Points Destination #1

I’m not the world’s most patient person…I couldn’t wait until my big trip to Japan. I needed a vacation this month! So when my boyfriend and I bought tickets to go see Cirque du Soleil’s Totem in Fort Lauderdale I started looking into hotel options. I checked the normal sites and tried bidding on Priceline even, but it was looking like $160 was the best I could do for a one night getaway. And when I live about an hour and a half away it’s difficult to justify that.

I decided beore the Hilton devaluation to go ahead and book a room at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina for 35,000 points. It was rated about 3.5 stars on most view sites so I was mostly expecting a decent enough place to stay. It was also my first stay as a Hilton Gold member due to my Citi Reserve card.

Upon arrival I was informed the hotel was at full capacity so there were no upgrades available for my first Gold stay. I was offered continental breakfast or 1000 Hilton points and chose the breakfast (definitely worth more after the devaluation!). I also used my Gold status to request a late checkout so we could relax the next morning.

Our room was in the East Villas and was nice enough. The hotel was slightly dated, and I can understand and agree with the 3.5/5 rating.

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Our room

The view was very nice. Aside from being slightly dated our only complaint was the noise through the balcony sliding door. People talking outside woke us up early in the morning. There was a noticeable gap between the door and the frame metal on metal.

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View of the Intracoastal from our balcony

The Cirque du Soleil show Totem was amazing! If you’ve never seen a Cirque show, go now. They are expensive, but the closest thing to magic on Earth.

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Cirque du Soleil set up at Sun Life Stadium

We saw the Cirque show late afternoon before checking in to the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. After we checked in, we walked outside to hop on the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi. It’s a cute touristy boat ride past fancy yachts and mansions with the occasional fact thrown out on the tour. My favorite part was when the driver pointed to a yacht that could go 40mph and said “if you want to know what that feels like…go stand on the back of this boat and throw out thousands of dollars.” 🙂 We got off at the Beach Place stop and met a friend to hit a couple bars before calling it a night. The Water Taxi is cute and worth doing once, but after this time I think I’m okay skipping it next trip. Unfortunately the latest we could board to get back to the hotel was 10pm, so we got a ride home from our friend instead of riding it back.

The next morning we went to the China Grill for breakfast. For $6 more Gold members could upgrade the continental breakfast to a hot breakfast but there was nothing we particularly wanted so we stuck with continental. It was decent. We were going to try to go to the pool but we weren’t the only ones with that idea, and as it was pretty crowded we decided to pass.

Parking was $21 overnight ($25 for valet), but as that was the only thing we paid for and most hotels in the area have similar charges I can’t complain too much. All in all it was a great staycation. In order to recoup the 35,000 points we spent I plan on spending $6000 at a 6X category on my Hilton HHonors American Express card before the card categories change in May. I will talk more about this in an upcoming post on meeting minimum spending.

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About Rebecca

I'm an engineer who is new to the points game. Hoping to share my discoveries as I collect points to travel the world.

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