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Health Travel Vacations

Changing Cancellation Policies – Hotels

With the current situation involving the COVID-19/ coronavirus. Most major hotels and travel brands have changed their cancellation policy. These policy chances are temporary but with the situation not improving, I suspect that they will be updated continuously for the foreseeable future.

Since people are not traveling and rates are dropping, it may be tempting to travel at this time. I would definitely call and check as there may be hotels available in hot travel destinations where attractions are closed.

If you booked through an agent or a third party such as booking.com, hotels.com or expedia.com, you should use them as your first point of contact when canceling.

Below are compiled some of the biggest worldwide brands and their current cancellation policy. This will stay as up-to-date as possible.

Best Western

Best Western brands include SureStay, SureStay Plus, SureStay Collection, Aiden by Best Western, Sadie, BW Premier Collection, BW Signature Collection, Executive Residency by Best Western, GLo, Vib, Best Western Premier, Best Western Plus and Best Western.

  • The policy applies to any reservation for any future arrival date.
  • The policy applies to the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
  • Guests may cancel at any time, as long as cancellation occurs least 24 hours before arrival, and the reservation is canceled on or before June 30, 2020.
  • Hotels will waive all fees associated with the cancellation of the booking.
  • Applies to all booking channels.
  • A more restrictive cancellation policy may apply to a limited number of high-demand dates at individual hotels.
  • Find out more here.

Choice

Choice Brands include Ascend, Cambria, Comfort Suites, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, Clarion Pointe, Mainstay Suites, WoodSpring Suites, Suburban, EconoLodge and Rodeway Inn.

  • For guests with existing individual reservations, including reservations with non-cancellable, pre-paid rates made directly with Choice Hotels, we will allow changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival as long as the change or cancellation is made by June 30, 2020 and is compliant with hotel country regulations. You can cancel or modify your reservation here. If you are experiencing difficulties canceling your reservation, you may use this online form.
  • For a limited time, guests making new individual reservations directly with Choice Hotels, we will allow those reservations to be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before a guest’s scheduled arrival date. Modifications can be made here.
  • Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third parties are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies and for assistance.

IHG

IHG Brands include Regent Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts, Crown Plaza Hotels and Resorts, voco, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, avid hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resorts, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

  • Existing bookings (bookings made through April 6, 2020) at all IHG hotels* can be changed or canceled for stays up to June 30, 2020.
  • Hotels are subject to local law in the market in which they operate. Therefore, government legislation and regulations may supersede this policy in specific circumstances. (including the type and timing of the refund).
  • If you cancel a rate that required a deposit or payment in advance, we will do everything we can to process your refund as quickly as possible. Refunds (which may be vouchers where required by local law) may take up to 90 days for hotels to process from the date of cancellation. Reservations may be changed without a fee but may result in different pricing.
  • Exclusions may apply for time periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks.
  • Bookings via a third-party: For bookings made through an online booking platform (e.g. Booking.com, Expedia) or third-party travel professionals, please contact them directly – we have advised these companies of our cancellation policy and you should refer to their terms and conditions.
  • Groups & Meetings Bookings: We will work with customers to manage any changes needed to Group & Meeting bookings on a case by case basis. Our hotels are actively supporting groups and meetings organizers to address the needs of each group, including moving event dates to another time, in line with terms and conditions of that booking. Please contact the hotel the booking was made with to discuss further.

For more information check out IHG

Hilton

Hilton Brands include Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, LXR Hotels and Resorts, Conrad Hotels and Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites, Tempo by Hilton, Motto by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.

We have made additional adjustments to our modification and cancellation policies to provide you with maximum flexibility while travel remains restricted in many parts of the world.
Existing Reservations. All individual reservations—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that is scheduled for arrival on or before June 30, 2020 can be changed or canceled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.
New Reservations. Any individual reservations you make—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are booked between today and June 30, 2020 for any future arrival date can be changed or canceled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.

For full details click here.

Marriott

Marriott brands include Edition, The Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, W Hotels, JW Marriott, Marriott, Sheraton, Marriott Vacation Club, Delta Hotels, Westin, LeMeridien, Renaissance Hotels, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, Courtyard, Four Points, Springhill Suites, Fairfield, Protea Hotels, AC Hotels, A loft Hotels, Moxy Hotels, Homes & Villas by Marriott, Residence Inn, Townplace Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments, Element

  • For guests with existing reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, we will allow full changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by June 30, 2020. Please note that any changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences.
  • For guests making new reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates, between today and June 30, 2020, we will allow the reservation to be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date. Please note that changes to the reservation will be subject to availability and any rate differences.

Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third-party travel professionals are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies.

*Important Information:

  • Some exclusions may apply. May exclude periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks. Please refer to individual property rate rules for details.
  • Design Hotels and Homes & Villas by Marriott International (HVMI) are excluded from this policy.
  • Marriott Vacations Worldwide (MVW) is included in this policy for transient reservations only. For owner-occupancy reservations, please contact MVW Owner Services at 800-845-4226 or owner.services@vacationclub.com.
  • Individual reservations booked into a pre-existing group block, please refer to cancellation terms quoted at the time of reservation. For more information, please contact the group organizer or the hotel.
  • Group organizer questions on terms and conditions of group contracts, please contact the hotel.
  • For full details click here

Radisson

Radisson brands include Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Red, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inns and Suites and Art’otel.

Individual reservations:

– We allow free modifications or free cancellations for all existing and new reservations (in all countries and all RHG hotels worldwide) for stays until June 30, 2020
– Please note that any modification to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate difference
– If a deposit has been paid for an existing reservation, we will credit you the full amount for you to redeem on your next reservation, at the same property, until March 31, 2021
– New reservations made between April 1 and June 30, 2020, for any future arrival date (all countries and all RHG hotels worldwide) can be changed or canceled at no charge, up to 24 hours before the arrival date. This includes reservations with the advanced purchase rates described as noncancelable
– Guests who made reservations via online travel agents or third-party travel professionals are advised to contact them directly for information on their policies
– For reservations after June 30, 2020, our normal cancellation policy will apply

Leisure Groups, Business Groups and Meeting & Events:
– Free cancellations on existing and new reservations and/or meetings & events until June 30, 2020, (in all countries and all RHG hotels worldwide) if the meeting/event cannot be rebooked to a later date. Any modifications to any existing reservation are subject to availability and any rate difference
– If a deposit has been paid for an existing reservation, we will credit you the full amount (less already incurred costs) for the customer to redeem on their next reservation, at the same property, until March 31, 2021
– Groups who made reservations via third-party meeting organizers are advised to contact them directly for any adjustments
– Arrivals/meetings & events after June 30, 2020, our normal cancellation policy will apply

For more information click here.

Wyndham

Wyndham brands include AmericInn, Baymont, Days Inn Dazzler, Dolce, Esplendor, Hawthorn, Howard Johnson, LaQuinta, Microtel, Ramada, Super 8, Trademark Collection by Wyndham, Travelodge, Tryp, Wingate, Wyndham, Wyndham Garden and Wyndham Grand.

Guests traveling with new or existing direct bookings for stays in any of our hotels through May 31, 2020 will have their cancellation or change penalties waived if the request is received at least 24 hours (or less if permitted by the hotel’s policy) prior to arrival.
Guests who are prohibited from traveling to their booked hotel under applicable law will have their cancellation or change penalties waived on direct bookings.
For new or existing direct bookings with arrivals after May 31, 2020, all of our properties are required to accommodate non-cancellable rate reservation changes if the request is received at least 48 hours prior to arrival and the same number of room nights or more are booked for a future stay.
We are pausing the expiration of any Wyndham Rewards points scheduled to expire between now and May 31, 2020 and have extended current Wyndham Rewards Member Levels (status) for all members in the Greater China and Southeast Asia Pacific Rim regions through the end of 2021.
We are committed to, and actively exploring, additional steps that we can take to help all Wyndham Rewards members globally, which will include relaxed Member Level earning requirements, among other options. Due to rapidly evolving circumstances, it’s too soon to share specifics, however, we will do so as soon as possible.

If your favorite brand is not included, please leave a comment below so it can be added. Thanks for visiting acebazaar.com. Hopefully, you are inspired to leave your email so that you can be updated about all of the great information that we are researching.

Categories
Travel

Rewards Programs Might Just Suck

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I have been an advocate for joining loyalty rewards programs for a few years now. These programs are designed to allow you to get a little something back every now and then. While the term “free” is thrown around loosely in these programs, nothing you get is truly free. You are really overpaying on the front end and getting it back over time.

