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Hotels Archives - ATX Fun - Austin-San Antonio Fun, Travel & Educational Opportunities

How to Override Hotel Thermostat Limits

Some hotel rooms have thermostats that offer only a limited amount of control to the guests. For example, the temperature might be limited to the range of 71 to 84 degrees F.

This Your Mileage May Vary post has links to YouTube videos that show how to hack these thermostats so they will go beyond the normal limits. That is useful if you sleep best at, say, 65 degrees.

The site contains a warning that some of these hacks might damage the thermostat, but I deem that highly unlikely if you are just pushing the buttons.

I always carry an un-inflated mylar balloon and string, which can be used to fool occupancy sensors by “blowing in the wind.”

Enjoy the tips, and stay comfortable on your upcoming hotel stays. Promises to Re-Book Your Flights & Hotels When Prices Drop

DoNotPay LogoThe Milenomics blog has a long post on a free new service that could save travelers some real money…if it works as planned. plans to be the AutoSlash of airline and hotel bookings, checking frequently to see if prices have dropped and automatically re-booking you when they do.

DNP owners claim they can even work with Southwest Airlines, which is something that others have had no success with…Southwest’s team of lawyers quickly sue any website owner that scrapes their data.

DNP requires a large amount of private information from its clients, as explained in the Milenomics post.

I wish them the best of luck…they will need it to survive.

Yes, There Are Still Places With Free Parking on the Las Vegas “Strip”

Las VegasBack in the day, not long ago, parking at casinos along The Strip in Las Vegas was free. Nowadays that free parking is becoming a thing of the past, as budget buffets did.

But, there are still a few opportunities for free self-park on The Strip, and even free valet parking. MommyPoints has listed six, and a commentor added a seventh. Here is the list, generally from north to south:

  • SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
  • Hilton Grand Vacation
  • Fashion Show Mall
  • Palazzo and Venetian
  • Treasure Island
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Tropicana

Check the MommyPoints blog for details.

A Super Wyndham Hotels Promotion Is Now Open

Wyndham LogoThe hotel chains within the Wyndham group range from inexpensive (Knights Inn, Days Inn, Microtel, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Ramada) to pricey (Wyndham Grand Hotels), yet they all offer a free night for 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points. This seems illogical, but it does make for some interesting arbitrage possibilities.

Right now Wyndham is running a ‘stay 2 nights, get 1 night free’ promotion. The free night is actually 15,000 points, which can be used to rent a room in some very nice properties. The promotion runs through June 30, 2018, and is limited to one free night per Wyndham Rewards account.

View from my Wyndham Grand hotel room
View from my Wyndham Grand hotel room
Chicago River View from My Room
Chicago River View from My Room

Last Fall Wyndham ran a very similar promotion. I did two one-night stays in inexpensive Days Inn properties while traveling in Missouri, and earned the 15,000 point bonus. With those points I spent a free night at the downtown Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront hotel, which provided an incredible view of the Chicago River from my room.

Note that, as per the Terms & Conditions, hotel nights must cost at least $25 to count toward this promotion. I see Wyndahm properties in north Austin, San Marcos and New Braunfels listed at $49/night (plus ~$7 tax). Do two 1-night stays at these (you must check in, but you don’t really have to spend the night) and you will earn a free night at an aspirational hotel like I did.

In addition, you will earn 1000 points for each stay. Even if you don’t stay at a Wyndham property, you can always purchase 5000 points for just $55 on their website.



IHG Best Rate Guarantee Degraded, No More Free Nights

Holiday Inn Express is an IHG ChainUntil 2 days ago, you could get a free night at an IHG hotel if you could find a better price on Expedia, Trivago, etc., than Sadly, that part of their Best Price Guarantee has quietly ended.

As reported on Loyalty Lobby,and Frequent Miler , the hotel group now offers to match the lower price you found and give you 5x bonus IHG points (worth roughly 3%).

I once did a price match to an IHG property in Hong Kong and got a free room, which was pretty sweet. With this new devaluation, that will no longer be possible.

Hilton Lets You Buy Back Expired Points

Hilton LogoAs reported in the Loyalty Lobby blog, Hilton now allows you to “Restore Your Points” after they expire. The cost is 1/4 of a cent per point for up to 100,000 points. That will cost $250. Any additional points, up to 1 million, can be restored at no added charge.

You can restore points up to 18 months after they expire, but the Terms & Conditions state that you can do a restoration only once.

Hilton Hotel
Hilton Danube Waterfront, Vienna

Hilton brands include Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, DoubleTree, Tapestry Collection, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites.

