How I booked a $1,400 beach trip for $95

Ready to finally book your next relaxing escape? With Covid numbers subsiding and more people getting vaccinated, we sure were!

And thankfully, I had taken advantage of the perfect deal in order to make that happen for an extremely low cost—just $95 instead of the $1,400 or so we would have spent otherwise!

Here’s how we did it and how you could score a similar bargain.

The beautiful gulf coast

It’s no secret: I LOVE the beach. I love the mountains too, (and have goals to live there), but going to the beach is a treat. The sunshine, the sand, the ocean waves—it’s simply the best! Since we live in the south, it only takes about a 5 to 6 hour car ride to get to a panhandle beach. And that’s exactly where we decided to go to celebrate our 11-year anniversary! 

We normally love to visit Fort Walton Beach every year in late spring, but a friend had told me about a destination a few miles west called Navarre Beach. We found a beautiful, nearly new Marriott hotel there and booked our stay! 

Gosh, were we in for a treat! I am not a fan of crowded beaches, (especially this year), and this little gem was the perfect place for us. Not only did we book the stay for only $95, but breakfast was included free. 

The hotel itself, Springhill Suites Navarre Beach, is fairly new, built in 2017. It was extremely clean. It definitely exceeded our expectations! Our room was modern with light blue and sand-colored accents and light grey laminate panel flooring. It made me feel like I was staying in an Airbnb instead of a hotel! Not only that, this area was so quiet and serene. We didn’t check thoroughly, but we didn’t notice any other hotels in the area. 

The beach

The beach was truly awesome. The gorgeous crystal blue-green water, the sugar white sand… To me, you can’t get any better than a gulf beach for the price! And, I say this AFTER I had gone on a cruise with a friend to the Bahamas in 2019. That water was beautiful there, but this water equally as beautiful — right here in the USA within driving distance!

How we only paid $95

Because of a credit card offer I had applied for last fall, we had five (yes, 5!) bonus nights available to us after we took advantage of the offer. This would have cost us a total of $1,421.40 if we had paid for our stay in cash instead of points! 

The offer we received meant we could stay in any Marriott hotel, up to 50,000 points, for 5 total nights. Marriott has a points cheat sheet here that shows you how many points each hotel category costs per night, subject to change.

During our stay, we enjoyed amenities such as a lazy river attached to the pool, and the restaurant next door to the hotel made dining super convenient. 

After our awesome stay, this receipt was certainly a lovely sight to behold: Balance, ZERO! And, we still have one more free night to use! 

Marriott’s current offer

Currently, Marriott isn’t offering the 5-night offer. But, you can still get 3 free nights at a Marriott hotel of your choosing (up to 35,000 points per night) after you spend $1,000 on purchases within your first 3 months of being a cardholder.  If you travel a lot, you’ll earn 6 points for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases made at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2 points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.

A word of caution here: We are obviously not proponents of holding any debt! (You can read our story here.) But, if you use your credit cards as a payment system for essentials you’d be buying anyway, it’s a win-win: A method of payment you can use with lower risk of theft and fraud, (instead of a debit card), and the ability to earn points toward things like an awesome vacation! Note that there is the annual fee of $95, but you do receive a “free” bonus night every year, up to 35,000 points.

If you’re interested in the Marriott card to earn 3 free nights, apply here

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