How I Traveled for Free: SPG Points Help Extend a Stay in Nashville

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They say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but this travel writer tacked on two extra days to a three-day business trip using points to extend her time in Music City.

The loyalty program member

Mary Jo Manzanares and her husband took a candy making class at a candy shop in Nashville.

Name: Mary Jo Manzanares Age: 63 Occupation: Travel writer for Traveling with MJ Home: Federal Way, Washington

The stay

Hotel: Sheraton Grand Nashville When: April 2018 Kind of room: Deluxe King on Club Floor

Q: What amenities did you take advantage of?

A: I used the club lounge for complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, continental breakfast and evening appetizers.

Q: Did you travel alone or with someone?

A: I traveled with my husband. We wanted to add on some personal time to a business trip where we stayed at a different hotel in the same city. The prices around town were expensive, so we decided to use points to extend the stay, and the room availability worked out.

The loyalty program

Q: What loyalty program did you use to get a free stay?

Q: How long were you a member at that time?

A: Five years.

Q: How long were you planning this stay?

A: It wasn't planned. It came together at the last minute just a few weeks out.

Q: What's your favorite perk of this program?

A: Upgraded room, if available, including to the Club level.

Redemption and booking

Q: Did you take advantage of promotions while earning points for this trip?

A: No.

Q: How did you book?

A: I booked online through SPG’s website.

Q: How many points/rewards did this cost?

A: I don't recall. SPG and Marriott have now merged and adjusted the valuations so I couldn't check on my account.

Q: Did you book in conjunction with a promotion or deal?

A: No.

Q: Any upgrades?

A: We were given an upgrade to the Sheraton Club Lounge level.

What’s up next?

Our next travel goal is saving for a business-class ticket to Australia and New Zealand.

Photo by Mary Jo Manzanares.

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