Anatomy of a Free Audition
Usually I try to stay with friends or family—free is great, and make sure to thank your host with a gift!—but for this particular audition I didn’t know anyone in the area. Because of this I needed to book a hotel. I contacted a friend of mine who was also taking the audition and we decided to split a room. I enjoy sharing rooms because I feel it helps lighten the mood of the already tense audition and it’s nice to hang out with friends. From the four transferable hotel programs through Chase, I find that I get the most value out of Hyatt. Searching for hotels on the Hyatt website, I found that there were 3 in Indianapolis:
Two of those are Category 2 properties (requiring 8,000 points a night) and one is a Category 1 (only requiring 5,000 points a night). One of the reasons I love Hyatt is that their award chart is very reasonable and there are a plethora of them (458 properties) spread throughout the country.
I plugged the three locations into Google Maps and found that the Hyatt Regency was a 6 minute walk to the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Downtown Indianapolis. However, I needed 3 nights and wanted to save the 9,000 point difference (I wasn’t planning on being in the hotel very much), I went with the cheaper option and booked the Hyatt Place Indianapolis Airport. It was conveniently located about halfway between the airport and the hall AND included free breakfast for two (all Hyatt Place/Hyatt House properties have free hot breakfast). It also had a free shuttle to/from the airport, so I wouldn’t have to worry about transportation for the bookends of the trip.
I transferred 15,000 Chase points to my Hyatt account and booked the 3 nights. If I booked the regular Advance Purchase rate (the cheapest possible) with 2 Double Beds it would have been $508.95 with taxes, but because I used points, it was FREE (a value of 3.4 cents per Chase point – much more valuable than cashing them out for 1 cent per point). My friend’s flight ended up being cancelled due to a snowstorm in Chicago, so I wasn’t in the hole for a bunch of money. So we’ve got flights and housing taken care. Next up in part three: transportation to/from the audition.
Here are two charts I made of every full time American orchestra (the qualifier for full time being 100+ services in a season) with the least expensive Hyatt I would consider staying at for an audition if I wanted to save some points and then the cheapest downtown properties:
Least Expensive Audition Options:
Closest Audition Options:
SUPER BONUS SECTION
And here is a super bonus chart: all of the Hyatts for Canadian auditions.
Unfortunately there are only 5 Hyatt properties in the entire country (these 4 and the Park Hyatt Toronto)! We’ll discuss more hotel options (like my super effective Priceline bidding strategy) in future posts.