I was able to book a bucket list trip for January. I don’t know how many of you have seen the YouTube video of commercial jets landing at the Sint Maarten airport, but it is something I’ve always wanted to see in person. They look to virtually be close enough to touch and I’m excited to have the chance. It is not coincidence that is has been cold on Hilton Head the last couple days and I’m becoming more of a southern boy as the years go on. I had a hoodie on the last two days when the high only hit 60 degrees. Blood thinning or something?
American Airlines used to have a flight from Savannah to Miami which made Caribbean travel really easy for us. When they cancelled that flight it became necessary for us to travel 2 hours further south to Jacksonville to catch a flight to Miami then on to the Caribbean. If we tried to fly it from SAV we would be routed through Dallas then up to Newark and have to hop a cab to JFK to fly to SXM. It is just so much easier to ride down I-95 and leave from JAX.
The tickets were 35K round-trip each and we used SPG points at 12K per night and the fifth night free at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa. The resort is a limited participation member in the SPG program and it took a call to the resort to check on award availability. The going rate was $320 per night so with the fifth night free and 48K points, we got a decent value for our SPG points. Cash and points was not available the dates we needed. It will be one of our first stays as a Platinum member of the SPG program and I’m looking forward to evaluating the upgrades and attention as a Platinum instead of a Gold member.
Our costs to date were $176 for taxes and fees on the award tickets total and we are subject to a $20 resort fee per day. It is a new island for us and Katy and I would appreciate any tips prior visitors may have for us. The resort reviews seem mixed and I realize it is somewhat off the beaten path, but that works just fine for us. Besides our trip to the beach to watch the planes land up close and personal, it will just be a laid back five days in the sun.
Anybody else off to Sint Maarten in January or have some local tips for us?
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
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- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49