You know how you always hear people talking about getting free stays at hotels or status perks? How do they do that? Find out! This week on the podcast we talk road warrior Ed Pizza from the Miles to Go podcast about the best hotel loyalty programs for families and ways to earn status and free hotel stays.
About Our Sponsor: Room Steals
Today’s episode is sponsored by Room Steals.
Listeners may remember Room Steals from our discussion on finding hotel deals in Episode 185, but Room Steals is a Chrome browser extension that works alongside existing booking sites to show you what the wholesale price is for that room.
Just install the browser extension and search for a hotel as you usually would on Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, or Google. Once you’ve done your initial search, Room Steals will show you in a pop-up if that same room is available for less. If it is, you can click on that pop-up and book it directly through Room Steals.
Downloading and using Room Steals is free; however, if you want to book a discounted room you have to pay an annual membership fee. Listeners can save 20% off the annual membership fee with promo code vacationmavens.
If you travel multiple times in a year, the subscription will quickly pay for itself. One listener already saved $400 using Room Steals on her first booking!
To learn more, visit roomsteals.com. That’s roomsteals.com and use promo code vacationmavens to save 20% off your membership to Room Steals, and we thank them for their support.
About Ed Pizza
Ed Pizza is a road warrior and family traveler. When we’re not in the middle of a pandemic he travels 100,000 miles a year for work. His family loves luxury travel, all things Disney and even bought an RV during the pandemic. You can check out his podcast, Miles to Go, the same places you catch Vacation Mavens and you can find him writing about travel at pizzainmotion.com.
Best Hotel Loyalty Programs for Families
- Hyatt offers the best loyalty program for families as it is easier to earn and use points (you need fewer points to redeem for a free night than other programs) and they offer great family-friendly perks like free breakfast, guaranteed late check out, and, if you have status with them, the concierge is good at guaranteeing connecting rooms or confirming suite upgrades in advance.
- The only challenge with Hyatt is that they don’t have as large of a footprint as Hilton or Marriott, especially if you are traveling to smaller destinations.
- Hyatt does have a number of family-friendly brands including Hyatt Place on the lower end and Hyatt House for suites.
- A few terrific Hyatt properties in popular family travel destinations include: Hyatt Grand Cypress (outside of Disney), Ziva Resorts in Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean, the Hyatt Regency Sydney in Australia (which is more affordable than the Park Hyatt Sydney but still has amazing views), Grand Hyatt Bahia Mar in the Bahamas, and the Driscoll in Austin.
- Wyndham also is an excellent choice for families. In addition to the hotels, you can use points at many of their vacation rental or timeshare properties, which offer so much more room for families. Wyndham also has a partnership with Vacasa for vacation home rentals.
- Some great Wyndham properties include the Magic Villages in Orlando, ski lodges and log cabins in Montana, and great properties overseas.
- Wyndham now has a credit card through Barclay’s that helps you earn points and they have bonus points on things like utility bills, which you don’t find elsewhere.
- Hilton has some pros and cons for their loyalty programs. Hilton values treating folks well on award stays and they don’t add resort fees, unlike some other programs that still charge fees on free stays. Hilton also gives away a lot of points for stays and through their credit card. The footprint isn’t as big as Marriott but larger than Hyatt. Hilton Honors Gold members also receive little perks like free bottles of water at check in and free WiFi.
- However, Hilton recently rolled back their free breakfast offer for members (at least temporarily). Instead there will be a credit per day to use as you want (drinks from the bar, meals, etc), however it wouldn’t typically cover everything that you would get at a free breakfast.
- Marriott has the largest footprint, but they do charge fees like resort fees and parking on award stays.
- IHG (which includes Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Hotel Indigo, etc) doesn’t offer as much as the other brands but can be good if you do a lot of road tripping and then redeeming points for stays overseas at classic, boutique hotels.
- Unless you are a road warrior traveling frequently on business, the best way to earn points is through a credit card. Instead of using the brand specific credit card, it is better to use a credit card with programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards that you can transfer points to hotels to book award stays. Chase offers a bit more flexibility and value over Amex.
- When you transfer points, it is often 1:1 transfer so you will get more bang for your points if you transfer to a program like Hyatt where your points go further.
- If you are going to stay with a specific brand often, a hotel credit card can get you to the next status tier (and related perks) faster and you will often get one free hotel stay certificate per year. You need to make sure you are using the value of the cost of the annual fee. Generally it makes sense to pay for your hotel stays with that card but you will get more points per dollar for other types of stays from other types of cards.
Full Episode Transcript
[00:00:00.000] – Kim Tate
Which hotels deserve your loyalty? Stay tuned to find out.
[00:00:15.290] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara from We3Travel.
[00:00:29.940] – Kim Tate
Today’s episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Room Steals. You guys may have already heard of it. Room Steals is a browser extension that you add to Chrome, so that when you’re shopping for the next hotel for your vacation, you can see if you are really getting the best rate. You plug in your destination on one of the major booking engines, whether it’s Expedia or Travelocity or booking.com or hotels.com, and a window will pop up, letting you know if they found a better deal for you.
[00:00:55.810] – Kim Tate
The program is free to use, so you can always see and shop and figure out if the there is a better deal out there. And if you do spot a better deal, you can book it through the Room Steals site where there is an annual membership fee. But our listeners get to save on their annual membership fee with the code vacationmavens, they can save 20%.
[00:01:14.110] – Tamara Gruber
So I was just researching some potential hotels in Dublin in Ireland because we’re still trying to figure out where to take Hannah for her graduation trip. And that’s one option. And I was going through some of these options because I really want it to be like, nice hotels, like special hotel in for this trip. But obviously I would always like to save some money. So I found one on Room Steals where I could save $142 and then another one where I could save $60. So it’s like all these things could add up over the course of a big trip.
[00:01:46.570] – Tamara Gruber
So it’s like even just that one hotel stay would be saving more than the cost of the membership. So I definitely encourage everyone to go check out Room Steals. Like Kim said, it is a browser extension that you can download add to Chrome. And then when you’re searching for hotels, you’re able to see whether or not there’s a deal that you’d like to take advantage of. And just remember, check out Room steals. Com. You can sign up using Code vacationmavens all one word, all lowercase and save 20%, and we thank them for their support.
[00:02:15.280] – Kim Tate
So Tamara talking about hotels and getting deals through Room Steals. Today we are going to talk with a guest that we’ve had on before, and he’s one of my favorite savvy travel guys. And that’s Ed Pizza.
[00:02:27.960] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So he travels so so much every year, he knows all the hotels, all the programs, what the best deals are, what the best credit cards are, and he’s going to share all of his knowledge. So I can’t wait to jump into that interview.
[00:02:40.540] – Kim Tate
Let’s chat with him.
[00:02:49.470] – Tamara Gruber
So today we’re here with Ed Pizza. He’s a road warrior, and family traveler. And when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic, he travels 100,000 miles a year for work. His family loves luxury travel, all things Disney, and even bought an RV during the pandemic. You can check out his podcast Miles to go at the same places you can catch vacation, mavens. And you can also find him writing about traveling a pizza in motion dot com. So Ed, welcome back to the podcast.
[00:03:15.640] – Ed Pizza
Hey, thanks for having me back, guys. It’s been a while and I’m excited to be back on talking stuff.
[00:03:20.110] – Tamara Gruber
I know you’re back traveling a little bit for work, but how long did you go without being on an airplane?
[00:03:25.780] – Ed Pizza
So I was actually in New Zealand helping a friend on the Tarmac when the US announced that they were closing arrivals to Europeans. And that was me coming back into the country. So that was called like, March 14 ish. And I didn’t get back on a plane. That was March 14, 2020. Sorry, I didn’t get back on a plane until early June 2021, but I have been ramping things up, and I think it’s interesting that if you guys hadn’t reached doubt to have me come podcast, I was almost going to reach out to you guys because we’re following this parallel track and that I spent a couple of weeks in Maine, I think right before you did, Sarah and I just finished coming back across the Canadian border on the east side, Kim to your west.
[00:04:11.260] – Kim Tate
[00:04:13.150] – Ed Pizza
So a little bit of family travel, mostly road warrior stuff.
[00:04:18.470] – Kim Tate
Especially now that you have an RV that you were one of the many that jumped into that lifestyle. I’ve seen some of your things that’s kind of funny how you’re like, I’m embracing this for my family, but I am not embracing this. This is what I want to do with my life.
[00:04:33.000] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. I mean, as I’ve said jokingly a number of times if it happened to burn to the ground and I got an insurance settlement, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. But the kids and you guys know that your kids are older than mine. And so I think you probably have a better grasp of this than I do. You wake up at some point and you realize that they’re going to College and you’re like, Well, did I fill up the bucket enough? And our kids still love both of us.
[00:04:59.150] – Ed Pizza
My wife and I, and they like being with us. And they really love the camping thing. And so as much as I grumble and say bad words, sometimes when things break, which is pretty much every time we roll it anywhere, the memories that they’re creating with us, I hope, will be things that when they get to College, it’s, wow. That’s in the bucket of things that I love doing as a kid.
[00:05:21.850] – Tamara Gruber
That’s good. You speaking to my heart there.
[00:05:24.870] – Kim Tate
I was going to say Tamara and I are both right there because we both have girls going off to College. As you’ve probably heard, we’re definitely in that wondering how we can keep scraping some more trips in there and then hoping that the College schedules will allow us to keep traveling and that our kids will keep traveling with us through those four years as well, at least for me.
[00:05:47.390] – Ed Pizza
And I know it’s not what we’re talking about today, but I think a really good point to make that I’ve obviously seen with the way that both of you guys travel with your family is that we all make memories in a variety of different ways. But we’ve all chosen travel as one of those primary ways to create those memories. And just like you, I’m hoping that the work that we put in for travel up until our daughter is a sophomore in high school. Now I’m hopeful that when she gets into College, it’ll be, hey, I’d love to go take a Disney trip.
[00:06:18.940] – Ed Pizza
Hey, dad, mom, do you want to go or, hey, I love Lisbon. Or can we go visit Peggy’s Cove in Canada? Whatever that there’s a powerful enough connection to a place that they’ve been. They’re like, I want to go and I want to go with mom and dad.
[00:06:32.830] – Tamara Gruber
I was just thinking mine is talking about the road trip that she wants to do with her friends post graduation, but I know she’ll come back to our trips as well.
[00:06:41.510] – Kim Tate
Definitely. I think we’re in that same boat, Tamara. So if you’re listening to this and like, do you have a few more years? Definitely. Don’t worry about I spent so many summers not planning and stuff because I hated crowds and also because we have such nice summers here in Seattle. But I now kind of regret not using that summertime more efficiently. Although we did take a lot of family trips and visited family and had family here. So I guess it was well used, but definitely maximize your time off with your kids.
[00:07:13.940] – Tamara Gruber
Well, speaking of traveling with kids and planning and thinking ahead and all of that, one of the ways that we’ve gotten to travel a little bit more or structure our budget a little bit more is using hotel loyalty programs and trying to maximize some free nights here and there. And I was thinking about which programs are really best for families. And I know a lot of programs have changed recently. And Ed, you came to mind because I know on your Miles to Go, you talk about this a lot, and I think I might know the answer.
[00:07:47.180] – Tamara Gruber
But when it comes to hotel loyalty programs, what one do you really like for families? So not business travelers, but really for families.
[00:07:56.600] – Ed Pizza
I’m going to give you my favorite. And then if we have time later, I’m going to give you my sleeper because I think there’s someone coming up on the outside turn that maybe doesn’t become my favorite, but it started to earn their keep above some of the other chains. But for me, it’s it. And for many years it was starwood preferred guest before Marriott bought them because they understood that road warriors have husbands, wives, significant others, in a lot of cases, kids. And they want to take care of those other people because that makes that means the business traveler want to patronize them and high.
[00:08:29.570] – Ed Pizza
It just where they really get this right, and they get it right in a number of different ways. But I think primarily it’s in reducing friction for family travel. So when we think about a family of three or four, we don’t all live in one room at home. We certainly don’t share one bathroom, especially with a teenage daughter. So being able to have space when we travel, it is huge. And it has benefits like being able to request and confirm a suite upgrade at the time of booking, which is unique amongst the major hotel chains.
[00:09:00.780] – Ed Pizza
And you say, well, if I know ahead of time where I can get that extra space for my family, that helps drive where we might choose to go on vacation. And there are a lot of other benefits to the world Hyatt program that I think make things easier for families, things like free breakfast, guaranteed late checkout, just things that make it easier for when family travel goes sideways, which the younger your kids are, the more frequently that happens.
[00:09:23.820] – Tamara Gruber
100% agree. My husband was ambassador level with Marriott for a while, and he had these five suite upgrades of a year or something to use. And we were looking to book a suite in Amsterdam. I think it was and we like you we want the space. It’s all about having a little extra space, not being crammed into those two double beds in particular. And we wanted to book this week, but we’re like, do we actually pay for it, or do we take the risk that we can use one of these upgrades and not being able to confirm that, you know, you have that upgrade.
[00:09:58.620] – Tamara Gruber
It makes such a difference because you’re making a totally different choice. And of course, we ended up just doing an Airbnb instead.
[00:10:03.840] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And especially when you talk about families in Europe in that the restrictions on the number of people in a room are very different from the US. There are plenty of rooms in Europe where two is the Max Occupancy and a flu or three same in Asia. So that’s a complication. And I think one of the things you mentioned, Marriott Ambassador, and I had a Marriott ambassador for a long time. In the beginning, they were great at communicating with the properties and they could advocate on your behalf.
