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Bucket List

  • Machu Picchu, Peru – remnants of a lost civilization
  • Brazil – Rio, futbol, beaches, rainforests, shamans
  • Nepal – Himalayas, trekking, tigers, monkeys, Buddhist temples
  • India – Varanasi, the River Ganges, Hinduism, spice plantations, Indian cuisine, Rama Empire
  • Maldives – Indian Ocean island paradise
  • Ethiopia – Rastafari, Haile Selassie, Judaism, the source of the Nile, Menelik and the Ark of the Covenant
  • South Africa – lions, leopards, elephants
  • New Zealand – mountains, rivers, hobbits

lost-city-machu-picchu-citadel_24713_600x450

(Machu Picchu – National Geographic photo)

What tops your list?

Colorado Condo and Denver Best Rate Guarantees

Saturday – Sunday – Monday

Tannenbaum by the River – Breckenridge, CO

$40 (thanks to friends)

Condo with deck overlooking stream

 

Tuesday

Holiday Inn Express Denver Tech Center

FREE (Best Rate Guarantee)

 

Wednesday

Sleep Inn Denver Tech Center

FREE (Best Rate Guarantee)

 

Thursday

Best Western Plus Denver Tech Center

$87 (Best Rate Guarantee – received $100 Best Western Travel Card)

 

Friday

Aloft Denver International Airport

$85 (Best Rate Guarantee = 2000 Starpoints) (500 Starpoints for booking with app)

Top floor, corner room

 

Saturday

Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center

$82 – $50 Gift Card (from prior BRG) = $32 (BRG – received $50 American Express Gift Card)

Breakfast voucher with Gold Status – breakfast until noon!

 

Sunday

Radisson Denver Southeast

15,000 Club Carlson points

 

Monday

Radisson Denver Southeast

FREE (last night of any award stay is free)

Denver, Colorado: A Winter Foray with Best Rate Guarantees

Friday

Aloft Denver International Airport

$76 (Best Rate Guarantee: matched rate + 2000 SPG points) (counts toward Free Night Promotion)

Modern, funky, friendly

 

Saturday

Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center

$97 – $50 Gift Card (from previous BRG) = $47 (Best Rate Guarantee: matched rate + $50 American Express Gift Card)

Cooked to order breakfast

 

Sunday

Aloft Denver International Airport

$2 (Best Rate Guarantee: mistake rate + 2000 SPG points) (counts toward Free Night Promotion – this stay netted a Category 5 Free Night Certificate)

 

Monday

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Denver East – Peoria Street

FREE – Best Rate Guarantee

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(Aloft – Denver International Airport)

Portland, Oregon – On the Road Again

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I arrived in Portland at the beginning of October 2014. I unloaded my belongings into an apartment for two days, but never slept there. The nonsmoking apartment smelled of cigarettes, an upstairs neighbor directed a garish tirade at his girlfriend, and the place creeped me out.

I took to my favorite hobby, collecting miles and points, for assistance. I spent nine weeks in Portland and paid full price a handful of occasions, only to take part in promotions. I stayed many nights at Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) properties, including Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Staybridge Suites.

I hold Platinum status, the highest tier, with IHG, a benefit of adding their credit card to my wallet. As a Platinum member, I receive 500 welcome bonus points on each stay. Most properties include free breakfast, and I particularly enjoy the cinnamon rolls at Holiday Inn Express. Platinum status often equates to a room upgrade, a pleasing perk. Especially at Holiday Inn Express, the staff is genuine and helpful.

An apartment in Portland is at least $30 a night. A hotel seemed simpler than renting an apartment: Free WiFi, High-Def Television, a coffee maker, often a fridge and microwave. I became a connoisseur of toiletries, and enjoy Hyatt and Marriott properties for these amenities. Also, the coffee at these two chains is superior to IHG, Best Western, or SPG.

One reason I stayed at IHG properties was to participate in their “Into the Nights” Fall Promotion. The promotion was different for everyone, but mine offered two free nights at any IHG property and 18,000 points, after a total of three paid stays.

Another reason I frequented IHG is because certain properties cost only 5,000 points per night under the Point Breaks list. 5,000 points is equivalent to $35 and the Portland area had two participating properties this fall. Additionally, I stayed a night in the Tri-Cities in Washington at a hotel on the list. At the tail end of my journey, I stayed three nights at a Holiday Inn Express in Vancouver, Washington, on the Point Breaks’ winter list.

