July 29, 2016

Review: Holiday Inn & Suites - Makati, Philippines

I wish the hotel industry in the Philippines is as exciting as our other Asian neighbors like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and even Vietnam -- which I am sure has now surpassed the Philippines in the number of tourist visits and hotel openings. I can name a ton of international brands that have still yet to open a property in the country -- or if they have, they already closed or are just about to re-enter the country again.

Anyway, I am just happy that a few notable openings have occurred in the last few years. There's the Fairmont (that I have reviewed here) and Raffles hotels which share the same building and opened back in 2012, Marco Polo, a Novotel, Hyatt (which I will be reviewing later on in this trip report), Nobu Hotel, Crown Towers from Australia, a couple of home-grown brands, another Shangri-La just this June, and most recently a Conrad hotel. Grand Hyatt, a couple of Westins, a Sheraton, the new and relocated Mandarin Oriental, another big casino hotel under the Okada group, and a couple others will be opening in the next few years.

This Holiday Inn and Suites property I am reviewing now belong to the same development as the Fairmont and Raffles hotels but opened a year later in 2013. I've already reviewed the Fairmont and I couldn't afford the Raffles -- so here I am :-)


I was helped by a very friendly agent who got me a room even if I checked-in early. Really early. Like 10:30am early :-) It took her a while to finish the whole process but I didn't complain given that I was being accommodated for checking-in early...

After the whole process, she handed me my keys as well as a welcome gift for being an IHG Rewards Club member...

I was pleasantly surprised. I know that it was just a bag tag and a couple of drink stubs but you don't see that kind of thing anymore -- especially since I was not (I am now thanks to my Chase/IHG card. LOL) an elite member. I thought that this was worth mentioning because I stayed at two IHG properties (Crowne Plaza Changi is the other, which I will also review later on in the trip report) on this trip and both properties had the welcome drink stubs. A small gesture, yes, but it has a very positive impact on the guest. Whoever is heading this region is doing a good job.

Did You Get Your Free HotelTonight Credits From T-Mobile?

I don't want to appear like a T-Mobile fanboy because I am not. Seriously, they don't have the best signal in Chicago. :-) I am also not paid to do this, although I wish I was :-)

But you know how I advocate their unlimited international roaming data and text and, most recently, their T-Mobile Tuesdays promo?

Well, just this past Tuesday, they gave out a trip package and hotel credits courtesy of (in partnership with?) the last-minute hotel booking app, HotelTonight. I think there was one grand prize winner, a few winners of $300 credit, then $75 credit, and $30 credit for everyone else.

Of course, I got the $30 credit...

Image from T-Mobile
Since I already have the HotelTonight app, I just entered the promo code under "Promotions" and the credit automatically posted in my account.

The mechanics are simple and all you have to do is redeem the code by August 1, 2016. The rest of the rules are below...

Image from T-Mobile
I know that $30 may not be a lot for most people (it is to me, since I am a sucker for freebies! LOL) but what is great about this promo credit is that there is no minimum booking amount required. And since you can use the credit until October 31, 2016 -- after the peak Summer season, I am sure you'll find a really cheap nice-ish room. This would also be great for non-chain brand stays where you won't earn elite credits anyway since you are booking through this app.

Last Fall, I drove to Madison, Wisconsin to catch the Fall leaves at their peak and I stayed at The Edgewater (my apologies as I have yet to post a review of this property on the blog) -- which is supposed to be the nicest property in town...

With taxes, the bill was $117. If I had the credit then, I could've stayed at this property for less than $100 -- $87 to be exact! Not bad at all for what I was getting. Maybe I should do that again this year :-)

Anyway, if you are on T-Mobile, make sure you download the T-Mobile Tuesdays app and redeem this offer before August 1, 2016. They are also giving away a 1-year digital subscription to Conde Nast Traveler if that interests you.

July 28, 2016

Pic Review: Thompson Chicago Hotel

My sister is in town visiting for the week and she is staying at the Thompson Chicago hotel. It is part of the Destination Hotels group and it opened in the city's Gold Coast area back in 2013.

I've never been or stayed at this property before and, I have to say, I was impressed. Here are the photos...


July 25, 2016

Review: NRT-MNL on Japan Airlines Business Class Sky Suite II

I was really looking forward to this flight as the last time I flew Japan Airlines Business Class between this route was back in 2014 -- on their old recliner seats...

JAL introduced the newer Sky Suite II/767 back in late 2013 but didn't fly it to Manila until March 2015 -- so I was really excited that I get to finally try this new seat almost a year after they started flying it to Manila (which was where I usually traveled to and from the last few years)...

Flight#/Route: JL745/NRT-MNL
Date: February 12, 2016
Depart: 6:55PM
Arrive: 10:15PM
Duration: 04h 20m
Seat: 6K
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER

July 23, 2016

Pic Review: ORD-ICN on Korean Air Prestige Suites (Business Class)

A friend of mine recently flew on Korean Air's new Prestige Suites (Business Class) from Chicago to Seoul and photo documented the seat and his flight really well -- so I thought I'd share them with you here.

Flight#/Route: KE38/ORD-ICN
Date: February 23, 2016
Depart: 12:35pm
Arrive: 4:25pm
Duration: 13h 50m
Seat: 10J
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300

July 22, 2016

Check Your Email: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards by Enrolling in American Express' Extended Payment Option

American Express is sending out targeted emails to some of their charge card holders of an offer of 10,000 Membership Rewards points by signing up for their Extended Payment Option...

Image from American Express
It's a no-brainer. There are no conditions of purchase or whatsoever. Just sign up, get approved (as per their t&c's), and earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points. Just. Like. That. :-)

I actually received the email on June 18, signed up, then the points posted two days after.

So make sure to check your email or log into your American Express profile and see if you are eligible for the offer.

Thanks, American Express!

*This is not a paid advertisement; although I wish it is :-)

July 21, 2016

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 50% Redemption Promotion on SilkAir

For those in Southeast Asia or heading there, here's an amazing promo if you have some Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles laying around.. 

Image from Singapore Airlines
SilkAir is a regional Asian airline wholly owned by Singapore Airines. And although they fly throughout Southeast Asia, India, China, and Australia -- the promo only covers their flights in Southeast Asia. The booking must be done online on singaporeair.com from now until August 4, 2015 and travel must be completed by October 31, 2016.

I recently flew SilkAir from Singapore to Yogyakarta (Indonesia) on Business Class...

Pardon the photo. I'm usually more orderly than this :-)
...and although it was uneventful, I actually experienced something unpleasant onboard. It was nothing that would make me not recommend flying on them, though, so go ahead and take advantage of this promotion :-) I am currently working on my trip report on this jaunt to Asia and I'm a few posts away from this flight review so make sure to check back regularly :-)

ANYWAY, you can check out the details on their website (click here) but here are a few examples...

Image from Singapore Airlines

Image from Singapore Airlines
They are really great deals so make sure you check it out if you are traveling to those destinations within the promotion period anyway.

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