I am Going Skiing in Utah… For Free!!


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I just planned a trip to Park City, Utah for my second ski trip ever out West. I grew up skiing on the icy mountains in the Northeast and after last years trip to Utah I was anxious to get back out on the powdery slopes! For this trip: Delta miles + Hyatt points = 1 very inexpensive trip for 2! While lift tickets aren’t cheap, the ski mountains in Utah are pretty reasonable and purchasing tickets from Liftopia always helps!

This time we will be staying at the Hyatt Escala Lodge. This is a relatively new hotel and just fully opened all of their amenities. This hotel is at the base of the Canyons Mountain and is only a category 4! I am actually pretty surprised to see a slope-side mountain to be a category 4, but have a feeling it has to do with their soft opening this past year (category 6 is the highest at Hyatt). Last year I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria which is also at the base of the Canyons so I am interested to see how the two hotels compare. This hotel will cost 15,000 points/night + $20/night resort fee. The typical rate at this hotel is about $500/night. This is an unbelievable usage of my Hyatt points! My assumption is that this hotel will go up a category eventually, but maybe this will remain a hidden gem. Luckily, I was able to use my Hyatt points accrued from years on the road. For those of you who want to increase your Hyatt point balance my best recommendation is the Chase credit card offers (or find a company who will pay for your travel)!

For flights I was able to snag two Delta awards for 25,000 miles each (plus $5 in taxes). This will actually be the first time I will be using miles for a domestic trip. To purchase the ticket outright was $350, so I was content with using my miles especially since a low level award was available and those are hard to find nowadays with Delta. Currently, there are a few great ways to get more miles if you do not have enough for an award redemption:

  • Taking advantage of the current 100% transfer promotion. To earn 25,000 points with this transfer bonus would have cost $280 ($0.01/mile + $30 processing fee) – still less than the cost of purchasing the ticket.

I do not have the Delta credit card, but wish I did since baggage fees are waived for credit card holders. About 99.9% of the time I do not check baggage, but with a ski trip that is not really an option. Luckily ski gear is not charged any extra fees aside from the typical checked baggage fee. For both my husband and I, we will be spending an additional $100 to check our ski gear ($25 each way per bag). It actually might make sense to rent skis and carry on my boots. That is something I will have to look into more as the time comes closer.

I am so excited for this trip and so happy that my points are allowing me to stay on the mountain! Of course there are many options in Salt Lake City, but they do not have the same resort feel as staying right at the base of the slopes! I will be sure to report back on my stay!

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Phil
Phil
10 years ago

Wow I got really excited seeing the header as I thought you may have found the holy grail of finding a good deal to get lift tickets on points 🙂 However you are absolutely right the Hyatt Escala Lodge seems a great points deal.

I have been using points to go ski the last couple of years. We usually go to Whistler which is kind of fun as you can use the Cathay Pacific flight from JFK so you get to go in a top class business class product for decent mileage. But after next year I will be loaded up on Southwest points so maybe Colorado or Utah will beckon instead. The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is not a bad use of points either, more expensive at 22k but such a well located property at a great resort

Nathan
Nathan
10 years ago

Nice job of using your points and liftopia.com to save money. Here’s a ski deal that you should know about:

If you fly into SLC, you can ski for FREE at any of the 3 Park City ski resorts the same day you arrive. Just take your boarding pass to the ticket window of Deer Valley, Park City or the Canyon’s ski resorts for a free one day lift pass. For more details, visit http://www.visitparkcity.com and click on the Quick Start heading. Enjoy.

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  Nathan

@Nathan – That is a great deal and I was able to take advantage of it last year. Unfortunately this year I am flying in the night before, but did contemplate the morning flight for the free lift ticket. I wrote more about this program and other ways to get inexpensive lift tickets in Utah here: http://dealswelike.boardingarea.com/2011/02/03/skiing-in-park-city-ut-for-cheap/

Any other suggestions are much appreciated, thanks!

Mommy Points
10 years ago

Good job!! Such a good feeling to put your points and miles to good use. Have fun!

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  Mommy Points

@Mommy Points – I know! Also, since snowboarding is really my husband’s love of life (next to me of course), he is really understanding this points and miles obsession!

Jason
10 years ago

welcome to Utah!

deltagoldflyer
10 years ago

Don’t forget that both skis and a boot back ONLY count as 1 bag fee as long as total they are under 50lbs. http://boardingarea.com/deltapoints/2011/12/14/do-you-know-delta-then-how-about-a-pop-quiz-see-how-you-do/ 😉 ( yeah yet another shamless blog plug – ugg )!

Have a great time and post lots of kool photos later and I will for out trip as well! – Rene

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  deltagoldflyer

@DGF – I saw the post today. Although they count for one I actually never check my boots. For some reason I have a poor track record with lost baggage. As long as my boots make it, I am content!

deltagoldflyer
10 years ago

@deals – yeah boots are #1 – bowling shoes are one thing, my boots, another! Ski ya later.

HikerT
HikerT
10 years ago

Sorry, it’s not “free”. Unless Chase or Amex started allowing more than 1 lifetime bonus for those credit cards you cannot ignore that opportunity cost which is the value of the points or miles. Similarly for the cost of replacing those points or miles. So we come full circle to the reality it cost you what the points or miles were worth, or what it costs to replace them without using up one time opportunity costs.

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  HikerT

@HikerT – You are correct, nothing in life is free, right? There is definitely an opportunity cost as I could have used my points and miles elsewhere. I earned my points for traveling from work. For those that get the miles from the credit cards, you could instead use the points and miles as cash back essentially, and received about $500 instead.

Mike
Mike
10 years ago

Is it just me or does Hiker T always chime in with some lame comment like this? We ALL know it’s not FREE. Maybe evaluate the opportunity cost of having to correct every persons verbiage and do something more productive.

Fewtreezy
Fewtreezy
10 years ago

@Mike – I agree, I think every post I see is corrective. What if didn’t care about the opportunity cost? Sometimes I think it’s easy to get caught up in asking the question “did we get the maximum value out of our points?” We should be asking ourselves if we are happy with what we’ve gotten. That’s what is important.

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  Fewtreezy

@Fewtreezy – I agree, and I am very excited for my stay at the Hyatt!

trackback

[…] (which means 15,000 points a night) so I figured there was nothing to lose! This ultimately was a FREE trip to Park City as I used both points and miles (although lift tickets can get pricey). The hotel is located at the […]

Edine
10 years ago

I ullsauy don’t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful …

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  Edine

@Edine – Thanks!

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