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I don’t really have the time or patience to do too many “crazy” miles and points activities. For me, crazy is defined by anything that may result in a big loss, has too many steps, keeps me away from home for too long, does not compute in my relatively simple mind, or simply takes too much time. However, I still do a few miles and points activities that would probably be considered crazy to the average guy or gal off the street. In an effort to give a more complete view of what earning elite status takes for my family, I’ll share one of those stories from yesterday.
Last night, for the third day in a row, my daughter had a friend’s birthday party to attend. For those not on the “birthday circuit”, kid’s birthdays ain’t what they used to be. Rarely are they just cake and punch at a friend’s house where the main event is singing Happy Birthday and running around outside with friends. Usually these parties involve hired entertainment of some sort, live animals, a field trip type destination, and more. Last night’s party was one of the coolest yet as it was held at Houston Fire Station 92 at the IAH airport (it was an auction item the family won at the school fundraiser the previous year). Since the firemen were cooking dinner, and they were going to be doing awesome things like riding on firetrucks, they were capped at home many people could attend. To help keep the numbers low, they asked that any parents who were willing just drop off their kiddos and then come back and get them when the party was over. This meant we had several hours near the airport with no kid and nothing pressing we had to do. Though I would have LOVED the activities they did at the party!
Naturally, we did what any normal set of parents would do. We went to dinner nearby and enjoyed eating our food and drinking our margaritas at a leisurely pace. Then we did something not as normal and checked into the Hyatt Place Bush Intercontinental Airport. Not only did we then have a place to relax, hang out, and watch Dancing With the Stars, but we earned a Hyatt stay credit. Rarely are we near the airport where the inexpensive hotels are located, but we were last night. I need to get to 25 Hyatt stay credits for 2013, and likely will come up a few short without doing a few otherwise un-needed “mattress runs” like this one. I don’t recommend that everyone do this, but if you are within a handful of stays from hitting top tier status with your preferred program, the math can work in your favor to go ahead and earn those last few stays. This is even more true if you can time it during a bonus points promotion like I am with the current Hyatt Possibilities promo.
Yesterday’s stay was a little over my target range, but normally I shoot for paying $60 – $70 for my mattress runs. That isn’t doable in all cities, but it is doable in Houston near the airport, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Assuming a $70 all-in charge at a Hyatt, here is roughly how it breaks down:
350 Hyatt points (at 5x points per dollar)
105 Hyatt bonus points (30% bonus for Hyatt Diamond status)
500/1000 Diamond amenity points (500 for Hyatt House and Hyatt Place, 1,000 at full-service properties)
1,500 points from Discover Possibilities promo (10 nights = 15,000 bonus points)
140 Ultimate Reward points for charge on Ink Bold (Though I usually pay for Hyatt stays with SPG Amex to get 5% back at select Hyatts)
This means that my check-in earned me not only the much needed stay credit (which was the point of the stay), but I also earned around 2,600 points that are worth from 1.5 – 2.0 cents each. Even at 1.5 cents each that is about $39 worth of points earned. That is over half of my $70 expense back in points. Had I stayed at a property with a closed Regency Club, that would have been another 2,500 Hyatt points for Diamond guests. If It was a full service property, that would have been 1,000 Diamond amenity points instead of just 500 points. Also, if I was maxing out the current promo and doing 20 nights, then I would have been earning an average of 2,500 bonus points per night. That could have bumped my total earning for the night to to over 6,600 points for the night which would mean I was earning points that were worth more than I was spending given a $70 per night room (which you would be hard pressed to find at a full-service Hyatt with a Regency Club).
However, the points were a nice by-product, but not the point of the stay itself. The point was to inch closer to re-qualifying for Hyatt Diamond since my family gets tremendous value from that status in tangible benefits on our vacations. Next year we have stays booked at properties where I know that the few mattress runs we need will more than pay themselves back in confirmed suite upgrades, free full services breakfasts, regency club access, food/beverage amenities, bonus points, and more.
When the parents at the birthday party asked what we did with our “free time”, we said we want to dinner and checked into a hotel room. They laughed thinking we were kidding. We smiled knowing it was true. Do miles, points, and elite status cause you to do some things that are so far out there that others assume you are kidding?