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April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

Greetings Community Southwest!

 

Starting this weekend, SoCalFlyer97 has a marathon line-up of Southwest Hotels Rapid Rewards Points Plus reservations all booked up through the end of April. Seven hotels, Eleven nights to be exact...a third of the month spent away from home. Two hotels involving a pair of roundtrip Southwest flights.

 

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To those who frequent my posts, I stay at all kinds of hotels and different brands with just about all of them booked via Southwest Hotels or RocketMiles with the Free Cancelation option thanks to the thousands of Companion Pass-Eligible Rapid Reward Points that I can redeem toward flights. I do have scheduled business at all of these locations; I'm not just racking up airline points here.

 

Just like my marathon run from last October...

https://community.southwest.com/t5/Rapid-Rewards/Oct-23-Southwest-Hotels-Five-One-Night-Trips-at-Fiv...

...there's a mix of both big chain and smaller independent inns that have my name on it.

 

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In the coming days, I'll be posting updates in this thread of both the fights and the hotel experiences ranging from the booking process, value of points received versus money spent, and the actual stay experience. I've done several bookings through Southwest Hotels in the past year and have not had any serious problem that went unresolved. The only goof-up I experienced thus far was when I booked a room via Southwest Hotels only to learn on check-in day that the hotel relocated literally one parcel to the west and the computer booked me at the old property's location which was operating under another brand upon arrival but with the same advertised amenities.

 

Other than that...I've had zero issues with SW Hotels. Will this continue?

 

Hotel #1 will be in Corona CA. Which one will it be? Hint: SoCalFlyer97 has stayed there before and published the experience here on this board. Stay tuned.

13 REPLIES 13

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

Greetings!

 

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SoCalFlyer97's April '24 line up of Southwest Flights & Hotels is underway. To start things off, I fulfilled a single-night Southwest Hotels stay in Corona CA at a local Holiday Inn for job training, booked through Southwest Hotels in return for 2,000 Rapid Rewards points.

 

This location for the second consecutive time assigned me a room that turned out to be an 'upgrade' to their King Suite at no additional charge. I get the 'news' upon entering the room...nothing mentioned at the desk. Not sure what the causes this perk but...Free Upgrade...Nice! 

 

Perhaps IHG knows I'm an A-Lister and wants to give me some extra perks--just kidding. I think the hotel wasn't able to rent out these suites and decided to place the single-nighters into the suites so they can rent out the remaining available standard rooms for those staying longer--my guess as I don't work in the hotel industry; I could be wrong.

 

Had no issues at all with booking and check-in. Incidentals deposit was $100.

 

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A gorgeous sunset provided a key highlight of this stay. 

 

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LUV'n the free hot breakfast too:

 

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Next on the Line Up: A Southwest flight from ONT-OAK and back combined with a 3-night hotel stay in Norco CA...not too far from ONT. Stay tuned!

 

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

Greetings Everybody!

 

SoCalFlyer97 continues his April '24 line up of Southwest Flights and Hotels. The next leg of this journey takes us from ONT-OAK and back for some business with same-day return, booked during a Wanna Get Away Sale--$39 each way. I was able to lock in this sale at my convenience airport at ONT which is a rare treat.

 

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The departing flight was aboard Plane #N8578Q, a 737-8H4. On time with two pre-boards out of Gate 404--don't get yourself caught with "File not found" here.

 

Flight was only 34% filled; that meant everybody spreads out. In fact, only ten people were permitted to sit in the first ten rows of the plane; everybody else in the back. What was really nice was the plane had blue beacon lights indicating where passengers were allowed to sit. That meant if the seat offered the Blue Light Special, it was up for grabs.

 

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The San Antonio Reservoir gleams in beauty near the Dublin area during final descent. 

 

After taking care of some business, I took the BART into San Francisco and went into Fisherman's Wharf, thinking, "Hey, it's mid-morning in the middle of the workweek...This place won't be at all crowded...". I was wrong.

 

It turns out that not one but two cruise ships made stops in the bay and flooded the zone with tourists.

 

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With the Ruby Princess docked at Pier 27 and the MS Europa 2 at Pier 35, it looked like a typical weekend crowd. And I took a glance at both of those ships and there were some tourists onboard both; thus both boats were in full service. 

 

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BART's train status monitors in downtown San Francisco getting modernized...My ride back to OAK will be an 8-car train due in four minutes...Nice!

 

Taking the BART Beige Line cable APM into OAK costs about three times than it would taking AC Transit Bus 73 from the Coliseum BART Station. Ordinarily, I would take the bus to save on ground transportation expenses...

