On my recent trip to Japan, I had to decide where to stay in my three destination cities: Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. The first thing I did was start looking through my hotel points, with the thought of “treating myself.” Having far more IHG points than any other hotel currency, they were my first stop. Upon first glance, three InterContinental brand hotels in Tokyo had ample availability for my desired nights:
I thought long and hard about staying for free in the lap of luxury in one of the world’s most iconic cities, but ultimately decided against it. Why? Because, as I discuss in the “Hotels” chapter of The Ultimate Guide to Free Travel, often it can be prudent to save points for flights. This is because there are many alternatives to hotels which often are far more affordable. In this case, I decided to go with an AirBnB, and ended up with my very own private apartment just 10 minutes on foot from Tokyo’s famed Shibuya Crossing. The total price I paid for 6 nights, including all AirBnB commissions and cleaning fees, was $433, or just over $70 per night:
The total I paid for 6 nights was nearly identical to what I would have paid for one of the “points + cash” options through IHG! Not only did I get the chance to save my IHG Rewards Club and Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a more exclusive or expensive destination, but I also got to live like a local. In a city like Tokyo, all you really need is a bed, shower, and internet, so living like a local was an appealing option for me.
AirBnB is certainly not for everyone, and many people would prefer the creature comforts of a high-end hotel. But for me and for this stay, I happily eschewed the InterContinental in favor of the AirBnB alternative. That’s why I didn’t want to stay at the InterContinental Tokyo
Have any of you made similar choices lately?
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