T.I.P Tip Of The Day…

Kindness matters… and so does being persistent.

When we checked into the hotel last night I asked if any “upgrades” were available… When the receptionist said I could upgrade to the “Club Level” for $50 a night… I declined.  And then politely asked if any other upgrades were available… she said “Well… if you want to spend 1,000 points you can upgrade to the Club Level and receive a complimentary breakfast and hors d’oeuvres with beverages in the evening…”  Without hesitation I said…”I’ll take it!”

I knew the upgrade was a total bargain… Because not only would we fill our bellies with yummy food at breakfast… but I’d ask the server if it was okay if we could take a little something extra for later in the day…  And in fact towards the end of our meal when I asked the breakfast server  if it was okay to take a few snacks with us… she was like “Sure… take whatever you want… that’s what it’s here for”.

And so today… for lunch we ate a combination of snacks brought from home and the extra items from the breakfast buffet…

And for dinner?  A delicious spread of fresh fruit and veggies along with finger foods.  Not only was it a refreshing meal after a long day of activities… it was “free”.  I’m happy to report we (the 4 of us) have yet to spend any money out of pocket for food or drinks so far on this trip…  Let’s hope it continues 🙂

USA (Eyewitness Travel Guides)


  • Debi S

    So where are you ?

  • Turtlemomma

    That’s cool. What are the “points” about??

    • mavis

      We use 2 credit cards to buy practically everything and also pay things like the cable bill/ dentist ect. with. My favorite credit card is the Starwood Preferred Guest card (spg.com). You can earn free hotel nights, free air fare and even trade your points in for upgrades… It’s the best credit card I have ever come across 🙂


    Wow Mavis,
    I’ve got to admit some of the things you do to get things for free are downright shocking, but in an intriguing “how the heck did she pull that off” kind of way. I’m not one to pull out every coupon to dwindle my total down to 5 cents, or to ask people for free food or free upgrades or trying to pry anything free or discounted out of anyone- I would feel way too cheap and in fact I always try to add things to my purchase if I am using coupons so I don’t look too cheap, but you are not afraid of what anyone thinks, you are on a mission to feed your family for as low as you possibly can and I’ve got to give you props for having the guts to do that. it works for you and the fact that you can feed your family for free on a trip is unbelievable. I just got back from a road trip and I can tell you I tried bringing the snacks and after the first day everyone was sick of everything I brought and we had to hit a fast food joint every time we saw one. Thanks for keeping us updated on your trip and unbelievable deals.

    • mavis

      The funny thing is… I don’t feel cheap 🙂 I see it as more of a personal challenge. Instead of spending money on groceries… I’d rather spend it on something else… Well… something on sale that is… 🙂

  • MH

    Lucky! I am leaving today to visit my husband and the hotel that he is staying in is being really stingy. His company is paying for it and usually they don’t have a problem giving him points but this time they refused. They don’t have breakfast and he had to ask for a fridge and microwave. (He is there for 3 weeks!) He has never stayed at a hotel chain as bad as this one but at least the room is free for us so I guess that is better than nothing. Have a great time!

  • Marissa

    Mavis any thoughts on the Dave Ramsy thing? He says not to use CC because “studies” have shown you spend 17% more……..using cash is emotional, in turn you spend less of it.
    I have to say though, getting those kind of rewards makes me reconsider. I have no quams about asking for free stuff, and enjoy the challenge like you do, so I am seriously pondering this CC thing. What are the draw backs?

    • Nik Davis

      I would like to hear what Mavis says too. Been listening to Mr. Ramsey. We pay everything on Discover and get the cash back, pay in full monthly.

      • Heather M

        We do the same thing. We charge everything to our credit card then subtract it out of the check book like we had written a check. We only buy what we have money for but then we earn the points towards items or cash back. I love doing it this way!

    • mavis

      Marissa… I know a lot of people who enjoy his program and have reduced their spending immensely with his advise… and if his program works for you and your family I think you should stick with it. I think everyone is different. When it comes to spending money,… I have a lot of self control… and although I try to charge everything to my credit card… I won’t buy something unless I have the money to pay for it. It makes absolutely no sense to pay interest on a credit card just to reap the “rewards”… because in the end… if you have to pay for the rewards via interest… you aren’t saving anything… in fact it might even cost you more in the long run. I hope that was helpful, Mavis

  • Jennifer

    Mavis you ROCK! My husband and I always stay in a hotel that has a complimentary breakfast and take snacks from it for the rest of the way home. We feel we’re paying for the snacks as part of the hotel fee anyway. 🙂

  • Nancy


    I love your website and I follow your tips and tricks!

    I’m not judging you or anything when I say this; If you are traveling, saving is good but maybe spend a little to help out the local economy. As we know, the travel industry have been hit pretty hard. Hotel restaurants and businesses located inside the hotel hope that the guests spends a little bit when they stay there.

    I’m happy that you are able to get all these freebies of course.

    Again, not judging.
    Other travel tips: My mom brings cup of noddles with her on trips and uses the coffee maker for hot water if the room doesn’t have microwave.

    Another thing I’ve observed from working in the hotel industry; If you want something, be super NICE. Never complain or be rude so that you can get your way. You will pay for it in one way or another. Be willing to give and take, Sometimes, a queen size bed is all that is available that night, so no point screaming. =)

    Be nice to shuttle drivers/ waiters/ gift shop employees etc. They know all the hidden deals/ freebies/ shops in the area.

  • Nancy

    one last note… Some hotel restaurants are NOT owned by the hotel.

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