What IS a Mattress Run and When Should You Do One?

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When I was telling people about my Alaska trip adventures, and more recently my plans for a mattress run this weekend at local Hyatts, it raised a few eyebrows among my friends. They know me better than to assume anything inappropriate, but it did leave them confused.

What IS a mattress run?

A mattress run is staying at a hotel for the primary purpose of accruing a stay towards status and/or a promotional offer. Basically a hotel stay that you wouldn’t have done for other reasons.

When should you consider typically consider doing one?

For elite status — if your normal hotel activity is going to put you within a few stays of hitting the next level of elite status, then depending on how much you value those extra benefits, a few cheap nights might be worth it.

For example, if you have 9 stays for the year at a Starwood property, it might be worth finding a $50-$60 night or plunking down 2,000-3,000 points to get a 10th stay which qualifies you for Gold Status, and thus free internet for the next year.  Or perhaps you’ll be at 17 Hilton stays, 3 shy from their gold status which gets you free breakfast, internet, and late checkout. Although, if you have to make more than one Hilton stay to get Gold, it would probably be cheaper to just get the Citi Hilton HHonors credit card which gets you automatic gold status for a $95 annual fee, cheaper than two extra nights at a hotel.

To qualify for a promotion — occasionally hotels will offer some amazing quarterly promotions, like Club Carlson’s stay one night get a free night or Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights.

The Club Carlson promotion offered 50,000 points for one stay, valid for each of their brands. That was enough points for anywhere in the world. Jeanne and I wound up booking $89 stays at the Radisson in Crystal City and the Country Inn & Suites out in Dulles to earn 100,000 points. I used my points to cover my hotel room for her wedding weekend, which was going for $150+ a night, so I spent $180 for $300 in room nights, plus points left over.

Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights (which no longer exists, but I live in hope) was an even better deal. Stay two nights at any eligible property, get a free night anywhere in the world at a participating property. I did multiple stays at the Hyatt Dulles for $69 a night and used my free nights for a room at the Park Hyatt Washington DC on New Year’s eve. A $400+ room night which cost me only $138.

One important tip — a mattress run is not always the best use of time and points. You shouldn’t just do one when you find a cheap rate with the assumption that more nights are better. 🙂 Sketch out what travel you have planned in the future when deciding whether to do one.

Incidentally,  the highlight of my mattress run weekend was when Jeanne was telling Mr HeelsFirst that I had given her a ride home from (Reagan National) airport…by way of Dulles. His immediate response was “Oh, were you guys checking into a hotel out there?”

Disclaimer: I’m not as good as writing funny disclosures as Jeanne. I also regret to inform you that we will not receive any referral credit for clicking any of the links above, but if you click on any of the ads on our site we will.


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Heels First’s Travel Advice–Sophisticated Travel, Uncomplicated Advice. The travels and tribulations of two frequent flyers jumping into the world of travel, sharing their travel advice. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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