The Issues

When I book a hotel room I normally use the Choice, Hilton, Marriot or Wyndham rewards programs if possible. I only use sites like Cheap-O-Air, Hotel Wiz, and One Travel if I am booking a resort not affiliated with one of the major international brands.

This weekend I decided to go to Virginia Beach and use some of the 60,000+ Wyndham Rewards points that I have amassed over the past few years. I am very disappointed with what I have received in return for my loyalty.

Check in was quick and easy. I just showed up, handed the clerk my ID and I was off to my room. Since I had been to this hotel I knew the layout and when she told me what room I would be in, I knew this was going to be a long night. The room I received, 101, is right near 2 entrance/exit doors and the elevator. I was able to hear every single person who came in or out of the hotel for my entire stay.

When I got to the room, I realized that the staff had not put any wash clothes or a floor mat in the bathroom. The room seemed clean so in my opinion, that is not a big deal.

For some reason or another, people who visit Virginia Beach like to throw their leftover food off the balcony in the morning. This practice causes two issues: 1. Seagulls crowding the balcony rendering it unusable until they get all the food they see and 2. Ants. I have never been on the first floor of any hotel down here and never realized that ants could be an issue.

The Resolution

I have used rewards points before at better places and got a side-eye from the clerk. A feeling of, “How did this guy get all of these points.” But it never affected the rest of my stay. Because Wyndham has so many brands associated with it, this may just be an isolated incident. I can assure you I will not be staying at the Super 8 Virginia Beach Oceanfront ever again.

At checkout stopped by the desk and asked to speak to the manager. I was told that the manager is only available Monday through Friday, 10 to 4. If you work  9 to 5, the manager of this hotel does not care to hear your grievances.

If I receive some sort of resolve from Super 8 or Wyndham I will update this post. Have you had a similar issue in redeeming rewards that you earned? Feel free to share your story in the comments.

 

Categories
Travel Vacations

Beach Life: After the Summer

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Just because the lifeguards are long gone does not mean the beach has closed down. After the summer season is over many locals still flock to beach resort areas for weekend getaways. The rates are much cheaper than in the summer. Many businesses operate throughout the off-season every weekend, some 7 days a week. While it may not be ideal to jump into frigid ocean water, there is still plenty of fun to be had at the beach in the fall, winter and early spring.

The deals at restaurants and shops that are still open are outstanding. The drastically reduced hotel room prices are noteworthy. Rooms are as much as 75% cheaper than prices for busy weekends like Memorial Day and 4th of July.

If you generally avoid the beach in the summertime because of the ridiculous number of people, now is your chance to enjoy beautiful resorts and hotels minus the crowds. Some days during the fall, winter and spring it is unseasonably warm. Take advantage of global warming and book an out of season beach getaway today.

Categories
Travel

Why Do You Need Travel Insurance?

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Visitors Coverage Travel Medical Insurance for International TravelersTravel Medical Insurance for International Travelers

Premise

So Christmas is over, now it is time to start thinking about your family vacation. This is the year that you decide to plan and book your vacation all by yourself using Cheap-O-Air, One Travel or one of the many travel sites available. The flight, hotel, and rental car can all be booked with one app/site now. But before you pat yourself on the back for a job well done, what happens if an emergency occurs.

The Drama Called Life

Even though nobody wants to think about the unthinkable, now is the time. And the fact that you got such a great deal by booking 6 months early, that’s 6 months in which you can:

  • get laid off
  • lose a family member
  • get sick
  • have damage done to your home due to a natural disaster or fire
  • summoned to jury duty

And it would be wonderful if you could get most or all of your money back for pennies on the dollar.

How Unlucky Could You Be?

Even if you have no issues leading up to the trip, the moment you leave your house things can go wrong.

  •  hurricanes and typhoons in tropical regions in the summertime
  • Snowstorms in the wintertime
  • Unexpected flight cancellations due to delays at the airport.
  • A sudden civil war breaks out at or near your destination, for international travels
  • Disease outbreak at or near your destination
  • Cancellation of meeting or conference for business travelers

When Not To Invest In Travel Insurance

If your bookings are refundable, you may not need to purchase travel insurance. Be warned, some refundable bookings are a pain to cancel and it could take a few weeks to receive your refund. Cruise lines, resort, and timeshares are known for having ridiculously lengthy cancellation policies and holding refunds for weeks, possibly a month or more. If you would like to relieve yourself of this hassle, travel insurance may be an option.
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Since you can receive a quote online in seconds, it is always worthwhile to see how much the insurance might cost. If the deductible is more than the trip, you might not need travel insurance. Visitors Coverage is a one-stop shop for travel insurance. Once you enter your age and length of trip, you receive quotes from the top players in the travel insurance game. Even if you decide to take a chance, at least you will have done the research.

