How I Got A $4,500 Hotel Stay For Less Than $600
I've been in Paris for the last few days and am staying at the fabulous InterContinental Paris Le Grand. I'll be writing more on the actual hotel stay later, but I wanted to share a great example of a successful booking story as our 4-night stay in our executive suite should have cost us €1,000 euros a night. However, I paid less than $600 USD for the entire stay.
How I Managed To Do This:
A while back, when I was planning my trip around the world, I knew that I wanted it to end with a bang. Almost the entire trip comprised of five-star hotels including the InterContinental Singapore, Ritz-Carlton Bali, Marina Bay Sands, Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, Lanson Place Kuala Lumpur, etc. To make the trip finale extraordinary, I set out to stay at a royal hotel in Paris.
The Intercontinental Paris Le Grand:
This hotel is one of the most luxurious in France and is notorious for being one of the grand hotels in Paris. I really wanted to stay here, however, the rates for this hotel are a bit insane. The hotel reception has a TV displaying the nightly rates and I've attached a photo below.
As you can see, rates start at €800.00 euros a night. Ouch. I did not wait to pay nearly this much for a hotel, but then I realized the hotel was a member of IHG.
Points, Point, Points:
Many hotel brands have high-end properties. For example, Marriott has Ritz-Carlton, Hilton has Conrad, and IHG has InterContinental. I now realized I could use points to stay here, but it would take a lot and I currently had 0.
Credit Cards Are Important
I wrote a post a while back called The Importance Of Travel Credit Cards. I went online and found the IHG credit card, (if you've never looked at it you should defiantly check it out). The basics of the card were this; no foreign transaction fee, $95 yearly fee, a free night certificate at many IHG properties on your anniversary starting at 1-year, and 100,000 points after spending a few thousand dollars in the first couple of months.
Thanks to my mother, I was able to obtain this credit card. I booked most of the flights and hotels for this trip on the card and quickly reached the minimum spend requirement and got the 100,000 points. The IHG card comes with another great perk, the 4th night free on award bookings. If I could get enough points to book this hotel for 3 nights, (210,000 points in total), I would get the 4th for free, (It should be 280,000 points for 4 nights).
I set out to ensure nearly every booking I made was with this card and quickly racked up IHG points. I was still short, but luckily IHG has many promotions every year and I was able to buy additional points. I spent a little under $600 to buy the extra IHG points needed and then had enough to book this luxurious hotel for 4 nights.
The End Point:
By simply using a credit card to book everything on this trip instead of a debit card, (and then paying it off immediately from my bank), I was able to acquire around 130,000 IHG points. I then was able to pay an additional $560 USD and ended up having enough points to stay at this hotel for 4 nights. The most basic room starts at €800 euros a night which means our stay should have been $3,579 USD, and yet we paid less than $600. We were also given a complimentary upgrade to an executive suite that started at €1,000 euros a night, meaning this stay would have costed us nearly $4,500 USD!
This goes to show how much you can save by using hotel points and more so by getting a hotel-branded travel credit card when it makes sense for you. Next time you plan a vacation or plan on making a large purchase, consider applying for a travel credit card, (Hyatt, American Airlines, IHG, etc.), you could very likely get free hotel nights or roundtrip airfare for simply spending money you would have anyways.
Another thing I want to add about applying for travel credit cards is that you shouldn't have a negative impact on your credit score due to applying for a travel credit card as long as you make your payments on time and maintain low credit utilization. One of my favorite travel bloggers wrote an excellent article about this that you can read here.