We had an exciting weekend here at Points, Miles, and More! Facebook readers shared the awesome deal to get $25 off at Amazon with an American Express card. Plus Gary Leff kindly shared our article on using Mlife status to get Hyatt Explorist status. Thanks to this we have a lot of new readers out there!
Based on having some new visitors I thought it might be fun to give an example of how travel can be (almost) free due to the beauty of hotel, airline, and credit card rewards points.
An almost free trip to Sonoma and Napa with points isn’t a post about a bucket list trip like my upcoming trip to the Maldives. Which I may, or may not have a countdown set for. This is about normal trips that can be pricey but easily attainable with credit card rewards points.
How to get your Napa trip with points
My husband and I decided to meet up with his dad after he wraps up a work trip in the Bay area. Since we went to Napa and Sonoma for his birthday a few years ago I have been dying to go back so this is the perfect opportunity!
Flight to Sonoma/Napa
30,000 British Airways Avios points for our nonstop flight from Phoenix to Santa Rosa (the heart of Sonoma!) on American Airlines . This is for two people round-trip. The cost would be the same if we had flown to San Francisco, San Jose, or Oakland. This is because British Airways has a distance based award chart. See this article for my fun Valentine’s Day booking this flight ;).
You can get 50,000 points just by signing up for the British Airways Visa and hitting the minimum spend over 3 months. Or, if you’re not close enough to use British Airways Avios points you can get an American, Delta, or United card for two free roundtrip flights with their signup bonuses.
90,000 Marriott points for 2 nights at the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort and Spa. I had Marriott points for this but you can get this amount of points just by signing up for the SPG Amex which is currently offering a 35,000 point signup bonus. Because of the SPG/Marriott merger you can convert any SPG points to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio. This means your 35,000 SPG points turns into 105,000 Marriott points!
The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort and Spa is in the city of Sonoma which is the perfect distance between the wine tasting areas of Napa and Sonoma.
For our third night we wanted to be closer to the Santa Rosa airport for our morning flight. So I used my free anniversary night from the Hyatt credit card (which I picked up awhile ago) to stay at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek. The Hyatt card has a $75 annual fee and this Hyatt would’ve been over $150 for the night. That $150 was before taxes and fees so using this free anniversary night was an excellent deal!
Ok, so like I said, this trip isn’t “free”! I used the promo for 10x points for a hotel or car rental through Chase to book a rental car. That being said we only paid $83 for the car for three days through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, which is cheaper than Kayak, or other options. We are also getting 830 Chase Ultimate Rewards points which based on how much value you can get from points, is easily a 16% return.
Now of course, we still need to budget for the amount of wine we will be tasting but three nights and a roundtrip flight for a Sonoma and Napa trip with points is an amazing deal. Here are our final savings with what we would have spent in cash to book this:
- Roundtrip flights for 2 to Santa Rosa from Phoenix: $496
- 2 nights at the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa: $408 average per night – $971 including taxes and fees
- 1 night at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek: $185 including taxes and fees
Total amount saved by using points: $1,652
Have questions on the best way to use your credit card, hotel, or airline points? Shoot us a comment or contact us directly and we’ll be happy to give you our feedback!