Oct212010

Loyalty Traveler Does Chicago in Style for $100 per Day

Some people think I get free travel. The hotels and opportunities I get for discount rooms are the same opportunities open to any loyalty program member who plans with good travel strategies. I do not take complimentary rooms from hotels when I travel.

My goal is to show readers what is possible with hotel loyalty programs. Sometimes I probably get a nice upgrade due to being Loyalty Traveler, but the nice upgrades were a benefit I received as an elite hotel loyalty program member for many years prior to writing this blog.

Here is an example of how I stayed mostly in upper upscale and luxury hotels in Chicago for under $100 per night this past week even though a major Opthalmologist Convention was happening and filling many of the downtown Chicago hotels.

Holiday Inn Elk Grove (O’Hare Airport)

  • Points & Cash = 0 points + $30
  • Priority Club elite benefit = free Gatorade and chips from hotel pantry
  • Published room rate = $109 or $122.08 after tax
  • Loyalty Traveler Checkout total = $30 + $5 maid tip = $35
  • Loyalty Traveler Savings = $87.08
 
 

Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village (O'Hare)

Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers

  • SPG Cash & Points $60 + 4,000 points
  • SPG Platinum benefits = 33rd floor lounge access with evening snacks and sodas, morning lounge breakfast, free internet, SPG Platinum Welcome Amenity 500 points and late checkout
  • Published Room Rate = $265 or $304.75 after tax.
  • Loyalty Traveler Checkout total = $69 + $5 maid tip = $74
  • Loyalty Traveler Savings = $230.75
  • There is no cash equivalent value given for the 8,000 Starpoints used in Chicago since I earned 70,000 free Starpoints through this “My Midas Touch” promotion. There was also an option to buy SPG points at the rate of $145 per 10,000 points through DiscoverAmerica.com in May 2010. The cash equivalent value for 4,000 points would have been $58.

 

Room view from Sheraton Chicago

W Hotel Lakeshore

  • SPG Cash & Points $60 + 4,000 points
  • SPG Platinum benefits = Lakeview room, high floor, two free drinks at the Wave Bar, free internet, SPG Platinum Welcome Amenity 500 points and 4 pm checkout
  • Published Room Rate = $309 or $355 after tax.
  • Loyalty Traveler Checkout total = $69 + $5 maid tip = $74
  • Loyalty Traveler Savings = $281

View of Navy Pier from W Hotel Whiskey Sky Bar (similar to my room view)

Crowne Plaza Hotel Avenue

  • Priority Club 25,000 points award ( I purchased 25,000 points last May for $150 through DiscoverAmerica.com Priority Club discount offer).
  • Priority Club elite benefits = 15% off breakfast buffetat 40th floor lounge; free beer at Elephant & Castle pub; complimentary upgrade to Tech floor with Mac computer and free internet.
  • Published Room Rate = $329 or $379.67 after tax
  • Loyalty Traveler Checkout total = $15 (Elephant & Castle pub meal) + $5 maid tip = $20
  • Loyalty Traveler Savings = $229.67

Chicago at sunset from 40th floor rooftop pool deck at Hotel Avenue Crowne Plaza

Park Hyatt Chicago

  • Hyatt Gold Passport Category 6  award for 22,000 points ( I purchased 22,000 points last June for $206.25 through DiscoverAmerica.com Hyatt Gold Passport discount offer) (oops … I posted this a few minutes ago incorrectly stating I paid $123.75, so now my average is a little over $100 per night.)
  • Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond elite benefits = complimentary breakfast at NoMI ($33 value for crab omelette); free internet; Diamond member welcome amenity of 1,000 points; preferred view room on top floor (18) of hotel facing historic Chicago Water Tower.
  • Published Room Rate = $422.50 (AAA) or $487.56 after tax
  • Loyalty Traveler Checkout total = $5 maid tip
  • Loyalty Traveler Savings = $281.31

Breakfast at 7th floor NoMI Restaurant Park Hyatt Chicago

5 hotel nights in Chicago = $564.25 for Loyalty Traveler

Actual lowest published rates for these hotel rooms = $1,649.06

That is why I am a loyalty traveler.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. You shouldn’t be adding the $5 maid tip to one side of the ledger and not the other. It’s a minor error but still.

  2. Any more more photos of the PH? This is the one hotel where I skip the 1W and take the amenity. Sparking wine (last month it was a Burgundian sparkler)and a cheese plate from Nomi restaurant is a treat. This summer on a sweltering day they switched out the cheese plate for gigantic bowls of housemade sorbet at my request.

  3. Great explanation of loyalty program benefits! Your blog shows the benefits extend from $30 rates to $150 and beyond. And there are times we need just a $30 get some sleep place and others when we want to truly splurge.

    P.S. Thanks for the wealth of info at the Chicago DO. I am already applying some of the strategies you presented.

  4. Ben P – 3 hours sleep last night and rushing to write this post before a day of activity resulted in some inconsistent accounting. Regardless it all comes out to great savings. The savings is even better if I don’t count the maid tips. Right?

    Technically I guess I should be adding the value of the free drinks and breakfast to the published rate side of the equation.

  5. Jim – I’ll post extensive photos and reviews of the hotels where I stayed. I have a wealth of info and photos from about 25 other hotels in downtown and Gold Coast Chicago areas that I will discuss over the next couple of weeks.

Comments are closed.