Pic: The Bull at Bullring Shopping Mall Birmingham (Jun 2012)
Birmingham, my sixth Brussels Airlines Flyday destination. Once again, thanks to the IHG 2-for-1 discount rate, I managed to stay two nights abroad for less than €100. In fact, this time I paid £59 (€75 on amex) for two nights at Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre. Not the most fancy hotel in town, the exterior looks a bit dated, but with recently refurbished rooms and located conveniently around the corner of Birmingham New Street station. If your budget allows, I would recommend the new Hotel Indigo Birmingham located at the fantastic Cube building next to the upscale shopping mall The Mailbox.
Pic: Double Bed room at Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre (Jun 2012)
Being the the most populous British city outside the capital London, I was surprised to find Birmingham City Centre quite compact with many streets pedestrianized. Most things to see and do can be reached on foot from the major hotels in town. If found Birmingham less exciting than Bristol, but fans of shopping and nightlife will love it for sure. Several new shopping malls are frequented by thousands every weekend. The most impressive one being the Bullring featuring the iconic Selfridges department store. Nightlife enthusiast, whom can cope with typical English partiers and their behaviour, should check Bond Street, home of many clubs including the famous Gatecrasher.
Posted in airlines, destinations, Hotels
Tagged 2 for 1, birmingham, bond street, brussels airlines, bullring, flyday, holiday inn, new street station, uk, victoria square
Pic: SN2055 Brussels-Bristol operated by BMI Embraer 145EP (Apr 2012)
Bristol (United Kingdom), my second Brussels Airlines #Flyday weekend trip. Last month I traveled to the Portuguese Algarve using the Flyday promo, this month I chose Bristol, Barcelona and Warsaw. Yes, I’m addicted to this promo, but it’s a great deal! Every Friday, Brussels Airlines offers three destinations at €99 for take-off over any of the 4 following weekends. The booking class is b.flex economy (H) which means you can use the premium check-in desks and fastlane security at the airport. B.flex passengers are seated in the front part of the cabin and served complimentary food & drinks. The €99 return trip in B.flex earns 2500 status miles (on Brussels Airlines operated flights, see Miles & More) instead of the usual 250 status miles in B.light economy. A great offer, but availability is limited. As you can see in the picture above, the flight to Bristol was operated by BMI Regional. I only noticed this at online check-in, as at the time of booking it was indicated as an SN operated flight. This is important for Air Miles collectors like me, as BMI operated flights only earn 1500 status miles with Miles and More (booking class H, European return trip).
My miles didn’t post yet, I still hope to earn 2500 status miles.
Update: Looks like the BRU-BRS BMI flight was a wet lease, as 1250 status miles have posted. If you have Miles and More Frequent Traveller, Senator or HON Circle status, a 25% status miles bonus is added. In this case, the return trip Brussels – Bristol earns me 3126 status miles.
Pic: 1563 status miles posted on my Miles & More account for BRU-BRS flight
Pic: Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre – Entrance (Apr 2012)
For my hotel booking, I used IHG’s ‘ Exclusive 2 for 1‘ promo. A two night stay at a four star hotel for £79.95 (€97) – Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre (opened June last year) As Priority Club Platinum member, I was upgraded to a Deluxe room. Nice room, although a bit small, with extra’s like bathroom amenities, bathrobe, huge Samsung flatscreen tv, etc…
Pic: Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre – Deluxe Room (Apr 2012)
Pic: Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre – Elsyl Bathroom Amenities (Apr 2012)
I didn’t know what to expect from Bristol, I had the impression London was the only interesting city in the UK. Well, I was wrong. Bristol has many things to offer: Touristic attractions like Clifton Suspension Bridge, Brunel’s ss Great Britain, the famous Bristol Zoo, many interactive museums and on top a great shopping and nightlife scene. My most spectacular experience was a visit to The City of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was established as a spa by the Romans in AD 43 and features the Roman Baths. The superbly maintained baths are fuelled by England’s only mineral hot springs, outputting over a million litres of hot water each day. Bath is located 13 miles (21 km) south-east of Bristol and can easily be reached by train. A journey from Bristol Temple Meads station to Bath Spa takes less than 15 minutes.
Pic: The Roman Baths in Bath (Apr 2012)
Posted in airlines, destinations, Hotels
Tagged bath, bmi, bristol, brussels airlines, flyday, holiday inn, holiday inn bristol city centre, hotel, pictures, review, roman baths
Posted in Hotels
Tagged 2 for 1, 3 for 2, 35%, best rate, cheapest, Crowne Plaza, discount, holiday inn, hotel, ihg, intercontinental, lowest rate, room, two for one
Pic: InterContinental Hotel Group – Best Price Guarantee
I’ve been monitoring the room rates at InterContinental Madrid for an upcoming weekend trip in January. Yesterday, I spotted a rate at olotels.com (via HotelsCombined.com) which was much lower than the published rate on the IHG website.
Pic: Olohotels.com InterContinental Madrid €99/night rate (incl. tax)
Pic: InterContinental.com IC Madrid €146,88/night rate (incl. tax)
After verifying the IHG Best Price Guarantee Terms and Conditions once more, I booked the more expensive rate at the IHG website and submitted a Best Price Guarantee claim. As I didn’t receive a reply on my online claim, I called the IHG Best Price Guarantee Support Desk who assured me an email was on its way. This morning I received confirmation of my complimentary first night and the lower €99 rate for my second night at InterContinental Madrid. Two nights at a five star property in Madrid for €99, another great deal!
How to get the lowest room rates at IHG Hotels?
- BEST AVAILABLE RATE: Determine which IHG hotels (InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Indigo, …) are available for your dates and destination at the IHG website. By default the results will show the Best Available rate.
- BEST PRICE GUARANTEE: Use HotelsCombined.com (or similar) to determine if a third party website is selling the same hotel room at a cheaper price. If that’s the case, submit a Best Price Guarantee claim. If your claim is valid (make sure to read the terms and conditions) IHG will match the lower price, and give you your first night free!
- IHG PROMOTIONS: FrequentFlyerBonus.com has a nice overview of all current promotions (even per country). Also check IHG Weekend Breaks (2 for 1, 3 for 2, 35% discount)
- PRIORITY CLUB POINTBREAKS: Check if the hotel is not listed on the PointBreaks list. If you’re lucky, you can redeem a free night for only 5000 PriorityClub points! If the hotel rate is really expensive and not listed on the PointBreaks list, you can still pay the regular points price to redeem a free night.
- FRIENDS AND FAMILY RATE: If available, this will most likely be the lowest rate but you won’t receive PriorityClub points nor is the hotel obligated to provide you with any of your status privileges (Ambassador upgrades, PriorityClub perks, etc..) You don’t have friends or family working at IHG? No worries, we’re all friends of Doug Castor (Global Sourcing Manager with IHG) He’s sharing his personal link to the IHG Friends and Family rate on his twitter account (which I used successfully in the past)
- Enjoy your lowest rate!
Posted in Hotels
Tagged Best Price Guarantee, Crowne Plaza, free night, holiday inn, holiday inn express, hotel, ihg, indigo, intercontinental, lower price, lowest rate