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Re: Subsidizing paid Marriott stays Offering a minimum of 20$ per night plus 15% off. The longer u stay and the more expensive the room the more i will pay per night
March 08, 2020, 07:21:27 PM
Re: Airbnb gift card for sale Thank you @enwhycee for smooth transaction
April 27, 2020, 11:22:52 AM
Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report This is my first trip report so I hope I do this right!
 I am the kind of guy who's always planning trips but rarely actually gets to go on one so when the opportunity came up I jumped on it . For a destination we wanted to stay within USA just for simplicity due to all the covid restrictions in other countries ....our first idea was just boring miami but we quickly ditched that due to weather and covid spiking... next idea was arizona but also too hot so we settled on Colorado for the perfect no humidity weather in the mountains during the summer.

Ever since getting married I've become a stickler for nice hotels (before that i just looked at it like a waste of money/ points) so my planning was partly (alright- mostly) based on where I can find a really nice hotel on points and the winner was the St Regis Aspen which was at the time pricing at 70k Marriott per night for the entire duration of the stay (which usually is quite hard to find) due to covid .The hotel is actually quite an old building but was renovated about 10 years ago and its very luxurious even for today's standards albeit with more of a rustic mountain feel (more on that later) . In regards to the location obviously everyone recognizes the name from the tissue boxes so I knew I wouldn't be let down.

 I spoke to a well travelled friend who told me the nicest thing to see in the Colorado Rockies is Maroon Bells which is right next to Aspen so that sealed it ! The other thing my friend told me about was Mt Evans which is a drive thats supposed to be very cool (highest road in USA) but that's closer to denver and too far from Aspen to be a day trip.
 So I was thinking to do one less night in Aspen and 1 night closer to denver so we can do that drive ( and also by only doing 3 nights I wouldn't feel so bad not taking advantage of fifth night free....staying 5 nights would have meant having to stay for shabbos in denver and that just didn't work for me)
However by the time I decided to do that the off peak promo was over and if you want to shorten a stay with marriott its based off the current rates (which had gone back up to 85k) so essentially you are just canceling the stay and rebooking it for 1 less night for the current rate - they can't just knock off the last night and keep the rate you booked (which seems quite foolish). I tried huca and supervisors to no avail. They said the only other option is to get the hotel to make the change but when I spoke to the property they said they can't change a points reservation all I can do is check out a day early and I would get the points back but then would be charged $4000 (!) for "making a change within 24 hours" and no they can't make any exceptions as it's a rigid rule. Obviously I asked for a manager and was told he was in a meeting so I should leave a voicemail. So as a last ditch effort I left a message explaining the situation and saying that I'm coming with my 5 month old baby this is his first trip blah blah blah not expecting to get a call back.
To my surprise i got a call a bit later from Carlos who introduced himself as the reservation manager for the St Regis and the W (the W aspen is an insanely cool and modern property but the rooms are a bit quirky - some rooms have weird bunkbed style beds and some have no views at all i.e. no windows and it has a rooftop pool open to the public and seems to have more of a party vibe - more on the w later -the st regis just seemed more classy and luxurious) and he goes I have a 2 month old myself and i can definitely help you change your stay no problem no fees! I actually ended up staying all 4 nights but Carlos ended up helping me alot with something else I'll elaborate later.

For flights we had the option of united from newark or Philadelphia or southwest from Philadelphia and I ended up going with southwest because I had some Sw points left from getting 2 cards last year and some very cheap rates , flexible changes (@Dan southwest systemwide free changes) , 2 free bags and guaranteed middle seat free so i can bring my baby's car seat on the plane - although the flight times weren't the greatest.

And for a rental car I had a whole bunch of points leftover from my single years of renting and from buying some a few years thru daily getaways (thanx to @Dan )and coupled with presdents circle (got from the LH Senator code a few years back and kept up thru status match thru national) I was hoping for something nice ( although I had never previously gotten anything better than a challenger with PC) .
Being that we were landing 9am and taking off 430pm I would've had to pay for a whole extra day for those extra few hours but I decided to take my chances and use the amex platinum cdp which allows you to set up your reservation online to return 4 hours later than pickup , hoping that they wouldn't ask me to prove my card membership
(I actualy have a business platinum card that I canceled a while ago but the expiry date on the card is still on the future and i happened to have kept the physical card for situations like these).
So I managed to get a rate for 4 days ( 3000 points) for a 10am pickup and 2pm drop off plus a quoted $100 and some change for taxes and fees (for some odd reason they ended up charging only 19 dollars but I ain't complaining)
So here's some numbers :
Breakdown of costs
Flights (for myself and my wife) :
PHL to DEN Sunday 7am
10746 WN + $11.20
DEN to PHL Thursday 435pm
14646 WN + $11.20
Car :
10am pickup 2pm dropoff .paid for 4 days and got 4 hours extra with amex plat code
3000 Hertz points + $19.10
Hotel :
St Regis Aspen Resort
280k Marriott points ( 4 nights @70k per night off peak rate due to covid promo)(yes it killed me to not take the fifth night free )

