What is your favorite US/Canada mattress run city?

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by stackm, May 21, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. stackm

    stackm Silver Member

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    Hi, I didn't see a previous thread on this topic, but I apologize if this has been discussed previously.

    I travel a lot for pleasure (unfortunately, no expense account) and I was curious what are your favorite cities for booking one night stays, given that you'll actually stay in the hotel?

    My preferences:
    1. Wide variety of high quality hotels at major chains (Hyatt, SPG, Hilton, Marriott, Intercontinental, etc) in order to rack up whatever promotion is offered at a given time.

    2. Not too expensive (under $150, or perhaps higher if good value/discount).

    3. Prefer cities that are walkable or can be traveled via public transport. Car rental, gas, and parking charges can really affect the budget.

    I think Chicago is my favorite if you bargain hunt, but I am very curious to hear your choices.
     
  2. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    This is an interesting thought. I generally don't do mattress runs; but I will if the deal is really good. I happen to benefit if I can use public transportation.
    I am in Atlanta; and I generally don't think of it as a particularly good city for a mattress run.
     
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  3. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    I don't typically do mattress runs, but I am a very price-conscious hotel shopper. So first I'll give a Priceline plug: if you don't care exactly where you're at (no mattress runs here), it can save you serious $. I've often gotten Hyatts/Hiltons/Marriotts near DC, SF, and other major UA cities for $40-50 plus taxes & fees. I've gotten 5* hotels in Amsterdam for $65-120 and Prague around $70. Use biddingtraveler.com (or perhaps betterbidding.com) to see what hotels others have been getting and at what price. Use your free rebids to get the price close to the priceline minimum. And consider using FatWallet to get cash back on your bid.

    But assuming that you're really aiming for mattress runs: the DC area is great on weekends. If you're willing to stay near IAD or even just as far out as Arlington or Rockville, you can find very nice rates. Arlington is on the Metro, making it very accessible from DCA. Similarly, the best rates in the SF Bay Area can be found further afield: the SFO/Burlingame area is much cheaper than the city, Fremont and Concord are quite reasonable, and going as far as Pleasanton will get you some serious deals.

    You could also ask a more general question of "what's a great (and cheap) fly-in vacation spot"? Or "what cities have an excess of high-quality hotel rooms"? Quick impressions: SF and DC are great on both counts. Boston and New York hotels are too pricey. Atlana or Philly might be good. (Following up on 2soonold's post, I did a search in ATL for a Saturday in mid-June: I'm seeing the Hilton for $89, Westin Peachtree for $130, and lots of $100-ish rates on other things. That's not the $70 you'll see for a Hyatt House near IAD, but it's sane.) Possibly SoCal? San Diego tends to be relatively expensive, but Orange County can be cheap.
     
  4. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    being local & having done a number of MRs, I'd agree.

    I'd also echo traveltoomuch's post on two points:

    that IAD is another good metropolitan area for good prices and that PL/Hotwire can be terrific money savers.

    Currently after letting many hotel status' expire, I'm in the PL/Hotwire camp. When the really good hotel promos come back, I'll become hotel loyal again. Of course my view would be different if business travel was subsidizing my travel.
     
  5. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    Well, yeah...that's what I mean. I've used the Atlanta Hilton at $90 a night; but the deal was good enough to make it worth my trouble.
    The OP suggested $150; but that's almost always too high to make the deal worth my while. I don't need a place to spend the night; so the deal is always about getting me to spend money that I normally wouldn't be spending. I think Atlanta is ok; but not really a great city for a mattress run.

    My experiences with Priceline often result in the worst room in the inn, to go along with the low price. When I am on vacation I am usually not in the mood to put up with that.

    Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you might wanna check out Bedbug Registry, when thinking about staying at low-price places.;)
     
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  6. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    LAS has been great - room rates are really low, especially midweek. Fewer chain hotels, but Hilton has a really good presence (But mostly through the timeshare side) - lots of very low negotiated rates and lots of choice.

    San Juan has works well, for hilton as well. Sun, sand and beachs in the US, with low room rates and several Hiltons to hop from. Other brands are represented, but fewer hotels in general.

    LAX Airport hotels are easy. Trolley to Manhattan Beach for fun, LAX Shuttle to the airport. Lots to go around.

    Boston has great transport into the city and is easily walkable, but room rates depend on timing.

    Toronto (YYZ) has sub $100 room rates downtown across major brands. A clean and nice city that is great for hotel hopping.

    PHX has some good deals as well. Haven't stayed in too many there personally to comment in detail.
     
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  7. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    SFO.

