What an EPIC summer! Thanks to my portfolio of travel hacks, I’ve managed to travel almost every week this year! Below a summary of the trips I’ve taken in the past three months and some of the details how I managed to stretch my travel budget.
Pic: Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna (Jun 2016)
June started with a weekend trip to Vienna where I stayed at the InterContinental Vienna for free on Friday night thanks to the IHG Best Price Guarantee. Saturday night, I redeemed 12.000 Hyatt Gold Passport points + €127 and upgraded my room to a Park Suite using one of my Diamond Suite upgrade certificates. The revenue rate of my Park Suite was more than €1000! I shamelessly used a Brussels Airlines b.gift Mothersday voucher to bring down the cost of my last-minute flight booking to €99. 😉
Pic: The Bank cocktail bar at Park Hyatt Vienna
Pic: Park Hyatt Vienna Bank Vault Pool
Also for the second weekend of June, I was able to score a Best Price Guarantee (BPG). This time during the UEFA EURO 2016 soccer cup at Holiday Inn Paris Opera – Grands Blvds. The €242 rate of my room was adjusted to €0 thanks to the lovely IHG BPG! A Thalys promo back in May had secured my train ride from Brussels to Paris for just €40 roundtrip.
Pic: Porto, Portugal (Jun 2016)
Hell yeah I was on a roll with a third Best Price Guarantee at InterContinental Porto – Palacio Das Cardosas, a free Duplex Suite for the occasion. Redeemed 25.000 Miles & More miles (+taxes & fees) for a last-minute Business Class roundtrip Brussels – Porto the third weekend of June.
Pic: Bedroom of Duplex Suite at InterContinental Porto
Cinque Terre, Italy
Pic: Manarola, Cinque Terre (Jun, 2016)
The last weekend of June, I checked off magical Cinque Terre from my bucket list. Alitalia had compensated me with a €600 travel voucher for voluntary canceling an error fare. That voucher came in handy for a Business Class roundtrip Brussels – Genoa. Though no fourth BPG weekend in a row, at just 15000 IHG Rewards Club points per night, the Holiday Inn Genoa City was a good alternative.
Pic: Vernazza, Cinque Terre
Pic: Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre
Pic: Bart at Park Güell Barcelona (Jul, 2016)
July started off well with a Best Price Guarantee at Crowne Plaza Barcelona – Fira Center where they had free flowing Moët & Chandon Champagne all day long at the Club Lounge! Compensated well for the expensive last-minute Ryanair flight (~€200) between Brussels and Barcelona. Ouch!
One of my favorite weekend trips of the summer: Dubrovnik, Croatia. Redeemed once again 25.000 Miles & More miles (+taxes & fees) for a Business Class roundtrip between Brussels and Dubrovnik. A fantastic journey with Austrian Airlines which included a leg (VIE-DBV) operated by a B767-300 long haul aircraft!
Pic: Austrian Airlines B767-300 Business Class
Pic: Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel
For my two night stay in Dubrovnik, I redeemed 6000 SPG points at Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera. A brand new hotel with amazing staff and service. I had bought the required 6K SPG points for less than €130 whereas the revenue rate for my two night stay would have been ~€500! A hidden gem which you should book asap now that it’s still at 3000 points per weekend night!
Pic: Dubrovnik seen from Fort Imperial Srd Mountain
Pic: Sunset seen from my flight between Dubrovnik and Frankfurt.
Pic: Breakfast at InterContinental Geneva Pool (July 2016)
The weather forecast predicted a beautiful third weekend of July. With no swimming pool in my backyard I went for the BPG solution. 😉 A free night at InterContinental Geneva with stunning outdoor pool did the job! Luckily, Geneva is one of the cheapest destinations one can last-minute fly to from Brussels Airport!
Pic: InterContinental Geneva Pool Sundeck
A one-way Philippine Airlines Business Class error fare from Bali to London trigged me into booking a Lufthansa First Class positioning flight using 105.000 Miles & More miles (+taxes & fees). One of the cool things about flying Lufthansa First Class is the ability to book a Porsche First Class Excitement experience for just €99 during your layover at Frankfurt or Munich airport. I had the pleasure to enjoy a brand new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet in and around Frankfurt!
Pic: Lufthansa A380 First Class from Frankfurt to Singapore
Pic: Singapore A333 Business Class from Singapore to Bali
My trip to Bali was merely a long weekend trip, but still allowed me to enjoy two nights at Anantara Uluwatu offering amazing views from their infinity pool. For my arrival and departure night, I booked the new Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport at just 5000 Hilton HHonors points per night.
