TravelWhimsy and I took advantage of the Presidents’ Day long weekend and spent 3 delightful winter days in the City of Light.
This post, listing things not present or emphasized in Rick Steves’ Paris Guide, is meant to help those of you planning your first trip to Paris save some time and money (and maybe points). For our readers who are Paris veterans, feel free to add your tips and suggestions in the comment section.
It is often debatable whether collecting miles and points is even worth our time and effort, given the existence of 2% cash back credit cards. TravelWhimsy and I just returned from a whirlwind long-weekend trip to Kaua’i, HI, with our moms. The entire trip was conceived and booked on a whim – 7 days prior to departure, to be exact. A last-minute trip like ours seems to indicate that miles and points could trump cash back, and we will let you be the judge.
Would you like to ski for free at a Park City ski resort of your choice this winter?
If you are not a resident of Utah and can get on a flight that takes you into Salt Lake City (SLC) at reasonable morning hours, you can turn your same-day boarding pass into a free ski lift ticket at one of the three Park City ski resorts, including the world-famous Deer Valley Resort.
For this trip (not our first time in DC), we decided to book and pay for one night at the Park Hyatt Washington DC, which normally goes for $400+/night. After the 14.5% tax, our hotel bill came in at $227.85; all the benefits we received for booking through American Express FHR (Fine Hotels & Resorts) made this stay practically free. I am going to talk about how you can do this, too, even if you don’t have the American Express Platinum card required for an FHR booking (I’ve cancelled my card already).
Daily Getaways 2012 deals for Week 5 (May 7 – 11, 2012) have been posted. (You can see my thoughts on Week 1 & 2 deals here, Week 3 here, Week 4 Choice Hotels & Hertz points here.) There are no screaming bargains like the Wyndham or Choice points offers, but you might still find something that works for your upcoming hotel stays (I checked all offers for airline transfer redemption possibilities, but nothing attractive came up – cheapest transfer comes at a cost of ~2 cents/mile).
My personal favorite of the week 5 deals is the Hyatt points offer. You can buy Hyatt points for about $0.01 each (about 58% off the regular purchase price of 2.4 cents). A top Hyatt category-6 hotel requires 22,000 points, so you can stay at the Park Hyatt Paris, Park Hyatt Milan, or Park Hyatt Maldives, for about $220 all-in. Hyatt points do NOT expire; however, the official terms & conditions state that accounts inactive for more than 12 months are subject to closure (but in reality, accounts don’t get closed easily, and Hyatt offers outstanding customer service and will usually help you out).
Our Twitter reader Chris asked us for help with planning his upcoming 6-day/5-night trip from Washington DC to London in October with his girlfriend to celebrate his graduation from graduate school (Congrats, Chris!). I thought that this topic might be helpful to some of our other readers who might be considering a similar trip.
On the heels of TravelWhimsy‘s recent post on our delayed honeymoon to Italy, this is part 3 of a 4-part series to answer some of our readers’ questions on the nitty-gritty of how the trip was booked to maximize savings.
Taking full advantage of some of the hotel promotions offered in late 2010, we booked ourselves into some phenomenal hotels for a total out of pocket expense of $300 (vs. a normal cost of almost $4,000).
Update (10:45am PST, March 29, 2012): Just got a tweet a few minutes ago regarding this year’s Daily Getaways – “Love #travel loyalty points? #SneakPeek: This year’sDailyGetaways will offer unprecented point sales!”
Some of you may have heard of the “Discover America” promotion, jointly offered by American Express and U.S. Travel Association in 2010 and 2011. This year, the same promotion is coming back, and I just received an email notification this morning.