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The author of this blog has explained about his personal experiences in detail.
I recently did a staycation at Taj President, Mumbai, for two nights and paid only ₹4500 out of my pocket. How is that possible? The answer is simple: Credit cards points and their benefits. I leveraged my Amex Platinum Travel and HDFC Diners Black credit card for this. Below are the details of how I planned this short trip and how I got it so cheap.
Like most of us, since March 2020, I did not go on a vacation. I did plan a short trip in April 2021, but just a few days before the trip, my wife and I tested positive and had to cancel the bookings. Further, since we have a young kid, we decided to take a staycation just to see how the kid behaves when his environment and food change. Therefore, we decided to go for a staycation within Mumbai itself.
Well, this was a very simple choice to make. I had 10K Taj vouchers, which I got on completing the milestone spends of 4 lakhs on the Amex Platinum Travel credit card. Thus, the choice of hotels was narrowed down to just three: the Taj Mahal Hotel, Taj Santacruz, or the Taj President.
While we would have loved to stay in the Taj Mahal, Mumbai, no rooms were available for the dates we were looking for. Now, between Taj Santacruz and Taj President, we decided on Taj President because it was in South Mumbai. The hotel allowed us to visit Marine Drive, Gateway, and a few other attractions.
How did I put everything together?
For my travel dates, Taj President was going for 8-9K+ taxes per night on MMT, including breakfast. This was for the “Pay at Hotel” option. Then I decided to call up the Taj President, and I was connected to the central reservation team. The team offered nearly the same prices as that of MMT, but they told me about a then-ongoing offer that included one major meal for the guests, and this was included in the price. I didn’t make the bookings right away.
However, when I called the hotel again, this time, I was connected to the on-site reservations team. This team offered me the same room with breakfast and one meal at a lower price of 7.5k per night, including taxes. Therefore, not pushing my luck any further, I booked the hotel room and told them that I would be paying with Amex vouchers.
To summarise, the room I booked cost me 15k for two nights. However, I had vouchers of only 10k. Thus, I had to figure out ways to reduce my expense of ₹5000.
This is where my other credit cards came into the picture. I started looking for deals on Taj vouchers across websites and credit card combinations.
For me, the cheapest source was the HDFC SmartBuy portal. They were running some offers where vouchers were available at a 10% discount. I quickly lapped up 5k vouchers for 4.5k. This is how I was able to stay in the Taj property for only ₹4500 for two nights.