Boston Marathon Travel - Part 2 - Running With Miles
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Boston Marathon Travel – Part 2

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It is that time of year – registration has opened for the Boston Marathon! The other day we looked at some ways to get to Boston for free (via air travel) and today’s installment of Boston Marathon Travel, we will look at how to stay in Boston for free for the marathon. Hotel stays are a great way of seeing your points come alive as they allow you to stay in some places that may typically be off limits due to price or availability. Let’s check out where you can stay and how to stay there for free so you can start booking those rooms before all the good ones vanish!

*Note: I am searching for nights arriving on Saturday and leaving after the marathon on Monday, so just two nights. Your experiences may differ based on the day you choose to arrive and your departure date.*

Hilton HHonors

Like any large city, there are many hotels in each chain. I will list the ones that show availability as some are already sold out/reserved.

A snapshot of some of the hotels in the Boston area

Hampton Inn Boston/Cambridge

Hampton Inn Boston/Cambridge

  •  191 Monsignor O’Brien Highway, Cambridge, MA
  • This hotel is a 2-star hotel
  • It is located 1.7 miles away from the Convention Center housing the Expo.
  • The cost is $323 + tax per night
  • A standard room takes 40,000 HHonor points per night

DoubleTree Suites Hotel by Hilton Hotel Boston

DoubleTree Suites Hotel

  • 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 1.8 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $349+ tax per night
  • A standard room takes 40,000 HHonor points per night

Embassy Suites Hotel at Logan Airport

Embassy Suites Hotel at Logan Airport

  • 207 Porter Street, Boston, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 3.1 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $299+ tax per night
  • A standard room takes 40,000 HHonors points per night

Hilton Boston Logan Airport

Hilton Boston Logan Airport

  • One Hotel Drive, Boston, MA
  • This is a 4-star hotel
  • It is located 3.4 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $339+ tax per night
  • A standard room takes 50,000 HHonors points per night

Hampton Inn Boston Logan Airport

Hampton Inn Boston Logan Airport

  • 230 Lee Burbank Highway, Revere, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 5.4 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $249+ tax per night
  • A standard room takes 30,000 HHonors points per night

Hampton Inn Boston/Braintree

Hampton Inn Boston/Braintree

  • 215 Wood Road, Braintree, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 9 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $211+ tax per night
  • A standard room takes 30,000 HHonors points per night

There you have your current options with Hilton. Obviously, these can fluctuate over the next months, or the other hotels may open availability. For now, this is what is available. So how do you get Hilton HHonor points? For two nights, you would need 100,000 for the most expensive hotel and 60,000 for the least expensive hotel. I do not receive any commission for the following cards.

  • American Express Hilton HHonors  – 40,000 HHonor points after spending $750 in in 3 months. There is no annual fee.
  • American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass – 60,000 HHonor points (40,000 points after 1st purchase, additional 20,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months). There is a $75 annual fee which is not waived for the first year. This card also gives you Hilton Gold elite status for the first year (free breakfast and internet)
  • Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card – 2 free weekend nights at any Hilton after spending $2,500 in the first 4 months. There is a $95 annual fee that is not waived. You receive Gold status for as long as you hold the card.
  • Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card – 40,000 HHonor points after spending $1,000 in 4 months. There is no annual fee. This card comes with Hilton Silver status.
  • There are a couple of other ways to receive more Hilton points by applying for Hawaiian Airline cards and transferring those miles over at a ratio of 1:2 HA miles to Hilton HHonor points. However, there are enough options here with straight Hilton cards that you should be fine with applying for the above. Any two card combinations will give you more than enough for the two nights, and it would probably give you enough for three nights at some of the hotels listed above. As you can see, it can be quite easy to receive Hilton points, so definitely consider Hilton for your Boston adventure.

Hyatt Hotels

For Hyatt, you are not able to see award availability unless you have free nights or enough points in your account to cover the category hotel you are looking at. You can call in to check, but it is not possible to see if from your account (without having the resources to cover the award night(s)). This is really inconvenient, but that is how it is. So, I will list all the Hyatt hotels that have availability period, even though they may not have award availability.

Hyatt Regency Cambridge

Hyatt Regency Cambridge

  • 575 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
  • This is a 4-star hotel
  • It is located 1.1 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $389+ tax per night
  • It is a category 3 which requires 12,000 points per night (or a free night certificate)

Hyatt Regency Boston

Hyatt Regency Boston

  • 1 Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, MA
  • This is a 4-star hotel
  • It is located 1.2 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $470+ tax per night
  • It is a category 4 which requires 15,000 per night (or a free night certificate)

Hyatt Place Boston Medford

Hyatt Place Boston Medford

  • 116 Riverside Avenue, Medford, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 4.9 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $212+ tax per night
  • It is a category 2 which requires 8,000 per night (or a free night certificate)

Hyatt Place Boston Braintree

Hyatt Place Boston Braintree

  • 37 Forbes Road, Braintree, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 9.2 miles away from the Convention Center
  •  The cost is $119+ tax per night
  • It is a category 2 which requires 8,000 per night (or a free night certificate)

