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How to Stay for Free at the Parker Palm Springs

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 100,000 points from The Platinum Card® from American Express welcome bonus, it’s cheaper to buy 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 Platinum Card® from American Express card and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express 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 Express100,000 points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express120,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
American Express® Gold Card60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
American Express® Business Gold Card70,000 points after spending $10,000 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 100,000 points after spending $6,000 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)
  • Yearly $200 hotel credit when booking through Fine Hotels and Resorts and The Hotel Collection (2 night minimum stay required)
  • $100 yearly credit at Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Free access to Centurion Lounges
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Free access to Delta Sky Club Lounges when flying Delta
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights (up to $500,000 a year) booked through the airline or Amex Travel
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Up to $200 in free Uber rides in the US or Uber Eats and Uber VIP status
  • $179 CLEAR credit each year
  • $240 digital subscription credit ($20 a month) each year to services like The New York Times and Audible
  • $300 Equinox credit ($25 a month) yearly
  • Terms apply

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 120,000 Membership Rewards points.

You’ll earn 120,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

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
  • $400 in Dell statement credits each year
  • $179 CLEAR credit 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 at US hardware and construction suppliers, electronics, shipping, and software
  • 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)
  • $150 in Adobe credit each year
  • $120 yearly credit on purchases of wireless telephones
  • Terms apply

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, or 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.


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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card welcome offer is 75,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.    

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining , $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of 3% cash back = an extra 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases your first year.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 6.5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal , 4.5% cash back at drugstores and restaurants, unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, you can use your points to travel for free.
 

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Claire

Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

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

Saturday 6th of April 2019

Hi Claire,

LOL, thanks. Glad you like the post. :)

Punita

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

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.

Debra Schroeder

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

Hi Punita,

Glad the post helped.

Rosemary

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

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

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

Hi Rosemary,

Right? It's a unique hotel. Glad the post helped. :)

Stevo Joslin

Monday 1st of April 2019

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

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

Hi Stevo,

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

Elaine Masters

Monday 1st of April 2019

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

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

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.

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