I am planning my birthday trip next month to Rio de Janero, Brazil. Doing this and helping my friends that are going with me do this, has reminded me how easy it is to forget , and leave money, points or miles laying on the table. In this article I will tell you how I saved money and made money booking my birthday trip!
This not only applies to travel related plans, but also to shopping, etc. I wrote about it here.
I follow several twitter handles and email lists that tweet or email about cheap airfare deals. Several months ago I saw a deal to Brazil , and believe me that is rare, so I snapped it up for my birthday trip. I paid around $500 USD on Delta, MY AIRLINE! The normal fare today is Around $1,500 USD, so I saved Apx $1,000 dollars , and paid only about 33% of the normal fare, what a deal!
I wrote about the Flight Deal, and Scott’s Cheap Flights here, but basicly , The Flight Deal has a SITE but I normally just look at the their TWITTER feed. Most of the stuff has nothing to do with me, and only a tiny fraction is of interest to me, but I save so much when I do find something its worth putting up with all the tweets about deals on other airlines, etc.
The other I use a lot is Scotts Cheap Flights. Its a free, and a paid email list, I just use the free version and get SO MUCH out of it!
Running Savings Tally : $1,000 USD
As many of you know I always stay at what is now Marriott Properties. I was a very loyal Starwood fan, but Marriott bought them a few years ago, and we are now where we are.
There were 2 Hotels I was looking at in Rio, the JW Marriott or the Sheraton Grand. Both of these hotels looked good, and I of course was leaning to JW, just because, traditionally the JW is a higher end hotel, in this case, according to reviews, and a friends account, it was not. Also, the price was
a lot higher at the JW, so I decided on the Sheraton after taking all this into consideration. Plus the Sheraton is the ONLY hotel in Rio with a direct access beach, which is AWESOME!
Free Miles for Booking
A little known secret is that when booking Marriott properties, you should use a shopping portal to go through to gain free air miles right off the bat. And before you ask, NO, this does NOT affect, in any way, the points you earn or don’t earn for staying at the hotel, this is strictly separate and sackable, Just like if you use a points or miles credit card in addition, you get more miles and points.
My Original booking was for $850 dollars, so that would be 1700 AA Miles, But , you’ll see in the next section, this changes!
Marriott Best Rate Guarantee
I have written before about hotels Price Match Guarantee before, but I will tell you how it saved me ( and my companion that also got a room) $350 dollars each. With Marriott’s price match guarantee if you fond a cheaper room on a third party site, and everything matches, like room type etc, they will match the price PLUS give you 25% off or 5000 points. Obviously in this instance the 25% was much more valuable!
I found the room for $127 a night plus all the fees, surcharges, tax etc totaling around $850 USD on Marriott.com. Before I booked it, I checked the new Google Hotels Site . I found the same room for $101 a night using this tool , so I got excited because I knew it would be 25% off that if the claim was approved!
Well, the claim was approved making the hotel $76.00 a night plus taxes and fees, totaling around $500 for the 5 nights. What a score! We submitted one for my friend as well, and it too was approved!!
*Because this price changed I am sure it will be adjusted in the AA shopping portal, so I will only get 1000 AA miles.
Running Savings Tally: $1,500 Plus 1000 American Airlines Miles
Marriott Promotion (Bonus Points )
Marriott already gives standard members on their Bonvoy program, 10 points per dollar spent, but is currently having a promotion where you get double that, after your first stay. I just had my first stay under the promotion so I will get the standard 10, plus the bonus 10, plus 7.5 for being Ambassador Elite, totaling 27.5 points per dollar spent. This equals 13,750 Bovoy points , but for the purpose of this article I will only highlight what I am saving or making extra, so that’s 5000 extra Bonvoy points.
Running Savings Tally: $1,500 , Plus 1000 AA Miles, & 5000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
I used a credit card to pay for all this that gives 1.5% cash back, so I will get back an extra $15.00.
Running Savings Tally: $1,515 , Plus 1000 AA Miles, & 5000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
This trip, for airfare and hotel should have costed at least $2,500 , but I only paid $985.00!
I will earn Delta miles for Flying, AA miles for using the shopping portal, and Marriott Bonvoy points for staying.
As you can see, its well worth your time and effort to follow these little tricks and tips, as I saved a fortune, and will rack up toms of points and miles!
Always book direct with hotel, but ALWAYS check prices and see about price match. Always use shopping portals when possible, and always use a credit card that earns money or points!
Thanks for reading, and PLEASE, TRAVEL MORE!