Hold on to your hats, hotel snobs. I just joined RediCard, the loyalty program of Red Roof Inns.
The reason: not only are Red Roof Inns pet friendly, but pets stay free.
From time to time, we travel with our cockapoo, Mitzy. We’ve encountered up-charges at hotels ranging from $20 per night to $75 per stay.
To be honest, I’ve only stayed at one Red Roof Inn, and it was a new hotel in Garden City, Long Island.
The decor was very modern and the room was comfortable. What I liked best, though, was that the floors in the room were a laminate, and that seemed so much cleaner than a carpeted floor. There was free wifi, but no free breakfast.
Reasonably priced hotels are scarce on Long Island. I got the room via a Priceline bid for a 2 star hotel. I was impressed enough with the place that I reserved directly the next time I was in the area. My second visit occurred after Hurricane Sandy, and the hotel was housing many families and their pets that had been displaced by the storm.
Pets Always Stay Free at Red Roof Inns
The hotel I stayed at in Garden City, NY had interior corridors and was designated a Red Roof Inn Plus property.
Red Roof Plus properties feature: modern decor, flat screen TVs, vessel sinks, wood-like floors, additional electrical outlets, a 100% smoke-free designation, high-end bedding, in-room red accent wall and renovated lobby featuring stone accent wall.
In 2013, USA Today readers voted Red Roof Inn the best budget hotel brand.
All but three of 375 Red Roof Inns accept pets. The exceptions are: Oxon Hill, MD; Flushing, NY; and Queensboro Long Island City, NY.
Red Roof Inn’s Pet Policy
Here is the Red Roof Inn Pet Policy:
One well-behaved family pet is permitted unless prohibited by state law or ordinance
Service animals are always welcome
Pet must be declared during guest registration
Please keep your animal on a leash when outside your room
In consideration of all Red Roof guests, pets must never be left unattended in the guestroom
When you walk your pet on property, please be considerate and clean up after your pet
The benefits of the RediCard, the Red Roof Inn loyalty program are that you earn 10x points per stay, and a free night with 6,000 points. At that rate, it would take between six and ten paid stays to earn a free night.
You also get free bottled water in your room each day, and a discount of up to 20 percent off the best available rate when you book ten days in advance.
I hear that Red Roof Inn is coming out with a co-branded credit card in 2015. Any takers?
Do you ever wonder how much the person sitting next to you on the plane paid? It seems that airfares are constantly changing and totally unpredictable.
The same can be true of hotels. The room rates go up and down depending on the hotel’s model of supply and demand.
We had a recent hotel stay at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway. I locked in two award nights well in advance — 50,000 Club Carlson points for a two-night stay.
We decided to add a third paid night on to our stay, so several weeks ago, I made a reservation to extend our stay. The room rate at the time was close to $300 per night, plus tax, bringing the total to nearly $350. That’s a lot to pay for a room at a 3 star hotel.
It wasn’t worth bidding for a Priceline hotel because it would be really inconvenient to move hotels for one night. Also, since we were traveling with our teenage daughter, we needed a room with two beds, and Priceline only guarantees that the room will accommodate two adults. In New York City, hotel rooms are notoriously small, and often cannot accommodate three people.
Check the Room Rate and Call if it Drops
I had booked the room at the AAA rate. Each week I checked online to see if the rates had dropped. If so, I called the hotel and requested that they adjust my rate. I did this four times, and four times, the hotel graciously adjusted the rate downward. We ended up paying $172 for the room. With tax, it came to $200.
I love the location of the Radisson Martinique, right in K-town in the center of Manhattan.
We took advantage of pre-Black Friday sales at Macy’s, and went up the Empire State Building — both less than two blocks away.
Thanks to the Martinique app, the hotel comped us breakfast each morning.
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Click here to compare current rewards credit card offers.
As a Club Carlson credit card holder, I was eligible for the stay one night, get one night free deal on award stays, so the cost of my two-night stay was 50,000 Club Carlson points.
I enjoyed the hotel so much that I am looking for ways to replenish my points account!
