A luxury spring break without breaking the bank
A luxury spring break without breaking the bank might seem like a pipe dream. Our pipe dream came true this spring break in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Here’s how I did it:
Step 1 – Use reward points for lodging – Although I’ve been a fan of rewards and miles programs for a long time, I really jumped in with both feet a couple of years ago. And what a difference those years have made. It took 180,000 Hyatt points for 6 nights in a double room at the Park Hyatt at Beaver Creek. Ski school and the lifts are about 50 feet from the back door of the hotel. Location, location, location!! We were traveling as a family of 4 this year, so a double room worked for us. The rate for a standard room that week was $1200/night! Hyatt does not charge the additional resort fee ($50) to guests staying on points, although parking is still $50/night. It’s important to know that I made the reservation in June. Don’t expect to book a room using points at the last minute. Hyatt even had a special for award nights and I got 36,000 points back after our stay. You can read about my basic steps to earning reward points here. I’ll share more about this in upcoming posts as well.
Step 2 – Make a grocery store stop – We stopped at the grocery store in the last large town before we made it to Beaver Creek for a few supplies. I knew the hotel room had a tiny fridge. So we stopped in for milk, bottled water and snacks. We even brought plastic spoons and cereal (the individual ones that already come in a bowl) so that we could have breakfast in our room. Although having breakfast in the room saved money, it also gave us longer to sleep in since we could eat it sitting around in our long underwear.
Step 3 – The gift of travel – We wanted to experience dining at Beano’s Cabin during spring break. Fortunately, Hubby and I had birthdays a few weeks before our trip, so we asked for gift certificates to Beano’s Cabin from his parents. It was a great dinner adventure made a little easier on our wallets with their gifts.
Step 4 – Ski Passes – Since I booked our room in June, I made a point of following Beaver Creek Mountain on Facebook and Twitter. So when their summer sale on ski season passes was advertised on social media, I purchased them for our family. Most people would assume that season passes are only for people that are going to ski several times during the season, but Beaver Creek had a season pass for skiing as few as 4 days. While it was charged to my credit card in June, there was an option to add insurance so that you could get a refund if necessary. Other sites like Liftopia, offer savings on lift tickets to some ski resorts.
Step 5 – Other discounts and coupons – From the day I made our hotel reservations, I had my eyes open for ideas to save money on our trip. We made sure to book our ski and snowboard rentals with the company that included a children’s rental free with a paid adult rental (Black Tie). The online reservation app, Open Table, has it’s own reward program. So I cashed in some of those points to get a $50 credit to any other restaurant that utilizes Open Table. In addition, Hyatt had a sale on gift certificates during the Christmas season. So I purchased a $300 gift card at 10% off to help pay for the parking fees at the hotel.
I didn’t include traveling to Beaver Creek as a big expense. Although I despise driving long distances, we decided to drive this year. In prior years we’ve flown to Denver and rented a car for the week to get to various ski resorts. Even though we used airline awards, the rental car for our family and all of our ski gear for a week was around $1000 for the week. It just seemed like a crazy amount when we only really used the large car to get to and fro the airport. We were able to get the extra days off to be able to drive this time. It took two days to get there, but we survived. Although, on the way home, we pushed on through the night and got home early the next morning. I guess there’s no place like home.