The Hotelion

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

Want to Eat, Drink, and Experience your City for Free?

Premise Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy eating, drinking, and exploring, all on someone else’s dime? The answer is mystery shopping. I stumbled upon this in one of those many how to make a side hustle articles. Imagine eating, drinking, and experiencing your city for free, paid by someone else. Eats range from casual & fast food all the way to high end, fancy sit-down restaurants. Drinking could be in dive bars, or luxury lounges, perhaps in hotels. Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy this all on someone else’s dime? More information below!   Mystery Shopping: Business standpoint Companies use mystery...

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Hotel Review: InterContinental Los Angeles Century City

My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby & Check-in Room Hotel Space / Ambiance Food & Drink Fitness Miscellaneous   Highlights: InterContinental Los Angeles Century City This hotel was an excellent, centrally located hotel, with interesting amenities – such as the Tesla towncar! Small hiccups on miscommunication, and a standard room, made for an average stay. I had an expiring IHG Free Night Award, and thus very motivated to use it before expiration. They have a happy hour at the hotel bar...

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Hotel Review: MOXY Phoenix Tempe/ASU Area

My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby & Check-in Room Hotel Space / Ambiance Food & Drink Fitness Miscellaneous   Highlights: MOXY Phoenix Tempe/ASU Area This place was, in my opinion, millennial and hipster heaven. A very interesting, modern hotel. MOXY Phoenix highlights include the checkin bar, separate iron rooms, their unique airport shuttle service, and just outlandish décor. Note that’s there is no complimentary Platinum breakfast – which was an issue. You can find reviews of the hotel here (click MOXY Phoenix...

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United Issues, Cont’d: Engaged Couple Removed From Flight

Premise United just can’t seem to catch a break. Today, news broke that an engaged couple, en route to their wedding in Costa Rica, were removed from a United Airlines flight. However, there is more to the story, and is nowhere the firestorm of outrage that was the previous United issue. Read on for more.   Engaged Couple & Passenger Viewpoint The couple said a federal marshal escorted them off the flight, as they tried to pay for upgraded seating and were denied. They found another passenger sleeping across their seats when they boarded. They moved a few rows up...

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Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Phoenix

My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby & Check-in Room Hotel Space / Ambiance Food & Drink Fitness Miscellaneous   Highlights: Hyatt Regency Phoenix Average hotel, but with nice resort-style pool and gym. Well located in downtown phoenix, close to several office buildings and other touristy attractions. Close proximity to airport – roughly 20 minutes by light rail.   Lobby & Check-in To your left, past the concierge. Platinum status granted me late checkout of only 2pm, free waters ($5 each in...

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Hotel Review: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona

My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby & Check-in Room Hotel Space / Ambiance Food & Drink Fitness Miscellaneous   Highlights: Westin Kierland Resort First time in Arizona! Great timeshare experience, average service & food, lots of resort amenities – that I unfortunately did not take full advantage of. Beautiful outside décor, and expansive hotel. Excellent shuttle service to nearby Kierland Commons & Scottsdale Quarter, however one time it was very slow in arriving. The great timeshare presentation experience made it a decent...

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Timeshare Review: Westin Kierland Villas, Scottsdale, Arizona

Premise I knew something was up with this Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, Arizona as I kept getting multiple hits for Westin Kierland Villas, compared to Westin Kierland Resort. Checking out Tripadvisor reviews after my presentation, I suppose that it is hit or miss – one review posted the day before my presentation cited intense sales push, but I found my experience amazingly easy and straightforward.   Westin Kierland Villas Presentation Acquisition & Negotiation I found a flyer in my room advertising a contest, with 10,000 SPG points or a $250 resort certificate as prizes. Additionally, near the 9th floor lounge – free for...

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Nostalgia & Free Hotels: The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee

Premise Ah, Orbitz. How times have changed since a couple years ago, where my loyalty brought me to pay cash rates (gasp!) on your site. Now, everything is points, points, points. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, to commemorate the wonderfulness that was Orbitz’s Best Rate Guarantee (BRG), now called simply Orbitz Price Guarantee. Years ago, it was a lucrative security blanket, ensuring that I was getting the best available rate, or compensating me with their Orbucks currency if not. Read on for more on how awesome it used to be!   Orbitz Best Rate...

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Manufactured Spending: What do you Churn?

Premise Manufactured Spending comes in two main forms. It consists of purchasing goods with credit card for points, then converted or resold back into money, to pay off the aforementioned credit card. This article will talk about the two main ways of manufacturing spend: prepaid gift cards and cash-like assets, as well as reselling of tangibles.   Manufactured Spending: The Original VGC When explaining this, I draw a circle of money and highlight each step. Use your selected credit card and buy Prepaid Visa Gift Cards (VGC) at your favorite retailer (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) Cost $4.95 – $5.95 per...

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The Best Way To Get Foreign Currency Abroad

Premise When travelling abroad, visitors have many ways to pay – cash, credit, or traveler’s checks. While it may make sense to use credit card at larger, more secure establishments, or with no foreign transaction fees, a worldly traveler should always have some cash for quick purchases, or at merchants who do not accept credit. That being said, there are many ways of withdrawing or converting your funds to the foreign currency. This article will focus on cash conversion & withdrawal and their pros and cons, along with best practices. TL:DR – Use the ATM, preferably with a low...

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