For food we needed to bring with us because the closest kosher food is in denver 3 hours away so we did a combination of premade food from yapchik which they vacuum packed for us, some premade homemade food frozen in pans and some raw steaks , all individually wrapped in silver foil, labeled (I made a corresponding list on my phone to keep track of everything) and then as per my rov I taped each one in a specific way to be able to tell if it was tampered with. Next I froze everything and put it in a Polar Bear suitcase (thanks @Dan for the tip worked perfectly) and then the rest of the stuff - milk , cheese frozen pizza etc we made an order from East side kosher deli which we would pick up after landing in denver. To prepare the food we brought a sous vide (to warm the vacuum packed yapchik food and cook the steaks )and a plastic bin for the water, a mini blowtorch to sear the steaks and a toaster oven to warm up the things in pans and for frozen pizza. Honestly a toaster oven is quite a schlep and we only brought it because we had so much free baggage but next time I would probably just try to get one at my destination and leave it there when I'm done
So that's pretty much all the planning ... next up is the actual trip and some pics
..... to be continued.....

July 14, 2020, 11:48:36 AM
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report Sunday 07/05/20
We had to get a really early start as our flight was 7am from Philadelphia and we had an hour drive from Lakewood. We got to the airport, checked in our 4 free bags (i think 2 of them may have been a few pounds over 50 but thankfully they didn't make any issues...either because they saw I was traveling with my baby or just southwest isn't so makpid...I definitely didn't go over our combined 200 lbs) , went thru security (I have TSA pre but my wife doesn't....still haven't figured out why it doesn't always give it to her even tho she is booked on same itinerary as me) , and got to gate just as they were starting boarding. I happen to still have A list status with southwest from my credit card so I knew our boarding position was going to be one of the first but when I walked up to the gate there was literally no one else with A boarding position so we were the last to the gate and the first on the plane! The gate agents were nice enough to let me bring the doona on when I explained to them that I can strap it to the empty seat they were guaranteeing (I actually collapsed it as I was advised to do so they would see its a car seat and not a stroller but the way back I totally forgot to and they let me bring it anyway when I explained). This as opposed to numerous reports of united and AA not letting in car seats even though there are empty seats.
We boarded the plane first so we had the option of taking the bulkhead, but unfortunately the doona is too wide to fit on a seat without lifting an armrest and the armrests in the front row don't go up as they contain the folding tray we ended up taking one row back. Still it was a pretty ideal setup .
Thankfully my baby was a little angel on the flight- he basically slept most of the time and was happy in the car seat...we barely had to hold him...pretty good for a free seat!
We landed in denver, went in circles a few times until we figured out how the airport works (were they drunk when they built it?) , finally located our bags and hopped on the shuttle for Hertz.
Our shuttle driver was quite enthusiastic about his job ( gave us a whole introduction, this "trip will be approximately 5 minutes " "I'll be playing 60s music unless anyone objects "giving us old fashioned actual driving directions how to get to the city ) - gotta love these guys who are all pumped about their job lol.
We arrived at herz and sitting in the PC lit was a nice white Jaguar SUV .... you don't leave something like that in the lot (even if a bigger SUV would have been more practical with all our luggage) so we took the Jag , managed to cram all our luggage in ,and headed for the city.

