A few weeks ago we flew out east as a family (with our toddler) for a wedding in Vermont, during peak foliage season! The long weekend turned out to be beautiful, we had great company: got to catch up with friends and family. Perhaps what was best is how our weekend started.
We knew we needed to get to east coast on Thursday in order to hitch a ride with the inlaws, whom rented a minivan, and our options were to fly into either BDL or BOS on Thursday morning or to fly in on Wednesday night and then get a hotel overnight. The flights on Wednesday night looked to have the most seats available and we were able to get a row to ourselves — the toddler now being over 2 years old is no longer a lap child and requires his own ticket/seat, which is actually nice because I get to share his leg room. We were a little apprehensive without having no car upon arrival and trying to book a hotel room last minute but the inlaws also offered to help and book a room with points somewhere locally that we could just take a shuttle to.
And so we boarded, got the row to ourselves (only after visiting the lounge and having a calming drink and some snacks) and off we went.
Thankfully (my wife being somewhere social media addicted, although she claimed it was for work) bought GoGo internet on the flight and somewhere 3/4 into the flight she got an email from her parents that there were no award nights available Marriott. I got a little nervous as you don’t want to be looking for an airport hotel 20 minutes before landing, your options are either to pay through the nouse for a decent hotel or take your chances on the plethora of sketchy motels around. I really didn’t want to stay at a motel with a baby, so we had to get a somewhat decent hotel. I started scramming and tried looking at Hartford Hilton to see if I could get a discount from my work, unfortunatelly they had absolutely no nights available, so eventually it came down to paying $288 + taxes to stay at the Sheraton right in Bradley Airport. Now mind you, when we lived in CT we talked about staying there for a weekend get away many times, and now that we don’t live there any more we probably wouldn’t get more chances, so this was as good time as any.
Being a travel/points nerd that I am I really had a tough time just shelling out $300 for literally a bed to sleep in, so I loved into SPG app on my phone and looked for award nights:
What a score, essentially more than 4.3cents/mile redemption rate (no wonder travel hackers value SPG points as some of the most lucrative ones). Considering you can get 25-30000 SPG points through an AMEX signup, this is a great way to use these miles. Book the room I did immediately, we got off the airplane, got our luggage and walked over to the next terminal and got to our Sheraton’s check-in desk, and there was a little bonus — my boy absolutely loves fire trucks, and they must have had an alarm go off a few minutes before because there was a truck outside and a bunch of fireman in the lobby. He immediatelly started yelling out “FIRATRUK!” and as one of the fire man heard that, he smiles and then offered to go outside with us and have us take a closer look at it, and then this happened:
On top of that, because of my AMEX SPG and Platinum cards I automatelly get a room upgrade (if availble), which we did – we got upgraded to the SPG Preferred floor and had the airport view, and also because it’s a Sheraton through the AMEX SPG card you get lounge access – which was perfect to get a late night snack, milk for the baby and in the morning to have a great breakfast and fuel up on coffee.
So overall, my first experience of redeeming SPG award points was completely painless and I couldn’t be more happier on the treatment we got at the BDL Sheraton and the overall value that I got out of these points.