Extreme hotel savings


We love award travel, but sometimes you have to book a hotel at a cash rate. But who wants to pay full price? Certainly not anyone who has hotel-shopped at the rates we’ve been seeing in 2022. So what’s a savings addict to do? On this week’s Frequent Miler on the air, we talk about all the little tricks in our toolbox that we use to slice and dice the price on lodging.

Elsewhere on the blog this week, read about the best sites for gathering info you need for your trip, getting good value for your hotel points (or for using airline miles to book hotels), Greg’s round-the-world booking adventures and more. Watch, listen, or read on below for more from this week at Frequent Miler.

00:44 Giant Mailbag: Pop-up averted over the phone
4:14 3 Cards, 3 Continents, 3 Updates
15:34 What crazy thing….did Marriott Bonvoy do this week? When it says you can’t use suite night awards, maybe that’s not true . . .
23:45 Mattress running the numbers: Buying IHG points for 0.5c each
28:53 Main Event: Extreme hotel savings
29:40 Buying points on sale
36:45 Specialty rates
40:46 Card-linked offers (Chase Offers, Amex Offers, SimplyMiles, etc)
43:44 Portals
49:14 Membership sites (Capital One Spring, Greyhound, etc)
52:25 Hotels.com stacking
54:25 Best Rate Guarantees
1:01:16 Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle
1:03:48 Wyndham business to Caesars to Free room
1:05:12 Follow sites for deeply discounted prices
1:07:20 Question of the Week: Do you have an update on American Airlines Loyalty Points?

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This week at Frequent Miler

Rolling the dice on Round the World award space

Greg and I shared something in common this week in that we both rolled the dice on cancelling an award in the hopes that a segment or two of that award would pop back into award inventory. Unfortunately for Greg, gambles don’t always pay off. Fortunately for me, after spending hours reformulating and budgeting a backup plan that I assumed I would need to implement, my segment went right back into award inventory and now my award flights are done and I’m sitting pretty with room to spare in the budget. We’ll see how all of this shakes out for Greg!

Best free sites for finding Covid entry rules (and more!)

The sherpa Discovery map that Greg covers here looks awesome! I wish I had found this site earlier in my trip planning stages, but I’ll keep it bookmarked for planning purposes moving forward. I’ve been surprised at the difficulty of using Google to quickly answer questions about requirements, restrictions, and visas, so a single central resource is great.

“Special Offers” can make IHG worth another look

IHG points are having a moment. In my hotel booking for 3 Cards, 3 Continents, I have run into several situations where IHG points are yielding much better value than the cost of buying points in a sale like the one that’s happening right now. I don’t generally get very excited about Holiday Inns and Crowne Plazas, but it is hard to argue with the value — particularly in instances like the one in this post that showed a $160 hotel night could be had with $50 worth of IHG One Rewards points. I’m definitely finding that having some IHG points on hand can keep cash in your pocket.

Surprising: Get 1c per mile (or more) using AAdvantage miles for hotels

You’re probably aware that you can book hotels using airline miles, but you probably also know that doing so yields horrible value. While that is almost always the case, American Airlines provides a counterpoint: elite status holders and cardholders can get 1c per mile or more when booking through hotels.useaamiles.com. That’s not incredible, but it could be attractive for those with a large pile of AA miles.

Greg and Nick had never heard of Borneo’s Kota Kinabalu, but I had!

Not only had Carrie heard of Kota Kinabalu, but she’s been there and seen more of it than I would have in the day or two I considered visiting. While Carrie’s post echoed a point made by several readers in that Kota Kinabalu can easily take up many days (perhaps even weeks), I think I could have had a good time and seen at least some of its interesting natural wonders with just a short stop. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out on this trip, but I’ve got this place on my mind for a future family trip down the road.

Stephen’s Speculation: Who’s Greg’s Travel Companion For 3 Cards, 3 Continents?

Who will Greg’s mystery companion turn out to be? I haven’t had time to catch many movies over these past few years, but I loved Knives Out, so I’m really rooting for Stephen’s Ana de Armas guess to be right here.

American Airlines Loyalty Points Game Update: Halfway through, who’s in front?

