Travel

Travel2018-07-04T21:32:21-08:00

Elite Status Matching Guide for Hotels

If you are a travel junkie like myself, but aren’t loyal to a single hotel chain, or airline brand, you still can rack up elite or loyalty status pretty easily if you already have status at a partner program.  This is done through the lesser-known “status matching” or “challenge” as these elite programs wish to gain the loyalty of other travelers who are already loyal to the other brands.  This guide will show you the easiest methods to get a certain level of status if you start with status elsewhere already.

Caesars Rewards and Wyndham

The top-tier casino brand and business hotel brand have been partners for quite sometime now and it is possible to match status with one another.  The best thing is that Caesars rewards has a lot of upfront value if you can match to Diamond at Caesars.  Also, as of the time of this post, there is a “loophole” which exists in that you can get unlimited matching back and forth between Caesars Rewards and Wyndham, which means theoretically unlimited status until their partnership ends.  Caesars Rewards Status expires end of January and Wyndham Rewards ends at the end of the year so you have a month window to match back over once it expires.

How To Do It

The status matching can be done online easily and will take 1-2 weeks to process, and in some cases, instantly.  To get Wyndham Status first, you can status match from a number of hotel programs such as Hilton, Hyatt or Marriott.

If you have Wyndham Elite Status, click here: https://www.caesars.com/total-rewards/tr-partners/wyndham_resorts

If you have Caesars Rewards Status, click here: https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/wyndham-rewards/caesars-rewards/status-match

Notable Perks and Benefits

  • Caesars Diamond Level
    • $100 Celebration Dinner yearly credit (I used it on Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas this year)
    • Two Free Show Tickets per month
    • Waived resort fee (usually $30+ per night)
    • Dedicated lines at buffets and restaurants (Bacchanal Buffet is a must in Caesars Palace Las Vegas)
    • 2 Free Nights at Caesars Bluewater Resort Dubai
  • Wyndham Rewards
    • Suite Upgrades
    • Early / Late Check-In / Check-Out
    • Avis / Budget Free Upgrades

Caesars Rewards List of Benefits: https://www.caesars.com/total-rewards/benefits-overview

Wyndham Benefits: https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/wyndham-rewards/member-levels?variant=us&WID=IN:WR-US:20171109:CET:MEMBERLEVELS

MLife and World of Hyatt Hotels and Hilton Honors Program

These two casino / hotel chains have been partners for quite some time now and there are easy ways online to quickly match the status of each other.  Hyatt is seen as the premium hotel chain and its status (especially Explorist and Globalist) shows all the awesome perks you can get.  On the other hand, if you want to indulge in the casino city of Las Vegas, you can gain free parking, priority taxi lines, dedicated buffet and restaurant lines and more with MLife status.  World of Hyatt is highly regarded so you can use that status to match with many other hotel chains to gain elite status.

Side Note: If you are a cruiser, MLife will match with the Crown and Anchor Society for Royal Carribean Cruises and you can get at least $125 On-Board Cruise Credit as well as a myriad of other perks such as priority check-in lines and departure day lounges.

MLife will also temporarily match with Hilton Honors program for a number of awesome status.  Click here to find out more from Hilton Honors.

How To Do It

If you are a World of Hyatt Member: https://world.hyatt.com/content/gp/en/rewards/other-partnerships.html

If you have MLife Status: https://www.mgmresorts.com/en/mlife-rewards-program/preferred-partners/hyatt-hotels.html

Notable Perks and Benefits

World of Hyatt

  • Room and Suite Upgrades
  • Early Check-In and Late Check-Out
  • Free Breakfast Vouchers
  • Club Access Awards
  • Bonus Points per stay
  • Complimentary Daily Water Bottles

MLife

  • Dedicated Buffet Lines (The Buffet at The Bellagio in Las Vegas is worth a detour)
  • VIP Line Access to select nightclubs
  • Taxi and Valet Service
  • Discounts on Royal Carribean Cruises

Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and Radisson Hotels

These mega-hotel chains usually won’t match tier status from another program, however they will allow you to complete status challenges (X number of bookings in 90 days).  Below are links to how you can obtain a challenge from the loyalty program.

Hilton Honors: https://statusmatch.hiltonhonors.com/

Marriott Bonvoy: Inquire Status Challenge via Email: platinum.liaison_swi@starwood-service.com

Radisson: Inquire about a Status Match via Email: StatusMatch@radissonhotels.com

Other hotel chains that are not covered here?