It was a beautiful sunny day in denver and just as we were leaving the airport we got a stunning view of the snowcapped mountains far off in the distance with a southwest plane taking off in the foreground.... unfortunately we missed the picture .
We headed to king soopers for drinks, paper goods, butane for my torch and some other odds and ends, then we went to a chabad so I can daven shachris (I have the rabbis number if anyone needs) , then headed to Brooklyn Pizza and got some great pizza , then to East side deli to pick up our order and I got some wine there as well. ( I had bought back at home a nice bottle of yarden cab and a castel rose' but the wife was too nervous to bring in luggage - I ended up getting some cheaper stuff in denver because the selection was pretty weak and the good stuff was way too expensive - oh well, sigh. First world problems. )
Finally we hit the road for our 3 and half hour drive through the mountains to Aspen . Even though I knew we were driving through the mountains I didn't realize that this drive would be as epic as it was....the only problem was the weather was a bit rainy( the way there). I always think its a chaval when you do these kinds of drives because you can't experience and /or get pictures of most of it - even if you stop at all the spots on the side you're still missing alot and we didn't end having time to really stop at all either way so I actually set up my phone in the mount to take a time lapse of the drive (obviously you're still only getting the front view and the best is really the side views but the only way to get those would be by setting up a gopro on each side of the car and that fancy I am not. lol) but the time lapses from the way back came out better as the weather was better I will try to attach one below (disclaimer: you may get dizzy :))
The drive really was spectacular ....from wide open lush vallies with cattle grazing surrounded by snow capped mountains to narrow passages carved out of a cliff with barely enough space to squeeze past the incoming traffic....and the elevation fluctuating wildly - my ears were popping and unpopping the entire time ( I also had a bit of a cold I don't think my wife had it so bad). The weather also was pretty wild from almost 100 degrees in denver it dropped to under 60 degrees at one point !
Here's a screenshot of the route I believe we took (for some reason I couldn't find it in Google timeline ) .

We took the 70 west and south to wheeler junction then the 91 to Leadville which is a little town with incredible views whichever way you turn and then we took the 24 to the 82 and that's when things got really fun as you can see from this screenshot .

It passes a landmark called the continental divide which is a mountain ridge that runs north to south and is the point where all waters to the east flow toward the Atlantic and all waters to the west flow toward the pacific (bet you didn't know that...well I didn't either until I googled it after- I am retroactively fascinated lol)
heres a time lapse (from the way back cuz was nicer weather)

Finally we got to Aspen and we pulled up to the magnificent St Regis

to be continued....

July 15, 2020, 12:14:20 AM
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
Pretty sure I saw you in the Hertz parking lot in Denver as I saw that Jag in the parking lot and went inside to double check if I could have it, and then my kids came inside and told me other Yidden got it first!
yes I remember seeing you guys at baggage claim and at hertz.... that's really funny.I guess I owe you an apology! At from now on you know that anything in the PC lot just take it and run - don't look back!

July 15, 2020, 06:59:57 AM
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report
Awesome job, little brother! Keep it coming- just what's with the grammar? Did we go to the same school or what?  ;D ;D
:-\ embarrassing older brothers

July 15, 2020, 07:00:57 AM
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report Continued

Correct me if I am wrong but as far as I can tell from a quick look around this forum I am the first reviewing aspen and the St Regis so I will try to be as detailed as I can to give you an accurate picture.
Aspen is a beautiful and extremely wealthy town 8000 feet above sea level nestled in the rocky mountains with beautiful views of the surroundings peaks wherever you look. Its just a hop away from some of the best ski slopes in the winter (the lifts are a short walk from basically anywhere in town) and from some of the best hiking and scenic spots in North America. There are plenty of high end boutique shops (hence the attraction for my wife) , restaurants (nothing kosher obviously) , and hotels.
There is even an airport with flights from denver and a few other cities but we needed to stop in denver for supplies and we wanted to do the drive so we didn't fly in directly to Aspen.
As I previously mentioned, the St Regis is an older building (originally opened as a Ritz I believe and eventually rebranded as St Regis) that was renovated about ten years ago .
To be completely honest this point was when our "luck " felt like it was running out, I will explain. We have previously been to the St Regis Bahia Beach in peurto rico and when we arrived at that resort we were greeted by numerous people who right away welcomed us and offered us refreshing towels and drinks and took our luggage etc etc the whole nine yards and we were upgraded from a base room to a suite despite only being gold. So although we realized that this wasn't the same situation at all as this property isn't a whole resort with its own grounds etc. its just a building on a street in a town ,(actually they do call themselves "The St Regis Aspen Resort " not sure why) , nonetheless we expected some kind of welcome. Unfortunately when we pulled up no one even came to greet us I actually had to approach someone to help us with our bags ! - not the end of the world but still they definitely fell short on first impressions (they actually apologized later about this).
Then we went to check in . I had called the property before I booked just to make sure that things were open and functional and to find out what special measures were going on for covid (no turndown service and masks required indoors but not everyone listened and definitely wasn't enforced) and was told that it was pretty for some reason I kinda assumed that they would give us a suite. I knew we could use the extra space with a kid but at time I didn't realize how necessary it was as this was our first time staying at a hotel with him. Anyways after arriving with a bit of a sour taste, we walked up to the checkin counter and inquired if there was any upgraded rooms available and was informed that the only suite available was the presidential suite for $900 extra per night (despite there being many other suite types bookable online)
. So we said no thanks we'll stick with our regular room but when we got there, although the room was beautifully furnished, we just felt so claustrophobic with the crib and all our stuff... the was literally no where to move. The bigger issue was that once my baby was sleeping we couldn't make any noise or turn on any lights since its basically one room and there wasn't even a balcony to step out into. Lesson learned....never attempt a hotel stay with a baby in a base room unless its like the St Regis Bal Harbor.
I didn't have a chance to get proper pictures of the room because unpacking was such a balagan but I'll post some nice pictures of the suite we eventually got in Monday's installment.
Here's a taste . You can see the crib crammed in behind the bed

