We’re halfway through the first week of the 2016 collection of Daily Getaways deals offered by the U.S. Travel Association. If you’re not familiar, these are a handful of deals that come up each year where you can purchase discounted travel.
There are 5 total weeks of offers running through May 6th. You can see my brief overview of the first two weeks worth of offers here.
IHG Rewards Club:
- Purchase 100,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $565 (.565 cents each)
- Purchase 15,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $90 (.6 cents each)
- Purchase 25,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $150 (.6 cents each)
- Purchase 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $293 (.586 cents each)
As a general rule, you can generate IHG Rewards Club points at .6 cents each using their version of Cash & Points. The only play here is to buy the 100,000 point packages, of which you are limited to 3 per account. I can’t say I’m ever really a big fan of stocking up on points when you’re paying money for them. There are plenty of IHG properties around the world where buying points this cheaply would represent a phenomenal deal. Unless you had your dates planned and were ready to book, I’d pass on this offer.
I’ll be honest. I don’t really follow the Best Western program, even though it was the first travel loyalty program I ever belonged to.
I spent a few minutes on their site looking at some of the high end properties and found a few reasonable deals. Here’s one for the Hotel Milton in Rimini, Italy:
If you purchased points through the Daily Getaways offer, you’d end up spending about $154 a night, whereas the prevailing rate is about $220 given today’s conversion from Euro to Dollars. I’d consider a 30% discount pretty darn good, but I still wouldn’t buy points without a specific purpose in mind.
You’re limited to 50,000 points purchased from this offer, and you’ll need your Best Western Rewards number at the time of purchase. The T&C say it can take 10-15 business days to post, so you’re floating some risk that an award you might be interested could disappear before the points post.
Friday, April 8th: Las Vegas Vacations
MGM Resorts is offering 5 separate vacations at their Las Vegas hotels. Here’s a quick breakdown of each package:
- Three nights in a 1-bedroom Sky View Suite at Mandalay Bay. Maximum 2 people.
- Two tickets to Michael Jackson ONE a Cirque du Soleil® show at Mandalay Bay.
- Two dinners for 2 people at a restaurant of your choice inside Mandalay Bay.
- Two – 50 minute massages (one per guest) at Spa Mandalay.
- Round-trip airport limo transfers (between McCarran Airport and Mandalay Bay).
The dinners are worth $500 a piece. If you think you can max those out (and there are plenty of places inside Mandalay Bay where you can), then this package likely represents a deal for you. RM Seafood and Boiler Room are two of my favorite restaurants at Mandalay. If you’re not the type to spend a lot on dinners, you’re better off passing on this package.
- Two consecutive nights in a Spa Suite (double occupancy) at the New York-New York Hotel & casino. Room and tax included.
- 2 tickets to Zumanity™ by Cirque du Soleil®
- Dinner for 2 at Gallagher’s Steakhouse (valued at $400).
Again, if you can max out the food benefit, this package is a shoo-in. I’ve never eaten at Gallagher’s, so I can’t vouch for the quality there. I’ve heard really good things about Zumanity. My review of New York, New York’s hotel rooms is hopelessly stuck in my backlog, but I was a bit underwhelmed.
- Three (3) consecutive night stay in a Mirage Suite or similar suite (double occupancy) at The Mirage.
- Airport limousine transfers to and from McCarran Airport to The Mirage.
- Dinner for two at Japonais.
- Dinner for two at Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak.
- Dinner for two at Portofino Italian Cuisine.
- VIP seating for two to The Beatles LOVE™ by Cirque du Soleil®.
- VIP seating for two to Terry Fator.
- Massages for two at The Mirage Spa.
The 3 dinners max out at $500 a piece. That’s a lot of coin to drop on dinner over the course of a 3-night trip, but essentially pays for the rest of the package.
- Four (4) consecutive nights in a Contemporary Tower Room (double occupancy) at theExcalibur.
- 2 tickets to the Criss Angel® Believe ™ OR The Blue Man Group.
- $400 food & beverage credit at select Excalibur or Luxor restaurants.
My review of Excalibur is another one stuck in my never-ending backlog, but I really just wouldn’t stay here again. I think the Luxor is a fine entry-level hotel, but Excalibur is for the very budget conscious.
- Three consecutive nights in a one-bedroom Sky suite at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas (double occupancy).
- Dinner for 2 at your choice of one of the many fine restaurants inside ARIA, including: Sage, Bardot, Julian Serrano, or Jean Georges Steakhouse.
- Spa treatments for 2 at The Spa at ARIA.
- Round-trip airport limo transfers (between McCarran Airport and Aria Resort & Casino).
I was in a Sky suite once, and they’re really nice. But, this package strikes me as a real reach. It only comes with one dinner, on a prix fix menu where the restaurant gets to pick your bottle of wine. I’d avoid this.
Continuing the theme of “vacations for real people”, IHG and Best Western represent good values for family vacations. Best Western strikes me as the more interesting of the two given the ability to generate IHG points cheaply on an ongoing basis and the fact that I can’t really think of any ways to easily acquire Best Western points. In the end, though, any points purchase should be tied directly to an imminent booking. Know the hotel and dates you want, buy the points, book the trip.
I want to like the Vegas packages, and there are ultimately some good values if you like to spend a lot of money on great dinners. Mandalay Bay is my go-to property when I come to Las Vegas, so if pushed to pick a package I’d lean that way.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While these aren’t all diamonds in the rough, it’s not all cubic zirconias either.