Hotel Review: Ibis Al Rigga, Dubai

I had some Le Club Accor points to burn and we just needed a well-located budget hotel to crash at night so I chose the Ibis Al Rigga, Dubai when Accor was running one of their sales.  They don’t always accept points during these sales but luckily for me they did on this one and breakfast was included!  The location is excellent, just 5 minutes walk from a Metro station.

It’s a decent budget hotel, really it’s the location that makes the place.

The staff are very friendly and were happy to make phone calls for me to check on restaurants so we wouldn’t have a huge phone bill.  They also gave us a late check out and kept our bags after check out as we didn’t have to go to the airport until 11pm.  I chose this hotel intending to use the Metro to go everywhere but that plan fell apart after the heat got the best of me and the Metro proved to be rather crowded, at least crowded enough to make getting a seat difficult.  We used Uber to go everywhere using the hotel wifi and that  worked really well.

Lodge Review: Gagudju Lodge, Cooinda

Staying at the Gagudjdu Lodge Cooinda in September wasn’t cheap!  For some reason, this month was higher than August or October and I did plan the trip outside of school holidays.  I was able to bring the cost down somewhat by using Le Club Accor certificates.  40 Euros was equal to about $60 each and between my husband and I we had a few of them.  If you are birding in Kakadu, you really do need to stay at least one night here because this is where the Yellow Water Cruises depart from and they are a MUST!

This was our room in a building that had 4 rooms (I think), 2 on each side.

Very neat and tidy room.  Since it was my birthday, they gave me a bottle of white wine!

Nice assortment of toiletries!

One thing is that they don’t have that many tables in the restaurant.  We ended up on a couch with a coffee table in front of us.

I had a lamb shank which was really good.  They  didn’t have birthday cakes so I ordered this pineapple flavoured dessert.

The next morning, a breakfast buffet was included as part of the Yellow Waters package I bought.  It had a good selection, but again we had to take the same couch as the tables were all full.

We weren’t in a hurry to leave so had a quick swim after breakfast.

A few birds were hanging around the pool, including a Blue-faced Honey-eater, a Great Bowerbird and a pair of Torresian Imperial Pigeons.

There is a small gift & food shop and info centre near reception.

I really liked this lodge for the location and the nice rooms.  The people were very nice and helpful.  There is no wifi but you are way out in the bush!  I was sorry we could only afford one night here, 2 would have been better.

Doing Surveys Can Get You A Free (Or Discounted) Stay In Kakadu

The Accor chain has 2 hotels in Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Kakadu Lodge Cooinda

Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel

Here’s a quote for a date chosen at random for both properties.

Accor Kakadu

Le Club Accor has two survey partners where you earn points that can be transferred to Le Club and redeemed on these and most of Accor’s properties worldwide.


Accor Erewards2

Opinion points are used in all countries except the USA, where $ are used.Accor Erewards


They pay per survey and the points usually credit within 48 hours.  These are useful to top off your account to get to a 2000 point level needed to redeem EUR 40.

Accor Opinions

The best way to maximize this is to have each person do surveys on their own account and book nights from each account.  For example if I can get 4000 Le Club points and my husband gets 2000 points, I will book one night and get am EUR 80 discount, he will book the 2nd night and get EUR 40 off.

With E-Rewards, you also get a wide variety of airline transfer partners so you can keep doing surveys after your Kakadu trip and take your choice of transfer partners!


Using Points To Stay In Mauritius

Any way you look at it, Mauritius is not a cheap place to stay, even on points!  Only 4 hotel chains are represented here so you don’t have a lot of options.  If you have gotten hotel points via credit cards, these could be a great use of the points as cash rates are very high.  For the examples below, I did a quote for 1 night Saturday 9 May.


With Accor, every 2,000 points acquired results in €40 off your bill. If you have enough points your stay could be free, or simply pay the remaining balance using your credit card.  For the first hotel you would need 24,000 Le Club points and 12,000 points for the 2nd one.  You have to add taxes to the rates below.   MRU Sofitel


There is only one Hilton property in Mauritius and if you can snag a capacity controlled cash&points award this can be a really good deal! MRU HiltonIHG REWARDS

The Intercontinental would be an excellent use of a Chase free night certificate!  They also have a new hotel near the airport which could be a good idea if you have an early flight out.  The traffic can be horrendous!


Cash & Points looks like a pretty good deal!


If you don’t have enough hotel points or prefer to pay cash, there are lots of options on both Pointshound & Rocket Miles that allow you to earn in a wide choice of airline programs.  If you use the links I posted, you and I both get a bonus after you complete your first booking.  This is currently 1000 miles!


Hotel Chains

These are the main hotel chains you will find at the typical gateway city.  In some cases, the parent company has several brands and they all use the same loyalty program.  I have provided links to the loyalty program on their website.  When you have a layover at a gateway city traveling to or from your destination, be sure to check if you can use your hotel points for a free night.  I generally try to stay as close to the airport as possible and get an early flight onwards but if the city interests you, you may want to layover a few days.

  • Accor:  Ibis, Mercure, All Seasons, Novotel, Sofitel
  • Best Western
  • Carlson Rezidor:  Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotels & Resorts  Tara’s Tips
  • Choice Hotels:  Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay,, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Collection
  • Hilton Worldwide:  Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by HiltonTM, Embassy SuitesTM, Hampton Inn & Suites®, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn®, Homewood Suites by Hilton®, Waldorf Astoria® Hotels & Resorts
  • Hyatt:  AmeriSuites, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Summerfield Suites
  • Intercontinental Hotels Group: Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Staybridge Suites
  • La Quinta Inns & Suites
  • Marriott:  Autograph Collection®, Courtyard by Marriott® , EDITIONSM, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott® , JW Marriott® , Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance® Hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott®, Marriott Executive Apartments®, Marriott Vacation Club® (mileage-earning stay)  Tara’s Tips
  • Starwood Hotels:  Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, St. Regis, W Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts
  • Wyndham:  Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®, Wingate® by Wyndham, Hawthorn Suites® by Wyndham, Ramada®, Days Inn®, Super 8®, Baymont Inn & Suites®, Microtel Inns & Suites®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge® Knights Inn®, Tryp by Wyndham