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‘Tis the season to light a fire in the fireplace, sip on mulled wine and press play on the holiday movies you’ve waited all year long to watch. But this year, you can do even more to get into the holiday spirit. Put your points to use and visit the cities — and settings — of your favorite holiday classics. Here’s how you can make it happen.
The film: Home Alone
The destination: Chicago, IL
KEVIN! It feels like just yesterday I watched this classic for the first time, and it still never gets old. If you too want to relive Home Alone, head to Chicago this holiday season. Start your tour by visiting the McCallister family’s home located just outside the city at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL. Next, head to Hubbard Woods Park, and skate on the rink where Kevin made his famed getaway.
When it’s time to find your own home, choose Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection. Rates in December start at $299 per night, or 40,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.
The film: A Christmas Story
The destination: Cleveland, OH
Is there a more quintessential holiday film than A Christmas Story? To relive this treasured classic, pack your bunny PJs and head to Cleveland, Ohio. There, you can take a trip down memory lane and visit the Christmas Story House museum, where you’ll find the Parker home restored to all its movie glory. Or, head to Castle Noel and slide down the Santa display and mountain used in the 1983 film. To experience more film nostalgia, check out the Cleveland Play House adaptation of the movie from November 24 to December 23.
Round out your trip by staying where the cast stayed during filming: the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Room rates start at $154 per night or 30,000 Marriott Rewards points in December.
The film: It’s A Wonderful Life
The destination: Seneca Falls, NY
What is it about Christmas that ups the nostalgia ante? The town of Seneca Falls knows what I mean. Each year, it holds a festival dedicated to all things It’s a Wonderful Life. The celebration includes a bell ringing, parade, an It’s a Wonderful Run 5K race, “Uncle Billy’s” scavenger hunt and a memorabilia exhibit along with wagon and horse-drawn carriage rides. Visit locations from the movie with the custom location map and spend the night at the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites Geneva Finger Lakes in Rochester, NY. Hotel rates start at $127 or 25,000 Marriott points per night.
The film: The Holiday
The destination: Los Angeles, CA
This is one of my favorite holiday movies, and not just because one of the lead characters is named Amanda (or is it?). No, it’s because sweet Iris escapes her awful two-timing boss-slash-lover and heads to sunny California to… That. House. Okay, so you can’t stay in Amanda’s mega-mansion, but you can still splurge for movie star treatment by booking the Cozy Cabanas at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles.
Tuesday through Saturday throughout the month of December, both hotel guests and the general public are invited to reserve one of the hotel’s holiday-themed rooftop cabanas. As you screen a classic holiday film under the twinkling lights of your private cabana, a dedicated butler will serve seasonal treats along with holiday punch from Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 restaurant. Packages are available for $300 for two people. Looking to stay the night? Room rates for December start at 60,000 points per night.
Details: Reservations for the Cozy Cabanas must be made 72 hours in advance by calling WP24 restaurant at 213-743-8824.
The film: Elf
The destination: New York, NY
New York City radiates holiday spirit this time of year; department stores have window displays, Christmas markets pop up in parks all over the city and, of course, there’s the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree — a tree fit for a human-sized Elf! With the city as your movie set, relive Buddy and Jovie’s first date with a skate around the iconic Roc Center rink. Next, channel your inner elf and stuff your face with all the sweets imaginable at Dylan’s Candy Bar. And if you’re lucky enough to experience a snowfall during your visit, make sure you head to Central Park for the best sledding.
When you’ve had your fill of fun, put your points to work at the Crown Plaza Times Square. Room rates start at 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night in December.
Featured image of Central Park by rabbit75_is via Getty Images.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees