On the up or down side (depending on how you look at it this miles/ points hobby) there is an itch to travel. The Labor day weekend is coming up and I have hotel points and airline miles. I also have nothing booked and something I should do on that Sunday. But the little voice in my head says you have hotel rooms or a flight, find something! Take that last summer family vacation!!!! So while a couple of things are running in the back ground I went to just look at flight options…
Google Maps for flights is a great tool when you do not know where you want to go specifically! Its great for giving me ideas for the family. I have my list but I know Husband does not want to visit Denver to see the Chihuly installation at the botanical gardens next week. And Daughter would love to go back to New York, that is not on Husbands list either. We need a neutral ground location that is probably going to include a beach.
Google flight maps allows you to enter dates, your departure airports and then it shows flight prices to various cities. It would be $450 rt to Brownsville if we made a beach/ seafood run. Or $305 rt to Tampa if we wanted to visit Clearwater Beach for the weekend.
I have never bought into one of these sales but it was a good deal for me this time!
You get a 75% bonus on points purchased. So 70,000 points will be $280.00. Or $.0385 cents per point. I bought in to use for a summer weekend at the Radisson Blu in Chicago. Nightly rates are well over $280 in the summer and often around $340 for a Saturday night in a king bed.
If you have the Club Carlson Visa Card, that’s like paying $140 per night for stays at properties that would cost 50,000 points per night with your 2nd nights free redemption.
Or you can break up the points and use them in a lower cost hotel. One night in a 38,000 and one night in a 28,000 point a night room.
I am looking forward to Radisson Blu again!
Updated: This offer is gone and the current offer is 25,000.
This is hands down what I think is the best travel credit card offer to get started on free travel. The points had dropped down to 25,000 for a while but 50,000 will get you places!!!!!
You need to spend $2,000 on the card over 90 days to get the 50,000 miles. In the past there was no spending quota but $2,000 seems to be pretty standard with Chase now.
There are a total of four Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards – currently ALL of them have the same 50,000 points offer with the $2,000 spend within 3 months:
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Card – $99/year fee, but you receive 6,000 points after year card member year – which will give you $100 towards a future Southwest “Wanna Getaway” fare.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card – $99/year fee, but you receive 6,000 points after year card member year – which will give you $100 towards a future Southwest “Wanna Getaway” fare.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Card – $69/year fee, but you only receive 3,000 points after each annual year.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Business Card – $69/year fee, but you only receive 3,000 points after each annual year.
What does 50,000 points get you? One way from Midway to Orlando is 7,684 points. Round trip is 15,368. Midway to Minn/St Paul for a Mall of American Weekend is 3,777 each way. Orlando to Las Vegas is 12,242 each way.
Often I like to use my Southwest points for one way tickets and pay for the return leg. Stretches my points further and reduces the cost of the trip to Orlando in half.
Free hotel nights!!! That got your attention didn’t it????
I have people ask me all the time to help them book a trip or find them a good deal. I am very willing to help but often they seem disappointed, they want the cheap vacation. It would be nice to pull free hotel nights out of thin air, but it doesn’t work that way. You need to do a little work and keep building on what you have earned. The only way to have instant free nights is by credit card signup bonus, most people do not want to hear that. (You can sign up for the Hilton or Club Carlson card and have free nights with in 60 days if you want to go that route.) The other way to get free nights is to earn them with stays.
My strategy is IF I am staying one night I pay cash for that hotel stay unless it is Chicago in July. (Those are some crazy hotel prices!) I stay at the hotel with the best promotion going on for the area I need to stay in. Slow and steady. I redeem them for my larger vacations when I would rather have money for theme parks, museums and food. And I try to balance it out on vacation, I might pay for 2 nights and redeem for three nights. Earn as you burn them.
The best thing you can do is sign up for the hotel rewards programs, sign up for promotions (I have them on a page link on the top right of this blog) and earn over time. Marriott has been great for me, two different hotel stays gets me one night when I sign up for the promotion they have going.
There is no quick easy way in this game, start earning with your next hotel stay and go from there.
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.
How do we do this?
#5 Using online shopping to earn airline or hotel points.
I think I now do the majority of my shopping online. Aside from groceries I can get shoes, clothes, gifts, and anything else shipped to my house. And often it’s easier to just have it sitting outside my door 3 days later than driving around trying to find what I need.
When I shop online I first click thru the website that gives me the most points/miles for my dollar. To do so I use http://evreward.com I enter the site name I am shopping it and evreward tells me who gives me the most back.
I used Kohl’s as an example here and see the following points available.
I usually go for airline miles UNLESS a hotel has a huge promo going. If Marriott is giving 15 points per $ I might go for them. If I chose to go with American Airlines I click on the info link and it will take me to the American Airlines portal. I click thru Kohl’s on their site and I am earning miles on my purchase. It takes an extra minute or two. But over time the miles add up.