The Hotelion

With efficient traveling, hotel & deal analysis, and economic perspectives, Daniel makes your travel money go farther.

Points, Points, Points: How Much Are They Worth?

Premise I consistently get asked about point valuations from friends and colleagues, on how much they are worth, and if a sale or a redemption is a good value. Additionally, sometimes people ask to purchase my points, and so I’m thinking about the perennial question about value. For this article, the terms points and miles are interchangeable – due to all the transfer options, and the fact that miles are simply airline points. I am inspired by a friend offering me what I considered below market rate for points. How much are points worth?   IT DEPENDS The answer...

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Restaurant & Food Review: W New York – Times Square

This is a second review of the W New York Times Square – full hotel review and first post here. This one provides an in-depth look at the food and gym of the hotel.   Eating Highlights: W New York – Times Square Finally, I was able to take advantage of a longer, less-hurried stay at the W New York Times Square, and enjoy their breakfast options. I also sampled their restaurant fare, and particularly enjoyed the chips & guacamole at Dos Caminos. Service as a whole was mediocre. Blue Fin: Breakfast & more Breakfast I had breakfast daily...

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3 Top Tips for Mystery Shopping Optimization

Premise I’ve gotten a lot of positive responses and inquires to learn more about mystery shopping. So, here are my three top tips for optimizing your experience. They all center around being informed, with a solid understanding of your preferences and wants, as well as the different type of mystery shopping companies you can work for.   Do your Mystery Shopping research! This means between mystery shopping companies, and the opportunities for each. Perhaps one doesn’t have a lot of opportunity for you to earn, or has requirements you do not fit. Understand the various business models discussed before....

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Two Nightmare 24 Hour Lost Passport Emergencies!

Premise If you’re at all absentminded like me, at some point you’ll forget your passport one way or another, right before an international trip. But fear not! Even nightmares sometimes have happy-ish endings, and valuable lessons to teach. Here are my two lost passport nightmares, which ended positively and led to a lot of stressing and freaking out in the brief twenty-four hour periods. Fortunately, having the knowledge and resources necessary truly help.   Why is There No TSA Pre-Check…Oh…Nuts. Toronto Forgetfulness I had gone to visit the lady in New Jersey, from my base in upstate New York,...

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Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Sold for Pennies on the Dollar!

Premise Ah, Atlantic City, how far you have fallen. Due to a confluence of factors, including the rapid expansion of legalized gaming in the East Coast & Midwest, Atlantic City has struggled to attract business and tourism dollars. Last October, the Trump Taj Mahal closed due to owner Carl Icahn’s inability to settle with workers unions over benefits and pensions, and mounting losses. He then put it for sale, open to various interested parties.   Sale & Next Steps Once dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world” by Trump during the opening, the recently-shuttered casino was sold for just...

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Caught While Climbing Everest Illegally: Don’t Complain About Being A Criminal

Premise A South African man, after being caught climbing Mount Everest without a permit, is playing the victim and asking for forgiveness in dealing with Nepali authorities. His trip, documented heavily on social media, is gaining support and encouragement from people around the world, who are conveniently ignoring the fact that he broke the law and will not get away with it.   Climber Argument Ryan Sean Davy did not have the funds for a solo climbing permit, costing £8,500 and climbed anyway, knowing he’d be declined a permit due to his lack of previous experience. According to Davy, he...

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United: Don’t Record Me, I’ll Cancel Your Flight!

Premise A United passenger flying back from New Orleans to San Francisco had his ticket cancelled by a United gate agent after filming the agent during a dispute over baggage fees. United, in already a dangerously precarious position after the fiasco with Dr. Dao previously being dragged off a United flight, responded quickly, but the situation is still without resolution.   To Record or Not: Passenger Argument The passenger, Navang Oza, claims the same bag, which cost him $125 to check out, now costs more than double that – $300! – to fly back, as it exceeded the 50 pound weight...

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I Don’t Know, Where Should I Travel Next?

Premise I am sure this is such a strange problem to have, but I have a very difficult problem when answering people (*ahem* timeshare agents) when they ask where I want to travel. To be honest, everywhere I have wanted to go I have been to, at least once. I would certainly love to travel more regularly and often, and have been to some amazing places that I could go back to, but in terms of new ideas I draw from others.   Where I have been This is not a final list, but several top of mind places that...

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A Peek Behind The Curtain: Why I Write

Premise I recently got asked why I started, of why I write about travel and why I started a travel blog, and I wanted to explain more on the topic. Of course, much of it will be standard fare and very familiar. But, I like to think I provide a different, analytical perspective to all of the mass of travel information currently available, as well as provide a separate perspective on the travel news. For the most part, it boils down to three components: I write for myself, I write for you, the readers, and I write for us,...

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Can You Make Thousands Off Your Own Travel Photos?

Premise With a title like that, how could I not click it? Make thousands of dollars on your own photos that you will take anyway!  Pay for vacations! What a magical experience. However, the reality is much more mundane and deflated my emotions quickly. Forbes reports the average US vacation expense per person being in excess of $1,000, and so people always look for ways to mitigate that damage. This is certainly one of the more creative routes I’ve seen.   “All you have to do is snap a few photos” According to traveler and photographer James Wheeler, you...

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