The building is shaped like a "ches" with one whole side dedicated to the residences and the remaining "L" shape making up the hotel part. Here's the floor plan for the fourth floor which we were on. We were in 417 as you can see its even the smaller of the base rooms

In the middle of the "ches" is some outdoor restaurant seating, some fire pits and then up some stairs on the second level is the pool and a few hot tubs

The lower level

The pool level

The pool is definitely more old fashioned and can use a refresh but obviously people aren't coming to Aspen for the swimming....

Back in the room the butler did a great job helping us unpack and we settled in. One thing I would like to point out is that even though I had emailed the hotel dining staff to ask about storing and or warming up my meals (they wanted $45 per dish to warm up but thankfully I didn't need that) and they promised to notify the front desk about the fact that I would need my stuff brought to the freezer, I still found myself having to explain myself a few times until I got someone competent enough to understand what I wanted and look on the notes on my reservation and put me in touch with the right people (in room dining) and have someone come pick up the food. Don't expect it to go smoothly unless its a property that gets alot of this kinda stuff .

It was already quite late and we were quite knocked out from a whole day of travel on very little sleep and the 2 extra hours of time difference , we walked around a little and then warmed up supper.... some homemade schnitzel on baguettes warmed up in toaster oven and some oyster steak and lamb ribs from yapchik warmed in the sous vide. The shnitzel was great but the oyster and the lamb weren't amazing (they are best off fresh...) but it did the trick .
I went down to find street parking as the hotel charges $50 for valet and I found residents parking right next door which is free on Sundays but they usually charge $8 per day but they they actually weren't charging for the whole month of July so that worked out nicely
Then we called it a night.
To be continued.....

July 15, 2020, 09:31:38 AM
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report Monday - Day 2 (07/06/20)
After a leisurely late morning, we had some breakfast (cereal, coffee, and some pastries from lkwd) , I called private dining to bring up the rest of the food we wanted for the day to start defrosting, and we headed out.
Just a few minutes walk from the hotel was the whole boutique shopping area. We had a nice time browsing some designer stores .... alot of them had the feeling that they were like the "flagship " stores of that brand. We checked out a cool art gallery but wasn't allowed to take pictures, got some starbucks.

The whole vibe of the place was basically just upper class wealthy people....(apparently plenty of non frum jews but definitely didn't see anyone frum....arguably one of the best parts of the vacation  ;)). We didnít really feel all that fancy in our Jaguar when surrounded by Range Rovers and G wagons lol.

We went back for some lunch - frozen pizza and lasagna from bagelnosh (bit shvach - should have stuck with penne or something).

The whole day I was planning to try and get into a suite even if I would have to pay for it as long as it's reasonable so I gave Carlos a call .He had given me his direct number to let him know about shortening my stay - he said as long as I let him know a day or two before I wanted to check out I wouldn't be charged . I told him that I was still undecided about the last night but now I have another issue and I explained the issue and I mentioned how I was only offered the $900 upgrade which is way too steep for me even tho there were others bookable online and I understand that my gold status doesn't entitle me to a suite upgrade but I didnt even get any kind of enhanced balcony no nothing . He said let me check what I can do and he came back and gave me a junior suite on the same floor for no extra cost !
The butler came and helped us move all our got complicated as there was a mini fridge they had brought me for perishables and both my toaster oven and sous vide were on but we managed.
Here's some pictures . (For reference-Room 425 on floor map attached previously )