For those considering the IHG MasterCard from Chase, look for the 80,000-point offer. It’s available on Flyertalk, a website dedicated to travel hacking. Below is a summary of nights stayed, points used, and cash spent on rooms.

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)

5,000 points – Holiday Inn Express (HIX) Richland, WA

5,000 points – HIX Gladstone, OR (5 nights)

5,000 points – HIX Salmon Creek, WA (3 nights)

5,000 points – Staybridge Suites Vancouver, WA (4 nights)

10,000 points – HIX Troutdale, OR (4 nights)

5,000 points + $40 – HIX Troutdale, OR (2 nights)

$98 – HIX Lake Oswego, OR (Into the Nights Promotion)

$101 – HIX Vancouver, WA (Into the Nights Promotion)

$116 – Holiday Inn Gresham, OR – (Into the Nights Promotion)

FREE – Best Rate Guarantee – Staybridge Suites Portland Airport

Club Carlson

28,000 points – Radisson Portland Airport (3 nights)

FREE – Radisson Portland Airport (3 nights) – last night of any award stay is free

$122 – Radisson Portland Airport

Marriott

Category 5 Free Night Certificate – Residence Inn by Marriott Lloyd Center

10,000 points – Fairfield Inn & Suites Beaverton, OR (4 nights)

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

4,000 points – Four Points by Sheraton Portland East (4 nights) – weekday nights

3,000 points – Four Points by Sheraton Portland East (5 nights) – weekend nights

$108 Best Rate Guarantee – Four Points by Sheraton Portland East (earned 2,000

points for BRG + counted toward Free Night Promotion)

$98 – Four Points by Sheraton Portland East (Free Night Promotion – this stay

netted a Category 5 Free Night Certificate – I booked The Phoenician in

Scottsdale, AZ for my parents with the certificate)

Hyatt

8,000 points – Hyatt Place Portland Airport

$109 – Hyatt Place Portland Airport (earned 6,000 points on two promotions)

Best Western

$81 – $50 Gift Card = $31 – Best Western Inn Vancouver, WA

$81 – $25 Gift Card = $56 – Best Western Inn Vancouver, WA

$81 – Best Western Inn Vancouver, WA

$125 Best Rate Guarantee – Best Western Inn Meadows (BRG netted a $100 Gift Card)

Hilton

4,000 points + $37 – Hampton Inn Clackamas, OR

$85 Best Rate Guarantee – Hampton Inn Portland East (BRG netted a $50 Gift Card)

Choice Hotels

$80 – $78.50 for BRG = $1.50 – Quality Inn & Suites Portland Airport

Phoenix Inn & Suites

$117 – $100 Cyber Monday Orbitz coupon = $17 – Lake Oswego, OR

Priceline Express Deals

$65 – Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham – Bozeman, MT

$55 – Guesthouse Inn & Suites – Gresham, OR

$56 – La Quinta Inn & Suites – Salmon Creek, WA

$55 – Extended Stay America – Gresham, OR

$63 – Red Lion Portland Airport

$43 – Howard Johnson – Missoula, MT

 My Truck

FREE for one night – thankful for warm blankets

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Best Rate Guarantees

Best Rate Guarantees (BRG) – Hotel chains guarantee their website carries the lowest price for a room. If you find a cheaper rate, submit a BRG form. The hotel will likely match the rate, and reward you. Below are my recent BRG claims.

–Choice Hotels: Free night – Quality Inn & Suites Portland Airport

–IHG: Free night – Staybridge Suites Portland Airport

–SPG: Matched rate + 2000 points – Four Points by Sheraton Portland East

–Best Western: Matched rate + $100 Best Western gift card – Best Western Inn Meadows

–Hilton: Matched rate + $50 American Express gift card – Hampton Inn Portland  East/Gresham

–Marriott: Match rate + 25% off

–Club Carlson: Match rate + 25% off

–Hyatt: Match rate + 20% off

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Million Mile Secrets Guide on BRG’s:

http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/11/17/introduction-to-hotel-best-rate-guarantees/

American Express – Small Business Saturday

Don’t forget to register your American Express credit cards for Small Business Saturday (November 29th). Get up to $30 in free purchases on each card.

Register Here: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/