Category Archives: Travel

The Best Hotel Deal In Manhattan (The Grand Hyatt New York For Less Than $165 A Night)

Hyatt Hotels

Hey, it’s summer in the city and I don’t know what that means for you, but for me it means that friends, acquaintances and long lost relatives have started thinking that NYC would be a good place to visit in the next month or two (perhaps they haven’t been checking the humidex though). If you’re like most New Yorkers, you probably aren’t blessed with an overabundance of living space, but you don’t want to banish your best friend from college or your Great Aunt Gertie to one those “expensive” hotels in the city. Well, walking through Costco the other day, I think I managed to find a Manhattan hotel deal that even the most frugal traveller couldn’t pass up.

When searching for a room in Manhattan, one should generally be aware of two things, New York City hotels tend to be: a) expensive and b) small. For the most part, I tell people to stay at the Grand Hyatt New York for $165/night (including taxes). If you know anything about hotels in New York, then you know that’s a great deal for a nice hotel in a prime location. There is a bit of a “catch” though, in order to get this special rate, you need use a ” Hyatt Premier Stay Certficate” when making your reservation. Using a “Stay Certificate” requires a bit of preparation and it’s a bit of a commitment, but it’s not completely non-refundable as I believe a certificate can be reused at a later date if you decide to cancel. But wait, you said less than $165/night, how does one score that deal? Well, after walking through Costco the other day I noticed they had $100.00 Hyatt Hotel gift cards on the wall for $79.99. Though I didn’t think the GC was such a fantastic bargain by itself, it occurred to me to that if you bought one of those and combined with a Hyatt Stay Certificate you’d be able pick up an additional $20 in savings (per $100) on your already steeply discounted room. So, if you do the math, for two nights at $330, you’d only pay $270 (3 $100 gift cards + $30) or $135 per night, not too shabby indeed!

You can call Hyatt Hotels toll free at 1-800-555-9655 to inquire about Stay Certificate room availability.

PS In addition to what I’ve written above, I also always tell people to check the Flyertalk.com forums under “New York Hotels”, Tripadvisor.com and/or Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity.

PPS I realize that there is potential to have an amount left over on your gift card, thereby possibly negating some of your “savings”. When buying your gift cards, just make sure you buy less than or equal to the amount of your actual room bill and you should be OK.

JetBlue Introduces In-Flight Email and Messenger

JetBlue

I think this is pretty badass.

In a welcome first for domestic airlines, JetBlue will be rolling out free in-flight Yahoo IM and email services to passengers packing WiFi-equipped devices, starting aboard its new “BetaBlue” Airbus A320. Once this test-bed passenger jet reaches 10,000 feet, an in-plane network with three in-ceiling access points is activated, allowing most any wireless gadget with a Flash-enabled browser to view specialized versions of either Yahoo Messenger or Mail through a universal landing page. What’s more, owners of certain BlackBerry handsets like the 8820 or Curve 8320 can keep feeding their addictions non-stop thanks to an agreement between JetBlue and RIM. [Engadget.com]

Zipcar Drops Deposit Requirement | Let’s You Convert Into Credit

Zipcar, the most expensive convenient choice for the occasional New York City driver has decided to waive the deposit fee for new members. What does that mean to me, as an old member? It means I can convert my deposit into driving credit until the end of the month or do nothing. I chose the former.

Hey, if you wan’t a zipcar referral, please feel free to email me. I believe we both get something out of it, or at least you get some free driving.

Unlucky Strike

Was there any other news today, I hadn’t heard.

Speaking of breaking news, I am going to give a shout out to one my favorite local news websites that isn’t NY1.com. See, the problem with NY1, is that when a big New York story breaks, everybody checks NY1 and then the site goes down (or crawls). A lot less people, however, check wabc.com, the stories are just as up-to-date, and I’ve never seen the site run slow or experience an outage (until this bumpershine plug, of course).

Katrina Spawns Cruise Deals

I truly feel for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina, so I am conflicted about passing along this deal. If you are able to take advantage this cruise offer, you may also want to consider making a donation to the Red Cross or other hurricane relief agency.

5-Night Caribbean Cruise for $80/person

Due to damage from Hurricane Katrina, Carnival Cruise Lines has moved their “Carnival Conquest” ship from New Orleans to Galveston, TX. The ship is mostly empty, and they are reportedly selling cabins for a 5-night cruise which departs September 5 for as low as $80/person (double occupancy) for an interior room and $179/person (double occupancy) for an ocean view. Great deals may be available for other lightly booked cruises in the near future as well. Ports of call include Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Cozumel. This deal is not listed on their website, you must call them (1-888-CARNIVAL) to book this.

Aeroplan

My first piece of advice, stay away from Air Canada Aeroplan if you can. Economy redemption is near impossible at any time and reward seats on popular routes are often sold out completely. If you have to use it, here’s a tip, reserve your flight online using the “Browse” feature of the website. You then have 72 hours to confirm your flight by calling Aeroplan. When you call to confirm, you can actually change your flights before you confirm your ticket. This gives you 2 advantages over booking directly on the web. First, your flight is reserved for 72 hours, so you don’t have to make up your mind right away. Second, there is no fee attached if you decide to change your itinerary, this is key because the telephone agents have access to more combinations of flights then you can come up with over the web. Having said that, I dealt with a very helpful the other day, who sorted out the crazy stopover ticket I booked for the summer.