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Except...in this case...let's spend the money and take the quicker route! By, the way everything looked peaceful from above Oakland's Hegenberger Road. Back in January, this area was receiving all kinds of national media attention and business closures due to widespread property and vehicle crime at the gas stations and restaurants back then.

 

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The return flight was on a 737-700 aboard Plane #N202WN. On time departure and about 65% full. Four pre-boards.

 

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It was not cloudy above San Francisco. That meant great views at the 10,000' mark.

 

Up next: My 3-night hotel stay in Norco CA...not too far from ONT which involved some questionable Southwest Hotels Points Plus deals that originally popped up during the booking phase. Stay tuned for those reports...

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

Hello Everybody!

 

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SoCalFlyer97's April '24 line up of Southwest Flights and Hotels continues with a 3-night weekend stay in Norco CA which is a short distance to ONT. As most travelers know, both airfare and hotel rates during the bookends of the calendar typically price higher and my place of business was no exception.

 

Thankfully, Southwest Hotels powered through Booking.com allows me to shop around for deals. Most cases, I can lock in terrific rates combined with huge Rapid Rewards payouts. Other times, the deal is not so great. And I had a small case of that when I booked this stay.

 

When I did the initial search of the area for the nights required and reviewed the Free Cancelation booking options, a top-tier, independent regional hotel located just south of Norco popped up as a Points Plus property for $580.75 after taxes/fees for the weekend with 5,000 points. I was tempted buy this; 5k is a lot of points. This hotel had solid ratings. However before I finalized the booking, I do a price comparison just to make sure--and I was glad I did:

 

Ayres Hotel Corona East
(All prices include Free Cancellation, taxes and fees):
SW Hotels: $580.75 / 5,000 Points
RocketMiles: $589.82 / 4,000 Points
Direct: $493.62
Trivago Lowest Price: $493.62

 

While the 5,000 points was generous, so was the mark-up which added up to $87.13 more than booking direct which appeared fair at first considering 5k CP-Eligible Points is a nice payout but the tradeoff was a bit on the high side in my opinion. RockMiles' deal had even a higher mark-up; a $96.20 mark-up than booking direct for 4,000 points. I opted not to buy this and went back to the Southwest Hotels search.

 

Travel Tip: Make the time to price-compare not only different hotels but the different booking portals to lock in the best deal. 

 

Time for Round 2. The next hotel that popped up on the list that grabbed my attention was a Fairfield Inn & Suites for $483.07 after taxes/fees for the weekend. 

 

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Upon reviewing, the location was more convenient, rated well, supported free cancellation, and the hotel amenities were right on par with my first search:

 

Fairfield Inn & Suites Riverside Corona/Norco

(includes taxes/fees):
SW Hotels/Rocket: $483.07 / 3,000 Points
Trivago Lowest Price: $483.91
Direct: $545.97 w/ Loyalty

 

You read that right...for this listing, Southwest Hotels had the lowest price of the booking site competition and offered 3,000 Rapid Rewards points. SOLD.


Check-in at the Marriott's Fairfield went smoothly. Incidentals deposit was nice too...Only $20 per night; $60 held for the stay. Free guest parking was on the honor system; no need to submit plate numbers or place a ticket on the dash.

 

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And nice hot breakfasts too for free.

 

Between this stay and my previous stay at the Corona Holiday Inn, the combined points received was enough to redeem a one-way flight from SAN to LAS to take place later this summer. I would consider the Southwest Hotels Points Plus deals if you're looking for points. Just remember, the points credit into the Rapid Rewards account after the stay and normally takes about a week for Plus Points properties.

 

Next on the Line Up: SoCalFlyer97 has training in Corona once again with another good deal locked in at another nearby Marriott property followed by a separate upcoming Southwest trip to LAS. Stay tuned for those reports.

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

bec102896
Aviator A

@SoCalFlyer97 

 

Love the report

 

 im curious does your job have any corporate accounts with hotel chains and might save you money (assume you work for a large company if you have to travel) of course earning the SW points is nice but if you can lock in status with Hilton or Marriott is always a nice plus 

 

any plans for using all these earned SW points from the hotels? Vacation? 

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

@bec102896 wrote:

@SoCalFlyer97 

 

Love the report

 

 im curious does your job have any corporate accounts with hotel chains and might save you money (assume you work for a large company if you have to travel) of course earning the SW points is nice but if you can lock in status with Hilton or Marriott is always a nice plus 

 

any plans for using all these earned SW points from the hotels? Vacation? 