Pic: Rise and shine at Anantara Uluwatu Bali
Pic: Anantara Uluwatu Sea Fire Salt restaurant
Pic: Balinese sunset seen from Anantara Uluwatu Bali
Pic: Philippine Airlines Business Class A340-300 Manila to London
Pic: Bart at Philippine Airlines Business Class A340-300 (July 2016)
What better way to finish the month of July with another BPG. A second visit to Kiev, this time during the summer. Back in January 2010, InterContinental Kiev was on the IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks list for just 5000 points for a free night. This time the Best Price Guarantee did the job for a Deluxe Club room.
Pic: InterContinental Kiev Deluxe Club Room (July 2016)
Pic: Breakfast at the InterContinental Kiev Club Lounge
Pic: View from InterContinental Kiev b-hush rooftop lounge bar
Pic: Mother Motherland Kiev Ukraine
In August, the main focus was my trip to Kauai, Hawaii but in true fashion I started and ended the month with some BPG’s. First weekend of August, the beautiful InterContinental Marseille and a classic to finish the month, InterContinental Dusseldorf.
Pic: Sunset seen from my Marseille – Frankfurt flight
Conclusion: I managed to keep up with my all-time record travel pace this summer. There’s still four months to go in 2016 and you can expect some spectacular stuff! Don’t want to wait until my next blog post? Make sure to follow me on Instagram (check my Stories!) Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for your likes and support!
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Ben jij ooit nog in België? 🙂 #jaloers
Hi Bart – I enjoy your posts and keep up the good work. I had a quick question for you regarding the IHG best price guarantee program.
What’s the site you predominantly use to book when claiming against IHG properties?
Many thanks in advance,
Hi Fatih, thank you for your feedback. I have posted sites in the past of which some still work. For more opportunities, you’ll need to do some research. Good luck!
Great photographs Bart. You’ve done enormously well.
I’ve been spending every weekend in a different European country for the summer, but you’ve done brilliantly! ‘Look forward to reading your other posts. 🙂
Great article! I’m very impressed with all the Best Price Guarantee stays you were able to find. May I ask, how long researching does it normally take to find a qualifying BPG stay?
Thanks Tat. Everything depends on how flexible you are. If you limit yourself to one destination on a fixed date, it might be you don’t find one at all. Being flexible and finding the right tricks & sites is key. Sometimes I spend > 10 hours and don’t find anything, sometimes 15 minutes and… bingo!
I so envy you!!!! 🙂
What sites do you use for the BPG for comps? I never knew about this but something I NEED to take advantage of in the future.
Next time you’re in LA, would love to exchange travel tips and tricks.
Hi Chris, some of the OTA sites are listed in my blog post about IHG’s Best Price Guarantee. You’ll need to invest quite some time to find the ‘tricks’, but it is still possible.
Nice pictures! How did you book Anantara and Four Seasons Bali?
Anantara: revenue stay booked directly with hotel. Four Seasons Bali: didn’t stay, just visited.
Thank you for the fast reply.
Did you ever stay at AMAN Hotels? I never did but read good things about them.
Nope, didn’t try them yet.
I am a executive tv producer and publisher for luxury destinations and fashion etc. and travel also a lot. I think You tell your followers a lot of things what is not true. You can not fly first class all the time on your points! You have to earn points with paid travelling. And then so now and then You can use your points for a partial free flight. You are very misleading in what You tell your audience. Also concerning the Hotels. It is misleading information.
Hi Jantiena, thank you for sharing you ‘concerns’. However, there are many ways you can earn points and miles without staying at hotels are taking flights. One example is credit cards where you earn miles when your paying for e.g. your groceries using an airline branded credit card. Earning miles that way might be too slow for some and then buying miles might be a good option. Many airline loyalty programs sell miles on regular bases with big discounts or bonuses. Lifemiles.com is an example of such program which allows you to book Star Alliance flights, including Lufthansa First Class, at highly discounted prices by buying their miles. I have explained this on several occasions in previous blog post and will continue to do so. I hope this has clarified the situation for you. Kind regards, Bart Lapers.
Jij hebt hierin ervaring, en dat moet je respecteren. Ik las alles vandaag en het enigste dat ik me afvroeg, de airmiles zijn nooit opgebruikt. Ik waardeer uw exclusieve kennis.
great pictures Bart you made me really gelous because I am still hunting for my first free best price guarantee night , it is always a pleasure to read your trip reports
Thank you Bako! Try harder! 😉