Maria and I are headed to fabulous Atlanta to visit my family’s pig farm* for Thanksgiving and I — in perhaps one of my less enlightened moments — put us on a 6:30 a.m. flight out of LAX. True, we will get to the East Coast before dark, unlike most eastbound flights, but as someone known to throw punches when woken before 9 a.m., getting to the airport on time could present a problem. But if there’s one thing I love as much as sleeping until 10, it’s a night in a nice, clean hotel — and a deal.
So we set out on a mission to find said deal, perhaps redeem some points for a room, or at least earn as many points as we could in the booking process. Maria has the super slick Marriott Rewards Visa, so our first thought was to hit up the LAX-area Marriotts, as booking with that card earns us 5x Marriott Rewards points, which can be redeemed for future hotel stays, and allows us to be greeted, presumably, by singing clocks and tea cups as we waltz in with the card’s automatic Silver Elite status.
Our first find was the LAX Renaissance (part of the Marriott family), which at ~$137 out the door also offered a 5,000 point bonus just for booking the room for one night. Huzzah!
But wait. What about parking? $24 American dollars per night? Since we’ll be in Hotlanta through the holiday weekend, that more than negates the 5,000 point bonus, which I value at around $50. Digging further, we found the LAX Courtyard by Marriott for ~$114 a night, but with no points bonus. Surely, though, the parking must be cheaper. And it was, by one measly dollar per night. I called in an economist to crunch the numbers and that’s nearly $100 for four nights of parking, on top of the hotel cost. LAX Lot C is 12 bucks a day plus tax, so far cheaper at ~$45 for the long weekend. But we’re not going to stay at a hotel, then drive to Lot C to park.
Stymied, we rolled up our sleeves, took two shots of straight bitters, and dug deeper. Maria found a deal via Priceline for the LAX Four Points Sheraton for ~80 bucks plus tax. We headed over to the hotel website to check out the details and there it was, an easy to find promo code that offered free parking for 5 days with just one night’s stay at the hotel. Booking trough the Starwood website was the only way to get this deal, and the rate was $10 more than on Priceline, but the value was clear, as even the FourPoints charges $24 per night for parking for non-hotel guests.
Sometimes the quest for points can overshadow the true deals out there. We ended up booking a lovely room at the Four Points for $114 out the door with 5 nights of free parking included. Since we couldn’t get the Marriott points, we booked with our Chase Sapphire Preferred card to get 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points and also pocketed a few Starwood Preferred points for the hotel booking. In the end, we got five full days of parking, a stay at a nice hotel, free shuttle service to our terminal in the morning and, presumably, a free USA Today, for $114. With Lot C being the cheapest parking option at $12 per day plus tax, we ended up getting our night at the Four Points for just about 60 bucks and we’ll pocket 230 UR points and 114 SPG points in the process. Not bad compared to paying for a hotel and getting shanked for $100 worth of parking, too.
*I did not, in actuality, grow up on a pig farm. I did, however, have pork rinds once. They were understandably delicious.