As I mentioned in my last post, I'm still looking for lodging for the majority of my stays. With a trip across 23 days, I surprisingly only have 15 nights in hotels (thanks to overnight flights and stays with cool peeps). However, thanks to the difficult of getting hotel points as opposed to miles points, that's quite a bit to cover.
The Round-the-World Series
I've got at least two nights in each of the following:
- Hong Kong
My original thought was to stretch my 80k IHG points as far as they'd go on 10k point redemptions. However, I soon realized that 10k point redemptions are hard to come by in these big cities, especially if you want to stay close to the city center. Really hard. For example, nights on the far outskirts of London at Holiday Inn Expresses start at 20k a night.
I also soon realized that in the places that I'd be looking to redeem, IHG points don't get you far on a cpm basis. For whatever reason, I worked my way backwards through the itinerary to look at lodging.
I had planned to use my IHG points to get me through both Hong Kong and Tokyo, but research showed that in Hong Kong it made more sense just to pay cash and in Tokyo to use a non-IHG property (as I'm not willing to cough up 50k points for a not-great InterContinental).
The IHG properties in Dubai were similarly disappointing (with the possible exception of the brand new InterContinental - Dubai Marina, so I decided to take a look at the AirBNB properties. Bad idea. Dubai AirBNBs are swank and super hard to resist. I ended up blowing entirely too much money on an AirBNB that has a fantastic view over the marina. Hopefully it'll be worth it, but wow.
When it comes to Paris and London, I'm a little unsure of how I'm going to split my time between the two. I'll probably end up AirBNBing it in Paris. And depending on how much time I end up spending in London, I'm debating a stay at the InterContinental London Park Lane for 40k + $70 a night, just to blow my IHG points since I haven't been super impressed with them otherwise.
All in all, I'm surprised that lodging has been a more difficult task than flights and significantly more expensive. I suppose that's a problem with solo travel when you're not staying in hostels, but my points didn't go far. I'm debating picking up one or two of the many Citi or Amex HHilton cards, but they're only around 50-60k points and unfortunately a HHilton reward is about 50k so I don't think my return on my spend is that great.
I'll keep researching to see what I can do on this front, but it looks to continue to be a challenge!