A weekend at a Waldorf resort for $25 — reader success story

Dec 25, 2019

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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Daniel, who stacked credit card benefits for a discounted stay in Palm Springs:

I am an Air Force pilot, so travel and planes are a few of my favorite things in this world. While on my most recent deployment, I had plenty of time to plan a getaway for me and my wife. I had applied for the The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card on my last deployment, and my free weekend night had finally arrived. I planned to combine the free night with the $250 resort credit to book a cheap weekend away. We decided to go to Palm Springs and relax at La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. Stacking the free night and resort credit was great, but it got even better with some luck from Amex Offers, which had a deal for $70 back after spending $350 at a Waldorf or Conrad property.

The two-night stay with breakfast would normally cost over $400 after the free night. I received my $250 resort credit, $70 Amex Offers credit, and complimentary $60 breakfast (thanks to Hilton Diamond status), totaling $380 in savings. I put everything on my Hilton Aspire card to earn 54 points per dollar (with Hilton’s current points promotion). In total, I spent $25 for a weekend at one of the top properties in Palm Springs. I also netted 22,870 Hilton points (with 1,000 bonus points as a welcome amenity) worth about $137 according to TPG’s valuations. It feels like Hilton and Amex paid us for a vacation!

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My favorite feature of Amex Offers is that they stack with other savings and rewards like store coupons, shopping portal bonuses and statement credits. Once you activate an offer in your account, it applies automatically when you use your card to make qualifying purchases, so redeeming takes little effort. Since Daniel already had plans to stay at a Waldorf Astoria property, his $70 discount was easy money. You won’t always find such serendipitous deals — I skip most of my offers either because they don’t interest me or the timing isn’t right — but it’s worth browsing your list periodically to see what’s available and add any that might be useful.

A variety of cards come with statement credits for travel purchases, but while those credits have clear value, I caution you not to think of the purchases they cover as “free.” It’s more apt to consider benefits like the Hilton Aspire resort credit and $250 annual airline fee credit as offsets to the card’s annual fee. When you redeem them, you recoup some of what you paid up front to be a cardholder; assuming the qualifying purchases are ones you would have made anyway, the credits effectively lower your cost to have the card. If you can reliably use both credits without spending money you didn’t already plan to spend, then you’re getting a positive return on the card even without accounting for the remaining benefits.

Related: The best travel perks and discounts for members of the military

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 Daniel a 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 info@thepointsguy.com; 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. 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 of Palm Springs by halbergman/Getty Images.

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TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
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Regular APR
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Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
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Recommended Credit
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