A Trip to the 2017 Masters Tournament — Reader Success Story

Feb 27, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

One of the things I love most about being The Points Guy is getting to hear stories from readers about how award travel has affected their lives — the exotic vacations they’ve planned, the trips they’ve made to be with family and friends, the premium seats and suites they’ve experienced and so much more, all made possible by points and miles. I love to travel and explore, and it’s an honor to be able to help so many of you get where you want to go.

I like to share these success stories to help inspire you the way you inspire me! From time to time I pick one that catches my eye and post it for everybody to enjoy. If you’re interested in sharing your own story, email it to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. If we publish it, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure!

Recently, I posted a success story from Ed, who saved himself a lot of time in transit by using a flight delay to his advantage. Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Matt, who scored a great hotel award when rates were high. Here’s what he had to say:

Matt is getting great value from an award he booked at the Hyatt Place in Augusta, Georgia.

I’ve found a number of excellent award redemptions of late, but I wanted to share a specific instance in which I feel I truly cashed out. I live in Austin, Texas and have used the city’s relatively central location as a launching point for a number of trips around parts of the US I might not have explored otherwise. I’m closing in on 50 states, and while trying to find a way to visit South Carolina in a relatively unique manner, I discovered a truly great way to spend Ultimate Rewards points.

I’ve always been a golf fan, and I went to college in Louisiana, so I have a lot of southern friends. The Masters tournament has been at the top of my list of high-caliber events to attend. I realized that Augusta, Georgia sits on the South Carolina border, so I started looking for a way to take a trip to the Masters while also checking South Carolina off my list (it will be my 44th state).

I discovered that there’s a newly renovated Hyatt Place in downtown Augusta, and that I could book king rooms for just 8,000 points per night during the Masters. Given that the rooms were retailing for $699 per night (basically $800 total per night after tax), my redemption of 16,000 Hyatt points (transferred from my Ultimate Rewards account) was worth $1,600.00. I can’t remember ever getting a better redemption on US soil.

This redemption allows me to check the Masters off my bucket list, visit friends in Georgia, check South Carolina off my list of states to visit (I’ll road trip to Columbia one day to hit the state capital), and spend some time driving through what I believe is one of the most scenic areas in the nation. Had I not discovered your work a couple years back, I never would have developed the kind of insight necessary to bring this trip to fruition, and so I wanted to thank you for that.

You can often find opportunities to maximize hotel points during price surges at low-level properties. A king room at the Hyatt Place Augusta normally goes for less than $150 per night, but as Matt discovered, the cash rate skyrockets when the Masters Tournament comes to town. Fortunately, the points rate remains the same, so you can still find inexpensive rooms as long as there’s availability. You’ll have better luck when you book early, though award space sometimes opens up at the last minute even in the most popular destinations (like Times Square on New Year’s Eve).

Matt got an outsized return on his points — well above what I list in my monthly valuations — but that’s not the only metric for deciding whether an award redemption is worthwhile. The most important part of his story is that he’s getting the trip he wants at a price he can afford. I hope you always get great value for your travel rewards, but don’t let that value dictate the destinations and experiences you pursue. After all, points and miles are meant to be spent!

Matt will take the opportunity to cross South Carolina off his list. Image courtesy of Sean Pavone Photo via Getty Images.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Matt for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 Visa gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you.

Again, if the strategies you’ve learned here have helped you fly in first class, score an amazing suite, reach a far-flung destination or even just save a few dollars, please indulge me and the whole TPG team by emailing us with your own success stories (see instructions above). Feel free to also submit stories of your most egregious travel mistakes. In either case, you’ll have our utmost appreciation, along with some extra spending money for your next trip.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured image courtesy of the Augusta National Golf Club.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.