In the previous post, I revealed the four credit cards and their rewards that I used to plan my honeymoon. I researched the flights and hotels, I didn’t want to leave the night of my wedding or even the day after. The “Future Bride” and I decided to wait a couple of days and regroup before beginning our European adventure. I showed her each of the hotels and their normal prices, which were very high. We could never afford to stay at places like these. The she took one look at the itinerary and said, “This is never going to work.”
I picked up my phone and began to dial, first stop Paris.
- I had selected the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, a luxurious 5 star hotel located in the center of the capital city. This award winning hotel is consistently the highest ranked location on all of the top travel sites. The cost on a queen room at this establishment, $909. The prices are in Euros so you have to convert them, the conversion changes every day. I did a quick check and that same room is selling for $942 right now. I called reservations and told them that I was a Hyatt Signature Visa Member and that I would like to use my two free nights at this hotel. The customer service rep asked me what date, check her computer, and booked those two days. The “Future Bride” was shocked.
When I said to the person from reservations that it was too bad that we only had two days at the Paris Vendome she told me that I could buy points for a third day. I was curious and asked how much, she checked and told us $528.00. At first that seemed like a lot, but it was still about half of the regular price. When the Future Bride and I talked it over we decided to go for it. Paris has so much to see and how many times are we going to get to visit this beautiful city. Three nights at a luxury hotel in Paris, regular price $2727.00, our price $528.00. Next up, the romantic city of Venice.
- Venice was a unique situation, since it is so small their aren’t as many hotels to choose from. In fact there is no Hyatt hotel in Venice. I decided to use my Marriott Rewards points for this city. The nicest Marriott hotel and the only one located in the city of Venice was the beautiful Boscolo Venezia hotel. Once a noble palace, the Boscolo offers a unique experience in every one of there luxurious rooms and one of the largest private gardens in Venice. The front doors of this hotel sit directly on a canal, the pictures of this place look so beautiful they seem fake. The “Future Bride” was floored.
I called and spoke to someone from the Marriott booking department. We selected the date and said we would like to use our Marriot rewards points. Two nights at this hotel would require 70,000 rewards points, we had 50,000. I was told we could buy the remaining points for $250.00. One night at the Boscolo normally cost $400, so $125 a night seems like a great deal. We booked it and I began to feel like a heroic husband. Two nights at a gorgeous hotel in Venice, regular price $800, our price $250. On to Rome.
- We wanted to spend three days in Rome, the city is so big and so full of beauty and culture. Now it was time to put my 40,000 Hilton Honors rewards points to work. My previous two successes had made me ambitious. I was going to shoot for the moon. I selected the Hilton owned Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria hotel, a five star location that sits a top a hill overlooking all of Rome. With 5 pools and one of the top 5 spas in the world it is the pinnacle of luxury. The price for one night in this hotel is $1035!
That one night would cost 50,000 points, we had 40,000 and paid $100 for the remaining 10,000. We paid 100 dollars for a hotel room that normally cost over 1000! Since we still had 2 more days in Rome to account for we decided to make our final night in Europe at the Rome Cavalieri. Two days in Rome left to go.
- Now it was time to break out the American Express Travelocity Rewards Card. This card rewards you with 10% on all purchases made on the Travelocity site. I decided that I would book and pay for our flights on Traveleocity using this card. We are flying from NYC to Paris to Venice taking a train to Rome and flying from Rome back to NYC. For the two of us it cost $3188.80. I compared this price against other travel sites and it was competitive if not a few bucks cheaper. Those flights earned us 20,000 Travelocity rewards points.
With my new reward points in hand I went to the Travelocity site to use them. Since we were arriving in Rome by train, I decided to start my search near the Roma Train Station.
- My search led me to the Bettoja Meditarraneo Hotel. This well reviewed 4 1/2 star art deco hotel is located close to all of the attractions. The price for two night in this hotel is $579.36. Our Travelocity points knocked $400 off that. We ended up paying about $89 a night for a hotel that normally cost $263!
So how much did we save? Did we keep to our $5000 budget? Let’s see.
- Without the use of credit card rewards this vacation would have cost: $3188.80 for the flights + $2727 for our stay in Paris + $800 for our stay in Venice + $1613.36 for our stay in Rome = $8329.16
- With the use of credit card rewards we only had to spend: $3188.80 for the flights + $528 for our stay in Paris + $250 for our stay in Venice + $279.36 for out stay in Rome = $4246.16
We saved $4083.00, nearly cutting the cost of our trip in half and coming in under budget by almost $800! This isn’t a hypothetical exercise, this is something that I actually did. I planned it last fall and the “Future Bride” and I are going in less than three weeks. You can do this as well. Plan your next family vacation to Disney this way, or your next trip to Vegas or that second honeymoon you have been talking about for years. Use reward cards to cut down the cost and stay in places you would never even think about.
As always I would never suggest carrying a balance on your credit card. I made charges to these cards to earn rewards and paid the bills as soon as they came in. Carrying a high interest balance will quickly erase any rewards and possibly drive you into debt, I caution against it.
So what do you think? The Builder did all right on this one. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section and I will answer them as best I can.