How to Stay for Free at the Parker Palm Springs

rainbow in sky over parker palm springs front entrance

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The Parker Palm Springs offers an eclectic upscale chic tranquil oasis perfect for any time of the year. 

The playful midcentury design by Jonathan Adler tantalizes your senses offering a cornucopia of Instagram friendly images. The luxurious decor creates a sense of playfulness and whimsy.

You can wander the grounds, indulge in brunch at Norma’s or enjoy a decadent meal at Mr. Parker’s. But if you want a lemonade you need to be a registered guest.

A stay at the Parker Palm Springs doesn’t come cheap. Good thing I know a few tricks about how to enjoy luxury travel for less.

Whether you’re in Palm Springs for a vacation or attending a conference like Altitude Summit, here’s how to stay for free at the Parker Palm Springs.

Pro-tip:  This travel hack works all year.

How to Stay for Free at the Parker Palm Springs 

rainbow in sky over parker palm springs front entrance

Who wouldn’t want to stay at the Parker Palm Springs? This iconic hotel has changed hands almost as many times as Elizabeth Taylor has had husbands.

From California’s first Holiday Inn to Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch, to the Givenchy Hotel & Spa, to Merv Griffin’s Resort Hotel and Givenchy Spa, to Le Parker Meridien and now the Parker Palm Springs.

Despite the identity crisis, the Parker Palm Springs has remained true to its mission – a veritable oasis of tranquility in the desert. A refuge for all guests, celebrity or not.

With only 125 rooms, 6 suites, and 13 villas, the Parker Palm Springs commands premium prices.

But here’s how you can stay at the Parker Palm Springs without a trust fund, a rock star bank account, or having won the lotto.

I’ve written before about how to use points to stay at hotels in Hawaii, the Maldives, San Diego, and Belize.

Did you know you can also use points to stay in Palm Springs?

Yep, you can use points for free nights at several Palm Springs hotels, including the Parker Palm Springs.

How to Use Points to Stay at the Parker Palm Springs 

drugs sign lobby Parker Palm Springs
eclectic decor at the Parker Palm Springs

 

The Parker Palm Springs is part of the Leading Hotels of the World (LHW). LHW has a loyalty program called Leaders Club.

You earn points for every $1 spent at LHW hotels. But it takes a long time (or a lot of money) to earn enough points for a free stay at the Parker Palm Springs.

Because your goal is to spend as little money as possible and get a free stay at the Parker Palm Springs, there’s a better way.

Here’s you can get free nights at the Parker Palm Springs faster. If you’re attending Altitude Summit, this trick comes in handy.

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts

Parker Palm Springs Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
Stay for free at the Parker Palm Springs when you pay with points

 

The Parker Palm Springs is one of 1,000 “hand-selected” hotels worldwide that are part of the American Express’ Fine Hotels & Resorts program.

You can reserve hotel rooms at the Parker Palm Springs through Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR).

When booking hotels through FHR you have three payment options. You can pay with cash, use your American Express Membership Rewards Points, or pay a combination of cash and points.

A night at the Parker Palm Springs costs $451. Or you can pay 64,500 Membership Rewards points.

Pro-tip: You can buy points in 1,000 increments. Amex charges $25 per 1,000 points. This comes to 2.5 cents per point. Depending on your Amex card, you can buy up to 500,000 points a year.

You should only buy points if you’re short a couple of thousand points. Buying tens of thousands of points usually costs more than paying cash.

For example, if you have 60,000 points from the American Express Platinum card welcome bonus, it’s cheaper to buy 5,000 points for $125 and use those points for a free night at the Parker Palm Springs.

How to Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points

There are other ways to earn American Express Membership Rewards if you don’t have any. Amex points are easy to earn.

Each time you use a qualifying American Express card you’ll earn points.

You can earn more Membership Rewards points from:

  • Credit cards
  • Dining
  • Flights
  • Gas
  • Groceries
  • Multiple purchases aka transactions
  • Shopping
  • Travel

Credit Cards That Earn Membership Rewards Points

But the fastest way to earn thousands of American Express Membership Rewards points is through credit card welcome offers.

