Downtown Paris Hyatt for 3000 Points + $21?

Update: Deal is dead. Someone called Hyatt to ask about it, which alerted them so they pulled the offer. The rule is: If you see a great rate book it, never phone in to ask about it.

The Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile has a possibly-mistake rate which is bookable now for stays until next summer. This is an unbelievably low cost for this quality hotel near the center of the City of Lights.

AMAZING DEAL: Hyatt Regency Paris Club Rooms $21 + 3000 Points Per Night

I’ve made a personal reservation a few minutes ago for 3 nights in July 2017. They are showing as cancellable until 4 PM the day before. Some commenters believe this is just payment for an upgrade, not an actual room…I hope for clarification in the next few days as people begin arriving for their upcoming stays.

Here is the booking link: . Then click the box indicating you want to use points.

The Eiffel Tower, Photo by Miles
The Eiffel Tower, Photo by Miles

Another Hotel Scam to Know About…the 3 A.M. Phone Call

Scammers are always trying to figure out a way to separate travelers from their money, including this technique which involves a middle-of-the-night call to your hotel room.

A new scam to be aware of when staying at hotels

The bad guys phone when you are sound asleep, say they work at the front desk of your hotel and that your credit card payment at check-in didn’t go through…will you please give them the numbers again.

It’s middle of the night, your brain is still half-asleep, so you comply. As soon as they have your number they begin charging things to your card.

YCredit Cards Attract Scammers
Credit Cards Attract Scammers

Of course, you can call the credit-card company and reverse all these charges, but you may not know you’ve been scammed until you receive the bill back at home.

IHG PointBreaks List is Out and Bookable

Many frequent flyers anxiously await every new IHG PointBreaks list, and it is out and bookable today! For just 5000 IHG points (cost about $30) you can book a stay in select hotels.

IHG Point Breaks Fall 2016: Full List of Hotels for 5K Points Including Two Nice Intercontinental Properties

New IHG PointBreak Hotels!

IHG Releases PointBreaks List for Stays Through October 31

Paid Holiday Inn Stays Usually Count for IHG Promotions
Paid Holiday Inn Stays Usually Count for IHG Promotions

I’ve already made a few PointBreaks reservations for stays in Great Britain next month.


Get Easy 100 Starwood Starpoints, Maybe Extend the Life of the Ones You Have

Starwood has a promotion in progress, where you will receive 100 Starpoints if you bid on a Moments VIP Experience. You do not need to be the high bidder to receive the 100 Starwood hotel points.

The addition of these points probably will extend the life of your existing stash of Starpoints, but that is not guaranteed.

Use Starwood Points for free rooms at Sheraton Hotels
Use Starwood Points for free rooms at Sheraton Hotels

How to Get the 100 Free Starwood Starpoints:

  1. Look up your Starwood username and password. You will need them at least twice during the bidding.
  2. Log in at
  3. Look for a photo with VIP or Moments in the description. In my case, it was a photo of a baseball game, about halfway down the page. Click the arrow.
  4. Look for an item, probably pretty far into the future, that has a low minimum bid. Note that you can click “Display All Moments” at the bottom of the page.
  5. One of the items in my list was “2016 MLB Regular Season”, which opened up many more opportunities.
  6. The best choice I found was for a VIP experience in July, that I hope some die-hard fans will outbid me on. The current bid was 3500 hotel points, so I bid 4000 (minimum 500 point increments).

Now I just wait until a real Boston Red Sox fan outbids me, and will be expecting the 100 points.

Anyone? Can Receive Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Free

Hotel chains like Hilton / IHG / Marriott / etc. grant “status” to their best customers, the customers who stay the most nights. Some typical status names are Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond.

Having status is beneficial, because it often enables you to get free/faster wi-fi, late departure and free breakfast. The latter can really save you money…a few weeks ago I used my Hilton Diamond status to get free breakfasts that would normally cost $15 plus tax per day.

Hilton is currently offering free Gold status to employees of Accenture, but it seems as if anyone can sign up for it.

