So, the other day, I’m getting ready for bed when I receive a phone call from my mother-in-law at 10PM. She seems distressed. Hmm, what’s up? That day, her and my sister-in-law left for Orlando to attend an IRS training course, something that is vital to their accounting business. Except, right now they are driving back home. Apparently, when they got to Hyatt (the venue for the seminar and their hotel wrapped into one), they were told they don’t have a reservation. What the what?
So, my sister-in-law got fed up and decided to just scrap the whole thing. Never mind the fact that she paid a huge (non-refundable) amount for this training. So, my mother-in-law was calling me to see if I could redeem some points from her IHG or Club Carlson accounts. It was the only way my sister-in-law would turn around. Oh, she wanted me to be quick (since they were getting further and further away from Orlando), get a nice place that is close to Hyatt, and the room needed to have a fridge. Aaaaaand go!
I was barely awake, so after splashing some cold water on my face, I checked TripAdvisor to find out where the Hyatt is located:
You click on the map located on the same page where you find a review on any given property, and this baby pops up. It’s quite handy since it shows other hotels nearby. When you click on it, it brings up info for that specific property, like Holiday Inn you see on the left. Unfortunately, this particular place was quite expensive at 35,000 points per night. Since paid rate was $90, it would be foolish to burn points here (IMO, of course).
I checked some SPG properties, and there is Sheraton Lake Buena Vista that goes for 4,000 SPG points on weekdays. It’s not terrible, but there is an extra $35 charge per night (parking+resort fee). My sister-in-law hates fees and would storm out, for sure. Next!
My attention turned to Radisson Hotel Orlando (see TripAdvisor page) located nearby. It’s extremely expensive at 38,000 points per night, but the reviews are magnificent, the room has a fridge and there are no resort fees. I think we found ourselves a winner. You see, both of my in-laws have Club Carlson credit cards and I used their accounts for some cheap stays in Warsaw. So, they each got around 34,000 points via $50 hotel stay after participating in that promotion (now over).
Club Carlson currency is probably the least valuable in our family’s “portfolio” of points. Mostly, it has to do with the lack of US coverage. I planned to burn this stash for my family in Europe, but my renewal points from Club Carlson credit cards should give me the amount I need. Since we acquired these points super cheap, it was the classic example of “buying low and selling high” that I talked about earlier this week. So, I went ahead and redeemed them. The paid rate is around $110 per night because it’s a very slow time of the year, so we only got around 0.29 CPP (cents per point). But since I acquired them for much less, not to mention I needed hotel stays anyway, I went ahead and pulled the trigger.
This is why it helps to have an idea on what your points are worth to you, not what bloggers (me included) say they are worth. You never know if you’ll need to help a relative who is stranded somewhere and looking for a place to stay. They might even call in the middle of the night and you’ll have to come up with a plan right on the spot.
In my case, the more logical thing to do would be to just book a paid rate in IHG property and get some bonus points from Accelerate promo. We could receive 10K to 15K for just one stay without needing to complete other hurdles. But it was late, my mother-in-law just wanted to get a “free” hotel, and the pressure was on.
Well, they loved the Radisson. Wait, I thought all Club Carlson properties in US are dumps?
Just look at that happy face!
Love that fancy sink.
P.S. The next morning they found out that they went to the wrong Hyatt and that’s why the agent couldn’t find the reservation. Oops.
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.