Registration for Jan. 2018 IHG Accelerate Promotion Is Now Open

AccelerateIHG is the second-largest hotel chain in the world, although you will never find a hotel by that name. Registration for their most lucrative promotion, called Accelerate, is open now.

IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group) owns Holiday Inn (and its variants), Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites and some other lesser-known brands.

About 3 times a year IHG runs a promotion called Accelerate, which gives you lots of IHG points if you meet some goals. Everyone’s set of goals is different. Here are mine for the upcoming Accelerate, which begins January 1 and ends April 30, 2018:

IHG Promotion

As you may be able to see, if I meet all of the 6 main goals I will receive 47,000 IHG points! That’s not likely to happen this time, but if I meet 5 of the goals I will receive the points for those goals plus an “Achievement Bonus” of 17,700 points.

It looks like I can meet my “easiest” 5 goals by staying a total of just 3 nights. That’s a pretty easy accomplishment.

Compare this with the fact that certain IHG hotels can be had for just 5000 points per night during their PointBreaks promotions.

You can see more information about the Accelerate promotion in this Million Mile Secrets post and in this One Mile at a Time post and in this The Points Guy post and finally in this Shutterwhale post.

You can register for the Accelerate promotion here.

IHG hotels are my favorites, because you can earn a lot of points with the Accelerate promotions and you can rent rooms in select hotels for only 5000 points per night during the PointBreaks promotions. That’s a winning combination in my book.

Expensive Mandatory Holiday Dinners at Hotels

Rolls of moneyA One Mile at a Time blog post by Tiffany describes something I’ve never run into, and hope never to run into. It’s expen$$$ive New Year’s Eve dinners at luxury hotels, dinners that you must pay for even if you don’t attend.

Dubai, the Grand Hyatt Dubai charges $354 per person for New Years Eve dinner. The nearby Park Hyatt Dubai dinner is $325 pp.

If you are in Thailand, your dinner at the Vana Belle in Koh Samui will run you $489.

If the above numbers are chump change to you, then hotels in the Maldives may be more appealing.  Mandatory New Years Eve dinner at the Park Inn Maldives costs $590 + $131 tax per person.

Still too cheap? Then head over to the St. Regis Maldives and be prepared for $895 plus $197 tax per person. Tipping is presumably whatever you feel like.

3000 Club Carlson Points + USB Cable for ~$1

Club Carlson is the loyalty program for Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inns & Suites and Quorvus Collection hotels.

Club Carlson has a promotion to encourage people to use their mobile app. Purchase something from one of their Extras Partners through the app, and you get 3000 Club Carlson points. The promotion runs until the end of 2017. One of their partners is eBay, and there you can find items like USB and Apple cables for as little as 79 cents shipped. I chose a USB cable costing slightly over a dollar, to make sure it registered as a purchase.

To do this, first install the Club Carlson app on your phone and log in. Click the Extras icon at the top. You will see several sellers, I selected eBay. Enter “USB cable” (or whatever you would like to purchase) in the Search box and tap the magnifying glass icon.

Look for the word “Refine” on the right side, under the magnifying glass. Tap Refine and make these selections:

  • Sort – Lowest Price + Shipping
  • Buying Format – Buy It Now
  • Shipping – Free Shipping

Then tap Done. Select any item you like, tap Buy It Now and complete the purchase. The item should arrive in 2 or 3 weeks (if you need it sooner, go back to the Refine step and select United States as the vendor location), and you should receive 3000 points from Club Carlson.

Easy peasy! Club Carlson has other promotions going also, including one for 10,000 points for a stay at some of their hotels. See the website for details.

I stayed in Radisson hotels in Reykjavik, Iceland, using points and found them to be comfortable and clean.

Downtown Paris Hyatt for 3000 Points + $21?

Update: Deal is dead. Someone called Hyatt to ask about it, which alerted them so they pulled the offer. The rule is: If you see a great rate book it, never phone in to ask about it.

The Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile has a possibly-mistake rate which is bookable now for stays until next summer. This is an unbelievably low cost for this quality hotel near the center of the City of Lights.

AMAZING DEAL: Hyatt Regency Paris Club Rooms $21 + 3000 Points Per Night

I’ve made a personal reservation a few minutes ago for 3 nights in July 2017. They are showing as cancellable until 4 PM the day before. Some commenters believe this is just payment for an upgrade, not an actual room…I hope for clarification in the next few days as people begin arriving for their upcoming stays.

Here is the booking link: . Then click the box indicating you want to use points.

The Eiffel Tower, Photo by Miles
The Eiffel Tower, Photo by Miles