🏨 5 ways to use 5 free nights

Plus, I'll share how miles and points got me a free trip to Bali this week.

Estimated read time: 5 minutes and 31 seconds

💳 Did you know that there is now ANOTHER credit card offering five free night awards as a welcome offer…? Check it out here.

Good morning from Bali, Indonesia - the stunning tropical island full of lovely beaches and historic temples… which I can’t enjoy, because I’m sick… again. 🤧

So, to distract myself (and because it’s my literal job), I decided to share some travel hacks with you:

🏝️ Mike on the Move: Bali edition

Unlike last week, my trip to Indonesia this week is almost entirely booked with points.

But before going to Bali, I needed to take a quick pit stop in Jakarta, a city that can only be described as “way better than Bangkok in every way.”

To do so, I booked a flight on Thai Airways using Aeroplan points.

Sample Aeroplan booking from BKK-CGK

After Bali, however, I also need to fly Thai Airways back to Bangkok. So, instead of booking two individual flights, I booked a multi-city trip with Aeroplan points.

Since they charge a $39 partner booking fee for each booking, I saved $39 by putting both of these flights on one itinerary.

Sample Aeroplan booking from DPS-BKK

Aeroplan is a GREAT program for hopping around anywhere in the world. So if you want to build up a stack of points, simply transfer from the major banks or open this credit card.

In Jakarta, I booked a couple of nights at this VERY cheap Marriott property in a great location right in Menteng.

At 7,500 points per night, it was a steal.

An example of a MArriott hotel for 7,500 points per nigt

From here, I needed to get myself over to Bali.

Thankfully, Indonesia has tons of airlines, including one of the world’s best airlines, Garuda Indonesia, which you can easily book using Flying Blue miles.

An example of using Flying Blue miles to fly on Garuda Indonesia, a partner airline

I simply transferred some points over from the credit card I put all of my everyday spending on, and voila, I was flying on a lovely airline.

And at long last, I was in Bali!

I decided to mix things up a bit from the Hyatt/Marriott kick I’ve been on, and instead booked this lovely hotel using IHG points.

Since I have this credit card, I was also able to book four nights here for the price of three.

A screenshot of booking the Holiday Inn resort in Canggu, which costs 16,000 IHG points per night

Despite having the words “Holiday Inn” in the name, this is a brand-spanking new, full-service, 5-star resort just one minute’s walk from the beach in Canggu.

And I have to say, it’s one of the best IHG redemptions I’ve ever made. 

The hotel is amazing and luxurious, and my room had a cool Balinese flair to it, a balcony, and a beautiful ocean sunset view.

A photo from my bedroom at the Holida Inn Canggu

On top of that, the staff were amazing…

They took care of me and helped me contact a doctor and get medicine, brought me tea (for free), and checked in on me to make sure I was feeling okay.

It’s another example of how booking nicer hotels with points can often provide even more intangible value than you might think…

Finally, I wanted to spend a few days away from the beach and get some of Bali’s mountain/jungle vibes…

So from Canggu, I’ll be heading up north to Ubud, where I booked a few nights at this luxury Hyatt hotel.

A screenshot of the Alila Ubud in Bali, which only costs 8,000 Hyatt points per night

8,000 points per night for a 5-star, luxury hotel with late checkout, room upgrade, and free breakfast for two is really as good as it gets.

As I told you, I think the best value from Hyatt comes at the lower end of their award chart, especially when you can simply transfer over points from this card that most of you have.

Anyway, I’m happy that I was able to book such an awesome little trip back to Indonesia without needing to break the bank at all.

🏨 Five ways to use five free night awards

Free night awards rock. I told you all about them last week, along with some current credit card offers that can earn you a bunch of them.

For example, this card is currently offering FIVE free night awards just for signing up for the card and meeting the minimum spend requirements…

But what happens after you have the awards…? How do you even use them?

Well, inquisitive readers, today I’ll tell you EXACTLY how to use them. 😎

A terrace pool wit a sunset in the background

To be clear, the free night awards I’m referencing are with Marriott, and each one is worth 50,000 points.

So, without further ado, here are five ways to use these five valuable awards:

1. A long weekend in the Big Apple

New York City is so freaking expensive… but there are multiple properties all over the city that are priced PERFECTLY for these Marriott FNAs.

For example, you could book this hotel in Times Square for 49,000 points per night, which works out perfectly.

A Marriott hotel in Time Square (NYC) which only costs 49,000 points per night

If you used all five awards here, you’d be saving almost $1,300 on a hotel stay in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

2. Go to… Disney World… 😒

Look… I am not a huge fan of Disney… unless we’re talking about Frozen (not Frozen II, which was trash), which I’m obsessed with and can sing every song from.

But many of you love it, and many of you have kids who love going or dream about going.

Which is why you’ll be excited to know that these free night awards could unlock some serious value for Disney fans, like with this hotel, which costs 61,000 Marriott points per night.

An example of a hotel in Disney Wold that you can book witha Marit Free nhAward

Woah, wait… I thought these free night awards were only worth 50,000 points?

Well, Marriott allows you to top-up your free nights with up to 15,000 additional points. So, these awards can actually be used for hotels priced at up to 65,000 points per night.

3. Last-minute, high-priced bookings

Sometimes, the hardest hotels to book are the last-minute ones…

It can be painful to shell out a TON of points for a less-than-perfect hotel that otherwise doesn’t cost very much.

But free night awards can really come in handy in these situations. Like if you wanted to take a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas TONIGHT, you could use your FNAs to book this Marriott hotel, saving yourself over $400 per night.

A Marriott hotel in Las Vegas that costs 55,000 points at the last minute

4. Luxury hotels abroad

America is cool and all. But, in reality (and this is totally true), there is a big huge world outside of America. 🤯

And in this big huge world, your free night awards can get you some CRAZY hotels…

Like this hotel in Oman - my personal favorite hotel of all time: The Ritz-Carlton Al Bustan Palace in Muscat.

A Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Middle East that only coats 49,000 points per night

That’s right. The same award that booked you a night at a Sheraton in Florida could also book you a night at one of the nicest and most unique hotels in the Middle East.

5. Get off the beaten path

One of the nice things about hotel points, in general, is that they allow us to book stays in interesting places that otherwise don’t have many hotel options… or only have VERY expensive hotel options…

A great use of free night awards can be booking hotels in highly unique parts of the world, like this luxury hotel in Mauritius.

An example of a Marriott hotel in Mauritius that only coats 56,000 points per night

Having been to Mauritius, I can tell you that it feels like the end of the earth, and staying here would create lasting memories while saving you potentially thousands of dollars.

So here’s the bottom line:

The fact that you can book five nights at any of the places I’ve mentioned (and hundreds more) by simply signing up for a credit card that costs less than $100 is mind-boggling.

Whether you travel five nights a year or 100 nights a year, there is a way for ANYBODY to get amazing value from this deal, and I encourage you to seriously consider it.

Want to help Daily Drop take over the world? Share our newsletter with your friends/family/pets/colleagues/enemies and win some rewards in the process!

You currently have 0 referrals, only 1 away from receiving the Daily Drop Travel Hacking Toolkit.

Or copy your unique referral URL to share with others: https://newsletter.dailydrop.com/subscribe?ref=PLACEHOLDER

…or you can just buy these prizes from our website if you want to keep us all to yourself. 😉

That was a bit of a long one, eh? I won’t keep you any longer, but I hope you ALL jump on that offer for five free night awards if you’re able to… it’s one of those rare “too good to be true” opportunities.

Take care, happy travel hacking, and see you tomorrow ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

8.6478° S, 115.1385° E