Eight Percent Cash Back on Holiday Inns is Back!

1960's Era Holiday Inn
1960’s era Holiday Inn

Did you know the name Holiday Inn given to the original hotel was a joke?  

The name was a reference to the 1942 Christmas-themed film Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.

Well the name stuck!

I long for the 1960’s when Holiday Inn’s beckoned road-weary family travelers with amenities such as outdoor swimming pools, bonded babysitters, room service, and free dog kennels.

Yup, free dog kennels.  A summer road trip was easier to organize in those days, if you set your sights on lodging at a Holiday Inn every night.

Eight Percent Cash Back at Holiday Inns and other IHG Hotels

1960's Holiday Inn Soap
1960’s Holiday Inn soap, found on EBay. Who buys this stuff?

Ebates is a cash back shopping portal that offers rebates on online purchases including hotel bookings with IHG Hotels.  The regular payout rate is 4 percent cash back, but currently, Ebates is offering 8 percent cash back on hotel reservations with IHG.

You can go through the Ebates portal, and you will still earn points for your hotel reservation with IHG.

IHG includes:

  • Holiday Inns
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Hotel Indigo
  • InterContinental 
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Candlewood Suites 
Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Orem, Utah
We chose the same upholstery pattern in blue

Of these brands, Holiday Inn Express is my current favorite.

We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Orem, Utah in 2011.  The modern decor at this hotel was inspiring.  I loved the tiled lobby and hand blown glass decorations.  But what really won me over was the upholstery pattern in the rooms — the same fabric we had chosen for our dining room chairs.

We booked a standard room via Priceline, and got a very competitive rate of $49!

The fine print from Ebates states that cash back is only available for commissionable IHG rates.  Specially negotiated rates such as IHG Friends & Family are not eligible for cash back.  Further, it may take up to 40 days after travel is completed for cash back to show up  in your Ebates account.  

I’m not sure how long the 8 percent cash back will be in effect at Ebates.

Eight Percent Cash Back from IHG Hotels at FatWallet

FatWallet is a similar online shopping portal that I have had great success with.

FatWallet is currently offering a payout rate of 8 percent at Holiday Inn Hotels only.  The other IHG brand hotels are offered at a payout rate of 5.5 percent.

If you use the links in this post to make a purchase with Ebates or FatWallet, I may receive a referral commission.  You can earn commissions as well by referring your friends!

What to Do with Teens in Cedar City, Utah

Soda Fountain at Bulloch Drugs, Cedar City, UT
My Family at the Soda Fountain at Bulloch Drugs, Cedar City, UT

If you can look beyond the chain restaurants, you will find that Cedar City, Utah has its funky side.

Most people come to Cedar City for ready access to the National Parks of southern Utah.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is a stunning park just outside of town, and Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are within striking distance.  The outdoor recreation opportunities are outstanding, whether hiking in the spring, summer and fall, or skiing, snowboarding, and tubing in the winter.CEBR 2009 4th Annual WFFest Poster 11x17 poster

What to Do in Cedar City

Beyond the abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, Cedar City boasts some fun cultural events.  Cedar City calls itself Festival City USA, so check before you go to see if any special events are happening.

Shakespeare Festival

Cedar City’s most famous festival is the Utah Shakespeare Festival held every summer on the campus of Southern Utah University.  This professional theatre festival hires equity actors and features contemporary productions as well as traditional Shakespeare plays performed in a replica of the Globe Theatre.


The best kept secret about the Shakespeare Festival is the free outdoor pre-show entertainment called the Greenshow.

The Greenshow is an re-creation of Elizabethan street theatre, with period refreshments and a crafts fair to boot.

Kannaraville Slot Canyon
Kannaraville Slot Canyon
Photo found here: http://rujinav.tumblr.com/image/45127013150

The Cabaret

There is also a post-show Cabaret every Thursday night throughout the summer season.  Company members from the festival put on a variety show at The Grind coffeehouse on North Main Street.

Acts include singing, dancing, instrumental music, impressions, skits, improv games, magic tricks, poetry, bird calls, and juggling.

Off the Cuff Comedy Club

On Friday nights, check out the local comedy and improv club, Off the Cuff.  Many of the performers are students in the  theatre department at Utah State University.

Historic Cedar Theatre

Another great year round venue is the Historic Cedar Theatre.  Movie tickets are just $3 for children under 12, and $4 for adults.  This theatre was established in 1914, and restored in 2012, bringing some vitality to the downtown area.

 Kannaraville Slot Canyon

Twelve miles south of Cedar City is is a beautiful slot canyon and a popular hiking area. The Kannarville slot canyon offers waterfalls, slides, and beautiful red rock scenery.  You can find details of the hike here.  

Where to Eat in Cedar City

Centro Pizzeria

Centro Pizzeria, Cedar City
Centro Pizzeria, Cedar City

The Centro Pizzeria serves just one kind of food but does it very well. The fresh ingredients are straight from that morning’s farmers’ market and the pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven.  The food here reminded me of the famous Two Amy’s in Washington, DC.

Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain

If it’s lunchtime, you can get ice cream for dessert at the old-fashioned soda fountain in Bulloch drugstore in the center of town.  There are not too many traditional soda fountains left, so I am always happy to find one.

Where to Stay in Cedar City

Cedar City has dozens of chain hotels, but if you are looking for a bargain, Priceline is your best bet.  I always cheek Hotwire first, to get a sense of general availability.

Our favorite place to stay is the Best Western Town & Country Inn in the center of town.  We’ve gotten this hotel on Priceline for $38 to $48 per night.

