Arizona in the summer? Crazy or smart travel hacker and frugal traveler?
With temperatures in the three digits, a summer vacation in Arizona doesn’t sound too appealing. Unless you love the heat.
Which I do not.
Yes, it’s a dry heat vs a wet heat. And that does make a big difference.
But hot is hot.
No, I’m not one of the delicate flowers. I like some heat but not a lot of heat.
Because there’s only so much you can do when you get too hot. Even if you sit around naked, when the temperature is in the 100s, even the pool water feels like a bath.
Not my idea of a dream vacation. Like Goldilocks, I prefer the middle ground. That’s why Jeff was completely tripping when I said I wanted to go to Arizona in the summer. But my trip to Arizona this summer was worth it and yours will be too!
- Arizona in the Summer
- How to Get to Arizona
- What to Do
- Where to Stay
- How to Get the Miles and Points
Arizona in the Summer
I spent eight days in Arizona in the heat of summer and would do it again.
Visiting Arizona in the summer may sound crazy but if you love a good travel deal, it’s a bargain hunter’s dream.
Hotel rates are among their lowest. You can stay at expensive five-star resorts like the Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort for less than the cost of a dinner out.
If you need hotel stays to keep elite status (or qualify for elite status or are looking for an inexpensive vacation, head to Arizona.
July and August are among the cheapest months. There’s still plenty of time to visit.
Plus if you’re lucky you can enjoy the lightning storms during a monsoon.
- Introduction: Arizona in the Summer
- American Airlines San Diego to Phoenix
- Silvercar Phoenix
- Diners and Dives
- Red Rock State Park
- Hyatt Residence Club Sedona Pinon Pointe: One Bedroom Suite
- Happy Hour Deals
- Chapel of the Holy Cross
- Montezuma Well National Monument
- Montezuma Castle National Monument
- Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa: Fountain Court Suite
- Andaz Scottsdale: Saarinen Bungalow
- Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: Grand Skyline Room
- Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa: The Retreat
- Biosphere 2
- Andaz Scottsdale: Saarinen Bungalow
How to Get to Arizona
I used 7,500 American Airlines miles to fly to Phoenix. Depending on where you’re flying from you might be able to use other airlines. It would have cost about twice as many points if I flew on Southwest.
The plan was to drive so we wouldn’t have to pay for a rental car but Jeff had a work meeting so he couldn’t come with me.
But it would have cost $82 to book an award ticket less than 21 days out because he doesn’t have elite status with American.
Because it didn’t make sense to drive two cars (twice the cost of fuel). So I flew and rented with Silvercar and Jeff drove out a few days later.
Here’s how to save money with every Silvercar discount code.
Pro-tip: Get $25 when you use my Silvercar referral code: DSCHROEDER
Phoenix is a six-hour drive from San Diego (without traffic). On road trips, I like to stop at every attraction and/or site but Jeff had to get back to work so we drove straight home, only stopping for gas and food.
What to Do
There’s so much to do in Arizona in the summer that you’ll want to extend your vacation.
Because of the heat, you should enjoy the outdoor activities like hiking in the early morning.
Pro-tip: Save the air-conditioned activities for mid-day and afternoon.
I stayed in Sedona first because I had a Hyatt free night certificate that was expiring soon.
Along the way, I stopped at a diner for breakfast, some scenic turnouts, Arcosanti, and Red Rock State Park.
Pro-tip: Arcosanti is worth a visit. Be sure to bring water and a hat if you visit in the summer.
From Sedona, on the way to Phoenix and Scottsdale, I visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Montezuma Well National Monument, and the Montezuma Castle National Monument.
Pro-tip: If you have time, stop by the ghost town of Jerome. Not into ghosts? They also have wine tours.
Phoenix & Scottsdale
Happy Hour deals, a few of my favorite words. 🙂 It’s a great way to save money and try local restaurants.
In Phoenix and Scottsdale, I ate, drank, visited a few Office Max locations for the $10 off $300 in Visa gift cards, and swam.
You can see cool historic buildings, visit the Pima Air & Space Museum, or hike.
All the things we love and we would have been happy to do. But our destination was Miraval.
That’s all I’m going to say for now but let me say, I’m going back. It was that AMAZING!
On the way home, we visited Biosphere 2, originally a scientific experiment to see if space life was possible. This was extremely cool!
