New York on a budget: Methods I used on a $252 2-night journey

I cross by way of New York Metropolis comparatively steadily, because it’s one among American Airways’ hubs and residential to TPG’s important workplace. However it may be costly to go to.

Through the years, my husband and I’ve used numerous strategies to lower prices when visiting costly locations like New York Metropolis. So, reserving flights for 2 from Atlanta to New York for a internet price of $48 and snagging two nights at a Fairfield Inn & Suites close to Instances Sq. for a internet price of $174 did not appear significantly noteworthy.

However then I remembered how excited TPG’s Scott Mayerowitz was to get a Marriott elite night time in New York Metropolis for a internet price of $97. And several other different TPG staffers had been shocked by how little I spent on my two-night journey. So, this is a have a look at my latest journey, plus some suggestions you should use to go to sometimes costly cities for much less.

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My journey to New York

Union Sq. in New York Metropolis. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

First issues first: My husband and I journey full time as digital nomads. So, if you happen to’re questioning why I discussed only one home flight above, it is as a result of our latest journey to New York Metropolis wasn’t a easy spherical journey. As an alternative, we had a couple of days within the U.S. between two worldwide journeys.

We landed in Atlanta on the afternoon of Feb. 1 and had been set to depart New York on the night of Feb. 3. We may have hung out in both metropolis between these journeys, however I made a decision it could be a superb time to go to New York.

In September 2022, we booked an $88.98 Southwest flight from Atlanta to New York for the night of Feb. 1. The value dropped a number of occasions, lastly hitting a low of $44.98. Since I earned a promotional Southwest Companion Cross final fall after simply two flights, my husband may be a part of me on my flight for simply $5.60 in taxes and costs.


I initially booked a two-night keep for $270.93. However in November 2022, I modified my keep to the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan/Instances Sq. after discovering I may guide it for $252.58 throughout one among my periodic checks for decrease lodge costs.

I clicked by way of the AAdvantage purchasing portal earlier than reserving to earn 2 miles per greenback. And I discovered a Chase Supply for 10% again at Marriott resorts on my Ink Enterprise Most well-liked Credit score Card shortly earlier than my keep. This provide let me save $25.26, bringing the price of my two-night keep to $227.32.

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View from the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan/Instances Sq. in New York Metropolis. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

As soon as at LaGuardia Airport, we took the free Q70 bus and a $2.75 subway to the lodge. Whereas within the metropolis, we bought round by strolling and utilizing the subway (on the identical $2.75 per journey). Then, when it was time to depart, we took the subway and AirTrain to John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport for $10.75 every.

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This is a abstract of our flight, lodge and transit prices and the rewards we earned:

  • Two-night lodge keep: $227.32 price however we earned 505 Chase Final Rewards factors (utilizing my Chase Sapphire Most well-liked Card), 4,245 Marriott factors (as a Titanium Elite member) and 428 American Airways miles (from the AAdvantage purchasing portal) for a internet price of $174 based mostly on TPG’s valuations.
  • One-way flight for 2 from Atlanta to New York: $50.58 price ($5 on the Ink Enterprise Most well-liked Credit score Card plus $45.58 of Southwest journey funds) however we earned 15 Final Rewards factors and 168 Southwest factors for a internet price of $48.
  • Transit for 2: $32.50 price for every of us to take three journeys and one AirTrain trip, however we earned 97 Final Rewards factors by reloading our MetroCards with the Ink Enterprise Most well-liked for a internet price of $30.

In whole, we paid $310.40 for our flights, lodge and transit. However we earned 4,245 Marriott factors, 617 Final Rewards factors, 428 American Airways miles and 168 Southwest factors on these purchases, lowering our internet price to $252.

In fact, we additionally wanted to pay for meals. However we lowered our meal prices by staying at a lodge that gives breakfast for all visitors.

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Cash-saving suggestions

Within the earlier part, I discussed some money-saving methods I used throughout my latest journey to New York Metropolis. However this is a better have a look at these methods and different suggestions you would possibly need to leverage on an upcoming journey.

E book early and verify typically

Among the finest methods to save cash on flights and resorts is to make absolutely refundable reservations as quickly as you resolve you need to go on a visit.

You possibly can cancel these reservations if you happen to resolve to not go on the journey or discover decrease charges. I like to recommend checking all of your lodge, flight and automotive rental reservations periodically for worth drops. Should you discover a worth drop, you may rebook your automotive rental, lodge keep or flight to learn from the decrease price.

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Stack your earnings

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan/Instances Sq. in New York Metropolis. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Should you guide a paid night time, flight or exercise, you may earn rewards in a number of methods. For instance, I earned rewards 3 ways on my Marriott keep:

And if I might wished to guide actions in New York, I’d have booked by way of Viator. In any case, I can stack SimplyMiles, AAdvantage purchasing portal, Citi Service provider Affords and bank card earnings when reserving actions by way of Viator.

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Make the most of loyalty packages with award charts or different perks

When paid lodge charges are excessive, you may typically come out forward by using packages akin to World of Hyatt, Wyndham Rewards and Alternative Privileges. All three packages have revealed award charts or charges, so you will not see the award charges improve when costs are excessive.

