Hotel Review: Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale-Commercial Blvd – Tamarac, FL

Finding a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale is so frustrating for me. It only takes us about three hours to drive there so we’ll sometimes plan a quick getaway weekend. It’s just far enough away that driving there and back for the day is a pain (especially if we stay late for something), but it’s still close enough to home that we don’t want to spend a bunch of money for a hotel room for one night.

All of the hotels near downtown charge extraordinarily high rates and some of them even charge an additional resort fee as well as mandatory valet parking. I learned this when a free night at a Hilton ended up costing me over $65.

As this was going to be a truly quick trip, I had a few main requirements. The room would preferably be free and relatively close to Ft. Lauderdale. After looking with IHG, Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt there were no good options to redeem points. Even the base hotels were costing a tremendous amount of points in relation to the cash price. Since it looked like I was going to need to pay for the room, I focused on Hilton since Sharon needed a stay to keep her account active. I found a decently priced hotel and booked it for the night, and figured out a way to get it for free, while I was at it.

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Sign Up Now For Hilton’s Summer Promotion

Summertime is usually a slow time for hotel promotions. Leisure travel is up and there’s not as much need to fill hotel rooms as there is in the middle of January. However, bonus point promos from hotels are apparently going to be here year round, if Hilton is any indication. The current Hilton promotion, Points Unlimited, ends on May 5th.

Not wasting any time, Hilton is currently accepting sign-ups for their new promotion, “Go More, Get More,” which starts on May 6th and runs through September 8, 2019.

You can sign up for the promotion by clicking on this link.

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Why Would A Hotel Offer A Benefit That Doesn’t Exist?

Back when Sharon and stayed at the Casa Marina Key West, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, the hotel was nice enough to extend my Hilton Gold status to our reservation, even though the reservation was made under Sharon’s account.

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The hotel lobby and public areas were beautifully designed a style I’m going call “Old Money’s Concept Of A Tropical Resort” vibe. While I had to go through a bit of a back and forth, I finally received our letter with the Gold Benefits.

Casa Marina Gold Benefits

We didn’t plan on using most of these benefits, like the discount massages or watersports. I asked about upgrading our room ahead of time and I was told the hotel was almost fully booked. The only things we would use on the list were the two bottles of water (which they even replenished after the first night and never charged us for them) and the Complimentary Continental Breakfast for Two. We usually don’t eat breakfast at the hotel but “our” Starbucks was on the other side of the island┬áso the idea of sitting outside and having a coffee, juice and a muffin didn’t sound that bad.

The Casa Marina’s breakfast restaurant is called Sun Sun and is located just behind the lobby.

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Hotel Review: Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte/SouthPark

The Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte/SouthPark is located down the road from the SouthPark Business area and across the street from the SouthPark shopping center, just south of Charlotte. There are a Ruth’s Chris, Palm and DelFrisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse just minutes away, so it’s clear hotels in this area are catering to those visiting the many surrounding office complexes. As I was visiting for my first work trip ever, it was nice to have many restaurants in the area that were open late and accustomed to solo diners showing up to catch a bite at the bar just before closing time (and with expense account that allowed me to eat at them).

The Hilton Garden Inn shares a building with a Homewood Suites but for my entire stay, I managed to stay in “my” side of the hotel. The Hilton Garden Inn side of the hotel consists of 160 rooms spread over seven floors. Parking for the hotel is located in a (usually full) small lot across from the entrance and a two-story parking garage. There’s no charge for parking or any type of hotel fee charged at this hotel.

Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte/SouthPark
4808 Sharon Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28210

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Why You Need To Diversify Your Miles and Points Portfolio

As you may have read, we had a blowout trip through the American Southwest in 2017. For us, a fifteen night trip is an amazingly long time to be away from home. We could have stayed at the same hotel chain properties and worked our way towards some low level of status. However, it was much better for us to pick the best hotel for us in each location and use the most sensible form of payment, be it paying cash or using points. The same thing went for the flights, which were booked with a combination of cash and airline miles.

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This was possible because I had a stash of points in several hotel programs as well as had transferrable credit card points. Some of the rooms I paid for because the hotels either weren’t part of any point program or there was a promotion that made paying with cash a much better value than using points.

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