Stacking Club Carlson Promos
Club Carlson is always running a bunch of promo offers and special rates. Each offer applies to a select list of hotels and you need to read the fine print to make sure you qualify. Sometimes, it is possible to stack promos, so that your earn bonus points on several offers with the same reservation.
The tricky thing is that the special offer may not always be the best rate.
Club Carlson is currently running a 3,000 point bonus if you book your stay using their mobile app through November 16, 2014. This is good for up to three bookings, for a total of potentially 9,000 points.
Try using the promo code BIZTIME3 for Sunday through Thursday nights at participating hotels now through November 30, 2014.
With this promo code, you can earn 40 Bonus Gold Points® per dollar spent on room nights. These bonus Points are in addition to the standard 20 Gold Points per dollar spent on eligible stays, for a total of 6o Gold Points per dollar.
There is a long list of properties in the U.S. and in some Latin American Countries that are participating in this promotion.
Stay Two Nights, Get Third Night Free on Weekends
If you are traveling on the weekend, be sure to check if your hotel may be eligible for Club Carlson’s Weekend Extender promotion. You pay for two nights but you stay for three!
Book your three day weekend using the promo code WEEKENDX for extended weekend stays at participating hotels now through November 30, 2014. The stay must include a combination of either a Friday and Saturday night, or a Saturday and Sunday night.
We recently spent a delightful weekend at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway in New York City.
This hotel is part of the Club Carlson chain, and I was lucky enough to secure a two-night stay for 50,000 points with their “second night free” option for Club Carlson credit card holders.
I earned the points as a bonus when I opened the Club Carlson credit card, and paid the annual fee of $60 for the business card. Thus technically speaking, two free nights cost me $60.
Are the eStandby Upgrades Worth It?
When I booked my stay online, I was offered the option of several eStandby upgrades.
High Floor: Enjoy your stay about the streets of NYC, $30 extra per night ($40 value);
Martinque Club Level – 1 King bed, includes a complimentary breakfast and access to the Executive lounge, $0 extra per night ($75 value); or
Executive Suite – 1 King bed, separate living room area with sofa bed, complementary buffet breakfast and access to the Executive lounge, $69 Extra per night ($100 value.)
The deal is that you find out at check-in if you are awarded any of the add-on offers, and if so, you are obligated to pay the up charge.
I chose option 2, which had no added cost. I didn’t particularly care about being on the Club Level, because I had heard they didn’t serve refreshments there like at many other hotels, but the notion of free breakfast seemed worth a try.
Free Breakfast Vouchers at the Hotel Martinque in NYC
Ad things turned out, I was not offered the upgrade when checking-in. But I had a back-up option: the Radisson Martinque App! The iPhone app contains a coupon that you can redeem for a free breakfast buffet.
I was surprised when the front desk clerk provided vouchers for the full breakfast buffet for two mornings. I was traveling with my sister and my daughter, so we received 6 free breakfast vouchers in total. The regular price of the breakfast buffet is $29.95 per person.
Because I had Gold status (a perk of holding the Club Carlson credit card) I received a welcome gift of a small box of Belgian chocolates.
The breakfast buffet offered lots of choices, including fresh fruit, tomatoes and cucumbers, cheese, bacon, omelets, home fries, french toast, pastries, cereals, juice and coffee. It wasn’t the best breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen — I certainly wouldn’t pay $30 for it — but it offered a nice selection, and it enabled us to get an early start on our day.
What I Loved About the Martinque on Broadway
1.5 block walk from Penn Station
Clean, comfortable rooms, and fairly large for NYC
Literally on top of the Subway station and an easy walk to midtown or SoHo
A park across the street
Belgian chocolates on your pillow at night
In Korea town, across the street from Macy’s, and near many cheap jewelry stores
Beautifully preserved historic hotel with gorgeous mosaics in the lobby and a 15-story marble spiral staircase
International clientele including many airline personnel
Genuinely friendly staff and good service
Free bottled water in your room and a Keurig coffeemaker
This is a full American breakfast featuring eggs, bacon, potatoes, pancakes, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal and bakery items.
Social Media Promo Codes to Discount Your Stay at the Radisson Martinique
The travel industry is big into social media these days, and the Radisson Martinique is no exception.
