Our 9 Favorite Points Hotels of 2014

The end of the year is near and we’ve actually already been to a lot of the hotels we have scheduled from now until the end of the year (IC Warsaw, IC Vienna, IC Budapest, etc…) and so I might as well get this yearly tradition out of the way and share some of my favorite hotels that we visited in 2014. I’ll only do new hotels, so if you’re curious about the last two years see 2013 here, and 2012 here.

Normally I try not to glorify “luxury” as the reason I travel. Yet, I can’t lie, I’ve stayed in many of the nicest hotels in the world (according to T&L’s top 500 hotels in the world). That doesn’t always mean that they’re my favorite, but it is definitely an experience I’d never be able to have without this hobby. Plus, my favorite hotels are almost always about the location or view, and not about how much they pampered me. Anyways…

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Hotel Award Best Uses (or “Sweet Spots”)

InterContinental JakartaContinuing the theme of “sweet spots” (as I did with Best Airline Mile Sweet Spots) I wanted to do a similar thing with hotels. I’ve talked about a lot of these before, but many aren’t obvious. When you get Marriott points or SPG points, you might not know about their “Nights & Flights” option to use a little more points for a hotel stay and get a lot more miles. This post is about little know extras like these and general best uses, for hotel points.

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4 Months’ Expenses in Asia

Without a doubt, anyone can have a free 2 week vacation. Easy. In fact, writing a post on how travel IS free, I got two reactions (well, before and after). Many people have said that travel is never free (which I ignore). And many people have essentially said, “you of all people should know that miles and points can not only be had for free, but you can do it at profit.”

Yes, it’s true. I know a handful of people now that make their living off of miles and points. I personally choose to not share their secrets, I don’t even share entirely all of my secrets, and some of it I choose not to do.

Either way, it’s true that the two camps of people who say that travel isn’t free are:

1) People who don’t know the tricks. OR

2) People who have tons of money and choose to pay fuel surcharges, pay to share miles, etc…

I personally never do the share miles promos because there are completely free ways to earn miles!

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8 Tips For Lucky And Full Time Hotel Living

We’ve been married for nearly 3 years and two of those years have been spent as full time travelers, nomads, vagabonds, gypsies, full time hotel livers, semi-homeless, whatever you want to call it.

Recently I did a post on Best Photos From 2 Years of Travel. Similarly I have a list of hotels we’ve stayed at in the last 2+ years. We’ve stayed at 113 different hotels and 74 were paid for by points (and a few on mistake fares). In an attempt to be transparent, I’ll share my [mostly] accurate spread sheet here (number of nights aren’t always complete and there are hotels all over Asia and South America that ran us ~$10 a night that I just haven’t included as I don’t even know what they are) but more importantly is the “how”.

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What Booking Hundreds of Hotels Has Taught Me

Earlier I posted 74 pictures from our last two years of travel, and I gave some stats on how we’ve done 63 international flights paid for with miles. But I didn’t mention hotels. Luckily, I also keep track of all of our hotel visits and thus can say that we’ve stayed at 69 hotels in the last couple of years that are either 4 or 5 star hotels- for free (points or BRGs).

But even when we’re not using points, and even when we’re not using BRG’s, we still find hotels to stay in. Sometimes it’s just walking around and picking one, and most of the time it’s online booking.

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The 12 Best Hotels We Didn’t Pay for in 2013

One of the perks of the frequent flyer life is staying in hotels you would have never stayed in. At least for me. The nicest hotel I stayed in before getting into this hobby… was… well, I don’t remember anything nice. But 3 star hotels were a treat.

And in the last year we stayed at so many 5 star hotels that it was hard to pick a list. Life is certainly funny. We don’t need this level of luxury. But I don’t complain. :-) Plus, being in the center of a great city like Paris or Vienna is priceless. Well, actually it’s normally pretty expensive. But these were all free.

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Book Hotels Like the Travel Pros

I book like, 300+ hotel nights a year… because we live in hotels. Thus, I’ve gotten pretty good at finding hotel deals. But I thought I would give the step by step of how I prioritize what in the booking process.

This isn’t a hard rule I live by but more of a pattern. Allow me to explain how points, cash, BRGs, mistake fares, and the search engines fit into this. And in what order I look for them.

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If You Complain, You Suck Too!

My wife says , “seeking justice is okay, but not simply justice for yourself.”

Status holders, hotel reviewers, and pro-consumers suck at this. It is wrong to set out seeking justice so you can reap benefits and stroke your own ego. All in the name of your status but hurting people on the side. These people suck. I’ve felt this way for a while.

And you know what? It takes one to know one.

Recently, I made a complaint about a hotel on TA and when the manager asked to speak to me, I told myself I would take no compensation. I didn’t do it for compensation but rather for “information”…

But my wife is right, that is bull. I did it because of my ego, or pride or something similar but equally dangerous. And worse, most complaints are done for self-benefit.

My point today is; self-benefit comes at what cost? Actually, I have three points that I’ll strive to make, that are making me rethink things.

  1. Defaming hurts people
  2. The hotels suffer from far too many “elites”
  3. What a bad habit it is to gain from critizing others

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