Photo Review Holiday Inn Express Austin Airport Texas

Short one night stay at the HIX at Austin Airport. Hotel is a good location just a few minutes from the AUS terminal by car. The hotel features a nice outdoor pool, fitness center with decent equipment.

It also passes my test of offering the free breakfast at 6 am instead of the weird trend of 6:30 am that many hotels have moved to. It also has small guest laundry and the fitness center is open 24 hours. This hotel is located in a business park type area so not a tourist centric property but most of Austin is a car centered culture anyway. #traffic.

Separate bath and toilet area are a bit dated with dark lighting but spotless. Only complaint is the overdone water softener setting giving me that “swimming in the dead sea” spa experience.
I didn’t use the airport shuttle but they seem to have two drivers and vans on call at all times. Check with the hotel for details of course.
Overall a nice hotel with clean comfort and well located.

Ever Wonder If – Those “Buy Extra Miles” at airport check-in are a good deal.

Sure we’ve all been there. You are rushing around getting ready for your trip and you jump online to check in for your flight, “pick and pray” on the seat selector without the advantage of SeatGuru available. You worry about how to print the boarding pass in a hotel lobby with 5 printers that all lack ink and IT support.

Or Maybe you’re doing it on the fly at the airport Kiosk, worried about dropping your bags or passport while the amateur travelers all around you wonder at your kiosk skills and how cool a jet-setter like you looks.

Then BANG you get the “Mileage Multiplier” !!!

Wait!!! HOLD THE PLANE. YOU mean for just a bit more money I can get 5,000 extra miles to add to my Euro Trip Vacation stash.

Oh it must be a good deal because after all I’m flying already and only people checking in will be able to gain these extra miles at such a good value. I can see myself drinking champagne in crystal fluted glasses in first class. Or is that sparkling wine in plastic cups?

But wait is it a good deal? It must be but I can’t do the math in my head, too much going on. UGGGG. Not sure what to do! Pull the trigger or pass up the “deal of the century”. Oh the pressure.

OK let’s not do math, let’s just compare. If you don’t even have a reservation but log into AA.com (in this case). Go to the Buy, Gift and Transfer miles page and you’ll find this price:

That’s right my friends you would have just paid $12.03 too much for those miles at check-in. Feel special yet? Oh and there is more. That’s without taking advantage of the frequent or current mile buy deals for buying more miles.

Sure $461.99 is a lot to spend on miles but this is just a hint that those miles at check-in aren’t usually a good deal. As a rule of thumb if you aren’t seeing “buy miles” deals at less than 2 cents per mile it isn’t usually a great deal. In fact buying miles rarely is a good deal to buy on speculation. It can pay off to buy miles to put you over the top for a premium cabin redemption but I’ve never seen it be a good deal at check-in. I assume there are folks that can sneak this through on an expense account but most of us live in the real world and have morals.

Oh and those travel bloggers that help us all out by telling us about the latest mile buying promotions or top travel gadgets to buy from Amazon can be helpful if you have the need. Remember though that most are doing this as a way to may affiliate revenue. They get money when you click through many of the deals they post. Doesn’t make it wrong but just do it eyes-wide open. In fact when I do take advantage of things like this or credit card sign-ups I try to do it through blogs I like to support them. Some of them also lack morals so use caution.

Side Note: I pick on American Airlines here but most airline check-in deals aren’t worth it. Just remember if the price for those 5,000 miles is higher than $100 you are paying too much. Less than that could be a good deal and a unicorn. Maybe like a unicorn using a kiosk at the airport 🙂

Lounge Review – Priority Pass Terminal 1 Munich Airport –

We paid a short visit to the Airport Lounge Europe on our recent visit to Munich. Our MUC-AMS flight on KLM left out of Gate D15 in Terminal 1 which was very close to this lounge. It is located next to the KLM Air France Lounge above Gate D14. You should be able to get to this lounge from the C gates but it would be a long way from others. There is another Priority Pass Lounge in Terminal 2. They are inside security. Overall this is a nice little Priority Pass Lounge.

This was in the morning so basic breakfast was on offer. The lounge was also very slow as it was during a Sunday morning. Overall we enjoyed this lounge.

Seating was comfortable with tons of power outlets.

Air France CDG 2E lounge at 5:30am

Just a few photos from the Air France Salon Lounge at CDG 2E  at 5:30am on Monday August 5th 2019.

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Sorry No photos of the food selection. Not much out early this early as the lounge opens at 5:30am. Some cold cuts, cheese, crousants, etc. I’ve never seen it this empty so it was pleasant for a 3 hour layover after coming off a redeye from TLV. img_20190805_053954img_20190805_053140

 

Photo Review of Radisson Country Inn & Suites TUC Tucson Arizona Airport

The Tucson airport country inn & suites is conveniently located about a half a mile north of the Tucson terminal. It’s walkable although shuttle service and nearby car service is readily available. This country inn & suites is relatively good although a bit dated. they are in the process of doing renovations during my stay in this hotel should improve from average to good in the near future.

I was really impressed that they start breakfast at 5am which is something all airport hotels should do more.

Hotel Photo Review – Marriott Courtyard Springfield Missouri Airport

The last time I stayed at this property Dick Cheney was VP. I know this because he was staying here at the same time on a campaign stop. I also remember this because when I checked in the front desk gave me the wrong key and I walked in on a secret service agent in his room, yikes.

Anyway this hotel has aged well. It’s one of the designs that has a small atrium in the lobby. It has a restaurant in the parking lot but is equipped with the Hyatt Place style bistro for breakfast, evening drinks and food. I like this but still feel that not having free breakfast,, even for elites, has long hampered Courtyard business traveler business. Sure many can expense this cost anyway but it is just more complicated than being able to grab a quick coffee or breakfast on the way out the door for most roadwarriors.

This hotel has a small in door pool, decent fitness room and clean rooms. I find the bathrooms a bit dated but spotless. This property is right off I-44 and near the Springfield Regional Airport. They have shuttle but a cab might be worth it to save time.

Photo Review of the Avianca Lounge at Puerto Rico – SJU – Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport

Had a short layover at the San Juan airport. Now that American has closed their lounge (although their website still shows it open) there is not much choice. Using our Priority Pass membership we enjoyed this small lounge for a couple hours. It was very crowded but not terrible. It offers a nice self service bar and decent food. I was also happy that it had restrooms although most listings don’t show that feature.

I was disappointed with the cleanliness in general throughout the lounge. It wasn’t terrible but just below expectations. The wifi was good but no views of the airfield.