Don’t see your hotel or airline above? Check out StatusMatcher for more user generated data points for your specific hotel or airline.

By |April 28th, 2019|Categories: Guides, Travel|0 Comments

The Yacht Week – Croatia 2017 Week 35 Black Route Itinerary

As I was searching for my next great experience that I could do in my mid-20s, I stumbled upon an Instagram post from one of my favorite YouTubers who I have followed for a few years.  I watched his vlogs of sailing in the Adriatic for 7 days, living it up in the likes of the super wealthy, and all-night parties and thought to myself, that is for sure going to be my next trip.  I did a bit more research to find that this sailing holiday called The Yacht Week. was actually a misleading name because it seems like it only happens one week in the summer.  The London based company actually organizes a 50+ boat armada each week during the summer weeks spanning in June through September.

Till this day, I’m not sure how I was able to convince 9 of my other closest friends in less than 48 hours to join me on this adventure so quickly because within that timeframe, we had our premium boat selected, deposit placed, skipper and hostess picked out and a full crew list named Witness The Litness (Thanks Corndog!).  And men, be sure to check out my What to Bring, What to Pack guide if you need ideas on how to even start thinking about what you need for a 7 day yacht adventure.

The Itinerary for the Croatia Route 2017

We were set to depart Split Marina in Croatia on August 26, 2017 so our entire crew landed the night before and settled into our AirBNB right in the heart of the city, just a few steps away from the Riva.

Day 1 – Check In and Load the Big Ass 50 Foot Yacht Day

Depart: Split
Arrive: Supetar
Marina: Yes
Party: Benny’s Bar

Loading the boat with all our food and drink for the week!

The first day of The Yacht Week is considered a check in day.  Because we had to vacate our AirBNB at 11am, we had no where to put our luggages so we hauled all of our gear to the marina early and to our disappointment, the check in tents for The Yacht Week weren’t open until 3PM.  We decided to seek refuge at a nice seafood restaurant upstairs of the marina and ate and drank to our hearts content.

Closer to our check in time, our group of 10 split into two, with one team headed to the grocery store with our lovely hostess and the other to the mall to grab any last minute party items we forgot to haul from the States.  I was part of the mall group and we went to a sporting goods store and found ourselves two hammocks which we would soon learn to be the best purchase our group made that week.  By the time we made it back to the marina, the other group arrived shortly after and we unloaded three taxi cabs full of groceries and supplies.  I found a valuable handcart lying around and we used that along with a shopping cart to haul all the food and cases of drinks to Virginia, our home for the next 7 days.

Even with 12 people help loading the boat, it took us what felt like an eternity as the sun was setting in the Adriatic. We didn’t get to set sail until nearly dusk as we headed to our first destination across the water to an island called Supetar where we would eventually end up at Benny’s Bar for the inaugural night party (see first pic above).

We were tied up at the marina so we had shore power to keep the AC running all night, which was welcoming due to the typical warm humid summer nights.

Don’t Forget: Travel hammocks.  They were nearly triple the price than what you could get in the United States!

Day 2 – Sail to Palmizana – Hvar – Sunset Party at Hula Hula’s

Depart: Supetar
Arrive: Palmizana
Marina: Yes
Party: Hula Hula’s Sunset Bar

Once we shook off the morning jeebees, we set sail for another Croatian island, Palmizana.  The winds were extremely calm that day and so we actually had to use our motor to boat our way over.  We found out that Palmizana was basically an “overflow” for the city of Hvar since they don’t have enough spots to tie up.  A quick 15 minute water-taxi ride included in your Yacht Week fare and we made it to the town of Hvar.

The town is quite charming as you pull up to the docks in the water taxi, you can see the hustle and bustle of the marina area lined with endless restaurants, shops, and souvenir stores waiting for the throngs of tourists to walk in.  Directly across from the stores is the water where all the boats are tied up and we quickly saw why we had to tie up our 50 boats in Palmizana.

You actually spend a night in Hvar so you have a full day to do as you please.  Some of us in our group decided to rent scooters to explore the island and the castle while others rented a convertible car.

The Yacht Week had bought out the entire Hula Hula bar located on the west side of the island and so our group along with our skipper and hostess walked 20 minutes from the marina to the bar toward the end of the day to witness one of the best sunsets ever while dancing to the worldly music that one of the DJs were mixing.

