The Persistent Traveler Often Wins
One of the biggest things I have learned over the years is to never set your travel plans and forget them. I have written about this phenomenon when it comes to airlines, hotels and car rentals. Sometimes prices drop and other times award availability changes on your preferred flight or at your preferred hotel.
While we don’t always have the flexibility to change given the fees in some cases, there is still a ton of flexibility in travel, especially when you use points. For example, when booking hotels on points you generally always get a cancelable rate. This means that you are able to switch around if you need or cancel for any reason up until the deadline.
A Shock at the Green Bay Hyatt
As I wrote about before, I am heading to Green Bay next weekend for a Packers game. When I realized going to Green Bay was an option, I speculatively grabbed a room at the Country Inn & Suites on points. It was the only property in the entire city available on points, which is no surprise given it’s a Packers game day.
The truth is that I really wanted to stay at the Hyatt in Green Bay. (What a surprise!) Considering it is an old converted Embassy Suites it isn’t the fanciest Hyatt in the world, but my Diamond status gets me some decent perks, plus Hyatt > Country Inn & Suites. It also has the added benefit of being much closer to the stadium.
Of course the Hyatt has been fully booked since well before I ever decided to go to Green Bay. As one of the few luxury options in the city, it generally books quickly for every game weekend. As a Diamond I am able to book a Guaranteed Availability rate of $359 per night, but that ain’t gonna happen. Still, I never gave up on this property.
Striking Award Availability Gold
The other night I decided to do my once weekly search and I almost fell off of my seat. There were a couple of rooms available! First, I checked if I could use points and I could. Then I called the Diamond Line to see if Points + Cash was available so I could get a stay credit. Unfortunately that option wasn’t possible, but I still snagged a room for 5,000 points.
The room I booked was also available with cash for $309 plus tax or $356.90. Why would I pay that when I can just drop 5,000 points? I wish I could’ve done points + cash for the stay credit, but I am in no way complaining. A one bedroom suite in a central hotel for 5,000 points a night on a Packers game day? Wow!
Record Redemption Valuations in Green Bay
This Green Bay trip is breaking all sorts of personal redemption records for me. First, I redeemed 9,000 British Airways Avios for a $1,100+ flight at a valuation of 12.6 cents per points and now I am redeeming 5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $356.90 or a valuation of 7.1 cents per point. (That isn’t even factoring in my 1,000 point welcome bonus which drops my cost to 4,000 points!)
Disclaimer: Before you challenge my valuation, I know I could pay cash elsewhere and save some money, but even the Motel 6 in town is about $150 for that night. No matter how your personally value it, this is a great redemption.
It is no surprise that big events like football games, the Super Bowl or CES can make for some of the best value points redemptions if you are able to snag them. Even if you initially don’t find space, remember that people cancel as time goes on and availability often opens up.
Make sure to check often if you really want to stay at a specific property & pay attention to when the nonrefundable cancellation deadline is. In this case I got a huge upgrade from a 28,000 point per night Country Inn to a 4,000 point per night Hyatt! This trip just keeps getting better and better!