A Mommy’s Dilemma: Burn Hilton Points or Go for New IHG Promo?

And I’m the mommy in question. My husband and me rarely get away anywhere without the kids. In fact, it’s been almost a year since our last escape from the munchkins. And to be honest, right now I’m going a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Where is my Martha Stewart wine? Oops, it’s only 9 in the morning… Oh well, it’s 12 o’clock somewhere. I’m kidding, y’all!

I’ve had kids home with me the entire summer, and keeping them entertained is not an easy task. Not to mention, trying to work from home (aka blogging) while having them run around and yell at each other can be a nightmare. So, if you see a misspelled word in a post, it’s my kids’ fault.

Anyway, long story short, I’m looking forward to spending one night in a hotel alone with  my husband (in peace). I’m SO looking forward to it. The problem is, he is a super busy guy and hates driving anywhere on weekends. As it turns out, we will have to be in Orlando next month, in order to attend an event. So, I figured, why not kill two birds with one stone?

Since it will be our only getaway for a long time, I wanted a nice place. Not anything fancy, but relaxing, resort-like setting. I have plans for IHG points and have very little left in Hyatt program, which led me to Hilton. At the moment,  I have 95k Hilton points and no specific plans to use them. Choosing a place was relatively easy. Introducing Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

I’ve been wanting to stay in this resort because it looks like an oasis in the middle of Orlando craziness. In general, neither my husband or me are big fans of this area in Florida. But the lake-front setting, pools and lazy river make the resort look peaceful and appealing.

The cost ranges between 34,000-50,000 points per night, depending on the season. The resort fee is waived when you use points, but you still have to pay parking fees of $27 per day. Since I currently have Gold status via Hilton Surpass credit card, it would cover breakfast for both of us. I may get a late checkout as well.

The award rate for our night was 36,000 points per night. Not dirt cheap, but not terrible. Plus, like I said, it’s a bit of a splurge since this is our only couple getaway for year 2017. So, I went ahead and booked it.

Enter “mommy” guilt

Like I said, it looks like a fun place, a little too fun, in fact. The more I started examining the photos, the more I felt like we should save the points and use them when we can bring the kids with us. The slides! The lazy river! Oh, how my children would enjoy those…

The standard rooms have two queen beds, so we could technically all fit. Sharing one room with kids is not ideal, but we could make it work for just two nights. Plus, the  “maximizer” in me kept saying that we would get a better value out of the points by bringing four people instead of two.

However, we are already planning to take the kids to several fun, family-friendly resorts over the next 6 months. And yes, both have slides and a lazy river. It’s not like my children are deprived in any way, shape or form. Am I supposed to stay in a Motel 6 (that has no pool) with my husband so I wouldn’t feel any guilt? Actually, scratch that, the kids would probably enjoy Motel 6 also.

I know it’s crazy that I feel this way. I work hard in order to accumulate my points. It’s seriously like a part-time job at this point. And then I go write my thoughts down in the blog, which takes considerable time and energy. It’s like an alcoholic hanging out at the bar all the time. The type of bar that only sells Martha Stewart wines bought via Amex offers.

Why can’t I just enjoy the points without feeling guilty? Floating down the lazy river and not watching the kids for fear of them drowning sounds pretty darn nice. Not to mention, my husband prefers fancy hotels.

What?! New IHG Accelerate and Wyndham promos?

So, I made my peace with splurging on Hilton and then new IHG Accelerate promo came out. I’ve mentioned it on Friday, and shared my set of tasks:

I started thinking that maybe I should just pay for IHG property and hit one of the nights that way. Of course, I didn’t want to spend a lot on it. I have a much easier time parting with hotel points than I do with cash. Here are some of the options I was looking at:

I’ve actually stayed in two out of three hotels, and I doubt the other Holiday Inn is all that different. They are OK, just not a special “couple getaway” material. Yes, there is a pool and a hot tub, but no lake or anything else that screams “resort setting.” Of course, the price is fairly cheap, something that is hard for me to resist.

I was thinking that factoring in promo earnings, our hotel stay in Orlando would effectively be  free. I would still have to book one more night, but I’m sure I could find a cheap property for $60-$70 all-in somewhere. I would just check in over the phone. Hey, maybe we could switch hotels in Orlando and stay two nights? Nah, my husband will not approve.

