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Why a 3-Star Cheap Motel Can Be MUCH Better Than a 5-Star Fancy Resort

Why a 3-Star Cheap Motel Can Be MUCH Better Than a 5-Star Fancy Resort

EmilyWhy a 3-Star Cheap Motel Can Be MUCH Better Than a 5-Star Fancy ResortMillion 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.

Emily:  Miles and points don’t have to be about flying in First Class, going to the Maldives, or taking a trip to Europe.  It can be about visiting family you haven’t seen in years and meeting the littlest family members.

For example, I recently stayed in a 3-star hotel in a small town in Michigan where I enjoyed myself more than being at a 5-star hotel or an exotic resort.  There’s no wrong way to use miles and points.  Do what makes you happy.  Spending time with my family reminded me of why I got into miles and points in the first place.

We Had SO MUCH FUN In This Hotel's Pool
We Had SO MUCH FUN In This Hotel’s Pool

My Annual 3-In-1 Trip Back Home

Every year, I take a trip to visit my mom and grandma for their birthdays and for Mother’s Day because they all take place in the same week.  This year, other travel plans conflicted with my usual May trip, so I pushed it to June.  I knew my family would love to see my daughter again, so I flew solo all the way up from Austin to Traverse City, Michigan.

My partner, Alfy, stayed home to work and watch our dog, Mazzy, so it was just me and the baby!  This was our second mother/daughter trip together!

I booked our flights through Chase’s travel portal using Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  I always compare flight prices, and the Chase portal was the cheapest, saving me ~$500 cash!

To find the best deal, first, check award ticket prices through your different frequent flyer accounts and compare prices.  I love Chase Ultimate Rewards points because I can transfer them to airlines I frequently fly with, like United Airlines and Southwest Airlines.  Plus, I can use them to book flights through their portal.  You can learn more about booking flights through the Chase portal by following our step-by-step guide here!

Compare Point Prices to Get the Best Deals

Flying Solo With a Baby

People were very anxious to help me on our flight.  I had several people ask if they could hold things for me or put my heavy bags in the overhead compartment.  It was so nice to feel taken care of by others!

Flying with Arya by myself was easier than I thought.  During our layover, we killed time in the airport lounge.  She LOVED playing with the bigger kids in the kids’ lounge!

Traveling With Babies Takes More Planning...But It Can Also Be a New Adventure, Together!
Traveling With Babies Takes More Planning…But It’s Also About Taking a New Adventure Together!

My parents were so happy to see Arya again!  It had been ~6 months since my stepdad, Mark, saw Arya.  And this time around, she was busy crawling, laughing, and smiling!

I loved that I could share more of her growing up with people I love.

We Enjoyed Some Family Time in Michigan
We Enjoyed Some Family Time in Michigan

During our stay, we went to a local splash pad for some water fun.  Arya LOVES the water and could’ve hung out there for hours, haha.

Arya and Her Grandpa at the Splash Pad
Arya and Her Grandpa at the Splash Pad

After a few days in Michigan, we drove down to pick up my grandma.  My grandma is 88 years old, so I treasure every visit I get with her!  She really liked playing with the baby and singing her songs.

Baby Arya With Her Great Grandmother

Our Cheap Motel Stay

We checked into a local hotel so that we could meet up with my cousin and her family as well.  Because this was not a points hotel, I used hotels.com to get 2 stay credits (I got 2 rooms for 1 night).  I now have 1 free night for the next hotel I book through hotels.com!  It was a 3-star hotel, and for us, the highlight was the pool.

My grandma LOVED the hotel (which she referred to as the motel).  She walked in, and her mouth dropped open.  She thought it was so beautiful!

Th
The Lobby Had a Water Fountain

Her favorite part was the free coffee on demand.  She actually had the free cookies and free coffee for dinner.  I guess when you are 88 years old, you can do anything you want! 😉

Free Coffee Is Always a Nice Perk!

Soon after we got our room, my cousin Rachel and her husband, Eric, arrived with their 3 kids.  They hadn’t been out in a long time, and it was so nice for all of us to get out and enjoy time together.  We went swimming in the hotel pool for at least an hour, and then shared some food at the hotel’s restaurant.  The food was really good!

We didn’t spend a ton of time together, but even just 1 night made a huge difference.  I felt so thankful to have the opportunity to fly to Michigan and see my family.  And because I didn’t spend ANYTHING on flights, I was able to spend money on a splurge hotel stay.

Four
Four Generations Together!

Bottom Line

My favorite way to use miles and points is to visit people I love.  Miles and points don’t have to be about flying in First Class, going to the Maldives, or taking a trip to Europe.  It can be about visiting family you haven’t seen in years and meeting the littlest family members.

We recently stayed in a 3-star hotel in a small town in Michigan where I enjoyed myself more than I have at 5-star hotels or exotic resorts.

There’s no wrong way to use miles and points.  Do what makes you happy!

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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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Why is Darius not in the photos?

Did they split? I don’t remember if they married since I see a baby.,

Did I miss something? what hotel was this? it looks nice and with a toddler we love a good pool.

Author

We stayed at the Comstock Inn.

What a great photo at the end. That’s a keeper for the youngest generation!

Author

Thank you! I definitely want to plan more family trips so it’s not the only photo!