spreadsheets and suitcases

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IHG magic and good news for Global Entry travelers to the UK

on August 27, 2019

Hello, I’m back after a brief hiatus.  I thank you for your patience.  I was getting rid of a pesky ovarian cyst and working my travel hacks on the Disneyland trip for next spring.  Also, I have some great news that means we’ll never have to wait in that endless Passport Control line in London ever again! 

So, my Disneyland dilemna was thus: after lusting over the Disneyland Hotel for about 5 minutes, I dismissed it as too expensive.  <gasp> We’re staying offsite!  It’s something I would NEVER do at Walt Disney World, because staying offsite there means you must rent a car, and deal with local Orlando traffic, and generally leave the Disney Bubble twice a day.  But at Disneyland, the properties (Disneyland Park, California Adventure Park, and Downtown Disney) are compact, and the hotels are across the street from the Entry Plaza.  It actually takes about the same amount of time to walk to the turnstiles from the expensive Disneyland Hotel as it does from a more budget-friendly chain hotel.

What about other perks?  Like WDW, onsite guests at DL are elgible for Extra Magic Hour at one of the 2 Parks each morning, onsite guests get packages sent to their room from the Park shops instead of having to carry them around, and they can use their hotel room key as a charge card.

Well, those last 2 perks just aren’t that valuable to me, and I can access the Magic Morning benefits on my tickets.  Similar to Extra Magic Hour, it allows for one day of early entry into Disneyland Park only with a 3-day or longer Park ticket, which we’ll definitely have.  That’s good enough for me.

Finally, this is going to be my little guy’s 1st visit to Disneyland, and he just won’t appreciate that pricey of a hotel whilst swooning about the original magic in California.  I will stare longingly at the images of the monorail-themed water slide at the hotel, though…

pool

Photo from Disney

So, my search was on for a walking-distance hotel that I could get a deal on.  Anaheim does have something called the ART (Anaheim Resort Transit), which is a paid shuttle that makes rounds to/from the further away hotels to the Parks and other locations besides.  I wanted total control, so I eliminated hotels where we’d have to use that.  Parking is not a factor-I won’t be renting a car.

With DD, I had stayed at the Howard Johnson Hotel & Water Playground.  It was nice, and took a bit over 10 minutes to walk to the Entry Plaza from the front of the hotel.  The problem was, our room was at the furthest building of the hotel, adding another 5-8 minutes of walking.  Doesn’t sound like much, but it was a real drag after a long day of Park walking.  I got a very good deal on the rooms, and I’m convinced they stuck us in the “way back” because I wasn’t paying very much.  Anyway, we survived, but I was looking for something different this time.

I eventually narrowed it down to the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort, and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites- Anaheim Resort Area.  I patiently waited for the dates to open, and then for the points values to be available.  I had a small stash of Marriott (Bonvoy) points to use for the Fairfield Inn, and recent good experiences at the one in NJ.  I even anticipated getting my Anniversary Free Night certificate (perk of the Bonvoy credit card) in time to apply it to the reservation, and reduce my out-of-pocket cost that way.  As for the IHG hotel, it was almost exactly the same walking distance.  So really, either was fine.  My budget for the hotel was about $1000 for all 5 nights, inclusive of taxes.  Ambitious, I know.

giphy

Well, I pretty much had to eliminate the Fairfield Inn once the info came in- I had nowhere near the 140,000 points needed to book the 5-night stay, and my certificate hadn’t (and still hasn’t!) materialized in my Bonvoy account.  I could have waited, and probably purchased some points, but I was trying to reduce advanced spending on this- and the hotels in Anaheim have 17% taxes added to any hotel fees, so you can’t even take the rate/night at face value.  And what a face value it was- $335/night, plus nearly $230 in taxes, for a whopping $1571 on the stay.  And that’s assuming I was able to use the certificate for one of the nights!

I put my attention to the Holiday Inn Express & Suites- Anaheim Resort Area instead.  I had access to DH’s Annual Free Night from the IHG card, so booked that one right away.  I then created a 4-night reservation for the remaining stay (which was estimated at about $1350, eek).  Over the course of the next several weeks, my own Annual Free Night from the IHG card became active, and I created another reservation for the 2nd night using that.  Finally, I transferred a few Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my IHG account, reaching the point threshold I needed to book the 3rd night.  Finally, I modified the original 4-night reservation to just a 2-night one, greatly reducing the cost.  It looks like this now:

Night 1 reservation DH IHG Free Night 
Night 2 reservation my IHG Free Night 
Night 3 reservation my IHG points 
Nights 4 & 5 reservation cash
Cash Cost $603.54

Yes, I have 4 separate reservations for a 5-night stay. I will contact the hotel the week before we are there to give them the heads up and ask if we can just check in once, and stay in the same room. They are usually accommodating about that kind of stuff, especially for those with Platinum Elite status, which you get with the IHG card.  The hotel has free breakfast, too.  Anyway, check out how under-budget I am!  Nice.  Currently tracking airfare prices, too.  More on that later.

Speaking of flying, yay!!!!!!!

(UK) Government expands use of ePassport gates to 7 more countries

From the article:

From today (Monday 20 May), visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States will be able to use ePassport gates at ports across the UK and juxtaposed controls in a move designed to speed up border controls for low-risk countries…

The gates can be used by those aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport. Those aged 12 to 17, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them.

party

DS will definitely be at least 12 by the time we get back to London, so this is fine for us.  Those with young’uns…sorry!  The ePassport gates are available to Registered Travellers and those with Global Entry, as well as UK citizens, of course 🙂

Happy travels!


One response to “IHG magic and good news for Global Entry travelers to the UK

  1. VivaLaDiva405 says:

    Hooray!

    Like

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