How I Earned Points Booking an Award — Reader Success Story

Mar 22, 2019

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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Andrew, who took a creative approach to maximizing a hotel bonus promotion:

I don’t travel for work frequently, so when I do get the opportunity, I try to maximize my points for use later during family vacations. I recently arrived at work to find that I would be flying out the following morning for nine days, and my travel itinerary included eight nights at a Hyatt Place. I had registered for Hyatt’s latest promotion, which gives up to 1,500 bonus points per night. However, per the terms and conditions, those points are only earned starting with the second stay, and that eight night stay would have been my first of the bonus period.

I opened my World of Hyatt app and searched for the closest Hyatt Place. There was one not far from my work with award nights starting at 5,000 points, so I booked a room for that night. I checked in on my way home from work, staying only long enough to leave my room keys and a tip on the nightstand. Having “stayed” a single night for 5,000 points, my longer work trip became my second stay, so it earned me 12,000 bonus points. After the cost of the first room, I was still 7,000 points ahead and one night closer to Globalist status.

Mattress runs can help you qualify for hotel elite status, but you may find other scenarios that justify paying for a room you don’t need. Andrew’s story is a good example: he bought an eligible night to activate his promotional bonus, and then effectively sold it back to Hyatt for a profit upon his next stay. The 7,000 points he netted are worth $119 based on my most recent valuations, which is a great return for a short detour on his way home from work. You won’t always find such cut-and-dry opportunities, but it’s worth checking your existing travel plans to see if you can leverage a hotel bonus promotion into a windfall of rewards.

Andrew’s maneuver worked because Hyatt counts award stays toward elite status and as qualifying activity for this promotion, something that isn’t always true. He knew he could book the first night with points because he checked the terms and conditions — a crucial step for most aspects of award travel. If award nights weren’t an option, booking a paid stay to activate the bonus might still have been profitable, but less so if he had to spend more than $85 on the room. He might also have tried switching hotels after the first night of his work trip if another convenient location were available.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Andrew a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes, or to contribute to our new award redemption series. If your story is published, we’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected.

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

Featured photo courtesy of Hyatt 

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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.

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