[00:10:31.470] – Ed Pizza
But I’ll be honest with you. For me, at least one of the biggest benefits that world of Hyatt provides for me. I have their equivalent. It’s called my Hyatt concierge as part of their globalist status. It isn’t even necessarily the suite upgrades. Those are great. And who doesn’t love a big plus room with an awesome view and all that stuff? But for me, it can really be as simple as can you just guarantee me connecting rooms? My kids are younger, like we just want connecting rooms.
[00:10:56.420] – Ed Pizza
I don’t need something fancy, and my Hyatt concierge would always contact the property early on my behalf, and they would work with the property to block rooms. And I can say, honest to God, I very rarely use the words always or never. In the ten or so years I’ve been top tier status with Hyatt, I’ve never shown up at a property that promised me connecting rooms ahead of time and not gotten them. And as a family traveler, that’s huge. I need just a few times a year, but when I need it, I need it and they always say yes, we’re going to take care of you.
[00:11:29.720] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, Hyatt is not a property or a brand that I get to stay at a lot. There aren’t quite as many. I think that’s one of the problems that people run into. But when I’ve had an opportunity to stay at a Hyatt place just in terms of the lower tier, I was kind of amazed. I love this setup where it has kind of a partial dividing wall between the bed and the sitting area with the pullout couch. So when you have a younger child, you have that little bit of that separation of space without going for the larger suite or two rooms.
[00:11:59.390] – Tamara Gruber
So another benefit to me are some of the Hyatt brands that people may not be familiar with.
[00:12:04.310] – Ed Pizza
Yeah, no, I agree. And I think Hyatt House is another brand of there where they have multiple room suites. And I’ve had a reasonable amount of luck in contacting a property ahead of time through the concierge and asking even though it wasn’t, isn’t a published benefit to say, hey, can I use a suite upgrade certificate to just get a two bedroom unit instead of a one bedroom? And very rarely I’ve been told no for things like that. So I think it’s the flexibility that they work with folks on.
[00:12:30.320] – Ed Pizza
It’s not that Marriott or Hilton or anything to change doesn’t have fabulous, unbelievable properties. I think it’s for family travelers and for specific needs. We just need a little bit more flexibility at times. And Hyatt works hard to give that that’s nice.
[00:12:46.630] – Kim Tate
I’ve heard a few other people that are kind of in the point space. They just love Hyatt. I’ll admit, one of the things that’s kept me from just going all in on them. I find I have a harder time finding properties where if you’re doing like a road tripping type family or something like that, those Marriott properties, it seems like everywhere you go there’s a Fairfield Inn. So that is one thing that I have noticed. Do you think there’s any limitations on property availability with Hyatts? And then do you have any favorite property within that program that you think are great for families to check out if they’re looking for a kind of hotel destination?
[00:13:23.000] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And I think that’s a fair criticism of Hyatt. If there is one is that they don’t have the third tier city when you’re going to visit friends and family when you’re going to visit Grandma, if you’re road tripping in the US, that’s certainly an area where they’re weaker than the other chains. They’ve expanded their footprint through really interesting partnerships. They have a big partnership with small luxury hotels of the world, which means that they now have over a dozen properties in Italy where they used to have one, and they things of that nature.
[00:13:54.090] – Ed Pizza
But as you say, I always use Williamsburg, Virginia, sort of my textbook example of the comparison between Marriott Hyatt, and each person will choose what’s most important to them. Williamsburg, Virginia, Colonial, Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, all that stuff. It’s a family destination. Not far from my house. There are zero Hyatts. There are no limited service properties. There are five Marriotts. They’re all kind of dingy, but there are five properties there. And so the choice I make when my family goes to Williamsburg is do we drive 45 minutes from a very new Hyatt place, or do we stay right there at one of the Marriotts?
[00:14:28.410] – Ed Pizza
That’s convenient, but not as nice as property, and I don’t know that there’s a right answer for that. I think every family makes that decision. But if you’re going to make a compromise at times, that’s the compromise you’d make with a road tripping in the US where I think they have some really specific fits, though, that work well for families. As you mentioned, what are some of my favorite properties? First and foremost, I think Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, just outside the gates at Disney World, is a big plus, and it didn’t use to be as big a plus.
[00:14:57.680] – Ed Pizza
But as Disney has reduced the benefits you get from staying on site, the Grand Cypress, it hasn’t taken anything away. And beautiful property, tons of space, lots of pools, all that stuff right outside the gates of Disney, so it’s easy to get to. I think again, when we think about family travel, Hyatt has a brand called Ziva, which is a family geared, all inclusive brand with properties mostly focused in Mexico and the Caribbean, which on points can be a really great way to go on vacation without spending money, because you could generally redeem points for extra guests in your room as well as the two base guests that are normally included in a reservation.
[00:15:36.710] – Ed Pizza
So you can actually use points to pay for your meals at an all inclusive with Hyatt, which I think is interesting, and it might not be the best value for everyone. But again, if it’s hey, how do we take an extra family vacation every year being able to use points to cover meals? It might mean that your family gets to go rent a catamaran for the day or swim with Dolphins or do some other activity that maybe you didn’t have the cash for something like that.
[00:16:00.530] – Ed Pizza
It’s a great choice. And then we were really surprised to go further afield. Everybody, all the bloggers talk about the Park Hyatt Sydney is this unbelievably beautiful property that overlooks the opera house, and it’s under the Harbor Bridge in Sydney. And I agree with all those things. I stayed there a few times. It’s a wonderful hotel, but right down the road from it is the Hyatt Regency Sydney, which opened up a few years ago. And it’s kind of a rooftop lounge up on one of the really high floors.
[00:16:26.870] – Ed Pizza
And so we were there for a week right before the pandemic in 2019. And by the second day of our stay, everybody in the lounge had memorized not only our kids names but the drinks that they liked in the morning, in the evening and what they like for breakfast. And so my kids were doted on by the lounge grew all included with my room as part of our stay, and they never had to ask for anything. They were doted on. They loved it. And my wife and I could enjoy a cup of coffee or out on the terrace on our own and watch our kids through the glass and watch the staff take care of them.
[00:16:59.420] – Ed Pizza
And it was a really great way to sort of sneak away for a few minutes as a husband wife while our kids were still with us on this epic trip.
[00:17:06.460] – Kim Tate
That’s important. I think that when you can find a good hotel, they kind of recognize your kids as guests as well. Kids love that. And they remember that for sure.
[00:17:15.240] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And I might not get this exactly right because I didn’t look it up on the charts before we hopped on to record. But I think it’s half the points of the Park Hyatt, which again is a delightful hotel, but it’s pricey. And then I think there’s other fun things. Grand Hyatt Bahamas is a really huge resort property in the Bahamas. So if you’re looking for a way to do something like in Atlantis style property, but using points, I think that’s a great choice. And then I’m a sucker for old historical properties.
