Honor mom with a points-fueled trip of a lifetime

Summer Hull
Personal Finance Writer
Summer Hull writes the weekly "Get to the Points" column for CreditCards.com

Get to the Points

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Mother’s Day serves to remind us to take the time and energy to honor moms and all that they do day in and day out to make our lives better. But instead of flowers and chocolates, consider surprising her with a trip she won’t forget.

Of course, this is where your miles and points come into play, as they can help create experiences that may otherwise be too expensive to consider. In honor of Mother’s Day, and all that moms do 365 days a year, here are some trip ideas to take with your mom. 

Surprise her by taking her somewhere she's always wanted to go

The best place to take your mom is somewhere she has always wanted to go. My mom taught high school Spanish for 35 years and always had a huge map of Spain on her classroom wall. She had talked about the people, places and culture of Spain for years, but she had never had the opportunity to experience it firsthand.

A few years ago, I surprised her with a fully booked trip to Spain for the two of us plus my daughter, and it was such a joy to go on the trip with her. It wasn’t one afternoon of memories, but a full week of unforgettable experiences.

A highlight was staying at the beautiful and historic Westin Palace Madrid that opened in 1912, and at the time was the largest hotel in Europe. It was also only the second hotel in the world to have individual bathrooms for each room, so you get the sense for how grand the hotel was, and still is today. Rates were several hundred euros per night, but we were able to book the stay using Starwood Preferred Guest points.

While Spain was the perfect destination for my mom, it may not be at the top of your mom’s list, so find out where you mom has always wanted to visit and see if you can make that happen.

I highly recommend taking a multigenerational trip when you can, but once you involve kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews, the focus can quickly shift away from spending quality time with your mother. There may be years when it isn’t practical to leave the little ones behind, but as soon as the time comes when you and mom can get away together for even for a short time without worrying about diapers, bedtimes, children’s menus or teenage attitudes, take it.

Indulge her at a high-end resort

If traveling to a far-off destination isn’t a possibility, taking her somewhere to relax is usually a solid move. As a mom myself, I love a few days at a nice resort where the only thing I have to do is show up and exhale.

High-end resorts can come with jaw-dropping price tags, but hotel points can help you spoil mom without taking out a second mortgage. If you want to go whole-hog, the Miraval Spa near Tucson is about as luxurious as it gets. Even Oprah stays at this spa, so that’s saying something. Rooms at the Miraval go for well over $1,000 per night for double occupancy, but you can book a room for two using 65,000 World of Hyatt points per night. That award booking will include not only your lodging, but also a plethora of wellness activities, meals and a $175 credit per person per night to use towards the spa.

You can transfer points to the World of Hyatt program to book Miraval at a 1:1 ratio from the Chase Ultimate Rewards program via cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Business Preferred.

If 65,000 points per night is a bit outside your points budget, then check out the Andaz Costa Rica Resort that costs just 15,000 Hyatt points per night.

Shop top markets around the world

Another concrete destination idea to get your travel planning juices flowing, as cliche as it may sound, is to consider a trip to browse and shop the markets with your mom. There are amazing shopping ‘markets’ all over the world, so this may mean shopping in traditional brick-and-mortar stores on Fifth Avenue in New York or on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. It could also mean taking off to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo or even the eclectic Pike Place Market in Seattle.

I’m taking my own advice and leaving the children behind later this year to experience the famed Christmas Markets in Vienna with my mom. We will be using 25,000 Hyatt points per night to stay at the luxurious Park Hyatt Vienna. If you are short on Hyatt points, consider using 12,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points per night to stay at the Hotel Bristol in Vienna that has been in operation since 1892. If you need some extra SPG points, consider applying for the new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card with its 100,000-point sign-up bonus as those points transfer to SPG at a 3:1 ratio until Aug. 1, 2018, when the programs combine into one.

Celebrate mom on Mother’s Day, but when the time is right, consider surprising her with with an amazing miles and points fueled trip!

See related: Big changes, good and bad, coming to SPG AmEx cards, 4 countries where you can stretch your hotel points



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Updated: 05-23-2018