Marriott $25 gift card on 7+ night stays targeted offer. AKA: Travel Makes us Joyful in 2022

Marriott has a niche, targeted offer out where you get a $25 grocery gift card for 7+ night extended stays at “Participating” properties using corporate/coupon code ES7 in the booking details. The offers says “Hang out with us for awhile and save with extended−stay rates and a $25 grocery card on 7+ nights.” If you are targeted you may find this in a recent email with the subject line “FOR YOU: Special Offers on 2022 Travel”.

Credit: Marriott email offer

Travel Makes us Joyful

Need to Know

  • Earn a $25 Grocery Gift Card
  • Package available for guests staying 7+ nights
  • Book by April 6, 2022
  • Promotional Code: ES7 What’s this?
  • Valid Stay Dates: January 1, 2022 – June 19, 2022

Description

Settling in for an extended stay in the New Year? Receive a $25 grocery gift card on us when you stay for 7+ consecutive nights.

Available at participating properties in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean and Latin America.

More offer details show:

How to Book:

Be sure that the Promotional Code appears in the Corporate/Promotional code box when making your online reservation, or call 1-800-228-9290 and ask for the promotional code. For toll-free numbers outside the US please visit Global Reservation Numbers

T&C

Terms & Conditions:

Includes a $25 grocery gift card for every 7 nights consecutively stayed; grocery store location may be preselected by hotel. Minimum length of stay required (varies by participating hotels). A minimum length of stay may apply. Offers may be advance payment/non-refundable and non-changeable. Offer must fall within valid dates and is only valid through the stay window end date. Limited number of rooms are available for this promotion. Tax is additional. Offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms. Offer cannot be combined with any other promotions. Blackout dates may apply. Advance reservations required. Other restrictions apply. Rates are per room, per night and based on availability at the time of reservations.

While it seems many hotels don’t allow this rate code it could be valuable. My random search for a Wednesday night in mid-February in Chicago (not tourist high season of course). Only showed two properties you could book this for at this moment in time.

Apparently cold weather and hot chocolate is involved with this marketing effort.

Photo Review Marriott Waikiki Beach Hotel

We recently had a short two night stay in Waikiki. Thanks to the Marriott points temporary discount I was able to use two of my 35k free night certs that are usually useless on Oahu.

Due to my low Gold status I did end up in a nice beach view room. We really enjoyed the large balcony and view of the nearby hotels.

Pros of this hotel include location at Waikiki and near the Zoo. Friendly staff and recently renovated rooms.

Cons of this hotel include $50 resort fee per night, $45 per night parking fee and location on Waikiki which is Branson Missouri west with tourists and traffic. Noisy night and day and also tons of homeless citizens all over the beach. Also the band at the hotel next door plays late into the evening which you can hear in your room. Street racing on the street below with horns, people yelling all night etc.

Overall I would stay here again and enjoyed most of it. The check in using the Hawaii covid website is a real pain as the hotel won’t take a printed QR code, they make you log in and go through 2 factor authentication to show them it on your phone while a line forms at the check-in desk.

Travel Meeting Backgrounds

Seems like a ton of people have posted zoom or other platform virtual meeting photos so I thought I’d share some of my favorite travel related ones.

United Airlines has several. I prefer the ones that make me look like I’m in a different place instead of just scenery.

credit: United Airlines, of course
Polaris Lounge credit: United Airlines

Here are some cruise ship related ones from Cruise Critic

Credit: CruiseCritic.com

Most hotel chains have posted meeting background wallpaper photos for use. Smart marketing I think and it doesn’t cost them much anyway. Here are some from Montage Hotels

Credit: Montage Hotels

And here are some from Marriott as well.

Credit: Marriott International

So have fun and enjoy. Backgrounds like these aren’t hard to find of course. I felt guilty even posting this because you can just Google your favorite brand, location, etc. for meeting or zoom backgrounds and you will find a ton of all types of subjects so have a little fun.

Credit: Air France

Win a Trip to Munich

By entering here: SALVATORFEST you can win a free trip for two to Munich in March of 2022.

The exact dates are not yet announced but drinking in Munich with free travel sounds good to me. Munich is a lovely place and fun city for a few beers. I’d rather go for Octoberfest but Munich is nice most of the year.

This prize consists of “roundtrip coach airfare for the First Prize Winner and Guest from the international airport in the continental United States that is closest to the First Prize Winner’s residence (as determined by Sponsor) to Munich Germany, and (iii) two (2) consecutive nights hotel stay in Munich, Germany at a hotel selected by Sponsor. Accommodations will include one standard room with double occupancy and a morning breakfast.” They value this at $3,500. Click Here for the official rules. This contest ends by 3-15-21 with winner announced on about 3-18-21. Good Luck.

Big Southwest Sale $50, well maybe

So it’s been awhile since posting. I guess Covid and less travel will do that to you. Plus I’ve been busy getting a new job, moving and well traveling some.

Southwest currently has a new sale. Good deals starting at about $50.

So among the many changes in the past 6 months one of my sons and his family moved to Hawaii. He’s in the Army and also has a new daughter. I’ve been avoiding flying because wearing a mask with asthma isn’t my idea of fun for more than 10 minutes but I still haven’t met our new granddaughter yet. I saw this sale that Southwest has and was thinking it would be a great way, well cheap way to get from our new home airport in St. Louis to Honolulu using my wife’s companion pass. Sure it’s cattle car festival seating but I’m tough.

So I started searching and found some potentially great deals. <$500 for both of us roundtrip….or did I.

The sale goes through May and I’m trying to put this off a bit due to work and vaccine roll-outs but before another big trip in August. Found a good date on May 7th only to find no return dates… No worries I’ll look at April.

OK? How about March

How odd but I’m flexible how about next week?