[00:17:43.390] – Ed Pizza
So the Driscoll in Austin, Texas, is the Yellow Rose, as they call it, is one of my favorite old historic hotels. That’s part of it as well.
[00:17:51.240] – Tamara Gruber
Does it have a collection like that the way the autograph collection for Marriott or gosh, what’s the Hilton one.
[00:17:58.350] – Ed Pizza
There’s so many of those different brand like the Marriott Hilton has spawned all these names for different things of all the brands. And the short answer is not only is the answer yes, but there’s a ton of them, and some. Some of my fellow travel bloggers have almost criticized the hits and the merits of the world for having you have too many brands. Those things don’t necessarily matter as much to me per se. I guess I understand it to some degree, but at the end the day, I think as travelers and especially family drivers, we’re just looking for interesting, unique properties.
[00:18:29.110] – Ed Pizza
And as long as they come up on the website, I’m all years yet they have their unbound collection. And that was where it started with some recent acquisitions. They sort of added a bunch of other brands, so they fall under a bunch of different names, and I won’t list all of them out. But like unbound one destination hotels, Thompson Hotels, a bunch of collections that they’ve absorbed over the past few years and acquisitions. But I think one of the fun things that hit does is they have what’s called a Brand Explorer program.
[00:18:57.870] – Ed Pizza
I don’t quote me on this, but I think there are 15 brands right now across the portfolio and in the boundless portfolio and the independent collections. For every five different brands you visit with it, you earn a free night, and so you can earn up to three free nights by staying at all the different brands. So it’s a pretty cool unpublished benefit of it is that every time you chalk up one of these, you’re closer to a free night at a high in the world.
[00:19:22.760] – Tamara Gruber
That’s interesting. So they really want you to explore the breath of those brands. I mean, I like those kind of collections because then, you know, you’re having something that’s maybe historic or at least has character and personality versus your standard Hyatt. Hilton, whatever the generic kind of business hotel cool. That’s good to know. Well, I am very intrigued by your hinting at a dark horse. So before we jump into our other questions, what would be your number two?
[00:19:51.760] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. So I’m not sure if this is my number two, but certainly they’re right there in line with Hilton, because I think Hilton’s maybe just a smidge ahead of them. But Wyndham redid their credit card portfolio late last year. And honestly, it was one of the things I wasn’t paying a ton of attention to and through a mutual friend they had asked about sponsoring the podcast, and I’m generally not somebody who does that sort of thing unless it’s a brand that I really support a lot of like, I really want to be into something.
[00:20:18.520] – Ed Pizza
I was like, Wyndham, it’s not my favorite. Could there are a lot of lower to your properties that weren’t really my fit. The credit card is really geared up being able to maximize points for earning for families, which I think is a hard thing to do if you’re not a road warrior. And where I think they really fit for family travel is they have a huge chunk of vacation rentals. So they have some of their own, quote, unquote vacation rental properties. And they have partnerships with brands like Vacasa.
[00:20:47.480] – Ed Pizza
I never know if I say that correctly, but because of that, that we think of again, when we think of families, or at least for me, I think of space. And so there’s a property in Orlando called Magic Villages, which is a Wyndham property, and you can use your points to redeem for up to a four bedroom luxury condo with pools and all that other stuff that are beautifully appointed, big barbecue grills outside at Zero fridges, all that stuff. And you can do that with points.
[00:21:18.200] – Ed Pizza
And it’s equidistant between Disney World and Universal. And then you’ve got ski lodges and log cabins in Montana and properties overseas. And so I think when I think about family travel and I think about space and Airbnb and the role it plays and how our family travel world has changed. Wyndham sort of forging this middle ground where they say like, yeah, sure. If you want a Wyndham hotel or one of our other limited service brands like, we got you covered. But if you need more space, you can turn those points into Airbnb ish type rental in hundreds of cities around the world.
[00:21:56.270] – Ed Pizza
And I think that adds a lot of value for family travelers. Not as much for people who like to travel in a traditional way. But I think family Traveler specifically Wyndhams carving at a niche to say you could earn a bunch of points on our credit cards and you can use them for Airbnb ish type stays around the world.
[00:22:12.740] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, that’s good. I think about Smugglers Notch in Vermont, which is an amazing family ski resort. I used to be part of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, and I have to double check that it is. And I know I have a friends awesome that really love the property in Orlando and love that space option. Like you mentioned.
[00:22:33.490] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And the Smugglers Notch is still a Club Wyndham property. And again, people think of timeshares like, oh, I don’t want to buy a Timeshare, and that’s a whole other podcast for some other day. But I think Wyndham gives you the ability to stay at those properties and not be a timeshare owner. So I think that’s what’s unique about the them in Hyatt has a very small collection of those properties time shersh sort of residence club properties. In fact, one of my favorites is in Sedona. It’s called the Hyatt Residence Club Pinon Point, not that far from the Grand Canyon, but they only have 15 or 20 of those where Wyndham literally has over 1000 with the Club Wyndham stuff, vacation rentals and the Vacasa partnership.
[00:23:14.530] – Ed Pizza
So if you like that sort of travel where you’re not staying in a hotel and you want a little bit more space, Wyndham is really carved that niche. And before when they didn’t have a really robust credit card platform, it was harder to earn a lot of points with them. And now, especially if I’m a small business owner, and I understand that not everybody is that. But if you are a small business owner, some of the stuff that they have bonus categories on are very unique, like utility bills and stuff like that, that definitely aren’t for everyone.
[00:23:47.230] – Ed Pizza
But if you happen to be somebody who as a small business owner and you’ve got all that stuff, it’s a great way. Wait a pile on a ton of points that you’re not going to find somewhere else.
[00:23:54.620] – Kim Tate
And do you know, if Wyndham is a transfer partner of either Chase or Amex it’s one of the downsides is that they’re not really have that kind of the credit card of their own to their credit cards are issued by Barkley’s.
[00:24:08.960] – Ed Pizza
And I think you guys know some of the Barclay cards they’ve had over time, but they don’t really have a flexible currency. Okay, as you say, with Chase and American Express, and even sort of coming around the bend with City adding like, I a partner like American Airlines to their fold, that in doing the and the Capital One is really up their game. This is the area where I think Barclay’s as weakest is that they just don’t have that robust transfer network. So you’d have to invest in holding a Wyndham card to earn a bunch of Wyndham points.
[00:24:41.800] – Ed Pizza
And I might be forgetting some other Wyndham transfer partner out there. And if they’re out there, I apologize. I’m definitely not a credit card expert, like some other folks are in the space. I my interest has been peaked in a way that I wasn’t expecting.
[00:24:55.860] – Kim Tate
Well, definitely for families. I can see why that might be appealing. So let’s quickly just finish up this little bit of a category and touch base about maybe Hilton, of course, Marriott. Maybe even if we have time, you could mention IHG do you see, what are the pros and cons for any of those three type brands for to show up on their loyalty train.
