If you have been reading the blog for awhile, then you know that I will find any and every reason to travel. Even if I have to stay in a less than nice hotel or ride a chicken bus, I will do it. With that said, in recent years I have learned that staying in nice hotels or flying in a premium cabin is not something to shy away from.
As I am writing this, I am staying in the Crowne Plaza at Singapore’s Changi Airport. The rooms here start at around $200 USD per night. Since I was arriving at 10pm, I decided this would be the best and easiest hotel to stay at. Since there is no way that I would pay $200 per night, I had to find another way. The hotel charges 40,000 points per night which is steep for me, so that left the Best Price Guarantee.
It took me about 30 minutes of searching to find a lower price on a competitor’s site. You can find my posts about the IHG Best Price Guarantee here, here and here. Without going into too much detail, IHG gives the first night free if you find a lower rate. Since my stay is only one night, I get the room for free.
When I arrived, the front desk agent upgraded me to a suite which costs upwards of $400 per night. (It is a smoking room, but it doesn’t smell at all! I also received a late 5pm checkout!) The reason for the upgrade is because I am a Platinum member. My status comes from holding the Chase IHG Rewards credit card. For a $49 annual fee, I get Platinum status and a free night at any IHG property worldwide. That is a “Big Win” for me.
Years ago I would have found a cheap hotel here in Singapore which cost $50 or $60 per night and gotten by. Things have changed now though. It was nice to come into my suite, watch a little television, use the free internet access and sleep on a decent bed. When you are spending a lot of time on the road, comfort is something that is always welcome.
Now on the flip side, tonight I fly to Bangalore, India and land late at night. Tomorrow morning I will be flying to Trivandrum at 7am, which means I need to stay near the airport. Unfortunately there aren’t any hotels where I can use my points so I am staying at a guesthouse about 5km away which costs $20 per night. Comfort would be nice, but saving the money is even better. (Although I did spend the extra $2 for a room with an air conditioner!)
The point of this post is to show that travel is easy. It is relatively easy to apply for a card that gives you status and free nights or points. If you would have told me a few years ago that it was this easy, I probably would have laughed at you. I learned how to travel cheaply the hard way. By doing it while living on the road. If I had only known in 2007 during our round the world trip what I know now. It just isn’t as hard as it looks.