Monthly Archives: February 2014

Sometimes “Points with Cash” is a better option!

Sometimes unexpectedly you need a hotel room. It might be the snow falling at 2 inches an hour, it might be due to a lack of electricity, any other sort of fun surprise that the weather can throw at us.  I use most of my hotel points for vacation but some nights I just need a place to sleep  when getting home isn’t an option.  Last night was one of those nights, I had game plan and when I heard the road was closed near home I was able to quickly book the room online. 

Last night my closest and cheapest option ended up being the Double Tree in town.  Rack rate for two queens was $129, AAA rate was $122. Standard points redemption was 20,000 points or $.00645 a point in worth.  But Hilton also offered a Points and Cash option.  8,000 points and $40 cash.  So $89 off the bill for 8,000 points, that made the points worth $.0111.  I would much rather use only 8,000 points as I don’t have my summer travel planned out yet.  And $40 isn’t bad for a night.  Free breakfast buffet in the morning since I have Hilton Gold Status was a nice perk. But not being stuck out in a snow bank was well worth the $40. 


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Club Carlson stay 3 nights get better than 1 night free.

Club Carlson is hands down my favorite hotel chain.  They are scattered pretty far and wide making redemption’s easy on vacation.  They have had some fantastic hotel promos over the years and this one is a decent promotion.

Stay 3 nights get 1 free. But instead of 1 night free you get 38,000 points.  I will gladly take 38,000 points because I can use them in all sorts of ways.  I can use them for a hotel that is 15,000 a night and get 2 nights from the deal.  I can use points and cash at 5,000 a night plus a little cash.  Or I can use them at a hotel where 1nights redemption is truly 38,000 points.  I prefer the flexibility this promotion gives me.

Sign up here:

From the website  “A REWARDING WAY TO START THE YEAR.  You deserve to get away more this year. Register today and you’ll be on your way to earning 38,000 bonus Gold Points® — enough for a free night at most Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide! Start by filling out the registration form below and then complete just three eligible nights anytime between January 6, 2014 and April 13, 2014 at any of our more than 1,000 participating hotels worldwide to earn 38,000 bonus points.”

Another reason this is a great promo is its nights, not stays.  So spend 3 nights in the same hotel and get the points. Stay 3 different nights in a hotel and get the points.  You have some options to do a long weekend over spring break or 3 nights over a couple of months.


I plan to use our points over a couple of nights on our next vacation.  We just stayed at the Radisson Blu so I have two more nights to complete until mid April.




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How the Landry Select Club works for us

Way, way back in 2006 we were planning our first huge vacation. That first trip to Walt Disney World, this was a huge deal for our family. Our daughters first flight, my husbands worries over crazy theme park families and my desire to make it an epic trip.  I may have developed my over planning side while working on this trip.  I read the dis boards, I knew what restaurants I wanted to dine at. I had done the Mypoints program for a while and I had that hot Rainforest Cafe gift card in my travel pile.  The only downside was the popularity of the Rainforest cafe and the long waits I had read about.  But this was my daughters first trip, we had to go eat there!!!!!  Dis boards gave me the hint that is still paying off in 2014.  Sign up for the membership program, get front of the line access.  No long wait, I was very interested!

We spent our day at the Animal Kingdom and planned on dinner at the Rainforest Cafe that evening. We entered the restaurant, saw all the people waiting and my husband started to glaze over. He was not going to wait an hour and a half for this.  I remembered my dis board tip and in the gift shop found a brochure for the rainforest club.  $15 to join, free appetizer each visit and front of the line access.  Sold!!!! I paid my $15 and walked up to the hostess stand with my card.  We were seated in 10 minutes and I was so excited it worked.  We had our free appetizer with our meal and I could see my husband starting to smile again.  I thought that was a decent $15 spent at the time since the appetizers were all around $10 to begin with.

Fast forward thru many trips, many free appetizers and little wait seating.  This card was helping me out one or two times a year. Then like all good things they come to an end, sort of.  The Landry group merged all their cards and I received a shiny new green card in the mail.   The free appetizers is gone but in return you receive $25 to use in your birthday month. And accumulate 250 points you receive another $25 credit to use.  Best of all it still offers the front of the line access.

So in 2014 again I used my Landry’s card to front of the line access at Bubba Gump on Navy Pier.  And my free $25 birthday reward to pay for our lunches.  The short wait would have been 25 minutes until I flashed the host my card.  Then we were the next table seated, my daughter calls this rolling like a VIP.  I just laugh at her craziness and enjoy my cheap lunch.

IF you visit Landry locations its well worth the now $25 to sign up for the Landry’s Select Club as you receive a $25 welcome reward.  We have used it at the Mall of America, Great Lakes Crossing, Walt Disney World and in Chicago.

Categories: Discounts, How I Save on Travel, Saving Money | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Using Groupon on vacation

We spent this past weekend in Chicago celebrating my husband and my birthdays.  I love Chicago in the winter, its cold but its cheaper!

When I have time during my day I like to see what Groupon has to offer.  If I see a deal I like I check how long I have to redeem the Groupon first. Winters in the Midwest often have us changing travel plans.  So I make sure I have plenty of time to get to Chicago to use my Groupon.

For this trip I had purchase a Groupon to Gino’s East pizza. I love their deep dish pizza and I love it even more when its cheaper.  $17 got us a medium deep dish pizza and an appetizer.  We still had to purchase our drinks but it made for a cheap dinner out!

The other Groupon I purchased the day before we left. It was for ice skating in Millennium park, only good until mid-march. I didn’t want to be left with a Groupon I couldn’t use so I waited until I knew for sure the weather would allow us to travel.  Skating and rental for 2 people $10.  I purchased my groupon that morning and printed it off around lunch time.  Easy way to save.

We had not been ice skating in well over a year and I hate to pay alot for something that will last us about an hour.  It was a perfect sunny morning for skating and I really enjoyed it.


I make it a practice to check Groupon not only for local deals but I admit I use Groupon more on vacation than I do at home.

Categories: Discounts, How I Save on Travel, Saving Money | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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