It’s been quite a busy summer – all work and hardly any play. The sad part is that I watched my favorite season flash by my eyes; I can’t believe it’s already the end of August, jeez! As the reality that summer was coming to an end started to set in, I realized I was due for a little getaway. I also realized that I haven’t been on an airplane in over two months. #firstworldproblems.
The decision to go away for Labor Day Weekend was kind of an impulsive one with short notice. Since I just booked my airfare four days ago, I was surprised that it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I decided to visit Scottsdale for a variety of reasons. #1 because I LOVE the ridiculous heat, #2 because I wanted to re-visit Sedona as an adult, and #3 hotels in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area are relatively inexpensive.
Here’s what I got so far:
The Plan in a Nutshell:
Day 1: Hang in Scottsdale
Day 2: Hang in Sedona
Day 3: Hang in Scottsdale
Day 4: Hang in Phoenix/Perhaps visit family friends in Chandler
I found a nonstop roundtrip flight from EWR to PHX on United for $288. Luckily I remembered that I had some flight-discount coupons from my United MileagePlus Explorer Visa that knocked a nice chunk of the price off, bringing the total down to $233.85.
Using New Girl in The Air’s Overview of Current Car Rental Deals as a guide, I was able to book a 4-day car rental with Alamo at the day rate of $22.63. The total of my 4-day rental after taxes and fees is estimated to be $126.30. Using coupon code AD7443SDF, I was able to knock off $15 a rental of 3 days or more, and I’ll also be getting 1,000 bonus United miles by using ID 7015734, valid on rentals of 3 days or more by December 31, 2012.
Finding hotels was actually the most difficult part for me this time around. Naturally, I like to hunt for the best deals and maximize the usuage of hotel promotions (points), but it’s also important to make sure that they realistically fit well with my plans.
My first instinct was to book one night at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and one night at nearby the Westin Kierland Resort to get the 10,000 bonus SPG points that Loyalty Traveler recently blogged about. I was even considering booking one night at the Waldorf Astoria Biltmore with a $100 dining credit for $119 that Lucky shared on his blog.
First off, the 10,000 SPG bonus point offer and the Waldorf Astoria Biltmore with a $100 dining credit are both fantastic deals, I’ll admit. However, I wasn’t interested in spending an average of around $159 a night (including a resort fee) when decent hotels in the surrounding vicinity are in the $60-$80 range. We’re pressed for time as it is with only 3 nights in town, and I didn’t want to stay at a large resort and not be able to fully enjoy it.
We’ll be out and about exploring and hiking outdoors for the most part. As much as I love hotel-hopping for points, I had to also consider a friend of mine that we are planning to meet up with who is staying put in one hotel. It would be too much driving and hassle to bounce around too much.
With that said, here’s what I came up with:
1 night at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Paradise Valley – Scottsdale: Though I don’t have much loyalty to the Hilton brand, I decided to spend one night here because it was inexpensive (AAA rate of $67.20) and had a decent pool. We arrive in town 12 hours earlier than my friend, so Kevin and I will use those hours to relax. I was also able to call Hilton and ask them to apply a unique 2500-bonus point offer for my next Hilton stay when Points, Miles, and Martini’s posted about a very targeted (and pretty amazing) 50,000 HHonors bonus-point offer after completing 4 stays. I also registered for Hilton’s double/trip point promotion that’s valid until September 30, 2012.
1 night at ??? – Still working on finding this one! Suggestions are appreciated and welcome!
1 night at Hotel Indigo Scottsdale: Again, I am not really loyal to Priority Club hotels, but this modern/trendy hotel seems to be perfectly-located in the nightlife district, and I think it would be fun to go out on our last night in town. I also couldn’t refuse the $59 [advance purchase] rate. I booked this room using MrRebates for 15% back on all Priority Club bookings. After taxes are factored in, I should expect to receive about $10 back via MrRebates, bringing the total room cost down to $57.63. I also was able to successfully register for the following Priority Club promotions for bonus points. Though I am not sure if they are combinable, I am curious to see how many points will actually post in the end:
- 1,500 Bonus Priority Club Points or 500 Bonus Airline Miles for your next stay Worldwide. Stay must be made within 90 days of registering. Register Online with code 3107
- 1,500 Bonus Priority Club Points for your next stay Worldwide. Stay must be made within 90 days of registering. Register Online with code 2020
- 1,500 Bonus Priority Club Points for your next stay Worldwide. Stay must be made within 90 days of registering. Register Online with code 2120
- 1,000 Bonus Priority Club Points for your next stay Worldwide. Stay must be made within 90 days of registering. Register Online with code 6102
- 1,500 Bonus Priority Club Points for your next stay Worldwide. Stay must be made within 90 days of registering. Register Online with code 5109
- 3,000 Bonus Priority Club Points for your next stay Worldwide. Stay must be made within 90 days of registering. Register Online with code 1228
I’m really excited for this upcoming trip! We’ll be meeting up with my friend Ken, whom I haven’t seen in since my Texas Road Trip in January of 2012. Also, rumor has it that New Girl in the Air will also be in town. Perhaps we will cross paths!
Have any readers visited Scottsdale/Sedona/Phoenix recently? It’s been over 10 years for me, so any suggestions about what to do, what restaurants to try, etc., are greatly appreciated!