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Here’s a quick view of the properties we visited in NYC.
We finally made it back to New York City. We try to go at least once a year, but the pandemic had other plans which prevented us from going back to New York for a couple of years. But the opportunity knocked last summer. I had my ducks in a row. To fly to New York, I scored a deal with Delta Airlines. For $68. we flew via Delta on economy – no points were used, that’s an insane deal from Los Angeles to New York. How about the flight back? We treated ourselves to flying first class. Check out what I wrote regarding our aspirational flight with American Airlines. This was worth $7500 for the two of us, but thanks to credit card points, our only out of pocket was $30 in fees.
Now that I had my flights all settled, it was time to make sure we had a place to stay. For this visit, I had my extended family with me, there were four adults, and these were our requirements:
- Room with two beds
- Private shower
- Lower Manhattan, Midtown, Upper West Side or Upper East Side
- Pay using points or free night certificates
- Near public transportation
What to do with my Marriott free night certificates
New York City is home to many types of accommodations that will cater to your needs and budget. Fortunately, thanks to hotel credit cards, I have points and free night certificates from different hotel programs such as Hyatt, IHG, Hilton, and Marriott. Instead of simply using my stash of points, I used my free night certificates which I earned from different credit cards. For this particular stay, I used my awards from my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card’s Free Night Award. Here’s what I had to play with:
- Book a property worth up to 35,000 points per night
- Book and complete the stay by the certificates’ expiration date of January 3, 2022
- Find a room that will accommodate 4 adults
And that’s exactly what I did. I searched through Marriott’s website. I went through pages and pages of New York City hotels. I wanted to stay in Manhattan (not exactly the cheapest place to find accommodations). My first choice would’ve been to stay close to Midtown or Upper East Side or Upper West Side but there were no Marriott properties at 35,000 per night. Remember this trip was in December during the holiday season. For the points price range of no more than 35K points per night, I was surprised to see AC Hotel New York Downtown at 30,000 points per night. So I booked the AC Hotel Downtown New York.
AC Hotel? What is that?
It was not my first time to stay at an AC Hotel by Marriott. When I took my daughter to Portugal, we stayed at the AC Hotel Porto for FREE for a few nights.
My wife and I also went to Barcelona later that same year and we also stayed for FREE at the AC Hotel Barcelona Sants.
If we paid in cash at the AC Hotel New York Downtown, I saw the rates between $300 to $500 per night at the property. Honestly, there is no way I’d be paying $500 per night for a hotel stay. So it does help to have points and free night certificates to use where I don’t have to worry about shelling out cash.
To get to AC Hotel New York Downtown
Our flight to New York arrived at 10pm. We had options to take the train from JFK Airport, or a private shuttle, or a car, or Uber or Lyft. We opted to take a cab instead. Catching a cab from JFK was easy. We just followed the signs and there were airport workers outside ready to hail a cab for us.
It was a flat rate of $52 + other fees once we get in to Manhattan. Our charged ended up being close to $65. To be honest, if it were just me and my wife, we’d probably take the subway to get to our hotel. However, since there were 4 “working” adults in our party, plus, it was already past 10pm, we just wanted to get to our hotel as quickly as possible. I thought it was money well spent – a cab ride of no more than 25 minutes.
Finally, AC Hotel New York Downtown
We entered the lobby, and there was a counter where two of the front desk staff assisted us. To the right of the lobby was a snack area where you could purchase little food items and drinks, and a microwave to warm up your food or drink. The hotel is perfect situated near the Seaport District. It’s very close to the river, and not far from the World Trade Center area. For a late night foodie adventure, classic Joe’s Pizza is situated just 10 minutes away from our hotel.
Location, location, location
The hotel is located in Lower Manhattan, not far from Wall Street and the World Trade Center. So depending on your goals for your NYC visit, this hotel could be out of your way if you want to simply explore Times Square or anything above Midtown. It’s a good 20-25 ride by train to get to Midtown so I would keep that in mind. In our case, since I knew my way around, I didn’t mind staying in Lower Manhattan. It’s also a quick and easy train ride to get to Brooklyn.
When visiting New York City
I wasn’t expecting much and this is what I tell folks whenever we travel to NYC. It’s a place for me to sleep and shower. When I’m in New York, the hotel is not a place for me to choose to lounge all day. The adventures await outside.
And a hotel like this AC Hotel is just what we needed. The two beds were comfortable, and the comforter set put us easily to sleep. We had our own little fridge. We had clean, fresh towels. We had views of the building directly facing our bedroom. Yes, there was no free breakfast with this stay. That’s okay. So many dining options in New York City. When we woke up on our first morning, we headed to Russ and Daughter’s for some good bagels.
Nearby public transportation
From the AC Hotel, it was a good 7-10 minutes walk to the nearest train station. If you want to catch a cab, you could easily catch one a block away on Maiden Lane and Water St. Not far away is Seaport District which was just across the street on FDR Dr. The TKTS Seaport location is also nearby, however, during our visit, it was closed due to the pandemic.
Iconic Joe’s Pizza
For our first meal late that evening when we arrived, we walked 10 minutes to Joe’s Pizza on Fulton and Nassau. We couldn’t have asked for a better pizza on our first night in the city. Also just down the same block is another budget friendly pizza alternative – Two Bros Pizza, where you could get a slice for $1.99.
This was the first hotel that we stayed at during our 10-day visit. As I had mentioned, NYC hotels for me are a place to sleep, shower, and rest. Once we were up in the morning, you can count that we’d be gone the entire day. And that’s exactly what happened here. This hotel truly served its purpose. I believe this hotel is perfect for the budget travelers, the no non-sense travelers. Families who need a room with two beds that could easily sleep four. Clean, convenient, comfortable, practical – that’s the way we roll.
For the non-tourists, this hotel would also be perfect for the business travelers. It’s near Wall Street, the Financial District, and to many renowned establishments downtown. Would I stay here again….you bet!
Which credit cards could get you points with Marriott and/or FREE night certificates
- Earn 3 Free Nights ((each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.
- Enjoy a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary with redemption level up to 35,000
- Annual fee – $95
- Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Annual fee – $0
- Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Annual fee – $125
- Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points).
- Receive up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy® hotels.
- Up to $100 TSA Pre/Global Entry Credit
- Up to $100 Credit when you book direct using a special rate for a 2 night minimum stay at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® and get up to $100 in credit for qualifying charges.
- Annual Fee $450
For a list of over 60 credit cards, click here.
Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.