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Old 04-27-2012, 04:37 PM   #21
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For Merkins, Chase offers a Marriott branded credit card that gives you instant silver status, 50k points up front and oddles of points for every night you spend at a marriott.
Right now you can get 70K plus a free night at a cat 1-4:

70k points, 1 night, no fee 1st yr, Marriott Premier Visa - FlyerTalk Forums

Credit card info in general (don't go overboard on apps, but doesn't hurt to apply 1 per bank in clumps - I just picked up 4 cards in the last 60 days - going to leave it alone for a few months)

The special credit card offers master thread - FlyerTalk Forums
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:40 PM   #22
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My #1 favorite is Drury Inns & Suites Www.druryhotels.com. We stay with them very chance we have when traveling. Every Drury we've been to has been very clean, comfortable, and very friendly staff. It is an American owner & operated chain based in Missouri, and they oversee all of there hotels and staff. They are also very pet friendly! There is a free hot breakfast, AND free "5:30 Kickback Menu" at supper time....salad bar, baked potato bar, and hot food items that vary from day to day. They also have a pretty decent rewards program as well.

I also like some of the BestWestern hotels, but I read all of the reviews on TripAdvisor.com about each one I'm thinking about because there are really BW's and really bad ones as well. And their rewards program is nice too. Amenities and 'pet friendliness' varies widely.

We've just started staying occasionally at Fairfield Inn by Marriott, and they've been very nice as well.
Happy trails!!!
Thanks for letting me know about them. Not in my area but they are where I travel to. We are always looking for pet friendly hotels. We usually end up with Motel 6 which is usually but not always OK.
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:14 PM   #23
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As a business traveller for the last 32 years I have tried them all. I have mostly settled in on the Hilton chain. The Hamptons run pretty decent although I investigate each location. There are at least 4 generations of the chain - ie if it offers outside entry it is a generation 1, usually in the southeast, and something that I would skip. Overall though, I have been more satisfied with this chain and will continue to use the various Hilton properties in retirement.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:46 PM   #24
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I also use Marriott. The rates are not the cheapest but I have never been disappointed with their services.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:39 PM   #25
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We have used Holiday Inn Express quite a bit over the last few years, and have made pretty good use of their Priority Club Rewards program that somebody else here mentioned. It all started in '08 when I transferred from Louisiana to Wisconsin for a job transfer, employer paid moving expenses, so we ended up with 2 adjoining rooms in a Holiday Inn Express, where we collected rewards points for both rooms for 60 days. That gave us enough points to last a good while...in fact, we only recently used the last of the points this past December for a Christmas get-together with the in-laws. I still have few points, but not enough to redeem. I've never had a bad room or bad service with HIE. When I'm traveling alone, just getting from point A to B, I normally use a Motel 6. Anytime I travel for work though, if possible, I try to stay at a HIE for the points. I'm due a work trip in a couple of months and will try to stay at an HI or HIE if possible.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:01 PM   #26
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I have traveled quite a bit for work and leisure, and stayed at Marriott family, Hilton family and Holiday Inn family hotels over the years depending on my company's preference and location availability.

Hilton has a large network, but overall was disappointing because their cleanliness standards seemed to be lower than the other chains, (in America and in Europe) and the rewards expire without any notice. The number of points required for a one night stay at a measly Hampton Inn are pretty high--so even though you get "double points" they get used up really quickly. If you are a "diamond" member they give you lots of perks, but if you are a "silver" they treat you like chump change.

Holiday Inn family hotels are my second choice, I really think their "Express" line is the best business mid-price hotel, but there are not as many out there as some of the competition. Their points don't expire, but the cost to redeem for free nights is a bit high. Always felt welcomed, even though I was at the lowest status level.

Marriott has been the overall best, based on my travels. They have a large network of hotels, and their points don't expire. Fairfield Inns are a bargain in the reward category. I like the Residence Inns the best overall as a leisure traveler. While there are exceptions, I found the most consistency in Marriotts.

Regarding pets, I think these 3 chains have pet friendly hotels but may charge a surcharge because they "sanitize" the room after you leave.

Priceline has not worked for us regarding hotels, got some real dumps. Now, for cars, Priceline has been great...

In the end, everyone has their own preferences. You may need to try a few out to see which you like best. Happy travels!
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Another Hilton User; old habits...
Old 04-27-2012, 10:09 PM   #27
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Another Hilton User; old habits...

I've been using the Hilton brand hotels since my w*rking days, and have stayed with them since we ER'd. We use Hilton Honors whenever we get enough points, but don't get all hung up on anybody's rewards program. But like foxfirev5 wrote, you need to check out each Hampton Inn before making reservations, as the age, quality and rep can be all over the board. Don't overlook their Homewood Suites, either; we've benefited from the stay-and-park option prior to flying. Although the rate is slightly higher, it's always beaten the rates charged by the long-term lots.
I've started reviewing each Hamton Inn on Trip Advisor due to the range of experiences we've had. Some of the best, some that should have been imploded years' ago, and some that are simply old & at minimum standards.
Some say Hilton, some say Marriott. It's what you've used in the past and are comfortable with...
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