[00:25:20.870] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And I’ll try to cover all three quickly. I think they all represent slightly different things. One of the things that I think Hilton has in common with Hyatt is that they value treating folks well on award stays. So things like no resort fees on award stays is a really cool benefit of Hilton that it has as well. I think the benefit for Hilton is massive footprint, easy to earn lots of points. And so you sort of got this world where Marriott has really expensive properties that cost a ton of points, but they don’t issue a lot of points you’ve hired as a smaller footprint, and their properties cost less points.
[00:25:57.480] – Ed Pizza
And Hilton somewhere in the middle, and that they do have an award chart where the resort property can get pricey, but they give away a lot of points for hotel stays, they give away a lot of points for folks who happen to hold their credit cards. And as you mentioned earlier about road tripping, you can find a Hilton anywhere. Marriott is the same way in terms of footprint size, but they do charge things like resort fees and parking and stuff like that on awards stays, so they’re not completely quote, unquote free.
[00:26:23.030] – Tamara Gruber
Can you explain for our listeners what award stays are?
[00:26:26.040] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. So if you spend on a credit card or you stay on a paid stay, you earn points in the loyalty program. So if you have a Hilton credit card, you’re in Hilton points. If you have a Marriott credit card earning Marriott points, and then there’s all the transferable partners, which maybe we find time to talk about today. But as Kim alluded to Chase and American Express, so you build up these points. And those points help get you a free room. And not all points are created equally.
[00:26:54.150] – Ed Pizza
So we like to say that top tier property at Marriott is 100,000 points and a top tier property that is 30,000 points per night. And so it’s a lot easier, cheaper in points to get a free room with it. But they don’t quite give the same amount of points per dollar. That’s where it gets a little bit like funny money math. But Hilton, like I said, sits in the middle where they give a lot of points for folks who stay on paid nights. And you can also earn a lot of points with bonus categories on their credit cards.
[00:27:25.740] – Ed Pizza
So you you can build up a pretty big balance of Hilton points quickly if your goal is to save up for a family vacation.
[00:27:32.140] – Tamara Gruber
Now, some of these programs have changed some things recently. Do you want to touch on that?
[00:27:37.280] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. So again, we talk about family travel. Things like free breakfast is important, and Hilton rolled out some changes that they say are temporary. And I’m actually supposed to be recording with an executive from Hilton on my podcast in October. So hoping to get a more final answer on this. But they’ve temporarily removed to a benefit where instead of getting free breakfast, you get a credit per day that you can use for breakfast. If you wanted to use it for breakfast, which you can also use it for a drink in the bar in the evening, et cetera.
[00:28:08.660] – Ed Pizza
It doesn’t cover traditionally what a free breakfast used to cover. And sort of where this came from was during the pandemic. A lot of hotels eliminated free breakfast completely in the beginning. It was because we didn’t really know how COVID was bread is now sort of become this thing of, well, gosh, we lost a lot of money during COVID, so we don’t want to have breakfast out anymore. And I think it’s a big question Mark right now on what the future will look like. I think hotel owners don’t really want to give free breakfast.
[00:28:32.760] – Ed Pizza
They’ve never really wanted to, but it’s always been a benefit that’s been there. And so there’s this unique most moment where a chain like Hilton is trying to move away. It seems from that free breakfast benefit, and I’m going to be really interested to see how this rolls for, because as of right now, it is only listed as a temporary benefit. You guys have been in this business long enough to know that lots of things that are temporary become permanent. So that might be where we end up with us.
[00:28:57.450] – Ed Pizza
But right now, the breakfast benefit, Hilton is nowhere near as good as it used to be in a vacuum. That being said in my travels, I’ve seen very few hotels that really have have a free breakfast out, as opposed to a Brown paper bag with a Nutri grain bar, an Apple and a bottle of water
[00:29:14.620] – Kim Tate
for a while there when we took our spring break road trip, they weren’t even stocked with that stuff because they couldn’t get supply chains as like we have one almond milk and an Orange going to the first customer down.
[00:29:27.910] – Ed Pizza
Yeah, it has been crazy and I didn’t touch on IHG I think is sort of falls behind those others. I think at this point Wyndham has passed them in my mind and that it doesn’t really have the vacation rental part of their platform. And for those that might not know IHG or brands like Holiday Inn, Holiday and Express Intercontinental, they have beautiful properties overseas, Europe and Asia, much more so than I’d say in the US where the I think they can play a role is definitely road tripping.
[00:30:00.260] – Ed Pizza
And then also, if you happen to be somebody who has some travel for work in the US, I think earning points stand staying at US based IHG properties and then using them for some of the really cool properties overseas. They have some really eclectic older style properties in Europe that I think are a lot of fun. So that would be how I think about trying to use is it would be saying if your traveler road warrior staying at the Holiday Express throughout the year so you can redeem for a really cool Intercontental stay in Europe or Asia.
[00:30:34.620] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, they have cool. The Hotel Indigo brand properties are pretty cool too for those boutique type of stays.
[00:30:43.570] – Ed Pizza
And they are expanding. The Hotel Indigo brand obviously has a lot of change during the pandemic, but I do expect there to be more Hotel Indigo being built over the next handful of years.
[00:30:57.260] – Kim Tate
A brand I always like the decor and stuff. It’s very clean and modern feel and a little bit of the local vibe with local artists and some of that stuff. So that’s cool.
[00:31:07.960] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. Last I checked and don’t quote me on this. There’s probably about 100 or so Hotel Indigo in the pipeline and there’s probably about 100 open right now, so they’ll probably double the size of that brand over the next call, four or five years.
[00:31:23.220] – Kim Tate
So now that you’ve given us a good layout of all the great programs, and maybe people are thinking of which property or which brand might work best for them. Do you have any tips or suggestions for how to build up points with some of these programs beyond just hotel stays? So you mentioned a little bit about the Wyndham credit cards, so I know credit cards are a huge part of it. So any other tips or what info do they need to know about earning and transferring hotel points?
[00:31:49.700] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And I think you keyed right there on the last two words that you said are the two ways that we’re thinking about this. Are we earning points or are we transferring them? And so I think there’s two separate paths, and I’m going to take them backwards because I think the transferring path is the one that’s going to work for more people. Then the best example I like to use for folks is for anybody out there that has a retirement account. I hope you don’t have everything all in one individual stock or mutual fund.
[00:32:14.850] – Ed Pizza
You’re diversified. So Kim kind of alluded to this before where Chase and American Express both have their own flexible currencies. Chases is called Ultimate Rewards, and American Express is called membership rewards. And so you can spend on a credit card, a certain Chase branded credit cards and certain American Express branded credit cards. And you can then transfer those points to hotels. And for this, I specifically like Chase better than I like American Express, and that Chase has multiple hotel partners you can transfer to IG. But you can also transfer to Marriott and to High.
