American Express and the US Travel Association are back with their annual Daily Getaways promotion, during which they offer several travel packages — often some points or a discounted hotel room. The exact offer changes every day, but there are some good deals. Fortunately they announce them in advance so you have some time to consider each offer before attempting to purchase it.
There are four important things to keep in mind when participating in Daily Getaways:
- Save 10% off the advertised price by paying with an American Express card.
- Each person can buy only one of each offer, but in the case of some offers, like hotel points, there may be multiple offers of different amounts. You can buy one of each.
- There is incredible demand for some offers, probably because we bloggers talk them up. Be ready to buy and click like crazy as the sale window opens each day at 10 AM (PT). If by chance your click goes through, it is held until you complete the purchase. If your click did not go through, try again as these purchases time out in about 10 minutes.
- Packages are rarely exactly what is advertised in the headline, and even after reading the fine print you may be able to use them for other purposes.
Today I’ll discuss two of the Daily Getaways for the first week that touch on this last point. (My prices in this and later posts will assume the 10% discount from using an American Express card.) Wyndham Rewards has several offers on Monday, May 19, and Choice Privileges has its own slate on Wednesday, May 21. I don’t normally stay at Wyndham or Choice properties. I will on occasion when there are no other options, but I don’t do it often enough to make it worth buying those nights in advance.
However, Wyndham and Choice aren’t actually selling discounted room nights despite very specific headlines like “two nights at Cambria Suites for $165.” In fact, they’re really selling the hotel points in their loyalty programs you would need to book those free nights. You could choose a shorter stay at a nicer property or a longer stay at a cheaper property. You could combine the points with those you’ve already earned or buy additional offers (remember, just one of each size).
Personally, I like to buy points from these hotel programs I usually ignore and transfer them to airline loyalty programs.
Wyndham Rewards — May 19
The problem with Wyndham’s offers is that they recently devalued their transfer chart for airline loyalty programs. You used to be able to transfer blocks of 8,000 points to get 3,200 airline miles. This was a great deal that I had used before in previous Daily Getaways. If still in effect, it would have provided the opportunity to buy miles with a program such as American Airlines for just 1.35 cents each.
But as of January 31 of this year, Wyndham has changed their airline conversion policy to allow just 1,200 miles in exchange for 6,000 points. It’s a smaller threshold, but it also means you can’t buy and transfer to airline miles for any less than 2.7 cents each. Even then, this price is only available if you buy a block of points evenly divisible by 6,000 with no unused remainder. Only the last, “2 nights at Wyndham” in the form of 60,000 points, fits this bill and only 100 such offers exist. I don’t recommend buying Wyndham Rewards points through Daily Getaways.
Choice Privileges — May 21
I am much more comfortable recommending the purchase of Choice Privileges points. There are only four different offers instead of five, but the total number for sale is greater, meaning you may have better odds of purchasing one. Furthermore, Choice’s points have retained their value. You can transfer 5,000 points to get 1,000 miles with several airline programs, and many of the offers for sale are in multiples of 5,000 points. I love when there’s no remainder!
The prices still vary because the cost per hotel point varies, but you can buy airline miles as cheaply as 1.86 cents each with “2 nights at Cambria Suites” (40,000 points). I consider this a decent value for Alaska Airlines miles, which many people have been willing to purchase for about 2 cents each through its Fly & Buy program.
We’re not done yet. Choice also lets you transfer points to Southwest Airlines at a different rate: 6,000 points for 1,800 Rapid Rewards points. These Rapid Rewards points have themselves been devalued, but The Frequent Miler still assigns them a value of roughly 1.65 cents each. By re-working the chart above, we see that we can purchase Choice Privileges points and transfer them to Rapid Rewards at a cost less than 1.65 cents in three of four scenarios. I recommend buying “2 nights at Comfort Suites” (32,000 points) because although it has a remainder, it still has a lower price than the evenly divisible “3 nights at Comfort Inn” (36,000 points).
Note: To be more exact, The Frequent Miler says Rapid Rewards points are worth 1.53 cents after accounting for the opportunity cost of not earning more points when you pay for a flight. But I rarely include opportunity costs in my own valuations, and this number is still higher than the cost of purchasing them through Choice Privileges.
There are no good values for Wyndham Rewards points in this year’s Daily Getaways unless you plan to stay at Wyndham properties. However, you can find some good values in purchasing Choice Privileges points and transferring them to an airline loyalty program. If transferring to a traditional airline, like Alaska Airlines, I recommend buying a block of 40,000 points to effectively buy miles at 1.38 cents each (and redeem close to 2 cents). If transferring to Southwest Airlines, I recommend buying a block of 32,000 points to effectively buy miles at 1.32 cents each (and redeem close to 1.65 cents).