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When the Prices are High and Your Points Are All Gone

I’ve mentioned before I have had a habit of stockpiling points.  I was stockpiling into Hyatt for quite a while.  Enough so that I (eventually) booked almost three weeks of travel time while only paying for one night myself.

I did this by booking as many nights as I could as soon as I planned this trip, then adding nights on one by one as my travels earned me more points.

This put me into a situation I had never really been in before.  Between my honeymoon and a trip to Europe I was planning, I was at 0 hotel points at any given time.  I finally cashed them in and had no safety net.

When booking my honeymoon, I figured I would have no problem finding an acceptable hotel the first night when I stayed over in Phoenix.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Turns out the first night of our honeymoon fell on Easter.  And for some reason, all the Phoenix hotels were popular that day.

Name brand hotels were going for $300+ and two-stars were going for the high $200s.  Now, I’ve stayed at many a two star hotel in the last year, but I wasn’t up for it on my honeymoon, and certainly not up for paying $250+ for it.  On top of that, I desperately want my new husband to love traveling, and didn’t want to kick off the trip that way.

The hotel I was booking into in Hawaii was going for about $400 a night, so I wasn’t going to use my next batch of points from the Hyatt in Phoenix (plus I was afraid it would sell out before I earned enough).  So I looked at the situation I was in.  Name brand hotels were less than $100 more than the two-star hotels, so could I manage to get more than $100 benefit from these hotels?

This is when I admit my “powers” end here.  I can’t make deals appear out of nowhere, but I know someone who can.

I called Chris Wolf, who I used last year to score amazing benefits at the Four Seasons Las Vegas.  My advice in that post was to contact a travel agent when you found the rate you want at a high end hotel and see if they can add even more to it.

2013-04-01 07.24.12When I contacted Chris, I didn’t have a rate I wanted.  I didn’t want any of them, and basically told him, please tell me my best case scenario.

Chris ended up laying out all my hotel  options, how much they cost, and the worth of the hotel benefits.  One of them, the Royal Palms resort (in the low $300s), came with $100 dinner credit and room service breakfast for two.  I would definitely have spent at least $100 on dinner that night (it was the first night of the honeymoon!) and the room service breakfast was an extra splurge that felt great.  All together, that knocked a full $100 I would have spent anyway off the price, plus ~$30 or so that I would have spent on breakfast.

A luxury hotel quickly became cheaper than a two-star, once the math was factored in.

So, I’ll add to my previous advice.  Also consider using a travel agent when none of the options feel acceptable.  They might find a way to change that.

And just because I got so many emails last time asking for his contact information, he is chris dot wolf at protravelinc.com.  He has no idea I’m posting about this, and has not given me anything other than the great service he gives all of his clients 😉

 

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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3 comments

  1. I have also used Chris Wolf to book several hotel stays and he has always done an amazing job. The perks he is able to get by virtue of being with a travel agency always outweigh what I could get by booking with the property directly. Thumbs up to Chris Wolf!!

  2. As a former (retired) travel agent, I know that often it’s easier and quicker for agents to find the deals. It takes me forever to research hotels, cars, and flights now that I don’t have access to the airline reservation computers (which do cars, hotels, air, packages, etc). I eventually get the right thing but it is SOOOOO time conauming! Congrats on your marriage!

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