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Introduction Image for: Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Istanbul - Almost Free!

Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Istanbul - Almost Free!

My husband and I have always wanted to go to Turkey. My girlfriend decided to meet us in Istanbul for Christmas. We envisioned languid afternoons in the Turkish baths and evenings strolling the Old Quarter. She spent about $4,000 to fly business class there and coach back between Phoenix and Istanbul. I spent less than $125 per ticket in taxes and fees for my husband and I to fly a mix of first and business class from Seattle and also booked us for 5 nights at the Starwood W hotel for nothing out of pocket for the room and tax. So which of us had a better time??

Well, we all did, because life on the Bosporus is good! We also got down to the Aegean Coast - amazing!

I was able to use 125k Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles per ticket to book my husband and I from Seattle to San Francisco to Paris to Istanbul on Alaska Airlines and Air France in a combination of first and business class without long layovers. I looked at Alaska's partner British Airways, which had a direct flight from Seattle to London and then London to Istanbul (thus one less connection), but the remaining taxes and fees were very high (over $700 per ticket) for about the same number of miles (120k per ticket).

I booked 5 nights at the beautiful WHotel in Istanbul using my Starwood points. 

Because I am a Platinum member, I selected and was granted Suite Night rewards and we were upgraded to a suite with 2 rooms big enough for us all. And did I mention it was New Year's Eve and that the W has one of the hottest parties in town? Well, it all worked perfectly.

Istanbul is an enchanting city in its own right. Starwood and Alaska Airlines Loyalty made it a holiday to always remember!


Introduction Image for: Deer Valley/Park City Utah, St Regis - ALL on Points!

Deer Valley/Park City Utah, St Regis - ALL on Points!

My husband, brother, a girlfriend and I decided to meet in Deer Valley to ski and enjoy life. We were told it was one of the best weather weekends of the whole season…pure sun and great ski conditions! And the St Regis resort there is pure Luxury!

We found inexpensive direct flights on Delta and Alaska and because we are Loyal to Alaska Airlines and have achieved elite status and because Delta has reciprocal status recognition with Alaska we got great seats on both direct flights. 

I booked 1 night at the beautiful St Regis hotel in Deer Valley using 32,500 Starwood points for an upgraded suite big enough for us all. For that weekend at the height of prime ski season the least expensive room was $1200 and the room we were in would have cost at least $2000 per night (so it was a fantastic point to dollar conversion of over 6 cents per point). Because I am a Platinum member, I opted to pay 32,500 points vs 30,000 for a suite and the hope of an upgrade. My girlfriend booked the 2nd night with her points. We hoped the hotel would opt to let us stay in that suite for the 2nd night even though she does not have platinum status with Starwood. They checked us into a beautiful suite with 2 rooms under my reservation and then allowed us to stay in the same room as we segued into her reservation. 

We strategized well and the hotel was able to kindly accommodate us! Tip: We always suggest calling the hotel with this type of upgrade request prior for more assurance.

This was a trip to remember for us all! We can’t wait to plan our 2015 ski trips!


Introduction Image for: Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris - 4 Nights FREE!

Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris - 4 Nights FREE!

I used four one-night awards bundled together for a trip of a lifetime! 

I decided to take my cousin to Paris for her 40th birthday a few years ago. We were very close growing up and now live on opposite coasts. What a great way to use some airline miles and hotel points! I used my airline miles to fly us both over to Paris.

While I had been accumulating Hyatt points for some time, I didn't have nearly enough to qualify for several free nights at a beautiful class 7 property like the Park Hyatt Vendome.

I was lucky enough to realize that Hyatt was having a promotion in the months leading up to the trip. The promotion required registration (most of these types of promotions do – and TRVLVIP will alert you when promotions pop up). Had I not registered I would have received nothing even if I stayed at Hyatt hotels many times during the promotional period. 

The promotion allowed me to earn one free night for redemption at ANY LEVEL Hyatt property for two stays at ANY LEVEL Hyatt property. In essence, you could stay at a Hyatt Place two times (most are a level 2) and earn a free night at a level 7 hotel like the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris! I registered immediately and booked my upcoming work travel at level 2-4 category Hyatt properties that were within my travel budget at work. I stayed eight times during the promotional period.   

But that isn’t the end of the story. While I earned four free nights during the promotion, when I attempted to book the Park Hyatt in Paris none of the four day periods I tried worked for a stretch of months. I was distressed as I loved the location and luxury of that property. So I got creative. I discovered that I could redeem each of the four earned nights at the Park Hyatt if I did them in separate reservations one day at a time, for consecutive nights. I made each free night redemption reservation one by one and then called Hyatt and combined all four reservations into a single stay with no challenge upon arriving at the property. Voila! Four free nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome in lovely Paris with my wonderful cousin! A birthday to remember!

We just did the same thing in New York City at the new Park Hyatt (also a level 7 property). We received two promotional nights when we signed up for the Hyatt Visa card. When trying to book two days together for November 2014 didn't work, we were again able to secure the nights by booking them one-by-one! The cash price for the room during our stay was $1200 a night and it was entirely free for us! Another BIG win!

If this trick works for you, you can leave a nice note for us on Facebook and Twitter and share it with your friends!


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