Answered by The Penny Pincher
This is a great time for US travel. With the exception of gas prices you should find some great deals across the states. I suggest that you consolidate your hotel stays within one brand. This will allow you to earn a ton of points, (probably enough for a free stay in a European hotel) and give you the opportunity to leverage your loyalty for upgrades and preferred rates.
Hilton is an example of one brand that can provide excellent coast to coast coverage. Their hotels include, Hilton, Hampton Inn, and Hampton Inn & Suites, Conrad Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Double Tree Hotels, Embassy Suites Hotels, and Homewood Suites by Hilton. These hotels run the range of luxury to budget to full-service to family oriented suites.
You can use the Hilton web site (www.hilton.com) to check availability and rates for the cities you will be visiting. Their web site offers a best rate guarantee so you should feel comfortable with the rates you find. Consider having an AAA number available for good discounts. Make sure to get a Hilton guidebook or use the Internet to track locations along your route.
Before your trip reserve a few locations in advance. Than call the Hilton HHonors program at 800-548-8690, and inform them of your pending trip and request a status upgrade to Sliver VIP Membership. As you increase your level of membership you will become privy to a bounty of benefits including: point bonuses ranging from 15% to 25% on all HHonors Base points, upgraded accommodations/amenities, complimentary health club, and discounted rates.
You might also consider applying for the no-fee, Hilton HHonors Platinum Credit Card from American Express. You will earn a 10,000 point bonus which is enough for a free night.
During your trip, make your hotel reservations in advance. However, when you get to your destination use your cell-phone to call your hotel and check if lower rates are being offered for that day. Often as it gets late in the day hotels reduce their rates. Saving a few dollars each day can add up! If lower rates are available simply ask the hotel to switch your rate. Remember, though, to book a room in advance in case the hotel sells out for the day.
As your trips progresses you will move up the elite status ladder, resulting in more luxury for less. Here are the requirements for each level of elite membership: Silver VIP Membership (10 Stays) Gold VIP Membership (16 Stays) Diamond VIP Membership (28 Stays).
Lastly, I recommend that you bring along a copy of my new book to read along some of those long-stretches of road. You can order a copy at: Penny Pincher’s II.
Good luck let me know how it goes.