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Have a tax refund to spend? 3 long weekend getaways to consider

April 16, 2022
6 min read
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This weekend is the last one before Tax Day. Monday, April 18, is the federal deadline to submit 2021 tax returns or file an extension. While that reminder might be an unwelcome one for those owing taxes from 2021, there’s less of a sting among those set to receive a tax refund. If you fall in the latter category, are you thinking of spending that refund on a trip?

According to the IRS, the average refund was $3,226, up 11.5% compared to last year.

So, just for fun – and in the interest of adding a silver lining to one of America’s less joyful rites of spring – we thought we’d suggest a few getaways falling within that range for transit and lodging that might make the coming months of 2022 all the more enjoyable.

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1. A couple’s getaway to Grand Cayman

With the Cayman Islands easing some COVID-19 restrictions in recent months, It’s hard to think of a better way to relax for a few days this spring than on one of the world’s best beaches. Grand Cayman’s 7 Mile Beach, along which numerous resorts sit, features spectacular white sand and beautiful, warm waters. There are also some great dining options both on the resort properties along the beach, and also in town. When I visited in 2018, one of my favorite stops was Lobster Pot.

Seven Mile Beach (Photo courtesy of the Westin Grand Cayman)

Looking at airfare for two to the island later this spring, I found a round trip departing from the northeast on American Airlines for $319 per ticket for a long weekend from May 5-9. The basic economy ticket (which does not include a full-size carry on bag) involves a layover in Charlotte.

(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Once you get there, there are numerous resorts, including multiple Marriott Bonvoy properties, a Westin and a Ritz Carlton. For this particular weekend, the most affordable Marriott property was the Marriott itself, which is right on the beach and has a pool overlooking the ocean. The nightly rate of $348 brings the total for the four-night stay to $1,392.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott Bonvoy)

Related: Where to use points in Grand Cayman

That brings your total for airfare and hotel to $2,030, meaning, if your tax refund falls near the U.S. average you’ve got some cash leftover for meals, transit, checked bags and other expenses.

 2. A family trip to New York City

With COVID-19 cases just a fraction of what they were back in January, and many more children eligible for vaccination compared to this time last year, it could be a great opportunity to take the kids to New York.

(Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)

Looking at trips departing from Washington, D.C., earlier this year, I decided to go the Amtrak route, since a train ride to Manhattan puts you right in the middle of the city. The trip to New York went for $78, with a great $29 fare on the return trip. For a family of four, the round trip comes to $428.

(Screenshot courtesy of Amtrak)
(Screenshot courtesy of Amtrak)

Related: 5 scenic Amtrak trips you can enjoy on a budget

Once in the city, I checked Hilton properties right in the middle of the action: $225 per night is the rate at the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square/Penn Station, so $1,1,65 for the four-night stay.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hilton)

Add in four $125 tickets to see catch a Saturday matinee Broadway production of the Lion King at Minskoff Theater, and your total for transportation, lodging and the centerpiece of your entertainment comes to $2,093.

(Screenshot courtesy of Ticketmaster)

Related: What it’s like to attend a Broadway show with young kids

3. Meet friends in California for a golf getaway

Golf is on the mind of many people. After all, just last weekend marked the playing of the 2022 Masters. So I thought I’d check on trips to Southern California, which is home to numerous renowned golf courses and popular for golf getaways.

Looking at trips from Chicago that same long weekend (May 5-9), the best nonstop service I found involved flights on United from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to San Diego (SAN) for $482.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

For lodging in California, you might consider booking at the Andaz San Diego Boutique Hotel, which is right in the heart of the city and has a rooftop pool and spectacular views overlooking the city’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Pool at the Andaz San Diego Boutique Hotel. (Photo courtesy of World of Hyatt)

The four-night stay comes to $1,329, bringing your total airfare and lodging to $1,811, leaving some cash for food, transit and – of course – the golf!

(Screenshot courtesy of World of Hyatt)

Not getting a tax refund?

We also know not everyone will be getting a tax refund in 2022. If you're not, maybe it's a great time to book a trip using points and miles. Our advice on that front? The sooner you can book, the better!

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

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Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases