I’ve already bought my ticket and booked my hotel for this fall’s FTU in Tampa, Florida. I’m not scheduled to speak, and there’s not much I can say about the event that hasn’t been shared elsewhere. So I’ll share two things that you might not already know.
If you book one of the group rates at the conference hotel, you can still use a Diamond suite upgrade. I got mine confirmed immediately after the online reservation. It booked into a Premier Suite, but you might be able to request a Casita Suite in one of the freestanding buildings near the beach. I’ve heard the Premier Suite is better (and it’s been renovated). If you aren’t a Diamond member, you can still use 3,000 Gold Passport points (for a Grand Club floor) or 6,000 points (for a suite) to upgrade your entire stay of four nights or less.
Also, PointsHound announced its Double Dip feature a little while ago, and it allows you to earn hotel points and benefits in addition to some miles in your favorite frequent flyer program. While it has started with a limited release in several major markets, it added Tampa to the list just to be able to offer it to those of you who aren’t able to book the conference rate. Again, you can use a suite upgrade because Double Dip rates are eligible for all the same elite benefits and stay credit as a normal booking directly with property.
The Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay (the host hotel) has a rate for only $125 per night on PointsHound. That’s $6 more the conference rate of $119, but it also comes with 732 United Airlines miles — just $0.008 each! If you want to stay at a SPG property instead, the Westin Tampa Bay is a mile away at $134 under the Double Dip program, earning 750 United Airlines miles. Again, all the same benefits of a room booked directly with the hotel, but you also get some extra miles and a chance to try a new service.