To wrap up 2014, I will do a breakdown of how many miles and points we spent, how we got the miles… and all that stuff. But before I do a post like that, there have been a number of deals outside the typical process of earning and burning miles worth mentioning too. Sometimes, good deals just happen.
So this post is about some of the deals we got in on this year.
Orbitz Cyber Monday $100 off
The Orbitz $100 off of a $100+ hotel. Yes, any eligible hotel (most of the major chain hotels were excluded), but all you had to do was find a hotel just above $100 and it was free to very cheap.
We booked hotels in the heart of “Old Town” in Prague, Warsaw, and Krakow. Here was the view from our hotel in Krakow. The most we paid for a hotel with this deal was $35.
Then it came back for $100 off two nights. Well, luckily Budapest has some super cheap 4 star hotels and I booked a few back to back stays, most for about $10.
There were quite a few airfare deals that we booked this year, although two of them will be flown in January. But as I posted in Mileage Running Isn’t Dead For Me, I will be earning a fare amount of miles from these tickets, due to a status match with Alaska.
New York – Milan / Prague – Hong Kong = $142. Turns out, we skipped the Hong Kong part since we’ve been there 5 or 6 times in the last few years.
New York – Milan = $250. This could have been cheaper but we weren’t allowed back into Europe until late mid February, and we booked the trip with two friends. Not a bad deal, regardless.
DC to Nairobi = $211. We booked this with the same friends, and a few more. A group of 8 doing the safaris and what not. Earning 100% Alaska miles the entire way.
DC to Muscat, Oman = $206. Same deal as the one above, and we wanted to go somewhere new. Earning 100% Alaska miles the entire way.
Houston to Nairobi (with a layover in Dubai) = $360. This was booked before we planned the trip with our friends, so we may use it to go somewhere new in Africa. Earning 100% Alaska miles the entire way.
Millennium Pucket = $13 a night. Believe it or not, I couldn’t remember any other hotel mistake fares that we booked this year. None that got honored at least. While Phuket, Thailand is hardly my favorite place on earth (and Patong my least favorite), it was nice to be in a nice 4 star (Thailand standards) for a slightly longer stay before heading to Phi Phi and other parts.
IHG promotion stats:
The last promotion we did maybe slightly better on than others, not in dollars per night, but in getting nights that can be used anywhere. Here’s the data on our accounts:
- Average of 3.8 paid nights to complete the promo
- Average of $95/night for paid stays
- Average of 35,000 points earned for completing all small tasks
- 2 free nights per account (or 50,000 more points)
Let me put this another way, if I completed 3.8 paid nights, I got two free nights and 35,000 points. My average redemption is less than 10,000 IHG points. So for $361, I get 9.5 nights:
- 4 paid nights
- 2 free nights anywhere
- 3.5 nights’ worth of points
That’s around $38 a night, and it doesn’t really do justice. What’s best yet though, is the fact that these free nights can be used at the nicest hotels in 2015. The InterContinental Bora Bora, London Park Lane, Hong Kong, Sydney, etc…
When ever we’re in an expensive city we can avoid shelling out a ton of points or cash that would otherwise bring up our average, and use one of our free nights instead.
Although, I guess it won’t be until sometime in 2015 to see how we use the nights and points.
Also, not all the points have posted yet, and I have a feeling we could still do better yet.
Stacking Club Carlson Promotions
Radisson/Club Carlson ran a promotion that required you to complete two stays to get 7,500 AA miles, and we were lucky enough to enroll. You take this and compound it with the 30 points per dollar we earn (as Gold members) and you’re doing fine just on the miles and points earning from a paid stay.
But then consider the paid 2-4-1 weekend rate that Club Carlson has. For example we were able to get two nights at the Radisson Blu in Krakow for $110. That was technically the rate for the first night and the second night was free.
Consider that we’ve also taken 15,000 points and made two nights at the Radisson Blu Budapest. While those points didn’t completely nor directly come from two paid stays, it nearly equaled that.
