Victoria, I'd recommend checking out this post by Drew at Travel is Free.http://travelisfree.com/2014/10/18/how- ... dit-cards/
He travels year round and averages $19 a night staying mostly in 4 star hotels with status. Even though you don't "need" all that, it may actually be cheaper than hostels if you follow a similar strategy.
Thank you, Drew,
This is a fantastic reference. I've read it once and will get back to it again. My primary thoughts now are about my giving up the Chase IHG card, and so I went straight to Drew's IHG links. One practical consequence is that I've signed for the IHG sweepstakes. I wish I knew about them back in December.ADDED LATER:
As for bypassing hostels, it may work for me sometimes but not as a rule. For example, I have just created a spreadsheet for my planned 2017 travel. Here is hotel-related information:
1. Czech Republic -- I will stay in Prague for two weeks taking a Czech language course. I booked a private room at a hostel next door to my language school. There are plenty of hotels in Prague, but I don't have points for a 15-night stay, and I don't want to wake up earlier than necessary to get to classes.
2. Czech Republic -- I will spend 5 nights at an upscale hotel-spa in Luhačovice. There are much cheaper options in the town, but I specifically want to get a spa experience. I have not found any brand-name hotels in Luhačovice.
3. Czech Republic -- After the spa, I will spend 4 nights in a budget hotel in Luhačovice for a meeting taking place in that hotel.
5. Prague airport -- Holiday Inn for 15k IHG points to spend a night before my flight back to the U.S.
5. Florida -- A week at a Hilton at a highly discounted group rate for a meeting taking place in that hotel. I will accumulate some points there.
6. France -- A few days in Metz staying with friends.
7. Spain -- A week in Barcelona at a private room in a hostel a block away from the conference. Most brand-name hotels are either too far or I don't have enough points for a week-long stay. In the hostel, I will have privacy and access to the kitchen that will cut down my meals cost.
8. Spain -- A week traveling around with a group I belong to, staying in whatever places they will book.
9. CDG -- Holiday Inn as a free IHG night granted at my 1-year anniversary, to spend a night before my flight back to the U.S.
10. Washington D.C. -- I will stay 3 nights at the conference hotel which is Hilton. I will use my Hilton points.
11. Williamsburg, VA. -- Last year I stayed at Days Inn for $60/night. This year Days Inn is closing for good and I have to find another place within walking distance to William & Mary, Amtrak station, and town center.
12. Bogleheads Conference -- I will stay at the conference hotel.
13. Banff Film Festival -- I will try to stay at the Banff Centre where the films will be screened. If that's not possible, I will look for the closest hotel within walking distance. I have not found any brand name hotels in Banff.
14/15. Two Retreats -- I will stay at the Retreat hotels. Both hotels are Marriott; I can accumulate Marriott points but I can't use points to pay for the hotels. But this is OK, because I use Marriott and SPG points to convert into United miles.
16, etc. -- Family visits, staying with the family.
A common theme of my past and upcoming travel is that I trade nice hotels and hotels booked with points for the proximity to my events. When I travel I don't rent cars, use public transportation as necessary but prefer to walk. I like to be in the center of things, to be out, and to do things. The hotel room is just a place to spend a night. A room (or a bed) in a hostel comes with access to a kitchen which cuts my meal costs.
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)