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“How I Saved $2,133 on a Family Trip to the Statue of Liberty!”

“How I Saved $2,133 on a Family Trip to the Statue of Liberty!”

Million Mile Secrets“How I Saved $2,133 on a Family Trip to the Statue of Liberty!”Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Team member Jason recently planned out a trip to New York City for his family.  He booked ~$2,133 worth of travel with points!

So I’ve asked him to explain how he booked the trip and saved Big Money in an otherwise very expensive city!

Jason:   Thanks, Daraius!  This year for Christmas, my family decided that instead of sharing gifts we wanted to share an experience together.  So we’re planning a trip to New York City to visit the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island!

How I Saved 2133 On A Family Trip To The Statue Of Liberty
I Used Points to Save My Family Big Money on Our Statue of Liberty Visit

New York City can be busy during the holiday season.  And my family isn’t big on crowds and long lines.  But we love saving money.  So I figured that they would be on board for the trip once they saw how points can unlock Big Travel with Small Money.

I looked into several different options for hotels.  And I ended up booking 3 rooms for 1 night right in Times Square!

I’ll show you how I did it.  And what you’ll need to book a similar trip for your friends or family.

Finding the Right Hotel

I wanted to stay at a Hyatt hotel, because I was looking for rooms during a busy time of year and Hyatt doesn’t have blackout dates on award bookings.  And Hyatt’s “Guest of Honor” benefit makes sharing elite perks easy.  So we won’t have any issues getting free parking and breakfast for all 9 of us with my wife’s Globalist elite status.

I ended up booking 3 rooms at the Hyatt Centric New York Times Square.

How I Saved 2133 On A Family Trip To The Statue Of Liberty
Hyatt Hotels, Like the Hyatt Centric Times Square, Don’t Have Blackout Dates for Award Nights. And It’s Easy for Globalist Elite Members to Share Benefits With Friends & Family

You can book the Hyatt Centric Times Square for 25,000 Hyatt points per night.  Or you can book a cash and points rate for $150 + 12,500 Hyatt points per night.

How We Saved So Much Money

We’re visiting during the week of Christmas.  So the hotel rooms are more expensive.  Because of my wife’s Globalist status, I was able to upgrade 2 of the rooms to suites.  At the time I booked, suites were going for ~$600+ a night.  And the 3rd room was ~$400+ for the night.

We live only a ~4 hour drive from New York City.  So we had planned on parking outside the city, and taking a New Jersey Transit train to Manhattan.  That would have cost $32 per person round-trip for 9 people, plus ~$20 to park our vehicles.

But one of the benefits of Hyatt Globalist status is free parking!  So we’re going to save ourselves ~$308 by driving to the hotel, and taking advantage of the free valet parking.

How I Saved 2133 On A Family Trip To The Statue Of Liberty
Driving in Times Square Isn’t My Idea of a Vacation, but It’s Worth It to Save on Train Tickets

The Hyatt Centric does not have a club lounge with free breakfast.  So we’ll get free breakfast at the restaurant.  This is easily worth ~$25 per person.  That’s another ~$225 ($25 X 9 people = $225) we won’t have to pay!

So we’ll be saving at least ~$2,133 (~$1,600 hotel rooms + ~$308 train fares + ~$225 breakfast) on our trip!

Note:   If you don’t have Hyatt elite status (and can’t get upgraded) you can book suites at Category 6 Hyatt hotels, like the Hyatt Centric Times Square, for 40,000 Hyatt points per night.

Stocking up on Points

The easiest way to book a similar trip for your family or friends is with transferable points.  I used Hyatt points, and elite status benefits that my wife earned through her work travel to book this trip for free.  But you can easily book the exact same trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

The Hyatt Centric Times Square is a Category 6 hotel.  So you can book rooms for 25,000 Hyatt points a night.  Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Hyatt, you would need a combined total of at least 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Hyatt points.

You can earn those points with these cards:

Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus Offer
The Hyatt Credit Card40,000 Hyatt points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Chase has strict application rules.  If you’ve opened more than 5 credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months, you likely won’t be approved for most Chase credit cards.  But some small business credit cards (including Chase small business cards) won’t count towards the limit.

The Chase Hyatt card is not affected by the Chase “5/24” rule.  So, if you’re close to the limit, it’s best to get one of the other Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning credit cards first.  And then get the Chase Hyatt card afterwards if you want to.

The Secret to Saving More With the Chase Travel Portal

We’re traveling to New York City during a peak travel time.  So hotel room prices are high.  But if the price of the Hyatt Centric Times Square is under $250 to $375 per night, then you could book the hotel for fewer points through the Chase Travel Portal.

You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for between 1 to 1.5 cents per point towards bookings made through the Chase Travel Portal.  How much your points are worth depends on which Chase credit card you have.

Chase Ultimate Rewards CardHow Much Are Points Worth Toward Travel?
Chase Freedom1 cent
Chase Freedom Unlimited1 cent
Chase Sapphire (no longer available)1 cent
Chase Sapphire Preferred1.25 cents
Chase Sapphire Reserve1.5 cents
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card1 cent
Chase Ink Business Unlimited1 cent
Chase Ink Bold (no longer available)1.25 cents
Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)1.25 cents
Chase Ink Business Preferred1.25 cents

If the room costs $250 per night you’d pay:

  • 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1 cent per point
  • 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1.25 cents per point
  • ~16,667 Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1.5 cents per point

So always do the math to compare the number of points you’d need to book through the Chase Travel Portal vs. booking an award night.

How I Saved 2133 On A Family Trip To The Statue Of Liberty
Use the Chase Travel Portal to Book Hotel Rooms With Fewer Points

Be aware, when you pay with points you will likely not be able to take advantage of any elite status benefits you might have with Hyatt.  And you won’t earn points for your stay because it’s a 3rd-party booking.

Use Points for Your Other Expenses

If you don’t want to pay for other expenses like train tickets, breakfast, or Uber, you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point.  So if you wanted to, you could pay for your entire trip with just Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

But I prefer to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Chase’s travel partners.  Because I can often get more value using the points that way.

How I Saved 2133 On A Family Trip To The Statue Of Liberty
You Can Turn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Into Cash, but You’ll Usually Get More Value With Chase’s Transfer Partners

Bottom Line

Team member Jason booked $2,133 worth of travel in New York City for his family of 9 using points!  Now they will enjoy their holiday trip to the Statue of Liberty even more, knowing it won’t be affecting their budget!

You could book a similar trip for your family or friends with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  And depending on where and when you wanted to travel, you might be able to pull it off with the points you earn from a single sign-up bonus!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Great trip planning! Congratulations! That’s where I’m planning my trip to Alllll on points and miles