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Not long ago, my husband and I got a chance to get away (no kids!) to Siesta Key in Florida. For those unfamiliar, Siesta Key is a funky beach community on the Gulf of Mexico. While relatively discovered, it’s not quite mainstream yet. And that’s the way I like it! Siesta Key is less than 1.5 hours from our home, so a weekend getaway is very doable. The closest airport is in Sarasota.
You won’t find any huge hotels like you would in Clearwater, and the atmosphere is relatively subdued. Siesta Key’s claim to fame is a beautiful beach with quartz sand that doesn’t get hot in the sun. In fact this beach was voted N. 1 in America quite a few times.
That’s why I was so excited when Wyndham Rewards has announced its partnership with Vacasa. While I’m happy to use points for “free” hotel stays, my strong preference is vacation rentals that are part of a local neighborhood. We paid 15k Wyndham points per night, for a total of 30k points. The cash cost for our dates was $600, so we got 2 cents per point.
Our stay at Parrot Beach cottage N.3
As soon as we pulled in, an old guy without a shirt (who obviously despises sunscreen) smiled and told me this place is paradise. That instantly put me in vacation mood. Turned out he drove all the way from Ohio and was staying in a unit next to us.
This is a Vacasa link to our rental where you can see the detailed description. There are four units total (each with an assigned parking spot), and ours was located upstairs.
If you squinted a bit and ignored the trash cans in the yard, you could even feast your eyes on a sliver of an ocean view from the deck. That was actually a nice surprise.
The living room:
Note that you have to enter the bathroom via bedroom. For that reason, I don’t think it’s a good fit if you bring older children with you. Besides, the rental is fairly small, and you would probably feel cramped anyway. That said, if you have an infant, it’s a pretty good setup, since you can leave him/her in the living room and close the door to the bedroom to have some peace and quiet.
The rental was nothing fancy, but I didn’t mind it one bit. If you look closely on some of the photos, you will see scratches etc. It is an old building, so adjust your expectations accordingly. Overall, it was clean, though I did spot some dust on blinds.
Another minor complaint is that sheets were kind of scratchy, though not terrible. Also, you are supposed to keep the temperature at 75 during the day since the A/C is old. During the night I turned it down to 71, and it worked fine. YMMV, especially if you come in August.
But who cares?! I was mostly here for the beach anyway.
There are also a few amenities on the property that are worth mentioning.
There is a tiny pool:
Some grills and picnic tables:
And just look at this super cool outdoor shower:
This location IMO is ideal. You are a few feet away from a gorgeous beach, and are within walking distance to some nice restaurants. I recommend Flavio’s if you like Italian.
We also used Doordash (my referral link where you get $10 off the first three orders) to eat IHOP breakfast inside our rental. I absolutely love food delivery apps and highly recommend you give them a try while on vacation. Siesta Key has quite a few participating restaurants in the area.
It probably won’t surprise you that I’ve already booked another short getaway at this place with my Wyndham currency. Btw, you now have to call 1-800-441-1034 to redeem your Wyndham points on Vacasa properties.
Despite a few shortcomings, it’s very hard to beat the rate of 15k points per night for this particular rental. Yes, I’m sure there are better Vacasa deals to be had. But for me, the fact that it’s so close to home is a huge plus.
The problem with Vacasa rentals is that unless you cancel 30 easy in advance, you lose ALL the points. If for some reason we aren’t able to go, I can always find a friend or a relative in Florida who can stay there on short notice. We never interacted with the owner and used the lockbox in order to get the key.
I can’t wait to go back here with my husband.
How you can acquire Wyndham points
Obviously, the easiest way is to apply for one of Wyndham co-branded credit cards. Right now the offers on personal versions are not as high as they were last year, so I suggest to wait. The business version, however, is worth considering. Right now you can get 65k points after spending $1k in 90 days, and an extra 10k points if you add an employee. Application link (doesn’t pay us commission).
Do keep in mind that Barclays is tough when it comes to approvals. Right now several of their business cards come with increased sign-up bonuses, so choose wisely. Personally, I would pick AAdvantage Business card (see Nancy’s post for details). But it really depends on what you are looking for. If you are swimming in miles, but lack hotel points, then Wyndham card may be preferable.
Another way to acquire Wyndham points is to buy them when they go on sale. Occasionally (though not right now), Wyndham program sells them for less than 1 cent per point. It could be worth considering, though make sure to call Vacasa and inquire about availability on your specific dates.
During peak season, using points can yield a tremendous ROI. Here is an example from March of 2023:
It’s been reported on various blogs that the price on one-bedroom units can not exceed $350 per night before fees and taxes. Assuming this is indeed the case on all properties, you can see that the potential value is tremendous. I’m not saying this rental is worth anywhere close to $500 per night, but paying $145 in March is a pretty darn good deal.
Again, I’m not a fan of buying points, but I would not completely dismiss this option either. Btw, I’ve acquired my Wyndham points via spending promos and paying renewal fees on two credit cards. My cost per night was $69 all-in. At this price I’ll put up with scratchy sheets (might bring my own next time) and some dust on blinds.
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.