Daily Getaways return this spring with a variety of discounted packages from travel providers across the country. These may include a hotel stay, tickets to a theme park, gift cards, or just points with a hotel loyalty program.
These last two categories attract my interest. I don’t like prepaying for travel, but I will take advantage of opportunities to spend less on travel that I would take anyway. Discounted gift cards and flexible points fit that description without tying me to a particular destination.
I usually pass on theme park tickets, Las Vegas packages, and budget hotel chains. It’s not that I don’t think they’re a good value, but they probably aren’t that exclusive. Lots of theme parks sell discounted tickets. If I’m willing to stay at a budget hotel, then I might as well use Hotwire. Las Vegas likes to throw in freebies I’ll never use and raise the price, which makes the savings less significant.
So which offers do I think are worthwhile?
IHG Rewards Points (April 6) — Packages of several sizes are on sale. One example is 100,000 points for $565. That’s 0.565 cents per point, and certainly one of the cheapest prices you’ll see. But it isn’t that amazing. IHG regularly sells points for 0.7 cents (book a points and cash stay, then cancel it to get all points back), and sometimes sells them for 0.6 cents or lower.
Expedia Gift Card (April 13) — You can get an Expedia gift card valued at $1,000 for just $650, and free Expedia+ status. This is not quite the deal it appears to be. You can only redeem the gift card at Expedia’s VIP Access hotels, of which there are about 2,00, or at roughly 269,000 “Expedia Rate” hotels (whatever those are).
Hilton HHonors Points (April 20) — Packages of several sizes are on sale. One example is 100,000 points for $500. That’s 0.5 cents per point and roughly on par with how most people value them. But, if you have a particular redemption in mind I think you could get more value than that.
Hyatt Gold Passport Points (April 29) — Packages of several sizes are on sale. One example is 30,000 points for $330. That’s 1.1 cents per point compared to my personal valuation of 1.4 cents. I can tell you it’s definitely possible to double your value here, depending on the property, but these may be among the most popular offers.
Marriott Gift Cards (May 3) — Cards of several denominations are available, but they’re all 20% off. For example, get a $250 gift card for just $200. This is valuable to anyone who regularly stays at a Marriott hotel.
Remember that other people may have the same ideas, so be quick to buy and you might get lucky. Daily Getaways used to be a lot more fun when it got less publicity and you could get an extra 10% off by paying with American Express. Alas, now it’s a bit of a free for all. If you’re too late, don’t worry about it too much.