Family Success Story: First ever points trip, visiting Panama City Beach!

Thanks to Jenn McCue from @pointingthewaytomemories for sharing her first ever miles and points redemption! Her family traveled to Panama City, Florida.

Our first ever redemption! 

We started accumulating points in 2019 and then the pandemic hit in 2020. By September of 2020 we were itching to do SOMETHING. We didn’t know where to go but knew we wanted to go south since winter was coming in Northern Indiana! 

We decided to drive to Panama City beach, Florida. Hotels were dirt cheap because, well, a pandemic. Oh and a hurricane happened the week prior. But we were dead set on going and not paying cash! We wanted to use points!

We found the Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach for about 35,000 points per night. We paid for three nights with points, got the 4th night free thanks to a credit card benefit, and added a fifth night by using a free night certificate we get from holding the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card.

Editors note: This hotel sleeps 5 in a standard room! Note that IHG hotels now use variable pricing. That means it changes according to supply and demand. I found nightly prices for this hotel from anywhere to 27,000 to 82,000 points per night throughout the year.

When we got there, we found out we would not have any taxes or resort fees and were given a high floor room. Every room faces the ocean and every room has a full size refrigerator! We headed to the Winn Dixie down the street and filled the fridge!

The hotel was a huge surprise. A huge pool, splash pad, warm water pool, ocean front beach access, dive in movies with popcorn and a lazy river was being constructed (which is now completed)! 

Breakfast wasn’t included for us at this hotel and instead of paying $35 a person for the hotel breakfast, we walked across the street to the Waffle House. We even signed my husband up for another IHG card while we were at Waffle House one day to replenish the points we used! 

It was a fabulous trip (even if the seas were gray from the previous week’s hurricane!) and it yielded us about .003 cents per point if you’re counting. But we weren’t counting. We still talk about that trip as being one of our favorites. 

Credit Cards Jenn Used

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • $99 annual fee
  • Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide (worth 40,000 points)
  • 4th night free when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • $50 in United TravelBank cash each calendar year

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