Two Month Road Trip

Blog Post created by seattlebob on Aug 24, 2017

My wife and I are on a two month road trip and will be staying at many Marriott properties along the way.  I am gold but am doing a status challenge on this trip which we will easily attain.  I thought I would post occasionally here to let other members know our success in getting upgraded.


First Stay:  Tonight we are in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada at a Fairfield Inn and Suites.  I checked in yesterday with the app and we were "upgrade eligible"!  However, when we checked in at 5pm we were told that no upgrades were available.  Maybe all were sold.  The front desk clerk was very, very nice.  She did give us two free bottles of water in recognition of our gold status.   Property is pretty new and therefore in great shape.  It is in an industrial looking area where there are a half dozen or so new hotels all close to each other.   Lots of semi's parked nearby but room is quiet.   So far, so good!


Second Stay:  Saskatoon Delta Bessborough, a grand old hotel.  Our first stay at a Delta brand property which I think are exclusive to Canada.  Checked in with the app again and we arrived early as only driving from a b & b in Moose Jaw.  No chance for a suite upgrade as all were sold out and no rooms with our bed preference available on the club level.  We did, however, get a very nice room overlooking the river.  Club room had top notch appetizers and alcohol for sale.  I expect breakfast tomorrow morning will be good as the reviews seem to be positive.  Great staff and place to stay, highly recommend it.   So far 0-2 with upgrades but we have been happy with our rooms.


Third Stay:  Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina, part of the Autograph Collection.  We got our first upgrade, into a king suite.  Called the Prince William suite or something like that.  I do, however, think this was a bit of a defensive upgrade by the hotel.  Guns and Roses were in town, the hotel was sold out, and it seemed to be hotel central for the fans!  So........ who do you upgrade, a senior citizen couple or a bunch of Guns and Roses fans?  Anyway, it was a nice stay and we would recommend Regina for an overnight.  Very nice city, larger than I imagined.   1-3 with upgrades.


Fourth Stay:  Delta Hotel in Downtown Winnipeg, very nice property in a good location.  We were upgraded prior to check in since we used the mobile app.  Nice size room on the club level.  Club lounge was small but the hotel was not busy at all and we had exceptional service.  Good breakfast and afternoon social hour.  Unlike most properties in Europe all alcohol is by purchase only.  But reasonable prices.  Upgraded 2 out of four nights now.


Fifth Stay:  Delta Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie.  Good location, right on the river.  Of all the properties so far probably the most ordinary but just fine.  We were upgraded to a very nice corner room with a view of the river.  Nice boardwalk along the river that stretches for miles.   Upgraded now 3 out of 5 nights.


A side note, nothing to do with our hotel stays but my wife and I had an interesting thing happen on our way out of town.  There were some OPP officers along the highway which I figured was a speed trap.  Just after we passed them a car came up behind me at a high rate of speed and passed me against double yellow lines on a slight incline.  Just after he pulled over in front of me I saw another officer up ahead waving his hand down as if to motion to slow down or stop.  The car that passed me swerved into the oncoming traffic, almost causing a head on.  My focus was on that and I didn't notice until too late that the officer had laid down a spike strip trying to stop the other car.  That car hit it with its passenger tires and I went over it with all four.  Many officers were pursuing the other car as I pulled over with four flat tires.  After the chase a couple of them returned, apologized profusely, towed us to town and bought us 4 new tires exactly like those on our car.  They continued to apologize and offered to take us out to lunch or even put us up in a hotel if we didn't want to continue on (it was just 2 pm).  They caught the bad guy, we got new tires and a good story and still made it to our destination that day!


Sixth Stay:   Residence Inn downtown Ottawa.  Great property in perfect location and we were upgraded to a nice 700 square foot corner room.  Nice to have a separate bedroom.  Only problem was that the hotel fire alarm went off for about 10 minutes at 3:40am.  Staff did a good job coming on the intercom telling everyone to stay put while they investigated.  Turns out that a drunken guest shot off a fire extinguisher in the kitchen of his unit as a "joke" and set off the alarm.  Took about 20 minutes to get everything back to normal, alarm wise.  Those alarms really, really work!   Good staff at the front desk and at breakfast, which was swamped as it was a holiday weekend.  Would definitely stay there again.    Upgraded 4 out of 6 nights.


