Arizona in the Summer

August 20, 2018 in Arizona, Travel - 2 Comments
Visiting Arizona in the summer may sound crazy but if you love a good travel deal, it's a bargain hunter's dream.

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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

Visiting Arizona in the summer may sound crazy but if you love a good travel deal, it's a bargain hunter's dream.

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.

Itinerary

How to Get to Arizona

Fly

I used 7,500 American Airlines miles to fly to Phoenix to visit Arizona in the summer.
Lots of American Airlines flights to Phoenix means more award flights

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

Drive

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 at Red Rocks State Park Sedona in the early morning.
Red Rocks State Park Sedona

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.

Sedona

Montezuma Well National Monument.jpg
Mid-morning view of the Montezuma Well National Monument (excuses the blothes – my lens was dirty)

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.

Tucson

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.

OMG, 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.

Sedona

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.
Bedroom in the 1 bedroom at 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.

Read my Hyatt Residence Club Sedona Pinon Pointe review.

Phoenix and Scottsdale

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa

In Scottsdale, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa and got a free upgrade to a Fountain Court suite.
Bedroom of Fountain Court Suite

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.

Andaz Scottsdale

Arizona in the summer means lots of pool time. Pool float at the Andaz Scottsdale.
My flighty friend at the Andaz Scottsdale

The next night I stayed at the Andaz Scottsdale because of the double elite night promotion. I booked a Knoll room got a free upgrade to the Saarinen Bungalow.

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.

Tucson

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.
Grand Skyline room at 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

A friggin' massive 1 bedroom house with a private infinity pool, multiple fireplaces, firepit, steam shower, and outdoor shower. And more!!
Our private infinity pool in the Retreat at Miraval Arizona

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

American Airlines

You can get thousands by signing up for one credit card.

  • 50,000 miles from the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
  • 50,000 miles from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
  • 50,000 miles from the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

Southwest

There are lots of ways to earn Southwest points but the quickest way is from credit cards.

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.

Hyatt Points

You can earn Hyatt points from the Hyatt card and several Chase cards.

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.

Conclusion

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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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. #travel #arizona #traveldeals #travelhack https://www.travelingwellforless.com

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months).
 
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Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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2 Comments

  • The below 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.
  • pat August 20, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    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!

    • Debra Schroeder August 28, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Pat,

      That’s a great rate! Those summer lightning storms are awesome.

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