Don’t Forget: Portable battery charger.  You will be out all day and you don’t want your electronics to die or else you won’t be able to capture those sweet memories.

Day 3 – Hvar / Riviera Chic (White Party) at Carpe Diem

Depart: None – Overnight in Palmizana
Arrive: None
Marina: Yes
Party: Carpe Diem

When you wake up on your boat (or someone else’s) on the third day, you think you will wake up from your dream, but no, you are still sailing in paradise.  Since you are docked in Palmizana, you still are near marina toilet and shower facilities, which is included in the docking fees.  There was a beachside yoga activity that some crew in our yacht partaked in (you get a free breakfast smoothie!) while some of the others walked to a nearby beach in Palmizana to dip into the cool water instead.  As the sun was at its highest, music started bumping from the yachts, crew were out drinking on the docks in preparation for the Riviera Chic (White Party) at Carpe Diem in Hvar.  The clock struck 4 and throngs of beautiful men and women dressed in their best Riviera Chic outfits started walking toward the water taxis who shuttled the Yacht Week partygoers from Palmizana to Hvar.  A short walk from the drop-off location and we made it to Carpe Diem, one of the rowdiest private parties that Yacht Week throws.  Our group got one of the larger tables and alcohol and drinks flowed non-stop all throughout the evening.

Don’t Forget: For Men – Anchor Button Down for the themed party.

Day 4 – Circle Raft Party then sailing to Komiza fishing village

Depart: Palmizana
Arrive: Komiza Fishing Village
Marina: No (Tie up boats together)
Party: Glow Party

After the white themed party, everyone on the boat was super exhausted and had slept in.  As we woke up, to our surprise, our skipper was pulling into a circle raft formation, tying up next to another boat who was already in full champagne spraying party mode, gearing up for the iconic, highly-instagrammable circle raft party that the Yacht Week puts on.  Our lovely hostess had already had a spread of breakfast prepared and she handed me a large watermelon cut in half with the meat gutted out and filled with vodka along with 10 straws poking out of the sides.  She said, “Rise and shine, its party time”.  All of us on the boat groaned as we started sipping on the deliciously cold spiked watermelon drink.  30 minutes later, the last of the boats closed in the circle completing the circle raft.  Music was blasting and everyone brought out their fruit themed floaties and partied on until the afternoon.

As we broke off the circle raft, we headed toward a small fishing village named Komiza where we would tie up outside on the water.  One of our group mates made a sweet reservation for an awesome seafood spot 15 mins away from the city center and they served some of the best and freshest seafood by the kilogram.  By now, we were weary of restaurants who did not accept credit cards since we knew we were limited to the Kuna that we had brought with us, but if the establishment flashed the Visa logo, you knew we all plunked down our Chase Sapphire Reserves and ordered freely away.

The crew were too exhausted to stay late for the Glow Party so we opted to head back to the boat early to hangout there.

Don’t Forget: Waterproof pouch for your smartphone.  A must need for the iconic circle raft party.

Day 5 – Vis – Wine tasting in a former military cave and Fort George dinner and Tropical Retro Party

Depart: Komiza Fishing Village
Arrive: Vis
Marina: Yes / No – If your boat gets to Vis early enough, you will have a spot, otherwise, you tie up 1 mile away from the city center.
Party: Tropical Retro Party

An early night meant many of us were up early in the morning to witness some of the nicest sunrises in the world. We broke off the boat line and sailed toward an island called Vis.  Along the way, we met up with our other boats on the route and tied up together to take a nice dip in the water.  Once our stomachs were satisfied from the tasty lunch that our hostess cooked up, we continued our journey toward Vis island.  Our skipper gave us an option to either tie up in the marina since there was still spots left or be a little further away.  He mentioned that the island was a bit noise adverse and that if we tied up in the marina, we couldn’t be loud after 10pm.  We opted for the party zone instead and tied up further away from everyone else along with the other Yacht Week boats.

Our skipper and hostess managed to snag an awesome wine tasting reservation at a former military cave hideout which made its way to be the perfect pregame before the Tropical Retro Party.  Our bellies were full of wine and our group grabbed a large van taxi to Fort George where our dinner then tropical retro party lie.  We made it to the top of the fort just in time for an amazing sunset that casted deep orange color far and wide across the sea.   We came back down with our stomachs growling from all the wine and had a great dinner prepared by the Fort George chefs.  After dinner, the Tropical Retro party was in full swing through the late night.

