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Topics - JayR

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On The Road / Checking-in to hotels in Canada
« on: July 25, 2018, 02:29:21 PM »
I am booking a hotel through an SPG member for two nights in YUL.

Are the rules the same? Will the desk agents be ok when i check-in under a different name (the SPG member) as long as I'm on the reservation?

Up In The Air / Status match to West Jet Gold
« on: September 19, 2016, 06:04:45 AM »
"Status match is back and this time, it’s even easier to experience Gold. If you have top-tier status in another airline OR a travel rewards program, you're halfway there..."

Send in proof of top tier status in another airline’s frequent flyer program, or travel rewards program, before September 23, 2016.

Take at least one WestJet flight between now and October 31, 2016 and you’ll be on your way to enjoying Gold flight benefits through December 2017.

Gold benefits:

Two free checked bags
Ten airport lounge passes
No fee for same-day flight changes requested at check-in
Advance boarding
Priority screening (at select airports)
Four advance seat selection vouchers

Deals/Deal Requests / Motor Trend - 4 yr subscription for $12
« on: January 15, 2016, 12:18:09 AM »
Motor Trend 4-Year Subscription

DiscountMags is offering a Motor Trend 4-Year Subscription on sale for

- $28.00 using coupon code "BFADS"
= $12.00 with free shipping.

Deals/Deal Requests / Lowepro Nova Sport 35L AW Shoulder Bag
« on: November 10, 2015, 09:32:02 AM »

Trip Reports / A 3 Day Vacation to CUN
« on: June 01, 2015, 11:08:02 AM »
A month after my last trip on points, I was getting restless for another vacation. I usually give myself 1-2 months of planning (more like 2 cc statements) before taking a trip. Shavuos was a perfect time to get away, but complication arose, so I decided to go the week before Shavuos. Choosing a destination was hard. Bermuda, Aruba, and Bahamas were all options. In the end, I decided on Cancun (CUN), mainly because there were kosher restaurants already there, and there was no need to rent a car.

I called a friend to join me for the trip and proceeded to plan the itinerary from Monday through Thursday. Some things I wanted to do over this trip: I usually stay at SPG hotels and enjoy them a lot, however this trip I wanted to experience IHG hotels and their service. Also, Cozumel has a beautiful coral reef, so I wanted to check that out. This was my first time in Mexico, so I was a little apprehensive of security and kidnappings and muggings… you get the picture, but this just added to the excitement.


We decided to just bring carry-ons to eliminate the hassle of checking bags and so we were forced to travel light (FYI, US air/AA card only gives free checked bags for domestic :(). I had recently gotten a carry-on bag from Bauer, and was waiting for a good time to try it out. For food, we brought a loaf of bread, a couple bags of chips, candy, and packs of gum. I had contacted the Chabad in CUN the night before, and ordered a meal to be delivered to our hotel, so we would have food waiting for us when we arrive. Originally we wanted to try out the Kosher Luxor, the meat restaurant in CUN, but i got an email saying they were moving locations and they'll be closed for the week. For international calling, I got AT&T’s $30 international plan, which added to my regular plan 30 days of unlimited wifi and messaging, 120mb data and $1/min of calling. There were cheaper options but I liked the idea of having unlimited texting.

We got to JFK Terminal 8 for our 6pm flight. We were running a little late so I decided to skip printing my boarding pass and to just use the online pass on my iPhone. However, for some reason it didn’t show priority, so I headed back to the monitor and printed out my boarding pass which did say priority, and then headed through security. A quick stop by the CS desk by the gate and we changed our seats to the last empty row. Next up, was an essential trip to the duty free shop ;). We then boarded, and settled down for the 4 hour flight. It was raining and gloomy in New York when we took off, so it was cool that after five minutes on the plane, we broke through the clouds and saw it really was a nice and sunny day. A friend had graciously given me a gogo pass for the flight, so I was able to have internet till we passed Florida.

Before takeoff

A sea of clouds

Beautiful weather throughout the trip

While landing, the windows had fogged up because of the humidity outside. We safely landed and disembarked; went through Mexican customs, and then went to find a ride to our hotel, the IHG Intercontinental Presidente. The hotel usually offers rooms for 30k points. But, 2 weeks before the trip, I saw and posted on the DDF CUN thread that I found rooms for 12.5k/night, a real bargain for an Intercontinental (Here). I booked the standard room, a 2 Queen bed deluxe room, and was upgraded to an ocean view room (Have platinum status).

