Why I booked a hotel near SFO — just to watch the planes take off
I have always been fascinated by the fact that I could travel clear across the globe in a matter of hours. Places I grew up learning about in history or language classes came to life when I realized that I could actually see them in living color. I’ll never forget walking off of the metro in Barcelona my first night in town and being greeted by La Sagrada Familia. I still get goosebumps.
So even though I’m not traveling like I have in the past, I can’t help thinking about how easy it could be to visit the other side of the globe — doing anything but sitting in my house.
Sign-up for the TPG daily newsletter to get stories like this delivered to your inbox.
As a sort of consolation — and in hopes of quelling my wanderlust — I recently decided to take a short “staycation” at a hotel near San Francisco International Airport (SFO), just so I could watch planes take-off and land. That’s literally all I wanted to do.
Spoiler alert: It was just what I needed.
Related: Review of the Grand Hyatt SFO
I’m certainly not the only one who had to postpone a dream trip last year, but I’m still bummed about canceling an amazing points redemption to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We decided not to transfer our tickets to the rescheduled 2021 games — and thank goodness, since Japan recently decided that international spectators wouldn’t be allowed.
However, that also means that there aren’t any big trips on the horizon for us in 2021. While we do hope to spend New Year’s Eve in Hawaii this year, that’s still months away.
Even though I’m one of the newest TPG writers, I’ve long researched points hotels and promotions as a pastime, so I knew that Marriott had a promotion where you could earn double points and double elite-night credits (with a stay of at least two nights). I opted in to the promotion and looked to see if SFO had any hotels that fit two criteria:
- A property where I wouldn’t mind spending a couple of nights
- A room that would give me a view of the runway
It also didn’t hurt that this stay (along with another one booked under for next month) put me closer to Platinum status with Marriott — something that eluded me last year.
I chose to stay at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, where I could get a room with my desired view (as opposed to normal times, where the only views that matter to me are of the ocean). Because the promotion excludes nights booked with Bonvoy points, I chose to pay cash for the ~$150 room rate — which included parking. The stay would’ve also set me back 40,000 Bonvoy points a night had I used points, and I know that I can get a better redemption than that somewhere else — like the JW Marriott Venice (a personal favorite), where rooms can easily go for over $500 per night.
Now, there’s no question that I would’ve preferred taking my reward flights to/from Asia with Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines, but I was happy to settle for a much safer alternative: a comfortable (and rewarding) hotel stay with views of SFO, the San Francisco Bay, and plenty of takeoffs and landings. I enjoyed the short getaway in a relatively quiet hotel not too far from home, and the change of scenery was a nice variation from my day-to-day routine.
But here’s hoping that the next time I see an airport, it’s because I’m actually going somewhere.
Featured photo by J Hopwood/Shutterstock.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
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.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- 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