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Free hotel stays are the very best kind, but most of us don’t have the points to cover every single stay, and sometimes the return per point simply doesn’t justify the redemption. We post various hotel deals and offers, but sometimes it is helpful to see how the deals, offers and bonuses can all stack to take a hotel booking from ho-hum to pretty darn rewarding.
Make Family Visits More Enjoyable By Booking a Hotel Room
We have family coming to visit later this week. This is very exciting, but it also comes with its own set of stressors. Let’s be real, most of us don’t live in houses that were built to comfortably accommodate a few additional adults for several days at a time — I know mine isn’t. Making it work means rearranging sleeping arrangements, sharing bathrooms, bumping into each other in the kitchen making morning coffee, etc. Those aren’t bad things, just realities of family visits.
While there is a quaint and enjoyable element to all bunking up together for a while, there is also something to be said for getting everyone their own comfortable space. Here in Texas, we are just settling into the routine of school with somewhat respectable bedtimes, homework and the morning rush to hop on the bus that arrives just a few ticks after 7am. As excited as my girls are to have their grandparents visit, the odds are high that mixing in grandparent fun at night and first thing in the morning won’t be the best ingredient for adjusting to the school grind.
Given all of that, we booked them a room at a new and nearby Hilton Homewood Suites for the first two nights of their visit that happen to fall during the school week. The rates at the hotel were neither great nor atrocious at around $115+ per night. Award prices were 27,000 Hilton points per night, which wasn’t a good enough return to make me pull the trigger on using our Hilton points.
At the hotel, they will have access to their own shower, breakfast and can stay up or sleep in as late as they want without worrying about the kids’ schedules.
Here’s how we took this needed $260 two-night booking (including tax) at the newest hotel in town and made it more rewarding for us without sacrificing comfort or convenience for Grandma and Grandpa.
Stacking Deals to Earn $213.54 Back on a $260 Hotel Stay
- Before booking the stay, check available cash-back payouts using cashbackmonitor.com. I will earn 10% cash back by getting to Hilton.com to make my booking by first clicking through TopCashBack.com. I actually don’t have Hilton elite status right now, so my payout rate should be 10% cash back. Those with Hilton status sadly have a much lower payout through TopCashBack, but that is not the case with all chains. Value: $26 cash back.
- Register for global hotel promotions and use your loyalty number on the reservation. There is currently a double points Hilton promo running until September 9. This means for for every dollar spent, you can receive 10 Hilton bonus points in addition to the 10 base points that Hilton would grant you through this program (5 bonus points plus 5 base points for Home2Suite by Hilton and Tru by Hilton). With the double points promotion, on a $230 base rate stay, we should earn 4,600 Hilton Honors points that TPG currently values Hilton points at 0.6 cents each. Value: $27.60 in points.
- Check your account and email for targeted promotions. It just so happened that I received a targeted Hilton promotion via email right around the time that I was making the booking. Always do a search of your inbox so you don’t leave points on the table. My offer was for 10,000 bonus Hilton Honors points on a two-night stay, so registering for that promotion is as good as points in the bank. Value: $60 in points.
- Check for Amex Offers to save money. One place to always look for money-saving travel deals is in Amex Offers. This week, a new Amex Offer was released to save money or earn Amex Membership Rewards bonus points at Hilton Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Home2 properties. Some versions of the offer provide a $50 statement credit with $250 in spending at these properties and some award 5,000 Membership Rewards points with the same amount of spending. TPG values Amex Membership Rewards points at 1.9 cents each, so I’m glad we have the version that awards 5,000 bonus points instead of $50. Value: $95 in points.
- Pay with the credit card that earns you the best rewards. If I had a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and used it to pay for the stay, I could earn 14x Hilton points per dollar on the Hilton charge. This would amount to 3,640 additional Hilton points worth about $21. Since I don’t currently have that card, I could use my Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3 points per dollar on the hotel charge for a total of 780 Ultimate Reward points worth 2.1 cents each or $16.38 total. However, I have to use the card with the Amex Offer attached to get that benefit, so we will pay with our Platinum Card® from American Express and will earn 260 Membership Reward points for the stay because of the attached Amex Offer. Value: $4.94 in points.
The real value of booking this Hilton stay is enjoying time with grandparents while creating a comfortable environment for everyone. However, by stacking available deals and offers, we turned what would have simply been a $260 hotel expense into a total of $213.54 in cash back and earned points at current valuations.
I’d love to hear your stacking success stories!
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