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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Platinum Card® from American Express, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
American Express and the US Travel Association (a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting US travel) have partnered to offer discounts and deals with various travel brands and loyalty programs during the next month, including hotel packages, points/miles purchase promos, rental car discounts and more. These deals are called the Daily Getaways.
Here is the list of daily deals that will be running May 19-June 20, 2014.
Each weekday, a new offer will be unveiled on the website at 1 pm EDT, and will be available to any US resident age 18 or older to purchase throughout the promotion period or until the limited inventory is sold out.
You can sign up for alert emails on the details page for any of the offers to inform you when individual offers go on sale.
The method behind this madness is hoping that these deals will encourage people to travel more, as the USTA believes travel promotes good health and relationships, all while giving a boost to the US economy.
Another benefit is that you can save an additional 10% off if you purchase with an Amex card, like the Amex Platinum, Amex Premier Rewards Gold, or even co-brand airline cards like the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express.
I’ll be doing a weekly roundup of deals for each week ahead of time so you know what’s coming and can plan in advance.
Are These Deals Worth It?
In addition to the weekly roundups, each day before the deals go live, I’ll post specifically about the offer for that day with a guided analysis of whether I feel the deal is worth buying. Of course, points and miles hold different values for everyone, but I’ll try to help summarize the upside and downside of each deal so that you can determine whether it suits your needs. For now, check out the roundup of deals below for the upcoming week.
List of Deals: June 9-13, 2014 (*Amex 10% discount not included unless otherwise specified)
Monday June 9, 2014: Marriott eGiftCards
- Marriott eGiftCard: $100 for $90, 410 available
- Marriott eGiftCard: $500 for $450, 308 available
- Marriott eGiftCard: $1,000 for $900, 75 available
These deals all offer 10% off (or 19% with the Amex discount). The most lucrative option is clearly the $1,000, which saves you a full $100 (or $190 with Amex discount). If you have upcoming Marriott stays that you’re planning to pay with cash, this deal is a no-brainer. If you don’t have a stay planned, but know you’ll use the gift card eventually and can afford to front the balance, you may as well get in on the savings.
Tuesday June 10, 2014: Best Western Rewards Points
- 10,000 Reward points for $65, 835 available
You can purchase up to five sets of Reward Points per membership number, for a maximum of 50,000 points for $325 ($292 with Amex discount). Getting five sets is plausible since there is a lot of availability.
The Best Western website isn’t super user friendly when searching by reward points, but I eventually found a couple options. The Best Western City Hotel in Austin Texas costs 24,000 points or $118 per night in July, coming out to 48,000 points or $236 for two nights. Simply paying the $236 is cheaper than using the purchased points in this case ($236 vs. $292 with Amex discount).
However, another brief search showed me that in Quebec City at the Best Western PLUS City Centre, room rates started at $224 per night in July or 24,000 points. In this case, it would be worth it to have the Daily Getaway points package, purchased at $292 instead of $448 for two nights.
Each Best Western property uniquely prices out how many reward points it requires per night, whether it be a PLUS, Premier or just a run of the mill Best Western, so figuring out how many points you need is complicated, as each location is different.
I personally wouldn’t be interested in this deal, because I don’t typically stay at Best Westerns, but if you have specific travel plans involving Best Western and can compare the cash and points prices at a specific hotel, it may have value for you. Just make sure to check the rates before you purchase the Daily Getaway.
Wednesday June 11, 2014: Universal Studios Tickets
- One four pack of two-day Universal Studios Hollywood Tickets for $336, 94 available
Four two-day passes on the Universal Studios website comes out to $436 for four adults (tickets are $109 for adults and $101 for kids). If you’re certain you’d like to visit the park, this is a great money saver, especially if you plan on using your Amex card for the additional discount, which would take the price down to $302.
Thursday June 12, 2014: Avis Deals
- One day car rental for $33, 650 available (maximum purchase quantity per person is seven)
- One Avis Chairman’s Club Membership, arranged via e-mail for $1,115, 15 available (maximum purchase quantity per person is one)
The one day car rental certificate is usable in almost all US locations for cars up to Premium (Group G). As an example, a compact car rental for a Saturday in July in Chicago costs as little as $19 per day, so if you normally go the economy car route, this deal does little for you. This could be useful if you typically rent Premium class vehicles; however, the terms and conditions state that Holidays and other blackout periods may apply, but don’t specify what those blackout periods are. Furthermore, a 24 hour advance reservation is required, so you can’t just saunter up to the rental counter and plunk down your certificate. Unless you have a frequent need for one-day rentals, this deal sounds like a hassle waiting to happen.
The Chairman’s Club Membership offers benefits like guaranteed car availability and complimentary upgrades (subject to availability), as well as rental delivery anywhere within 25 miles of participating Avis locations. I have heard that the Chairman’s Club is the “crème de la crème”, the absolute tip-top service for VIP customers, but I don’t rent cars that often, so for me paying such an amount for exclusive car rental services doesn’t make sense.
However, this deal managed to pique my interest because I wasn’t sure what Chairman’s Club was, and there isn’t much info online. After a few phone calls, Avis customer reps explained to me that individuals can’t get this status on their own. Chairman’s Club has to be sponsored by your company, and the service is almost always reserved for higher-ups like a chairman or CEO. So, if you crave this status and your company isn’t willing to sponsor you, the Daily Getaway deal is the only way you can obtain this on a personal (non-corporate) level.
There aren’t many available, so if your lifelong dream includes being a Chairman’s Club Member, get ready to click at 1 pm. Any readers out there have experience with the Chairman’s Club? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Friday June 13, 20214: Palazzo/Venetian Hotel Suites in Las Vegas
- Two nights in a Seina Suite at the Palazzo for $675, 42 available
- Two nights in a Piazza View Suite at the Venetian for $550, 50 available
These deals have more availability than a lot of the other Las Vegas Daily Getaways thus far. Although they don’t include items like show tickets, airport transfers or dining certificates, these deals are worthwhile if you plan on staying in these particular hotels during weekends. Weekend rates in a Seina Suite at the Palazzo are up to $399 in July, whereas a weekday rate is only $159. So try to get the offer if you plan on visiting during a weekend. I stayed in a Fortuna suite in the Palazzo once a few years ago and loved it, so I might go for this deal to try out the Seina suite. Naturally there are much cheaper hotel rooms to be found in Las Vegas, but if you have your heart set on a suite in the more luxurious Palazzo or Venetian, try for the deal.