The Hotelion

Hotel & Casino Specialist. I pride myself on economic perspective and efficient travelling, and most recently - restaurant reviews. My goal is to make your travel money go further and experiences more fulfilling.

Beam Me Up: One Step Closer to Working Transporters

The Power to (day)Dream: Transporters I’m sure everyone has, at some point in their life, thought about the possibility and benefits of instantaneous travel, most notably made popular by science fiction media such as the transporters in Star Trek, or the teleportation of Marvel’s X-Man Kurt Wagner, better known as Nightcrawler. It also has a predominant role in the Canadian-American military science fiction franchise Stargate. In the film and subsequent television shows, wormholes connect planets around the galaxy (and eventually other galaxies), instantly transporting all sorts of characters and items from one planet or galaxy to another.   Reality: One Step Closer However, that is all...

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Starwood and Marriott Merger (Finally) – Status Match, Points Transfer

Big merger news today! Marriott has completed their acquisition of Starwood and the sync of both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs. For now, we travelers can take advantage of the best of both worlds. This is the best deal for points and hotels, as both programs will exist separately until 2018. At that time, they will be combined into a single award chart. Two main components of the merger happen immediately – Status Matching and Points Transfer Ability. How do I get set up with the merger benefits? First, go to the match link from Starwood – or check it out from the...

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Hotel Review: Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay

My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby Room Hotel Space / Ambience Food & Drink Fitness Miscellaneous   Highlights: Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Quality of the staff service and food were the highlights of this stay – with an amazing breakfast at The Catch restaurant, and great drinks at the 180° Pool Bar. The staff at the front desk, lounge, bar, and restaurant, were all excellent and very accommodating, making for an excellent experience.   Lobby The lobby is well lit and expansive,...

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2016 Starwood Platinum 50 Night Benefit Selections

Earlier this month I completed my 50th (and 51st) Starwood night, to be Platinum now on both stays (25+) and nights (50+). Since I was already Platinum on stays, that status does not change, but I do achieve the 2016 Platinum 50 Night benefit. However, as I can only choose one, I will examine each closely, and compare them based on an assigned valuation and perceived benefit. What is the motivation behind the Platinum 50 Night Benefit? Starwood wants to encourage those who stay frequently by having rewards attainable after regular status milestones. (Gold – 10 stays / 25 nights, Platinum...

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Rewards with Chase Hyatt in Borgata Atlantic City – Part 2

As mentioned in the previous post, the Chase Hyatt card is valuable as both a standalone card and in conjunction with status matching, with its massive initial bonus, annual rewards, and Hyatt Platinum Status. In Part 2 of the Chase Hyatt Status Matching, let’s discuss further niche matching to casinos (such as the Borgata) and resorts on both coasts. Get another $500-700 worth of freebies out of the Chase Hyatt card and enjoy a free room, $100 in free gambling, free buffets, and more at one of the most luxurious resorts on the East Coast. Read on for details!   East Coast?...

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Why Chase Hyatt is the Best Status Matching Card – Part 1

If you’ve seen any of my previous posts, you know of my preference for Starwood’s loyalty programs and hotels. However, that does not preclude me, and it should not preclude you from pursuing other options that may not only complement but also accentuate your travelling experience. Several other cards, such as this Chase one, also are important to obtain and keep for various reasons.   WHAT IS THE CHASE HYATT CARD? This is not going to be a generic review of the Chase Hyatt Credit Card, as there must be dozens or hundreds of reviews of this card and...

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So Many Ways to Earn Starwood Starpoints

In this article, I will discuss many different ways to generate Starpoints, the currency of Starwood’s loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), – other than the standard 2x to 4x points per dollar on paid stays. My passion for loyalty programs started with Starwood and I spend the most amount of time in Starwood hotels.   What’s the (Star)point? Why go through all this trouble? Starpoints are some of the most valuable loyalty points available, due to both their versatility – being able to spend on hotels, flights, experiences, etc. – and the Starwood SPG redemption levels, where you...

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Why Starwood loyalty program SPG is the best

Readers of this blog know my affinity for hotels, which would not be possible without robust rewards programs. My passion for Starwood and their loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest, comes from a careful analysis and understanding of the various hotel rewards programs, and the advantages built into the program. With the billions of dollars changing hands and the recent Marriott acquisition of Starwood, I am sure many Starwood members, like myself, are concerned with the future of the program.   What is a typical hotel loyalty program, and why is Starwood the best? There are several main categories of...

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Award Hotel Review: Westin Philadelphia – The Presidential Suite

It’s been a personally strenuous last few weeks and months, but it’s time to get back to regular postings! To brighten our collective spirits, let me share my time at the Westin Philadelphia, which may just be the best hotel stay and experience that I have ever had. To provide the appropriate context, I had stayed at the Westin Phila at the beginning of July, right before both the Fourth of July AND the Democratic National Convention later that week. I was in town with friends for a wedding, and got upgraded to a standard suite, and had complementary...

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Crossover Rewards with Delta: Benefits of SPG Platinum

Starwood and Delta are strong partners, and high status members of each benefit from each other’s services. Per Starwood’s site: Earn Starpoints® and get extra benefits when you fly with Delta; earn miles and enjoy added hotel benefits when you stay with SPG. Having just hit SPG Platinum with the current stay, I was eager to take full advantage of benefits. Thus, I focused on my Delta flight that same afternoon. In this post, I focus on the hotel side and will address the benefits from a Starwood program member standpoint. Of course, as a Delta Medallion member, you also earn benefits...

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