Even before going outside the airport, we were approached by the only taxi company in the airport, which offered private or public taxis to the hotel zone. Private taxis cost $40 and public taxis are $15/person. We booked the public taxi, even though it would take longer since our hotel was at the top of the strip.

FYI, this is a perfect example of the exchange rate craziness. I had planned to use my arrival+ because Mastercard had a better exchange rate than Visa at that time (15.05 vs 14.9) (I checked here). At exchange centers throughout CUN, the rate was approx. 14 MXN/1 USD. Now, the rental company charged $30 or 340 MXN. That means the rental’s exchange rate is roughly 11.5 MXN/1 USD. So using a cc (instead of cash), we paid $12 (incl tax) per seat. While I didn’t look out for an exchange center when we landed, when we left on Thursday I saw an exchange center in the departure area (same terminal) that offered around 15 MXN, so if you do need cash for things activities/places that don’t take CC, try to exchange your money there.

Back to the taxi…They did say that the taxi can wait up to 20 minutes in order to get the most passengers. We exited the airport and were immediately hit with the heat and humidity. And the bugs. We put our luggage into the taxi, ordered water bottles from the overpriced stand outside the airport, and waited. Around 10 minutes later, our taxi was ready to go. It was a little annoying to wait for other passengers but it was worth the difference in price. The drive itself to the hotel zone took about 20 minutes, probably another five minutes dropping off the other two passengers at their hotels, and then another five to reach the top of the strip where our hotel was.

Checking in went very smoothly. There was the bellboy outside that opened the doors and hauled our bags for us. At check-in I tried to be upgraded to the club room but they wanted $170 for the upgrade which I passed on. I also picked up the food that Chabad had dropped off a couple of minutes beforehand. The lobby had a relaxing atmosphere and a restaurant and bar area in the back. The hotel room itself was very contemporary. The bathroom was a little cramped, the shower was decent, and by the sink there was a cool box of amenities including Q-tips and a sewing kit. The room also came with 2 complimentary water bottles. And a nice ocean view.

We unpacked our fully packed carry-ons and prepared to eat. From Chabad, we got meatballs and spaghetti and burgers. The meatballs and spaghetti were very good (It seemed they cut down on the pasta-to-sauce ratio ;D).The burgers OTOH, were a little too homemade and pretty dry. After supper, we went to sleep early, preparing ourselves for a crazy Tuesday.

Goods For Sale/Trade / Charles Tyrwhitt - Living Social Voucher
« on: April 23, 2015, 02:50:42 PM »
Got this voucher -

Paid $50 for a $100 voucher.
Selling for $45 OBO.

Expires 4/24

Deals/Deal Requests / Groupon for Sam's Club Membership
« on: April 21, 2015, 05:30:15 AM »

$45 for a One-Year Sam's Plus Membership, $20 Gift Card, and Free Fresh Food Certificates at Sam's Club ($142.94 Value)

Fine Print:
Expires Jul 27th, 2015. Limit 1/person. Not valid for membership renewal. Not valid for current members or those that were members less than 6 months before 4/21/15. Valid for U.S. locations only; not valid in Puerto Rico. Not valid until 4/24/15. No refunds for purchased vouchers. Must activate membership in club by 7/27/15; membership expires 1 year from activation date. See additional terms. Must provide mailing address (mandatory) and email address (optional) upon purchase; see privacy policy. Customer that redeems must match name of purchaser. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Motorola TX500 Universal Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone w' Ambient Noise Reduction

Was: $59.99
Now: $14.95

Free Shipping and comes with a Universal 2-in-1 Car Charger

($32.99 on Amazon)

Deals/Deal Requests / Eddie Bauer RipPac® on sale
« on: April 15, 2015, 04:57:41 PM »
RipPac® Stowaway Packable Duffel

RipPac® Cruiser Packable Sling Bag

RipPac® Traveler Packable Daypack

Was: $30
Now: $15
+ Coupon: APRIL - 25% plus free shipping

Total: $11.25

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