When I planned this last-minute getaway to Spain, I wanted to make sure that:
- our vacation was no more than two weeks (to accommodate work and family schedule)
- use points instead of paying cash out of pocket
- stay for free in a hotel by using points and not pay cash
Well, looks like we accomplished those 3 goals. We got two free roundtrip tickets from LA to Barcelona (and we also managed to spend time in Amsterdam).
Which credit card points program did we use
How did we manage to stay for free by using points? All thanks to points earned with credit cards. In this case, these points were earned from cards such as my Chase Marriott Bonvoy card, and American Express Marriott Bonvoy card. Points earned from these two cards now fall under one program(previously SPG).
For this visit, Nancy and I stayed for 8 nights at the AC Hotel Sants by Marriott. From a points-usage perspective, it was the property that charged the least at 17,500 points per night. Most of the other properties in Barcelona under the Marriott/SPG program charged up 50,000 per night. But I’m more of a “functional” traveler. Yes, I do enjoy all the perks, and the gorgeous rooms, and the upgrades. But I also try to be as frugal as I could with our hotel stays. This allows me and my family to travel more by budgeting our points wisely.
For this trip, we were upgraded from a standard room to a Deluxe Room. I have a Platinum Elite Status with Marriott/SPG and I was given free high-speed Wi-Fi access. The hotel also added free access to the mini-bar which came in very handy with all the goodies and drinks that we were able to eat and drink during our stay.
What’s the points breakdown
- Nightly rate in points = 17,500 for a Standard Room (but I was upgraded to a Deluxe Room)
- # of nights = 8
- Cash rate per night = up to 250 Euros plus taxes
- Cash rate for 8 nights = over 2,000 Euros plus taxes
- 8 nights x 17,500 = 140,000 points
- Book 4 nights, get 5th night free = (17,500)
- Total points used = 122,500
- Average points per night = 15,312 points per night
So the question for those who want to do something similar to this, “how does one accumulate over 100,000 points?” There are two cards that helped me earn these points. The credit card sign up bonus is ever changing, and the one that’s available right now are:
- American Express SPG (personal) – earn 75,000 sign up bonus points (click here)
- American Express SPG (business) – earn 75,000 sign up bonus points (click here)
- Marriott Premier Rewards Plus (personal) – earn two free night awards valued up to 35,000 points per night (click here)
I have these 3 cards myself. You can apply for one or all, and you can see the potential of acquiring points quickly.
I wrote a separate entry with my reviews for this hotel. But for now, I wanted to make sure I shared with you how you could also book something similar, not only in Barcelona, but anywhere in the world and you could stay for nearly free.
Planning this last-minute trip became a no-brainer for us. We got 2 FREE roundtrip tickets , and I knew that our 8 nights in Barcelona were going to be free – all thanks to points. Any questions, please let me know.