We would get 35,000 IHG points (factoring in regular earning rate on stays), which would pay for one night at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Cape Canaveral Beach Resort  Naturally, we would be taking the kids with us. And of course, we will  take them to Hilton Bonnet Creek for two nights as well. So, the kids will have fun, but guess who just got shafted in this scenario? 🙂

I speculatively value IHG points at 0.3 cents apiece. So, by that logic, I would be willing to pay $105 for 35,000 points. That’s why I said that our hotel  stay in Orlando would essentially be free. There is one issue, however. I would never pay $105 for a Holiday Inn if it wasn’t for the promotion. Not during a special getaway with my husband.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a simple gal, and I’m sure I would be perfectly happy at a Holiday Inn. We’ve stayed at a Holiday Inn Express for our anniversary before. The difference is, it was on IHG PointBreaks list, and within close proximity to St. Augustine, a city we both absolutely love. So part of me just wants to shaft the kids and stay in Hilton without them. We could always get more points since IHG promos come out on a regular basis. Not to mention, I would save my precious cash.

I looked into Wyndham promo as well (7,500 points after one stay when paying with Masterpass), specifically  Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek Resort  It looks like a fun resort, comparable to Hilton. But once again, there is an issue of spending cash which I really want to conserve if at all possible. Here is a non-refundable rate for one night, not including parking:

Whoa! Free travel can be very expensive. And then I would have to add a second night stay somewhere in order to have enough points for a future “free” night.  Plus, once again,  I would feel guilty for not bringing the kids after dropping so much cash.

Maybe I should just use the points I already have (guilt-free) and not worry about maximizing every single stay for a future family vacation. I wish I could turn off my OCD brain for once and not overthink every single math equation. Hmm, maybe drinking some wine would help.

Readers, what would you do? Can you help me get over my “mommy/maximizer” guilt?

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Author: Leana

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.

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18 thoughts on “A Mommy’s Dilemma: Burn Hilton Points or Go for New IHG Promo?

  1. I find that during a “no kids” short break the specific property does not have to be top notch (just not miserable!) – you will enjoy it be it a holiday inn or a Hyatt.
    Plus, you will probably be upgraded due to IHG platinum and end up in a nicer room than expected.

    Moreover, I hate being “kid free” for a change and then having everyone else’s kids in the hotel – so a “super family oriented resort” is frowned upon in my book. You can your kids to Hilton another time, while going for less resort-like hotel that maybe does not over-charge for parking… My 2 cents

    Cheer up, soon the kids will be back at school…

  2. @Uri The kids just went back to school! Where is my Martha Stewart wine? 🙂 I agree with you on not staying in the property that is too family-ish (a word?). Unfortunately, most hotels in Orlando fall in that category. In fact, we are more likely to have a peaceful atmosphere in Hilton than Holiday Inn. That property covers a good chunk of land, and there are spots where you can get away from it all. And the view is nice.
    My biggest issue is spending cash. All these promos require financial commitment. If I had specific plans for the points, it would be different. But I think I have what I need for the next year or so. I’m thinking I can always do a promo later on. I don’t know… Either way, it’s first world problems.

  3. In that case, enjoy the Hilton, I think 36000 points with breakfast included due to status, make it a good deal even you should be happy with. There will be other promos…

    • @Uri That’s what I keep thinking too. If you are always chasing the next deal, you won’t be able to enjoy the deal you are getting right now.

  4. If it were me, I’d do TWO nights at a nice resort. Haha. But I’m selfish and reckless that way. Heck, I just got done booking five nights in Maui sans kids. Of course, I do get mom guilt. I just try and tell myself giving the gift of travel to my kids is great but so is giving the gift of happy parents.

    • @Jennifer Amen! Having a happy marriage is good for kids. I actually wanted to spend two nights, but the second one was running at 44,000 points. Add parking fees and dining, and I decided to settle on just one night and ask for a late checkout. We really do need to save cash right now. If the price comes down to 36,000 points, I may book it. We’ll see.
      Enjoy Maui!!!

  5. Definitely a vote for Hilton for me. Think of it as a work trip as you can then do a review for all of us! Or at least provide perspective for those who are considering it. Your audience is definitely more interested in that property than the others you mentioned, so you can consider it a favor to all of us.

    And Jennifer is spot on. Your happiness is a blessing for your kids, and I’m sure they’ll be just fine without this trip centering around them.

