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Video: Use your credit card points to pay for a haunted getaway

Love a good thrill? Try a visit to a spooky hotel, defray cost with rewards

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If you get a thrill from haunted houses, you can use your credit card points to pay for a getaway to a spooky hotel.

There are haunted hotels across the country. Some belong to major chains, so you can use your credit card points to get a room. Hyatt’s Driskill hotel in Austin, Texas; the Omni Homestead Resort in Virgina; and the Omni Parker House in Boston all will let you use your points. However, many other famous haunted hotels, such as the Jerome Grand Hotel in Jerome, Arizona, are independently owned, so you’ll have to pay for your spooky stay.

Ghost-hunting enthusiast Kayla Johnson says her stay at the haunted Jerome Grand Hotel didn’t disappoint. “When we got to the Grand Suite, the lights started flickering, like constantly.”

This was just one of her many chilling experiences, including the broken clock in her room suddenly starting to work, and strange feelings she got when she walked to certain parts of the hotel.

“Jerome was known as the wickedest town in the West,” says Chris Altherr, manager of the Jerome Grand Hotel and nephew of the hotel’s owner. He has roamed up and down the Jerome Grand’s spooky hallways since he was a child.

The hotel sits atop a mountain overlooking the old mining town of Jerome, where fires once raged, gold diggers came hunting for fortune, and mysterious deaths still linger in the air. The Jerome Grand was once a hospital that catered to many of these visitors. Some left, and others never checked out.

“Maybe these spirits aren’t all settled a hundred percent yet,” Altherr says. “They are still here somehow.”

Even though you can’t use your points at the Jerome Grand, you can use credit card travel reward points for your flights and rental car to get the ghostly town, offsetting the cost of your stay at the haunted hideaway. The 100,000 sign-up bonus points that come with the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, after meeting the minimum spending requirement, should more than cover the costs.

Considering many of these mystical mining towns have few avenues in or out, you’ll want transportation just in case a quick getaway is in order. Johnson herself had to make a speedy exit after getting spooked.

“I felt really sick, and I had to leave,” says Johnson, referring to her visit to the Jerome Grand’s boiler room during her ghost tour. “I got really nauseous, and I had to get out of there.” The boiler room is the site of two mysterious deaths during Jerome’s shadier days.

For this reporter’s ghost-hunting experience, I chose the almost 100-year-old Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, Arizona, where guests, including Wild West movie star John Wayne, have reported seeing multiple ghosts: an old woman who sways back and forth in Room 305’s creaky rocking chair, a couple who dance in the cocktail lounge and a bellboy who knocks on your door, just to name a few.

The cleaning staff also have their own stories to share.

“On the walkie-talkies, only on the third and fourth floors, you could hear two little kids playing hide and seek,” recounts Cheryl Dollerschell, the Hotel Monte Vista’s cleaning manager.

She recalls once when another staff member was cleaning by the window, “Suddenly over her walkie-talkie one of the kids says ‘Hey get away from that window!’ That was the last time the walkie-talkies were used.”

In my room, Room 306, the spirit of a woman who was killed more than 60 years ago after she was thrown from the window reportedly seeks her revenge on the guests who stay there. My experience? While it could have been my imagination, in the middle of the night I suddenly felt as if I were being suffocated, and it took a long time to catch my breath and yell for help.

Let’s just say I wasn’t sorry to check out the next morning.

Dollarschell says it’s experiences like mine that keep guests intrigued. “We have a lot of people coming back,” she says. “They come back, just for that.”

The more creative your mind, the more thrilling your experience will be. If you can use your credit card points to pay for your travel – and in some cases, your room – you’ll feel even better about lying awake all night, awaiting a ghostly visitor.

See related: How to save on a national park vacation, How to get free stays and perks faster with hotel rewards

Published: October 29, 2016


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Updated: 12-03-2016


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