble shower.

Monday, September 7, 2009

CheapoAir Exposed: Why you need to avoid this dishonest company at all costs

If you aren't familiar with CheapoAir, consider yourself lucky. This post is intended to forewarn anyone wanting to do business with this company, which consistently employs dishonest marketing tactics in order to draw in customers.

CheapoAir is notorious for advertising coupon codes that can be used on ANY flight! Wow! $15 off my flight?! Cool! Not quite....

Let's compare a straightforward Los Angeles - San Francisco roundtrip ticket on both Expedia.com (an honest site) and CheapoAir.com:

Let's choose United 118 outbound on Sept. 16, returning on United 119 on Sept. 23, for example:

Expedia's cost:
1 Ticket / Roundtrip
LAX Los Angeles to
SFO San Francisco
Leave: Wed 16-Sep
Return: Wed 23-Sep
1 adult $98.00
Taxes & Fees $21.20
Total $119.20

Note the taxes and fees - these are the actual TSA and other governmental taxes levied on domestic airfare.

Now, let's look at the same itinerary on CheapoAir:

Price Details
1 Adult
Base Price: 98.00
Taxes & Fees: 55.20
Total per person:
# of Travelers: 1
Sub Total: USD
Trip Protection Insurance: 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Promo Code
I have a Promotional Code: Apply
Old Price: $153.20
Instant Discount Promotion: $-10.00
Handling Fees:
Total Charge: $143.20
Please note: All fares quoted are in US Dollars.

Note that they dropped $10 off the airfare! Wow! You're "saving" $10. But why is the total cost exactly $24.00 more than the actual price on Expedia? Where is that money going?

Let's apply their "NY15" discount code now:

Price Details
1 Adult
Base Price: 98.00
Taxes & Fees: 55.20
Total per person:
# of Travelers: 1
Sub Total: USD
Trip Protection Insurance: 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
I have a Promotional Code: Apply
Your promo code has been accepted. NY15
Old Price: $153.20
Instant Discount Promotion: $-25.00
Handling Fees:
Total Charge: $128.20
Please note: All fares quoted are in US Dollars.

So, even with two coupons in the reservation you are still overpaying by $9.00. That money is sheer profit to the company.

I once tried to stack a few coupons that amounted to around $50, onto a similar airfare. Once the price reached the price on Expedia, I recieved the notification that "the coupon could not be applied due to certain restrictions". What restrictions? Offering coupons that seem to save customers money, but invalidating those coupons once they are actually saving money.

CheapoAir is one of the most dishonest companies I've seen in a long time. These extra fees should be listed under "Handling Fees", but they are not. They are included in the airfare's taxes and fees, which is illegal and misleading at best.

On a side note, CheapoAir just arranged an advertising partnership with our blog. We've ended that partnership before it could begin. I wouldn't send my worst enemy over to their company.

Buyer beware!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

American and United offer Double Elite Qualifying Miles through December 15

American Airlines announced yesterday that they would be offering DOUBLE Elite Qualifying Miles for travel from September 2, 2009 through December 15, 2009. EQM's are the mileage that count towards elite status, for those who are unfamiliar.

Usually, one must achieve 25,000 EQM's in a calendar year in order to achieve the base level elite status (Gold on AA, Premier on UA). During this promotion, you need only fly 12,500 miles in order to achieve elite status for the period from March 1, 2010 to February 28, 2011. That's just one trip to Europe and back for us west coasters, assuming your routing is maximized. East coasters may want to consider Hawaii, etc. - not a huge feat by any means.

The base elite status perks between AA and UA are comparable, with both airlines offering a 25% mileage bonus (on redeemable miles towards free flights), priority boarding and check-in privileges, and free checked baggage allowances. There are also limited opportunities to obtain free upgrades to the next class of service, usually in the form of "earned upgrades", and provided based on availability.

There are other tiers of elite status as well: the mid tiers (AA Platinum and UA Premier Executive) and the upper tiers (AA Executive Platinum and UA 1K). As you might expect, the benefits grow with each status - one truly good feature of the upper tiers are double redeemable miles for every mile flown (a 12,500 mile return trip to Europe would yield 25,000 redeemable miles, enough for a ticket anywhere in the Continental USA or Canada).

Elite status is your friend, and if you are planning to fly at any time this fall, you'd be crazy not to register for both of these offers. This is a great opportunity to enter the world of budget elite travel.

To register and read the terms and conditions of the AA offer, click here.

To register and read the terms and conditions of the UA offer, click here.