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🏨 Book a $2,000 hotel for $0... and zero points

Plus, I'll tell you how I'm creatively using points and miles for my own travels this week.

Estimated read time: 4 minutes and 38 seconds

✈️ Alaska Airlines will offer a daily complimentary upgrade to premium class for one lucky main cabin passenger and their travel partner this summer, including extra legroom and free cocktails, running from June 1 to Sept. 2, even for those not in the loyalty program. Read more about it here.

Good morning friends, and welcome back to Daily Drop! It’s going to be another jam-packed week of travel goodness, so let’s not waste any time:

💳 Top Cards Update (June 2024)

As I’m sure many of you have heard, it is now June.

And another month means another set of epic card offers to inform you about, so strap in tight.

The main offer you’ll want to keep in mind is the [[ chase-sapphire-preferred-card.name ]], which currently has an elevated welcome offer (which is ending soon, by the way).

I’ve talked your ear off about it already, so I’ll just leave you with the following links if you want to read more about it or apply before it’s too late:

But there are some other offers that have recently dropped, and I am personally pretty pumped about them.

The welcome offers on some of these co-branded cards include chunks of points and, most importantly, Hilton Free Night Awards.

Hilton Free Night Award

Anyone else get as giddy as I do when they get this email from Hilton?

Here’s why this is so exciting…

Hilton Free Night Awards are the most valuable in the biz because they have no cap, as long as you use them for a “standard room.”

This usually means a rough cap of 90,000 or 95,000 points at the higher-tier properties, like the Conrad Tokyo, for example.

Conrad tokyo for 95,000 points

But there are a handful of properties in the world where a “standard room” is anything but standard… 😏

For example, next week, I’ll be in Doha, Qatar.

I was able to redeem my Hilton Free Night Award for this hotel, which costs a minimum of 120,000 points per night for a standard room.

Katara Hills Doha for 120,000 points

However… at this hotel, every “room” is actually a private, 2-story villa.

So, in this case, even a “standard room” is a private villa with a pool… which is crazy…

A photo of the private villas at Katara Hills, Doha

If you can find properties like this, you could redeem your Hilton Free Nights for a hotel that costs thousands of dollars per night.

The fact that you can now get one of these awards (and tens of thousands of points) from the [[ hilton-honors-american-express-card.casual-card-name ]] (with no annual fee) is, and I’m sorry for using this language, bonkers.

It means you can book a $2,000 hotel room for ZERO dollars… and ZERO points… 😉

Thunderous applause for Mike

Thank you, thank you… but please hold your applause until the end of the performance.

Anyway, speaking of insane hotel offers…

The [[ marriott-bonvoy-business-american-express-card.name ]] is currently offering FIVE Marriott Free Night Certificates worth 50,000 points each, with an annual fee of just over $100.

"Free Night Awards" thumbnail graphic

Click this image to learn more about how Free Night Awards work

Since you can top up Marriott Free Night Awards by up to 15,000 points each, you can use these awards for stays that cost up to 65,000 points per night.

That means your credit card (and some extra Marriott points) could book you a 5-night stay at the JW Marriott Maldives, which would otherwise cost… wait for it… over $7,000. 🤯

JW Marriott Maldives for 62,500 points per night

Sounds like a pretty solid tradeoff to me…

And if you’re writing off this card because it’s a business card… stop. Stop that. Right now.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to qualify for business cards.

In fact, thousands of normal Daily Drop readers have successfully opened business cards after reading this newsletter and realizing they were eligible, and you can, too. 🫵

Anyway, I have one more honorable mention.

It’s the [[ aeroplan-credit-card.name ]], which just increased its welcome offer by about 10,000 points.

It’s not the highest offer we’ve seen, but it’s still a LOT of Aeroplan points for a low-annual-fee card.

Given you could use those points to book this business-class flight on Singapore Airlines from the U.S. to Germany, it’s hard to argue with the value here.

Singapore Airlines to Germany for 60,000 Aeroplan points

As you can see, there is no shortage of amazing credit card offers to boost your points balances ahead of the summer and fall travel seasons.

Check out this page for a full list of current elevated offers, and have fun.

🏃🏼‍♂️ Mike on the Move

After some downtime from my surgery, it feels good to finally be back on the move.

Earlier this week, I flew from Bali to Surabaya on Garuda Indonesia, one of the best airlines in the world.

Since Garuda is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, you can use Flying Blue Miles, Delta SkyMiles, and more to book flights with them.

An example of a Garuda Indonesia for 7,500 Flying Blue miles

As you can see, the flight I took can be booked for just 7,500 Flying Blue miles and about $10 in fees.

It’s a great example of how your points earned at home in the U.S. can provide value almost anywhere in the world, thanks to airline alliances.

From Surabaya, I did something CRAZY…

I took… a train. 😮

But not any train… it was a LUXURY-ass train, and it was amazing.

Mike's luxury-ass train

Although these private train suites resemble a first-class suite on a plane, the price does not resemble that of a first-class flight.

This train costs just $75 for the 4-hour journey to Central Java, which is not bad at all.

A screenshot from the booking page for the luxury-ass train Mike mentioned

But of course, there is a way to redeem points for this journey, too.

Don’t forget that Capital One miles can be used to offset any travel purchase at a rate of one cent each.

So, this $75 train can be booked with 7,500 Capital One miles.

These train suites have free wifi, fully reclining seats, entertainment, noise-canceling headphones, multiple meals, closing doors, and more.

So, even though 7,500 points can get more value being transferred to partners, I have no problem using them for this really cool, unique experience.

Mike sittingin his luxury-ass train seat

This is also a good example of how your points can be used in creative ways all over the world in ways you might not immediately think of…

But while I have you here, tell me something:

Would you spend 7,500 points on a train ride like this?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Now, in Central Java, I am writing this newsletter to you from my favorite hotel in the world: The Alila Solo.

This is a luxurious, 5-star Hyatt property that costs just 3,500 points or as little as $42 per night, which, fun fact, is cheaper than my rent in Toronto was…

So, you know, that’s fun. 😑

Alila Solo for 3,500 points per night

I was just here earlier this year but returned because of the sheer value this hotel offers, like:

  • Constant suite availability (I used an upgrade certificate from a milestone reward to confirm a suite for seven nights)

  • Free breakfast for Globalists

  • Amazing spa facilities (free use by guests)

  • Lounge access with free dinner and drinks every night (for Globalists)

  • A great location in an amazing, underrated city

Mike's living room at the Alila Solo

My current suite living room at the Alila Solo

For 3,500 points, it can’t be beat.

And since I’m still a little slow after my surgery, it was a great place to relax, save some money on a comfortable stay, and, most importantly, do a mattress run.

Oh, what is a “mattress run,” you ask? 😏

Tune in on Wednesday, and I’ll give you the lowdown on mattress runs, including some creative examples you might not be aware of.

Hey there…

Did you know that we tell you about our Daily Drop Referral Program every single week in this part of the newsletter…?

You probably just scroll past it every day… and it’s okay. I forgive you.

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

So do me a quick favor… Copy the following link, send it to EVERYONE you know, tell them to read Daily Drop, and I’ll send you some cool swag:

https://newsletter.dailydrop.com/subscribe?ref=PLACEHOLDER

Thanks in advance, love you. 😘

That’s all for today, folks!

I hope today inspired you for your next card and gave you some examples of how to think outside the box when it comes to using your new stashes of points and miles.

And with that, I’ll bid you adieu.

Cheers,

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

7.5695° S, 110.8250° E