Longtime miles & points junkies will be familiar with the annual US Daily Getaways Program. In the golden days, it was once possible to leverage cheap Wyndham Rewards points to cheap airline miles and I must admit to taking full advantage in years past. That all came to a halt last year when Wyndham devalued their transfer ratio and the Daily Getaways put up their price.
This year the promo will run 23 March to 24 April and the first 3 weeks have already been posted. Since there is no longer any value in airline transfers unless you just need a couple 1000 as a top up, the best reason to buy these points is to use them for hotels. I know all the miles/points/travel blogs will be covering the best deals in a general sense so I will only address the best deals specifically for eco-tourists who want to use points to stay cheaply some place within a day trip of a good bird watching location.
In all of the examples below, you need to determine if it represents a good value to you. You need to check if the chain hotel is where you really want to be or would you prefer to just pay for a night in a non-chain hotel. For myself, I have decided that I will not pay money to stay in chain hotels but I will stay in them if I get an extremely good deal from a credit card. The only credit cards I deem useful to me are the IHG Rewards & Club Carlson Visa. I have no interest in any other hotel chain credit cards.
3 major chains have points on offer, – IHG, Club Carlson & Hilton
IHG does have some good properties in places like Accra, Ghana (day trip to Shai Hills, my review coming soon), Tahiti (between hops to Rimatara & the Marquesas), Panama (day trip to Soberania NP) & Puerto Rico (day trip to El Yunque). Historically these points won’t sell out quickly as you can buy IHG Rewards using the book & cancel method.
Club Carlson also has a property in Puerto Rico and Panama suitable as above. I also used the Radisson Blu to good advantage for a day trip to Birds of Eden, Tahiti on a layover and a pre-flight stay in San Jose, Costa Rica. These points will go moderately fast as they are very useful to anyone who has the Club Carlson Visa card and gets a free night for at least one night booked on points.
The Hilton packages don’t seem to be that great of a value and I don’t see them selling out. While we did enjoy our stay in Mauritius last year which cost 80,000 points for 2 nights, there is no way I would have spent $500 to purchase 100,000 points for those 2 nights. We got those points by doing social media games which are no longer running for free. If we hadn’t had the points, we would have used Pointshound to book something cheap and earn miles.
Nothing here to interest eco-tourists. The Choice points on Friday are excellent value when used in Europe but that’s out of scope for this blog. Here is a good example of a blogger who is making excellent use of this promo for his trip to Europe. Last year, we used 10,000 Choice Rewards to stay in Venice at a hotel that would have cost over $300! They are the only thing I see going fast so if you want some you will have to be ready to go right at 1:00 pm ET. (US time zone as in New York if you need a converter).
Once again, nothing of interest to eco-tourists. The Hyatt packages will go extremely fast because people who want to stay in luxury hotels will snap them up but Hyatt doesn’t have any properties in places that also have good birding.
WHAT AM I DOING?
Sitting out this year! Since I am a good advance planner, I have already determined that I have enough hotel points for our needs for the next 3 years. Most of our stays will be at independent properties, I just like them much better and I like having more choice. Nothing worse than being stuck in a bad location because that’s where your points hotel is!