I have read many blog posts over the years about bloggers using their seemingly bottomless pit stash of miles and points to send their family and friends on posh vacations all over the world. They fly them in first class and put them up in the luxury hotel suites. That’s great. And it sounds very altruistic. But, would you do it? Would I?
For the second time this year I find myself in this rather sticky situation. The first time was my trip to Europe with a friend this past June. I did not travel with my husband or my son, it was just me and a friend. When you travel with a friend, you usually split the cost of the hotel room. So a $180 room is $90 each, right? If I travel with my family, the room is $180. I could use 35,000 IHG points for that $180 room, which isn’t the best value BUT it is better than using 35,000 IHG points for the same $90 room. Do you see where I’m going with this?
If the person I’m traveling with contributes nothing to the trip in terms of miles or points, should I feel obligated to use mine to offset their cost? I guess, if I was a completely selfless person.
And I’m not really that greedy! I sincerely enjoy helping people. If you want to know the best credit card to sign up for to start earning miles and points, I will gladly help you. If you want to pay for a plane ticket or hotel room and make sure you are getting the best value, I will gladly help you with that too. But should I GIVE someone my hard-earned miles and points simply because they won’t or can’t sign up for their own?
In the case of my trip to Europe, my friend did provide me with a free plane ticket to Europe. But we only got business class on the way back AND I had to buy a ticket to Atlanta to even begin the trip – but that’s another rant for another blog post. Now the plane tickets to Europe cost my friend nothing. No money and no miles. They were given to her by her employer. But, she probably would not have taken the trip if it weren’t for me being able to go. Anyway, because she gave me that ticket I felt more obligated to offset her cost on the hotels so I did use my free night certs and some points to cover most of our hotels. We each ended up spending about $175 for a week’s worth of hotel stays. Not bad for Europe.
Now my current dilemma. Next spring break, a friend and I decided to take our sons to Disney World in Florida. Crazy idea during Spring Break, I know. But again, another blog post for that one!
I have been looking at hotels and want to get one booked before the good ones are gone. I want the trip to cost as little money as possible because I went WAAAY over my travel budget in 2014, so I want to try to conserve next year.
After looking at all the hotel chains in which I have points, I decided the best value would be the Carlson Country Inn and Suites near Universal. The Gold Points rate is 28,000 points per night and I could split the reservation to maximize the BOGO points redemption, (use my account for 2 nights and Matthew’s account for 2 nights) That would mean 56,000 in points for 4 nights and 2 paid nights for $208.46 total.
If we paid straight cash for the room it would be $625.38. Divided by 2 is $312.69 each.
If we did the points for 4 nights and cash for 2 nights scenario, I could use points to cover my half and she could pay $300.
So help me out here. What do you do when you are traveling with friends? Treat them? Or make them pay half, as if you are not using points.
I’m really not trying to be greedy. Really.