[00:32:49.820] – Ed Pizza
So lots of flexibility there. And if you ultimately decide you didn’t want to transfer hotels because you got a really super deal, like you found a super cheap hotel and you want to use your money on your hotels and then use your points for airline tickets. You’d have that flexibility. But this also goes back to what the value of points are. And if you transfer points from Chase Ultimate Reward, so let’s say you had, like, a Chase Sapphire preferred card, and you earn points for dining out and groceries and all that stuff.
[00:33:17.670] – Ed Pizza
And then you transfer those points. They’re going to go a lot further with Hyatt, where the most expensive property costs 30,000 points a night versus Marriott, where the most expensive property will set you back about 100,000 points a night because you’re still transferring on a one to one basis from Chase Ultimate Rewards to these different hotel programs. So for most folks, I think those sorts of cards offer great flexibility, which I think is what we want in travel, especially for family travelers. If hotels is really the thing that you’re most focused on, then yes, absolutely.
[00:33:49.470] – Ed Pizza
They’re or hotel credit cards. And not just because of my bias towards Hyatt, but I also think they have a pretty strong offering for credit cards in that they offer bonus points for dining out airline tickets, gym memberships, which is a fairly unique category. Mass transit, tolls, taxis, just a whole bunch of different categories where you can earn points for the things that you do on an everyday basis and use those to turn into vacation points further down the road.
[00:34:19.360] – Tamara Gruber
So would you ever recommend having a brand specific card as well?
[00:34:24.720] – Ed Pizza
You know, I think if your main goal is that you’re going to be a free agent from an air travel standpoint where you’re never going to use points for that, then I think a hotel branded credit card can make more sense. I think the other thing, too, that’s a really solid reason to pick up a hotel credit card is that some of the cards do offer some level of status along with holding the card. That’s a benefit of some cards, and it’s very different amongst the different cards people use Hyatt as an example is that you do get discovered status with them, which earns you a free late checkout and a bonus on points that you earn. But it also gives you sort of a head start to the next level of status as well. So those can be great ways to sort of bridge across. Marriott has a lot more credit cards than hit us, so you have the ability to sort of maximize that if you’re willing to hold multiple credit cards, they also have credit cards from both Chase and American Express.
[00:35:23.520] – Ed Pizza
But you really do have to sit down and think about as you start to get into multiple credit cards. Are you really getting the value for the annual fees for all these cards? Because some of them have gotten quite expensive for annual fees for five $600 a fee. And we just want to make sure that we’re getting that value if we’re going to keep that card in our wallet year in, year out. Whereas something like Chase Sapphire preferred annual fee is $95, and it’s not hard to get $95 in value on a yearly basis.
[00:35:48.640] – Kim Tate
Yeah, I was going to say one of the things I have the Marriott, and it is kind of nice when I choose that knowing that I’m earning six points or ten points or whatever it is now on those hotel stays, and I don’t even have to think about that. And then it’s kind of funny, though, because I get gold with them, which doesn’t do anything with Marriott now and then I get gold with my Amex as well. So I’m paying all the stupid fees to get overlap that still doesn’t do anything.
[00:36:13.730] – Kim Tate
But I’ve been really looking at my Amex Platinum lately to see if I’m really getting my $700 worth or whatever they raise the annual fee to this year.
[00:36:23.030] – Ed Pizza
Yeah, not to dig too deeply into the numbers of it but again, depending on which Marriott card you have, we talked about the one to one transfer from Chase to Marriott. And so for every day spend, you could still either category where you can earn three, four, five chase points per dollar and then transfer those to Marriott in a one to one basis. So you can definitely make an argument why a Marriott card might be really good for you to pay for your Marriott stays.
[00:36:53.350] – Ed Pizza
The other bonus categories on those cards generally aren’t as generous as some of these, like middle of the road flexible currency cards where you can come out of head.
[00:37:02.330] – Kim Tate
Overall, I’ve been trying to figure that with dining. That’s been my biggest dilemma lately is when I’m eating out because I don’t have, like, a freedom or any of those things. So I feel like the Marriott actually recently looked like it was more. But then when you look at the points value, my Chase ink is probably the best way to go. So I was really torn about that one.
[00:37:21.960] – Ed Pizza
Yeah, and dining is one of those things. It isn’t necessarily a big strength of the Marriott card. The chase cards are pretty weak on those categories, and I don’t remember all the American Express benefits off the top of my head. But when you think about the fact that you take a car like the American Express gold card that are in four points per one dollars on dining, that’s a pretty sizable bonuses compared to the other cards. And don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure that annual fee is 250 where you’re obviously a lot higher with some of the premium cards.
[00:37:56.360] – Ed Pizza
So you get three points per dollar on the Bonvoy brilliant. I was tell the names are confused.
[00:38:01.250] – Kim Tate
I know they make it. Yeah, I have their business one. I don’t know which one that is. I don’t have a really expensive one.
[00:38:06.490] – Ed Pizza
They all have B names, but that one only earns three points per dollar on dining where you’re getting four on American Express gold. So again, it’s a mixed bag of things. I think if you’re going to have a lot of Marriott stays, those can be solid cards for you, but I think at the end of the day it’s hey, sit down and make sure you’re doing the math on what you’re paying for annual fee to make sure you really are getting the value. Because on that one, like a big part of why that card should be in your wallet is because you’re going to use that $300 credit that it comes with at a Marriott property, because if not, then you’re paying $450 for a credit card on a yearly basis.
[00:38:44.060] – Ed Pizza
And that’s a pretty big chunk of change.
[00:38:45.950] – Kim Tate
I have the size down one on that one. I don’t have that expensive one. The other one boundless or busy. I don’t know why they chose to make the full you’ll never know makes them hard to say.
[00:38:58.580] – Ed Pizza
[00:38:59.470] – Tamara Gruber
I will say that one time I got Marriott card for a while. And if anybody has an event coming up, it’s a good thing to do. Right. So I hosted my daughter’s, bat mitzvah party at a Marriott, and you basically got, I think, like, three times the points. If you’re hosting an event there, there was some kind of calculation that I did where I was getting points for the rooms that were booked as part of my group as well as the event itself by putting it all on that Marriott card.
[00:39:29.840] – Tamara Gruber
So that’s how I tried to maximize that for a while.
[00:39:33.200] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And you can even triple up and that they have a meeting planner program. So when you’re planning larger events like that, you can earn points on top of those points.
[00:39:41.940] – Tamara Gruber
I think that’s what I did. Yeah.
[00:39:45.020] – Ed Pizza
That’s a great way to triple up with you, as you say, when you have things like special family events that can really maximize your earnings.
[00:39:51.480] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Well, as you said, we can dive into credit cards for a very long time. And I suggest anyone that really wants to get into this should definitely be subscribed to Miles to go, because sometimes you guys get into conversations on there where I’m like, Whoa, too much vernacular, too much jargon going on here because you definitely have guests that really know what they’re talking about. So I would definitely recommend that. But I’m just curious. As a road warrior in so many hotels, sometimes you always want to write a post about biggest hotel pet peeves.
