New York, New York, big city of dreams…
First thing’s first – New York is always a good idea.
So when I booked myself in for a few days in NYC for a new project I’m working on with American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), I knew I had something to look forward to.
And it wasn’t just the city.
As a card holder, every time I travel I stay at an SPG hotel (whenever possible). Why? It’s simple: when I spend money on my card it earns me Starpoints that I can then use for free nights at more hotels around the world.
Travel pays for more travel. Literally.
Having heard great things about Le Parker Meridien – near Central Park, amazing facilities (think: full gym, fitness classes, penthouse pool), delicious restaurants (you haven’t eaten brunch in NYC until you’ve tried Norma’s), warm and knowledgeable staff – I thought it was time to experience it for myself.
When I touched down at 10pm in NYC after a 12-hour flight direct from Tel Aviv, I was ready for some shut-eye. Strategically, I barely slept on the plane so that I would crash right away in NYC and get my internal clock back on Eastern Time. But first I had to get to the hotel.
Since SPG and UBER recently announced a partnership that allows UBER riders to earn Starpoints if their SPG loyalty card is linked to their UBER account, I was already accumulating Starpoints from the second I stepped out of the airport.
The next morning I was ready to hit the NYC streets – which always begins with checking out an ultra-minimalistic – yet trendy – independent café-house or two, to enjoy an espresso with friends as we talk business and life.
Later on I met up with a colleague launching a big charity initiative in Toronto at the MOMA’s The Modern Room for lunch – delicious.
Other trip highlights were eating at great spots like The Irvington inside the W Union Square, Brunch at Norma’s (inside Le Parker Meridien), and to satiate my love for Latin cuisine I hit Tortaria on University and La Esquina.
Sidenote: Tortaria is not nearly as “mainstream” as La Esquina but it’s damn good, actually it’s great – food-wise you can’t go wrong, just make sure to also order one of their fresh margaritas.
Regarding physical fitness, which in my opinion is a key portion of any trip, the gym inside Le Parker Meridien was almost unbelievable for a hotel gym. Well, that’s because it’s also a gym for locals who purchase memberships, but as a hotel guest you receive full access to the gym and their incredible classes that include yoga, pilates, bootcamp, and more. Add a run through Central Park to the mix and I was working on my heart rate with the same passion I was working on my palette this trip.
But, seriously, the best part of being a card holder on “vacation” is that I know as I spend money to help me enjoy the current vacation, it only helps build up Starpoints for the next one.
Amex and SPG know exactly how it should be done, and how to help me do it. Since getting introduced to the SPG Amex way of life three years ago, when it comes to travel and rewards, I’ve never looked back.
In fact, I’m usually only looking forward…to my next destination.
Note: this post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this post, however, are purely my own.