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Categories
Comparison Travel Vacations

Hotel Rewards – Getting the most from your stay

How To Live A Lavish Lifestyle On A Budget – Hotel Rewards

Nowadays you do not have to call a 1-800 number to book a hotel room. You can use your phone, tablet or computer and book through a website or an app. With 100’s of sites with the same information, trying to find the best deal or even proper accommodations can become overwhelming.

While using comparison sites like BookVip, CheapOair, OneTravel, Booking.com, Priceline, etc. make it easy to compare and contrast many hotels across a variety of brands may seem like the best option, but I would have to argue it is not, Especially if you book a lot of rooms.

Most large hotel chains have their own online booking system and loyalty rewards program. At one point in time, you could get a better nightly rate by booking through the comparison site but most big chains guaranteed they their prices are the lowest and no longer offer additional deals to the discount sites.

The loyalty rewards programs offer many perks including Free Early Checking and Late Check-Out, Floor and Room Preference, Discounts for local attractions and most importantly, Rewards Points.

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Turning Staycations to Vacations

If you are still reading this, you must be interested in how the rewards system works. Each brand has their own reward setup but generally, you receive 10 points for every dollar you spend, not including taxes and fees. The more expensive the room, the more points you receive. Some programs offer options to buy points outright while others let you receive extra points by paying a few dollars more when booking a stay.

Booking off-season, from the late fall to early spring, is a great way to rack up points to use during the summer. On top of that, most programs offer additional ways to earn points during the off-season such as; booking multiple times during a specific period, applying for a brand-specific credit card and using a specified payment method during a particular period.

Booking a room at a hotel once or twice a month off-peak has other advantages as well. Being able to use the hotel’s amenities such as pools, spas and fitness equipment for free and the change of scenery would add to your quality of life. Many of the brands that offer these programs provide free breakfast and/or have wonderful dining options nearby.
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Categories
Travel Vacations

Bali Bay Resort Myrtle Beach Review

Bali Bay Resort

The Good

Location – Steps away from the beach and the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, the Bali Bay resort is at the center of the action of the south end of Myrtle Beach.
Spacious – The 3 Bedroom suite pictured in this review has enough bedding for 6 and with some creativity could easily sleep 2 to 6 more.

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Bali Bay Resort Main Living Space

Bali Bay Resort Main Living Space

Decor – Upon entering the suite, it is like stepping into something you see on tv.
Comfort – The beds were pretty comfortable, lots of space to spread out and unwind after a long day or night on the town.

Bali Bay Resort 3 Bedroom Master Bedroom
Bali Bay Resort 3 Bedroom Master Bedroom

The Bad

Small Pool – 2 small pools in the back of the property, facing the beach, enough for a few small groups but not half of the resort.

 

Hallway Outside – In the summertime it is hot, as soon as you step out the door you are in the elements.
Sea Dunes Oceanfront – The property next door is obviously a hangout for locals, lots of drugs and partying, quite entertaining until it is time to go to sleep.

The Ugly

Check-In – There is no office or front desk onsite. I booked thru Priceline and they did not specify that I had to go to the Atlantica Resort, about 20 blocks away, to check-in. On the weekend, there are so many people on Ocean Dr. I could have walked over there faster than the drive.
Falling Apart – After further inspection, there were many imperfections in the unit.

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Pool Unkept – Shortly after arrival, on Saturday afternoon, a trip to the pool ended in disgust. By Monday morning when we left, the maintenance crew must have had enough complaints to justify cleaning the pool.
Cheap Furniture – The furniture was cheap, particularly the bar stools at the island in the kitchen, the chairs at the dining room table and the chairs on the balcony.

Bali Bay Resort Kitchen w/ Island
Bali Bay Resort Kitchen w/ Island

The Final Result

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is, would I stay there again? The answer is, I would, I love the location. I like that area of the beach. It is closer to the Skywheel and the center area of Myrtle Beach in comparison to other resorts I have booked. Most importantly, the resort fits the group I was with.