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Two Hotels for the Chicago Marathon for FREE
If you didn’t already know, Lisa and I are big fans of destination races! We love traveling to different places around the world and incorporating a fitness goal helps keep us active while on the go. When it comes to Marathons, it doesn’t get much bigger than Chicago. The Chicago Marathon is a member of the Abbott World Major Marathons which includes the 6 largest marathons across the planet. The other 5 cities that host these giant races include New York City, Boston, Berlin, London, and Tokyo.
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Have you dreamed of attending the Super Bowl or a premier music festival? If you’ve ever tried to attend a large event before; you may know that hotels are often sky-high due to supply and demand. The Chicago Marathon is no different where you’ll find hotels booked up instantly and rates raised to over $400 per night! Paying these prices isn’t feasible for most people and it’s important to know that there are basic strategies to get around those sky-high prices.
After running the New York City Marathon last November; I set my sight on the next race and decided to proactively open a few credit cards. I opened the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card. At the time of opening, this card offered 75,000 Bonovy Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Please see below for the current offers. The Hilton Honors Surpass offered 130,000 Hilton Honors Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. A key thing to remember with credit card offers is that the sign-up bonuses change frequently. Be sure to always refer back to our Top Credit Cards page for the latest offers.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
® Credit Card
Earn 3 free nights (each valued up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) after spending $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first 3 months of card membership.
- 3x on the first $6,000 spent annually on combined purchases on grocery stores, gas stations, & dining.
- One annual free night certificate on account anniversary (valued up to 35,000 points).
- Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 spend.
Learn More Here.
Next, I completed the lottery application for the Chicago Marathon and patiently counted down the seconds until December 11th!
I received the word that I was in and feverishly started booking my hotels! Taking a look at where the finish line of the Chicago Marathon would be and decided to go with the Hilton Palmer and the JW Marriott. I booked both as quickly as they were stelling out fast. Knowing that the hotels allow free cancelations up to 3 days prior to your stay, I could make my final decision later.
The Hilton Palmer
The Nightly Rate using points was 60,000. I had 130,000 Hilton Honors Points from the sign-up bonus received after opening the Hilton Surpass Credit Card. In addition, I already had a stash of 100,000 points leftover from opening the standard Hilton Honors Credit Card that I had been saving for a rainy day.
Total Cost for three nights = 180,000 Hilton Honors Points + $6.99 in taxes and fees
Earn a 130,000 Welcome Bonus once you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, you can earn up to $130 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership. $95 annual fee. (Rates & Fees). Terms apply.
Learn More Here.
The JW Marriott
The Nightly Rate using points was 35,000. I had 105,000 (5K from the spending requirement) from the Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card welcome bonus.
Total Cost for three nights = 105,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points + $0 in taxes and fees
Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points once you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Offer expires 8/31/22. This card is great for earning on your business travel hotel stays.
- 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- 4x points at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
- 2x points on all other eligible purchases
- Earn 1 free night award each card year on your cardmember anniversary.
- Receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
- $125 annual fee. (Rates & Fees)
Terms Apply. Learn More Here.
What it should have cost
For some Basic Fun, I took a look at the nightly rates for the same three days at both hotels.
The Hilton Palmer would cost me $1,264.40 for the same three nights in the same room.
The JW Marriott would cost me $2,004.63 for the same three nights in the same room.
Using points to book these hotels has given me the opportunity to choose between two fantastic options! I have elite status with both Marriott and Hilton so I won’t have to worry about paying for breakfast which is also a nice perk.
The question is, which hotel do I choose?
Has anyone stayed at either hotel before? I’d love to hear about your experience down below in the comments section.
Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings and MileValue.com for our coverage of credit card products and may receive a commission from card issuers. Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
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