Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hollywood, Florida

For this trip, I booked a "mistake rate," which is where a hotel or online agency publishes an incorrect rate. It's usually for a single night or two. Let's say the rate shows $44 instead of $440, where they accidentally left off the zero. Some hotels cancel them immediately, some offer to negotiate a different, higher rate, some never catch it. Anyhow, I found one that had an entire week and jumped on it. I booked a prepaid rate so that it was less likely to get cancelled. I booked the hotel 11 months in advance.

I was a little worried since airfare was involved. It's a risk to book airfare to use with a mistake rate, if the hotel cancels the mistake rate then you need to make sure your airfare is refundable. I booked our airfare using Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points. They can be cancelled up until 10 minutes before the flight takes off. 

Our flight to Florida was pretty hectic. On the first leg of the flight, 20 minutes into the flight Briella threw up, all over her car seat and her clothes. The second leg of the trip, we had just boarded the plane. I handed the youngest a sippy cup full of chocolate milk, turned to buckle Aubrey in, turned back to Briella and she has dumped chocolate milk all over herself. I have no more extra clothes. At this point I just have to laugh. I take her shirt off, take a selfie, then cover her up with a blanket. Luckily her shirt was dry by the time the flight landed. I couldn't wait to get to the hotel to bathe and change her! I had to wash the car seat in the bathtub at the hotel. 
Briella covered in chocolate milk on the plane. I started to unbuckle her, but stopped to take proof hehe

The Hotel: The Diplomat
The Diplomat is in the Curio Collection by Hilton.
Check in went well. I came in a day earlier than my mistake rate reservation due to the fact airline points were hugely less the day before. I had made another gamble with the single day reservation. I decided to splurge on one of the nicest ocean front rooms they had, for that one night, in hopes the hotel would allow me to stay in it all week. Even though my mistake rate reservation was made in the basic room with no view. It worked! Phew! 
Because I have status, I was given $30 cards for each day (2 people x$15) to use at the cafe/restaurant called Fresh. I would go down every morning and get pastries, fruit, milk, snacks, and sandwiches for lunch, with the free cards.  The rooms had a larger mini fridge so I was able to store the milk and sandwiches. The only meal we had to pay for was dinner. 
Up to 2 registered guests can get the $15 gold member breakfast perk

This was a pretty relaxing vacation. We didn't sight see, just had a low key trip. We spent equal time between the pools and the beach. They had really amazing pools. The top pool had an end that was so shallow it was really just a splash pool. It was great for Briella to play without me holding her. The top pool also has an acrylic circle in the middle of it, so when you are in the bottom pool swimming underneath the top pool, you can see everyone above you swimming. 

This was one of the best trips I had "hacked" to date. I literally only paid for dinner and the cab rides to and from the airport. 

To succeed with mistake rates, you must be flexible. Book them ASAP. Do NOT call or contact the hotel and ask questions about the rate, it will get caught and cancelled. 

And it got bonus points because I was able to see my first water spout from the room!
View from the room

The top pool, with shallow splash area at the front end

View of Pools from room

The girls watching the sunset

Briella relaxing poolside

I saw this rainbow from bed

A nice spot to sit and enjoy the view

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