The welcome bonus on the American Express Platinum card and the Business American Express Platinum card can cover the cost of a night at the Parker Palm Springs!

Here’s a table of all the cards that earn Membership Rewards Points.

 Signup Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements
The Platinum Card from American Express60,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
The Business Platinum Card from American Express75,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
American Express Gold Card35,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
American Express Business Gold Card35,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express5,000 points after your first purchase
Amex Everyday Preferred Credit Card from American Express15,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Amex Cards for Fine Hotels and Resorts

But there are only three Amex cards that give you access to book hotels through Fine Hotels and Resorts.

You can book hotels through FHR if you have the Platinum Card from American Express, the Business Platinum Card from American Express, or the Centurion Card.

If you want to use points to stay for free at the Parker Palm Springs for Altitude Summit or any time of the year, you’ll need one of these credit cards.

The Centurion Card aka Black Card is an invite-only card. Because of its exclusivity, we’ll skip discussing this card.

The Platinum Card from American Express


If you travel a lot or want to travel more, the Platinum Card from American Express deserves a spot in your wallet.

You earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

The Platinum Card from American Express perks include:

  • $200 airline credit each year
  • Free Priority Pass membership (airport lounges)
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits each year & Uber VIP status
  • $100 yearly credit at Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Free access to Centurion Lounges
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Free access Delta Sky Club Lounges when flying Delta
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights (booked through the airline or Amex Travel)
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per $ 1 spent on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • 1 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on everything else

This card has a $550 annual fee. But the credits you get from this card offset the annual fee.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS CARD

The Business Platinum Card from American Express


If you have a business, the Business Platinum Card from American Express is worth its weight in gold. Or in this case platinum (cue the bad joke sound).

This card offers many of the same perks as the personal card but with some differences.

The welcome offer on the Amex Business Platinum is up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points.

You’ll earn 50,000 points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Plus an extra 25,000 points after spending another $10,000 in purchases within 3 months of opening your account.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express perks include:

  • $200 airline credit each year
  • Free Priority Pass membership (airport lounges)
  • Free access to Centurion Lounges
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Free access Delta Sky Club Lounges when flying Delta
  • $200 in Dell statement credits each year
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights (booked through the airline or Amex Travel)
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per $ 1 spent on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • 1.5X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on single purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million points a year)
  • 1 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on everything else
  • 35% point rebate for First Class and Business Class flights booked through Amex Travel
  • Rebate of 35% on flights booked with your selected airline through the Amex travel portal (up to 500,000 points a year)

The annual fee for the Business Platinum card is $595 (learn more). But like the personal card the credits and value you get make up for the annual fee.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS CARD

Places to Check Out in Palm Springs

Here are some places to check out in Palm Springs while staying at the Parker Palm Springs.

Enjoy a meal at Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge. They offer vegan and gluten-free options. After dinner, stop by Monster Shakes Palm Springs for a tasty treat. Finish up at Mr. Lyon’s Steakhouse for drinks at their secret speakeasy, Seymour’s. Looking for a small, boutique hotel, consider staying at the Monkey Tree Hotel. Or if you want a relaxing experience away from the crowds in downtown Palm Springs, stay at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa.

Conclusion

You can stay for free at the Parker Palm Springs for Altitude Summit, a quick weekend getaway, or vacation. Here’s how to use points for free nights at the Parker Palm Springs any time of the year!

The iconic Parker Palm Springs with its signature orange door is a must-see and when possible stay at when you visit Palm Springs.

But this chic upscale hotel can be pricey. But it doesn’t have to be.

With a little planning, you can frolic among the jet set without taking out a mortgage on your house.

By booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and choosing the pay with points option, you can get free nights at the Parker Palm Springs.

You have to be an American Express Platinum or Business American Express Platinum cardholder to reserve hotels with Fine Hotels & Resorts. If you’re not a cardholder, the welcome offer on the personal and business card is enough for a free night at the Parker Palm Springs.

When you combine that with all the ways to earn Membership Rewards points you can easily cover the cost of four, five, even seven nights.

