Why You Should Look Beyond Hotel Points when Traveling Off-season

In this community, we are all mildly obsessed with miles and hotel points.  A good chunk of my content deals with ways to leverage hotel loyalty currency in the most optimal way possible.

But the truth is, none of it probably matters if you are traveling off-season. The timing will vary for each destination, but in general, you can expect a significant price dip on lodging when going to Florida, Caribbean and US mountains in the summer. And that’s when most families tend to travel.

Nancy (who was born in Colorado) has actually written a post on why you should consider visiting her state in the summer.  We’ve  just booked a mountain cabin in North Carolina  in June of 2019 by going through VRBO.com One of the reasons was  relatively low cost.

I live in Florida, and summer is definitely  low season in my neck of the woods. It rains more, and the heat can be suffocating at times. But I happen to think it’s one of the best times to plan a beach vacation or any trip that involves hanging around the pool. On the coast it rarely rains for more than one hour at a time. And the water is warm, making it easy to enjoy getting in the ocean. Have you tried swimming in Florida during March? Brrr.

But, but, but, the hurricane season? As long as you go before August, you should be fine. And there are bargains aplenty, no need to use hotel points. You can, of course, but in many cases, it simply won’t be worth it. Most rooms in beachfront hotels will run you between 35,000- 50,000 points per night, depending on the program.

Wyndham is an exception because you can get a one-bedroom unit for 15,000 points per night. Then again, you may still want to save your points for March when prices on beachfront Florida hotels are sky-high. This is especially true if you travel to my state often.

Perhaps you don’t want to deal with individual owners on sites like VRBO.com or AirBnB.com in order to save money on lodging. You don’t have to. Some websites you may want to follow if you want to snag bargains are Groupon (my referral link), Travelzoo and SkyAuction

Just a few examples of summer lodging deals in Florida

Heads up! These deals may be sold out by the time you read the post.

Take, for example, this deal in South Seas Resort in Captiva via Travelzoo:

 

It’s certainly not cheap, but you can expect to pay three times that much during spring. There are stupid resort fees, unfortunately, but at least you are getting some tangible benefits. The kids are not charged the resort fee, just adults.

This Captiva resort has been on my radar for years, and I just can’t seem to pull the trigger. But one of these days I will. I’ve said many times that Captiva and Sanibel islands are my favorite area in all of Florida. If you are looking for a laid-back and quirky atmosphere, this is the place to come. It’s Florida Keys on steroids. You will have to fly to Fort Myers airport, which is served by Southwest.

Another deal you may want to consider is this hotel in Bradenton beach via Groupon, also an off-the-beaten-path area in Florida:

Anna Maria island has a free trolley that your kids will surely enjoy. You can fly to Tampa airport, served by Southwest.

If you are looking to vacation in Orlando during the summer, you really should save your hotel points. You can easily snag a one-bedroom condo for around $59+tax, less if you are spending a whole week.

Here are just a  few examples via Sky Auction subsidiary VacationRentals.com The price is per week:

A two-bedroom unit will cost a bit more, but will probably be worth it if you have kids. I do recommend you consider buying travel insurance in case your plans change.

About that smokin’ deal on Park Hyatt St.Kitts

If you follow our Facebook page, you’ve probably seen me mention the deal on Park Hyatt St. Kitts where you get 4th night free, plus $300 Resort credit per person/per stay. You have to book by June 30th and stay before  December.

Here is what a 4-night booking for July 14th-18th would look like:

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Paying $1,464 for four nights (during off-season no less) is most definitely not cheap. But here is why this promotion could make sense for some folks who are perhaps celebrating a honeymoon or a special wedding anniversary. According to OMAAT blog, you can combine the promo with Hyatt Prive program benefits. I’m not familiar with it, but apparently, you get several extra perks such as:

  1. $100 property credit per stay.
  2. Daily breakfast for two.
  3. Room upgrade and late check-in/checkout (subject to availability)
  4. Some sort of gift.

The first two are tangible benefits, the rest is iffy. Apparently, you have to book through a travel agent who participates in Hyatt Prive program.

So, to recap, you will pay $1,464 for four nights. In exchange, you will get free breakfast for two, $700 in credits than can be used on food, plus a potential upgrade. Basically, you can look at it as an all-inclusive resort which costs $366 per night. Cheap? No way! But if you’ve always wanted to visit St. Kitts and the neighboring island of Nevis, it’s not a bad deal.

The resort looks gorgeous, actually (see this detailed review on TravelCodex). Reportedly, the kids over age of 3 get a $300 credit/per person as well, but I can’t vouch for that. By comparison, this resort costs 30,000 Hyatt points per night. It would make no sense to transfer your UR currency to Hyatt on 1:1 basis, as you would miss out on all the perks of  a paid rate special.

What about flying to St. Kitts? Your best bet is to book award tickets on American Airlines operated flights from Miami, but do it via British Airways Avios program. You will pay 10,000 Avios one-way, which you can transfer from Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards and SPG on 1:1 basis. The last one can take  a week or more.

You can use AA miles instead, especially if you find a sAAver award from your home airport. Award availability from Miami is looking pretty good right now:

Bottom line

Hotel points definitely have their place.  They will give you more flexibility, and allow you to book hotels at a fixed price when paid rate is astronomical, like during special events and high season.

One of my readers has mentioned that he was able to snag a Hilton room last-minute for 30,000 points during 2017 solar eclipse (the hotel was located in the path of totality). The paid rates were through the roof, not surprisingly. That’s when hotel points truly shine.

But if you are traveling off-season, have flexibility when it comes to destinations, and don’t happen to be in town during special events, you may want to look elsewhere.

Click here to view various credit cards and available sign-up bonuses

 

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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2 thoughts on “Why You Should Look Beyond Hotel Points when Traveling Off-season

  1. I hadn’t thought of Florida in the summer, good point!

    We homeschool and one of the perks is being able to travel in the off or shoulder season. It makes a big difference for price and crowds.

    And you make a good point about making sure it is worth using points vs cash rate.

  2. Kacie, it definitely is hotter in the summer and rains quite a bit. But the ocean water is nice and warm! I do recommend avoiding August because hurricanes start popping up during that time frame. And yeah, if you have a limited supply of hotel points, it could make sense to save them for high season. For example, I was looking at a beachfront Hilton hotel and it runs at 48,000 points per night in July. That’s just too high when you can find a non-chain hotel for around $130 per night.

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