If you follow any of the major blogs, you’ll know that U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways are just around the corner. Daily Getaways is an annual event offering discounted rates on a variety of travel (typically hotels/attractions) related packages. I typically write these sorts of deals off because generally speaking, if there’s something that looks like a good deal, it either carries lots of weird restrictions, is overly specific (e.g. for a place I wouldn’t go), or is likely to go unused.
That said, I figured it would be worth doing a more objective pass over this year’s Daily Getaways to see if there was any value, and to my surprise, I found a couple of offers that might be worth going for. The other ones probably fall into one of the above three buckets, although if you were already planning on traveling to any of the specified destinations or had specific plans to use the packages, they could be worth purchasing.
Here are the highlights.
- Cambria Hotels & Suites (2 nights for $160): Just a points package masquerading as free night certificates. This amounts to buying 40,000 Choice Privileges points at a price of 0.4 cents each, which is about 60% off the normal purchase price and 45% off the points and cash price. Choice Hotels has a huge footprint, and most of its hotels fall within the 10,000-25,000 points/night bands, so this means you get to lock in a few nights at between $40 and $100/night. Even with how inexpensive Choice Hotels properties tend to be, this is a great deal, and I’m going to jump on it.
- Comfort Inn (3 nights for $155): Same as the Cambria deal, except you get 36,000 points at a price of 0.43 cents each. The math is similar. One fun note with Choice is that you can transfer to Southwest points at 3.33:1 (in 6,000 point increments), so you can actually get about halfway to a Companion Pass by buying two each (the maximum you can buy) of this and the Cambria package. Doing so would net you 45,600 Southwest points for a price of $630. Couple that with a single Chase Southwest card (50,000 point bonus plus some spending), and you’re pretty much all the way there. It could be a good play to hold the points and do the transfer at the beginning of the calendar year to maximize the length of the Companion Pass.
- IHG (e.g. 100,000 points for $565): IHG frequently has points purchasing sales that allow you to buy points at below 0.6 cents a piece, and these are only marginally (if at all) better than that mark.
- Best Western (10,000 points for $55): I tried finding even a backdoor way (e.g. transferring to airline points, buying gift cards) to get value out of it, but considering that the award tiers are 8,000, 12,000, 16,000….all the way to 36,000, unless you have some Best Western stays coming up, I’d be wary of having your points stranded.
- Las Vegas (e.g. Aria for $1700): If you’re already planning on going, it’s probably worth pricing out your initial plans and comparing to the cost of these (mostly) all-inclusive packages.
- Nada 🙁
- Nothing bad enough to write about.
- Wyndham (1 night for $150): This is another one of those points-masquerading-as-free-nights deals. You get 15,000 points for $150, which is enough for one night at any Wyndham hotel (all hotels cost the same number of points), or multiple using points and cash (I’ve seen some REALLY good value from some random searches). Be warned, though, that their footprint is very small, so only pull the trigger if you have a plan for the points (I might–out of curiosity more than anything).
— Daniel Tahara (@DanielTahara) July 30, 2015
- Expedia ($1000 coupon plus Gold status for $650): If you’re going to do this, do it for the $1000 coupon and not the status. Status with OTAs is generally worthless, with the exception of Orbitz Platinum. The reason this is circumstantially good and not outright good is that you get a ONE-TIME USE COUPON and not $1000 in credit. If you have a multi-day or expensive stay coming up, it’s an easy way to save $350 (particularly at boutique/non-chain hotels), but otherwise, I’d be careful with this one because it’s a bit hard to maximize. That said, the coupon doesn’t expire, so it might be worth buying and holding onto (Expedia definitely isn’t going anywhere).
The U.S. Travel Association has only released the first two weeks of packages, but I’ll follow up as they announce the rest!