Hyatt House Boston Waltham

Hyatt House Boston Waltham

  • 54 Fourth Avenue, Waltham, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 9.5 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $148+ tax per night
  • It is a category 2 which requires 8,000 points per night (or a free night certificate)

Hyatt House Boston Burlington

Hyatt House Boston Burlington

  • 2 Van De Graaf Drive, Burlington, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 11 miles away form the Convention Center
  • The cost is $149+ tax per night
  • It is a category 2 which requires 8,000 points per night (or a free night certificate)

Those are the Hyatt hotels. I personally prefer the award categories from Hyatt over Hilton. The Hilton hotels can fluctuate with point requirements but Hyatt hotels are always the same. Also, Hyatt hotels can be had for fewer points with the highest category requiring 22,000 points per night while Hilton requires 60,000 points per night for their highest category. However, Hilton points are a lot easier to come by, so it is pretty much a draw as to value.

Here is how you get those free nights! I do not receive a commission from these cards.

  • Chase Hyatt Visa – 2 free nights after first purchase. The annual fee is $75 which is not waived. With the card, you also receive Platinum status (mid-tier) which gives you later check-outs, occasional upgrades, and other perks. Unless you have to, I would not use these two nights for any of the stays above, except maybe the Hyatt Regency Boston. These free nights can be used at hotels that cost 22,000 points per night – do not use them for a hotel that only requires 8,000 points per night!
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 40,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio so you would only have to transfer 16,000 points for a two night stay at half of the hotels listed above.
  • Chase INK Bold – 25,000 Ultimate Reward points after 1st purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio so you would only have to transfer 16,000 points for a two night stay at half of the hotels listed above.
  • Chase INK Plus – 25,000 Ultimate Reward points after 1st purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio so you would only have to transfer 16,000 points for a two night stay at half of the hotels listed above.

Marriott Hotels

The next chain, Marriott, will be a little different. They have 70 available hotels within their chain in the Boston area! That gives for great options but is too many to list here. So, I will pick what I think may be the best ones and give those here. There are a couple of things that come into my picks – 1) cost vs amount of points and 2) distance from the Convention Center. At the bottom of the list, I will have the ways that you can receive Marriott points. There is only one straight way but you can transfer Ultimate Reward points to Marriott. However, that is not the best choice for some of these as some of the hotels are 40,000 – 80,000 points PER night! That is not worth it to use Ultimate Reward points that way. I will give a better way of using the points after this hotel section.

Courtyard Boston Cambridge

Courtyard Boston Cambridge

  • 777 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 1.8 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $329+ tax per night
  • It is a category 5 which costs 50,000 points per night

Courtyard Boston South Boston

Courtyard Boston South Boston

  • 63 R Boston Street, Boston, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  •  It is located 1.8 miles away from the Convention Center
  •  The cost is $299+ tax per night
  • It is a category 5 which costs 50,000 points per night

Courtyard Boston Brookline

Courtyard Boston Brookline

  • 40 Webster Street, Brookline, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 2 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $329+ tax per night
  • It is a category 5 which costs 50,000 points per night

Courtyard Boston Logan

Courtyard Boston Logan Airport

  • 225 William F McClellan Highway, Boston, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 4.3 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $339+ tax per night
  • It is a category 5 which costs 50,000 points per night

Unless you want a 1 night stay at a Marriott, I would tend to avoid the Marriotts on this trip (unless you are flush with Marriott points). If you really want to go ahead and try to stay there anyway, below are the cards that will give you at least 1 free night in Boston (unless you stay at a category 1-4 and use your two free nights). I do not receive any commission for these cards.

  • Marriott Rewards Visa Signature card – 30,000 points after your first purchase and 2 free nights at a category 1-4 upon account approval. The annual fee of $45 is waived for the first year. With this card, you could take advantage of some of the category 4 hotels not listed above.
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card – 50,000 points after your first purchase. The annual fee of $85 is waived for the first year.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 40,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Chase INK Bold – 25,000 Ultimate Reward points after 1st purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Chase INK Plus – 25,000 Ultimate Reward points after 1st purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.

Priority Club Hotels

The Priority Club hotel chain has many popular brands within it including Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites. They offer cash and point mixtures for all hotels with award availability. There are over 20 hotels in the Boston area, so I will pick and choose the best ones for detailing here.

Intercontinental Boston

Intercontinental Boston

  • 510 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA
  • This is a 4-star hotel
  • It is located 1.6 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $382+ tax per night
  • A standard room costs 50,000 points per night, or 45,000 points + $40, or 40,000 points + $70

Holiday Inn Boston Brookline

Holiday Inn Boston Brookline

  • 1200 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 1.7 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $298+ tax per night
  • A standard room costs 25,000 points per night, or 20,000 points + $40, or 15,000 + $70

Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Boston/Cambridge

Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Boston/Cambridge

  • 250 Monsignor O’brien Highway, Cambridge, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  • It is located 1.8 miles away from the Convention Center
  •  The cost is $276+ tax per night
  • A standard room costs 25,000 points per night, or 20,000 points + $40, or 15,000 + $70

There are many options available and the Cash and Points mixture is a very attractive reward booking method. Basically, you are buying the difference in points between the difference in point requirements. In some cases, it is a very good deal. It is especially useful if you do not have all the points you would need and do not mind paying a little to stay in a nice hotel for a couple of days.

