Saving money on a ski trip to Whistler

I've always wanted to take a ski trip to Whistler, BC.

Since moving to the Pacific Northwest six years ago, I’ve always wanted to take a ski trip to Whistler, BC. The former home of the 2010 Winter Olympics mountain events is a popular ski destination.

Unfortunately, that means it also gets really expensive in the winter months. But, thanks to points, we’re going to save a lot of money.

As I’ve written about before, I have the Epic Pass this year, so I also wanted to take advantage of the many Epic Pass resorts. Since we live just three hours south in Seattle, we don’t have to worry about flights.

Here’s the plan for our trip:

  • Drive to Vancouver Friday night
  • Spend Saturday morning in Vancouver before driving up to Whistler
  • Spend Saturday, Sunday and Monday night in Whistler
  • Drive back to Seattle on Tuesday morning

Friday in Vancouver, BC

The first way we will save money on our ski trip to Whistler is by taking advantage of a Hyatt free night certificate to use in Vancouver.

I love the World of Hyatt credit card is because of the free annual night at a category 1-4 hotel. Even with the new Hyatt award category for peak and off-peak nights, the free night will still work as the standard rate.

We will be staying at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Vancouver. Cash rates are around $262 CAD, so we’re getting a pretty good value.

Weekend in Whistler, BC

Now to the real event: Whistler, BC.

We found out just how expensive a Whistler ski trip was when we started looking for hotels. I knew it was going to be a lot, but I was floored. It was tough to find a room close to the slopes for less than $250 a night before taxes and fees.

There are four options for points in Whistler:

I don’t have any Marriott points, but I have a ton of Hilton Honors points thanks to a sign-up bonus from the Hilton Surpass Card. I was actually thinking that booking a night at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa could work. However, the 240,000-point requirement for our three-night stay was more than my account balance.

I actually considered paying cash, but I couldn’t stomach nearly $1,000 in lodging. Thanks to my healthy balance of Chase Ultimate Rewards, I checked out the Chase Travel Portal where I could 1.5 cents of value per point.

There were a ton of options – both condo rentals and hotels. I read online that condo rentals can be hit or miss because the individual units vary. With that said, I was swayed toward hotels.

We ended up booking three nights at the Mountain Side Hotel Whistler by Executive for our ski trip to Whistler. It’s not ski-in, ski-out. But, it’s literally right around the corner from the three ski lifts and in the heart of Whistler Village. We spent 58,328 Chase Ultimate Rewards which saved us $874.93.

We are staying at the Mountain Side Hotel Whistler by Executive on our ski trip to Whistler.

The room breakdown came out to $253.11 each night along with taxes and fees.

The room breakdown on our ski trip to Whistler came out to $253.11 each night along with taxes and fees.

While many people will argue that only getting 1.5 cents isn’t enough value. For me, it was the perfect redemption. Not having to spend nearly $1,000 is well worth the points. After all, what’s the point in having points if they just sit in my account?

What made this ski trip to Whistler work?

My first plan of using Hilton Honors points didn’t work, but that shows the value of transferable points. There’s no problem with collecting a certain hotel or airline currency. However, it’s important to also have transferable points that you can use in different ways.

Having transferable points like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards allows airline and hotel transfer partners, but also purchasing travel through portals as I did here.

If one option is too many points (i.e. Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa), transferable points allow you to still save money by taking advantage of another redemption. If I had only Hilton Honors points, I would’ve had to spend upwards of $250 a night for a place to stay.

I rely on the Chase Trifecta to earn the majority of my Chase Ultimate Rewards. By maximizing bonus categories, it makes it much easier to accumulate more points without spending thousands and thousands of dollars.

Final Thoughts: Ski trip to Whistler

I love writing about how I use my pints and miles because it’s a perfect example of why I spend time and effort in collecting them. Check out our beginner’s guide to start to understand the basics of points and miles.

In this case, I took advantage of a free hotel night from my Hyatt credit card and Chase Ultimate Rewards to save more than $1,000 on my ski trip to Whistler.

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