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As I mentioned previously, over the coming days and weeks you’ll see the occasional post from a fellow reader who has applied to write for OMAAT on an ongoing basis. It’s possible that posts will still be in the publication queue after we’ve announced our decision, so we’ll be publishing these anonymously. We hope you enjoy the different perspectives!
A very good friend gifted me IHG Royal Ambassador status for my honeymoon back in 2013. If he wasn’t a good friend before, he certainly is now, as that was a very generous wedding gift! Not only did it get me a memorable honeymoon, it was also the start of my appreciation for miles and points.
From that moment on, I strive to book the best value redemption possible, which often turns out to be far to reach and over the top luxurious vacations, because why not? However, these trips take meticulous planning, and at times, must be booked a year in advance. On top of that, it could take another year to collect the necessary points.
With that, we sometimes forget there are some spectacular resorts in the US, which are only a short flight away. These could make for an unforgettable getaway. If you are planning a last minute fancy spring break trip near home, and are looking for good weather, consider these point redemptions.
Maui is a fantastic place to go for spring break, or anytime of the year. Visit one of Hawaii’s best beaches, such as Ka’anapali Beach. Enjoy some refreshing shave ice, magnificent snorkeling, and beautiful scenic drives such as the road to Hana.
Courtyard at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua, courtesy of the hotel
The Ritz Kapalua is one of the more premier properties in Hawaii, and given how expensive Hawaii can be, it’s good value for your points and free night certificates.
A free night at this Ritz Carlton category 4 property is 60,000 Marriott points, and cash rates can go for more than $500 a night.
Alternative: consider the Grand Wailea at 95,000 Hilton points a night. Cash rates can go for more than $500 a night.
St. Helena in Napa County is in the center of Northern California’s famous wine country. The region is filled with some of the world’s top rated wines, several Michelin star restaurants (including the three star French Laundry), and the area’s legendary spas.
Vineyard view at Las Alcobas, courtesy of the hotel
Las Alcobas is intimate and has thirty-five rooms. It is also well located to some of the best wineries for those wine tours, such as a tasting at Charles Krug! The place also boasts spectacular views of Beringer’s vineyards, and a close drive to fine dining.
A free night at this SPG category 7 property is 30,000 SPG points, and cash rates can go for more than $500 a night. Points can be earned through the AMEX SPG personal card and AMEX SPG business card.
Alternative: consider the Andaz Napa at 20,000 Hyatt points a night. Cash and points redemption is $125+10,000 points. Cash rates can go for more $225 a night.
There are so many places to see and things to do in Los Angeles that you can easily spend a week in Southern California.
Go to Disneyland to visit Mickey Mouse, or Universal Studios for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The swanky neighborhoods are aplenty and shopping is everywhere. Venice Beach is a great place to people watch. Visit the Hollywood sign, Laguna Beach, the OC (Orange County), Santa Monica Pier, and so much more!
Maybe you’ll run into a celebrity or two (if you care).
The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, courtesy of the hotel
Los Angeles is spread out, but the Waldorf Astoria is ideally situated on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard. The area also has other exclusive hotels. Shopping is close by and Rodeo drive is a short five minute drive away. The hotel itself has Jean George’s restaurant, a nice rooftop bar, and a pool with cabana service for a glamorous getaway. This hotel is definitely on my radar for our next Southern California visit.
A free night at this Hilton property is 95,000 Hilton points, and cash rates can go for more than $700 a night. Points can be earned through several AMEX Hilton cards with a sign up bonus up to 100,000 points, including the Hilton Honors Ascend Card and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.
Alternative: consider the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City at 60,000 IHG points a night. Cash rates can go for more than $300 a night.
A luxury wellness retreat in Tucson, Arizona, Miraval is a place for detoxing and relaxation. Examples of some of the myriad activities offered at this exclusive resort include: horseback riding, suspension yoga, meditation, and a juice bar. They also offer spiritual healers and life coaches! I have a stay coming up in a couple of weeks and can’t wait!
Miraval Resort, courtesy of the hotel
A free night at this recently-joined Hyatt property is 45,000 Hyatt points for one person, and 60,000 points for a two people. Cash rates can be more than $1,200 a night for one person. Points can be earned through The Hyatt Credit Card or transferred from several premier Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
Alternative: consider The Phoenician in Scottsdale at 25,000 SPG points a night. Cash rates can go for more than $600 a night.
On the Atlantic side of the country is the beautiful Florida coast. Florida is an excellent place for local sun, sand, and some of the best stretches of beach in the world. Naples is one of those stretches.
Aerial view of the beach at the Ritz Carlton Naples, courtesy of the hotel
This resort caters toward relaxation, and is located on the opposite side from the intensity of Miami. It’s a destination itself, as there are two heated pools, seven restaurants, and a world class spa. Go here for pampering, not partying.
A free night at this Tier 5 category is 70,000 Marriott Rewards points. Cash and points redemptions can be $200+50,000 points. Cash rates can go for more than $1,000 a night.
Alternative: consider the St. Regis Bal Harbour for 30,000 SPG points a night. Cash rates can go for more than $800 a night
Using points and miles to travel is an amazing way to experience resorts and destinations that you might not be able to otherwise. While we all love international travel for many reasons, let’s not forget the incredible places closer to home.
As a reminder, this post was guest-written by a fellow reader. Feedback is appreciated, but please keep the comments kind and constructive.