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Friday travel tip: Consider hotels for long term parking. I will save over 80% on parking!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


a stock airport hotel

This summer I will be making a trip over to Sweden like I always do. I am sure many of you will take 1 week or longer trips as well. That brings up the issue of how to get to the airport or where to park.

The first simple choice for many is just to UBER to the airport and then you don’t have to worry about having to pay a ton for parking. But if you have a ton of luggage you may have to pay for a larger UBER SUV and that can cost as much as parking your own car for some time.

There is always the “hit your friend up for a ride” option but that can be a pain in the rear as well and you will probably end up having to buy your friends dinner or a round of golf (and maybe lunch) and end up paying again as much as parking.

So what are some good choices to consider? Here is a simple one: HOTELS!

Now I am not saying to “stay” at the hotels or do a mattress run before your flight (unless you need to for status points) but to just park at the hotel. Also, clearly, I am NOT saying to do a “dine and dash” that is to just park for free but please call and ask the hotel if they have a parking “ONLY” fee or offer. I think you will be shocked how many offer this service and larger discounts for longer stays.

Let’s take my own home town airport as an example. Long term airport parking is either $8/day or a max. rate of $40/week. However, there is an airport hotel right at the entrance to the SBN airport. It is so close you can walk to the airport from the hotel. They only charge $3/day if over 7 days of parking. That my friends is a savings of almost 50% – just amazing.

But I stated at the opening of the post that I will be saving about 80% off the long term airport parking rate. Just how will I do that? I will pay with my Barclays Arrival+ card, since parking at the hotel and it will show up as a hotel charge that means I will have up to 120 days to “pay myself back” with points. I can buy Visa Debit Gift Cards (VDGCs) and dump them to my Bluebird account and reduce my out of pocket expense to park by 80% off of what it would have cost to park at the airport.

This is by no means a perfect solution but most times it is a big money saver. Some hotels DO require a one night stay to park but then do not charge anything for the parking and have a free shuttle to the airport. Just please, if you are going to take a one week or longer trip, call around to the hotels near where you are flying from and see if they have any similar deals and compare how much you can save. – René

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

13 Comments

  1. We used a similar service found online for the ATL airport. You have your choice of several hotels here. We got a $48 rate to park for 17 days at the Crown Plaza. You can’t beat it! . They shuttle you to and from the airport.

  2. Tom Levitan Reply

    Good tip on hotel parking. For those of us in big cities — another approach is to book a night + parking. I started doing this when I lived in Los Angeles. My dirve to LAX was at least an hour and if flying a morning or noon flight across the Pacific or across the US and then on to Europe I’d book a room and parking package at an LAX hotel.
    Even now, if you are flying out of DCA you and your departure is on a weekend you can often get a room for the night before and a week or two of parking for $125. Same at IAD — often even cheaper. And you don’t have to get up really early for a morning flight.

  3. At DTW you cannot do that – the airport authority stopped the hotels from having their own parking programs as a concession for allowing their buses on airport property. Now they only have “sleep & park” programs, and the parking is at one of the airport licensed “out lot” operators.

  4. Rene, help me with how paying yourself back with points and using Bluebird further reduces parking costs? I’m not sure how that works. Thanks. I make several trips of 10+ days each year so saving money on parking is nice. The stay and park option has been good for status/points and convenience of avoiding the morning rush hour.

  5. Probably along the lines of what @Barbara C mentioned, I use a couple websites to find discount parking at hotels and parking lots near airports — I prepay about 1/3 of the discounted price and the balance when pull out of the lot upon my trip’s completion. One site is CheapAirportParking.org. Another is a TopCashBack participant(!) called AirportParkingReservations.com. (Though I much prefer CheapAirportParking) Cancellations are free, too.

    You can also find some good deals on Groupon.

    My wife & I are paying $40 for valet parking at a Hilton near LAX for a four-day trip in July — could’ve gone cheaper at other places but have learned you get what you pay for.

  6. As noted, IAD hotels have great stay and park rates (or even just the saty rate since no one really checks [within reason]) and it’s two birds with one stone. One can get the hotel night towards status and the points associated with the stay as well as having a place to park. Even better is when one can find free parking and just take the hotel shuttle. Much more limited than in the past, but still available if one looks hard enough. At BWI where the parking lot of a certain hotel is so big that one can park, not stay and simply take the shuttle (works for IAD but much riskier). If parking for the weekend ONLY, there are free lots near the DCA hotels on Route 1 in Crystal City. Street parking too but again, needs more work than simply driving up and finding a spot.

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  8. Corbett Kroehler Reply

    None of your readers despises airport parking costs more than I, none! I am most grateful for this idea. I am fortunate to live along a public bus route to the airport, which serves me most of the time. Nevertheless, I will keep your insights in mind for the future.

  9. @john, The Bluebird activity doesn’t reduce parking costs, but rather “out of pocket” costs for parking. I’m not a big fan of this method of accounting, because you’re then still paying for parking with an asset that you could have otherwise used to pay for other travel. It’s not a cost savings in that way, but rather a shifting of how you choose to make the payment.

    But the larger point of checking airport hotels for parking options is a valid one. My favorite airport hotel used to have a great parking option for guests or non-guests until the airport made them put a stop to it.

  10. Any recent updates out there about best sources for VDGCs and which are cheapest/work best? Daily limit for funding BB, etc. Most BA posts on this seem so old now and I need to manufacture some spending ASAP…

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