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Shoot for the Stars — Win a Trip to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Win a Trip to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival
Win a Trip to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

This contest for a trip to the 2014 Sundance Food Festival sure got my attention!

I was in Utah last January but didn’t have the chance to check out the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

It sure sounded like fun, though.

Enter this contest by January 7, 2014 for a chance to win a VIP trip to for you and a friend to this year’s Sundance Film Fest.

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Best Western Credit Card Boosts Sign-Up Bonus to 64K Points

Best Western Zion Park Inn, Springdale, Utah
Best Western Zion Park Inn, Springdale, Utah

If you are planning a trip to the “Golden Triangle” of national parks and monuments in the Southwestern U.S., you are bound to come across some Best Western Hotels in scenic locations.

Would four free nights at a Best Western enhance your travels, whether to the Southwest, or elsewhere?
If so, the latest offering from Barclaycard may be of interest, because it boosts the sign-up bonus for the Best Western credit card from 16,000 points to a whopping 64,000 points — enough for four free nights at mid-range Best Western hotels.
This is a no annual fee credit card; the full complement of points are awarded after spending $1000 within 90 days.
Best Western’s are not just located in the American West — 4,000 independently owned hotels all over the world operate under the Best Western banner.  You might be surprised how many Best Western’s there are in Paris!

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Rafting Utah’s Green River

We are just back from a camping and rafting trip to Green River, Utah.  The scenery was spectacular.

New vistas and interesting rock formations greeted us at each bend in the river.

This formation is named for the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, but we thought it looked more like Bart Simpson!

Nefertiti Beach in Green River, Utah Photo by Joel Shprentz
Nefertiti Beach in Green River, Utah
Photo by Joel Shprentz

There are a number of well-preserved petroglyphs in the area near Nefertiti beach and sometimes you can spot bighorn sheep.

Further down river is Swasey’s Beach — an expanse of fine white sand shaded by cottonwood trees.  It’s a beautiful spot for a family picnic.  Just remember to bring pails so the kids can build sand castles.

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Old World Luxury on Priceline – Part 2: Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City

This mini-series explores stellar properties available through Priceline’s opaque bidding process.  

Part 1:  The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Part 2:  Little America -Salt Lake City, Utah

Part 3:  Destination Resort Overlooking the Hudson River, Tarrytown, NY

There are no guarantees in life, and certainly no guarantees on Priceline, but if you do your research you can often land a very good deal at a top-rated luxury property.

Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City
Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City

The Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City is one such gem that frequently pops up on Priceline for the lowly price of $53 per night.  

This is probably the classiest hotel I have ever stayed in.

The corridor walls are covered in brocade fabric.  There is a large fireplace in the wood-paneled central lobby and there are several elegant shops.

The rooms are enormous and comfortable, with real wood furniture, real wool carpets, and beautiful draperies and upholstery.  There is a dressing table and an enormous tiled bathroom with a large tub and a separate shower.  Rooms with king sized beds have a separate living room area.  It is just a very classy place.

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What Does Ladies Hosiery Have to do with Priceline?

Booking a hotel on Priceline is just like the ladies’ hosiery department.  You can choose the opaque, the semi opaque, or the sheer.

Lehi Roller Mills
Lehi Roller Mills
Photo by David Jolley/Staplegun

My strategy is to check all three options to inform my bidding.

Here’s an example of a trip I just booked to Lehi, Utah.  Lehi is about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City, in the Utah Valley.  

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Romancing the Triple Bump

The Sundance Film Festival was wrapping up in late January and the Salt Lake City (SLC) Airport was swamped. My United Airlines flight to Washington Dulles (IAD) was booked solid and the gate agent was looking for a volunteer to give up their seat.  Usually when these opportunities arise I am too busy to take advantage…but this time I had some flexibility.

Salt Lake Plaza Hotel
View of Temple Square from Salt Lake Plaza Hotel

I volunteered my seat and the agent booked me on the same flight the next day.  She issued me a voucher for $400 good for future travel on United, $20 in food vouchers, and booked a hotel reservation at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

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How to Get Two Rooms for the Price of One

When traveling with family or friends, do you ever wish you could afford to book two adjoining rooms?  You can, and for the same price you would pay for a single hotel room!

Sandy Utah View
View of the Wasatch Mountains from Sandy, Utah
Photo by Scott Catron

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we arranged a rendezvous with my sister in the Utah Valley.  We were treating her to a holiday visit — and room prices were high because of the holiday weekend.  As we walked out of the lobby of the newly renovated Hampton Inn in Sandy, Utah, I looked at her and asked, “Do you think all of these people know about Priceline, or are they paying full price?”

A light bulb went off in my head.  A lot of people are afraid to use Priceline because they don’t know how or are afraid they won’t get a nice hotel.  Or they may think, I need a room with two beds.

I am known in my family as the Priceline Queen because of my knack of finding cheap rooms at nice hotels.  I should start a blog to share my money-saving tricks!

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Angling for Last Minute Rental Cars on Priceline

In January, I found myself stranded in the Salt Lake City (SLC) airport.  My flight was massively delayed, and I had free time on a snowy day.    I wanted to get up to the mountains, so a four wheel drive rental car was in order.

I have often snagged great last-minute hotel deals bidding on Priceline, but had never tried for a car at the last minute.  With “name your own price” hotel rooms, you can bid up until 11:59 pm on the night you want to stay.  I have literally placed late night bids from the parking lot of a hotel and even from the business center in the lobby.

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