I was super thrilled when I managed to find award flights for my dad and his wife for their adventure in Indonesia and Thailand. The only U.S. city that had award flights available was Seattle, WA, which is pretty much as far as you can get from Florida. When we got to book positioning flights, meaning getting them to Seattle, we hit a bit of a snag.
There was a decently priced non-stop flight on the day of departure but it left at 7AM and arrived in Seattle at 11AM. Their flight to Taipei wasn’t leaving until 1:30 AM the next morning. There were other flight options arriving later but they all had connections and were more expensive so the early flight was the best, most affordable option.
What to do?
They wanted to head into Seattle for part of the day, as it’s easy to do with public transportation, but what would they do with their luggage? Taking the early flight would also mean they’d be up for over 24 hours straight before their flight. Not the optimal way to start their vacation.
HotelsByDay to the rescue.
What is HotelsByDay?
HotelsByDay.com is a website that arranges for the rental of a hotel room for a block of hours during the day. It’s a wonderful way to match up travelers who need a hotel room for the day and hotels with empty inventory. Here’s a video they have made to describe the service.
For my dad and his wife, it would mean they could get off their plane and check into a room. Catch a nap. Change clothes. Leave their suitcases. Head off into Seattle for a few hours before getting back to the hotel after dinner to pick up their things and head to the airport to check in for their flight.
I mentioned the idea to them and they were very interested. I looked at hotels that were available near the Seattle Airport and came up with two matches:
Both the Hilton and Doubletree are located just outside the airport and near the rail station. Rooms are available from 9AM to 5PM for either $109 or $119. Even though they wouldn’t be able to get the full 8 hours, it was plenty of time to freshen up and get ready for a 13 hour flight.
The only drawback is that inventory isn’t released to HotelsByDay until close to the date of the stay. About a month or so before the trip, their date opened up and they were able to book a room at the Doubletree. They were picked up at the airport by the hotel shuttle and were able to check in, relax and then head to Pike Place Market.
When booking international award tickets, the hardest flight to find is often the one from your home airport to the international gateway. It’s often necessary to book this flight yourself and flights aren’t always going to be cheap. You might have to schedule a long layover to keep from paying a bundle for a ticket just to get to the airport you’re leaving from. Having a website like HotelsByDay there to bail you out with a room for a few hours might make the difference to start your trip off on the right foot.
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