Meaning, for $220, you could have gotten 4 weekend nights at the Radisson Blu in Krakow (or similar), two nights at the Radisson Blu Budapest, and 7,500 AA miles! This not only falls close to my goal of $30/night average, but the value in AA miles is even greater. According to GLeff’s value of miles, I got back $127.50 worth of AA miles.
Great hotel redemptions
BRG a Free Night
We haven’t been too BRG crazy lately, as the process can be discouraging at times. However, we did enjoy the wonderful InterContinental Vienna for absolutely free because of a BRG. Actually, because they didn’t change the rate in time, the pay will be reimbursed via check (and include a little extra for foreign transaction), and it counted as a points earning night. Technically, we got a free night at a 5 star hotel, made money, earned points, and breakfast was included.
When you sign up for Airnb you get $25 off a $75 stay. When you refer someone who uses this coupon you get a $25 voucher. So we found a $76 apartment on the mainsquare in Wroclaw, Poland. So on Carrie’s account we got a $76 appartment with $25 off = $51. Plus, my account got a $25 voucher. It’s like a $26 stay.
However, the heater sucked, the blankets were thin, and it was winter. This is when I decided that all things being equal, I much prefer 5 star hotels. Would be great if there were 6 of us (we had 3 rooms), but there were 2.
Good Category 1 & 2 hotels
Not sure if this would make a post of its own or not, but it’s absolutely hard to beat category 1 hotels. When we’re talking a $100 hotel for 3,000 SPG points vs a $300 hotel for 30,000 SPG points… it’s a no brainer. But not just because you’d get $1,000 worth of rooms for the same amount of points, but the stay means you can save points on the next nights. The value is much greater than you think.
IHG Cat 1 & 2 hotels we visited:
- Holiday Inn Mumbai, India – 15,000 points/night
- Holiday Inn Jaipur, India – 10,000 points/night
- Holiday Inn Phuket Mai Khao, Thailand – 15,000 points/night (great hotel!)
- Staybridge Suites Golden, Denver – 10,000 points/night
- Holiday Inn Villach, Austria – 15,000 points/night
Also, the Holiday Inn Krakow would have been 15,000 points but we booked a “Winter Sale” rate of €49 /w tax for the Into The Nights promo.
SPG Cat 1 & 2 hotels we visited:
- ITC Jaipur, India – 3,000 points/night
- ITC Agra, India – 4,000 points/night
- Aloft Cancun, Mexico – 4,000 points/night
- Four Points Ljubljana, Slovenia – 3,000 – 4,000 points/night (thanks Dan!)
Club Carlson Cat 1 & 2 hotels we visited:
- Park Inn Jaipur, India – 9,000 points/night
- Country Inn & Suites Katra, India – 9,000 points/night
- Country Inn & Suites Amritsar, India – 9,000 points/night
- Radisson Varanassi, India – 15,000 points/night
- Radisson Blu Budapest – 15,000 points/night
ALL the Club Carlson bookings ended up being for two nights because the credit card gives a free night per reservation of two nights or more. So all stays were exactly two nights.
Hyatt Cat 1 & 2 hotels we visited:
- Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta, Indonesia – 5,000 points/night
- Hyatt Regency Kolkota, India – 8,000 points/night
- Hyatt Regency Albuquerque – 5,000 points/night
Hilton Cat 1 & 2 hotels we visited:
- DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur – 10,000 points/night
I’m sure we made other good uses, and not all of it was on the cheap practical end. I did just write Our 9 Favorite Points Hotels of 2014, which were all high end hotels. And we did fly Cathay First Class this year using AA Miles. However, I wouldn’t claim these were killer deals.
And there are some great deals I’m sure we missed out on. For example, we decided to skip this last mistake fare (I shared on FB) on Etihad (for $178) because I couldn’t credit the miles somewhere I wanted, and couldn’t get the price to work for a new country. What were some other amazing deals of 2014?