Hello again from Ben Schlappig, the full-time traveler behind One Mile at a Time, and the guy who introduced you to my uber-luxury travel lifestyle all made possible by using miles and points. In our series with Jet Set, we're going around the world in 21 days... all in five-star luxury, and booked at the very last minute.
In my last post, I was telling you about a pretty amazing in-flight bar experience en route to Paris.
We were spending three nights in Paris, and decided to stay at the Prince de Galles, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection hotel. Luxury Collection is Starwood’s independent luxury hotel brand, which gives you the best of both worlds — you get a local experience while also getting the points and brand standards you’re used to.
Prince de Galles
As a Platinum member with Starwood (which requires making 25 stays or 50 nights per year with them), it also means you get certain benefits, which include suite upgrades subject to availability, late check-out, free breakfast, bonus points, premium internet, and more. Suite upgrades are based on availability at check-in, meaning that you don’t always get them, since sometimes hotels sell out (or in many cases other Platinum members check in ahead of you).
Fortunately at this hotel, I got an upgrade to one of their great suites. Having extra space in a city hotel is a real luxury, especially when you're traveling with others. The suite had a living room, a bedroom, and a large master bath. For a hotel in an expensive market like Paris, this was an incredible suite that would have retailed for over 1,000 euros per night, while we got it on points... and then got a complimentary suite upgrade.
The Prince de Galles is located in the George V area of Paris, so it was the ideal spot from which to sightsee.
In addition to the beautiful rooms and lobby, the hotel also has a bar and restaurant. As an SPG Platinum member, you receive free breakfast, and the breakfast at this hotel was incredible. While I’m not the biggest fan of Paris in general, there’s no denying that the food quality in France is unbeatable across the board. After all, food and wine is very much the pride of France.
That was true at the breakfast buffet as well. The selection wasn’t huge, but the quality of everything was incomparable. I ended up eating way too many carbs, but it was sort of worth it, given how good everything was. From the bread to the eggs to the cheese to the espresso, it was all top notch.
One of the reasons I love hotel points so much is because of the great redemptions that are possible in expensive markets like Paris.
If you’ve ever tried to redeem airline miles, you’re probably familiar with the capacity controls, the challenges of finding availability, et cetera. That’s not to say that airline miles aren’t worth it — quite the opposite, they can get you some amazing experiences — but rather that figuring out and maximizing the program takes some work.
Hotel programs are different, however. With most major hotel loyalty programs, there are no capacity controls — as long as a standard room is available, you can redeem points for it.
Even better, typically the number of points required is the same regardless of when you redeem (though in some cases there’s seasonal pricing and other factors to consider). As a result, hotel loyalty programs really give you an incentive to redeem when rooms would otherwise be the most expensive.
This is most useful in cities that are typically expensive if you were to pay cash for a room, and especially useful during peak times. This is why hotel points are ideal for travel to cities like Paris, especially in summer.
Paris has a lot of great points hotel options, regardless of which hotel group you have points with. This is true whether you’re just looking for a clean and comfortable hotel, or prefer five-star accommodations.
For example, on the high end, the Park Hyatt Paris can be booked for 30,000 World of Hyatt points per night, the Prince de Galles can be booked for 30,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points per night, the InterContinental Le Grand Paris can be booked for 60,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night, and the Renaissance Paris can be booked for 45,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.
A very comfortable vibe indeed
Do keep in mind that different points currencies have different values, so it’s not that each point above is worth the same amount.
While a lot of people understandably think traveling to a city like Paris in summer or Sydney over New Year’s is too expensive or out of their budget, with miles and points anything is possible. While finding airline award seats over peak periods can be tough, the same isn’t true of hotel rooms.
The Prince de Galles was the perfect hotel from which to explore Paris, and I’d return in a heartbeat.
Stick around for more from Paris!
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Here’s how to redeem hotel points for the best stay possible:
Ben Schlappig, the blogger behind One Mile at a Time, experiences about $1 million worth of travel every year using miles and points — and covers about 400,000 miles annually this way. Ben has teamed up with Bravo’s Jet Set for a series called The Upgrade, in which he shows you how you — yes, you! — can score real-world-ready strategies for upping your travel game. Come along for the adventure!
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