[00:40:22.900] – Tamara Gruber
But of course, who would care? But I want to hear what are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to hotels? And are they brand specific?
[00:40:29.860] – Ed Pizza
Well, and first off, I would care. So if you ever do write that, so let me know what I’ll read it for me. Honestly, the biggest pet peeve that’s developed over the past couple of years, and I hate to think of just the pandemic, but I think that this was lasting effects after we’re done is what I’ve started to affectionately refer to as what I call no notice. No housekeeping. A lot of chains made changes to their housekeeping rules during the pandemic. In some cases, they weren’t coming into rooms at all.
[00:40:56.890] – Ed Pizza
In other cases, like Hilton, they sort of moved away from the the standard of daily housekeeping. Two rules that make it sound like can’t have housekeeping on a daily basis where in most cases, you could still ask for it. But I think the notice is the big part. We’re all adults here. Let us make adult choices if you’re not going to offer me housekeeping, which for the 40 plus years I’ve been on this planet has been a standard of pretty much every hotel in the country, minus some very limited narrow set of brands.
[00:41:26.170] – Ed Pizza
Housekeeping is a thing. We expect it. And so if you if you don’t have enough staff or there’s not enough money to do it. All those things. Just be honest about it and tell me upfront that. Hey, you’re going to be here for six days and we’re never going to clean your room. As with anybody in the pandemic, I can understand that hotels have gone through a real tough time not to sound sarcastic. I’m in the restaurant industry. We serve burgers and fries. If a customer pays me the same price they paid for a burger last year, I can’t tell them I’m not giving them a hamburger bun today.
[00:41:56.150] – Ed Pizza
I still need to give them everything that they paid for. And housekeeping. I still just one of those things that I expect as part of hotel stay unless you tell me a time. And if you tell me out of time, hey, we’re not going to here are the rules. At least I know the rules going into it. It’s the changing of things and not telling customers clearly hear that we’re not offering just like we talked about the free breakfast thing. Like, look, it’s the published benefit than I expected.
[00:42:17.600] – Ed Pizza
And if you tell me you’re not going to deliver it because of XYZ, at least I can make the choice as to whether or not I come stay at your exactly.
[00:42:24.460] – Kim Tate
I totally agree. They’ve been really lazy at notifying everyone even along on booking. I understand they can’t always control third party booking sites, but on their own sites, they need to be saying if the breakfast is going to be a grab and grow bag, it should be right there on your reservation page. Or if they’re not offering daily housekeeping or daily housekeeping can be added on to your even if they start saying, okay, you can get a prepay rate, you can get a regular refundable rate, or you can also book a rate that includes housekeeping.
[00:42:55.990] – Kim Tate
Fine, start doing that. But I think the lack of, like, housekeepers has been a big impact, and but I’m with you. Just let us know in advance.
[00:43:06.360] – Ed Pizza
Yeah, just be intellectually honest with your customers. We’re smart enough to figure out that nobody came in and cleaned the room, and we’re smart enough to remember we weren’t told. So just get it out there ahead of time.
[00:43:15.100] – Kim Tate
That’s the most annoying thing to me is just not knowing and then coming home expecting, especially when you’re a family.
[00:43:20.740] – Tamara Gruber
[00:43:20.950] – Kim Tate
And you’ve got all of your towels are all mixed up and the kids would put theirs all over the floor, beds or carpet. And you’re like, who’s that never happens. You. Well, your kids are perfect.
[00:43:31.790] – Tamara Gruber
And not to mention there’s that one tiny garbage can that fills up within a minute of arriving.
[00:43:37.800] – Kim Tate
And then for a while, when you were eating all your meals, like in your room, that worked really well.
[00:43:43.740] – Ed Pizza
Yeah, I think again, like, we’re all adults, we can all cope with a new reality. If you tell me. I’ve got to put my trash can out by 08:00 at night, and sombody’s going to pick it up.
[00:43:52.060] – Kim Tate
[00:43:52.600] – Ed Pizza
Then I know what the standard is. If we’re never going to dump your trash can for five days, that’s going to get ugly.
[00:43:57.390] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Well, and also back in the day, you were at least given the incentive of you get some points if you bypass housekeeping with kind of I always did not trust the greenness of that. I thought it was more of a way of getting out of housekeeping, but at least you got something for for it, right? Whereas now it’s like, oh, no, you have to request it like you’re being a diva to request it. It’s like, no, if I’m going to say that, I’m not kidding it then give me something for that.
[00:44:25.090] – Ed Pizza
And the height of the pandemic when hotel rates were like, 50 or $60 a night because nobody was staying, I think it was an understandable quid pro quo. As a business traveler, I paid $300 to stay in a regular old Marriott property a handful of weeks ago and was told that I couldn’t get daily housekeeping. It’s like I’m paying three hundred dollars a night. That rate should have enough baked into it that you can get somebody clean the room. And if you can’t understand, staffing is a big issue, but you need to communicate that.
[00:44:51.910] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. I told this story recently on the podcast where I paid 250 a night to stay at a really crappy town place suites that was dirty and they didn’t even have a pillow for my daughter to use on the pull out bed. It’s like those kinds of things, like, no, sorry, it’s taking it too far. Yeah, I agree.
[00:45:09.430] – Kim Tate
So now that we’ve talked about pet peeves and things that are driving us all nuts, what about some of the amenities or perks that you look for when you’re debating between what hotel to choose? Yeah.
[00:45:20.830] – Ed Pizza
Well, we obviously talked about one of my favorites before, which were those confirmable suite upgrades at time of booking for Hyatt. So I think that’s a really big one, just because I can lay that shit down when I need to for that one or two vacations a year and say, here’s my ticket. I want that special room and tell me now. So I think that’s a big one for me and for our family. I also think we’re Hyatt and Hilton have really focused on reducing fees for folks who are on award stays.
[00:45:50.310] – Ed Pizza
So resort fees for Hyatt Hilton Hyatt went so far as to say we’re not going to charge for parking on award stays. And it’s not that parking costs a lot of money, but it’s more like the nickeling and diming of stuff when you’re on vacation, like, here’s another fee and here’s another fee and here’s another fee. So I really like that those two who chains are really focusing on removing those fees when you have a, quote, unquote free room, it’s actually closer to free. And that sounds funny for folks who maybe don’t redeem points a lot.
[00:46:17.830] – Ed Pizza
But at some brands, there are lots and lots of fees. I know there are a lot of people that love club lounges. As our kids have gotten a little bit older, we probably use them just a little bit less because we like to get out and sort of explore local cities, if you will. And eating breakfast at a small cafe, Paris or Amsterdam or Lisbon is more appealing than hitting the lounge. But I still think lounges have a tremendous amount of value for families with younger children.
