How I’m saving thousands on a ski trip this weekend
I’m writing this post from my cozy room at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, Colorado. If you look up room rates during my stay, they hover around $1000 per night. I used loyalty points for my stay, so I’m saving about $4000 on this 4 night mother/son ski trip alone. Here’s how I did it, and a few other money saving tips along the way.
Step 1: I figured out how to accumulate Hyatt Gold Passport points. It takes 30,000 points for one night at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. I accumulated mine by some other Hyatt stays and transferring points directly to Hyatt Gold Passport from my Chase Ultimate Rewards Account. I accumulated Chase Ultimate Rewards points by using Chase Sapphirre Prefferred and Chase Freedom credit cards throughout the last year. They are my go to cards for many reasons and I’m not being paid to hype the cards. I just wanted to be transparent about how I made this long weekend happen. But plan ahead. I booked our room using points sometime during the middle of the summer.
Step 2: We planned ahead again using airline miles/points to get 2 free plane tickets to Denver. We travel domestically via Southwest Airlines a lot, and Hubby accumulates plenty of points through work travel. So our non-stop flights to Denver only cost us the TSA fees.
Step 3: Even though I am a blogger, I read a lot of blogs myself through a feed reader app like bloglovin or feedly. I caught wind of Hyatt gift cards selling at a 10% discount. So I calculated how much in incidentals (food and maybe a spa treatment) we might use over the four day weekend at the Hyatt. So I prepurchased a gift card to help pay for those incidentals at checkout. I got a $500 gift card for $450. Every little bit counts, right?
Step 4: I always follow the hotel group, the specific hotel and town I am visiting on social media leading up to a trip. During the summer, the ski resort ran a great special on multi day lift tickets, not just season passes. It was the biggest discount I’d seen on lift tickets, so we pre-purchased them. You can opt in for ticket insurance in case you had to cancel your trip later.
Also, the day before our departure, I checked twitter and my blog feeds as usual and found something interesting. I participated in a Hyatt Holiday tweet about how we were celebrating the holidays at a Hyatt this weekend. The fun twitter team @Hyatt Concierge was making Christmas bright for a few guests and we were lucky enough to be included. They gave us $100 food and beverage credit to be used during our stay. A cute surprise for a 140 character tweet that only said we’d be making holiday memories on a mother/son ski trip at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek that coming weekend. Sometimes communicating for fun through social media with brands can pay off.
Step 5: We used a shuttle with Colorado Mountain Express (CME) to get back and forth from Beaver Creek and Denver. It was cheaper than renting a car when you figured in the parking fees charged by the Park Hyatt. I think parking fees were $50/day since it was peak season. Always make sure to run the numbers for both scenarios. I was especially thankful that we weren’t trying to drive ourselves the night we arrived. Our flight was delayed, we were exhausted and able to nap most of the ride to Beaver Creek.
We did a few other small things to save money. While on our trip we have utilized the tiny fridge in our room to eat cereal or breakfast bars with milk or juice for breakfast. We also used the open table app to make restaurant reservations on our trip. My account is very close to getting a reward check to use at any open table restaurant. Also, Beaver Creek passes out chocolate chip cookies at 3pm each day at the bottom of the slopes. The Park Hyatt also has a free s’mores happy hour at their firepit for guests from 4-5pm daily. Junior really enjoyed the free desserts!
The biggest money saver for this trip was the hotel stay on points. If you are interested in learning more about how to maximize points and rewards for travel, there are entire blogs devoted to the subject. I credit them with a lot of my success at saving thousands on this weekend trip. A few of my favorites are: The Points Guy, Frugal Travel Guy, and Mommy Points. They have getting started sections that explain the basics in great detail if you are interested. They keep me up to date on everything in the points world. But be prepared for updates at least once, sometimes twice a day or more on your feeds from them. I’ll occasionally post stories about trips I take using points/rewards, and those will be searchable in the loyalty category on my home page. I’ll post more about the fun details and logistics of our weekend trip in an upcoming post.
As our third day of skiing comes to a close, I am thankful for the one on one time with Junior. And that it didn’t cost me a fortune to have a great time with my teenage son on the slopes. Happy Holidays indeed!