I just booked a long weekend away to Nashville Tennessee! Tonight we were feeling the misery of a NYC winter coming down on us and decided to book a trip to get away for the weekend. Our criteria for the trip was that the flight should be less than 3hrs from New York and a Direct Flight only. I have a lot of United, some American and a ton of British Airways miles to use right now and I would rather use the latter as they come with some awesome perks:
1. No late redemption fee – some of the other airlines will charge a fee for anything less than 21 days out, American Airlines is $75 and United would be $150, these are waived if you have enough status, with AA I have AAdvantage Gold (their lowest tier) and they would waive the fees for me. But the other problem is that AA and United miles are valued per cent higher than British Airways for long haul – to fly in Business Class from NYC to Tokyo, a trip I take fairly often would be the following in miles:
- AAdvantage: 50K
- United: 60K
- British Airways: 70K
So based on that I really want to hold onto my AAdvantage from American Airlines for those long hauls, and I’ll take United too at 60K. British Airways is a distance based award so it works really well for short hops and not well for long hauls.
Here is what the different airlines were offering to get me to Nashville from Friday to Monday (booked Wednesday evening)
American Airlines (Gold Status) 50K miles (for 2 Roundtrips) plus $10 in fees
United Airline (no status) 50K miles (for 2 Roundtrips) plus $10 in fees PLUS another $150 for last minute booking
British Airways (no status) 30K miles (for 2 Rountrips) plus $10 in fees and ZERO added for last minute booking!
British Airways Avios takes the prize! Oh and BTW, I am flying on the same American Airlines plane they wanted me to pay 50K AAdvatage miles for, as it is a Partner airline to British.
We are going to stay at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown – it seems close to the excitement and action of Music Row and is a good option to use with my Starwoods SPG Points. We actually have 2 separate reservations for this trip, and will switch rooms mid stay… weird I know but there is a method behind the madness I assure you.
Mrs Saverocity received a targeted offer from Starwoods SPG to incentivize her first booking with them. Thus far all of the bookings have been in my name as I have SPG Gold Status with them (a free perk with the American Express Platinum Card) this perk gets us upgrades, free drinks or wifi and other little perks. It is a mid level status with SPG and pretty decent. If we book in Mrs Saverocity’s name then we wouldn’t get these perks (though I will be trying to add my name to the reservation in case that carries over).
The offer from SPG for the Mrs was this: Stay for at least 1 night in the next 2 months and get 1 weekend night, up to category 6 hotel for free. So basically by paying cash for 1 night in Nashville (a Cat 3 hotel) they are giving us a coupon for a Cat 6 hotel.
So we chose to book that first night for cash, the best price I found was on the SPG website, for $129 plus some taxes and fees for a total of $15o. Normally I wouldn’t pay for a hotel at all but in this case by doing so we get the following kickbacks:
- SPG Points Earned on the stay, paying with the awesome SPG Credit Card we get 5 points per dollar spent, so $150 earns us 750 SPG points
- 1 Free Night at a Cat 6 (valued at 20-25K SPG points, see the redemption rates below
Category 6 Hotels coming in at 20K-25K per night include a lot of St Regis properties (such as the St Regis Mauritius!) and I would value that at about $800-$1000 depending on the room I book, so we are very happy to pay the $150 for Nashville for this!
The remaining two nights in Nashville I booked in my name in order to get the SPG Gold perks, which I expect to include a room upgrade. The Nashville Sheraton being a Category 3 hotel is 7000 SPG points per night, or Cash and Points for 2800 plus $45 per night, this being the very best value for points by far, so I booked 2 more nights for 5600 SPG points and paid the $90.
Total expenses for last minute 3 night getaway for 2:
- Flight 30K Avios $10
- Hotel 4400 SPG (5600 cost -750-450 earned on the cash parts) $240 Cash
- Total Cash Cost $250 which is then Rebated with 1 Free Cat 6 night valued at $800 (conservatively)
EDIT – we took the SPG Gold Amenity of 250 points on my stay, plus the green option on housekeeping for another 500 SPG points, making the net cost of the hotel 3,650 SPG for the 2 nights of my stay!
EDIT – we just booked a room in Zurich with that free night from SPG, with a retail price of $540!
Check out the Trip Report for Nashville