I’ve been doing a fair amount of tinkering with my Provence on Points* trip this summer and wanted to share my lessons learned with you. 4,500 Thank You Points and dropping a destination will save an entire day of travel and take me closer to minimizing transitions: my preferred method of getting to really know a destination rather than blasting in and out.
The original plan had me flying into Sicily via Rome because that’s where I could find an award ticket. I was going to spend a few days in Catania at the Category 1 (now Cat 2) Sheraton Catania. However, once I dug deeper into three days in Sicily I realized that the Category 1 hotel came with a lot of extra fees: I would have to rent a car for at least $50/day and pay for parking that car. In addition, my flight on day 3 to Nice departed Catania at 6:45 AM (meaning I would have to be up at 4AM) and had a 7 hour layover in Rome. By the time I arrived in Nice at 5PM I would have been completely wiped out.
I was planning to carry-on my bag anyway so realized I could just as easily get off the plane on day 1 in Rome and not board the plane to Catania. Instead, I bought a $45 ticket to Nice on Thank You points so am now spending 4 nights in Nice. The first night is free with a Radisson certificate and the next three are 30,000 points a night via IHG. Nice is entirely walkable and train friendly so no rental car is needed- saving both money and the stress of driving in the city.
After 4 nights in Nice and 3 at the Hyatt Grand Martinez in Cannes I am headed inland for a few days. I decided I did want to get a bit of Italian flavor so chose the Medieval town of Pigna which gives an entirely different vibe but is only an hour from Nice.
- The cheapest hotel may not offer the best value. Be sure to check the location carefully: how much time are you spending getting to and from your hotel? Will you need a car rental? Are there parking or resort fees?
- You don’t always have to change your award ticket to change your award ticket. While hidden city ticketing is technically forbidden (and risky if there are many routes to the final destination) if you’re flying to a hub before your final destination it’s a safe bet to get off there and “miss” the connecting flight.
- Remember why you’re traveling. Is it to transit airports or to soak up a new culture?
Do you tinker with your trips or set and forget? What do you think of my plans?
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*A commenter quibbled with my choice of “Provence” in the title, however I’m content with it as it’s really easy to get inland to Grasse, Mougin, and other sites non-Riviera related.