[00:46:48.040] – Ed Pizza
And so as our kids have gotten older, maybe that one’s a little bit less important. But, boy, did we save a lot of money on properties that had free breakfast. And actually, I think the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress was a great example of that pre pandemic. Their lounge has been closed during the pandemic, but before going to Disney World every morning, we’d have breakfast in the lounge. And I would say that’s probably worth at least 30 or $40 a day for a family of four to eat breakfast somewhere.
[00:47:12.660] – Tamara Gruber
Well, I’m with you on the lounges, but also one of my things that I love is free water. So it’s like the Hilton will give you the bottles of water. I remember checking in with my husband to a Courtyard Marriott in Portland, Maine, and he’s Ambassador level. They didn’t have us an upgrade available. And I was like, Can we get a couple of waters? And they’re like, oh, we don’t do that here. And I’m like, Seriously, you won’t give us two bottles of water and the lounges.
[00:47:39.520] – Tamara Gruber
I stayed recently at a Marriott in Buffalo and had access to the lounge. And I think I was wiping them out on the water because the stuff from the tap just wasn’t doing it. And they didn’t have any refill stations open. So those little things Kim, knows how much I need my water. So it saves me a lot.
[00:47:57.040] – Kim Tate
It seems like they’ve gotten rid of those communal water fill, you know, for, like, some hotels have the little jug in the lobby, but because a COVID they got rid of that. And I have a feeling that’s going to be another thing we never see see return.
[00:48:10.580] – Ed Pizza
Yeah, it’s a good point. And I think you’re the same way I am Tamara that I drink a ton of water when I’m on the road, just trying to stay hydrated wherever I am. And so that’s a huge benefit for us. And you’re right, Hilton is very good about offering that every time I check in like, hey, do you need a couple of bottles of water? It’s also something that IoT is very good at and not to pile on Marriott. Put your comment about we don’t do that there.
[00:48:35.510] – Ed Pizza
It’s kind of sort of like an unwritten model of Marriott. That the property sort of do what they feel comfortable with. And some properties are really good about taking care of their guests. And a lot of the other ones are like, well, there’s no financial justification for us to give you two bottles of water so you can buy them.
[00:48:50.330] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, they’re like, there’s a little shop, little. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s like the main marketplace. Thank you.
[00:48:57.540] – Ed Pizza
Where you can pay $4 for a bottle of Aquafina.
[00:49:01.840] – Tamara Gruber
well, you’ve been on the program before, so you know that we always ask a question about what you wear. But since we’ve heard that, I thought maybe we would mix it up and ask if you have a favorite type of luggage or brand for a carry on bag or a rolling bag.
[00:49:16.240] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And I’m among the minority here. So my favorite brand is Briggs and Riley. They’re not the prettiest suitcases. Sometimes my wife kind of looks sideways at them because not all the bags are like the sexiest and sleekest suitcases. But my main Briggs and Riley bag is now almost 20 years old. They’ve prepared at a time or two. A true lifetime warranty. It’s got over a million miles rolled on it. They’re just really, really durable, functional bags again, not as pretty as to me, but never had a zipper break on a Brigand rally bag in almost 20 years.
[00:49:51.190] – Tamara Gruber
[00:49:52.420] – Ed Pizza
[00:49:52.760] – Kim Tate
There’s somebody else who really loves those that I’m trying to think of.
[00:49:56.000] – Tamara Gruber
Is it Eric? Yeah. Okay.
[00:49:58.130] – Kim Tate
Maybe I couldn’t remember. I was like, who else do I know that’s a real Briggs and Riley fan.
[00:50:02.340] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. I mean, I’ve had really good luck with them. I think the brand stands behind their bags. And I’ve had so many people tell me about how they tried to send there to me, a bag away to get it repaired. And it was gone for weeks and weeks, and they had to pay for shipping and all this stuff. And I’m just a no nonsense guy. And the bags just work.
[00:50:24.330] – Kim Tate
Well, you have given us so much great information, but as we’ve already shared before, you have a lot more out there. So why don’t you tell our listeners where they can find you on the line and follow along with all your great travel tips?
[00:50:34.900] – Ed Pizza
Yeah. And thanks again, guys, for having me on this was a lot of fun for me. I live vicariously through some of the travel that you guys have done over the summer, and I can’t wait to get back to some of those fun places. So it’s always great to be on the show with you. We do publish a podcast on a weekly basis, just like you guys find me at Miles to go on all the popular podcasting platform where you can find vacation mavens. And you can find me writing at PizzainMotion.com and all the Twitter, Facebook Instagram stuff is all @pizzainmotion as well.
[00:51:06.880] – Tamara Gruber
Thanks so much, Ed.
[00:51:08.100] – Kim Tate
Yeah, thanks. We love having you, and we will look forward to chatting with you again sometime soon.
[00:51:12.940] – Ed Pizza
[00:51:17.060] – Tamara Gruber
And we forgot to mention at the beginning of the episode, but Kim and I do have an announcement to make, and that is something that we talked about a little bit on the last episode, but is now official. We’re going to Portugal, although I’m totally knocking wood as I say that because, oh, my God, things can totally come up last minute. Now, I’m like, scared. Did I just drink this? Kim?
[00:51:37.290] – Kim Tate
No, no, it’s all good. We’re good.
[00:51:39.300] – Tamara Gruber
But we’re going to be in Portugal. We’re going to be exploring so much of this country. Kim and I have actually gone there together in the past, but now we’re going to get to Do Porto and the Duoro and Alentejo hopefully that’s how you pronounce it the Algarve. We’re going to the Azores. It’s going to be an amazing trip. I hope that you will follow us both on social media. So Tamara is @we3travel and Kim, is @stuffedsuitcase if I get a second, I’ll try to put something up on the vacationvMavens Instagram too, but definitely follow. It’s going to be a fun trip, and hopefully it’ll get everyone excited about Portugal potential destination for 2022.
[00:52:16.160] – Kim Tate
I think one of the things I’m most excited about is we were actually working with a tour guide, Epic Travel, and they are doing Portugal tours, and they are going to be the ones leading us around. So it’s going to be kind of fun to have a local guide telling us and showing us all the secrets. So that’s what we’re looking forward to.
[00:52:32.900] – Tamara Gruber
I actually worked with Epic when we planned our Morocco trip and they set us up with local guides. A wonderful driver guide helped find those things that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own. And they really focus on that kind of soft adventure, family, unique experiences, type of travel. And so, as you know, totally up my alley. So, yeah, excited about that? Can’t wait.
[00:52:57.620] – Kim Tate
I think we’re going to have so much fun. So definitely, as Tamara said, tune into our social media channels to follow us around Portugal. We’ll be there the beginning of October, and we will chat with you again soon.
[00:53:09.110] – Tamara Gruber
And Tchau, which apparently is also how you say goodbye in portuguese. Tchau.