  • Priority Club Select Visa – 60,000 points after first purchase. The annual fee of $49 is waived for the first year.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 40,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Priority Club Hotels at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Chase INK Bold – 25,000 Ultimate Reward points after 1st purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Priority Club at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Chase INK Plus – 25,000 Ultimate Reward points after 1st purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95 which is waived for the first year. The Ultimate Reward points transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.

Starwood Hotels

I am a big fan of Starwood hotels for many reasons. The Cash and Points is one reason but another reason is huge for big city marathons. If there is a standard room available, you can book it with points. The other hotels make award stays available on a limited basis and restrict them if there just a few rooms remaining (or, charge a lot more in points). With SPG, if there is just one standard room left, it is yours to book with points! There are many options available within a 35 mile radius of Boston, so we will again only cover the best options.

Westin Copley Place

Westin Copley Place

  • 10 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
  • This is a 4-star hotel
  • It is located .3 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $569+ tax per night
  • It is a category 5 so it takes 16,000 points per night

The Liberty Hotel, Boston

The Liberty Hotel, Boston

  • 215 Charles Street, Boston, MA
  • This is a 4-star hotel
  • It is located 1.2 miles away from the Convention Center
  •  The cost is $699+ tax per night
  •  It is a category 5 and requires 14,000 points per night

The Westin Boston Waterfront

A Traditional Room at the Westin Boston Waterfront

  • 425 Summer Street, Boston, MA
  • This is a 4-star hotel
  •  It is located 2.1 miles away from the Convention Center
  •  The cost is $559+ tax per night
  •  It is a category 5 and requires 16,000 points per night

Sheraton Commander Hotel

Sheraton Commander Hotel

  • 16 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
  • This is a 4-star hotel
  • It is located 2.8 miles away from the Convention Center
  • The cost is $519+ tax per night
  •  It is a category 5 and requires 16,000 points per night

Sheraton Colonial Boston North Hotel and Conference Center

  • One Audubon Road, Wakefield, MA
  • This is a 3-star hotel
  •  It is located 11.7 miles away from the Convention Center
  •  The cost is $144+ tax per night
  • It is a category 2 and requires 3,000 points per night

So there you go! You can see that some of these hotels have insane rates but can be secured by just using points. My favorite on this list is The Liberty. I have not been there, but from a point calculation, you would be getting a 5.7 cents per point valuation out of this hotel (not to mention it looks great!). Now, how do you go about securing these points? Unlike Hilton, they are not that plentiful. In fact, of the major chains we have discussed thus far, they are the fewest to be gained by a credit card application (the only program that can transfer in is Amex’s Membership Rewards and it does it a terrible 3:1 transfer ratio. I will not even put those cards in this list because it is so bad). Unlike Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott, Starwood does not give away free night certificates with sign-ups either. So what makes this my favorite? The quality and options of hotels are very good. Also, the ability to book any hotel that has a standard room available and to use points to do that. That is incredible for an event like this. Enough of that, here is how you get these points. I do receive a commission if you apply and are approved.

  • Starwood American Express (personal card) – You will receive 10,000 points after first purchase and an additional 15,000 points after spending $5,000 in 6 months. This bonus and minimum spend would give you a total of 30,000 points – enough to secure two nights at most of the hotels offered.
  • Starwood American Express (business card) – You will receive 10,000 points after first purchase and an additional 15,000 points after spending $5,000 in 6 months. This bonus and minimum spend would give you a total of 30,000 points – enough to secure two nights at most of the hotels offered.

SUMMARY

Wow, finally at the end of all of that. Hopefully you were able to pick up some useful things throughout that post. Basically, with points, you have the power to stay in places for the legendary Boston Marathon that you really never even considered before. But say you have a favorite haunt or you and your friends were planning on staying at a particular hotel that does not work with hotel programs. What do you do? You can use Ultimate Reward points to book hotels by going to www.ultimaterewards.com. Once there, you will have to enter your account info and you can then select to travel and use your points to pay. You will get a 25% bonus for doing that. So, when I mentioned before how bad it was to transfer 50,000 Ultimate Reward points for a room that only costs $219, this is why. If you use points to pay for it, it would require less than 18,000 Ultimate Reward points. Pretty good, huh?

Here is one other option: Say you are flush with airline miles. You can actually go through their marketplace to look at some places and book them through the airline’s marketplace. I did this for me and my wife a couple of years back as we used 100,000 Continental miles to book an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica that would have cost us $2,300 otherwise. So, signing up for these cards is definitely not the only way.

Next Boston Marathon travel post will be about how to get rental cars for free and even pay for gas! Stay tuned!


 

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links that will support this site. Thank you for your support.

About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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