Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
I invite you to follow along as I show you how my wife and I navigated a wonderful week away to the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel in southern California. We paid $420 total for Southwest flights, 6 night accommodations, a Nissan Rogue rental car, and 3 rounds of premier golf at Monarch Beach and Aviara.
We met up with our friends from Hollywood, CA who we LOVE! We also met up with my wife’s best friend from Atlanta.
See details and photos below.
How we did it
Last fall, Chase bank and partner Ritz-Carlton decided to offer 3 free nights at any tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property for anyone who applied for (and approved) the Chase/Ritz credit card. The fine print was that you/me/we had to spend $5,000 on that card within the first 90 days of receiving it, and pay the $450 annual fee. Well, see my blog post: Ritz Carlton Free Nights for all the details, but the bottom line is my wife and I each did this and booked 6 consecutive nights at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, a tier 4 property. (P.S. we were refunded the $450 annual fee for a net of $0 out of pocket . E-mail me for details).
We used airline points to fly non-stop on Southwest with 2 free bags each.
We used points to book an intermediate size rental car with National, but with my Executive Elite status, we bypassed the line and got to upgrade to a spacious SUV of our choice.
I used free round certificates to play 3 rounds of golf at a couple of the nicest courses in the country – thank you Citi Prestige
See all the photos, highlighted sections, and notes below for a full recap of our trip to Southern California!
BUT FIRST – See Ali playing the Piano
- Summary: We fly for $0 nonstop from a Monday to Monday. We flew early in the morning in order to use the least amount of points.
- Breakdown: We used 22,204 points from the Southwest Credit card ($69 annual fee) and fly with 2 free bags each (I took my golf clubs).
- Summary: We paid $420 to stay 6 nights in a Coastline View Guestroom at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel.
- Breakdown: We used benefits from both Ben and Ali’s Chase Ritz-Carlton credit cards to save $6,364.
- Specifically, we only paid the resort fee of $30/night and valet parking fee of $40/night.
- Retail cost for this room is roughly $900/night after all taxes and fees.
- Summary: We paid $0. We used 26,496 Citi ThankYou points for a 7 day rental of a 2017 Nissan Rogue SV which actually retails at $475 (I used the retail price for the intermediate size rental).
- Breakdown: We used points that Ben/Ali received from the sign-up bonus for the Citi Prestige credit card to pay for our rental car.
- We used Ben’s Executive Elite status with National car rental to bypass any lines and paperwork and choose the car of our choice (some limitations applied) and drive away!
- Ask me about how easy it is to get elite status with rental car companies spending a few minutes on your computer.
- Summary: I played 3 rounds of golf for FREE at 2 of the best public courses in the country, saving me $625 in greens fees.
- Breakdown: I actually had 5 rounds booked for free, but the weather didn’t cooperate! See my blog post for a better idea of how this actually works – it’s amazing.
- I played: Monarch Beach Golf Links twice and Aviara Golf Club once.
- NOTE: Citi will no longer honor the golf benefit beginning 7/27/17.
- We had $100 in dining certificates during our 1-night stay at the Park Hyatt Aviara (last night of trip). We used this to dine at the four diamond award winning Argyle Steakhouse located just down the hill from the hotel.
- We enjoyed many other meals out and snapped some photos of the wonderful meals, which can be seen below.