June 16th, 2012

Kevin Standlee

Almost Wasted It

Because I have a Priority Club Visa card, I get a free hotel night certificate once a year. This is in addition to any free nights I earn on points; however, the points never expire, while the certificate is only good for a year. OTOH, the certificate is good for any hotel in the IC Hotels family, whereas the points are on a sliding scale, with the better hotels costing more points than the relatively cheap Holiday Inn Express hotels where I typically stay while traveling. So when I got the certificate last September, I kept holding off on using it because I had an idea I might use it at one of the nicer hotels, like maybe the Venetian, which is an Intercontinental. So several times this past year, I've used Priority Club points for nights at Holiday Inn Express properties. For example, I booked rooms at Bend and Klamath Falls for our trip to Seattle coming up for Westercon. But while driving to Fernley yesterday, I remembered that I had that e-certificate and that it was going to expire soon (mid-September). We're not going to make that trip to Las Vegas before September. Last night, I canceled the points-based reservation in Bend (it costs 5K more points than Klamath Falls for some reason), and this morning I redeemed the e-certificate for use in Bend. This saves me 20K Priority Club points, and that's worth something since I've not been earning them as quickly this year on account of not traveling as much. That preserves the more-flexible points for use elsewhere.

I've been a Priority Club Platinum member for two years now, but it seems unlikely that I'll earn enough points to renew for another year, since I've not been traveling on company business as often (like, none at all) as I was the previous years. Still, the free nights I do have are nice. Also, I'll get another e-certificate for use next year, so there's still a chance we might be able to redeem one for one of the more upscale properties in the Holiday Inn family of hotels.