My employer is a small business and has been trying to get some corporate rates at our local hotel near the office. For now, it's on me.

 

Several of my flights and hotels are also personal-related to, thus the dollar's on me.

 

I always like the flexibility of shopping in between brands and independent locations because there's been times when the big chains either cannot accommodate or will be priced too high. That was the case last month:

https://community.southwest.com/t5/Rapid-Rewards/March-24-Southwest-Hotels-Stay-Report-Garden-Grove-...

 

Regarding plans of redeeming the points: For now, it will be for flights and I booked one during last weekend's SAVE25NOW promo. Excited to see how the hybrid Points+Cash option will work as well as seeing its point redemption value as booking a flight through this option does count as a Tier flight toward A-List/ALP.

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

DancingDavidE
Aviator A

@SoCalFlyer97 wrote:

This location for the second consecutive time assigned me a room that turned out to be an 'upgrade' to their King Suite at no additional charge. I get the 'news' upon entering the room...nothing mentioned at the desk. Not sure what the causes this perk but...Free Upgrade...Nice! 

 

Perhaps IHG knows I'm an A-Lister and wants to give me some extra perks--just kidding. I think the hotel wasn't able to rent out these suites and decided to place the single-nighters into the suites so they can rent out the remaining available standard rooms for those staying longer--my guess as I don't work in the hotel industry; I could be wrong.


I think you are right - if they don't feel like the suite is going to sell go ahead and offer it to a returning guest to keep you coming back, at the same time opening up a standard room for last-minute bookings.

 

I'm not an insider so I'm just speculating as well. Better to surprise a returning customer than a last-minute bargain hunter that may never return.

 

 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

dfwskier
Aviator A

Another great trip report SoCalFlyer!!

 

thanks for sharing your experiences!! 

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

Greetings everybody!

 

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SoCalFlyer97's April '24 hotel line up makes its next stop in Corona at another Marriott property dubbed the Residence Inn. Let me be upfront and forthright: This was probably one of the best 'luxury' deals I ran across on Southwest Hotels. That's because rooms at the Corona Residence Inn are Extended Stay, full-fledged single bedroom apartment-style suites with a full furnished kitchen complete with dishware, and separate living space. Room Rates can often run in excess of $200 per night plus taxes/fees/parking at this hotel with the maximum rate being a full grand.

 

However, when I did my hotel shopping last month for this area for a Friday night's stay, Southwest Hotels posted a rate in addition to giving away 1,000 points that not only beat the competing booking sites but even the standard room rates at nearby competing hotels.

 

Residence Inn Marriott, Corona
(prices shown include $10/night parking and all taxes/fees, free cancellation)
Southwest Hotels: $177.58 / 1,000 Points
RocketMiles: Not Available
Direct w/ Loyalty: $187.41
Trivago Lowest Price: $196.32

 

Essentially, the SW Hotels rate was $10 less than the loyalty rate, $19 less than the lowest price offered by Trivago, and I got back a nice 1,000 Rapid Rewards bonus. And for only $177.58 total on a Friday night, SoCalFlyer97 spent the night in a furnished luxury suite.

 

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Spoiler alert: My remaining hotel reservations for this month April won't even come close. This is as 'luxurious' as this series will get until Southwest Hotels offers something else like this for my future needs.

 

Anyway, check-in at the Marriott's Residence Inn went smoothly with no glitches whatsoever with Southwest Hotels. Reservation was found. Incidentals deposit was $150...a little high for a single night but considering that I'm basically renting an apartment for the night, this high amount for the hold was understandable. As mentioned, the hotel charged $10/night for parking with the hotel issuing a paper dash permit. Even with tolled parking, the deal was still great.


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How about an A1 boarding spot aboard the lift too...okay, it was only me waiting for this ride.

 

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Sheltered from the cool breeze through Santa Ana Canyon means a warm dip in John Marriott's pool.

 

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And yes...hot breakfast on the house!

 

Next on the Line Up: SoCalFlyer97 returns to LAS with a planned stay at the Old 'haunted' Apache Hotel once again.

 

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It looks like the happy haunts supposedly dwelling above the Binion's Casino may have been playing around with Apache's hotel listing the last few weeks on both SW Hotels and Booking.com during a routine price check...Did they manage to 'break' to booking site? How did SoCalFlyer respond to this "ghostly" encounter?

 

Stay tuned for those reports.

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

Greetings everybody!