If you “like” the Martinique on Facebook, you will gain access to a promo code worth up to 20 percent off the lowest available rate. Here’s the link to their Facebook page. The Facebook friends’ promo code is FBOOK. This discount is available for select dates only.
For the dates I checked, this discount was greater than the AAA discount (promo code AAA), but be sure to check both!
Similarly, if you follow the Martinique on Twitter, you can access a promo code for up to a 20 percent discount. That promo code is TWT. The availability calendar shows that this code is applicable beginning in January 2015.
Per Diem Discount
The best deal of all is the military per diem discount, otherwise known as the government rate. This rate includes one complementary full breakfast per room per night. Eligible parties include:
U.S. military personnel, U.S Federal civilian employees and U.S state employees
Active and retired travelers
Business or leisure travel
ID or military orders required
Tax exemption varies by state
The Historic Roots of the Martinque
The Radisson Martinique on Broadway is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’sHistoric Hotels of America.
The building has landmark status from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
In 1923, Harry F Young, aka “The Human Fly,” was hired to climb the Hotel Martinique to promote the silent movie Safety Last. Tragically, he lost his grip on the ascent, and fell nine stories to his death.
I’m sure the Sheration Park South in Richmond, Virginia isn’t the only hotel to do this, but it put me off.
When I was checking out earlier this week, the front desk clerk asked me if I enjoyed my stay.
The conversation went something like this:
Clerk: Did you enjoy your stay?
Clerk: Was everything OK?
Me: Everything was fine.
Clerk: Did you get room service?
Me: No, we ate in the restaurant.
Clerk: How was the food?
Me: It was fine.
Clerk: Was your room clean?
Me: Yes it was very nice.
Clerk: We are undergoing renovations. I hope you weren’t disturbed by the noise.
Me: No, not at all.
I guess I made it through the gauntlet, because the clerk then handed me business card and suggested I write a review on TripAdvisor.
There was really nothing of note about this particular Sheraton. It was just like many others I have stayed in, no more, no less.
I wouldn’t bother to write a review on TripAdvisor unless there was something terrible or something outstanding about my experience. I did not appreciate being screened in this manner.
Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite
Of course, I check TripAdvisor when I travel. The big thing I noticed about hotels in Richmond and Petersburg were the reports of bedbugs. Not just reports, but pictures! These pictures gave me the creeps!
It doesn’t seem to matter if it is a 4 star hotel or a 1 star hotel — bedbugs are a big problem in Richmond. In fact, I read an online review of this very hotel that reported a recent occurrence of bedbugs.
Was that why the hotel was prompting guests to write favorable reviews on TripAdvisor?
When I logged into my Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) account today I noticed a special offer:
upgrade to Gold Preferred Guest® status after two eligible stays at SPG hotels by October 15, 2014.
The promotion is offered to “select” Starwood Preferred Guest members who register by August 31, 2014.
The Gold Preferred Guest status will be good through February 2016.
Certain exclusions apply: bookings made through third parties such as online travel agencies do not count, nor do award night booked with Starwood points or Cash & Points.
Normally, ten separate stays or 25 nights in a year are required to earn Gold status, so this is indeed a fast track.
Is SPG Gold Status Worth It?
Here are the benefits of Gold Status:
Three Starpoints for every dollar spent – a 50% bonus over basic membership.
4 p.m. late checkout.
An “enhanced” room at check-in, when available.
Your choice of a welcome gift: bonus Starpoints, complimentary in-room Internet access, or a free drink.
So far as I am able to gather, the “enhanced” room may be a room on a higher floor, but is not a suite.
The welcome gift is a choice of:
250 Starwood points (125 points at Aloft, Four Points and Element);
high speed internet access for the entire stay; or
a complimentary beverage at the restaurant/bar, maximum value of $15.
No Status, No Problem
I have a couple of hotel stays coming up but I am not going to go out of my way to stay at a Starwood hotel just to earn gold status. I can almost always get a cheaper rate going through Priceline or Hotwire, and I am unlikely to have enough paid stays at Starwood hotels in the next 18 months to make this deal worthwhile for me.
What about you? Is this a deal, or no deal?
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