Where have you used points to stay for free?

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Featured image courtesy Parker Palm Springs

 

Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.


Chase Sapphire Preferred

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).
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 

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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19 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.
  • Jenn and Ed Coleman March 30, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Palm Springs is a remarkably fun town. It’s kind of like Vegas but closer to LA. This would be a great time of year to visit Palm Springs before the weather gets too hot. I love your joke about how the property has changed hands more than Elizabeth Taylor

    • Debra Schroeder April 2, 2019 at 5:41 am

      Hi Jenn,

      For sure but without all the smoking. LOL, glad you liked that part. 🙂

  • Christina March 30, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Leading Hotels of the World has some amazing properties in its portfolio. Parker Palm Springs looks like a great place to get away. Joining up for the welcome offer looks like the way to go.

    • Debra Schroeder April 2, 2019 at 5:40 am

      Hi Christina,

      They sure do. Just remember you get more value using your Amex points.

  • sherianne April 1, 2019 at 6:05 am

    I haven’t heard of Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) or the Leaders Club loyalty program. Looks like I need an American Express card

    • Debra Schroeder April 2, 2019 at 5:39 am

      Hi Sherianne,

      You sure do! 🙂 Let me know if you need help finding the right card.

  • Trisha April 1, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Wow very interesting tip!! This is handy for AMEX members! I’ll definitely refer this to my friends!! It’s my dream to go to ALT Summit in the future!!

  • Tami April 1, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    I like Palm Springs but would definitely not pay $451/night to stay the Parker Palm Springs hotel. Using points is a great way to experience luxury without a lot of cash outlay, but for example, if you still need to buy 5000 points for $125 to add to your 60,000 points, you’re still not getting the hotel free, but at a great discount. I, personally, would rather stay at a less expensive hotel and save my points for airfare!

    • Debra Schroeder April 2, 2019 at 5:38 am

      Hi Tami,

      That’s why I love miles and points. They let you have a value luxury experience for less.

  • Elaine Masters April 1, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    I love how you think, Debra! This is a great strategy however when I visit Palm Springs next I hope to just walk the Parker grounds and perhaps have a drink there. I’ll stay nearby. I use a dedicated card for points already and have enough to juggle without getting into the new card game. It’s a wonderful system but you really need your talent to master it.

    • Debra Schroeder April 2, 2019 at 5:29 am

      Hi Elaine,

      Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 Let me know if you need any help maximizing the points you can earn on the card you have.

  • Stevo Joslin April 1, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    You had me at free. I really need to step my credit card miles game up, and this is a perfect guide as to how! I love learning about fun ways to game the system to get things cheaper and sometimes even for free! The hotel looks beautiful. I don’t know how lanterns relate to drugs but the decor is stunning nevertheless! Time to get to work on my credit card game. Thanks for sharing!

    • Debra Schroeder April 2, 2019 at 5:35 am

      Hi Stevo,

      Thanks, so glad you liked the post. LOL, true the decor is a bit eclectic.

  • Rosemary April 2, 2019 at 12:58 am

    What an amazing and exclusive hotel. Would certainly love to unwind there for a couple of days, most importantly for free. Great tips about the American Express Platinum and Business cards. Incredible benefits and you are right, everything you get offsets the high annual fee. Looking at getting a new business credit card and will now consider American Express Business since we travel so much. Thanks for the info 🙂

    • Debra Schroeder April 2, 2019 at 5:30 am

      Hi Rosemary,

      Right? It’s a unique hotel. Glad the post helped. 🙂

  • Punita April 2, 2019 at 4:32 am

    This is a very detailed post on using and benefiting from reward points. I am glad I came across it, because it just struck me recently that we need to up our game in this area. Similar plans work for many other card and hotel brands.

  • Claire April 3, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    OMG this is genius! I am never very good at using points for anything, you really know how to work the system! I would love to stay at the Parker Palm Springs – especially for free, I could never afford it normally! 🙂

    • Debra Schroeder April 6, 2019 at 7:17 am

      Hi Claire,

      LOL, thanks. Glad you like the post. 🙂

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