Seventh Stay:  Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews, NB.  One of the nicest properties we have stayed at, check it out online.  A classic old resort with beautiful architecture and amenities.  We were upgraded to a nice large king room but I imagine most of their rooms are as nice.  Had drinks in the bar afternoon of arrival and breakfast there the next day.  Staff is very professional and friendly.   Would definitely go back.  For dinner we went to the Savour, a price fix chefs choice menu at the Cafe in the Garden just a few blocks from the Algonquin.  Highly recommended but they only do the chefs dinner occasionally.   We used award points for this stay as they figured to be worth a little over .01 each and that is my goal for good value.  Upgraded 5 out of 7 nights.


Eighth Stay:  Residence Inn in Auburn, ME.  The usual Residence Inn but we were upgraded to a king suite where we had a separate bedroom.  Nice to have the extra space.  Ok property but like most in a very busy area.   Good front desk staff and breakfast staff.  Used points for this stay, too, as over the .01 cent value.  Upgraded 6 out of 8 nights.


Ninth Stay:   Marriott in Farmington, CT.  Pretty old property and kinda dated but still nice.  Near lots of corporate offices.  When we checked in the desk clerk asked if I was related to Arne Sorensen, should have told him he was my brother and I had better get a really nice room or I was going to make a phone call!    We were upgraded to the concierge level but being a Saturday it was closed.   Had the usual continental breakfast.   Upgraded 7 out of 9 nights.


Tenth Stay:  Courtyard in Shippensburg, PA.  Very new Courtyard adjacent to the university's athletic fields.  Nice location.  Only $93 a night (a Sunday); property doesn't seem very busy at all.  Had drinks and pizza in the restaurant and were only a couple tables full.  No upgrade here but I don't think there really are upgrades at Courtyards, are there?


Eleventh thru Twentieth Stay:   Ok, I admit I got way behind on this!   So rather than bore you with the details with each stay I thought I would just wrap this up by stating a few things we learned from our trip and many stays at Marriott properties. 


First, I did the platinum challenge.  We were gold but with the challenge I had I believe three months to stay 9 paid nights and I would be moved up to platinum.  Worked like a charm; the day after our ninth paid stay we were bumped up to platinum. 


Some great stays other than those listed above were at a couple of Residence Inns where we got upgraded to two bedroom units.  We also had a nice stay at an older Marriott in Peoria IL, the Pere Marquette.  Nice upgrade there to the club level and a good club for an older Marriott.  The hotel has been completely redone and has a nice restaurant.  We also stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, an Autograph Property.   Rather pricey but a nice property; think the Venetian or Paris in Las Vegas but without the gambling.  However, our favorite hotel next to the Algonquin in New Brunswick was the Triada in Palm Springs, CA.   Another Autograph Collection property where we were upgraded to a wonderful room with a huge patio and a kitchen larger than ours in our Seattle Condo!  Definitely recommend staying there if you go to Palm Springs, a good location and beautiful property. 


A thing about upgrades.  We did a lot of our check in using the app on our phone where you are told you are "upgrade eligible".  What I usually found out is when we got to the hotel we were already assigned a room, probably done the day before when we checked in.  I really don't think they were upgrades because how would they know the day before what they had available when you arrive?  A number of times I asked if we could get an upgrade and we were assigned another room.  A case in point was the Town Place Suites in Bend, OR.  We had a room assigned but I asked for an upgrade and we were given two rooms with a door connecting!   A bit overkill for an upgrade but we took it!!


Anyway, that is about it for the trip.  We probably paid for about 12 or so stays and had another 5 or 6 paid for with points or an e-certificate that we earned on the fall promotion.  Also got our 10,000 points for staying 7 times.  Really didn't have a bad experience at any property.   We did get a little tired of the Town Place Suites breakfast!!  


Thanks for reading,    Bob