Trip Planning: The Big Easy & ATL

Intro – Planning
Delta and Weather Troubles to Start
Wyndham La Belle Maison
Cajun and Creole Goodness
Delta Strikes Again!
Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel
Southern Comfort Food


In light of this new found travel bug, Joann and I are once again going on vacation. We’re heading to New Orleans and Atlanta during Labor Day week.  It’s a great time for a full week of vacation because the kids will be back to school and you can outlast the vacationers that are just touring places for the weekend. For flights, we redeemed Delta awards and for lodging, we used a combination of Priceline Name Your Own Bid, and my parents’ Wyndham Vacations timeshare.

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On Rails to DC: Background

Trip Index



A friend of ours is getting married this Saturday so we decided to make it a long weekend and do some sightseeing in Washington DC. In planning this trip, my mind immediately switched into points-mode and some early decisions were made. I have some Amtrak Guest Rewards points that are going to expire and Joann has never taken a trip on an Amtrak train before. I don’t think either of us would mind skipping the famous DC traffic. After this trip, I should be a short ride away from a nice redemption on Amtrak. I got started on AGR points thanks to a business trip I took on the Acela 2 years ago. And now that Chase Sapphire Preferred can transfer directly to Amtrak, I’ll have no trouble redeeming that Acela First or Business Class award!

Next up was lodging. This was my first attempt at Priceline’s Name Your Own Bid process so I did a lot of research on the process and, admittedly, a bit less on the actual location. After deciding that Dupont Circle would do, I won a bid for 3 nights at the Marriott Wardman Park for $84 a night. Compare that to the retail rate of about $175 per night for the 3.5 star and above hotels. I’m not in this game for stay/night credit or elite status so the savings far outweighs the few hundred points I would otherwise earn.

With that, we should be ready to rock. I’m sure we’ll figure out what to see and where to eat (my favorite thing to do on vacation) when we get there. See ya Monday!

Walkthrough: Getting Great Deals on Priceline

After doing my own research on this topic and landing some GREAT deals on well-reviewed hotels, I decided to give you guys a How-To guide for bidding on Priceline.

First and foremost, understand that the “Name Your Own Price” portion of Priceline is tricky in that you aren’t bidding on a SPECIFIC hotel. You are bidding on a zone that may include several hotels with whom Priceline has an agreement. Using the steps from this walkthrough, you’ll have a good idea of what hotel you’ll be getting should your bid be accepted.

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