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Help me cut down my trip expense by using my points/miles!

Help me cut down my trip expense by using my points/miles!

Old Sep 25, 2013, 8:01 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: STL
Programs: Hyatt Platinum, Hilton Gold
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Help me cut down my trip expense by using my points/miles!

I am a brand new GOLD status member with Hilton and want to stay at the downtown Nashville Hilton on Nov 8-10 (2 nights) for a quick weekend visit. Unfortunately, rooms are a whopping $499/night!

I need some ideas on ways to cut down the expense!

Looking at my points, this is all I've got:
  • 60k AA miles
  • finishing up a 2500 spend for 2 free nights with Hilton Citi Reserve card*

*My statement for the Citi Reserve card should close on 10/22 but I'm not sure I'll get the certificates in time for the Nov8-10 stay.

I was hoping to keep my 60k AA miles and use it for a Thanksgiving trip home (it will take me about 50k miles) to see my parents. Regardless, I will need to make this trip whether I pay via cold cash or use the AA miles.

Does anyone have any ideas on the best way to do all this as cheap as possible? Is there a credit card (Barclays?) that I can sign up for that will give me 40k+ points/miles on first purchase (instant posting) that I can use for the Thanksgiving flight or hotel? I already have the Southwest Card and Hyatt Cards (awards already used for both).

Forever grateful...
doss1 is offline  
Old Sep 25, 2013, 9:03 pm
  #2  
 
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Stay elsewhere. There are tons of much cheaper options. Sometimes what you want and what you are willing to pay don't match up.

Is there something going on that weekend that is causing such a high price?
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 9:32 pm
  #3  
 
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Kinda late, and you're sparse on the details. Home airport and thanksgiving destination? Without hilton points, your options are pay $1k or stay elsewhere. Book something refundable so that in case you get your two night cert in time you can use it at the Hilton Nashville like you want.
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 10:13 pm
  #4  
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Home airport: STL
Destination airport: BRO (or HRL or SAT)
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 6:55 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by dukerau
Kinda late, and you're sparse on the details. Home airport and thanksgiving destination? Without hilton points, your options are pay $1k or stay elsewhere. Book something refundable so that in case you get your two night cert in time you can use it at the Hilton Nashville like you want.
I think this is great advise. #1 refundable room some where else for lower rate. #2 If you get the Cert. and most are by E-mail you can use it right away. #3 I would be booking that AA FF soon also. Not many other options unless you have a load of Chase UR's to transfer to HH?
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 7:00 am
  #6  
 
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It's very difficult to get award seats for Thanksgiving travel, and probably impossible to do so (at least at the lowest rate) at this late date.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 8:54 am
  #7  
 
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As the OP notes, willing to use 50K for the domestic RT. For either destination, MileSAAver awards are available for all dates in November and early December, even if the outbound trip starts the day before Thanksgiving and the return is on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It might not be the most popular way to use miles at FT, but the OP's alternative is to make a roughly 18-hour drive each way.

On the other hand, the downtown Nashville Hilton is a different story. I'm going to take a wild guess that the OP is running in the Nashville Marathon on 11/9 which starts and ends in downtown. I understand that location is important for such an event (and the downtown hotel rates for that weekend reflect that), but there are tons of options in the Nashville area at 20% of that cost (Hyatt Places, Holiday Inns, and the like) and even some at 10% of that cost (Red Roofs, Comfort Inns, and the like). I understand that these options will require driving and that staying downtown is preferable, but unlike the Thanksgiving flights, you're not saving 18 hours of driving.

I have tons of hotel points (and even more airline miles), but I still pay for hotel rooms as often as I cash in for awards. It's a value proposition, and determining value for hotels can be trickier than for airlines. For airlines, you're generally covering large distances using a method of transportation with few options. Although I'm generally not prone to using airline miles for awards for domestic redemptions (other than transcontinental), I understand why it might make sense for you to do so at Thanksgiving.

Hotels are a different story. Yes, if you use your Hilton certs, you can say that you got $499/night of value, but did you really? With plenty of alternatives and the willingness to drive a modest distance, it's just as easy to argue you only got $150 of value for the entire weekend. Using certs in New York City, where it can be difficult to find a reliable room for $200/night, great; using certs in Nashville, not so much.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 9:43 am
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by doss1

Does anyone have any ideas on the best way to do all this as cheap as possible? Is there a credit card (Barclays?) that I can sign up for that will give me 40k+ points/miles on first purchase (instant posting) that I can use for the Thanksgiving flight or hotel? I already have the Southwest Card and Hyatt Cards (awards already used for both).

Forever grateful...
The Barclays Arrival card points do post as soon as you spend, and the 40K bonus points post as soon as you hit the $1000 spending.It also gives you 90 days after the travel purchase to redeem, so you can spend on the card, earn the points afterward and then redeem. If you do manufactured spending at $3.95 per $500, this card basically gives you a 64% discount on the travel purchases you redeem on it.

+1 to not overpaying for a hotel room just because you have status.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:31 am
  #9  
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If the Hilton is selling rooms for $499, has the OP checked that rooms on points are available?
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:43 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by doss1
Home airport: STL
Destination airport: BRO (or HRL or SAT)
Do you happen to have the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage cc? Assuming there's availability, you could fly STL to BRO (or MFE) r/t for 17,500 miles in November. This will save you an extra 15,000 miles (and maybe you can use to redeem for at least 1 night?)

http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/ea...ed_mileage.jsp
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 11:09 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by JWEMTX
Do you happen to have the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage cc? Assuming there's availability, you could fly STL to BRO (or MFE) r/t for 17,500 miles in November. This will save you an extra 15,000 miles (and maybe you can use to redeem for at least 1 night?)

http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/ea...ed_mileage.jsp
I tried this out and it seems to be 25k per leg (STL to BRO and vice versa). So...you're saying that I should call AA Reservations and tell them I have that Citi card? This will give me a R/T total of only 17500 miles?!

My plan is to fly out of STL to BRO on 11/27 and return to STL from BRO on 11/29.
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Old Sep 27, 2013, 6:34 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist
If the Hilton is selling rooms for $499, has the OP checked that rooms on points are available?
Yep, about 50k points per room!
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Old Sep 27, 2013, 6:37 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by KennyBSAT
The Barclays Arrival card points do post as soon as you spend, and the 40K bonus points post as soon as you hit the $1000 spending.It also gives you 90 days after the travel purchase to redeem, so you can spend on the card, earn the points afterward and then redeem. If you do manufactured spending at $3.95 per $500, this card basically gives you a 64% discount on the travel purchases you redeem on it.

+1 to not overpaying for a hotel room just because you have status.
Hey Kenny (Btw, your posts on this forum are great--you know your stuff!).

I'll look into the Barclays card. So, you think this is a great way to cut down on my travel expense?
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Old Sep 27, 2013, 12:23 pm
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by doss1
I tried this out and it seems to be 25k per leg (STL to BRO and vice versa). So...you're saying that I should call AA Reservations and tell them I have that Citi card? This will give me a R/T total of only 17500 miles?!

My plan is to fly out of STL to BRO on 11/27 and return to STL from BRO on 11/29.
Would be great if this were the way it worked, but it doesn't. The reduced mileage awards apply only to flights with MileSAAver availability, not to AAnytime awards. When I checked a couple of days ago, almost all of the November availability was from the AAnytime bucket.

See more here: http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/ea...ed_mileage.jsp. Note that some cards only get a 5K discount off a roundtrip award redemption.
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Old Sep 27, 2013, 5:55 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by doss1
Yep, about 50k points per room!
If the room really is worth anywhere close to $499, 50K is a bargain.
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