Now I’m no fool. I know that Southwest isn’t the best way to get to Hawaii from most of the country but I didn’t think it would be that bad. It’s like the Hotel California. You can check-out anytime you like but you can never leave. Maybe I’ll check out my companion pass on Alaska Airlines 🙂

Photo Review of IHG Staybridge Albuquerque North

Recently had a chance to do an extended stay at the IHG Staybridge Suites Albuquerque North hotel. Some of the features such as full breakfast, evening reception, indoor pool and the fitness center remained closed due to the Covid19 scare. The laundry pet area and pantry was available. They also feature long term storage closets at this location as well.

The pantry was nearly empty but had a few items for purchase. The local staff as this hotel was the true bright spot. The rooms are super clean and had standard Staybridge set up with kitchen and sperated bed area. I’d say the only compliant I’d have was that many of the rooms have queen sized single beds which are a bit small in two player mode.

$100 Statement Credit off $550 for Chase Sapphire Reserve, targeted?

I just got a secure message through my Chase account regarding the upcoming $550 annual fee on my CSR. “We recognize this is a difficult time for everyone. As a way to help, we’re providing you a one-time $100 statement credit toward the 2020 $550 annual fee on your Reserve credit card. On an upcoming billing statement (based on your renewal date), you’ll see a $550 charge for the annual fee, followed by a $100 statement credit. We will continue to bill the $550 annual fee in 2021. Because this credit only applies to open Reserve accounts, if you’ve closed your Reserve account or traded to another credit card before your renewal, you will not receive the $100 statement credit. We know COVID-19 has affected people in many different ways. Please check chase.com/StayConnected for updates and helpful ways to stay connected to your accounts.

I wasn’t super worried about the increased fee as I still get value out of the travel credits, insurance and increase in Ultimate Rewards points redemption but had considered closing my account. This is enough to keep me a customer for another year. I don’t find much value in the new Doordash or Lyft credits as I will only use those when I travel but neither service is available in my rural town, yet.

Chase

Hilton Garden Inn Cherry Creek Denver Colorado Photo Review

A quick overnight for business at the Hilton Garden Inn at Cherry Creek was a good experience.I usually stay at the Holiday Inn across the road but a client booked this hotel for me. While the Holiday Inn is nice and a bit cheaper I think I’d give the edge to this hotel. The best part about the Garden Inn is that it’s located in an upscale trendy shopping center so there are multiple restaurant basically on the ground floor.

Overall I enjoyed my time here. I like staying in this area because of the Cherry Creek bike trail which offers a great place to run or bike. There are public shared bikes along the trail as well.

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 How Clean Your Cruise Ship Will Be? I think I know a way to find out. Plus Top 10 suggestions.

News groups and “news bloggers” like Yahoo and such enjoy posting items that slam certain companies. Norovirus on cruise ships is always popular for some odd reason. With the most recent Corona Novel Virus it is even more popular to pick on cruise lines. Some of it is valid because being on a cruise ship, in a college dorm, military barracks or other close quarters can also virus from Norovirus to MRSA to spread quickly.

So let’s say you are thinking of booking a cruise or have one booked but are a germophobe. Now there is a way you can do more research on the ship you have in mind.

You can go to the CDC and search for your cruise ship to see the most recent scores. Keep in mind these are like restaurant scores. A ship can do poorly on a given day but do perfect on another if the timing is bad. Imagine a cruise ship with a broken dishwasher and a kid in the pool in his diaper (not the fault of the cruise line) and could get a failing score. https://wwwn.cdc.gov/InspectionQueryTool/InspectionSearch.aspx

On the CDC site you’ll find the “Green Sheet” which are good scores of ships. You can drill down to find all sorts of data.

You can also find the ships that got a perfect score of 100 !!

MY TOP 10 WAYS TO “TRY” AND AVOID GETTING SICK ON A CRUISE:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water, A LOT.
  2. Don’t rely only on the hand sanitizer stations to clean your hands. These help but some won’t kill virus germs.
  3. Be careful what you eat in port. Sure the ship might not be perfect much like your favorite restaurant on land but eating the cool hipster jerk chicken street taco from the beach vendor in Progresso Mexico might not be your best move.
  4. Bring a tiny spray can of Lysol with you and spray your room down when you first get to your cabin. You don’t know who was in there a few hours prior. The staff does a great job of cleaning but they can’t be perfect. Why do you think they wear rubber gloves all the time. They aren’t cheap but mini cans of Lysol can be found in the travel products section at many stores. If you can’t do that at least take Wet Wipes and clean the door handles, light switches, remote control, sink handle, toilet handle, etc.
  5. Avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth if you haven’t just washed your hands. Even Kate Winslet warns about this in the movie Contagion and she still dies in the movie.
  6. Use the paper door opener napkins by public bathrooms when available. Just because you wash your hands doesn’t mean the person who left the bathroom prior to you did.
  7. Try to avoid using the tongs in the buffet line if possible. This one is ultra hard and the staff cleans and replaces these often but germs can spread with using these. If you must use them try to wipe your hands or clean them before you eat with your hands or just use a fork and spoon only.
  8. Get plenty of rest and limit alcohol. Sure we all want to think that drinking enough Bahama Mama’s at the poor bar will kill the germs in your system (see number 3 above) but it really will just make you hung over and tired.
  9. Don’t drink or even wash your teeth with the tap water in your room. The plumbing systems on ships is complex and the water isn’t always what your body is used to at home. This can lead to minor stomach issues at best. I like to hand a tag or something on the sink to remind me to only use it for hand washing, etc.
  10. Wash your hands. 15 seconds or more with soap and water is your best friend.

OK so now your are prepared to book your cruise. Do me a favor and go to my favorite booking agent: Cruises and Castles Travel