Spooked by overpriced hotels for SXSW? Here are some points options you can use to stay for free

The South By Southwest conference and festival floods the city of Austin with visitors for 10 days every spring, causing hotel prices to skyrocket.

For those not on the company tab, that could mean paying hundreds of dollars per night if you want to stay anywhere near the action downtown.

But, if you have a stockpile of hotel points, you could stay for free.

Keep in mind, under normal circumstances most hotel points are valued at only about a half a cent, though Hyatt and SPG points are more valuable.

During SXSW you could get amazing value out of your points.

Here are some options:

Night 1: Hyatt Regency Austin

A Hyatt point is worth: ~6.6 cents. Woah!

Pay cash:

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Hotel review: The Beverly Hilton & a photogenic fish

I was childishly psyched about the opportunity to travel to LA this week.

While looking at the list of available hotels near my employer’s LA office, I was surprised to see what one of the cheapest, closest options was — The Beverly Hilton.

This historic hotel is famous for hosting the annual Golden Globes Awards, and sadly, as the place where Whitney Houston was found deceased in her room’s bathtub in 2012. Continue reading

Hilton HHonors Amex holders: This email ain’t no spam

A popular hotel credit card this year has been the Hilton HHonors no-fee card from American Express, due to its 75K-point signup bonus after only $1K in spend.

I signed up for this card before I realized how choosy I should be about picking up credit cards, but for a no-fee card that gets me lifetime Silver status with Hilton and access to Amex offers, I don’t regret it too much.

For those of you that have it, check your email for a little surprise: Continue reading

How to stay in really nice hotels for free

Now that Airbnb is in nearly 200 countries around the world, many people don’t even consider staying at hotels anymore.

Though you can usually get lodging for much cheaper with Airbnb than hotels, it’s not just for budget travelers. Luxury travelers stay in luxury Airbnb houses and apartments. Whatever your budget, Airbnb allows you to live as a local.

A sort of free version of Airbnb is Couchsurfing.com, where you can request to stay with locals who share their couch, air mattress or spare room for free. This really works best if you are willing/able to share your couch as well when visitors come to your town.

If you prefer hotels, here are some things you can do to get extremely high-quality lodging for free on your next trip:

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