Don’t Forget: Tropical Retro Shades for the themed party.

Day 6 – Tunnel Raft in a natural bay

Depart: Vis
Arrive: Natural Bay in Stari Grad
Marina: No – The Yacht Week boats tie up in a Tunnel Raft and spend the night in a natural bay
Party: Tunnel Raft Party

By now, everyone’s bodies were feeling the affects of the past few days of not enough sleep and too much “unce unce unce”.  We sailed away from Vis in the morning and our skipper took us to an abandoned submarine hideout cave where the water was extremely shallow so the water was the clearest shade of blue.  There were some daredevils who climbed to the top of the hideout which easily cleared over 50 ft high and jumped into the water.  While the tropical tunes of Matoma and Kygo were playing on the boat speakers, we did our normal yacht schedule of eat, swim and chill.

The cliche saying of “time flies when you are having fun” held true during our 6th day as it was already mid afternoon and our skipper told us we had to leave to get a good spot on the tunnel raft party.  We arrived to the natural bay in Stari Grad and navigated our way right into the middle of the tunnel raft where we tied up next to other boats backed in with each other in two rows of what looked like 30 yachts which formed a boat tunnel with a long channel of water in the middle for the party festivities.  When the last boat tied in at the very end, The Yacht Week crew jerry rigged 10 large PA style speakers onto a boat’s motor and drove it in the middle of it all including a DJ on board to mix some of the hottest tracks of the summer.  Other boats had their own party as 50 people crowded onto a large catamaran, complete with a couple of men holding speakers of their own over their heads while others were doing backflips and dancing on the rope area of the catamaran.  There were so many people on that boat that as they were jumping up and down to the beat of the music, the 40 ft “cat” noticeably rocked back and forth and up and down.  The party didn’t seem to end as the music and crowds were still going on at 4am.

Don’t Forget: Poopourri.  Trust me on this one.   Your boat mates will thank you. You are spending a night on the ocean with no restroom facilities nearby.

Day 7 – Regatta Day and sail back to Split, Croatia

Depart: Natural Bay in Stari Grad
Arrive: Split
Marina: Yes – Back in Split
Party: Yacht Week Final Party @ Vanilla Nightclub

The last full day of Yacht Week sadly was here and our crew started our morning slow with lots of coffee.  The weather above had turned sour as darker clouds were forming nearby and the wind gusts were getting stronger, however this did not stop the events planned out for this day.  On Day 7, there is a Regatta event where all the boats put their sails up and crew from each yacht dress up in themed costumes and look as ridiculous as possible while “sailing” the ship.  The best looking group would win a table at that night’s party behind the DJ booth.  Although we had brought a good showing of Baywatchers, we lost to another group who were dressed up as sea animals.  The timing was impeccable since the rain started falling real hard right after we had put our sails away while the rest of us except our skipper all hid out below the depths of the cabins to stay dry.

Because this was the last full day of Yacht Week and we were heading back to Split, we had an option to either stay on the Yacht for one more night on the marina or book an Airbnb to have the regular comfort of space, A/C and restrooms / showers.  We opted for an Airbnb and booked the same place that rented before going on the Yacht Week and everyone was relieved about this executive decision I made for the group.

As night came, we grabbed a final dinner with our skipper and hostess on the Riva in Split and took a shuttle over to the last Yacht Week party at Vanilla Night Club.  We celebrated one of our shipmates birthday and snatched a table in front with bottle service while we fist bumped and danced to “This Girl” by Kungs (infamously known as The Yacht Week song).

Ending

Yacht Week is definitely one of those once in a lifetime kind of trips where you and 9 of your best friends can lounge and party on an expensive yacht with a skipper who can handle the seas while a hostess cooks up some of the freshest foods you can make on the water.  The people are what make the experience fun.  We traveled with 50+ other boats in our route and crew from all around the world decided that Croatia was their destination for one week.  Beautiful people, loud electronic dance music, sunkissed skin, and non-stop smiles and laughter is the recipe for this crazy floatilla at sea known as The Yacht Week.  If you are in your mid to late 20s and are able to spend a week in a floating festival, definitely go out of your way and create time in your busy work schedules to make this trip happen.  I promise you won’t regret it.

By |July 4th, 2018|Categories: Travel|0 Comments