Once you have status from one hotel chain (say, Hilton), you can ask other hotel chains to for a “status match.” They usually will grant you temporary status that they believe is comparable to what you have at their competitor. That is how I came to be a Hilton Diamond…not from stays, but because Hilton matched my IHG Platinum status.

Hilton Hotel
Hilton Danube Waterfront, Vienna

And how did I get IHG Platinum status, you ask? Did I do a lot of paid stays at IHG properties (Crowne Plaza, Interncontinental, Holiday Inn, Staybridge)? Nope, I just applied for and received one of their IHG credit cards from Chase Bank…one perk of that card is that it grants free Platinum status.

The world of hotel (and airline) status is crazy like that.

Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn

Status Match / Challenge Summary for Numerous Airlines and Hotel Chains

If you have status on one airline or hotel chain, you may be able to have another airline or hotel chain match it. So, for example, if you are Gold on American Airlines and are a nobody on AirBerlin, you can request a status match on AB before your next flight and receive the privileges that your new (temporary) AB status grants.

This post from Dan’s Deals is a very useful summary.

The airlines covered in the blog post are AirBerlin, Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Turkish, United and Virgin America.

The hotel chains covered are Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood.

If you have any airline/hotel status and plan to fly or stay in any of those named brands, you are in luck!

IHG PointBreaks List Out & Bookable Now for Stays Through July 31

In the past IHG has published a “preview list” of PointBreaks, but not this time. Here is the full, live, bookable list:

Several travel blogs always report on IHG PointBreaks, including this one – (which has a useful interactive map of the PointBreaks hotels)

IHG PointBreaks: Hotel Stays for 5,000 Points Per Night

Holiday InnIHG PointBreaks are a wonderful deal, just 5000 points per night (= ~$35) and the desirable hotels go fast. Bloggers explain how you can legitimately purchase an unlimited number of IHG points for less than the official price.

How to Complain to an Airline, Hotel or Rental-Car Company

These ideas are lightly distilled and amplified from the end of a post at  The entire post covers a variety of topics and is a worthwhile read.

How to Complain Effectively to an Airline, Hotel or Rental Car Company

  • Remain calm. Whoever raises their voice first, loses. If it’s you, you might even be detained and questioned by the TSA or local police.
  • If possible, talk to a person with the ability to give the outcome you desire. Don’t complain to a flight attendant about the price of airline tickets…s/he has no control over that. Some airports have desks of specially-trained airline agents in the secure area, who can help resolve issues. If you have access to an airline lounge, the agents there can be exceptionally helpful.
  • Distill your complaint down to one specific item, maybe two. For example, “The room smells like mildew.” Any more will overwhelm the person you are complaining to, so they won’t do anything helpful. (I use the term mildew rather than mold, to keep the discussion more civil.)
  • Decide in advance what compensation you will accept. Is it 5000 frequent-flyer miles, or a free drink, or a room upgrade, or a free night, or elimination of toll-road charges?
  • Ask questions that require more than a yes/no answer, because it’s too easy for the person you are speaking with to just say “No.” Example questions are “What can you do to help me?” and “Can you see my frustration?” and “What do you typically do in a situation like this?”
  • Follow the airline or hotel chain on Twitter in advance, so you can Direct Message them a tweet about a situation that arises. This will often lead to a good outcome, even if you are a relative nobody in the Twitterverse.

With luck, you will get at least as good a result as you had hoped for. If you are offered more, graciously accept and don’t argue or prolong the conversation.

Mad Hatter - (Explored) by stewartbaird / Flickr

Anxiously Waiting for Next IHG PriceBreaks List

Some of my vacation planning is now being done courtesy of International Hotels Group (IHG). My decisions about where to visit are increasingly based upon where IHG has some of their super-cheap PointBreaks hotels.

For example, last year it was Liverpool, England and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I also was able to utilize PointBreaks hotels for already-planned trips to North Carolina and Phoenix.

The new list of IHG PointBreaks should come out in about a week, so I can plan my next trips then. The best places to find the PointBreaks announcement, when it comes out, seem to be or

Holiday Inn