On our recent trip to Peru we had an overnight layover in Lima before heading to Cusco. We were getting in late, about 10pm, and had to depart early, at 5:30 am. Since we were going to be hitting the ground running in Cusco, we definitely wanted a better night’s sleep than what we would have gotten in the airport lobby.
So I began looking into what hotel options were around the Lima airport. One immediately stood out, the Costa Del Sol which was right across the street from the airport. We wouldn’t have to deal with a taxi or navigating an unfamiliar neighborhood at night. Only problem: a night there was going to cost $259. A little reluctant to drop that much cash on a place we were going to spend less than 8 hours in, I looked for ways I might save on a stay there.
Costa Del Sol is a Wyndham property, and they recently made updates to their rewards program making it more straightforward to earn and redeem free nights. 15,000 points was what I needed to get a free night at Costa Del Sol, but unfortunately none of the points programs I participate in were transfer partners with Wyndham.
Then I looked into the other part of the Wyndham program, the GoFast rate, which required 3,000 points in addition to a reduced cash rate of $95.
Now, here’s the trick: I still needed 3,000 points, however Wyndham allows you to buy points to “top off” your account. Every 1,000 points costs $11. So I purchased 3,000 points for $33, along with the $95 meant we got the room for $128, a significant savings from the listed price of $259 (before taxes). The catch? Well, Wyndham only allows you to buy up to 5,000 points a year. Still, if you’re in a similar position where you need a hotel for a night and are looking to save, this could be a viable option for you.
But as I got to thinking about it, I decided that the Go Fast option also offers budget minded travelers a way to save on their vacations if they accrue Wyndham Reward points. For instance, 15,000 points gets you a free night at any of their properties. However, if a Go Fast rate is offered, it might end up saving you more money over the course of a vacation to use that rate instead.
For example, the Wyndham Garden in San Diego costs $149 a night. Say you wanted to stay there five nights and had 15,000 points. You could use them for one free night, which means you’d pay full price for the other nights for a total of $594. Or you could spread your points out over the 5 day period and use the Go Fast rate so each night is only $45 for a total of $225 for the same number of nights. The Go Fast rate offers a way to maximize the points you’ve accrued and spread your savings out more. Unfortunately the Go Fast rate isn’t offered at every property and the amount of savings varies, but it still presents a creative way to potentially reduce the costs of your travel.
What are your favorite reward program hacks? What’s the best one you’ve stumbled upon? Let us know in the comments!