The Loyalty Points are in…here’s the results so far

Tim continues to dominate our American Airlines Loyalty Points game. Truthfully, my interest in chasing Loyalty Points waned as the easy pickings got picked up. Still, on the podcast, I lamented not having gone after some easy GiftCards.com orders. As Greg says on this week’s show, I feel like there’s a good chance we’ll see better shopping portal promos heading into the holiday season. I’ll be Platinum any day now and I think my original goal of Platinum Pro is still pretty easily within reach — though it’ll be hard to beat Tim’s cost per point to get there.

Award spotlight: Rancho Santana, Nicaragua

When we started planning the 3 Cards, 3 Continents challenge, I didn’t have it in mind that Greg would try to get to both South America and Central America. As it turns out, he won’t be making his way to Rancho Santana (and we previously learned that he wouldn’t be making it to a few very interesting properties in Peru), but I found the descriptions of this property awfully intriguing. A friend who has been several times reached out and confirmed that all of the praise heaped upon this place is legit. I’ll definitely keep this one in mind for a Central American getaway sometime sooner rather than later.

What’s the best way to rent a car in Hawaii? | Ask Us Anything Ep 46

You asked and we answered — this month’s Ask Us Anything included a broad range of questions (including the title question) and the entire team was online to field them. Check out the replay and Carrie’s summary here.

Join me (Greg) at The Travel Summit: Toronto Oct 29-30 2022

Greg is going to be speaking about building your own round-the-world trip at this year’s Travel Summit in Toronto. We’ll still be relatively fresh off of our 3 Cards 3 Continents trip and I’m sure he’ll have some interesting insights to share. If you’re in Toronto or interested in traveling there, it sounds like the Travel Summit has a cool lineup of speakers worth checking out.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Don’t forget to keep your eye on this week’s last chance deals.

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I did not go back and re-listen, but I think you said the free shopping portals/clubs are always prepaid/non-cancellable rates. I know for sure that some of the rates on Capital One Spring via Priceline are cancellable. You may have to expand the list of room types to find one that says it has Free Cancellation, and they seem to have dozens of different types per hotel – not actually different room types, but various combos of rooms, rates, cancellation policies, etc.


You made me go back and listen :-). At 51:47 Greg says these are prepaid nonrefundable rates” regarding CapOne Spring and/or Greyhound. When I last used it, I could absolutely get some, though not all, of the big-discount headline numbers as refundable rates. I did have to prepay, but was refunded without issue the couple times I cancelled. One example: I booked a room near Ohare for a conference last Sep for $125/night after taxes, and the best “normal” advertised rate I could find was ~$240.

However when I looked today at a few places & dates, it appears the discounts are only for nonrefundable rates. I hope this is a result of much higher demand for hotels since winter 21-22 and not a new policy/approach.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Oh interesting. I didn’t realize that they sometimes (used to) offer refundable rates. As you said, hopefully the lack of those rates today is a temporary thing.


For the free ceasars room I just wanted to clarify what Nick was talking about was this a simple room search on their website or is there a special place I need to go to see the rates that he was mentioning?

Michael Hogan

Greyhound Rewards program ended as of July 7th per the website 🙁

Greg The Frequent Miler

Weird. I logged into it yesterday

Michael Hogan

I just tried to sign up for it, but it wasn’t letting me. At this link it says existing users can still use rewards through December 15. Wish I’d known about this sooner! https://www.greyhound.com/en/help-and-info/road-rewards

Greg The Frequent Miler

Oh! Good to know. Thanks!


I called Amex recently about a retention offer on the Platinum card. Been with Amex for 12+ years. I was told how great the benefits were but I had no offers to keep open the card even after I said I was going to close it. This is the second card I have closed after years of spend but no retention offer. I find this strange as they are “giving away” so many points on new cards. Oh well no love for me from Amex.


Yeah, I can never figure this out either. Although by the time I gather the energy to call I just often want to cancel the card and move on. I’ve been on a cancellation binge for the last year or so. The Aspire I canceled due to limited travels and the Platinum gives me gold status and status seems to give you limited benefits (breakfast was kind of trashed, upgrades were rare even pre-covid, etc.).

I’ve kept CSR, AmexPlat/Gold but the rest are either no AFs or < $100. Looking to add a few in case I start traveling again but with a foot injury I doubt I will be doing anything until next year.


I will try that if I have Amex cards in the future.


Thanks, good to know about rentention chats, I might try that.


Are there data points that chat can yield different outcomes? I’d have figured any human agent is working off the same script regardless of channel.