September 27 2011 by Bryson Forbes
I am really good at collecting points with reward programs, but, aside from my local coffee shop that rewards patrons with a free cup after ten purchases, I have not been as good about cashing in on my loyalty points. Last weekend, however, that all changed!
I have been a member of Best Western Rewards now for four years and until last week had not cashed in a single point. If you are not a member, you should enrol now, as it's quick and easy! My work with Best Western, its timely and valuable promotions and my travel schedule have allowed me to accumulate quite a few points over the past four years.
My goal was to take my family away for a night (including our dog) with only Best Western Rewards points and not spend any money at all! Literally, live and travel off our unused points. What was surprising was just how many things we could redeem points for in addition to our travel needs!
A few years ago we took a trip (without using points) and went to the BEST WESTERN PLUS Lamplighter Inn in London, ON. We loved it and knew this September we wanted to go back! Like many Best Western hotels, it is "pet friendly" and they have a fabulous indoor pool which my kids love. In fact, calling it an indoor pool really doesn't do it justice. It's really more like is a tropical paradise complete with a huge pool, hot tub, elevated bar area and waterslide!
The process to redeem my Rewards points was quick and easy online and I was surprised at how far my points were able to go. First up I had to redeem my points for a Best Western Travel Card to cover our hotel stay. Since we were going for just one night, I opted for a $200 Travel Card which allowed us also to have breakfast at Shelly's restaurant on-site and order a movie in the room for the kids. Since we were driving to London, I also was able redeem Best Western Rewards for a CAA membership helped get me a better rate at the Best Western in addition to all the other great benefits we'll get from CAA in the next year.
Next I redeemed points for a $50 gas card from Petro Canada, which was more than enough to cover the cost of gas to get us to London and back. Since we wanted to eat out in London, next on the list was redeeming my points for food. We had a number of choices and it came down to either Red Lobster or Applebee's - we opted for $75 at Applebee's! That covered our dinner Saturday night and the food and atmosphere were perfect for a fun family night out.
Since we were road tripping, our last travel redemption using points was for a $25 gift card for Wal-Mart. Before we left, we stopped in and bought colouring books and crayons for the kids along with bottled water and snacks for the room!
Last but certainly not least, I learned you can also use points for a charitable donation. Given that it's back to school season, we decided to make a donation to World Vision and used points to send backpacks to children in need. That felt great and it was a good discussion starter with the kids about giving back!
Overall, our trip was amazing! We had a fantastic night away, enjoyed the pool, had great meals and watched Harry Potter as a family in our room. And the best part of the trip was that we did all this just on Best Western Rewards points and didn't have to spend a nickel! So I have to say..points pay!
Have you ever tried to getaway completely on points? Any tips or tricks to share?