 

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SoCalFlyer97's April '24 hotel lineup made its next stop last week with a Southwest flight from SAN to LAS, a stay at Vegas' 'haunted' Apache Hotel, followed by a stay at a Wyndham property near ONT. Flight was booked during a local "Hightail it outta town" sale--$39 each way.

 

On departure day, my ground transport ride passed by SAN's New T1 construction site which is coming along nicely:

 

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The departing flight was aboard Plane #N7735A, a 737-700, was on time, about 95% full, with 3 pre-boards.

 

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During the TSA screening, PreCheck's metal detector prompted a random inspection of my shoes which turned out to be a simple process; the agent simply had me remove those and run them through the x-ray machine. It was random because, my shoes have no metal and I've worn the same pair aboard numerous flights.

 

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Passing by the threshold that separates two contrasting climates: SoCal's under the clouds at about 65-70 degrees. The heat of the desert at LAS where the sun shines...around 85-90 degrees.

 

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Once at LAS, I took care of what I needed to do and headed over to downtown. Before I checked into the Apache, I went over to the block directly north of the Fremont Street Experience, in front of a lesser-known Vegas hotel to get a view of a place that I saw on numerous occasions on my Super Nintendo Entertainment System:

 

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Back in the 1990's, the game Vegas Stakes featured a fictional hotel called the Golden Paradise which had an exterior that I later learned was based on the Sam Boyd's California Hotel in real life:

 

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I have to admit that back when I was kid playing this game, I always thought that the video game's rendition of the Golden Paradise was based from the Golden Nugget but it's actually based from the lesser-known California Hotel.

 

Time to head over to Apache.

 

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The hotel's so-called 'happy haunts' may have very well been playing around with Apache's hotel listing the last few weeks on both SW Hotels and Booking.com...or maybe not.

 

One week prior to the stay, I attempted to do a routine price check and I found that the hotel was not listed on either site. In fact, the Booking.com page for the Apache returned the error "This property isn’t taking reservations on our site right now. But don’t worry, you can find tons of other nearby properties right here."

 

My first thought was hotel was sold out, but that was debunked after I noticed prices elsewhere on the booking portal market showed plenty of availability. I called up the Apache to make sure my reservation was still on their computers, and it was...All good there.

 

After I got off the phone with them, I was glad the room reservation was still a go but was really confused. It appeared that something happened between the hotel and Booking.com; thus I checked Apache's sister hotel, the Four Queens on both Southwest Hotels and Booking.com...not there with the same error message! I think Apache's 'haunted spirits' were up to something. Not really...It turned out that none of TLC Casino Enterprises' hotels were showing up on Booking.com and their affiliates but were showing up on the other portals. Thus, I think there was an issue between the two groups regarding new reservations.

 

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Anyway to make a long story short, my original Southwest Hotels booking with the Apache was just about as low as it was going to get, reservation was not impacted, check in went smoothly, $100 incidentals hold, no resort fee, and there were no signs of any ghostly activity during my entire stay. I did let the front desk clerk know that none of TLC Casino Enterprises' hotels were showing up on Booking.com or Southwest Hotels when I arrived; hopefully they get this resolved real soon because one can often find good deals in Old Vegas for generous points. Paid $58 total for the room after all taxes/fees in return for 500 points; to compare, booking direct was $59; lowest total rate on Trivago was $58.

 

Just be sure to bring some earplugs or utilize some white noise to filter out the Fremont Street partygoing from below.

 

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Return flight to SAN the next morning where it was 30 degrees cooler was scheduled to depart LAS on time at 9am.

 

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It was aboard plane #N919WN, a 737-700, left the gate on time, about 70% full, with 5 pre-boards. Plane was held on the tarmac for about 20 minutes due to plane congestion at SAN (Air Traffic originally quoted a 40 minute wait and passengers were allowed to get up but cheered after learning the wait was going to be much shorter than anticipated). Flight also recovered most of the lost time thanks to a straight and direct route.

 

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Later that evening after I completed my day's duties, I head over to the Wyndham Azure Hotel near ONT, a former Ayres Suite property. This served as a halfway stop in between my hometown and my destination for tomorrow further up north. Nothing eventful happened here and Southwest Hotels did what it promised to do.

 

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Paid $106 total for the stay in return for 600 points, booking direct was $100 with loyalty, and Trivago's lowest price posted at $125.

 

By the way, vintage elevator fans will like the Azure. The lifts have vintage fixtures and elevator chimes that actually ding with real bells.

 

Next up: A 3-night stay at a Marriott property in Tehachapi followed by a single night stay in Redlands CA to wrap up this series.

 

Stay tuned!