I take this serious. Points and Miles are a fine hobby for some but not for me. There is no “hobby” about it. I’m hunting for value and opportunity everyday and everywhere. My traveling parameters? The Globe. I travel, I observe, I write…you nod off. All is well and right in the world.
The costs to travel the world are, well…outrageous. I don’t do outrageous, I do value and I use three main tools: Credit Cards, reaching Status with what ever company I’m using and by taking advantage of every points and miles “promo” “they” offer.
Example: I’m in Vienna, Austria and I need a King room for two nights. Nearest Hotel is a Starwood (SPG) property called the Hotel Bristol. A Luxury Collection, 5 Star Hotel. I’m swinging for the fences. What do you do now? My Mantra: “Always bite off more than you can chew” Its a good thing that I’ve got a big mouth cause’ we’re going in the door! How?
- Open the SPG app on your phone and check rates at the hotel using the SPG Lowest Standard Rates, SPG Free Nights and SPG Cash and Points options. Here is what I see:
Do the math: SPG points are worth ~2.7 cents each.
- Option 1. Pay $283.22 per night x 2 = $566.44
- Option 2. Use 12,000 SPG Starpoints per night (12,000 x 2=24,000pts) x .027 $648.00 total
- Option 3. Use 6,000 SPG Starpoints per night (6000 x 2 =12,000pts = $324.00) + $110.00 per night $220.00. Total $324.00 (in Pts Value) +$220.00 in cash =$544.00.
So what now? You need “points”. This is where the Credit card comes in. Go to Americanexpress.com, look for the Purple SPG Starwood card. Simple; qualify, spend $3000.00 on whatever (bills,utilities etc…) within 90 days and receive 25,000 SPG points (that alone is worth ~$675.00 in value). The card costs $95.00 a year but that fee is waived the first year. Anyway, there’s your points.
Now you need Status. Stay with me to the end and you’ll appreciate why. You’ll want to be Gold or better. Don’t forget that Gold with SPG, Marriott or Ritz is Gold with all three. Also, remember how I said I take this serious? Well, the next Card you’ll need to explore is the Americanexpress.com Business or Personal Platinum. One of it’s many valuable benefits is that you are automatically Gold with SPG and Hilton. Read up, this is a serious card for serious people who love to travel. Anyway, there is your Gold Status with SPG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Hilton. They all constantly offer opportunities to earn more points to keep growing if you choose.
Well, I went in and chose option 3. $220.00 + 12,000 pts. I booked a basic King room on my phone standing in the lobby. Because of my Gold Status and room availability, I was upgraded to a Deluxe Executive King ~$530.00 a night ($1060.00 total value) for $220.00 and 12k in points. Now, you’ve formed a mental picture of this Executive room. It was everything your thinking. It was Vienna, Austria Amazing.
There it is, serious Credit Cards for serious travel. On a serious note, you lose value if you run balances and don’t pay these cards off EVERY month. If you can do that, you’ll be amazed. Study all of the benefits and costs and see if they are right for you!