Here's the view from my room

As you can see the suite is way bigger than the first room and definitely worked much better for us. Even though there wasn't actually a separate room that we can close the door but still we just put the crib in that first room which was kinda around the corner from the main room .
The bathroom was very nice sized and gorgeous - I liked it better than the one at the St Regis in PR even though that one was way bigger and redone almost 10 years after !
Even the living area I enjoyed more because even though it wasn't new and modern but the couches were actually plush and comfortable as opposed to nicer looking but very stiff ones in PR.
The whole suite in general was done nicer than the base had tv in bathroom... fancier coffee machine etc but funnily enough the storage was actually worse because for some reason it seemed as they didn't get a new dresser for this room (it was visually worn out) and it wasn't as good as the dresser in the first room , but as a whole having the suite changed the whole vacation for us.
We decided to stay all four nights once we were in the suite and also because it didn't really make sense to start going somewhere else for one not just to do something which isn't in the area we were staying.... we can always do that another time if we are based out of Denver but for this trip it made most sense to just do some things around Aspen and enjoy the hotel.
If we wouldn't have brought our baby we would have been able to do some more fun activities such as biking down the ski slopes (supposedly amazing), horseback riding ,or some real hiking but hey you win some you lose some....we only got the suite because we brought him !
We decided to try out the pool area as it already later in the day and was emptying out. Officially they were limiting the pool to 8 people at a time but no one was actually enforcing that. When we came to the pool it was just before 6pm and the attendant informed us that the pool closes at 6. When I asked about the hot tubs (which are kinda meant to be used at night when it gets cooler) he said I'm new here let me ask my supervisor. He came back a bit later and said that his manager is also new here (due to covid) and he didn't either know but then he goes -" between me and you if you paid to stay here then you should be able to use the pool and hot tub whenever you want so I won't bother you. Lol !! 😆 🤣
The pool was nice.... nothing special and the hot tubs were also enjoyable

Wine makes everything more enjoyable :). (Tip - the average wine bottle fits in the standard hotel safe....eliminating any issues of non mevushal wines)

Hot tub with a view (and a doona )

The other guests at the hotel also seemed to be very classy wealthy people... the type that the whole family was sitting around eating at the outdoor seating all dressed up.
The lobby area was definitely beautiful and luxurious but clearly was built long before "open concept " was invented. More of a cozy feel...fireplaces and plush leather couches.

Dont forget the chandelier in elevator !

We went back and had a great supper of freshly sous vide steak seared with blowtorch , yapchik and pulled chicken in baguette.
Searing with blowtorch (pro tip: it's best to do this on a balcony or some other outdoor area so the DW don't get nervous; ))

My food preparation setup

The yapchik was heavenly and the steak was very solid if a bit overspiced . And as always... wine makes everything better :)
Still to come : Tuesday and Wednesday... the best is yet to come...

July 15, 2020, 08:40:01 PM
Re: Polar bear suitcase for sale Honestly people... I'm just trying to sell this thing for a bit cheaper than the online price for brand new. Its not rocket science. If you don't want  to buy it then just keep your mouth shut like a normal human being . What do you gain from harassing me ?
July 27, 2020, 04:33:54 PM
Re: Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report Another thing I want to point out is that we didn't really see any wildlife which was probably because we were only out during midday , but still surprising especially since there has been less tourists lately due to covid.

Random fact about the St Regis - apparently their coffee condiment kits are made in..... wait for it ......

That's right!! Good old Lakewood new jersey..... you really can't get away !

We packed up that night and the next morning drive back through the gorgeous rockies to denver , returned our car, and had an uneventful flight back to Philly. Southwest again let us bring our car seat on the plane on the emty seat. I found that as long as I was confident about they didn't give me issues... I didn't even have to collapse it until we were actually on the plane- I just told them that it folds up and they had no issues.

That about wraps up this trip report... I hope you enjoyed !

Here's some more drive-lapses and pictures

July 28, 2020, 02:48:03 PM
Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR Wow ! Incredible!
August 21, 2020, 03:36:33 PM
Re: US Mint Coins For Sale (Individuals only)
I have an offer for 2 silvers 500 each anyone here willing to pay 550?
To clarify : I have been offered 500 for each of my 2 silvers. Is anyone here willing to pay 550

November 08, 2020, 04:39:55 PM
Re: Aegean Air: 5k Free Miles for New Users Just to add one crucial point that frequent miler left out.... you can transfer A3 between accounts for a fee of 15 euro (approximately 17usd) so can open multiple and combine... in essence buying 5k for $17...
November 21, 2020, 11:52:08 PM
10k hilton for taking survey
In my experience I answered a few questions, system said I am not eligible for for the survey , got an email saying i have earned the 10k , received the points a week later

December 14, 2020, 11:05:57 AM
Re: New Coin Deal Same here...authorization on ccs disappeared. Called and they claim just processing still not canceled
March 16, 2021, 01:44:47 PM