Award travel / Hotel Rewards / Marriott / etc.

Pretravel Checklist–Part 2–Confirming Hotels

I’ve checked my flights to make sure that I still have reservations, seat assignments, and that no horrendous schedule changes have taken place.  Now it’s time to check on hotel reservations that I made several months ago. In August, I made reservations for one night both pre- and post-cruise in Venice using Booking.com.  I always make totally refundable reservations.  The pre-cruise hotel is right in the heart of the action in Venice, near the train station and near, but not on, the Grand Canal.  I wanted to be near the Piazzale Roma, where the bus drops you off from

Award travel / Credit and Debit Cards / Georgia / etc.

Reevaluating My Hotel Strategy

I like accumulating hotel points for free stays, but hotel point collecting has always taken a back seat to collecting airline miles.  My travel focus for the last few years has been on international travel, and the opportunities to stay in hotel chains are not always available or appealing.  It doesn’t thrill me to stay in a Hilton in Malta, for example. This summer has marked some changes in our travel patterns.  As our oldest grandson has reached the ripe old age of four, he has become a reasonable travel companion; that is, if we don’t venture too far

Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / Greece / etc.

Athens Greece Hotels Using Points

Staying in central Athens will position you for seeing the major sites easily.  If you are in Athens to meet a cruise, it is always a good idea to fly in at least a day ahead of time.  My mantra for flying to meet cruises is one day ahead for domestic departures, and two days ahead for overseas embarkations. If you fly in two days ahead, you can take advantage of my two suggested itineraries found here.  If you have a choice of staying before or after your cruise, I am recommending that you do your stay pre-cruise.  This

Award travel / Credit and Debit Cards / Greece / etc.

Do It Yourself Greek Islands Cruise–Part 8–Flying Economy on Star Alliance— Thessaloniki–Frankfurt–Atlanta

I had booked our award tickets for the return flight home back in January on the United website.  At the time, I only had enough miles in my United account for economy class tickets, so we used 60,000 miles for two one-way economy tickets.  Details of how I booked the flights can be found on this blog entry from April.  We were to fly Aegean Air from Thessaloniki to Athens in the afternoon, and Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Atlanta the next morning. As I mentioned in my post about our last day in Greece, we spent some time at

Credit and Debit Cards / Hotels

How much are SPG Starpoints Worth?

The Starwood family of hotels includes the following brands: Westin Four Points St. Regis element W The Luxury Collection Loft Meridien Sheraton You can acquire Starpoints that can be redeemed for free hotel stays by applying for and spending on the SPG American Express card.  There are business and personal versions of this card.  The usual sign-on bonus is 25K Starpoints with a $5000 spend within 6 months, although occasionally there are 30K offers.  I got a business card with the 30K bonus about three years ago, and have about 10K points left, which are set to expire in