As a leisure traveler the interesting research for me is figuring out how to use hotel loyalty program promotions to maximize the rebates I receive for my hotel spend. Currently there are three good value promotions for March-April 2019 hotel stays with Best Western Rewards free night after two stays, Choice Privileges 8,000 points after 2 stays and IHG Free Nights. Faster. targeted tasks.
My trip to Barcelona, Warsaw, Crete and Stockholm next week gives me an opportunity to complete 4 IHG Rewards Club bonus tasks and pick up 40,000 IHG points for $290 in hotel spend.
Best Western Rewards
I would have liked an extra two nights on my Europe trip to add two Best Western hotel stays in Warsaw for $80 in hotel spend and earn a free Best Western night. I don’t want to book rooms I don’t need or plan to sleep in, even if a mattress run could earn a free night worth $200 at some Best Western hotels. The 60-days window for using the Best Western free night and its geographic limitation to USA/Canada/Caribbean reduces the free night rebate value for me since I do not have a specific need for a Best Western free night in April or May for a USA stay.
I looked at changing some Choice Privileges reward nights for an April trip to paid nights, but decided to stick with reward nights since the cost to buy 8,000 points per reward night ($60 through Points Plus Cash) is less than the cost to pay for 2 hotel nights ($90 per night) and earn 8,000 points through Choice Privileges. $180 for 2 paid room nights would save 16,000 points I redeemed for two reward nights, plus earn 8,000 points. Since I can buy 24,000 points for $180, there is minimal net gain by changing two of my reward nights to paid nights. Plus, the room I booked on points is a higher category room than the one I can book for $90. Reward nights count for elite status in Choice Privileges, so there is no particular advantage to booking a paid night compared to a reward night.
Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold Elite
The other miles and points component of my trip is the final push to earn Aegean Gold elite membership in Miles+Bonus. I have a trip to Crete planned flying Aegean Airlines between Warsaw and Chania for a few days in the Mediterranean island port city. If all goes as planned with my Aegean and SAS flights, I will be Aegean Gold elite with Star Alliance Gold elite benefits by the end of March 2019.