Welcome to the first installment of Mile Monster Case Study. These posts will help give you an idea of what airline miles, hotel points, and travel “hacking” in general can get you. Our first stop…Paris!
On November 2nd, 2011, Club Carlson, the parent company of Radisson Hotels launched a promotion called “The Big Night Giveaway”. They were celebrating the opening of the Radisson Aqua Blu in Chicago. The rules of the promotion were simple. Stay one night at a Radisson anywhere in the USA, Canada, or the Caribbean between November 10th and December, 30th and Club Carlson would award you with 50,000 Gold Points.
Each person was only allowed one bonus. It was a one shot deal.
Now Radisson’s in the USA are OK. They aren’t the greatest but they certainly aren’t the worst. However in Europe, Radisson Blu Hotels are considered 4 and 5 star hotels often going for well over 350 euros. That’s around $460 USD at the current exchange rate.
The key now was to find inexpensive Radisson Hotels for our fellow Mile Monsters to check-in to. Fortunately a few live in a cold weather state. Over Thanksgiving we found a rate on hotels.com for a Radisson that was convenient for check-in. The price was listed as $44 . Radisson.com had it listed for $65. Now pay attention here people! All major hotel groups have what is called a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG). If you find it cheaper on another website with a certain period of time that you make your reservation they will match it and usually give another discount on top of that rate. Radisson’s (Club Carlson) BRG states they will match the price and beat it by 25%.
Our $65 hotel just turned into a $33 dollar hotel. Below are the prices we paid for each check-in.
I wonder which one I should pick?
Also something to note is that when paying for the room out of pocket you incur around 10% tax. So the total would be roughly 2700 Euros or $3500.00! When “paying” with Gold Points, the tax is included!
Now of course no one that I know would actually pay that much to stay in Paris. (And if you do…can we be friends?) Of course there are cheaper options in Paris. Sure. But remember, you get what you pay for here. If you want run down, far away from the city center and still pay over $100 USD per night…enjoy your trip.
Total Room Cost – $3500
Total spent obtaining Gold Points – $350
Savings – 90%
The one thing you should take away from this case study is the fact that we “bought” Gold Points for $0.001 That’s 1/10 of a cent and redeemed or “sold” them for 1 cent.
Buy low. Sell high.