Hi, friends! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I suppose, I should have said that my previous rant was my last regular post. It was incredible to receive so many words of support via comments and emails. I can’t thank you enough and please, know that I meant every word when I said I want you to keep in touch. A few readers have reached out to me for help and I was thrilled to bestow my nuggets of wisdom upon them. Hey, I never said I wasn’t a narcissist!
So, you may or may not wonder what I’ve been up to lately. I’ll tell you anyway!
That’s me, I’m the “burning” woman. No, not as in “hot’ in appearance or anything of that sort. I’m talking about going on a major burning spree when it comes to miles and points. And it feels good! I highly recommend it. As it says in Bob Dylan’s song “Like a rolling stone” : When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.
So, I’ve booked tickets for my parents using miles from United and AAdvantage programs. I also ended up getting several nights in Radisson Oceanfront Melbourne hotel (Florida) using BOGO benefit. BTW, it’s due to expire soon, what are you waiting for? Get rid of your Club Carlson points now, ALL of them. You can always cancel your reservation later if things don’t work out.
I also decided to fly my parents to Puerto Rico for three nights using Rapid Rewards points. It will cost a small fortune for 6 roundtrip non-stop tickets from Orlando, but I don’t care. My parents are flying across the world, I’m doing something special, darn it. Thankfully, the out-of-pocket cost shouldn’t be terrible since I plan to utilize my Wyndham cards’ bonus for hotel stays (more on that later).
We also already booked our cruise to Alaska for next year. Unfortunately, I’ll have to use actual dollars for that trip. Norwegian line had a special and my sister-in-law couldn’t pass it up. Reluctantly, I agreed to reserve a cabin before we could secure airfare. In a month or so, I play to redeem a ton of AAdvantage miles for, wait for it… business class tickets to Seattle. Yes, 200K miles for 4 domestic seats because that’s where availability is plentiful and flight times are decent. I am a burning woman indeed.
One of the reasons I wanted to write this post was due to fantastic experience we just had redeeming IHG certificate from Into the Nights promo. Normally, I’m quite a planner (shocker!), but on a whim decided to stay at the beach for a Memorial day weekend. Not surprisingly, hotel rates were astronomical, but I was able to redeem the certificate at Holiday Inn Lido beach. The rate on its website was $369 for a parking lot view room.
As it was, we were upgraded to an oceanview suite (due to Platinum status) and didn’t have to pay a penny. Even my husband was impressed. We had a fabulous time at the beach. The hotel was very simple, but was recently renovated. It was clean, comfortable and had a certain charm to it. We saw the most beautiful sunset while relaxing in the ocean and watching our kids play in the sand.
It’s in times like these when I really appreciate miles and points hobby and the doors it opens for regular families on a budget. There is no way we could just drop close to $400 on a room in a spur of the moment. But we didn’t have to! Hotel points afforded us this incredible time together as a family, time we will cherish forever…
To Wyndham or not to Wyndham?
I’ve mentioned that we plan to use bonus nights from Wyndham cards for our stay in Puerto Rico. In case you haven’t heard, Wyndham just completely overhauled its program where all properties cost 15,000 points per night. Yes, a dumpy Days Inn by the highway now costs as much as a 2-bedroom suite in an oceanfront resort in Kauai.
It sounds good in theory, except if you check availability for that Kauai property I’ve mentioned, you are unlikely to find any open dates. Wow, that was fast! So much for “no blackout dates” policy. Many other decent properties are still bookable on points, though, including the ones in New York, Miami and other expensive places.
So, should you get this card? It honestly depends. As always, when it comes to hotel points redemptions, have several properties in mind. Don’t get your heart set on one specific hotel because things may not work out. Overall, I don’t regret getting the card for me and my husband. We picked the one with an annual fee of $69. Why? The sign-up bonus is bigger (45,000 points), plus, you get 15,000 points upon renewal. I plan to redeem them at beachfront Florida Wyndham hotels during peak season or holidays (if available). Here is a post on Doctor of Credit with more info on this card.
If the program gets to be too frustrating to deal with, I will cancel the cards and move on. I don’t think it’s worth putting everyday spending on it. You are essentially giving up $150 compared to 2% card in order to acquire 15,000 points. That’s a lot to pay speculatively for any hotel night, let alone one that may not be available on the dates you need.
I was researching a Club Carlson hotel in Kaunas, Lithuania and came across this Park Inn property. It actually looks like a great redemption since it only costs 9,000 points per night. Yes, there is still value left in that program no matter what anyone says. You just have to look harder, go off-the-beaten path etc. Anyway, I was looking at some photos and here is one advertising the spa. I just had to share it:
Doesn’t look right, does it? As I told some friends on Twitter, it’s “Scandinavia meets ex-Soviet quirkiness. Instead of a scantily clad attractive female spa attendant, they have an old guy dressed in a bag.” Enough said.
Controversy time, y’all!
Actually, I’m not going there. Sorry! To be honest, I haven’t been following that many blogs lately and I’m not interested in going down that path again. There are much bigger problems in the world to worry about. As always, you are your own best advocate. Well-informed, thinking reader is a sleazy blogger’s worst nightmare.
OK, it’s your turn now! How are you, guys? Where are you heading to? Have you been a burning man/woman lately?
Leana is the owner and 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.