Update: some of the offers have changed or are no longer available.
I’m talking, of course, about Robert John Burck. According to his bio, “Burck, better known as the Naked Cowboy, is an American street performer whose pitch is on New York City’s Times Square. He wears only cowboy boots, a hat and briefs, with a guitar strategically placed to give the illusion of nudity.”
Oh my! Here is the crazy thing. I didn’t realize it, but this dude is now an empire. He is worth 4 million dollars and runs a crew of other scantily clad singing cowboys and cowgirls. Heck, his wife is one of them! He appears in movies and can be booked for special events by calling 866-99-NAKED (the phone number was on his website). Genius! No overhead costs other than an old hat, guitar and a pair of underwear (which he probably deducts on his tax return).
I’ve been thinking about some marketing techniques to increase my blog traffic, and the light bulb went off. I will post photos of myself wearing nothing but strategically placed credit cards. And let me tell you, I have so many of them, I can make myself look like the character of Mystique from “X-Men.”
Anyway, this was the first request on my yesterday’s gift card getaway post (don’t forget to enter), so I figured I will get to it right away. My reader BB wanted to know how his friend can stay in Times Square for a week in May, using nothing but credit card sign-up bonuses. He also pointed out that it would be a good topic for couples who want to plan a special getaway with a spouse. I concur! Long time ago, I put together a post on some ideas for a getaway in New York, Chicago and Miami.
But this time, I will specifically focus on properties in Times Square. So, first, the bad news. She will have to switch hotels twice. Since I’m assuming that she is traveling without kids, I doubt it’s a deal breaker. Personally, I like trying out various properties. When I don’t have the kids with me, that is.
Now, on to the good news. It is doable, but will require some flexibility on her part and willingness to sign up for 3 credit cards. They are:
Chase Hyatt Visa
You get two free nights at any Hyatt property (standard room, double occupancy). On top of it, you get $50 statement credit and 5,000 Gold Passport points, redeemable for a category 1 hotel. You have to spend $1,000 in 3 months.
Hyatt program has a policy that as long as basic rooms are available for sale, award rooms should be bookable as well. In practice, that’s not always the case, but when you call and gently remind them about this policy, usually, the agents will manually open availability.
The property to consider: Hyatt Times Square New York
The reviews are very good, and the place goes for over $400 per night in the month of May. I also want to note that Hyatt has other nice properties in New York. She may want to instead consider Park Hyatt that goes for close to $900 per night.
Wyndham Signature Rewards Visa
You get 45,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months. Annual fee of $69 is not waived. The bonus should be enough for 3 nights at any Wyndham hotel. I’ve written a post about some of the quirks of this program, and recommend you read it. Wyndham advertises “no blackout policy,” but in reality, it’s rarely enforced. Still, there is a good chance she should be able to use the points in New York, since Wyndham has quite a few decent hotels at this location.
The property to consider: TRYP by Wyndham Times Square South
You would have to call Wyndham to book this hotel. The property gets great reviews, and rates hover around $300 per night.
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa
You earn 2 weekend night certificates at select Hilton properties after spending $2,500 in 3 months. Annual fee of $95 is not waived. There is a non-affiliate offer that comes with $100 credit after staying at a Hilton property. Update: The application doesn’t seem to load at the moment. You can find a link to it as well as all the other hotel cards in this post.
Obviously, the biggest downside to this bonus is the fact that it’s only redeemable on weekends. Also, the certificates are only valid for standard room. Hilton program doesn’t have “no blackout dates” policy on award rooms. That said, Hilton has quite a few properties in New York, so she should be able to find something.
The property to consider: Doubletree Suites New York City
This hotel runs at 80,000 points and the rate in May is $379 per night.
Runner-up: Hilton Times Square
Depending on her preferences, this may be the top choice. The rate is also 80,000 points per night. The credit card comes with Gold status, which should give her free breakfast at this particular hotel.
Chase Fairmont Signature Visa
This card now comes with a waived annual fee and 2 free night certificates at any Fairmont property. You have to spend $3,000 in 3 months in order to collect the bonus. So, why is it merely an honorable mention? Because, according to reports, many have had a hard time redeeming these certificates in Fairmont Plaza New York
For the latest on this card and Fairmont properties, I suggest you follow this Flyertalk thread.
If she goes with those three suggested credit cards, she can potentially get a week in Times Square, staying in extremely nice hotels with the help of sign-up bonuses. The required spending is $4,500 in 3 months. It’s a bit high, but since the cards are from different banks, there is a good shot of getting approved for all 3 at the same time.
All things considered, I would say the overhead is almost as low as that of the Naked Cowboy.
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.