US Chain Luxury

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Steven Schwartz, Aug 16, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Hi all-

    What an extraordinary 10 years or so it's been! My wife and I (and some lucky friends!) have seen the world in style. We're recently back from France and Germany and getting ready in a few months to do my biggest adventure yet - 3 weeks in Australia and New Zealand.

    That said, the world is getting crazier and crazier. Upon returning a few weeks ago, my wife told me she is looking forward to our big upcoming trip but after that, she really wants to stay in the US for awhile and, hopefully, let the world get a bit more normal.

    Without arguing about whether or not she's right or wrong, I'd like to start thinking of some ways to use a large horde of points and miles in our own country. In mid-60's not about to camp out at the Grand Canyon! Any great ideas of some wonderful itineraries that would allow me to do here what we've done there? Great 10-14 day trips?

    Appreciate any feedback and many thanks-

    Steve
     
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  2. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    Florida is always a nice place to visit. You could combine Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West into a nice trip. Island hopping in Hawaii is not so bad either.
     
  3. Sean Colahan
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    Sean Colahan Gold Member

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    My wife and I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego up to where it ends north of San Francisco. It would be a great 10-14 day trip and the opportunity for some luxury property stays along the way.
     
  4. mikeschu
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    mikeschu Gold Member

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    Guess it depends on where your points are and what draws you. I recently met a guy around your age who has a motorcycle; him and his wife go touring for a couple of weeks in the Intermountain West at a time.

    I did a cross-country Amtrak trip this year in a roomette (SFO-NYC routing via PDX and ORD). Not a bad way to use CSP and AGR points if you have loads of them and can't figure out what to do with them.

    I look to be doing a tour of Northern Arizona by car in the spring next year. I'll be focusing on a bounty of national parks: Canyon de Chelly, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, and - yes - the Grand Canyon.

    Hawaii and Alaska are also two great places to go for a while. I would also suggest the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico may be a possibility to look into if you're on the East Coast.

    Also: don't forget our neighbors to the north. Canada is just as safe as the USA, and there are some great places to visit that the US really doesn't have outside of Alaska. The Caribbean isn't a bad place to go either if you like island hopping.
     
  5. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    No need to camp out at the Grand Canyon, as not too far as the crow flies (about two hours by car) is the little town of Sedona, which is in a beautiful area of Arizona, and has some nice hotels and resorts (including a Hilton if you have their points) just outside of town. Don't know if you've ever been to the Canyon, but we've been there twice, and IMO everyone should see it at least once in their lifetime, it's that breathtaking, especially in the early morning or at dusk, when the sun hitting the rocks brings out their many varied colors, and many vantage points to view the changing scenery all along the South Rim.

    From Sedona driving along I-17 towards Phoenix, there's several interesting places to stop and explore along the way, and Phoenix-Scottsdale has many fine hotels, restauarants and shopping, besides the sightsseeing, golfing, etc., to keep you busy.

    Or head to Florida, and on the lower west coast is the town of Naples, which has clean, quiet beaches, good restaurants and shopping, some good hotels, and a laid back pace. Excellent fishing all over the west coast and into the southern waters of Florida Bay, if you're a fisherman too, or try the bass fishing further inland. Drive down the Florida Keys, for snorkeling or scuba diving at John Pennekamp State Park, with several good hotels and resorts along the way, and into Marathon and finally Key West, to visit Truman's vacation retreat, and Hemingway's house.

    If visiting Canada, the Canadian Rockies are worthy of a driving trip from Edmonton to Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise, and offer several fine hotels and resorts for overnight or longer stays to explore the areas around the Rockies. Then either cross over the Continental Divide to British Columbia, for more interesting scenery, or circle back through the Crow's Nest Pass on your way back up to Calgary, to head home from there. Major cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and Ottawa, all have different vibes and much to do and see in each one, along with your choice of excellent hotels and restaurants.
     
  6. brucewil

    brucewil Silver Member

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    There are worthy charity organizations that can use miles to fly people to help in disaster relief, medical missions, etc. Not exciting, but something to consider.
     
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  7. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Believe it or not, it would take a few 14-day trips to really get to know the various Hawaiian Islands. My "dream trip" there would be at least 2 weeks each on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, Oahu, along with a week or so each on Lanai and Molokai. There's much to do there, as readers and fans of the "Hawaii Revealed" guide books can attest:
    http://www.hawaiirevealed.com/
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  8. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    As mentioned before, 2 weeks would just scratch the surface of California. Lots of places to redeem luxury hotel points in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, Napa Valley, Sacramento, as well as charming smaller towns like (our fair city!) San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Carmel. In between see Yosemite (stay at luxury National Park Lodge), the eastern Sierra, the coast north of San Francisco. (Maybe stay in a lighthouse.), Anza Borrego desert. Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Park.
     
