Do you stay in B&B’s when you travel? That’s probably one of the most frequently asked questions from our guests. We always smile, look at each other with a secret little gleam in our eyes, and answer, “No, we don’t.” And, of course, the next question is, why not?
Well, let’s see… imagine you work in a cubicle 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, and then when you finally get that OH so needed 2 week vacation, you spend it in your cubicle. Yep. It’s kinda like that. Our home is our business and our business is our home, staying in a B&B is just a little too much like being at work.
The Hilton Brand
When we travel, we hotel it. While on the road for 2 months in December/January, we stayed at 26 different hotels and all but 3 of those nights were spent at a Hilton property. Do you know the Hilton brand includes not only Hilton Hotels, but also, Hampton Inn, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and for those who mingle with the Hilton clan, The Waldorf Astoria.
We Did the RV Thing
There was a time in our lives, when our son was a little boy, when we did the RV thing and the rustic cabin thing, (you know the cabins where the wall doesn’t quite meet the foundation and you lie awake all night wondering what’s going to crawl through the crack?) but we never tent camped, that was way too far out of my comfort zone (fraidy baby don’t ya know?). But, at this stage of life it’s all about the creature comforts, a big comfortable bed, a hot shower, fast WiFi, and a television. That’s my idea of a happy camper.
You might be thinking that 57 Hilton Hotel nights must have added up the $$ signs. And you’d be right, except for 1 wonderful detail. Hotel Points. That’s right, you heard me. Hotel Points! Here’s how we do it. And, if you’re one who uses a credit card, you can do it as well.
We put pretty much everything we buy on our American Express card. Everything from a Chai latte to my weekly trip to Costco to buy supplies for our B&B, to a slice of pizza or gas for our cars. If we can charge it, we do. Did I mention our American Express card is associated with Hilton Honors? I won’t go into all of the sordid details, but every dollar we spend accrues Hilton Honors points. And there are quite often promotional deals that double, triple your points, etc., It’s like airline miles, but we think the hotel points are better because we don’t fly that often.
And, with hotel points, you can sometimes find great deals, especially for same day stays; although, there are times when it can actually be a better deal to pay for a room, rather than to use our points. It really depends on what the hotel is offering and Abi
likes loves the challenge of finding the best deal of the day. How did we travel before cell phones with internet access and GPS?
Texarkana, Texas and Hotel Points
For example, while driving east across the country, we spent the night in Texarkana, Texas. Using our points, we booked a room at a Hilton Garden Inn for $40 and 8,000 points. Here’s what our room looked like.
I should interject here that I may sound as if we received sponsored stays from Hilton and that would be a resounding, no, we did not. For sure, it crossed my mind, but we just really like the Hilton brand and for the most part we trust that we will be comfortable in a clean room – clean being the key word. And it isn’t just Hilton, most hotel chains have some sort of rewards program.
Now, that’s not to say every property is going to be a winner. Hampton Inn has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. There were 2 stays at Hampton Inns that were sub-par at best and the manager, at each hotel, did waive the room charge because he/she knew we were right.
When you reach a certain level in your hotel points program, you can quite often score upgrades. I think our best score to date was our 5-night stay in Tucson, AZ. Traveling back across country we were weary of the
cold freezing polar vortex weather and since we were ahead of schedule, we decided to soak up the desert sun for a few days.
Hotel Points and Soaking up the Sun
We decided to make a substantial withdrawal from our points bank and booked a room with two double beds at the El Conquistador in Tucson’s Oro Valley. Stunning resort. We booked a room with 2 double beds because it required the least amount of points, 30,000/night, but we were hoping we’d get upgraded to a king room for the same number of points. Not only did we get upgraded to a king room, that lovely – lovely – woman working the front desk upon our arrival upgraded us to this…
This beautiful 1-bedroom poolside casita normally required 61,319 points/night, we paid 30,000/night. Score! It was so fabulous we only left the property to bring in food. Our stay in Tucson probably spoiled us for life, but it was beyond wonderful and very much what we needed. We were a bit road weary and needed to just “be” for a few days before the final push home through Monument Valley and Arches National Parks – and back to the
cold freezing weather.
Travel by Points
So, yep, that’s how we travel by points. Everyone travels in a way that works best for them, whether it be, apartments, B&B’s, hostels, cabins, tents, etc., but if you find yourself looking for the creature comforts; traveling with hotel points can be a pretty sweet deal.