    • @Cheapblackdad Haha! I actually thought about that. It would be fun to review it for your guys. Sadly, I can’t deduct the value of points on my tax return. 🙂 I wish!
      But yeah, I agree, it would be beneficial for readers, and that’s something to consider.

  6. I had a similar problem on our April trip between using money for the IHG promo or using our points. The kids were with us so there was no guilt. The IHG hotels we needed had only two double beds so l gave up on the promo and spending over $300 for two nights earning 40k IHG points and burned 10k ur at a Hyatt Place that actually had room for 5 people. The sad part is that I sometimes wonder if I should have gone for the IHG promo. ?That would have been a bad idea -a family of five with two double beds!

    • I can relate! We’ve done IHG promos where we had to stay in a room with two double beds. Never again. We got almost no sleep that night and it was just a total nuisance. With five people I wouldn’t even consider it. That’s the thing with miles and points hobby. At what point is rigamarole no longer worth it? I feel like I’m getting to the point where I question any promo that requires cash outlay, especially if I have to sacrifice what I actually want. Sure, we can always use IHG points. But then again, we can just look for off-season rates and pay cash as needed.

  7. OMG!!! Leana – I can’t stop laughing…you sound just like me. I hate the mommy guilt of being in a pool or a nice hotel without the kids (which I have only done 1 or 2 times)…I won’t even dare go to a beach without them or I’ll never hear the end of it. I say enjoy the Hilton and do a write up for us that way it’s all work related 🙂

    Hubby and I are finally going on an adult only 3 night vacation in a few months. I will not be eaten up by the mommy guilt because 1) I picked a location which the kids had no interest in visiting, 2) Going during a school week so they can’t go anyways, and 3) I don’t think there’s even a pool at our hotel.

    Don’t take the kids…you need a break especially having them all summer.

    • @Stephanie You are the more organized, saner version of me! I also usually make sure to pick a place that the kids wouldn’t enjoy anyway. That’s why I’m so torn on this Hilton. It’s THE place to take kids, so many amenities. But we already have some stuff planned for them anyway, plus, my in-laws are taking them on a short getaway to St. Augustine while we are gone. So it’s not like they will be sitting at home crying while we are splashing in the pool. And I agree, reviewing Hilton will be ten times more fun that Holiday Inn.

  8. Take a break, don’t feel guilty (I know that’s near impossible but you really have no reason to) and save the cash! And then try your best to enjoy it, without second guessing yourself. And write about it, of course!

    • @Debra Thank You! Yes to saving cash. I definitely don’t need to be spending money right now unless it’s a necessity.
      In this hobby we sometimes get caught up in maximizing promos, we forget to simply have fun. And I agree, it’s good to get away from kids now and again. I definitely don’t have an issue with that and in fact, encourage other couples to do it. It can be difficult when a place is designed for family, but oh well.

  9. I am still catching up with old posts! I’ll be interested to find out what you did.

    It’s probably a little late for my thoughts, but I’ll share my general feelings on guilt for general philosophy…

    Always ask yourself, “Do I really feel guilty? Or do I think I’m supposed to feel guilty?” I think society has many of us thinking we are not good moms if we don’t feel guilty all the time, so we convince ourselves to feel guilty when unnecessary.

    If you truly feel guilty, then you should question what your doing and why and probably make some adjustments.

    If you just think you’re supposed to feel guilty, then maybe try readjust.

    If you just think it’s a great hotel for kids and WANT to take kids there, that’s OK.

    I’d say there is nothing wrong with floating down the lazy river peacefully with your man and leaving kids at home. And nothing wrong with taking your kids because you *want” to. But don’t do it out of guilt. No reason to feel guilty if you’ve done nothing wrong.

    “Never make decisions based on fear guilt or anger.” Wise words I read on a fridge magnet once. 🙂

    • @Talchinski I should have written a follow-up. We ended up doing neither, actually. Life got in the way. There was a death in the family, so the original plans got scrapped. We did go to the beach for one night, but at a different time.
      I was going to go with Hilton, though, and skip IHG promo. Hopefully, we’ll make it to that resort one of these days.
      I totally get what you are saying. Honestly, my guilt with these type of resorts has to do with the fact that I know how much my kids would enjoy the amenities. But! They are not deprived in any way. We take them to lots of fun resorts on a regular basis. I need to stop overthinking these things. As long as they don’t know what they are missing, there is no harm done! 🙂

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