Next week, a few colleagues and I will be flying an aeroplane beyond Castle Black and the Wall to the Great White North, land of maple, moose and Molson. You got that right: MINNESOTA!
Just kidding. I wouldn’t wish Minnesota on my worst enemy (I’ve actually never been there, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the mom on “Bobby’s World”, which is the only thing I’m basing my opinion on.)
No, silly, we’re going to Canada! POUTINE! (That’s Canadian for “Yay!”)
As some of you know, I’ve turned into a bit of a hotel/airline points fiend in my old age, and a business trip is a great way to build up some points on somebody else’s dime. No downside there, right?
In an effort to “diversify my points portfolio” (a phrase Lance can’t help but jeer me for every time I employ it in casual conversation as a way to draw attention away from the fact that I know next to nothing about, say, investment portfolios) so that I can have as many points in as many hotel programs as possible, I’m hotel-hopping three times during my five nights in Vancouver.
See, here’s the rationale:
For the (still uncomfirmed) US Airways Grand Slam promotion this fall (described here), you can transfer points you’ve earned through various hotel chains’ programs into US Airways miles. The more programs you transfer from, the more “hits” you get. The more “hits” you get, the more bonus US Airways frequent flyer miles you receive (and I’m trying to get enough for two round-trip tickets to Europe).
The catch here is that each hotel chain points program has a minimum amount of points you must have in order to make a transfer. For Starwood, it’s 2500. For Hilton, it’s 10,000. Best Western? 5000, and so on. I don’t just have all those points laying around, so I need to stay in as many different chains as possible between now and the fall to build up my balances in each program so that I can make the transfer and earn the “hit.”
This is my strategy in practice:
- Night 1 and 2: Best Western. Earn 10 points per dollar spent, plus 15% bonus points for being a Best Western Gold Member. Should earn ~4,128 points
- Night 3: Park Inn, part of the Radisson/Carlson family of hotels. Earn 20 Club Carlson points per dollar spent plus 25% bonus points for being a Club Carlson Silver member, plus 2,000 points for booking online, plus 44,000 bonus Club Carlson points through One Plus One promo. Should earn ~50,225 points
- Night 4 and 5: Westin, part of the Sheraton/Starwood family of hotels. Earn 2 points for every dollar spent, plus 500 bonus points per night through Nice Choice promotion. May (and this is where it’s a little up in the air…) also earn points for colleagues’ rooms made under same reservation. Should earn between ~1548 and ~2248 points
These stays will get me much closer to my targets, all in an effort to secure those free tickets to Europe. (POUTINE!) But these hotels are also every which way in Vancouver (and let’s not talk about the scary 3.5-owl eye rating my Best Western has on TripAdvisor. The sacrifices I make…), so I’m going to be busting my bee-hind to get to each of these places.