Happy Sunday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.
We’ve stayed at several hotels in Manhattan around the theater district. We’ve gone fancy, like the time we stayed at the Waldorf=Astoria and we’ve gone for the best value when we stayed at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central. This trip, we had a set of parameters we needed a hotel to meet. We didn’t want it to be too expensive and we wanted to be close to the Sheraton New York on 53rd St.
I was flexible with booking either a chain or independent hotel since I planned on using our Citi Prestige card to book our four-night stay and get one night free. A quick search turned up a hotel which had a rate which was almost too low to be believed.
Going to the hotel website, I confirmed the rate was real and booked a room with the Citi Concierge via email.
Here are the details of our stay:
We just finished our first stay at a Courtyard by Marriott as newly minted Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members. Not being accustomed to having any type of status, I checked the Marriott website to see what type of welcome amenity we should be offered upon check-in. They sure don’t make it easy to figure out, as each Marriott hotel chain, all 36 of them, have different options. To confuse things even more, the amenity varies depending on where in the world you are. If you’re interested, here’s a list of all of the options:
Since we were staying at a Courtyard by Marriott in North America, I had two options:
- 500 points per stay
- $10 Food & Beverage credit per day (for member and one guest)
When we checked in, I was hoping the front desk agent would forget to ask which amenity we wanted so I could get my $50, but after thanking us for our loyalty, he asked if we wanted the points of the F&B Credit. Which one to choose?
Here we are, at the end of 2018. When looking back at our hotel stays from the past year, I get a sense of how we traveled and how it compared to previous years. I make travel decisions based on how I think we travel but if those trends are changing, I’ll need to adapt the methods I use when looking at the best way to maximize our points usage and out of pocket spending. When I look back at 2018, I’m really happy how everything turned out. Going into the year, due to some work changes, I knew that saving cash on hotel stays would be a priority. I never really focused on earning hotel points before but I’m a quick study and I set a goal to not pay for a hotel room if I could help it.
I did really good in achieving my goal. We stayed in hotels for 37 nights and only paid $1000. When I paid cash for a room there was a specific reason I did so. The rest of our hotel stays were paid for by points or free nights earned by having certain hotel credit cards. Here’s a breakdown of our stays for the year:
Several hotel credit cards give you a free night at one of their establishments every year when you pay the annual fee. The cool thing is this free night benefit is often is worth more than the cost of keeping the credit card, doesn’t require you to spend a certain amount of money on the card, and doesn’t require you to have any points in your account. It’s simply a totally a free night, including tax.
It makes sense to try to get the most value out of the free night and I’ve read articles listing the places around the world where you can get the most expensive room. I decided instead of that approach, I’d look at a place many people travel to each year. Walt Disney World (WDW). If you can stretch your vacation one more day by using a free night, that could be very valuable to you and your family.
Here are the Marriott hotels in the WDW area where you can use your free night: