Travelers are taking to the road: 69% of respondents in a recent Shell/Harris Poll survey believe a road trip could help them escape the stresses of COVID-19, and 86% feel that car travel is safer than flying.
From coast to coast, hotels are luring road-trippers and staycationers with special packages and deals. Meanwhile, Shell Oil has created a series of road trip itineraries, complete with custom Spotify playlists, on its StateEscape resource site.
If you’re planning a fall road trip or a staycation, there are plenty of ways to save money. Take advantage of programs like Fuel Rewards, which offers discounts on gas, plus the chance to accrue gas credits through dining and online spending. When it’s time to fill up at the pump, use the right credit card to maximize your earnings on gas purchases.
Look for hotel promotions and credit card bonus spending categories that pay extra loyalty points on hotel stays and other spending. For example, cardholders with an eligible Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card or Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card can earn 10 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at hotels and U.S. restaurants and gas stations. Several Chase cards are offering bonuses for gas station and supermarket purchases. Delta American Express cardholders earn bonus miles for spending at restaurants and takeout. Terms apply.
Ready to hit the road? Here are special fall hotel packages across the USA designed to encourage safe “staycations” or regional road trips.
Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Georgia
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia, has a Linger Longer at the Lake package that rewards guests staying three nights or more with resort credits to spend during their stay. Resort or Lake View rooms come with a $375 resort credit, while multi-bedroom cottages and the Lake House offer a $600 resort credit. Ritz-Carlton guests can earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points during their stay. Pay with a Marriott-affiliated credit card to earn even more points.
» Learn more: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card should I choose?
Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center, Georgia
Connect with your wild side at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center in Dunwoody, Georgia. The family-friendly “Connect with your wild side” package comes with rooms in the Deluxe tower of the hotel, free parking and a $100 gift card good for tickets to Zoo Atlanta. Reserve more than 48 hours in advance to take advantage of this two-night deal.
W Atlanta-Midtown, Georgia
W Atlanta-Midtown guests can Soak Up the Sun in a poolside cabana with this package perfect for staycations. The two-night escape includes a stay in a luxurious suite, valet parking, six hours in a pool cabana on the hotel’s WET Deck, a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and a $100 poolside food and beverage credit.
Colonial Williamsburg Resort, Virginia
Virginia residents can take advantage of a special offer for a stay in one of Colonial Williamsburg Resort’s 18th century Colonial Houses. Each features historic decor while offering modern amenities unheard of centuries ago. The Virginia Residents staycation offer comes with a 10% room discount and a 25% discount on Colonial Williamsburg Evening Program tickets and horse-drawn carriage rides. For everyone else, there’s a Fall Getaway package with complimentary tickets to the historic area and art museums, among other discounts.
Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, South Carolina
The Most Valuable Pup package at Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort in South Carolina provides an option for those who like to travel with their furry friends. Guests receive a water bowl, mat and homemade dog treats for their four-legged companions, plus chilled champagne for the humans.
Kimpton Brice Hotel, Georgia
At Savannah’s Kimpton Brice Hotel, the Sip + Stroll package is a tippler-friendly option. The historic hotel is housed in a former Coca-Cola bottling plant, and as part of the Sip + Stroll package, guests are treated to two drinks per day from the restaurant, served in commemorative tumblers that guests can take home or enjoy within the historic district. Free parking is also part of the package, and guests can earn IHG Rewards Club points for their stay. Using a credit card like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card piles on even more bonus points. You can also register for the current bonus point promotion through IHG Rewards Club.
Eau Palm Beach, Florida
Eau Palm Beach in South Florida, on seven acres of private oceanfront, has a Press Play package thru Sept. 30. Among the perks are a $50 resort credit, waived resort fee, and free nonmotorized water sports, bikes and supervised kids’ activities.
Hilton West Palm Beach, Florida
The Gas Up & Go promotion at Hilton West Palm Beach includes a $25 gas gift card, free valet parking, dinner in a poolside cabana and an outdoor excursion (either a two-hour kayak rental or sunset catamaran cruise). Call the hotel to reserve this offer (it’s valid on stays of at least three nights), which is available through Oct. 31. Guests with a Hilton Honors co-branded credit card will earn even more points for their stay.
» Learn more: Hilton credit cards: Which one should you get?
Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach, Florida
Acqualina Resort, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, has several offers, including the Family Escape package for stays of at least three nights. It includes free parking, breakfast, private children’s program sessions and credits for the spa.
1 Hotel South Beach, Florida
At 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami Beach, guests who book at least two nights are in for a long roster of amenities as part of The Retreat Collection, which features multi-bedroom luxury accommodations. Guests are assigned a personal guru to arrange free roundtrip airport transportation and a curbside greeting to avoid the reception desk. Other inclusions for the offer are early check-in and late checkout, packing and unpacking services, free breakfast and spa treatments, priority seating in restaurants, clothes pressing service and beverage service delivered to the room daily.
Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, Florida
On Florida’s west coast, the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach has a Winter & Friends package that includes two tickets to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The resort has a partnership with the aquarium, and it has designed several of its bunk bed family rooms with themes from the movie “Dolphin Tale.” When guests book this package, they can stay in one of these rooms, and a portion of the proceeds goes back to the aquarium to support its rescue, rehabilitation and release efforts of marine animals. There is a separate package for residents of Florida and Georgia that includes dining and valet parking discounts. Guests can rack up Wyndham Rewards points with their stay as well as bonus points when paying with the $0-annual-fee Wyndham Rewards® Visa® With No Annual Fee.
The Langham, New York
The Langham Loves the Empire State package celebrates the recent reopening of the Empire State Building. Even locals will find this to be a special treat after isolating in their homes. The package includes VIP access for two to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, which is a few blocks from the Langham, New York, free parking and in-room breakfast for two.
Hotel Viking, Rhode Island
New England-based staycationers can choose the Coastal Rhode Trip package at Newport, Rhode Island’s Hotel Viking. Valet park your car for free and then pay a fee to get behind the wheel of a 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible to explore the area. Or take your own car. Either way, you’ll get free snacks, coffee and water for your day of exploring, COVID-19 personal protection equipment and access to the hotel’s road trip playlist on Spotify.
The Galt House Hotel, Kentucky
The Galt House Hotel in Louisville has partnered with Evan Williams Bourbon to create a special experience for bourbon fans. Guests who book the Heavenly Freedom in Bourbon City package can enjoy shuttle service to area distilleries plus two tickets to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Main Street. Free parking and a $25 credit at Walker’s Exchange Restaurant are also part of the package.
Amway Grand Plaza, Michigan
Meat lovers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have a staycation package all their own. The Steak-Cation package at Amway Grand Plaza includes overnight accommodations, free parking and a $50 gift card to the hotel’s in-house Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse — all for $199 per night.
Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, Louisiana
At the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, guests can choose from a variety of packages including 20% off on stays of three nights or more. Traveling to Paris isn't happening much right now, but you can get your French Quarter exploration off to a good start with the Paris Without the Jetlag package, which comes with coffee and beignets one morning of your stay. The Suiten Your Stay deal gets you a room upgrade, great for travelers who want more space after road tripping. And Marriott Bonvoy points are always a perk when staying at Ritz-Carlton.
Hall Arts Hotel, Texas
Missed out on a special celebration this year because of stay-at-home orders? The Hall Arts Hotel in Dallas wants to help you make up for lost time. Celebrate an anniversary, birthday, engagement or retirement with the hotel’s Honored Occasions offer. You’ll get late checkout, valet parking, two craft cocktails, a food and beverage credit and a second chance to savor life’s special moments.
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Texas
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas has a Summer at Rosewood package (valid through the end of September) that is great for staycation visitors and road trippers alike. It comes with a $50 hotel credit, early check-in and late checkout, free valet parking and two tickets to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
The Ruby Hotel and Bar, Texas
Calling all “birders” to The Ruby Hotel and Bar, which sits along Brushy Creek in Round Rock near Austin. The Audubon package comes with use of binoculars, information on local bird species and a free drink to enjoy after a day of birdwatching. It is offered as an add-on package when making a reservation and will be available through the fall.
Lone Star Court, Texas
The pet-friendly Lone Star Court in Austin has a glamping package that includes overnight accommodations, a s’mores kit, free parking and a $20 minibar credit. This is a great option for glamping fans who want the feel of camping while sleeping in a comfortable hotel bed.
La Cantera Resort & Spa, Texas
La Cantera Resort & Spa is offering Texas residents a fun way to come and stay: road trip itineraries from every major Texas city, with fun and interesting pit stops along the way. Once there, the Summer Road Trip offer (it’s actually valid through early 2021 if purchased before the end of September) offers substantial savings on suites and includes daily breakfast for two, valet parking and a credit to spend on property.
Kimpton Hotels, Montana, Colorado and Utah
Kimpton Hotels is offering the Room to Roam promotion at several of its hotels, including Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman, Hotel Monaco Denver and Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City. Guests booking this offer get a complimentary room upgrade, free parking, a road trip playlist of music and suggested route map and a $25 gas gift card. The deals are listed on the Offers page of each participating hotel’s website.
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, California
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows has a Sunny Days Ahead promotion, which includes two nights in a secluded signature bungalow, a weekend brunch credit, an evening movie by the pool with cocktails and free parking. The package also includes a picnic spread as part of this Accor Live Limitless points-earning getaway.
Nakoma Resort, California
Nakoma Resort in the alpine-wooded town of Clio, California, has a Hike & Stay package perfect for those who love the great outdoors. The offer includes dinner for two on the night of arrival, a hiking book and picnic bento boxes to enjoy while hiking along the popular Pacific Crest Trail.
Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, California
The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in California’s Santa Ynez Valley is offering the Alisal Awaits package, another opportunity to experience nature in one of California’s most picturesque wine regions. Valid on stays of at least two nights, this package includes breakfast, dinner, alcoholic beverages, a group horseback trail ride, golf greens fees and golf cart, fishing rod and supplies to fish at Alisal Lake and a $50 resort credit.
Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, California
California residents can book a staycation at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills to take advantage of a discount, as well as free parking and a room upgrade. If you bring your pet along, the hotel is waiving the pet fees. There’s also early check-in and late checkout as part of this offer, which is eligible to earn Accor Live Limitless points.
Brasada Ranch, Oregon
Golfers can enjoy unlimited play time during a stay of at least five nights this fall through Brasada Ranch’s Extended Stay promotion in Bend, Oregon. The property is offering promotions on longer stays to reduce guest changeover at its secluded cabins while offering visitors access to its 2,000 acres. There’s also an equestrian center with lessons for children 5 and older.
JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Arizona
Through the end of the year, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is offering a Learn, Work, and PLAY package, ideal for parents who need a place to work and a change of pace, while also providing space for the kids’ remote learning. A great way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, this package includes a $100 nightly resort credit, 50% discount on a second room (potential office or classroom space) and pool cabanas (on most weekdays), and unlimited golf for up to four players daily. Even better, the resort will donate $10 per stay to local educational programs.
Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Bungalows, Arizona
De-stress while earning World of Hyatt points at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows. The Savor and Serenity package is designed for romantics. Stays of at least two nights in a Saarinen Cabana booked as part of this package include a four-course dinner in the cabana (attached to the guest room) and $100 spa credit. Use the World of Hyatt Credit Card to earn bonus points.
» Learn more: World of Hyatt: The complete guide
Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club, Oahu
Hawaii residents can plan a staycation in Waikiki at the Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club with the Get Shacked @ The Jack deal. This special rate for locals waives the resort fee and comes with free parking. Pets stay free, so they don’t have to stay at home.
Photos courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, W Atlanta-Midtown, Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau/Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, Credit Eau Palm Beach, Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, Michael Weber/The Langham, New York, The Galt House Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, Hotel Monaco Denver, Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Brasada Ranch and The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card