Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
I’m going to try really hard to finish up this trip report this week since I very much want to share info about my trip taking Little C to Disneyland last week. I have to take my hat off to bloggers who can knock out multi-part trip reviews very quickly after their trips. Somehow, it just doesn’t quite work that way at our house. Ha ha. Heck, I can barely get unpacked from trips in a timely fashion. 😉 Anyway, without further ado, here is the next installment in our trip to take Little C to see snow at The Westin Resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado earlier in the year. In this post I describe something we had never done before as a family, decide to stay on vacation longer than originally planned.
Deciding to Stay an Extra Day While on Vacation – this post
What Happens When Your Whole Family Misses Their Flight
On our last full day at Beaver Creek, the day started out with me enjoying a massage and facial at the spa. My husband had coordinated with the spa to let them know it was my birthday, so they had a whole bottle of champagne waiting for me. Suffice to say, I was pretty relaxed and very much enjoying my vacation by the time my morning at the spa had come to an end. We were scheduled to then pack up and head to airport for an evening departure home. However, while sitting in the spa waiting room and watching the snow magically fall from the clouds through the window, I realized I was not ready to leave today.
We had come on this trip so that our kiddo could play in the snow, and up until this last day, there was very little snow to be found. Now that the snow was coming down like crazy, we had come too far to not stay and enjoy it. My husband initially looked at my like I was crazy when I told him I didn’t want to leave, but he was totally on board with extending one extra night as long as we could continue to stay in the suite that we both were enjoying the heck out of. He had been riding the gondola in the snow with our toddler while I was at the spa, so he knew first-hand how excited she was about what was falling from the sky. So, I set to work to extend the hotel room, rebook the flights, and extend the rental car. I naively thought this would be a quick process – but it took over an hour.
Extending the hotel room:
This part was actually pretty easy. I hopped online and saw that the resort had points availability for that night, so I called the reservations desk at the hotel and asked if we could pay the $100 upgrade fee for the one-bedroom suite if we booked that night on points, so that we could stay in our suite another night. We had done this for our initial reservation without a problem. After first telling me there was no points availability for the night, she then said she could “upgrade” our reservations so we could stay in the suite, if I could book the night on points online. I quickly did that and she got us squared away. A few minutes after that happened our phone rang and the concierge called to see if we were interested in a time share presentation at the hotel. The “reward” for donating 90 minutes of your vacation was 10,000 SPG points. Given that I had just unexpectedly spent 12,000 SPG points to extend the reservation another night, I was game.
The presentation took closer to two hours than 90 minutes (which is a big difference with a toddler who had gotten tired and hungry by that point), and it really was not what I wanted to be doing after about the first hour, but given how highly I value SPG points, I guess it was worth it. By that point in the afternoon, it was really snowing too hard to get out and do much anyway, but I do get very frustrated when those presentations go longer than stated. They got pretty snippy with us when I expressed displeasure after they had run 15 minutes over, and showed no sign of wrapping things up soon. They pretty much hold you hostage for the whole sales pitch if you want your payout of points at the end. In the end, our 10,000 points posted about 7-10 days after our presentation. I think they made some pretty good offers at the end of the presentation, even offers if you didn’t want to buy a timeshare, but I was too irritated in the moment to pay attention to them. If you count the time share points, then extending our reservation by one night really only cost us 2,000 SPG points plus the upgrade fee. That suite was totally worth the price.
Changing the flights:
We were flying on a Continental reservation, and there was a $75 “same day” change fee per person for the flights since we were changing the flight on the day of departure to a flight that was within 24 hours of our originally scheduled flight. That is pretty steep, but since I still had most of the annual $200 credit for incidental fees from my Platinum Amex left, it only cost us about $50 out of pocket to change the flights. However, the flight change was way more complicated and time consuming than I expected. Turns out we were on a United flight going home, so despite having booked the flight through Continental, we had to go through United to get it changed. Since we had already checked into our flight, that somehow complicated things further. They got us changed back to a Continental flight to get home, but it took a lot of back and forth between the two airlines. I’m glad the merger is now complete and I won’t have to go through that mess again any time soon.
Since the flight was pretty full, they could not get any seats together for us. So, in case you are wondering, they will seat a two year old by herself. Strange, I know. They told us to just trade seats with people once we got on board. It just makes me laugh some that technically two-year-olds can be assigned seats by themselves, regardless, I was glad they were able to get our flights changed.
Extending the rental car:
This was a hot mess. The process was super simple as they said just bring it back when you are ready, no big deal. However, we had booked the SUV on Hertz points, and no amount of pleading or reasoning on my part got them to extend a day on points. We had to pay the full cash rate for an extended time. In this case, that was well over $300 for the additional day. Ouch. That is way more than the actual going rate for the vehicle was that day. I called the local Hertz office and the corporate 1-800 number, and both basically said we were SOL. The cost of the rental car for one more day was ridiculous, but I wasn’t going to change our plans of staying an extra day just to get the stinking rental car turned in on time.
Was it worth it?
I think so. It cost us a total of about $500 and 2,000 SPG points out of pocket to extend the extra night (not counting what was reimbursed on the Amex Platinum or earned via the time share). That is much cheaper than it would have been for us to come back because we hadn’t gotten our fill of snow. However, it was a pretty hefty chunk of unplanned expenses. We did lose about three hours that afternoon to re-booking our travel plans and attending the timeshare presentation, but in return we got several more hours to play in the snow, stare out the windows in awe, swim in the resort pool as the snow fell on our heads, eat delicious pizza from a local joint, and enjoy another night by the fire in our suite.
I wouldn’t recommend regularly changing vacation plans on the fly, as it would have been much cheaper if we had planned the extra day from the beginning, but I’m glad we did it this time. This trip was all about taking our kiddo to see snow, and in those last 24 hours, she got a chance to see a lot of it. For what it’s worth, she loved it.