Estimated read time: 4 minutes and 47 seconds
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Hey there. Welcome back to Daily Drop, your source for all things travel, points, and miles… and the occasional cat photo…
I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy today’s newsletter, so let’s dive in:
🛳️ How to get a free cruise
🏨 Marriott re-launches their 40k promo
🖼️ Relatable travel meme
🛳️ How to get a free cruise
Let me start by saying that this travel hack is geared toward people who participated in the Bilt Rent Day promo last month (Hyatt elite status fast-track). There are other ways to do what I’m about to tell you, but this is the easiest example to work with.
One other caveat: this is not guaranteed to work, but there are plenty of examples (beyond just myself) of people who have had success with this process.
So without further ado, here is how you can get a free cruise with Holland America.
Step 1: Earn Hyatt elite status (Explorist or Globalist)
As I mentioned, the Bilt promo from last month (which you can read more about here) allowed us to earn Explorist status by staying just 10 nights at Hyatt Hotels or Globalist status for staying 20 nights.
Sadly, the promo only lasted one day, but I know MANY of you were able to get in on the action.
Either of those two statuses will do in this scenario. Sadly, the trial status you get for signing up for the promo WON’T work, so you need to stay at least 10 nights to earn normal Explorist status.
If you already have Hyatt status, great. You’re one step ahead.
Step 2: Status match to MGM Gold status
One of the many perks of having Hyatt elite status is their partnership with MGM Resorts and Casinos.
Specifically, you can get automatic Gold elite status with MGM just by having either Explorist or Globalist status with Hyatt.
Once you have one of these Hyatt statuses, simply:
Log in to your account
Click “Opt In”
Log in with your MGM credentials (you may need to create an account with MGM if you don’t already have one)
And with that, you now have MGM Gold status. In addition to this awesome hack I’m telling you about, this will also get you some fun perks if you ever find yourself at an MGM casino or hotel.
Step 3: Match your MGM status to Holland America Cruises
Here’s the big boy step.
Before I tell you how to do this, let me tell you why this works at all.
Cruise ships are mostly just floating casinos. They make a lot of their money off of people gambling. So as you may imagine, they want gamblers to sail on their ships.
Generally, you only get MGM Gold status if you either spend a lot of money at MGM casinos, spend a lot of nights at MGM resorts, or both.
So when Holland America sees that you have this status, they think you are their perfect clientele, which is why this is possible:
If you go to this dedicated status match page, you’ll see a page that looks like this, where Holland America Cruises will offer you deals (including free cruises) if you show them proof of having status with a casino program.
Simply fill out the form with your personal information, and attach proof of your MGM Gold status.
The form asks for photos of the front and back of your membership card, but a screenshot of your membership card from the MGM app or website will also do.
Here is the screenshot that I used (with my personal info blurred out):
You can see your MGM Rewards card in your account on the MGM website
Just make sure the image you submit includes your status, name, and ideally an indication that the screenshot is taken from the MGM website (include the URL at the top of the screenshot).
After doing this, you’ll see a screen that looks like this, indicating you’ve successfully submitted your request.
Technically, the response could take up to 48 hours, but I’ve heard of some people getting a response within minutes.
Personally, my response came in about six hours and looked like this:
Needless to say, I was very pleased.
Now when they say “free cruise,” they really mean “you still need to pay taxes and port fees.”
After looking at a few examples on the website, the taxes and fees vary widely depending on the cruise. However, there are plenty of cruise options with fairly minimal taxes.
This 10-day Caribbean cruise only costs about $190 per person in taxes and fees:
Considering you get $100 of credit to use on the ship, that’s close enough to free in my mind!
I haven’t booked my cruise yet, but it looks like there are plenty of appealing options.
One other quick point: There is a whole cornucopia of ways you can accomplish this travel hack. All you really need is some form of casino elite status.
The Bilt/Hyatt promo is definitely the lowest-hanging fruit for most people who participated, but it’s not the only way.
Anyway, I hope some of you are able to get something good out of this series of status matches, and I look forward to hearing how you fare with it.
🏨 Marriott re-launches their 40k promo
A couple of weeks ago, Marriott launched, dare I say, their best promotion ever, which offered a whopping 40,000 bonus points on stays at Marriott Homes & Villas.
If you missed it, you can read more about it here.
The sad part was that the promo only lasted a few days… But the good news is that they’ve just brought it back, and you can now earn the same bonus if you book your stay by May 19th.
But there’s a new caveat…
You must spend a minimum of $1,500 on your stay for it to be eligible, which puts a huge thorn in the examples I used in the first iteration of the promo (which didn’t have a minimum spending requirement).
So if you were already going to spend that much on a stay, I’d consider taking advantage of this - 40,000 points is still a lot.
But unlike before, I wouldn’t go too far out of your way to try and swing this.
🍒 Sponsored by Cherry
Summer travel is upon us, kids! Getting to that bucket list place is awesome, but scoring a deal on a great accommodation is just the cherry on top.
And that’s why I’m super excited to talk about a brand new browser extension that has burst onto the travel scene.
Cherry likes to candidly introduce themselves as free, easy money (we all like that 😏). Simply put, you can book directly from a listing of hotels via Cherry’s browser extension and save some cash doing it.
The sweetest part about it is it’s completely free! 🎉
All it takes is one click to install their free browser extension, and their app will instantly get to work sourcing out the best deals for booking directly with the hotel.
Cherry does this while you’re searching for accommodations on any booking site. If something better pops up… so will Cherry.
Check out what this user had to say:
“I’m traveling to Hawaii later in the year, and although I had already booked my accommodation with a travel agent, I thought I would compared with Cherry. I couldn’t believe how much cheaper they were. On a 10-night stay, I saved almost $3,000! Needless to say, I cancelled with the travel agent and rebooked with Cherry. I’ll certainly be using Cherry again.”
So, in short, all you have to do is:
Download the Cherry browser extension to Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, or Firefox
Browse and search for accommodations as you normally would
Wait for Cherry to alert you on a good deal so you can book directly with the hotel
I’m telling you, cheap flights are the best OG travel hack ever.
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Phew… that was an intense newsletter, huh? I know that this travel hack is a bit more involved than most, but I think we can agree that the payoff is well worth the effort…
I’m not really a cruise guy - but I am DEFINITELY a < $100 cruise guy.
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Thanks for tuning in and see you tomorrow morning!