Quick Photo Review of Marriott Townplace Suites Sioux Falls South Dakota

Nice new hotel with an extra nice staff. Good location with several nearby restaurants and a convenience store nearby. Typical Townplace hotel with free breakfast. I enjoyed my short overnight here and would stay here again if I come back to the area.

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Quick photo review of Springhill Suites IAH Houston Texas.

Handicap accessible room shown. Not a bad short stay. Close to airport. Breakfast at 6am is a bit late for an airport hotel but not surprising.

My state of mind on hotels today

So I was reading the Travel with Grant blog today and he states how he is in a funk over hotel programs. I agree and attempted to give my 5 cents. Why because it’s free. Not I’m not a troll on Boardingarea. Well maybe I’m sort of a big fan that is opinionated.

So I share some thoughts on most hotel programs below. Keep in mind that I travel 100 to 125 nights a year on business plus vacations and cruises so yes my dogs hate me. My wife travels 75 to 100 nights as well. She is a real IHG Spire loyalist as am I and am a Spire Ambassador (sounds impressive) but I also branch out with Hilton and Marriott a lot. We both hold Silver status with Marriott and I have Diamond with Hilton as well as Gold with Radisson.

Radisson used to be better but 40k a year is worth keeping the card for an odd night or so plus Gold status. I love Radisson Blu hotels and have stayed at a lot of them all over the world.

Hyatt, I love love them but…not enough properties. So I don’t want to waste my stays there.

Marriott, I want to love them, they have properties everywhere, but it’s too hard to earn top tier status. But…once you do you can earn United Silver. But…the free night certs are limited and expire too quickly. I’ve got about a dozen stays in with them this year so far but as a Silver i wonder why I’m not at other chains where my status is higher.

SPG, you should have already moved your points over to Virgin to Alaska when you had the chance. They also have too many places where the hotel selection it too eclectic and it’s not my thing. Points super valuable but a bit hard to rack up quickly in my world.

IHG, I love IHG. They have properties everywhere, well they are weak in Hawaii (come on IHG). As an IHG credit card holder you get a real free night cert that you can use for a year. In addition they have good promos. I also like buying up in points or cash to Intercontinental status for the free night rebates or status share and free weekend BOGO cert although it’s not always the best deal. The IHG card also gives you Platinum status which is a nicer level than some others.

Choice Hotels. They have been going down hill for years. The Cambria properties offer some hope and I really like them but they don’t have Cambria hotels in most areas. In general they are a fancy Wyndham motel or an Ex-IHG,Marriott,Hilton property. The card is OK I guess but I’m not a fan in general.

Wyndham…..They have lied to me many times on promotions and have for years. They have a few good properties but unless you work on a transient labor crew and are forced to “do time” in Super 8’s  or HOJO’s then they are not a good place to be, trust me.

Best Western. They are like an honest Wyndham with slightly better rooms or maybe equal with Choice. The future is bright for them as they seem to be putting in a real effort to improve the hotels but unless you do business travel in a region where they are all over it’s not my first, second or third choice and I’m Diamond with them (don’t ask).

Hilton. You’ll notice they are lumped at the bottom. If it wasn’t for nicer hotels they would be even with Choice or Best Western. They have devalued SO much I’m not sure where the bottom is. I want to love Hilton but they don’t love me back. The Hampton’s are a weak HIX and they devalue faster than I can earn points and I’m a Hilton Diamond. Sure they offer free breakfast and free wifi but isn’t that like free HBO and air conditioned rooms? They also did away with the double dip in another devaluation. 2017 may have seen some of my last stays with Hilton as I watch my Hilton points currency burning in front me faster than I use it. It’s like the Wiemar Republic of the hotel points world. Maybe I’ll start referring to their points as HHonormarks or RReichmarks.

So bottom line is use the cards from the random hotel chains for the perks and odd location awards but Marriott or IHG should be your future until they follow Hilton to the Neverland Ranch. The dynamics change for certain types of travelers I know and I don’t think everyone will agree with me. Just my personal opinion based on my experience and how I’ve been treated by these programs over the years. Plus I’m biased. Now IHG go build some Hawaii properties so I can go there on vacation already 🙂

My advices is to put most of your day to day spend on a good card like Chase Sapphire Reserve and forget doing much spending on hotel cards unless you need the hit to earn a promo, etc. Churn these cards to get points unless your a business traveler and if you are pick the best one that works for you everywhere you go or want awards.

Notice I have no affiliate links in my post so I’m trying to be as honest as I can about my feelings on these properties but keep in mind that I’m a bit biased to IHG in general. 20171218_1448131057734389.jpg

Quick Photo Share of Holiday Inn Express Norman Oklahoma

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Lobby area20171002_165950_HDR

Fitness room. Not bad. Newer equipment.20171002_165933_HDR

Standard but welcome Keurig and K-cups supplied daily at most HIX which I love. 20171002_162905

Decent work area and TV. I always wish the TV’s could be bigger in most hotels. 20171002_162842

Nice beds at this hotel. Updated decor is pleasant and calming at this hotel I think. 20171002_162835_HDR

Nice clean hotel spotless bathrooms.20171002_162826holiday inn norman ok

Photo Review -Holiday Inn IAH George W Bush Airport

Newer but typical Holiday Inn design. Features airport shuttle, restaurant, bar and outdoor pool. Free parking for hotel guests.

Fitness center

Lobby

Lobby

View to South from room. Shell gas station nearby is handy as not much in this area just East of the airport. Industrial park area mostly. No other restaurants nearby.

Showers and not tubs which is good to me.

Not a bad hotel. Close to rental car center and airport, couple miles East of terminal. Too far to walk but short ride.

Staff was friendly. No free breakfast, even as Spire Ambassador.

Photo review of Holiday Inn Express – Woodward Oklahoma

Fairly typical layout. Small town HIX but well located. Several restaurants and a Wal-Mart next door.

Decent beds and pillows. Clean.

Decent workspace although not all the ovehead lights connected on the furniture like other HIX of this style.

This is an older hotel but with remodeled rooms and door slamming oilfield workers.

Typical HIX breakfast.

Main lobby room.

Indoor pool. Sorry I didny get a photo of the fitness center but it featured a sauna as well.

Overall not bad. Limited choices in this area so I’d stay here again.

Quick review of Residence Inn downtown San Antonio

Not my best photo effort but a few to show this typical Residence Inn.

Outdoor play area.

Nice pool area. This hotel has a great staff. Everyone was very friendly.

Outside grounds. Well located about a half mile SW of the Riverwalk. Close to groceries and some restaurants. Easy to the Interstate as well.

Good work space.

This was an end room on the second floor. Typical older model layout. Everthing was spotless. Not bad. I would stay here again but did find the internet speed a bit lacking for the standard speed offered.