Many times I have stated on Loyalty Traveler that I am a last minute travel planner. I thought I had until tomorrow to book my Fly 2, Get 1 Alaska Airlines Ski the West free ticket I earned flying two roundtrip flights from San Francisco to Salt Lake City in January. Checked today to see I have to ticket today.
Then, my mother mentioned on the phone this morning that ferry service from Vancouver metro will take me to Victoria at little cost. I have been to Vancouver several times, most recently in 2011. The last time I visited Victoria was 2007 and that was only for a few hours on an Alaska cruise ship stop. Prior to that, Kelley and I stayed there in 2002 where my memory is watching an exciting Ireland World Cup soccer match one early morning.
I checked hotels around Victoria, BC to see many top rated hotels like Marriott Victoria Inner Harbour for $102 and Fairmont Empress $116. That reminds me that I received a free suite upgrade for Fairmont at the BAcon2 BoardingArea conference last September. I’ll have to dig that up and see if it is still valid.
Choice Privileges Seasonal Rates
What caught my eye were two Quality Inn Hotels in Victoria listed at $70 per night on Kayak.com. Choice Privileges reward nights showed the lowest category hotel reward at 6,000 points for a free night at Quality Inn Victoria Downtown Inner Harbour. The hotel receives 4 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor with 280 reviews. It is ranked #25 of 58 hotels in Victoria.
While there are plenty of boutique lodging places to stay in Victoria, this is not a romantic vacation getaway with my wife. I simply need a place to sleep and work with free hi-speed Wi-Fi while I explore the city.
What makes this Quality Inn Victoria property such a deal at 6,000 points per night, despite room rates as low as $58 USD per night, is an opportunity this Friday, April 3 to buy 36,000 Choice Privileges points for $155 during the Daily Getaways sale.
Six nights at $155 compared to $400 for six paid nights at the hotel. Weekends fetch higher rates.
$26 per night for a hotel in a major tourist city is great value.
I went back to Alaska Airlines website, entered the dates and found a miles award from San Jose SJC to Vancouver for $85 taxes roundtrip using my free ticket credit. Prices are about $300 roundtrip for a paid ticket. I paid $200 all-in for my two tickets to Salt Lake City in January so traveling to YVR for $85 is a good deal.
Before booking the Alaska Airlines frequent flyer award, I went back to Choice Privileges to check for availability of a hotel reward during my stay.
Turns out that Quality Inn Downtown Victoria Harbour changes seasonal reward rates on April 16 increasing from 6,000 points per night to 16,000 points.
That $26 per night hotel room I can buy with Choice Privileges points increases to $69 per night in points on April 16.
Looks like I might be flying Alaska Airlines to Vancouver a week sooner than I planned.
I can stay in Victoria for 50,000 fewer Choice Privileges points if I stay there before April 15.
Help this traveler out
My issue is I do not have any Choice Privileges points in my account right now. I can’t do a dummy booking to answer a question I have about a reward stay?
The image above shows Quality Inn Downtown Inner Harbour at 6,000 points per night for a stay April 14-18, 2015. But checking each night, the rate rise to 16,000 points occurs as of April 16.
My question, which some reader who has Choice Privileges points can answer, is does the rate change to 16,000 points on a reward stay from April 14-18 or are all nights booked at 6,000 points if the stay begins before April 16?
I would think it changes to 16,000 points, but who knows how the Choice Privileges website processes a reward stay that overlaps seasonal reward price changes?
The other issue might be that I book my Alaska Airlines flight later today and I buy Choice Privileges points this Friday, April 3, yet I still risk the fact that the points might not be deposited in my account before I fly to Vancouver if I fly a week after buying the points. A couple of years ago when I bought Choice Privileges points in Daily Getaways, people expressed concern that it took 15 days for points to be deposited.
At least I have plenty of Victoria hotel options at low rates if my British Columbia early spring arrival turns out to be pointless.