Choice Privileges Hotel Loyalty 2013-Q3 promotions IHG One Rewards Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards (replaced by Marriott Bonvoy) road trip Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest Utah

Road Tripping on $30 hotel nights with IHG and slightly more with other hotel brands

I am planning for cheap hotel stays using a variety of tactics on my upcoming two week road trip from Monterey to Denver via Salt Lake City and back via Las Vegas to attend a Hyatt-MGM partnership event.

My road trip planning is not meant to be the focus, but rather the tactics I use to find cheap hotel stays with hotel loyalty points is the main point.

Hotel stays the cheap way

Hotel loyalty programs will keep my lodging cost pretty low for the trip.

In the past few months I have earned two free Marriott Rewards nights and I have purchased Wyndham Rewards and Choice Privileges points in the Daily Getaways sales of recent weeks. IHG Rewards Club are still for sale on Daily Getaways.

The new list of IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks at 5,000 points per night will provide some $30 hotel nights for my trip. Daily Getaways still has IHG points for as low as $90 for 15,000 points. I can book three hotel nights on PointBreaks for $30 per night. There are participating properties in Nevada, Utah and Colorado along the way to Denver.


The current list of PointBreaks had a dozen InterContinental Hotels available including Athens and Saigon when the list first appeared last week. Not surprisingly, only a few of these IC properties are still available in places like INTERCONTINENTAL MEDELLIN in Colombia and INTERCONTINENTAL REAL TEGUCIGALPA Honduras, a city that was dubbed the murder capital of the world in an NPR story last month.

Desert Crossings

Crossing the Nevada and Utah desert can be expensive lodging, if available at all. Some nights the number of travelers exceeds the number of available hotel rooms when crossing the sparsely populated 500+ miles between Reno, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Carson City, NV offers a 5,000 points Holiday Inn Express HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HOTEL AND SUITES CARSON CITY.

Elko, Nevada is 317 miles east of Carson City and several hotels there next week are already booked full.

Salt Lake City, Utah is another 225 miles east of Elko and there are two IHG hotels offering 5,000 points PointBreaks at HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HOTEL AND SUITES TOOELE or CANDLEWOOD SUITES SALT LAKE CITY-AIRPORT.

Craig, Colorado CANDLEWOOD SUITES CRAIG-NORTHWEST is 300 miles east of Salt Lake City along the northern Colorado main US Route 40 east-west road.

Denver is another 250 miles routing through Rocky Mountain National Park

Denver will be another set of hotel loyalty program tactics.

There is the good value Marriott Rewards promotion (discussed below). I will likely use a combination of paid stays and point stays for Denver hotels. I already located one Best Rate Guarantee claim with Starwood for 2,000 bonus points on a $95 room rate.

Staying at IHG hotels in Carson City, Nevada, Salt Lake City, Utah and Craig, Colorado routes through some of the best parts of the western states on a routine crossing of the Great Basin with $30 per night at upper midscale hotels with free breakfast.

Marriott Rewards free nights

Marriott Rewards MegaBonus is a repeating promotion at least two times each year. I earned two free night certificates in the Spring 2013 MegaBonus for category 1 to 4 hotels. The current Marriott Rewards promotion is called Unexpected Bonus and my offer is good for free category 1-5 certificates after each two stays.

Marriott Rewards Unexpected Bonus

Earn up to two free nights at any of our 3,600+ hotels worldwide with Marriott Rewards® Unexpected Bonus.

To earn your free nights:

  • Register by July 31, 2013
  • Stay twice at any participating hotel between May 15 and September 2, 2013
  • Earn one free night after each second paid stay, up to two free nights
  • Enjoy your free nights at any category 1-5 hotel worldwide

This bonus season, expect big things—and earn even bigger.

This offer is targeted and your offer may be for stay twice and earn one free night at category 1-4 hotel. Or you may have a points offer. Here is Loyalty Traveler post: Marriott MegaBonus May 15-Sep 2, 2013 (April 23) with the various promotion offers.

Marriott Rewards Unexpected Bonus Registration.

Elko, Nevada is a place where I thought my Marriott Rewards free night earned in April would save some cash. No need to use a MegaBonus reward night for a TownePlace Suites category 2 property at only 10,000 points. Even a Marriott Rewards member without any points can buy 10,000 Marriott Rewards points for $125. Published rates yesterday were over $200 per night after tax or 10,000 points for this Elk, Nevada hotel. Today the hotel shows ‘No Rooms Available’ for my dates of travel.


Pronghorn watching cyclist in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.


  • I highly recommend America’s Best Value Inn in Elko. It’s across the street from the Red Lion. Always clean, pet friendly, and a great value. We have family in Wyoming and drive that stretch of road quite often.

  • Al July 5, 2013

    In Denver, Doubletree Stapleton is only a category 2 with 10000 HHonors points.

  • Carl July 6, 2013

    I know you like to hike Ric, so safe travels this summer. Sadly, a couple was found dead this week hiking in Vermilion Cliffs, perhaps from the heat. And here in Hawaii where I live, the beautiful mountain trails claimed 2 hikers in one weekend last month in separate incidents.

    Hopefully your better half can join you this trip. As always, thanks for the posts.

  • Ric Garrido July 6, 2013

    I read that article about the couple dying at Vermilion Cliffs to Kelley. The dead couple were from Campbell, California about 75 miles from where we live. Then I linked to a 15 minute video on hiking the Paria Canyon with all its associated dangers. That pretty much turned Kelley off to hiking in the desert wilderness. The Wave looks incredible in North Coyote Bluffs and that is a place I would like to visit someday when the weather is cool and I am hiking with a group.

    The Wave photos

  • Ric Garrido July 6, 2013

    I have not stayed at DoubleTree Stapleton. The older DoubleTree Hotel nearby on Quebec St. was a standard stopover hotel in the days when I earned Hilton Diamond on stays.

  • […] summer travel hotel stays booked so far included $30 hotel nights at Holiday Inn Express and deeply discounted Marriott brand hotel stays using Expedia’s current 48 hour sale discount […]

  • Charles Clarke July 9, 2013

    Just a quibble…no plural in “Rocky Mountain National Park” Have fun in Colorado. The temperatures are rather reasonable now.

  • Ric Garrido July 9, 2013

    @Charles Clarke – True. I wonder why?

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