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  9. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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    Or a couple of weeks to visit Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria and surrounding areas.
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Santa Fe, Sedonia, Scottsdale.

    California wine country.

    Half Moon Bay and the area around Monterrey.

    Great hotels in big cities such as NYC, Boston, Chicago, Washington.

    What are your interests? For example, music and BBQ around Austin.

    Drive through small towns in New England especially during leaf season.

    Drive along the Pacific Coast.

    Look for luxury destination hotels in chains where you have lots of points: RC for Marriott, LC and StR for SPG, Andaz and PH for Hyatt to get ideas.
     
  11. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    What about canada. I know that's not domestic. But who are we kidding. They are!
     
  12. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    It's going to come down to what you enjoy and appreciate. A few types of domestic trips:
    Activity/event focused trips like skiing, wine trips, etc.
    Natural beauty - largely in the mountain west and along the coasts. Can be seasonal such as fall colors etc.
    Major cities for culture/events/museums/etc.
    Hawaii
    Don't forget Canada

    If you're locked in to the luxury hotel on points aspect...then I'd start by looking at the options you have. We've typically done skiing, wine, and city trips - largely long weekends - for domestic points burning.
     
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  13. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Crazy is the new normal.
     
  14. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    So scary and so true. Thank you all. Sometimes I worry about MP - it seems that new posts and responses can be very sporadic so I am even more grateful for the level of response and the great ideas. Although it hasn't been mentioned, I think our next excursion will be Savannah, GA and then finish up in Atlanta. We've been to Charleston and it was lovely and have heard great things about Savannah.

    It's funny - somehow it seems that air miles have been a lot easier to accumulate than hotel points so I feel I'm leaving something on the table when the trip doesn't include a lot of work getting the upfront seats I crave. And Bruce - thanks for the reality check - I just might do that.

    And FWIW, I'm VERY clear these are good problems to have! Thanks all but feel free to keep the ideas coming.
     
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  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand... it's not like the OP is describing trips to Israel, Egypt, Ukraine or Guinea... ;) I personally don't think that much has changed. There have always been lots of unsafe places, and the list changes regularly. That said, there are plenty of interesting destinations in North America to explore that folks have listed. Not every great trip needs to involve changing continents, independent of safety concerns.
     
  16. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    What about JFK-YVR in CX F;

    then do
    http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Across_Canada_by_train
     
  17. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    This is exactly what I was going to mention. A train trip across Canada is still on our bucket list. There are some beautiful Fairmont properties in Canada, though that may not fit your strategy.

    Have you done the Canadian coasts, Vancouver and Halifax?
     
  18. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    Things are definitely slower around here than many of us want. Glad you still trusted enough that you gave us a chance to respond.
     
  19. brucewil

    brucewil Silver Member

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    Quality, not quantity
     
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  20. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I for am disappointed or more the point quite sad but not at all surprised about the recent poll ( if you really put stock in them generally) that said almost 40% of American are currently afraid to fly Internationally:rolleyes:

    Wonder what percentage of drivers are now afraid to drive when they hear about the numbers killed annually on our roads?
     
  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Since as of 2012 only about 30% actually had the ability to fly internationals (had passports), I don't really put much stock in those polls. :)

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewbender/2012/01/30/record-number-of-americans-now-hold-passports/
     
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  22. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Logic would suggest that the question would have been asked of participants who have or intend to fly Internationally and therefore most likely to possess a passport, no?:)
     
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  23. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Something tells me they were looking for a particular result and got it. So I am not sure that logic would tell me that hey only asked people who would actually have the ability to travel internationally.
     
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  24. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Are you willing to drop from "luxury" to "comfortable" when it comes to accommodations? Many of our National Parks have tourist towns just outside the park entrances, making them very convenient places to stay when visiting the park, but you're not going to find many Hyatts or Westins there - more like Best Westerns and Hampton Inns. I can certainly recommend visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Grand Canyon (but stay at Tusayan, which is ten minutes from the park gate, rather than Sedona, which is a two-hour drive away), and Moab, UT (which gives easy access to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks).
     
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  25. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Since when do the words "logic" and "pollsters' go together? ;-)

    Maybe I'm just becoming a curmudgeon as I get older, but I swear we should seriously look at changing our national symbol from an eagle to a chicken. "Home of the brave," my ass!
     
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