This story has been sitting in the “Draft” section for many months. I almost deleted it, but what the heck. My blog is about keeping it real, right?
Winter is a bad time to stay in Florida hotels on the cheap, since it’s a high season. However, I needed one more night to complete the IHG Big Win promotion. Currently I’m in the midst of fighting for my points from its ill-fated crazy cousin promo “Into the nights.” We actually did get the bonus on two out three of our accounts. Miracle of miracles! Hey, two out three for IHG is darn good. I am convinced that their entire IT staff is on acid. But don’t worry, IHG, I still love ya!
Back to my story. I was debating on whether to do a mattress run over the phone or do a 1-night getaway with the kids. I had a choice to make: To book Holiday Inn Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch for $138 all-in (with a $20 breakfast voucher) or get a hotel in Dallas for $85 all-in (a mattress run) to fulfill the requirements of the promotion.
The Sarasota hotel wasn’t on the beach or near any major tourist attractions, but looked nice enough in the photos and was located only 1 hour away from our home. So, basically, it was a difference of $53, or technically $33, if you factor in breakfast. Sounds easy, right?
Well, the day before the upcoming stay, my husband and I got sick, and that weekend was our last chance to go before the end of promotion period. What to do? Unfortunately, we already told my daughter about the hotel surprise and she was super excited.
Additionally, I started a third attempt at toilet-training with my son and it wasn’t going well. We decided to do it “commando” style this time around. Well, he wasn’t too keen on using latrina. That’s a Latin word for toilet. Yes, I speak fluent Latin too. Just kidding, though I did study it in school. Anyway, here is the conversation snippet:
Him: “Mommy, that’s a snake on the floor!”
Me: “Nope, son, it is not.”
I’ll let your imagination take over at this point. Anyway, after 4 days of “snake” appearing in all kinds of places in my house, I literally started going mad. I had to get out! So, my husband insisted we just go to the hotel and be sick there, paying $33 for the privilege and hopefully getting a decent breakfast. And so we did.
I actually got better the next day and my poor husband got worse, but we put the diaper back on my son and set out on our adventure. And it was fun! We took the kids to the beach first, where they did some digging in the sand. The hotel was wonderful and apparently won some awards for customer satisfaction.
Our room had a beautiful view of the lake (due to my IHG Platinum status upgrade), and my daughter and I hung out in the hot tub, enjoying the landscape. I also got a free alcoholic drink voucher. In vino veritas.
The breakfast the next day was amazing. I got a salmon and eggs plate, and my husband had pancakes. The wonderful thing about Holiday Inn is that kids eat free. So our voucher took care of most of the bill, other than the tip.
So what’s the point of my story? Well, if it wasn’t for the promotion, we would have never stayed at that place and would have missed out on a great day of family fun. My advice is: Don’t save your hotel points for that perfect tourist location during your once-a-year vacation, but explore nearby places as well. Break up your routine. Escape from the mundane, even if just for one night. You can always restart potty-training when you come back.
As you probably know, the new IHG PointBreaks list is out, so see if you can find something that fits the bill. It only costs 5,000 points per night, so it doesn’t have to be perfect, right? I also wanted to mention that according to Flyertalk, the zombie link for 80,000 points bonus on Chase IHG MasterCard is still live and kicking… for now.
Readers, is anyone taking advantage of PointBreaks promo? Where are you heading to?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.