This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.
A few months back I was asked to help judge a Hyatt contest where people would submit their ideas for trips using Hyatt Gold Passport points and I would help score them on feasibility, creativity and reasoning for the trip. Million Mile Secrets and Jeff Zidell from Hyatt Gold Passport did the same, and our scores were combined to select the winners. To get to the top ten list you did have to have one of the 10 highest number of votes on Facebook for your idea, but I will tell you that some of the top 10 did not have an overwhelming number of votes (as in under 150), so really anyone with a Facebook account, a desire to win, and a decent idea could have done this.
Anyway, we got to look over the top 10 submissions and then give them each a score based on the above criteria. I remember reviewing them while sitting at swim class with my daughter, and there is one that absolutely jumped out at me as the one that had to win. I liked many of the others to be sure, but there was one that drove home exactly why I love points.
The mom who entered wanted to take her son to the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort, Spa, and Marina in Cambridge, Maryland. According to Hyatt’s website it is a 400 acre resort located on the banks of the Choptank River. I’ve not yet had the chance to visit this resort, but it lists activities such as mini golf, poolside movies, paddle boating, hiking, on-site nature preserve, bike riding, tours down the river, s’mores, and more. They also have both indoor and outdoor pools that look great! The resort has a spa and a Camp Hyatt – the perfect combo to ensure that adults also get some much needed downtime. This hotel was already on my list of Hyatt resorts to visit as soon as I get the chance, but that’s not why this particular submission won me over.
Here is what the mom wrote about why she wanted to win the 65,000 points, and how she would use them:
As a mom living with an incurable cancer, I must make the most of every getaway. Last year my 8 year old and I had a special weekend at the Cambridge Maryland Hyatt. We spent 48 hours together laughing, swimming, making s’mores and enjoying the property. He always asks when we are going back and we just can’t afford to. He would rather visit this Hyatt than go to a resort with an indoor waterpark. I feel like this is our “special place”.
This hotel is a Category 5 hotel that costs 18,000 Gold Passport Points per night. It was absolutely feasible that this family could enjoy a long weekend here with a few points left over. I have done this very trip, just at a different Hyatt resort, and I absolutely understand what she is saying about it being their “special place”. I have that exact feeling at the Hyatt Lost Pines that my family has been lucky enough to visit on a few different occasions. I have had a similar feeling at some other resorts around the country we have visited as well. Sometimes your family’s wants and needs just click with what is offered at a given resort, and it is a special feeling when that happens. You don’t have to worry about laundry, mowing the yard, going to the grocery store, chores, etc. for a few days. You get to just be together and have fun.
Doing things like swimming, laughing, and making s’mores feels pure, innocent, and timeless. You could do those three things at a number of places, but when you are at a nice resort (especially when you are on points instead of dollars) it just makes it that much more comfortable and special. It always is heartwarming for me to see kids just being kids playing outside when I visit these type or resorts. Rarely do you see families glued to their iPads and smart phones at places like this. You see them interacting and living in the moment, and that alone is almost priceless these days.
This family’s submission was simple, yet I know how insanely effective a trip like that can be in building memories and bringing each other together. This mom mentioned she had incurable cancer, and no doubt that makes the process of building memories that much more paramount. It also likely makes the budget that much tighter – which can makes miles and points even more important. However, even if the family did not have any health issues, this is exactly that kind of trip that I think miles and points are perfect for, and I am so very glad to learn they were one of the three winners of 65,000 Hyatt points. I hope that they are able to plan this trip in the near future.
While there are only three winners for this contest (and you can read all about the three of them here – I actually love all three winning ideas), many reading this site can obtain 65,000 Hyatt points without too much effort. In addition to earning points through stays at Hyatt hotels, you can get 40,000 – 50,000 Ultimate Reward points from many different credit card sign-up bonuses that can transfer 1:1 to Hyatt. You can also get two free nights at any Hyatt via the Hyatt Credit Card. Sure using those nights in Paris, Sydney, or Tokyo would be amazing, but so would using them to roast s’mores with your kids. I take some far flung and fancy trips from time to time, but in my heart I know that the trips that I will always cherish the most are the ones with my family doing exactly what this mom described.
Whatever your travel goals are with your family, get out there and make them happen. Enter contests, sign-up for credit cards, shop through portals, register for promotions, etc – but whether you have an incurable illness as this person did, or not, kids are only kids for a certain number of years. Build those lifelong memories now…..and then share all the details, so that others can do it too.