An Orange County Weekend – Introduction

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Trip Report Index: An Orange County Weekend – Introduction Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, California – Our Room Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, California – Hotel Grounds and Spa Day 1 in SoCal Day 2 in SoCal Back to Kansas Emily Jablon:  Daraius and I left after work on Friday for a 3 day weekend over Memorial Day in Orange County, California.  This was our first vacation since we went to India and Thailand in December, so we were very excited!!  Daraius booked us at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Huntington Beach.  I received my Southwest Companion Pass back in January, so I was very excited to start putting it to good use!
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach
Putting the Companion Pass to good use!

Daraius:  Emily likes visiting the West Coast, so I planned a 3 day weekend with lots of Big Travel with Small Money in Southern California.  I booked my ticket to Los Angeles on a non-stop Southwest flight using 16,080 Southwest points, and added Emily as my companion for $5 (taxes and fees) because I have the Southwest Companion Pass.  2 tickets would have cost us $540, but we paid much, much less than that!

I had read lots of good things about the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa  in Huntington Beach and used a great corporate rate for our stay.  The hotel is a top Category 6 hotel and usually goes for ~$37o for a weekend night or 22,000 Hyatt points.  Incidentally, you may be able to get this hotel for less (~$120+) using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price or get 2 free nights from the Hyatt credit card.

Since this was our first trip of the year, I used a confirmed suite upgrade (Diamond elite members get 4 suite upgrades to use on paid stays) to upgrade our room to a suite.  I also felt bad for cancelling our last weekend trip because I was busy with work, so I thought an upgrade to a suite would be in order.  I told Emily not to expect a great room so that she would be surprised when she saw the room.

Emily Jablon:  He’s so predictable.  He does that all the time!

Daraius:  I looked at Hotwire to get an idea of the maximum price a rental car would cost for 3 days, checked out the price after using discount codes with the major rental car companies, but finally booked through Costco travel for $43.22 – the total price for three days!  This was much cheaper than anywhere else so I bought a Costco membership to take advantage of this deal.  You can check the price on Costco Travel without a membership, but need a membership to book travel through the website.

Special thanks to the Rapid Traveler for blogging about Costco Travel.

I added my Southwest Frequent Flyer number to the car rental in my Alamo account and I earned 1,200 Southwest points worth ~$20.  I had to pay a frequent flyer program surcharge of $1.50 a day, but I still came out ahead.

Emily Jablon:  We grabbed a quesadilla at the Kansas City airport, and I noticed that the people on the table next to ours paid the bill with cash.  I mentioned this to Daraius, and now he’s worried that he created a miles and points monster!

Daraius:  I’ve flown many times, but I still love pressing my nose to the window and looking out at the beautiful sky, the clouds, the snow capped mountains etc.  On this trip, we saw a beautiful sunset.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach
Sunset en route to Orange County

Emily Jablon:  Before we left the airport in Los Angeles, we stopped at See’s Candies for a box of chocolates.  See’s Candies is my favorite Warren Buffet investment, and I never hesitate to keep him in business. 🙂

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach
Sweets for the sweetie!

We took the shuttle to the Alamo rental counter and after about 25 minutes we arrived at the rental counter.  There was lots of traffic leaving the airport and the rental car counter was quite far from the airport.

Daraius:  I declined all the insurance and told the rep that I was fine with the economy card which we had booked, so I wouldn’t pay for an upgrade.  Less than 30 seconds later, the agent told us that there were no more economy cars left so we got upgraded to a Jetta.

It took us about 40 minutes to reach the hotel and I dropped Emily off in the lobby and parked the car for free on Beach Blvd, just after its intersection with Atlanta Ave but before Sunrise Drive.  It was a 10 minute walk to the hotel, but saved me the $29 valet parking fee.

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