Another Birthday Back in South Beach: King & Grove Tides and Z Ocean Hotel

TRIP INDEX

As I said in the Introduction to this Trip Report, we only stayed in Miami for two nights, but award availability wasn’t cooperating with a single hotel. I wanted to book two nights at the Z Ocean Hotel but I could only get it for the second night. For the first night, I used a Hotels.com free night that I received from a previous promotion. This secured us a room at the King & Grove Tides Hotel located on Ocean Ave., right in the middle of the South Beach buzz.

KING & GROVE TIDES SOUTH BEACH

Located on Ocean Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, this hotel has boutique character to it but doesn’t suffer from the small footprint that many SoBe boutique hotels do. In fact, when you walk past it, you can’t help but notice wide steps and a grand entrance inviting you to take solace from being harassed by pretty girls with thick accents promoting daily food and drink specials all along Ocean Ave.

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Let’s Plan: Another Birthday Back in South Beach

TRIP INDEX

Introduction
American Airlines New York (LGA) – Miami (MIA)
King & Grove Tides and Z Ocean Hotel
South Beach Diet
Delta Airlines Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – New York (LGA)

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Around this time last year, this whole frequent travel hustle really started to ramp up for me. One of the first real trips utilizing some of the tips and tricks that I’d been learning (and points that I’d been earning) was a trip to South Beach for Joann’s birthday. It was just a simple redemption on Delta (if there is such a thing), but it was really the start of many great things to come. So why not go back to Miami for the weekend of Joann’s birthday? She does love her South Beach.

Since all my vacation days are either gone or booked (wedding/honeymoon + Bali), I could only be in Miami for two nights. The plan for this trip was, as usual, budget travel and budget lodging. We wanted to spend as little cash out of pocket as possible.

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Vancouver: Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver

Trip Index

Joann and I rushed over to the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver since we had a NEXUS interview soon. It was a short walk further into the center of Vancouver. While the main street of Robson reminded me of Times Square and Fifth Ave with all its shops, Shangri-La’s West Georgia St. really reminded me of the business district in Manhattan.

Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver

Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver

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Who needs loyalty? Try Hotels.com welcomerewards™ + Double Dip Bonus

For the infrequent traveler, hotel loyalty programs may not make sense because it may take 20+ nights before one can accumulate enough points to redeem a free night. Sometimes getting the best rate is the most important. That is the driving factor for casual travelers who book via third party sites like Kayak, Orbitz, Expedia, etc. Not to say there is anything wrong with uses those sites, but the main point I hope this blog teaches you is to get a return on everything you do! That’s where Hotels.com comes in.

Hotels.com welcomerewards™ is, in my opinion, the best rewards program for travelers who spend less than 20 nights a year in hotels. Here it is straight from the site:

Just accumulate 10 nights, even at different hotels, and get a night free.

  • No points to collect.
  • No blackout dates.
  • No restrictions.

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Hotels.com BOGO Deal

Hotels.com is offering a great deal for new members. It’s called The Great Unloyaling promotion. For a full featured post on how to participate, please visit Ric the Loyalty Traveler. I just wanted to write about this since I just completed the first part of the process.

First, register here. You will receive a registration email. Save it! It contains a promo code that you will need to use later in the process.

Then,  send in proof of 3 stays in different hotels or 5 total hotel stays. They do not need to be from major hotel chains. One of my stays was at an individual boutique hotel in Miami and I was approved. The stays need to be after 1/1/2011.

Once approved, you must use the promo code from step 1 and complete a paid hotels.com booking by November 15, 2011. The deal is that once completed, you will receive credit in your account equivalent to the average nightly room rate, up to $400 (taxes not included of course).

My plan is to book an expensive suite for full $400 credit. That way, we can stay in another ~$400 suite in the future for free, effectively giving you a great Buy One Get One or bringing your average nightly rate for both nights in luxury suites $200. Amazing value.

Joann and I may be going to Vancouver in October so I plan to book the Executive Suite City View for $406 at the Four Seasons Vancouver or the Executive King Balcony at Shangri-La for $392. Either hotel will let us maximize the credit to use in the future! Simple as that.

This promo is definitely for those who want a great BOGO deal. I’m sure if you went on vacation at all this year, your hotel stay will count. If you don’t have the folio anymore, don’t worry, you can either use screenshots from where you booked (I used an Orbitz screenshot) or even e-mail the hotel for a copy of your final bill.

Four Seasons Vancouver Suite