Pro-tip: Arrive at least 30 minutes before you want to take a tour of Biosphere 2. Because it’s at least a 10-minute walk from the entrance to where the tour starts.
Where to Stay
There are so many hotels to choose from when you visit Arizona in the summer. With the high temperatures and the Zonies in California, rates are very affordable.
Pro-tip: Want a free upgrade? You should read the ultimate guide on how to get a free hotel upgrade and the ultimate guide on how to get VIP treatment at hotels. And here’s how to find a hotel general manager’s email address.
Hyatt Residence Club Sedona Pinon Pointe
I stayed at the Hyatt Residence Club Sedona Pinon Pointe using a free night certificate. They gave me a free upgrade to a one bedroom.
Pro-tip: This is a timeshare so Globalist benefits don’t apply.
Phoenix and Scottsdale
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa
In Scottsdale, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa. I booked a double points rate for $179 because it was cheaper than using 20,000 Hyatt points (even with MS).
As a Globalist I got a free upgrade to the Fountain Court Suite and Regency Club Lounge.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t book both nights at the Andaz so I could get 4 nights credit.
Hyatt Prive. Stay tuned for a post on Hyatt Prive and my experiences.
I booked the Andaz with Hyatt Prive so I could get the $100 food and beverage credit.
Plus it was almost three times the price the night before. Although I would have gotten 2 nights credit, it doesn’t make sense to pay more.
We came back to the Andaz Scottsdale after Tucson. This time we booked an Eames room through Hyatt Prive and got upgraded to a Saarinen Bungalow.
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Because we had to get to Miraval early, we wanted to stay somewhere close to Miraval. We chose the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.
We booked our room through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts for $139. (Stay tuned for a post on FHR (Fine Hotels & Resorts).
With FHR, you get free breakfast, upgrade, and a $100 food and beverage credit.
They upgraded us to a Grand Skyline Room.
Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa
We stayed 3 nights at the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa. The first two nights we used Jeff’s free nights from the old Hyatt card. The last night was booked with points because of the 50% rebate on award nights. We were booked into a Dreamcatcher room but when we arrived they upgraded us to the Retreat!
OMG. I want to live at Miraval in the Retreat.
I can not wait to share all my pictures of the Retreat with you. Out of all our travels, this was the best room ever.
Because it was pretty much a house.
A friggin’ massive 1 bedroom house with a private infinity pool, multiple fireplaces, firepit, steam shower, and outdoor shower. And more!!
Jeff said, “I wish we could take this house with us.”
Yeah, it was that AMAZING!!
How to Get the Miles and Points
You can get thousands by signing up for one credit card.
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
There are lots of ways to earn Southwest points but the quickest way is from credit cards.
- Southwest Priority card – see current signup bonus offer
- Southwest Premier card – see current signup bonus offer
- Southwest Plus card – see current signup bonus offer
- Southwest Premier Business card – see current signup bonus offer
Pro-tip: Be sure to read my ultimate guide on how to earn Southwest points without flying.
You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards point to Southwest.
You can earn Hyatt points from the Hyatt card and several Chase cards.
- World of Hyatt card – see current signup bonus offer
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – see current signup bonus offer
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – see current signup bonus offer
- Ink Business Preferred – see the current signup bonus offer
- Chase Freedom Flex – see the current signup bonus offer
- Chase Freedom Unlimited – see the current signup bonus offer
- Ink Business Unlimited – see the current signup bonus offer
- Ink Business Cash – see current signup bonus offer
Pro-tip: Have the old Hyatt card? Read my post should you upgrade to the new Hyatt card. And what you need to know after you upgrade your Hyatt card.
A trip to Arizona in the summer is an unforgettable experience. You get to enjoy scorching temperatures but can save lots of money on hotels.
With good planning and a little travel hacking, you could summer in Arizona for cheap.
And if you’re lucky you can see amazing lightning storms during a monsoon.
Despite the heat, I’m hoping to go back soon.
Where’s your favorite place to stay in Arizona during the summer?
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Monday 20th of August 2018
arizona in the summer is amazing! we're in tucson at the moment, staying at a $76/night courtyard that includes breakfast plus $20 F&B credit per day thanks to the new marriott platinum perks. so much to see and do, and we were lucky enough to experience a storm today - so much jagged lightning over the mountains, beautiful!
Tuesday 28th of August 2018
That's a great rate! Those summer lightning storms are awesome.