Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Denver on Miles and Points

My family of 5 just returned from a 2-night/3-day trip to Denver. I grew up there, and this was just a quick trip to see family. We have driven the 14-hour drive from our home to Denver before, but it was torture for all of us. Thanks to airline miles and hotel points, we were able to fly for less money than it would have cost us to drive there even when we factor in the cost of our rental car (and we saved a lot of travel time, too).

Here is a run-down of the miles:

Since my husband and I each have a Southwest companion pass (see here and here), we just had to use miles for 3 tickets instead of 5. I booked our tickets on the day that Southwest made the schedule available, and I checked the website daily to see if the prices went down. I was able to adjust our tickets down in price three times, so it pays to check.

Price in miles: 18,345 round-trip for 3 tickets
Price in dollars: $5.60 each in taxes or $56 for 5 round-trip tickets (companion tickets still have to pay taxes).

Part of the reason why this trip didn't cost many miles is that I booked undesirable flight times. We had a 7:00 a.m. departure to Denver on our first flight and didn't return to Dallas until midnight on our return flight. But my kids were troopers for this trip despite the early and late travel times.

On the train at Denver International Airport:

And next to this flower inside the airport that my daughter loved:

Since we arrived in Denver around 8:00 a.m. local time, we didn't go to our hotel right away. Instead, we spent some time at Grandma and Grandpa's condo and then met my extended family for lunch.

We used Hilton HHonors points to stay 2 nights for free at the Hilton Garden Inn Denver South/Meridian. My husband and I each had some Hilton points leftover from some previous trips, and this hotel was one of the cheaper Hilton points hotels near my family at 20,000 points per night. The hotel room only fit 4 people, so my oldest son got to spend both nights at his cousins' house.

The room is a standard hotel room:

The hotel had a small indoor pool and hot tub:

Since my husband and I were Hilton HHonors Gold members when we reserved the room, we got a free breakfast and bottled water on both days. Bonus.

If you are staying in Denver on Hilton points, I do recommend this hotel. The staff was very friendly, and the hotel is conveniently located near I-25 right next to a light rail station.

Since our return flight didn't leave until 9:00 p.m., we had 3 full days to enjoy Denver and visit with my family (more to come in future blog posts).
Denver City Park
Most people think of traveling to Denver during the ski season, but I feel that Denver is such an under-rated summer travel destination. The weather is comfortable, and there is so much to do around the city and in the nearby mountains.

Is Denver on your travel bucket list?

Next up: Museums in Denver

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