Being a ski bum on the east coast is no easy feat.
In order to achieve a good vertical every year, you need to be strategic when booking ski trips – especially for the popular three-day holiday weekends. With the ever-increasing costs of lift tickets, flights, accommodation, car rentals and sometimes ski rentals, a quick weekend can easily turn into a multi-thousand dollar adventure.
That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead on complicated trips. After all, the best time to buy your lift tickets is before last winter has even ended. We bought our ski passes in April.
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Points and miles help keep costs down, although there are limited things you can do, especially with a large group. You can often book flights with miles, but the available hotel rooms may not suit your group’s needs. If you need to sleep four to six people, you’ll need to get creative — unless you’re willing to shell out a bunch of points for multiple hotel rooms.
With this in mind, I decided to book a rental house for this year’s big ski trip. In addition to more space, a kitchen to prepare your meals and separate bedrooms can make a world of difference when traveling with a group.
Let’s take a look at how I redeemed just 45,000 Wyndham Rewards points for a three-night vacation rental near the slopes.
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Book a Vacasa home with Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham and Vacasa’s partnership allows Wyndham members to book rentals for 15,000 Wyndham points per night per room. While a studio or one-bedroom would cost 15,000 points, a three-bedroom would cost three times as much.
A great perk of booking Vacasa rentals through Wyndham is that there are no fees (you’ll typically be hit with an expensive cleaning fee, ranging from $100 to $200 per stay). Additionally, all other ownership and rental fees are waived – meaning most bookings are also exempt from sales tax.
While this is an amazing deal, there are downsides: blackout dates and minimum stay requirements. Additionally, blackout nights are not displayed online; You will only find out what these are if you call. Minimum stay requirements are generally stated on the Vacasa list.
In my personal experience (and noted on Frequent Miler), I’ve found that properties listed for over $350 per bedroom per night before taxes and fees are generally redacted and cannot be booked through this method. However, this is not a set or published rule.
See also: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming Wyndham Rewards
Search for the property
Booking a vacation rental through points has its pros and cons. One is that while there are often more options than hotels available, each accommodation only accommodates one group at a time, making it difficult to search for availability.
For the trip in question, I wanted everything to be within walking (or shuttle) distance to the Keystone Resort, although I would have been happy with anything within driving distance.
I started by going to Vacasa.com and entering my travel dates for Keystone, Colorado. Also, I wanted to keep it priced at 15,000 Wyndham points per night, so I filtered my search to one bedroom (studios are listed as 0 bedrooms, which would have been too cramped for my family) and a top price of $350 per night Night.
A few options appeared. I zoomed in on the map to find walking or shuttle distances to Keystone and used the Find Here feature to narrow the area. At this point I had what I suspected were properties bookable on points.
I delved deeper into each property, looking for properties that had an attic or basement that served as another sleeping space, not counting as a two-bedroom property (which would have gotten me 30,000 points per night).
After taking the time to comb through each accommodation, I made a list of my top three choices and called Wyndham to book my stay at Vacasa. It has a special number for Vacasa bookings: 866-996-7937.
See also: 7 ways to make your next ski trip better than the last
Transfer of Capital One points to Wyndham
The booking process was surprisingly easy.
I called Wyndham and the agent was able to confirm that my preferred hotel was eligible for an award booking.
There was just one problem: I didn’t have any Wyndham Rewards points in my account yet. I went into my Capital One Rewards account and transferred 45,000 miles to Wyndham for a three night stay. The agent was unable to hold an award seat until I transferred the miles but was happy to wait on the phone during the process. Miles will post to my Wyndham Rewards account almost immediately.
The agent was then able to complete the booking over the phone and told me to expect a confirmation email within 24 hours. In fact, I received a confirmation email from Wyndham thanking me for my redemption and one from Vacasa with further instructions on the property.
evaluation of my salvation
While the property cost just under $350 a night cash, factoring in the taxes and fees would have brought my three-night stay in Colorado to $1,472.87.
Booking a nearly $1,500 per night stay for 45,000 points is good for any program. I ended up redeeming my Capital One miles for 3.3 cents per point. That’s well above the TPG rating of 1.85 cents apiece.
Ever since I got it Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, I wanted to try and use some of my Capital One miles on vacation rentals through Wyndham Rewards. I’m glad I did.
Booking these rentals can represent significant value, especially in markets with limited hotel options.
It’s not always easy to pull off a ski vacation with points and miles, but it’s worth it when you can finally whiz down a mountain for a day – and then relax by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate in your hands.