Hope everyone had a fun Memorial Day Weekend!
Although I would have loved to travel this weekend, I wasn’t able to get out of Chicago : (
I however did hit up the beach and was amused by these characters walking in front of us.
Since I didn’t get to travel, I did the next best thing which was to do a mattress run to rack up some points to earn free nights in anticipation of my next trip!
It’s funny because prior to this Summer, I’d never done a mattress run in my life but in the last month I have already done 2.
My first one was to take advantage of Radisson’s Big Night Giveaway and rack up an easy 50,000 points.
That promotion is still going on and more information can be found here.
This past weekend’s Mattress Run, which I had talked about in the past here, was for Starwood and was targeted specifically for the 2 auxiliary “family” accounts that I have. I suspect I was targeted for those 2 accounts because they had SPG points in them from all the social media promotions but I had never actually stayed at a Starwood property under those accounts.
The promotion essentially provided 1 free night at any Starwood property, catagory 1-6, in exchange for staying 1 night at any Starwood property before July.
Although the offer is phenomenal, within Downtown Chicago, all the Starwood properties go for $150+ a night, so if I had wanted to take advantage of this promotion, I would have had to go out to the cheaper Starwood Hotels near O’Hare airport.
Well it just so happens that I needed to go on an IKEA run this weekend, which coincidently is near O’Hare airport.
On Friday evening I ran a quick Kayak.com search and to my surprise saw a stay for Saturday at the Westin Chicago Northwest for only $79!
I’m not sure if the low price had to do with Memorial Day and the fact that the hotel was primarily for Business Travelers, but I personally have never seen a Westin anywhere in the world go for only $79.
So I booked 2 rooms, 1 for each targeted account, and after IKEA we dropped in at the Westin Chicago Northwest and checked in.
Overall the Hotel was bizarre in design but for $79 it was a steal.
What is nice is that the hotel had auto check-out, so we didn’t have to do anything like physically go check out in the morning, so after we looked at the room for 2 seconds, we headed back home.
If you are new to FFU, or have never heard of a Mattress Run and are wondering what exactly is the point of checking into a hotel, and checking out just to earn points, in simple terms, you are basically paying up front for a service that you will redeem in the future but at a much higher value.
In the case of my example from over the weekend, I did the promotion because I needed 2 hotel nights for my upcoming trip to Washington D.C in July.
I looked on Kayak and the hotel rooms in DC were $200+ a night, which as a blogger that writes about scoring free and cheap travel, is not exactly my cup of tea.
When I learned of this targeted promotion for a free night, a light bulb went off in my head when I realized I could find a cheap hotel in Chicago to earn the free night certificates at, and then redeem those free nights in Washington D.C at a much more expensive hotel, thus saving me quite a bit of money.
What blew my mind about this promotion was how lenient the free award night is. Not only are there no blackout dates but you can redeem the free nights at ANY Starwood category 1-6 property.
Armed with that knowledge, I headed over to Starwood.com to see what hotels in DC I could redeem my free nights at.
To my surprise, I could redeem at the St. Regis, Westin, or W, which all fall under either category 5 or 6!
The prices below are the actual prices per a night for a room during the dates we are going.
As you can see, by spending 2 X $79 ($100 or so after taxes were included) upfront for a throw away stay in Chicago, I’ll be getting 2 free nights which I can redeem in Washington DC at hotels that cost 4x more money!
Unfortunately this offer is targeted, or I’d be urging everyone to get in on it, but consider this a great example of how next time you see some junk email from a hotel in your inbox, to maybe give it a second look! You never know what you’ll find!