Primarily based on the World of Hyatt award chart, you may guide the Class 4 Hyatt Place Lengthy Island Metropolis / New York Metropolis for between 12,000 and 18,000 factors per night time. Or, if you happen to do not thoughts taking a New Jersey transit bus into town, the Class 2 Hyatt Place Secaucus/Meadowlands could be price contemplating for six,500 to 9,500 factors per night time. Keep in mind that you would be able to switch Chase Final Rewards and Bilt Rewards factors to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.


Alternative Privileges has properties in Manhattan that at the moment worth as little as 16,000 factors per night time. Even if you wish to keep on the Cambria Lodge New York – Chelsea, you may redeem not more than 30,000 factors per night time.


Moreover, perks just like the Southwest Companion Cross and a fourth or fifth night time free when redeeming factors with Hilton Honors, IHG One Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy will help you save factors or cash.

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Stroll or use public transportation

An Uber from New York Metropolis airports to some elements of town can price over $100, particularly throughout peak occasions. Though I often verify Uber charges, I typically discover myself taking public transport from the airport.

Not one of the airports are on subway traces, although. So you may have to take care of taking a bus to the subway if you happen to land at LaGuardia Airport. And you will have to take the AirTrain from John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport and Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport earlier than switching to a prepare or subway. Even so, the associated fee financial savings of public transit could make the inconvenience worthwhile.

I typically forgo the subway and stroll inside Manhattan if my vacation spot is inside a 40-minute stroll or so and the climate is nice. With the subway costing simply $2.75 per journey, utilizing additionally it is a budget-friendly choice.

That stated, you would possibly discover modestly priced taxis and ride-hailing companies — particularly if you happen to’re touring outdoors the U.S. For instance, my husband and I lately paid about $5 for a number of 30-minute Seize rides in Malaysia. So, do not routinely assume {that a} taxi or ride-hailing service will exceed your funds.

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Leverage restaurant loyalty packages

It may be enjoyable to splurge on foods and drinks whereas touring. For instance, I’m going to Ichiran nearly each time I am in New York Metropolis as a result of I fell in love with the model’s ramen whereas in Japan in 2017.

Fortunately, Ichiran has a loyalty program for its U.S. places. And my husband and I’ve discovered to maximise this system to every get a free half kaedama (noodle refill) each time we go to by paying for our meals individually and sustaining our personal loyalty accounts.

I do not advocate consuming at chain eating places for many meals whereas touring. Should you’re on the lookout for one thing fast, you would possibly be capable of use one among your favourite restaurant loyalty packages to avoid wasting cash. You may get higher worth from packages with fastened rewards (akin to 60 factors for a free medium two-topping pizza) if you happen to redeem in a metropolis with greater costs than at house.

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Eat like an area

You can even lower your expenses by consuming because the residents of a vacation spot do. For instance, in Majuro, Marshall Islands, we tried native eating places for many meals and loved contemporary tuna for a couple of fourth of what we paid for one meal at our lodge.

And in New York Metropolis, it can save you cash by consuming at bodegas, ordering easy meals from a supply app — particularly when you’ve got meals supply credit — or grabbing a fast slice of pizza or kebab from a stand.

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Maximize the perks you will have

Should you’re staying at a lodge that provides complimentary breakfast for all visitors, it can save you some cash by getting a espresso and a few meals earlier than leaving the lodge for the day.

Breakfast on the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan/Instances Sq. in New York Metropolis. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

When you have elite standing, it’s possible you’ll get some additional perks. For instance, we solely thought of Hyatt and Marriott properties for this keep since my elite standing with each packages supplies assured 4 p.m. late checkout (which was very helpful earlier than our night flight).

Likewise, it’s possible you’ll get advantages by way of your bank cards. For instance, you possibly can go to the Capital One Cafe at 59th Road and Lexington Avenue in New York Metropolis to take pleasure in free Wi-Fi, energy retailers and 50% off handcrafted drinks while you pay with a Capital One card. And eligible American Specific cardholders may go to the Centurion Lounge earlier than departing from LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B or John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport’s Terminal 4.

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Go to throughout less-expensive seasons

Lastly, lodge charges in lots of common locations differ drastically by season.

For instance, the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan/Instances Sq. that I booked for $126 per night time jumps as excessive as $677 per night time within the fall. And the Hilton Niseko Village that I loved throughout a Japan ski journey this winter affords charges between $146 and $829 all through ski season.

So, when you’ve got flexibility when visiting a vacation spot, it is price contemplating whether or not you may nonetheless see and do what you need to do throughout a less-expensive season.

Associated: Tips on how to journey to New York Metropolis on factors and miles

Backside line

No matter the place you need to go, there are methods to lower journey prices. Whether or not you redeem factors and miles or stack your earnings and reductions on paid journey, it is often attainable to get a superb deal if you happen to’re versatile and chronic.

Not each journey to New York Metropolis is as fairly priced as my journey this February. However, if you happen to can select when to go to and the place to remain, you may often discover modestly priced resorts and flights.

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