Every year, Kristin and I make it a priority to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our work schedules have been quite busy since the beginning of the year. Thankfully we were able to get 3 days off together, which started my search for our weekend away. Interestingly enough, our anniversary getaway seems to historically occur over Kristin’s birthday.
Booking the Flights
Since our time was limited to a few days (3 days total), I didn’t want to spend too much time in the air. Leaving out of Bangor, our options are limited to Delta and American Airlines. We wanted to have as much time in Philadelphia as we could, but also didn’t want to break the point bank either.
I have just enough points for 2 one way tickets ( at 7,500 miles each) on American Airlines, but most of my points are tied to Membership Rewards and Delta. Increasing my American Airline miles is in my plans, but with their award availability being so stingy I have held off.
I started my search with American Airlines since it is about a 2 hour flight to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the only award flight was in the evening. This was not an option, since I would lose a day of waiting/flying. Although there has been spots for 7,500 miles out of Bangor, they aren’t always at the best times. Maybe someday I’ll get lucky with AA :-).
With limited time, landing at 8 pm was not what I had in mind. Which meant, it was time to search Delta.
Fortunately, Delta had “saver” availability for a morning trip. It was only going to cost 7,500 miles + $5.60 one way per person. There is a short layover in LGA, but that is not too terrible.
The price was the same on the way back home and the flights were in the evening. This will give us about 2.5 days in Philadelphia. I think this will give us enough time to explore Philadelphia and enjoy ourselves.
This was a great use of points, since the price of the trip would have been $659.20.
Using Delta miles actually cost fewer points than using my 50% rebate on my American Express Business Platinum. Plus, I am planning on using those Membership Reward points later this year for a couple of trips.
For those who like a value of redemption, this redemption was about 2.1 cents per point. For coach travel, that is pretty solid. I do think the values from Bangor are a bit inflated. This is probably due to the fact there is little competition and flights are typically more expensive.
Booking the Hotel
About 4 weeks ago, I received an email from Hyatt that informed me that my free night would be available soon.
I am still waiting for that certificate to be deposited though. I finally received my certificate the other day! Talk about lag time!
When looking at my options in Philadelphia, I felt there was really only one option: The Hyatt at the Bellevue, which is a category 4 property. That means my ‘free night” will be good use there.
The property looks great, the points price was just right, and I’m excited to stay there.
The cost of the room I initially booked was $305 per night before taxes. You can see I booked a City View King.
There is no way I’d actually spend this much money on a hotel room, I am way too frugal for that. That is why I have points, right?
At the time I booked this reservation, I did not have my “free night” certificate in my account. I felt award space would be limited, if I held off. Which I was right about after going back and speaking to a representative later on.
To keep it, I booked it, using 15,000 points and $200, in hopes of having the points deposited to my account. When I reached out to Hyatt it seemed it may or may not happen.
Adjusting my Reservation:
After I finally received my “free night,” I made a call into the “Explorist” line. I have no idea if that actually means anything, but I have always had fantastic success when speaking to a Hyatt representative on the phone. This time was no different.
I explained what I had initially done and asked for one night points (7,500 points), be redeposited into my account and my certificate used in it’s place.
The representative had to call the hotel to have them approve this, since at the time there was no award space remaining. I was on hold for just a couple of minutes before the representative came back to tell me it was all set.
A new confirmation email was sent a few minutes later, but there was a room change made as well!
My reservation went from having a City View King room, to a standard King room. I was a little disappointed at first, but how can you really complain when you are staying at an great hotel for a fraction of the cost?
Maybe they’ll see my note it is our anniversary and move us back into the city view room. Nothing is guaranteed and I have gotten over my “downgraded” issue :-).
For you value lovers out there, this changes the numbers since it is a different room.
The room ended up costing me 7,500 points and a total of $190.50 (have to take into account the $75 annual fee). Which will be even less out of pocket, when I use another rewards currency in addition to my Hyatt points.
The Underrated Discover Cash:
My ultimate goal is to keep my cost as low as possible for the travel portion of my trips, so I can enjoy more at my destination. Our cash portion of our Hyatt stay was $100 (before taxes) and I still have some Discover Cash in my account.
Redeeming $90 in Discover Cash will yield a $100 Hyatt gift card. This will leave a small amount left that won’t be covered by points or a gift card.
The total cost of this 3 day trip would have cost $1,293.41! Using a mix of points and cash and a “free night” certificate this trip will only cost 37,500 points and $100. Which is a pretty cheap amount for weekend getaway.
Celebrating our anniversary is extremely important to us and being able to use our points makes it that much easier to make these trips happen.