    BART station right at the airport. ($8.10 to downtown. Another $2 for the F line to fishermens wharf for a nice, albiet expensive, dinner) Most of the major chains have properties within a block or so of the metro lines. You can actually get some better deals midweek then you can on the weekends (I'm doing a little three day mini vacation, MR (double eqms on AA) and mattress run (holiday inn) in early June myself) my camera is dying to see some new and interesting places
     
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  8. euromannn
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    euromannn Gold Member

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    Vancouver, BC.
    Great biking town, Chinatown, Old Town with bars and great coastal beach scenery.
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Maybe I am missing the purpose of the Mattress Runs, but if it is to attain elite status by accumulating frequent guest stays/nights/points, then isn't the purpose being defeated if one books a MR stay through "third party" or "opaque" channels like Expedia, Priceline or PL/Hotwire that some hotel chains (e.g. Hilton) consider ineligible stays?
     
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  10. stackm

    stackm Silver Member

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    Hi, thanks for all of the replies. I like that so many of the suggestions are fun places to visit.

    I think Priceline is great if the hotel promotions are weak. I'm not compelled to mattress run with the SPG Nice Choice or Hilton/Intercontinental promos this summer. Hyatt's 5x miles/night is a little more tempting.

    Hopefully this fall we'll have some more lucrative promotions and I'll try some of the places I've never been.

    And I agree with the above about SFO. You can stay outside of the city in Emeryville, or even San Jose/Silicon Valley if the rates downtown are too high. Also excellent bargains around holidays and year end.
     
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  11. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    I have seen YYZ (airport + city). SEA (city), SFO (airport + city), LAX (airport) with some pretty good rates. I usually look at SPG and Hyatt. WAS is also good, if you have a car, the surrounding areas offer some affordable rates.
     
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  12. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    Yes, you can save a couple pennies staying outside of downtown, but i would rather pay a tad more and be within walking distance of the action. But to each his own.
     
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  13. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    A $150 for a night? For a mattress run? You need to try out by Dulles. I've had 8 stays over 4 chains in a weekend for ~ $500 during particularly good promos. Marriotts can be had for lows $50s. The Sheraton Herndon Dulles can be had for $50-60, maybe up to 70 on a bad weekend. The Aloft for similar prices. The Westins in the area are also sometimes at a nice price point for a step up. The Crowne Plaza, including upgrade to the tower and lounge access for PLTs for a bit more but there are cheaper HI around. Hyatt Place North, South and East are cheap on a AAA rate and so is the Dulles Hyatt. Hyatt Houses in the area too that are cheap. I don't run Hilton much anymore but good rates there too. And on and on and on ...a virtual cornucopia of mattresses. ;) [Country Inn you are next]
     
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  14. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I'll clarify for me personally.

    When hotel promos are great/worthwhile (in my opinion), then I'll only stay on eligible rates to max promo.

    When hotel promos stink (as in my opinion they have for awhile now), I'll let status lapse & utilize PL/Hotwire as primary goal is to save money & I don't care if the rate is eligible, which as you pointed out, most 3rd party rates are not eligilble for stay credit.
     
  15. euromannn
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    euromannn Gold Member

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    Remember the great Priceline 2 for 1 nights and $20 discount bidding promos?

    How I Miss the Days My Friend!
     
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  16. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    oh sure, and Hilton's stay four get 40k HHonors (& 6 nights in Hawaii was only 100k), Hyatt's stay twice get a free night (at any Hyatt property), even SPG's stay 3 & get a free night could be made to have good ROI.

    This level of promos haven't been around for a couple years sadly.
     
  17. euromannn
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    euromannn Gold Member

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    SOunds like you miss Sheryl from Betterbidding:cool:
     
  18. progapanda

    progapanda Silver Member

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    Biddingfortravel, you mean :)
     
  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Then by definition you're not doing mattress runs...

    BTW, the HHonors Q2 "Double point" promo has been a jackpot for me...
     
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  20. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    I do the same types of mattress runs whether others want to call it this or not. If the deal is that good, and the promo or even the benefit is that great, game on. Two breakfasts at the PH Vendome are what, 50 euros each? Three nights at the Vendome for two covers whatever the cost in mattress runs may have been, plus I have the stay points and the status.

    Cheers -

     
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  21. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    read more carefully (bolding mine)
    so yes, when promos are good, I am doing mattress runs (if needed) to max promo.
     
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  22. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Got it... the first part got lost by the time I got through the second...:)
     
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  23. Dreamworks

    Dreamworks Gold Member

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    Can you explain how this works? You can check in to multple hotels on one night, as long as they're not in the same chain? Sorry for being the newbie.
     
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  24. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    most hotel programs are based on stays and many hotels cheaper rates can be found on weekends when business travel is obviously low. So to maximize stays, one will book at hotel for Fri night, then another one for Sat night, thus getting two stays for a weekend, rather than one which most travelers will do.

    Seems the poster you are asking about checked into 4 different hotel chains on one night, then 4 more on another night in order to get 8 total stay credits during a weekend.
     
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  25. GUWonder
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    GUWonder Silver Member

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    The Washington, Chicago and Minneapolis metro areas.
     

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