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I just touched down in St. Paul, Minnesota a few hours ago. I’ll be taking a week-long training course for work in Chanhassen. My initial impressions: There aren’t too many blondes here. I definitely stand out. Also, it’s a lot cooler than Phoenix. Actually, it’s REALLY nice weather here in August. It was quite enjoyable cruising along the interstate in the rental car with the windows down and not saturating my clothes in sweat.

I’ll be staying at the Country Inn & Suites for five days. Being the good deal-seeker that I am, I looked into accumulating additional frequent flyer miles for my stay. I found out that you can show your airline membership card at check-in and earn 250 miles per stay at Country Inn & Suites. I thought that was pretty paltry (considering it takes 25,000 miles to get a free flight), but what the hay, anything is better than nothing, right?

Wrong. Luckily for me, the clerk at the hotel desk pointed out the Goldpoints Plus program, and I went back to research it. Turns out that with my one week stay alone, I will get:

  • 15 Gold Points for every dollar spent (at $119.00 per night, this will be 9,000 points minimum. Not sure if they include tax.)
  • Plus, there is currently a "1,000 Points, 1,000 Hotels" promotion through August 31, where you earn 1,000 bonus points per night plus 5,000 bonus points on the 5th night. Looks like it’s my lucky week!

For a grand total of 9,000 + 5,000 + 5,000 = 19,000 Gold Points!!

Gold Points can be redeemed worldwide at any of the Carlson brand hotels (Radisson, Regent, Park Plaza, Country Inn & Suites, and Park Inn). You can redeem 15,000 Gold Points for a free night stay at a Tier 1 hotel, and 25,000 Gold Points for a free night stay at a Tier 2 hotel

That means I just earned myself a free hotel room. Sweet. Waaaay better than 250 airline miles. Also, you can always redeem 2,000 Gold Points for 250 frequent flyer miles of your choice…so basically the 250 miles at check-in is a very raw deal indeed. Learn from my experience and sign up for Gold Points if you ever stay at a Carlson hotel ;)

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